< BackForward >
It is the long vacation in the regions of Chancery Lane. The good
ships Law and Equity, those teak-built, copper-bottomed, iron-
fastened, brazen-faced, and not by any means fast-sailing clippers
are laid up in ordinary. The Flying Dutchman, with a crew of
ghostly clients imploring all whom they may encounter to peruse
their papers, has drifted, for the time being, heaven knows where.
The courts are all shut up; the public offices lie in a hot sleep.
Westminster Hall itself is a shady solitude where nightingales
might sing, and a tenderer class of suitors than is usually found
The Temple, Chancery Lane, Serjeants' Inn, and Lincoln's Inn even
unto the Fields are like tidal harbours at low water, where
stranded proceedings, offices at anchor, idle clerks lounging on
lop-sided stools that will not recover their perpendicular until
the current of Term sets in, lie high and dry upon the ooze of the
long vacation. Outer doors of chambers are shut up by the score,
messages and parcels are to be left at the Porter's Lodge by the
bushel. A crop of grass would grow in the chinks of the stone
pavement outside Lincoln's Inn Hall, but that the ticket-porters,
who have nothing to do beyond sitting in the shade there, with
their white aprons over their heads to keep the flies off, grub it
up and eat it thoughtfully.
There is only one judge in town. Even he only comes twice a week
to sit in chambers. If the country folks of those assize towns on
his circuit could see him now! No full-bottomed wig, no red
petticoats, no fur, no javelin-men, no white wands. Merely a
close-shaved gentleman in white trousers and a white hat, with sea-
bronze on the judicial countenance, and a strip of bark peeled by
the solar rays from the judicial nose, who calls in at the shell-
fish shop as he comes along and drinks iced ginger-beer!
The bar of England is scattered over the face of the earth. How
England can get on through four long summer months without its bar
--which is its acknowledged refuge in adversity and its only
legitimate triumph in prosperity--is beside the question; assuredly
that shield and buckler of Britannia are not in present wear. The
learned gentleman who is always so tremendously indignant at the
unprecedented outrage committed on the feelings of his client by
the opposite party that he never seems likely to recover it is
doing infinitely better than might be expected in Switzerland. The
learned gentleman who does the withering business and who blights
all opponents with his gloomy sarcasm is as merry as a grig at a
French watering-place. The learned gentleman who weeps by the pint
on the smallest provocation has not shed a tear these six weeks.
The very learned gentleman who has cooled the natural heat of his
gingery complexion in pools and fountains of law until he has
become great in knotty arguments for term-time, when he poses the
drowsy bench with legal "chaff," inexplicable to the uninitiated
and to most of the initiated too, is roaming, with a characteristic
delight in aridity and dust, about Constantinople. Other dispersed
fragments of the same great palladium are to be found on the canals
of Venice, at the second cataract of the Nile, in the baths of
Germany, and sprinkled on the sea-sand all over the English coast.
Scarcely one is to be encountered in the deserted region of
Chancery Lane. If such a lonely member of the bar do flit across
the waste and come upon a prowling suitor who is unable to leave
off haunting the scenes of his anxiety, they frighten one another
and retreat into opposite shades.
It is the hottest long vacation known for many years. All the
young clerks are madly in love, and according to their various
degrees, pine for bliss with the beloved object, at Margate,
Ramsgate, or Gravesend. All the middle-aged clerks think their
families too large. All the unowned dogs who stray into the Inns
of Court and pant about staircases and other dry places seeking
water give short howls of aggravation. All the blind men's dogs in
the streets draw their masters against pumps or trip them over
buckets. A shop with a sun-blind, and a watered pavement, and a
bowl of gold and silver fish in the window, is a sanctuary. Temple
Bar gets so hot that it is, to the adjacent Strand and Fleet
Street, what a heater is in an urn, and keeps them simmering all
There are offices about the Inns of Court in which a man might be
cool, if any coolness were worth purchasing at such a price in
dullness; but the little thoroughfares immediately outside those
retirements seem to blaze. In Mr. Krook's court, it is so hot that
the people turn their houses inside out and sit in chairs upon the
pavement--Mr. Krook included, who there pursues his studies, with
his cat (who never is too hot) by his side. The Sol's Arms has
discontinued the Harmonic Meetings for the season, and Little
Swills is engaged at the Pastoral Gardens down the river, where he
comes out in quite an innocent manner and sings comic ditties of a
juvenile complexion calculated (as the bill says) not to wound the
feelings of the most fastidious mind.
Over all the legal neighbourhood there hangs, like some great veil
of rust or gigantic cobweb, the idleness and pensiveness of the
long vacation. Mr. Snagsby, law-stationer of Cook's Court,
Cursitor Street, is sensible of the influence not only in his mind
as a sympathetic and contemplative man, but also in his business as
a law-stationer aforesaid. He has more leisure for musing in
Staple Inn and in the Rolls Yard during the long vacation than at
other seasons, and he says to the two 'prentices, what a thing it
is in such hot weather to think that you live in an island with the
sea a-rolling and a-bowling right round you.
Guster is busy in the little drawing-room on this present afternoon
in the long vacation, when Mr. and Mrs. Snagsby have it in
contemplation to receive company. The expected guests are rather
select than numerous, being Mr. and Mrs. Chadband and no more.
From Mr. Chadband's being much given to describe himself, both
verbally and in writing, as a vessel, he is occasionally mistaken
by strangers for a gentleman connected with navigation, but he is,
as he expresses it, "in the ministry." Mr. Chadband is attached to
no particular denomination and is considered by his persecutors to
have nothing so very remarkable to say on the greatest of subjects
as to render his volunteering, on his own account, at all incumbent
on his conscience; but he has his followers, and Mrs. Snagsby is of
the number. Mrs. Snagsby has but recently taken a passage upward
by the vessel, Chadband; and her attention was attracted to that
Bark A 1 when she was something flushed by the hot weather.
"My little woman," says Mr. Snagsby to the sparrows in Staple Inn,
"likes to have her religion rather sharp, you see!"
So Guster, much impressed by regarding herself for the time as the
handmaid of Chadband, whom she knows to be endowed with the gift of
holding forth for four hours at a stretch, prepares the little
drawing-room for tea. All the furniture is shaken and dusted, the
portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Snagsby are touched up with a wet cloth,
the best tea-service is set forth, and there is excellent provision
made of dainty new bread, crusty twists, cool fresh butter, thin
slices of ham, tongue, and German sausage, and delicate little rows
of anchovies nestling in parsley, not to mention new-laid eggs, to
be brought up warm in a napkin, and hot buttered toast. For
Chadband is rather a consuming vessel--the persecutors say a
gorging vessel--and can wield such weapons of the flesh as a knife
and fork remarkably well.
Mr. Snagsby in his best coat, looking at all the preparations when
they are completed and coughing his cough of deference behind his
hand, says to Mrs. Snagsby, "At what time did you expect Mr. and
Mrs. Chadband, my love?"
"At six," says Mrs. Snagsby.
Mr. Snagsby observes in a mild and casual way that "it's gone
"Perhaps you'd like to begin without them," is Mrs. Snagsby's
Mr. Snagsby does look as if he would like it very much, but he
says, with his cough of mildness, "No, my dear, no. I merely named
"What's time," says Mrs. Snagsby, "to eternity?"
"Very true, my dear," says Mr. Snagsby. "Only when a person lays
in victuals for tea, a person does it with a view--perhaps--more to
time. And when a time is named for having tea, it's better to come
up to it."
"To come up to it!" Mrs. Snagsby repeats with severity. "Up to it!
As if Mr. Chadband was a fighter!"
"Not at all, my dear," says Mr. Snagsby.
Here, Guster, who had been looking out of the bedroom window, comes
rustling and scratching down the little staircase like a popular
ghost, and falling flushed into the drawing-room, announces that
Mr. and Mrs. Chadband have appeared in the court. The bell at the
inner door in the passage immediately thereafter tinkling, she is
admonished by Mrs. Snagsby, on pain of instant reconsignment to her
patron saint, not to omit the ceremony of announcement. Much
discomposed in her nerves (which were previously in the best order)
by this threat, she so fearfully mutilates that point of state as
to announce "Mr. and Mrs. Cheeseming, least which, Imeantersay,
whatsername!" and retires conscience-stricken from the presence.
Mr. Chadband is a large yellow man with a fat smile and a general
appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system. Mrs.
Chadband is a stern, severe-looking, silent woman. Mr. Chadband
moves softly and cumbrously, not unlike a bear who has been taught
to walk upright. He is very much embarrassed about the arms, as if
they were inconvenient to him and he wanted to grovel, is very much
in a perspiration about the head, and never speaks without first
putting up his great hand, as delivering a token to his hearers
that he is going to edify them.
"My friends," says Mr. Chadband, "peace be on this house! On the
master thereof, on the mistress thereof, on the young maidens, and
on the young men! My friends, why do I wish for peace? What is
peace? Is it war? No. Is it strife? No. Is it lovely, and
gentle, and beautiful, and pleasant, and serene, and joyful? Oh,
yes! Therefore, my friends, I wish for peace, upon you and upon
In consequence of Mrs. Snagsby looking deeply edified, Mr. Snagsby
thinks it expedient on the whole to say amen, which is well
"Now, my friends," proceeds Mr. Chadband, "since I am upon this
Guster presents herself. Mrs. Snagsby, in a spectral bass voice
and without removing her eyes from Chadband, says with dreadful
distinctness, "Go away!"
"Now, my friends," says Chadband, "since I am upon this theme, and
in my lowly path improving it--"
Guster is heard unaccountably to murmur "one thousing seven hundred
and eighty-two." The spectral voice repeats more solemnly, "Go
"Now, my friends," says Mr. Chadband, "we will inquire in a spirit
Still Guster reiterates "one thousing seven hundred and eighty-
Mr. Chadband, pausing with the resignation of a man accustomed to
be persecuted and languidly folding up his chin into his fat smile,
says, "Let us hear the maiden! Speak, maiden!"
"One thousing seven hundred and eighty-two, if you please, sir.
Which he wish to know what the shilling ware for," says Guster,
"For?" returns Mrs. Chadband. "For his fare!"
Guster replied that "he insistes on one and eightpence or on
summonsizzing the party." Mrs. Snagsby and Mrs. Chadband are
proceeding to grow shrill in indignation when Mr. Chadband quiets
the tumult by lifting up his hand.
"My friends," says he, "I remember a duty unfulfilled yesterday.
It is right that I should be chastened in some penalty. I ought
not to murmur. Rachael, pay the eightpence!"
While Mrs. Snagsby, drawing her breath, looks hard at Mr. Snagsby,
as who should say, "You hear this apostle!" and while Mr. Chadband
glows with humility and train oil, Mrs. Chadband pays the money.
It is Mr. Chadband's habit--it is the head and front of his
pretensions indeed--to keep this sort of debtor and creditor
account in the smallest items and to post it publicly on the most
"My friends," says Chadband, "eightpence is not much; it might
justly have been one and fourpence; it might justly have been half
a crown. O let us be joyful, joyful! O let us be joyful!"
With which remark, which appears from its sound to be an extract in
verse, Mr. Chadband stalks to the table, and before taking a chair,
lifts up his admonitory hand.
"My friends," says he, "what is this which we now behold as being
spread before us? Refreshment. Do we need refreshment then, my
friends? We do. And why do we need refreshment, my friends?
Because we are but mortal, because we are but sinful, because we
are but of the earth, because we are not of the air. Can we fly,
my friends? We cannot. Why can we not fly, my friends?"
Mr. Snagsby, presuming on the success of his last point, ventures
to observe in a cheerful and rather knowing tone, "No wings." But
is immediately frowned down by Mrs. Snagsby.
"I say, my friends," pursues Mr. Chadband, utterly rejecting and
obliterating Mr. Snagsby's suggestion, "why can we not fly? Is it
because we are calculated to walk? It is. Could we walk, my
friends, without strength? We could not. What should we do
without strength, my friends? Our legs would refuse to bear us,
our knees would double up, our ankles would turn over, and we
should come to the ground. Then from whence, my friends, in a
human point of view, do we derive the strength that is necessary to
our limbs? Is it," says Chadband, glancing over the table, "from
bread in various forms, from butter which is churned from the milk
which is yielded unto us by the cow, from the eggs which are laid
by the fowl, from ham, from tongue, from sausage, and from such
like? It is. Then let us partake of the good things which are set
The persecutors denied that there was any particular gift in Mr.
Chadband's piling verbose flights of stairs, one upon another,
after this fashion. But this can only be received as a proof of
their determination to persecute, since it must be within
everybody's experience that the Chadband style of oratory is widely
received and much admired.
Mr. Chadband, however, having concluded for the present, sits down
at Mr. Snagsby's table and lays about him prodigiously. The
conversion of nutriment of any sort into oil of the quality already
mentioned appears to be a process so inseparable from the
constitution of this exemplary vessel that in beginning to eat and
drink, he may be described as always becoming a kind of
considerable oil mills or other large factory for the production of
that article on a wholesale scale. On the present evening of the
long vacation, in Cook's Court, Cursitor Street, he does such a
powerful stroke of business that the warehouse appears to be quite
full when the works cease.
At this period of the entertainment, Guster, who has never
recovered her first failure, but has neglected no possible or
impossible means of bringing the establishment and herself into
contempt--among which may be briefly enumerated her unexpectedly
performing clashing military music on Mr. Chadband's head with
plates, and afterwards crowning that gentleman with muffins--at
which period of the entertainment, Guster whispers Mr. Snagsby that
he is wanted.
"And being wanted in the--not to put too fine a point upon it--in
the shop," says Mr. Snagsby, rising, "perhaps this good company
will excuse me for half a minute."
Mr. Snagsby descends and finds the two 'prentices intently
contemplating a police constable, who holds a ragged boy by the
"Why, bless my heart," says Mr. Snagsby, "what's the matter!"
"This boy," says the constable, "although he's repeatedly told to,
won't move on--"
"I'm always a-moving on, sar, cries the boy, wiping away his grimy
tears with his arm. "I've always been a-moving and a-moving on,
ever since I was born. Where can I possibly move to, sir, more nor
I do move!"
"He won't move on," says the constable calmly, with a slight
professional hitch of his neck involving its better settlement in
his stiff stock, "although he has been repeatedly cautioned, and
therefore I am obliged to take him into custody. He's as obstinate
a young gonoph as I know. He WON'T move on."
"Oh, my eye! Where can I move to!" cries the boy, clutching quite
desperately at his hair and beating his bare feet upon the floor of
Mr. Snagsby's passage.
"Don't you come none of that or I shall make blessed short work of
you!" says the constable, giving him a passionless shake. "My
instructions are that you are to move on. I have told you so five
"But where?" cries the boy.
"Well! Really, constable, you know," says Mr. Snagsby wistfully,
and coughing behind his hand his cough of great perplexity and
doubt, "really, that does seem a question. Where, you know?"
"My instructions don't go to that," replies the constable. "My
instructions are that this boy is to move on."
Do you hear, Jo? It is nothing to you or to any one else that the
great lights of the parliamentary sky have failed for some few
years in this business to set you the example of moving on. The
one grand recipe remains for you--the profound philosophical
prescription--the be-all and the end-all of your strange existence
upon earth. Move on! You are by no means to move off, Jo, for the
great lights can't at all agree about that. Move on!
Mr. Snagsby says nothing to this effect, says nothing at all
indeed, but coughs his forlornest cough, expressive of no
thoroughfare in any direction. By this time Mr. and Mrs. Chadband
and Mrs. Snagsby, hearing the altercation, have appeared upon the
stairs. Guster having never left the end of the passage, the whole
household are assembled.
"The simple question is, sir," says the constable, "whether you
know this boy. He says you do."
Mrs. Snagsby, from her elevation, instantly cries out, "No he
"My lit-tle woman!" says Mr. Snagsby, looking up the staircase.
"My love, permit me! Pray have a moment's patience, my dear. I do
know something of this lad, and in what I know of him, I can't say
that there's any harm; perhaps on the contrary, constable." To
whom the law-stationer relates his Joful and woful experience,
suppressing the half-crown fact.
"Well!" says the constable, "so far, it seems, he had grounds for
what he said. When I took him into custody up in Holborn, he said
you knew him. Upon that, a young man who was in the crowd said he
was acquainted with you, and you were a respectable housekeeper,
and if I'd call and make the inquiry, he'd appear. The young man
don't seem inclined to keep his word, but-- Oh! Here IS the young
Enter Mr. Guppy, who nods to Mr. Snagsby and touches his hat with
the chivalry of clerkship to the ladies on the stairs.
"I was strolling away from the office just now when I found this
row going on," says Mr. Guppy to the law-stationer, "and as your
name was mentioned, I thought it was right the thing should be
"It was very good-natured of you, sir," says Mr. Snagsby, "and I am
obliged to you." And Mr. Snagsby again relates his experience,
again suppressing the half-crown fact.
"Now, I know where you live," says the constable, then, to Jo.
"You live down in Tom-all-Alone's. That's a nice innocent place to
live in, ain't it?"
"I can't go and live in no nicer place, sir," replies Jo. "They
wouldn't have nothink to say to me if I wos to go to a nice
innocent place fur to live. Who ud go and let a nice innocent
lodging to such a reg'lar one as me!"
"You are very poor, ain't you?" says the constable.
"Yes, I am indeed, sir, wery poor in gin'ral," replies Jo. "I
leave you to judge now! I shook these two half-crowns out of him,"
says the constable, producing them to the company, "in only putting
my hand upon him!"
"They're wot's left, Mr. Snagsby," says Jo, "out of a sov-ring as
wos give me by a lady in a wale as sed she wos a servant and as
come to my crossin one night and asked to be showd this 'ere ouse
and the ouse wot him as you giv the writin to died at, and the
berrin-ground wot he's berrid in. She ses to me she ses 'are you
the boy at the inkwhich?' she ses. I ses 'yes' I ses. She ses to
me she ses 'can you show me all them places?' I ses 'yes I can' I
ses. And she ses to me 'do it' and I dun it and she giv me a
sov'ring and hooked it. And I an't had much of the sov'ring
neither," says Jo, with dirty tears, "fur I had to pay five bob,
down in Tom-all-Alone's, afore they'd square it fur to give me
change, and then a young man he thieved another five while I was
asleep and another boy he thieved ninepence and the landlord he
stood drains round with a lot more on it."
"You don't expect anybody to believe this, about the lady and the
sovereign, do you?" says the constable, eyeing him aside with
"I don't know as I do, sir," replies Jo. "I don't expect nothink
at all, sir, much, but that's the true hist'ry on it."
"You see what he is!" the constable observes to the audience.
"Well, Mr. Snagsby, if I don't lock him up this time, will you
engage for his moving on?"
"No!" cries Mrs. Snagsby from the stairs.
"My little woman!" pleads her husband. "Constable, I have no doubt
he'll move on. You know you really must do it," says Mr. Snagsby.
"I'm everyways agreeable, sir," says the hapless Jo.
"Do it, then," observes the constable. "You know what you have got
to do. Do it! And recollect you won't get off so easy next time.
Catch hold of your money. Now, the sooner you're five mile off,
the better for all parties."
With this farewell hint and pointing generally to the setting sun
as a likely place to move on to, the constable bids his auditors
good afternoon and makes the echoes of Cook's Court perform slow
music for him as he walks away on the shady side, carrying his
iron-bound hat in his hand for a little ventilation.
Now, Jo's improbable story concerning the lady and the sovereign
has awakened more or less the curiosity of all the company. Mr.
Guppy, who has an inquiring mind in matters of evidence and who has
been suffering severely from the lassitude of the long vacation,
takes that interest in the case that he enters on a regular cross-
examination of the witness, which is found so interesting by the
ladies that Mrs. Snagsby politely invites him to step upstairs and
drink a cup of tea, if he will excuse the disarranged state of the
tea-table, consequent on their previous exertions. Mr. Guppy
yielding his assent to this proposal, Jo is requested to follow
into the drawing-room doorway, where Mr. Guppy takes him in hand as
a witness, patting him into this shape, that shape, and the other
shape like a butterman dealing with so much butter, and worrying
him according to the best models. Nor is the examination unlike
many such model displays, both in respect of its eliciting nothing
and of its being lengthy, for Mr. Guppy is sensible of his talent,
and Mrs. Snagsby feels not only that it gratifies her inquisitive
disposition, but that it lifts her husband's establishment higher
up in the law. During the progress of this keen encounter, the
vessel Chadband, being merely engaged in the oil trade, gets
aground and waits to be floated off.
"Well!" says Mr. Guppy. "Either this boy sticks to it like
cobbler's-wax or there is something out of the common here that
beats anything that ever came into my way at Kenge and Carboy's."
Mrs. Chadband whispers Mrs. Snagsby, who exclaims, "You don't say
"For years!" replied Mrs. Chadband.
"Has known Kenge and Carboy's office for years," Mrs. Snagsby
triumphantly explains to Mr. Guppy. "Mrs. Chadband--this
gentleman's wife--Reverend Mr. Chadband."
"Oh, indeed!" says Mr. Guppy.
"Before I married my present husband," says Mrs. Chadband.
"Was you a party in anything, ma'am?" says Mr. Guppy, transferring
"NOT a party in anything, ma'am?" says Mr. Guppy.
Mrs. Chadband shakes her head.
"Perhaps you were acquainted with somebody who was a party in
something, ma'am?" says Mr. Guppy, who likes nothing better than to
model his conversation on forensic principles.
"Not exactly that, either," replies Mrs. Chadband, humouring the
joke with a hard-favoured smile.
"Not exactly that, either!" repeats Mr. Guppy. "Very good. Pray,
ma'am, was it a lady of your acquaintance who had some transactions
(we will not at present say what transactions) with Kenge and
Carboy's office, or was it a gentleman of your acquaintance? Take
time, ma'am. We shall come to it presently. Man or woman, ma'am?"
"Neither," says Mrs. Chadband as before.
"Oh! A child!" says Mr. Guppy, throwing on the admiring Mrs.
Snagsby the regular acute professional eye which is thrown on
British jurymen. "Now, ma'am, perhaps you'll have the kindness to
tell us WHAT child."
"You have got it at last, sir," says Mrs. Chadband with another
hard-favoured smile. "Well, sir, it was before your time, most
likely, judging from your appearance. I was left in charge of a
child named Esther Summerson, who was put out in life by Messrs.
Kenge and Carboy."
"Miss Summerson, ma'am!" cries Mr. Guppy, excited.
"I call her Esther Summerson," says Mrs. Chadband with austerity.
"There was no Miss-ing of the girl in my time. It was Esther.
'Esther, do this! Esther, do that!' and she was made to do it."
"My dear ma'am," returns Mr. Guppy, moving across the small
apartment, "the humble individual who now addresses you received
that young lady in London when she first came here from the
establishment to which you have alluded. Allow me to have the
pleasure of taking you by the hand."
Mr. Chadband, at last seeing his opportunity, makes his accustomed
signal and rises with a smoking head, which he dabs with his
pocket-handkerchief. Mrs. Snagsby whispers "Hush!"
"My friends," says Chadband, "we have partaken in moderation"
(which was certainly not the case so far as he was concerned) "of
the comforts which have been provided for us. May this house live
upon the fatness of the land; may corn and wine be plentiful
therein; may it grow, may it thrive, may it prosper, may it
advance, may it proceed, may it press forward! But, my friends,
have we partaken of any-hing else? We have. My friends, of what
else have we partaken? Of spiritual profit? Yes. From whence
have we derived that spiritual profit? My young friend, stand
Jo, thus apostrophized, gives a slouch backward, and another slouch
forward, and another slouch to each side, and confronts the
eloquent Chadband with evident doubts of his intentions.
"My young friend," says Chadband, "you are to us a pearl, you are
to us a diamond, you are to us a gem, you are to us a jewel. And
why, my young friend?"
"I don't know," replies Jo. "I don't know nothink."
"My young friend," says Chadband, "it is because you know nothing
that you are to us a gem and jewel. For what are you, my young
friend? Are you a beast of the field? No. A bird of the air?
No. A fish of the sea or river? No. You are a human boy, my
young friend. A human boy. O glorious to be a human boy! And why
glorious, my young friend? Because you are capable of receiving
the lessons of wisdom, because you are capable of profiting by this
discourse which I now deliver for your good, because you are not a
stick, or a staff, or a stock, or a stone, or a post, or a pillar.
O running stream of sparkling joy
To be a soaring human boy!
And do you cool yourself in that stream now, my young friend? No.
Why do you not cool yourself in that stream now? Because you are
in a state of darkness, because you are in a state of obscurity,
because you are in a state of sinfulness, because you are in a
state of bondage. My young friend, what is bondage? Let us, in a
spirit of love, inquire."
At this threatening stage of the discourse, Jo, who seems to have
been gradually going out of his mind, smears his right arm over his
face and gives a terrible yawn. Mrs. Snagsby indignantly expresses
her belief that he is a limb of the arch-fiend.
"My friends," says Mr. Chadband with his persecuted chin folding
itself into its fat smile again as he looks round, "it is right
that I should be humbled, it is right that I should be tried, it is
right that I should be mortified, it is right that I should be
corrected. I stumbled, on Sabbath last, when I thought with pride
of my three hours' improving. The account is now favourably
balanced: my creditor has accepted a composition. O let us be
joyful, joyful! O let us be joyful!"
Great sensation on the part of Mrs. Snagsby.
"My friends," says Chadband, looking round him in conclusion, "I
will not proceed with my young friend now. Will you come to-
morrow, my young friend, and inquire of this good lady where I am
to be found to deliver a discourse unto you, and will you come like
the thirsty swallow upon the next day, and upon the day after that,
and upon the day after that, and upon many pleasant days, to hear
discourses?" (This with a cow-like lightness.)
Jo, whose immediate object seems to be to get away on any terms,
gives a shuffling nod. Mr. Guppy then throws him a penny, and Mrs.
Snagsby calls to Guster to see him safely out of the house. But
before he goes downstairs, Mr. Snagsby loads him with some broken
meats from the table, which he carries away, hugging in his arms.
So, Mr. Chadband--of whom the persecutors say that it is no wonder
he should go on for any length of time uttering such abominable
nonsense, but that the wonder rather is that he should ever leave
off, having once the audacity to begin--retires into private life
until he invests a little capital of supper in the oil-trade. Jo
moves on, through the long vacation, down to Blackfriars Bridge,
where he finds a baking stony corner wherein to settle to his
And there he sits, munching and gnawing, and looking up at the
great cross on the summit of St. Paul's Cathedral, glittering above
a red-and-violet-tinted cloud of smoke. From the boy's face one
might suppose that sacred emblem to be, in his eyes, the crowning
confusion of the great, confused city--so golden, so high up, so
far out of his reach. There he sits, the sun going down, the river
running fast, the crowd flowing by him in two streams--everything
moving on to some purpose and to one end--until he is stirred up
and told to "move on" too.