Charles Dickens

"Young man," said Pumblechook, screwing his head at me in the old

fashion, "you air a-going to Joseph. What does it matter to me, you

ask me, where you air a-going? I say to you, Sir, you air a-going

to Joseph."

The waiter coughed, as if he modestly invited me to get over that.

"Now," said Pumblechook, and all this with a most exasperating air

of saying in the cause of virtue what was perfectly convincing and

conclusive, "I will tell you what to say to Joseph. Here is Squires

of the Boar present, known and respected in this town, and here is

William, which his father's name was Potkins if I do not deceive


"You do not, sir," said William.

"In their presence," pursued Pumblechook, "I will tell you, young

man, what to say to Joseph. Says you, "Joseph, I have this day seen

my earliest benefactor and the founder of my fortun's. I will name

no names, Joseph, but so they are pleased to call him up-town, and

I have seen that man."

"I swear I don't see him here," said I.

"Say that likewise," retorted Pumblechook. "Say you said that, and

even Joseph will probably betray surprise."

"There you quite mistake him," said I. "I know better."

"Says you," Pumblechook went on, "'Joseph, I have seen that man, and

that man bears you no malice and bears me no malice. He knows your

character, Joseph, and is well acquainted with your pig-headedness

and ignorance; and he knows my character, Joseph, and he knows my

want of gratitoode. Yes, Joseph,' says you," here Pumblechook shook

his head and hand at me, "'he knows my total deficiency of common

human gratitoode. He knows it, Joseph, as none can. You do not know

it, Joseph, having no call to know it, but that man do.'"

Windy donkey as he was, it really amazed me that he could have the

face to talk thus to mine.

"Says you, 'Joseph, he gave me a little message, which I will now

repeat. It was, that in my being brought low, he saw the finger of

Providence. He knowed that finger when he saw it, Joseph, and he

saw it plain. It pinted out this writing, Joseph. Reward of

ingratitoode to his earliest benefactor, and founder of fortun's.

But that man said he did not repent of what he had done, Joseph.

Not at all. It was right to do it, it was kind to do it, it was

benevolent to do it, and he would do it again.'"

"It's pity," said I, scornfully, as I finished my interrupted

breakfast, "that the man did not say what he had done and would do


"Squires of the Boar!" Pumblechook was now addressing the landlord,

"and William! I have no objections to your mentioning, either

up-town or down-town, if such should be your wishes, that it was

right to do it, kind to do it, benevolent to do it, and that I

would do it again."

With those words the Impostor shook them both by the hand, with an

air, and left the house; leaving me much more astonished than

delighted by the virtues of that same indefinite "it." "I was not

long after him in leaving the house too, and when I went down the

High-street I saw him holding forth (no doubt to the same effect)

at his shop door to a select group, who honoured me with very

unfavourable glances as I passed on the opposite side of the way.

But, it was only the pleasanter to turn to Biddy and to Joe, whose

great forbearance shone more brightly than before, if that could

be, contrasted with this brazen pretender. I went towards them

slowly, for my limbs were weak, but with a sense of increasing

relief as I drew nearer to them, and a sense of leaving arrogance

and untruthfulness further and further behind.

The June weather was delicious. The sky was blue, the larks were

soaring high over the green corn, I thought all that country-side

more beautiful and peaceful by far than I had ever known it to be

yet. Many pleasant pictures of the life that I would lead there,

and of the change for the better that would come over my character

when I had a guiding spirit at my side whose simple faith and clear

home-wisdom I had proved, beguiled my way.