To be perfectly profuse in feathers. In short, sir, to turn out something absolutely gorgeous.'
'My friend Mr Jonas is an excellent man,' said Mr Pecksniff.
'I have seen a good deal of what is filial in my time, sir,' retorted Mould, 'and what is unfilial too. It is our lot. We come into the knowledge of those secrets. But anything so filial as this; anything so honourable to human nature; so calculated to reconcile all of us to the world we live in; never yet came under my observation. It only proves, sir, what was so forcibly observed by the lamented theatrical poet--buried at Stratford--that there is good in everything.'
'It is very pleasant to hear you say so, Mr Mould,' observed Pecksniff.
'You are very kind, sir. And what a man Mr Chuzzlewit was, sir! Ah! what a man he was. You may talk of your lord mayors,' said Mould, waving his hand at the public in general, 'your sheriffs, your common councilmen, your trumpery; but show me a man in this city who is worthy to walk in the shoes of the departed Mr Chuzzlewit. No, no,' cried Mould, with bitter sarcasm. 'Hang 'em up, hang 'em up; sole 'em and heel 'em, and have 'em ready for his son against he's old enough to wear 'em; but don't try 'em on yourselves, for they won't fit you. We knew him,' said Mould, in the same biting vein, as he pocketed his note-book; 'we knew him, and are not to be caught with chaff. Mr Pecksniff, sir, good morning.'
Mr Pecksniff returned the compliment; and Mould, sensible of having distinguished himself, was going away with a brisk smile, when he fortunately remembered the occasion. Quickly becoming depressed again, he sighed; looked into the crown of his hat, as if for comfort; put it on without finding any; and slowly departed.
Mrs Gamp and Mr Pecksniff then ascended the staircase; and the former, having been shown to the chamber in which all that remained of Anthony Chuzzlewit lay covered up, with but one loving heart, and that a halting one, to mourn it, left the latter free to enter the darkened room below, and rejoin Mr Jonas, from whom he had now been absent nearly two hours.
He found that example to bereaved sons, and pattern in the eyes of all performers of funerals, musing over a fragment of writing-paper on the desk, and scratching figures on it with a pen. The old man's chair, and hat, and walking-stick, were removed from their accustomed places, and put out of sight; the window-blinds as yellow as November fogs, were drawn down close; Jonas himself was so subdued, that he could scarcely be heard to speak, and only seen to walk across the room.
'Pecksniff,' he said, in a whisper, 'you shall have the regulation of it all, mind! You shall be able to tell anybody who talks about it that everything was correctly and nicely done. There isn't any one you'd like to ask to the funeral, is there?'
'No, Mr Jonas, I think not.'
'Because if there is, you know,' said Jonas, 'ask him. We don't want to make a secret of it.'
'No,' repeated Mr Pecksniff, after a little reflection. 'I am not the less obliged to you on that account, Mr Jonas, for your liberal hospitality; but there really is no one.'
'Very well,' said Jonas; 'then you, and I, and Chuffey, and the doctor, will be just a coachful. We'll have the doctor, Pecksniff, because he knows what was the matter with him, and that it couldn't be helped.'
'Where is our dear friend, Mr Chuffey?' asked Pecksniff, looking round the chamber, and winking both his eyes at once--for he was overcome by his feelings.
But here he was interrupted by Mrs Gamp, who, divested of her bonnet and shawl, came sidling and bridling into the room; and with some sharpness demanded a conference outside the door with Mr Pecksniff.
'You may say whatever you wish to say here, Mrs Gamp,' said that gentleman, shaking his head with a melancholy expression.
'It is not much as I have to say when people is a-mourning for the dead and gone,' said Mrs Gamp; 'but what I have to say is TO the pint and purpose, and no offence intended, must be so considered.