Thirdly, it involved much outward show of homage and distinction: a board being an awful institution in its own sphere, and a director a mighty man. 'To make a swingeing profit, have a lot of chaps to order about, and get into regular good society by one and the same means, and them so easy to one's hand, ain't such a bad look-out,' thought Jonas. The latter considerations were only second to his avarice; for, conscious that there was nothing in his person, conduct, character, or accomplishments, to command respect, he was greedy of power, and was, in his heart, as much a tyrant as any laureled conqueror on record.
But he determined to proceed with cunning and caution, and to be very keen on his observation of the gentility of Mr Montague's private establishment. For it no more occurred to this shallow knave that Montague wanted him to be so, or he wouldn't have invited him while his decision was yet in abeyance, than the possibility of that genius being able to overreach him in any way, pierced through his self-deceit by the inlet of a needle's point. He had said, in the outset, that Jonas was too sharp for him; and Jonas, who would have been sharp enough to believe him in nothing else, though he had solemnly sworn it, believed him in that, instantly.
It was with a faltering hand, and yet with an imbecile attempt at a swagger, that he knocked at his new friend's door in Pall Mall when the appointed hour arrived. Mr Bailey quickly answered to the summons. He was not proud and was kindly disposed to take notice of Jonas; but Jonas had forgotten him.
'Mr Montague at home?'
'I should hope he wos at home, and waiting dinner, too,' said Bailey, with the ease of an old acquaintance. 'Will you take your hat up along with you, or leave it here?'
Mr Jonas preferred leaving it there.
'The hold name, I suppose?' said Bailey, with a grin.
Mr Jonas stared at him in mute indignation.
'What, don't you remember hold mother Todgers's?' said Mr Bailey, with his favourite action of the knees and boots. 'Don't you remember my taking your name up to the young ladies, when you came a-courting there? A reg'lar scaly old shop, warn't it? Times is changed ain't they. I say how you've growed!'
Without pausing for any acknowledgement of this compliment, he ushered the visitor upstairs, and having announced him, retired with a private wink.
The lower story of the house was occupied by a wealthy tradesman, but Mr Montague had all the upper portion, and splendid lodging it was. The room in which he received Jonas was a spacious and elegant apartment, furnished with extreme magnificence; decorated with pictures, copies from the antique in alabaster and marble, china vases, lofty mirrors, crimson hangings of the richest silk, gilded carvings, luxurious couches, glistening cabinets inlaid with precious woods; costly toys of every sort in negligent abundance. The only guests besides Jonas were the doctor, the resident Director, and two other gentlemen, whom Montague presented in due form.
'My dear friend, I am delighted to see you. Jobling you know, I believe?'
'I think so,' said the doctor pleasantly, as he stepped out of the circle to shake hands. 'I trust I have the honour. I hope so. My dear sir, I see you well. Quite well? THAT'S well!'
'Mr Wolf,' said Montague, as soon as the doctor would allow him to introduce the two others, 'Mr Chuzzlewit. Mr Pip, Mr Chuzzlewit.'
Both gentlemen were exceedingly happy to have the honour of making Mr Chuzzlewit's acquaintance. The doctor drew Jonas a little apart, and whispered behind his hand:
'Men of the world, my dear sir--men of the world. Hem! Mr Wolf --literary character--you needn't mention it--remarkably clever weekly paper--oh, remarkably clever! Mr Pip--theatrical man-- capital man to know--oh, capital man!'
'Well!' said Wolf, folding his arms and resuming a conversation which the arrival of Jonas had interrupted. 'And what did Lord Nobley say to that?'
'Why,' returned Pip, with an oath.