'He didn't know what to say. Same, sir, if he wasn't as mute as a poker. But you know what a good fellow Nobley is!'
'The best fellow in the world!' cried Wolf. 'It as only last week that Nobley said to me, "By Gad, Wolf, I've got a living to bestow, and if you had but been brought up at the University, strike me blind if I wouldn't have made a parson of you!"'
'Just like him,' said Pip with another oath. 'And he'd have done it!'
'Not a doubt of it,' said Wolf. 'But you were going to tell us--'
'Oh, yes!' cried Pip. 'To be sure. So I was. At first he was dumb--sewn up, dead, sir--but after a minute he said to the Duke, "Here's Pip. Ask Pip. Pip's our mutual friend. Ask Pip. He knows." "Damme!" said the Duke, "I appeal to Pip then. Come, Pip. Bandy or not bandy? Speak out!" "Bandy, your Grace, by the Lord Harry!" said I. "Ha, ha!" laughed the Duke. "To be sure she is. Bravo, Pip. Well said Pip. I wish I may die if you're not a trump, Pip. Pop me down among your fashionable visitors whenever I'm in town, Pip." And so I do, to this day.'
The conclusion of this story gave immense satisfaction, which was in no degree lessened by the announcement of dinner. Jonas repaired to the dining room, along with his distinguished host, and took his seat at the board between that individual and his friend the doctor. The rest fell into their places like men who were well accustomed to the house; and dinner was done full justice to, by all parties.
It was a good a one as money (or credit, no matter which) could produce. The dishes, wines, and fruits were of the choicest kind. Everything was elegantly served. The plate was gorgeous. Mr Jonas was in the midst of a calculation of the value of this item alone, when his host disturbed him.
'A glass of wine?'
'Oh!' said Jonas, who had had several glasses already. 'As much of that as you like! It's too good to refuse.'
'Well said, Mr Chuzzlewit!' cried Wolf.
'Tom Gag, upon my soul!' said Pip.
'Positively, you know, that's--ha, ha, ha!' observed the doctor, laying down his knife and fork for one instant, and then going to work again, pell-mell--'that's epigrammatic; quite!'
'You're tolerably comfortable, I hope?' said Tigg, apart to Jonas.
'Oh! You needn't trouble your head about ME,' he replied, 'Famous!'
'I thought it best not to have a party,' said Tigg. 'You feel that?'
'Why, what do you call this?' retorted Jonas. 'You don't mean to say you do this every day, do you?'
'My dear fellow,' said Montague, shrugging his shoulders, 'every day of my life, when I dine at home. This is my common style. It was of no use having anything uncommon for you. You'd have seen through it. "You'll have a party?" said Crimple. "No, I won't," I said. "he shall take us in the rough!"
'And pretty smooth, too, ecod!' said Jonas, glancing round the table. 'This don't cost a trifle.'
'Why, to be candid with you, it does not,' returned the other. 'But I like this sort of thing. It's the way I spend my money.'
Jonas thrust his tongue into his cheek, and said, 'Was it?'
'When you join us, you won't get rid of your share of the profits in the same way?' said Tigg.
'Quite different,' retorted Jonas.
'Well, and you're right,' said Tigg, with friendly candour. 'You needn't. It's not necessary. One of a Company must do it to hold the connection together; but, as I take a pleasure in it, that's my department. You don't mind dining expensively at another man's expense, I hope?'
'Not a bit,' said Jonas.
'Then I hope you'll often dine with me?'
'Ah!' said Jonas, 'I don't mind. On the contrary.'
'And I'll never attempt to talk business to you over wine, I take my oath,' said Tigg. 'Oh deep, deep, deep of you this morning! I must tell 'em that. They're the very men to enjoy it. Pip, my good fellow, I've a splendid little trait to tell you of my friend Chuzzlewit who is the deepest dog I know; I give you my sacred word of honour he is the deepest dog I know, Pip!'
Pip swore a frightful oath that he was sure of it already; and the anecdote, being told, was received with loud applause, as an incontestable proof of Mr Jonas's greatness.