Pip, in a natural spirit of emulation, then related some instances of his own depth; and Wolf not to be left behind-hand, recited the leading points of one or two vastly humorous articles he was then preparing. These lucubrations being of what he called 'a warm complexion,' were highly approved; and all the company agreed that they were full of point.
'Men of the world, my dear sir,' Jobling whispered to Jonas; 'thorough men of the world! To a professional person like myself it's quite refreshing to come into this kind of society. It's not only agreeable--and nothing CAN be more agreeable--but it's philosophically improving. It's character, my dear sir; character!'
It is so pleasant to find real merit appreciated, whatever its particular walk in life may be, that the general harmony of the company was doubtless much promoted by their knowing that the two men of the world were held in great esteem by the upper classes of society, and by the gallant defenders of their country in the army and navy, but particularly the former. The least of their stories had a colonel in it; lords were as plentiful as oaths; and even the Blood Royal ran in the muddy channel of their personal recollections.
'Mr Chuzzlewit didn't know him, I'm afraid,' said Wolf, in reference to a certain personage of illustrious descent, who had previously figured in a reminiscence.
'No,' said Tigg. 'But we must bring him into contact with this sort of fellows.'
'He was very fond of literature,' observed Wolf.
'Was he?' said Tigg.
'Oh, yes; he took my paper regularly for many years. Do you know he said some good things now and then? He asked a certain Viscount, who's a friend of mine--Pip knows him--"What's the editor's name, what's the editor's name?" "Wolf." "Wolf, eh? Sharp biter, Wolf. We must keep the Wolf from the door, as the proverb says. It was very well. And being complimentary, I printed it.'
'But the Viscount's the boy!' cried Pip, who invented a new oath for the introduction of everything he said. 'The Viscount's the boy! He came into our place one night to take Her home; rather slued, but not much; and said, "Where's Pip? I want to see Pip. Produce Pip!"--"What's the row, my lord?"--"Shakspeare's an infernal humbug, Pip! What's the good of Shakspeare, Pip? I never read him. What the devil is it all about, Pip? There's a lot of feet in Shakspeare's verse, but there an't any legs worth mentioning in Shakspeare's plays, are there, Pip? Juliet, Desdemona, Lady Macbeth, and all the rest of 'em, whatever their names are, might as well have no legs at all, for anything the audience know about it, Pip. Why, in that respect they're all Miss Biffins to the audience, Pip. I'll tell you what it is. What the people call dramatic poetry is a collection of sermons. Do I go to the theatre to be lectured? No, Pip. If I wanted that, I'd go to church. What's the legitimate object of the drama, Pip? Human nature. What are legs? Human nature. Then let us have plenty of leg pieces, Pip, and I'll stand by you, my buck!" and I am proud to say,' added Pip, 'that he DID stand by me, handsomely.'
The conversation now becoming general, Mr Jonas's opinion was requested on this subject; and as it was in full accordance with the sentiments of Mr Pip, that gentleman was extremely gratified. Indeed, both himself and Wolf had so much in common with Jonas, that they became very amicable; and between their increasing friendship and the fumes of wine, Jonas grew talkative.
It does not follow in the case of such a person that the more talkative he becomes, the more agreeable he is; on the contrary, his merits show to most advantage, perhaps, in silence. Having no means, as he thought, of putting himself on an equality with the rest, but by the assertion of that depth and sharpness on which he had been complimented, Jonas exhibited that faculty to the utmost; and was so deep and sharp that he lost himself in his own profundity, and cut his fingers with his own edge-tools.