It was especially in his way and character to exhibit his quality at his entertainer's expense; and while he drank of his sparkling wines, and partook of his monstrous profusion, to ridicule the extravagance which had set such costly fare before him. Even at such a wanton board, and in such more than doubtful company, this might have proved a disagreeable experiment, but that Tigg and Crimple, studying to understand their man thoroughly, gave him what license he chose: knowing that the more he took, the better for their purpose. And thus while the blundering cheat--gull that he was, for all his cunning--thought himself rolled up hedgehog fashion, with his sharpest points towards them, he was, in fact, betraying all his vulnerable parts to their unwinking watchfulness.
Whether the two gentlemen who contributed so much to the doctor's philosophical knowledge (by the way, the doctor slipped off quietly, after swallowing his usual amount of wine) had had their cue distinctly from the host, or took it from what they saw and heard, they acted their parts very well. They solicited the honour of Jonas's better acquaintance; trusted that they would have the pleasure of introducing him into that elevated society in which he was so well qualified to shine; and informed him, in the most friendly manner that the advantages of their respective establishments were entirely at his control. In a word, they said 'Be one of us!' And Jonas said he was infinitely obliged to them, and he would be; adding within himself, that so long as they 'stood treat,' there was nothing he would like better.
After coffee, which was served in the drawing-room, there was a short interval (mainly sustained by Pip and Wolf) of conversation; rather highly spiced and strongly seasoned. When it flagged, Jonas took it up and showed considerable humour in appraising the furniture; inquiring whether such an article was paid for; what it had originally cost, and the like. In all of this, he was, as he considered, desperately hard on Montague, and very demonstrative of his own brilliant parts.
Some Champagne Punch gave a new though temporary fillip to the entertainments of the evening. For after leading to some noisy proceedings, which were not intelligible, it ended in the unsteady departure of the two gentlemen of the world, and the slumber of Mr Jonas upon one of the sofas.
As he could not be made to understand where he was, Mr Bailey received orders to call a hackney-coach, and take him home; which that young gentleman roused himself from an uneasy sleep in the hall to do. It being now almost three o'clock in the morning.
'Is he hooked, do you think?' whispered Crimple, as himself and partner stood in a distant part of the room observing him as he lay.
'Aye!' said Tigg, in the same tone. 'With a strong iron, perhaps. Has Nadgett been here to-night?'
'Yes. I went out to him. Hearing you had company, he went away.'
'Why did he do that?'
'He said he would come back early in the morning, before you were out of bed.'
'Tell them to be sure and send him up to my bedside. Hush! Here's the boy! Now Mr Bailey, take this gentleman home, and see him safely in. Hallo, here! Why Chuzzlewit, halloa!'
They got him upright with some difficulty, and assisted him downstairs, where they put his hat upon his head, and tumbled him into the coach. Mr Bailey, having shut him in, mounted the box beside the coachman, and smoked his cigar with an air of particular satisfaction; the undertaking in which he was engaged having a free and sporting character about it, which was quite congenial to his taste.
Arriving in due time at the house in the City, Mr Bailey jumped down, and expressed the lively nature of his feelings in a knock the like of which had probably not been heard in that quarter since the great fire of London. Going out into the road to observe the effect of this feat, he saw that a dim light, previously visible at an upper window, had been already removed and was travelling downstairs.