I did it all. He has only put four windows in, the villain, and spoilt it!'
Mark could hardly believe it at first, but being assured that it was really so, actually held him to prevent his interference foolishly, until his temporary heat was past. In the meantime, the member addressed the company on the gratifying deed which he had just performed.
He said that since he had sat in Parliament to represent the Gentlemanly Interest of that town; and he might add, the Lady Interest, he hoped, besides (pocket handkerchiefs); it had been his pleasant duty to come among them, and to raise his voice on their behalf in Another Place (pocket handkerchiefs and laughter), often. But he had never come among them, and had never raised his voice, with half such pure, such deep, such unalloyed delight, as now. 'The present occasion,' he said, 'will ever be memorable to me; not only for the reasons I have assigned, but because it has afforded me an opportunity of becoming personally known to a gentleman--'
Here he pointed the trowel at Mr Pecksniff, who was greeted with vociferous cheering, and laid his hand upon his heart.
'To a gentleman who, I am happy to believe, will reap both distinction and profit from this field; whose fame had previously penetrated to me--as to whose ears has it not!--but whose intellectual countenance I never had the distinguished honour to behold until this day, and whose intellectual conversation I had never before the improving pleasure to enjoy.'
Everybody seemed very glad of this, and applauded more than ever.
'But I hope my Honourable Friend,' said the Gentlemanly member--of course he added "if he will allow me to call him so," and of course Mr Pecksniff bowed--'will give me many opportunities of cultivating the knowledge of him; and that I may have the extraordinary gratification of reflecting in after-time that I laid on this day two first stones, both belonging to structures which shall last my life!'
Great cheering again. All this time, Martin was cursing Mr Pecksniff up hill and down dale.
'My friends!' said Mr Pecksniff, in reply. 'My duty is to build, not speak; to act, not talk; to deal with marble, stone, and brick; not language. I am very much affected. God bless you!'
This address, pumped out apparently from Mr Pecksniff's very heart, brought the enthusiasm to its highest pitch. The pocket handkerchiefs were waved again; the charity children were admonished to grow up Pecksniffs, every boy among them; the Corporation, gentlemen with wands, member for the Gentlemanly Interest, all cheered for Mr Pecksniff. Three cheers for Mr Pecksniff! Three more for Mr Pecksniff! Three more for Mr Pecksniff, gentlemen, if you please! One more, gentlemen, for Mr Pecksniff, and let it be a good one to finish with!
In short, Mr Pecksniff was supposed to have done a great work and was very kindly, courteously, and generously rewarded. When the procession moved away, and Martin and Mark were left almost alone upon the ground, his merits and a desire to acknowledge them formed the common topic. He was only second to the Gentlemanly member.
'Compare the fellow's situation to-day with ours!' said Martin bitterly.
'Lord bless you, sir!' cried Mark, 'what's the use? Some architects are clever at making foundations, and some architects are clever at building on 'em when they're made. But it'll all come right in the end, sir; it'll all come right!'
'And in the meantime--' began Martin.
'In the meantime, as you say, sir, we have a deal to do, and far to go. So sharp's the word, and Jolly!'
'You are the best master in the world, Mark,' said Martin, 'and I will not be a bad scholar if I can help it, I am resolved! So come! Best foot foremost, old fellow!'
TOM PINCH DEPARTS TO SEEK HIS FORTUNE. WHAT HE FINDS AT STARTING
Oh! What a different town Salisbury was in Tom Pinch's eyes to be sure, when the substantial Pecksniff of his heart melted away into an idle dream! He possessed th