There is no occasion,' said the old man. 'A momentary feeling. Nothing more.'
'Indignation,' observed Mr Pecksniff, 'WILL bring the scalding tear into the honest eye, I know'--he wiped his own elaborately. 'But we have highest duties to perform than that. Rouse yourself, Mr Chuzzlewit. Shall I give expression to your thoughts, my friend?'
'Yes,' said old Martin, leaning back in his chair, and looking at him, half in vacancy and half in admiration, as if he were fascinated by the man. 'Speak for me, Pecksniff, Thank you. You are true to me. Thank you!'
'Do not unman me, sir,' said Mr Pecksniff, shaking his hand vigorously, 'or I shall be unequal to the task. It is not agreeable to my feelings, my good sir, to address the person who is now before us, for when I ejected him from this house, after hearing of his unnatural conduct from your lips, I renounced communication with him for ever. But you desire it; and that is sufficient. Young man! The door is immediately behind the companion of your infamy. Blush if you can; begone without a blush, if you can't.'
Martin looked as steadily at his grandfather as if there had been a dead silence all this time. The old man looked no less steadily at Mr Pecksniff.
'When I ordered you to leave this house upon the last occasion of your being dismissed from it with disgrace,' said Mr Pecksniff; 'when, stung and stimulated beyond endurance by your shameless conduct to this extraordinarily noble-minded individual, I exclaimed "Go forth!" I told you that I wept for your depravity. Do not suppose that the tear which stands in my eye at this moment, is shed for you. It is shed for him, sir. It is shed for him.'
Here Mr Pecksniff, accidentally dropping the tear in question on a bald part of Mr Chuzzlewit's head, wiped the place with his pocket- handkerchief, and begged pardon.
'It is shed for him, sir, whom you seek to make the victim of your arts,' said Mr Pecksniff; 'whom you seek to plunder, to deceive, and to mislead. It is shed in sympathy with him, and admiration of him; not in pity for him, for happily he knows what you are. You shall not wrong him further, sir, in any way,' said Mr Pecksniff, quite transported with enthusiasm, 'while I have life. You may bestride my senseless corse, sir. That is very likely. I can imagine a mind like yours deriving great satisfaction from any measure of that kind. But while I continue to be called upon to exist, sir, you must strike at him through me. Awe!' said Mr Pecksniff, shaking his head at Martin with indignant jocularity; 'and in such a cause you will find me, my young sir, an Ugly Customer!'
Still Martin looked steadily and mildly at his grandfather. 'Will you give me no answer,' he said, at length, 'not a word?'
'You hear what has been said,' replied the old man, without averting his eyes from the face of Mr Pecksniff; who nodded encouragingly.
'I have not heard your voice. I have not heard your spirit,' returned Martin.
'Tell him again,' said the old man, still gazing up in Mr Pecksniff's face.
'I only hear,' replied Martin, strong in his purpose from the first, and stronger in it as he felt how Pecksniff winced and shrunk beneath his contempt; 'I only hear what you say to me, grandfather.'
Perhaps it was well for Mr Pecksniff that his venerable friend found in his (Mr Pecksniff's) features an exclusive and engrossing object of contemplation, for if his eyes had gone astray, and he had compared young Martin's bearing with that of his zealous defender, the latter disinterested gentleman would scarcely have shown to greater advantage than on the memorable afternoon when he took Tom Pinch's last receipt in full of all demands. One really might have thought there was some quality in Mr Pecksniff--an emanation from the brightness and purity within him perhaps--which set off and adorned his foes; they looked so gallant and so manly beside him.
'Not a word?' said Martin, for the second time.
'I remember that I have a word to say, Pecksniff,' observed the old man.