You can't do it! Now go on, sir,' this was to old Martin. 'Bring the murderin' wagabond upon his knees! If he wants noise, he shall have enough of it; for as sure as he's a shiverin' from head to foot I'll raise a uproar at this winder that shall bring half London in. Go on, sir! Let him try me once, and see whether I'm a man of my word or not.'
With that, Mark folded his arms, and took his seat upon the window- ledge, with an air of general preparation for anything, which seemed to imply that he was equally ready to jump out himself, or to throw Jonas out, upon receiving the slightest hint that it would be agreeable to the company.
Old Martin turned to Lewsome:
'This is the man,' he said, extending his hand towards Jonas. 'Is it?'
'You need do no more than look at him to be sure of that, or of the truth of what I have said,' was the reply. 'He is my witness.'
'Oh, brother!' cried old Martin, clasping his hands and lifting up his eyes. 'Oh, brother, brother! Were we strangers half our lives that you might breed a wretch like this, and I make life a desert by withering every flower that grew about me! Is it the natural end of your precepts and mine, that this should be the creature of your rearing, training, teaching, hoarding, striving for; and I the means of bringing him to punishment, when nothing can repair the wasted past!'
He sat down upon a chair as he spoke, and turning away his face, was silent for a few moments. Then with recovered energy he proceeded:
'But the accursed harvest of our mistaken lives shall be trodden down. It is not too late for that. You are confronted with this man, you monster there; not to be spared, but to be dealt with justly. Hear what he says! Reply, be silent, contradict, repeat, defy, do what you please. My course will be the same. Go on! And you,' he said to Chuffey, 'for the love of your old friend, speak out, good fellow!'
'I have been silent for his love!' cried the old man. 'He urged me to it. He made me promise it upon his dying bed. I never would have spoken, but for your finding out so much. I have thought about it ever since; I couldn't help that; and sometimes I have had it all before me in a dream; but in the day-time, not in sleep. Is there such a kind of dream?' said Chuffey, looking anxiously in old Martin's face.
As Martin made him an encouraging reply, he listened attentively to his voice, and smiled.
'Ah, aye!' he cried. 'He often spoke to me like that. We were at school together, he and I. I couldn't turn against his son, you know--his only son, Mr Chuzzlewit!'
'I would to Heaven you had been his son!' said Martin.
'You speak so like my dear old master,' cried the old man with a childish delight, 'that I almost think I hear him. I can hear you quite as well as I used to hear him. It makes me young again. He never spoke unkindly to me, and I always understood him. I could always see him too, though my sight was dim. Well, well! He's dead, he's dead. He was very good to me, my dear old master!'
He shook his head mournfully over the brother's hand. At this moment Mark, who had been glancing out of the window, left the room.
'I couldn't turn against his only son, you know,' said Chuffey. 'He has nearly driven me to do it sometimes; he very nearly did tonight. Ah!' cried the old man, with a sudden recollection of the cause. 'Where is she? She's not come home!'
'Do you mean his wife?' said Mr Chuzzlewit.
'I have removed her. She is in my care, and will be spared the present knowledge of what is passing here. She has known misery enough, without that addition.'
Jonas heard this with a sinking heart. He knew that they were on his heels, and felt that they were resolute to run him to destruction. Inch by inch the ground beneath him was sliding from his feet; faster and faster the encircling ruin contracted and contracted towards himself, its wicked centre, until it should close in and crush him.
And now he heard the voice of his accomplice stating to his face, with every circumstance of time and place and incident; and openly proclaiming, with no reserve, suppression, passion, or concealment; all the truth.