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A long pause succeeded the old man with increased

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A long pause succeeded. The old man, with increased restlessness,changed his posture several times. Mrs Lupin and the young lady gazedin silence at the counterpane. Mr Pecksniff toyed abstractedly with hiseye-glass, and kept his eyes shut, that he might ruminate the better.‘Eh?’ he said at last, opening them suddenly, and looking towards thebed. ‘I beg your pardon. I thought you spoke. Mrs Lupin,’ he continued,slowly rising ‘I am not aware that I can be of any service to you here.The gentleman is better, and you are as good a nurse as he can have.Eh?’This last note of interrogation bore reference to another changeof posture on the old man’s part, which brought his face towards MrPecksniff for the first time since he had turned away from him.‘If you desire to speak to me before I go, sir,’ continued thatgentleman, after another pause, ‘you may command my leisure; but Imust stipulate, in justice to myself, that you do so as to a stranger,strictly as to a stranger.’Now if Mr Pecksniff knew, from anything Martin Chuzzlewit had expressedin gestures, that he wanted to speak to him, he could only have found itout on some such principle as prevails in melodramas, and in virtue ofwhich the elderly farmer with the comic son always knows what the dumbgirl means when she takes refuge in his garden, and relates her personal
memoirs in incomprehensible pantomime. But without stopping to make anyinquiry on this point, Martin Chuzzlewit signed to his young companionto withdraw, which she immediately did, along with the landlady leavinghim and Mr Pecksniff alone together. For some time they looked at eachother in silence; or rather the old man looked at Mr Pecksniff, and MrPecksniff again closing his eyes on all outward objects, took an inwardsurvey of his own breast. That it amply repaid him for his trouble,and afforded a delicious and enchanting prospect, was clear from theexpression of his face.‘You wish me to speak to you as to a total stranger,’ said the old man,‘do you?’Mr Pecksniff replied, by a shrug of his shoulders and an apparentturning round of his eyes in their sockets before he opened them, thathe was still reduced to the necessity of entertaining that desire.‘You shall be gratified,’ said Martin. ‘Sir, I am a rich man. Not sorich as some suppose, perhaps, but yet wealthy. I am not a miser sir,though even that charge is made against me, as I hear, and currentlybelieved. I have no pleasure in hoarding. I have no pleasure in thepossession of money, The devil that we call by that name can give menothing but unhappiness.’It would be no description of Mr Pecksniff’s gentleness of manner toadopt the common parlance, and say that he looked at this moment as ifbutter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He rather looked as if any quantityof butter might have been made out of him, by churning the milk of humankindness, as it spouted upwards from his heart.

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