Charles Dickens: Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit

4. Chapter Four (continued)

With such departing words, did this strong-minded female paralyse the Pecksniffian energies; and so she swept out of the room, and out of the house, attended by her daughters, who, as with one accord, elevated their three noses in the air, and joined in a contemptuous titter. As they passed the parlour window on the outside, they were seen to counterfeit a perfect transport of delight among themselves; and with this final blow and great discouragement for those within, they vanished.

Before Mr Pecksniff or any of his remaining visitors could offer a remark, another figure passed this window, coming, at a great rate in the opposite direction; and immediately afterwards, Mr Spottletoe burst into the chamber. Compared with his present state of heat, he had gone out a man of snow or ice. His head distilled such oil upon his whiskers, that they were rich and clogged with unctuous drops; his face was violently inflamed, his limbs trembled; and he gasped and strove for breath.

'My good sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff.

'Oh yes!' returned the other; 'oh yes, certainly! Oh to be sure! Oh, of course! You hear him? You hear him? all of you!'

'What's the matter?' cried several voices.

'Oh nothing!' cried Spottletoe, still gasping. 'Nothing at all! It's of no consequence! Ask him! HE'll tell you!'

'I do not understand our friend,' said Mr Pecksniff, looking about him in utter amazement. 'I assure you that he is quite unintelligible to me.'

'Unintelligible, sir!' cried the other. 'Unintelligible! Do you mean to say, sir, that you don't know what has happened! That you haven't decoyed us here, and laid a plot and a plan against us! Will you venture to say that you didn't know Mr Chuzzlewit was going, sir, and that you don't know he's gone, sir?'

'Gone!' was the general cry.

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