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44. Chapter Forty-four
FURTHER CONTINUATION OF THE ENTERPRISE OF MR JONAS AND HIS FRIEND
It was a special quality, among the many admirable qualities possessed by Mr Pecksniff, that the more he was found out, the more hypocrisy he practised. Let him be discomfited in one quarter, and he refreshed and recompensed himself by carrying the war into another. If his workings and windings were detected by A, so much the greater reason was there for practicing without loss of time on B, if it were only to keep his hand in. He had never been such a saintly and improving spectacle to all about him, as after his detection by Thomas Pinch. He had scarcely ever been at once so tender in his humanity, and so dignified and exalted in his virtue, as when young Martin's scorn was fresh and hot upon him.
Having this large stock of superfluous sentiment and morality on hand which must positively be cleared off at any sacrifice, Mr Pecksniff no sooner heard his son-in-law announced, than he regarded him as a kind of wholesale or general order, to be immediately executed. Descending, therefore, swiftly to the parlour, and clasping the young man in his arms, he exclaimed, with looks and gestures that denoted the perturbation of his spirit:
'Jonas. My child--she is well! There is nothing the matter?'
'What, you're at it again, are you?' replied his son-in-law. 'Even with me? Get away with you, will you?'
'Tell me she is well then,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Tell me she is well my boy!'
'She's well enough,' retorted Jonas, disengaging himself. 'There's nothing the matter with HER.'
'There is nothing the matter with her!' cried Mr Pecksniff, sitting down in the nearest chair, and rubbing up his hair. 'Fie upon my weakness! I cannot help it, Jonas. Thank you. I am better now. How is my other child; my eldest; my Cherrywerrychigo?' said Mr Pecksniff, inventing a playful little name for her, in the restored lightness of his heart.
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