Both gentlemen were exceedingly happy to have the honour of making Mr. Chuzzlewit's acquaintance. The doctor drew Jonas a little apart, and whispered behind his hand:
`Men of the world, my dear sir--men of the world. Hem! Mr. Wolf--literary character--you needn't mention it--remarkably clever weekly paper--oh, remarkably clever! Mr. Pip--theatrical man--capital man to know-- oh, capital man!'
`Well!' said Wolf, folding his arms and resuming a conversation which the arrival of Jonas had interrupted. `And what did Lord Nobley say to that?'
`Why,' returned Pip, with an oath. `He didn't know what to say. Same, sir, if he wasn't as mute as a poker. But you know what a good fellow Nobley is!'
`The best fellow in the world!' cried Wolf. `It as only last week that Nobley said to me, "By Gad, Wolf, I've got a living to bestow, and if you had but been brought up at the University, strike me blind if I wouldn't have made a parson of you!"'
`Just like him,' said Pip with another oath. `And he'd have done it!'
`Not a doubt of it,' said Wolf. `But you were going to tell us?--'
`Oh, yes!' cried Pip. `To be sure. So I was. At first he was dumb--sewn up, dead, sir--but after a minute he said to the Duke, "Here's Pip. Ask Pip. Pip's our mutual friend. Ask Pip. He knows." "Damme!" said the Duke, "I appeal to Pip then. Come, Pip. Bandy or not bandy? Speak out!" "Bandy, your Grace, by the Lord Harry!" said I. "Ha, ha!" laughed the Duke. "To be sure she is. Bravo, Pip. Well said Pip. I wish I may die if you're not a trump, Pip. Pop me down among your fashionable visitors whenever I'm in town, Pip." And so I do, to this day.'
The conclusion of this story gave immense satisfaction, which was in no degree lessened by the announcement of dinner. Jonas repaired to the dining room, along with his distinguished host, and took his seat at the board between that individual and his friend the doctor. The rest fell into their places like men who were well accustomed to the house; and dinner was done full justice to, by all parties.
It was a good a one as money (or credit, no matter which) could produced. The dishes, wines, and fruits were of the choicest kind. Everything was elegantly served. The plate was gorgeous. Mr. Jonas was in the midst of a calculation of the value of this item alone, when his host disturbed him.
`A glass of wine?'
`Oh!' said Jonas, who had had several glasses already. `As much of that as you like! It's too good to refuse.'
`Well said, Mr. Chuzzlewit!' cried Wolf.
`Tom Gag, upon my soul!' said Pip.
`Positively, you know, that's--ha, ha, ha!' observed the doctor, laying don his kind and fork for one instant, and then going to work again, pell-mell--`that's epigrammatic; quite!'
`You're tolerably comfortable, I hope?' said Tigg, apart to Jonas.
`Oh! You needn't trouble your head about me,' he replied, `Famous!'
`I thought it best not to have a party,' said Tigg. `You feel that?'
`Why, what do you call this?' retorted Jonas. `You don't mean to say you do this every day, do you?'
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