Martin Chuzzlewit

monthly serial; novel by Charles Dickens; published 1843–1844

The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–1844) is a novel by Charles Dickens, the main theme of which is selfishness, portrayed in a satirical fashion using all the members of the Chuzzlewit family. The novel is also notable for one of Dickens' great villains, Seth Pecksniff, and the nurse Mrs. Gamp.

Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.

Quotes edit

Are pistols with revolving barrels, sword-sticks, bowie-knives, and such things, Institutions on which you pride yourselves? Are bloody duels, brutal combats, savage assaults, shooting down and stabbing in the streets, your Institutions! Why, I shall hear next that Dishonour and Fraud are among the Institutions of the great republic!
  • What is exaggeration to one class of minds and perceptions, is plain truth to another. That which is commonly called a long–sight, perceives in a prospect innumerable features and bearings non–existent to a short–sighted person. I sometimes ask myself whether there may occasionally be a difference of this kind between some writers and some readers; whether it is ALWAYS the writer who colours highly, or whether it is now and then the reader whose eye for colour is a little dull?
    • Preface
  • Oh, Sairey, Sairey, little do we know what lays before us!
    • Chapter 1
  • Firstly, that it may be safely asserted, and yet without implying any direct participation in the Monboddo doctrine touching the probability of the human race having once been monkeys, that men do play very strange and extraordinary tricks. Secondly, and yet without trenching on the Blumenbach theory as to the descendants of Adam having a vast number of qualities which belong more particularly to swine than to any other class of animals in the creation, that some men certainly are remarkable for taking uncommon good care of themselves.
    • Chapter 1
  • Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he's well dressed. There an't much credit in that. If I was very ragged and very jolly, then I should begin to feel I had gained a point, Mr Pinch.
    • Chapter 5
  • "There might be some credit in being jolly with a wife."
    • Chapter 5
  • With affection beaming in one eye, and calculation shining out of the other.
    • Referring to Mrs. Todgers
    • Chapter 8
  • "Do not repine, my friends," said Mr. Pecksniff, tenderly. "Do not weep for me. It is chronic." And with these words, after making a futile attempt to pull off his shoes, he fell into the fireplace.
    • Chapter 9
  • Let us be moral. Let us contemplate existence.
    • Chapter 9
  • "Regrets," said Martin, "are the natural property of grey hairs; and I enjoy, in common with all other men, at least my share of such inheritance."
    • Chapter 10
  • Keep up appearances whatever you do.
    • Chapter 11
  • ‘I shall drink,’ said Anthony, ‘to Pecksniff. Your father, my dears. A clever man, Pecksniff. A wary man! A hypocrite, though, eh? A hypocrite, girls, eh? Ha, ha, ha! Well, so he is. Now, among friends, he is. I don’t think the worse of him for that, unless it is that he overdoes it. You may overdo anything, my darlings. You may overdo even hypocrisy. Ask Jonas!’
    • Chapter 11
  • Here's the rule for bargains — 'Do other men, for they would do you.' That's the true business precept. All others are counterfeits.
    • Chapter 11
  • If its individual citizens, to a man, are to be believed, it always is depressed, and always is stagnated, and always is at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise; though as a body, they are ready to make oath upon the Evangelists, at any hour of the day or night, that it is the most thriving and prosperous of all countries on the habitable globe.
    • Chapter 16
  • I believe no satirist could breathe this air. If another Juvenal or Swift could rise up among us tomorrow, he would be hunted down. If you have any knowledge of our literature, and can give me the name of any man, American born and bred, who has anatomised our follies as a people, and not as this or that party; and who has escaped the foulest and most brutal slander, the most inveterate hatred and intolerant pursuit; it will be a strange name in my ears, believe me.
    • Chapter 16
  • Dollars! All their cares, hopes, joys, affections, virtues, and associations seemed to be melted down into dollars. Whatever the chance contributions that fell into the slow cauldron of their talk, they made the gruel thick and slab with dollars. Men were weighed by their dollars, measures were gauged by their dollars; life was auctioneered, appraised, put up, and knocked down for its dollars. The next respectable thing to dollars was any venture having their attainment for its end. The more of that worthless ballast, honour and fair-dealing, which any man cast overboard from the ship of his Good Nature and Good Intent, the more ample stowage-room he had for dollars. Make commerce one huge lie and mighty theft. Deface the banner of the nation for an idle rag; pollute it star by star; and cut out stripe by stripe as from the arm of a degraded soldier. Do anything for dollars! What is a flag to them!
    • Chapter 16
  • Buy an annuity cheap, and make your life interesting to yourself and everybody else that watches the speculation.
    • Chapter 18
  • Leave the bottle on the chimley-piece, and don't ask me to take none, but let me put my lips to it when I am so dispoged, and then I will do what I'm engaged to do, according to the best of my ability.
    • Chapter 19
  • Rich folks may ride on camels, but it an't so easy for 'em to see out of a needle's eye. That is my comfort, and I hope I knows it.
    • Chapter 25
  • "I'll tell you what, my dear," he observed, when Mrs Gamp had at last withdrawn and shut the door, "that's a ve-ry shrewd woman. That's a woman whose intellect is immensely superior to her station in life. That's a woman who observes and reflects in an uncommon manner. She's the sort of woman now," said Mould, drawing his silk handkerchief over his head again, and composing himself for a nap "one would almost feel disposed to bury for nothing; and do it neatly, too!"
    • Chapter 25
  • He'd make a lovely corpse.
    • Chapter 25
  • Hard it is upon the part of the law that it should be so confoundedly down upon us unfortunate victims; when it takes such amazing good interest for itself from all its clients. But charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.
    • Montague Tigg, in Chapter 27
  • Our fellow-countryman is a model of a man, quite fresh from Natur's mold!
    • Chapter 34
  • Are Mr Chollop and the class he represents, an Institution here? Are pistols with revolving barrels, sword-sticks, bowie-knives, and such things, Institutions on which you pride yourselves? Are bloody duels, brutal combats, savage assaults, shooting down and stabbing in the streets, your Institutions! Why, I shall hear next that Dishonour and Fraud are among the Institutions of the great republic!
    • Chapter 34
  • Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.
    • Chapter 35
  • "I could have bore it with a thankful art. But the words she spoke of Mrs Harris, lambs could not forgive. No, Betsey!" said Mrs Gamp, in a violent burst of feeling, "nor worms forget!"
    • Chapter 49

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