Whatever epithets she had bestowed on the old clerk, they had not roused him. He sat beside the bed, in the chair he had occupied all the previous night, with his hands folded before him, and his head bowed down; and neither looked up, on their entrance, nor gave any sign of consciousness, until Mr. Pecksniff took him by the arm, when he meekly rose.
"Three score and ten," said Chuffey, "ought and carry seven. Some men are so strong that they live to four score—four times ought's an ought, four times two's an eight—eighty. Oh! why—why—why didn't he live to four times ought's an ought, and four times two's an eight, eighty?"
"Ah! what a wale of grief!" cried Mrs. Gamp, possessing herself of the bottle and glass.
"Why did he die before his poor old crazy servant?" said Chuffey, clasping his hands and looking up in anguish. "Take him from me, and what remains?"
"Mr. Jonas," returned Pecksniff, "Mr. Jonas, my good friend."
"I loved him," cried the old man, weeping. "He was good to me. We learnt Tare and Tret together at school. I took him down once, six boys in the arithmetic class. God forgive me! Had I the heart to take him down!"
"Come, Mr. Chuffey,' said Pecksniff. "Come with me. Summon up your fortitude, Mr. Chuffey."
"Yes, I will," returned the old clerk. "Yes. I'll sum up my forty—How many times forty—Oh, Chuzzlewit and Son—Your own son Mr. Chuzzlewit; your own son, Sir!"
He yielded to the hand that guided him, as he lapsed into this familiar expression, and submitted to be led away. Mrs. Gamp, with the bottle on one knee, and the glass on the other, sat upon a stool, shaking her head for a long time, until, in a moment of abstraction, she poured out a dram of spirits, and raised it to her lips. It was succeeded by a second, and by a third, and then her eyes—either in the sadness of her reflections upon life and death, or in her admiration of the liquor—were so turned up, as to be quite invisible. But she shook her head still.
Poor Chuffey was conducted to his accustomed corner, and there he remained, silent and quiet, save at long intervals, when he would rise, and walk about the room, and wring his hands, or raise some strange and sudden cry. For a whole week they all three sat about the hearth and never stirred abroad. Mr. Pecksniff would have walked out in the evening time, but Mr. Jonas was so averse to his being absent for a minute, that he abandoned the idea, and so, from morning until night, they brooded together in the dark room, without relief or occupation.
The weight of that which was stretched out, stiff and stark, in the awful chamber above-stairs, so crushed and bore down Jonas, that he bent beneath the load. During the whole long seven days and nights, he was always oppressed and haunted by a dreadful sense of its presence in the house. Did the door move, he looked towards it with a livid face and starting eye, as if he fully believed that ghostly fingers clutched the handle. Did the fire flicker in a draught of