I’m getting down to the last 200 pages or so of “Martin Chuzzlewit,” and things are definitely coming to a head. Martin Junior has, fortunately for everyone, grown a brain during his failed attempt at conquering the New World, and has returned humbled, poorer, and a much better person. Worthy of having a book named after him, I should think.
I can’t root for him too long, however, since you seem much more intent on the fates of Pecksniff and Jonas Chuzzlewit, who are being brilliantly manipulated by Mr. Tigg (or Mr. Montague, as he now calls himself). I say brilliantly, but Jonas clearly has something along homicidal lines in mind for his associate. The interesting thing about characters who are all, in their own ways, complete bastards, is that you can watch the inevitable train wreck that is their karmic comeuppance with a glee unmitigated by sympathy. It’s coming, I can feel it, and I don’t want anyone to escape (except perhaps the wonderfully omnipresent Mr. Nadgett, spy extraordinaire – he deserves his own book).
Of course, I want Ruth and Mr. Westlock to get together, and for Tom to find happiness, and for Martin and Mary to receive Martin Senior’s blessing, but somehow watching good things come to good people isn’t half as entertaining as watching bad people get what they deserve. Schadenfreude is alive and well, in this little corner of suburbia anyway.
Now I get to sit back and watch things unfold, and hope that old Martin is playing a long con, and isn’t the senile old man he’d have Pecksniff believe. I also hope nothing untoward happens to Mrs. Gamp – her whole character is frickin’ genius, Charlie my friend.
And with that, I’d best get back to the story, although I remain,