Martin Chuzzlewit (Chapter XXXIX), page 305. [In this chapter, "Containing Some Further Particulars of the Domestic Economy of the Pinches; with Strange News from The City, Narrowly Concerning Tom," attorney Fips of Austin Friars (acting on behalf of an anonymous benefactor — in fact, Martin Chuzzlewit, Senior) delivers the offer a "dream job" to Tom: a generous weekly salary with modest hours for reorganizing a private library, presently in utter chaos.] 10.6 x 13.8 cm. Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.](1872). Forty-fourth illustration by Fred Barnard for Dickens's
"And you think it worth your while, sir, do you?" Mr. Fips inquired of Tom.
"I think it a piece of great good fortune, sir," said Tom. "I am exceedingly obliged to you for the offer."
"Not to me," said Mr. Fips. "I act upon instructions."
"To your friend, sir, then," said Tom. "To the gentleman with whom I am to engage, and whose confidence I shall endeavour to deserve. When he knows me better, sir, I hope he will not lose his good opinion of me. He will find me punctual and vigilant, and anxious to do what is right. That I think I can answer for, and so,’ looking towards him, "can Mr Westlock."
"Most assuredly," said John.
Mr. Fips appeared to have some little difficulty in resuming the conversation. To relieve himself, he took up the wafer–stamp, and began stamping capital F's all over his legs.
"The fact is," said Mr. Fips, "that my friend is not, at this present moment, in town."
Tom's countenance fell; for he thought this equivalent to telling him that his appearance did not answer; and that Fips must look out for somebody else.
"When do you think he will be in town, sir?" he asked.
"I can't say; it's impossible to tell. I really have no idea. But," said Fips, taking off a very deep impression of the wafer–stamp upon the calf of his left leg, and looking steadily at Tom, "I don’t know that it's a matter of much consequence."
Poor Tom inclined his head deferentially, but appeared to doubt that.
"I say," repeated Mr. Fips, "that I don’t know it's a matter of much consequence. The business lies entirely between yourself and me, Mr Pinch. With reference to your duties, I can set you going; and with reference to your salary, I can pay it. Weekly," said Mr. Fips, putting down the wafer–stamp, and looking at John Westlock and Tom Pinch by turns, "weekly; in this office; at any time between the hours of four and five o'clock in the afternoon." As Mr. Fips said this, he made up his face as if he were going to whistle. But he didn't.
"You are very good," said Tom, whose countenance was now suffused with pleasure; "and nothing can be more satisfactory or straightforward. My attendance will be required —"
"From half–past nine to four o’clock or so, I should say," interrupted Mr. Fips. "About that."
"I did not mean the hours of attendance," retorted Tom, "which are light and easy, I am sure; but the place."
"Oh, the place! The place is in the Temple."
Tom was delighted. — Chapter 39, "Containing Some Further Particulars of the Domestic Economy of the Pinches; with Strange News from The City, Narrowly Concerning Tom," p. 309-310.
Relevant Illustrations, 1843-1924
Left: Hablot Knight Browne's version of the conclusion of the interview between Tom Pinch and Mr. Fips (departing, right), Mysterious Installation of Mr. Pinch (Chapter 39, March 1844). Centre: Harold Copping's emphasizing the ideal brother-and-sister relationship rather than Tom's mysterious employment, Ruth Pinch Makes a Pudding (1924). Right: Harry Furniss's description of the Pinches' idyllic housekeeping, Ruth Makes a Pudding (Chapter 39, 1910). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]
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Last modified 4 August 2016