Background.

Martin ChuzzlewitWhat lawsuits grow out of the graves of rich men, every day; sowing perjury, hatred, and lies among near kindred, where there should be nothing but love!” is a quotation from Martin Chuzzlewit (Chapter 3).

Martin Chuzzlewit was the sixth novel by Charles Dickens originally published between 1843 and 1844.

 

Context.

Quotation said by the older Martin Chuzzlewit (there are two characters called Martin Chuzzlewit in the novel of the same name, an elderly Martin and his grandson).

Taken from the following closing passages in Chapter 3 of Martin Chuzzlewit:

Martin lay for some time, with an expression on his face of silent wonder, not unmixed with rage; at length he muttered in a whisper:

‘What does this mean? Can the false-hearted boy have chosen such a tool as yonder fellow who has just gone out? Why not! He has conspired against me, like the rest, and they are but birds of one feather. A new plot; a new plot! Oh self, self, self! At every turn nothing but self!’

He fell to trifling, as he ceased to speak, with the ashes of the burnt paper in the candlestick. He did so, at first, in pure abstraction, but they presently became the subject of his thoughts.

‘Another will made and destroyed,’ he said, ‘nothing determined on, nothing done, and I might have died to-night! I plainly see to what foul uses all this money will be put at last,’ he cried, almost writhing in the bed; ‘after filling me with cares and miseries all my life, it will perpetuate discord and bad passions when I am dead. So it always is. What lawsuits grow out of the graves of rich men, every day; sowing perjury, hatred, and lies among near kindred, where there should be nothing but love! Heaven help us, we have much to answer for! Oh self, self, self! Every man for himself, and no creature for me!’

Universal self! Was there nothing of its shadow in these reflections, and in the history of Martin Chuzzlewit, on his own showing?

 

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