Background.

Martin ChuzzlewitA man can well afford to be as bold as brass, my good fellow, when he gets gold in exchange!” is a quotation from Martin Chuzzlewit (Chapter 27).

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

 

Context.

Quotation said by the character Montague Tigg, speaking to Jonas Chuzzlewit.

Taken from the following passage in Chapter 27 of Martin Chuzzlewit:

‘I give you my sacred word of honour,’ said Tigg Montague, ‘that I raised money on every other individual piece of property, and was left alone in the world with a grand piano. And it was an upright-grand too, so that I couldn’t even sit upon it. But, my dear fellow, we got over it. We granted a great many new policies that week (liberal allowance to solicitors, by the bye), and got over it in no time. Whenever they should chance to fall in heavily, as you very justly observe they may, one of these days; then—’ he finished the sentence in so low a whisper, that only one disconnected word was audible, and that imperfectly. But it sounded like ‘Bolt.’

‘Why, you’re as bold as brass!’ said Jonas, in the utmost admiration.

A man can well afford to be as bold as brass, my good fellow, when he gets gold in exchange!’ cried the chairman, with a laugh that shook him from head to foot. ‘You’ll dine with me to-morrow?’

 

 

Montague Tigg.

Montague Tigg is a down-on-his-luck rogue at the beginning of the novel Martin Chuzzlewit, and a hanger-on to distant Chuzzlewit kin Chevy Slyme. Later, he starts a thriving, sleazy insurance business, The Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company and reverses his name to the more respectable sounding Tigg Montague. The company is essentially a ‘ponzi scheme’, a fraudulent investment operation which pays off early policyholders’ claims with premiums from more recent policyholders. Tigg manages to lure Jonas Chuzzlewit into joining his business.

 

 

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