"Do Other Men, For They Would Do You"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Jonas Chuzzlewit calls upon the Pecksniff sisters, in residence at Todgers', a London boarding house catering to commercial gentlemen, to conduct them to his home for dinner. He walks them until they are thoroughly fatigued and finally brings them to the house occupied by his father, Anthony, and himself. The residence is part of a moldy old office building; the living quarters are strewn with odds and ends of old fabrics and other bits of discarded merchandise; the combination of living room and dining room is filled with office equipment. During the dinner an old retainer, Chuffey, whose wits have been addled, is the target of insulting remarks by Jonas. Even Anthony is not spared, but he seems to enjoy the bitter remarks, as they show that his son is a sharp fellow. In alluding to Mr. Pecksniff, Anthony says that his hypocrisy can be overdone. Jonas replies that a thing not easily overdone is a bargain; one should always try to outdo others:

"There's another thing that's not easily overdone, father," remarked Jonas, after a short silence.
"What's that?" asked the father, grinning already in anticipation.
"A bargain," said the son. "Here's the rule for bargains–'Do other men, for they would do you.' That's the true business precept. All others are counterfeits."
The delighted father applauded this sentiment to the echo, and was so much tickled by it, that he was at the pains of imparting the same to his ancient clerk, who rubbed his hands, nodded his palsied head, winked his watery eyes, and cried in his whistling tones, "Good! good! Your own son, Mr. Chuzzlewit!" with every feeble demonstration of delight that he was capable of making. But this old man's enthusiasm had the redeeming quality of being felt in sympathy with the only creature to whom he was linked by ties of long association, and by his present helplessness. . . .