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Title: A History of Pendennis, Volume 1 - His fortunes and misfortunes, his friends and his greatest enemy
Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace, 1811-1863
Language: English
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THE HISTORY OF PENDENNIS.

HIS FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES, HIS FRIENDS AND HIS GREATEST ENEMY.

BY

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS ON WOOD BY THE AUTHOR.


IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

NEW YORK:

  HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS
  329 & 331 PEARL STREET,
  FRANKLIN SQUARE.

1858.



TO DR. JOHN ELLIOTSON.


  My Dear Doctor,

  Thirteen months ago, when it seemed likely that this story had
  come to a close, a kind friend brought you to my bedside, whence,
  in all probability, I never should have risen but for your constant
  watchfulness and skill. I like to recall your great goodness and
  kindness (as well as many acts of others, showing quite a surprising
  friendship and sympathy) at that time, when kindness and friendship
  were most needed and welcome.

         *       *       *       *       *

  And as you would take no other fee but thanks, let me record them
  here in behalf of me and mine, and subscribe myself,

  Yours, most sincerely and gratefully,

  W. M. THACKERAY.



CONTENTS.


   CHAP.                                                              PAGE

   1.--SHOWS HOW FIRST LOVE MAY INTERRUPT BREAKFAST                     9

   2.--A PEDIGREE AND OTHER FAMILY MATTERS                             14

   3.--IN WHICH PENDENNIS APPEARS AS A VERY YOUNG MAN INDEED           30

   4.--MRS. HALLER                                                     41

   5.--MRS. HALLER AT HOME                                             49

   6.--CONTAINS BOTH LOVE AND WAR                                      62

   7.--IN WHICH THE MAJOR MAKES HIS APPEARANCE                         73

   8.--IN WHICH PEN IS KEPT WAITING AT THE DOOR, WHILE THE READER
       IS INFORMED WHO LITTLE LAURA WAS                                81

   9.--IN WHICH THE MAJOR OPENS THE CAMPAIGN                           92

  10.--FACING THE ENEMY                                                99

  11.--NEGOTIATION                                                    105

  12.--IN WHICH A SHOOTING MATCH IS PROPOSED                          114

  13.--A CRISIS                                                       122

  14.--IN WHICH MISS FOTHERINGAY MAKES A NEW ENGAGEMENT               130

  15.--THE HAPPY VILLAGE                                              137

  16.--MORE STORMS IN THE PUDDLE                                      147

  17.--WHICH CONCLUDES THE FIRST PART OF THIS HISTORY                 158

  18.--ALMA MATER                                                     169

  19.--PENDENNIS OF BONIFACE                                          178

  20.--RAKE'S PROGRESS                                                191

  21.--FLIGHT AFTER DEFEAT                                            201

  22.--PRODIGAL'S RETURN                                              209

  23.--NEW FACES                                                      217

  24.--A LITTLE INNOCENT                                              233

  25.--CONTAINS BOTH LOVE AND JEALOUSY                                243

  26.--A HOUSE FULL OF VISITORS                                       253

  27.--CONTAINS SOME BALL PRACTICING                                  265

  28.--WHICH IS BOTH QUARRELSOME AND SENTIMENTAL                      274

  29.--BABYLON                                                        287

  30.--THE KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE                                      297

  31.--OLD AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES                                      306

  32.--IN WHICH THE PRINTER'S DEVIL COMES TO THE DOOR                 317

  33.--WHICH IS PASSED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF LUDGATE HILL            329

  34.--IN WHICH THE HISTORY STILL HOVERS ABOUT FLEET STREET           339

  35.--A DINNER IN THE ROW                                            345

  36.--THE PALL MALL GAZETTE                                          355

  37.--WHERE PEN APPEARS IN TOWN AND COUNTRY                          361

  38.--IN WHICH THE SYLPH REAPPEARS                                   376

  39.--IN WHICH COLONEL ALTAMONT APPEARS AND DISAPPEARS               384



PREFACE.


If this kind of composition, of which the two years' product is now laid
before the public, fail in art, as it constantly does and must, it at
least has the advantage of a certain truth and honesty, which a work
more elaborate might lose. In his constant communication with the
reader, the writer is forced into frankness of expression, and to speak
out his own mind and feelings as they urge him. Many a slip of the pen
and the printer, many a word spoken in haste, he sees and would recall
as he looks over his volume. It is a sort of confidential talk between
writer and reader, which must often be dull, must often flag. In the
course of his volubility, the perpetual speaker must of necessity lay
bare his own weaknesses, vanities, peculiarities. And as we judge of a
man's character, after long frequenting his society, not by one speech,
or by one mood or opinion, or by one day's talk, but by the tenor of his
general bearing and conversation; so of a writer, who delivers himself
up to you perforce unreservedly, you say, Is he honest? Does he tell the
truth in the main? Does he seem actuated by a desire to find out and
speak it? Is he a quack, who shams sentiment, or mouths for effect? Does
he seek popularity by clap-traps or other arts? I can no more ignore
good fortune than any other chance which has befallen me. I have found
many thousands more readers than I ever looked for. I have no right to
say to these, You shall not find fault with my Art, or fall asleep over
my pages; but I ask you to believe that this person writing strives to
tell the truth. If there is not that, there is nothing.

Perhaps the lovers of "excitement" may care to know, that this book
began with a very precise plan, which was entirely put aside. Ladies and
gentlemen, you were to have been treated, and the writer's and the
publishers' pocket benefited, by the recital of the most active horrors.
What more exciting than a ruffian (with many admirable virtues) in St.
Giles's, visited constantly by a young lady from Belgravia? What more
stirring than the contrasts of society? the mixture of slang and
fashionable language? the escapes, the battles, the murders? Nay, up to
nine o'clock this very morning, my poor friend, Colonel Altamont, was
doomed to execution, and the author only relented when his victim was
actually at the window.

The "exciting" plan was laid aside (with a very honorable forbearance
on the part of the publishers), because, on attempting it, I found that
I failed, from want of experience of my subject; and never having been
intimate with any convict in my life, and the manners of ruffians and
jail-birds being quite unfamiliar to me, the idea of entering into
competition with M. Eugène Sue was abandoned. To describe a real rascal,
you must make him so horrible that he would be too hideous to show; and
unless the painter paints him fairly, I hold he has no right to show him
at all.

Even the gentlemen of our age--this is an attempt to describe one of
them, no better nor worse than most educated men--even these we can not
show as they are, with the notorious foibles and selfishness of their
lives and their education. Since the author of Tom Jones was buried, no
writer of fiction among us has been permitted to depict, to his utmost
power, a MAN. We must drape him, and give him a certain conventional
simper. Society will not tolerate the Natural in our Art. Many ladies
have remonstrated, and subscribers left me, because, in the course of
the story, I described a young man resisting and affected by temptation.
My object was to say, that he had the passions to feel, and the
manliness and generosity to overcome them. You will not hear--it is best
to know it--what moves in the real world, what passes in society, in
the clubs, colleges, newsrooms--what is the life and talk of your sons.
A little more frankness than is customary has been attempted in this
story; with no bad desire on the writer's part, it is hoped, and with
no ill consequence to any reader. If truth is not always pleasant; at
any rate truth is best, from whatever chair--from those whence graver
writers or thinkers argue, as from that at which the story-teller sits
as he concludes his labor, and bids his kind reader farewell.

Kensington, _Nov. 26th, 1850_.



PENDENNIS.



CHAPTER I.

SHOWS HOW FIRST LOVE MAY INTERRUPT BREAKFAST.


[Illustration]

One fine morning in the full London season, Major Arthur Pendennis
came over from his lodgings, according to his custom, to breakfast at
a certain club in Pall Mall, of which he was a chief ornament. As he
was one of the finest judges of wine in England, and a man of active,
dominating, and inquiring spirit, he had been very properly chosen to be
a member of the committee of this club and indeed was almost the manager
of the institution; and the stewards and waiters bowed before him as
reverentially as to a duke or a field-marshal.

At a quarter past ten the major invariably made his appearance in the
best blacked boots in all London, with a checked morning cravat that
never was rumpled until dinner time, a buff waistcoat which bore the
crown of his sovereign on the buttons, and linen so spotless that Mr.
Brummel himself asked the name of his laundress, and would probably have
employed her, had not misfortunes compelled that great man to fly the
country. Pendennis's coat, his white gloves, his whiskers, his very
cane, were perfect of their kind as specimens of the costume of a
military man _en retraite_. At a distance, or seeing his back merely,
you would have taken him to be not more than thirty years old: it was
only by a nearer inspection that you saw the factitious nature of his
rich brown hair, and that there were a few crows'-feet round about the
somewhat faded eyes of his handsome mottled face. His nose was of the
Wellington pattern. His hands and wristbands were beautifully long and
white. On the latter he wore handsome gold buttons given to him by his
Royal Highness the Duke of York, and on the others more than one elegant
ring, the chief and largest of them being emblazoned with the famous
arms of Pendennis.

He always took possession of the same table in the same corner of the
room, from which nobody ever now thought of ousting him. One or two
mad wags and wild fellows had in former days, and in freak or bravado,
endeavored twice or thrice to deprive him of this place; but there was
a quiet dignity in the major's manner as he took his seat at the next
table, and surveyed the interlopers, which rendered it impossible for
any man to sit and breakfast under his eye; and that table--by the fire
and yet near the window--became his own. His letters were laid out there
in expectation of his arrival, and many was the young fellow about town
who looked with wonder at the number of those notes, and at the seals
and franks which they bore. If there was any question about etiquette,
society, who was married to whom, of what age such and such a duke was,
Pendennis was the man to whom every one appealed. Marchionesses used to
drive up to the club, and leave notes for him or fetch him out. He was
perfectly affable. The young men liked to walk with him in the Park or
down Pall Mall; for he touched his hat to every body, and every other
man he met was a lord.

The major sate down at his accustomed table then, and while the waiters
went to bring him his toast and his hot newspaper, he surveyed his
letters through his gold double eye-glass. He carried it so gayly, you
would hardly have known it was spectacles in disguise, and examined one
pretty note after another, and laid them by in order. There were large
solemn dinner cards, suggestive of three courses and heavy conversation;
there were neat little confidential notes, conveying female entreaties;
there was a note on thick official paper from the Marquis of Steyne,
telling him to come to Richmond to a little party at the Star and
Garter, and speak French, which language the major possessed very
perfectly; and another from the Bishop of Ealing and Mrs. Trail,
requesting the honor of Major Pendennis's company at Ealing House,
all of which letters Pendennis read gracefully, and with the more
satisfaction, because Glowry, the Scotch surgeon, breakfasting opposite
to him, was looking on, and hating him for having so many invitations,
which nobody ever sent to Glowry.

These perused, the major took out his pocket-book to see on what days he
was disengaged, and which of these many hospitable calls he could afford
to accept or decline.

He threw over Cutler, the East India Director, in Baker-street, in order
to dine with Lord Steyne and the little French party at the Star and
Garter--the bishop he accepted, because, though the dinner was slow he
liked to dine with bishops--and so went through his list and disposed
of them according to his fancy or interest. Then he took his breakfast
and looked over the paper, the gazette, the births and deaths, and the
fashionable intelligence, to see that his name was down among the guests
at my Lord So-and-so's fête, and in the intervals of these occupations
carried on cheerful conversation with his acquaintances about the room.

Among the letters which formed Major Pendennis's budget for that morning
there was only one unread, and which lay solitary and apart from all the
fashionable London letters, with a country postmark and a homely seal.
The superscription was in a pretty, delicate female hand, and though
marked "Immediate" by the fair writer, with a strong dash of anxiety
under the word, yet the major had, for reasons of his own, neglected up
to the present moment his humble rural petitioner, who to be sure could
hardly hope to get a hearing among so many grand folks who attended his
levee. The fact was, this was a letter from a female relative of
Pendennis, and while the grandees of her brother's acquaintance were
received and got their interview, and drove off, as it were, the patient
country letter remained for a long time waiting for an audience in the
ante-chamber under the slop-basin.

At last it came to be this letter's turn, and the major broke a seal
with "Fairoaks" engraved upon it, and "Clavering St. Mary's" for a
post-mark. It was a double letter, and the major commenced perusing the
envelope before he attacked the inner epistle.

"Is it a letter from another _Jook_?" growled Mr. Glowry, inwardly,
"Pendennis would not be leaving that to the last, I'm thinking."

"My dear Major Pendennis," the letter ran, "I beg and implore you to
come to me _immediately_"--very likely, thought Pendennis, and Steyne's
dinner to-day--"I am in the very greatest grief and perplexity. My
dearest boy, who has been hitherto every thing the fondest mother could
wish, is grieving me _dreadfully_. He has formed--I can hardly write
it--a passion, an infatuation,"--the major grinned--"for an actress
who has been performing here. She is at least twelve years older than
Arthur--who will not be eighteen till next February--and the wretched
boy insists upon marrying her."

"Hay! What's making Pendennis swear now?"--Mr. Glowry asked of himself,
for rage and wonder were concentrated in the major's open mouth, as he
read this astounding announcement.

"Do, my dear friend," the grief-stricken lady went on, "come to me
instantly on the receipt of this; and, as Arthur's guardian, entreat,
command, the wretched child to give up this most deplorable resolution."
And, after more entreaties to the above effect, the writer concluded
by signing herself the major's "unhappy affectionate sister, Helen
Pendennis."

"Fairoaks, Tuesday"--the major concluded, reading the last words of
the letter--"A d--d pretty business at Fairoaks, Tuesday; now let us
see what the boy has to say;" and he took the other letter, which was
written in a great floundering boy's hand, and sealed with the large
signet of the Pendennises, even larger than the major's own, and with
supplementary wax sputtered all round the seal, in token of the writer's
tremulousness and agitation.

The epistle ran thus--


  "Fairoaks,
  "_Monday, Midnight_.

  "My dear Uncle,

    "In informing you of my engagement with Miss Costigan, daughter of
    J. Chesterfield Costigan Esq., of Costiganstown, but, perhaps, better
    known to you under her professional name of Miss Fotheringay, of the
    Theaters Royal Drury Lane and Crow-street, and of the Norwich and
    Welsh Circuit, I am aware that I make an announcement which can not,
    according to the present prejudices of society, at least, be welcome
    to my family. My dearest mother, on whom, God knows I would wish to
    inflict no needless pain, is deeply moved and grieved, I am sorry to
    say, by the intelligence which I have this night conveyed to her.
    I beseech you, my dear sir, to come down and reason with her, and
    console her. Although obliged by poverty to earn an honorable
    maintenance by the exercise of her splendid talents, Miss Costigan's
    family is as ancient and noble as our own. When our ancestor, Ralph
    Pendennis, landed with Richard II. in Ireland, my Emily's forefathers
    were kings of that country. I have the information from Mr. Costigan,
    who, like yourself, is a military man.

    "It is in vain I have attempted to argue with my dear mother, and
    prove to her that a young lady of irreproachable character and
    lineage, endowed with the most splendid gifts of beauty and genius,
    who devotes herself to the exercise of one of the noblest professions,
    for the sacred purpose of maintaining her family, is a being whom we
    should all love and reverence, rather than avoid;--my poor mother
    has prejudices which it is impossible for my logic to overcome, and
    refuses to welcome to her arms one who is disposed to be her most
    affectionate daughter through life.

    "Although Miss Costigan is some years older than myself, that
    circumstance does not operate as a barrier to my affection, and I am
    sure will not influence its duration. A love like mine, sir, I feel,
    is contracted once and for ever. As I never had dreamed of love until
    I saw her--I feel now that I shall die without ever knowing another
    passion. It is the fate of my life. It was Miss C.'s own delicacy
    which suggested that the difference of age, which I never felt, might
    operate as a bar to our union. But having loved once, I should despise
    myself, and be unworthy of my name as a gentleman, if I hesitated
    to abide by my passion: if I did not give all where I felt all, and
    endow the woman who loves me fondly with my whole heart and my whole
    fortune.

    "I press for a speedy marriage with my Emily--for why, in truth,
    should it be delayed? A delay implies a doubt, which I cast from me
    as unworthy. It is impossible that my sentiments can change toward
    Emily--that at any age she can be any thing but the sole object of
    my love. Why, then, wait? I entreat you, my dear uncle, to come down
    and reconcile my dear mother to our union, and I address you as a man
    of the world, _qui mores hominum multorum vidit et urbes_, who will
    not feel any of the weak scruples and fears which agitate a lady who
    has scarcely ever left her village.

    "Pray come down to us immediately. I am quite confident that--apart
    from considerations of fortune--you will admire and approve of
    my Emily.

  "Your affectionate Nephew.

  "ARTHUR PENDENNIS, Jr."


When the major had concluded the perusal of this letter, his
countenance assumed an expression of such rage and horror that Glowry
the surgeon-official, felt in his pocket for his lancet, which he always
carried in his card-case, and thought his respected friend was going
into a fit. The intelligence was indeed sufficient to agitate Pendennis.
The head of the Pendennises going to marry an actress ten years his
senior--a headstrong boy going to plunge into matrimony. "The mother has
spoiled the young rascal," groaned the major inwardly, "with her cursed
sentimentality and romantic rubbish. My nephew marry a tragedy queen!
Gracious mercy, people will laugh at me so that I shall not dare show
my head!" And he thought with an inexpressible pang that he must give
up Lord Steyne's dinner at Richmond, and must lose his rest and pass the
night in an abominable tight mail-coach, instead of taking pleasure,
as he had promised himself, in some of the most agreeable and select
society in England.

And he must not only give up this but all other engagements for some
time to come. Who knows how long the business might detain him. He
quitted his breakfast table for the adjoining writing-room, and there
ruefully wrote off refusals to the marquis, the earl, the bishop, and
all his entertainers; and he ordered his servant to take places in
the mail-coach for that evening, of course charging the sum which he
disbursed for the seats to the account of the widow and the young
scapegrace of whom he was guardian.



CHAPTER II.

A PEDIGREE AND OTHER FAMILY MATTERS.


[Illustration]

Early in the Regency of George the Magnificent, there lived in a small
town in the west of England, called Clavering, a gentleman whose name
was Pendennis. There were those alive who remembered having seen his
name painted on a board, which was surmounted by a gilt pestle and
mortar over the door of a very humble little shop in the city of Bath,
where Mr. Pendennis exercised the profession of apothecary and surgeon;
and where he not only attended gentlemen in their sick-rooms, and ladies
at the most interesting periods of their lives, but would condescend to
sell a brown-paper plaster to a farmer's wife across the counter--or to
vend tooth-brushes, hair-powder, and London perfumery. For these facts
a few folks at Clavering could vouch, where people's memories were more
tenacious, perhaps, than they are in a great bustling metropolis.

And yet that little apothecary who sold a stray customer a pennyworth
of salts, or a more fragrant cake of Windsor soap, was a gentleman of
good education, and of as old a family as any in the whole county of
Somerset. He had a Cornish pedigree which carried the Pendennises up to
the time of the Druids--and who knows how much farther back? They had
intermarried with the Normans at a very late period of their family
existence, and they were related to all the great families of Wales
and Britanny. Pendennis had had a piece of University education too, and
might have pursued that career with great honor, but that in his second
year at Cambridge his father died insolvent, and poor Pen was obliged
to betake himself to the pestle and apron. He always detested the trade,
and it was only necessity, and the offer of his mother's brother, a
London apothecary of low family, into which Pendennis's father had
demeaned himself by marrying, that forced John Pendennis into so odious
a calling.

He quickly after his apprenticeship parted from the coarse-minded
practitioner, his relative, and set up for himself at Bath with his
modest medical ensign. He had for some time a hard struggle with
poverty; and it was all he could do to keep the shop and its gilt
ornaments in decent repair, and his bed-ridden mother in comfort: but
Lady Ribstone, happening to be passing to the Rooms with an intoxicated
Irish chair man who bumped her ladyship up against Pen's very door-post,
and drove his chair-pole through the handsomest pink-bottle in the
surgeon's window, alighted screaming from her vehicle, and was
accommodated with a chair in Mr. Pendennis's shop, where she was
brought round with cinnamon and sal-volatile.

Mr. Pendennis's manners were so uncommonly gentlemanlike and soothing,
that her ladyship, the wife of Sir Pepin Ribstone, of Codlingbury, in
the county of Somerset, Bart., appointed her preserver, as she called
him, apothecary to her person and family, which was very large. Master
Ribstone coming home for the Christmas holidays from Eton, over-ate
himself and had a fever, in which Mr. Pendennis treated him with the
greatest skill and tenderness. In a word, he got the good graces of the
Codlingbury family, and from that day began to prosper. The good company
of Bath patronized him, and among the ladies especially he was beloved
and admired. First his humble little shop became a smart one; then he
discarded the selling of tooth-brushes and perfumery, as unworthy of a
gentleman of an ancient lineage; then he shut up the shop altogether,
and only had a little surgery attended by a genteel young man: then he
had a gig with a man to drive him; and, before her exit from this world,
his poor old mother had the happiness of seeing from her bed-room
window to which her chair was rolled, her beloved John step into a
close carriage of his own, a one-horse carriage it is true, but with
the arms of the family of Pendennis handsomely emblazoned on the panels.
"What would Arthur say now?" she asked, speaking of a younger son of
hers--"who never so much as once came to see my dearest Johnny through
all the time of his poverty and struggles!"

"Captain Pendennis is with his regiment in India, mother," Mr. Pendennis
remarked, "and, if you please, I wish you would not call me Johnny
before the young man--before Mr. Parkins."

Presently the day came when she ceased to call her son by the name of
Johnny, or by any other title of endearment or affection; and his house
was very lonely without that kind though querulous voice. He had his
night-bell altered and placed in the room in which the good old lady
had grumbled for many a long year, and he slept in the great large bed
there. He was upward of forty years old when these events befell; before
the war was over; before George the Magnificent came to the throne;
before this history indeed: but what is a gentleman without his
pedigree? Pendennis, by this time, had his handsomely framed and glazed,
and hanging up in his drawing-room between the pictures of Codlingbury
House in Somersetshire, and St. Boniface's College, Cambridge, where he
had passed the brief and happy days of his early manhood. As for the
pedigree he had taken it out of a trunk, as Sterne's officer called for
his sword, now that he was a gentleman and could show it.

About the time of Mrs. Pendennis's demise, another of her son's patients
likewise died at Bath; that virtuous woman, old Lady Pontypool, daughter
of Reginald twelfth Earl of Bareacres, and by consequence great grand
aunt to the present earl, and widow of John second Lord Pontypool, and
likewise of the Reverend Jonas Wales, of the Armageddon Chapel, Clifton.
For the last five years of her life her ladyship had been attended by
Miss Helen Thistlewood, a very distant relative of the noble house of
Bareacres, before mentioned, and daughter of Lieutenant R. Thistlewood,
R. N., killed at the battle of Copenhagen. Under Lady Pontypool's roof
Miss Thistlewood found a comfortable shelter, as far as boarding and
lodging went, but suffered under such an infernal tyranny as only women
can inflict on, or bear from, one another; the doctor, who paid his
visits to my Lady Pontypool at least twice a day, could not but remark
the angelical sweetness and kindness with which the young lady bore her
elderly relative's insults; and it was, as they were going in the fourth
mourning coach to attend her ladyship's venerated remains to Bath Abbey,
where they now repose, that he looked at her sweet pale face, and
resolved upon putting a certain question to her, the very nature of
which made his pulse beat ninety, at least.

He was older than she by more than twenty years, and at no time the most
ardent of men. Perhaps he had had a love affair in early life which he
had to strangle--perhaps all early love affairs ought to be strangled or
drowned, like so many blind kittens: well, at three-and-forty he was a
collected quiet little gentleman in black stockings, with a bald head,
and a few days after the ceremony he called to see her, and, as he felt
her pulse, he kept hold of her hand in his, and asked her where she
was going to live now that the Pontypool family had come down upon the
property, which was being nailed into boxes, and packed into hampers,
and swaddled up with haybands, and buried in straw, and locked under
three keys in green-baize plate-chests, and carted away under the eyes
of poor Miss Helen--he asked her where she was going to live finally.

Her eyes filled with tears, and she said she did not know. She had a
little money. The old lady had left her a thousand pounds, indeed; and
she would go into a boarding-house or into a school; in fine, she did
not know where.

Then Pendennis, looking into her pale face, and keeping hold of her
cold little hand, asked her if she would come and live with him? He
was old compared to--to so blooming a young lady as Miss Thistlewood
(Pendennis was of the grave old complimentary school of gentlemen and
apothecaries), but he was of good birth, and, he flattered himself,
of good principles and temper. His prospects were good, and daily
mending. He was alone in the world, and had need of a kind and constant
companion, whom it would be the study of his life to make happy; in a
word, he recited to her a little speech, which he had composed that
morning in bed, and rehearsed and perfected in his carriage, as he was
coming to wait upon the young lady.

[Illustration]

Perhaps if he had had an early love-passage, she too had one day hoped
for a different lot than to be wedded to a little gentleman who rapped
his teeth and smiled artificially, who was laboriously polite to the
butler as he slid up stairs into the drawing-room, and profusely civil
to the lady's-maid, who waited at the bed-room door; for whom her old
patroness used to ring as for a servant, and who came with even more
eagerness; who got up stories, as he sent in draughts, for his patient's
amusement and his own profit: perhaps she would have chosen a different
man--but she knew, on the other hand, how worthy Pendennis was, how
prudent, how honorable; how good he had been to his mother, and constant
in his care of her; and the upshot of this interview was, that she,
blushing very much, made Pendennis an extremely low courtesy, and asked
leave to--to consider his very kind proposal.

They were married in the dull Bath season, which was the height
of the season in London. And Pendennis having previously, through
a professional friend, M.R.C.S., secured lodgings in Holles-street,
Cavendish Square, took his wife thither in a chaise and pair; conducted
her to the theaters, the Parks, and the Chapel Royal; showed her the
folks going to a drawing-room, and, in a word, gave her all the
pleasures of the town. He likewise left cards upon Lord Pontypool, upon
the Right Honorable the Earl of Bareacres, and upon Sir Pepin and Lady
Ribstone, his earliest and kindest patrons. Bareacres took no notice
of the cards. Pontypool called, admired Mrs. Pendennis, and said Lady
Pontypool would come and see her, which her ladyship did, per proxy of
John her footman, who brought her card, and an invitation to a concert
five weeks off. Pendennis was back in his little one-horse carriage,
dispensing draughts and pills at that time: but the Ribstones asked him
and Mrs. Pendennis to an entertainment, of which Mr. Pendennis bragged
to the last day of his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

The secret ambition of Mr. Pendennis had always been to be a gentleman.
It takes much time and careful saving for a provincial doctor, whose
gains are not very large, to lay by enough money wherewith to purchase
a house and land: but besides our friend's own frugality and prudence,
fortune aided him considerably in his endeavor, and brought him to
the point which he so panted to attain. He laid out some money very
advantageously in the purchase of a house and small estate close upon
the village of Clavering before mentioned. Words can not describe, nor
did he himself ever care to confess to any one, his pride when he found
himself a real landed proprietor, and could walk over acres of which
he was the master. A lucky purchase which he had made of shares in a
copper-mine added very considerably to his wealth, and he realized with
great prudence while this mine was still at its full vogue. Finally, he
sold his business, at Bath, to Mr. Parkins, for a handsome sum of ready
money, and for an annuity to be paid to him during a certain number of
years after he had forever retired from the handling of the mortar and
pestle.

Arthur Pendennis, his son, was eight years old at the time of this
event, so that it is no wonder that the latter, who left Bath and the
surgery so young, should forget the existence of such a place almost
entirely, and that his father's hands had ever been dirtied by the
compounding of odious pills, or the preparation of filthy plasters. The
old man never spoke about the shop himself, never alluded to it; called
in the medical practitioner of Clavering to attend his family when
occasion arrived; sunk the black breeches and stockings altogether;
attended market and sessions, and wore a bottle-green coat and brass
buttons with drab gaiters, just as if he had been an English gentleman
all his life. He used to stand at his lodge-gate, and see the coaches
come in, and bow gravely to the guards and coachmen as they touched
their hats and drove by. It was he who founded the Clavering Book Club;
and set up the Samaritan Soup and Blanket Society. It was he who brought
the mail, which used to run through Cacklefield before, away from that
village and through Clavering. At church he was equally active as a
vestryman and a worshiper. At market every Thursday, he went from pen
to stall, looked at samples of oats, and munched corn, felt beasts,
punched geese in the breast, and weighed them with a knowing air, and
did business with the farmers at the Clavering Arms, as well as the
oldest frequenter of that house of call. It was now his shame, as it
formerly was his pride, to be called doctor, and those who wished to
please him always gave him the title of squire.

Heaven knows where they came from, but a whole range of Pendennis
portraits presently hung round the doctor's oak dining-room; Lelys and
Vandykes he vowed all the portraits to be, and when questioned as to
the history of the originals, would vaguely say they were "ancestors
of his." You could see by his wife's looks that she disbelieved in
these genealogical legends, for she generally endeavored to turn the
conversation when he commenced them. But his little boy believed them to
their fullest extent, and Roger Pendennis of Agincourt, Arthur Pendennis
of Crecy, General Pendennis of Blenheim and Oudenarde, were as real
and actual beings for this young gentleman as--whom shall we say?--as
Robinson Crusoe, or Peter Wilkins, or the Seven Champions of
Christendom, whose histories were in his library.

Pendennis's fortune, which, at the best, was not above eight hundred
pounds a year, did not, with the best economy and management, permit
of his living with the great folks of the county; but he had a decent
comfortable society of the second-best sort. If they were not the roses,
they lived near the roses, as it were, and had a good deal of the odor
of genteel life. They had out their plate, and dined each other round
in the moonlight nights twice a year, coming a dozen miles to these
festivals; and besides the county, the Pendennises had the society
of the town of Clavering, as much as, nay, more than they liked:
for Mrs. Pybus was always poking about Helen's conservatories, and
intercepting the operation of her soup-tickets and coal-clubs: Captain
Glanders (H. P., 50th Dragoon Guards), was forever swaggering about
the squire's stables and gardens, and endeavoring to enlist him in
his quarrels with the vicar, with the postmaster, with the Reverend F.
Wapshot of Clavering Grammar School, for overflogging his son, Anglesea
Glanders--with all the village, in fine. And Pendennis and his wife
often blessed themselves, that their house of Fairoaks was nearly a
mile out of Clavering, or their premises would never have been free
from the prying eyes and prattle of one or other of the male and
female inhabitants there.

Fairoaks lawn comes down to the little river Brawl, and on the other
side were the plantations and woods (as much as were left of them) of
Clavering Park, Sir Francis Clavering, Bart. The park was let out in
pasture and fed down by sheep and cattle, when the Pendennises came
first to live at Fairoaks. Shutters were up in the house; a splendid
freestone palace, with great stairs, statues, and porticos, whereof you
may see a picture in the "Beauties of England and Wales." Sir Richard
Clavering, Sir Francis's grandfather, had commenced the ruin of the
family by the building of this palace; his successor had achieved the
ruin by living in it. The present Sir Francis was abroad somewhere;
nor could any body be found rich enough to rent that enormous mansion,
through the deserted rooms, moldy clanking halls, and dismal galleries
of which, Arthur Pendennis many a time walked trembling when he was a
boy. At sunset, from the lawn of Fairoaks, there was a pretty sight:
it and the opposite park of Clavering were in the habit of putting on a
rich golden tinge, which became them both wonderfully. The upper windows
of the great house flamed so as to make your eyes wink; the little river
ran off noisily westward, and was lost in a somber wood, behind which
the towers of the old abbey church of Clavering (whereby that town
is called Clavering St. Mary's to the present day) rose up in purple
splendor. Little Arthur's figure and his mother's, cast long blue
shadows over the grass; and he would repeat in a low voice (for a scene
of great natural beauty always moved the boy, who inherited this
sensibility from his mother) certain lines beginning, "These are thy
glorious works, Parent of Good; Almighty! thine this universal frame,"
greatly to Mrs. Pendennis's delight. Such walks and conversation
generally ended in a profusion of filial and maternal embraces; for to
love and to pray were the main occupations of this dear woman's life;
and I have often heard Pendennis say in his wild way, that he felt that
he was sure of going to heaven, for his mother never could be happy
there without him.

As for John Pendennis, as the father of the family, and that sort of
thing, every body had the greatest respect for him; and his orders
were obeyed like those of the Medes and Persians. His hat was as well
brushed, perhaps, as that of any man in this empire. His meals were
served at the same minute every day, and wo to those who came late,
as little Pen, a disorderly little rascal, sometimes did. Prayers were
recited, his letters were read, his business dispatched, his stables
and garden inspected, his hen-houses and kennel, his barn and pigstye
visited, always at regular hours. After dinner he always had a nap with
the Globe newspaper on his knee, and his yellow bandanna handkerchief on
his face (Major Pendennis sent the yellow handkerchiefs from India, and
his brother had helped in the purchase of his majority, so that they
were good friends now). And so, as his dinner took place at six o'clock
to a minute, and the sunset business alluded to may be supposed to have
occurred at about half-past seven, it is probable that he did not much
care for the view in front of his lawn windows, or take any share in the
poetry and caresses which were taking place there.

They seldom occurred in his presence. However frisky they were before,
mother and child were hushed and quiet when Mr. Pendennis walked into
the drawing room, his newspaper under his arm. And here, while little
Pen, buried in a great chair, read all the books of which he could lay
hold, the squire perused his own articles in the "Gardener's Gazette,"
or took a solemn hand at picquet with Mrs. Pendennis, or an occasional
friend from the village.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pendennis usually took care that at least one of his grand dinners
should take place when his brother, the major, who, on the return of
his regiment from India and New South Wales, had sold out and gone upon
half-pay, came to pay his biennial visit to Fairoaks. "My brother, Major
Pendennis," was a constant theme of the retired doctor's conversation.
All the family delighted in my brother the major. He was the link which
bound them to the great world of London, and the fashion. He always
brought down the last news of the nobility, and was in the constant
habit of dining with lords and great folks. He spoke of such with
soldier-like respect and decorum. He would say, "My Lord Bareacres has
been good enough to invite me to Bareacres for the pheasant shooting,"
or, "My Lord Steyne is so kind as to wish for my presence at Stillbrook
for the Easter holidays;" and you may be sure the whereabouts of my
brother the major was carefully made known by worthy Mr. Pendennis to
his friends at the Clavering reading-room, at justice-meetings, or at
the county town. Their carriages would come from ten miles round to call
upon Major Pendennis in his visits to Fairoaks; the fame of his fashion
as a man about town was established throughout the county. There was a
talk of his marrying Miss Hunkle, of Lilybank, old Hunkle the attorney's
daughter, with at least fifteen hundred a year to her fortune: but my
brother the major refused this negotiation, advantageous as it might
seem to most persons. "As a bachelor," he said, "nobody cares how poor I
am. I have the happiness to live with people who are so highly placed in
the world, that a few hundreds or thousands a year more or less can make
no difference in the estimation in which they are pleased to hold me.
Miss Hunkle, though a most respectable lady, is not in possession of
either the birth or the manners, which would entitle her to be received
into the sphere in which I have the honor to move. I shall live and
die an old bachelor, John: and your worthy friend, Miss Hunkle, I have
no doubt, will find some more worthy object of her affection, than a
worn-out old soldier on half-pay." Time showed the correctness of the
surmise of the old man of the world; Miss Hunkle married a young French
nobleman, and is now at this moment living at Lilybank, under the title
of Baroness de Carambole, having been separated from her wild young
scapegrace of a baron very shortly after their union.

The major was a great favorite with almost all the little establishment
of Fairoaks. He was as good-natured as he was well bred, and had a
sincere liking and regard for his sister-in-law, whom he pronounced,
and with perfect truth, to be as fine a lady as any in England, and
an honor to the family. Indeed, Mrs. Pendennis's tranquil beauty, her
natural sweetness and kindness, and that simplicity and dignity which a
perfect purity and innocence are sure to bestow upon a handsome woman,
rendered her quite worthy of her brother's praises. I think it is not
national prejudice which makes me believe that a high-bred English lady
is the most complete of all Heaven's subjects in this world. In whom
else do you see so much grace and so much virtue; so much faith and so
much tenderness; with such a perfect refinement and chastity? And by
high-bred ladies I don't mean duchesses and countesses. Be they ever so
high in station, they can be but ladies, and no more. But almost every
man who lives in the world has the happiness, let us hope, of counting
a few such persons among his circle of acquaintance--women in whose
angelical natures, there is something awful as well as beautiful, to
contemplate; at whose feet the wildest and fiercest of us must fall down
and humble ourselves;--in admiration of that adorable purity which never
seems to do or to think wrong.

Arthur Pendennis had the good fortune to have a mother endowed with
those happy qualities. During his childhood and youth, the boy thought
of her as little less than an angel--as a supernatural being, all
wisdom, love, and beauty. When her husband drove her into the county
town, or to the assize balls or concerts there, he would step into the
assembly with his wife on his arm, and look the great folks in the face,
as much as to say, "Look at that, my lord; can any of you show me a
woman like _that_?" She enraged some country ladies with three times her
money, by a sort of desperate perfection which they found in her. Miss
Pybus said she was cold and haughty; Miss Pierce, that she was too proud
for her station; Mrs. Wapshot as a doctor of divinity's lady, would have
the _pas_ of her, who was only the wife of a medical practitioner. In
the mean while, this lady moved through the world quite regardless of
all the comments that were made in her praise or disfavor. She did not
seem to know that she was admired or hated for being so perfect: but
carried on calmly through life, saying her prayers, loving her family,
helping her neighbors, and doing her duty.

That even a woman should be faultless, however, is an arrangement not
permitted by nature, which assigns to us mental defects, as it awards
to us headaches, illnesses, or death; without which, the scheme of
the world could not be carried on--nay, some of the best qualities of
mankind could not be brought into exercise. As pain produces or elicits
fortitude and endurance; difficulty, perseverance; poverty, industry and
ingenuity; danger, courage and what not; so the very virtues, on the
other hand, will generate some vices: and, in fine, Mrs. Pendennis had
that vice which Miss Pybus and Miss Pierce discovered in her, namely,
that of pride; which did not vest itself so much in her own person, as
in that of her family. She spoke about Mr. Pendennis (a worthy little
gentleman enough, but there are others as good as he) with an awful
reverence, as if he had been the Pope of Rome on his throne, and she
a cardinal kneeling at his feet and giving him incense. The major she
held to be a sort of Bayard among majors: and as for her son, Arthur, she
worshiped that youth with an ardor which the young scapegrace accepted
almost as coolly as the statue of the saint in Saint Peter's receives
the rapturous osculations which the faithful deliver on his toe.

This unfortunate superstition and idol-worship of this good woman was
the cause of a great deal of the misfortune which befell the young
gentleman who is the hero of this history, and deserves therefore to
be mentioned at the outset of his story.

Arthur Pendennis's schoolfellows at the Greyfriars School state that,
as a boy, he was in no ways remarkable either as a dunce or as a scholar.
He did, in fact, just as much as was required of him, and no more. If
he was distinguished for any thing it was for verse-writing; but was
his enthusiasm ever so great, it stopped when he had composed the
number of lines demanded by the regulations (unlike young Swettenham,
for instance, who, with no more of poetry in his composition than Mr.
Wakley, yet would bring up a hundred dreary hexameters to the master
after a half-holiday; or young Fluxmore, who not only did his own
verses, but all the fifth form's besides). He never read to improve
himself out of school-hours, but, on the contrary, devoured all the
novels, plays, and poetry, on which he could lay his hands. He never
was flogged, but it was a wonder how he escaped the whipping-post. When
he had money he spent it royally in tarts for himself and his friends;
he has been known to disburse nine and sixpence out of ten shillings
awarded to him in a single day. When he had no funds he went on tick.
When he could get no credit he went without, and was almost as happy.
He has been known to take a thrashing for a crony without saying a
word; but a blow, ever so slight, from a friend, would make him roar.
To fighting he was averse from his earliest youth, as indeed to physic,
the Greek Grammar, or any other exertion, and would engage in none of
them, except at the last extremity. He seldom, if ever, told lies, and
never bullied little boys. Those masters or seniors who were kind to
him, he loved with boyish ardor. And though the doctor, when he did not
know his Horace, or could not construe his Greek play, said that that
boy Pendennis was a disgrace to the school, a candidate for ruin in this
world, and perdition in the next; a profligate who would most likely
bring his venerable father to ruin and his mother to a dishonored grave,
and the like--yet as the doctor made use of these compliments to most
of the boys in the place (which has not turned out an unusual number of
felons and pick-pockets), little Pen, at first uneasy and terrified by
these charges, became gradually accustomed to hear them; and he has not,
in fact, either murdered his parents, or committed any act worthy of
transportation or hanging up to the present day.

There were many of the upper boys, among the Cistercians with whom
Pendennis was educated, who assumed all the privileges of men long
before they quitted that seminary. Many of them, for example, smoked
cigars--and some had already begun the practice of inebriation. One had
fought a duel with an ensign in a marching regiment in consequence of a
row at the theater--another actually kept a buggy and horse at a livery
stable in Covent Garden, and might be seen driving any Sunday in Hyde
Park with a groom with squared arms and armorial buttons by his side.
Many of the seniors were in love, and showed each other in confidence
poems addressed to, or letters and locks of hair received from, young
ladies--but Pen, a modest and timid youth, rather envied these than
imitated them as yet. He had not got beyond the theory as yet--the
practice of life was all to come. And, by the way, ye tender mothers
and sober fathers of Christian families, a prodigious thing that theory
of life is as orally learned at a great public school. Why, if you
could hear those boys of fourteen who blush before mothers and sneak
off in silence in the presence of their daughters, talking among each
other--it would be the woman's turn to blush then. Before he was twelve
years old and while his mother fancied him an angel of candor, little
Pen had heard talk enough to make him quite awfully wise upon certain
points--and so, madam, has your pretty little rosy-cheeked son, who
is coming home from school for the ensuing Christmas holidays. I don't
say that the boy is lost, or that the innocence has left him which
he had from "Heaven, which is our home," but that the shades of the
prison-house are closing very fast over him, and that we are helping
as much as possible to corrupt him.

Well--Pen had just made his public appearance in a coat with a tail, or
cauda-virilis, and was looking most anxiously in his little study-glass
to see if his whiskers were growing, like those of more fortunate youths
his companions; and, instead of the treble voice with which he used to
speak and sing (for his singing voice was a very sweet one, and he used
when little to be made to perform "Home, sweet Home," "My pretty Page,"
and a French song or two which his mother had taught him, and other
ballads for the delectation of the senior boys), had suddenly plunged
into a deep bass diversified by a squeak, which, when he was called upon
to construe in school, set the master and scholars laughing--he was
about sixteen years old, in a word, when he was suddenly called away
from his academic studies.

It was at the close of the forenoon school, and Pen had been unnoticed
all the previous part of the morning till now, when the doctor put him
on to construe in a Greek play. He did not know a word of it, though
little Timmins, his form-fellow, was prompting him with all his might.
Pen had made a sad blunder or two--when the awful chief broke out upon
him.

"Pendennis, sir," he said, "your idleness is incorrigible, and your
stupidity beyond example. You are a disgrace to your school, and to your
family, and I have no doubt will prove so in after-life to your country.
If that vice, sir, which is described to us as the root of all evil, be
really what moralists have represented (and I have no doubt of the
correctness of their opinion), for what a prodigious quantity of future
crime and wickedness are you, unhappy boy, laying the seed! Miserable
trifler! A boy who construes [Greek: de] _and_, instead of [Greek: de]
_but_, at sixteen years of age is guilty not merely of folly, and
ignorance, and dullness inconceivable, but of crime, of deadly crime,
of filial ingratitude, which I tremble to contemplate. A boy, sir, who
does not learn his Greek play cheats the parent who spends money for
his education. A boy who cheats his parent is not very far from robbing
or forging upon his neighbor. A man who forges on his neighbor pays
the penalty of his crime at the gallows. And it is not such a one
that I pity (for he will be deservedly cut off); but his maddened and
heart-broken parents, who are driven to a premature grave by his crimes,
or, if they live, drag on a wretched and dishonored old age. Go on,
sir, and I warn you that the very next mistake that you make shall
subject you to the punishment of the rod. Who's that laughing? What
ill-conditioned boy is there that dares to laugh?" shouted the doctor.

[Illustration]

Indeed, while the master was making this oration, there was a general
titter behind him in the school-room. The orator had his back to the
door of this ancient apartment, which was open, and a gentleman who
was quite familiar with the place, for both Major Arthur and Mr. John
Pendennis had been at the school, was asking the fifth form boy who
sate by the door for Pendennis. The lad grinning pointed to the culprit
against whom the doctor was pouring out the thunders of his just
wrath--Major Pendennis could not help laughing. He remembered having
stood under that very pillar where Pen the younger now stood, and having
been assaulted by the doctor's predecessor, years and years ago. The
intelligence was "passed round" that it was Pendennis's uncle in an
instant, and a hundred young faces wondering and giggling, between
terror and laughter, turned now to the new comer and then to the awful
doctor.

The major asked the fifth-form boy to carry his card up to the doctor,
which the lad did with an arch look. Major Pendennis had written on the
card, "I must take A. P. home; his father is very ill."

As the doctor received the card, and stopped his harangue with rather
a scared look, the laughter of the boys, half constrained until then,
burst out in a general shout. "Silence!" roared out the doctor, stamping
with his foot. Pen looked up and saw who was his deliverer; the major
beckoned to him gravely with one of his white gloves, and tumbling down
his books, Pen went across.

The doctor took out his watch. It was two minutes to one. "We will take
the Juvenal at afternoon school," he said, nodding to the major, and all
the boys, understanding the signal, gathered up their books and poured
out of the hall.

Young Pen saw by his uncle's face that something had happened at home.
"Is there any thing the matter with--my mother?" he said. He could
hardly speak, though, for emotion, and the tears which were ready
to start.

"No," said the major, "but your father's very ill. Go and pack your
trunk directly; I have got a post-chaise at the gate."

Pen went off quickly to his boarding-house to do as his uncle bade him;
and the doctor, now left alone in the school-room, came out to shake
hands with his old schoolfellow. You would not have thought it was the
same man. As Cinderella at a particular hour became, from a blazing and
magnificent princess, quite an ordinary little maid in a gray petticoat,
so, as the clock struck one, all the thundering majesty and awful wrath
of the schoolmaster disappeared.

"There is nothing serious, I hope," said the doctor. "It is a pity to
take the boy away unless there is. He is a very good boy, rather idle
and unenergetic, but he is a very honest, gentlemanlike little fellow,
though I can't get him to construe as I wish. Won't you come in and
have some luncheon? My wife will be very happy to see you."

But Major Pendennis declined the luncheon. He said his brother was very
ill, had had a fit the day before, and it was a great question if they
should see him alive.

"There's no other son, is there?" said the doctor. The major answered
"No."

"And there's a good eh--a good eh--property I believe?" asked the other,
in an offhand way.

"H'm--so so," said the major. Whereupon this colloquy came to an end.
And Arthur Pendennis got into the post-chaise with his uncle never to
come back to school any more.

As the chaise drove through Clavering, the hostler standing whistling
under the archway of the Clavering Arms, winked the postillion ominously,
as much as to say all was over. The gardener's wife came and opened the
lodge-gates, and let the travelers through, with a silent shake of the
head. All the blinds were down at Fairoaks--the face of the old footman
was as blank when he let them in. Arthur's face was white too, with
terror more than with grief. Whatever of warmth and love the deceased
man might have had, and he adored his wife and loved and admired his son
with all his heart, he had shut them up within himself; nor had the boy
been ever able to penetrate that frigid outward harrier. But Arthur had
been his father's pride and glory through life, and his name the last
which John Pendennis had tried to articulate while he lay with his
wife's hand clasping his own cold and clammy palm, as the flickering
spirit went out into the darkness of death, and life and the world
passed away from him.

The little girl, whose face had peered for a moment under the blinds as
the chaise came up, opened the door from the stairs into the hall, and
taking Arthur's hand silently as he stooped down to kiss her, led him
up-stairs to his mother. Old John opened the drawing-room door for the
major. The room was darkened, with the blinds down, and surrounded by
all the gloomy pictures of the Pendennises. He drank a glass of wine.
The bottle had been opened for the squire four days before. His hat was
brushed, and laid on the hall table: his newspapers, and his letter bag,
with John Pendennis, Esquire, Fairoaks, engraved upon the brass plate,
were there in waiting. The doctor and the lawyer from Clavering, who
had seen the chaise pass through, came up in a gig half an hour after
the major's arrival, and entered by the back door. The former gave a
detailed account of the seizure and demise of Mr. Pendennis, enlarged on
his virtues and the estimation in which the neighborhood held him; on
what a loss he would be to the magistrates' bench, the county hospital,
&c. Mrs. Pendennis bore up wonderfully, he said, especially since Master
Arthur's arrival. The lawyer staid and dined with Major Pendennis,
and they talked business all the evening. The major was his brother's
executor, and joint guardian to the boy with Mrs. Pendennis. Every thing
was left unreservedly to her, except in case of a second marriage--an
occasion which might offer itself in the case of so young and handsome a
woman, Mr. Tatham gallantly said, when different provisions were enacted
by the deceased. The major would of course take entire superintendence
of every thing under this most impressive and melancholy occasion. Aware
of this authority, Old John the footman, when he brought Major Pendennis
the candle to go to bed, followed afterward with the plate-basket; and
the next morning brought him the key of the hall clock--the squire
always used to wind it up of a Thursday, John said. Mrs. Pendennis's
maid brought him messages from her mistress. She confirmed the doctor's
report, of the comfort which Master Arthur's arrival had caused to his
mother.

What passed between that lady and the boy is not of import. A vail
should be thrown over those sacred emotions of love and grief. The
maternal passion is a sacred mystery to me. What one sees symbolized
in the Roman churches in the image of the Virgin Mother with a bosom
bleeding with love, I think one may witness (and admire the Almighty
bounty for) every day. I saw a Jewish lady, only yesterday, with a
child at her knee, and from whose face toward the child there shone a
sweetness so angelical, that it seemed to form a sort of glory round
both. I protest I could have knelt before her too, and adored in her
the Divine beneficence in endowing us with the maternal _storgé_,
which began with our race and sanctifies the history of mankind.

So it was with this, in a word, that Mrs. Pendennis comforted herself on
the death of her husband, whom, however, she always reverenced as the
best, the most upright, wise, high-minded, accomplished, and awful of
men. If the women did not make idols of us, and if they saw us as we see
each other, would life be bearable, or could society go on? Let a man
pray that none of his womankind should form a just estimation of him.
If your wife knew you as you are, neighbor, she would not grieve much
about being your widow, and would let your grave-lamp go out very
soon, or perhaps not even take the trouble to light it. Whereas Helen
Pendennis put up the handsomest of memorials to her husband, and
constantly renewed it with the most precious oil.

As for Arthur Pendennis, after that awful shock which the sight of his
dead father must have produced on him, and the pity and feeling which
such an event no doubt occasioned, I am not sure that in the very moment
of the grief, and as he embraced his mother and tenderly consoled her,
and promised to love her forever, there was not springing up in his
breast a feeling of secret triumph and exultation. He was the chief now
and lord. He was Pendennis; and all round about him were his servants
and handmaids. "You'll never send me away," little Laura said, tripping
by him, and holding his hand. "You won't send me to school, will you,
Arthur?"

Arthur kissed her and patted her head. No, she shouldn't go to school.
And as for going himself, that was quite out of the question. He had
determined that that part of his life should not be renewed. In the
midst of the general grief, and the corpse still lying above, he had
leisure to conclude that he would have it all holidays for the future,
that he wouldn't get up till he liked, or stand the bullying of the
doctor any more, and had made a hundred of such day dreams and resolves
for the future. How one's thoughts will travel! and how quickly our
wishes beget them! When he, with Laura in his hand, went into the
kitchen on his way to the dog-kennel, the fowl-houses, and his other
favorite haunts, all the servants there assembled in great silence with
their friends, and the laboring men and their wives, and Sally Potter
who went with the post-bag to Clavering, and the baker's man from
Clavering--all there assembled and drinking beer on the melancholy
occasion--rose up on his entrance and bowed or courtesied to him.
They never used to do so last holidays, he felt at once and with
indescribable pleasure. The cook cried out, "O Lord," and whispered,
"How Master Arthur do grow!" Thomas, the groom, in the act of drinking,
put down the jug, alarmed before his master. Thomas's master felt the
honor keenly. He went through and looked at the pointers. As Flora put
her nose up to his waistcoat, and Ponto, yelling with pleasure hurtled
at his chain, Pen patronized the dogs, and said, "Poo, Ponto, poo,
Flora," in his most condescending manner. And then he went and looked
at Laura's hens, and at the pigs, and at the orchard, and at the dairy;
perhaps he blushed to think that it was only last holidays he had, in a
manner, robbed the great apple-tree, and been scolded by the dairy-maid
for taking cream.

They buried John Pendennis, Esquire, "formerly an eminent medical
practitioner at Bath, and subsequently an able magistrate, a benevolent
landlord, and a benefactor to many charities and public institutions in
this neighborhood and county," with one of the most handsome funerals
that had been seen since Sir Roger Clavering was buried here, the
clerk said, in the abbey church of Clavering St. Mary's. A fair marble
slab, from which the above inscription is copied, was erected over the
Fairoaks pew in the church. On it you may see the Pendennis coat of
arms, and crest, an eagle looking toward the sun, with the motto
"_nec tenui pennâ_," to the present day. Doctor Portman alluded to the
deceased most handsomely and affectingly, "as our dear departed friend,"
in his sermon next Sunday; and Arthur Pendennis reigned in his stead.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER III.

IN WHICH PENDENNIS APPEARS AS A VERY YOUNG MAN INDEED.


[Illustration]

Arthur was about sixteen years old, we have said, when he began to
reign; in person (for I see that the artist who is to illustrate this
book, and who makes sad work of the likeness, will never be able to take
my friend off), he had what his friends would call a dumpy, but his
mamma styled a neat little figure. His hair was of a healthy brown
color, which looks like gold in the sunshine, his face was round, rosy,
freckled, and good-humored, his whiskers (when those facial ornaments
for which he sighed so ardently were awarded to him by nature) were
decidedly of a reddish hue; in fact, without being a beauty, he had such
a frank, good-natured, kind face, and laughed so merrily at you out of
his honest blue eyes, that no wonder Mrs. Pendennis thought him the
pride of the whole county. Between the ages of sixteen and eighteen he
rose from five feet six to five feet eight inches in height, at which
altitude he paused. But his mother wondered at it. He was three inches
taller than his father. Was it possible that any man could grow to be
three inches taller than Mr. Pendennis?

You may be certain he never went back to school; the discipline of the
establishment did not suit him, and he liked being at home much better.
The question of his return was debated, and his uncle was for his
going back. The doctor wrote his opinion that it was most important
for Arthur's success in after-life that he should know a Greek play
thoroughly, but Pen adroitly managed to hint to his mother what a
dangerous place Greyfriars was, and what sad wild fellows some of the
chaps there were, and the timid soul, taking alarm at once, acceded
to his desire to stay at home.

Then Pen's uncle offered to use his influence with His Royal Highness
the commander-in-chief, who was pleased to be very kind to him, and
proposed to get Pen a commission in the Foot Guards. Pen's heart leaped
at this: he had been to hear the band at St. James's play on a Sunday,
when he went out to his uncle. He had seen Tom Ricketts, of the fourth
form, who used to wear a jacket and trowsers so ludicrously tight, that
the elder boys could not forbear using him in the quality of a butt or
"cockshy"--he had seen this very Ricketts arrayed in crimson and gold,
with an immense bear-skin cap on his head, staggering under the colors
of the regiment. Tom had recognized him, and gave him a patronizing nod.
Tom, a little wretch whom he had cut over the back with a hockey-stick
last quarter--and there he was in the center of the square, rallying
round the flag of his country, surrounded by bayonets, cross-belts,
and scarlet, the band blowing trumpets and banging cymbals--talking
familiarly to immense warriors with tufts to their chins and Waterloo
medals. What would not Pen have given to wear such epaulettes and enter
such a service?

But Helen Pendennis, when this point was proposed to her by her son, put
on a face full of terror and alarm. She said "she did not quarrel with
others who thought differently, but that in her opinion a Christian had
no right to make the army a profession. Mr. Pendennis never, never would
have permitted his son to be a soldier. Finally, she should be very
unhappy if he thought of it." Now, Pen would have as soon cut off his
nose and ears as deliberately, and of aforethought malice, made his
mother unhappy; and, as he was of such a generous disposition that he
would give away any thing to any one, he instantly made a present of his
visionary red coat and epaulettes and his ardor for military glory to
his mother.

She thought him the noblest creature in the world. But Major Pendennis,
when the offer of the commission was acknowledged and refused, wrote
back a curt and somewhat angry letter to the widow, and thought his
nephew was rather a spooney.

He was contented, however, when he saw the boy's performances out
hunting at Christmas, when the major came down as usual to Fairoaks.
Pen had a very good mare, and rode her with uncommon pluck and grace.
He took his fences with great coolness, and yet with judgment, and
without bravado. He wrote to the chaps at school about his top-boots,
and his feats across country. He began to think seriously of a scarlet
coat: and his mother must own that she thought it would become him
remarkably well; though, of course, she passed hours of anguish during
his absence, and daily expected to see him brought home on a shutter.

With these amusements, in rather too great plenty, it must not be
assumed that Pen neglected his studies altogether. He had a natural
taste for reading every possible kind of book which did not fall into
his school-course. It was only when they forced his head into the waters
of knowledge that he refused to drink. He devoured all the books at
home, from Inchbald's Theater to White's Farriery; he ransacked the
neighboring book-cases. He found at Clavering an old cargo of French
novels, which he read with all his might; and he would sit for hours
perched upon the topmost bar of Doctor Portman's library steps, with
a folio on his knees, whether it were Hackluyt's Travels, Hobbes's
Leviathan, Augustini Opera, or Chaucer's Poems. He and the vicar were
very good friends, and from his reverence, Pen learned that honest
taste for port wine which distinguished him through life. And as for
that dear, good woman, Mrs. Portman, who was not in the least jealous,
though her doctor avowed himself in love with Mrs. Pendennis, whom he
pronounced to be by far the finest lady in the county--all her grief
was, as she looked up fondly at Pen perched on the book-ladder, that her
daughter Minny was too old for him--as indeed she was; Miss Mira Portman
being at that period only two years younger than Pen's mother, and
weighing as much as Pen and Mrs. Pendennis together.

Are these details insipid? Look back, good friend, at your own youth,
and ask how was that? I like to think of a well-nurtured boy, brave and
gentle, warm-hearted and loving, and looking the world in the face with
kind, honest eyes. What bright colors it wore then, and how you enjoyed
it! A man has not many years of such time. He does not know them while
they are with him. It is only when they are passed long away that he
remembers how dear and happy they were.

In order to keep Mr. Pen from indulging in that idleness of which
his friend the doctor of the Cistercians had prophesied such awful
consequences, Mr. Smirke, Dr. Portman's curate, was engaged at a liberal
salary, to walk or ride over from Clavering, and pass several hours
daily with the young gentleman. Smirke was a man perfectly faultless at
a tea-table, wore a curl on his fair forehead, and tied his neck-cloth
with a melancholy grace. He was a decent scholar and mathematician, and
taught Pen as much as the lad was ever disposed to learn, which was not
much. For Pen had soon taken the measure of his tutor, who, when he came
riding into the court-yard at Fairoaks on his pony, turned out his toes
so absurdly, and left such a gap between his knees and the saddle, that
it was impossible for any lad endowed with a sense of humor to respect
such an equestrian. He nearly killed Smirke with terror by putting him
on his mare, and taking him a ride over a common, where the county
fox-hounds (then hunted by that stanch old sportsman, Mr. Hardhead, of
Dumplingbeare) happened to meet. Mr. Smirke, on Pen's mare, Rebecca (she
was named after Pen's favorite heroine, the daughter of Isaac of York),
astounded the hounds as much as he disgusted the huntsman, laming one
of the former by persisting in riding among the pack, and receiving a
speech from the latter, more remarkable for energy of language, than any
oration he had ever heard since he left the bargemen on the banks of
Isis.

Smirke confided to his pupil his poems both Latin and English; and
presented to Mrs. Pendennis a volume of the latter, printed at Clapham,
his native place. The two read the ancient poets together, and rattled
through them at a pleasant rate, very different from that steady
grubbing pace with which the Cistercians used to go over the classic
ground, scenting out each word as they went, and digging up every root
in the way. Pen never liked to halt, but made his tutor construe when he
was at fault, and thus galloped through the Iliad and the Odyssey, the
tragic play-writers, and the charming wicked Aristophanes (whom he vowed
to be the greatest poet of all). But he went at such a pace that, though
he certainly galloped through a considerable extent of the ancient
country, he clean forgot it in after-life, and had only such a vague
remembrance of his early classic course as a man has in the House of
Commons, let us say, who still keeps up two or three quotations; or a
reviewer who, just for decency's sake, hints at a little Greek. Our
people are the most prosaic in the world, but the most faithful; and
with curious reverence we keep up and transmit, from generation to
generation, the superstition of what we call the education of a
gentleman.

Besides the ancient poets you may be sure Pen read the English with
great gusto. Smirke sighed and shook his head sadly both about Byron and
Moore. But Pen was a sworn fire-worshiper and a Corsair; he had them by
heart, and used to take little Laura into the window, and say--"Zuleika,
I am not thy brother," in tones so tragic that they caused the solemn
little maid to open her great eyes still wider. She sat until the proper
hour for retirement, sewing at Mrs. Pendennis's knee, and listening to
Pen reading out to her of nights, without comprehending one word of what
he read.

He read Shakspeare to his mother (which she said she liked, but didn't),
and Byron, and Pope, and his favorite Lalla Rookh, which pleased
her indifferently. But as for Bishop Heber, and Mrs. Hemans above
all, this lady used to melt right away, and be absorbed into her
pocket-handkerchief, when Pen read those authors to her in his kind,
boyish voice. The "Christian Year" was a book which appeared about that
time. The son and the mother whispered it to each other with awe: faint,
very faint, and seldom in after-life Pendennis heard that solemn church
music: but he always loved the remembrance of it, and of the times when
it struck on his heart, and he walked over the fields full of hope and
void of doubt, as the church bells rang on Sunday morning.

It was at this period of his existence, that Pen broke out in the poets'
corner of the County Chronicle, with some verses with which he was
perfectly well satisfied. His are the verses signed "NEP.," addressed
"To a Tear;" "On the Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo;" "To Madame
Caradori singing at the Assize Meetings;" "On Saint Bartholomew's Day"
(a tremendous denunciation of Popery, and a solemn warning to the people
of England to rally against emancipating the Roman Catholics), &c.,
&c.--all which masterpieces Mrs. Pendennis no doubt keeps to this day,
along with his first socks, the first cutting of his hair, his bottle,
and other interesting relics of his infancy. He used to gallop Rebecca
over the neighboring Dumpling Downs, or into the county town, which, if
you please, we shall call Chatteries, spouting his own poems, and filled
with quite a Byronic afflatus, as he thought.

His genius at this time was of a decidedly gloomy cast. He brought his
mother a tragedy, in which, though he killed sixteen people before the
second act, it made her laugh so, that he thrust his masterpiece into
the fire in a pet. He projected an epic poem in blank verse, "Cortez,
or the Conqueror of Mexico, and the Inca's Daughter." He wrote part of
"Seneca, or the Fatal Bath," and "Ariadne in Naxos;" classical pieces,
with choruses and strophes and antistrophes, which sadly puzzled poor
Mrs. Pendennis; and began a "History of the Jesuits," in which he
lashed that order with tremendous severity, and warned his Protestant
fellow-countrymen of their machinations. His loyalty did his mother's
heart good to witness. He was a stanch, unflinching Church-and-King man
in those days; and at the election, when Sir Giles Beanfield stood on
the Blue interest, against Lord Trehawk, Lord Eyrie's son, a Whig and
a friend of Popery, Arthur Pendennis, with an immense bow for himself,
which his mother made, and with a blue ribbon for Rebecca, rode
alongside of the Reverend Doctor Portman, on his gray mare Dowdy, and
at the head of the Clavering voters, whom the doctor brought up to
plump for the Protestant champion.

On that day Pen made his first speech at the Blue Hotel; and also, it
appears, for the first time in his life, took a little more wine than
was good for him. Mercy! what a scene it was at Fairoaks, when he rode
back at ever so much o'clock at night. What moving about of lanterns in
the court-yard and stables, though the moon was shining out; what a
gathering of servants, as Pen came home, clattering over the bridge and
up the stable-yard, with half-a-score of the Clavering voters yelling
after him the Blue song of the election.

He wanted them all to come in and have some wine--some very good
Madeira--some capital Madeira--John, go and get some Madeira--and there
is no knowing what the farmers would have done, had not Madam Pendennis
made her appearance in a white wrapper, with a candle, and scared those
zealous Blues so by the sight of her pale, handsome face, that they
touched their hats, and rode off.

Besides these amusements and occupations in which Mr. Pen indulged,
there was one which forms the main business and pleasure of youth, if
the poets tell us aright, whom Pen was always studying; and this young
fellow's heart was so ardent, and his imagination so eager, that it is
not to be expected he should long escape the passion to which we allude,
and which, ladies, you have rightly guessed to be that of Love. Pen
sighed for it first in secret, and, like the love-sick swain in Ovid,
opened his breast, and said--"Aura, veni." What generous youth is there
that has not courted some such windy mistress in his time?

Yes, Pen began to feel the necessity of a first love--of a consuming
passion--of an object on which he could concentrate all those vague,
floating fancies under which he sweetly suffered--of a young lady to
whom he could really make verses, and whom he could set up and adore, in
place of those unsubstantial Ianthes and Zuleikas to whom he addressed
the outpourings of his gushing muse. He read his favorite poems over
and over again, he called upon Alma Venus, the delight of gods and men,
he translated Anacreon's odes, and picked out passages suitable to
his complaint from Waller, Dryden, Prior, and the like. Smirke and he
were never weary, in their interviews, of discoursing about love. The
faithless tutor entertained him with sentimental conversations in place
of lectures on algebra and Greek; for Smirke was in love too. Who could
help it, being in daily intercourse with such a woman? Smirke was madly
in love (as far as such a mild flame as Mr. Smirke's may be called
madness) with Mrs. Pendennis. That honest lady, sitting down below
stairs, teaching little Laura to play the piano, or devising flannel
petticoats for the poor round about her, or otherwise busied with the
calm routine of her modest and spotless Christian life, was little
aware what storms were brewing in two bosoms up-stairs in the study--in
Pen's, as he sat in his shooting jacket, with his elbows on the green
study-table, and his hands clutching his curly brown hair, Homer under
his nose--and in worthy Mr. Smirke's, with whom he was reading. Here
they would talk about Helen and Andromache. "Andromache's like my
mother," Pen used to avouch; "but I say, Smirke, by Jove I'd cut off
my nose to see Helen:" and he would spout certain favorite lines which
the reader will find in their proper place in the third book. He drew
portraits of her--they are extant still--with straight noses and
enormous eyes, and "Arthur Pendennis delineavit et pinxit" gallantly
written underneath.

As for Mr. Smirke he naturally preferred Andromache. And in consequence
he was uncommonly kind to Pen. He gave him his Elzevir Horace, of which
the boy was fond, and his little Greek Testament which his own mamma
at Clapham had purchased and presented to him. He bought him a silver
pencil case; and in the matter of learning let him do just as much or
as little as ever he pleased. He always seemed to be on the point of
unbosoming himself to Pen: nay, he confessed to the latter that he
had a--an attachment, an ardently cherished attachment, about which
Pendennis longed to hear, and said, "Tell us, old chap, is she handsome?
has she got blue eyes or black?" But Doctor Portman's curate, heaving a
gentle sigh, cast up his eyes to the ceiling, and begged Pen, faintly,
to change the conversation. Poor Smirke! He invited Pen to dine at
his lodgings over Madame Fribsby's, the milliner's, in Clavering, and
once when it was raining, and Mrs. Pendennis, who had driven in her
pony-chaise into Clavering with respect to some arrangements, about
leaving off mourning probably, was prevailed upon to enter the curate's
apartments, he sent out for poundcakes instantly. The sofa on which she
sate became sacred to him from that day: and he kept flowers in the
glass which she drank from ever after.

As Mrs. Pendennis was never tired of hearing the praises of her son,
we may be certain that this rogue of a tutor neglected no opportunity
of conversing with her upon that subject. It might be a little tedious
to him to hear the stories about Pen's generosity, about his bravery
in fighting the big naughty boy, about his fun and jokes, about his
prodigious skill in Latin, music, riding, &c.--but what price would he
not pay to be in her company? and the widow, after these conversations,
thought Mr. Smirke a very pleasing and well-informed man. As for her son
she had not settled in her mind, whether he was to be Senior Wrangler
and Archbishop of Canterbury, or Double First Class at Oxford, and Lord
Chancellor. That all England did not possess his peer, was a fact about
which there was, in her mind, no manner of question.

A simple person of inexpensive habits, she began forthwith to save,
and, perhaps, to be a little parsimonious, in favor of her boy. There
were no entertainments, of course, at Fairoaks, during the year of
her weeds. Nor, indeed, did the doctor's silver dish-covers, of which
he was so proud, and which were flourished all over with the arms of
the Pendennises, and surmounted with their crest, come out of the
plate-chests again for long, long years. The household was diminished,
and its expenses curtailed. There was a very blank anchorite repast
when Pen dined from home: and he himself headed the remonstrance from
the kitchen regarding the deteriorated quality of the Fairoaks beer.
She was becoming miserly for Pen. Indeed, who ever accused women of
being just? They are always sacrificing themselves or somebody for
somebody else's sake.

There happened to be no young woman in the small circle of friends who
were in the widow's intimacy whom Pendennis could by any possibility
gratify by endowing her with the inestimable treasure of a heart which
he was longing to give away. Some young fellows in this predicament
bestow their young affections upon Dolly, the dairy-maid, or cast the
eyes of tenderness upon Molly, the blacksmith's daughter. Pen thought
a Pendennis much too grand a personage to stoop so low. He was too
high-minded for a vulgar intrigue, and, at the idea of an intrigue or a
seduction, had he ever entertained it, his heart would have revolted as
from the notion of any act of baseness or dishonor. Miss Minny Portman
was too old, too large, and too fond of reading "Rollin's Ancient
History." The Miss Boardbacks, Admiral Boardback's daughters (of St.
Vincent's, or fourth of June House, as it was called), disgusted Pen
with the London airs which they brought into the country, from
Gloucester Place, where they passed the season, and looked down upon
Pen as a chit. Captain Glanders's (H. P., 50th Dragoon Guards) three
girls were in brown-holland pinafores as yet, with the ends of their
hair-plaits tied up in dirty pink ribbon. Not having acquired the art of
dancing, the youth avoided such chances as he might have had of meeting
with the fair sex at the Chatteries' Assemblies; in fine, he was not
in love, because there was nobody at hand to fell in love with. And the
young monkey used to ride out, day after day, in quest of Dulcinea, and
peep into the pony-chaises and gentlefolks' carriages, as they drove
along the broad turnpike roads, with a heart heating within him,
and a secret tremor and hope that _she_ might be in that yellow
post-chaise coming swinging up the hill, or one of those three girls
in beaver bonnets in the back seat of the double gig, which the fat
old gentleman in black was driving, at four miles an hour. The
post-chaise contained a snuffy old dowager of seventy, with a maid,
her contemporary. The three girls in the beaver bonnets were no
handsomer than the turnips that skirted the roadside. Do as he might,
and ride where he would, the fairy princess that he was to rescue and
win, had not yet appeared to honest Pen.

Upon these points he did not discourse to his mother. He had a world
of his own. What generous, ardent, imaginative soul has not a secret
pleasure-place in which it disports? Let no clumsy prying or dull
meddling of ours try to disturb it in our children. Actæon was a brute
for wanting to push in where Diana was bathing. Leave him occasionally
alone, my good madame, if you have a poet for a child. Even your
admirable advice may be a bore sometimes. You are faultless; but it
does not follow that every body in your family is to think exactly like
yourself. Yonder little child may have thoughts too deep even for your
great mind, and fancies so coy and timid that they will not bare them
selves when your ladyship sits by.

Helen Pendennis by the force of sheer love divined a great number of
her son's secrets. But she kept these things in her heart (if we may so
speak), and did not speak of them. Besides, she had made up her mind
that he was to marry little Laura, who would be eighteen when Pen was
six-and-twenty: and had finished his college career, and had made his
grand tour, and was settled either in London, astonishing all the
metropolis by his learning and eloquence at the bar, or, better still,
in a sweet country parsonage surrounded with hollyhocks and roses, close
to a delightful romantic ivy-covered church, from the pulpit of which
Pen would utter the most beautiful sermons ever preached.

       *       *       *       *       *

While these natural sentiments were waging war and trouble in honest
Pen's bosom, it chanced one day that he rode into Chatteries, for the
purpose of carrying to the County Chronicle a tremendous and thrilling
poem for the next week's paper; and putting up his horse according to
custom, at the stables of the George Hotel there, he fell in with an old
acquaintance. A grand black tandem, with scarlet wheels came rattling
into the inn yard, as Pen stood there in converse with the hostler about
Rebecca; and the voice of the driver called out, "Hallo, Pendennis, is
that you?" in a loud, patronizing manner. Pen had some difficulty in
recognizing under the broad-brimmed hat and the vast great coats and
neckcloths, with which the new comer was habited, the person and figure
of his quondam schoolfellow, Mr. Foker.

A year's absence had made no small difference in that gentleman. A youth
who had been deservedly whipped a few months previously, and who spent
his pocket-money on tarts and hardbake, now appeared before Pen in one
of those costumes to which the public consent, that I take to be quite
as influential in this respect as "Johnson's Dictionary," has awarded
the title of "Swell." He had a bull-dog between his legs, and in his
scarlet shawl neckcloth was a pin representing another bull-dog in gold:
he wore a fur waistcoat laced over with gold chains; a green cut-away
coat with basket-buttons, and a white upper-coat ornamented with
cheese-plate buttons, on each of which was engraved some stirring
incident of the road or the chase; all which ornaments set off this
young fellow's figure to such advantage, that you would hesitate to say
which character in life he most resembled, and whether he was a boxer
_en goguette_, or a coachman in his gala suit.

"Left that place for good, Pendennis?" Mr. Foker said, descending from
his landau, and giving Pendennis a finger.

"Yes, this year or more," Pen said.

"Beastly old hole," Mr. Foker remarked. "Hate it. Hate the doctor: hate
Towzer, the second master; hate every body there. Not a fit place for a
gentleman."

"Not at all," said Pen with an air of the utmost consequence.

"By gad, sir, I sometimes dream, now, that the doctor's walking into
me," Foker continued (and Pen smiled as he thought that he himself had
likewise fearful dreams of this nature). "When I think of the diet
there, by gad, sir, I wonder how I stood it. Mangy mutton, brutal beef,
pudding on Thursdays and Sundays, and that fit to poison you. Just look
at my leader--did you ever see a prettier animal? Drove over from
Baymouth. Came the nine mile in two-and-forty minutes. Not bad going,
sir."

"Are you stopping at Baymouth, Foker?" Pendennis asked.

"I'm coaching there," said the other, with a nod.

"_What?_" asked Pen, and in a tone of such wonder, that Foker burst out
laughing, and said, "He was blowed if he didn't think Pen was such a
flat as not to know what coaching meant."

"I'm come down with a coach from Oxford. A tutor, don't you see, old
boy? He's coaching me, and some other men, for the little go. Me and
Spavin have the drag between us. And I thought I'd just tool over, and
go to the play. Did you ever see Rowkins do the hornpipe?" and Mr. Foker
began to perform some steps of that popular dance in the inn yard,
looking round for the sympathy of his groom and the stable men.

Pen thought he would like to go to the play too: and could ride home
afterward, as there was a moonlight. So he accepted Foker's invitation
to dinner, and the young men entered the inn together, where Mr. Foker
stopped at the bar, and called upon Miss Rincer, the landlady's fair
daughter, who presided there, to give him a glass of "his mixture."

Pen and his family had been known at the George ever since they came
into the country; and Mr. Pendennis's carriages and horses always put up
there when he paid a visit to the county town. The landlady dropped the
heir of Fairoaks a respectful courtesy, and complimented him upon his
growth and manly appearance, and asked news of the family at Fairoaks,
and of Doctor Portman and the Clavering people, to all of which questions
the young gentleman answered with much affability. But he spoke to Mr.
and Mrs. Rincer with that sort of good nature with which a young prince
addresses his father's subjects; never dreaming that those "bonnes gens"
were his equals in life.

Mr. Foker's behavior was quite different. He inquired for Rincer and the
cold in his nose, told Mrs. Rincer a riddle, asked Miss Rincer when she
would be ready to marry him, and paid his compliments to Miss Brett,
the other young lady in the bar, all in a minute of time, and with a
liveliness and facetiousness which set all these ladies in a giggle; and
he gave a cluck, expressive of great satisfaction as he tossed off his
mixture which Miss Rincer prepared and handed to him.

"Have a drop," said he to Pen, "it's recommended to me by the faculty as
a what-do-you-call-'em--a stomatic, old boy. Give the young one a glass,
R, and score it up to yours truly."

Poor Pen took a glass, and every body laughed at the face which he
made as he put it down.--Gin, bitters, and some other cordial, was the
compound with which Mr. Foker was so delighted as to call it by the name
of Foker's own. As Pen choked, sputtered, and made faces, the other took
occasion to remark to Mr. Rincer that the young fellow was green, very
green, but that he would soon form him; and then they proceeded to order
dinner--which Mr. Foker determined should consist of turtle and venison;
cautioning the landlady to be very particular about icing the wine.

Then Messrs. Foker and Pen strolled down the High-street together--the
former having a cigar in his mouth, which he had drawn out of a case
almost as big as a portmanteau. He went in to replenish it at Mr.
Lewis's, and talked to that gentleman for a while, sitting down on the
counter; he then looked in at the fruiterer's, to see the pretty girl
there, to whom he paid compliments similar to those before addressed to
the bar at the George; then they passed the County Chronicle office, for
which Pen had his packet ready, in the shape of "Lines to Thyrza," but
poor Pen did not like to put the letter into the editor's box while
walking in company with such a fine gentleman as Mr. Foker. They met
heavy dragoons of the regiment always quartered at Chatteries; and
stopped and talked about the Baymouth balls, and what a pretty girl was
Miss Brown, and what a dem fine woman Mrs. Jones was. It was in vain
that Pen recalled to his own mind what a stupid ass Foker used to be
at school--how he could scarcely read, how he was not cleanly in his
person, and notorious for his blunders and dullness. Mr. Foker was no
more like a gentleman now than in his school days; and yet Pen felt
a secret pride in strutting down High-street with a young fellow who
owned tandems, talked to officers, and ordered turtle and champagne for
dinner. He listened, and with respect too, to Mr. Foker's accounts of
what the men did at the University of which Mr. F. was an ornament, and
encountered a long series of stories about boat-racing, bumping, College
grass-plats, and milk-punch--and began to wish to go up himself to
College to a place where there were such manly pleasures and enjoyments.
Farmer Gurnett, who lives close by Fairoaks, riding by at this minute
and touching his hat to Pen, the latter stopped him, and sent a message
to his mother to say that he had met with an old schoolfellow, and
should dine in Chatteries.

The two young gentlemen continued their walk, and were passing round
the Cathedral Yard, where they could hear the music of the afternoon
service (a music which always exceedingly impressed and affected Pen),
but whither Mr. Foker came for the purpose of inspecting the nursery
maids who frequent the Elms Walk there, and who are uncommonly pretty
at Chatteries, and here they strolled until with a final burst of music
the small congregation was played out.

Old Doctor Portman was one of the few who came from the venerable gate.
Spying Pen, he came and shook him by the hand, and eyed with wonder
Pen's friend, from whose mouth and cigar clouds of fragrance issued,
which curled round the doctor's honest face and shovel hat.

"An old schoolfellow of mine, Mr. Foker," said Pen. The doctor said
"H'm": and scowled at the cigar. He did not mind a pipe in his study,
but the cigar was an abomination to the worthy gentleman.

"I came up on Bishop's business," the doctor said. "We'll ride home,
Arthur, if you like?"

"I--I'm engaged to my friend here," Pen answered.

"You had better come home with me," said the doctor.

"His mother knows he's out, sir," Mr. Foker remarked; "don't she,
Pendennis?"

"But that does not prove that he had not better come home with me," the
doctor growled, and he walked off with great dignity.

"Old boy don't like the weed, I suppose," Foker said. "Ha! who's
here?--here's the general, and Bingley, the manager. How do, Cos? How
do, Bingley?"

"How does my worthy and gallant young Foker?" said the gentleman
addressed as the general; and who wore a shabby military cape with
a mangy collar, and a hat cocked very much over one eye.

"Trust you are very well, my very dear sir," said the other gentleman,
"and that the Theater Royal will have the honor of your patronage
to-night. We perform 'The Stranger,' in which your humble servant
will--"

"Can't stand you in tights and Hessians, Bingley," young Mr. Foker said.
On which the general, with the Irish accent, said, "But I think ye'll
like Miss Fotheringay, in Mrs. Haller, or me name's not Jack Costigan."

Pen looked at these individuals with the greatest interest. He had never
seen an actor before; and he saw Dr. Portman's red face looking over the
doctor's shoulder, as he retreated from the Cathedral Yard, evidently
quite dissatisfied with the acquaintances into whose hands Pen had
fallen.

Perhaps it would have been much better for him had he taken the parson's
advice and company home. But which of us knows his fate?



CHAPTER IV.

MRS. HALLER.


[Illustration]

Having returned to the George, Mr. Foker and his guest sate down
to a handsome repast in the coffee-room; where Mr. Rincer brought
in the first dish, and bowed as gravely as if he was waiting upon the
Lord-Lieutenant of the county. Mr. Foker attacked the turtle and venison
with as much gusto as he had shown the year before, when he used to make
feasts off ginger-beer and smuggled polonies. Pen could not but respect
his connoisseurship as he pronounced the champagne to be condemned
gooseberry, and winked at the port with one eye. The latter he declared
to be of the right sort; and told the waiters, there was no way of
humbugging _him_. All these attendants he knew by their Christian names,
and showed a great interest in their families; and as the London coaches
drove up, which in those early days used to set off from the George,
Mr. Foker flung the coffee-room window open, and called the guards and
coachmen by their Christian names, too, asking about their respective
families, and imitating with great liveliness and accuracy the tooting
of the horns as Jem the ostler whipped the horses' cloths off, and the
carriages drove gayly away.

"A bottle of sherry, a bottle of sham, a bottle of port and a shass
caffy, it ain't so bad, hay, Pen?" Foker said, and pronounced, after all
these delicacies and a quantity of nuts and fruit had been dispatched,
that it was time to "toddle." Pen sprang up with very bright eyes, and
a flushed face; and they moved off toward the theater, where they paid
their money to the wheezy old lady slumbering in the money taker's box.
"Mrs. Dropsicum, Bingley's mother-in-law, great in Lady Macbeth," Foker
said to his companion. Foker knew her, too.

They had almost their choice of places in the boxes of the theater,
which was no better filled than country theaters usually are, in spite
of the "universal burst of attraction and galvanic thrills of delight"
advertised by Bingley in the play-bills. A score or so of people
dotted the pit-benches, a few more kept a kicking and whistling in the
galleries, and a dozen others, who came in with free admissions, were
in the boxes where our young gentlemen sate. Lieutenants Rodgers and
Podgers, and young Cornet Tidmus, of the Dragoons, occupied a private
box. The performers acted to them, and these gentlemen seemed to hold
conversations with the players when not engaged in the dialogue, and
applauded them by name loudly.

Bingley the manager, who assumed all the chief tragic and comic parts
except when he modestly retreated to make way for the London stars, who
came down occasionally to Chatteries; was great in the character of the
"Stranger." He was attired in the tight pantaloons and Hessian boots
which the stage legend has given to that injured man, with a large cloak
and beaver and a hearse feather in it drooping over his raddled old
face, and only partially concealing his great buckled brown wig. He had
the stage-jewelry on, too, of which he selected the largest and most
shiny rings for himself, and allowed his little finger to quiver out
of his cloak with a sham diamond ring covering the first joint of the
finger and twiddling in the faces of the pit. Bingley made it a favor
to the young men of his company to go on in light comedy parts with
that ring. They flattered him by asking its history. The stage has its
traditional jewels as the crown and all great families have. This had
belonged to George Frederick Cooke, who had had it from Mr. Quin, who
may have bought it for a shilling. Bingley fancied the world was
fascinated with its glitter.

He was reading out of the stage-book--that wonderful stage-book which
is not bound like any other book in the world, but is rouged and tawdry
like the hero or heroine who holds it; and who holds it as people never
do hold books; and points with his finger to a passage, and wags his
head ominously at the audience, and then lifts up eyes and finger to
the ceiling professing to derive some intense consolation from the
work, between which and heaven there is a strong affinity. Any body
who has ever seen one of our great light comedians, X. in a chintz
dressing-gown, such as nobody ever wore, and representing himself to the
public as a young nobleman in his apartments, and whiling away the time
with light literature until his friend Sir Harry shall arrive, or his
father shall come down to breakfast--any body, I say, who has seen the
great X. over a sham book has indeed had a great pleasure and an abiding
matter for thought.

Directly the Stranger saw the young men, he acted at them; eying them
solemnly over his gilt volume as he lay on the stage-bank showing his
hand, his ring, and his Hessians. He calculated the effect that every
one of these ornaments would produce upon his victims; he was determined
to fascinate them, for he knew they had paid their money; and he saw
their families coming in from the country and filling the cane chairs
in his boxes.

As he lay on the bank reading, his servant, Francis, made remarks upon
his master.

"Again reading," said Francis, "thus it is, from morn to night. To him
nature has no beauty--life no charm. For three years I have never seen
him smile" (the gloom of Bingley's face was fearful to witness during
these comments of the faithful domestic). "Nothing diverts him. O, if
he would but attach himself to any living thing, were it an animal--for
something man must love."

[_Enter Tobias_ (_Goll_) _from the hut_]. He cries, "O, how refreshing,
after seven long weeks, to feel these warm sunbeams once again. Thanks,
bounteous heaven, for the joy I taste!" He presses his cap between his
hands, looks up and prays. The Stranger eyes him attentively.

_Francis to the Stranger._ "This old man's share of earthly happiness
can be but little. Yet mark how grateful he is for his portion of it."

_Bingley._ "Because though old, he is but a child in the leading-string
of hope." (He looks steadily at Foker, who, however, continues to suck
the top of his stick in an unconcerned manner.)

_Francis._ "Hope is the nurse of life."

_Bingley._ "And her cradle--is the grave."

The stranger uttered this with the moan of a bassoon in agony, and
fixed his eyes on Pendennis so steadily, that the poor lad was quite
put out of countenance. He thought the whole house must be looking at
him; and cast his eyes down. As soon as ever he raised them Bingley's
were at him again. All through the scene the manager played at him.
When he was about to do a good action, and sent off Francis with his
book, so that that domestic should not witness the deed of benevolence
which he meditated, Bingley marked the page carefully, so that he might
continue the perusal of the volume off the stage if he liked. But all
was done in the direct face of Pendennis, whom the manager was bent upon
subjugating. How relieved the lad was when the scene ended, and Foker,
tapping with his cane, cried out, "Bravo Bingley!"

"Give him a hand, Pendennis; you know every chap likes a hand,"
Mr. Foker said; and the good-natured young gentleman, and Pendennis
laughing, and the dragoons in the opposite box, began clapping hands
to the best of their power.

A chamber in Wintersen Castle closed over Tobias's hut and the Stranger
and his boots; and servants appeared bustling about with chairs and
tables--"That's Hicks and Miss Thackthwaite," whispered Foker. "Pretty
girl, ain't she, Pendennis? But stop--hurray--bravo! here's the
Fotheringay."

The pit thrilled and thumped its umbrellas; a volley of applause was
fired from the gallery: the dragoon officers and Foker clapped their
hands furiously: you would have thought the house was full, so loud
were their plaudits. The red face and ragged whiskers of Mr. Costigan
were seen peering from the side-scene. Pen's eyes opened wide and
bright, as Mrs. Haller entered with a downcast look, then rallying at
the sound of the applause, swept the house with a grateful glance,
and, folding her hands across her breast, sank down in a magnificent
courtesy. More applause, more umbrellas; Pen this time, flaming with
wine and enthusiasm, clapped hands and sang "bravo" louder than all.
Mrs. Haller saw him, and every body else, and old Mr. Bows, the little
first fiddler of the orchestra (which was this night increased by a
detachment of the band of the Dragoons, by the kind permission of
Colonel Swallowtail), looked up from the desk where he was perched,
with his crutch beside him, and smiled at the enthusiasm of the lad.

Those who have only seen Miss Fotheringay in later days, since her
marriage and introduction into London life, have little idea how
beautiful a creature she was at the time when our friend Pen first set
eyes on her: and I warn my reader, as beforehand, that the pencil which
illustrates this work (and can draw an ugly face tolerably well, but is
sadly put out when it tries to delineate a beauty) can give no sort of
notion of her. She was of the tallest of women, and at her then age of
six-and-twenty--for six-and-twenty she was, though she vows she was
only nineteen--in the prime and fullness of her beauty. Her forehead
was vast, and her black hair waved over it with a natural ripple (that
beauties of late days have tried to imitate with the help of the
crimping-irons) and was confined in shining and voluminous braids
at the back of a neck such as you see on the shoulders of the Louvre
Venus--that delight of gods and men. Her eyes, when she lifted them
up to gaze on you, and ere she dropped their purple deep-fringed lids,
shone with tenderness and mystery unfathomable. Love and Genius seemed
to look out from them and then retire coyly, as if ashamed to have been
seen at the lattice. Who could have had such a commanding brow but a
woman of high intellect? She never laughed (indeed her teeth were not
good), but a smile of endless tenderness and sweetness played round her
beautiful lips, and in the dimples of her cheeks and her lovely chin.
Her nose defied description in those days. Her ears were like two little
pearl shells, which the ear-rings she wore (though the handsomest
properties in the theater) only insulted. She was dressed in long
flowing robes of black, which she managed and swept to and fro with
wonderful grace, and out of the folds of which you only saw her sandals
occasionally; they were of rather a large size; but Pen thought them as
ravishing as the slippers of Cinderella. But it was her hand and arm
that this magnificent creature most excelled in, and somehow you could
never see her but through them. They surrounded her. When she folded
them over her bosom in resignation; when she dropped them in mute agony,
or raised them in superb command; when in sportive gayety her hands
fluttered and waved before her, like--what shall we say?--like the snowy
doves before the chariot of Venus--it was with these arms and hands that
she beckoned, repelled, entreated, embraced, her admirers--no single
one, for she was armed with her own virtue, and with her father's valor,
whose sword would have leapt from its scabbard at any insult offered to
his child--but the whole house; which rose to her, as the phrase was, as
she courtesied and bowed, and charmed it.

Thus she stood for a minute--complete and beautiful--as Pen stared at
her. "I say, Pen, isn't she a stunner?" asked Mr. Foker.

"Hush!" Pen said. "She's speaking."

She began her business in a deep sweet voice. Those who know the
play of the "Stranger," are aware that the remarks made by the various
characters are not valuable in themselves, either for their sound sense,
their novelty of observation, or their poetic fancy. In fact, if a man
were to say it was a stupid play he would not be far wrong. Nobody ever
talked so. If we meet idiots in life, as will happen, it is a great
mercy that they do not use such absurdly fine words. The Stranger's
talk is sham, like the book he reads, and the hair he wears, and the
bank he sits on, and the diamond ring he makes play with--but, in the
midst of the balderdash, there runs that reality of love, children, and
forgiveness of wrong, which will be listened to wherever it is preached,
and sets all the world sympathizing.

With what smothered sorrow, with what gushing pathos, Mrs. Haller
delivered her part! At first, when as Count Wintersen's housekeeper, and
preparing for his Excellency's arrival, she has to give orders about the
beds and furniture, and the dinner, &c., to be got ready, she did so
with the calm agony of despair. But when she could get rid of the stupid
servants and give vent to her feelings to the pit and the house, she
overflowed to each individual as if he were her particular confidant,
and she was crying out her griefs on his shoulder: the little fiddler
in the orchestra (whom she did not seem to watch, though he followed
her ceaselessly) twitched, twisted, nodded, pointed about, and when
she came to the favorite passage "I have a William, too, if he be still
alive--Ah, yes, if he be still alive. His little sisters, too! Why,
Fancy, dost thou rack me so? Why dost thou image my poor children
fainting in sickness, and crying to--to--their mum-um-_other_,"--when
she came to this passage little Bows buried his face in his blue cotton
handkerchief, after crying out "Bravo."

All the house was affected. Foker, for his part, taking out a large
yellow bandanna, wept piteously. As for Pen, he was gone too far for
that. He followed the woman about and about--when she was off the stage,
it and the house were blank; the lights and the red officers reeled
wildly before his sight. He watched her at the side-scene--where she
stood waiting to come on the stage, and where her father took off her
shawl; when the reconciliation arrived, and she flung herself down on
Mr. Bingley's shoulders, while the children clung to their knees, and
the countess (Mrs. Bingley) and Baron Steinforth (performed with great
liveliness and spirit by Garbetts)--while the rest of the characters
formed a group round them, Pen's hot eyes only saw Fotheringay,
Fotheringay. The curtain fell upon him like a pall. He did not hear a
word of what Bingley said, who came forward to announce the play for
the next evening, and who took the tumultuous applause, as usual, for
himself. Pen was not even distinctly aware that the house was calling
for Miss Fotheringay, nor did the manager seem to comprehend that any
body else but himself had caused the success of the play. At last he
understood it--stepped back with a grin, and presently appeared with
Mrs. Haller on his arm. How beautiful she looked! Her hair had fallen
down, the officers threw her flowers. She clutched them to her heart.
She put back her hair, and smiled all round. Her eyes met Pen's. Down
went the curtain again: and she was gone. Not one note could he hear
of the overture which the brass band of the Dragoons blew by kind
permission of Colonel Swallowtail.

"She _is_ a crusher, ain't she now?" Mr. Foker asked of his companion.

Pen did not know exactly what Foker said, and answered vaguely. He could
not tell the other what he felt; he could not have spoken, just then, to
any mortal. Besides, Pendennis did not quite know what he felt yet; it
was something overwhelming, maddening, delicious; a fever of wild joy
and undefined longing.

And now Rowkins and Miss Thackthwaite came on to dance the favorite
double hornpipe, and Foker abandoned himself to the delights of this
ballet, just as he had to the tears of the tragedy, a few minutes
before. Pen did not care for it, or indeed think about the dance, except
to remember that that woman was acting with her in the scene where she
first came in. It was a mist before his eyes. At the end of the dance he
looked at his watch and said it was time for him to go.

"Hang it, stay to see The Bravo of the Battle-Ax," Foker said,
"Bingley's splendid in it; he wears red tights, and has to carry Mrs. B.
over the Pine-bridge of the Cataract, only she's too heavy. It's great
fun, do stop."

Pen looked at the bill with one lingering fond hope that Miss
Fotheringay's name might be hidden somewhere in the list of the actors
of the after-piece, but there was no such name. Go he must. He had a
long ride home. He squeezed Foker's hand. He was choking to speak, but
he couldn't. He quitted the theater and walked frantically about the
town, he knew not how long; then he mounted at the George and rode
homeward, and Clavering clock sang out one as he came into the yard at
Fairoaks. The lady of the house might have been awake, but she only
heard him from the passage outside his room as he dashed into bed and
pulled the clothes over his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pen had not been in the habit of passing wakeful nights, so he at once
fell off into a sound sleep. Even in later days, and with a great deal
of care and other thoughtful matter to keep him awake, a man, from long
practice or fatigue or resolution, _begins_ by going to sleep as usual:
and gets a nap in advance of Anxiety. But she soon comes up with him and
jogs his shoulder, and says "Come, my man, no more of this laziness, you
must wake up and have a talk with me." Then they fall to together in the
midnight. Well, whatever might afterward happen to him, poor little Pen
was not come to this state yet; he tumbled into a sound sleep--did not
wake until an early hour in the morning, when the rooks began to caw
from the little wood beyond his bed-room windows; and--at that very
instant and as his eyes started open, the beloved image was in his mind.
"My dear boy," he heard her say, "you were in a sound sleep, and I would
not disturb you: but I have been close by your pillow all this while:
and I don't intend that you shall leave me. I am Love! I bring with me
fever and passion: wild longing, maddening desire; restless craving and
seeking. Many a long day ere this I heard you calling out for me; and
behold now I am come."

Was Pen frightened at the summons? Not he. He did not know what was
coming: it was all wild pleasure and delight as yet. And as, when three
years previously, and on entering the fifth form at the Cistercians, his
father had made him a present of a gold watch, which the boy took from
under his pillow and examined on the instant of waking: forever rubbing
and polishing it up in private, and retiring into corners to listen to
its ticking: so the young man exulted over his new delight; felt in his
waistcoat pocket to see that it was safe; wound it up at nights, and at
the very first moment of waking hugged it and looked at it.--By the way,
that first watch of Pen's was a showy ill manufactured piece: it never
went well from the beginning, and was always getting out of order. And
after putting it aside into a drawer and forgetting it for some time,
he swapped it finally away for a more useful time-keeper.

Pen felt himself to be ever so many years older since yesterday. There
was no mistake about it now. He was as much in love as the best hero in
the best romance he ever read. He told John to bring his shaving water
with the utmost confidence. He dressed himself in some of his finest
clothes that morning: and came splendidly down to breakfast, patronizing
his mother and little Laura, who had been strumming her music lesson for
hours before; and who after he had read the prayers (of which he did not
heed one single syllable) wondered at his grand appearance, and asked
him to tell her what the play was about.

Pen laughed, and declined to tell Laura what the play was about. In
fact, it was quite as well that she should not know. Then she asked him
why he had got on his fine pin and beautiful new waistcoat?

Pen blushed, and told his mother that the old schoolfellow with whom
he had dined at Chatteries was reading with a tutor at Baymouth, a very
learned man; and as he was himself to go to College, and as there were
several young men pursuing their studies at Baymouth--he was anxious to
ride over--and--and just see what the course of their reading was.

Laura made a long face. Helen Pendennis looked hard at her son, troubled
more than ever with the vague doubt and terror which had been haunting
her ever since the last night, when Farmer Gurnett brought back the news
that Pen would not return home to dinner. Arthur's eyes defied her. She
tried to console herself, and drive off her fears. The boy had never
told her an untruth. Pen conducted himself during breakfast in a very
haughty and supercilious manner; and, taking leave of the elder and
younger lady, was presently heard riding out of the stable court. He
went gently at first, but galloped like a madman as soon as he thought
he was out of hearing.

Smirke, thinking of his own affairs, and softly riding with his toes
out, to give Pen his three hours' reading at Fairoaks, met his pupil,
who shot by him like the wind. Smirke's pony shied, as the other
thundered past him; the gentle curate went over his head among the
stinging nettles in the hedge. Pen laughed as they met, pointed toward
the Baymouth road, and was gone half a mile in that direction before
poor Smirke had picked himself up.

Pen had resolved in his mind that he _must_ see Foker, that morning, he
must hear about her; know about her; be with somebody who knew her; and
honest Smirke, for his part, sitting up among the stinging-nettles, as
his pony cropped quietly in the hedge, thought dismally to himself,
ought he to go to Fairoaks now that his pupil was evidently gone away
for the day. Yes, he thought he might go too. He might go and ask Mrs.
Pendennis when Arthur would be back; and hear Miss Laura her Watts's
Catechism. He got up on the little pony--both were used to his slipping
off--and advanced upon the house from which his scholar had just rushed
away in a whirlwind.

Thus love makes fools of all of us, big and little; and the curate had
tumbled over head and heels in pursuit of it, and Pen had started in the
first heat of the mad race.



CHAPTER V.

MRS. HALLER AT HOME.


[Illustration]

Without slackening her pace, Rebecca the mare galloped on to Baymouth,
where Pen put her up at the inn stables, and ran straightway to Mr.
Foker's lodgings, which he knew from the direction given to him by that
gentleman on the previous day. On reaching these apartments, which were
over a chemist's shop whose stock of cigars and soda-water went off
rapidly by the kind patronage of his young inmates, Pen only found Mr.
Spavin, Foker's friend, and part owner of the tandem which the latter
had driven into Chatteries, who was smoking, and teaching a little dog,
a friend of his, tricks with a bit of biscuit.

Pen's healthy red face fresh from the gallop, compared oddly, with the
waxy, debauched little features of Foker's chum; the latter remarked it.
"Who's that man?" he thought, "he looks as fresh as a bean, _His_ hand
don't shake of a morning, I'd bet five to one."

Foker had not come home at all. Here was a disappointment!--

Mr. Spavin could not say when his friend would return. Sometimes he
stopped a day, sometimes a week. Of what college was Pen? Would he have
any thing? There was a very fair tap of ale. Mr. Spavin was enabled to
know Pendennis's name, on the card which the latter took out and laid
down (perhaps Pen in these days was rather proud of having a card)--and
so the young men took leave.

Then Pen went down the rock, and walked about on the sand, biting his
nails by the shore of the much sounding sea. It stretched before him
bright and immeasurable. The blue waters came rolling into the bay,
foaming and roaring hoarsely: Pen looked them in the face, with blank
eyes, hardly regarding them. What a tide there was pouring into the
lad's own mind at the time, and what a little power had he to check it!
Pen flung stones into the sea, but it still kept coming on. He was in
a rage at not seeing Foker. He wanted to see Foker. He must see Foker.
"Suppose I go on--on the Chatteries road, just to see if I can meet
him," Pen thought. Rebecca was saddled in another half hour, and
galloping on the grass by the Chatteries road. About four miles from
Baymouth, the Clavering road branches off, as every body knows, and the
mare naturally was for taking that turn, but, cutting her over the
shoulder, Pen passed the turning, and rode on to the turnpike without
seeing any sign of the black tandem and red wheels.

As he was at the turnpike, he might as well go on: that was quite clear.
So Pen rode to the George, and the hostler told him that Mr Foker was
there sure enough, and that "he'd been a making a tremendous row the
night afore, a drinkin and a singin, and wanting to fight Tom the
post-boy: which I'm thinking he'd have the worst of it," the man added,
with a grin.--"Have you carried up your master's hot water to shave
with?" he added, in a very satirical manner, to Mr. Foker's domestic,
who here came down the yard bearing his master's clothes, most
beautifully brushed and arranged. "Show Mr. Pendennis up to 'un," and
Pen followed the man at last to the apartment, where, in the midst of
an immense bed, Mr. Harry Foker lay reposing.

The feather bed and bolsters swelled up all round Mr. Foker, so that you
could hardly see his little sallow face and red silk night-cap.

"Hullo!" said Pen.

"Who goes there? brother, quickly tell!" sang out the voice from the
bed. "What! Pendennis again? Is your mamma acquainted with your absence?
Did you sup with us last night? No--stop--who supped with us last night,
Stoopid?"

"There was the three officers, sir, and Mr. Bingley, sir, and Mr.
Costigan, sir," the man answered, who received all Mr. Foker's remarks
with perfect gravity.

"Ah yes: the cup and merry jest went round. We chanted: and I remember
I wanted to fight a post-boy. Did I thrash him, Stoopid?"

"No, sir. Fight didn't come off, sir," said Stoopid, still with perfect
gravity. He was arranging Mr. Foker's dressing-case--a trunk, the gift
of a fond mother, without which the young fellow never traveled. It
contained a prodigious apparatus in plate; a silver dish, a silver mug,
silver boxes and bottles for all sorts of essences, and a choice of
razors ready against the time when Mr. Foker's beard should come.

"Do it some other day," said the young fellow, yawning and throwing up
his little lean arms over his head. "No, there was no fight; but there
was chanting. Bingley chanted, I chanted, the general chanted--Costigan
I mean.--Did you ever hear him sing 'The Little Pig under the Bed,'
Pen?"

"The man we met yesterday," said Pen, all in a tremor, "the father of--"

"Of the Fotheringay--the very man. Ain't she a Venus, Pen?"

"Please sir, Mr. Costigan's in the sittin-room, sir, and says, sir, you
asked him to breakfast, sir. Called five times, sir; but wouldn't wake
you on no account; and has been year since eleven o'clock, sir--"

"How much is it now?"

"One, sir."

"What would the best of mothers say," cried the little sluggard, "if she
saw me in bed at this hour? She sent me down here with a grinder. She
wants me to cultivate my neglected genus.--He he! I say, Pen, this isn't
quite like seven o'clock school--is it, old boy?"--and the young fellow
burst out into a boyish laugh of enjoyment. Then he added--"Go in and
talk to the general whilst I dress. And I say, Pendennis, ask him to
sing you 'The Little Pig under the Bed;' it's capital." Pen went off in
great perturbation, to meet Mr. Costigan, and Mr. Foker commenced his
toilet.

Of Mr. Foker's two grandfathers, the one from whom he inherited a
fortune, was a brewer; the other was an earl, who endowed him with the
most doting mother in the world. The Fokers had been at the Cistercian
school, from father to son; at which place, our friend whose name could
be seen over the play-ground wall, on a public-house sign, under which
"Foker's Entire" was painted, had been dreadfully bullied on account of
his trade, his uncomely countenance, his inaptitude for learning and
cleanliness, his gluttony and other weak points. But those who know how
a susceptible youth, under the tyranny of his schoolfellows becomes
silent and a sneak, may understand how, in a very few months after his
liberation from bondage, he developed himself as he had done; and became
the humorous, the sarcastic, the brilliant Foker, with whom we have made
acquaintance. A dunce he always was, it is true; for learning can not be
acquired by leaving school and entering at college as a fellow commoner;
but he was now (in his own peculiar manner) as great a dandy as he
before had been a slattern, and when he entered his sitting-room to join
his two guests, arrived scented and arrayed in fine linen, and perfectly
splendid in appearance.

General or Captain Costigan--for the latter was the rank which he
preferred to assume--was seated in the window with the newspaper held
before him at arm's length. The captain's eyes were somewhat dim; and
he was spelling the paper with the help of his lips as well as of those
blood-shot eyes of his, as you see gentlemen do to whom reading is a
rare and difficult occupation. His hat was cocked very much on one ear;
and as one of his feet lay up in the window-seat, the observer of such
matters might remark, by the size and shabbiness of the boots which the
captain wore that times did not go very well with him. Poverty seems
as if it were disposed, before it takes possession of a man entirely,
to attack his extremities first: the coverings of his head, feet, and
hands, are its first prey. All these parts of the captain's person were
particularly rakish and shabby. As soon as he saw Pen he descended from
the window-seat and saluted the new comer, first in a military manner,
by conveying a couple of his fingers (covered with a broken black glove)
to his hat, and then removing that ornament altogether. The captain was
inclined to be bald, but he brought a quantity of lank iron-gray hair
over his pate, and had a couple of wisps of the same falling down on
each side of his face. Much whisky had spoiled what complexion Mr.
Costigan may have possessed in his youth. His once handsome face had now
a copper tinge. He wore a very high stock, scarred and stained in many
places; and a dress-coat tightly buttoned up in those parts where the
buttons had not parted company from the garment.

"The young gentleman to whom I had the honor to be introjuiced yesterday
in the Cathadral Yard," said the captain, with a splendid bow and wave
of his hat. "I hope I see you well, sir. I marked ye in the thayater
last night during me daughter's perfawrumance; and missed ye on my
return. I did but conduct her home, sir, for Jack Costigan, though poor,
is a gentleman; and when I reintered the house to pay me respects to me
joyous young friend Mr. Foker--ye were gone. We had a jolly night of
ut, sir--Mr. Foker, the three gallant young dragoons, and your 'umble
servant. Gad, sir, it put me in mind of one of our old nights when I
bore His Majesty's commission in the Foighting Hundtherd and Third."
And he pulled out an old snuff-box, which he presented with a stately
air to his new acquaintance.

Arthur was a great deal too much flurried to speak. This shabby-looking
buck was--was her father. The captain was perfumed with the recollections
of the last night's cigars, and pulled and twisted the tuft on his chin
as jauntily as any young dandy.

"I hope, Miss F----, Miss Costigan is well sir," Pen said, flushing up.
"She--she gave me greater pleasure, than--than I--I--I ever enjoyed at
a play. I think, sir--I think she's the finest actress in the world,"
he gasped out.

"Your hand, young man! for ye speak from your heart," cried the
captain. "Thank ye, sir, an old soldier and a fond father thanks ye.
She _is_ the finest actress in the world. I've seen the Siddons, sir,
and the O'Nale.--They were great, but what were they compared to Miss
Fotheringay? I do not wish that she should ashume her own name while
on the stage. Me family, sir, are proud people; and the Costigans of
Costiganstown think that an honest man who has borne Her Majesty's
colors in the Hundred and Third, would demean himself, by permitting
his daughter to earn her old father's bread."

"There can not be a more honorable duty, surely," Pen said.

"Honorable! Bedad, sir, I'd like to see the man who said Jack Costigan
would consent to any thing dishonorable. I have a heart, sir, though
I am poor; I like a man who has a heart. You have; I read it in your
honest face and steady eye. And would you believe it?" he added, after
a pause, and with a pathetic whisper, "that that Bingley, who has made
his fortune by me child, gives her but two guineas a week, out of which
she finds herself in dresses, and which, added to me own small means
makes our all?"

Now the captain's means were so small as to be, it may be said, quite
invisible. But nobody knows how the wind is tempered to shorn Irish
lambs, and in what marvelous places they find pasture. If Captain
Costigan, whom I had the honor to know, would but have told his history,
it would have been a great moral story. But he neither would have told
it if he could, nor could if he would; for the captain was not only
unaccustomed to tell the truth--he was unable even to think it--and
fact and fiction reeled together in his muzzy, whiskified brain.

He began life rather brilliantly with a pair of colors, a fine person
and legs, and one of the most beautiful voices in the world. To his
latest day he sang, with admirable pathos and humor, those wonderful
Irish ballads which are so mirthful and so melancholy: and was always
the first himself to cry at their pathos. Poor Cos! he was at once brave
and maudlin, humorous and an idiot; always good-natured, and sometimes
almost trustworthy. Up to the last day of his life he would drink with
any man, and back any man's bill: and his end was in a spunging-house,
where the sheriff's officer who took him, was fond of him.

In his brief morning of life, Cos formed the delight of regimental
messes, and had the honor of singing his songs, bacchanalian and
sentimental, at the tables of the most illustrious generals and
commanders-in-chief, in the course of which period he drank three
times as much claret as was good for him, and spent his doubtful
patrimony. What became of him subsequently to his retirement from the
army, is no affair of ours. I take it, no foreigner understands the life
of an Irish gentleman without money, the way in which he manages to keep
afloat--the wind-raising conspiracies, in which he engages with heroes
as unfortunate as himself--the means by which he contrives, during most
days of the week, to get his portion of whisky-and-water: all these are
mysteries to us inconceivable: but suffice it to say, that through all
the storms of life Jack had floated somehow, and the lamp of his nose
had never gone out.

Before he and Pen had had a half hour's conversation, the captain
managed to extract a couple of sovereigns from the young gentleman for
tickets for his daughter's benefit, which was to take place speedily,
and was not a _bonâ fide_ transaction such as that of the last year,
when poor Miss Fotheringay had lost fifteen shillings by her venture,
but was an arrangement with the manager, by which the lady was to have
the sale of a certain number of tickets, keeping for herself a large
portion of the sum for which they were sold.

Pen had but two pounds in his purse, and he handed them over to the
captain for the tickets; he would have been afraid to offer more, lest
he should offend the latter's delicacy. Costigan scrawled him an order
for a box, lightly slipped the sovereigns into his waistcoat, and
slapped his hand over the place where they lay. They seemed to warm his
old sides.

"Faith, sir," said he, "the bullion's scarcer with me than it used to
be, as is the case with many a good fellow. I won six hundthred of 'em
in a single night, sir, when me kind friend, His Royal Highness the Duke
of Kent, was in Gibralther." And he straightway poured out to Pen a
series of stories regarding the claret drunk, the bets made, the races
ridden by the garrison there, with which he kept the young gentleman
amused until the arrival of their host and his breakfast.

Then it was good to see the captain's behavior before the deviled turkey
and the mutton-chops! His stories poured forth unceasingly, and his
spirits rose as he chatted to the young men. When he got a bit of
sunshine, the old lazarone basked in it; he prated about his own affairs
and past splendor, and all the lords, generals, and lord-lieutenants he
had ever known. He described the death of his darling Bessie, the late
Mrs. Costigan, and the challenge he had sent to Captain Shanty Clancy,
of the Slashers, for looking rude at Miss Fotheringay as she was on her
kyar in the Phaynix; and then he described how the captain apologized,
gave a dinner at the Kildare-street, where six of them drank twinty-one
bottles of claret, &c. He announced that to sit with two such noble and
generous young fellows was the happiness and pride of an old soldier's
existence; and having had a second glass of Curaçoa, was so happy that
he began to cry. Altogether we should say that the captain was not a man
of much strength of mind, or a very eligible companion for youth; but
there are worse men, holding much better places in life, and more
dishonest, who have never committed half so many rogueries as he.
They walked out, the captain holding an arm of each of his dear young
friends, and in a maudlin state of contentment. He winked at one or
two tradesmen's shops, where, possibly, he owed a bill, as much as to
say--"See the company I am in--sure I'll pay you, my boy"--and they
parted finally with Mr. Foker at a billiard-room, where the latter had
a particular engagement with some gentlemen of Colonel Swallowtail's
regiment.

Pen and the shabby captain still walked the streets together; the
captain, in his sly way, making inquiries about Mr. Foker's fortune
and station in life. Pen told him how Foker's father was a celebrated
brewer, and his mother was Lady Agnes Milton, Lord Rosherville's
daughter. The captain broke out into a strain of exaggerated compliment
and panegyric about Mr. Foker, whose "native aristocracie," he said,
"could be seen with the twinkling of an oi--and only served to adawrun
other qualities which he possessed--a foin intellect and a generous
heart"--in not one word of which speech did the captain accurately
believe.

Pen walked on, listening to his companion's prate, wondering, amused,
and puzzled. It had not as yet entered into the boy's head to disbelieve
any statement that was made to him; and being of a candid nature
himself, he took naturally for truth what other people told him.
Costigan had never had a better listener, and was highly flattered by
the attentiveness and modest bearing of the young man.

So much pleased was he with the young gentleman, so artless, honest,
and cheerful did Pen seem to be, that the captain finally made him an
invitation, which he very seldom accorded to young men, and asked Pen if
he would do him the fevor to enter his humble abode, which was near at
hand, where the captain would have the honor of inthrojuicing his young
friend to his daughther, Miss Fotheringay?

Pen was so delightfully shocked at this invitation, and was so stricken
down by the happiness thus suddenly offered to him, that he thought he
should have dropped from the captain's arm at first, and trembled lest
the other should discover his emotion. He gasped out a few incoherent
words, indicative of the high gratification he should have in being
presented to the lady for whose--for whose talents he had conceived such
an admiration--such an extreme admiration, and followed the captain,
scarcely knowing whither that gentleman led him. He was going to see
her! He was going to see her! In her was the center of the universe.
She was the kernel of the world for Pen. Yesterday, before he knew her,
seemed a period ever so long ago--a revolution was between him and that
time, and a new world about to begin.

       *       *       *       *       *

The captain conducted his young friend to that quiet little street in
Chatteries, which is called Prior's Lane, which lies in the ecclesiastical
quarter of the town, close by Dean's Green and the canons' houses, and
is overlooked by the enormous towers of the cathedral; there the captain
dwelt modestly in the first floor of a low gabled house, on the door
of which was the brass-plate of "Creed, Tailor and Robe-maker." Creed
was dead, however. His widow was a pew-opener in the cathedral hard
by; his eldest son was a little scamp of a choir-boy, who played
toss-halfpenny, led his little brothers into mischief, and had a voice
as sweet as an angel. A couple of the latter were sitting on the
door-step, down which you went into the passage of the house; and they
jumped up with great alacrity to meet their lodger, and plunged wildly,
and rather to Pen's surprise, at the swallow-tails of the captain's
dress-coat; for the truth is, that the good-natured gentleman, when he
was in cash, generally brought home an apple or a piece of gingerbread
for these children--"Whereby the widdy never pressed me for rint when
not convanient," as he remarked afterward to Pen, winking knowingly,
and laying a finger on his nose.

Pen tumbled down the step, and as he followed his companion up the
creaking old stair, his knees trembled under him. He could hardly see
when he entered, following the captain, and stood in the room--in her
room. He saw something black before him, and waving as if making a
courtesy, and heard, but quite indistinctly, Costigan making a speech
over him, in which the captain, with his usual magniloquence, expressed
to "me child" his wish to make her known to "his dear and admirable
young friend, Mr. Awther Pindinnis, a young gentleman of property in the
neighborhood, a person of refoined moind, and emiable manners, a sincare
lover of poethry, and a man possest of a feeling and affectionate
heart."

"It is very fine weather," Miss Fotheringay said, in an Irish accent,
and with a deep, rich, melancholy voice.

"Very," said Mr. Pendennis. In this romantic way their conversation
began, and he found himself seated on a chair, and having leisure to
look at the young lady.

She looked still handsomer off the stage than before the lamps. All her
attitudes were naturally grand and majestical. If she went and stood up
against the mantle-piece her robe draped itself classically round her;
her chin supported itself on her hand, the other lines of her form
arranged themselves in full harmonious undulations: she looked like a
muse in contemplation. If she sate down on a cane-bottomed chair, her
arm rounded itself over the back of the seat, her hand seemed as if
it ought to have a scepter put into it, the folds of her dress fell
naturally round her in order, like ladies of honor round a throne,
and she looked like an empress. All her movements were graceful and
imperial. In the morning you could see her hair was blue-black, her
complexion of dazzling fairness, with the faintest possible blush
flickering, as it were, in her cheek. Her eyes were gray, with
prodigious long lashes; and as for her mouth, Mr. Pendennis has given
me subsequently to understand, that it was of a staring red color, with
which the most brilliant geranium, sealing-wax, or guardsman's coat,
could not vie.

"And very warm," continued this empress and Queen of Sheba.

Mr. Pen again assented, and the conversation rolled on in this manner.
She asked Costigan whether he had had a pleasant evening at the George,
and he recounted the supper and the tumblers of punch. Then the father
asked her how she had been employing the morning.

"Bows came," said she, "at ten, and we studied Ophalia. It's for the
twenty-fourth, when I hope, sir, we shall have the honor of seeing ye."

"Indeed, indeed, you will," Mr. Pendennis cried, wondering that she
should say "Ophalia," and speak with an Irish inflection of voice
naturally, who had not the least Hibernian accent on the stage.

"I've secured 'um for your benefit, dear," said the captain, tapping his
waistcoat pocket, wherein lay Pen's sovereigns, and winking at Pen with
one eye, at which the boy blushed.

"Mr. ---- the gentleman's very obleging," said Mrs. Haller.

"My name is Pendennis," said Pen, blushing. "I--I--hope you'll--you'll
remember it." His heart thumped so as he made this audacious
declaration, that he almost choked in uttering it.

"Pendennis," she answered slowly, and looking him full in the eyes, with
a glance so straight, so clear, so bright, so killing, with a voice so
sweet, so round, so low, that the word and the glance shot Pen through
and through, and perfectly transfixed him with pleasure.

"I never knew the name was so pretty before," Pen said.

"'Tis a very pretty name," Ophelia said. "Pentweazle's not a pretty
name. Remember, papa, when we were on the Norwich Circuit, Young
Pentweazle, who used to play second old men, and married Miss Rancy, the
Columbine; they're both engaged in London now, at the Queen's, and get
five pounds a week. Pentweazle wasn't his real name. 'Twas Judkin gave
it him, I don't know why. His name was Harrington; that is, his real
name was Potts; fawther a clergyman, very respectable. Harrington was in
London, and got in debt. Ye remember, he came out in Falkland, to Mrs.
Bunce's Julia."

"And a pretty Julia she was," the captain interposed; "a woman of fifty,
and a mother of ten children. 'Tis you ought to have been Julia, or my
name's not Jack Costigan."

"I didn't take the leading business then," Miss Fotheringay said,
modestly; "I wasn't fit for't till Bows taught me."

"True for you, my dear," said the captain: and bending to Pendennis, he
added, "Rejuced in circumstances, sir, I was for some time a fencing
master in Dublin (there's only three men in the empire could touch me
with the foil once, but Jack Costigan's getting old and stiff now, sir);
and my daughter had an engagement at the thayater there; and 'twas there
that my friend, Mr. Bows, who saw her capabilities, and is an uncommon
'cute man, gave her lessons in the dramatic art, and made her what ye
see. What have ye done since Bows went, Emily?"

"Sure, I've made a pie," Emily said, with perfect simplicity. She,
pronounced it "poy."

"If ye'll try it at four o'clock, sir, say the word," said Costigan,
gallantly. "That girl, sir, makes the best veal and ham pie in England,
and I think I can promise ye a glass of punch of the right flavor."

Pen had promised to be at home to dinner at six o'clock, but the rascal
thought he could accommodate pleasure and duty in this point, and was
only too eager to accept this invitation. He looked on with delight and
wonder while Ophelia busied herself about the room, and prepared for the
dinner. She arranged the glasses, and laid and smoothed the little
cloth, all which duties she performed with a quiet grace and good humor,
which enchanted her guest more and more. The "poy" arrived from the
baker's, in the hands of one of the little choir-boy's brothers, at the
proper hour: and at four o'clock, Pen found himself at dinner--actually
at dinner with the greatest tragic actress in the world, and her
father--with the handsomest woman in all creation--with his first and
only love, whom he had adored ever since when?--ever since yesterday,
ever since forever. He ate a crust of her making, he poured her out a
glass of beer, he saw her drink a glass of punch--just one wine-glass
full--out of the tumbler which she mixed for her papa. She was perfectly
good-natured, and offered to mix one for Pendennis too. It was
prodigiously strong; Pen had never in his life drunk so much spirits and
water. Was it the punch, or the punch-maker who intoxicated him?

During dinner, when the captain, whom his daughter treated most
respectfully, ceased prattling about himself and his adventures, Pen
tried to engage the Fotheringay in conversation about poetry and about
her profession. He asked her what she thought of Ophelia's madness, and
whether she was in love with Hamlet or not? "In love with such a little
ojous wretch as that stunted manager of a Bingley?" She bristled with
indignation at the thought. Pen explained it was not of her he spoke,
but of Ophelia of the play. "Oh, indeed; if no offense was meant, none
was taken; but as for Bingley, indeed, she did not value him--not that
glass of punch." Pen next tried her on Kotzebue. "Kotzebue? who was
he?"--"The author of the play in which she had been performing so
admirably." "She did not know that--the man's name at the beginning
of the book was Thompson," she said. Pen laughed at her adorable
simplicity. He told her of the melancholy fate of the author of the
play, and how Sand had killed him. It was for the first time in her life
that Miss Costigan had ever heard of Mr. Kotzebue's existence, but she
looked as if she was very much interested, and her sympathy sufficed for
honest Pen.

And in the midst of this simple conversation, the hour and a quarter
which poor Pen could afford to allow himself, passed away only too
quickly; and he had taken leave, he was gone, and away on his rapid road
homeward on the back of Rebecca. She was called upon to show her mettle
in the three journeys which she made that day.

"What was that he was talking about, the madness of Hamlet, and the
theory of the great German critic on the subject?" Emily asked of her
father.

"'Deed then I don't know, Milly dear," answered the captain. "We'll ask
Bows when he comes."

"Anyhow, he's a nice, fair-spoken, pretty young man," the lady said:
"how many tickets did he take of you?"

"'Fait, then, he took six, and gev me two guineas, Milly," the captain
said, "I suppose them young chaps is not too flush of coin."

"He's full of book-learning," Miss Fotheringay continued. "Kotzebue! He,
he, what a droll name indeed, now; and the poor fellow killed by Sand,
too! Did ye ever hear such a thing? I'll ask Bows about it, papa, dear."

"A queer death, sure enough," ejaculated the captain, and changed
the painful theme. "'Tis an elegant mare the young gentleman rides,"
Costigan went on to say; "and a grand breakfast, intirely, that young
Mister Foker gave us."

"He's good for two private boxes, and at least twenty tickets, I should
say," cried the daughter, a prudent lass, who always kept her fine eyes
on the main chance.

"I'll go bail of that," answered the papa; and so their conversation
continued awhile, until the tumbler of punch was finished; and their
hour of departure soon came, too; for at half past six Miss Fotheringay
was to appear at the theater again, whither her father always
accompanied her; and stood, as we have seen, in the side-scene watching
her, and drank spirits-and-water in the green-room with the company
there.

[Illustration]

"How beautiful she is," thought Pen, cantering homeward. "How simple and
how tender! How charming it is to see a woman of her commanding genius
busying herself with the delightful, though humble, offices of domestic
life, cooking dishes to make her old father comfortable, and brewing
drink for him with her delicate fingers! How rude it was of me to begin
to talk about professional matters, and how well she turned the
conversation! By-the-way, she talked about professional matters herself;
but then with what fun and humor she told the story of her comrade,
Pentweazle, as he was called! There is no humor like Irish humor. Her
father is rather tedious, but thoroughly amiable; and how fine of him,
giving lessons in fencing after he quitted the army, where he was the
pet of the Duke of Kent! Fencing! I should like to continue my fencing,
or I shall forget what Angelo taught me. Uncle Arthur always liked me
to fence--he says it is the exercise of a gentleman. Hang it. I'll take
some lessons of Captain Costigan. Go along, Rebecca--up the hill, old
lady. Pendennis, Pendennis--how she spoke the word! Emily, Emily! how
good, how noble, how beautiful, how perfect, she is!"

Now the reader, who has had the benefit of overhearing the entire
conversation which Pen had with Miss Fotheringay, can judge for himself
about the powers of her mind, and may perhaps be disposed to think that
she has not said any thing astonishingly humorous or intellectual in the
course of the above interview. She has married, and taken her position
in the world as a most spotless and irreproachable lady since, and I
have had the pleasure of making her acquaintance: and must certainly
own, against my friend Pen's opinion, that his adored Emily is not a
clever woman. The truth is, she had not only never heard of Kotzebue,
but she had never heard of Farquhar, or Congreve, or any dramatist in
whose plays she had not a part: and of these dramas she only knew that
part which concerned herself. A wag once told her that Dante was born
at Algiers: and asked her--which Dr. Johnson wrote first, "Irene," or
"Every Man in his Humor." But she had the best of the joke, for she had
never heard of Irene, or Every Man in his Humor, or Dante, or perhaps
Algiers. It was all one to her. She acted what little Bows told
her--where he told her to sob, she sobbed--where he told her to laugh,
she laughed. She gave the tirade or the repartee without the slightest
notion of its meaning. She went to church and goes every Sunday, with a
reputation perfectly intact, and was (and is) as guiltless of sense as
of any other crime.

But what did our Pen know of these things? He saw a pair of bright
eyes, and he believed in them--a beautiful image, and he fell down
and worshiped it. He supplied the meaning which her words wanted; and
created the divinity which he loved. Was Titania the first who fell in
love with an ass, or Pygmalion the only artist who has gone crazy about
a stone? He had found her; he had found what his soul thirsted after. He
flung himself into the stream and drank with all his might. Let those
say who have been thirsty once how delicious that first draught is. As
he rode down the avenue toward home, Pen shrieked with laughter, as he
saw the Reverend Mr. Smirke once more coming demurely away from Fairoaks
on his pony. Smirke had dawdled and staid at the cottages on the way,
and then dawdled with Laura over her lessons--and then looked at Mrs.
Pendennis's gardens and improvements until he had perfectly bored out
that lady: and he had taken his leave at the very last minute without
that invitation to dinner which he fondly expected.

Pen was full of kindness and triumph. "What, picked up and sound?" he
cried out, laughing. "Come along back, old fellow, and eat my dinner--I
have had mine: but we will have a bottle of the old wine and drink her
health, Smirke."

Poor Smirke turned the pony's head round, and jogged along with Arthur.
His mother was charmed to see him in such high spirits, and welcomed Mr.
Smirke for his sake, when Arthur said he had forced the curate back to
dine. He gave a most ludicrous account of the play of the night before,
and of the acting of Bingley the Manager, in his ricketty Hessians, and
the enormous Mrs. Bingley as the Countess, in rumpled green satin and a
Polish cap: he mimicked them, and delighted his mother and little Laura,
who clapped her hands with pleasure.

"And Mrs. Haller?" said Mrs. Pendennis.

"She's a stunner, ma'am," Pen said, laughing, and using the words of his
reverend friend, Mr. Foker.

"A _what_, Arthur?" asked the lady.

"What _is_ a stunner, Arthur?" cried Laura, in the same voice.

So he gave them a queer account of Mr. Foker, and how he used to be
called Vats and Grains, and by other contumelious names at school, and
how he was now exceedingly rich, and a Fellow Commoner at St. Boniface.
But gay and communicative as he was, Mr. Pen did not say one syllable
about his ride to Chatteries that day, or about the new friends whom he
had made there.

When the two ladies retired, Pen, with flashing eyes, filled up two
great bumpers of Madeira, and looking Smirke full in the face said,
"Here's to her!"

"Here's to her," said the curate with a sigh, lifting the glass: and
emptying it, so that his face was a little pink when he put it down.

Pen had even less sleep that night than on the night before. In
the morning, and almost before dawn, he went out and saddled that
unfortunate Rebecca himself, and rode her on the Downs like mad.
Again Love had roused him--and said, "Awake Pendennis, I am here."
That charming fever--that delicious longing--and fire, and uncertainty;
he hugged them to him--he would not have lost them for all the world.



CHAPTER VI.

CONTAINS BOTH LOVE AND WAR.


[Illustration]

Cicero and Euripides did not occupy Mr. Pen much for some time after
this, and honest Mr. Smirke had a very easy time with his pupil. Rebecca
was the animal who suffered most in the present state of Pen's mind for,
besides those days when he could publicly announce his intention of
going to Chatteries to take a fencing-lesson, and went thither with the
knowledge of his mother, whenever he saw three hours clear before him,
the young rascal made a rush for the city, and found his way to Prior's
Lane. He was as frantic with vexation when Rebecca went lame, as Richard
at Bosworth, when his horse was killed under him: and got deeply into
the books of the man who kept the hunting stables at Chatteries for the
doctoring of his own, and the hire of another animal.

Then, and perhaps once in a week, under pretense of going to read a
Greek play with Smirke, this young reprobate set off so as to be in time
for the Competitor down coach, staid a couple of hours in Chatteries,
and returned on the Rival which left for London at ten at night.
Once his secret was nearly lost by Smirke's simplicity, of whom Mrs.
Pendennis asked whether they had read a great deal the night before,
or a question to that effect. Smirke was about to tell the truth, that
he had never seen Mr. Pen at all, when the latter's boot-heel came
grinding down on Mr. Smirke's toe under the table, and warned the curate
not to betray him.

They had had conversations on the tender subject of course. It is good
sport (if you are not yourself engaged in the conversation) to hear two
men in love talk. There must be a confidant and depositary somewhere.
When informed, under the most solemn vows of secrecy, of Pen's condition
of mind, the curate said, with no small tremor, "that he hoped it was no
unworthy object--no unlawful attachment, which Pen had formed"--for if
so, the poor fellow felt it would be his duty to break his vow and
inform Pen's mother, and then there would be a quarrel, he felt, with
sickening apprehension, and he would never again have a chance of seeing
what he most liked in the world.

"Unlawful, unworthy!" Pen bounced out at the curate's question. "She is
as pure as she is beautiful; I would give my heart to no other woman.
I keep the matter a secret in my family, because--because--there are
reasons of a weighty nature which I am not at liberty to disclose. But
any man who breathes a word against her purity insults both her honor
and mine, and--and dammy, I won't stand it."

Smirke, with a faint laugh, only said, "Well, well, don't call me out,
Arthur, for you know I can't fight;" but by this compromise the wretched
curate was put more than ever into the power of his pupil, and the Greek
and mathematics suffered correspondingly.

If the reverend gentleman had had much discernment, and looked into the
poet's corner of the County Chronicle, as it arrived in the Wednesday's
bag, he might have seen "Mrs. Haller," "Passion and Genius," "Lines
to Miss Fotheringay, of the Theater Royal," appearing every week; and
other verses of the most gloomy, thrilling, and passionate cast. But
as these poems were no longer signed NEP. by their artful composer, but
subscribed EROS; neither the tutor nor Helen, the good soul, who cut all
her son's verses out of the paper, knew that Nep. was no other than that
flaming Eros, who sang so vehemently the character of the new actress.

"Who is the lady," at last asked Mrs. Pendennis, "whom your rival is
always singing in the County Chronicle. He writes something like you,
dear Pen, but yours is much the best. Have you seen Miss Fotheringay?"

Pen said yes, he had; that night he went to see the "Stranger," she
acted Mrs. Haller. By the way she was going to have a benefit, and
was to appear in Ophelia--suppose we were to go--Shakspeare you know,
mother--we can get horses from the Clavering Arms. Little Laura sprang
up with delight, she longed for a play.

Pen introduced "Shakspeare you know," because the deceased Pendennis,
as became a man of his character, professed an uncommon respect for the
bard of Avon, in whose works he safely said there was more poetry than
in all "Johnson's Poets" put together. And though Mr. Pendennis did not
much read the works in question, yet he enjoined Pen to peruse them, and
often said what pleasure he should have, when the boy was of a proper
age, in taking him and his mother to see some good plays of the immortal
poet.

The ready tears welled up in the kind mother's eyes as she remembered
these speeches of the man who was gone. She kissed her son fondly, and
said she would go. Laura jumped for joy. Was Pen happy?--was he ashamed?
As he held his mother to him, he longed to tell her all, but he kept his
counsel. He would see how his mother liked her; the play should be the
thing, and he would try his mother like Hamlet's.

Helen, in her good humor, asked Mr. Smirke to be of the party. That
ecclesiastic had been bred up by a fond parent at Clapham, who had an
objection to dramatic entertainments, and he had never yet seen a play.
But, Shakspeare!--but to go with Mrs. Pendennis in her carriage, and
sit a whole night by her side!--he could not resist the idea of so much
pleasure, and made a feeble speech, in which he spoke of temptation and
gratitude, and finally accepted Mrs. Pendennis's most kind offer. As he
spoke he gave her a look, which made her exceedingly uncomfortable. She
had seen that look more than once, of late, pursuing her. He became more
positively odious every day in the widow's eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are not going to say a great deal about Pen's courtship of
Miss Fotheringay, for the reader has already had a specimen of her
conversation, much of which need surely not be reported. Pen sate with
her hour after hour, and poured forth all his honest boyish soul to her.
Every thing he knew, or hoped, or felt, or had read, or fancied, he told
to her. He never tired of talking and longing. One after another, as
his thoughts rose in his hot eager brain, he clothed them in words, and
told them to her. Her part of the _tête-à-tête_ was not to talk, but to
appear as if she understood what Pen talked (a difficult matter, for the
young fellow blurted out no small quantity of nonsense), and to look
exceedingly handsome and sympathizing. The fact is, while he was making
one of his tirades--and delighted, perhaps, and wondering at his own
eloquence, the lad would go on for twenty minutes at a time--the lovely
Emily, who could not comprehend a tenth part of his talk, had leisure to
think about her own affairs, and would arrange, in her own mind how they
should dress the cold mutton, or how she would turn the black satin,
or make herself out of her scarf a bonnet like Miss Thackthwaite's new
one, and so forth. Pen spouted Byron and Moore; passion and poetry: her
business was to throw up her eyes, or fixing them for a moment on his
face, to cry, "Oh, 'tis beautiful! Ah, how exquisite! Repeat those
lines again." And off the boy went, and she returned to her own simple
thoughts about the turned gown, or the hashed mutton.

In fact Pen's passion was not long a secret from the lovely Emily or
her father. Upon his second visit, his admiration was quite evident
to both of them, and on his departure the old gentleman said to his
daughter, as he winked at her over his glass of grog, "Faith, Milly
darling, I think ye've hooked that chap."

"Pooh, 'tis only a boy, papa dear," Milly remarked. "Sure he's but
a child." Pen would have been very much pleased if he had heard that
phrase--he was galloping home wild with pleasure, and shouting out her
name as he rode.

"Ye've hooked 'um any how," said the captain, "and let me tell ye he's
not a bad fish. I asked Tom at the George, and Flint, the grocer, where
his mother dales--fine fortune--drives in her chariot--splendid park and
grounds--Fairoaks Park--only son--property all his own at twenty-one--ye
might go further and not fare so well, Miss Fotheringay."

"Them boys are mostly talk," said Milly, seriously. "Ye know at Dublin
how ye went on about young Poldoody, and I've a whole desk full of
verses he wrote me when he was in Trinity College; but he went abroad,
and his mother married him to an Englishwoman."

"Lord Poldoody was a young nobleman; and in them it's natural: and ye
weren't in the position in which ye are now, Milly dear. But ye mustn't
encourage this young chap too much, for, bedad, Jack Costigan wont have
any thrifling with his daughter."

"No more will his daughter, papa, you may be sure of _that_," Milly
said. "A little sip more of the punch--sure, 'tis beautiful. Ye needn't
be afraid about the young chap--I think I'm old enough to take care of
myself, Captain Costigan."

So Pen used to come day after day, rushing in and galloping away, and
growing more wild about the girl with every visit. Sometimes the captain
was present at their meetings; but having a perfect confidence in his
daughter, he was more often inclined to leave the young couple to
themselves, and cocked his hat over his eye, and strutted off on some
errand when Pen entered. How delightful these interviews were! The
captain's drawing-room was a low wainscoted room, with a large window
looking into the dean's garden. There Pen sate and talked--and talked
to Emily, looking beautiful as she sate at her work--looking beautiful
and calm, and the sunshine came streaming in at the great windows, and
lighted up her superb face and form. In the midst of the conversation,
the great bell would begin to boom, and he would pause, smiling, and be
silent until the sound of the vast music died away--or the rooks in the
cathedral elms would make a great noise toward sunset--or the sound of
the organ and the choristers would come over the quiet air, and gently
hush Pen's talking.

By the way, it must be said, that Miss Fotheringay, in a plain shawl
and a close bonnet and vail, went to church every Sunday of her life,
accompanied by her indefatigable father, who gave the responses in
a very rich and fine brogue, joined in the psalms and chanting, and
behaved in the most exemplary manner.

Little Bows, the house-friend of the family, was exceedingly wroth at
the notion of Miss Fotheringay's marriage with a stripling seven or
eight years her junior. Bows, who was a cripple, and owned that he was
a little more deformed even than Bingley the manager, so that he could
not appear on the stage, was a singular wild man of no small talents and
humor. Attracted first by Miss Fotheringay's beauty he began to teach
her how to act. He shrieked out in his cracked voice the parts, and
his pupil learned them from his lips by rote, and repeated them in her
full rich tones. He indicated the attitudes, and set and moved those
beautiful arms of hers. Those who remember this grand actress on the
stage can recall how she used always precisely the same gestures, looks,
and tones: how she stood on the same plank of the stage in the same
position, rolled her eyes at the same instant and to the same degree,
and wept with precisely the same heart-rending pathos, and over the same
pathetic syllable. And after she had come out trembling with emotion
before the audience, and looking so exhausted and tearful that you
fancied she would faint with sensibility, she would gather up her hair
the instant she was behind the curtain, and go home to a mutton chop and
a glass of brown stout; and the harrowing labors of the day over, she
went to bed and snored as resolutely and as regularly as a porter.

Bows then, was indignant at the notion that his pupil should throw her
chances away in life by bestowing her hand upon a little country squire.
As soon as a London manager saw her, he prophesied that she would get
a London engagement, and a great success. The misfortune was that the
London managers had seen her. She had played in London three years
before, and failed from utter stupidity. Since then it was that Bows
had taken her in hand and taught her part after part. How he worked
and screamed, and twisted, and repeated lines over and over again, and
with what indomitable patience and dullness she followed him! She knew
that he made her: and let herself be made. She was not grateful, or
ungrateful, or unkind, or ill-humored. She was only stupid; and Pen
was madly in love with her.

The post-horses from the Clavering Arms arrived in due time, and carried
the party to the theater at Chatteries, where Pen was gratified in
perceiving that a tolerably large audience was assembled. The young
gentlemen from Baymouth had a box, in the front of which sate Mr. Foker
and his friend Mr. Spavin splendidly attired in the most full-blown
evening costume. They saluted Pen in a cordial manner, and examined his
party, of which they approved, for little Laura was a pretty little
red-cheeked girl with a quantity of shining brown ringlets, and Mrs.
Pendennis, dressed in black velvet with the diamond cross which she
sported on great occasions, looked uncommonly handsome and majestic.
Behind these sate Mr. Arthur, and the gentle Smirke, with the curl
reposing on his fair forehead, and his white tie in perfect order.
He blushed to find himself in such a place--but how happy was he to
be there. He and Mrs. Pendennis brought books of "Hamlet" with them
to follow the tragedy, as is the custom of honest country-folks who
go to a play in state. Samuel, coachman, groom, and gardener to Mr.
Pendennis took his place in the pit, where Mr. Foker's man was also
visible. It was dotted with non-commissioned officers of the Dragoons,
whose band, by kind permission of Colonel Swallowtail, were as usual
in the orchestra; and that corpulent and distinguished warrior himself,
with his Waterloo medal and a number of his young men, made a handsome
show in the boxes.

"Who is that odd-looking person bowing to you, Arthur?" Mrs. Pendennis
asked of her son.

Pen blushed a great deal. "His name is Captain Costigan, ma'am," he
said--a "Peninsular officer." In fact, it was the captain in a new
shoot of clothes, as he called them, and with a large pair of white
kid gloves, one of which he waved to Pendennis, while he laid the other
sprawling over his heart and coat buttons. Pen did not say any more.
And how was Mrs. Pendennis to know that Mr. Costigan was the father
of Miss Fotheringay?

Mr. Hornbull, from London, was the Hamlet of the night, Mr. Bingley
modestly contenting himself with the part of Horatio, and reserving his
chief strength for William in "Black-Eyed Susan," which was the second
piece.

We have nothing to do with the play: except to say, that Ophelia looked
lovely, and performed with admirable wild pathos: laughing, weeping,
gazing wildly, waving her beautiful white arms, and flinging about her
snatches of flowers and songs with the most charming madness. What an
opportunity her splendid black hair had of tossing over her shoulders!
She made the most charming corpse ever seen; and while Hamlet and
Laertes were battling in her grave, she was looking out from the back
scenes with some curiosity toward Pen's box, and the family party
assembled in it.

There was but one voice in her praise there. Mrs. Pendennis was in
ecstasies with her beauty. Little Laura was bewildered by the piece,
and the Ghost, and the play within the play (during which, as Hamlet
lay at Ophelia's knee, Pen felt that he would have liked to strangle Mr.
Hornbull), but cried out great praises of that beautiful young creature.
Pen was charmed with the effect which she produced on his mother--and
the clergyman, for his part, was exceedingly enthusiastic.

When the curtain fell upon that group of slaughtered personages,
who are dispatched so suddenly at the end of "Hamlet," and whose
demise astonished poor little Laura not a little, there was an immense
shouting and applause from all quarters of the house; the intrepid
Smirke, violently excited, clapped his hands, and cried out "Bravo,
Bravo," as loud as the Dragoon officers themselves. These were greatly
moved--_ils s'agitaient sur leurs bancs_--to borrow a phrase from our
neighbors. They were led cheering into action by the portly Swallowtail,
who waved his cap--the non-commissioned officers in the pit, of course,
gallantly following their chiefs. There was a roar of bravos rang
through the house: Pen bellowing with the loudest, "Fotheringay,
Fotheringay!" and Messrs. Spavin and Foker giving the view halloo
from their box. Even Mrs. Pendennis began to wave about her
pocket-handkerchief, and little Laura danced, laughed, clapped, and
looked up at Pen with wonder.

Hornbull led the _beneficiaire_ forward amidst bursts of enthusiasm--and
she looked so handsome and radiant, with her hair still over her
shoulders, that Pen hardly could contain himself for rapture; and he
leaned over his mother's chair and shouted, and hurrayed and waved his
hat. It was all he could do to keep his secret from Helen, and not say,
"Look! That's the woman! Isn't she peerless? I tell you I love her." But
he disguised these feelings under an enormous bellowing and hurraying.

[Illustration]

As for Miss Fotheringay and her behavior, the reader is referred to a
former page for an account of that. She went through precisely the same
business. She surveyed the house all round with glances of gratitude;
and trembled, and almost sank with emotion, over her favorite trap-door.
She seized the flowers (Foker discharged a prodigious bouquet at her,
and even Smirke made a feeble shy with a rose, and blushed dreadfully
when it fell into the pit). She seized the flowers and pressed them to
her swelling heart--&c. &c.--in a word--we refer the reader to page 46.
Twinkling in her breast poor old Pen saw a locket which he had bought of
Mr. Nathan in High-street, with the last shilling he was worth and a
sovereign borrowed from Smirke.

"Black-Eyed Susan" followed, at which sweet story our gentle-hearted
friends were exceedingly charmed and affected: and in which Susan, with
a russet gown and a pink ribbon in her cap, looked to the full as lovely
as Ophelia. Bingley was great in William. Goll, as the admiral, looked
like the figure-head of a seventy-four; and Garbetts, as Captain
Boldweather, a miscreant who forms a plan for carrying off Black-eyed
Susan, and, waving an immense cocked hat, says, "Come what may, he
_will_ be the ruin of her"--all these performed their parts with their
accustomed talent; and it was with a sincere regret that all our friends
saw the curtain drop down and end that pretty and tender story.

If Pen had been alone with his mother in the carriage as they went home,
he would have told her all that night; but he sate on the box in the
moonshine smoking a cigar by the side of Smirke, who warmed himself with
a comforter. Mr. Foker's tandem and lamps whirled by the sober old
Clavering posters, as they were a couple of miles on their road home,
and Mr. Spavin saluted Mrs. Pendennis's carriage with some considerable
variations of Rule Britannia on the key-bugle.

       *       *       *       *       *

It happened two days after the above gayeties that Mr. Dean of
Chatteries entertained a few select clerical friends at dinner at his
Deanery House. That they drank uncommonly good port wine, and abused the
bishop over their dessert, are very likely matters; but with such we
have nothing at present to do. Our friend Doctor Portman, of Clavering,
was one of the dean's guests, and being a gallant man, and seeing from
his place at the mahogany, the dean's lady walking up and down the
grass, with her children sporting around her, and her pink parasol over
her lovely head--the doctor stepped out of the French windows of the
dining-room into the lawn, which skirts that apartment, and left the
other white neckcloths to gird at my lord bishop. Then the doctor went
up and offered Mrs. Dean his arm, and they sauntered over the ancient
velvet lawn, which had been mowed and rolled for immemorial deans, in
that easy, quiet, comfortable manner, in which people of middle age and
good temper walk after a good dinner, in a calm golden summer evening,
when the sun has but just sunk behind the enormous cathedral-towers, and
the sickle-shaped moon is growing every instant brighter in the heavens.

Now at the end of the dean's garden, there is, as we have stated, Mrs.
Creed's house, and the windows of the first-floor room were open to
admit the pleasant summer air. A young lady of six-and-twenty, whose
eyes were perfectly wide open, and a luckless boy of eighteen, blind
with love and infatuation, were in that chamber together; in which
persons, as we have before seen them in the same place, the reader
will have no difficulty in recognizing Mr. Arthur Pendennis and Miss
Costigan.

The poor boy had taken the plunge. Trembling with passionate emotion,
his heart beating and throbbing fiercely, tears rushing forth in spite
of him, his voice almost choking with feeling, poor Pen had said those
words which he could withhold no more, and flung himself and his whole
store of love, and admiration, and ardor, at the feet of this mature
beauty. Is he the first who has done so? Have none before or after
him staked all their treasure of life, as a savage does his land and
possessions against a draught of the fair-skins' fire-water, or a couple
of bauble eyes?

"Does your mother know of this, _Arthur_?" said Miss Fotheringay,
slowly. He seized her hand madly, and kissed it a thousand times.
She did not withdraw it. "_Does_ the old lady know it?" Miss Costigan
thought to herself "well, perhaps she may," and then she remembered what
a handsome diamond cross Mrs. Pendennis had on the night of the play,
and thought, "sure 'twill go in the family."

"Calm yourself, dear Arthur," she said, in her low rich voice, and
smiled sweetly and gravely upon him. Then, with her disengaged hand,
she put the hair lightly off his throbbing forehead. He was in such a
rapture and whirl of happiness that he could hardly speak. At last he
gasped out, "My mother has seen you, and admires you beyond measure.
She will learn to love you soon: who can do otherwise? She will love
you because I do."

"'Deed then, I think you do," said Miss Costigan, perhaps with a sort
of pity for Pen.

Think he did! Of course here Mr. Pen went off into a rhapsody through
which, as we have perfect command over our own feelings, we have no
reason to follow the lad. Of course, love, truth, and eternity were
produced; and words were tried but found impossible to plumb the
tremendous depth of his affection. This speech, we say, is no business
of ours. It was most likely not very wise, but what right have we to
overhear? Let the poor boy fling out his simple heart at the woman's
feet, and deal gently with him. It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but
to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all. Some of
us can't; and are proud of our impotence too.

At the end of his speech Pen again kissed the imperial hand with
rapture--and I believe it was at this very moment, and while Mrs. Dean
and Doctor Portman were engaged in conversation, that young Master
Ridley Roset, her son, pulled his mother by the back of her capacious
dress, and said--

"I say, ma! look up there"--and he waggled his innocent head.

That was, indeed, a view from the dean's garden such as seldom is seen
by deans--or is written in chapters. There was poor Pen performing a
salute upon the rosy fingers of his charmer, who received the embrace
with perfect calmness and good humor. Master Ridley looked up and
grinned, little Miss Rosa looked at her brother, and opened the mouth
of astonishment. Mrs. Dean's countenance defied expression, and as for
Dr. Portman, when he beheld the scene, and saw his prime favorite and
dear pupil Pen, he stood mute with rage and wonder.

Mrs. Haller spied the party below at the same moment, and gave a start
and a laugh. "Sure there's somebody in the dean's garden," she cried
out; and withdrew with perfect calmness, while Pen darted away with his
face glowing like coals. The garden party had re-entered the house when
he ventured to look out again. The sickle moon was blazing bright in
the heavens then, the stars were glittering, the bell of the cathedral
tolling nine, the dean's guests (all save one, who had called for his
horse Dumpling, and ridden off early) were partaking of tea and buttered
cakes in Mrs. Dean's drawing-room--when Pen took leave of Miss Costigan.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pen arrived at home in due time afterward; and was going to slip off to
bed, for the poor lad was greatly worn and agitated, and his high-strung
nerves had been at almost a maddening pitch--when a summons came to him
by John, the old footman, whose countenance bore a very ominous look,
that his mother must see him below.

On this he tied on his neckcloth again, and went down stairs to the
drawing-room. There sate not only his mother, but her friend, the
Reverend Doctor Portman. Helen's face looked very pale by the light of
the lamp--the doctor's was flushed, on the contrary, and quivering with
anger and emotion.

Pen saw at once that there was a crisis, and that there had been a
discovery. "Now for it," he thought.

"Where have you been, Arthur?" Helen said, in a trembling voice.

"How can you look that--that dear lady, and a Christian clergyman in the
face, sir?" bounced out the doctor, in spite of Helen's pale, appealing
looks. "Where has he been? Where his mother's son should have been
ashamed to go. For your mother's an angel, sir, an angel. How dare you
bring pollution into her house, and make that spotless creature wretched
with the thoughts of your crime?"

"Sir!" said Pen.

"Don't deny it, sir," roared the doctor. "Don't add lies, sir, to your
other infamy. I saw you myself, sir. I saw you from the dean's garden.
I saw you kissing the hand of that infernal painted--"

"Stop," Pen said, clapping his fist on the table, till the lamp
flickered up and shook, "I am a very young man, but you will please to
remember that I am a gentleman--I will hear no abuse of that lady."

"Lady, sir," cried the doctor, "_that_ a lady--you--you--you stand in
your mother's presence and call that--that woman a lady!--"

"In any body's presence," shouted out Pen. "She is worthy of any place.
She is as pure as any woman. She is as good as she is beautiful. If any
man but you insulted her, I would tell him what I thought; but as you
are my oldest friend, I suppose you have the privilege to doubt of my
honor."

"No, no, Pen, dearest Pen," cried out Helen in an excess of joy. "I
told, I told you, doctor, he was not--not what you thought;" and the
tender creature coming trembling forward flung herself on Pen's
shoulder.

Pen felt himself a man, and a match for all the doctors in doctordom.
He was glad this explanation had come. "You saw how beautiful she was,"
he said to his mother, with a soothing, protecting air, like Hamlet
with Gertrude in the play. "I tell you, dear mother, she is as good.
When you know her you will say so. She is of all, except you, the
simplest, the kindest, the most affectionate of women. Why should she
not be on the stage?--She maintains her father by her labor."

"Drunken old reprobate," growled the doctor, but Pen did not hear or
heed.

"If you could see, as I have, how orderly her life is, how pure and
pious her whole conduct, you would--as I do--yes, as I do"--(with a
savage look at the doctor)--"spurn the slanderer who dared to do her
wrong. Her father was an officer, and distinguished himself in Spain.
He was a friend of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, and is
intimately known to the Duke of Wellington, and some of the first
officers of our army. He has met my uncle Arthur at Lord Hill's, he
thinks. His own family is one of the most ancient and respectable in
Ireland, and indeed is as good as our own. The--the Costigans, were
kings of Ireland."

"Why, God bless my soul," shrieked out the doctor, hardly knowing
whether to burst with rage or laughter, "you don't mean to say you
want to _marry_ her?"

Pen put on his most princely air. "What else, Dr. Portman," he said,
"do you suppose would be my desire?"

Utterly foiled in his attack, and knocked down by this sudden lunge of
Pen's, the doctor could only gasp out, "Mrs. Pendennis, ma'am, send for
the major."

"Send for the major? with all my heart," said Arthur, Prince of
Pendennis and Grand Duke of Fairoaks, with a most superb wave of the
hand. And the colloquy terminated by the writing of those two letters
which were laid on Major Pendennis's breakfast-table, in London, at
the commencement of Prince Arthur's most veracious history.



CHAPTER VII.

IN WHICH THE MAJOR MAKES HIS APPEARANCE.


[Illustration]

Our acquaintance, Major Arthur Pendennis, arrived in due time at
Fairoaks, after a dreary night passed in the mail-coach, where a stout
fellow-passenger, swelling preternaturally with great-coats, had crowded
him into a corner, and kept him awake by snoring indecently; where a
widow lady, opposite, had not only shut out the fresh air by closing
all the windows of the vehicle, but had filled the interior with fumes
of Jamaica rum and water, which she sucked perpetually from a bottle
in her reticule; where, whenever he caught a brief moment of sleep,
the twanging of the horn at the turnpike-gates, or the scuffling of
his huge neighbor wedging him closer and closer, or the play of the
widow's feet on his own tender toes, speedily woke up the poor gentleman
to the horrors and realities of life--a life which has passed away now
and become impossible, and only lives in fond memories. Eight miles
an hour, for twenty or five-and-twenty hours, a tight mail-coach, a
hard seat, a gouty tendency, a perpetual change of coachmen grumbling
because you did not fee them enough, a fellow-passenger partial to
spirits-and-water--who has not borne with these evils in the jolly old
times? and how could people travel under such difficulties? And yet they
did, and were merry too. Next the widow, and by the side of the major's
servant on the roof, were a couple of school-boys going home for the
midsummer holidays, and Major Pendennis wondered to see them sup at the
inn at Bagshot, where they took in a cargo of ham, eggs, pie, pickles,
tea, coffee, and boiled beef, which surprised the poor major, sipping a
cup of very feeble tea, and thinking with a tender dejection that Lord
Steyne's dinner was coming off at that very moment. The ingenuous ardor
of the boys, however, amused the major, who was very good-natured, and
he became the more interested when he found that the one who traveled
inside with him, was a lord's son, whose noble father Pendennis, of
course, had met in the world of fashion, which he frequented. The
little lord slept all night through, in spite of the squeezing, and
the horn-blowing, and the widow; and he looked as fresh as paint (and,
indeed, pronounced himself to be so) when the major, with a yellow
face, a bristly beard, a wig out of curl, and strong rheumatic griefs
shooting through various limbs of his uneasy body, descended at the
little lodge-gate at Fairoaks where the portress and gardener's wife
reverentially greeted him; and, still more respectfully, Mr. Morgan,
his man.

Helen was on the lookout for this expected guest, and saw him from her
window. But she did not come forward immediately to greet him. She knew
the major did not like to be seen at a surprise, and required a little
preparation before he cared to be visible. Pen, when a boy, had incurred
sad disgrace, by carrying off from the major's dressing-table a little
morocco box, which it must be confessed contained the major's back
teeth, which he naturally would leave out of his jaws in a jolting
mail-coach, and without which he would not choose to appear. Morgan,
his man, made a mystery of his wigs: curling them in private places:
introducing them mysteriously to his master's room;--nor without his
head of hair would the major care to show himself to any member of
his family or any acquaintance. He went to his apartment then, and
supplied these deficiencies; he groaned and moaned, and wheezed, and
cursed Morgan through his toilet, as an old buck will, who has been
up all night with a rheumatism, and has a long duty to perform. And
finally being belted, curled, and set straight, he descended upon the
drawing-room, with a grave, majestic air, such as befitted one who was
at once a man of business and a man of fashion.

Pen was not there, however, only Helen, and little Laura sewing at her
knees; and to whom he never presented more than a fore-finger, as he
did on this occasion, after saluting his sister-in-law. Laura took the
finger, trembling, and dropped it--and then fled out of the room. Major
Pendennis did not want to keep her, or indeed to have her in the house
at all, and had his private reason for disapproving of her: which we
may mention on some future occasion. Meanwhile Laura disappeared and
wandered about the premises seeking for Pen; whom she presently found in
the orchard, pacing up and down a walk there, in earnest conversation
with Mr. Smirke. He was so occupied that he did not hear Laura's clear
voice singing out, until Smirke pulled him by the coat, and pointed
toward her as she came running.

She ran up and put her hand into his. "Come in, Pen," she said, "there's
somebody come; uncle Arthur's come."

"He is, is he?" said Pen, and she felt him grasp her little hand. He
looked round at Smirke with uncommon fierceness, as much as to say, I
am ready for him or any man.--Mr. Smirke cast up his eyes as usual and
heaved a gentle sigh.

"Lead on, Laura," Pen said, with a half fierce half comic air--"Lead on,
and say I wait upon my uncle." But he was laughing in order to hide a
great anxiety: and was screwing his courage inwardly to face the ordeal
which he knew was now before him.

Pen had taken Smirke into his confidence in the last two days, and
after the outbreak attendant on the discovery of Dr. Portman, and
during every one of those forty-eight hours which he had passed in Mr.
Smirke's society, had done nothing but talk to his tutor about Miss
Fotheringay--Miss Emily Fotheringay--Emily, &c., to all which talk
Smirke listened without difficulty, for he was in love himself, most
anxious in all things to propitiate Pen, and indeed very much himself
enraptured by the personal charms of this goddess, whose like, never
having been before at a theatrical representation, he had not beheld
until now. Pen's fire and volubility, his hot eloquence and rich
poetical tropes and figures, his manly heart, kind, ardent, and hopeful,
refusing to see any defects in the person he loved, any difficulties in
their position that he might not overcome, half convinced Mr. Smirke
that the arrangement proposed by Mr. Pen was a very feasible and prudent
one and that it would be a great comfort to have Emily settled at
Fairoaks, Captain Costigan in the yellow room, established for life
there, and Pen married at eighteen.

And it is a fact that in these two days, the boy had almost talked over
his mother too; had parried all her objections one after another with
that indignant good sense which is often the perfection of absurdity and
had brought her almost to acquiesce in the belief that if the marriage
was doomed in heaven, why doomed it was--that if the young woman was a
good person, it was all that she, for her part, had to ask; and rather
to dread the arrival of the guardian uncle who, she foresaw, would
regard Mr. Pen's marriage in a manner very different to that simple,
romantic, honest, and utterly absurd way, in which the widow was already
disposed to look at questions of this sort.

For as in the old allegory of the gold and silver shield, about which
the two knights quarreled, each is right according to the point from
which he looks: so about marriage; the question whether it is foolish
or good, wise or otherwise, depends upon the point of view from which
you regard it. If it means a snug house in Belgravia, and pretty little
dinner parties, and a pretty little brougham to drive in the Park, and
a decent provision, not only for the young people, but for the little
Belgravians to come; and if these are the necessaries of life (and they
are with many honest people), to talk of any other arrangement is an
absurdity: of love in lodgings--a babyish folly of affection: that can't
pay coach-hire or afford a decent milliner--as mere wicked balderdash
and childish romance. If, on the other hand your opinion is that people,
not with an assured subsistence, but with a fair chance to obtain it,
and with the stimulus of hope, health, and strong affection, may take
the chance of fortune for better or worse, and share its good or its
evil together, the polite theory then becomes an absurdity in its turn:
worse than an absurdity, a blasphemy almost, and doubt of Providence;
and a man who waits to make his chosen woman happy, until he can drive
her to church in a neat little carriage with a pair of horses, is no
better than a coward or a trifler, who is neither worthy of love nor
of fortune.

I don't say that the town folks are not right, but Helen Pendennis was
a country bred woman, and the book of life, as she interpreted it, told
her a different story to that page which is read in cities. Like most
soft and sentimental women, match-making, in general, formed a great
part of her thoughts, and I dare say she had begun to speculate about
her son's falling in love and marrying long before the subject had ever
entered into the brains of the young gentleman. It pleased her (with
that dismal pleasure which the idea of sacrificing themselves gives to
certain women), to think of the day when she would give up all to Pen,
and he should bring his wife home, and she would surrender the keys
and the best bed-room, and go and sit at the side of the table, and
see him happy. What did she want in life but to see the lad prosper?
As an empress certainly was not too good for him, and would be honored
by becoming Mrs. Pen; so if he selected humble Esther instead of Queen
Vashti, she would be content with his lordship's choice. Never mind
how lowly or poor the person might be who was to enjoy that prodigious
honor, Mrs. Pendennis was willing to bow before her and welcome her,
and yield her up the first place. But an actress--a mature woman, who
had long ceased blushing except with rouge, as she stood under the eager
glances of thousands of eyes--an illiterate and ill-bred person, very
likely, who must have lived with light associates, and have heard
doubtful conversation--Oh! it was hard that such a one should be chosen,
and that the matron should be deposed to give place to such a Sultana.

All these doubts the widow laid before Pen during the two days which
had of necessity to elapse ere the uncle came down; but he met them
with that happy frankness and ease which a young gentleman exhibits
at his time of life, and routed his mother's objections with infinite
satisfaction to himself. Miss Costigan was a paragon of virtue and
delicacy; she was as sensitive as the most timid maiden; she was as pure
as the unsullied snow; she had the finest manners, the most graceful wit
and genius, the most charming refinement and justness of appreciation in
all matters of taste; she had the most admirable temper and devotion to
her father, a good old gentleman of high family and fallen fortunes, who
had lived, however, with the best society in Europe: he was in no hurry,
and could afford to wait any time--till he was one-and-twenty. But he
felt (and here his face assumed an awful and harrowing solemnity) that
he was engaged in the one only passion of his life, and that DEATH alone
could close it.

Helen told him, with a sad smile and shake of the head, that people
survived these passions, and as for long engagements contracted
between very young men and old women--she knew an instance in her own
family--Laura's poor father was an instance--how fatal they were.

Mr. Pen, however, was resolved that death must be his doom in case of
disappointment, and rather than this--rather than balk him, in
fact--this lady would have submitted to any sacrifice or personal pain,
and would have gone down on her knees and have kissed the feet of a
Hottentot daughter-in-law.

Arthur knew his power over the widow, and the young tyrant was touched
while he exercised it. In those two days he brought her almost into
submission, and patronized her very kindly; and he passed one evening
with the lovely pie-maker at Chatteries, in which he bragged of his
influence over his mother; and he spent the other night in composing a
most flaming and conceited copy of verses to his divinity, in which he
vowed, like Montrose, that he would make her famous with his sword and
glorious by his pen, and that he would love her as no mortal woman had
been adored since the creation of womankind.

It was on that night, long after midnight, that wakeful Helen, passing
stealthily by her son's door, saw a light streaming through the chink of
the door into the dark passage, and heard Pen tossing and tumbling, and
mumbling verses in his bed. She waited outside for a while, anxiously
listening to him. In infantile fevers and early boyish illnesses, many a
night before, the kind soul had so kept watch. She turned the lock very
softly now, and went in so gently, that Pen for a moment did not see
her. His face was turned from her. His papers on his desk were scattered
about, and more were lying on the bed round him. He was biting a pencil
and thinking of rhymes and all sorts of follies and passions. He was
Hamlet jumping into Ophelia's grave; he was the Stranger taking Mrs.
Haller to his arms, beautiful Mrs. Haller with the raven ringlets
falling over her shoulders. Despair and Byron, Thomas Moore and all the
Loves of the Angels, Waller and Herrick, Beranger and all the love-songs
he had ever read, were working and seething in this young gentleman's
mind, and he was at the very height and paroxysm of the imaginative
frenzy, when his mother found him.

"Arthur," said the mother's soft silver voice: and he started up and
turned round. He clutched some of the papers and pushed them under the
pillow.

"Why don't you go to sleep, my dear?" she said, with a sweet tender
smile, and sate down on the bed and took one of his hot hands.

Pen looked at her wildly for an instant--"I couldn't sleep," he
said--"I--I was--I was writing."--And hereupon he flung his arms round
her neck and said, "O mother! I love her, I love her!"--How could such a
kind soul as that help soothing and pitying him? The gentle creature did
her best: and thought with a strange wonderment and tenderness, that it
was only yesterday that he was a child in that bed: and how she used to
come and say her prayers over it before he woke upon holiday mornings.

They were very grand verses, no doubt, although Miss Fotheringay did
not understand them; but old Cos, with a wink and a knowing finger
on his nose, said, "Put them up with th' other letthers, Milly
darling. Poldoody's pomes was nothing to this." So Milly locked up
the manuscripts.

When, then, the major being dressed and presentable, presented himself
to Mrs. Pendennis, he found in the course of ten minutes' colloquy that
the poor widow was not merely distressed at the idea of the marriage
contemplated by Pen, but actually more distressed at thinking that the
boy himself was unhappy about it, and that his uncle and he should have
any violent altercation on the subject. She besought Major Pendennis
to be very gentle with Arthur: "He has a very high spirit, and will
not brook unkind words," she hinted. "Dr. Portman spoke to him very
roughly--and I must own unjustly, the other night--for my dearest boy's
honor is as high as any mother can desire--but Pen's answer quite
frightened me, it was so indignant. Recollect he is a man now; and be
very--very cautious," said the widow, laying a fair long hand on the
major's sleeve.

He took it up, kissed it gallantly, and looked in her alarmed face with
wonder, and a scorn which he was too polite to show. "_Bon dieu!_"
thought the old negotiator, "the boy has actually talked the woman
round, and she'd get him a wife as she would a toy, if master cried for
it. Why are there no such things as _lettres-de-cachet_--and a Bastile
for young fellows of family?" The major lived in such good company that
he might be excused for feeling like an earl.--He kissed the widow's
timid hand, pressed it in both his, and laid it down on the table with
one of his own over it, as he smiled and looked her in the face.

"Confess," said he, "now that you are thinking how you possibly can make
it up to your conscience to let the boy have his own way."

She blushed, and was moved, in the usual manner of females. "I am
thinking that he is very unhappy; and I am too--"

"To contradict him or to let him have his own wish?" asked the other;
and added, with great comfort to his inward self, "I'm d--d if he
shall."

"To think that he should have formed so foolish and cruel and fatal an
attachment," the widow said, "which can but end in pain whatever be the
issue."

"The issue shan't be marriage, my dear sister," the major said,
resolutely. "We're not going to have a Pendennis, the head of the house,
marry a strolling mountebank from a booth. No, no, we won't marry into
Greenwich Fair, ma'am."

"If the match is broken suddenly off," the widow interposed, "I don't
know what may be the consequence. I know Arthur's ardent temper,
the intensity of his affections, the agony of his pleasures and
disappointments, and I tremble at this one, if it must be. Indeed,
indeed, it must not come on him too suddenly."

"My dear madam," the major said, with an air of the deepest
commiseration, "I've no doubt Arthur will have to suffer confoundedly
before he gets over the little disappointment. But is he, think you,
the only person who has been so rendered miserable?"

"No, indeed," said Helen, holding down her eyes. She was thinking of her
own case, and was at that moment seventeen again, and most miserable.

"I, myself," whispered her brother-in-law, "have undergone a disappointment
in early life. A young woman with fifteen thousand pounds, niece to an
earl--most accomplished creature--a third of her money would have run up
my promotion in no time, and I should have been a lieutenant-colonel
at thirty: but it might not be. I was but a penniless lieutenant: her
parents interfered, and I embarked for India--where I had the honor of
being secretary to Lord Buckley, when commander-in-chief--without her.
What happened? We returned our letters, sent back our locks of hair
(the major here passed his fingers through his wig), we suffered, but we
recovered. She is now a baronet's wife with thirteen grown-up children:
altered, it is true, in person; but her daughters remind me of what she
was, and the third is to be presented early next week."

Helen did not answer. She was still thinking of old times. I suppose if
one lives to be a hundred, there are certain passages of one's early
life whereof the recollection will always carry us back to youth again,
and that Helen was thinking of one of these.

"Look at my own brother, my dear creature," the major continued
gallantly: "he himself, you know, had a little disappointment when
he started in the--the medical profession--an eligible opportunity
presented itself. Miss Balls, I remember the name, was daughter of
an apoth--a practitioner in very large practice; my brother had very
nearly succeeded in his suit.--But difficulties arose: disappointments
supervened, and--and I am sure he had no reason to regret the
disappointment, which gave him this hand," said the major, and he once
more politely pressed Helen's fingers.

"Those marriages between people of such different rank and age," said
Helen, "are sad things. I have known them produce a great deal of
unhappiness.--Laura's father, my cousin, who--who was brought up with
me"--she added in a low voice, "was an instance of that."

"Most injudicious," cut in the major. "I don't know any thing more
painful than for a man to marry his superior in age or his inferior in
station. Fancy marrying a woman of a low rank of life, and having your
house filled with her confounded tag-rag-and-bobtail of relations!
Fancy your wife attached to a mother who dropped her h's, or called
Maria Marire! How are you to introduce her into society? My dear Mrs.
Pendennis, I will name no names, but in the very best circles of London
society I have seen men suffering the most excruciating agony, I have
known them to be cut, to be lost entirely, from the vulgarity of
their wives' connections. What did Lady Snapperton do last year at her
_déjeuné dansant_ after the Bohemian Ball? She told Lord Brouncker
that he might bring his daughters or send them with a proper chaperon,
but that she would not receive Lady Brouncker: who was a druggist's
daughter, or some such thing, and as Tom Wagg remarked of her, never
wanted medicine certainly, for she never had an _h_ in her life. Good
Ged, what would have been the trifling pang of a separation in the
first instance to the enduring infliction of a constant misalliance
and intercourse with low people?"

"What, indeed!" said Helen, dimly disposed toward laughter, but yet
checking the inclination, because she remembered in what prodigious
respect her deceased husband held Major Pendennis and his stories of the
great world.

"Then this fatal woman is ten years older than that silly young
scapegrace of an Arthur. What happens in such cases, my dear creature?
I don't mind telling _you_, now we are alone: that in the highest state
of society, misery, undeviating misery, is the result. Look at Lord
Clodworthy come into a room with his wife--why, good Ged, she looks like
Clodworthy's mother. What's the case between Lord and Lady Willowbank,
whose love match was notorious? He has already cut her down twice when
she has hanged herself out of jealousy for Mademoiselle de Sainte
Cunegonde, the dancer; and mark my words, good Ged, one day he'll _not_
cut the old woman down. No, my dear madam, you are not in the world, but
I am: you are a little romantic and sentimental (you know you are--women
with those large beautiful eyes always are); you must leave this matter
to my experience. Marry this woman! Marry at eighteen an actress of
thirty--bah, bah!--I would as soon he sent into the kitchen and married
the cook."

"I know the evils of premature engagements," sighed out Helen: and as
she made this allusion no less than thrice in the course of the above
conversation, and seems to be so oppressed with the notion of long
engagements and unequal marriages, and as the circumstance we have to
relate will explain what perhaps some persons are anxious to know,
namely, who little Laura is, who has appeared more than once before
us, it will be as well to clear up these points in another chapter.



CHAPTER VIII.

IN WHICH PEN IS KEPT WAITING AT THE DOOR, WHILE THE READER IS INFORMED
WHO LITTLE LAURA WAS.


[Illustration]

Once upon a time, then, there was a young gentleman of Cambridge
University who came to pass the long vacation at the village where
young Helen Thistlewood was living with her mother, the widow of the
lieutenant slain at Copenhagen.--This gentleman--whose name was the
Reverend Francis Bell--was nephew to Mrs. Thistlewood, and by consequence,
own cousin to Miss Helen, so that it was very right that he should take
lodgings in his aunt's house, who lived in a very small way; and there
he passed the long vacation, reading with three or four pupils who
accompanied him to the village. Mr. Bell was fellow of a college, and
famous in the University for his learning and skill as a tutor.

His two kinswomen understood pretty early that the reverend gentleman
was engaged to be married, and was only waiting for a college living
to enable him to fulfill his engagement. His intended bride was the
daughter of another parson, who had acted as Mr. Bell's own private
tutor in Bell's early life, and it was while under Mr. Coacher's roof,
indeed, and when only a boy of seventeen or eighteen years of age, that
the impetuous young Bell had flung himself at the feet of Miss Martha
Coacher, whom he was helping to pick peas in the garden. On his knees,
before those peas and her, he pledged himself to an endless affection.

Miss Coacher was by many years the young fellow's senior; and her
own heart had been lacerated by many previous disappointments in the
matrimonial line. No less than three pupils of her father had trifled
with those young affections. The apothecary of the village had
despicably jilted her. The dragoon officer, with whom she had danced so
many times during that happy season which she passed at Bath with her
gouty grandmamma, one day gayly shook his bridle-rein, and galloped
away, never to return. Wounded by the shafts of repeated ingratitude,
can it be wondered at that the heart of Martha Coacher should pant
to find rest somewhere? She listened to the proposals of the gawky,
gallant, honest boy, with great kindness and good-humor; at the end of
his speech she said, "Law, Bell, I'm sure you are too young to think of
such things;" but intimated that she too would revolve them in her own
virgin bosom. She could not refer Mr. Bell to her mamma, for Mr. Coacher
was a widower, and being immersed in his books, was of course unable
to take the direction of so frail and wondrous an article as a lady's
heart, which Miss Martha had to manage for herself.

A lock of her hair, tied up in a piece of blue ribbon, conveyed to the
happy Bell the result of the Vestal's conference with herself. Thrice
before had she snipt off one of her auburn ringlets, and given them
away. The possessors were faithless, but the hair had grown again; and
Martha had indeed occasion to say that men were deceivers, when she
handed over this token of love to the simple boy.

Number 6, however, was an exception to former passions--Francis Bell was
the most faithful of lovers. When his time arrived to go to college, and
it became necessary to acquaint Mr. Coacher of the arrangements that had
been made, the latter cried, "God bless my soul, I hadn't the least idea
what was going on!" as was indeed very likely, for he had been taken in
three times before in precisely a similar manner; and Francis went to
the University resolved to conquer honors, so as to be able to lay them
at the feet of his beloved Martha.

This prize in view made him labor prodigiously. News came, term after
term, of the honors he won. He sent the prize-books for his college
essays to old Coacher, and his silver declamation cup to Miss Martha.
In due season he was high among the Wranglers, and a fellow of his
college; and during all the time of these transactions a constant tender
correspondence was kept up with Miss Coacher, to whose influence, and
perhaps with justice, he attributed the successes which he had won.

By the time, however, when the Rev. Francis Bell, M.A., and fellow and
tutor of his college, was twenty-six years of age, it happened that Miss
Coacher was thirty-four, nor had her charms, her manners, or her temper
improved since that sunny day in the spring-time of life when he found
her picking peas in the garden. Having achieved his honors, he relaxed
in the ardor of his studies, and his judgment and taste also perhaps
became cooler. The sunshine of the pea-garden faded away from Miss
Martha, and poor Bell found himself engaged--and his hand pledged to
that bond in a thousand letters--to a coarse, ill-tempered, ill-favored,
ill-mannered, middle-aged woman.

It was in consequence of one of many altercations (in which Martha's
eloquence shone, and in which therefore she was frequently pleased
to indulge) that Francis refused to take his pupils to Bearleader's
Green, where Mr. Coacher's living was, and where Bell was in the
habit of spending the summer; and he bethought him that he would pass
the vacation at his aunt's village, which he had not seen for many
years--not since little Helen was a girl and used to sit on his knee.
Down then he came and lived with them. Helen was grown a beautiful
young woman now. The cousins were nearly four months together, from June
to October. They walked in the summer evenings; they met in the early
morn. They read out of the same book when the old lady dozed at night
over the candles. What little Helen knew, Frank taught her. She sang to
him: she gave her artless heart to him. She was aware of all his story.
Had he made any secret?--had he not shown the picture of the woman to
whom he was engaged, and with a blush--her letters, hard, eager, and
cruel?--The days went on and on, happier and closer, with more kindness,
more confidence, and more pity. At last one morning in October came when
Francis went back to college, and the poor girl felt that her tender
heart was gone with him.

Frank too wakened up from the delightful midsummer-dream to the
horrible reality of his own pain. He gnashed and tore at the chain
which bound him. He was frantic to break it and be free. Should he
confess?--give his savings to the woman to whom he was bound, and beg
his release?--there was time yet--he temporized. No living might fall in
for years to come. The cousins went on corresponding sadly and fondly:
the betrothed woman, hard, jealous, and dissatisfied, complaining
bitterly, and with reason, of her Francis's altered tone.

At last things came to a crisis, and the new attachment was discovered.
Francis owned it, cared not to disguise it, rebuked Martha with her
violent temper and angry imperiousness, and, worst of all, with her
inferiority and her age.

Her reply was, that if he did not keep his promise she would carry his
letters into every court in the kingdom--letters in which his love was
pledged to her ten thousand times; and, after exposing him to the world
as the perjurer and traitor he was, she would kill herself.

Frank had one more interview with Helen, whose mother was dead then, and
who was living companion with old Lady Pontypool--one more interview,
where it was resolved that he was to do his duty; that is, to redeem his
vow; that is, to pay a debt cozened from him by a sharper; that is, to
make two honest people miserable. So the two judged their duty to be,
and they parted.

The living fell in only too soon; but yet Frank Bell was quite a gray
and worn-out man when he was inducted into it, Helen wrote him a letter
on his marriage, beginning "My dear cousin," and ending "always truly
yours." She sent him back the other letters, and the lock of his
hair--all but a small piece. She had it in her desk when she was talking
to the major.

Bell lived for three or four years in his living, at the end of which
time, the Chaplainship of Coventry Island falling vacant, Frank applied
for it privately, and having procured it, announced the appointment to
his wife. She objected, as she did to every thing. He told her bitterly
that he did not want _her_ to come: so she went. Bell went out in
Governor Crawley's time, and was very intimate with that gentleman in
his later years. And it was in Coventry Island, years after his own
marriage, and five years after he had heard of the birth of Helen's
boy, that his own daughter was born.

She was not the daughter of the first Mrs. Bell, who died of island
fever very soon after Helen Pendennis and her husband, to whom Helen had
told every thing, wrote to inform Bell of the birth of their child. "I
was old, was I?" said Mrs. Bell the first; "I was old, and her inferior,
was I? but I married you, Mr. Bell, and kept you from marrying her?" and
hereupon she died. Bell married a colonial lady, whom he loved fondly.
But he was not doomed to prosper in love; and, this lady dying in
child-birth, Bell gave up too: sending his little girl home to Helen
Pendennis and her husband, with a parting prayer that they would
befriend her.

The little thing came to Fairoaks from Bristol, which is not very far
off, dressed in black, and in company of a soldier's wife, her nurse,
at parting from whom she wept bitterly. But she soon dried up her grief
under Helen's motherly care.

Round her neck she had a locket with hair, which Helen had given, ah,
how many years ago! to poor Francis, dead and buried. This child was all
that was left of him, and she cherished, as so tender a creature would,
the legacy which he had bequeathed to her. The girl's name, as his dying
letter stated, was Helen Laura. But John Pendennis, though he accepted
the trust, was always rather jealous of the orphan; and gloomily
ordered that she should be called by her own mother's name; and not
by that first one which her father had given her. She was afraid of
Mr. Pendennis, to the last moment of his life. And it was only when her
husband was gone that Helen dared openly to indulge in the tenderness
which she felt for the little girl.

Thus it was that Laura Bell became Mrs. Pendennis's daughter. Neither
her husband nor that gentleman's brother, the major, viewed her with
very favorable eyes. She reminded the first of circumstances in his
wife's life which he was forced to accept, but would have forgotten much
more willingly: and as for the second, how could he regard her? She was
neither related to his own family of Pendennis, nor to any nobleman
in this empire, and she had but a couple of thousand pounds for her
fortune.

And now let Mr. Pen come in, who has been waiting all this while.

Having strung up his nerves, and prepared himself, without at the door,
for the meeting, he came to it, determined to face the awful uncle. He
had settled in his mind that the encounter was to be a fierce one, and
was resolved on bearing it through with all the courage and dignity of
the famous family which he represented. And he flung open the door and
entered with the most severe and warlike expression, armed _cap-à-pié_
as it were, with lance couched and plumes displayed, and glancing at
his adversary, as if to say, "Come on, I'm ready."

The old man of the world, as he surveyed the boy's demeanor, could
hardly help a grin at his admirable, pompous simplicity. Major Pendennis
too, had examined his ground; and finding that the widow was already
half won over to the enemy, and having a shrewd notion that threats and
tragic exhortations would have no effect upon the boy, who was inclined
to be perfectly stubborn and awfully serious, the major laid aside the
authoritative manner at once, and with the most good-humored natural
smile in the world, held out his hands to Pen, shook the lad's passive
fingers gayly, and said, "Well Pen, my boy, tell us all about it."

Helen was delighted with the generosity of the major's good humor.
On the contrary, it quite took aback and disappointed poor Pen, whose
nerves were strung up for a tragedy, and who felt that his grand
_entrée_ was altogether balked and ludicrous. He blushed and winced with
mortified vanity and bewilderment. He felt immensely inclined to begin
to cry--"I--I--I didn't know that you were come till just now," he said:
"is--is--town very full, I suppose?"

If Pen could hardly gulp his tears down, it was all the major could do
to keep from laughter. He turned round and shot a comical glance at
Mrs. Pendennis, who too felt that the scene was at once ridiculous and
sentimental. And so, having nothing to say, she went up and kissed Mr.
Pen: as he thought of her tenderness and soft obedience to his wishes,
it is very possible too the boy was melted.

"What a couple of fools they are," thought the old guardian. "If I
hadn't come down, she would have driven over in state to pay a visit
and give her blessing to the young lady's family."

"Come, come," said he still grinning at the couple, "let us have as
little sentiment as possible, and Pen, my good fellow, tell us the
whole story."

Pen got back at once to his tragic and heroical air. "The story is,
sir," said he, "as I have written it to you before. I have made the
acquaintance of a most beautiful and most virtuous lady; of a high
family, although in reduced circumstances: I have found the woman
in whom I know that the happiness of my life is centered; I feel
that I never, never can think about any woman but her. I am aware of
the difference of our ages and other difficulties in my way. But my
affection was so great that I felt I could surmount all these;--that
we both could: and she has consented to unite her lot with mine, and
to accept my heart and my fortune."

"How much is that, my boy?" said the major. "Has any body left you some
money? I don't know that you are worth a shilling in the world."

"You know what I have is his," cried out Mrs. Pendennis.

"Good heavens, madam, hold your tongue!" was what the guardian was
disposed to say; but he kept his temper, not without a struggle. "No
doubt, no doubt," he said. "You would sacrifice any thing for him. Every
body knows that. But it is, after all, then, your fortune which Pen is
offering to the young lady; and of which he wishes to take possession
at eighteen."

"I know my mother will give me any thing," Pen said, looking rather
disturbed.

"Yes, my good fellow, but there is reason in all things. If your mother
keeps the house, it is but fair that she should select her company.
When you give her house over her head, and transfer her banker's
account to yourself for the benefit of Miss What-d'-you-call-'em--Miss
Costigan--don't you think you should at least have consulted my sister
as one of the principal parties in the transaction? I am speaking to
you, you see, without the least anger or assumption of authority, such
as the law and your father's will give me over you for three years to
come--but as one man of the world to another,--and I ask you, if you
think that, because you can do what you like with your mother, therefore
you have a right to do so! As you are her dependent, would it not have
been more generous to wait before you took this step, and at least to
have paid her the courtesy to ask her leave?"

Pen held down his head, and began dimly to perceive that the action on
which he had prided himself as a most romantic, generous instance of
disinterested affection, was perhaps a very selfish and headstrong piece
of folly.

"I did it in a moment of passion," said Pen, floundering; "I was not
aware what I was going to say or to do" (and in this he spoke with
perfect sincerity). "But now it is said, and I stand to it. No; I
neither can nor will recall it. I'll die rather than do so. And I--I
don't want to burthen my mother," he continued. "I'll work for myself.
I'll go on the stage and act with her. She--she says I should do well
there."

"But will she take you on those terms?" the major interposed. "Mind, I
do not say that Miss Costigan is not the most disinterested of women:
but, don't you suppose, now, fairly, that your position as a young
gentleman of ancient birth and decent expectations, forms a part of
the cause why she finds your addresses welcome?"

"I'll die, I say, rather than forfeit my pledge to her," said Pen,
doubling his fists and turning red.

"Who asks you, my dear friend?" answered the imperturbable guardian. "No
gentleman breaks his word, of course, when it has been given freely. But
after all, you can wait. You owe something to your mother, something to
your family--something to me as your father's representative."

"Oh, of course," Pen said, feeling rather relieved.

"Well, as you have pledged your word to her, give us another, will you,
Arthur?"

"What is it?" Arthur asked.

"That you will make no private marriage--that you won't be taking a trip
to Scotland, you understand."

"That would be a falsehood. Pen never told his mother a falsehood,"
Helen said.

Pen hung down his head again, and his eyes filled with tears of shame.
Had not this whole intrigue been a falsehood to that tender and
confiding creature who was ready to give up all for his sake? He gave
his uncle his hand.

"No, sir--on my word of honor, as a gentleman," he said, "I will never
marry without my mother's consent!" and giving Helen a bright parting
look of confidence and affection unchangeable, the boy went out of the
drawing-room into his own study.

"He's an angel--he's an angel," the mother cried out, in one of her
usual raptures.

"He comes of a good stock, ma'am," said her brother-in-law--"of a good
stock on both sides." The major was greatly pleased with the result of
his diplomacy--so much so, that he once more saluted the tips of Mrs.
Pendennis's glove, and dropping the curt, manly, and straightforward
tone in which he had conducted the conversation with the lad, assumed
a certain drawl which he always adopted when he was most conceited and
fine.

"My dear creature," said he, in that his politest tone, "I think it
certainly as well that I came down, and I flatter myself that last
_botte_ was a successful one. I tell you how I came to think of it.
Three years ago my kind friend Lady Ferrybridge sent for me in the
greatest state of alarm about her son Gretna, whose affair you remember,
and implored me to use my influence with the young gentleman, who was
engaged in an _affaire de coeur_ with a Scotch clergyman's daughter,
Miss MacToddy. I implored, I entreated gentle measures. But Lord
Ferrybridge was furious, and tried the high hand. Gretna was sulky and
silent, and his parents thought they had conquered. But what was the
fact, my dear creature? The young people had been married for three
months before Lord Ferrybridge knew any thing about it. And that was
why I extracted the promise from Master Pen."

"Arthur would never have done so," Mrs. Pendennis said.

"He hasn't--that is one comfort," answered the brother-in-law.

Like a wary and patient man of the world, Major Pendennis did not press
poor Pen any farther for the moment, but hoped the best from time, and
that the young fellow's eyes would be opened before long to see the
absurdity of which he was guilty. And having found out how keen the
boy's point of honor was, he worked kindly upon that kindly feeling
with great skill, discoursing him over their wine after dinner, and
pointing out to Pen the necessity of a perfect uprightness and openness
in all his dealings, and entreating that his communications with his
interesting young friend (as the major politely called Miss Fotheringay)
should be carried on with the knowledge, if not approbation, of Mrs.
Pendennis. "After all, Pen," the major said, with a convenient frankness
that did not displease the boy, while it advanced the interests of the
negotiator, "you must bear in mind that you are throwing yourself away.
Your mother might submit to your marriage, as she would to any thing
else you desired, if you did but cry long enough for it: but be sure of
this, that it can never please her. You take a young woman off the
boards of a country theater and prefer her, for such is the case, to one
of the finest ladies in England. And your mother will submit to your
choice, but you can't suppose that she will be happy under it. I have
often fancied, _entre nous_, that my sister had it in her eye to make a
marriage between you and that little ward of hers--Flora, Laura--what's
her name? And I always determined to do my small endeavor to prevent
any such match. The child has but two thousand pounds, I am given to
understand. It is only with the utmost economy and care that my sister
can provide for the decent maintenance of her house, and for your
appearance and education as a gentleman; and I don't care to own to
you that I had other and much higher views for you. With your name and
birth, sir--with your talents, which I suppose are respectable, with
the friends whom I have the honor to possess, I could have placed you
in an excellent position--a remarkable position for a young man of
such exceeding small means, and had hoped to see you, at least, try
to restore the honors of our name. Your mother's softness stopped one
prospect, or you might have been a general, like our gallant ancestor
who fought at Ramillies and Malplaquet. I had another plan in view: my
excellent and kind friend, Lord Bagwig, who is very well disposed toward
me, would, I have little doubt, have attached you to his mission at
Pumpernickel, and you might have advanced in the diplomatic service.
But, pardon me for recurring to the subject; how is a man to serve a
young gentleman of eighteen, who proposes to marry a lady of thirty,
whom he has selected from a booth in a fair?--well, not a fair--a barn.
That profession at once is closed to you. The public service is closed
to you. Society is closed to you. You see, my good friend, to what you
bring yourself. You may get on at the bar, to be sure, where I am given
to understand that gentlemen of merit occasionally marry out of their
kitchens; but in no other profession. Or you may come and live down
here--down here, _mon Dieu!_ forever" (said the major, with a dreary
shrug, as he thought with inexpressible fondness of Pall Mall), "where
your mother will receive the Mrs. Arthur that is to be, with perfect
kindness; where the good people of the county won't visit you; and
where, by Gad, sir, I shall be shy of visiting you myself, for
I'm a plain-spoken man, and I own to you that I like to live with
gentlemen for my companions; where you will have to live, with
rum-and-water-drinking gentlemen-farmers, and drag through your life
the young husband of an old woman, who, if she doesn't quarrel with
your mother, will at least cost that lady her position in society, and
drag her down into that dubious caste into which you must inevitably
fall. It is no affair of mine, my good sir. I am not angry. Your
downfall will not hurt me farther than that it will extinguish the hopes
I had of seeing my family once more taking its place in the world. It
is only your mother and yourself that will be ruined. And I pity you
both from my soul. Pass the claret: it is some I sent to your poor
father; I remember I bought it at poor Lord Levant's sale. But of
course," added the major, smacking the wine, "having engaged yourself,
you will do what becomes you as a man of honor, however fatal your
promise may be. However, promise us on our side, my boy, what I set out
by entreating you to grant--that there shall be nothing clandestine,
that you will pursue your studies, that you will only visit your
interesting friend at proper intervals. Do you write to her much?"

Pen blushed and said, "Why, yes, he had written."

"I suppose verses, eh! as well as prose? I was a dab at verses myself. I
recollect when I first joined, I used to write verses for the fellows in
the regiment; and did some pretty things in that way. I was talking to
my old friend General Hobbler about some lines I dashed off for him in
the year 1806, when we were at the Cape, and, Gad, he remembered every
line of them still; for he'd used 'em so often, the old rogue, and had
actually tried 'em on Mrs. Hobbler, sir--who brought him sixty thousand
pounds. I suppose you've tried verses, eh, Pen?"

Pen blushed again, and said, "Why, yes, he had written verses."

"And does the fair one respond in poetry or prose?" asked the major,
eying his nephew with the queerest expression, as much as to say,
"O Moses and green spectacles! what a fool the boy is."

Pen blushed again. She had written, but not in verse, the young lover
owned, and he gave his breast-pocket the benefit of a squeeze with his
left arm, which the major remarked, according to his wont.

"You have got the letters there, I see," said the old campaigner,
nodding at Pen, and pointing to his own chest (which was manfully wadded
with cotton by Mr. Stultz). "You know you have. I would give twopence to
see 'em."

"Why," said Pen, twiddling the stalks of the strawberries, "I--I," but
this sentence never finished; for Pen's face was so comical and
embarrassed, as the major watched it, that the elder could contain his
gravity no longer, and burst into a fit of laughter, in which chorus Pen
himself was obliged to join after a minute: when he broke out fairly
into a guffaw.

It sent them with great good humor into Mrs. Pendennis's drawing-room.
She was pleased to hear them laughing in the hall as they crossed it.

"You sly rascal!" said the major, putting his arm gayly on Pen's
shoulder, and giving a playful push at the boy's breast-pocket. He
felt the papers crackling there, sure enough. The young fellow was
delighted--conceited--triumphant--and, in one word, a spoony.

The pair came to the tea-table in the highest spirits. The major's
politeness was beyond expression. He had never tasted such good tea, and
such bread was only to be had in the country. He asked Mrs. Pendennis
for one of her charming songs. He then made Pen sing, and was delighted
and astonished at the beauty of the boy's voice: he made his nephew
fetch his map and drawings, and praised them as really remarkable
works of talent in a young fellow: he complimented him on his French
pronunciation: he flattered the simple boy as adroitly as ever lover
flattered a mistress: and when bed time came, mother and son went to
their several rooms perfectly enchanted with the kind major.

       *       *       *       *       *

When they had reached those apartments, I suppose Helen took to her
knees as usual: and Pen read over his letters before going to bed just
as if he didn't know every word of them by heart already. In truth,
there were but three of those documents: and to learn their contents
required no great effort of memory.

In No. 1, Miss Fotheringay presents grateful compliments to Mr.
Pendennis, and in her papa's name and her own begs to thank him for his
_most beautiful presents_. They will always be _kept carefully_; and
Miss F. and Captain C. will never forget the _delightful evening_ which
they passed on _Tuesday last_.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 2, said--Dear sir, we shall have a small quiet party of _social
friends_ at our _humble board_, next Tuesday evening, at an _early tea_,
when I shall wear the _beautiful scarf_ which, with its _accompanying
delightful verses_, I shall _ever, ever cherish_; and papa bids me say
how happy he will be if you will join "_the feast of reason and the
flow of soul_" in our _festive little party_, as I am sure will be your
_truly grateful_ Emily Fotheringay.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. 3 was somewhat more confidential, and showed that matters had
proceeded rather far. You were _odious_ yesterday night, the letter
said, Why did you not come to the stage-door? Papa could not escort me
on account of his eye; he had an accident, and fell down over a loose
carpet on the stair on Sunday night. I saw you looking at Miss Diggle
all night; and you were so _enchanted_ with Lydia Languish you scarcely
once looked at Julia. I could have _crushed_ Bingley, I was so _angry_.
I play _Ella Rosenberg_ on Friday: will you come then? _Miss Diggle
performs_--ever your E. F.

       *       *       *       *       *

These three letters Mr. Pen used to read at intervals, during the day
and night, and embrace with that delight and fervor which such beautiful
compositions surely warranted. A thousand times at least he had kissed
fondly the musky satin paper, made sacred to him by the hand of Emily
Fotheringay. This was all he had in return for his passion and flames,
his vows and protests, his rhymes and similes, his wakeful nights and
endless thoughts, his fondness, fears, and folly. The young wiseacre had
pledged away his all for this: signed his name to endless promissory
notes, conferring his heart upon the bearer; bound himself for life, and
got back twopence as an equivalent. For Miss Costigan was a young lady
of such perfect good conduct and self-command, that she never would have
thought of giving more, and reserved the treasures of her affection
until she could transfer them lawfully at church.

Howbeit, Mr. Pen was content with what tokens of regard he had got, and
mumbled over his three letters in a rapture of high spirits, and went to
sleep delighted with his kind old uncle from London, who must evidently
yield to his wishes in time; and, in a word, in a preposterous state of
contentment with himself and all the world.



CHAPTER IX.

IN WHICH THE MAJOR OPENS THE CAMPAIGN.


[Illustration]

Let those who have a real heartfelt relish for London society, and
the privilege of an entrée into its most select circles, admit that
Major Pendennis was a man of no ordinary generosity and affection,
in the sacrifice which he now made. He gave up London in May--his
newspapers and his mornings--his afternoons from club to club, his little
confidential visits to my ladies, his rides in Rotten Row, his dinners
and his stall at the opera, his rapid escapades to Fulham or Richmond on
Saturdays and Sundays, his bow from my Lord Duke or my Lord Marquis at
the great London entertainments, and his name in the Morning Post of the
succeeding day--his quieter little festivals, more select, secret, and
delightful--all these he resigned to lock himself into a lone little
country house, with a simple widow and a greenhorn of a son, a mawkish
curate, and a little girl of ten years of age.

He made the sacrifice, and it was the greater that few knew the extent
of it. His letters came down franked from town, and he showed the
invitations to Helen with a sigh. It was beautiful and tragical to
see him refuse one party after another--at least to those who could
understand, as Helen didn't, the melancholy grandeur of his self-denial.
Helen did not, or only smiled at the awful pathos with which the major
spoke of the Court Guide in general: but young Pen looked with great
respect at the great names upon the superscriptions of his uncle's
letters, and listened to the major's stories about the fashionable
world with constant interest and sympathy.

The elder Pendennis's rich memory was stored with thousands of these
delightful tales, and he poured them into Pen's willing ear with
unfailing eloquence. He knew the name and pedigree of every body in the
Peerage, and every body's relations. "My dear boy," he would say, with a
mournful earnestness and veracity, "you can not begin your genealogical
studies too early; I wish to Heavens you would read in Debrett every
day. Not so much the historical part (for the pedigrees, between
ourselves, are many of them very fabulous, and there are few families
that can show such a clear descent as our own) as the account of family
alliances, and who is related to whom. I have known a man's career in
life blasted, by ignorance on this important, this all-important
subject. Why, only last month, at dinner at my Lord Hobanob's, a young
man, who has lately been received among us, young Mr. Suckling (author
of a work, I believe), began to speak lightly of Admiral Bowser's
conduct for ratting to ministers, in what I must own is the most
audacious manner. But who do you think sate next and opposite to
this Mr. Suckling? Why--why, next to him was Lady Grampound Bowser's
daughter, and opposite to him was Lord Grampound Bowser's son-in-law.
The infatuated young man went on cutting his jokes at the admiral's
expense, fancying that all the world was laughing with him, and I
leave you to imagine Lady Hobanob's feelings--Hobanob's!--those of
every well-bred man, as the wretched _intru_ was so exposing himself.
_He_ will never dine again in South-street. I promise you _that_."

With such discourses the major entertained his nephew, as he paced the
terrace in front of the house for his two hours' constitutional walk, or
as they sate together after dinner over their wine. He grieved that Sir
Francis Clavering had not come down to the park, to live in it since his
marriage, and to make a society for the neighborhood. He mourned that
Lord Eyrie was not in the country, that he might take Pen and present
him to his lordship. "He has daughters," the major said. "Who knows? you
might have married Lady Emily or Lady Barbara Trehawk: but all those
dreams are over; my poor fellow, you must lie on the bed which you have
made for yourself."

These things to hear did young Pendennis seriously incline. They are
not so interesting in print as when delivered orally; but the major's
anecdotes of the great George, of the royal dukes, of the statesmen,
beauties, and fashionable ladies of the day, filled young Pen's soul
with longing and wonder; and he found the conversations with his
guardian, which sadly bored and perplexed poor Mrs. Pendennis, for
his own part, never tedious.

It can't be said that Mr. Pen's new guide, philosopher and friend,
discoursed him on the most elevated subjects, or treated the subjects
which he chose in the most elevated manner. But his morality, such as
it was, was consistent. It might not, perhaps, tend to a man's progress
in another world, but it was pretty well calculated to advance his
interests in this: and then it must be remembered, that the major never
for one instant doubted that his views were the only views practicable,
and that his conduct was perfectly virtuous and respectable. He was
a man of honor, in a word; and had his eyes, what he called, open. He
took pity on this young greenhorn of a nephew, and wanted to open his
eyes too.

No man, for instance, went more regularly to church, when in the
country, than the old bachelor. "It don't matter so much in town, Pen,"
he said, "for there the women go, and the men are not missed. But when
a gentleman is _sur ses terres_, he must give an example to the country
people; and if I could turn a tune, I even think I should sing. The Duke
of Saint David's, whom I have the honor of knowing, always sings in
the country, and let me tell you, it has a doosed fine effect from the
family pew. And you are somebody down here. As long as the Claverings
are away you are the first man in the parish; and as good as any. You
might represent the town if you played your cards well. Your poor dear
father would have done so had he lived; so might you.--Not if you marry
a lady, however amiable, whom the country people won't meet.--Well,
well: it's a painful subject. Let us change it, my boy." But if Major
Pendennis changed the subject once, he recurred to it a score of times
in the day; and the moral of his discourse always was, that Pen was
throwing himself away. Now it does not require much coaxing or wheedling
to make a simple boy believe that he is a very fine fellow.

Pen took his uncle's counsels to heart. He was glad enough, we have
said, to listen to his elder's talk. The conversation of Captain
Costigan became by no means pleasant to him, and the idea of that tipsy
old father-in-law haunted him with terror. He couldn't bring that man,
unshaven and reeking of punch, to associate with his mother. Even about
Emily--he faltered when the pitiless guardian began to question him.
"Was she accomplished?" He was obliged to own, no. "Was she clever?"
Well, she had a very good average intellect: but he could not absolutely
say she was clever. "Come, let us see some of her letters." So Pen
confessed that he had but those three of which we have made mention--and
that they were but trivial invitations or answers.

"_She_ is cautious enough," the major said, drily. "She is older than
you, my poor boy;" and then he apologized with, the utmost frankness and
humility, and flung himself upon Pen's good feelings, begging the lad to
excuse a fond old uncle, who had only his family's honor in view--for
Arthur was ready to flame up in indignation whenever Miss Costigan's
honesty was doubted, and swore that he would never have her name
mentioned lightly, and never, never would part from her.

He repeated this to his uncle and his friends at home, and also, it must
be confessed, to Miss Fotheringay and the amiable family at Chatteries,
with whom he still continued to spend some portion of his time. Miss
Emily was alarmed when she heard of the arrival of Pen's guardian, and
rightly conceived that the major came down with hostile intentions to
herself. "I suppose ye intend to leave me, now your grand relation, has
come down from town. He'll carry ye off, and you'll forget your poor
Emily, Mr. Arthur!"

Forget her! In her presence, in that of Miss Rouncy, the Columbine and
Milly's confidential friend, of the company, in the presence of the
captain himself, Pen swore he never could think of any other woman but
his beloved Miss Fotheringay; and the captain, looking up at his foils,
which were hung as a trophy on the wall of the room where Pen and he
used to fence, grimly said, he would not advoise any man to meddle
rashly with the affections of _his_ darling child; and would never
believe his gallant young Arthur, whom he treated as his son, whom he
called his son, would ever be guilty of conduct so revolting to every
idaya of honor and humanity.

He went up and embraced Pen after speaking. He cried, and wiped
his eye with one large dirty hand as he clasped Pen with the other.
Arthur shuddered in that grasp, and thought of his uncle at home.
His father-in-law looked unusually dirty and shabby; the odor of
whisky-and-water was even more decided than in common. How was he to
bring that man and his mother together? He trembled when he thought that
he had absolutely written to Costigan (inclosing to him a sovereign,
the loan of which the worthy gentleman had need), saying, that one
day he hoped to sign himself his affectionate son, Arthur Pendennis.
He was glad to get away from Chatteries that day; from Miss Rouncy the
_confidante_; from the old toping father-in-law; from the divine Emily
herself. "O Emily, Emily," he cried inwardly, as he tattled homeward on
Rebecca, "you little know what sacrifices I am making for you!--for you
who are always so cold, so cautious, so mistrustful;" and he thought of
a character in Pope to whom he had often involuntarily compared her.

Pen never rode over to Chatteries upon a certain errand, but the major
found out on what errand the boy had been. Faithful to his plan, Major
Pendennis gave his nephew no let or hindrance; but somehow the constant
feeling that the senior's eye was upon him, an uneasy shame attendant
upon that inevitable confession which the evening's conversation would
be sure to elicit in the most natural, simple manner, made Pen go less
frequently to sigh away his soul at the feet of his charmer than he had
been wont to do previous to his uncle's arrival. There was no use trying
to deceive _him_: there was no pretext of dining with Smirke, or reading
Greek plays with Foker; Pen felt, when he returned from one of his
flying visits, that every body knew whence he came, and appeared quite
guilty before his mother and guardian, over their books or their game
at picquet.

Once having walked out half a mile, to the Fairoaks Inn, beyond the
lodge gates, to be in readiness for the Competitor coach, which changed
horses there, to take a run for Chatteries, a man on the roof touched
his hat to the young gentleman: it was his uncle's man, Mr. Morgan,
who was going on a message for his master, and had been took up at the
lodge, as he said. And Mr. Morgan came back by the Rival, too; so that
Pen had the pleasure of that domestic's company both ways. Nothing was
said at home. The lad seemed to have every decent liberty; and yet he
felt himself dimly watched and guarded, and that there were eyes upon
him even in the presence of his Dulcinea.

In fact, Pen's suspicions were not unfounded, and his guardian had sent
forth to gather all possible information regarding the lad and his
interesting young friend. The discreet and ingenious Mr. Morgan, a
London confidential valet, whose fidelity could be trusted, had been
to Chatteries more than once, and made every inquiry regarding the
past history and present habits of the captain and his daughter. He
delicately cross-examined the waiters, the ostlers, and all the inmates
of the bar at the George, and got from them what little they knew
respecting the worthy captain. He was not held in very great regard
there, as it appeared. The waiters never saw the color of his money,
and were warned not to furnish the poor gentleman with any liquor for
which some other party was not responsible. He swaggered sadly about the
coffee-room there, consumed a tooth-pick, and looked over the paper, and
if any friend asked him to dinner, he staid. Morgan heard at the George
of Pen's acquaintance with Mr. Foker, and he went over to Baymouth to
enter into relations with that gentleman's man: but the young student
was gone to a Coast Regatta, and his servant, of course, traveled in
charge of the dressing-case.

From the servants of the officers at the barracks Mr. Morgan found
that the captain had so frequently and outrageously inebriated himself
there, that Colonel Swallowtail had forbidden him the mess-room. The
indefatigable Morgan then put himself in communication with some of the
inferior actors at the theater, and pumped them over their cigars and
punch, and all agreed that Costigan was poor, shabby, and given to debt
and to drink. But there was not a breath upon the reputation of Miss
Fotheringay; her father's courage was reported to have displayed itself
on more than one occasion toward persons disposed to treat his daughter
with freedom. She never came to the theater but with her father; in his
most inebriated moments, that gentleman kept a watch over her; finally
Mr. Morgan, from his own experience, added that he had been to see her
hact, and was uncommon delighted with the performance, besides thinking
her a most splendid woman.

Mrs. Creed, the pew-opener, confirmed these statements to Doctor
Portman, who examined her personally, and threatened her with the
terrors of the Church, one day after afternoon service. Mrs. Creed had
nothing unfavorable to her lodger to divulge. She saw nobody; only
one or two ladies of the theater. The captain did intoxicate himself
sometimes, and did not always pay his rent regularly, but he did when
he had money, or rather Miss Fotheringay did. Since the young gentleman
from Clavering had been and took lessons in fencing, one or two more
had come from the barracks: Sir Derby Oaks, and his young friend, Mr.
Foker, which was often together: and which was always driving over from
Baymouth in the tandem. But on the occasions of the lessons, Miss F.
was very seldom present, and generally came down stairs to Mrs. Creed's
own room.

The doctor and the major consulting together as they often did, groaned
in spirit over that information. Major Pendennis openly expressed his
disappointment; and, I believe the divine himself was ill-pleased at
not being able to pick a hole in poor Miss Fotheringay's reputation.

Even about Pen himself, Mrs. Creed's reports were desperately favorable.
"Whenever he come," Mrs. Creed said, "she always have me or one of the
children with her. And Mrs. Creed, marm, says she, if you please marm,
you'll on no account leave the room when that young gentleman's here.
And many's the time I've seen him a lookin' as if he wished I was away,
poor young man: and he took to coming in service-time, when I wasn't at
home, of course: but she always had one of the boys up if her pa wasn't
at home, or old Mr. Bowser with her a teaching of her her lesson, or one
of the young ladies of the theayter."

It was all true: whatever encouragements might have been given him
before he avowed his passion, the prudence of Miss Emily was prodigious
after Pen had declared himself: and the poor fellow chafed against her
hopeless reserve, which maintained his ardor as it excited his anger.

The major surveyed the state of things with a sigh. "If it were but a
temporary liaison," the excellent man said, "one could bear it. A young
fellow must sow his wild oats and that sort of thing. But a virtuous
attachment is the deuce. It comes from the d--d romantic notions boys
get from being brought up by women."

"Allow me to say, major, that you speak a little too like a man of
the world," replied the doctor. "Nothing can be more desirable for Pen
than a virtuous attachment for a young lady of his own rank and with
a corresponding fortune--this present infatuation, of course, I must
deplore as sincerely as you do. If I were his guardian I should command
him to give it up."

"The very means, I tell you, to make him marry to-morrow. We have got
time from him, that is all, and we must do our best with that."

"I say, major," said the doctor, at the end of the conversation in which
the above subject was discussed--"I am not, of course, a play-going
man--but suppose, I say, we go and see her."

The major laughed--he had been a fortnight at Fairoaks, and strange to
say, had not thought of that. "Well," he said, "why not? After all, it
is not my niece, but Miss Fotheringay the actress, and we have as good
a right as any other of the public to see her if we pay our money." So
upon a day when it was arranged that Pen was to dine at home, and pass
the evening with his mother, the two elderly gentlemen drove over to
Chatteries in the doctor's chaise, and there, like a couple of jolly
bachelors, dined at the George Inn, before proceeding to the play.

Only two other guests were in the room--an officer of the regiment
quartered at Chatteries, and a young gentleman whom the doctor thought
he had somewhere seen. They left them at their meal, however, and
hastened to the theater. It was Hamlet over again. Shakspeare was
Article XL. of stout old Dr. Portman's creed, to which he always made
a point of testifying publicly at least once in a year.

We have described the play before, and how those who saw Miss
Fotheringay perform in Ophelia saw precisely the same thing on one
night as on another. Both the elderly gentlemen looked at her with
extraordinary interest, thinking how very much young Pen was charmed
with her.

"Gad," said the major, between his teeth, as he surveyed her, when she
was called forward as usual, and swept her courtesies to the scanty
audience, "the young rascal has not made a bad choice."

The doctor applauded her loudly and loyally. "Upon my word," said he,
"she is a very clever actress; and I must say, major, she is endowed
with very considerable personal attractions."

"So that young officer thinks in the stage-box," Major Pendennis
answered, and he pointed out to Doctor Portman's attention the young
dragoon of the George Coffee-room, who sat in the box in question, and
applauded with immense enthusiasm. She looked extremely sweet upon him
too, thought the major: but that's their way--and he shut up his natty
opera-glass and pocketed it, as if he wished to see no more that night.
Nor did the doctor, of course, propose to stay for the after-piece, so
they rose and left the theater; the doctor returning to Mrs. Portman,
who was on a visit at the Deanery, and the major walking home full of
thought toward the George, where he had bespoken a bed.



CHAPTER X.

FACING THE ENEMY.


[Illustration]

Sauntering slowly homeward Major Pendennis reached the George presently,
and found Mr. Morgan his faithful valet, awaiting him at the door of the
George Inn, who stopped his master as he was about to take a candle to
go to bed, and said, with his usual air of knowing deference, "I think,
sir, if you would go into the coffee-room, there's a young gentleman
there as you would like to see."

"What, is Mr. Arthur here?" the major said, in great anger.

"No, sir--but his great friend, Mr. Foker, sir. Lady Hagnes Foker's
son is here, sir. He's been asleep in the coffee-room since he took his
dinner, and has just rung for his coffee, sir. And I think, p'raps, you
might like to git into conversation with him," the valet said, opening
the coffee-room door.

The major entered; and there indeed was Mr. Foker, the only occupant of
the place. He was rubbing his eyes, and sate before a table decorated
with empty decanters and relics of dessert. He had intended to go to the
play too, but sleep had overtaken him after a copious meal, and he had
flung up his legs on the bench, and indulged in a nap instead of the
dramatic amusement. The major was meditating how to address the young
man, but the latter prevented him that trouble.

"Like to look at the evening paper, sir?" said Mr. Foker, who was always
communicative and affable; and he took up the _Globe_ from his table,
and offered it to the new comer.

"I am very much obliged to you," said the major, with a grateful bow
and smile. "If I don't mistake the family likeness, I have the pleasure
of speaking to Mr. Henry Foker, Lady Agnes Foker's son. I have the
happiness to name her ladyship among my acquaintances--and you bear,
sir, a Rosherville face."

"Hullo! I beg your pardon," Mr. Foker said, "I took you"--he was going
to say--"I took you for a commercial gent." But he stopped that phrase.
"To whom have I the pleasure of speaking?" he added.

"To a relative of a friend and schoolfellow of yours--Arthur Pendennis,
my nephew, who has often spoken to me about you in terms of great
regard. I am Major Pendennis, of whom you may have heard him speak. May
I take my soda-water at your table? I have had the pleasure of sitting
at your grandfather's."

"Sir, you do me proud," said Mr. Foker, with much courtesy. "And so you
are Arthur Pendennis's uncle, are you?"

"And guardian," added the major.

"He's as good a fellow as ever stepped, sir," said Mr. Foker.

"I am glad you think so."

"And clever, too--I was always a stupid chap, I was--but you see, sir,
I know 'em when they are clever, and like 'em of that sort.

"You show your taste and your modesty, too," said the major. "I have
heard Arthur repeatedly speak of you, and he said your talents were
very good."

"I'm not good at the books," Mr. Foker said, wagging his head--"never
could manage that--Pendennis could--he used to do half the chaps'
verses--and yet"--the young gentleman broke out--"you are his guardian;
and I hope you will pardon me for saying that I think he is what _we_
call a flat," the candid young gentleman said.

The major found himself on the instant in the midst of a most
interesting and confidential conversation. "And how is Arthur a flat?"
he asked, with a smile.

"You know," Foker answered, winking at him--he would have winked at the
Duke of Wellington with just as little scruple, for he was in that state
of absence, candor, and fearlessness, which a man sometimes possesses
after drinking a couple of bottles of wine--"You know Arthur's a
flat--about women I mean."

"He is not the first of us, my dear Mr. Harry," answered the major.
"I have heard something of this--but pray tell me more.'"

"Why, sir, see--it's partly my fault. He went to the play one
night--for you see I'm down here readin' for my little-go during the
Long, only I come over from Baymouth pretty often in my drag--well,
sir, we went to the play, and Pen was struck all of a heap with Miss
Fotheringay--Costigan her real name is--an uncommon fine gal she
is too; and the next morning I introduced him to the general, as
we call her father--a regular old scamp--and _such_ a boy for the
whisky-and-water!--and he's gone on being intimate there. And he's
fallen in love with her--and I'm blessed if he hasn't proposed to
her," Foker said, slapping his hand on the table, until all the
dessert began to jingle.

"What! you know it too?" asked the major.

"Know it! don't I? and many more too. We were talking about it at mess,
yesterday, and chaffing Derby Oaks--until he was as mad as a hatter.
Know Sir Derby Oaks? We dined together, and he went to the play; we were
standing at the door smoking, I remember, when you passed in to dinner."

[Illustration]

"I remember Sir Thomas Oaks, his father, before he was a baronet or
a knight; he lived in Cavendish-square, and was Physician to Queen
Charlotte."

"The young one is making the money spin, I can tell you," Mr. Foker
said.

"And is Sir Derby Oaks," the major said, with great delight and anxiety,
"another _soupirant_?"

"Another _what_?" inquired Mr. Foker.

"Another admirer of Miss Fotheringay?"

"Lord bless you! we call him, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and Pen,
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. But, mind you, nothing wrong! No,
no! Miss F. is a deal too wide awake for that, Major Pendennis. She
plays one off against the other. What you call two strings to her bow."

"I think you seem tolerably wide awake, too, Mr. Foker," Pendennis said,
laughing.

"Pretty well thank you, sir--how are you?" Foker replied, imperturbably.
"I'm not clever, p'raps: but I _am_ rather downy; and partial friends
say I know what's o'clock tolerably well. Can I tell you the time of day
in any way?"

"Upon my word," the major answered, quite delighted, "I think you may
be of very great service to me. You are a young man of the world, and
with such one likes to deal. And as such I need not inform you that our
family is by no means delighted at this absurd intrigue in which Arthur
is engaged."

"I should rather think not," said Mr. Foker. "Connection not eligible.
Too much beer drunk on the premises. No Irish need apply. That I take
to be your meaning."

The major said it was, exactly; though in truth he did not quite
understand what Mr. Foker's meaning was: and he proceeded to examine his
new acquaintance regarding the amiable family into which his nephew
proposed to enter, and soon got from the candid witness a number of
particulars regarding the house of Costigan.

We must do Mr. Foker the justice to say that he spoke most favorably of
Mr. and Miss Costigan's moral character. "You see," said he, "I think
the general is fond of the jovial bowl, and if I wanted to be very
certain of my money, it isn't in his pocket I'd invest it--but he has
always kept a watchful eye on his daughter, and neither he nor she will
stand any thing but what's honorable. Pen's attentions to her are talked
about in the whole Company, and I hear all about them from a young lady
who used to be very intimate with her, and with whose family I sometimes
take tea in a friendly way. Miss Rouncy says, Sir Derby Oaks has been
hanging about Miss Fotheringay ever since his regiment has been down
here; but Pen has come in and cut him out lately, which has made the
baronet so mad, that he has been very near on the point of proposing
too. Wish he would; and you'd see which of the two Miss Fotheringay
would jump at."

"I thought as much," the major said. "You give me a great deal of
pleasure, Mr. Foker. I wish I could have seen you before."

"Didn't like to put in my oar," replied the other. "Don't speak till I'm
asked, when, if there's no objections, I speak pretty freely. Heard your
man had been hankering about my servant--didn't know myself what was
going on until Miss Fotheringay and Miss Rouncy had the row about the
ostrich feathers, when Miss R. told me every thing."

"Miss Rouncy, I gather, was the confidante of the other."

"Confidant? I believe you. Why she's twice as clever a girl as
Fotheringay, and literary and that, while Miss Foth can't do much more
than read."

"She can write," said the major, remembering Pen's breast pocket.

Foker broke out into a sardonic "He, he! Rouncy writes her letters," he
said; "every one of 'em; and since they've quarreled, she don't know how
the deuce to get on. Miss Rouncy is an uncommon pretty hand, whereas the
old one makes dreadful work of the writing and spelling when Bows ain't
by. Rouncy's been settin' her copies lately--she writes a beautiful
hand, Rouncy does."

"I suppose you know it pretty well," said the major archly: upon which
Mr. Foker winked at him again.

"I would give a great deal to have a specimen of her handwriting,"
continued Major Pendennis, "I dare say you could give me one."

"No, no, that would be too bad," Foker replied. "Perhaps I oughtn't to
have said as much as I have. Miss F.'s writin' ain't so _very_ bad, I
dare say; only she got Miss R. to write the first letter, and has gone
on ever since. But you mark my word, that till they are friends again
the letters will stop."

"I hope they will never be reconciled," the major said, with great
sincerity; "and I can't tell you how delighted I am to have had the good
fortune of making your acquaintance. You must feel, my dear sir, as a
man of the world, how fatal to my nephew's prospects in life is this
step which he contemplates, and how eager we all must be to free him
from this absurd engagement."

"He has come out uncommon strong," said Mr. Foker; "I have seen his
verses; Rouncy copied 'em. And I said to myself when I saw 'em, 'Catch
_me_ writin' verses to a woman--that's all.'"

"He has made a fool of himself, as many a good fellow has before him.
How can we make him see his folly and cure it? I am sure you will give
us what aid you can in extricating a generous young man from such a pair
of schemers as this father and daughter seem to be. Love on the lady's
side is out of the question."

"Love, indeed!" Foker said. "If Pen hadn't two thousand a year when he
came of age--"

"If Pen hadn't _what_?" cried out the major, in astonishment.

"Two thousand a year: hasn't he got two thousand a year?--the general
says he has."

"My dear friend," shrieked out the major, with an eagerness which
this gentleman rarely showed, "thank you!--thank you!--I begin to see
now.--Two thousand a year! Why, his mother has but five hundred a year
in the world.--She is likely to live to eighty, and Arthur has not a
shilling but what she can allow him."

"What! he ain't rich then?" Foker asked.

"Upon my honor, he has no more than what I say."

"And you ain't going to leave him any thing?"

The major had sunk every shilling he could scrape together on annuity,
and of course was going to leave Pen nothing; but he did not tell Foker
this. "How much do you think a major on half-pay can save?" he asked.
"If these people have been looking at him as a fortune, they are utterly
mistaken--and--and you have made me the happiest man in the world."

"Sir to you," said Mr. Foker, politely, and when they parted for the
night they shook hands with the greatest cordiality; the younger
gentleman promising the elder not to leave Chatteries without a further
conversation in the morning. And as the major went up to his room, and
Mr. Foker smoked his cigar against the door pillars of the George, Pen,
very likely, ten miles off, was lying in bed kissing the letter from his
Emily.

The next morning before Mr. Foker drove off in his drag, the insinuating
major had actually got a letter of Miss Rouncy's in his own pocket-book.
Let it be a lesson to women how they write. And in very high spirits
Major Pendennis went to call upon Doctor Portman at the Deanery, and
told him what happy discoveries he had made on the previous night.
As they sat in confidential conversation in the dean's oak breakfast
parlor, they could look across the lawn and see Captain Costigan's
window, at which poor Pen had been only too visible some three weeks
since. The doctor was most indignant against Mrs. Creed the landlady,
for her duplicity, in concealing Sir Derby Oaks's constant visits to her
lodgers, and threatened to excommunicate her out of the cathedral. But
the wary major thought that all things were for the best; and, having
taken counsel with himself over night, felt himself quite strong enough
to go and face Captain Costigan.

"I'm going to fight the dragon," he said, with a laugh, to Doctor
Portman.

"And I shrive you, sir, and bid good fortune go with you," answered the
doctor. Perhaps he and Mrs. Portman and Miss Mira, as they sate with
their friend the dean's lady, in her drawing-room, looked up more than
once at the enemy's window to see if they could perceive any signs of
the combat.

The major walked round, according to the directions given him, and soon
found Mrs. Creed's little door. He passed in, and as he ascended to
Captain Costigan's apartment, he could hear a stamping of feet, and a
great shouting of "Ha, ha!" within.

"It's Sir Derby Oaks taking his fencing lesson," said the child, who
piloted Major Pendennis. "He takes it Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays."

The major knocked, and at length a tall gentleman came forth, with a
foil and mask in one hand, and a fencing glove on the other.

Pendennis made him a deferential bow. "I believe I have the honor of
speaking to Captain Costigan.--My name is Major Pendennis."

The captain brought his weapon up to the salute, and said--"Major, the
honor is moine; I'm deloighted to see ye."



CHAPTER XI.

NEGOTIATION.


[Illustration]

The major and Captain Costigan were old soldiers and accustomed
to face the enemy, so we may presume that they retained their presence
of mind perfectly; but the rest of the party assembled in Cos's
sitting-room were, perhaps, a little flurried at Pendennis's apparition.
Miss Fotheringay's slow heart began to beat, no doubt, for her
cheek flushed up with a great healthy blush, as Lieutenant Sir Derby
Oaks looked at her with a scowl. The little crooked old man in the
window-seat, who had been witnessing the fencing-match between the two
gentlemen (whose stamping and jumping had been such as to cause him
to give up all attempts to continue writing the theater music, in the
copying of which he had been engaged) looked up eagerly toward the new
comer as the major of the well-blacked boots entered the apartment
distributing the most graceful bows to every body present.

"Me daughter--me friend, Mr. Bows--me gallant young pupil and friend, I
may call 'um, Sir Derby Oaks," said Costigan splendidly waving his hand,
and pointing each of these individuals to the major's attention. "In one
moment, meejor, I'm your humble servant," and to dash into the little
adjoining chamber where he slept, to give a twist to his lank hair with
his hair-brush (a wonderful and ancient piece), to tear off his old
stock and put on a new one which Emily had constructed for him, and to
assume a handsome clean collar, and the new coat which had been ordered
upon the occasion of Miss Fotheringay's benefit, was with the still
active Costigan the work of a minute.

After him, Sir Derby entered, and presently emerged from the same
apartment, where he also cased himself in his little shell-jacket, which
fitted tightly upon the young officer's big person; and which he, and
Miss Fotheringay, and poor Pen too, perhaps, admired prodigiously.

Meanwhile conversation was engaged between the actress and the
new comer; and the usual remarks about the weather had been interchanged
before Costigan re-entered in his new "shoot," as he called it.

"I needn't apologize to ye, meejor," he said, in his richest and most
courteous manner, "for receiving ye in me shirt-sleeves."

"An old soldier can't be better employed than in teaching a young one
the use of his sword," answered the major, gallantly. "I remember in old
times hearing that you could use yours pretty well, Captain Costigan."

"What, ye've heard of Jack Costigan, major," said the other, greatly.

The major had, indeed; he had pumped his nephew concerning his new
friend, the Irish officer; and whether he had no other knowledge of the
captain than what he had thus gained, or whether he actually remembered
him, we can not say. But Major Pendennis was a person of honor and
undoubted veracity, and said that he perfectly well recollected meeting
Mr. Costigan, and hearing him sing, at Sir Richard Strachan's table at
Walcheren.

At this information, and the bland and cordial manner in which it was
conveyed, Bows looked up, entirely puzzled. "But we will talk of these
matters another time," the major continued, perhaps not wishing to
commit himself; "it is to Miss Fotheringay that I came to pay my
respects to-day;" and he performed another bow for her, so courtly and
gracious, that if she had been a duchess he could not have made it more
handsome.

"I had heard of your performances from my nephew, madam," the major
said, "who raves about you, as I believe you know pretty well. But
Arthur is but a boy, and a wild enthusiastic young fellow, whose
opinions one must not take _au pied de la lettre_; and I confess I was
anxious to judge for myself. Permit me to say your performance delighted
and astonished me. I have seen our best actresses, and, on my word,
I think you surpass them all. You are as majestic as Mrs. Siddons."

"Faith, I always said so," Costigan said, winking at his daughter;
"Major take a chair." Milly rose at this hint, took an unripped satin
garment off the only vacant seat, and brought the latter to Major
Pendennis with one of her finest courtesies.

"You are as pathetic as Miss O'Neill," he continued, bowing and seating
himself; "your snatches of song reminded me of Mrs. Jordan in her best
time, when we were young men, Captain Costigan; and your manner reminded
me of Mars. Did you ever see the Mars, Miss Fotheringay?"

"There was two Mahers in Crow-street," remarked Miss Emily; "Fanny was
well enough, but Biddy was no great things."

"Sure, the major means the god of war, Milly, my dear," interposed the
parent.

"It is not that Mars I meant, though Venus, I suppose, may be pardoned
for thinking about him;" the major replied, with a smile directed in
full to Sir Derby Oaks, who now re-entered in his shell-jacket, but
the lady did not understand the words of which he made use, nor did the
compliment at all pacify Sir Derby, who, probably, did not understand it
either, and at any rate received it with great sulkiness and stiffness;
scowling uneasily at Miss Fotheringay, with an expression which seemed
to ask, "What the deuce does this man here?"

Major Pendennis was not in the least annoyed by the gentleman's
ill-humor. On the contrary, it delighted him. "So," thought he, "a rival
is in the field;" and he offered up vows that Sir Derby might be, not
only a rival, but a winner too, in this love-match in which he and Pen
were engaged.

"I fear I interrupted your fencing lesson; but my stay in Chatteries
is very short, and I was anxious to make myself known to my old
fellow-campaigner Captain Costigan, and to see a lady nearer who had
charmed me so much from the stage. I was not the only man _épris_ last
night, Miss Fotheringay (if I must call you so, though your own family
name is a very ancient and noble one). There was a reverend friend of
mine, who went home in raptures with Ophelia; and I saw Sir Derby Oaks
fling a bouquet, which no actress ever merited better. I should have
brought one myself, had I known what I was going to see. Are not those
the very flowers in a glass of water on the mantle-piece yonder?"

"I am very fond of flowers," said Miss Fotheringay, with a languishing
ogle at Sir Derby Oaks--but the baronet still scowled sulkily.

"Sweets to the sweet--isn't that the expression of the play?" Mr.
Pendennis asked, bent upon being good-humored.

"'Pon my life, I don't know. Very likely it is. I ain't much of a
literary man," answered Sir Derby.

"Is it possible?" the major continued, with an air of surprise. "You
don't inherit your father's love of letters, then, Sir Derby? He was a
remarkably fine scholar, and I had the honor of knowing him very well."

"Indeed," said the other, and gave a sulky wag of his head.

"He saved my life," continued Pendennis.

"Did he now?" cried Miss Fotheringay, rolling her eyes first upon the
major with surprise, then toward Sir Derby with gratitude--but the
latter was proof against those glances; and far from appearing to
be pleased that the apothecary, his father, should have saved Major
Pendennis's life, the young man actually looked as if he wished the
event had turned the other way.

"My father, I believe, was a very good doctor," the young gentleman
said, by way of reply. "I'm not in that line myself. I wish you good
morning, sir. I've got an appointment--Cos, by-by--Miss Fotheringay,
good morning." And, in spite of the young lady's imploring looks and
appealing smiles, the dragoon bowed stiffly out of the room, and the
clatter of his saber was heard as he strode down the creaking stair;
and the angry tones of his voice as he cursed little Tom Creed, who
was disporting in the passage, and whose peg-top Sir Derby kicked away
with an oath into the street.

[Illustration]

The major did not smile in the least, though he had every reason to be
amused. "Monstrous handsome young man that--as fine a looking soldier
as ever I saw," he said to Costigan.

"A credit to the army and to human nature in general," answered
Costigan. "A young man of refoined manners, polite affabilitee, and
princely fortune. His table is sumptuous: he's adawr'd in the regiment:
and he rides sixteen stone."

"A perfect champion," said the major, laughing. "I have no doubt all the
ladies admire him."

"He's very well in spite of his weight, now he's young," said Milly;
"but he's no conversation."

"He's best on horseback," Mr. Bows said: on which Milly replied,
that the baronet had ridden third in the steeple-chase on his horse
Tareaways, and the major began to comprehend that the young lady herself
was not of a particular genius, and to wonder how she should be so
stupid and act so well.

Costigan, with Irish hospitality, of course pressed refreshment upon his
guest: and the major, who was no more hungry than you are after a Lord
Mayor's dinner, declared that he should like a biscuit and a glass of
wine above all things, as he felt quite faint from long fasting--but he
knew that to receive small kindnesses flatters the donors very much, and
that people must needs grow well disposed toward you as they give you
their hospitality.

"Some of the old Madara, Milly, love," Costigan said, winking to his
child--and that lady, turning to her father a glance of intelligence,
went out of the room, and down the stair, where she softly summoned
her little emissary Master Tommy Creed; and giving him a piece of
money, ordered him to go buy a pint of Madara wine at the Grapes, and
sixpennyworth of sorted biscuits at the baker's, and to return in a
hurry, when he might have two biscuits for himself.

While Tommy Creed was gone on this errand, Miss Costigan sate below with
Mrs. Creed, telling her landlady how Mr. Arthur Pendennis's uncle, the
major, was above stairs; a nice, soft-spoken old gentleman: that butter
wouldn't melt in his mouth; and how Sir Derby had gone out of the room
in a rage of jealousy, and thinking what must be done to pacify both of
them.

"She keeps the keys of the cellar, major," said Mr. Costigan, as the
girl left the room.

"Upon my word you have a very beautiful butler," answered Pendennis,
gallantly, "and I don't wonder at the young fellows raving about her.
When we were of their age, Captain Costigan, I think plainer women would
have done our business."

"Faith, and ye may say that, sir--and lucky is the man who gets her. Ask
me friend Bob Bows here whether Miss Fotheringay's moind is not even
shuparior to her person, and whether she does not possess a cultiveated
intellect, a refoined understanding, and an emiable disposition?"

"O, of course," said Mr. Bows, rather drily. "Here comes Hebe blushing
from the cellar. Don't you think it is time to go to rehearsal, Miss
Hebe? You will be fined if you are later"--and he gave the young lady a
look, which intimated that they had much better leave the room and the
two elders together.

At this order Miss Hebe took up her bonnet and shawl, looking uncommonly
pretty, good-humored, and smiling; and Bows gathered up his roll of
papers, and hobbled across the room for his hat and cane.

"Must you go?" said the major. "Can't you give us a few minutes more,
Miss Fotheringay? Before you leave us, permit an old fellow to shake you
by the hand, and believe that I am proud to have had the honor of making
your acquaintance, and am most sincerely anxious to be your friend."

Miss Fotheringay made a low courtesy at the conclusion of this gallant
speech, and the major followed her retreating steps to the door, where
he squeezed her hand with the kindest and most paternal pressure. Bows
was puzzled with this exhibition of cordiality: "The lad's relatives
can't be really wanting to marry him to her," he thought--and so they
departed.

"Now for it," thought Major Pendennis: and as for Mr. Costigan he
profited instantaneously by his daughter's absence to drink up the rest
of the wine; and tossed off one bumper after another of the Madeira from
the Grapes, with an eager, shaking hand. The major came up to the table,
and took up his glass and drained it with a jovial smack. If it had been
Lord Steyne's particular, and not public-house Cape, he could not have
appeared to relish it more.

"Capital Madeira, Captain Costigan," he said. "Where do you get it? I
drink the health of that charming creature in a bumper. Faith, captain,
I don't wonder that the men are wild about her. I never saw such eyes in
my life, or such a grand manner. I am sure she is as intellectual as she
is beautiful; and I have no doubt she's as good as she is clever."

"A good girl, sir--a good girl, sir," said the delighted father; "and
I pledge a toast to her with all my heart. Shall I send to the--to the
cellar for another pint? It's handy by. No? Well, indeed, sir, ye may
say she is a good girl, and the pride and glory of her father--honest
old Jack Costigan. The man who gets her will have a jew'l to a wife,
sir; and I drink his health, sir, and ye know who I mean, major."

"I am not surprised at young or old falling in love with her," said the
major, "and frankly must tell you, that though I was very angry with my
poor nephew Arthur, when I heard of the boy's passion--now I have seen
the lady I can pardon him any extent of it. By George, I should like to
enter for the race myself, if I wern't an old fellow and a poor one."

"And no better man, major, I'm sure," cried Jack, enraptured. "Your
friendship, sir, delights me. Your admiration for my girl brings tears
to me eyes--tears, sir--manlee tears--and when she leaves me humble home
for your own more splendid mansion, I hope she'll keep a place for her
poor old father, poor old Jack Costigan."--The captain suited the action
to the word, and his blood-shot eyes were suffused with water, as he
addressed the major.

"Your sentiments do you honor," the other said. "But, Captain Costigan,
I can't help smiling at one thing you have just said."

"And what's that, sir?" asked Jack, who was at a too heroic and
sentimental pitch to descend from it.

"You were speaking about our splendid mansion--my sister's house, I
mean."

"I mane the park and mansion of Arthur Pendennis, Esquire, of Fairoaks
Park, whom I hope to see a Mimber of Parliament for his native town of
Clavering, when he is of ege to take that responsible stetion," cried
the captain, with much dignity.

The major smiled as he recognized a shaft out of his own bow. It
was he who had set Pen upon the idea of sitting in parliament for the
neighboring borough--and the poor lad had evidently been bragging on the
subject to Costigan and the lady of his affections. "Fairoaks Park, my
dear sir," he said. "Do you know our history? We are of excessively
ancient family certainly, but I began life with scarce enough money to
purchase my commission, and my eldest brother was a country apothecary;
who made every shilling he died possessed of out of his pestle and
mortar."

"I have consented to waive that objection, sir," said Costigan
majestically, "in consideration of the known respectability of your
family."

"Curse your impudence," thought the major; but he only smiled and bowed.

"The Costigans, too, have met with misfortunes; and our house of Castle
Costigan is by no manes what it was. I have known very honest men
apothecaries, sir, and there's some in Dublin that has had the honor of
dining at the Lord Leftenant's teeble."

"You are very kind to give us the benefit of your charity," the major
continued: "but permit me to say that is not the question. You spoke
just now of my little nephew as heir of Fairoaks Park, and I don't know
what besides."

"Funded property, I've no doubt, meejor, and something handsome
eventually from yourself."

"My good sir, I tell you the boy is the son of a country apothecary,"
cried out Major Pendennis; "and that when he comes of age he won't have
a shilling."

"Pooh, major, you're laughing at me," said Mr. Costigan, "me young
friend, I make no doubt, is heir to two thousand pounds a year."

"Two thousand fiddlesticks! I beg your pardon, my dear sir; but has the
boy been humbugging you?--it is not his habit. Upon my word and honor,
as a gentleman and an executor to my brother's will too, he left little
more than five hundred a year behind him."

"And with aconomy, a handsome sum of money too, sir," the captain
answered. "Faith, I've known a man drink his clar't, and drive his
coach-and-four on five hundred a year and strict aconomy, in Ireland,
sir. We'll manage on it, sir--trust Jack Costigan for that."

"My dear Captain Costigan--I give you my word that my brother did not
leave a shilling to his son Arthur."

"Are ye joking with me, Meejor Pendennis?" cried Jack Costigan. "Are ye
thrifling with the feelings of a father and a gentleman?"

"I am telling you the honest truth," said Major Pendennis. "Every
shilling my brother had, he left to his widow: with a partial reversion,
it is true, to the boy. But she is a young woman, and may marry if he
offends her--or she may outlive him, for she comes of an uncommonly
long-lived family. And I ask you, as a gentleman and a man of the world,
what allowance can my sister, Mrs. Pendennis, make to her son out of
five hundred a year, which is all her fortune--that shall enable him
to maintain himself and your daughter in the rank befitting such an
accomplished young lady?"

"Am I to understand, sir, that the young gentleman, your nephew, and
whom I have fosthered and cherished as the son of me bosom, is an
imposther who has been thrifling with the affections of me beloved
child?" exclaimed the general, with an outbreak of wrath.--"Have you
yourself been working upon the feelings of the young man's susceptible
nature to injuice him to break off an engagement, and with it me adored
Emily's heart? Have a care, sir, how you thrifle with the honor of John
Costigan. If I thought any mortal man meant to do so, be heavens I'd
have his blood, sir--were he old or young."

"Mr. Costigan!" cried out the major.

"Mr. Costigan can protect his own and his daughter's honor, and will,
sir," said the other. "Look at that chest of dthrawers, it contains
heaps of letthers that that viper has addressed to that innocent child.
There's promises there, sir, enough to fill a band-box with; and when I
have dragged the scoundthrel before the courts of law, and shown up his
perjury and his dishonor, I have another remedy in yondther mahogany
case, sir, which shall set me right, sir, with any individual--ye mark
me words, Major Pendennis--with any individual who has counseled your
nephew to insult a soldier and a gentleman. What? Me daughter to be
jilted, and me gray hairs dishonored by an apothecary's son. By the
laws of heaven, sir, I should like to see the man that shall do it."

"I am to understand, then, that you threaten in the first place to
publish the letters of a boy of eighteen to a woman of eight-and-twenty:
and afterward to do me the honor of calling me out," the major said,
still with perfect coolness.

"You have described my intentions with perfect accuracy, Meejor
Pendennis," answered the captain, as he pulled his ragged whiskers over
his chin.

"Well, well; these shall be the subjects of future arrangements, but
before we come to powder and ball, my good sir--do have the kindness to
think with yourself in what earthly way I have injured you? I have told
you that my nephew is dependent upon his mother, who has scarcely more
than five hundred a year."

"I have my own opinion of the correctness of that assertion," said the
captain.

"Will you go to my sister's lawyers, Messrs. Tatham here, and satisfy
yourself?"

"I decline to meet those gentlemen," said the captain, with rather a
disturbed air. "If it be as you say, I have been athrociously deceived
by some one, and on that person I'll be revenged."

"Is it my nephew?" cried the major, starting up and putting on his hat.
"Did he ever tell you that his property was two thousand a year? If he
did, I'm mistaken in the boy. To tell lies has not been a habit in our
family, Mr. Costigan, and I don't think my brother's son has learned
it as yet. Try and consider whether you have not deceived yourself; or
adopted extravagant reports from hearsay. As for me, sir, you are at
liberty to understand that I am not afraid of all the Costigans in
Ireland and know quite well how to defend myself against any threats
from any quarter. I come here as the boy's guardian to protest against
a marriage, most absurd and unequal, that can not but bring poverty and
misery with it; and in preventing it I conceive I am quite as much your
daughter's friend (who I have no doubt is an honorable young lady), as
the friend of my own family; and prevent the marriage I will, sir, by
every means in my power. There, I have said my say, sir."

"But I have not said mine, Major Pendennis--and ye shall hear more from
me," Mr. Costigan said, with a look of tremendous severity.

"'Sdeath, sir, what do you mean?" the major asked, turning round on the
threshold of the door, and looking the intrepid Costigan in the face.

"Ye said, in the coorse of conversation, that ye were at the George
Hotel, I think," Mr. Costigan said, in a stately manner. "A friend shall
wait upon ye there before ye leave town, sir."

"Let him make haste, Mr. Costigan," cried out the major, almost beside
himself with rage. "I wish you a good morning, sir." And Captain
Costigan, bowed a magnificent bow of defiance to Major Pendennis over
the landing-place as the latter retreated down the stairs.



CHAPTER XII.

IN WHICH A SHOOTING MATCH IS PROPOSED.


[Illustration]

Early mention has been made in this history of Mr. Garbetts, Principal
Tragedian, a promising and athletic young actor, of jovial habits
and irregular inclinations, with whom and Mr. Costigan there was a
considerable intimacy. They were the chief ornaments of the convivial
club held at the Magpie Hotel; they helped each other in various bill
transactions in which they had been engaged, with the mutual loan of
each other's valuable signatures. They were friends, in fine: although
Mr. Garbetts seldom called at Costigan's house, being disliked by Miss
Fotheringay, of whom in her turn Mrs. Garbetts was considerably jealous.
The truth is, that Garbetts had paid his court to Miss Fotheringay
and been refused by her, before he offered his hand to Mrs. G. Their
history, however, forms no part of our present scheme--suffice it,
Mr. Garbetts was called in by Captain Costigan immediately after his
daughter and Mr. Bows had quitted the house, as a friend proper to be
consulted at the actual juncture. He was a large man, with a loud voice
and fierce aspect, who had the finest legs of the whole company, and
could break a poker in mere sport across his stalwart arm.

"Run, Tommy," said Mr. Costigan to the little messenger, "and fetch Mr.
Garbetts from his lodgings over the tripe shop, ye know, and tell 'em to
send two glasses of whisky-and-water, hot, from the Grapes." So Tommy
went his way; and presently Mr. Garbetts and the whisky came.

Captain Costigan did not disclose to him the whole of the previous
events, of which the reader is in possession; but, with the aid of the
spirits-and-water, he composed a letter of a threatening nature to Major
Pendennis's address, in which he called upon that gentleman to offer no
hindrance to the marriage projected between Mr. Arthur Pendennis and his
daughter, Miss Fotheringay, and to fix an early day for its celebration:
or, in any other case, to give him the satisfaction which was usual
between gentlemen of honor. And should Major Pendennis be disinclined to
this alternative, the captain hinted, that he would force him to accept
by the use of a horsewhip, which he should employ upon the major's
person. The precise terms of this letter we can not give, for reasons
which shall be specified presently; but it was, no doubt, couched in the
captain's finest style, and sealed elaborately with the great silver
seal of the Costigans--the only bit of the family plate which the
captain possessed.

Garbetts was dispatched then with this message and letter; and bidding
Heaven bless 'um, the general squeezed his embassador's hand, and saw
him depart. Then he took down his venerable and murderous dueling
pistols, with flint locks, that had done the business of many a pretty
fellow in Dublin: and having examined these, and seen that they were in
a satisfactory condition, he brought from the drawer all Pen's letters
and poems which he kept there, and which he always read before he
permitted his Emily to enjoy their perusal.

In a score of minutes Garbetts came back, with an anxious and
crestfallen countenance.

"Ye've seen 'um?" the captain said.

"Why, yes," said Garbetts.

"And when is it for?" asked Costigan, trying the lock of one of the
ancient pistols, and bringing it to a level with his oi--as he called
that blood-shot orb.

"When is what for?" asked Mr. Garbetts.

"The meeting, my dear fellow?"

"You don't mean to say, you mean mortal combat, captain," Garbetts said,
aghast.

"What the devil else do I mean, Garbetts?--I want to shoot that man that
has trajuiced me honor, or meself dthrop a victim on the sod."

"D---- if I carry challenges," Mr. Garbetts replied. "I'm a family man,
captain, and will have nothing to do with pistols--take back your
letter;" and, to the surprise and indignation of Captain Costigan, his
emissary flung the letter down with its great sprawling superscription
and blotched seal.

"Ye don't mean to say ye saw 'um and didn't give 'um the letter?" cried
out the captain, in a fury.

"I saw him, but I could not have speech with him, captain," said Mr.
Garbetts.

"And why the devil not?" asked the other.

"There was one there I cared not to meet, nor would you," the
tragedian answered, in a sepulchral voice. "The minion Tatham was
there, captain."

"The cowardly scoundthrel!" roared Costigan. "He's frightened, already
going to swear the peace against me."

"I'll have nothing to do with the fighting, mark that," the tragedian
doggedly said, "and I wish I'd not seen Tatham neither, nor that bit
of--"

"Hold your tongue, Bob Acres. It's my belief ye're no better than a
coward," said Captain Costigan, quoting Sir Lucius O'Trigger, which
character he had performed with credit, both off and on the stage, and
after some more parley between the couple they separated in not very
good humor.

Their colloquy has been here condensed, as the reader knows the main
point upon which it turned. But the latter will now see how it is
impossible to give a correct account of the letter which the captain
wrote to Major Pendennis, as it was never opened at all by that
gentleman.

When Miss Costigan came home from rehearsal, which she did in the
company of the faithful Mr. Bows, she found her father pacing up and
down their apartment in a great state of agitation, and in the midst of
a powerful odor of spirits-and-water, which, as it appeared, had not
succeeded in pacifying his disordered mind. The Pendennis papers were on
the table surrounding the empty goblets and now useless teaspoon which
had served to hold and mix the captain's liquor and his friend's. As
Emily entered he seized her in his arms, and cried out "Prepare yourself
me child, me blessed child," in a voice of agony, and with eyes brimful
of tears.

"Ye're tipsy again, papa," Miss Fotheringay said, pushing back her sire.
"Ye promised me ye wouldn't take spirits before dinner."

"It's to forget me sorrows, me poor girl, that I've taken just a drop,"
cried the bereaved father--"it's to drown me care that I drain the
bowl."

"Your care takes a deal of drowning, captain dear," said Bows, mimicking
his friend's accent; "what has happened? Has the soft-spoken gentleman
in the wig been vexing you?"

"The oily miscreant! I'll have his blood!" roared Cos. Miss Milly, it
must be premised, had fled to her room out of his embrace, and was
taking off her bonnet and shawl there.

"I thought he meant mischief. He was so uncommon civil," the other said.
"What has he come to say?"

"O Bows! He has overwhellum'd me," the captain said. "There's a hellish
conspiracy on foot against me poor girl; and it's me opinion that both
them Pendennises, nephew and uncle, is two infernal thrators and
scoundthrels, who should be conshumed from off the face of the earth."

"What is it? What has happened?" said Mr. Bows, growing rather excited.

Costigan then told him the major's statement that the young Pendennis
had not two thousand, nor two hundred pounds a year; and expressed his
fury that he should have permitted such an impostor to coax and wheedle
his innocent girl, and that he should have nourished such a viper in his
own personal bosom. "I have shaken the reptile from me, however," said
Costigan; "and as for his uncle, I'll have such a revenge on that old
man, as shall make 'um rue the day he ever insulted a Costigan."

"What do you mean, general?" said Bows.

"I mean to have his life, Bows--his villainous skulking life, my boy;"
and he rapped upon the battered old pistol-case in an ominous and savage
manner. Bows had often heard him appeal to that box of death, with which
he proposed to sacrifice his enemies; but the captain did not tell him
that he had actually written and sent a challenge to Major Pendennis,
and Mr. Bows therefore rather disregarded the pistols in the present
instance.

At this juncture Miss Fotheringay returned to the common sitting-room
from her private apartment, looking perfectly healthy, happy, and
unconcerned, a striking and wholesome contrast to her father, who was in
a delirious tremor of grief, anger, and other agitation. She brought in
a pair of ex-white satin shoes with her, which she proposed to rub as
clean as might be with bread-crumb; intending to go mad with them upon
next Tuesday evening in Ophelia, in which character she was to reappear
on that night.

She looked at the papers on the table; stopped, as if she was going to
ask a question, but thought better of it, and going to the cupboard,
selected an eligible piece of bread wherewith she might operate on the
satin slippers: and afterward coming back to the table, seated herself
there commodiously with the shoes, and then asked her father, in her
honest, Irish brogue, "What, have ye got them letthers, and pothry, and
stuff, of Master Arthur's out for, pa? Sure ye don't want to be reading
over that nonsense."

"O Emilee!" cried the captain, "that boy whom I loved as the boy of mee
bosom is only a scoundthrel, and a deceiver, mee poor girl;" and he
looked in the most tragical way at Mr. Bows, opposite: who, in his turn,
gazed somewhat anxiously at Miss Costigan.

"He! pooh! Sure the poor lad's as simple as a school-boy," she said.
"All them children write verses and nonsense."

"He's been acting the part of a viper to this fire-side, and a traitor
in this familee," cried the captain. "I tell ye he's no better than an
impostor."

"What has the poor fellow done, papa?" asked Emily.

"Done? He has deceived us in the most athrocious manner," Miss Emily's
papa said. "He has thrifled with your affections, and outraged my own
fine feelings. He has represented himself as a man of property, and it
turruns out that he is no betther than a beggar. Haven't I often told ye
he had two thousand a year? He's a pauper, I tell ye, Miss Costigan; a
depindent upon the bountee of his mother; a good woman, who may marry
again, who's likely to live forever, and who has but five hundred a year.
How dar he ask ye to marry into a family which has not the means of
providing for ye? Ye've been grossly deceived and put upon, Milly, and
it's my belief, his old ruffian of an uncle in a wig is in the plot
against us."

"That soft old gentleman? What has he been doing, papa?" continued Emily
still imperturbable.

Costigan informed Milly, that when she was gone, Major Pendennis told
him, in his double-faced Pall Mall polite manner, that young Arthur had
no fortune at all, that the major had asked him (Costigan) to go to the
lawyers ("wherein he knew the scoundthrels have a bill of mine, and I
can't meet them," the captain parenthetically remarked), and see the
lad's father's will: and finally that an infernal swindle had been
practiced upon him by the pair, and that he was resolved either on a
marriage, or on the blood of both of them.

Milly looked very grave and thoughtful, rubbing the white satin shoes.
"Sure, if he's no money, there's no use marrying him, papa," she said
sententiously.

"Why did the villain say he was a man of prawpertee?" asked Costigan.

"The poor fellow always said he was poor," answered the girl. "'Twas you
would have it he was rich, papa--and made me agree to take him."

"He should have been explicit and told us his income, Milly," answered
the father. "A young fellow who rides a blood mare, and makes presents
of shawls and bracelets, is an impostor, if he has no money:--and as for
his uncle, bedad, I'll pull off his wig whenever I see 'um. Bows, here,
shall take a message to him and tell him so. Either it's a marriage, or
he meets me in the field like a man, or I tweak 'um on the nose in front
of his hotel or in the gravel walks of Fairoaks Park before all the
county, bedad."

"Bedad you may send somebody else with the message," said Bows,
laughing. "I'm a fiddler not a fighting man, captain."

"Pooh, you've no spirit, sir," roared the general. "I'll be my own
second, if no one will stand by and see me injured. And I'll take my
case of pistols and shoot 'um in the coffee-room of the George."

"And so poor Arthur has no money?" sighed out Miss Costigan, rather
plaintively. "Poor lad, he was a good lad too: wild and talking
nonsense, with his verses and pothry and that, but a brave, generous
boy, and indeed I liked him--and he liked me too," she added, rather
softly, and rubbing away at the shoe.

"Why don't you marry him if you like him so?" Mr. Bows said, rather
savagely. "He is not more than ten years younger than you are. His
mother may relent, and you might go and live and have enough at Fairoaks
Park. Why not go and be a lady? I could go on with the fiddle, and the
general live on his half-pay. Why don't you marry him? You know he likes
you."

"There's others that likes me as well, Bows, that has no money and
that's old enough," Miss Milly said sententiously.

"Yes, d---- it," said Bows with a bitter curse--"that are old enough
and poor enough and fools enough for any thing."

"There's old fools and young fools too. You've often said so, you silly
man," the imperious beauty said, with a conscious glance at the old
gentleman. "If Pendennis has not enough money to live upon, it's folly
to talk about marrying him; and that's the long and short of it."

"And the boy?" said Mr. Bows. "By Jove! you throw a man away like an old
glove, Miss Costigan."

"I don't know what you mean, Bows," said Miss Fotheringay, placidly,
rubbing the second shoe. "If he had had half of two thousand a year that
papa gave him, or the half of that, I would marry him. But what is the
good of taking on with a beggar? We're poor enough already. There's no
use in my going to live with an old lady that's testy and cross, maybe,
and would grudge me every morsel of meat. (Sure, it's near dinner time,
and Suky not laid the cloth yet), and then," added Miss Costigan, quite
simply, "suppose there was a family?--why, papa, we shouldn't be as well
off as we are now."

"'Deed then, you would not Milly dear," answered the father.

"And there's an end to all the fine talk about Mrs. Arthur Pendennis
of Fairoaks Park--the member of Parliament's lady," said Milly, with a
laugh. "Pretty carriages and horses we should have to ride!--that you
were always talking about, papa! But it's always the same. If a man
looked at me, you fancied he was going to marry me; and if he had a good
coat, you fancied he was as rich as Crazes."

"--As Croesus," said Mr. Bows.

"Well, call 'um what ye like. But it's a fact now that papa has married
me these eight years a score of times. Wasn't I to be my Lady Poldoody
of Oystherstown castle? Then there was the navy captain at Portsmouth,
and the old surgeon at Norwich, and the Methodist preacher here last
year, and who knows how many more? Well, I bet a penny, with all your
scheming, I shall die Milly Costigan, at last. So poor little Arthur
has no money? Stop and take dinner, Bows; we've a beautiful beefsteak
pudding."

"I wonder whether she is on with Sir Derby Oaks," thought Bows, whose
eyes and thoughts were always watching her. "The dodges of women beat
all comprehension; and I am sure she wouldn't let the lad off so easily
if she had not some other scheme on hand."

It will have been perceived that Miss Fotheringay, though silent in
general, and by no means brilliant as a conversationalist, where poetry,
literature, or the fine arts were concerned, could talk freely, and with
good sense, too, in her own family circle. She can not justly be called
a romantic person: nor were her literary acquirements great: she never
opened a Shakspeare from the day she left the stage, nor, indeed,
understood it during all the time she adorned the boards: but about a
pudding, a piece of needle-work, or her own domestic affairs, she was
as good a judge as could be found; and not being misled by a strong
imagination or a passionate temper, was better enabled to keep her
judgment cool. When, over their dinner, Costigan tried to convince himself
and the company, that the major's statement regarding Pen's finances was
unworthy of credit, and a mere _ruse_ upon the old hypocrite's part, so
as to induce them, on their side, to break off the match, Miss Milly
would not, for a moment, admit the possibility of deceit on the side of
the adversary: and pointed out clearly that it was her father who had
deceived himself, and not poor little Pen, who had tried to take them
in. As for that poor lad, she said she pitied him with all her heart.
And she ate an exceedingly good dinner, to the admiration of Mr. Bows,
who had a remarkable regard and contempt for this woman, during, and
after which repast, the party devised upon the best means of bringing
this love matter to a close. As for Costigan, his idea of tweaking the
major's nose vanished with his supply of after-dinner whisky-and-water;
and he was submissive to his daughter, and ready for any plan on which
she might decide, in order to meet the crisis which she saw was at hand.

The captain, who, as long as he had a notion that he was wronged, was
eager to face and demolish both Pen and his uncle, perhaps shrank from
the idea of meeting the former, and asked "what the juice they were to
say to the lad if he remained steady to his engagement, and they broke
from theirs?" "What? don't you know how to throw a man over?" said Bows;
"ask a woman to tell you?" and Miss Fotheringay showed how this feat was
to be done simply enough--nothing was more easy. "Papa writes to Arthur
to know what settlements he proposes to make in the event of a marriage;
and asks what his means are. Arthur writes back and says what he's got,
and you'll find it's as the major says, I'll go bail. Then papa writes
and says it's not enough, and the match had best be at an end."

"And, of course, you inclose a parting line, in which you say you will
always regard him as a brother;" said Mr. Bows, eying her in his
scornful way.

"Of course, and so I shall," answered Miss Fotheringay. "He's a most
worthy young man I'm sure. I'll thank ye hand me the salt. Them filberts
is beautiful."

"And there will be no noses pulled, Cos, my boy? I'm sorry you're
balked," said Mr. Bows.

"'Dad I suppose not," said Cos, rubbing his own.--"What'll ye do about
them letters, and verses and pomes, Milly, darling?--Ye must send 'em
back."

"Wigsby would give a hundred pound for 'em," Bows said, with a sneer.

"'Deed, then he would," said Captain Costigan, who was easily led.

"Papa!" said Miss Milly, "ye wouldn't be for not sending the poor boy
his letters back? Them letters and pomes is mine. They were very long
and full of all sorts of nonsense, and Latin and things I couldn't
understand the half of; indeed I've not read 'em all; but we'll send 'em
back to him when the proper time comes." And going to a drawer, Miss
Fotheringay took out from it a number of the County Chronicle and
Chatteries Champion, in which Pen had written a copy of flaming verses
celebrating her appearance in the character of Imogen, and putting
by the leaf upon which the poem appeared (for, like ladies of her
profession, she kept the favorable printed notices of her performances),
she wrapped up Pen's letters, poems, passions, and fancies, and tied
them with a piece of string neatly, as she would a parcel of sugar.

Nor was she in the least moved while performing this act. What hours the
boy had passed over those papers! What love and longing: what generous
faith and manly devotion--what watchful nights and lonely fevers might
they tell of! She tied them up like so much grocery, and sate down and
made tea afterward with a perfectly placid and contented heart; while
Pen was yearning after her, ten miles off; and hugging her image to his
soul.



CHAPTER XIII.

A CRISIS.


[Illustration]

Meanwhile they were wondering at Fairoaks that the major had not
returned. Dr. Portman and his lady, on their way home to Clavering,
stopped at Helen's lodge-gate, with a brief note for her from Major
Pendennis, in which he said he should remain at Chatteries another day,
being anxious to have some talk with Messrs. Tatham, the lawyers, whom
he would meet that afternoon: but no mention was made of the transaction
in which the writer had been engaged during the morning. Indeed the note
was written at the pause after the first part of the engagement, and
when the major had decidedly had the worst of the battle.

Pen did not care somehow to go into the town while his uncle was there.
He did not like to have to fancy that his guardian might be spying at
him from that abominable dean's grass-plat, while he was making love in
Miss Costigan's drawing-room; and the pleasures of a walk (a delight
which he was very rarely permitted to enjoy) would have been spoiled if
he had met the man of the polished boots on that occasion. His modest
love could not show in public by any outward signs, except the eyes
(with which the poor fellow ogled and gazed violently, to be sure), but
it was dumb in the presence of third parties; and so much the better,
for of all the talk which takes place in this world, that of love-makers
is surely, to the uninitiated, the most silly. It is the vocabulary
without the key; it is the lamp without the flame. Let the respected
reader look or think over some old love-letters that he (or she) has
had and forgotten, and try them over again. How blank and meaningless
they seem! What glamour of infatuation was it which made that nonsense
beautiful? One wonders that such puling and trash could ever have made
one happy. And yet there were days when you kissed those silly letters
with rapture--lived upon six absurd lines for a week, and until the
reactionary period came, when you were restless and miserable until
you got a fresh supply of folly.

That is why we decline to publish any of the letters and verses which
Mr. Pen wrote at this period of his life, out of mere regard for the
young fellow's character. They are too spooney and wild. Young ladies
ought not to be called upon to read them in cold blood. Bide your time
young women; perhaps you will get and write them on your own account
soon. Meanwhile we will respect Mr. Pen's first outpourings, and keep
them tied up in the newspapers with Miss Fotheringay's string, and
sealed with Captain Costigan's great silver seal.

The major came away from his interview with Captain Costigan in a
state of such concentrated fury as rendered him terrible to approach!
"The impudent bog-trotting scamp," he thought, "dare to threaten _me_!
Dare to talk of permitting his damned Costigans to marry with the
Pendennises! Send me a challenge! If the fellow can get any thing in the
shape of a genleman to carry it, I have the greatest mind in life not to
balk him.--Psha! what would people say if I were to go out with a tipsy
mountebank, about a row with an actress in a barn!" So when the major
saw Dr. Portman, who asked anxiously regarding the issue of his battle
with the dragon, Mr. Pendennis did not care to inform the divine of the
general's insolent behavior, but stated that the affair was a very ugly
and disagreeable one, and that it was by no means over yet.

He enjoined Doctor and Mrs. Portman to say nothing about the business at
Fairoaks; whither he contented himself with dispatching the note we have
before mentioned. And then he returned to his hotel, where he vented his
wrath upon Mr. Morgan, his valet, "dammin and cussin up stairs and down
stairs," as that gentleman observed to Mr. Foker's man, in whose company
he partook of dinner in the servants' room of the George.

The servant carried the news to his master; and Mr. Foker having
finished his breakfast about this time, it being two o'clock in the
afternoon, remembered that he was anxious to know the result of the
interview between his two friends, and having inquired the number of the
major's sitting-room, went over in his brocade dressing-gown, and
knocked for admission.

Major Pendennis had some business, as he had stated, respecting a lease
of the widow's, about which he was desirous of consulting old Mr.
Tatham, the lawyer, who had been his brother's man of business, and who
had a branch-office at Clavering, where he and his son attended market
and other days three or four in the week. This gentleman and his client
were now in consultation when Mr. Foker showed his grand dressing-gown
and embroidered skull-cap at Major Pendennis's door.

Seeing the major engaged with papers and red-tape, and an old man with a
white head, the modest youth was for drawing back--and said, "O, you're
busy--call again another time." But Mr. Pendennis wanted to see him,
and begged him, with a smile, to enter: whereupon Mr. Foker took off
the embroidered tarboosh or fez (it had been worked by the fondest of
mothers), and advanced, bowing to the gentlemen, and smiling on them
graciously. Mr. Tatham had never seen so splendid an apparition before
as this brocaded youth, who seated himself in an arm chair, spreading
out his crimson skirts, and looking with exceeding kindness and
frankness on the other two tenants of the room. "You seem to like my
dressing-gown, sir," he said to Mr. Tatham. "A pretty thing, isn't it?
Neat, but not in the least gaudy. And how do _you_ do? Major Pendennis,
sir, and how does the world treat you?"

There was that in Foker's manner and appearance which would have put
an Inquisitor into good humor, and it smoothed the wrinkles under
Pendennis's head of hair.

"I have had an interview with that Irishman (you may speak before my
friend, Mr. Tatham here, who knows all the affairs of the family), and
it has not, I own, been very satisfactory. He won't believe that my
nephew is poor: he says we are both liars; he did me the honor to hint
that I was a coward, as I took leave. And I thought when you knocked at
the door, that you might be the gentleman whom I expect with a challenge
from Mr. Costigan--that is how the world treats me, Mr. Foker."

"You don't mean that Irishman, the actress's father?" cried Mr. Tatham,
who was a dissenter himself, and did not patronize the drama.

"That Irishman, the actress's father--the very man. Have not you heard
what a fool my nephew has made of himself about the girl?"--Mr. Tatham,
who never entered the walls of a theater, had heard nothing: and Major
Pendennis had to recount the story of his nephew's loves to the lawyer,
Mr. Foker coming in with appropriate comments in his usual familiar
language.

Tatham was lost in wonder at the narrative. Why had not Mrs. Pendennis
married a serious man, he thought--Mr. Tatham was a widower--and kept
this unfortunate boy from perdition? As for Miss Costigan he would say
nothing: her profession was sufficient to characterize _her_. Mr. Foker
here interposed to say he had known some uncommon good people in the
booths, as he called the temple of the muses. Well, it might be so, Mr.
Tatham hoped so--but the father, Tatham knew personally--a man of the
worst character, a wine-bibber and an idler in taverns and
billiard-rooms, and a notorious insolvent. "I can understand the reason,
major," he said, "why the fellow would not come to my office to
ascertain the truth of the statements which you made him.--We have a
writ out against him and another disreputable fellow, one of the
play-actors, for a bill given to Mr. Skinner of this city, a most
respectable grocer and wine and spirit merchant, and a member of the
Society of Friends. This Costigan came crying to Mr. Skinner--crying
in the shop, sir--and we have not proceeded against him or the other,
as neither were worth powder and shot."

It was while Mr. Tatham was engaged in telling this story that a third
knock came to the door, and there entered an athletic gentleman in a
shabby braided frock, bearing in his hand a letter with a large blotched
red seal.

"Can I have the honor of speaking with Major Pendennis in private?" he
began--"I have a few words, for your ear, sir. I am the bearer of a
mission from my friend Captain Costigan,"--but here the man with the
bass voice paused, faltered, and turned pale--he caught sight of the red
and well-remembered face of Mr. Tatham.

"Hullo, Garbetts, speak up!" cried Mr. Foker, delighted.

"Why, bless my soul, it is the other party to the bill!" said Mr. Tatham.
"I say, sir; stop, I say." But Garbetts, with a face as blank as
Macbeth's when Banquo's ghost appears upon him, gasped some inarticulate
words, and fled out of the room.

The major's gravity was also altogether upset, and he burst out
laughing. So did Mr. Foker, who said, "By Jove, it was a good 'un."
So did the attorney, although by profession a serious man.

"I don't think there'll be any fight, major," young Foker said; and
began mimicking the tragedian. "If there is, the old gentleman--your
name Tatham?--very happy to make your acquaintance Mr. Tatham--may send
the bailiffs to separate the men;" and Mr. Tatham--promised to do so.
The major was by no means sorry at the ludicrous issue of the quarrel.
"It seems to me, sir," he said to Mr. Foker, "that you always arrive to
put me into good humor."

Nor was this the only occasion on which Mr. Foker this day was destined
to be of service to the Pendennis family. We have said that he had
the _entrée_ of Captain Costigan's lodgings, and in the course of the
afternoon he thought he would pay the general a visit, and hear from his
own lips what had occurred in the conversation, in the morning, with Mr.
Pendennis. Captain Costigan was not at home. He had received permission,
nay, encouragement from his daughter, to go to the convivial club at
the Magpie Hotel, where no doubt he was bragging at that moment of his
desire to murder a certain ruffian; for he was not only brave, but he
knew it too, and liked to take out his courage, and, as it were, give
it an airing in company.

Costigan then was absent, but Miss Fotheringay was at home washing the
tea-cups while Mr. Bows sate opposite to her.

"Just done breakfast I see--how do?" said Mr. Foker, popping in his
little funny head.

"Get out you funny little man," cried Miss Fotheringay.

"You mean come in," answered the other.--"Here we are!" and entering the
room he folded his arms and began twirling his head round and round with
immense rapidity, like Harlequin in the Pantomime when he first issues
from his cocoon or envelope. Miss Fotheringay laughed with all her
heart: a wink of Foker's would set her off laughing, when the bitterest
joke Bows ever made could not get a smile from her, or the finest of poor
Pen's speeches would only puzzle her. At the end of the harlequinade he
sank down on one knee and kissed her hand. "You're the drollest little
man," she said, and gave him a great good-humored slap. Pen used to
tremble as he kissed her hand. Pen would have died of a slap.

These preliminaries over, the three began to talk; Mr. Foker amused his
companions by recounting to them the scene which he had just witnessed
of the discomfiture of Mr. Garbetts, by which they learned, for the
first time, how far the general had carried his wrath against Major
Pendennis. Foker spoke strongly in favor of the major's character for
veracity and honor, and described him as a tip-top swell, moving in the
upper circle of society, who would never submit to any deceit--much more
to deceive such a charming young woman as Miss Foth.

He touched delicately upon the delicate marriage question, though he
couldn't help showing that he held Pen rather cheap. In fact, he had a
perhaps just contempt for Mr. Pen's high flown sentimentality; his own
weakness, as he thought, not lying that way. "I knew it wouldn't do,
Miss Foth," said he, nodding his little head. "Couldn't do.--Didn't like
to put _my_ hand into the bag, but knew it couldn't do. He's too young
for you: too green: a deal too green: and he turns out to be poor as
Job. Can't have him at no price, can she, Mr. Bo?"

"Indeed he's a nice poor boy," said the Fotheringay, rather sadly.

"Poor little beggar," said Bows, with his hands in his pockets, and
stealing up a queer look at Miss Fotheringay. Perhaps he thought and
wondered at the way in which women play with men, and coax them and win
them and drop them.

But Mr. Bows had not the least objection to acknowledge that he thought
Miss Fotheringay was perfectly right in giving up Mr. Arthur Pendennis,
and that in his idea the match was always an absurd one: and Miss
Costigan owned that she thought so herself, only she couldn't send away
two thousand a year. "It all comes of believing papa's silly stories,"
she said; "faith, I'll choose for meself another time"--and very likely
the large image of Lieutenant Sir Derby Oaks entered into her mind at
that instant.

After praising Major Pendennis, whom Miss Costigan declared to be a
proper gentleman entirely, smelling of lavender, and as neat as a
pin--and who was pronounced by Mr. Bows to be the right sort of fellow,
though rather too much of an old buck, Mr. Foker suddenly bethought him
to ask the pair to come and meet the major that very evening at dinner
at his apartment at the George. "He agreed to dine with me, and I think
after the--after the little shindy this morning, in which I must say the
general was wrong, it would look kind, you know.--I know the major fell
in love with you Miss Foth: he said so."

"So she may be Mrs. Pendennis still," Bows said, with a sneer--"No thank
you, Mr. F.--I've dined."

"Sure, that was at three o'clock," said Miss Costigan, who had an honest
appetite, "and I can't go without you."

"We'll have lobster salad and Champagne," said the little monster, who
could not construe a line of Latin, or do a sum beyond the Rule of
Three. Now, for lobster-salad and Champagne in an honorable manner Miss
Costigan would have gone any where--and Major Pendennis actually found
himself at seven o'clock, seated at a dinner-table in company with Mr.
Bows, a professional fiddler, and Miss Costigan, whose father had wanted
to blow his brains out a few hours before.

To make the happy meeting complete, Mr. Foker, who knew Costigan's
haunts, dispatched Stoopid to the club at the Magpie, where the general
was in the act of singing a pathetic song, and brought him off to
supper. To find his daughter and Bows seated at the board was a surprise
indeed--Major Pendennis laughed, and cordially held out his hand, which
the general officer grasped _avec effusion_, as the French say. In fact,
he was considerably inebriated, and had already been crying over his own
song before he joined the little party at the George. He burst into
tears more than once, during the entertainment, and called the major his
dearest friend. Stoopid and Mr. Foker walked home with him; the major
gallantly giving his arm to Miss Costigan. He was received with great
friendliness when he called the next day, when many civilities passed
between the gentlemen. On taking leave he expressed his anxious desire
to serve Miss Costigan on any occasion in which he could be useful to
her, and he shook hands with Mr. Foker most cordially and gratefully,
and said that gentleman had done him the very greatest service.

"All right," said Mr. Foker: and they parted with mutual esteem.

       *       *       *       *       *

On his return to Fairoaks the next day, Major Pendennis did not say what
had happened to him on the previous night, or allude to the company in
which he had passed it. But he engaged Mr. Smirke to stop to dinner; and
any person accustomed to watch his manner might have remarked that there
was something constrained in his hilarity and talkativeness, and that
he was unusually gracious and watchful in his communications with his
nephew. He gave Pen an emphatic God-bless-you, when the lad went to bed;
and as they were about to part for the night, he seemed as if he was
going to say something to Mrs. Pendennis, but he bethought him that if
he spoke he might spoil her night's rest, and allowed her to sleep in
peace.

The next morning he was down in the breakfast-room earlier than was his
custom, and saluted every body there with great cordiality. The post
used to arrive commonly about the end of this meal. When John, the old
servant entered, and discharged the bag of its letters and papers, the
major looked hard at Pen as the lad got his--Arthur blushed, and put his
letter down. He knew the hand, it was that of old Costigan, and he did
not care to read it in public. Major Pendennis knew the letter, too. He
had put it into the post himself in Chatteries the day before.

He told little Laura to go away, which the child did, having a thorough
dislike to him; and as the door closed on her, he took Mrs. Pendennis's
hand, and giving her a look full of meaning, pointed to the letter under
the newspaper which Pen was pretending to read. "Will you come into the
drawing-room?" he said. "I want to speak to you." And she followed him,
wondering, into the hall.

"What is it?" she said, nervously.

"The affair is at an end," Major Pendennis said. "He has a letter there
giving him his dismissal. I dictated it myself yesterday. There are a
few lines from the lady, too, bidding him farewell. It is all over."

Helen ran back to the dining-room, her brother following. Pen had jumped
at his letter the instant they were gone. He was reading it, with a
stupefied face. It stated what the major had said, that Mr. Costigan
was most gratified for the kindness with which Arthur had treated
his daughter, but that he was only now made aware of Mr. Pendennis's
pecuniary circumstances. They were such that marriage was at present out
of the question, and considering the great disparity in the age of the
two, a future union was impossible. Under these circumstances, and
with the deepest regret and esteem for him, Mr. Costigan bade Arthur
farewell, and suggested that he should cease visiting, for some time
at least, at his house.

A few lines from Miss Costigan were inclosed. She acquiesced in the
decision of her papa. She pointed out that she was many years older
than Arthur, and that an engagement was not to be thought of. She would
always be grateful for his kindness to her, and hoped to keep his
friendship. But at present, and until the pain of the separation should
be over, she entreated they should not meet.

Pen read Costigan's letter and its inclosure mechanically, hardly
knowing what was before his eyes. He looked up wildly, and saw his
mother and uncle regarding him with sad faces. Helen's, indeed, was full
of tender maternal anxieties.

"What--what is this?" Pen said. "It's some joke. This is not her
writing. This is some servant's writing. Who's playing these tricks upon
me?"

"It comes under her father's envelope," the major said. "Those letters
you had before were not in her hand: that is hers."

"How do you know?" said Pen, very fiercely.

"I saw her write it," the uncle answered, as the boy started up; and his
mother, coming forward, took his hand. He put her away.

"How came you to see her? How came you between me and her? What
have I ever done to you that you should.--Oh, it's not true, it's not
true!"--Pen broke out with a wild execration. "She can't have done it of
her own accord. She can't mean it. She's pledged to me. Who has told her
lies to break her from me?"

"Lies are not told in the family, Arthur," Major Pendennis replied.
"I told her the truth, which was, that you had no money to maintain her,
for her foolish father had represented you to be rich. And when she
knew how poor you were, she withdrew at once, and without any persuasion
of mine. She was quite right. She is ten years older than you are.
She is perfectly unfitted to be your wife, and knows it. Look at
that handwriting, and ask yourself, is such a woman fitted to be the
companion of your mother?"

"I will know from herself if it is true," Arthur said, crumpling up the
paper.

"Won't you take my word of honor? Her letters were written by a
confidante of hers, who writes better than she can--look here. Here's
one from the lady to your friend, Mr. Foker. You have seen her with Miss
Costigan, as whose amanuensis she acted"--the major said, with ever so
little of a sneer, and laid down a certain billet which Mr. Foker had
given to him.

"It's not that," said Pen, burning with shame and rage. "I suppose what
you say is true, sir, but I'll hear it from herself."

"Arthur!" appealed his mother.

"I _will_ see her," said Arthur. "I'll ask her to marry me, once more.
I will. No one shall prevent me."

"What, a woman who spells affection with one f? Nonsense, sir. Be a man,
and remember that your mother is a lady. She was never made to associate
with that tipsy old swindler or his daughter. Be a man, and forget her,
as she does you."

"Be a man and comfort your mother, my Arthur," Helen said, going and
embracing him: and seeing that the pair were greatly moved, Major
Pendennis went out of the room and shut the door upon them, wisely
judging that they were best alone.

He had won a complete victory. He actually had brought away Pen's
letters in his portmanteau from Chatteries: having complimented Mr.
Costigan, when he returned them, by giving him the little promissory
note which had disquieted himself and Mr. Garbetts; and for which the
major settled with Mr. Tatham.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pen rushed wildly off to Chatteries that day, but in vain attempted to
see Miss Fotheringay, for whom he left a letter, inclosed to her father.
The inclosure was returned by Mr. Costigan, who begged that all
correspondence might end; and after one or two further attempts of the
lad's, the indignant general desired that their acquaintance might
cease. He cut Pen in the street. As Arthur and Foker were pacing the
Castle walk, one day, they came upon Emily on her father's arm. She
passed without any nod of recognition. Foker felt poor Pen trembling
on his arm.

His uncle wanted him to travel, to quit the country for a while, and
his mother urged him, too: for he was growing very ill, and suffered
severely. But he refused, and said point blank he would not go. He would
not obey in this instance: and his mother was too fond and his uncle too
wise to force him. Whenever Miss Fotheringay acted he rode over to the
Chatteries Theater and saw her. One night there were so few people in
the house that the manager returned the money. Pen came home and went to
bed at eight o'clock, and had a fever. If this continues, his mother
will be going over and fetching the girl, the major thought, in despair.
As for Pen, he thought he should die. We are not going to describe his
feelings, or give a dreary journal of his despair and passion. Have not
other gentlemen been balked in love besides Mr. Pen? Yes, indeed: but
few die of the malady.



CHAPTER XIV.

IN WHICH MISS FOTHERINGAY MAKES A NEW ENGAGEMENT.


[Illustration]

Within a short period of the events above narrated, Mr. Manager Bingley
was performing his famous character of "Rolla," in "Pizarro," to a house
so exceedingly thin, that it would appear as if the part of Rolla was by
no means such a favorite with the people of Chatteries as it was with
the accomplished actor himself. Scarce any body was in the theater. Poor
Pen had the boxes almost all to himself, and sate there lonely, with
blood-shot eyes, leaning over the ledge, and gazing haggardly toward the
scene, when Cora came in. When she was not on the stage he saw nothing.
Spaniards and Peruvians, processions and battles, priests and virgins of
the sun, went in and out, and had their talk, but Arthur took no note of
any one of them; and only saw Cora whom his soul longed after. He said
afterward that he wondered he had not taken a pistol to shoot her, so
mad was he with love, and rage, and despair; and had it not been for his
mother at home, to whom he did not speak about his luckless condition,
but whose silent sympathy and watchfulness greatly comforted the simple
half heart-broken fellow, who knows but he might have done something
desperate, and have ended his days prematurely in front of Chatteries
jail? There he sate then, miserable, and gazing at her. And she took no
more notice of him than he did of the rest of the house.

The Fotheringay was uncommonly handsome, in a white raiment and leopard
skin, with a sun upon her breast, and fine tawdry bracelets on her
beautiful glancing arms. She spouted to admiration the few words of her
part, and looked it still better. The eyes, which had overthrown Pen's
soul, rolled and gleamed as lustrous as ever; but it was not to him that
they were directed that night. He did not know to whom, or remark a
couple of gentlemen, in the box next to him, upon whom Miss
Fotheringay's glances were perpetually shining.

Nor had Pen noticed the extraordinary change which had taken place on
the stage a short time after entry of these two gentleman into the
theater. There were so few people in the house, that the first act
of the play languished entirely, and there had been some question of
returning the money, as upon that other unfortunate night when poor Pen
had been driven away. The actors were perfectly careless about their
parts, and yawned through the dialogue, and talked loud to each other
in the intervals. Even Bingley was listless, and Mrs. B. in Elvira
spoke under her breath.

How came it that all of a sudden Mrs. Bingley began to raise her voice
and bellow like a bull of Bashan? Whence was it that Bingley, flinging
off his apathy, darted about the stage and yelled like Kean? Why did
Garbetts and Rowkins and Miss Rouncy try, each of them the force of
their charms or graces, and act and swagger and scowl and spout their
very loudest at the two gentlemen in box No. 3?

One was a quiet little man in black, with a gray head and a jolly
shrewd face--the other was in all respects a splendid and remarkable
individual. He was a tall and portly gentleman with a hooked nose and a
profusion of curling brown hair and whiskers; his coat was covered with
the richest frogs-braiding and velvet. He had under-waistcoats many
splendid rings, jeweled pins and neck-chains. When he took out his
yellow pocket-hankerchief with his hand that was cased in white kids,
a delightful odor of musk and bergamot was shaken through the house.
He was evidently a personage of rank, and it was at him that the little
Chatteries company was acting.

He was, in a word, no other than Mr. Dolphin, the great manager from
London, accompanied by his faithful friend and secretary Mr. William
Minns: without whom he never traveled. He had not been ten minutes in
the theater before his august presence there was perceived by Bingley
and the rest: and they all began to act their best and try to engage his
attention. Even Miss Fotheringay's dull heart, which was disturbed at
nothing, felt perhaps a flutter, when she came in presence of the famous
London Impresario. She had not much to do in her part, but to look
handsome, and stand in picturesque attitudes encircling her child: and
she did this work to admiration. In vain the various actors tried to win
the favor of the great stage sultan. Pizaro never got a hand from him.
Bingley yelled, and Mrs. Bingley bellowed, and the manager only took
snuff out of his great gold box. It was only in the last scene, when
Rolla comes in staggering with the infant (Bingley is not so strong as
he was, and his fourth son Master Talma Bingley is a monstrous large
child for his age)--when Rolla comes staggering with the child to Cora,
who rushes forward with a shriek, and says--"O God, there's blood upon
him!"--that the London manager clapped his hands, and broke out with an
enthusiastic bravo.

Then having concluded his applause, Mr. Dolphin gave his secretary a
slap on the shoulder, and said "By Jove, Billy, she'll do!"

"Who taught her that dodge?" said old Billy, who was a sardonic old
gentleman--"I remember her at the Olympic, and hang me if she could say
Bo to a goose."

It was little Mr. Bows in the orchestra who had taught her the 'dodge'
in question. All the company heard the applause, and, as the curtain
went down, came round her, and congratulated and hated Miss Fotheringay.

Now Mr. Dolphin's appearance in the remote little Chatteries theater may
be accounted for in this manner. In spite of all his exertions, and the
perpetual blazes of triumph, coruscations of talent, victories of good
old English comedy, which his play bills advertised, his theater (which,
if you please, and to injure no present susceptibilities and vested
interests, we shall call the Museum Theater) by no means prospered, and
the famous Impresario found himself on the verge of ruin. The great
Hubbard had acted legitimate drama for twenty nights, and failed to
remunerate any body but himself: the celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Cawdor
had come out in Mr. Rawhead's tragedy, and in their favorite round
of pieces, and had not attracted the public. Herr Garbage's lions
and tigers had drawn for a little time, until one of the animals had
bitten a piece out of the Herr's shoulder; when the Lord Chamberlain
interfered, and put a stop to this species of performance: and the grand
Lyrical Drama, though brought out with unexampled splendor and success,
with Monsieur Poumons as first tenor, and an enormous orchestra, had
almost crushed poor Dolphin in its triumphant progress: so that great
as his genius and resources were, they seemed to be at an end. He was
dragging on his season wretchedly with half salaries, small operas,
feeble old comedies, and his ballet company; and every body was looking
out for the day when he should appear in the Gazette.

One of the illustrious patrons of the Museum Theater, and occupant of
the great proscenium-box, was a gentleman whose name has been mentioned
in a previous history; that refined patron of the arts, and enlightened
lover of music and the drama, the Most Noble the Marquis of Steyne. His
lordship's avocations as a statesman prevented him from attending the
playhouse very often, or coming very early. But he occasionally appeared
at the theater in time for the ballet, and was always received with the
greatest respect by the manager, from whom he sometimes condescended to
receive a visit in his box. It communicated with the stage, and when any
thing occurred there which particularly pleased him, when a new face
made its appearance among the coryphées, or a fair dancer executed a
_pas_ with especial grace or agility, Mr. Wenham, Mr. Wagg, or some
other aid-de-camp of the noble marquis, would be commissioned to go
behind the scenes, and express the great man's approbation, or make
the inquiries which were prompted by his lordship's curiosity, or his
interest in the dramatic art. He could not be seen by the audience, for
Lord Steyne sate modestly behind a curtain, and looked only toward the
stage--but you could know he was in the house, by the glances which all
the corps-de-ballet, and all the principal dancers, cast toward his box.
I have seen many scores of pairs of eyes (as in the Palm Dance in the
ballet of Cook at Otaheite, where no less than a hundred-and-twenty
lovely female savages in palm leaves and feather aprons, were made to
dance round Floridor as Captain Cook), ogling that box as they performed
before it, and have often wondered to remark the presence of mind of
Mademoiselle Sautarelle, or Mademoiselle de Bondi (known as la petite
Caoutchouc), who, when actually up in the air quivering like so many
shuttlecocks, always kept their lovely eyes winking at that box in which
the great Steyne sate. Now and then you would hear a harsh voice from
behind the curtain, cry, "Brava, Brava," or a pair of white gloves wave
from it, and begin to applaud. Bondi, or Sauterelle, when they came down
to earth, courtesied and smiled, especially to those hands, before they
walked up the stage again, panting and happy.

One night this great prince surrounded by a few choice friends was in
his box at the Museum, and they were making such a noise and laughter
that the pit was scandalized, and many indignant voices were bawling
out silence so loudly, that Wagg wondered the police did not interfere
to take the rascals out. Wenham was amusing the party in the box
with extracts from a private letter which he had received from Major
Pendennis, whose absence in the country at the full London season had
been remarked, and of course deplored, by his friends.

"The secret is out," said Mr. Wenham, "There's a woman in the case."

"Why d---- it, Wenham, he's your age," said the gentleman behind the
curtain.

"Pour les âmes bien nées, l'amour ne compte pas le nombre des années,"
said Mr. Wenham, with a gallant air. "For my part I hope to be a victim
till I die, and to break my heart every year of my life." The meaning of
which sentence was, "My lord, you need not talk; I'm three years younger
than you, and twice as well conservé."

"Wenham, you affect me," said the great man, with one of his usual
oaths. "By ---- you do. I like to see a fellow preserving all the
illusions of youth up to our time of life--and keeping his heart warm
as yours is. Hang it, sir--it's a comfort to meet with such a generous,
candid creature.--Who's that gal in the second row, with blue ribbons,
third from the stage?--fine gal. Yes, you and I are sentimentalists.
Wagg I don't think so much cares--it's the stomach rather more than the
heart with you, eh, Wagg, my boy?"

"I like every thing that's good," said Mr. Wagg, generously. "Beauty and
Burgundy, Venus and Venison. I don't say that Venus's turtles are to be
despised, because they don't cook them at the London Tavern: but--but
tell us about old Pendennis, Mr. Wenham," he abruptly concluded--for his
joke flagged just then, as he saw that his patron was not listening. In
fact, Steyne's glasses were up, and he was examining some object on the
stage.

"Yes, I've heard that joke about Venus's turtles and the London Tavern
before--you begin to fail, my poor Wagg. If you don't mind I shall be
obliged to have a new Jester," Lord Steyne said, laying down his glass.
"Go on, Wenham, about old Pendennis."

"'Dear Wenham,'--he begins," Mr. Wenham read,--"'as you have had my
character in your hands for the last three weeks, and no doubt have torn
me to shreds, according to your custom, I think you can afford to be
good-humored by way of variety, and to do me a service. It is a delicate
matter, _entre nous, une affaire de coeur_. There is a young friend of
mine who is gone wild about a certain Miss Fotheringay, an actress at
the theater here, and I must own to you, as handsome a woman, and, as
it appears to me, as good an actress as ever put on rouge. She does
Ophelia, Lady Teazle, Mrs. Haller--that sort of thing. Upon my word,
she is as splendid as Georges in her best days, and as far as I know,
utterly superior to any thing we have on our scene. _I want a London
engagement for her._ Can't you get your friend Dolphin to come and see
her--to engage her--to take her out of this place? A word from a noble
friend of ours (you understand) would be invaluable, and if you could
get the Gaunt House interest for me--I will promise _any thing_ I can
in return for your service--which I shall consider as one of the
greatest _that can be done to me_. Do, do this now as a good fellow,
which _I always said you were_: and, in return, command yours truly,
A. Pendennis.'"

"It's a clear case," said Mr. Wenham, having read this letter; "old
Pendennis is in love."

"And wants to get the woman up to London--evidently," continued Mr.
Wagg.

"I should like to see Pendennis on his knees, with the rheumatism," said
Mr. Wenham.

"Or accommodating the beloved object with a lock of his hair," said
Wagg.

"Stuff," said the great man. "He has relations in the country, hasn't
he? He said something about a nephew, whose interest could return
a member. It is the nephew's affair, depend on it. The young one is
in a scrape. I was myself--when I was in the fifth form at Eton--a
market-gardener's daughter--and swore I'd marry her. I was mad about
her--poor Polly!"--Here he made a pause, and perhaps the past rose
up to Lord Steyne, and George Gaunt was a boy again, not altogether
lost.--"But I say, she must be a fine woman from Pendennis's account.
Have in Dolphin, and let us hear if he knows any thing of her."

At this Wenham sprang out of the box, passed the servitor who waited at
the door communicating with the stage, and who saluted Mr. Wenham with
profound respect; and the latter emissary, pushing on, and familiar
with the place, had no difficulty in finding out the manager, who was
employed, as he not unfrequently was, in swearing and cursing the ladies
of the corps-de-ballet for not doing their duty.

[Illustration]

The oaths died away on Mr. Dolphin's lips, as soon as he saw Mr. Wenham:
and he drew off the hand which was clenched in the face of one of the
offending Coryphées, to grasp that of the new comer. "How do, Mr. Wenham?
How's his lordship to-night? Looks uncommonly well," said the manager
smiling, as if he had never been out of temper in his life; and he was
only too delighted to follow Lord Steyne's embassador, and pay his
personal respects to that great man.

The visit to Chatteries was the result of their conversation: and Mr.
Dolphin wrote to his lordship from that place, and did himself the honor
to inform the Marquess of Steyne, that he had seen the lady about whom
his lordship had spoken, that he was as much struck by her talents as he
was by her personal appearance, and that he had made an engagement with
Miss Fotheringay who would soon have the honor of appearing before a
London audience, and his noble and enlightened patron the Marquess of
Steyne.

Pen read the announcement of Miss Fotheringay's engagement in the
Chatteries paper, where he had so often praised her charms. The editor
made very handsome mention of her talent and beauty, and prophesied her
success in the metropolis. Bingley, the manager, began to advertise
"The last night of Miss Fotheringay's engagement." Poor Pen and Sir
Derby Oaks were very constant at the play: Sir Derby in the stage-box,
throwing bouquets and getting glances.--Pen in the almost deserted
boxes, haggard, wretched, and lonely. Nobody cared whether Miss
Fotheringay was going or staying except those two--and perhaps one
more, which was Mr. Bows of the orchestra.

He came out of his place one night, and went into the house to the box
where Pen was; and he held out his hand to him, and asked him to come
and walk. They walked down the street together: and went and sate upon
Chatteries bridge in the moonlight, and talked about _her_. "We may sit
on the same bridge," said he: "we have been in the same boat for a long
time. You are not the only man who has made a fool of himself about that
woman. And I have less excuse than you, because I'm older and know her
better. She has no more heart than the stone you are leaning on; and it
or you or I might fall into the water, and never come up again, and she
wouldn't care. Yes--she would care for me, because she wants me to teach
her; and she won't be able to get on without me, and will be forced to
send for me from London. But she wouldn't if she didn't want me. She has
no heart and no head, and no sense, and no feelings, and no griefs or
cares, whatever. I was going to say no pleasures--but the fact is, she
does like her dinner, and she is pleased when people admire her."

"And you do?" said Pen, interested out of himself, and wondering at the
crabbed, homely little old man.

"It's a habit, like taking snuff, or drinking drams," said the other,
"I've been taking her these five years, and can't do without, her. It
was I made her. If she doesn't send for me, I shall follow her: but I
know she'll send for me. She wants me. Same day she'll marry, and fling
me over, as I do the end of this cigar."

The little flaming spark dropped into the water below, and disappeared;
and Pen, as he rode home that night, actually thought about somebody but
himself.



CHAPTER XV.

THE HAPPY VILLAGE.


[Illustration]

Until the enemy had retired altogether from before the place, Major
Pendennis was resolved to keep his garrison in Fairoaks. He did not
appear to watch Pen's behavior or to put any restraint on his nephew's
actions, but he managed nevertheless to keep the lad constantly under
his eye or those of his agents, and young Arthur's comings and goings
were quite well known to his vigilant guardian.

I suppose there is scarcely any man who reads this or any other
novel but has been balked in love sometime or other, by fate, and
circumstance, by the falsehood of woman, or his own fault. Let that
worthy friend recall his own sensations under the circumstances, and
apply them as illustrative of Mr. Pen's anguish. Ah! what weary nights
and sickening fevers! Ah! what mad desires dashing up against some
rock of obstruction or indifference, and flung back again from the
unimpressionable granite! If a list could be made this very night in
London of the groans, thoughts, imprecations of tossing lovers, what
a catalogue it would be! I wonder what a per centage of the male
population of the metropolis will be lying awake at two or three o'clock
to-morrow morning, counting the hours as they go by knelling drearily,
and rolling from left to right, restless, yearning, and heart-sick?
What a pang it is! I never knew a man die of love, certainly, but
I have known a twelve stone man go down to nine stone five, under a
disappointed passion, so that pretty nearly a quarter of him may be said
to have perished; and that is no small portion. He has come back to his
old size subsequently; perhaps is bigger than ever: very likely some new
affection has closed round his heart and ribs and made them comfortable,
and young Pen is a man who will console himself like the rest of us. We
say this lest the ladies should be disposed to deplore him prematurely,
or be seriously uneasy with regard to his complaint. His mother was, but
what will not a maternal fondness fear or invent? "Depend on it, my dear
creature," Major Pendennis would say gallantly to her, "the boy will
recover. As soon as we get her out of the country we will take him
somewhere, and show him a little life. Meantime make yourself easy about
him. Half a fellow's pangs at losing a woman result from vanity more
than affection. To be left by a woman is the deuce and all, to be sure;
but look how easily we leave 'em."

Mrs. Pendennis did not know. This sort of knowledge had by no means come
within the simple lady's scope. Indeed she did not like the subject or
to talk of it: her heart had had its own little private misadventure and
she had borne up against it and cured it; and perhaps she had not much
patience with other folks' passions, except, of course, Arthur's whose
sufferings she made her own, feeling indeed, very likely, in many of the
boy's illnesses and pains a great deal more than Pen himself endured.
And she watched him through this present grief with a jealous silent
sympathy; although, as we have said, he did not talk to her of his
unfortunate condition.

The major must be allowed to have had not a little merit and
forbearance, and to have exhibited a highly creditable degree of family
affection. The life at Fairoaks was uncommonly dull to a man who had the
_entrée_ of half the houses in London, and was in the habit of making
his bow in three or four drawing-rooms of a night. A dinner with Doctor
Portman or a neighboring squire now and then; a dreary rubber at
backgammon with the widow, who did her utmost to amuse him: these were
the chief of his pleasures. He used to long for the arrival of the
bag with the letters, and he read every word of the evening paper. He
doctored himself too, assiduously--a course of quiet living would suit
him well, he thought, after the London banquets. He dressed himself
laboriously every morning and afternoon: he took regular exercise
up and down the terrace walk. Thus with his cane, his toilet, his
medicine-chest, his backgammon-box, and his newspaper, this worthy and
worldly philosopher fenced himself against ennui; and if he did not
improve each shining hour, like the bees by the widow's garden wall,
Major Pendennis made one hour after another pass as he could: and
rendered his captivity just tolerable. After this period it was remarked
that he was fond of bringing round the conversation to the American war,
the massacre of Wyoming and the brilliant actions of Saint Lucie the
fact being that he had a couple of volumes of the "Annual Register" in
his bed-room, which he sedulously studied. It is thus a well-regulated
man will accommodate himself to circumstances, and show himself calmly
superior to fortune.

Pen sometimes took the box at backgammon of a night, or would listen to
his mother's simple music of summer evenings--but he was very restless
and wretched in spite of all; and has been known to be up before the
early daylight even: and down at a carp-pond in Clavering Park, a dreary
pool with innumerable-whispering rushes and green alders, where a
milkmaid drowned herself in the baronet's grandfather's time, and her
ghost was said to walk still. But Pen did not drown himself, as perhaps
his mother fancied might be his intention. He liked to go and fish
there, and think and think at leisure, as the float quivered in the
little eddies of the pond, and the fish flapped about him. If he got a
bite he was excited enough: and in this way occasionally brought home,
carps, tenches, and eels, which the major cooked in the continental
fashion.

By this pond, and under a tree, which was his favorite resort, Pen
composed a number of poems suitable to his circumstances--over which
verses he blushed in after days, wondering how he could ever have
invented such rubbish. And as for the tree, why, it is in a hollow of
this very tree, where he used to put his tin box of ground-bait, and
other fishing commodities, that he afterward--but we are advancing
matters. Suffice it to say, he wrote poems and relieved himself very
much. When a man's grief or passion is at this point, it may be loud,
but it is not very severe. When a gentleman is cudgeling his brain to
find any rhyme for sorrow, beside borrow and to-morrow, his woes are
nearer at an end than he thinks for. So were Pen's. He had his hot
and cold fits, his days of sullenness and peevishness, and of blank
resignation and despondency, and occasional mad paroxysms of rage and
longing, in which fits Rebecca would be saddled and galloped fiercely
about the country, or into Chatteries, her rider gesticulating wildly on
her back, and astonishing carters and turnpikemen as he passed, crying
out the name of the false one.

Mr. Foker became a very frequent and welcome visitor at Fairoaks during
this period, where his good spirits and oddities always amused the major
and Pendennis, while they astonished the widow and little Laura not a
little. His tandem made a great sensation in Clavering market-place;
where he upset a market stall, and cut Mrs. Pybus's poodle over the
shaven quarters, and drank a glass of raspberry bitters at the Clavering
Arms. All the society in the little place heard who he was, and looked
out his name in their Peerages. He was so young, and their books so old,
that his name did not appear in many of their volumes; and his mamma,
now quite an antiquated lady, figured among the progeny of the Earl of
Rosherville, as Lady Agnes Milton, still. But his name, wealth, and
honorable lineage were speedily known about Clavering, where you may be
sure that poor Pen's little transaction with the Chatteries actress was
also pretty freely discussed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking at the little old town of Clavering St. Mary from the London
road as it runs by the lodge at Fairoaks, and seeing the rapid and
shining Brawl winding down from the town and skirting the woods of
Clavering Park, and the ancient church tower and peaked roofs of the
houses rising up among trees and old walls, behind which swells a fair
back-ground of sunshiny hills that stretch from Clavering westward
toward the sea--the place looks so cheery and comfortable that many a
traveler's heart must have yearned toward it from the coach-top, and he
must have thought that it was in such a calm friendly nook he would like
to shelter at the end of life's struggle. Tom Smith who used to drive
the Alacrity coach, would often point to a tree near the river, from
which a fine view of the church and town was commanded, and inform his
companion on the box that "Artises come and take hoff the Church from
that there tree.--It was a Habby once, sir:"--and indeed a pretty view
it is, which I recommend to Mr. Stanfield or Mr. Roberts, for their next
tour.

Like Constantinople seen from the Bosphorus; like Mrs. Rougemont viewed
in her box from the opposite side of the house; like many an object
which we pursue in life, and admire before we have attained it;
Clavering is rather prettier at a distance than it is on a closer
acquaintance. The town so cheerful of aspect a few furlongs off, looks
very blank and dreary. Except on market days there is nobody in the
streets.

The clack of a pair of pattens echoes through half the place, and you
may hear the creaking of the rusty old ensign at the Clavering Arms,
without being disturbed by any other noise. There has not been a ball
in the assembly rooms since the Clavering volunteers gave one to their
colonel, the old Sir Francis Clavering; and the stables which once held
a great part of that brilliant, but defunct regiment, are now cheerless
and empty, except on Thursdays, when the farmers put up there, and their
tilted carts and gigs make a feeble show of liveliness in the place, or
on petty sessions, when the magistrates attend in what used to be the
old card-room.

On the south side of the market rises up the church, with its great gray
towers, of which the sun illuminates the delicate carving; deepening the
shadows of the huge buttresses, and gilding the glittering windows, and
flaming vanes. The image of the patroness of the church was wrenched out
of the porch centuries ago: such of the statues of saints as were within
reach of stones and hammer at that period of pious demolition are maimed
and headless, and of those who were out of fire, only Doctor Portman
knows the names and history, for his curate, Smirke, is not much of
an antiquarian, and Mr. Simcoe (husband of the Honorable Mrs. Simcoe)
incumbent and architect of the Chapel of Ease in the lower town, thinks
them the abomination of desolation.

The rectory is a stout broad-shouldered brick house, of the reign of
Anne. It communicates with the church and market by different gates,
and stands at the opening of Yew-tree Lane, where the Grammar School
(Rev. ---- Wapshot) is; Yew-tree Cottage (Miss Flather); the butcher's
slaughtering-house, an old barn or brew-house of the Abbey times, and
the Misses Finucane's establishment for young ladies. The two schools
had their pews in the loft on each side of the organ, until the
Abbey Church getting rather empty, through the falling off of the
congregation, who were inveigled to the Heresy-shop in the lower town,
the doctor induced the Misses Finucane to bring their pretty little
flock down stairs; and the young ladies' bonnets make a tolerable show
in the rather vacant aisles. Nobody is in the great pew of the Clavering
family except the statues of defunct baronets and their ladies: there
is Sir Poyntz Clavering, knight and baronet, kneeling in a square
beard opposite his wife in a ruff; a very fat lady, the Dame Rebecca
Clavering, in alto-relievo, is borne up to Heaven by two little
blue-veined angels, who seem to have a severe task--and so forth. How
well, in after life, Pen remembered those effigies, and how often in
youth he scanned them as the doctor was grumbling the sermon from the
pulpit, and Smirke's mild head and forehead curl peered over the great
prayer-book in the desk!

The Fairoaks folks were constant at the old church; their servants
had a pew, so had the doctor's, so had Wapshot's, and those of Misses
Finucane's establishment, three maids and a very nice looking young man
in a livery. The Wapshot family were numerous and faithful. Glanders and
his children regularly came to church: so did one of the apothecaries.
Mrs. Pybus went, turn and turn about, to the Low Town church, and to the
Abbey: the Charity School and their families of course came; Wapshot's
boys made a good cheerful noise, scuffling with their feet as they
marched into church and up the organ-loft stair, and blowing their noses
a good deal during the service. To be brief, the congregation looked as
decent as might be in these bad times. The Abbey Church was furnished
with a magnificent screen, and many hatchments and heraldic tombstones.
The doctor spent a great part of his income in beautifying his darling
place; he had endowed it with a superb painted window, bought in the
Netherlands, and an organ grand enough for a cathedral.

But in spite of organ and window, in consequence of the latter very
likely, which had come out of a papistical place of worship and was
blazoned all over with idolatry, Clavering New Church prospered
scandalously in the teeth of orthodoxy; and many of the doctor's
congregation deserted to Mr. Simcoe and the honorable woman his wife.
Their efforts had thinned the very Ebenezer hard by them, which
building, before Simcoe's advent used to be so full, that you could
see the backs of the congregation squeezing out of the arched windows
thereof. Mr. Simcoe's tracts fluttered into the doors of all the
doctor's cottages, and were taken as greedily as honest Mrs. Portman's
soup, with the quality of which the graceless people found fault. With
the folks at the Ribbon Factory situated by the weir on the Brawl side,
and round which the Low Town had grown, orthodoxy could make no way at
all. Quiet Miss Myra was put out of court by impetuous Mrs. Simcoe and
her female aids-de-camp. Ah, it was a hard burthen for the doctor's
lady to bear, to behold her husband's congregation dwindling away; to
give the precedence on the few occasions when they met to a notorious
low-churchman's wife who was the daughter of an Irish Peer; to know that
there was a party in Clavering, their own town of Clavering, on which
her doctor spent a great deal more than his professional income, who
held him up to odium because he played a rubber at whist; and pronounced
him to be a heathen because he went to the play. In her grief she
besought him to give up the play and the rubber--indeed they could
scarcely get a table now, so dreadful was the outcry against the
sport--but the doctor declared that he would do what he thought right,
and what the great and good George the Third did (whose chaplain he had
been): and as for giving up whist because those silly folks cried out
against it, he would play dummy to the end of his days with his wife and
Myra, rather than yield to their despicable persecutions.

Of the two families, owners of the factory (which had spoiled the Brawl
as a trout-stream and brought all the mischief into the town), the
senior partner, Mr. Rolt, went to Ebenezer; the junior, Mr. Barker, to
the New Church. In a word, people quarreled in this little place a great
deal more than neighbors do in London; and in the book club, which the
prudent and conciliating Pendennis had set up, and which ought to have
been a neutral territory, they bickered so much that nobody scarcely was
ever seen in the reading room, except Smirke, who though he kept up a
faint amity with the Simcoe faction, had still a taste for magazines and
light worldly literature; and old Glanders, whose white head and grizzly
mustache might be seen at the window; and of course, little Mrs. Pybus,
who looked at every body's letters as the post brought them (for the
Clavering reading room, as every one knows, used to be held at Baker's
Library, London-street formerly Hog Lane), and read every advertisement
in the paper.

It may be imagined how great a sensation was created in this amiable
little community when the news reached it of Mr. Pen's love-passages at
Chatteries. It was carried from house to house, and formed the subject
of talk at high-church, low-church, and no-church tables; it was
canvassed by the Misses Finucane and their teachers, and very likely
debated by the young ladies in the dormitories, for what we know;
Wapshot's big boys had their version of the story, and eyed Pen
curiously as he sate in his pew at church, or raised the finger of scorn
at him as he passed through Chatteries. They always hated him and called
him Lord Pendennis, because he did not wear corduroys as they did, and
rode a horse, and gave himself the airs of a buck.

And if the truth must be told, it was Mrs. Portman herself who was the
chief narrator of the story of Pen's loves. Whatever tales this candid
woman heard, she was sure to impart them to her neighbors; and after she
had been put into possession of Pen's secret by the little scandal at
Chatteries, poor Doctor Portman knew that it would next day be about
the parish of which he was the rector. And so indeed it was; the whole
society there had the legend--at the news' room, at the milliner's, at
the shoe-shop, and the general warehouse at the corner of the market;
at Mrs. Pybus's, at the Glanders's, at the Honorable Mrs. Simcoe's
_soirée_, at the factory; nay, through the mill itself the tale was
current in a few hours, and young Arthur Pendennis's madness, was in
every mouth.

All Doctor Portman's acquaintances barked out upon him when he walked
the street the next day. The poor divine knew that his Betsy was the
author of the rumor, and groaned in spirit. Well, well--it must have
come in a day or two, and it was as well that the town should have the
real story. What the Clavering folks thought of Mrs. Pendennis for
spoiling her son, and of that precocious young rascal of an Arthur for
daring to propose to a play-actress, need not be told here. If pride
exists among any folks in our country, and assuredly we have enough
of it, there is no pride more deep-seated than that of twopenny old
gentlewomen in small towns. "Gracious goodness," the cry was, "how
infatuated the mother is about that pert and headstrong boy, who gives
himself the airs of a _lord_ on his _blood-horse_, and for whom _our_
society is not good enough, and who would marry an odious painted
actress off a booth, where very likely he wants to rant himself. If
dear, good Mr. Pendennis had been alive this scandal would never have
happened."

No more it would, very likely, nor should we have been occupied in
narrating Pen's history. It was true that he gave himself airs to the
Clavering folks. Naturally haughty and frank, their cackle and small
talk and small dignities bored him, and he showed a contempt which he
could not conceal. The doctor and the curate were the only people Pen
cared for in the place--even Mrs. Portman shared in the general distrust
of him, and of his mother, the widow, who kept herself aloof from the
village society, and was sneered at accordingly, because she tried,
forsooth, to keep her head up with the great county families. She,
indeed! Mrs. Barker at the factory has four times the butcher's meat
that goes up to Fairoaks, with all their fine airs.

_&c. &c. &c._: let the reader fill up these details according to his
liking and experience of village scandal. They will suffice to show
how it was that a good woman, occupied solely in doing her duty to her
neighbor and her children, and an honest, brave lad, impetuous, and
full of good, and wishing well to every mortal alive, found enemies and
detractors among people to whom they were superior, and to whom they
had never done any thing like harm. The Clavering curs were yelping all
round the house of Fairoaks, and delighted to pull Pen down.

Doctor Portman and Smirke were both cautious of informing the widow
of the constant outbreak of calumny which was pursuing poor Pen,
though Glanders, who was a friend of the house, kept him _au courant_.
It may be imagined what his indignation was; was there any man in the
village whom he could call to account? Presently some wags began to
chalk up "Fotheringay forever!" and other sarcastic allusions to late
transactions, at Fairoaks gate. Another brought a large play-bill from
Chatteries, and wafered it there one night. On one occasion Pen, riding
through the lower town, fancied he heard the factory boys jeer him; and
finally going through the doctor's gate into the churchyard, where some
of Wapshot's boys were lounging, the biggest of them, a young gentleman
about twenty years of age, son of a neighboring small squire, who lived
in the doubtful capacity of parlor boarder with Mr. Wapshot, flung
himself into a theatrical attitude near a newly-made grave, and began
repeating Hamlet's verses over Ophelia, with a hideous leer at Pen.

The young fellow was so enraged that he rushed at Hobnell Major with a
shriek very much resembling an oath, cut him furiously across the face
with the riding-whip which he carried, flung it away, calling upon the
cowardly villain to defend himself, and in another minute knocked the
bewildered young ruffian into the grave which was just waiting for a
different lodger.

Then with his fists clenched, and his face quivering with passion and
indignation, he roared out to Mr. Hobnell's gaping companions, to know
if any of the blackguards would come on? But they held back with a
growl, and retreated as Doctor Portman came up to his wicket, and Mr.
Hobnell, with his nose and lip bleeding piteously, emerged from the
grave.

Pen, looking death and defiance at the lads, who retreated toward their
side of the churchyard, walked back again through the doctor's wicket,
and was interrogated by that gentleman. The young fellow was so agitated
he could scarcely speak. His voice broke into a sob, as he answered.
"The ---- coward insulted me, sir," he said; and the doctor passed over
the oath, and respected the emotion of the honest, suffering young
heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pendennis the elder, who like a real man of the world had a proper and
constant dread of the opinion of his neighbor, was prodigiously annoyed
by the absurd little tempest which was blowing in Chatteries, and
tossing about Master Pen's reputation. Doctor Portman and Captain
Glanders had to support the charges of the whole Chatteries society
against the young reprobate, who was looked upon as a monster of crime.
Pen did not say any thing about the churchyard scuffle at home; but went
over to Baymouth, and took counsel with his friend Harry Foker, Esq.,
who drove over his drag presently to the Clavering Arms, whence he sent
Stoopid with a note to Thomas Hobnell, Esq., at the Rev. J. Wapshot's,
and a civil message to ask when he should wait upon that gentleman.

Stoopid brought back word that the note had been opened by Mr. Hobnell,
and read to half-a-dozen of the big boys, on whom it seemed to make a
great impression; and that after consulting together, and laughing, Mr.
Hobnell said he would send an answer "arter arternoon school, which the
bell was a ringing; and Mr. Wapshot he came out in his Master's gownd."
Stoopid was learned in academical costume, having attended Mr. Foker at
St. Boniface.

Mr. Foker went out to see the curiosities of Clavering, meanwhile; but
not having a taste for architecture, Doctor Portman's fine church did
not engage his attention much, and he pronounced the tower to be as
moldy as an old Stilton cheese. He walked down the street and looked
at the few shops there; he saw Captain Glanders at the window of the
reading-room, and having taken a good stare at that gentleman, he wagged
his head at him in token of satisfaction; he inquired the price of meat
at the butcher's, with an air of the greatest interest, and asked,
"when was next killing day?" he flattened his little nose against Madam
Fribsby's window to see if haply there was a pretty workwoman in her
premises; but there was no face more comely than the doll's or dummy's
wearing the French cap in the window, only that of Madame Fribsby
herself, dimly visible in the parlor, reading a novel. That object was
not of sufficient interest to keep Mr. Foker very long in contemplation,
and so having exhausted the town and the inn stables, in which there
were no cattle, save the single old pair of posters that earned a scanty
livelihood by transporting the gentry round about to the county dinners,
Mr. Foker was giving himself up to _ennui_ entirely, when a messenger
from Mr. Hobnell was at length announced.

[Illustration]

It was no other than Mr. Wapshot himself, who came with an air of great
indignation, and holding Pen's missive in his hand, asked Mr. Foker
"how dared he bring such an unchristian message as a challenge to a
boy of his school?"

In fact Pen had written a note to his adversary of the day before,
telling him that if after the chastisement which his insolence richly
deserved, he felt inclined to ask the reparation which was usually given
among gentlemen, Mr. Arthur Pendennis's friend, Mr. Henry Foker, was
empowered to make any arrangements for the satisfaction of Mr. Hobnell.

"And so he sent _you_ with the answer--did he, sir?" Mr. Foker said,
surveying the schoolmaster in his black coat and clerical costume.

"If he had accepted this wicked challenge, I should have flogged him,"
Mr. Wapshot said, and gave Mr. Foker a glance which seemed to say, "and
I should like very much to flog you, too."

"Uncommon kind of you, sir, I'm sure," said Pen's emissary. "I told my
principal that I didn't think the other man would fight," he continued,
with a great air of dignity. "He prefers being flogged to fighting, sir,
I dare say. May I offer you any refreshment, Mr. ----? I haven't the
advantage of your name."

"My name is Wapshot, sir, and I am master of the grammar school of this
town, sir," cried the other: "and I want no refreshment, sir, I thank
you, and have no desire to make your acquaintance, sir."

"I didn't seek yours, sir, I'm sure," replied Mr. Foker. "In affairs
of this sort, you see, I think it is a pity that the clergy should be
called in, but there's no accounting for tastes, sir."

"I think it's a pity that boys should talk about committing murder, sir,
as lightly as you do," roared the schoolmaster; "and if I had you in my
school--"

"I dare say you would teach me better, sir," Mr. Foker said, with a bow.
"Thank you, sir. I've finished my education, sir, and ain't a going back
to school, sir--when I do, I'll remember your kind offer, sir. John,
show this gentleman down stairs--and, of course, as Mr. Hobnell likes
being thrashed, we can have no objection, sir, and we shall be very
happy to accommodate him, whenever he comes our way."

And with this, the young fellow bowed the elder gentleman out of the
room, and sate down and wrote a note off to Pen, in which he informed
the latter, that Mr. Hobnell was not disposed to fight, and proposed
to put up with the caning which Pen had administered to him.



CHAPTER XVI.

MORE STORMS IN THE PUDDLE.


[Illustration]

Pen's conduct in this business of course was soon made public and
angered his friend Doctor Portman, not a little: while it only amused
Major Pendennis. As for the good Mrs. Pendennis, she was almost
distracted when she heard of the squabble, and of Pen's unchristian
behavior. All sorts of wretchedness, discomfort, crime, annoyance,
seemed to come out of this transaction in which the luckless boy had
engaged; and she longed more than ever to see him out of Chatteries for
a while--any where removed from the woman who had brought him into so
much trouble.

Pen, when remonstrated with by this fond parent, and angrily rebuked by
the doctor for his violence and ferocious intentions, took the matter
_au grand sérieux_, with the happy conceit and gravity of youth: said
that he himself was very sorry for the affair, that the insult had come
upon him without the slightest provocation on his part; that he would
permit no man to insult him upon this head without vindicating his own
honor, and appealing with great dignity to his uncle, asked whether he
could have acted otherwise as a gentleman, than as he did in resenting
the outrage offered to him, and in offering satisfaction to the person
chastised?

"_Vous allez trop vite_, my good sir," said the uncle, rather
puzzled, for he had been indoctrinating his nephew with some of his
own notions upon the point of honor--old-world notions savoring of
the camp and pistol a great deal more than our soberer opinions of the
present day--"between men of the world I don't say; but between two
school-boys, this sort of thing is ridiculous, my dear boy--perfectly
ridiculous."

"It is extremely wicked, and unlike my son," said Mrs. Pendennis, with
tears in her eyes; and bewildered with the obstinacy of the boy.

Pen kissed her, and said with great pomposity, "Women, dear mother,
don't understand these matters--I put myself into Foker's hands--I had
no other course to pursue."

Major Pendennis grinned and shrugged his shoulders. The young ones were
certainly making great progress, he thought. Mrs. Pendennis declared
that that Foker was a wicked horrid little wretch, and was sure that he
would lead her dear boy into mischief, if Pen went to the same college
with him. "I have a great mind not to let him go at all," she said: and
only that she remembered that the lad's father had always destined him
for the college in which he had had his own brief education, very likely
the fond mother would have put a veto upon his going to the University.

That he was to go, and at the next October term, had been arranged
between all the authorities who presided over the lad's welfare. Foker
had promised to introduce him to the right set; and Major Pendennis laid
great store upon Pen's introduction into college life and society by
this admirable young gentleman. "Mr. Foker knows the very best young men
now at the University," the major said, "and Pen will form acquaintances
there who will be of the greatest advantage through life to him. The
young Marquis of Plinlimmon is there, eldest son of the Duke of Saint
David's--Lord Magnus Charters is there, Lord Runnymede's son; and a
first cousin of Mr. Foker (Lady Runnymede, my dear, was Lady Agatha
Milton, you of course remember), Lady Agnes will certainly invite him to
Logwood; and far from being alarmed at his intimacy with her son, who is
a singular and humorous, but most prudent and amiable young man, to
whom, I am sure, we are under every obligation for his admirable conduct
in the affair of the Fotheringay marriage, I look upon it as one of the
very luckiest things which could have happened to Pen, that he should
have formed an intimacy with this most amusing young gentleman."

Helen sighed, she supposed the major knew best. Mr. Foker had been
very kind in the wretched business with Miss Costigan, certainly, and
she was grateful to him. But she could not feel otherwise than a dim
presentiment of evil; and all these quarrels, and riots, and worldliness,
scared her about the fate of her boy.

Doctor Portman was decidedly of opinion that Pen should go to college.
He hoped the lad would read, and have a moderate indulgence of the best
society too. He was of opinion that Pen would distinguish himself:
Smirke spoke very highly of his proficiency: the doctor himself had
heard him construe, and thought he acquitted himself remarkably well.
That he should go out of Chatteries was a great point, at any rate, and
Pen, who was distracted from his private grief by the various rows and
troubles which had risen round about him, gloomily said he would obey.

There were assizes, races, and the entertainments, and the flux of
company consequent upon them, at Chatteries, during a part of the
months of August and September, and Miss Fotheringay still continued to
act, and take farewell of the audiences at the Chatteries Theater during
that time. Nobody seemed to be particularly affected by her presence, or
her announced departure, except those persons whom we have named; nor
could the polite county folks who had houses in London, and very likely
admired the Fotheringay prodigiously in the capital, when they had been
taught to do so by the fashion which set in in her favor find any thing
remarkable in the actress performing on the little Chatteries boards.
Many a genius and many a quack, for that matter, has met with a similar
fate before and since Miss Costigan's time. This honest woman meanwhile
bore up against the public neglect, and any other crosses or vexations
which she might have in life, with her usual equanimity; and ate, drank,
acted, slept, with that regularity and comfort which belongs to people
of her temperament. What a deal of grief, care, and other harmful
excitement, does a healthy dullness and cheerful insensibility avoid!
Nor do I mean to say that Virtue is not Virtue because it is never
tempted to go astray; only that dullness is a much finer gift than we
give it credit for being, and that some people are very lucky whom
Nature has endowed with a good store of that great anodyne.

Pen used to go drearily in and out from the play at Chatteries during
this season, and pretty much according to his fancy. His proceedings
tortured his mother not a little, and her anxiety would have led her
often to interfere, had not the major constantly checked, and at the
same time encouraged her; for the wily man of the world fancied he saw
that a favorable turn had occurred in Pen's malady. It was the violent
efflux of versification, among other symptoms, which gave Pen's guardian
and physician satisfaction. He might be heard spouting verses in the
shrubbery walks, or muttering them between his teeth as he sat with
the home party of evenings. One day prowling about the house in Pen's
absence, the major found a great book full of verses in the lad's study.
They were in English, and in Latin; quotations from the classic authors
were given in the scholastic manner in the foot-notes. He can't be very
bad, wisely thought the Pall Mall Philosopher: and he made Pen's mother
remark (not, perhaps, without a secret feeling of disappointment, for
she loved romance like other soft women), that the young gentleman
during the last fortnight came home quite hungry to dinner at night,
and also showed a very decent appetite at the breakfast table in the
morning. "Gad, I wish I could," said the major, thinking ruefully of his
dinner pills. "The boy begins to sleep well, depend upon that." It was
cruel, but it was true.

Having no other soul to confide in--for he could not speak to his mother
of his loves and disappointments--his uncle treated them in a scornful
and worldly tone, which, though carefully guarded and polite, yet jarred
greatly on the feelings of Mr. Pen--and Foker was much too coarse to
appreciate those refined sentimental secrets--the lad's friendship for
the curate redoubled, or rather, he was never tired of having Smirke for
a listener on that one subject. What is a lover without a confidant?
Pen employed Mr. Smirke, as Corydon does the elm-tree, to cut out his
mistress's name upon. He made him echo with the name of the beautiful
Amaryllis. When men have left off playing the tune, they do not care
much for the pipe: but Pen thought he had a great friendship for Smirke,
because he could sigh out his loves and griefs into his tutor's ears;
and Smirke had his own reasons for always being ready at the lad's call.

Pen's affection gushed out in a multitude of sonnets to the friend
of his heart, as he styled the curate, which the other received with
great sympathy. He plied Smirke with Latin Sapphics and Alcaics. The
love-songs multiplied under his fluent pen; and Smirke declared and
believed that they were beautiful. On the other hand, Pen expressed
a boundless gratitude to think that Heaven should have sent him
such a friend at such a moment. He presented his tutor with his best
bound books, and his gold guard chain, and wanted him to take his
double-barreled gun. He went into Chatteries and got a gold pencil-case
on credit (for he had no money, and indeed was still in debt to Smirke
for some of the Fotheringay presents), which he presented to Smirke,
with an inscription indicative of his unalterable and eternal regard
for the curate; who of course was pleased with every mark of the boy's
attachment.

       *       *       *       *       *

The poor curate was naturally very much dismayed at the contemplated
departure of his pupil. When Arthur should go, Smirke's occupation and
delight would go too. What pretext could he find for a daily visit to
Fairoaks, and that kind word or glance from the lady there, which was as
necessary to the curate as the frugal dinner which Madam Fribsby served
him? Arthur gone, he would only be allowed to make visits like any other
acquaintance: little Laura could not accommodate him by learning the
catechism more than once a week: he had curled himself like ivy round
Fairoaks: he pined at the thought that he must lose his hold of the
place. Should he speak his mind and go down on his knees to the widow?
He thought over any indications in her behavior which flattered his
hopes. She had praised his sermon three weeks before; she had thanked
him exceedingly for his present of a melon, for a small dinner party
which Mrs. Pendennis gave: she said she should always be grateful to
him for his kindness to Arthur, and when he declared that there were no
bounds to his love and affection for that dear boy, she had certainly
replied in a romantic manner, indicating her own strong gratitude and
regard to all her son's friends. Should he speak out?--or should he
delay? If he spoke and she refused him, it was awful to think that the
gate of Fairoaks might be shut upon him forever--and within that door
lay all the world for Mr. Smirke.

Thus, oh friendly readers, we see how every man in the world, has his
own private griefs and business, by which he is more cast down or
occupied than by the affairs or sorrows of any other person. While Mrs.
Pendennis is disquieting herself about losing her son and that anxious
hold she has had of him, as long as he has remained in the mother's
nest, whence he is about to take flight into the great world
beyond--while the major's great soul chafes and frets, inwardly vexed as
he thinks what great parties are going on in London, and that he might
be sunning himself in the glances of dukes and duchesses, but for those
cursed affairs which keep him in a wretched little country hole--while
Pen is tossing between his passion and a more agreeable sensation,
unacknowledged yet, but swaying him considerably, namely, his longing to
see the world--Mr. Smirke has a private care watching at his bed side,
and sitting behind him on his pony; and is no more satisfied than the
rest of us. How lonely we are in the world; how selfish and secret,
every body! You and your wife have pressed the same pillow for forty
years and fancy yourselves united.--Pshaw, does she cry out when you
have the gout, or do you lie awake when she has the tooth-ache? Your
artless daughter, seemingly all innocence, and devoted to her mamma and
her piano lesson, is thinking of neither, but of the young lieutenant
with whom she danced at the last ball--the honest frank boy just
returned from school is secretly speculating upon the money you will
give him, and the debts he owes the tart man. The old grandmother
crooning in the corner and bound to another world within a few months,
has some business or cares which are quite private and her own--very
likely she is thinking of fifty years back, and that night when she made
such an impression, and danced a cotillion with the captain, before your
father proposed for her; or, what a silly little over-rated creature
your wife is, and how absurdly you are infatuated about her--and, as for
your wife--O philosophic reader, answer and say--Do you tell her all?
Ah, sir--a distinct universe walks about under your hat and under
mine--all things in nature are different to each--the woman we look
at has not the same features, the dish we eat from has not the same
taste to the one and the other--you and I are but a pair of infinite
isolations, with some fellow-islands a little more or less near to us.
Let us return, however, to the solitary Smirke.

       *       *       *       *       *

Smirke had one confidante for his passion--that most injudicious woman,
Madame Fribsby. How she became Madame Fribsby, nobody knows; she had
left Clavering to go to a milliner's in London as Miss Fribsby--she
pretended that she had got the rank in Paris during her residence in
that city. But how could the French king, were he ever so much disposed,
give her any such title? We shall not inquire into this mystery,
however. Suffice to say, she went away from home a bouncing young lass;
she returned a rather elderly character, with a Madonna front and a
melancholy countenance--bought the late Mrs. Harbottle's business for
a song--took her elderly mother to live with her; was very good to the
poor, was constant at church, and had the best of characters. But there
was no one in all Clavering, not Mrs. Portman herself, who read so many
novels as Madame Fribsby. She had plenty of time for this amusement,
for, in truth, very few people besides the folks at the Rectory and
Fairoaks employed her; and by a perpetual perusal of such works (which
were by no means so moral or edifying in the days of which we write, as
they are at present), she had got to be so absurdly sentimental, that in
her eyes life was nothing but an immense love-match; and she never could
see two people together, but she fancied they were dying for one
another.

On the day after Mrs. Pendennis's visit to the curate, which we have
recorded many pages back, Madame Fribsby settled in her mind that Mr.
Smirke must be in love with the widow, and did every thing in her power
to encourage this passion on both sides. Mrs. Pendennis she very seldom
saw, indeed, except in public, and in her pew at church. That lady had
very little need of millinery, or made most of her own dresses and caps;
but on the rare occasions when Madame Fribsby received visits from
Mrs. Pendennis, or paid her respects at Fairoaks, she never failed to
entertain the widow with praises of the curate, pointing out what an
angelical man he was, how gentle, how studious, how lonely; and she
would wonder that no lady would take pity upon him.

Helen laughed at these sentimental remarks, and wondered that madame
herself did not compassionate her lodger, and console him. Madame
Fribsby shook her Madonna front, "_Mong cure a boco souffare_," she
said, laying her hand on the part she designated as her cure. "_Il est
more en Espang, Madame_," she said with a sigh. She was proud of her
intimacy with the French language, and spoke it with more volubility
than correctness. Mrs. Pendennis did not care to penetrate the secrets
of this wounded heart: except to her few intimates she was a reserved
and it may be a very proud woman; she looked upon her son's tutor merely
as an attendant on that young prince, to be treated with respect as
a clergyman, certainly, but with proper dignity as a dependent on the
house of Pendennis. Nor were madame's constant allusions to the curate
particularly agreeable to her. It required a very ingenious sentimental
turn indeed to find out that the widow had a secret regard for Mr.
Smirke, to which pernicious error, however, Madame Fribsby persisted
in holding.

Her lodger was very much more willing to talk on this subject with his
soft-hearted landlady. Every time after that she praised the curate to
Mrs. Pendennis, she came away from the latter with the notion that the
widow herself had been praising him. "_Etre soul au monde est bien
ouneeyong_," she would say, glancing up at a print of a French carbineer
in a green coat and brass cuirass which decorated her apartment--"Depend
upon it when Master Pendennis goes to college, his ma will find herself
very lonely. She is quite young yet.--You wouldn't suppose her to be
five-and-twenty. _Monsieur le Cury, song cure est touchy--j'ong suis
sure--Je conny cela biang--Ally, Monsieur Smirke._"

He softly blushed; he sighed; he hoped; he feared; he doubted; he
sometimes yielded to the delightful idea--his pleasure was to sit
in Madame Fribsby's apartment, and talk upon the subject, where, as
the greater part of the conversation was carried on in French by the
milliner, and her old mother was deaf, that retired old individual
(who had once been a housekeeper, wife and widow of a butler in the
Clavering family), could understand scarce one syllable of their talk.

Thus it was, that when Major Pendennis announced to his nephew's tutor
that the young fellow would go to college in October, and that Mr.
Smirke's valuable services would no longer be needful to his pupil, for
which services the major, who spoke as grandly as a lord, professed
himself exceedingly grateful, and besought Mr. Smirke to command his
interest in any way--thus it was, that the curate felt that the critical
moment was come for him, and was racked and tortured by those severe
pangs which the occasion warranted.

Madame Fribsby had, of course, taken the strongest interest in the
progress of Mr. Pen's love affair with Miss Fotheringay. She had been
over to Chatteries, and having seen that actress perform, had pronounced
that she was old and overrated: and had talked over Master Pen's passion
in her shop many and many a time to the half-dozen old maids, and old
women in male clothes, who are to be found in little country towns,
and who formed the genteel population of Clavering. Captain Glanders,
H.P., had pronounced that Pen was going to be a devil of a fellow,
and had begun early; Mrs. Glanders had told him to check his horrid
observations, and to respect his own wife, if he pleased. She said it
would be a lesson to Helen for her pride and absurd infatuation about
that boy. Mrs. Pybus said many people were proud of very small things,
and for her part, she didn't know why an apothecary's wife should give
herself such airs. Mrs. Wapshot called her daughters away from that
side of the street, one day when Pen, on Rebecca, was stopping at the
saddler's, to get a new lash to his whip--one and all of these people
had made visits of curiosity to Fairoaks, and had tried to condole with
the widow, or bring the subject of the Fotheringay affair on the tapis,
and had been severally checked by the haughty reserve of Mrs. Pendennis,
supported by the frigid politeness of the major her brother.

These rebuffs, however, did not put an end to the gossip, and slander
went on increasing about the unlucky Fairoaks family. Glanders (H.P.),
a retired cavalry officer, whose half-pay and large family compelled
him to fuddle himself with brandy-and-water instead of claret, after
he quitted the dragoons, had the occasional _entrée_ at Fairoaks, and
kept his friend the major there informed of all the stories which were
current at Clavering. Mrs. Pybus had taken an inside place by the coach
to Chatteries, and gone to the George on purpose to get the particulars.
Mrs. Speers's man had treated Mr. Foker's servant to drink at Baymouth
for a similar purpose. It was said that Pen had hanged himself for
despair in the orchard, and that his uncle had cut him down; that, on
the contrary, it was Miss Costigan who was jilted, and not young Arthur;
and that the affair had only been hushed up by the payment of a large
sum of money, the exact amount of which there were several people in
Clavering could testify--the sum of course varying according to the
calculation of the individual narrator of the story.

Pen shook his mane and raged like a furious lion when these scandals,
affecting Miss Costigan's honor and his own, came to his ears. Why was
not Pybus a man (she had whiskers enough), that he might call her out
and shoot her? Seeing Simcoe pass by, Pen glared at him so from his
saddle on Rebecca, and clutched his whip in a manner so menacing, that
that clergyman went home and wrote a sermon, or thought over a sermon
(for he delivered oral testimony at great length), in which he spoke
of Jezebel, theatrical entertainments (a double cut this--for Doctor
Portman, the rector of the old church, was known to frequent such), and
of youth going to perdition, in a manner which made it clear to every
capacity that Pen was the individual meant, and on the road alluded to.
What stories more were there not against young Pendennis, while he sate
sulking, Achilles-like in his tent, for the loss of his ravished
Briseis?

After the affair with Hobnell, Pen was pronounced to be a murderer as
well as a profligate, and his name became a name of terror and a byword
in Clavering. But this was not all; he was not the only one of the
family about whom the village began to chatter, and his unlucky mother
was the next to become a victim to their gossip.

"It is all settled," said Mrs. Pybus to Mrs. Speers, "the boy is to go
to college, and then the widow is to console herself."

"He's been there every day, in the most open manner, my dear," continued
Mrs. Speers.

"Enough to make poor Mr. Pendennis turn in his grave," said Mrs.
Wapshot.

"She never liked him, that we know," says No. 1.

"Married him for his money. Every body knows that; was a penniless
hanger-on of Lady Pontypool's," says No. 2.

"It's rather too open, though, to encourage a lover under pretense of
having a tutor for your son," cried No. 3.

"Hush! here comes Mrs. Portman," some one said; as the good rector's
wife entered Madame Fribsby's shop, to inspect her monthly book of
fashions just arrived from London. And the fact is, that Madame Fribsby
had been able to hold out no longer; and one day, after she and her
lodger had been talking of Pen's approaching departure, and the curate
had gone off to give one of his last lessons to that gentleman, Madame
Fribsby had communicated to Mrs. Pybus, who happened to step in with
Mrs. Speers, her strong suspicion, her certainty almost, that there was
an attachment between a certain clerical gentleman and a certain lady,
whose naughty son was growing quite unmanageable, and that a certain
marriage would take place pretty soon.

Mrs. Portman saw it all, of course, when the matter was mentioned. What
a sly fox that curate was! He was low-church, and she never liked him.
And to think of Mrs. Pendennis taking a fancy to him after she had been
married to such a man as Mr. Pendennis! She could hardly stay five
minutes at Madame Fribsby's, so eager was she to run to the Rectory and
give Doctor Portman the news.

When Doctor Portman heard this piece of intelligence, he was in such
a rage with his curate, that his first movement was to break with
Mr. Smirke, and to beg him to transfer his services to some other
parish. "That milksop of a creature pretend to be worthy of such a woman
as Mrs. Pendennis," broke out the doctor: "where will impudence stop
next?"

"She is much too old for Mr. Smirke," Mrs. Portman remarked: "why, poor
dear Mrs. Pendennis might be his mother almost."

"You always choose the most charitable reason, Betsy," cried the rector.
"A matron with a son grown up--she would never think of marrying again."

"You only think _men_ should marry again, Doctor Portman," answered his
lady, bridling up.

"You stupid old woman," said the doctor, "when I am gone, you shall
marry whomsoever you like. I will leave orders in my will, my dear, to
that effect: and I'll bequeath a ring to my successor, and my ghost
shall come and dance at your wedding."

"It is cruel for a clergyman to talk so," the lady answered, with a
ready whimper: but these little breezes used to pass very rapidly over
the surface of the doctor's domestic bliss; and were followed by a great
calm and sunshine. The doctor adopted a plan for soothing Mrs. Portman's
ruffled countenance, which has a great effect when it is tried between a
worthy couple who are sincerely fond of one another; and which I think
becomes "John Anderson" at three-score, just as much as it used to do
when he was a black haired young Jo of five-and-twenty.

"Hadn't you better speak to Mr. Smirke, John?" Mrs. Portman asked.

"When Pen goes to college, _cadit quæstio_," replied the rector,
"Smirke's visits at Fairoaks will cease of themselves, and there will be
no need to bother the widow. She has trouble enough on her hands, with
the affairs of that silly young scapegrace, without being pestered by
the tittle-tattle of this place. It is all an invention, of that fool,
Fribsby."

"Against whom I always warned you--you know I did, my dear John,"
interposed Mrs. Portman.

"That you did; you very often do, my love," the doctor answered, with a
laugh. "It is not from want of warning on your part, I am sure, that I
have formed my opinion of most women with whom we are acquainted. Madam
Fribsby is a fool, and fond of gossip, and so are some other folks. But
she is good to the poor: she takes care of her mother, and she comes to
church twice every Sunday. And as for Smirke, my dear--" here the
doctor's face assumed for one moment a comical expression, which Mrs.
Portman did not perceive (for she was looking out of the drawing-room
window, and wondering what Mrs. Pybus could want, cheapening fowls again
in the market, when she had had poultry from Livermore's two days
before)--"and as for Mr. Smirke, my dear Betsy, will you promise me that
you will never breathe to any mortal what I am going to tell you as a
profound secret?"

"What is it, my dear John?--of course I won't," answered the rector's
lady.

"Well then--I can not say it is a fact, mind--but if you find that
Smirke is at this moment--ay, and has been for years--engaged to a young
lady, a Miss--a Miss Thompson, if you will have the name, who lives
on Clapham Common--yes, on Clapham Common, not far from Mrs. Smirke's
house, what becomes of your story then about Smirke and Mrs. Pendennis?"

"Why did you not tell me this before?" asked the doctor's wife.--"How
long have you known it?--How we all of us have been deceived in that
man!"

"Why should I meddle in other folks' business, my dear?" the doctor
answered. "I know how to keep a secret--and perhaps this is only an
invention like that other absurd story; at least, Madam Portman, I
should never have told you this but for the other, which I beg you to
contradict whenever you hear it." And so saying the doctor went away to
his study, and Mrs. Portman, seeing that the day was a remarkably fine
one, thought she would take advantage of the weather and pay a few
visits.

The doctor looking out of his study window saw the wife of his
bosom presently issue forth, attired in her best. She crossed the
market-place, saluting the market-women right and left, and giving a
glance at the grocery and general emporium at the corner: then entering
London-street (formerly Hog Lane), she stopped for a minute at Madame
Fribsby's window, and looking at the fashions which hung up there,
seemed hesitating whether she should enter; but she passed on, and never
stopped again until she came to Mrs. Pybus's little green gate and
garden, through which she went to that lady's cottage.

There, of course, her husband lost sight of Mrs. Portman. "Oh, what a
long bow I have pulled," he said inwardly--"Goodness forgive me! and
shot my own flesh and blood. There must be no more tattling and scandal
about that house. I must stop it, and speak to Smirke. I'll ask him to
dinner this very day."

Having a sermon to compose, the doctor sat down to that work, and was so
engaged in the composition, that he had not concluded it until near five
o'clock in the afternoon: when he stepped over to Mr. Smirke's lodgings,
to put his hospitable intentions, regarding that gentleman, into effect.
He reached Madame Fribsby's door, just as the curate issued from it.

Mr. Smirke was magnificently dressed, and as he turned out his toes he
showed a pair of elegant open-worked silk stockings and glossy pumps.
His white cravat was arranged in a splendid stiff tie, and his gold
shirt studs shone on his spotless linen. His hair was curled round his
fair temples. Had he borrowed Madame Fribsby's irons to give that curly
grace? His white cambric pocket handkerchief was scented with the most
delicious Eau-de-Cologne.

"_O gracilis puer_,"--cried the doctor.--"Whither are you bound? I
wanted you to come home to dinner."

[Illustration]

"I am engaged to dine at--at Fairoaks," said Mr. Smirke, blushing
faintly and whisking the scented pocket-handkerchief, and his pony being
in waiting, he mounted and rode away simpering down the street. No
accident befell him that day, and he arrived with his tie in the very
best order at Mrs. Pendennis's house.



CHAPTER XVII.

WHICH CONCLUDES THE FIRST PART OF THIS HISTORY.


[Illustration]

The curate had gone on his daily errand to Fairoaks, and was up-stairs
in Pen's study pretending to read with his pupil, in the early part of
that very afternoon when Mrs. Portman after transacting business with
Mrs. Pybus had found the weather so exceedingly fine that she pursued
her walk as far as Fairoaks, in order to pay a visit to her dear friend
there. In the course of their conversation, the rector's lady told
Mrs. Pendennis and the major a very great secret about the curate, Mr.
Smirke, which was no less than that he had an attachment, a very old
attachment, which he had long kept quite private.

"And on whom is it that Mr. Smirke has bestowed his heart?" asked Mrs.
Pendennis, with a superb air, but rather an inward alarm.

"Why, my dear," the other lady answered, "when he first came and used to
dine at the Rectory, people said we wanted him for Myra, and we were
forced to give up asking him. Then they used to say he was smitten in
another quarter; but I always contradicted it, for my part, and said
that you--"

"That _I_," cried Mrs. Pendennis; "people are very impertinent, I am
sure. Mr. Smirke came here as Arthur's tutor, and I am surprised that
any body should dare to speak so--"

"'Pon my soul, it is a _little_ too much," the major said, laying down
the newspaper and the double eye-glass.

"I've no patience with that Mrs. Pybus," Helen continued, indignantly.

"I told her there was no truth in it," Mrs. Portman said. "I always said
so, my dear: and now it comes out that my demure gentleman has been
engaged to a young lady--Miss Thompson, of Clapham Common, ever so long:
and I am delighted, for my part, and on Myra's account, too, for an
unmarried curate is always objectionable about one's house: and of
course it is strictly private, but I thought I would tell you, as it
might remove unpleasantnesses. But mind: not one word, if you please,
about the story."

Mrs. Pendennis said, with perfect sincerity, that she was exceedingly
glad to hear the news: and hoped Mr. Smirke, who was a very kind
and amiable man, would have a deserving wife: and when her visitor
went away, Helen and her brother talked of the matter with great
satisfaction, the kind lady rebuking herself for her haughty behavior
to Mr. Smirke, whom she had avoided of late, instead of being grateful
to him for his constant attention to Arthur.

"Gratitude to this kind of people," the major said, "is very well; but
familiarity is out of the question. This gentleman gives his lessons
and receives his money like any other master. You are too humble, my
good soul. There must be distinctions in ranks, and that sort of thing.
I told you before, you were too kind to Mr. Smirke."

But Helen did not think so; and now that Arthur was going away, and she
bethought her how very polite Mr. Smirke had been; how he had gone on
messages for her; how he had brought books and copied music; how he had
taught Laura so many things, and given her so many kind presents, her
heart smote her on account of her ingratitude toward the curate;--so
much so, that when he came down from study with Pen, and was hankering
about the hall previous to his departure, she went out and shook hands
with him with rather a blushing face, and begged him to come into her
drawing-room, where she said they now never saw him. And as there was to
be rather a good dinner that day, she invited Mr. Smirke to partake of
it; and we may be sure that he was too happy to accept such a delightful
summons.

Eased, by the above report, of all her former doubts and misgivings
regarding the curate, Helen was exceedingly kind and gracious to Mr.
Smirke during dinner, redoubling her attentions, perhaps because Major
Pendennis was very high and reserved with his nephew's tutor. When
Pendennis asked Smirke to drink wine, he addressed him as if he was a
sovereign speaking to a petty retainer, in a manner so condescending,
that even Pen laughed at it, although quite ready, for his part, to be
as conceited as most young men are.

But Smirke did not care for the impertinences of the major so long as he
had his hostess's kind behavior; and he passed a delightful time by her
side at table, exerting all his powers of conversation to please her,
talking in a manner both clerical and worldly, about the Fancy Bazaar,
and the Great Missionary Meeting, about the last new novel, and the
bishop's excellent sermon--about the fashionable parties in London,
an account of which he read in the newspapers--in fine, he neglected
no art, by which a college divine who has both sprightly and serious
talents, a taste for the genteel, an irreproachable conduct, and a
susceptible heart, will try and make himself agreeable to the person
on whom he has fixed his affections.

Major Pendennis came yawning out of the dining-room very soon
after his sister and little Laura had left the apartment--"What an
unsufferable bore that man is, and how he did talk!" the major said.

"He has been very good to Arthur, who is very fond of him," Mrs.
Pendennis said--"I wonder who the Miss Thompson is whom he is going
to marry."

"I always thought the fellow was looking in another direction," said
the major.

"And in what?" asked Mrs. Pendennis, quite innocently--"toward Myra
Portman?"

"Toward Helen Pendennis, if you must know," answered her brother-in-law.

"Toward me! impossible!" Helen said, who knew perfectly well that such
had been the case. "His marriage will be a very happy thing. I hope
Arthur will not take too much wine."

Now Arthur flushed with a good deal of pride at the privilege of having
the keys of the cellar, and remembering that a very few more dinners
would probably take place which he and his dear friend Smirke could
share, had brought up a liberal supply of claret for the company's
drinking, and when the elders with little Laura left him, he and the
curate began to pass the wine very freely.

One bottle speedly yielded up the ghost, another shed more than half
its blood, before the two topers had been much more than half an hour
together--Pen, with a hollow laugh and voice, had drunk off one bumper
to the falsehood of women, and had said sardonically, that wine, at any
rate, was a mistress who never deceived, and was sure to give a man a
welcome.

Smirke gently said that he knew for his part some women who were all
truth and tenderness; and casting up his eyes toward the ceiling, and
heaving a sigh as if evoking some being dear and unmentionable, he took
up his glass and drained it, and the rosy liquor began to suffuse his
face.

Pen trolled over some verses he had been making that morning, in which
he informed himself that the woman who had slighted his passion could
not be worthy to win it: that he was awaking from love's mad fever, and,
of course, under these circumstances, proceeded to leave her, and to
quit a heartless deceiver: that a name which had one day been famous in
the land, might again be heard in it: and, that though he never should
be the happy and careless boy he was but a few months since, or his
heart be what it had been ere passion had filled it and grief had
well-nigh killed it; that though to him personally death was as welcome
as life, and that he would not hesitate to part with the latter, but for
the love of one kind being whose happiness depended on his own--yet he
hoped to show he was a man worthy of his race, and that one day the
false one should be brought to know how great was the treasure and noble
the heart which she had flung away.

Pen, we say, who was a very excitable person, rolled out these verses in
his rich, sweet voice, which trembled with emotion while our young poet
spoke. He had a trick of blushing when in this excited state, and his
large and honest gray eyes also exhibited proofs of a sensibility so
genuine, hearty, and manly, that Miss Costigan, if she had a heart, must
needs have softened toward him; and very likely she was, as he said,
altogether unworthy of the affection which he lavished upon her.

The sentimental Smirke was caught by the emotion which agitated his
young friend. He grasped Pen's hand over the dessert dishes and wine
glasses. He said the verses were beautiful: that Pen was a poet, a great
poet, and likely by heaven's permission to run a great career in the
world. "Go on and prosper, dear Arthur," he cried; "the wounds under
which at present you suffer are only temporary, and the very grief you
endure will cleanse and strengthen your heart. I have always prophesied
the greatest and brightest things of you, as soon as you have corrected
some failings and weaknesses of character, which at present belong to
you. But you will get over these, my boy; you will get over these; and
when you are famous and celebrated, as I know you will be, will you
remember your old tutor and the happy early days of your youth?"

Pen swore he would: with another shake of the hand across the glasses
and apricots. "I shall never forget how kind you have been to me,
Smirke," he said. "I don't know what I should have done without you.
You are my best friend."

"Am I, _really_, Arthur?" said Smirke, looking through his spectacles;
and his heart began to beat so that he thought Pen must almost hear it
throbbing.

"My best friend, my friend _forever_," Pen said. "God bless you, old
boy," and he drank up the last glass of the second bottle of the famous
wine which his father had laid in, which his uncle had bought, which
Lord Levant had imported, and which now, like a slave indifferent, was
ministering pleasure to its present owner, and giving its young master
delectation.

"We'll have another bottle, old boy," Pen said, "by Jove we will.
Hurray!--claret goes for nothing. My uncle was telling me that he
saw Sheridan drink five bottles at Brookes's, besides a bottle of
Maraschino. This is some of the finest wine in England, he says. So it
is, by Jove. There's nothing like it. _Nunc vino pellite curas--cras
ingens iterabimus æq_--fill your glass, Old Smirke, a hogshead of it
won't do you any harm." And Mr. Pen began to sing the drinking song out
of Der Freischütz. The dining-room windows were open, and his mother was
softly pacing on the lawn outside, while little Laura was looking at the
sunset. The sweet fresh notes of the boy's voice came to the widow. It
cheered her kind heart to hear him sing.

"You--you are taking too much wine, Arthur," Mr. Smirke said,
softly--"you are exciting yourself."

"No," said Pen, "women give headaches, but this don't. Fill your glass,
old fellow, and let's drink--I say, Smirke, my boy--let's drink to
her--_your_ her, I mean, not mine, for whom I swear I'll care no
more--no, not a penny--no, not a fig--no, not a glass of wine. Tell
us about the lady, Smirke; I've often seen you sighing about her."

"Oh!" said Smirke--and his beautiful cambric shirt front and glistening
studs heaved with the emotion which agitated his gentle and suffering
bosom.

"Oh--what a sigh!" Pen cried, growing very hilarious; "fill, my boy, and
drink the toast, you can't refuse a toast, no gentleman refuses a toast.
Here's her health, and good luck to you, and may she soon be Mrs.
Smirke."

"_Do_ you say so?" Smirke said, all of a tremble. "Do you really say so,
Arthur?"

"Say so; of course, I say so. Down with it. Here's Mrs. Smirke's good
health: hip, hip, hurray!"

Smirke convulsively gulped down his glass of wine, and Pen waved his
over his head, cheering so as to make his mother and Laura wonder on the
lawn, and his uncle, who was dozing over the paper in the drawing-room,
start, and say to himself, "that boy's drinking too much."

Smirke put down the glass.

"I accept the omen," gasped out the blushing curate. "Oh, my dear
Arthur, you--you know her--"

"What--Myra Portman? I wish you joy: she's got a dev'lish large waist;
but I wish you joy, old fellow."

"Oh, Arthur!" groaned the curate again, and nodded his head, speechless.

"Beg your pardon--sorry I offended you--but she _has_ got a large waist,
you know--devilish large waist," Pen continued--the third bottle
evidently beginning to act upon the young gentleman.

"It's not Miss Portman," the other said, in a voice of agony.

"Is it any body at Chatteries or at Clapham? Somebody here? No--it ain't
old Pybus? it can't be Miss Rolt at the factory--she's only fourteen."

"It's somebody rather older than I am, Pen," the curate cried, looking
up at his friend, and then guiltily casting his eyes down into his
plate.

Pen burst out laughing. "It's Madame Fribsby, by Jove, it's Madame
Fribsby. Madame Frib, by the immortal gods!"

The curate could contain no more. "O Pen," he cried, "how can you
suppose that any of those--of those more than ordinary beings you have
named, could have an influence upon this heart, when I have been daily
in the habit of contemplating perfection! I may be insane, I may be
madly ambitious, I may be presumptuous--but for two years my heart has
been filled by one image, and has known no other idol. Haven't I loved
you as a son, Arthur?--say, hasn't Charles Smirke loved you as a son?"

"Yes, old boy, you've been very good to me," Pen said, whose liking,
however, for his tutor was not by any means of the filial kind.

"My means," rushed on Smirke, "are at present limited, I own, and my
mother is not so liberal as might be desired; but what she has will
be mine at her death. Were she to hear of my marrying a lady of rank
and good fortune, my mother would be liberal, I am sure she would be
liberal. Whatever I have or subsequently inherit--and it's five hundred
a year at the very least--would be settled upon her and--and--and you
at my death--that is--"

"What the deuce do you mean?--and what have I to do with your money?"
cried out Pen, in a puzzle.

"Arthur, Arthur!" exclaimed the other wildly; "You say I am your dearest
friend--let me be more. Oh, can't you see that the angelic being I
love--the purest, the best of women--is no other than your dear, dear
angel of a mother."

"My mother!" cried out Arthur, jumping up, and sober in a minute. "Pooh!
damn it, Smirke, you must be mad--she's seven or eight years older than
you are."

"Did _you_ find that any objection," cried Smirke piteously, and
alluding, of course, to the elderly subject of Pen's own passion.

The lad felt the hint, and blushed quite red. "The cases are not
similar, Smirke," he said, "and the allusion might have been spared.
A man may forget his own rank and elevate any woman to it; but allow
me to say our positions are very different."

"How do you mean, dear Arthur?" the curate interposed sadly, cowering as
he felt that his sentence was about to be read.

"Mean?" said Arthur. "I mean what I say. My tutor, I say, _my tutor_,
has no right to ask a lady of my mother's rank of life to marry him.
It's a breach of confidence. I say it's a liberty you take, Smirke--it's
a liberty. Mean, indeed!"

"Oh Arthur!" the curate began to cry, with clasped hands, and a scared
face, but Arthur gave another stamp with his foot, and began to pull at
the bell. "Don't let's have any more of this. We'll have some coffee, if
you please," he said, with a majestic air: and the old butler entering
at the summons, Arthur bade him to serve that refreshment.

John said he had just carried coffee into the drawing-room, where his
uncle was asking for Master Arthur, and the old man gave a glance
of wonder at the three empty claret-bottles. Smirke said he thought
he'd--he'd rather not go into the drawing-room, on which Arthur
haughtily said, "As you please," and called for Mr. Smirke's horse to
be brought round. The poor fellow said he knew the way to the stable
and would get his pony himself, and he went into the hall and sadly put
on his coat and hat.

Pen followed him out uncovered. Helen was still walking up and down the
soft lawn as the sun was setting, and the curate took off his hat and
bowed by way of farewell, and passed on to the door leading to the
stable-court by which the pair disappeared. Smirke knew the way to the
stables, as he said, well enough. He fumbled at the girths of the saddle
which Pen fastened for him, and put on the bridle and led the pony into
the yard. The boy was touched by the grief which appeared in the other's
face as he mounted. Pen held out his hand, and Smirke wrung it silently.

"I say, Smirke," he said, in an agitated voice, "forgive me if I have
said any thing harsh--for you have always been very, very kind to me.
But it can't be, old fellow, it can't be. Be a man. God bless you."

Smirke nodded his head silently, and rode out of the lodge gate; and Pen
looked after him for a couple of minutes, until he disappeared down the
road, and the clatter of the pony's hoofs died away. Helen was still
lingering in the lawn waiting until the boy came back--she put his
hair off his forehead and kissed it fondly. She was afraid he had been
drinking too much wine. Why had Mr. Smirke gone away without any tea?

He looked at her with a kind humor beaming in his eyes; "Smirke is
unwell," he said, with a laugh. For a long while Helen had not seen the
boy looking so cheerful. He put his arm round her waist, and walked her
up and down the walk in front of the house. Laura began to drub on the
drawing-room window and nod and laugh from it. "Come along you two
people," cried out Major Pendennis, "your coffee is getting quite cold."

When Laura was gone to bed, Pen, who was big with his secret, burst
out with it, and described the dismal but ludicrous scene which had
occurred. Helen heard of it with many blushes, which became her pale
face very well, and a perplexity which Arthur roguishly enjoyed.

"Confound the fellow's impudence," Major Pendennis said, as he took his
candle, "where will the assurance of these people stop?" Pen and his
mother had a long talk that night, full of love, confidence, and
laughter, and the boy somehow slept more soundly and woke up more easily
than he had done for many months before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before the great Mr. Dolphin quitted Chatteries, he not only made an
advantageous engagement with Miss Fotheringay, but he liberally left
with her a sum of money to pay off any debts which the little family
might have contracted during their stay in the place, and which, mainly
through the lady's own economy and management, were not considerable.
The small account with the spirit merchant, which Major Pendennis had
settled, was the chief of Captain Costigan's debts, and though the
captain at one time talked about repaying every farthing of the money,
it never appears that he executed his menace, nor did the laws of honor
in the least call upon him to accomplish that threat.

When Miss Costigan had seen all the outstanding bills paid to the
uttermost shilling, she handed over the balance to her father, who broke
out into hospitalities to all his friends, gave the little Creeds more
apples and gingerbread, than he had ever bestowed upon them, so that the
widow Creed ever after held the memory of her lodger in veneration, and
the young ones wept bitterly when he went away; and in a word, managed
the money so cleverly that it was entirely expended before many days,
and that he was compelled to draw upon Mr. Dolphin for a sum to pay for
traveling expenses when the time of their departure arrived.

There was held at an inn in that county town a weekly meeting of a
festive, almost a riotous character, of a society of gentlemen who
called themselves the Buccaneers. Some of the choice spirits of
Chatteries belonged to this cheerful club. Graves, the apothecary (than
whom a better fellow never put a pipe in his mouth and smoked it),
Smart, the talented and humorous portrait-painter of High-street,
Croker, an excellent auctioneer, and the uncompromising Hicks, the able
editor for twenty-three years of the County Chronicle and Chatteries
Champion, were among the crew of the Buccaneers, whom also Bingley the
manager liked to join of a Saturday evening, whenever he received
permission from his lady.

Costigan had been also an occasional Buccaneer. But a want of
punctuality of payments had of late somewhat excluded him from the
society, where he was subject to disagreeable remarks from the landlord,
who said that a Buccaneer who didn't pay his shot was utterly unworthy
to be a Marine Bandit. But when it became known to the 'Ears, as the
clubbists called themselves familiarly, that Miss Fotheringay had made
a splendid engagement, a great revolution of feeling took place in the
club regarding Captain Costigan. Solly, mine host of the Grapes, (and
I need not say as worthy a fellow as ever stood behind a bar), told
the gents in the Buccaneers' room one night how noble the captain had
beayved: having been round and paid off all his ticks in Chatteries,
including his score of three pound fourteen here, and pronounced that
Cos was a good feller, a gentleman at bottom, and he, Solly, had always
said so, and finally worked upon the feelings of the Buccaneers to give
the captain a dinner.

The banquet took place on the last night of Costigan's stay in
Chatteries, and was served in Solly's accustomed manner. As good a
plain dinner of old English fare as ever smoked on a table was prepared
by Mrs. Solly; and about eighteen gentlemen sate down to the festive
board. Mr. Jubber (the eminent draper of High-street) was in the chair,
having this distinguished guest of the club on his right. The able
and consistent Hicks, officiated as croupier on the occasion; most of
the gentlemen of the club were present, and H. Foker, Esq., and ----
Spavin, Esq., friends of Captain Costigan, were also participators
in the entertainment. The cloth having been drawn, the chairman said,
"Costigan, there is wine, if you like," but the captain preferring
punch, that liquor was voted by acclamation: and "Non Nobis," having
been sung in admirable style by Messrs. Bingley, Hicks, and Bullby (of
the cathedral choir, than whom a more jovial spirit ne'er tossed off a
bumper or emptied a bowl), the chairman gave the health of the "King!"
which was drunk with the loyalty of Chatteries men, and then without
further circumlocution proposed their friend "Captain Costigan."

After the enthusiastic cheering which rang through old Chatteries had
subsided, Captain Costigan rose in reply, and made a speech of twenty
minutes, in which he was repeatedly overcome by his emotions.

[Illustration]

The gallant captain said he must be pardoned for incoherence, if his
heart was too full to speak. He was quitting a city celebrated for
its antiquitee, its hospitalitee, the beautee of its women, the manly
fidelitee, generositee, and jovialitee of its men. (Cheers). He was
going from that ancient and venerable city, of which while mimoree
held her sayt, he should never think without the fondest emotion, to a
methrawpolis where the talents of his daughther were about to have full
play, and where he would watch over her like a guardian angel. He should
never forget that it was at Chatteries she had acquired the skill which
she was about to exercise in another sphere, and in her name and his
own, Jack Costigan thanked and blessed them. The gallant officer's speech
was received with tremendous cheers.

Mr. Hicks, Croupier, in a brilliant and energetic manner, proposed Miss
Fotheringay's health.

Captain Costigan returned thanks in a speech full of feeling and
eloquence.

Mr. Jubber proposed the Drama and the Chatteries Theater, and Mr.
Bingley was about to rise, but was prevented by Captain Costigan, who,
as long connected with the Chatteries Theater, and on behalf of his
daughter, thanked the company. He informed them that he had been in
garrison, at Gibraltar, and at Malta, and had been at the taking of
Flushing. The Duke of York was a patron of the Drama; he had the honor
of dining with His Royal Highness and the Duke of Kent many times; and
the former had justly been named the friend of the soldier. (Cheers.)

The army was then proposed, and Captain Costigan returned thanks. In
the course of the night he sang his well known songs, "The Deserter,"
"The Shan Van Voght," "The Little Pig under the Bed," and "The Vale of
Avoca." The evening was a great triumph for him--it ended. All triumphs
and all evenings end. And the next day, Miss Costigan having taken leave
of all her friends, and having been reconciled to Miss Rouncy, to whom
she left a necklace and a white satin gown--the next day he and Miss
Costigan had places in the Competitor coach rolling by the gates of
Fairoaks Lodge--and Pendennis never saw them.

Tom Smith, the coachman, pointed out Fairoaks to Mr. Costigan, who sate
on the box smelling of rum-and-water--and the captain said it was a
poor place--and added, "Ye should see Castle Costigan, County Mayo, me
boy,"--which Tom said he should like very much to see.

       *       *       *       *       *

They were gone and Pen had never seen them! He only knew of their
departure by its announcement in the county paper the next day and
straight galloped over to Chatteries to hear the truth of this news.
They were gone indeed. A card of "Lodgings to let" was placed in the
dear little familiar window. He rushed up into the room and viewed it
over. He sate ever so long in the old window-seat looking into the
dean's garden: whence he and Emily had so often looked out together. He
walked, with a sort of terror, into her little empty bed-room. It was
swept out and prepared for new comers. The glass which had reflected her
fair face was shining ready for her successor. The curtains lay square
folded on the little bed: he flung himself down and buried his head on
the vacant pillow.

Laura had netted a purse into which his mother had put some sovereigns,
and Pen had found it on his dressing-table that very morning. He gave
one to the little servant who had been used to wait upon the Costigans,
and another to the children, because they said they were very fond of
her. It was but a few months back, yet what years ago it seemed since
he had first entered that room! He felt that it was all done. The very
missing her at the coach had something fatal in it. Blank, weary,
utterly wretched and lonely the poor lad felt.

His mother saw she was gone by his look when he came home. He was eager
to fly too now, as were other folks round about Chatteries. Poor Smirke
wanted to go away from the sight of the syren widow. Foker began to
think he had had enough of Baymouth, and that a few supper parties at
Saint Boniface would not be unpleasant. And Major Pendennis longed to be
off, and have a little pheasant-shooting at Stillbrook, and get rid of
all annoyances and _tracasseries_ of the village. The widow and Laura
nervously set about the preparation for Pen's kit, and filled trunks
with his books and linen. Helen wrote cards with the name of Arthur
Pendennis, Esq., which were duly nailed on the boxes; and at which both
she and Laura looked with tearful, wistful eyes. It was not until long,
long after he was gone, that Pen remembered how constant and tender the
affection of these women had been, and how selfish his own conduct was.

       *       *       *       *       *

A night soon comes, when the mail, with echoing horn and blazing lamps,
stops at the lodge-gate of Fairoaks, and Pen's trunks and his uncle's
are placed on the roof of the carriage, into which the pair presently
afterward enter. Helen and Laura are standing by the evergreens of the
shrubbery, their figures lighted up by the coach lamps; the guard cries,
All right: in another instant the carriage whirls onward; the lights
disappear, and Helen's heart and prayers go with them. Her sainted
benedictions follow the departing boy. He has left the home-nest in
which he has been chafing, and whither, after his very first flight, he
returned bleeding and wounded; he is eager to go forth again, and try
his restless wings.

How lonely the house looks without him! The corded trunks and book-boxes
are there in his empty study. Laura asks leave to come and sleep in
Helen's room: and when she has cried herself to sleep there, the mother
goes softly into Pen's vacant chamber, and kneels down by the bed, on
which the moon is shining, and there prays for her boy, as mothers only
know how to plead. He knows that her pure blessings are following him,
as he is carried miles away.



CHAPTER XVIII.

ALMA MATER.


[Illustration]

Every man, however brief or inglorious may have been his academical
career, must remember with kindness and tenderness the old university
comrades and days. The young man's life is just beginning: the boy's
leading-strings are cut, and he has all the novel delights and dignities
of freedom. He has no idea of cares yet, or of bad health, or of
roguery, or poverty, or to-morrow's disappointment. The play has not
been acted so often as to make him tired. Though the after-drink, as
we mechanically go on repeating it, is stale and bitter, how pure and
brilliant was that first sparkling draught of pleasure!--How the boy
rushes at the cup, and with what a wild eagerness he drains it! But
old epicures who are cut off from the delights of the table, and are
restricted to a poached egg and a glass of water, like to see people
with good appetites; and, as the next best thing to being amused at a
pantomime one's self is to see one's children enjoy it, I hope there may
be no degree of age or experience to which mortal may attain, when he
shall become such a glum philosopher, as not to be pleased by the sight
of happy youth. Coming back a few weeks since from a brief visit to the
old University of Oxbridge, where my friend Mr. Arthur Pendennis passed
some period of his life, I made the journey in the railroad by the side
of a young fellow at present a student of Saint Boniface. He had got
an _excat_ somehow, and was bent on a day's lark in London: he never
stopped rattling and talking from the commencement of the journey until
its close (which was a great deal too soon for me, for I never was tired
of listening to the honest young fellow's jokes and cheery laughter);
and when we arrived at the terminus nothing would satisfy him but a
Hansom cab, so that he might get into town the quicker, and plunge into
the pleasures awaiting him there. Away the young lad went whirling, with
joy lighting up his honest face; and as for the reader's humble servant,
having but a small carpet-bag, I got up on the outside of the omnibus,
and sate there very contentedly between a Jew-pedlar smoking bad cigars,
and a gentleman's servant taking care of a poodle-dog, until we got
our fated complement of passengers and boxes, when the coachman drove
leisurely away. _We_ weren't in a hurry to get to town. Neither one of
us was particularly eager about rushing into that near smoking Babylon,
or thought of dining at the club that night, or dancing at the Casino.
Yet a few years more, and my young friend of the railroad will be not
a whit more eager.

There were no railroads made when Arthur Pendennis went to the famous
University of Oxbridge; but he drove thither in a well appointed coach,
filled inside and out with dons, gownsmen, young freshmen about to
enter, and their guardians, who were conducting them to the University.
A fat old gentleman, in gray stockings, from the City, who sate by Major
Pendennis inside the coach, having his pale-faced son opposite, was
frightened beyond measure, when he heard that the coach had been driven
for a couple of stages by young Mr. Foker, of Saint Boniface College,
who was the friend of all men, including coachmen, and could drive as
well as Tom Hicks himself. Pen sate on the roof, examining coach,
passengers, and country, with great delight and curiosity. His heart
jumped with pleasure as the famous University came in view, and the
magnificent prospect of venerable towers and pinnacles, tall elms and
shining river, spread before him.

Pen had passed a few days with his uncle at the major's lodgings,
in Bury-street, before they set out for Oxbridge. Major Pendennis
thought that the lad's wardrobe wanted renewal; and Arthur was by
no means averse to any plan which was to bring him new coats and
waistcoats. There was no end to the sacrifices which the self-denying
uncle made in the youth's behalf. London was awfully lonely. The Pall
Mall pavement was deserted; the very red jackets had gone out of town.
There was scarce a face to be seen in the bow windows of the clubs.
The major conducted his nephew into one or two of those desert
mansions, and wrote down the lad's name on the candidate-list of one
of them; and Arthur's pleasure at this compliment on his guardian's
part was excessive. He read in the parchment volume his name and titles,
as "Arthur Pendennis, Esquire, of Fairoaks Lodge, --shire, and Saint
Boniface College, Oxbridge; proposed by Major Pendennis, and seconded by
Viscount Colchicum," with a thrill of intense gratification. "You will
come in for ballot in about three years, by which time you will have
taken your degree," the guardian said. Pen longed for the three years to
be over, and surveyed the stucco-halls, and vast libraries, and drawing
rooms, as already his own property. The major laughed slily to see the
pompous airs of the simple young fellow, as he strutted out of the
building. He and Foker drove down in the latter's cab one day to the
Gray Friars, and renewed acquaintance with some of their old comrades
there. The boys came crowding up to the cab as it stood by the Gray
Friars gates, where they were entering, and admired the chestnut horse,
and the tights and livery and gravity of Stoopid, the tiger. The bell
for afternoon-school rang as they were swaggering about the play ground
talking to their old cronies. The awful doctor passed into school with
his grammar in his hand. Foker slunk away uneasily at his presence, but
Pen went up blushing, and shook the dignitary by the hand. He laughed as
he thought that well-remembered Latin Grammar had boxed his ears many a
time. He was generous, good-natured, and, in a word, perfectly conceited
and satisfied with himself.

Then they drove to the parental brew-house. Foker's Entire is composed
in an enormous pile of buildings, not far from the Gray Friars, and the
name of that well known firm is gilded upon innumerable public-house
signs, tenanted by its vassals in the neighborhood; and the venerable
junior partner and manager did honor to the young lord of the vats,
and his friend, and served them with silver flagons of brown stout, so
strong, that you would have thought, not only the young men, but the
very horse Mr. Harry Foker drove, was affected by the potency of the
drink, for he rushed home to the west-end of the town at a rapid pace,
which endangered the pie-stalls and the women on the crossings, and
brought the cab-steps into collision with the posts at the street
corners, and caused Stoopid to swing fearfully on his board behind.

The major was quite pleased when Pen was with his young acquaintance;
listened to Mr. Foker's artless stories with the greatest interest,
gave the two boys a fine dinner at a Covent Garden Coffee-house, whence
they proceeded to the play; but was above all happy when Mr. and
Lady Agnes Foker, who happened to be in London, requested the pleasure
of Major Pendennis and Mr. Arthur Pendennis's company at dinner in
Grosvenor-street. "Having obtained the _entrée_ into Lady Agnes Foker's
house," he said to Pen with an affectionate solemnity which befitted the
importance of the occasion, "it behoves you, my dear boy, to keep it.
You must mind and _never_ neglect to call in Grosvenor-street when you
come to London. I recommend you to read up carefully, in Debrett, the
alliances and genealogy of the Earls of Rosherville, and if you can, to
make some trifling allusions to the family, something historical, neat,
and complimentary, and that sort of thing, which you, who have a poetic
fancy, can do pretty well. Mr. Foker himself is a worthy man, though not
of high extraction or indeed much education. He always makes a point of
having some of the family porter served round after dinner, which you
will on no account refuse, and which I shall drink myself, though all
beer disagrees with me confoundedly." And the heroic martyr did actually
sacrifice himself, as he said he would, on the day when the dinner took
place, and old Mr. Foker at the head of his table, made his usual joke
about Foker's Entire. We should all of us, I am sure, have liked to see
the major's grin, when the worthy old gentleman made his time-honored
joke.

Lady Agnes, who, wrapped up in Harry, was the fondest of mothers, and
one of the most good-natured though not the wisest of women, received
her son's friend with great cordiality: and astonished Pen by accounts
of the severe course of studies which her darling boy was pursuing, and
which she feared might injure his dear health. Foker the elder burst
into a horse-laugh at some of these speeches, and the heir of the house
winked his eye very knowingly at his friend. And Lady Agnes then going
through her son's history from the earliest time, and recounting his
miraculous sufferings in the measles and whooping-cough, his escape
from drowning, the shocking tyrannies practiced upon him at that horrid
school, whither Mr. Foker would send him because he had been brought up
there himself, and she never would forgive that disagreeable doctor, no
never--Lady Agnes, we say, having prattled away for an hour incessantly
about her son, voted the two Messieurs Pendennis most agreeable men; and
when the pheasants came with the second course, which the major praised
as the very finest birds he ever saw, her ladyship said they came from
Logwood (as the major knew perfectly well) and hoped that they would
both pay her a visit there--at Christmas, or when dear Harry was at
home for the vacations.

"God bless you, my dear boy," Pendennis said to Arthur, as they were
lighting their candles in Bury-street afterward to go to bed. "You
made that little allusion to Agincourt, where one of the Roshervilles
distinguished himself, very neatly and well, although Lady Agnes did not
quite understand it; but it was exceedingly well for a beginner--though
you oughtn't to blush so, by the way--and I beseech you, my dear Arthur,
to remember through life, that with an _entrée_--with a good _entrée_,
mind--it is just as easy for you to have good society as bad, and that
it costs a man, when properly introduced, no more trouble or _soins_ to
keep a good footing in the best houses in London than to dine with a
lawyer in Bedford-square. Mind this when you are at Oxbridge pursuing
your studies, and for Heaven's sake be _very_ particular in the
acquaintances which you make. The _premier pas_ in life is the most
important of all--did you write to your mother to-day?--No?--well, do,
before you go, and call and ask Mr. Foker for a frank.--They like
it.--Good night. God bless you."

Pen wrote a droll account of his doings in London, and the play, and the
visit to the old Friars, and the brewery, and the party at Mr. Foker's,
to his dearest mother, who was saying her prayers at home in the lonely
house at Fairoaks, her heart full of love and tenderness unutterable for
the boy: and she and Laura read that letter and those which followed,
many, many times, and brooded over them as women do. It was the first
step in life that Pen was making--Ah! what a dangerous journey it
is, and how the bravest may stumble and the strongest fail. Brother
wayfarer! may you have a kind arm to support you on the path, and a
friendly hand to succor those who fall beside you. May truth guide,
mercy forgive at the end, and love accompany always. Without that
lamp how blind the traveler would be, and how black and cheerless
the journey!

So the coach drove up to that ancient and comfortable inn the
Trencher, which stands in Main-street Oxbridge, and Pen with delight
and eagerness remarked, for the first time, gownsmen going about,
chapel bells clinking (bells in Oxbridge are ringing from morning-tide
till even-song)--towers and pinnacles rising calm and stately over
the gables and antique house-roofs of the homely, busy city. Previous
communications had taken place between Dr. Portman on Pen's part, and
Mr. Buck, Tutor of Boniface, on whose side Pen was entered; and as soon
as Major Pendennis had arranged his personal appearance, so that it
should make a satisfactory impression upon Pen's tutor, the pair walked
down Main-street, and passed the great gate and belfry-tower of Saint
George's College, and so came, as they were directed, to Saint Boniface:
where again Pen's heart began to beat as they entered at the wicket of
the venerable ivy-mantled gate of the college. It is surmounted with an
ancient dome almost covered with creepers, and adorned with the effigy
of the saint from whom the house takes its name, and many coats-of-arms
of its royal and noble benefactors.

The porter pointed out a queer old tower at the corner of the
quadrangle, by which Mr. Buck's rooms were approached, and the two
gentlemen walked across the square, the main features of which, were
at once and forever stamped in Pen's mind--the pretty fountain playing
in the center of the fair grass plats; the tall chapel windows and
buttresses rising to the right; the hall with its tapering lantern and
oriel window; the lodge, from the doors of which the master issued
awfully in rustling silks; the lines of the surrounding rooms pleasantly
broken by carved chimneys, gray turrets, and quaint gables--all these
Mr. Pen's eyes drank in with an eagerness which belongs to first
impressions; and Major Pendennis surveyed with that calmness which
belongs to a gentleman who does not care for the picturesque, and whose
eyes have been somewhat dimmed by the constant glare of the pavement of
Pall Mall.

Saint George's is the great college of the University of Oxbridge, with
its four vast quadrangles, and its beautiful hall and gardens, and the
Georgians, as the men are called, wear gowns of a peculiar cut, and give
themselves no small airs of superiority over all other young men. Little
Saint Boniface is but a petty hermitage in comparison of the huge
consecrated pile alongside of which it lies. But considering its size it
has always kept an excellent name in the University. Its _ton_ is very
good; the best families of certain counties have time out of mind sent
up their young men to Saint Boniface; the college livings are remarkably
good, the fellowships easy; the Boniface men had had more than their
fair share of University honors; their boat was third upon the river:
their chapel-choir is not inferior to Saint George's itself; and the
Boniface ale the best in Oxbridge. In the comfortable old wainscoted
College-Hall, and round about Roubilliac's statue of Saint Boniface (who
stands in an attitude of seraphic benediction over the uncommonly good
cheer of the fellows' table) there are portraits of many most eminent
Bonifacians. There is the learned Dr. Griddle, who suffered in Henry
VIII.'s time, and Archbishop Bush who roasted him--there is Lord
Chief Justice Hicks--the Duke of St. David's, K. G., Chancellor of the
University and member of this College--Sprott, the poet, of whose fame
the college is justly proud--Doctor Blogg, the late master and friend
of Doctor Johnson, who visited him at St. Boniface--and other lawyers,
scholars, and divines, whose portraitures look from the walls, or whose
coats-of-arms shine in emerald and ruby, gold and azure, in the tall
windows of the refectory. The venerable cook of the college is one of
the best artists in Oxbridge (his son took the highest honors in the
other University of Camford) and the wine in the fellows' room has long
been famed for its excellence and abundance.

Into this certainly not the least snugly sheltered arbor among the
groves of Academe, Pen now found his way, leaning on his uncle's arm,
and they speedily reached Mr. Buck's rooms, and were conducted into the
apartment of that courteous gentleman.

He had received previous information from Dr. Portman regarding Pen,
with respect to whose family, fortune, and personal merits the honest
doctor had spoken with no small enthusiasm. Indeed Portman had described
Arthur to the tutor "as a young gentleman of some fortune and landed
estate, of one of the most ancient families in the kingdom, and
possessing such a character and genius as were sure, under the proper
guidance, to make him a credit to the college and the University." Under
such recommendations the tutor was, of course, most cordial to the young
freshman and his guardian, invited the latter to dine in hall, where he
would have the satisfaction of seeing his nephew wear his gown and eat
his dinner for the first time, and requested the pair to take wine at
his rooms after hall, and in consequence of the highly favorable report
he had received of Mr. Arthur Pendennis, said he should be happy to give
him the best set of rooms to be had in college--a gentleman-pensioner's
set, indeed, which were just luckily vacant. So they parted until
dinner-time, which was very near at hand, and Major Pendennis pronounced
Mr. Buck to be uncommonly civil indeed. Indeed when a college magnate
takes the trouble to be polite, there is no man more splendidly
courteous. Immersed in their books and excluded from the world by the
gravity of their occupations, these reverend men assume a solemn
magnificence of compliment in which they rustle and swell as in their
grand robes of state. Those silks and brocades are not put on for all
comers or every day.

When the two gentlemen had taken leave of the tutor in his study, and
had returned to Mr. Buck's ante-room, or lecture-room, a very handsome
apartment, turkey-carpeted, and hung with excellent prints and richly
framed pictures, they found the tutor's servant already in waiting
there, accompanied by a man with a bag full of caps and a number of
gowns, from which Pen might select a cap and gown for himself, and the
servant, no doubt, would get a commission proportionable to the service
done by him. Mr. Pen was all in a tremor of pleasure as the bustling
tailor tried on a gown and pronounced that it was an excellent fit; and
then he put the pretty college cap on, in rather a dandified manner and
somewhat on one side, as he had seen Fiddicombe, the youngest master at
Gray Friars, wear it. And he inspected the entire costume with a great
deal of satisfaction in one of the great gilt mirrors which ornamented
Mr. Buck's lecture-room: for some of these college divines are no more
above looking-glasses than a lady is, and look to the set of their gowns
and caps quite as anxiously as folks do of the lovelier sex. The major
smiled as he saw the boy dandifying himself in the glass: the old
gentleman was not displeased with the appearance of the comely lad.

[Illustration]

Then Davis, the skip or attendant, led the way, keys in hand, across the
quadrangle, the major and Pen following him, the latter blushing, and
pleased with his new academical habiliments, across the quadrangle to
the rooms which were destined for the freshman; and which were vacated
by the retreat of the gentleman-pensioner, Mr. Spicer. The rooms were
very comfortable, with large cross beams, high wainscots and small
windows in deep embrasures. Mr. Spicer's furniture was there, and to be
sold at a valuation, and Major Pendennis agreed on his nephew's behalf
to take the available part of it, laughingly, however, declining (as,
indeed, Pen did for his own part), six sporting prints, and four groups
of opera-dancers with gauze draperies, which formed the late occupant's
pictorial collection.

Then they went to hall, where Pen sate down and ate his commons with his
brother freshmen, and the major took his place at the high-table along
with the college dignitaries and other fathers or guardians of youth,
who had come up with their sons to Oxbridge; and after hall they went
to Mr. Buck's to take wine: and after wine to chapel, where the major
sate with great gravity in the upper place, having a fine view of the
Master in his carved throne or stall under the organ-loft, where that
gentleman, the learned Doctor Donne, sate magnificent, with his great
prayer-book before him, an image of statuesque piety and rigid devotion.
All the young freshmen behaved with gravity and decorum, but Pen was
shocked to see that atrocious little Foker, who came in very late,
and half-a-dozen of his comrades in the gentlemen-pensioners' seats,
giggling and talking as if they had been in so many stalls at the opera.
But these circumstances, it must be remembered, took place some years
back, when William the Fourth was king. Young men are much better
behaved now, and besides, Saint Boniface was rather a fast college.

Pen could hardly sleep at night in his bed-room at the Trencher: so
anxious was he to begin his college life, and to get into his own
apartments. What did he think about, as he lay tossing and awake?
Was it about his mother at home; the pious soul whose life was bound up
in his? Yes, let us hope he thought of her a little. Was it about Miss
Fotheringay, and his eternal passion, which had kept him awake so many
nights, and created such wretchedness and such longing? He had a trick
of blushing, and if you had been in the room, and the candle had not
been out, you might have seen the youth's countenance redden more than
once, as he broke out into passionate incoherent exclamations regarding
that luckless event of his life. His uncle's lessons had not been thrown
away upon him; the mist of passion had passed from his eyes now, and he
saw her as she was. To think that he, Pendennis, had been enslaved by
such a woman, and then jilted by her! that he should have stooped so
low, to be trampled on in the mire! that there was a time in his life,
and that but a few months back, when he was willing to take Costigan
for his father-in-law!--

"Poor old Smirke!" Pen presently laughed out--"well, I'll write and try
and console the poor old boy. He won't die of his passion, ha, ha!" The
major, had he been awake, might have heard a score of such ejaculations
uttered by Pen as he lay awake and restless through the first night of
his residence at Oxbridge.

It would, perhaps, have been better for a youth, the battle of whose
life was going to begin on the morrow, to have passed the eve in a
different sort of vigil: but the world had got hold of Pen in the
shape of his selfish old Mentor; and those who have any interest in
his character, must have perceived ere now, that this lad was very
weak as well as very impetuous, very vain as well as very frank, and
if of a generous disposition, not a little selfish in the midst of
his profuseness, and also rather fickle, as all eager pursuers of
self-gratification are.

The six months' passion had aged him very considerably. There was
an immense gulf between Pen the victim of love, and Pen the innocent
boy of eighteen, sighing after it: and so Arthur Pendennis had all the
experience and superiority, besides that command which afterward conceit
and imperiousness of disposition gave him over the young men with whom
he now began to live.

He and his uncle passed the morning with great satisfaction in making
purchases for the better comfort of the apartments which the lad was
about to occupy. Mr. Spicer's china and glass was in a dreadfully
dismantled condition, his lamps smashed, and his book cases by no means
so spacious as those shelves which would be requisite to receive the
contents of the boxes which were lying in the hall at Fairoaks, and
which were addressed to Arthur in the hand of poor Helen.

The boxes arrived in a few days, that his mother had packed with so
much care. Pen was touched as he read the superscriptions in the dear
well-known hand, and he arranged in their proper places all the books,
his old friends, and all the linen and table-cloths which Helen had
selected from the family stock, and all the jam-pots which little Laura
had bound in straw, and the hundred simple gifts of home. Pen had
another Alma Mater now. But it is not all children who take to her
kindly.



CHAPTER XIX.

PENDENNIS OF BONIFACE.


[Illustration]

Our friend Pen was not sorry when his Mentor took leave of the young
gentleman on the second day after the arrival of the pair in Oxbridge,
and we may be sure that the major on his part was very glad to have
discharged his duty, and to have the duty over. More than three months
of precious time had that martyr of a major given up to his nephew.--Was
ever selfish man called upon to make a greater sacrifice? Do you know
many men or majors who would do as much? A man will lay down his head,
or peril his life for his honor, but let us be shy how we ask him to
give up his ease or his heart's desire. Very few of us can bear that
trial. Say, worthy reader, if thou hast peradventure a beard, wouldst
thou do as much? I will not say that a woman will not. They are used to
it; we take care to accustom them to sacrifices: but, my good sir, the
amount of self-denial which you have probably exerted through life, when
put down to your account elsewhere, will not probably swell the balance
on the credit side much. Well, well, there is no use in speaking of such
ugly matters, and you are too polite to use a vulgar _tu quoque_. But
I wish to state once for all that I greatly admire the major for his
conduct during the past quarter, and think that he has quite a right to
be pleased at getting a holiday. Foker and Pen saw him off in the coach,
and the former young gentleman gave particular orders to the coachman
to take care of that gentleman inside. It pleased the elder Pendennis to
have his nephew in the company of a young fellow who would introduce him
to the best set of the University. The major rushed off to London and
thence to Cheltenham, from which watering-place he descended upon some
neighboring great houses, whereof the families were not gone abroad, and
where good shooting and company was to be had.

A quarter of the space which custom has awarded to works styled the
Serial Nature, has been assigned to the account of one passage in Pen's
career, and it is manifest that the whole of his adventures can not be
treated at a similar length, unless some descendant of the chronicler of
Pen's history should take up the pen at his decease, and continue the
narrative for the successors of the present generation of readers. We
are not about to go through the young fellow's academical career with,
by any means, a similar minuteness. Alas, the life of such boys does not
bear telling altogether. I wish it did. I ask you, does yours? As long
as what we call our honor is clear, I suppose your mind is pretty easy.
Women are pure, but not men. Women are unselfish, but not men. And I
would not wish to say of poor Arthur Pendennis that he was worse than
his neighbors, only that his neighbors are bad, for the most part. Let
us have the candor to own as much at least. Can you point out ten
spotless men of your acquaintance? Mine is pretty large, but I can't
find ten saints in the list.

During the first term of Mr. Pen's academical life, he attended
classical and mathematical lectures with tolerable assiduity; but
discovering, before very long time, that he had little taste or genius
for the pursuing of the exact sciences, and being, perhaps, rather
annoyed that one or two very vulgar young men, who did not even use
straps to their trowsers, so as to cover the abominably thick and
coarse shoes and stockings which they wore, beat him completely in the
lecture-room, he gave up his attendance at that course, and announced to
his fond parent that he proposed to devote himself exclusively to the
cultivation of Greek and Roman literature.

Mrs. Pendennis was, for her part, quite satisfied that her darling boy
should pursue that branch of learning for which he had the greatest
inclination; and only besought him not to ruin his health by too much
study, for she had heard the most melancholy stories of young students
who, by over fatigue, had brought on brain-fevers and perished untimely
in the midst of their university career. And Pen's health, which was
always delicate, was to be regarded, as she justly said, beyond all
considerations or vain honors. Pen, although not aware of any lurking
disease which was likely to endanger his life, yet kindly promised his
mamma not to sit up reading too late of nights, and stuck to his word in
this respect with a great deal more tenacity of resolution than he
exhibited upon some other occasions, when, perhaps, he was a little
remiss.

Presently he began too to find that he learned little good in the
classical lecture. His fellow-students there were too dull, as in
mathematics they were too learned for him. Mr. Buck, the tutor, was no
better a scholar than many a fifth-form boy at Gray Friars; might have
some stupid humdrum notions about the meter and grammatical construction
of a passage of Æschylus or Aristophanes, but had no more notion of the
poetry than Mrs. Binge, his bed-maker; and Pen grew weary of hearing the
dull students and tutor blunder through a few lines of a play, which he
could read in a tenth part of the time which they gave to it. After all,
private reading, as he began to perceive, was the only study which was
really profitable to a man; and he announced to his mamma, that he
should read by himself a great deal more, and in public a great deal
less. That excellent woman knew no more about Homer than she did about
algebra, but she was quite contented with Pen's arrangements regarding
his course of studies, and felt perfectly confident that her dear boy
would get the place which he merited.

Pen did not come home until after Christmas, a little to the fond
mother's disappointment, and Laura's, who was longing for him to make a
fine snow fortification, such as he had made three winters before. But
he was invited to Logwood, Lady Agnes Foker's, where there were private
theatricals, and a gay Christmas party of very fine folks, some of them
whom Major Pendennis would, on no account, have his nephew neglect.
However, he staid at home for the last three weeks of the vacation,
and Laura had the opportunity of remarking what a quantity of fine new
clothes he brought with him, and his mother admired his improved
appearance and manly and decided tone.

He did not come home at Easter; but when he arrived for the long
vacation, he brought more smart clothes: appearing in the morning in
wonderful shooting-jackets, with remarkable buttons; and in the evening
in gorgeous velvet waistcoats, with richly-embroidered cravats, and
curious linen. And as she pried about his room, she saw, oh, such a
beautiful dressing-case, with silver mountings, and a quantity of lovely
rings and jewelry. And he had a new French watch and gold chain, in
place of the big old chronometer, with its bunch of jingling seals,
which had hung from the fob of John Pendennis, and by the second-hand
of which the defunct doctor had felt many a patient's pulse in his time.
It was but a few months back Pen had longed for this watch, which he
thought the most splendid and august time-piece in the world; and just
before he went to college, Helen had taken it out of her trinket-box
(where it had remained unwound since the death of her husband) and given
it to Pen with a solemn and appropriate little speech respecting his
father's virtues and the proper use of time. This portly and valuable
chronometer, Pen now pronounced to be out of date, and, indeed, made
some comparisons between it and a warming-pan, which Laura thought
disrespectful, and he left the watch in a drawer, in the company of
soiled primrose gloves, cravats which had gone out of favor, and of that
other school watch which has once before been mentioned in this history.
Our old friend, Rebecca, Pen pronounced to be no longer up to his
weight, and swapped her away for another and more powerful horse, for
which he had to pay rather a heavy figure. Mrs. Pendennis gave the boy
the money for the new horse; and Laura cried when Rebecca was fetched
away.

Also Pen brought a large box of cigars, branded _Colorados_,
_Afrancesados_, _Telescopios_, Fudson, Oxford-street, or by some such
strange titles, and began to consume these not only about the stables
and green-houses, where they were very good for Helen's plants, but in
his own study, of which practice his mother did not at first approve.
But he was at work upon a prize-poem, he said, and could not compose
without his cigar, and quoted the late lamented Lord Byron's lines in
favor of the custom of smoking. As he was smoking to such good purpose,
his mother could not, of course, refuse permission: in fact, the good
soul coming into the room one day in the midst of Pen's labors (he was
consulting a novel which had recently appeared, for the cultivation of
the light literature of his own country as well as of foreign nations
became every student)--Helen, we say, coming into the room, and finding
Pen on the sofa at this work, rather than disturb him, went for a
light-box and his cigar-case to his bed-room which was adjacent, and
actually put the cigar into his mouth and lighted the match at which he
kindled it. Pen laughed, and kissed his mother's hand as it hung fondly
over the back of the sofa. "Dear old mother," he said, "if I were to
tell you to burn the house down, I think you would do it." And it is
very likely that Mr. Pen was right, and that the foolish woman would
have done almost as much for him as he said.

Besides the works of English "light literature" which this diligent
student devoured, he brought down boxes of the light literature of the
neighboring country of France: into the leaves of which when Helen
dipped, she read such things as caused her to open her eyes with wonder.
But Pen showed her that it was not he who made the books, though
it was absolutely necessary that he should keep up his French by an
acquaintance with the most celebrated writers of the day, and that it
was as clearly his duty to read the eminent Paul de Kock, as to study
Swift or Molière. And Mrs. Pendennis yielded with a sigh of perplexity.
But Miss Laura was warned off the books, both by his anxious mother, and
that rigid moralist Mr. Arthur Pendennis himself, who, however _he_
might be called upon to study every branch of literature in order to
form his mind and to perfect his style, would by no means prescribe such
a course of reading to a young lady whose business in life was very
different.

In the course of this long vacation Mr. Pen drank up the bin of
claret which his father had laid in, and of which we have heard the son
remark, that there was not a headache in a hogshead; and this wine being
exhausted, he wrote for a further supply to "his wine merchants,"
Messrs. Binney and Latham of Mark Lane, London: from whom, indeed, old
Doctor Portman had recommended Pen to get a supply of port and sherry on
going to college. "You will have, no doubt, to entertain your young
friends at Boniface with wine parties," the honest rector had remarked
to the lad. "They used to be customary at college in my time, and I
would advise you to employ an honest and respectable house in London for
your small stock of wine, rather than to have recourse to the Oxbridge
tradesmen, whose liquor, if I remember rightly, was both deleterious in
quality and exorbitant in price." And the obedient young gentleman took
the doctor's advice, and patronized Messrs. Binney and Latham at the
rector's suggestion.

So when he wrote orders for a stock of wine to be sent down to the
cellars at Fairoaks, he hinted that Messrs. B. and L. might send in his
university account for wine at the same time with the Fairoaks bill.
The poor widow was frightened at the amount. But Pen laughed at her
old-fashioned views, said that the bill was moderate, that every body
drank claret and champagne now, and, finally, the widow paid, feeling
dimly, that the expenses of her household were increasing considerably,
and that her narrow income would scarce suffice to meet them. But they
were only occasional. Pen merely came home for a few weeks at the
vacation. Laura and she might pinch when he was gone. In the brief time
he was with them ought they not to make him happy?

Arthur's own allowances were liberal all this time; indeed, much more
so than those of the sons of far more wealthy men. Years before, the
thrifty and affectionate John Pendennis, whose darling project it had
ever been to give his son a university education, and those advantages
of which his own father's extravagance had deprived him, had begun
laying by a store of money which he called Arthur's Education Fund. Year
after year in his book his executors found entries of sums vested as
A. E. F., and during the period subsequent to her husband's decease,
and before Pen's entry at college, the widow had added sundry sums
to this fund, so that when Arthur went up to Oxbridge it reached no
inconsiderable amount. Let him be liberally allowanced, was Major
Pendennis's maxim. Let him make his first _entrée_ into the world as a
gentleman, and take his place with men of good rank and station: after
giving it to him, it will be his own duty to hold it. There is no such
bad policy as stinting a boy--or putting him on a lower allowance than
his fellows. Arthur will have to face the world and fight for himself
presently. Meanwhile we shall have procured for him good friends,
gentlemanly habits, and have him well backed and well trained against
the time when the real struggle comes. And these liberal opinions the
major probably advanced, both because they were just, and because he
was not dealing with his own money.

Thus young Pen, the only son of an estated country gentleman, with a
good allowance, and a gentlemanlike bearing and person, looked to be
a lad of much more consequence than he was really; and was held by
the Oxbridge authorities, tradesmen, and undergraduates, as quite a
young buck and member of the aristocracy. His manner was frank, brave,
and perhaps a little impertinent, as becomes a high-spirited youth. He
was perfectly generous and free-handed with his money, which seemed
pretty plentiful. He loved joviality, and had a good voice for a song.
Boat-racing had not risen in Pen's time to the _fureur_ which, as we are
given to understand, it has since attained in the University; and riding
and tandem-driving were the fashions of the ingenuous youth. Pen rode
well to hounds, appeared in pink, as became a young buck, and not
particularly extravagant in equestrian or any other amusement, yet
managed to run up a fine bill at Nile's the livery stable-keeper, and
in a number of other quarters. In fact, this lucky young gentleman had
almost every taste to a considerable degree. He was very fond of books
of all sorts: Doctor Portman had taught him to like rare editions, and
his own taste led him to like beautiful bindings. It was marvelous
what tall copies, and gilding, and marbling, and blind-tooling, the
booksellers and binders put upon Pen's book-shelves. He had a very
fair taste in matters of art, and a keen relish for prints of a high
school--none of your French opera dancers, or tawdry racing prints, such
as had delighted the simple eyes of Mr. Spicer, his predecessor--but
your Stranges, and Rembrandt etchings, and Wilkies before the letter,
with which his apartments were furnished presently in the most perfect
good taste, as was allowed in the University, where this young fellow
got no small reputation. We have mentioned that he exhibited a certain
partiality for rings, jewelry, and fine raiment of all sorts; and it
must be owned that Mr. Pen, during his time at the University, was
rather a dressy man, and loved to array himself in splendor. He and his
polite friends would dress themselves out with as much care in order
to go and dine at each others' rooms, as other folks would who were
going to enslave a mistress. They said he used to wear rings over
his kid gloves, which he always denies; but what follies will not youth
perpetrate with its own admirable gravity and simplicity? That he took
perfumed baths is a truth; and he used to say that he took them after
meeting certain men of a very low set in hall.

In Pen's second year, when Miss Fotheringay made her chief hit in
London, and scores of prints were published of her, Pen had one of these
hung in his bed-room, and confided to the men of his set how awfully,
how wildly, how madly, how passionately, he had loved that woman. He
showed them in confidence the verses that he had written to her, and
his brow would darken, his eyes roll, his chest heave with emotion as
he recalled that fatal period of his life, and described the woes and
agonies which he had suffered. The verses were copied out, handed about,
sneered at, admired, passed from coterie to coterie. There are few
things which elevate a lad in the estimation of his brother boys, more
than to have a character for a great and romantic passion. Perhaps there
is something noble in it at all times--among very young men it is
considered heroic.--Pen was pronounced a tremendous fellow. They said he
had almost committed suicide: that he had fought a duel with a baronet
about her. Freshmen pointed him out to each other. As at the promenade
time at two o'clock he swaggered out of college, surrounded by his
cronies, he was famous to behold. He was elaborately attired. He would
ogle the ladies who came to lionize the University, and passed before
him on the arms of happy gownsmen, and give his opinion upon their
personal charms, or their toilets, with the gravity of a critic whose
experience entitled him to speak with authority. Men used to say that
they had been walking with Pendennis, and were as pleased to be seen
in his company as some of us would be if we walked with a duke down
Pall Mall. He and the proctor capped each other as they met, as if
they were rival powers, and the men hardly knew which was the greater.

[Illustration]

In fact, in the course of his second year, Arthur Pendennis had become
one of the men of fashion in the University. It is curious to watch
that facile admiration, and simple fidelity of youth. They hang round a
leader: and wonder at him, and love him, and imitate him. No generous
boy ever lived, I suppose, that has not had some wonderment of
admiration for another boy; and Monsieur Pen at Oxbridge had his school,
his faithful band of friends, and his rivals. When the young men heard
at the haberdashers' shops that Mr. Pendennis of Boniface had just
ordered a crimson satin cravat, you would see a couple of dozen crimson
satin cravats in Main-street in the course of the week--and Simon, the
jeweler, was known to sell no less than two gross of Pendennis pins,
from a pattern which the young gentleman had selected in his shop.

Now if any person with an arithmetical turn of mind will take the
trouble to calculate what a sum of money it would cost a young man to
indulge freely in all the above propensities which we have said Mr.
Pen possessed, it will be seen that a young fellow, with such liberal
tastes and amusements, must needs in the course of two or three years
spend or owe a very handsome sum of money. We have said our friend Pen
had not a calculating turn. No one propensity of his was outrageously
extravagant; and it is certain that Paddington's tailor's account;
Guttlebury's cook's bill for dinners; Dillon Tandy's bill with Finn, the
print-seller, for Raphael-Morghens, and Landseer proofs; and Wormall's
dealings with Parkton, the great bookseller, for Aldine editions,
black-letter folios, and richly illuminated Missals of the XVI. Century;
and Snaffle's or Foker's score with Nile the horse-dealer, were, each
and all of them, incomparably greater than any little bills which Mr.
Pen might run up with the above-mentioned tradesmen. But Pendennis of
Boniface had the advantage over all these young gentleman, his friends
and associates, of a universality of taste: and whereas young Lord
Paddington did not care twopence for the most beautiful print, or to
look into any gilt frame that had not a mirror within it; and Guttlebury
did not mind in the least how he was dressed, and had an aversion for
horse exercise, nay a terror of it; and Snaffle never read any printed
works but the "Racing Calender" or "Bell's Life," or cared for any
manuscript except his greasy little scrawl of a betting-book:--our
Catholic-minded young friend occupied himself in every one of the
branches of science or pleasure above-mentioned, and distinguished
himself tolerably in each.

Hence young Pen got a prodigious reputation in the University, and was
hailed as a sort of Crichton; and as for the English verse prize, in
competition for which we have seen him busily engaged at Fairoaks, Jones
of Jesus carried it that year certainly, but the undergraduates thought
Pen's a much finer poem, and he had his verses printed at his own
expense, and distributed in gilt morocco covers among his acquaintance.
I found a copy of it lately in a dusty corner of Mr. Pen's book-cases,
and have it before me this minute bound up in a collection of old
Oxbridge tracts, University statutes, prize-poems by successful and
unsuccessful candidates, declamations recited in the college chapel,
speeches delivered at the Union Debating Society, and inscribed by
Arthur with his name and college, Pendennis--Boniface; or presented to
him by his affectionate friend Thompson or Jackson, the author. How
strange the epigraphs look in those half-boyish hands, and what a thrill
the sight of the documents gives one after the lapse of a few lusters!
How fate, since that time has removed some, estranged others, dealt
awfully with all. Many a hand is cold that wrote those kindly memorials,
and that we pressed in the confident and generous grasp of youthful
friendship. What passions our friendships were in those old days, how
artless and void of doubt! How the arm you were never tired of having
linked in yours under the fair college avenues or by the river side,
where it washes Magdalen Gardens, or Christ Church Meadows, or winds by
Trinity and King's, was withdrawn of necessity, when you entered
presently the world, and each parted to push and struggle for himself
through the great mob on the way through life! Are we the same men now
that wrote those inscriptions--that read those poems? that delivered or
heard those essays and speeches, so simple, so pompous, so ludicrously
solemn; parodied so artlessly from books, and spoken with smug chubby
faces, and such an admirable aping of wisdom and gravity? Here is the
book before me: it is scarcely fifteen years old. Here is Jack moaning
with despair and Byronic misanthropy, whose career at the University
was one of unmixed milk-punch. Here is Tom's daring Essay in defense
of suicide and of republicanism in general _apropos_ of the death of
Roland and the Girondins--Tom's, who wears the starchest tie in all the
diocese, and would go to Smithfield rather than eat a beefsteak on a
Friday in Lent. Here is Bob of the ---- Circuit, who has made a fortune
in railroad committees, and whose dinners are so good--bellowing out
with Tancred and Godfrey, "On to the breach, ye soldiers of the cross,
Scale the red wall and swim the choking foss. Ye dauntless archers,
twang your cross-bows well; On, bill and battle-ax and mangonel! Ply
battering-ram and hurtling catapult, Jerusalem is ours--_id Deus vult_."
After which comes a mellifluous description of the gardens of Sharon and
the maids of Salem, and a prophecy that roses shall deck the entire
country of Syria, and a speedy reign of peace be established--all in
undeniably decasyllabic lines, and the queerest aping of sense and
sentiment and poetry. And there are Essays and Poems along with these
grave parodies, and boyish exercises (which are at once frank and false,
and so mirthful, yet, somehow, so mournful), by youthful hands, that
shall never write more. Fate has interposed darkly, and the young voices
are silent, and the eager brains have ceased to work. This one had
genius and a great descent, and seemed to be destined for honors which
now are of little worth to him: that had virtue, learning, genius--every
faculty and endowment which might secure love, admiration and worldly
fame: an obscure and solitary churchyard contains the grave of many fond
hopes, and the pathetic stone which bids them farewell--I saw the sun
shining on it in the fall of last year, and heard the sweet village
choir raising anthems round about. What boots whether it be Westminster
or a little country spire which covers your ashes, or if, a few days
sooner or later, the world forgets you?

Amidst these friends then, and a host more, Pen passed more than two
brilliant and happy years of his life. He had his fill of pleasure and
popularity. No dinner or supper party was complete without him; and
Pen's jovial wit, and Pen's songs, and dashing courage, and frank and
manly bearing, charmed all the undergraduates, and even disarmed the
tutors who cried out at his idleness, and murmured about his extravagant
way of life. Though he became the favorite and leader of young men who
were much his superiors in wealth and station, he was much too generous
to endeavor to propitiate them by any meanness or cringing on his own
part, and would not neglect the humblest man of his acquaintance in
order to curry favor with the richest young grandee in the University.
His name is still remembered at the Union Debating Club, as one of
the brilliant orators of his day. By the way, from having been an
ardent Tory in his freshman's year, his principles took a sudden turn
afterward, and he became a Liberal of the most violent order. He avowed
himself a Dantonist and asserted that Louis the Sixteenth was served
right. And as for Charles the First, he vowed that he would chop off
that monarch's head with his own right hand were he then in the room at
the Union Debating Club, and had Cromwell no other executioner for the
traitor. He and Lord Magnus Charters, the Marquis of Runnymede's son,
before-mentioned, were the most truculent republicans of their day.

There are reputations of this sort made quite independent of the
collegiate hierarchy, in the republic of gownsmen. A man may be famous
in the honor-lists and entirely unknown to the undergraduates: who
elect kings and chieftains of their own, whom they admire and obey, as
negro-gangs have private black sovereigns in their own body, to whom
they pay an occult obedience, besides that which they publicly profess
for their owners and drivers. Among the young ones Pen became famous and
popular: not that he did much, but there was a general determination
that he could do a great deal if he chose. "Ah, if Pendennis of Boniface
would but try," the men said, "he might do any thing." He was backed for
the Greek Ode won by Smith of Trinity; every body was sure he would have
the Latin hexameter prize which Brown of St. John's, however, carried
off, and in this way, one university honor after another was lost by
him, until, after two or three failures, Mr. Pen ceased to compete. But
he got a declamation prize in his own college, and brought home to his
mother and Laura at Fairoaks, a set of prize-books begilt with the
college arms, and so big, well-bound, and magnificent, that these ladies
thought there had been no such prize ever given in a college before as
this of Pen's, and that he had won the very largest honor which Oxbridge
was capable of awarding.

As vacation after vacation and term after term passed away without the
desired news that Pen had sate for any scholarship or won any honor,
Doctor Portman grew mightily gloomy in his behavior toward Arthur,
and adopted a sulky grandeur of deportment toward him, which the lad
returned by a similar haughtiness. One vacation he did not call upon the
doctor at all, much to his mother's annoyance, who thought that it was a
privilege to enter the Rectory-house at Clavering, and listened to Dr.
Portman's antique jokes and stories, though ever so often repeated, with
unfailing veneration. "I can not stand the doctor's patronizing air,"
Pen said. "He's too kind to me, a great deal too fatherly. I have seen
in the world better men than him, and I am not going to bore myself by
listening to his dull old stories and drinking his stupid old port
wine." The tacit feud between Pen and the doctor made the widow nervous,
so that she too avoided Doctor Portman, and was afraid to go to the
Rectory when Arthur was at home.

One Sunday in the last long vacation, the wretched boy pushed his
rebellious spirit so far as not to go to church, and he was seen at
the gate of the Clavering Arms, smoking a cigar, in the face of the
congregation as it issued from St. Mary's. There was an awful sensation
in the village-society, Portman prophesied Pen's ruin after that, and
groaned in spirit over the rebellious young prodigal.

So did Helen tremble in her heart, and little Laura--Laura had grown to
be a fine young stripling by this time, graceful and fair, clinging
round Helen and worshiping her, with a passionate affection. Both of
these women felt that their boy was changed. He was no longer the
artless Pen of old days, so brave, so artless, so impetuous, and tender.
His face looked careworn and haggard, his voice had a deeper sound, and
tones more sarcastic. Care seemed to be pursuing him; but he only
laughed when his mother questioned him, and parried her anxious queries
with some scornful jest. Nor did he spend much of his vacations at home;
he went on visits to one great friend or another, and scared the quiet
pair at Fairoaks, by stories of great houses whither he had been
invited, and by talking of lords without their titles.

Honest Harry Foker, who had been the means of introducing Arthur
Pendennis to that set of young men at the University, from whose
society and connections Arthur's uncle expected that the lad would
get so much benefit; who had called for Arthur's first song at his first
supper-party; and who had presented him at the Barmecide Club where none
but the very best men of Oxbridge were admitted (it consisted in Pen's
time of six noblemen, eight gentlemen-pensioners, and twelve of the most
select commoners of the University), soon found himself left far behind
by the young freshman in the fashionable world of Oxbridge, and being a
generous and worthy fellow, without a spark of envy in his composition,
was exceedingly pleased at the success of his young _protégé_, and
admired Pen quite as much as any of the other youth did. It was he
who followed Pen now, and quoted his sayings; learned his songs, and
retailed them at minor supper-parties, and was never weary of hearing
them from the gifted young poet's own mouth--for a good deal of the
time which Mr. Pen might have employed much more advantageously
in the pursuit of the regular scholastic studies was given up to the
composition of secular ballads, which he sang about at parties according
to university wont.

It had been as well for Arthur if the honest Foker had remained for
some time at college, for, with all his vivacity, he was a prudent
young man, and often curbed Pen's propensity to extravagance: but Foker's
collegiate career did not last very long after Arthur's entrance at
Boniface. Repeated differences with the university authorities caused
Mr. Foker to quit Oxbridge in an untimely manner. He would persist in
attending races on the neighboring Hungerford Heath, in spite of the
injunctions of his academic superiors. He never could be got to frequent
the chapel of the college with that regularity of piety which Alma Mater
demands from her children; tandems, which are abominations in the eyes
of the heads and tutors, were Foker's greatest delight, and so reckless
was his driving and frequent the accidents and upsets out of his drag
that Pen called taking a drive with him taking the "Diversions of
Purley;" finally, having a dinner-party at his rooms to entertain some
friends from London, nothing would satisfy Mr. Foker but painting Mr.
Buck's door vermilion, in which freak he was caught by the proctors;
and, although young Black Strap, the celebrated negro-fighter, who was
one of Mr. Foker's distinguished guests, and was holding the can of
paint while the young artist operated on the door, knocked down two of
the proctor's attendants and performed prodigies of valor, yet these
feats rather injured than served Foker, whom the proctor knew very well
and who was taken with the brush in his hand, and who was summarily
convened and sent down from the University.

The tutor wrote a very kind and feeling letter to Lady Agnes on the
subject, stating that every body was fond of the youth; that he never
meant harm to any mortal creature; that he, for his own part, would have
been delighted to pardon the harmless little boyish frolic, had not its
unhappy publicity rendered it impossible to look the freak over; and
breathing the most fervent wishes for the young fellow's welfare--wishes
no doubt sincere, for Foker, as we know, came of a noble family on his
mother's side, and on the other was heir to a great number of thousand
pounds a year.

"It don't matter," said Foker, talking over the matter with Pen--"a
little sooner or a little later, what is the odds? I should have been
plucked for my little-go again, I know I should--that Latin I can not
screw into my head, and my mamma's anguish would have broke out next
term. The governor will blow like an old grampus, I know he will--well,
we must stop till he gets his wind again. I shall probably go abroad and
improve my mind with foreign travel. Yes, _parly voo's_ the ticket.
It'ly, and that sort of thing. I'll go to Paris and learn to dance, and
complete my education. But it's not me I'm anxious about, Pen. As long
as people drink beer I don't care--it's about you I'm doubtful, my boy.
You're going too fast, and can't keep up the pace, I tell you. It's not
the fifty you owe me--pay it or not when you like--but it's the every
day pace, and I tell you it will kill you. You're livin' as if there
was no end to the money in the stockin' at home. You oughtn't to give
dinners, you ought to eat 'em. Fellows are glad to have you. You
oughtn't to owe horse bills, you ought to ride other chaps' nags. You
know no more about betting than I do about algebra: the chaps will win
your money as sure as you sport it. Hang me if you are not trying at
every thing. I saw you sit down to _écarté_ last week at Trumpington's,
and taking your turn with the bones after Ringwood's supper. They'll
beat you at it, Pen, my boy, even if they play on the square, which I
don't say they don't, nor which I don't say they do, mind. But I wont
play with 'em. You're no match for 'em. You ain't up to their weight.
It's like little Black Strap standing up to Tom Spring--the Black's a
pretty fighter, but, Law bless you, his arm ain't long enough to touch
Tom--and I tell you, you're going it with fellers beyond your weight.
Look here--If you'll promise me never to bet nor touch a box nor a card,
I'll let you off the two ponies."

But Pen, laughingly, said, "that though it wasn't convenient to him
to pay the two ponies at that moment, he by no means wished to be let
off any just debts he owed;" and he and Foker parted, not without many
dark forebodings on the latter's part with regard to his friend, who,
Harry thought, was traveling speedily on the road to ruin.

"One must do at Rome as Rome does," Pen said, in a dandified manner,
jingling some sovereigns in his waistcoat-pocket. "A little quiet
play at _écarté_ can't hurt a man who plays pretty well--I came away
fourteen sovereigns richer from Ringwood's supper, and, gad! I wanted the
money."--And he walked off, after having taken leave of poor Foker, who
went away without any beat of drum, or offer to drive the coach out of
Oxbridge, to superintend a little dinner which he was going to give at
his own rooms in Boniface, about which dinners, the cook of the college,
who had a great respect for Mr. Pendennis, always took especial pains
for his young favorite.



CHAPTER XX.

RAKE'S PROGRESS.


[Illustration]

Some short time before Mr. Foker's departure from Oxbridge, there
had come up to Boniface, a gentleman who had once, as it turned out,
belonged to the other University of Camford, which he had quitted on
account of some differences with the tutors and authorities there.
This gentleman, whose name was Horace Bloundell, was of the ancient
Suffolk family of Bloundell-Bloundell, of Bloundell-Bloundell Hall,
Bloundell-Bloundellshire, as the young wags used to call it; and no
doubt it was on account of his descent and because Dr. Donne, the master
of Boniface, was a Suffolk man, and related perhaps to the family, that
Mr. Horace Bloundell was taken in at Boniface, after St. George's and
one or two other colleges had refused to receive him. There was a living
in the family, which it was important for Mr. Bloundell to hold; and,
being in a dragoon regiment at the time when his third brother, for whom
the living was originally intended, sickened and died, Mr. Bloundell
determined upon quitting crimson pantaloons and sable shakos for the
black coat and white neckcloth of the English divine. The misfortunes
which occurred at Camford occasioned some slight disturbance to Mr.
Bloundell's plans; but although defeated upon one occasion, the resolute
ex-dragoon was not dismayed, and set to work to win victory elsewhere.

In Pen's second year Major Pendennis paid a brief visit to his nephew,
and was introduced to several of Pen's university friends--the gentle
and polite Lord Plinlimmon, the gallant and open-hearted Magnus Charters,
the sly and witty Harland; the intrepid Ringwood, who was called Rupert
in the Union Debating Club, from his opinions and the bravery of his
blunders; Broadbent, styled Barebones Broadbent from the republican
nature of his opinions (he was of a dissenting family from Bristol and a
perfect Boanerges of debate); Mr. Bloundell-Bloundell, finally, who had
at once taken his place among the select of the University.

Major Pendennis, though he did not understand Harland's Greek quotations,
or quite appreciate Broadbent's thick shoes and dingy hands, was
nevertheless delighted with the company assembled round his nephew, and
highly approved of all the young men with the exception of that one who
gave himself the greatest airs in the society, and affected most to have
the manners of a man of the world.

As he and Pen sate at breakfast on the morning after the party in the
rooms of the latter, the major gave his opinions regarding the young
men, with whom he was in the greatest good humor. He had regaled them
with some of his stories, which, though not quite so fresh in London
(where people have a diseased appetite for novelty in the way of
anecdotes), were entirely new at Oxbridge, and the lads heard them with
that honest sympathy, that eager pleasure, that boisterous laughter, or
that profound respect, so rare in the metropolis, and which must be so
delightful to the professed _racconteur_. Only once or twice during the
telling of the anecdotes, Mr. Bloundell's face wore a look of scorn,
or betrayed by its expression that he was acquainted with the tales
narrated. Once he had the audacity to question the accuracy of one of
the particulars of a tale as given by Major Pendennis, and gave his
own version of the anecdote, about which he knew he was right, for he
heard it openly talked of at the club by So and so and T'other who were
present at the business. The youngsters present looked up with wonder
at their associate, who dared to interrupt the major--few of them
could appreciate that melancholy grace and politeness with which Major
Pendennis at once acceded to Mr. Bloundell's version of the story,
and thanked him for correcting his own error. They stared on the next
occasion of meeting, when Bloundell spoke in contemptuous terms of old
Pen, said every body knew old Pen, regular old trencherman at Gaunt
House, notorious old bore, regular old fogy.

Major Pendennis, on his side, liked Mr. Bloundell not a whit. These
sympathies are pretty sure to be mutual among men and women, and if, for
my part, some kind friend tells me that such and such a man has been
abusing me, I am almost sure, on my own side, that I have a misliking to
such and such a man. We like or dislike each other, as folks like or
dislike the odor of certain flowers, or the taste of certain dishes, or
wines, or certain books. We can't tell why--but, as a general rule, all
the reasons in the world will not make us love Dr. Fell, and as sure as
we dislike him, we may be sure that he dislikes us.

So the major said, "Pen, my boy, your dinner went off _à merveille_;
you did the honors very nicely--you carved well--I am glad you learned
to carve--it is done on the side-board now in most good houses, but
is still an important point, and may aid you in middle-life--young
Lord Plinlimmon is a very amiable young man, quite the image of his
dear mother (whom I knew as Lady Aquila Brownbill); and Lord Magnus's
republicanism will wear off--it sits prettily enough on a young
patrician in early life, though nothing is so loathsome among persons of
our rank--Mr. Broadbent seems to have much eloquence and considerable
reading; your friend Foker is always delightful: but your acquaintance,
Mr. Bloundell, struck me as in all respects a most ineligible young man.

"Bless my soul, sir, Bloundell-Bloundell!" cried Pen, laughing; "Why,
sir, he's the most popular man of the University. We elected him
of the Barmecides the first week he came up--had a special meeting on
purpose--he's of an excellent family--Suffolk Bloundells, descended from
Richard's Blondel, bear a harp in chief--and motto O Mong Roy."

"A man may have a very good coat-of-arms, and be a tiger, my boy," the
major said, chipping his egg; "that man is a tiger, mark my word--a low
man. I will lay a wager that he left his regiment, which was a good one
(for not a more respectable man than my friend Lord Martingale never
sate in a saddle), in bad odor. There is the unmistakable look of slang,
and bad habits about this Mr. Bloundell. He frequents low gambling
houses and billiard hells, sir--he haunts third-rate clubs--I know he
does. I know by his style. I never was mistaken in my man yet. Did you
remark the quantity of rings and jewelry he wore? That person has Scamp
written on his countenance, if any man ever had. Mark my words, and
avoid him. Let us turn the conversation. The dinner was a _leetle_ too
fine, but I don't object to your making a few extra _frais_ when you
receive friends. Of course you don't do it often, and only those whom it
is your interest to _fêter_. The cutlets were excellent, and the
_soufflé_ uncommonly light and good. The third bottle of champagne was
not necessary; but you have a good income, and as long as you keep
within it, I shall not quarrel with you, my dear boy."

Poor Pen! the worthy uncle little knew how often those dinners took
place, while the reckless young Amphitryon delighted to show his
hospitality and skill in _gourmandise_. There is no art, than that
(so long to learn, so difficult to acquire, so impossible and beyond
the means of many unhappy people!) about which boys are more anxious to
have an air of knowingness. A taste and knowledge of wines and cookery
appears to them to be the sign of an accomplished _roué_ and manly
gentleman. I like to see them wink at a glass of claret, as if they had
an intimate acquaintance with it, and discuss a _salmi_--poor boys--it
is only when they grow old they know that they know nothing of the
science, when perhaps their conscience whispers them that the science
is in itself little worth, and that a leg of mutton and content is
as good as the dinners of pontiffs. But little Pen, in his character
of admirable Crichton, thought it necessary to be a great judge and
practitioner of dinners; we have just said how the college-cook
respected him, and shall soon have to deplore that that worthy man so
blindly trusted our Pen. In the third year of the lad's residence at
Oxbridge, his staircase was by no means encumbered with dish-covers
and desserts, and waiters carrying in dishes, and skips opening iced
champagne; crowds of different sorts of attendants, with faces sulky or
piteous, hung about the outer oak, and assailed the unfortunate lad as
he issued out of his den.

Nor did his guardian's advice take any effect, or induce Mr. Pen to
avoid the society of the disreputable Mr. Bloundell. What young men like
in their companions is, what had got Pen a great part of his own repute
and popularity, a real or supposed knowledge of life. A man who has seen
the world, or can speak of it with a knowing air--a _roué_, or Lovelace,
who has his adventures to relate, is sure of an admiring audience among
boys. It is hard to confess, but so it is. We respect that sort of
prowess. From our school-days we have been taught to admire it. Are
there five in the hundred, out of the hundreds and hundreds of English
school-boys, brought up at our great schools and colleges, that must not
own at one time of their lives to having read and liked Don Juan? Awful
propagation of evil!--The idea of it should make the man tremble who
holds the pen, lest untruth, or impurity, or unjust anger, or unjust
praise escape it.

One such diseased creature as this is enough to infect a whole colony,
and the tutors of Boniface began to find the moral tone of their college
lowered, and their young men growing unruly and almost ungentleman-like,
soon after Mr. Bloundell's arrival at Oxbridge. The young magnates of
the neighboring great College of St. George's, who regarded Pen, and in
whose society he lived, were not taken in by Bloundell's flashy graces,
and rakish airs of fashion. Broadbent called him Captain Macheath, and
said he would live to be hanged. Foker, during his brief stay at the
University with Macheath, with characteristic caution declined to say
any thing in the captain's disfavor, but hinted to Pen that he had
better have him for a partner at whist than play against him, and better
back him at _écarté_ than bet on the other side. "You see, he plays
better than you do, Pen," was the astute young gentleman's remark: "he
plays uncommonly well, the captain does;--and Pen, I wouldn't take the
odds too freely from him, if I was you. I don't think he's too flush
of money, the captain ain't." But beyond these dark suggestions and
generalities, the cautious Foker could not be got to speak.

Not that his advice would have had more weight with a headstrong young
man, than advice commonly has with a lad who is determined on pursuing
his own way. Pen's appetite for pleasure was insatiable, and he rushed
at it wherever it presented itself with an eagerness which bespoke
his fiery constitution and youthful health. He called taking pleasure
"seeing life," and quoted well-known maxims from Terence, from Horace,
from Shakspeare, to show that one should do all that might become a man.
He bade fair to be utterly used up and a _roué_ in a few years, if he
were to continue at the pace at which he was going.

One night after a supper-party in college, at which Pen and Macheath had
been present, and at which a little quiet _vingt-et-un_ had been played,
(an amusement much pleasanter to men in their second and third year than
the boisterous custom of singing songs, which bring the proctors about
the rooms, and which have grown quite stale by this time, every man
having expended his budget)--as the men had taken their caps and were
going away, after no great losses or winnings on any side, Mr. Bloundell
playfully took up a green wine-glass from the supper-table, which had
been destined to contain iced champagne, but into which he inserted
something still more pernicious, namely a pair of dice, which the
gentleman took out of his waistcoat pocket, and put into the glass.
Then giving the glass a graceful wave which showed that his hand was
quite experienced in the throwing of dice, he called, Seven's the main,
and whisking the ivory cubes gently on the table, swept them up lightly
again from the cloth, and repeated this process two or three times. The
other men looked on, Pen, of course, among the number, who had never
used the dice as yet, except to play a humdrum game of backgammon at
home.

Mr. Bloundell, who had a good voice, began to troll out the chorus from
Robert the Devil, an opera then in great vogue, in which chorus many of
the men joined, especially Pen, who was in very high spirits, having won
a good number of shillings and half-crowns at the _vingt-et-un_--and
presently, instead of going home, most of the party were seated round
the table playing at dice, the green glass going round from hand to hand
until Pen finally shivered it, after throwing six mains.

From that night Pen plunged into the delights of the game of hazard, as
eagerly as it was his custom to pursue any new pleasure. Dice can be
played of mornings as well as after dinner or supper. Bloundell would
come into Pen's rooms after breakfast, and it was astonishing how quick
the time passed as the bones were rattling. They had little quiet
parties with closed doors, and Bloundell devised a box lined with felt,
so that the dice should make no noise, and their tell-tale rattle not
bring the sharp-eared tutors up to the rooms. Bloundell, Ringwood,
and Pen were once very nearly caught by Mr. Buck, who, passing in the
Quadrangle, thought he heard the words "Two to one on the caster,"
through Pen's open window; but when the tutor got into Arthur's rooms
he found the lads with three Homers before them, and Pen said, he was
trying to coach the two other men, and asked Mr. Buck with great gravity
what was the present condition of the River Scamander, and whether it
was navigable or no?

Mr. Arthur Pendennis did not win much money in these transactions with
Mr. Bloundell, or indeed gain good of any kind except a knowledge of the
odds at hazard, which he might have learned out of books.

Captain Macheath had other accomplishments which he exercised for Pen's
benefit. The captain's stories had a great and unfortunate charm for
Arthur, who was never tired of hearing Bloundell's histories of garrison
conquests, and of his feats in country-quarters. He had been at Paris,
and had plenty of legends about the Palais Royal, and the Salon, and
Frascati's. He had gone to the Salon one night, after a dinner at the
Café de Paris, "when we were all devilishly cut by Jove; and on waking
in the morning in my own rooms, I found myself with twelve thousand
francs under my pillow, and a hundred and forty-nine Napoleons in one
of my boots. Wasn't that a _coup_, hay?" the captain said. Pen's eyes
glistened with excitement as he heard this story. He respected the man
who could win such a sum of money. He sighed, and said it would set
him all right. Macheath laughed, and told him to drink another drop of
Maraschino. "I could tell you stories much more wonderful than that," he
added; and so indeed the captain could have done, without any further
trouble than that of invention, with which portion of the poetic faculty
nature had copiously endowed him.

He laughed to scorn Pen's love for Miss Fotheringay, when he came to
hear of that amour from Arthur, as he pretty soon did, for, we have
said, Pen was not averse to telling the story now to his confidential
friends, and he and they were rather proud of the transaction. But
Macheath took away all Pen's conceit on this head, not by demonstrating
the folly of the lad's passion for an uneducated woman much his senior
in years, but by exposing his absurd desire of gratifying his passion
in a legitimate way. "Marry _her_," said he, "you might as well marry
----," and he named one of the most notorious actresses on the stage.
"She hadn't a shred of a character." He knew twenty men who were openly
admirers of her, and named them and the sums each had spent upon her. I
know no kind of calumny more frightful or frequent than this which takes
away the character of women, no men more reckless and mischievous than
those who lightly use it, and no kind of cowards more despicable than
the people who invent these slanders.

Is it, or not, a misfortune that a man, himself of a candid disposition,
and disposed, like our friend Pen, to blurt out the truth on all
occasions, begins life by believing all that is said to him? Would it be
better for a lad to be less trustful, and so less honest? It requires no
small experience of the world to know that a man, who has no especial
reason thereto, is telling you lies. I am not sure whether it is not
best to go on being duped for a certain time. At all events, our honest
Pen had a natural credulity, which enabled him to accept all statements
which were made to him, and he took every one of Captain Macheath's
figments as if they had been the most unquestioned facts of history.

So Bloundell's account about Miss Fotheringay pained and mortified Pen
exceedingly. If he had been ashamed of his passion before--what were
his feelings regarding it now, when the object of so much pure flame
and adoration turned out to be only a worthless impostor, an impostor
detected by all but him? It never occurred to Pen to doubt the fact, or
to question whether the stories of a man who, like his new friend, never
spoke well of any woman, were likely to be true.

One Easter vacation, when Pen had announced to his mother and uncle his
intention not to go down, but stay at Oxbridge and read, Mr. Pen was
nevertheless induced to take a brief visit to London in company with his
friend Mr. Bloundell. They put up at a hotel in Covent Garden, where
Bloundell had a tick, as he called it, and took the pleasures of town
very freely, after the wont of young University men. Bloundell still
belonged to a military club, whither he took Pen to dine once or twice
(the young men would drive thither in a cab, trembling lest they
should meet Major Pendennis on his beat in Pall Mall), and here Pen
was introduced to a number of gallant young fellows with spurs and
mustaches, with whom he drank pale-ale of mornings, and beat the town of
a night. Here he saw a deal of life, indeed; nor in his career about the
theaters and singing-houses which these roaring young blades frequented,
was he very likely to meet his guardian. One night, nevertheless, they
were very near to each other: a plank only separating Pen, who was
in the boxes of the Museum Theater, from the major, who was in Lord
Steyne's box, along with that venerated nobleman. The Fotheringay was
in the pride of her glory. She had made a hit; that is, she had drawn
very good houses for nearly a year, had starred the provinces with great
_éclat_, had come back to shine in London with somewhat diminished
luster, and now was acting with "ever increasing attraction, &c.,"
"triumph of the good old British drama," as the play-bills avowed,
to houses in which there was plenty of room for any body who wanted
to see her.

It was not the first time Pen had seen her since that memorable day when
the two had parted in Chatteries. In the previous year, when the town
was making much of her, and the press lauded her beauty, Pen had found
a pretext for coming to London in term-time, and had rushed off to the
theater to see his old flame. He recollected it rather than renewed it.
He remembered how ardently he used to be on the look-out at Chatteries,
when the speech before Ophelia's or Mrs. Haller's entrance on the stage
was made by the proper actor. Now, as the actor spoke he had a sort of
feeble thrill: as the house began to thunder with applause, and Ophelia
entered with her old bow and sweeping courtesy, Pen felt a slight shock,
and blushed very much as he looked at her, and could not help thinking
that all the house was regarding him. He hardly heard her for the first
part of the play; and he thought with such rage of the humiliation to
which she had subjected him, that he began to fancy he was jealous and
in love with her still. But that illusion did not last very long. He
ran round to the stage door of the theater to see her if possible,
but he did not succeed. She passed indeed under his nose with a female
companion, but he did not know her--nor did she recognize him. The next
night he came in late, and staid very quietly for the after-piece, and on
the third and last night of his stay in London--why, Taglioni was going
to dance at the opera--Taglioni! and there was to be Don Giovanni, which
he admired of all things in the world; so Mr. Pen went to Don Giovanni
and Taglioni.

This time the illusion about her was quite gone. She was not less
handsome, but she was not the same, somehow. The light was gone out of
her eyes which used to flash there, or Pen's no longer were dazzled by
it. The rich voice spoke as of old, yet it did not make Pen's bosom
thrill as formerly. He thought he could recognize the brogue underneath;
the accents seemed to him coarse and false. It annoyed him to hear the
same emphasis on the same words only uttered a little louder; worse than
this, it annoyed him to think that he should ever have mistaken that
loud imitation for genius, or melted at those mechanical sobs and sighs.
He felt that it was in another life almost, that it was another man who
had so madly loved her. He was ashamed and bitterly humiliated, and very
lonely. Ah, poor Pen! the delusion is better than the truth sometimes,
and fine dreams than dismal waking.

They went and had an uproarious supper that night, and Mr. Pen had a
fine headache the next morning, with which he went back to Oxbridge,
having spent all his ready money.

As all this narrative is taken from Pen's own confessions, so that the
reader may be assured of the truth of every word of it, and as Pen
himself never had any accurate notion of the manner in which he spent
his money, and plunged himself in much deeper pecuniary difficulties,
during his luckless residence at Oxbridge University, it is, of course
impossible for me to give any accurate account of all his involvements,
beyond that general notion of his way of life, which has been sketched
a few pages back. He does not speak too hardly of the roguery of the
University tradesmen, or of those in London whom he honored with his
patronage at the outset of his career. Even Finch, the money-lender,
to whom Bloundell introduced him, and with whom he had various
transactions, in which the young rascal's signature appeared upon
stamped paper, treated him, according to Pen's own account, with
forbearance, and never mulcted him of more than a hundred per cent. The
old college-cook, his fervent admirer, made him a private bill, offered
to send him in dinners up to the very last, and never would have pressed
his account to his dying day. There was that kindness and frankness
about Arthur Pendennis, which won most people who came in contact with
him, and which, if it rendered him an easy prey to rogues, got him,
perhaps, more goodwill than he merited from many honest men. It was
impossible to resist his good nature, or, in his worst moments, not
to hope for his rescue from utter ruin.

At the time of his full career of University pleasure, he would
leave the gayest party to go and sit with a sick friend. He never
knew the difference between small and great in the treatment of his
acquaintances, however much the unlucky lad's tastes, which were of the
sumptuous order, led him to prefer good society; he was only too ready
to share his guinea with a poor friend, and when he got money, had an
irresistible propensity for paying, which he never could conquer through
life.

In his third year at College, the duns began to gather awfully round
about him, and there was a levee at his oak which scandalized the
tutors, and would have scared many a stouter heart. With some of
these he used to battle, some he would bully (under Mr. Bloundell's
directions, who was a master in this art, though he took a degree in no
other), and some deprecate. And it is reported of him that little Mary
Frodsham, the daughter of a certain poor gilder and frame-maker, whom
Mr. Pen had thought fit to employ, and who had made a number of
beautiful frames for his fine prints, coming to Pendennis with a piteous
tale that her father was ill with the ague, and that there was an
execution in their house, Pen in an anguish of remorse rushed away,
pawned his grand watch and every single article of jewelry except two
old gold sleeve-buttons, which had belonged to his father, and rushed
with the proceeds to Frodsham's shop, where, with tears in his eyes,
and the deepest repentance and humility, he asked the poor tradesman's
pardon.

This, young gentlemen, is not told as an instance of Pen's virtue, but
rather of his weakness. It would have been much more virtuous to have
had no prints at all. He still owed for the baubles which he sold in
order to pay Frodsham's bill, and his mother had cruelly to pinch
herself in order to discharge the jeweler's account, so that she was in
the end the sufferer by the lad's impertinent fancies and follies. We
are not presenting Pen to you as a hero or a model, only as a lad, who,
in the midst of a thousand vanities and weaknesses, has as yet some
generous impulses, and is not altogether dishonest.

We have said it was to the scandal of Mr. Buck the tutor that Pen's
extravagances became known: from the manner in which he entered college,
the associates he kept, and the introductions of Doctor Portman and the
major, Buck for a long time thought that his pupil was a man of large
property, and wondered rather that he only wore a plain gown. Once on
going up to London to the levee with an address from his Majesty's Loyal
University of Oxbridge, Buck had seen Major Pendennis at Saint James's
in conversation with two knights of the garter, in the carriage of one
of whom the dazzled tutor saw the major whisked away after the levee. He
asked Pen to wine the instant he came back, let him off from chapels and
lectures more than ever, and felt perfectly sure that he was a young
gentleman of large estate.

Thus, he was thunderstruck when he heard the truth, and received a
dismal confession from Pen. His University debts were large, and the
tutor had nothing to do, and of course Pen did not acquaint him, with
his London debts. What man ever does tell all when pressed by his
friends about his liabilities? The tutor learned enough to know that Pen
was poor, that he had spent a handsome, almost a magnificent allowance,
and had raised around him such a fine crop of debts, as it would be very
hard work for any man to mow down; for there is no plant that grows so
rapidly when once it has taken root.

Perhaps it was because she was so tender and good that Pen was terrified
lest his mother should know of his sins. "I can't bear to break it to
her," he said to the tutor in an agony of grief, "O! sir, I've been a
villain to her"--and he repented, and he wished he had the time to come
over again, and he asked himself, "Why, why did his uncle insist upon
the necessity of living with great people, and in how much did all his
grand acquaintance profit him?"

They were not shy, but Pen thought they were, and slunk from them
during his last terms at college. He was as gloomy as a death's-head at
parties, which he avoided of his own part, or to which his young friends
soon ceased to invite him. Every body knew that Pendennis was "hard up."
That man Bloundell, who could pay nobody, and who was obliged to go down
after three terms, was his ruin, the men said. His melancholy figure
might be seen shirking about the lonely quadrangles in his battered old
cap and torn gown, and he who had been the pride of the University but a
year before, the man whom all the young ones loved to look at, was now
the object of conversation at freshmen's wine parties, and they spoke
of him with wonder and awe.

At last came the Degree examinations. Many a young man of his year
whose hob-nailed shoes Pen had derided, and whose face or coat he
had caricatured--many a man whom he had treated with scorn in the
lecture-room or crushed with his eloquence in the debating-club--many
of his own set who had not half his brains, but a little regularity and
constancy of occupation, took high places in the honors or passed with
decent credit. And where on the list was Pen the superb, Pen the wit and
dandy, Pen the poet and orator? Ah, where was Pen the widow's darling
and sole pride? Let us hide our heads, and shut up the page. The lists
came out; and a dreadful rumor rushed through the University, that
Pendennis of Boniface was plucked.



CHAPTER XXI.

FLIGHT AFTER DEFEAT.


[Illustration]

Every body who has the least knowledge of Heraldry and the Peerage must
be aware that the noble family of which, as we know, Helen Pendennis was
a member, bears for a crest, a nest full of little pelicans pecking at
the ensanguined bosom of a big maternal bird, which plentifully supplies
the little wretches with the nutriment on which, according to the
heraldic legend, they are supposed to be brought up. Very likely female
pelicans like so to bleed under the selfish little beaks of their young
ones: it is certain that women do. There must be some sort of pleasure,
which we men don't understand, which accompanies the pain of being
scarified, and indeed I believe some women would rather actually so
suffer than not. They like sacrificing themselves in behalf of the
object which their instinct teaches them to love. Be it for a reckless
husband, a dissipated son, a darling scapegrace of a brother, how ready
their hearts are to pour out their best treasures for the benefit of
the cherished person; and what a deal of this sort of enjoyment are we,
on our side, ready to give the soft creatures! There is scarce a man
that reads this, but has administered pleasure in this fashion to his
womankind, and treated them to the luxury of forgiving him. They don't
mind how they live themselves; but when the prodigal comes home they
make a rejoicing, and kill the fatted calf for him: and at the very
first hint that the sinner is returning, the kind angels prepare their
festival, and Mercy and Forgiveness go smiling out to welcome him. I
hope it may be so always for us all: if we have only Justice to look
to, Heaven help us!

During the latter part of Pen's residence at the University of Oxbridge,
his uncle's partiality had greatly increased for the lad. The major was
proud of Arthur, who had high spirits, frank manners, a good person,
and high gentlemanlike bearing. It pleased the old London bachelor to
see Pen, walking with the young patricians of his University, and he
(who was never known to entertain his friends, and whose stinginess had
passed into a sort of byword among some wags at the club, who envied
his many engagements, and did not choose to consider his poverty) was
charmed to give his nephew and the young lords snug little dinners
at his lodgings, and to regale them with good claret, and his very
best _bons mots_ and stories: some of which would be injured by the
repetition, for the major's manner of telling them was incomparably
neat and careful; and others, whereof the repetition would do good to
nobody. He paid his court to their parents through the young men, and to
himself, as it were, by their company. He made more than one visit to
Oxbridge, where the young fellows were amused by entertaining the old
gentleman, and gave parties and breakfasts and fêtes, partly to joke
him and partly to do him honor. He plied them with his stories. He made
himself juvenile and hilarious in the company of the young lords. He
went to hear Pen, at a grand debate at the Union, crowed and cheered,
and rapped his stick in chorus with the cheers of the men, and was
astounded at the boy's eloquence and fire. He thought he had got a young
Pitt for a nephew. He had an almost paternal fondness for Pen. He wrote
to the lad letters with playful advice and the news of the town. He
bragged about Arthur at his clubs, and introduced him with pleasure into
his conversation; saying, that, Egad, the young fellows were putting
the old ones to the wall; that the lads who were coming up, young Lord
Plinlimmon, a friend of my boy, young Lord Magnus Charters, a chum of
my scapegrace, &c., would make a greater figure in the world than even
their fathers had done before them. He asked permission to bring Arthur
to a grand fête at Gaunt House; saw him with ineffable satisfaction
dancing with the sisters of the young noblemen before mentioned; and
gave himself as much trouble to procure cards of invitation for the lad
to some good houses, as if he had been a mamma with a daughter to marry,
and not an old half-pay officer in a wig. And he boasted every where of
the boy's great talents, and remarkable oratorical powers; and of the
brilliant degree he was going to take. Lord Runnymede would take him on
his embassy, or the duke would bring him in for one of his boroughs, he
wrote over and over again to Helen; who for her part was too ready to
believe any thing that any body chose to say in favor of her son.

And all this pride and affection of uncle and mother had been trampled
down by Pen's wicked extravagance and idleness! I don't envy Pen's
feelings (as the phrase is), as he thought of what he had done. He had
slept and the tortoise had won the race. He had marred at its outset
what might have been a brilliant career. He had dipped ungenerously into
a generous mother's purse; basely and recklessly spilt her little cruse.
O! it was a coward hand that could strike and rob a creature so tender.
And if Pen felt the wrong which he had done too thers, are we to suppose
that a young gentleman of his vanity did not feel still more keenly the
shame he had brought upon himself? Let us be assured that there is no
more cruel remorse than that; and no groans more piteous than those of
wounded self-love. Like Joe Miller's friend, the Senior Wrangler, who
bowed to the audience from his box at the play, because he and the king
happened to enter the theater at the same time, only with a fatuity by
no means so agreeable to himself, poor Arthur Pendennis felt perfectly
convinced that all England would remark the absence of his name from
the examination-lists, and talk about his misfortune. His wounded
tutor, his many duns, the skip and bed-maker who waited upon him, the
undergraduates of his own time and the years below him, whom he had
patronized or scorned--how could he bear to look any of them in the face
now? He rushed to his rooms, into which he shut himself, and there he
penned a letter to his tutor, full of thanks, regards, remorse, and
despair, requesting that his name might be taken off the college books,
and intimating a wish and expectation that death would speedily end the
woes of the disgraced Arthur Pendennis.

Then he slunk out scarcely knowing whither he went, but mechanically
taking the unfrequented little lanes by the backs of the colleges, until
he cleared the University precincts, and got down to the banks of the
Camisis river, now deserted, but so often alive with the boat-races, and
the crowds of cheering gownsmen, he wandered on and on, until he found
himself at some miles' distance from Oxbridge, or rather was found by
some acquaintances leaving that city.

As Pen went up a hill, a drizzling January rain beating in his face, and
his ragged gown flying behind him--for he had not divested himself of
his academical garments since the morning--a postchaise came rattling
up the road, on the box of which was seated a servant, while within,
or rather half out of the carriage window, sate a young gentleman,
smoking a cigar, and loudly encouraging the postboy. It was our young
acquaintance of Baymouth, Mr. Spavin, who had got his degree, and was
driving homeward in triumph in his yellow postchaise. He caught a sight
of the figure, madly gesticulating as he worked up the hill, and of poor
Pen's pale and ghastly face as the chaise whirled by him.

"Wo!" roared Mr. Spavin to the postboy, and the horses stopped in their
mad career, and the carriage pulled up some fifty yards before Pen. He
presently heard his own name shouted, and beheld the upper half of the
body of Mr. Spavin thrust out of the side-window of the vehicle, and
beckoning Pen vehemently toward it.

Pen stopped, hesitated--nodded his head fiercely, and pointed onward,
as if desirous that the postillion should proceed. He did not speak:
but his countenance must have looked very desperate, for young Spavin,
having stared at him with an expression of blank alarm, jumped out
of the carriage presently, ran toward Pen, holding out his hand, and
grasping Pen's, said, "I say--hullo, old boy, where are you going, and
what's the row now?"

"I'm going where I deserve to go," said Pen, with an imprecation.

"This ain't the way," said Mr. Spavin, smiling. "This is the Fenbury
road. I say, Pen, don't take on because you are plucked. It's nothing
when you are used to it. I've been plucked three times, old boy--and
after the first time I didn't care. Glad it's over, though. You'll have
better luck next time."

Pen looked at his early acquaintance--who had been plucked, who had been
rusticated, who had only, after repeated failures, learned to read and
write correctly, and who, in spite of all these drawbacks, had attained
the honor of a degree. "This man has passed," he thought, "and I have
failed!" It was almost too much for him to bear.

"Good-by, Spavin," said he; "I'm very glad you are through. Don't let me
keep you; I'm in a hurry--I'm going to town to-night."

"Gammon," said Mr. Spavin. "This ain't the way to town; this is the
Fenbury road, I tell you."

"I was just going to turn back," Pen said.

"All the coaches are full with the men going down," Spavin said. Pen
winced. "You'd not get a place for a ten-pound note. Get into my yellow;
I'll drop you at Mudford, where you have a chance of the Fenbury mail.
I'll lend you a hat and a coat; I've got lots. Come along; jump in,
old boy--go it leathers!"--and in this way Pen found himself in Mr.
Spavin's postchaise, and rode with that gentleman as far as the Ram Inn
at Mudford, fifteen miles from Oxbridge; where the Fenbury mail changed
horses, and where Pen got a place on to London.

The next day there was an immense excitement in Boniface College,
Oxbridge, where, for some time, a rumor prevailed, to the terror of
Pen's tutor and tradesmen, that Pendennis, maddened at losing his
degree, had made away with himself--a battered cap, in which his name
was almost discernible, together with a seal bearing his crest of an
eagle looking at a now extinct sun, had been found three miles on the
Fenbury road, near a mill-stream; and, for four-and-twenty hours, it was
supposed that poor Pen had flung himself into the stream, until letters
arrived from him, bearing the London post-mark.

The mail reached London at the dreary hour of five; and he hastened to
the inn at Covent Garden, at which he was accustomed to put up, where
the ever-wakeful porter admitted him, and showed him to a bed. Pen
looked hard at the man, and wondered whether Boots knew he was plucked?
When in bed he could not sleep there. He tossed about until the
appearance of the dismal London daylight, when he sprang up desperately,
and walked off to his uncle's lodgings in Bury-street; where the maid
who was scouring the steps, looked up suspiciously at him, as he came
with an unshaven face, and yesterday's linen. He thought she knew of his
mishap, too.

"Good evens! Mr. Harthur, what _as_ appened, sir?" Mr. Morgan, the
valet, asked, who had just arranged the well-brushed clothes and shiny
boots at the door of his master's bed-room, and was carrying in his wig
to the major.

"I want to see my uncle," he cried, in a ghastly voice, and flung
himself down on a chair.

Morgan backed before the pale and desperate-looking young man, with
terrified and wondering glances, and disappeared into his master's
apartment.

[Illustration]

The major put his head out of the bed-room door, as soon as he had his
wig on.

"What! examination over? Senior Wrangler, double First Class, hay?" said
the old gentleman--"I'll come directly;" and the head disappeared.

"They don't know what has happened," groaned Pen; "what will they say
when they know all?"

Pen had been standing with his back to the window, and to such a dubious
light as Bury-street enjoys of a foggy January morning, so that his
uncle could not see the expression of the young man's countenance, or
the looks of gloom and despair which even Mr. Morgan had remarked.

But when the major came out of his dressing-room, neat and radiant, and
preceded by faint odors from Delcroix's shop, from which emporium Major
Pendennis's wig and his pocket-handkerchief got their perfume, he held
out one of his hands to Pen, and was about addressing him in his cheery
high-toned voice, when he caught sight of the boy's face at length, and
dropping his hand, said, "Good God! Pen, what's the matter?"

"You'll see it in the papers, at breakfast, sir," Pen said.

"See what?"

"My name isn't there, sir."

"Hang it, why _should_ it be?" asked the major, more perplexed.

"I have lost every thing, sir," Pen groaned out; "my honor's gone; I'm
ruined irretrievably; I can't go back to Oxbridge."

"Lost your honor?" screamed out the major. "Heaven alive! you don't mean
to say you have shown the white feather?"

Pen laughed bitterly at the word feather, and repeated it. "No, it isn't
that, sir. I'm not afraid of being shot; I wish to God any body would.
I have not got my degree. I--I'm plucked, sir."

The major had heard of plucking, but in a very vague and cursory way,
and concluded that it was some ceremony performed corporally upon
rebellious University youth. "I wonder you can look me in the face after
such a disgrace, sir," he said; "I wonder you submitted to it as a
gentleman."

"I couldn't help it, sir. I did my classical papers well enough: it was
those infernal mathematics, which I have always neglected."

"Was it--was it done in public, sir?" the major said.

"What?"

"The--the plucking?" asked the guardian, looking Pen anxiously in the
face.

Pen perceived the error under which his guardian was laboring, and
in the midst of his misery the blunder caused the poor wretch a faint
smile, and served to bring down the conversation from the tragedy-key,
in which Pen had been disposed to carry it on. He explained to his uncle
that he had gone in to pass his examination and failed. On which the
major said, that though he had expected far better things of his nephew,
there was no great misfortune in this, and no dishonor, as far as he
saw, and that Pen must try again.

"_Me_ again at Oxbridge," Pen thought, "after such a humiliation as
that!" He felt that, except he went down to burn the place, he could not
enter it.

But it was when he came to tell his uncle of his debts that the other
felt surprise and anger most keenly, and broke out into speeches most
severe upon Pen, which the lad bore, as best he might, without flinching.
He had determined to make a clean breast, and had formed a full, true,
and complete list of all his bills and liabilities at the University,
and in London, They consisted of various items, such as

  London Tailor.
  Oxbridge do.
  Haberdasher, for shirts and gloves.
  Jeweler.
  College Cook.
  Crump, for desserts.
  Bootmaker.
  Wine Merchant in London.
  Oxbridge do.
  Bill for horses.
  Printseller.
  Books.
  Binding.
  Hairdresser and Perfumery.
  Hotel Bill in London.
  Sundries.

All which items the reader may fill in at his pleasure--such accounts
have been inspected by the parents of many University youth--and it
appeared that Mr. Pen's bills in all amounted to about seven hundred
pounds; and, furthermore, it was calculated that he had had more than
twice that sum of ready money during his stay at Oxbridge. This sum he
had spent, and for it had to show--what?

"You need not press a man who is down, sir," Pen said to his uncle
gloomily. "I know very well, sir, how wicked and idle I have been. My
mother won't like to see me dishonored, sir," he continued, with his
voice failing; "and I know she will pay these accounts. But I shall ask
her for no more money."

"As you like, sir," the major said. "You are of age, and my hands are
washed of your affairs. But you can't live without money, and have no
means of making it that I see, though you have a fine talent in spending
it, and it is my belief that you will proceed as you have begun, and
ruin your mother before you are five years older.--Good morning; it is
time for me to go to breakfast. My engagements won't permit me to see
you much during the time that you stay in London. I presume that you
will acquaint your mother with the news which you have just conveyed
to me."

And pulling on his hat, and trembling in his limbs somewhat, Major
Pendennis walked out of his lodgings before his nephew, and went
ruefully off to take his accustomed corner at the club. He saw the
Oxbridge examination-lists in the morning papers, and read over the
names, not understanding the business, with mournful accuracy. He
consulted various old fogies of his acquaintance, in the course of the
day, at his clubs; Wenham, a dean, various civilians; and, as it is
called, "took their opinion," showing to some of them the amount of his
nephew's debts, which he had dotted down on the back of a card, and
asking what was to be done, and whether such debts were not monstrous,
preposterous? What was to be done?--There was nothing for it but to pay.
Wenham and the others told the major of young men who owed twice as
much--five times as much--as Arthur, and with no means at all to pay.
The consultations, and calculations, and opinions, comforted the major
somewhat. After all, _he_ was not to pay.

But he thought bitterly of the many plans he had formed to make a man of
his nephew, of the sacrifices which he had made, and of the manner in
which he was disappointed. And he wrote off a letter to Doctor Portman,
informing him of the direful events which had taken place, and begging
the doctor to break them to Helen. For the orthodox old gentleman,
preserved the regular routine in all things, and was of opinion that it
was more correct to "break" a piece of bad news to a person by means of
a (possibly maladroit and unfeeling) messenger, than to convey it simply
to its destination by a note. So the major wrote to Doctor Portman, and
then went out to dinner, one of the saddest men in any London
dining-room that day.

Pen, too, wrote his letter, and skulked about London streets for
the rest of the day, fancying that every body was looking at him and
whispering to his neighbor, "That is Pendennis of Boniface, who was
plucked yesterday." His letter to his mother was full of tenderness and
remorse: he wept the bitterest tears over it--and the repentance and
passion soothed him to some degree.

He saw a party of roaring young blades from Oxbridge in the coffee-room
of his hotel, and slunk away from them, and paced the streets. He
remembers, he says, the prints which he saw hanging up at Ackermann's
window in the rain, and a book which he read at a stall near the Temple:
at night he went to the pit of the play, and saw Miss Fotheringay, but
he doesn't in the least recollect in what piece.

On the second day there came a kind letter from his tutor, containing
many grave and appropriate remarks upon the event which had befallen
him, but strongly urging Pen not to take his name off the University
books, and to retrieve a disaster which, every body knew, was owing
to his own carelessness alone, and which he might repair by a month's
application. He said he had ordered Pen's skip to pack up some trunks of
the young gentleman's wardrobe, which duly arrived, with fresh copies of
all Pen's bills laid on the top.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the third day there arrived a letter from home; which Pen read in
his bed-room, and the result of which was that he fell down on his
knees, with his head in the bed-clothes, and there prayed out his heart,
and humbled himself; and having gone down stairs and eaten an immense
breakfast, he sallied forth and took his place at the Bull and Mouth,
Piccadilly, by the Chatteries coach for that evening.



CHAPTER XXII.

PRODIGAL'S RETURN.


[Illustration]

Such a letter as the major wrote, of course sent Doctor Portman, to
Fairoaks, and he went off with that alacrity which a good man shows when
he has disagreeable news to communicate. He wishes the deed were done,
and done quickly. He is sorry, but _que voulez-vous?_ the tooth must be
taken out, and he has you into the chair, and it is surprising with what
courage and vigor of wrist he applies the forceps. Perhaps he would not
be quite so active or eager if it were _his_ tooth; but, in fine, it is
your duty to have it out. So the doctor, having read the epistle out
to Mira and Mrs. Portman, with many damnatory comments upon the young
scapegrace who was going deeper and deeper into perdition, left those
ladies to spread the news through the Clavering society, which they did
with their accustomed accuracy and dispatch, and strode over to Fairoaks
to break the intelligence to the widow.

She had the news already. She had read Pen's letter, and it had relieved
her somehow. A gloomy presentiment of evil had been hanging over her for
many, many months past. She knew the worst now, and her darling boy was
come back to her repentant and tender-hearted. Did she want more? All
that the rector could say (and his remarks were both dictated by common
sense, and made respectable by antiquity) could not bring Helen to feel
any indignation or particular unhappiness, except that the boy should be
unhappy. What was this degree that they made such an outcry about, and
what good would it do Pen? Why did Doctor Portman and his uncle insist
upon sending the boy to a place where there was so much temptation to be
risked, and so little good to be won? Why didn't they leave him at home
with his mother? As for his debts, of course they must be paid;--his
debts!--wasn't his father's money all his, and hadn't he a right to
spend it. In this way the widow met the virtuous doctor, and all the
arrows of his indignation somehow took no effect upon her gentle bosom.

For some time past, an agreeable practice, known since times ever
so ancient, by which brothers and sisters are wont to exhibit their
affection toward one another, and in which Pen and his little sister
Laura had been accustomed to indulge pretty frequently in their childish
days, had been given up by the mutual consent of those two individuals.
Coming back from college after an absence from home of some months, in
place of the simple girl whom he had left behind him, Mr. Arthur found
a tall, slim, handsome young lady, to whom he could not somehow proffer
the kiss which he had been in the habit of administering previously, and
who received him with a gracious courtesy and a proffered hand, and with
a great blush which rose up to the cheek, just upon the very spot which
young Pen had been used to salute.

I am not good at descriptions of female beauty; and, indeed, do not care
for it in the least (thinking that goodness and virtue are, of course,
far more advantageous to a young lady than any mere fleeting charms of
person and face), and so shall not attempt any particular delineation
of Miss Laura Bell at the age of sixteen years. At that age she had
attained her present altitude of five feet four inches, so that she was
called tall and gawky by some, and a Maypole by others, of her own sex,
who prefer littler women. But if she was a Maypole, she had beautiful
roses about her head, and it is a fact that many swains were disposed
to dance round her. She was ordinarily pale, with a faint rose tinge
in her cheeks; but they flushed up in a minute when occasion called,
and continued so blushing ever so long, the roses remaining after the
emotion had passed away which had summoned those pretty flowers into
existence. Her eyes have been described as very large from her earliest
childhood, and retained that characteristic in later life. Good-natured
critics (always females) said that she was in the habit of making play
with those eyes, and ogling the gentlemen and ladies in her company; but
the fact is, that nature had made them so to shine and to look, and they
could no more help so looking and shining than one star can help being
brighter than another. It was doubtless to mitigate their brightness
that Miss Laura's eyes were provided with two pairs of vails in the
shape of the longest and finest black eyelashes, so that, when she
closed her eyes, the same people who found fault with those orbs, said
that she wanted to show her eyelashes off; and, indeed, I dare say that
to see her asleep would have been a pretty sight.

As for her complexion, that was nearly as brilliant as Lady Mantrap's,
and without the powder which her ladyship uses. Her nose must be left to
the reader's imagination: if her mouth was rather large (as Miss Piminy
avers, who, but for her known appetite, one would think could not
swallow any thing larger than a button) every body allowed that her
smile was charming, and showed off a set of pearly teeth, while her
voice was so low and sweet, that to hear it was like listening to sweet
music. Because she is in the habit of wearing very long dresses, people
of course say that her feet are not small: but it may be, that they are
of the size becoming her figure, and it does not follow, because Mrs.
Pincher is always putting _her_ foot out, that all other ladies should
be perpetually bringing theirs on the tapis. In fine, Miss Laura Bell,
at the age of sixteen, was a sweet young lady. Many thousands of such
are to be found, let us hope, in this country, where there is no lack of
goodness, and modesty, and purity, and beauty.

Now, Miss Laura, since she had learned to think for herself (and in the
past two years her mind and her person had both developed themselves
considerably), had only been half pleased with Pen's general conduct
and bearing. His letters to his mother at home had become of late very
rare and short. It was in vain that the fond widow urged how constant
Arthur's occupations and studies were, and how many his engagements.
"It is better that he should lose a prize," Laura said, "than forget
his mother: and indeed, mamma, I don't see that he gets many prizes. Why
doesn't he come home and stay with you, instead of passing his vacations
at his great friends' fine houses? There is nobody there will love him
half so much as--as you do." "As _I_ do only, Laura," sighed out Mrs.
Pendennis. Laura declared stoutly that she did not love Pen a bit, when
he did not do his duty to his mother: nor would she be convinced by
any of Helen's fond arguments, that the boy must make his way in the
world; that his uncle was most desirous that Pen should cultivate the
acquaintance of persons who were likely to befriend him in life; that
men had a thousand ties and calls which women could not understand,
and so forth. Perhaps Helen no more believed in these excuses than her
adopted daughter did; but she tried to believe that she believed them,
and comforted herself with the maternal infatuation. And that is a point
whereon, I suppose, many a gentleman has reflected, that, do what we
will, we are pretty sure of the woman's love that once has been ours;
and that that untiring tenderness and forgiveness never fail us.

Also, there had been that freedom, not to say audacity, in Arthur's
latter talk and ways, which had shocked and displeased Laura. Not that
he ever offended her by rudeness, or addressed to her a word which
she ought not to hear, for Mr. Pen was a gentleman, and by nature and
education polite to every woman, high and low; but he spoke lightly and
laxly of women in general; was less courteous in his actions than in his
words--neglectful in sundry ways, and in many of the little offices of
life. It offended Miss Laura that he should smoke his horrid pipes in
the house; that he should refuse to go to church with his mother, or on
walks or visits with her, and be found yawning over his novel in his
dressing-gown, when the gentle widow returned from those duties. The
hero of Laura's early infancy, about whom she had passed so many, many
nights talking with Helen (who recited endless stories of the boy's
virtues, and love, and bravery, when he was away at school), was a
very different person from the young man whom now she knew; bold and
brilliant, sarcastic and defiant, seeming to scorn the simple occupations
or pleasures, or even devotions, of the women with whom he lived, and
whom he quitted on such light pretexts.

The Fotheringay affair, too, when Laura came to hear of it (which she
did first by some sarcastic allusions of Major Pendennis, when on a
visit to Fairoaks, and then from their neighbors at Clavering, who had
plenty of information to give her on this head), vastly shocked and
outraged Miss Laura. A Pendennis fling himself away on such a woman as
that! Helen's boy galloping away from home, day after day, to fall on
his knees to an actress, and drink with her horrid father! A good son
want to bring such a man and such a woman into his house, and set her
over his mother! "I would have run away, mamma; I would, if I had had
to walk barefoot through the snow," Laura said.

"And _you_ would have left me too, then?" Helen answered; on which,
of course, Laura withdrew her previous observation, and the two women
rushed into each other's embraces, with that warmth which belonged to
both their natures, and which characterizes not a few of their sex.
Whence came all this indignation of Miss Laura about Arthur's passion?
Perhaps she did not know, that, if men throw themselves away upon women,
women throw themselves away upon men, too; and that there is no more
accounting for love, than for any other physical liking or antipathy:
perhaps she had been misinformed by the Clavering people and old Mrs.
Portman, who was vastly bitter against Pen, especially since his
impertinent behavior to the doctor, and since the wretch had smoked
cigars in church-time: perhaps, finally, she was jealous: but this is
a vice in which, it is said, the ladies very seldom indulge.

Albeit she was angry with Pen; against his mother she had no such
feeling; but devoted herself to Helen with the utmost force of her
girlish affection--such affection as women, whose hearts are disengaged,
are apt to bestow upon the near female friend. It was devotion--it was
passion--it was all sorts of fondness and folly; it was a profusion of
caresses, tender epithets and endearments, such as it does not become
sober historians with beards to narrate. Do not let us men despise these
instincts because we can not feel them. These women were made for our
comfort and delectation, gentlemen--with all the rest of the minor
animals.

But as soon as Miss Laura heard that Pen was unfortunate and unhappy,
all her wrath against him straightway vanished, and gave place to the
most tender and unreasonable compassion. He was the Pen of old days
once more restored to her, the frank and affectionate, the generous and
tender-hearted. She at once took side with Helen against Doctor Portman,
when he outcried at the enormity of Pen's transgressions. Debts? what
were his debts? they were a trifle; he had been thrown into expensive
society by his uncle's order, and of course was obliged to live in
the same manner as the young gentlemen whose company he frequented.
Disgraced by not getting his degree? the poor boy was ill when he went
in for the examinations; he couldn't think of his mathematics and stuff
on account of those very debts which oppressed him; very likely some of
the odious tutors and masters were jealous of him, and had favorites
of their own whom they wanted to put over his head. _Other_ people
disliked him, and were cruel to him, and were unfair to him, she was
very sure. And so, with flushing cheeks and eyes bright with anger, this
young creature reasoned; and she went up and seized Helen's hand, and
kissed her in the doctor's presence, and her looks braved the doctor,
and seemed to ask how he dared to say a word against her darling
mother's Pen?

When that divine took his leave, not a little discomfited and amazed at
the pertinacious obstinacy of the women, Laura repeated her embraces
and arguments with tenfold fervor to Helen, who felt that there was a
great deal of cogency in most of the latter. There must be some jealousy
against Pen. She felt quite sure that he had offended some of the
examiners, who had taken a mean revenge of him--nothing more likely.
Altogether, the announcement of the misfortune vexed these two ladies
very little indeed. Pen, who was plunged in his shame and grief in
London, and torn with great remorse, for thinking of his mother's
sorrow, would have wondered, had he seen how easily she bore the
calamity. Indeed, calamity is welcome to women if they think it will
bring truant affection home again: and if you have reduced your mistress
to a crust, depend upon it that she won't repine, and only take a very
little bit of it for herself, provided you will eat the remainder in her
company.

And directly the doctor was gone, Laura ordered fires to be lighted
in Mr. Arthur's rooms, and his bedding to be aired; and had these
preparations completed by the time Helen had finished a most tender and
affectionate letter to Pen: when the girl, smiling fondly, took her
mamma by the hand, and led her into those apartments where the fires
were blazing so cheerfully, and there the two kind creatures sate down
on the bed, and talked about Pen ever so long. Laura added a postscript
to Helen's letter, in which she called him her dearest Pen, and bade him
come home _instantly_, with two of the handsomest dashes under the word,
and be happy with his mother and his affectionate sister Laura.

In the middle of the night--as these two ladies, after reading their
Bibles a great deal during the evening, and after taking just a look
into Pen's room as they passed to their own--in the middle of the night,
I say, Laura, whose head not unfrequently chose to occupy that pillow
which the nightcap of the late Pendennis had been accustomed to press,
cried out, suddenly, "Mamma, are you awake?"

Helen stirred and said, "Yes, I'm awake." The truth is, though she had
been lying quite still and silent, she had not been asleep one instant,
but had been looking at the night-lamp in the chimney, and had been
thinking of Pen for hours and hours.

Then Miss Laura (who had been acting with similar hypocrisy, and lying,
occupied with her own thoughts, as motionless as Helen's brooch, with
Pen's and Laura's hair in it, on the frilled white pincushion on the
dressing-table) began to tell Mrs. Pendennis of a notable plan which
she had been forming in her busy little brains; and by which all Pen's
embarrassments would be made to vanish in a moment, and without the
least trouble to any body.

"You know, mamma," this young lady said, "that I have been living with
you for ten years, during which time you have never taken any of my
money, and have been treating me just as if I was a charity girl. Now,
this obligation has offended me very much, because I am proud, and do
not like to be beholden to people. And as, if I had gone to school--only
I wouldn't--it must have cost me at least fifty pounds a year, it is
clear that I owe you fifty times ten pounds, which I know you have put
into the bank at Chatteries for me, and which doesn't belong to me a
bit. Now, to-morrow we will go to Chatteries, and see that nice old Mr.
Rowdy, with the bald head and ask him for it--not for his head, but for
the five hundred pounds: and I dare say he will send you two more, which
we will save and pay back; and we will send the money to Pen, who can
pay all his debts without hurting any body, and then we will live happy
ever after."

What Helen replied to this speech need not be repeated, as the widow's
answer was made up of a great number of incoherent ejaculations,
embraces, and other irrelative matter. But the two women slept well
after that talk; and when the night-lamp went out with a splutter, and
the sun rose gloriously over the purple hills, and the birds began
to sing and pipe cheerfully amidst the leafless trees and glistening
evergreens on Fairoaks lawn, Helen woke too, and, as she looked at the
sweet face of the girl, sleeping beside her, her lips parted with a
smile, blushes on her cheeks, her spotless bosom heaving and falling
with gentle undulations, as if happy dreams were sweeping over it--Pen's
mother felt happy and grateful beyond all power of words, save such as
pious women offer up to the Beneficent Dispenser of love and mercy--in
whose honor a chorus of such praises is constantly rising up all round
the world.

Although it was January, and rather cold weather, so sincere was Mr.
Pen's remorse, and so determined his plans of economy, that he would not
take an inside place in the coach, but sate up behind with his friend
the guard, who remembered his former liberality, and lent him plenty of
great coats. Perhaps it was the cold that made his knees tremble as he
got down at the lodge gate, or it may be that he was agitated at the
notion of seeing the kind creature for whose love he had made so selfish
a return. Old John was in waiting to receive his master's baggage, but
he appeared in a fustian jacket, and no longer wore his livery of drab
and blue. "I'se garner and stable man, and lives in the ladge now," this
worthy man remarked, with a grin of welcome to Pen, and something of
a blush; but instantly as Pen turned the corner of the shrubbery and
was out of eye-shot of the coach, Helen made her appearance, her face
beaming with love and forgiveness--for forgiving is what some women love
best of all.

We may be sure that the widow, having a certain other object in view,
had lost no time in writing off to Pen an account of the noble, the
magnanimous, the magnificent offer of Laura, filling up her letter with
a profusion of benedictions upon both her children. It was probably the
knowledge of this money-obligation which caused Pen to blush very much
when he saw Laura, who was in waiting in the hall, and who this time,
and for this time only, broke through the little arrangement of which we
have spoken, as having subsisted between her and Arthur for the last few
years; but the truth is, there has been a great deal too much said about
kissing in the present chapter.

       *       *       *       *       *

So the prodigal came home, and the fatted calf was killed for him, and
he was made as happy as two simple women could make him. No allusions
were made to the Oxbridge mishap, or questions asked as to his farther
proceedings, for some time. But Pen debated these anxiously in his own
mind and up in his own room, where he passed much time in cogitation.

A few days after he came home, he rode to Chatteries on his horse, and
came back on the top of the coach. He then informed his mother that he
had left the horse to be sold; and when that operation was effected, he
handed her over the check, which she, and possibly Pen himself, thought
was an act of uncommon virtue and self-denial, but which Laura
pronounced to be only strict justice.

He had rarely mentioned the loan which she had made, and which, indeed,
had been accepted by the widow with certain modifications; but once or
twice, and with great hesitation and stammering, he alluded to it, and
thanked her; but it evidently pained his vanity to be beholden to the
orphan for succor. He was wild to find some means of repaying her.

He left off drinking wine, and betook himself, but with great
moderation, to the refreshment of whisky-and-water. He gave up cigar
smoking; but it must be confessed that of late years he had liked pipes
and tobacco as well or even better, so that this sacrifice was not a
very severe one.

He fell asleep a great deal after dinner, when he joined the ladies
in the drawing-room, and was certainly very moody and melancholy. He
watched the coaches with great interest, walked in to read the papers at
Clavering assiduously, dined with any body who would ask him (and the
widow was glad that he should have any entertainment in their solitary
place), and played a good deal at cribbage with Captain Glanders.

He avoided Dr. Portman, who, in his turn, whenever Pen passed, gave him
very severe looks from under his shovel-hat. He went to church with his
mother, however, very regularly, and read prayers for her at home to the
little household. Always humble, it was greatly diminished now: a couple
of maids did the work of the house of Fairoaks; the silver dish-covers
never saw the light at all. John put on his livery to go to church, and
assert his dignity on Sundays, but it was only for form's sake. He was
gardener and out-door man, vice Upton resigned. There was but little
fire in Fairoaks kitchen, and John and the maids drank their evening
beer there by the light of a single candle. All this was Mr. Pen's doing,
and the state of things did not increase his cheerfulness.

For some time Pen said no power on earth could induce him to go back
to Oxbridge again after his failure there; but one day, Laura said to
him with many blushes, that she thought as some sort of reparation, of
punishment on himself for his--for his idleness, he ought to go back and
get his degree, if he could fetch it by doing so; and so back Mr. Pen
went.

A plucked man is a dismal being in a University; belonging to no set
of men there, and owned by no one. Pen felt himself plucked indeed of
all the fine feathers which he had won during his brilliant years, and
rarely appeared out of his college; regularly going to morning chapel,
and shutting himself up in his rooms of nights, away from the noise and
suppers of the undergraduates. There were no duns about his door, they
were all paid--scarcely any cards were left there. The men of his
year had taken their degrees, and were gone. He went into a second
examination, and passed with perfect ease. He was somewhat more easy
in his mind when he appeared in his bachelor's gown.

On his way back from Oxbridge he paid a visit to his uncle in London;
but the old gentleman received him with very cold looks, and would
scarcely give him his fore-finger to shake. He called a second time,
but Morgan, the valet, said his master was from home.

Pen came back to Fairoaks, and to his books and to his idleness, and
loneliness and despair. He commenced several tragedies, and wrote many
copies of verses of a gloomy cast. He formed plans of reading, and broke
them. He thought about enlisting--about the Spanish legion--about a
profession. He chafed against his captivity, and cursed the idleness
which had caused it. Helen said he was breaking his heart, and was sad
to see his prostration. As soon as they could afford it, he should go
abroad--he should go to London--he should be freed from the dull society
of two poor women. It _was_ dull--very, certainly. The tender widow's
habitual melancholy seemed to deepen into a sadder gloom; and Laura saw
with alarm that the dear friend became every year more languid and
weary, and that her pale cheek grew more wan.



CHAPTER XXIII.

NEW FACES.


[Illustration]

The inmates of Fairoaks were drowsily pursuing this humdrum existence
while the great house upon the hill, on the other side of the River
Brawl, was shaking off the slumber in which it had lain during the lives
of two generations of masters, and giving extraordinary signs of renewed
liveliness.

Just about the time of Pen's little mishap, and when he was so absorbed
in the grief occasioned by that calamity as to take no notice of events
which befell persons less interesting to himself than Arthur Pendennis,
an announcement appeared in the provincial journals which caused no
small sensation in the county at least, and in all the towns, villages,
halls and mansions, and parsonages for many miles round Clavering Park.
At Clavering Market, at Cackleby Fair; at Chatteries Sessions; on
Gooseberry Green, as the squire's carriage met the vicar's one-horse
contrivance, and the inmates of both vehicles stopped on the road to
talk; at Tinkleton Church gate, as the bell was tolling in the sunshine,
and the white smocks and scarlet cloaks came trooping over the green
common, to Sunday worship; in a hundred societies round about--the word
was, that Clavering Park was to be inhabited again.

Some five years before, the county papers had advertised the marriage at
Florence, at the British Legation, of Francis Clavering, Esq., only son
of Sir Francis Clavering, Bart., of Clavering Park, with Jemima Augusta,
daughter of Samuel Snell, of Calcutta, Esq., and widow of the late J.
Amory, Esq. At that time the legend in the county was that Clavering,
who had been ruined for many a year, had married a widow from India with
some money. Some of the county folks caught a sight of the newly-married
pair. The Kickleburys, traveling in Italy had seen them. Clavering
occupied the Poggi Palace at Florence, gave parties, and lived
comfortably--but could never come to England. Another year--young
Peregrine, of Cackleby, making a long vacation tour, had fallen in with
the Claverings occupying Schloss Schinkenstein, on the Mummel See. At
Rome, at Lucca, at Nice, at the baths and gambling places of the Rhine
and Belgium, this worthy couple might occasionally be heard of by the
curious, and rumors of them came, as it were by gusts, to Clavering's
ancestral place.

Their last place of abode was Paris, where they appear to have lived in
great fashion and splendor after the news of the death of Samuel Snell,
Esq., of Calcutta, reached his orphan daughter in Europe.

Of Sir Francis Clavering's antecedents little can be said that would be
advantageous to that respected baronet. The son of an outlaw, living
in a dismal old chateau near Bruges, this gentleman had made a feeble
attempt to start in life with a commission in a dragoon regiment, and
had broken down almost at the outset. Transactions at the gambling-table
had speedily effected his ruin; after a couple of years in the army he
had been forced to sell out, had passed some time in Her Majesty's
prison of the Fleet, and had then shipped over to Ostend to join the
gouty exile, his father. And in Belgium, France, and Germany, for some
years, this decayed and abortive prodigal might be seen lurking about
billiard-rooms and watering-places, punting at gambling-houses, dancing
at boarding-house balls, and riding steeple-chases on other folks'
horses.

It was at a boarding-house at Lausanne, that Francis Clavering made what
he called the lucky _coup_ of marrying the widow Amory, very lately
returned from Calcutta. His father died soon after, by consequence of
whose demise his wife became Lady Clavering. The title so delighted Mr.
Snell of Calcutta, that he doubled his daughter's allowance; and dying
himself soon after, left a fortune to her and her children, the amount
of which was, if not magnified by rumor, something very splendid indeed.

Before this time there had been, not rumors unfavorable to Lady
Clavering's reputation, but unpleasant impressions regarding her
ladyship. The best English people abroad were shy of making her
acquaintance; her manners were not the most refined; her origin was
lamentably low and doubtful. The retired East Indians, who are to be
found in considerable force in most of the continental towns frequented
by English, spoke with much scorn of the disreputable old lawyer and
indigo-smuggler her father, and of Amory, her first husband, who had
been mate of the Indiaman in which Miss Snell came out to join her
father at Calcutta. Neither father nor daughter were in society at
Calcutta, or had ever been heard of at Government House. Old Sir Jasper
Rogers, who had been Chief Justice of Calcutta, had once said to his
wife, that he could tell a queer story about Lady Clavering's first
husband; but greatly to Lady Rogers's disappointment, and that of the
young ladies his daughters, the old judge could never be got to reveal
that mystery.

They were all, however, glad enough to go to Lady Clavering's parties,
when her ladyship took the Hotel Bouilli in the Rue Grenelle at Paris,
and blazed out in the polite world there in the winter of 183-. The
Faubourg St. Germain took her up. Viscount Bagwig, our excellent
embassador, paid her marked attention. The princes of the family
frequented her salons. The most rigid and noted of the English ladies
resident in the French capital, acknowledged and countenanced her; the
virtuous Lady Elderbury, the severe Lady Rockminster, the venerable
Countess of Southdown--people, in a word, renowned for austerity, and
of quite a dazzling moral purity:--so great and beneficent an influence
had the possession of ten (some said twenty) thousand a year exercised
upon Lady Clavering's character and reputation. And her munificence
and good-will were unbounded. Any body (in society) who had a scheme of
charity was sure to find her purse open. The French ladies of piety got
money from her to support their schools and convents; she subscribed
indifferently for the Armenian patriarch; for Father Barbarosa, who came
to Europe to collect funds for his monastery on Mount Athos; for the
Baptist Mission to Quashyboo, and the Orthodox Settlement in Feefawfoo,
the largest and most savage of the Cannibal Islands. And it is on
record of her, that, on the same day on which Madame de Cricri got five
Napoleons from her in support of the poor persecuted Jesuits, who were
at that time in very bad odor in France, Lady Budelight put her down in
her subscription-list for the Rev. J. Ramshorn, who had had a vision
which ordered him to convert the Pope of Rome. And more than this, and
for the benefit of the worldly, her ladyship gave the best dinners, and
the grandest balls and suppers, which were known at Paris during that
season.

And it was during this time, that the good-natured lady must have
arranged matters with her husband's creditors in England, for Sir
Francis re-appeared in his native country, without fear of arrest; was
announced in the Morning Post, and the county paper, as having taken up
his residence at Mivart's Hotel; and one day the anxious old housekeeper
at Clavering House beheld a carriage and four horses drive up the long
avenue, and stop before the moss-grown steps in front of the vast
melancholy portico.

Three gentlemen were in the carriage--an open one. On the back seat was
our old acquaintance, Mr. Tatham of Chatteries, while in the places
of honor sate a handsome and portly gentleman enveloped in mustaches,
whiskers, fur collars, and braiding, and by him a pale, languid man,
who descended feebly from the carriage, when the little lawyer, and the
gentleman in fur, had nimbly jumped out of it.

They walked up the great moss-grown steps to the hall-door, and a
foreign attendant, with ear-rings, and a gold-laced cap, pulled
strenuously at the great bell-handle at the cracked and sculptured gate.
The bell was heard clanging loudly through the vast, gloomy mansion.
Steps resounded presently upon the marble pavement of the hall within;
and the doors opened, and, finally, Mrs. Blenkinsop, the housekeeper,
Polly, her aid-de-camp, and Smart, the keeper, appeared, bowing humbly.

Smart, the keeper, pulled the wisp of hay-colored hair which adorned
his sunburned forehead, kicked out his left heel, as if there were a
dog biting at his calves, and brought down his head to a bow. Old Mrs.
Blenkinsop dropped a courtesy. Little Polly, her aid-de-camp, made a
courtesy, and several rapid bows likewise; and Mrs. Blenkinsop, with a
great deal of emotion, quavered out, "Welcome to Clavering, Sir Francis.
It du my poor eyes good to see one of the family once more."

The speech and the greetings were all addressed to the grand gentleman
in fur and braiding, who wore his hat so magnificently on one side, and
twirled his mustaches so royally. But he burst out laughing, and said,
"You've saddled the wrong horse, old lady--I'm not Sir Francis Clavering
what's come to revisit the halls of my ancestors. Friends and vassals!
behold your rightful lord!"

And he pointed his hand toward the pale, languid gentleman, who said,
"Don't be an ass, Ned."

"Yes, Mrs. Blenkinsop, I'm Sir Francis Clavering; I recollect you quite
well. Forgot me, I suppose?--How-dy-do?" and he took the old lady's
trembling hand; and nodded in her astonished face, in a not unkind
manner.

Mrs. Blenkinsop declared upon her conscience that she would have known
Sir Francis any where, that he was the very image of Sir Francis his
father, and of Sir John who had gone before.

"O yes--thanky--of course--very much obliged--and that sort of thing,"
Sir Francis said, looking vacantly about the hall. "Dismal old place,
ain't it Ned? Never saw it but once, when my governor quarreled with my
gwandfather, in the year twenty-thwee."

"Dismal?--beautiful!--the Castle of Otranto!--the Mysteries of Udolpho,
by Jove!" said the individual addressed as Ned. "What a fire-place! You
might roast an elephant in it. Splendid carved gallery! Inigo Jones, by
Jove! I'd lay five to two it's Inigo Jones."

"The upper part by Inigo Jones; the lower was altered by the eminent
Dutch architect, Vanderputty, in George the First his time, by Sir
Richard, fourth baronet," said the housekeeper.

"O, indeed," said the baronet. "Gad, Ned, you know every thing."

"I know a few things, Frank," Ned answered. "I know that's not a Snyders
over the mantel-piece--bet you three to one it's a copy. We'll restore
it, my boy. A lick of varnish, and it will come out wonderfully, sir.
That old fellow in the red gown, I suppose, is Sir Richard."

"Sheriff of the county, and sate in parliament in the reign of Queen
Anne," said the housekeeper, wondering at the stranger's knowledge;
"that on the right is Theodosia, wife of Harbottle, second baronet, by
Lely, represented in the character of Venus, the Goddess of Beauty--her
son Gregory, the third baronet, by her side, as Cupid, God of Love, with
a bow and arrows; that on the next panel, is Sir Rupert, made a knight
banneret by Charles the First, and whose property was confuscated by
Oliver Cromwell."

"Thank you--needn't go on, Mrs. Blenkinsop," said the baronet. "We'll
walk about the place ourselves. Frosch, give me a cigar. Have a cigar,
Mr. Tatham?"

Little Mr. Tatham tried a cigar which Sir Francis's courier handed to
him, and over which the lawyer spluttered fearfully, "Needn't come with
us, Mrs. Blenkinsop. What's-his-name--you--Smart--feed the horses and
wash their mouths. Shan't stay long. Come along, Strong,--I know the
way; I was here in twenty-thwee, at the end of my gwandfather's time."
And Sir Francis and Captain Strong, for such was the style and title of
Sir Francis's friend, passed out of the hall into the reception-rooms,
leaving the discomfited Mrs. Blenkinsop to disappear by a side-door,
which led to her apartments, now the only habitable rooms in the
long-uninhabited mansion.

It was a place so big that no tenant could afford to live in it; and Sir
Francis and his friend walked through room after room, admiring their
vastness, and dreary and deserted grandeur. On the right of the hall
door were the saloons and drawing-rooms, and on the other side the oak
room, the parlor, the grand dining-room, the library, where Pen had
found books in old days. Round three sides of the hall ran a gallery, by
which, and corresponding passages, the chief bed-rooms were approached,
and of which many were of stately proportions and exhibited marks of
splendor. On the second story was a labyrinth of little discomfortable
garrets, destined for the attendants of the great folks who inhabited
the mansion in the days when it was first built; and I do not know any
more cheering mark of the increased philanthropy of our own times, than
to contrast our domestic architecture with that of our ancestors, and to
see how much better servants and poor are cared for now, than in times
when my lord and my lady slept under gold canopies, and their servants
lay above them not so airy or so clean as stables are now.

Up and down the house the two gentlemen wandered, the owner of the
mansion being very silent and resigned about the pleasure of possessing
it; whereas, the captain, his friend, examined the premises with so
much interest and eagerness, that you would have thought he was the
master, and the other the indifferent spectator of the place. "I see
capabilities in it--capabilities in it, sir," cried the captain. "Gad,
sir, leave it to me, and I'll make it the pride of the country, at a
small expense. What a theater we can have in the library here, the
curtains between the columns which divide the room! What a famous room
for a galop! it will hold the whole shire. We'll hang the morning parlor
with the tapestry in your second salon in the Rue de Grenelle, and
furnish the oak room with the Moyen-age cabinets and the armor. Armor
looks splendid against black oak, and there's a Venice glass in the Quai
Voltaire, which will suit that high mantle-piece to an inch, sir. The
long saloon, white and crimson of course; the drawing-room yellow satin;
and the little drawing-room light blue, with lace over--hay?"

"I recollect my old governor caning me in that little room," Sir Francis
said, sententiously; "he always hated me, my old governor."

"Chintz is the dodge, I suppose, for my lady's rooms--the suite in
the landing, to the south, the bed-room, the sitting-room, and the
dressing-room. We'll throw a conservatory out, over the balcony. Where
will you have your rooms?"

"Put mine in the north wing," said the baronet, with a yawn, "and out
of the reach of Miss Amory's confounded piano. I can't bear it. She's
scweeching from morning till night."

The captain burst out laughing. He settled the whole further arrangements
of the house in the course of their walk through it; and, the promenade
ended, they went into the steward's room, now inhabited by Mrs.
Blenkinsop, and where Mr. Tatham was sitting, poring over a plan of the
estate, and the old housekeeper had prepared a collation in honor of her
lord and master.

Then they inspected the kitchen and stables, about both of which Sir
Francis was rather interested, and Captain Strong was for examining the
gardens: but the baronet said, "D---- the gardens, and that sort of
thing!" and finally, he drove away from the house as unconcernedly as he
had entered it; and that night the people of Clavering learned that Sir
Francis Clavering had paid a visit to the Park, and was coming to live
in the county.

When this fact came to be known at Chatteries, all the folks in the
place were set in commotion: High Church and Low Church, half-pay
captains and old maids and dowagers, sporting squireens of the vicinage,
farmers, tradesmen, and factory people--all the population in and round
about the little place. The news was brought to Fairoaks, and received
by the ladies there, and by Mr. Pen, with some excitement. "Mrs. Pybus
says there is a very pretty girl in the family, Arthur," Laura said, who
was as kind and thoughtful upon this point as women generally are: "a
Miss Amory, Lady Clavering's daughter by her first marriage. Of course,
you will fall in love with her as soon as she arrives."

Helen cried out, "Don't talk nonsense, Laura." Pen laughed, and said,
"Well, there is the young Sir Francis for you."

"He is but four years old," Miss Laura replied. "But I shall console
myself with that handsome officer, Sir Francis's friend. He was at
church last Sunday, in the Clavering pew, and his mustaches were
beautiful."

Indeed, the number of Sir Francis's family (whereof the members have all
been mentioned in the above paragraphs) was pretty soon known in his
town, and every thing else, as nearly as human industry and ingenuity
could calculate, regarding his household. The Park avenue and grounds
were dotted now with town folks, of the summer evenings, who made their
way up to the great house, peered about the premises, and criticised the
improvements which were taking place there. Loads upon loads of furniture
arrived in numberless vans from Chatteries and London; and numerous as
the vans were, there was not one but Captain Glanders knew what it
contained, and escorted the baggage up to the Park House.

He and Captain Edward Strong had formed an intimate acquaintance
by this time. The younger captain occupied those very lodgings at
Clavering, which the peaceful Smirke had previously tenanted, and was
deep in the good graces of Madame Fribsby, his landlady; and of the
whole town, indeed. The captain was splendid in person and raiment;
fresh-colored, blue-eyed, black-whiskered, broad-chested, athletic--a
slight tendency to fullness did not take away from the comeliness of his
jolly figure--a braver soldier never presented a broader chest to the
enemy. As he strode down Clavering High-street, his hat on one side, his
cane clanking on the pavement, or waving round him in the execution of
military cuts and soldatesque manoeuvres--his jolly laughter ringing
through the otherwise silent street--he was as welcome as sunshine to
the place, and a comfort to every inhabitant in it.

On the first market-day he knew every pretty girl in the market: he
joked with all the women; had a word with the farmers about their stock,
and dined at the Agricultural Ordinary at the Clavering Arms, where he
set them all dying with laughing by his fun and jokes. "Tu be sure he be
a vine feller, tu be sure that he be," was the universal opinion of the
gentlemen in top-boots. He shook hands with a score of them, as they
rode out of the inn-yard on their old nags, waving his hat to them
splendidly as he smoked his cigar in the inn-gate. In the course of the
evening he was free of the landlady's bar, knew what rent the landlord
paid, how many acres he farmed, how much malt he put in his strong beer;
and whether he ever run in a little brandy, unexcised by kings, from
Baymouth, or the fishing villages along the coast.

He had tried to live at the great house first; but it was so dull he
couldn't stand it. "I am a creature born for society," he told Captain
Glanders. "I'm down here to see Clavering's house set in order; for
between ourselves, Frank has no energy, sir, no energy; he's not the
chest for it, sir (and he threw out his own trunk as he spoke); but I
must have social intercourse. Old Mrs. Blenkinsop goes to bed at seven,
and takes Polly with her. There was nobody but me and the Ghost for the
first two nights at the great house, and I own it, sir, I like company.
Most old soldiers do."

Glanders asked Strong where he had served? Captain Strong curled his
mustache, and said with a laugh, that the other might almost ask where
he had _not_ served. "I began, sir, as cadet of Hungarian Uhlans, and
when the war of Greek independence broke out, quitted that service
in consequence of a quarrel with my governor, and was one of seven
who escaped from Missolonghi, and was blown up in one of Botzaris's
fireships, at the age of seventeen. I'll show you my Cross of the
Redeemer, if you'll come over to my lodgings and take a glass of grog
with me, captain, this evening. I've a few of those baubles in my desk.
I've the White Eagle of Poland; Skrzynecki gave it me" (he pronounced
Skrzynecki's name with wonderful accuracy and gusto); "upon the field
of Ostrolenka, I was a lieutenant of the fourth regiment, sir, and we
marched through Diebitsch's lines--bang thro' 'em into Prussia, sir,
without firing a shot. Ah, captain, that was a mismanaged business.
I received this wound by the side of the king before Oporto--where he
would have pounded the stock-jobbing Pedroites, had Bourmont followed my
advice; and I served in Spain with the king's troops, until the death of
my dear friend, Zumalacarreguy, when I saw the game was over, and hung
up my toasting iron, captain. Alava offered me a regiment, the Queen's
Muleteros; but I couldn't--damme, I couldn't--and now, sir, you know Ned
Strong--the Chevalier Strong they call me abroad--as well as he knows
himself."

In this way almost every body in Clavering came to know Ned Strong. He
told Madame Fribsby, he told the landlord of the George, he told Baker
at the reading-rooms, he told Mrs. Glanders, and the young ones, at
dinner: and, finally, he told Mr. Arthur Pendennis, who, yawning into
Clavering one day, found the Chevalier Strong in company with Captain
Glanders; and who was delighted with his new acquaintance.

Before many days were over, Captain Strong was as much at home in
Helen's drawing-room as he was in Madame Fribsby's first floor; and
made the lonely house very gay with his good humor and ceaseless flow
of talk. The two women had never before seen such a man. He had a
thousand stories about battles and dangers to interest them--about Greek
captives, Polish beauties, and Spanish nuns. He could sing scores of
songs, in half a dozen languages, and would sit down to the piano and
troll them off in a rich manly voice. Both the ladies pronounced him to
be delightful--and so he was; though, indeed, they had not had much
choice of man's society as yet, having seen in the course of their lives
but few persons, except old Portman and the major, and Mr. Pen, who was
a genius, to be sure; but then your geniuses are somewhat flat and moody
at home.

And Captain Strong acquainted his new friends at Fairoaks, not only with
his own biography, but with the whole history of the family now coming
to Clavering. It was he who had made the marriage between his friend
Frank and the widow Amory. She wanted rank, and he wanted money. What
match could be more suitable? He organized it; he made those two people
happy. There was no particular romantic attachment between them; the
widow was not of an age or a person for romance, and Sir Francis, if he
had his game at billiards, and his dinner, cared for little besides. But
they were as happy as people could be. Clavering would return to his
native place and country, his wife's fortune would pay his encumbrances
off, and his son and heir would be one of the first men in the county.

"And Miss Amory?" Laura asked. Laura was uncommonly curious about Miss
Amory.

Strong laughed. "Oh, Miss Amory is a muse--Miss Amory is a mystery--Miss
Amory is a _femme incomprise_." "What is that?" asked simple Mrs.
Pendennis--but the chevalier gave her no answer; perhaps could not give
her one. "Miss Amory paints, Miss Amory writes poems, Miss Amory composes
music, Miss Amory rides like Diana Vernon. Miss Amory is a paragon, in
a word."

"I hate clever women," said Pen.

"Thank you," said Laura. For her part she was sure she should be charmed
with Miss Amory, and quite longed to have such a friend. And with this
she looked Pen full in the face, as if every word the little hypocrite
said was gospel truth.

Thus, an intimacy was arranged and prepared beforehand between the
Fairoaks family and their wealthy neighbors at the Park; and Pen and
Laura were to the full as eager for their arrivals, as even the most
curious of the Clavering folks. A Londoner, who sees fresh faces and
yawns at them every day, may smile at the eagerness with which country
people expect a visitor. A cockney comes among them, and is remembered
by his rural entertainers for years after he has left them, and
forgotten them very likely--floated far away from them on the vast
London sea. But the islanders remember long after the mariner has sailed
away, and can tell you what he said, and what he wore, and how he looked
and how he laughed. In fine, a new arrival is an event in the country,
not to be understood by us, who don't and had rather not, know who lives
next door.

When the painters and upholsterers had done their work in the house, and
so beautified it, under Captain Strong's superintendence, that he might
well be proud of his taste, that gentleman announced that he should go
to London, where the whole family had arrived by this time, and should
speedily return to establish them in their renovated mansion.

Detachments of domestics preceded them. Carriages came down by sea, and
were brought over from Baymouth by horses which had previously arrived
under the care of grooms and coachmen. One day the "Alacrity" coach
brought down on its roof two large and melancholy men, who were dropped
at the park lodge with their trunks, and who were Messieurs Frederic and
James, metropolitan footmen, who had no objection to the country, and
brought with them state and other suits of the Clavering uniform.

On another day, the mail deposited at the gate a foreign gentleman,
adorned with many ringlets and chains. He made a great riot at the lodge
gate to the keeper's wife (who, being a West-country woman, did not
understand his English or his Gascon French), because there was no
carriage in waiting to drive him to the house, a mile off, and because
he could not walk entire leagues in his fatigued state and varnished
boots. This was Monsieur Alcide Mirobolant, formerly Chef of his
Highness the Duc de Borodino, of H. Eminence Cardinal Beccafico, and at
present Chef of the bouche of Sir Francis Clavering, Baronet:--Monsieur
Mirobolant's library, pictures, and piano, had arrived previously in
charge of the intelligent young Englishman, his aid-de-camp. He was,
moreover, aided by a professed female cook, likewise from London, who
had inferior females under her orders.

He did not dine in the steward's room, but took his nutriment in solitude
in his own apartments, where a female servant was affected to his
private use. It was a grand sight to behold him in his dressing-gown
composing a _menu_. He always sate down and played the piano for some
time before that. If interrupted, he remonstrated pathetically with his
little maid. Every great artist, he said, had need of solitude to
perfectionate his works.

[Illustration]

But we are advancing matters, in the fullness of our love and respect
for Monsieur Mirobolant, and bringing him prematurely on the stage.

The Chevalier Strong had a hand in the engagement of all the London
domestics, and, indeed, seemed to be the master of the house. There were
those among them who said he was the house-steward, only he dined with
the family. Howbeit, he knew how to make himself respected, and two of
by no means the least comfortable rooms of the house were assigned to
his particular use.

He was walking upon the terrace finally upon the eventful day, when,
amid an immense jangling of bells from Clavering Church, where the flag
was flying, an open carriage and one of those traveling chariots or
family arks, which only English philo-progenitiveness could invent,
drove rapidly with foaming horses through the park gates, and up to the
steps of the hall. The two _battans_ of the sculptured door flew open.
Two superior officers in black, the large and melancholy gentlemen, now
in livery with their hair in powder, the country menials engaged to aid
them, were in waiting in the hall, and bowed like tall elms when autumn
winds wail in the park. Through this avenue passed Sir Francis Clavering
with a most unmoved face; Lady Clavering with a pair of bright black
eyes, and a good-humored countenance, which waggled and nodded very
graciously: Master Francis Clavering, who was holding his mamma's skirt
(and who stopped the procession to look at the largest footman, whose
appearance seemed to strike the young gentleman), and Miss Blandy,
governess to Master Francis, and Miss Amory, her ladyship's daughter,
giving her arm to Captain Strong. It was summer, but fires of welcome
were crackling in the great hall chimney, and in the rooms which the
family were to occupy.

Monsieur Mirobolant had looked at the procession from one of the
lime-trees in the avenue. "Elle est la," he said, laying his jeweled
hand on his richly-embroidered velvet waistcoat with glass buttons. "Je
t'ai vue, je te bénis, O ma sylphide, O mon ange!" and he dived into the
thicket, and made his way back to his furnaces and saucepans.

The next Sunday the same party which had just made its appearance at
Clavering Park, came and publicly took possession of the ancient pew in
the church, where so many of the baronet's ancestors had prayed, and
were now kneeling in effigy. There was such a run to see the new folks,
that the Low Church was deserted, to the disgust of its pastor; and as
the state barouche, with the grays and coachman in silver wig, and
solemn footmen, drew up at the old churchyard gate, there was such a
crowd assembled there as had not been seen for many a long day. Captain
Strong knew every body, and saluted for all the company--the country
people vowed my lady was not handsome, to be sure, but pronounced her
uncommon fine dressed, as indeed she was--with the finest of shawls, the
finest of pelisses, the brilliantest of bonnets and wreaths, and a power
of rings, cameos, brooches, chains, bangles, and other nameless
gimcracks; and ribbons of every breadth and color of the rainbow flaming
on her person. Miss Amory appeared meek and dove-color like a vestal
virgin--while Master Francis was in the costume then prevalent of Rob
Roy Macgregor, a celebrated Highland outlaw. The baronet was not more
animated than ordinarily--there was a happy vacuity about him which
enabled him to face a dinner, a death, a church, a marriage, with the
same indifferent ease.

A pew for the Clavering servants was filled by these domestics, and the
enraptured congregation saw the gentlemen from London with "vlower on
their heeds," and the miraculous coachman with his silver wig, take their
places in that pew so soon as his horses were put up at the Clavering
Arms.

In the course of the service, Master Francis began to make such a
yelling in the pew, that Frederic, the tallest of the footmen, was
beckoned by his master, and rose and went and carried out Master
Francis, who roared and beat him on the head, so that the powder flew
round about, like clouds of incense. Nor was he pacified until placed
on the box of the carriage, where he played at horses with John's whip.

"You see the little beggar's never been to church before, Miss Bell,"
the baronet drawled out to a young lady who was visiting him; "no wonder
he should make a row; I don't go in town neither, but I think it's right
in the country to give a good example--and that sort of thing."

Miss Bell laughed, and said, "The little boy had not given a
particularly good example."

"Gad, I don't know, and that sort of thing," said the baronet. "It ain't
so bad neither. Whenever he wants a thing, Frank always cwies, and
whenever he cwies he gets it."

Here the child in question began to howl for a dish of sweetmeats, on
the luncheon table, and making a lunge across the table-cloth, upset a
glass of wine over the best waistcoat of one of the guests present, Mr.
Arthur Pendennis, who was greatly annoyed at being made to look foolish,
and at having his spotless cambric shirt front blotched with wine.

"We do spoil him so," said Lady Clavering to Mrs. Pendennis, fondly
gazing at the cherub, whose hands and face were now frothed over with
the species of lather which is inserted in the confection called
_meringues a la creme_.

"It is very wrong," said Mrs. Pendennis, as if she had never done such a
thing herself as spoil a child.

"Mamma says she spoils my brother--do you think any thing could. Miss
Bell? Look at him--isn't he like a little angel?"

"Gad, I was quite wight," said the baronet. "He has cwied, and he has
got it, you see. Go it, Fwank, old boy."

"Sir Francis is a very judicious parent," Miss Amory whispered. "Don't
you think so, Miss Bell? I shan't call you Miss Bell--I shall call you
Laura. I admired you so at church. Your robe was not well made, nor your
bonnet very fresh. But you have such beautiful gray eyes, and such a
lovely tint."

"Thank you," said Miss Bell, laughing.

"Your cousin is handsome, and thinks so. He is uneasy _de sa personne_.
He has not seen the world yet. Has he genius? Has he suffered? A lady,
a little woman in a rumpled satin and velvet shoes--a Miss Pybus--came
here and said he has suffered. I, too, have suffered--and you, Laura,
has your heart ever been touched?"

Laura said "No!" but perhaps blushed a little at the idea of the
question, so that the other said--

"Ah, Laura! I see it all. It is the beau cousin. Tell me every thing. I
already love you as a sister."

"You are very kind," said Miss Bell, smiling, "and--and it must be owned
that it is a very sudden attachment."

"All attachments are so. It is electricity--spontaneity. It is
instantaneous. I knew I should love you from the moment I saw you. Do
you not feel it yourself?"

"Not yet," said Laura; "but I dare say I shall if I try."

"Call me by my name, then."

"But I don't know it," Laura cried out.

"My name is Blanche--isn't it a pretty name? Call me by it."

"Blanche--it is very pretty, indeed."

"And while mamma talks with that kind looking lady--what relation is
she to you? She must have been pretty once, but is rather _passée_;
she is not well _gantée_, but she has a pretty hand--and while mamma
talks to her, come with me to my own room--my own, own room. It's a
darling room, though that horrid creature, Captain Strong, did arrange
it. Are you _éprise_ of him? He says you are, but I know better; it is
the beau cousin. Yes--_il a de beaux yeux_. _Je n'aime pas les blonds
ordinairement. Car je suis blonde moi--je suis Blanche et blonde_,"--and
she looked at her face and made a _moue_ in the glass; and never stopped
for Laura's answer to the questions which she had put.

Blanche was fair and like a sylph. She had fair hair, with green
reflections in it. But she had dark eyebrows. She had long black
eyelashes, which vailed beautiful brown eyes. She had such a slim
waist, that it was a wonder to behold; and such slim little feet, that
you would have thought the grass would hardly bend under them. Her lips
were of the color of faint rosebuds, and her voice warbled limpidly over
a set of the sweetest little pearly teeth ever seen. She showed them
very often, for they were very pretty. She was very good-natured, and a
smile not only showed her teeth wonderfully, but likewise exhibited two
lovely little pink dimples, that nestled in either cheek.

She showed Laura her drawings, which the other thought charming. She
played her some of her waltzes, with a rapid and brilliant finger, and
Laura was still more charmed. And she then read her some poems, in
French and English, likewise of her own composition, and which she kept
locked in her own book--her own dear little book; it was bound in blue
velvet with a gilt lock, and on it was printed the title of "Mes
Larmes."

"Mes Larmes!--isn't it a pretty name?" the young lady continued, who was
pleased with every thing that she did, and did every thing very well.
Laura owned that it was. She had never seen any thing like it before;
any thing so lovely, so accomplished, so fragile and pretty; warbling
so prettily, and tripping about such a pretty room, with such a number
of pretty books, pictures, flowers, round about her. The honest and
generous country girl forgot even jealousy in her admiration. "Indeed,
Blanche," she said, "every thing in the room is pretty; and you are the
prettiest of all." The other smiled, looked in the glass, went up and
took both of Laura's hands, and kissed them, and sat down to the piano,
and shook out a little song, as if she had been a nightingale.

This was the first visit paid by Fairoaks to Clavering Park, in return
for Clavering Park's visit to Fairoaks, in reply to Fairoaks's cards
left a few days after the arrival of Sir Francis's family. The intimacy
between the young ladies sprang up like Jack's Bean-stalk to the skies
in a single night. The large footmen were perpetually walking with
little rose-colored-pink notes to Fairoaks; where there was a pretty
housemaid in the kitchen, who might possibly tempt those gentlemen to
so humble a place. Miss Amory sent music, or Miss Amory sent a new
novel, or a picture from the "Journal des Modes," to Laura; or my lady's
compliments arrived with flowers and fruit; or Miss Amory begged and
prayed Miss Bell to come to dinner; and dear Mrs. Pendennis, if she was
strong enough; and Mr. Arthur, if a humdrum party were not too stupid
for him; and would send a pony-carriage for Mrs. Pendennis; and would
take no denial.

Neither Arthur nor Laura wished to refuse. And Helen, who was, indeed,
somewhat ailing, was glad that the two should have their pleasure; and
would look at them fondly, as they set forth, and ask in her heart that
she might not be called away until those two beings whom she loved best
in the world should be joined together. As they went out and crossed
over the bridge, she remembered summer evenings five-and-twenty years
ago, when she, too, had bloomed in her brief prime of love and
happiness. It was all over now. The moon was looking from the purpling
sky, and the stars glittering there, just as they used in the early,
well-remembered evenings. He was lying dead, far away, with the billows
rolling between them. Good God! how well she remembered the last look of
his face as they parted. It looked out at her through the vista of long
years, as sad and as clear as then.

       *       *       *       *       *

So Mr. Pen and Miss Laura found the society at Clavering Park an
uncommonly agreeable resort of summer evenings. Blanche vowed that she
_raffoled_ of Laura; and, very likely, Mr. Pen was pleased with Blanche.
His spirits came back; he laughed and rattled till Laura wondered to
hear him. It was not the same Pen, yawning, in a shooting jacket, in the
Fairoaks parlor, who appeared, alert and brisk, and smiling and well
dressed, in Lady Clavering's drawing-room. Sometimes they had music.
Laura had a sweet contralto voice, and sang with Blanche, who had had
the best continental instruction, and was charmed to be her friend's
mistress. Sometimes Mr. Pen joined in these concerts, or oftener looked
sweet upon Miss Blanche as she sang. Sometimes they had glees, when
Captain Strong's chest was of vast service, and he boomed out in a
prodigious bass, of which he was not a little proud.

"Good fellow, Strong--ain't he, Miss Bell?" Sir Francis would say to
her. "Plays at _écarté_ with Lady Clavering--plays any thing, pitch and
toss, pianoforty, cwibbage, if you like. How long do you think he's been
staying with me? He came for a week with a carpet bag, and, Gad, he's
been staying here thwee years. Good fellow, ain't he? Don't know how he
gets a shillin, though, begad I don't, Miss Laura."

And yet the chevalier, if he lost his money to Lady Clavering, always
paid it; and if he lived with his friend for three years, paid for that
too--in good humor, in kindness and joviality, in a thousand little
services by which he made himself agreeable. What gentleman could want
a better friend than a man who was always in spirits, never in the way
or out of it, and was ready to execute any commission for his patron,
whether it was to sing a song or meet a lawyer, to fight a duel or to
carve a capon?

Although Laura and Pen commonly went to Clavering Park together, yet
sometimes Mr. Pen took walks there unattended by her, and about which he
did not tell her. He took to fishing the Brawl, which runs through the
park, and passes not very far from the garden-wall. And by the oddest
coincidence, Miss Amory would walk out (having been to look at her
flowers), and would be quite surprised to see Mr. Pendennis fishing.

[Illustration]

I wonder what trout Pen caught while the young lady was looking on? or
whether Miss Blanche was the pretty little fish which played round his
fly, and which Mr. Pen was endeavoring to hook? It must be owned, he
became very fond of that healthful and invigorating pursuit of angling,
and was whipping the Brawl continually with his fly.

As for Miss Blanche, she had a kind heart; and having, as she owned,
herself "suffered" a good deal in the course of her brief life and
experience--why, she could compassionate other susceptible beings
like Pen, who had suffered too. Her love for Laura and that dear Mrs.
Pendennis redoubled: if they were not at the Park, she was not easy
unless she herself was at Fairoaks. She played with Laura; she read
French and German with Laura; and Mr. Pen read French and German along
with them. He turned sentimental ballads of Schiller and Göthe into
English verse for the ladies, and Blanche unlocked "Mes Larmes" for him,
and imparted to him some of the plaintive outpourings of her own tender
muse.

It appeared from these poems that this young creature had indeed
suffered prodigiously. She was familiar with the idea of suicide. Death
she repeatedly longed for. A faded rose inspired her with such grief
that you would have thought she must die in pain of it. It was a wonder
how a young creature (who had had a snug home, or been at a comfortable
boarding-school, and had no outward grief or hardship to complain of)
should have suffered so much--should have found the means of getting at
such an ocean of despair and passion (as a run-away boy who _will_ get
to sea), and having embarked on it, should survive it. What a talent she
must have had for weeping to be able to pour out so many of Mes Larmes!

They were not particularly briny, Miss Blanche's tears, that is the
truth; but Pen, who read her verses, thought them very well for a
lady--and wrote some verses himself for her. His were very violent and
passionate, very hot, sweet, and strong: and he not only wrote verses;
but--O, the villain! O, the deceiver! he altered and adapted former
poems in his possession, and which had been composed for a certain Miss
Emily Fotheringay, for the use and to the Christian name of Miss Blanche
Amory.



CHAPTER XXIV.

A LITTLE INNOCENT.


[Illustration]

Every house has its skeleton in it somewhere, and it may be a comfort
to some unhappy folks to think that the luckiest and most wealthy of
their neighbors have their miseries and causes of disquiet. Our little
innocent muse of a Blanche, who sang so nicely and talked so sweetly,
you would have thought she must have made sunshine where-ever she went,
was the skeleton, or the misery, or the bore, or the Nemesis of
Clavering House, and of most of the inhabitants thereof. As one little
stone in your own shoe or your horse's, suffices to put either to
torture and to make your journey miserable, so in life a little obstacle
is sufficient to obstruct your entire progress, and subject you to
endless annoyance and disquiet. Who would have guessed that such a
smiling little fairy as Blanche Amory could be the cause of discord in
any family?

"I say, Strong," one day the baronet said, as the pair were conversing
after dinner over the billiard-table, and that great unbosomer of
secrets, a cigar; "I say, Strong, I wish to the doose your wife was
dead."

"So do I. That's a cannon, by Jove. But she won't; she'll live
forever--you see if she don't. Why do you wish her off the hooks, Frank,
my boy?" asked Captain Strong.

"Because then, you might marry Missy. She ain't bad-looking. She'll have
ten thousand, and that's a good bit of money for such a poor old devil
as you," drawled out the other gentleman. "And gad, Strong, I hate her
worse and worse every day. I can't stand her, Strong, by gad, I can't."

"I wouldn't take her at twice the figure," Captain Strong said,
laughing. "I never saw such a little devil in my life."

"I should like to poison her," said the sententious baronet; "by Jove I
should."

"Why, what has she been at now?" asked his friend.

"Nothing particular," answered Sir Francis; "only her old tricks. That
girl has such a knack of making every body miserable that, hang me, it's
quite surprising. Last night she sent the governess crying away from
the dinner-table. Afterward, as I was passing Frank's room, I heard the
poor little beggar howling in the dark, and found his sister had been
frightening his soul out of his body, by telling him stories about the
ghost that's in the house. At lunch she gave my lady a turn; and though
my wife's a fool, she's a good soul--I'm hanged if she ain't."

"What did Missy do to her?" Strong asked.

"Why, hang me, if she didn't begin talking about the late Amory, my
predecessor," the baronet said, with a grin. "She got some picture out
of the Keepsake, and said she was sure it was like her dear father. She
wanted to know where her father's grave was. Hang her father! Whenever
Miss Amory talks about him, Lady Clavering always bursts out crying;
and the little devil will talk about him in order to spite her mother.
To-day when she began, I got in a confounded rage, said I was her
father, and--and that sort of thing, and then, sir, she took a shy
at me."

"And what did she say about you, Frank?" Mr. Strong, still laughing,
inquired of his friend and patron.

"Gad, she said I wasn't her father: that I wasn't fit to comprehend her;
that her father must have been a man of genius, and fine feelings, and
that sort of thing: whereas I had married her mother for money."

"Well, didn't you?" asked Strong.

"It don't make it any the pleasanter to hear because it's true, don't
you know," Sir Francis Clavering answered. "I ain't a literary man and
that; but I ain't such a fool as she makes me out. I don't know how
it is, but she always manages to--to put me in the hole, don't you
understand. She turns all the house round her in her quiet way, and
with her confounded sentimental airs. I wish she was dead, Ned."

"It was my wife whom you wanted dead just now," Strong said, always in
perfect good humor; upon which the baronet, with his accustomed candor,
said, "Well, when people bore my life out, I _do_ wish they were dead,
and I wish Missy were down a well, with all my heart."

Thus it will be seen from the above report of this candid
conversation that our accomplished little friend had some peculiarities
or defects of character which rendered her not very popular. She was
a young lady of some genius, exquisite sympathies and considerable
literary attainments, living, like many another genius, with relatives
who could not comprehend her. Neither her mother nor her step-father
were persons of a literary turn. Bell's life and the Racing Calendar
were the extent of the baronet's reading, and Lady Clavering still wrote
like a school girl of thirteen, and with an extraordinary disregard to
grammar and spelling. And as Miss Amory felt very keenly that she
was not appreciated, and that she lived with persons who were not her
equals in intellect or conversational power, she lost no opportunity to
acquaint her family circle with their inferiority to herself, and not
only was a martyr, but took care to let every body know that she was
so. If she suffered, as she said and thought she did, severely, are we
to wonder that a young creature of such delicate sensibilities should
shriek and cry out a good deal? Without sympathy life is nothing; and
would it not have been a want of candor on her part to affect a
cheerfulness which she did not feel, or pretend a respect for those
toward whom it was quite impossible she should entertain any reverence?
If a poetess may not bemoan her lot, of what earthly use is her lyre?
Blanche struck hers only to the saddest of tunes; and sang elegies over
her dead hopes, dirges over her early frost-nipt buds of affection, as
became such a melancholy fate and muse.

Her actual distresses, as we have said, had not been, up to the present
time, very considerable; but her griefs lay, like those of most of us,
in her own soul--that being sad and habitually dissatisfied, what wonder
that she should weep? So Mes Larmes dribbled out of her eyes any day at
command: she could furnish an unlimited supply of tears, and her faculty
of shedding them increased by practice. For sentiment is like another
complaint mentioned by Horace, as increasing by self-indulgence (I am
sorry to say, ladies, that the complaint in question is called the
dropsy), and the more you cry, the more you will be able and desirous
to do so.

Missy had begun to gush at a very early age. Lamartine was her favorite
bard from the period when she first could feel: and she had subsequently
improved her mind by a sedulous study of novels of the great modern
authors of the French language. There was not a romance of Balzac and
George Sand which the indefatigable little creature had not devoured by
the time she was sixteen: and, however little she sympathized with her
relatives at home, she had friends, as she said, in the spirit-world,
meaning the tender Indiana, the passionate and poetic Lelia, the amiable
Trenmor, that high-souled convict, that angel of the galleys--the fiery
Stenio--and the other numberless heroes of the French romances. She had
been in love with Prince Rodolph and Prince Djalma while she was yet at
school, and had settled the divorce question, and the rights of woman,
with Indiana, before she had left off pinafores. The impetuous little
lady played at love with these imaginary worthies, as a little while
before she had played at maternity with her doll. Pretty little poetical
spirits! it is curious to watch them with those playthings. To-day the
blue-eyed one is the favorite, and the black-eyed one is pushed behind
the drawers. To-morrow blue-eyes may take its turn of neglect: and it
may be an odious little wretch with a burned nose, or torn head of hair,
and no eyes at all, that takes the first place in Miss's affection, and
is dandled and caressed in her arms.

As novelists are supposed to know every thing, even the secrets of
female hearts, which the owners themselves do not, perhaps, know, we
may state that at eleven years of age, Mademoiselle Betsi, as Miss
Amory was then called, had felt tender emotions toward a young Savoyard
organ-grinder at Paris, whom she persisted in believing to be a prince
carried off from his parents; that at twelve an old and hideous
drawing-master--(but, ah, what age or personal defects are proof against
woman's love?) had agitated her young heart; and that, at thirteen,
being at Madame de Caramel's boarding-school, in the Champs Elysées
which, as every body knows, is next door to Monsieur Rogron's (Chevalier
of the Legion of Honor) pension for young gentlemen, a correspondence,
by letter, took place between the _séduisante Miss Betsi_ and two young
gentlemen of the College of Charlemagne, who were pensioners of the
Chevalier Rogron.

In the above paragraph our young friend has been called by a Christian
name, different to that tinder which we were lately presented to her.
The fact is, that Miss Amory, called Missy at home, had really, at the
first, been christened Betsy--but assumed the name of Blanche of her own
will and fantasy, and crowned herself with it; and the weapon which the
baronet, her step-father, held in terror over her, was the threat to
call her publicly by her name of Betsy, by which menace he sometimes
managed to keep the young rebel in order.

We have spoken just now of children's dolls, and of the manner in
which those little people take up and neglect their darling toys, and
very likely this history will show that Miss Blanche assumed and put
away her live dolls with a similar girlish inconstancy. She had had
hosts of dear, dear, darling friends ere now, and had quite a little
museum of locks of hair in her treasure-chest, which she had gathered in
the course of her sentimental progress. Some dear friends had married:
some had gone to other schools: one beloved sister she had lost from
the pension, and found again, O, horror! her darling, her Léocadie,
keeping the books in her father's shop, a grocer in the Rue du Bac:
in fact, she had met with a number of disappointments, estrangements,
disillusionments, as she called them in her pretty French jargon, and
had seen and suffered a great deal, for so young a woman. But it is
the lot of sensibility to suffer, and of confiding tenderness to be
deceived, and she felt that she was only undergoing the penalties of
genius, in these pangs and disappointments of her young career.

Meanwhile, she managed to make the honest lady, her mother, as
uncomfortable as circumstances would permit; and caused her worthy
step-father to wish she was dead. With the exception of Captain Strong,
whose invincible good humor was proof against her sarcasms, the little
lady ruled the whole house with her tongue. If Lady Clavering talked
about sparrowgrass instead of asparagus, or called an object a hobject,
as this unfortunate lady would sometimes do, Missy calmly corrected her,
and frightened the good soul, her mother, into errors only the more
frequent as she grew more nervous under her daughter's eye.

It is not to be supposed, considering the vast interest which the
arrival of the family at Clavering Park inspired in the inhabitants
of the little town, that Madame Fribsby alone, of all the folks in
Clavering, should have remained unmoved and incurious. At the first
appearance of the Park family in church, madame noted every article of
toilet which the ladies wore, from their bonnets to their brodequins,
and took a survey of the attire of the ladies' maids in the pew allotted
to them. We fear that Doctor Portman's sermon, though it was one of his
oldest and most valued compositions, had little effect upon Madame
Fribsby on that day. In a very few days afterward, she had managed for
herself an interview with Lady Clavering's confidential attendant in the
housekeeper's room at the Park; and her cards in French and English,
stating that she received the newest fashions from Paris, from her
correspondent Madame Victorine, and that she was in the custom of making
court and ball dresses for the nobility and gentry of the shire, were in
the possession of Lady Clavering and Miss Amory, and favorably received,
as she was happy to hear, by those ladies.

Mrs. Bonner, Lady Clavering's lady, became soon a great frequenter of
Madame Fribsby's drawing-room, and partook of many entertainments at the
milliner's expense. A meal of green tea, scandal, hot Sally-Lunn cakes,
and a little novel reading, were always at the service of Mrs. Bonner,
whenever she was free to pass an evening in the town. And she found much
more time for these pleasures than her junior officer, Miss Amory's
maid, who seldom could be spared for a holiday, and was worked as hard
as any factory girl by that inexorable little muse, her mistress.

The muse loved to be dressed becomingly, and, having a lively fancy and
a poetic desire for change, was for altering her attire every day. Her
maid, having a taste in dress-making--to which art she had been an
apprentice at Paris, before she entered into Miss Blanche's service
there--was kept from morning till night altering and remodeling Miss
Amory's habiliments; and rose very early and went to bed very late, in
obedience to the untiring caprices of her little task-mistress. The
girl was of respectable English parents. There are many of our people,
colonists of Paris, who have seen better days, who are not quite ruined,
who do not quite live upon charity, and yet can not get on without it;
and as her father was a cripple incapable of work, and her return home
would only increase the burthen and add to the misery of the family,
poor Pincott was fain to stay where she could maintain herself, and
spare a little relief to her parents.

Our muse, with the candor which distinguished her, never failed to
remind her attendant of the real state of matters. "I should send you
away, Pincott, for you are a great deal too weak, and your eyes are
failing you, and you are always crying and sniveling and wanting the
doctor; but I wish that your parents at home should be supported, and
I go on enduring you for their sake, mind," the dear Blanche would say
to her timid little attendant. Or, "Pincott, your wretched appearance
and slavish manner, and red eyes, positively give me the migraine;
and I think I shall make you wear rouge, so that you may look a little
cheerful;" or, "Pincott, I can't bear, even for the sake of your
starving parents, that you should tear my hair out of my head in that
manner; and I will thank you to write to them and say that I dispense
with your services." After which sort of speeches, and after keeping her
for an hour trembling over her hair, which the young lady loved to have
combed, as she perused one of her favorite French novels, she would go
to bed at one o'clock, and say, "Pincott, you may kiss me. Good night.
I should like you to have the pink dress ready for the morning." And
so with a blessing upon her attendant, she would turn round and go to
sleep.

The muse might lie in bed as long as she chose of a morning, and
availed herself of that privilege; but Pincott had to rise very early
indeed to get her mistress's task done; and had to appear next day with
the same red eyes and the same wan face, which displeased Miss Amory
by their want of gayety, and caused the mistress to be so angry, because
the servant persisted in being and looking unwell and unhappy. Not
that Blanche ever thought she was a hard mistress. Indeed, she made
quite a friend of Pincott, at times, and wrote some very pretty verses
about the lonely little tiring-maid, whose heart was far away. Our
beloved Blanche was a superior being, and expected to be waited upon
as such. And I do not know whether there are any other ladies in this
world, who treat their servants or dependents so, but it may be that
there are such, and that the tyranny which they exercise over their
subordinates, and the pangs which they can manage to inflict with a soft
voice, and a well-bred simper, are as cruel as those which a slave-driver
administers with an oath and a whip.

But Blanche was a muse--a delicate little creature, quite tremulous
with excitability, whose eyes filled with tears at the smallest emotion;
and who knows, but that it was the very fineness of her feelings which
caused them to be _froisséd_ so easily? You crush a butterfly by merely
touching it. Vulgar people have no idea of the sensibility of a muse.

So little Pincott being occupied all day and night in stitching,
hemming, ripping, combing, ironing, crimping, for her mistress; in
reading to her when in bed--for the girl was mistress of the two
languages, and had a sweet voice and manner--could take no share in
Madame Fribsby's soirées, nor indeed was she much missed, or considered
of sufficient consequence to appear at their entertainments.

But there was another person connected with the Clavering establishment,
who became a constant guest of our friend, the milliner. This was the
chief of the kitchen, Monsieur Mirobolant, with whom Madame Fribsby soon
formed an intimacy.

Not having been accustomed to the appearance or society of persons
of the French nation, the rustic inhabitants of Clavering were not so
favorably impressed by Monsieur Alcide's manners and appearance, as
that gentleman might have desired that they should be. He walked among
them quite unsuspiciously upon the afternoon of a summer day, when his
services were not required at the house, in his usual favorite costume,
namely, his light green frock or paletot, his crimson velvet waistcoat,
with blue glass buttons, his pantalon Ecossais, of a very large and
decided check pattern, his orange satin neckcloth, and his jean-boots,
with tips of shiny leather--these, with a gold embroidered cap, and a
richly-gilt cane, or other varieties of ornament of a similar tendency,
formed his usual holiday costume, in which he flattered himself there
was nothing remarkable (unless, indeed, the beauty of his person should
attract observation), and in which he considered that he exhibited the
appearance of a gentleman of good Parisian ton.

He walked then down the street, grinning and ogling every woman he met,
with glances, which he meant should kill them outright, and peered over
the railings, and in at the windows, where females were, in the tranquil
summer evening. But Betsy, Mrs. Pybus's maid, shrank back with a Lor
bless us, as Alcide ogled her over the laurel bush; the Miss Bakers, and
their mamma, stared with wonder; and presently a crowd began to follow
the interesting foreigner, of ragged urchins and children, who left
their dirt-pies in the street to pursue him.

For some time he thought that admiration was the cause which led
these persons in his wake, and walked on, pleased himself that he
could so easily confer on others so much harmless pleasure. But the
little children and dirt-pie manufacturers were presently succeeded
by followers of a larger growth, and a number of lads and girls from
the factory being let loose at this hour, joined the mob, and began
laughing, jeering, hooting, and calling opprobrious names at the
Frenchman. Some cried out, "Frenchy! Frenchy!" some exclaimed "Frogs!"
one asked for a lock of his hair, which was long and in richly-flowing
ringlets; and at length the poor artist began to perceive that he was
an object of derision rather than of respect to the rude, grinning mob.

It was at this juncture that Madame Fribsby spied the unlucky gentleman
with the train at his heels, and heard the scornful shouts with which
they assailed him. She ran out of her room, and across the street to the
persecuted foreigner; she held out her hand, and, addressing him in his
own language, invited him into her abode; and when she had housed him
fairly within her door, she stood bravely at the threshold before the
gibing factory girls and boys, and said they were a pack of cowards to
insult a poor man who could not speak their language, and was alone
and without protection. The little crowd, with some ironical cheers and
hooting, nevertheless felt the force of Madame Fribsby's vigorous
allocution, and retreated before her; for the old lady was rather
respected in the place, and her oddity and her kindness had made her
many friends there.

Poor Mirobolant was grateful indeed to hear the language of his
country ever so ill spoken. Frenchmen pardon our faults in their
language much more readily than we excuse their bad English; and will
face our blunders throughout a long conversation, without the least
propensity to grin. The rescued artist vowed that Madame Fribsby was his
guardian angel, and that he had not as yet met with such suavity and
politeness among _les Anglaises_. He was as courteous and complimentary
to her as if it was the fairest and noblest of ladies whom he was
addressing: for Alcide Mirobolant paid homage, after his fashion, to all
womankind, and never dreamed of a distinction of ranks in the realms of
beauty, as his phrase was.

A cream, flavored with pine-apple--a mayonnaise of lobster, which he
flattered himself was not unworthy of his hand, or of her to whom he had
the honor to offer it as an homage, and a box of preserved fruits of
Provence, were brought by one of the chef's aids-de-camp, in a basket,
the next day to the milliner's and were accompanied with a gallant note
to the amiable Madame Fribsbi. "Her kindness," Alcide said, "had made
a green place in the desert of his existence--her suavity would ever
contrast in memory with the _grossièreté_ of the rustic population,
who were not worthy to possess such a jewel." An intimacy of the most
confidential nature thus sprang up between the milliner and the chef
of the kitchen; but I do not know whether it was with pleasure or
mortification that madame received the declarations of friendship which
the young Alcide proffered to her, for he persisted in calling her
"_La respectable Fribsbi_," "_La vertueuse Fribsbi_,"--and in stating
that he should consider her as his mother, while he hoped she would
regard him as her son. Ah! it was not very long ago, Fribsby thought,
that words had been addressed to her in that dear French language,
indicating a different sort of attachment. And she sighed as she looked
up at the picture of her Carabineer. For it is surprising how young some
people's hearts remain when their heads have need of a front or a little
hair-dye--and, at this moment, Madame Fribsby, as she told young Alcide,
felt as romantic as a girl of eighteen.

When the conversation took this turn--and at their first intimacy Madame
Fribsby was rather inclined so to lead it--Alcide always politely
diverged to another subject: it was as his mother that he persisted
in considering the good milliner. He would recognize her in no other
capacity, and with that relationship the gentle lady was forced to
content herself, when she found how deeply the artist's heart was
engaged elsewhere.

He was not long before he described to her the subject and origin of his
passion.

"I declared myself to her," said Alcide, laying his hand on his heart,
"in a manner which was as novel as I am charmed to think it was
agreeable. Where can not love penetrate, respectable Madame Fribsbi?
Cupid is the father of invention!--I inquired of the domestics what were
the _plats_ of which mademoiselle partook with most pleasure; and built
up my little battery accordingly. On a day when her parents had gone to
dine in the world (and I am grieved to say that a grossier dinner at a
restaurateur, in the Boulevard, or in the Palais Royal, seemed to form
the delights of these unrefined persons), the charming Miss entertained
some comrades of the pension; and I advised myself to send up a little
repast suitable to so delicate young palates. Her lovely name is
Blanche. The vail of the maiden is white; the wreath of roses which she
wears is white. I determined that my dinner should be as spotless as the
snow. At her accustomed hour, and instead of the rude _gigot à l'eau_,
which was ordinarily served at her too simple table, I sent her up a
little _potage à la Reine--à la Reine Blanche_ I called it--as white
as her own tint--and confectioned with the most fragrant cream and
almonds. I then offered up at her shrine a _filet de merlan à l'Agnes_,
and a delicate _plat_, which I have designated as _Eperlan à la
Sainte-Therèse_, and of which my charming Miss partook with pleasure.
I followed this by two little _entreés_ of sweet-bread and chicken; and
the only brown thing which I permitted myself in the entertainment was a
little roast of lamb, which I laid in a meadow of spinaches, surrounded
with croustillons, representing sheep, and ornamented with daisies and
other savage flowers. After this came my second service: a pudding _à la
Reine Elizabeth_ (who, Madame Fribsbi knows, was a maiden princess); a
dish of opal-colored plover's eggs, which I called _Nid de tourtereaux
à la Roucoule_; placing in the midst of them two of those tender
volatiles, billing each other, and confectioned with butter; a basket
containing little _gateaux_ of apricots, which, I know, all young ladies
adore; and a jelly of marasquin, bland, insinuating, intoxicating
as the glance of beauty. This I designated _Ambroisie de Calypso à la
Souveraine de mon Coeur_. And when the ice was brought in--an ice of
_plombière_ and cherries--how do you think I had shaped them, Madame
Fribsbi? In the form of two hearts united with an arrow, on which I
had laid, before it entered, a bridal vail in cut-paper, surmounted by
a wreath of virginal orange-flowers. I stood at the door to watch the
effect of this entry. It was but one cry of admiration. The three young
ladies filled their glasses with the sparkling Ay, and carried me in
a toast. I heard it--I heard miss speak of me--I heard her say, 'Tell
Monsieur Mirobolant that we thank him--we admire him--we love him!'
My feet almost failed me as I spoke.

"Since that, can I have any reason to doubt that the young artist has
made some progress in the heart of the English Miss? I am modest, but
my glass informs me that I am not ill-looking. Other victories have
convinced me of the fact."

"Dangerous man!" cried the milliner.

"The blond misses of Albion see nothing in the dull inhabitants of
their brumous isle, which can compare with the ardor and vivacity of the
children of the south. We bring our sunshine with us; we are Frenchmen,
and accustomed to conquer. Were it not for this affair of the heart, and
my determination to marry an Anglaise, do you think I would stop in this
island (which is not altogether ungrateful, since I have found here
a tender mother in the respectable Madame Fribsbi), in this island,
in this family? My genius would use itself in the company of these
rustics--the poesy of my art can not be understood by these carnivorous
insularies. No--the men are odious, but the women--the women! I own,
dear Fribsbi, are seducing! I have vowed to marry one; and as I can
not go into your markets and purchase, according to the custom of the
country, I am resolved to adopt another custom, and fly with one to
Gretna Green. The blonde Miss will go. She is fascinated. Her eyes have
told me so. The white dove wants but the signal to fly."

"Have you any correspondence with her?" asked Fribsby, in amazement, and
not knowing whether the young lady or the lover might be laboring under
a romantic delusion.

"I correspond with her by means of my art. She partakes of dishes which
I make expressly for her. I insinuate to her thus a thousand hints,
which, as she is perfectly spiritual, she receives. But I want other
intelligences near her."

"There is Pincott, her maid," said Madame Fribsby, who, by aptitude or
education, seemed to have some knowledge of affairs of the heart, but
the great artist's brow darkened at this suggestion.

"Madame," he said, "there are points upon which a gallant man ought to
silence himself; though, if he break the secret, he may do so with the
least impropriety to his best friend--his adopted mother. Know then,
that there is a cause why Miss Pincott should be hostile to me--a cause
not uncommon with your sex--jealousy."

"Perfidious monster!" said the confidante.

"Ah, no," said the artist, with a deep bass voice, and a tragic accent
worthy of the Porte St. Martin and his favorite melo-drames. "Not
perfidious, but fatal. Yes, I am a fatal man, Madame Fribsbi. To inspire
hopeless passion is my destiny. I can not help it that women love me. Is
it my fault that that young woman deperishes and languishes to the view
of the eye, consumed by a flame which I can not return? Listen! There
are others in this family who are similarly unhappy. The governess of
the young Milor has encountered me in my walks, and looked at me in a
way which can bear but one interpretation. And Milady herself, who is
of mature age, but who has oriental blood, has once or twice addressed
compliments to the lonely artist which can admit of no mistake. I avoid
the household, I seek solitude, I undergo my destiny. I can marry but
one, and am resolved it shall be to a lady of your nation. And, if her
fortune is sufficient, I think Miss would be the person who would be
most suitable. I wish to ascertain what her means are before I lead her
to Gretna Grin."

Whether Alcide was as irresistible a conqueror as his namesake, or
whether he was simply crazy, is a point which must be left to the
reader's judgment. But the latter, if he has had the benefit of much
French acquaintance, has perhaps met with men among them who fancied
themselves almost as invincible; and who, if you credit them, have made
equal havoc in the hearts of _les Anglaises_.



CHAPTER XXV.

CONTAINS BOTH LOVE AND JEALOUSY.


[Illustration]

Our readers have already heard Sir Francis Clavering's candid opinion
of the lady who had given him her fortune and restored him to his native
country and home, and it must be owned that the baronet was not far
wrong in his estimate of his wife, and that Lady Clavering was not the
wisest or the best educated of women. She had had a couple of years'
education in Europe, in a suburb of London, which she persisted in
calling Ackney to her dying day, whence she had been summoned to join
her father at Calcutta at the age of fifteen. And it was on her voyage
thither, on board the Ramchunder East Indiaman, Captain Bragg, in which
ship she had two years previously made her journey to Europe, that she
formed the acquaintance of her first husband, Mr. Amory, who was third
mate of the vessel in question.

We are not going to enter into the early part of Lady Clavering's
history, but Captain Bragg, under whose charge Miss Snell went out to
her father, who was one of the captain's consignees, and part owner
of the Ramchunder and many other vessels, found reason to put the
rebellious rascal of a mate in irons, until they reached the Cape, where
the captain left his officer behind; and finally delivered his ward to
her father at Calcutta, after a stormy and perilous voyage in which the
Ramchunder and the cargo and passengers incurred no small danger and
damage.

Some months afterward Amory made his appearance at Calcutta, having
worked his way out before the mast from the Cape--married the rich
attorney's daughter in spite of that old speculator--set up as indigo
planter and failed--set up as agent and failed again--set up as editor
of the "Sunderbund Pilot" and failed again--quarreling ceaselessly
with his father-in-law and his wife during the progress of all these
mercantile transactions and disasters, and ending his career finally
with a crash which compelled him to leave Calcutta and go to New South
Wales. It was in the course of these luckless proceedings, that Mr.
Amory probably made the acquaintance of Sir Jasper Rogers, the respected
Judge of the Supreme Court of Calcutta, who has been mentioned before:
and, as the truth must out, it was by making an improper use of his
father-in-law's name, who could write perfectly well, and had no need of
an amanuensis, that fortune finally forsook Mr. Amory and caused him to
abandon all further struggles with her.

Not being in the habit of reading the Calcutta law-reports very
assiduously, the European public did not know of these facts as well
as people did in Bengal, and Mrs. Amory and her father, finding her
residence in India not a comfortable one, it was agreed that the lady
should return to Europe, whither she came with her little daughter
Betsy or Blanche, then four years old. They were accompanied by Betsy's
nurse, who has been presented to the reader in the last chapter as the
confidential maid of Lady Clavering, Mrs. Bonner: and Captain Bragg took
a house for them in the near neighborhood of his residence in
Pocklington-street.

It was a very hard, bitter summer, and the rain, it rained every day
for some time after Mrs. Amory's arrival. Bragg was very pompous and
disagreeable, perhaps ashamed, perhaps anxious, to get rid of the
Indian lady. She believed that all the world in London was talking
about her husband's disaster, and that the king and queen and the court
of directors were aware of her unlucky history. She had a good allowance
from her father; she had no call to live in England; and she determined
to go abroad. Away she went, then, glad to escape the gloomy
surveillance of the odious bully, Captain Bragg. People had no objection
to receive her at the continental towns where she stopped, and at the
various boarding-houses, where she royally paid her way. She called
Hackney Ackney, to be sure (though otherwise she spoke English with a
little foreign twang, very curious and not unpleasant); she dressed
amazingly; she was conspicuous for her love of eating and drinking,
and prepared curries and pillaws at every boarding-house which she
frequented; but her singularities of language and behavior only gave
a zest to her society, and Mrs. Amory was deservedly popular. She was
the most good-natured, jovial, and generous of women. She was up to
any party of pleasure by whomsoever proposed. She brought three times
more champagne and fowls and ham to the picnics than any one else. She
took endless boxes for the play, and tickets for the masked balls, and
gave them away to every body. She paid the boarding-house people months
beforehand; she helped poor shabby mustached bucks and dowagers, whose
remittances had not arrived, with constant supplies from her purse;
and in this way she tramped through Europe, and appeared at Brussels,
at Paris, at Milan, at Naples, at Rome, as her fancy led her. News of
Amory's death reached her at the latter place, where Captain Clavering
was then staying, unable to pay his hotel bill, as, indeed, was his
friend, the Chevalier Strong, and the good-natured widow married the
descendant of the ancient house of Clavering--professing, indeed, no
particular grief for the scapegrace of a husband whom she had lost.
We have brought her thus up to the present time when she was mistress
of Clavering Park, in the midst of which Mr. Pinckney, the celebrated
painter, portrayed her, with her little boy by her side.

[Illustration]

Missy followed her mamma in most of her peregrinations, and so learned a
deal of life. She had a governess for some time; and after her mother's
second marriage, the benefit of Madame de Caramel's select pension in
the Champs Elysées. When the Claverings came to England, she of course
came with them. It was only within a few years, after the death of her
grandfather, and the birth of her little brother, that she began to
understand that her position in life was altered, and that Miss Amory,
nobody's daughter, was a very small personage in a house compared with
Master Francis Clavering, heir to an ancient baronetcy, and a noble
estate. But for little Frank, she would have been an heiress, in spite
of her father: and though she knew, and cared not much about money, of
which she never had any stint, and though she was a romantic little
muse, as we have seen, yet she could not reasonably be grateful to the
persons who had so contributed to change her condition; nor, indeed,
did she understand what the latter really was, until she had made some
further progress, and acquired more accurate knowledge in the world.

But this was clear, that her step-father was dull and weak; that mamma
dropped her H's, and was not refined in manners or appearance; and that
little Frank was a spoiled quarrelsome urchin, always having his way,
always treading upon her feet, always upsetting his dinner on her
dresses, and keeping her out of her inheritance. None of these, as she
felt, could comprehend her: and her solitary heart naturally pined for
other attachments, and she sought around her where to bestow the
precious boon of her unoccupied affection.

This dear girl, then, from want of sympathy, or other cause, made
herself so disagreeable at home, and frightened her mother, and bored
her step-father so much, that they were quite as anxious as she could
be that she should settle for herself in life; and hence Sir Francis
Clavering's desire expressed to his friend, in the last chapter, that
Mrs. Strong should die, and that he would take Blanche to himself as
a second Mrs. Strong.

But as this could not be, any other person was welcome to win her; and
a smart young fellow, well-looking and well-educated, like our friend
Arthur Pendennis, was quite free to propose for her if he had a mind,
and would have been received with open arms by Lady Clavering as a
son-in-law, had he had the courage to come forward as a competitor for
Miss Amory's hand.

Mr. Pen, however, besides other drawbacks, chose to entertain an extreme
diffidence about himself. He was ashamed of his late failures, of his
idle and nameless condition, of the poverty which he had brought on his
mother by his folly, and there was as much of vanity as remorse in his
present state of doubt and distrust. How could he ever hope for such
a prize as this brilliant Blanche Amory, who lived in a fine park and
mansion, and was waited on by a score of grand domestics, while a
maid-servant brought in their meager meal at Fairoaks, and his mother
was obliged to pinch and manage to make both ends meet? Obstacles seemed
to him insurmountable, which would have vanished had he marched manfully
upon them; and he preferred despairing, or dallying with his wishes--or
perhaps he had not positively shaped them as yet--to attempting to win
gallantly the object of his desire. Many a young man fails by that species
of vanity called shyness, who might, for the asking, have his will.

But we do not pretend to say that Pen had, as yet, ascertained his; or
that he was doing much more than thinking about falling in love. Miss
Amory was charming and lively. She fascinated and cajoled him by a
thousand arts or natural graces or flatteries. But there were lurking
reasons and doubts, besides shyness and vanity, withholding him. In
spite of her cleverness, and her protestations, and her fascinations,
Pen's mother had divined the girl, and did not trust her. Mrs. Pendennis
saw Blanche light-minded and frivolous, detected many wants in her which
offended the pure and pious-minded lady; a want of reverence for her
parents, and for things more sacred, Helen thought: worldliness and
selfishness couched under pretty words and tender expressions. Laura and
Pen battled these points strongly at first with the widow--Laura being
as yet enthusiastic about her new friend, and Pen not far-gone enough in
love to attempt any concealment of his feelings. He would laugh at these
objections of Helen's, and say, "Psha, mother, you are jealous about
Laura--all women are jealous."

But when, in the course of a month or two, and by watching the pair
with that anxiety with which brooding women watch over their sons'
affections--and in acknowledging which, I have no doubt there is a
sexual jealousy on the mother's part, and a secret pang--when Helen saw
that the intimacy appeared to make progress, that the two young people
were perpetually finding pretexts to meet, and that Miss Blanche was at
Fairoaks or Mr. Pen at the Park every day, the poor widow's heart began
to fail her--her darling project seemed to vanish before her; and giving
way to her weakness, she fairly told Pen one day what her views and
longings were; that she felt herself breaking, and not long for this
world, and that she hoped and prayed before she went, that she might see
her two children one. The late events, Pen's life and career and former
passion for the actress, had broken the spirit of this tender lady. She
felt that he had escaped her, and was in the maternal nest no more; and
she clung with a sickening fondness to Laura, Laura who had been left to
her by Francis in Heaven.

Pen kissed and soothed her in his grand, patronizing way. He had
seen something of this, he had long thought his mother wanted to
make this marriage--did Laura know any thing of it? (Not she--Mrs.
Pendennis said--not for worlds would she have breathed a word of it to
Laura)--"Well, well, there was time enough, his mother wouldn't die,"
Pen said laughingly: "he wouldn't hear of any such thing, and as for the
muse, she is too grand a lady to think about poor little me--and as for
Laura, who knows that she would have me. She would do any thing you told
her, to be sure. But am I worthy of her?"

"Oh, Pen, you might be," was the widow's reply; not that Mr. Pen
ever doubted that he was; and a feeling of indefinable pleasure and
self-complacency came over him as he thought over this proposal, and
imaged Laura to himself as his memory remembered her for years past,
always fair and open, kindly and pious, cheerful, tender, and true. He
looked at her with brightening eyes as she came in from the garden at
the end of this talk, her cheeks rather flushed, her looks frank and
smiling--a basket of roses in her hand.

She took the finest of them and brought it to Mrs. Pendennis, who was
refreshed by the odor and color of these flowers; and hung over her
fondly, and gave it to her.

"And I might have this prize for the asking!" Pen thought, with a thrill
of triumph, as he looked at the kindly girl. "Why, she is as beautiful
and as generous as her roses." The image of the two women remained
forever after in his mind, and he never recalled it but the tears came
into his eyes.

Before very many weeks' intimacy with her new acquaintance, however,
Miss Laura was obliged to give in to Helen's opinion, and own that the
muse was selfish, unkind, and inconstant. Of course Blanche confided to
her bosom friend all the little griefs and domestic annoyances; how the
family could not comprehend her, and she moved among them an isolated
being; how her poor mamma's education had been neglected, and she was
forced to blush for her blunders; how Sir Francis was a weak person
deplorably unintellectual, and only happy when smoking his odious
cigars; how, since the birth of her little brother, she had seen her
mother's precious affection, which she valued more than any thing in
life, estranged from her once darling daughter; how she was alone,
alone, alone in the world.

But these griefs, real and heart-rending though they might be to a young
lady of exquisite sensibility, did not convince Laura of the propriety
of Blanche's conduct in many small incidents of life. Little Frank, for
instance, might be very provoking, and might have deprived Blanche of
her mamma's affection, but this was no reason why Blanche should box the
child's ears because he upset a glass of water over her drawing, and why
she should call him many opprobrious names in the English and French
language; and the preference accorded to little Frank was certainly no
reason why Blanche should give herself imperial airs of command toward
the boy's governess, and send that young lady upon messages through the
house to bring her book or to fetch her pocket-handkerchief. When a
domestic performed an errand for honest Laura, she was always thankful
and pleased; whereas she could not but perceive that the little muse had
not the slightest scruple in giving her commands to all the world round
about her, and in disturbing any body's ease or comfort, in order to
administer to her own. It was Laura's first experience in friendship;
and it pained the kind creature's heart, to be obliged to give up as
delusions, one by one, those charms and brilliant qualities in which
her fancy had dressed her new friend, and to find that the fascinating
little fairy was but a mortal, and not a very amiable mortal, after
all. What generous person is there that has not been so deceived in his
time?--what person, perhaps, that has not so disappointed others in his
turn?

[Illustration][**moved up from 249]

After the scene with little Frank, in which that refractory son and
heir of the house of Clavering, had received the compliments in French
and English, and the accompanying box on the ear from his sister, Miss
Laura, who had plenty of humor, could not help calling to mind some very
touching and tender verses which the muse had read to her out of Mes
Larmes, and which began, "My pretty baby brother, may angels guard thy
rest," in which the muse, after complimenting the baby upon the station
in life which it was about to occupy, and contrasting it with her own
lonely condition, vowed, nevertheless, that the angel boy would never
enjoy such affection as hers was, or find in the false world before him
any thing so constant and tender as a sister's heart. "It may be," the
forlorn one said, "it may be, you will slight it, my pretty baby sweet,
you will spurn me from your bosom, I'll cling around your feet! Oh let
me, let me love you! the world will prove to you as false as 'tis to
others, but _I_ am ever true." And behold the muse was boxing the
darling brother's ears instead of kneeling at his feet, and giving Miss
Laura her first lesson in the Cynical philosophy--not quite her first,
however--something like this selfishness and waywardness, something like
this contrast between practice and poetry, between grand versified
aspirations and every-day life, she had witnessed at home in the person
of our young friend Mr. Pen.

But then Pen was different. Pen was a man. It seemed natural, somehow,
that he should be self-willed, and should have his own way. And under
his waywardness and selfishness, indeed there was a kind and generous
heart. O it was hard that such a diamond should be changed away against
such a false stone as this. In a word, Laura began to be tired of her
admired Blanche. She had assayed her, and found her not true; and
her former admiration and delight, which she had expressed with her
accustomed generous artlessness, gave way to a feeling, which we shall
not call contempt, but which was very near it; and which caused Laura to
adopt toward Miss Amory, a grave and tranquil tone of superiority, which
was at first by no means to the muse's liking. Nobody likes to be found
out, or having held a high place, to submit to step down.

The consciousness that this event was impending did not serve to
increase Miss Blanche's good humor, and as it made her peevish and
dissatisfied with herself, it probably rendered her even less agreeable
to the persons round about her. So there arose one fatal day a
battle-royal between dearest Blanche and dearest Laura, in which the
friendship between them was all but slain outright. Dearest Blanche had
been unusually capricious and wicked on this day. She had been insolent
to her mother; savage with little Frank; odiously impertinent in her
behavior to the boy's governess; and intolerably cruel to Pincott, her
attendant. Not venturing to attack her friend (for the little tyrant was
of a timid feline nature, and only used her claws upon those who were
weaker than herself) she maltreated all these, and especially poor
Pincott, who was menial, confidante, companion (slave always), according
to the caprice of her young mistress.

This girl who had been sitting in the room with the young ladies, being
driven thence in tears, occasioned by the cruelty of her mistress, and
raked with a parting sarcasm as she went sobbing from the door, Laura
fairly broke out into a loud and indignant invective--wondered how one
so young could forget the deference owing to her elders as well as to
her inferiors in station; and professing so much sensibility of her own,
could torture the feelings of others so wantonly. Laura told her friend
that her conduct was absolutely wicked, and that she ought to ask pardon
of Heaven on her knees for it. And having delivered herself of a hot
and voluble speech whereof the delivery astonished the speaker as much
almost as her auditor, she ran to her bonnet and shawl, and went home
across the park, in a great flurry and perturbation, and to the surprise
of Mrs. Pendennis, who had not expected her until night.

Alone with Helen, Laura gave an account of the scene, and gave up her
friend henceforth. "O mamma," she said, "you were right; Blanche, who
seems so soft and so kind, is, as you have said, selfish and cruel. She
who is always speaking of her affections can have no heart. No honest
girl would afflict a mother so, or torture a dependent; and--and, I give
her up from this day, and I will have no other friend but you."

On this the two ladies went through the osculatory ceremony which they
were in the habit of performing, and Mrs. Pendennis got a great secret
comfort from the little quarrel--for Laura's confession seemed to say,
"That girl can never be a wife for Pen, for she is light-minded and
heartless, and quite unworthy of our noble hero. He will be sure to find
out her unworthiness for his own part, and then he will be saved from
this flighty creature, and awake out of his delusion."

But Miss Laura did not tell Mrs. Pendennis, perhaps did not acknowledge
to herself, what had been the real cause of the day's quarrel. Being
in a very wicked mood, and bent upon mischief every where, the little
wicked muse of a Blanche had very soon begun her tricks. Her darling
Laura had come to pass a long day; and as they were sitting in her own
room together, had chosen to bring the conversation round to the subject
of Mr. Pen.

"I am afraid he is sadly fickle," Miss Blanche observed; "Mrs. Pybus,
and many more Clavering people, have told us all about the actress."

"I was quite a child when it happened, and I don't know any thing about
it," Laura answered, blushing very much.

"He used her very ill," Blanche said, wagging her little head. "He was
false to her."

"I am sure he was not," Laura cried out; "he acted most generously by
her: he wanted to give up every thing to marry her. It was she that was
false to him. He nearly broke his heart about it: he--"

"I thought you didn't know any thing about the story, dearest,"
interposed Miss Blanche.

"Mamma has said so," said Laura.

"Well, he is very clever," continued the other little dear. "What a
sweet poet he is! Have you ever read his poems?"

"Only the 'Fisherman and the Diver,' which he translated for us, and his
prize Poem, which didn't get the prize; and, indeed, I thought it very
pompous and prosy," Laura said, laughing.

"Has he never written _you_ any poems, then, love?" asked Miss Amory.

"No, my dear," said Miss Bell.

Blanche ran up to her friend, kissed her fondly, called her my dearest
Laura at least three times, looked her archly in the face, nodded her
head, and said, "Promise to tell no-o-body, and I will show you
something."

And tripping across the room daintily, to a little mother-of-pearl
inlaid desk, she opened it with a silver key, and took out two or three
papers crumpled and rather stained with green, which she submitted to
her friend. Laura took them and read them. They were love-verses sure
enough--something about Undine--about a Naiad--about a river. She looked
at them for a long time; but, in truth, the lines were not very distinct
before her eyes.

"And you have answered them, Blanche?" she asked, putting them back.

"O no! not for worlds, dearest," the other said: and when her dearest
Laura had _quite_ done with the verses, she tripped back, and popped
them again into the pretty desk.

Then she went to her piano, and sang two or three songs of Rossini,
whose flourishes of music her flexible little voice could execute to
perfection, and Laura sate by, vaguely listening, as she performed these
pieces. What was Miss Bell thinking about the while? She hardly knew;
but sate there silent as the songs rolled by. After this concert the
young ladies were summoned to the room where luncheon was served; and
whither they of course went with their arms round each other's waists.

And it could not have been jealousy or anger on Laura's part which had
made her silent; for, after they had tripped along the corridor and
descended the steps, and were about to open the door which leads into
the hall, Laura paused, and looking her friend kindly and frankly in the
face, kissed her with a sisterly warmth.

Something occurred after this--Master Frank's manner of eating,
probably, or mamma's blunders, or Sir Francis smelling of cigars--which
vexed Miss Blanche, and she gave way to that series of naughtinesses
whereof we have spoken, and which ended in the above little quarrel.



CHAPTER XXVI.

A HOUSE FULL OF VISITORS.


[Illustration]

The difference between the girls did not last long. Laura was always
too eager to forgive and be forgiven, and as for Miss Blanche, her
hostilities, never very long or durable, had not been provoked by the
above scene. Nobody cares about being accused of wickedness. No vanity
is hurt by that sort of charge: Blanche was rather pleased than provoked
by her friend's indignation, which never would have been raised but for
a cause which both knew, though neither spoke of.

And so, Laura, with a sigh, was obliged to confess that the romantic
part of her first friendship was at an end, and that the object of it
was only worthy of a very ordinary sort of regard.

As for Blanche, she instantly composed a copy of touching verses,
setting forth her desertion and disenchantment. It was only the old
story she wrote, of love meeting with coldness, and fidelity returned
by neglect; and some new neighbors arriving from London about this time,
in whose family there were daughters, Miss Amory had the advantage
of selecting an eternal friend from one of these young ladies, and
imparting her sorrows and disappointments to this new sister. The
tall footmen came but seldom now with notes to the sweet Laura; the
pony-carriage was but rarely dispatched to Fairoaks to be at the orders
of the ladies there. Blanche adopted a sweet look of suffering
martyrdom when Laura came to see her. The other laughed at her friend's
sentimental mood, and treated it with a good humor that was by no means
respectful.

But if Miss Blanche found new female friends to console her, the
faithful historian is also bound to say, that she discovered some
acquaintances of the other sex who seemed to give her consolation too.
If ever this artless young creature met a young man, and had ten
minutes' conversation with him in a garden walk, in a drawing-room
window, or in the intervals of a waltz, she confided in him, so to
speak--made play with her beautiful eyes--spoke in a tone of tender
interest, and simple and touching appeal, and left him, to perform the
same pretty little drama in behalf of his successor.

When the Claverings first came down to the Park, there were very few
audiences before whom Miss Blanche could perform: hence Pen had all the
benefits of her glances, and confidences, and the drawing-room window,
or the garden walk all to himself. In the town of Clavering, it has been
said, there were actually no young men: in the near surrounding country,
only a curate or two, or a rustic young squire, with large feet, and
ill-made clothes. To the dragoons quartered at Chatteries the baronet
made no overtures: it was unluckily his own regiment: he had left
it on bad terms with some officers of the corps--an ugly business
about a horse bargain--a disputed play account--blind-Hookey--a white
feather--who need ask?--it is not our business to inquire too closely
into the bygones of our characters, except in so far as their previous
history appertains to the development of this present story.

But the autumn, and the end of the parliamentary session, and the London
season, brought one or two country families down to their houses, and
filled tolerably the neighboring little watering-place of Baymouth,
and opened our friend Mr. Bingley's Theater Royal at Chatteries, and
collected the usual company at the Assizes and Race-balls there. Up to
this time, the old county families had been rather shy of our friends of
Clavering Park. The Fogys of Drummington: the Squares of Tozely Park;
the Welbores of The Barrow, &c. All sorts of stories were current among
these folks regarding the family at Clavering;--indeed, nobody ought to
say that people in the country have no imagination, who heard them talk
about new neighbors. About Sir Francis and his lady, and her birth and
parentage, about Miss Amory, about Captain Strong, there had been
endless histories which need not be recapitulated; and the family of the
Park had been three months in the country before the great people around
began to call.

But at the end of the season, the Earl of Trehawke, Lord Lieutenant
of the County, coming to Eyrie Castle, and the Countess Dowager of
Rockminster, whose son was also a magnate of the land, to occupy a
mansion on the Marine Parade at Baymouth--these great folks came
publicly immediately, and in state, to call upon the family of Clavering
Park; and the carriages of the county families speedily followed in the
track, which had been left in the avenue by their lordly wheels.

It was then that Mirobolant began to have an opportunity of exercising
that skill which he possessed, and of forgetting, in the occupations of
his art, the pangs of love. It was then that the large footmen were too
much employed at Clavering Park to be able to bring messages, or dally
over the cup of small beer with the poor little maids at Fairoaks. It
was then that Blanche found other dear friends than Laura, and other
places to walk in besides the river side, where Pen was fishing. He came
day after day, and whipped the stream, but the "fish, fish!" wouldn't do
their duty, nor the Peri appear. And here, though in strict confidence,
and with a request that the matter go no further, we may as well allude
to a delicate business, of which previous hint has been given. Mention
has been made, in a former page, of a certain hollow tree, at which
Pen used to take his station when engaged in his passion for Miss
Fotheringay, and the cavity of which he afterward used for other
purposes than to insert his baits and fishing-cans in. The truth is,
he converted this tree into a post-office. Under a piece of moss and a
stone, he used to put little poems, or letters equally poetical, which
were addressed to a certain Undine, or Naiad who frequented the stream,
and which, once or twice, were replaced by a receipt in the shape of a
flower, or by a modest little word or two of acknowledgment, written
in a delicate hand, in French or English, and on pink scented paper.
Certainly, Miss Amory used to walk by this stream, as we have seen; and
it is a fact that she used pink scented paper for her correspondence.
But after the great folks had invaded Clavering Park, and the family
coach passed out of the lodge-gates, evening after evening, on their way
to the other great country houses, nobody came to fetch Pen's letters at
the post-office; the white paper was not exchanged for the pink, but lay
undisturbed under its stone and its moss, while the tree was reflected
into the stream, and the Brawl went rolling by. There was not much in
the letters certainly; in the pink notes scarcely any thing--merely a
little word or two, half jocular, half sympathetic, such as might be
written by any young lady. But oh, you silly Pendennis, if you wanted
this one, why did you not speak? Perhaps neither party was in earnest.
You were only playing at being in love, and the sportive little Undine
was humoring you at the same play.

But if a man is balked at this game; he not unfrequently loses his
temper; and when nobody came any more for Pen's poems, he began to look
upon those compositions in a very serious light. He felt almost tragical
and romantic again, as in his first affair of the heart:--at any rate he
was bent upon having an explanation. One day he went to the Hall, and
there was a room-full of visitors: on another, Miss Amory was not to be
seen; she was going to a ball that night, and was lying down to take a
little sleep. Pen cursed balls, and the narrowness of his means, and the
humility of his position in the county, that caused him to be passed
over by the givers of these entertainments. On a third occasion, Miss
Amory was in the garden, and he ran thither; she was walking there
in state with no less personages than the Bishop and Bishopess of
Chatteries and the episcopal family, who scowled at him, and drew up in
great dignity when he was presented to them, and they heard his name.
The Right Reverend prelate had heard it before, and also of the little
transaction in the dean's garden.

"The bishop says you're a sad young man," good-natured Lady Clavering
whispered to him. "What have you been a doing of? Nothink, I hope, to
vex such a dear Mar as yours? How is your dear Mar? Why don't she come
and see me? We an't seen her this ever such a time. We're a goin about a
gaddin, so that we don't see no neighbors now. Give my love to her and
Laurar, and come all to dinner to-morrow."

Mrs. Pendennis was too unwell to come out, but Laura and Pen came, and
there was a great party, and Pen only got an opportunity of a hurried
word with Miss Amory. "You never come to the river now," he said.

"I can't," said Blanche, "the house is full of people."

"Undine has left the stream," Mr. Pen went on, choosing to be poetical.

"She never ought to have gone there," Miss Amory answered. "She won't go
again. It was very foolish: very wrong: it was only play. Besides, you
have other consolations at home," she added, looking him full in the
face an instant, and dropping her eyes.

If he wanted her, why did he not speak then? She might have said "Yes"
even then. But as she spoke of other consolations at home, he thought of
Laura, so affectionate and so pure, and of his mother at home, who had
bent her fond heart upon uniting him with her adopted daughter.
"Blanche!" he began, in a vexed tone--"Miss Amory!"

"Laura is looking at us, Mr. Pendennis," the young lady said. "I must go
back to the company," and she ran off, leaving Mr. Pendennis to bite his
nails in perplexity, and to look out into the moonlight in the garden.

Laura indeed was looking at Pen. She was talking with, or appearing to
listen to the talk of, Mr. Pynsent, Lord Rockminster's son, and grandson
of the Dowager Lady, who was seated in state in the place of honor,
gravely receiving Lady Clavering's bad grammar, and patronizing the
vacuous Sir Francis, whose interest in the county she was desirous to
secure. Pynsent and Pen had been at Oxbridge together, where the latter,
during his heyday of good fortune and fashion, had been the superior of
the young patrician, and perhaps rather supercilious toward him. They
had met for the first time, since they parted at the University, at the
table to-day, and given each other that exceedingly impertinent and
amusing demi-nod of recognition which is practiced in England only, and
only to perfection by University men--and which seems to say, "Confound
you--what do you do here?"

"I knew that man at Oxbridge," Mr. Pynsent said to Miss Bell--"a Mr.
Pendennis, I think."

"Yes," said Miss Bell.

"He seems rather sweet upon Miss Amory," the gentleman went on. Laura
looked at them, and perhaps thought so too, but said nothing.

"A man of large property in the county, ain't he? He used to talk about
representing it. He used to speak at the Union. Whereabouts do his
estates lie?"

Laura smiled. "His estates lie on the other side of the river, near the
lodge gate. He is my cousin, and I live there."

"Where?" asked Mr. Pynsent, with a laugh.

"Why, on the other side of the river, at Fairoaks," answered Miss Bell.

"Many pheasants there? Cover looks rather good," said the simple
gentleman.

Laura smiled again. "We have nine hens and a cock, a pig, and an old
pointer."

"Pendennis don't preserve then?" continued Mr. Pynsent.

"You should come and see him," the girl said, laughing, and greatly
amused at the notion that her Pen was a great county gentleman, and
perhaps had given himself out to be such.

"Indeed, I quite long to renew our acquaintance," Mr. Pynsent said,
gallantly, and with a look which fairly said, "It is you that I would
like to come and see"--to which look and speech Miss Laura vouchsafed a
smile, and made a little bow.

Here Blanche came stepping up with her most fascinating smile and ogle,
and begged dear Laura to come and take the second in a song. Laura was
ready to do any thing good-natured, and went to the piano; by which Mr.
Pynsent listened as long as the duet lasted, and until Miss Amory began
for herself, when he strode away.

"What a nice, frank, amiable, well-bred girl that is, Wagg," said Mr.
Pynsent to a gentleman who had come over with him from Baymouth--"the
tall one I mean, with the ringlets and the red lips--monstrous red,
ain't they?"

"What do you think of the girl of the house?" asked Mr. Wagg.

"I think she's a lean scraggy humbug;" said Mr. Pynsent, with great
candor. "She drags her shoulders out of her dress: she never lets her
eyes alone: and she goes simpering and ogling about like a French
waiting-maid."

"Pynsent, be civil," cried the other, "somebody can hear."

"Oh, it's Pendennis of Boniface," Mr. Pynsent said. "Fine evening, Mr.
Pendennis; we were just talking of your charming cousin."

"Any relation to my old friend, Major Pendennis?" asked Mr. Wagg.

"His nephew. Had the pleasure of meeting you at Gaunt House," Mr. Pen
said, with his very best air--the acquaintance between the gentleman was
made in an instant.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the afternoon of the next day, the two gentleman who were staying
at Clavering Park were found by Mr. Pen on his return from a fishing
excursion, in which he had no sport, seated in his mother's drawing-room
in comfortable conversation with the widow and her ward. Mr. Pynsent,
tall and gaunt, with large red whiskers and an imposing tuft to his
chin, was striding over a chair in the intimate neighborhood of Miss
Laura. She was amused by his talk, which was simple, straightforward,
rather humorous and keen, and interspersed with homely expressions of a
style which is sometimes called slang. It was the first specimen of a
young London dandy that Laura had seen or heard: for she had been but a
chit at the time of Mr. Foker's introduction at Fairoaks, nor indeed was
that ingenuous gentleman much more than a boy, and his refinement was
only that of a school and college.

Mr. Wagg, as he entered the Fairoaks premises with his companion, eyed
and noted every thing. "Old gardener," he said, seeing Mr. John at the
lodge--"old red livery waistcoat--clothes hanging out to dry on the
gooseberry bushes--blue aprons, white ducks--gad, they must be young
Pendennis's white ducks--nobody else wears 'em in the family. Rather
a shy place for a sucking county member, ay, Pynsent?"

"Snug little crib," said Mr. Pynsent, "pretty cozy little lawn."

"Mr. Pendennis at home, old gentleman?" Mr. Wagg said to the old
domestic. John answered, "No, Master Pendennis was agone out."

"Are the ladies at home?" asked the younger visitor. Mr. John answered,
"Yes, they be;" and as the pair walked over the trim gravel, and by
the neat shrubberies, up the steps to the hall-door, which old John
opened, Mr. Wagg noted every thing that he saw; the barometer and the
letter-bag, the umbrellas and the ladies' clogs, Pen's hats and tartan
wrapper, and old John opening the drawing-room door, to introduce the
new comers. Such minutiæ attracted Wagg instinctively; he seized them
in spite of himself.

"Old fellow does all the work," he whispered to Pynsent. "Caleb
Balderstone. Shouldn't wonder if he's the housemaid." The next minute
the pair were in the presence of the Fairoaks ladies; in whom Pynsent
could not help recognizing two perfectly well-bred ladies, and to whom
Mr. Wagg made his obeisance, with florid bows, and extra courtesy,
accompanied with an occasional knowing leer at his companion. Mr.
Pynsent did not choose to acknowledge these signals, except by extreme
haughtiness toward Mr. Wagg, and particular deference to the ladies. If
there was one thing laughable in Mr. Wagg's eyes, it was poverty. He had
the soul of a butler who had been brought from his pantry to make fun in
the drawing-room. His jokes were plenty, and his good-nature thoroughly
genuine, but he did not seem to understand that a gentleman could wear
an old coat, or that a lady could be respectable unless she had her
carriage, or employed a French milliner.

"Charming place, ma'am," said he, bowing to the widow; "noble
prospect--delightful to us Cockneys, who seldom see any thing but
Pall-mall." The widow said simply, she had never been in London but once
in her life--before her son was born.

"Fine village, ma'am, fine village," said Mr. Wagg, "and increasing
every day. It'll be quite a large town soon. It's not a bad place to
live in for those who can't get the country, and will repay a visit when
you honor it."

"My brother, Major Pendennis, has often mentioned your name to us," the
widow said, "and we have been very much amused by some of your droll
books, sir," Helen continued, who never could be brought to like Mr.
Wagg's books, and detested their tone most thoroughly.

"He is my very good friend," Mr. Wagg said, with a low bow, "and
one of the best known men about town, and where known, ma'am,
appreciated--I assure you, appreciated. He is with our friend Steyne,
at Aix-la-Chapelle. Steyne has a touch of the gout, and so, between
ourselves, has your brother. I am going to Stillbrook for the
pheasant-shooting, and afterward to Bareacres, where Pendennis and
I shall probably meet;" and he poured out a flood of fashionable
talk, introducing the names of a score of peers, and rattling on with
breathless spirits, while the simple widow listened in silent wonder.
What a man, she thought; are all the men of fashion in London like
this? I am sure Pen will never be like him.

Mr. Pynsent was in the mean while engaged with Miss Laura. He named
some of the houses in the neighborhood whither he was going, and hoped
very much that he should see Miss Bell at some of them. He hoped that
her aunt would give her a season in London. He said that in the next
parliament it was probable that he should canvass the county, and he
hoped to get Pendennis's interest here. He spoke of Pen's triumph as
an orator at Oxbridge, and asked was he coming into parliament too? He
talked on very pleasantly, and greatly to Laura's satisfaction, until
Pen himself appeared, and, as has been said, found these gentlemen.

Pen behaved very courteously to the pair, now that they had found their
way into his quarters; and though he recollected with some twinges a
conversation at Oxbridge, when Pynsent was present, and in which after a
great debate at the Union, and in the midst of considerable excitement
produced by a supper and champagne-cup--he had announced his intention
of coming in for his native county, and had absolutely returned thanks
in a fine speech as the future member; yet Mr. Pynsent's manner was
so frank and cordial, that Pen hoped Pynsent might have forgotten his
little fanfaronade, and any other braggadocio speeches or actions which
he might have made. He suited himself to the tone of the visitors then,
and talked about Plinlimmon and Magnus Charters, and the old set at
Oxbridge, with careless familiarity and high-bred ease, as if he lived
with marquises every day, and a duke was no more to him than a village
curate.

But at this juncture, and it being then six o'clock in the evening,
Betsy, the maid, who did not know of the advent of strangers, walked
into the room without any preliminary but that of flinging the door
wide open before her, and bearing in her arms a tray, containing three
tea-cups, a tea-pot, and a plate of thick bread-and-butter. All Pen's
splendor and magnificence vanished away at this--and he faltered and
became quite abashed. "What will they think of us?" he thought: and,
indeed, Wagg thrust his tongue in his cheek, thought the tea infinitely
contemptible, and leered and winked at Pynsent to that effect.

But to Mr. Pynsent the transaction appeared perfectly simple--there was
no reason present to his mind why people should not drink tea at six
if they were minded, as well as at any other hour; and he asked of Mr.
Wagg, when they went away, "What the devil he was grinning and winking
at, and what amused him?"

"Didn't you see how the cub was ashamed of the thick bread-and-butter?
I dare say they're going to have treacle if they are good. I'll take
an opportunity of telling old Pendennis, when we get back to town," Mr.
Wagg chuckled out.

"Don't see the fun," said Mr. Pynsent.

"Never thought you did," growled Wagg between his teeth; and they walked
home rather sulkily.

Wagg told the story at dinner very smartly, with wonderful accuracy
of observation. He described old John, the clothes that were drying,
the clogs in the hall, the drawing-room, and its furniture and
pictures;--"Old man with a beak and bald head--_feu_ Pendennis, I bet
two to one; sticking-plaster full-length of a youth in a cap and
gown--the present Marquis of Fairoaks, of course; the widow when young
in a miniature, Mrs. Mee; she had the gown on when we came, or a dress
made the year after, and the tips cut off the fingers of her gloves
which she stitches her son's collars with; and then the sarving maid
came in with their teas; and so we left the earl and the countess to
their bread-and-butter."

Blanche, near whom he sate as he told this story, and who adored _les
hommes d'esprit_, burst out laughing, and called him such an odd, droll
creature. But Pynsent, who began to be utterly disgusted with him, broke
out in a loud voice, and said, "I don't know, Mr. Wagg, what sort of
ladies you are accustomed to meet in your own family, but by gad, as far
as a first acquaintance can show, I never met two better-bred women in
my life, and I hope, ma'am! you'll call upon 'em," he added, addressing
Lady Rockminster, who was seated at Sir Francis Clavering's right hand.

Sir Francis turned to the guest on his left, and whispered, "That's
what I call a sticker for Wagg." And Lady Clavering, giving the young
gentleman a delighted tap with her fan, winked her black eyes at him,
and said, "Mr. Pynsent, you're a good feller."

After the affair with Blanche, a difference ever so slight, a tone
of melancholy, perhaps a little bitter, might be perceived in Laura's
converse with her cousin. She seemed to weigh him and find him wanting
too; the widow saw the girl's clear and honest eyes watching the young
man at times, and a look of almost scorn pass over her face, as he
lounged in the room with the women, or lazily sauntered smoking upon the
lawn, or lolled under a tree there over a book which he was too listless
to read.

"What has happened between you?" eager-sighted Helen asked of the girl.
"Something has happened. Has that wicked little Blanche been making
mischief? Tell me, Laura."

"Nothing has happened at all," Laura said.

"Then why do you look at Pen so?" asked his mother quickly.

"Look at him, dear mother!" said the girl. "We two women are no society
for him: we don't interest him; we are not clever enough for such a
genius as Pen. He wastes his life and energies away among us, tied to
our apron-strings. He interests himself in nothing; he scarcely cares to
go beyond the garden-gate. Even Captain Glanders and Captain Strong pall
upon him," she added, with a bitter laugh; "and they are men, you know,
and our superiors. He will never be happy while he is here. Why, is he
not facing the world, and without a profession?"

"We have got enough, with great economy," said the widow, her heart
beginning to beat violently. "Pen has spent nothing for months. I'm
sure he is very good. I am sure he might be very happy with us."

"Don't agitate yourself so, dear mother," the girl answered. "I don't
like to see you so. You should not be sad because Pen is unhappy here.
All men are so. They must work. They must make themselves names and
a place in the world. Look, the two captains have fought and seen
battles; that Mr. Pynsent, who came here, and who will be very rich,
is in a public office; he works very hard, he aspires to a name and a
reputation. He says Pen was one of the best speakers at Oxbridge, and
had as great a character for talent as any of the young gentlemen there.
Pen himself laughs at Mr. Wagg's celebrity (and indeed he is a horrid
person), and says he is a dunce, and that any body could write his
books."

"I am sure they are odious and vulgar," interposed the widow.

"Yet he has a reputation.--You see the County Chronicle says,
'The celebrated Mr. Wagg has been sojourning at Baymouth--let our
fashionables and eccentrics look out for something from his caustic
pen.' If Pen can write better than this gentleman, and speak better than
Mr. Pynsent, why doesn't he? Mamma, he can't make speeches to us; or
distinguish himself here. He ought to go away, indeed he ought."

"Dear Laura," said Helen, taking the girl's hand. "Is it kind of you to
hurry him so? I have been waiting. I have been saving up money these
many months--to--to pay back your advance to us."

"Hush, mother!" Laura cried, embracing her friend hastily. "It was your
money, not mine. Never speak about that again. How much money have you
saved?"

Helen said there were more than two hundred pounds at the bank, and that
she would be enabled to pay off all Laura's money by the end of the next
year.

"Give it him--let him have the two hundred pounds. Let him go to London
and be a lawyer: be something, be worthy of his mother--and of mine,
dearest mamma," said the good girl; upon which, and with her usual
tenderness and emotion, the fond widow declared that Laura was a
blessing to her, and the best of girls--and I hope no one in this
instance will be disposed to contradict her.

The widow and her daughter had more than one conversation on this
subject; and the elder gave way to the superior reason of the honest
and stronger minded girl; and, indeed, whenever there was a sacrifice
to be made on her part, this kind lady was only too eager to make it. But
she took her own way, and did not lose sight of the end she had in view,
in imparting these new plans to Pen. One day she told him of these
projects, and who it was that had formed them; how it was Laura who
insisted upon his going to London and studying; how it was Laura who
would not hear of the--the money arrangements when he came back from
Oxbridge--being settled just then; how it was Laura whom he had to
thank, if indeed he thought that he ought to go.

At that news Pen's countenance blazed up with pleasure, and he hugged
his mother to his heart, with an ardor that I fear disappointed the fond
lady; but she rallied when he said, "By Heaven! she is a noble girl,
and may God Almighty bless her! O mother! I have been wearing myself
away for months here, longing to work, and not knowing how. I've been
fretting over the thoughts of my shame, and my debts, and my past cursed
extravagance and follies. I've suffered infernally. My heart has been
half-broken--never mind about that--if I can get a chance to redeem
the past, and to do my duty to myself and the best mother in the world,
indeed, indeed, I will. I'll be worthy of you yet. Heaven bless you!
God bless Laura! Why isn't she here, that I may go and thank her?"
Pen went on with more incoherent phrases; paced up and down the room,
drank glasses of water, jumped about his mother with a thousand
embraces--began to laugh--began to sing--was happier than she had seen
him since he was a boy--since he had tasted of the fruit of that awful
tree of life, which, from the beginning has tempted all mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Laura was not at home. Laura was on a visit to the stately Lady
Rockminster, daughter to my Lord Bareacres, sister to the late Lady
Pontypool, and by consequence a distant kinswoman of Helen's, as her
ladyship, who was deeply versed in genealogy, was the first graciously
to point out to the modest country lady. Mr. Pen was greatly delighted
at the relationship being acknowledged, though perhaps not over well
pleased that Lady Rockminster took Miss Bell home with her for a couple
of days to Baymouth, and did not make the slightest invitation to Mr.
Arthur Pendennis. There was to be a ball at Baymouth, and it was to be
Miss Laura's first appearance. The dowager came to fetch her in her
carriage, and she went off with a white dress in her box, happy and
blushing like the rose to which Pen compared her.

This was the night of the ball--a public entertainment at the Baymouth
Hotel. "By Jove!" said Pen, "I'll ride over.--No, I won't ride, but I'll
go too." His mother was charmed that he should do so; and as he was
debating about the conveyance in which he should start for Baymouth,
Captain Strong called opportunely, said he was going himself, and that
he would put his horse, the Butcher Boy, into the gig, and drive Pen
over.

When the grand company began to fill the house at Clavering Park, the
Chevalier Strong, who, as his patron said, was never in the way or out
of it, seldom intruded himself upon its society, but went elsewhere to
seek his relaxation. "I've seen plenty of grand dinners in my time," he
said, "and dined, by Jove, in a company where there was a king and royal
duke at top and bottom, and every man along the table had six stars
on his coat; but dammy, Glanders, this finery don't suit me; and the
English ladies with their confounded buckram airs, and the squires
with their politics after dinner, send me to sleep--sink me dead if
they don't. I like a place where I can blow my cigar when the cloth is
removed, and when I'm thirsty, have my beer in its native pewter." So
on a gala day at Clavering Park, the chevalier would content himself
with superintending the arrangements of the table, and drilling the
major-domo and servants; and having looked over the bill of fare with
Monsieur Mirobolant, would not care to take the least part in the
banquet. "Send me up a cutlet and a bottle of claret to my room," this
philosopher would say, and from the windows of that apartment, which
commanded the terrace and avenue, he would survey the company as they
arrived in their carriages, or take a peep at the ladies in the
hall through an oeil-de-boeuf which commanded it from his corridor.
And the guests being seated, Strong would cross the park to Captain
Glanders's cottage at Clavering, or to pay the landlady a visit at the
Clavering Arms, or to drop in upon Madame Fribsby over her novel and
tea. Wherever the chevalier went he was welcome, and whenever he came
away a smell of hot brandy and water lingered behind him.

The Butcher Boy--not the worst horse in Sir Francis's stable--was
appropriated to Captain Strong's express use; and the old campaigner
saddled him or brought him home at all hours of the day or night,
and drove or rode him up and down the country. Where there was a
public-house with a good tap of beer--where there was a tenant with a
pretty daughter who played on the piano--to Chatteries, to the play,
or the barracks--to Baymouth, if any fun was on foot there; to the
rural fairs or races, the chevalier and his brown horse made their way
continually; and this worthy gentleman lived at free quarters in a
friendly country. The Butcher Boy soon took Pen and the chevalier to
Baymouth. The latter was as familiar with the hotel and landlord there
as with every other inn round about; and having been accommodated with
a bed-room to dress, they entered the ball-room. The chevalier was
splendid. He wore three little gold crosses in a brochette on the portly
breast of his blue coat, and looked like a foreign field-marshal.

The ball was public and all sorts of persons were admitted and
encouraged to come, young Pynsent having views upon the county, and Lady
Rockminster being patroness of the ball. There was a quadrille for the
aristocracy at one end, and select benches for the people of fashion.
Toward this end the chevalier did not care to penetrate far (as he said
he did not care for the nobs); but in the other part of the room he knew
every body--the wine-merchants', innkeepers', tradesmen's, solicitors',
squire-farmers' daughters, their sires and brothers, and plunged about
shaking hands.

"Who is that man with the blue ribbon and the three-pointed star?"
asked Pen. A gentleman in black with ringlets and a tuft stood gazing
fiercely about him, with one hand in the arm-hole of his waistcoat and
the other held his claque.

"By Jupiter, it's Mirobolant!" cried Strong, bursting out laughing.
"_Bon Jour, Chef!--Bon Jour, chevalier!_"

"_De la croix de Juillet, chevalier_," said the Chef, laying his hand on
his decoration.

"By Jove, here's some more ribbon!" said Pen, amused.

A man with very black hair and whiskers, dyed evidently with the
purple of Tyre, with twinkling eyes and white eyelashes, and a thousand
wrinkles in his face, which was of a strange red color, with two
under-vests, and large gloves and hands, and a profusion of diamonds
and jewels in his waistcoat and stock, with coarse feet crumpled
into immense shiny boots, and a piece of parti-colored ribbon in his
button-hole, here came up and nodded familiarly to the chevalier.

The chevalier shook hands. "My friend Mr. Pendennis," Strong said,
"Colonel Altamont, of the body guard of his Highness the Nawaub of
Lucknow." That officer bowed to the salute of Pen; who was now looking
out eagerly to see if the person he wanted had entered the room.

Not yet. But the band began presently performing "See the Conquering
Hero comes," and a host of fashionables--Dowager Countess of
Rockminster, Mr. Pynsent and Miss Bell, Sir Francis Clavering, Bart., of
Clavering Park, Lady Clavering and Miss Amory, Sir Horace Fogey, Bart.,
Lady Fogey, Colonel and Mrs. Higgs, ---- Wagg, Esq. (as the county paper
afterward described them), entered the room.

Pen rushed by Blanche, ran up to Laura, and seized her hand. "God bless
you!" he said, "I want to speak to you--I must speak to you--Let me
dance with you." "Not for three dances, dear Pen," she said, smiling:
and he fell back, biting his nails with vexation, and forgetting to
salute Pynsent.

After Lady Rockminster's party, Lady Clavering's followed in the
procession.

Colonel Altamont eyed it hard, holding a most musky pocket-handkerchief
up to his face, and bursting with laughter behind it.

"Who's the gal in green along with 'em, cap'n?" he asked of Strong.

"That's Miss Amory, Lady Clavering's daughter," replied the chevalier.

The colonel could hardly contain himself for laughing.



CHAPTER XXVII.

CONTAINS SOME BALL-PRACTICING.


[Illustration]

Under some calico draperies in the shady embrasure of a window, Arthur
Pendennis chose to assume a very gloomy and frowning countenance, and
to watch Miss Bell dance her first quadrille with Mr. Pynsent for a
partner. That gentleman was as solemn and severe as Englishmen are upon
such occasions, and walked through the dance as he would have walked up
to his pew in church, without a smile upon his face, or allowing any
outward circumstance to interfere with his attention to the grave duty
in which he was engaged. But Miss Laura's face was beaming with pleasure
and good-nature. The lights and the crowd and music excited her. As she
spread out her white robes, and performed her part of the dance, smiling
and happy, her brown ringlets flowing back over her fair shoulders from
her honest rosy face, more than one gentleman in the room admired and
looked after her: and Lady Fogey, who had a house in London and gave
herself no small airs of fashion when in the country, asked of Lady
Rockminster who the young person was, mentioned a reigning beauty in
London whom, in her ladyship's opinion, Laura was rather like, and
pronounced that she would "do."

Lady Rockminster would have been very much surprised if any _protégée_
of hers would not "do," and wondered at Lady Fogey's impudence in
judging upon the point at all. She surveyed Laura with majestic glances
through her eye-glass. She was pleased with the girl's artless looks,
and gay innocent manner. Her manner is very good, her ladyship thought.
Her arms are rather red, but that is a defect of her youth. Her _ton_
is far better than that of the little pert Miss Amory, who is dancing
opposite to her.

Miss Blanche was, indeed, the _vis-à-vis_ of Miss Laura, and smiled most
killingly upon her dearest friend, and nodded to her, and talked to her,
when they met during the quadrille evolutions, and patronized her a
great deal. Her shoulders were the whitest in the whole room: and they
were never easy in her frock for one single instant: nor were her eyes,
which rolled about incessantly: nor was her little figure:--it seemed to
say to all the people, "Come and look at me--not at that pink, healthy,
bouncing country lass, Miss Bell, who scarcely knew how to dance till
I taught her. This is the true Parisian manner--this is the prettiest
little foot in the room, and the prettiest little chaussure, too. Look
at it, Mr. Pynsent. Look at it, Mr. Pendennis, you who are scowling
behind the curtain--I know you are longing to dance with me."

Laura went on dancing, and keeping an attentive eye upon Mr. Pen in
the embrasure of the window. He did not quit that retirement during
the first quadrille, nor until the second, when the good-natured Lady
Clavering beckoned to him to come up to her to the dais or place of
honor where the dowagers were, and whither Pen went blushing and
exceedingly awkward, as most conceited young fellows are. He performed
a haughty salutation to Lady Rockminster, who hardly acknowledged his
bow, and then went and paid his respects to the widow of the late Amory,
who was splendid in diamonds, velvet, lace, feathers, and all sorts of
millinery and goldsmith's ware.

Young Mr. Fogey, then in the fifth form at Eton, and ardently expecting
his beard and his commission in a dragoon regiment, was the second
partner who was honored with Miss Bell's hand. He was rapt in admiration
of that young lady. He thought he had never seen so charming a creature.
"I like you much better than the French girl," (for this young gentleman
had been dancing with Miss Amory before) he candidly said to her. Laura
laughed, and looked more good-humored than ever; and in the midst of her
laughter caught a sight of Pen, and continued to laugh as he, on his
side, continued to look absurdly pompous and sulky. The next dance was a
waltz, and young Fogey thought, with a sigh, that he did not know how to
waltz, and vowed he would have a master the next holidays.

Mr. Pynsent again claimed Miss Bell's hand for this dance; and Pen
beheld her in a fury, twirling round the room, her waist encircled by
the arm of that gentleman. He never used to be angry before when, on
summer evenings, the chairs and tables being removed, and the governess
called down stairs to play the piano, he and the Chevalier Strong (who
was a splendid performer, and could dance a British hornpipe, a German
waltz, or a Spanish fandango, if need were), and the two young ladies,
Blanche and Laura, improvised little balls at Clavering Park. Laura
enjoyed this dancing so much, and was so animated, that she even
animated Mr. Pynsent. Blanche, who could dance beautifully, had an
unlucky partner, Captain Broadfoot, of the dragoons, then stationed at
Chatteries. For Captain Broadfoot, though devoting himself with great
energy to the object in view, could not get round in time: and, not
having the least ear for music, was unaware that his movements were
too slow.

So, in the waltz as in the quadrille, Miss Blanche saw that her dear
friend Laura had the honors of the dance, and was by no means pleased
with the latter's success. After a couple of turns with the heavy
dragoon, she pleaded fatigue, and requested to be led back to her place,
near her mamma, to whom Pen was talking; and she asked him why he had
not asked her to waltz, and had left her to the mercies of that great
odious man in spurs and a red coat.

"I thought spurs and scarlet were the most fascinating objects in the
world to young ladies," Pen answered. "I never should have dared to put
my black coat in competition with that splendid red jacket."

"You are very unkind, and cruel, and sulky, and naughty," said Miss
Amory, with another shrug of the shoulders. "You had better go away.
Your cousin is looking at us over Mr. Pynsent's shoulder."

"Will you waltz with me?" said Pen.

"Not this waltz. I can't, having just sent away that great hot Captain
Broadfoot. Look at Mr. Pynsent, did you ever see such a creature?
But I will dance the next waltz with you, and the quadrille too. I am
promised, but I will tell Mr. Poole that I had forgotten my engagement
to you."

"Women forget very readily," Pendennis said.

"But they always come back, and are very repentant and sorry for what
they've done," Blanche said. "See, here comes the Poker, and dear Laura
leaning on him. How pretty she looks!"

Laura came up, and put out her hand to Pen, to whom Pynsent made a sort
of bow, appearing to be not much more graceful than that domestic
instrument to which Miss Amory compared him.

But Laura's face was full of kindness. "I am so glad you have come, dear
Pen," she said. "I can speak to you now. How is mamma? The three dances
are over, and I am engaged to you for the next, Pen."

"I have just engaged myself to Miss Amory," said Pen; and Miss Amory
nodded her head, and made her usual little courtesy. "I don't intend
to give him up, dearest Laura," she said.

"Well, then, he'll waltz with me, dear Blanche," said the other. "Won't
you, Pen?"

"I promised to waltz with Miss Amory."

"Provoking!" said Laura, and making a courtesy in her turn, she went and
placed herself under the ample wing of Lady Rockminster.

Pen was delighted with his mischief. The two prettiest girls in the room
were quarreling about him. He flattered himself he had punished Miss
Laura. He leaned in a dandified air, with his elbow over the wall, and
talked to Blanche: he quizzed unmercifully all the men in the room--the
heavy dragoons in their tight jackets--the country dandies in their
queer attire--the strange toilets of the ladies. One seemed to have a
bird's nest in her head; another had six pounds of grapes in her hair,
besides her false pearls. "It's a _coiffure_ of almonds and raisins,"
said Pen, "and might be served up for dessert." In a word, he was
exceedingly satirical and amusing.

During the quadrille he carried on this kind of conversation with
unflinching bitterness and vivacity, and kept Blanche continually
laughing both at his wickedness and jokes, which were good, and also
because Laura was again their _vis-à-vis_, and could see and hear how
merry and confidential they were.

"Arthur is charming to-night," she whispered to Laura, across Cornet
Perch's shell jacket, as Pen was performing _cavalier seul_ before them,
drawling through that figure with a thumb in the pocket of each
waistcoat.

"_Who?_" said Laura.

"Arthur," answered Blanche, in French. "Oh, it's such a pretty name!"
And now the young ladies went over to Pen's side, and Cornet Perch
performed a _pas seul_ in his turn. He had no waistcoat pocket to put
his hands into, and they looked large and swollen as they hung before
him depending from the tight arms in the jacket.

During the interval between the quadrille and the succeeding waltz, Pen
did not take any notice of Laura, except to ask her whether her partner,
Cornet Perch, was an amusing youth, and whether she liked him so well
as her other partner, Mr. Pynsent. Having planted which two daggers in
Laura's gentle bosom, Mr. Pendennis proceeded to rattle on with Blanche
Amory, and to make jokes, good or bad, but which were always loud. Laura
was at a loss to account for her cousin's sulky behavior, and ignorant
in what she had offended him; however, she was not angry in her turn at
Pen's splenetic mood, for she was the most good-natured and forgiving of
women, and besides, an exhibition of jealousy on a man's part is not
always disagreeable to a lady.

As Pen would not dance with her, she was glad to take up with the active
Chevalier Strong, who was a still better performer than Pen; and being
very fond of dancing, as every brisk and innocent young girl should be,
when the waltz music began she set off, and chose to enjoy herself with
all her heart. Captain Broadfoot on this occasion occupied the floor in
conjunction with a lady of proportions scarcely inferior to his own;
Miss Roundle, a large young woman in a strawberry-ice colored crape
dress, the daughter of the lady with the grapes in her head, whose
bunches Pen had admired.

And now taking his time, and with his fair partner Blanche hanging
lovingly on the arm which encircled her, Mr. Arthur Pendennis set out
upon his waltzing career, and felt, as he whirled round to the music,
that he and Blanche were performing very brilliantly indeed. Very
likely he looked to see if Miss Bell thought so too; but she did not
or would not see him, and was always engaged with her partner Captain
Strong. But Pen's triumph was not destined to last long; and it was
doomed that poor Blanche was to have yet another discomfiture on that
unfortunate night. While she and Pen were whirling round as light and
brisk as a couple of opera-dancers, honest Captain Broadfoot and the
lady round whose large waist he was clinging, were twisting round very
leisurely according to their natures, and indeed were in every body's
way. But they were more in Pendennis's way than in any body's else, for
he and Blanche, while executing their rapid gyrations, came bolt up
against the heavy dragoon and his lady, and with such force that the
center of gravity was lost by all four of the circumvolving bodies;
Captain Broadfoot and Miss Roundle were fairly upset, as was Pen
himself, who was less lucky than his partner Miss Amory, who was only
thrown upon, a bench against a wall.

But Pendennis came fairly down upon the floor, sprawling in the general
ruin with Broadfoot and Miss Roundle. The captain, though heavy, was
good-natured, and was the first to burst out into a loud laugh at his
own misfortune, which nobody therefore heeded. But Miss Amory was savage
at her mishap; Miss Roundle placed on her _séant_, and looking pitifully
round, presented an object which very few people could see without
laughing; and Pen was furious when he heard the people giggling about
him. He was one of those sarcastic young fellows that did not bear a
laugh at his own expense, and of all things in the world feared ridicule
most.

As he got up Laura and Strong were laughing at him; every body was
laughing; Pynsent and his partner were laughing; and Pen boiled with
wrath against the pair, and could have stabbed them both on the spot. He
turned away in a fury from them, and began blundering out apologies to
Miss Amory. It was the other couple's fault--the woman in pink had done
it--Pen hoped Miss Amory was not hurt--would she not have the courage to
take another turn?

Miss Amory in a pet said she _was_ very much hurt indeed, and she would
not take another turn; and she accepted with great thanks a glass of
water which a cavalier, who wore a blue ribbon and a three-pointed
star, rushed to fetch for her when he had seen the deplorable accident.
She drank the water, smiled upon the bringer gracefully, and turning
her white shoulder at Mr. Pen in the most marked and haughty manner,
besought the gentleman with the star to conduct her to her mamma; and
she held out her hand in order to take his arm.

The man with the star trembled with delight at this mark of her favor;
he bowed over her hand, pressed it to his coat fervidly, and looked
round him with triumph.

It was no other than the happy Mirobolant whom Blanche had selected as
an escort. But the truth is, that the young lady had never fairly looked
in the artist's face since he had been employed in her mother's family,
and had no idea but it was a foreign nobleman on whose arm she was
leaning. As she went off, Pen forgot his humiliation in his surprise,
and cried out, "By Jove, it's the cook!"

The instant he had uttered the words, he was sorry for having spoken
them--for it was Blanche who had herself invited Mirobolant to escort
her, nor could the artist do otherwise than comply with a lady's
command. Blanche in her flutter did not hear what Arthur said; but
Mirobolant heard him, and cast a furious glance at him over his
shoulder, which rather amused Mr. Pen. He was in a mischievous and sulky
humor; wanting perhaps to pick a quarrel with somebody; but the idea
of having insulted a cook, or that such an individual should have any
feeling of honor at all, did not much enter into the mind of this lofty
young aristocrat, the apothecary's son.

It had never entered that poor artist's head, that he as a man was not
equal to any other mortal, or that there was any thing in his position
so degrading as to prevent him from giving his arm to a lady who asked
for it. He had seen in the fêtes in his own country fine ladies, not
certainly demoiselles (but the demoiselle Anglaise he knew was a great
deal more free than the spinster in France) join in the dance with
Blaise or Pierre; and he would have taken Blanche up to Lady Clavering,
and possibly have asked her to dance too, but he heard Pen's
exclamation, which struck him as if it had shot him, and cruelly
humiliated and angered him. She did not know what caused him to start,
and to grind a Gascon oath between his teeth.

But Strong, who was acquainted with the poor fellow's state of mind,
having had the interesting information from our friend Madame Fribsby,
was luckily in the way when wanted, and saying something rapidly in
Spanish, which the other understood, the Chevalier begged Miss Amory to
come and take an ice before she went back to Lady Clavering. Upon which
the unhappy Mirobolant relinquished the arm which he had held for a
minute, and with a most profound and piteous bow, fell back. "Don't you
know who it is?" Strong asked of Miss Amory, as he led her away. "It is
the Chef Mirobolant."

"How should I know?" asked Blanche. "He has a _croix_; he is very
_distingué_; he has beautiful eyes."

"The poor fellow is mad for your _beaux yeux_, I believe," Strong said.
"He is a very good cook, but he is not quite right in the head."

"What did you say to him in the unknown tongue?" asked Miss Blanche.

"He is a Gascon, and comes from the borders of Spain," Strong answered.
"I told him he would lose his place if he walked with you."

"Poor Monsieur Mirobolant!" said Blanche.

"Did you see the look he gave Pendennis?"--Strong asked, enjoying the
idea of the mischief--"I think he would like to run little Pen through
with one of his spits."

"He is an odious, conceited, clumsy creature, that Mr. Pen," said
Blanche.

"Broadfoot looked as if he would like to kill him too, so did Pynsent,"
Strong said. "What ice will you have--water ice or cream ice?"

"Water ice. Who is that odd man staring at me--he is _decoré_ too."

"That is my friend Colonel Altamont, a very queer character, in the
service of the Nawaub of Lucknow. Hallo! what's that noise! I'll be back
in an instant," said the chevalier, and sprang out of the room to the
ball-room, where a scuffle and a noise of high voices was heard.

The refreshment room in which Miss Amory now found herself, was a room
set apart for the purposes of supper, which Mr. Rincer the landlord had
provided for those who chose to partake, at the rate of five shillings
per head. Also, refreshments of a superior class were here ready for
the ladies and gentlemen of the county families who came to the ball;
but the commoner sort of persons were kept out of the room by a waiter
who stood at the portal, and who said that was a select room for Lady
Clavering and Lady Rockminster's parties, and not to be opened to the
public till supper-time, which was not to be until past midnight.
Pynsent, who danced with his constituents' daughters, took them and
their mammas in for their refreshment there. Strong, who was manager and
master of the revels wherever he went, had of course the _entrée_--and
the only person who was now occupying the room, was the gentleman with
the black wig and the orders in his button-hole; the officer in the
service of his Highness the Nawaub of Lucknow.

This gentleman had established himself very early in the evening in this
apartment, where, saying he was confoundedly thirsty, he called for a
bottle of champagne. At this order, the waiter instantly supposed that
he had to do with a grandee, and the colonel sate down and began to eat
his supper and absorb his drink, and enter affably into conversation
with any body who entered the room.

Sir Francis Clavering and Mr. Wagg found him there; when they left the
ball-room which they did pretty early--Sir Francis to go and smoke a
cigar and look at the people gathered outside the ball-room on the
shore, which he declared was much better fun than to remain within;
Mr. Wagg to hang on to a baronet's arm, as he was always pleased to do
on the arm of the greatest man in the company. Colonel Altamont had
stared at these gentleman in so odd a manner, as they passed through the
"select" room, that Clavering made inquiries of the landlord who he was,
and hinted a strong opinion that the officer of the Nawaub's service was
drunk.

Mr. Pynsent, too, had had the honor of a conversation with the servant
of the Indian potentate. It was Pynsent's cue to speak to every body
(which he did, to do him justice, in the most ungracious manner); and he
took the gentleman in the black wig for some constituent, some merchant
captain, or other outlandish man of the place. Mr. Pynsent, then coming
into the refreshment-room with a lady, the wife of a constituent, on
his arm, the colonel asked him if he would try a glass of Sham? Pynsent
took it with great gravity, bowed, tasted the wine, and pronounced it
excellent, and with the utmost politeness retreated before Colonel
Altamont. This gravity and decorum routed and surprised the colonel more
than any other kind of behavior probably would: he stared after Pynsent
stupidly, and pronounced to the landlord over the counter that he was
a rum one. Mr. Rincer blushed, and hardly knew what to say. Mr. Pynsent
was a county earl's grandson, going to set up as a Parliament man.
Colonel Altamont, on the other hand, wore orders and diamonds, jingled
sovereigns constantly in his pocket, and paid his way like a man; so not
knowing what to say, Mr. Rincer said, "Yes, colonel--yes, ma'am, did
you say tea? Cup a tea for Mrs. Jones, Mrs. R.," and so got off that
discussion regarding Mr. Pynsent's qualities, into which the Nizam's
officer appeared inclined to enter.

[Illustration]

In fact, if the truth must be told, Mr. Altamont, having remained at
the buffet almost all night, and employed himself very actively while
there, had considerably flushed his brain by drinking, and he was still
going on drinking when Mr. Strong and Miss Amory entered the room.

When the chevalier ran out of the apartment, attracted by the noise in
the dancing-room, the colonel rose from his chair with his little red
eyes glowing like coals, and, with rather an unsteady gait, advanced
toward Blanche, who was sipping her ice. She was absorbed in absorbing
it, for it was very fresh and good; or she was not curious to know what
was going on in the adjoining room, although the waiters were, who ran
after Chevalier Strong. So that when she looked up from the glass, she
beheld this strange man staring at her out of his little red eyes. "Who
was he? It was quite exciting."

"And so you're Betsy Amory," said he, after gazing at her. "Betsy Amory,
by Jove!"

"Who--who speaks to me?" said Betsy, alias Blanche.

But the noise in the ball-room is really becoming so loud, that we must
rush back thither, and see what is the cause of the disturbance.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

WHICH IS BOTH QUARRELSOME AND SENTIMENTAL.


[Illustration]

Civil war was raging, high words passing, people pushing and squeezing
together in an unseemly manner, round a window in the corner of the
ball-room, close by the door through which the Chevalier Strong
shouldered his way. Through the opened window, the crowd in the street
below was sending up sarcastic remarks, such as "Pitch into him!"
"Where are the police?" and the like; and a ring of individuals, among
whom Madame Fribsby was conspicuous, was gathered round Monsieur
Alcide Mirobolant on the one side; while several gentlemen and ladies
surrounded our friend Arthur Pendennis on the other. Strong penetrated
into this assembly, elbowing by Madame Fribsby, who was charmed at the
chevalier's appearance, and cried, "Save him, save him!" in frantic and
pathetic accents.

The cause of the disturbance, it appeared, was the angry little chef of
Sir Francis Clavering's culinary establishment. Shortly after Strong had
quitted the room, and while Mr. Pen, greatly irate at his downfall in
the waltz, which had made him look ridiculous in the eyes of the nation,
and by Miss Amory's behavior to him, which had still further insulted
his dignity, was endeavoring to get some coolness of body and temper,
by looking out of window toward the sea, which was sparkling in the
distance, and murmuring in a wonderful calm--while he was really trying
to compose himself, and owning to himself, perhaps, that he had acted in
a very absurd and peevish manner during the night--he felt a hand upon
his shoulder; and, on looking round, beheld, to his utter surprise and
horror, that the hand in question belonged to Monsieur Mirobolant, whose
eyes were glaring out of his pale face and ringlets at Mr. Pen. To be
tapped on the shoulder by a French cook was a piece of familiarity
which made the blood of the Pendennises to boil up in the veins of their
descendant, and he was astounded, almost more than enraged, at such an
indignity.

"You speak French?" Mirobolant said, in his own language, to Pen.

"What is that to you, pray?" said Pen, in English.

"At any rate, you understand it?" continued the other, with a bow.

"Yes, sir," said Pen, with a stamp of his foot; "I understand it pretty
well."

"Vous me comprendrez alors, Monsieur Pendennis," replied the other,
rolling out his _r_ with Gascon force, "quand je vous dis que vous êtes
un lâche. Monsieur Pendennis--un lâche, entendez-vous?"

"What?" said Pen, starting round on him.

"You understand the meaning of the word and its consequences among men
of honor?" the artist said, putting his hand on his hip, and staring at
Pen.

"The consequences are, that I will fling you out of window,
you--impudent scoundrel," bawled out Mr. Pen; and darting upon the
Frenchman, he would very likely have put his threat into execution,
for the window was at hand, and the artist by no means a match for the
young gentleman--had not Captain Broadfoot and another heavy officer
flung themselves between the combatants--had not the ladies begun to
scream--had not the fiddles stopped--had not the crowd of people come
running in that direction--had not Laura, with a face of great alarm,
looked over their heads and asked for Heaven's sake what was wrong--had
not the opportune Strong made his appearance from the refreshment-room,
and found Alcides grinding his teeth and jabbering oaths in his Gascon
French, and Pen looking uncommonly wicked, although trying to appear
as calm as possible, when the ladies and the crowd came up.

"What has happened?" Strong asked of the chef in Spanish.

"I am Chevalier de Juillet," said the other, slapping his breast, "and
he has insulted me."

"What has he said to you?" asked Strong.

"Il m'a appelé--_Cuisinier_?" hissed out the little Frenchman.

Strong could hardly help laughing. "Come away with me, my poor
chevalier," he said. "We must not quarrel before ladies. Come away; I
will carry your message to Mr. Pendennis.--The poor fellow is not right
in his head," he whispered to one or two people about him;--and others,
and anxious Laura's face visible among these, gathered round Pen, and
asked the cause of the disturbance.

Pen did not know. "The man was going to give his arm to a young lady,
on which I said that he was a cook, and the man called me a coward and
challenged me to fight. I own I was so surprised and indignant that if
you, gentlemen, had not stopped me, I should have thrown him out of
window," Pen said.

"D---- him, serve him right, too--the d-- impudent foreign scoundrel,"
the gentlemen said.

"I--I'm very sorry if I hurt his feelings, though," Pen added; and Laura
was glad to hear him say that; although some of the young bucks said,
"No, hang the fellow--hang those impudent foreigners--little thrashing
would do them good."

"You will go and shake hands with him before you go to sleep--won't you,
Pen?" said Laura, coming up to him. "Foreigners may be more susceptible
than we are, and have different manners. If you hurt a poor man's
feelings, I am sure you would be the first to ask his pardon. Wouldn't
you, dear Pen?"

She looked all forgiveness and gentleness, like an angel, as she spoke;
and Pen took both her hands, and looked into her kind face, and said,
indeed he would.

"How fond that girl is of me!" he thought, as she stood gazing at him.
"Shall I speak to her now? No--not now. I must have this absurd business
with the Frenchman over."

Laura asked--Wouldn't he stop and dance with her? She was as anxious to
keep him in the room, as he to quit it. "Won't you stop and waltz with
me, Pen? _I_'m not afraid to waltz with you."

This was an affectionate, but an unlucky speech. Pen saw himself
prostrate on the ground, having tumbled over Miss Roundle and the
dragoon, and flung Blanche up against the wall--saw himself on the
ground, and all the people laughing at him, Laura and Pynsent among
them.

"I shall never dance again," he replied, with a dark and determined
face. "Never. I'm surprised you should ask me."

"Is it because you can't get Blanche for a partner?" asked Laura, with
a wicked, unlucky captiousness.

"Because I don't wish to make a fool of myself, for other people to
laugh at me," Pen answered--"for _you_ to laugh at me, Laura. I saw you
and Pynsent. By Jove! no man shall laugh at me."

"Pen, Pen, don't be so wicked!" cried out the poor girl, hurt at the
morbid perverseness and savage vanity of Pen. He was glaring round in
the direction of Mr. Pynsent as if he would have liked to engage that
gentleman as he had done the cook. "Who thinks the worse of you for
stumbling in a waltz?" If Laura does, we don't. "Why are you so
sensitive and ready to think evil?"

Here again, by ill luck, Mr. Pynsent came up to Laura, and said, "I have
it in command from Lady Rockminster to ask whether I may take you in to
supper?"

"I--I was going in with my cousin," Laura said.

"O--pray no!" said Pen. "You are in such good hands that I can't do
better than leave you; and I'm going home."

"Good night, Mr. Pendennis," Pynsent said, drily--to which speech (which
in fact, meant, "Go to the deuce for an insolent, jealous, impertinent
jackanapes, whose ears I should like to box"), Mr. Pendennis did not
vouchsafe any reply, except a bow: and, in spite of Laura's imploring
looks, he left the room.

"How beautifully calm and bright the night outside is!" said Mr. Pynsent;
"and what a murmur the sea is making! It would be pleasanter to be
walking on the beach, than in this hot room."

"Very," said Laura.

"What a strange congregation of people," continued Pynsent. "I have
had to go up and perform the agreeable to most of them--the attorney's
daughters--the apothecary's wife--I scarcely know whom. There was a man
in the refreshment room, who insisted upon treating me to champagne--a
seafaring looking man--extraordinarily dressed, and seeming half tipsy.
As a public man, one is bound to conciliate all these people, but it
is a hard task--especially when one would so very much like to be
elsewhere"--and he blushed rather as he spoke.

"I beg your pardon," said Laura--"I--I was not listening.
Indeed--I was frightened about that quarrel between my cousin and
that--that--that--French person."

"Your cousin has been rather unlucky to-night," Pynsent said. "There
are three or four persons whom he has not succeeded in pleasing--Captain
Broadwood; what is his name--the officer--and the young lady in red with
whom he danced--and Miss Blanche--and the poor chef--and I don't think
he seemed particularly pleased with me."

"Didn't he leave me in charge to you?" Laura said, looking up into Mr.
Pynsent's face, and dropping her eyes instantly, like a guilty little
story-telling coquette.

"Indeed, I can forgive him a good deal for that," Pynsent eagerly cried
out, and she took his arm, and he led off his little prize in the
direction of the supper-room.

She had no great desire for that repast, though it was served in
Rincer's well known style, as the county paper said, giving an account
of the entertainment afterward; indeed, she was very _distraite_; and
exceedingly pained and unhappy about Pen. Captious and quarrelsome;
jealous and selfish; fickle and violent and unjust when his anger led
him astray; how could her mother (as indeed Helen had by a thousand
words and hints) ask her to give her heart to such a man? And suppose
she were to do so, would it make him happy?

But she got some relief at length, when at the end of half an hour--a
long half-hour it had seemed to her--a waiter brought her a little note
in pencil from Pen, who said, "I met Cooky below ready to fight me;
and I asked his pardon. I'm glad I did it. I wanted to speak to you
to-night, but will keep what I had to say till you come home. God
bless you. Dance away all night with Pynsent, and be very happy.
PEN."--Laura was very thankful for this letter, and to think
that there was goodness and forgiveness still in her mother's boy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pen went down stairs, his heart reproaching him for his absurd behavior
to Laura, whose gentle and imploring looks followed and rebuked him; and
he was scarcely out of the ball-room door but he longed to turn back
and ask her pardon. But he remembered that he had left her with that
confounded Pynsent. He could not apologize before _him_. He would
compromise, and forget his wrath, and make his peace with the Frenchman.

The chevalier was pacing down below in the hall of the inn when Pen
descended from the ball-room; and he came up to Pen, with all sorts of
fun and mischief lighting up his jolly face.

"I have got him in the coffee-room," he said, "with a brace of pistols
and a candle. Or would you like swords on the beach? Mirobolant is a
dead hand with the foils, and killed four _gardes-du-corps_ with his own
point in the barricades of July."

"Confound it," said Pen, in a fury, "I can't fight a cook!"

"He is a Chevalier of July," replied the other. "They present arms to
him in his own country."

"And do you ask me, Captain Strong, to go out with a servant?" Pen asked
fiercely; "I'll call a policeman for _him_; but--but--"

"You'll invite me to hair triggers?" cried Strong, with a laugh. "Thank
you for nothing; I was but joking. I came to settle quarrels, not to
fight them. I have been soothing down Mirobolant; I have told him that
you did not apply the word 'cook' to him in an offensive sense; that it
was contrary to all the customs of the country that a hired officer of
a household, as I called it, should give his arm to the daughter of the
house." And then he told Pen the grand secret which he had had from
Madame Fribsby of the violent passion under which the poor artist was
laboring.

When Arthur heard this tale, he broke out into a hearty laugh, in which
Strong joined, and his rage against the poor cook vanished at once. He
had been absurdly jealous himself all the evening, and had longed for a
pretext to insult Pynsent. He remembered how jealous he had been of Oaks
in his first affair; he was ready to pardon any thing to a man under a
passion like that; and he went into the coffee-room where Mirobolant was
waiting, with an outstretched hand, and made him a speech in French,
in which he declared that he was "Sincèrement fache d'avoir usé une
expression qui avoit pu blesser Monsieur Mirobolant, et qu'il donnoit sa
parole comme un gentlehomme qu'il ne l'avoit jamais, jamais--intendé,"
said Pen, who made a shot at a French word for "intended," and was
secretly much pleased with his own fluency and correctness in speaking
that language.

"Bravo, bravo!" cried Strong, as much amused with Pen's speech as
pleased by his kind manner. "And the Chevalier Mirobolant of course
withdraws, and sincerely regrets the expression of which he made use."

"Monsieur Pendennis has disproved my words himself," said Alcide, with
great politeness; "he has shown that he is a _galant homme_."

And so they shook hands and parted, Arthur in the first place
dispatching his note to Laura before he and Strong committed themselves
to the Butcher Boy.

As they drove along, Strong complimented Pen upon his behavior, as well
as upon his skill in French. "You're a good fellow, Pendennis, and you
speak French like Chateaubriand, by Jove."

"I've been accustomed to it from my youth upward," said Pen; and Strong
had the grace not to laugh for five minutes, when he exploded into fits
of hilarity which Pendennis has never, perhaps, understood up to this
day.

It was daybreak when they got to the Brawl, where they separated.
By that time the ball at Baymouth was over too. Madame Fribsby and
Mirobolant were on their way home in the Clavering fly; Laura was in
bed, with an easy heart, and asleep at Lady Rockminster's; and the
Claverings at rest at the inn at Baymouth, where they had quarters for
the night. A short time after the disturbance between Pen and the chef,
Blanche had come out of the refreshment-room, looking as pale as a
lemon-ice. She told her maid, having no other _confidante_ at hand, that
she had met with the most romantic adventure--the most singular man--one
who had known the author of her being--her persecuted--her unhappy--her
heroic--her murdered father; and she began a sonnet to his manes before
she went to sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

So Pen returned to Fairoaks, in company with his friend the chevalier,
without having uttered a word of the message which he had been so
anxious to deliver to Laura at Baymouth. He could wait, however, until
her return home, which was to take place on the succeeding day. He was
not seriously jealous of the progress made by Mr. Pynsent in her favor;
and he felt pretty certain that in this, as in any other family
arrangement, he had but to ask and have, and Laura, like his mother,
could refuse him nothing.

When Helen's anxious looks inquired of him what had happened at
Baymouth, and whether her darling project was fulfilled, Pen, in a gay
tone, told of the calamity which had befallen; laughingly said, that no
man could think about declarations under such a mishap, and made light
of the matter. "There will be plenty of time for sentiment, dear mother,
when Laura comes back," he said, and he looked in the glass with a
killing air, and his mother put his hair off his forehead and kissed
him, and of course thought, for her part, that no woman could resist
him: and was exceedingly happy that day.

When he was not with her, Mr. Pen occupied himself in packing books and
portmanteaus, burning and arranging papers, cleaning his gun and putting
it into its case: in fact, in making dispositions for departure. For
though he was ready to marry, this gentleman was eager to go to London
too, rightly considering that at three-and-twenty it was quite time for
him to begin upon the serious business of life, and to set about making
a fortune as quickly as possible.

The means to this end he had already shaped out for himself. "I shall
take chambers," he said, "and enter myself at an Inn of Court. With a
couple of hundred pounds I shall be able to carry through the first year
very well; after that I have little doubt my pen will support me, as
it is doing with several Oxbridge men now in town. I have a tragedy, a
comedy, and a novel, all nearly finished, and for which I can't fail to
get a price. And so I shall be able to live pretty well, without drawing
upon my poor mother, until I have made my way at the bar. Then, some day
I will come back and make her dear soul happy by marrying Laura. She is
as good and as sweet-tempered a girl as ever lived, besides being really
very good-looking, and the engagement will serve to steady me--won't it,
Ponto?" Thus, smoking his pipe, and talking to his dog as he sauntered
through the gardens and orchards of the little domain of Fairoaks, this
young day-dreamer built castles in the air for himself: "Yes, she'll
steady me, won't she? And you'll miss me when I've gone, won't you, old
boy?" he asked of Ponto, who quivered his tail and thrust his brown nose
into his master's fist. Ponto licked his hand and shoe, as they all did
in that house, and Mr. Pen received their homage as other folks do the
flattery which they get.

Laura came home rather late in the evening of the second day; and Mr.
Pynsent, as ill luck would have it, drove her from Clavering. The poor
girl could not refuse his offer, but his appearance brought a dark cloud
upon the brow of Arthur Pendennis. Laura saw this, and was pained by
it; the eager widow, however, was aware of nothing, and being anxious,
doubtless, that the delicate question should be asked at once, was for
going to bed very soon after Laura's arrival, and rose for that purpose
to leave the sofa where she now generally lay, and where Laura would
come and sit and work or read by her. But when Helen rose, Laura said,
with a blush and rather an alarmed voice, that she was also very tired
and wanted to go to bed: so that the widow was disappointed in her
scheme for that night at least, and Mr. Pen was left another day in
suspense regarding his fate.

His dignity was offended at being thus obliged to remain in the
ante-chamber when he wanted an audience. Such, a sultan as he, could not
afford to be kept waiting. However, he went to bed and slept upon his
disappointment pretty comfortably, and did not wake until the early
morning, when he looked up and saw his mother standing in his room.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Dear Pen, rouse up," said this lady. "Do not be lazy. It is the most
beautiful morning in the world. I have not been able to sleep since
daybreak; and Laura has been out for an hour. She is in the garden.
Every body ought to be in the garden and out on such a morning as this."

Pen laughed. He saw what thoughts were uppermost in the simple woman's
heart. His good-natured laughter cheered the widow. "Oh you profound
dissembler," he said, kissing his mother. "Oh you artful creature! Can
nobody escape from your wicked tricks? and will you make your only son
your victim?" Helen too laughed, she blushed, she fluttered, and was
agitated. She was as happy as she could be--a good, tender, match-making
woman, the dearest project of whose heart was about to be accomplished.

So, after exchanging some knowing looks and hasty words, Helen left
Arthur; and this young hero, rising from his bed, proceeded to decorate
his beautiful person, and shave his ambrosial chin; and in half an hour
he issued out from his apartment into the garden in quest of Laura. His
reflections as he made his toilet were rather dismal. "I am going to tie
myself for life," he thought, "to please my mother. Laura is the best
of women, and--and she has given me her money. I wish to heaven I had
not received it; I wish I had not this duty to perform just yet. But as
both the women have set their hearts on the match, why I suppose I must
satisfy them--and now for it. A man may do worse than make happy two of
the best creatures in the world." So Pen, now he was actually come to
the point, felt very grave, and by no means elated, and, indeed, thought
it was a great sacrifice he was going to perform.

It was Miss Laura's custom, upon her garden excursions, to wear a sort
of uniform, which, though homely, was thought by many people to be not
unbecoming. She had a large straw hat, with a streamer of broad ribbon,
which was useless probably, but the hat sufficiently protected the
owner's pretty face from the sun. Over her accustomed gown she wore a
blouse or pinafore, which, being fastened round her little waist by a
smart belt, looked extremely well, and her hands were guaranteed from
the thorns of her favorite rose-bushes by a pair of gauntlets, which
gave this young lady a military and resolute air.

Somehow she had the very same smile with which she had laughed at him on
the night previous, and the recollection of his disaster again offended
Pen. But Laura, though she saw him coming down the walk looking so
gloomy and full of care, accorded to him a smile of the most perfect and
provoking good-humor, and went to meet him, holding one of the gauntlets
to him, so that he might shake it if he liked--and Mr. Pen condescended
to do so. His face, however, did not lose its tragic expression in
consequence of this favor, and he continued to regard her with a dismal
and solemn air.

"Excuse my glove," said Laura, with a laugh, pressing Pen's hand kindly
with it. "We are not angry again, are we, Pen?"

"Why do you laugh at me?" said Pen. "You did the other night, and made a
fool of me to the people at Baymouth."

"My dear Arthur, I meant you no wrong," the girl answered. "You and Miss
Roundle looked so droll as you--as you met with your little accident,
that I could not make a tragedy of it. Dear Pen, it wasn't a serious
fall. And, besides, it was Miss Roundle who was the most unfortunate."

"Confound Miss Roundle," bellowed out Pen.

"I'm sure she looked so," said Laura, archly. "You were up in an
instant; but that poor lady sitting on the ground in her red crape
dress, and looking about her with that piteous face--can I ever forget
her?"--and Laura began to make a face in imitation of Miss Roundle's
under the disaster, but she checked herself repentantly, saying, "Well,
we must not laugh at her, but I am sure we ought to laugh at you, Pen,
if you were angry about such a trifle."

[Illustration]

"_You_ should not laugh at me, Laura," said Pen, with some bitterness;
"not you, of all people."

"And why not? Are you such a great man?" asked Laura.

"Ah no, Laura, I'm such a poor one," Pen answered. "Haven't you baited
me enough already?"

"My dear Pen, and how?" cried Laura. "Indeed, indeed, I didn't think to
vex you by such a trifle. I thought such a clever man as you could bear
a harmless little joke from his sister," she said, holding her hand out
again. "Dear Arthur, if I have hurt you, I beg your pardon."

"It is your kindness that humiliates me more even than your laughter,
Laura," Pen said. "You are always my superior."

"What! superior to the great Arthur Pendennis? How can it be possible?"
said Miss Laura, who may have had a little wickedness as well as a great
deal of kindness in her composition. "You can't mean that any woman is
your equal?"

"Those who confer benefits should not sneer," said Pen. "I don't like my
benefactor to laugh at me, Laura; it makes the obligation very hard to
bear. You scorn me because I have taken your money, and I am worthy to
be scorned; but the blow is hard coming from you."

"Money! Obligation! For shame, Pen; this is ungenerous," Laura said,
flushing red. "May not our mother claim every thing that belongs to us?
Don't I owe her all my happiness in this world, Arthur? What matters
about a few paltry guineas, if we can set her tender heart at rest, and
ease her mind regarding you? I would dig in the fields, I would go out
and be a servant--I would die for her. You know I would," said Miss
Laura, kindling up; "and you call this paltry money an obligation? Oh,
Pen, it's cruel--it's unworthy of you to take it so! If my brother may
not share with me my superfluity, who may?--mine?--I tell you it was not
mine; it was all mamma's to do with as she chose, and so is every thing
I have," said Laura; "my life is hers." And the enthusiastic girl looked
toward the windows of the widow's room, and blessed in her heart the
kind creature within.

Helen was looking, unseen, out of that window toward which Laura's eyes
and heart were turned as she spoke, and was watching her two children
with the deepest interest and emotion, longing and hoping that the
prayer of her life might be fulfilled: and if Laura had spoken as Helen
hoped, who knows what temptations Arthur Pendennis might have been
spared, or what different trials he would have had to undergo? He might
have remained at Fairoaks all his days, and died a country gentleman.
But would he have escaped then? Temptation is an obsequious servant that
has no objection to the country, and we know that it takes up its
lodging in hermitages as well as in cities; and that in the most remote
and inaccessible desert it keeps company with the fugitive solitary.

"Is your life my mother's," said Pen, beginning to tremble, and speak in
a very agitated manner. "You know, Laura, what the great object of hers
is?" And he took her hand once more.

"What, Arthur?" she said, dropping it, and looking at him, at the window
again, and then dropping her eyes to the ground, so that they avoided
Pen's gaze. She, too, trembled, for she felt that the crisis for which
she had been secretly preparing was come.

"Our mother has one wish above all others in the world, Laura," Pen
said; "and I think you know it. I own to you that she has spoken to me
of it; and if you will fulfill it, dear sister, I am ready. I am but
very young as yet; but I have had so many pains and disappointments,
that I am old and weary. I think I have hardly got a heart to offer.
Before I have almost begun the race in life, I am a tired man. My career
has been a failure; I have been protected by those whom I by right
should have protected. I own that your nobleness and generosity, dear
Laura, shame me, while they render me grateful. When I heard from our
mother what you had done for me: that it was you who armed me and bade
me go out for one struggle more; I longed to go and throw myself at your
feet, and say, 'Laura, will you come and share the contest with me? Your
sympathy will cheer me while it lasts. I shall have one of the tenderest
and most generous creatures under heaven to aid and bear me company.'
Will you take me, dear Laura, and make our mother happy?"

"Do you think mamma would be happy if you were otherwise, Arthur?" Laura
said, in a low sad voice.

"And why should I not be," asked Pen, eagerly, "with so dear a creature
as you by my side? I have not my first love to give you. I am a broken
man. But indeed I would love you fondly and truly. I have lost many an
illusion and ambition, but I am not without hope still. Talents I know I
have, wretchedly as I have misapplied them; they may serve me yet; they
would, had I a motive for action. Let me go away, and think that I am
pledged to return to you. Let me go and work, and hope that you will
share my success if I gain it. You have given me so much, dear Laura,
will you take from me nothing?"

"What have you got to give, Arthur?" Laura said, with a grave sadness of
tone, which made Pen start, and see that his words had committed him.
Indeed, his declaration had not been such as he would have made it two
days earlier, when full of hope and gratitude, he had run over to Laura,
his liberatress, to thank her for his recovered freedom. Had he been
permitted to speak then, he had spoken, and she, perhaps, had listened
differently. It would have been a grateful heart asking for hers; not a
weary one offered to her, to take or to leave. Laura was offended with
the terms in which Pen offered himself to her. He had, in fact, said
that he had no love, and yet would take no denial. "I give myself to you
to please my mother," he had said; "take me, as she wishes that I should
make this sacrifice." The girl's spirit would brook a husband under no
such conditions: she was not minded to run forward because Pen chose to
hold out the handkerchief, and her tone, in reply to Arthur, showed her
determination to be independent.

"No, Arthur," she said, "our marriage would not make mamma happy, as she
fancies; for it would not content you very long. I, too, have known what
her wishes were; for she is too open to conceal any thing she has at
heart: and once, perhaps, I thought--but that is over now--that I could
have made you--that it might have been as she wished."

"You have seen somebody else," said Pen, angry at her tone, and
recalling the incidents of the past days.

"That allusion might have been spared," Laura replied, flinging up her
head. "A heart which has worn out love at three-and-twenty, as yours
has, you say, should have survived jealousy too. I do not condescend to
say whether I have seen or encouraged any other person. I shall neither
admit the charge, nor deny it: and beg you also to allude to it no
more."

"I ask your pardon, Laura, if I have offended you: but if I am jealous,
does it not prove that I have a heart?"

"Not for me, Arthur. Perhaps you think you love me now: but it is only
for an instant, and because you are foiled. Were there no obstacle, you
would feel no ardor to overcome it. No, Arthur, you don't love me. You
would weary of me in three months, as--as you do of most things; and
mamma, seeing you tired of me, would be more unhappy than at my refusal
to be yours. Let us be brother and sister, Arthur, as heretofore--but no
more. You will get over this little disappointment."

"I will try," said Arthur, in a great indignation.

"Have you not tried before?" Laura said, with some anger, for she had
been angry with Arthur for a very long time, and was now determined, I
suppose, to speak her mind. "And the next time, Arthur, when you offer
yourself to a woman, do not say as you have done to me, 'I have no
heart--I do not love you; but I am ready to marry you because my mother
wishes for the match.' We require more than this in return for our
love--that is, I think so. I have had no experience hitherto, and have
not had the--the practice which you supposed me to have, when you spoke
but now of my having seen somebody else. Did you tell your first love
that you had no heart, Arthur? or your second that you did not love her,
but that she might have you if she liked?"

"What--what do you mean?" asked Arthur, blushing, and still in great
wrath.

"I mean Blanche Amory, Arthur Pendennis," Laura said, proudly. "It is
but two months since you were sighing at her feet--making poems to
her--placing them in hollow trees by the river-side. I knew all. I
watched you--that is, she showed them to me. Neither one nor the other
were in earnest perhaps; but it is too soon now, Arthur, to begin a new
attachment. Go through the time of your--your widowhood at least, and do
not think of marrying until you are out of mourning."--(Here the girl's
eyes filled with tears, and she passed her hand across them). "I am
angry and hurt, and I have no right to be so, and I ask your pardon in
my turn now, dear Arthur. You had a right to love Blanche. She was a
thousand times prettier and more accomplished than--than any girl near
us here; and you could not know that she had no heart; and so you were
right to leave her too. I ought not to rebuke you about Blanche Amory,
and because she deceived you. Pardon me, Pen,"--and she held the kind
hand out to Pen once more.

"We were both jealous," said Pen. "Dear Laura, let us both forgive"--and
he seized her hand and would have drawn her toward him. He thought that
she was relenting, and already assumed the airs of a victor.

But she shrank back, and her tears passed away; and she fixed on him a
look so melancholy, and severe, that the young man in his turn shrank
before it. "Do not mistake me, Arthur," she said, "it can not be. You do
not know what you ask, and do not be too angry with me for saying that I
think you do not deserve it. What do you offer in exchange to a woman
for her love, honor, and obedience? If ever I say these words, dear Pen,
I hope to say them in earnest, and by the blessing of God to keep my
vow. But you--what tie binds you? You do not care about many things
which we poor women hold sacred. I do not like to think or ask how far
your incredulity leads you. You offer to marry to please our mother, and
own that you have no heart to give away? Oh, Arthur, what is it you
offer me? What a rash compact would you enter into so lightly? A month
ago, and you would have given yourself to another. I pray you do not
trifle with your own or others' hearts so recklessly. Go and work; go
and mend, dear Arthur, for I see your faults, and dare speak of them
now: go and get fame, as you say that you can, and I will pray for my
brother, and watch our dearest mother at home."

"Is that your final decision, Laura?" Arthur cried.

"Yes," said Laura, bowing her head; and once more giving him her hand,
she went away. He saw her pass under the creepers of the little porch,
and disappear into the house. The curtains of his mother's window fell
at the same minute, but he did not mark that, or suspect that Helen had
been witnessing the scene.

Was he pleased, or was he angry at its termination? He had asked her,
and a secret triumph filled his heart to think that he was still free.
She had refused him, but did she not love him? That avowal of jealousy
made him still think that her heart was his own, whatever her lips might
utter.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now we ought, perhaps, to describe another scene which took place
at Fairoaks, between the widow and Laura, when the latter had to tell
Helen that she had refused Arthur Pendennis. Perhaps it was the hardest
task of all which Laura had to go through in this matter: and the one
which gave her the most pain. But as we do not like to see a good woman
unjust, we shall not say a word more of the quarrel which now befell
between Helen and her adopted daughter, or of the bitter tears which the
poor girl was made to shed. It was the only difference which she and the
widow had ever had as yet, and the more cruel from this cause. Pen left
home while it was as yet pending--and Helen, who could pardon almost
every thing, could not pardon an act of justice in Laura.



CHAPTER XXIX.

BABYLON.


[Illustration]

Our reader must now please to quit the woods and sea-shore of the
west, and the gossip of Clavering, and the humdrum life of poor little
Fairoaks, and transport himself with Arthur Pendennis, on the "Alacrity"
coach, to London, whither he goes once for all to face the world and to
make his fortune. As the coach whirls through the night away from the
friendly gates of home, many a plan does the young man cast in his mind
of future life and conduct, prudence, and peradventure success and fame.
He knows he is a better man than many who have hitherto been ahead of
him in the race: his first failure has caused him remorse, and brought
with it reflection; it has not taken away his courage, or, let us add,
his good opinion of himself. A hundred eager fancies and busy hopes
keep him awake. How much older his mishaps and a year's thought and
self-communion have made him, than when, twelve months since, he passed
on this road on his way to and from Oxbridge! His thoughts turn in the
night with inexpressible fondness and tenderness toward the fond mother,
who blessed him when parting, and who, in spite of all his past faults
and follies, trusts him and loves him still. Blessings be on her! he
prays, as he looks up to the stars overhead. O heaven, give him strength
to work, to endure, to be honest, to avoid temptation, to be worthy of
the loving soul who loves him so entirely! Very likely she is awake,
too, at that moment, and sending up to the same Father purer prayers
than his for the welfare of her boy. That woman's love is a talisman by
which he holds and hopes to get his safety. And Laura's--he would have
fain carried her affection with him too, but she has denied it, as he is
not worthy of it. He owns as much with shame and remorse; confesses how
much better and loftier her nature is than his own--confesses it, and
yet is glad to be free. "I am not good enough for such a creature," he
owns to himself. He draws back before her spotless beauty and innocence,
as from something that scares him. He feels he is not fit for such a
mate as that; as many a wild prodigal who has been pious and guiltless
in early days, keeps away from a church which he used to frequent
once--shunning it, but not hostile to it--only feeling that he has no
right in that pure place.

With these thoughts to occupy him, Pen did not fall asleep until the
nipping dawn of an October morning, and woke considerably refreshed when
the coach stopped at the old breakfasting place at B----, where he had
had a score of merry meals on his way to and from school and college
many times since he was a boy. As they left that place, the sun broke
out brightly, the pace was rapid, the horn blew, the milestones flew by,
Pen smoked and joked with guard and fellow-passengers and people along
the familiar road; it grew more busy and animated at every instant; the
last team of grays came out at H----, and the coach drove into London.
What young fellow has not felt a thrill as he entered the vast place?
Hundreds of other carriages, crowded with their thousands of men, were
hastening to the great city. "Here is my place," thought Pen; "here is
my battle beginning, in which I must fight and conquer, or fall. I have
been a boy and a dawdler as yet. Oh, I long, I long to show that I can
be a man." And from his place on the coach-roof the eager young fellow
looked down upon the city, with the sort of longing desire which young
soldiers feel on the eve of a campaign.

As they came along the road, Pen had formed an acquaintance with a
cheery fellow-passenger in a shabby cloak, who talked a great deal about
men of letters with whom he was very familiar, and who was, in fact,
the reporter of a London newspaper, as whose representative he had
been to attend a great wrestling-match in the west. This gentleman knew
intimately, as it appeared, all the leading men of letters of his day,
and talked about Tom Campbell, and Tom Hood, and Sydney Smith, and this
and the other, as if he had been their most intimate friend. As they
passed by Brompton, this gentleman pointed out to Pen, Mr. Hurtle, the
reviewer, walking with his umbrella. Pen craned over the coach to have
a long look at the great Hurtle. He was a Boniface man, said Pen. And
Mr. Doolan of the Star newspaper (for such was the gentleman's name and
address upon the card which he handed to Pen), said "Faith he was, and
he knew him very well." Pen thought it was quite an honor to have seen
the great Mr. Hurtle, whose works he admired. He believed fondly, as
yet, in authors, reviewers, and editors of newspapers. Even Wagg, whose
books did not appear to him to be masterpieces of human intellect, he
yet secretly revered as a successful writer. He mentioned that he had
met Wagg in the country, and Doolan told him how that famous novelist
received three hundred pounds a volume for every one of his novels. Pen
began to calculate instantly whether he might not make five thousand a
year.

The very first acquaintance of his own whom Arthur met, as the coach
pulled up at the Gloster Coffee House, was his old friend Harry Foker,
who came prancing down Arlington-street behind an enormous cab-horse.
He had white kid gloves and white reins, and nature had by this time
decorated him with a considerable tuft on the chin. A very small cab-boy,
vice Stoopid retired, swung on behind Foker's vehicle; knock-kneed and
in the tightest leather breeches. Foker looked at the dusty coach, and
the smoking horses of the "Alacrity" by which he had made journeys in
former times.--"What, Foker!" cried out Pendennis--"Hullo! Pen, my boy!"
said the other, and he waved his whip by way of amity and salute to
Arthur, who was very glad to see his queer friend's kind old face. Mr.
Doolan had a great respect for Pen who had an acquaintance in such a
grand cab; and Pen was greatly excited and pleased to be at liberty
and in London. He asked Doolan to come and dine with him at the Covent
Garden Coffee House, where he put up: he called a cab and rattled away
thither in the highest spirits. He was glad to see the bustling waiter
and polite bowing landlord again; and asked for the landlady, and missed
the old Boots, and would have liked to shake hands with every body.
He had a hundred pounds in his pocket. He dressed himself in his very
best; dined in the coffee-room with a modest pint of sherry (for he was
determined to be very economical), and went to the theater adjoining.

The lights and the music, the crowd and the gayety, charmed and
exhilarated Pen, as those sights will do young fellows from college and
the country, to whom they are tolerably new. He laughed at the jokes; he
applauded the songs, to the delight of some of the dreary old _habitués_
of the boxes, who had ceased long ago to find the least excitement in
their place of nightly resort, and were pleased to see any one so fresh,
and so much amused. At the end of the first piece, he went and strutted
about the lobbies of the theater, as if he was in a resort of the
highest fashion. What tired frequenter of the London pavé is there that
can not remember having had similar early delusions, and would not call
them back again? Here was young Foker again, like an ardent votary of
pleasure as he was. He was walking with Granby Tiptoff, of the Household
Brigade, Lord Tiptoff's brother, and Lord Colchicum, Captain Tiptoff's
uncle, a venerable peer, who had been a man of pleasure since the first
French Revolution. Foker rushed upon Pen with eagerness, and insisted
that the latter should come into his private box, where a lady with the
longest ringlets, and the fairest shoulders, was seated. This was Miss
Blenkinsop, the eminent actress of high comedy; and in the back of the
box snoozing in a wig, sate old Blenkinsop, her papa. He was described
in the theatrical prints as the 'veteran Blenkinsop'--'the useful
Blenkinsop'--'that old favorite of the public, Blenkinsop'--those parts
in the drama, which are called the heavy fathers, were usually assigned
to this veteran, who, indeed, acted the heavy father in public, as in
private life.

At this time, it being about eleven o'clock, Mrs. Pendennis was gone to
bed at Fairoaks, and wondering whether her dearest Arthur was at rest
after his journey. At this time Laura, too, was awake. And at this time
yesterday night, as the coach rolled over silent commons, where cottage
windows twinkled, and by darkling woods under calm starlit skies, Pen
was vowing to reform and to resist temptation, and his heart was at
home.... Meanwhile the farce was going on very successfully, and Mrs.
Leary, in a hussar jacket and braided pantaloons, was enchanting the
audience with her archness, her lovely figure, and her delightful
ballads.

Pen, being new to the town, would have liked to listen to Mrs. Leary
but the other people in the box did not care about her song or her
pantaloons, and kept up an incessant chattering. Tiptoff knew where her
_maillots_ came from. Colchicum saw her when she came out in '14. Miss
Blenkinsop said she sang out of all tune, to the pain and astonishment
of Pen, who thought that she was as beautiful as an angel, and that
she sang like a nightingale; and when Hoppus came on as Sir Harcourt
Featherby, the young man of the piece, the gentlemen in the box declared
that Hoppus was getting too stale, and Tiptoff was for flinging Miss
Blenkinsop's bouquet to him.

"Not for the world," cried the daughter of the veteran Blenkinsop; "Lord
Colchicum gave it to me."

Pen remembered that nobleman's name, and with a bow and a blush said he
believed he had to thank Lord Colchicum for having proposed him at the
Megatherium Club, at the request of his uncle, Major Pendennis.

"What, you're Wigsby's nephew, are you?" said the peer. "I beg your
pardon, we always call him Wigsby." Pen blushed to hear his venerable
uncle called by such a familiar name. "We balloted you in last week,
didn't we? Yes, last Wednesday night. Your uncle wasn't there."

Here was delightful news for Pen! He professed himself very much obliged
indeed to Lord Colchicum, and made him a handsome speech of thanks, to
which the other listened, with his double opera-glass up to his eyes.
Pen was full of excitement at the idea of being a member of this polite
club.

"Don't be always looking at that box, you naughty creature," cried Miss
Blenkinsop.

"She's a dev'lish fine woman, that Mirabel," said Tiptoff; "though
Mirabel was a d--d fool to marry her."

"A stupid old spooney," said the peer.

"Mirabel!" cried out Pendennis.

"Ha! ha!" laughed out Harry Foker. "We've heard of her before, haven't
we, Pen?"

It was Pen's first love. It was Miss Fotheringay. The year before she
had been led to the altar by Sir Charles Mirabel, G.C.B., and formerly
envoy to the Court of Pumpernickel, who had taken so active a part in
the negotiations before the Congress of Swammerdam, and signed, on
behalf of H.B.M. the peace of Pultusk.

"Emily was always as stupid as an owl," said Miss Blenkinsop.

"Eh! Eh! pas si bête," the old peer said.

"Oh, for shame!" cried the actress, who did not in the least know what
he meant.

And Pen looked out, and beheld his first love once again--and wondered
how he ever could have loved her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, on the very first night of his arrival in London, Mr. Arthur
Pendennis found himself introduced to a club, to an actress of genteel
comedy, and a heavy father of the stage, and to a dashing society of
jovial blades, old and young; for my Lord Colchicum, though stricken in
years, bald of head, and enfeebled in person, was still indefatigable in
the pursuit of enjoyment, and it was the venerable viscount's boast that
he could drink as much claret as the youngest member of the society
which he frequented. He lived with the youth about town: he gave them
countless dinners at Richmond and Greenwich: an enlightened patron of
the drama in all languages, and of the Terpsichorean art, he received
dramatic professors of all nations at his banquets--English from the
Covent Garden and Strand houses, Italians from the Haymarket, French
from their own pretty little theater, or the boards of the Opera where
they danced. And at his villa on the Thames, this pillar of the state
gave sumptuous entertainments to scores of young men of fashion, who
very affably consorted with the ladies and gentlemen of the
green-room--with the former chiefly, for Viscount Colchicum preferred
their society, as more polished and gay than that of their male
brethren.

Pen went the next day and paid his entrance-money at the club, which
operation carried off exactly one-third of his hundred pounds; and took
possession of the edifice, and ate his luncheon there with immense
satisfaction. He plunged into an easy chair in the library, and tried to
read all the magazines. He wondered whether the members were looking at
him, and that they could dare to keep on their hats in such fine rooms.
He sate down and wrote a letter to Fairoaks on the club paper, and said,
what a comfort this place would be to him after his day's work was
over. He went over to his uncle's lodgings in Bury-street with some
considerable tremor, and in compliance with his mother's earnest desire,
that he should instantly call on Major Pendennis; and was not a little
relieved to find that the major had not yet returned to town. His
apartments were blank. Brown hollands covered his library-table, and
bills and letters lay on the mantle-piece, grimly awaiting the return of
their owner. The major was on the continent, the landlady of the house
said, at Badnbadn, with the Marcus of Steyne. Pen left his card upon the
shelf with the rest. Fairoaks was written on it still.

When the major returned to London, which he did in time for the fogs of
November, after enjoying which he proposed to spend Christmas with some
friends in the country, he found another card of Arthur's, on which Lamb
Court, Temple, was engraved, and a note from that young gentleman and
from his mother, stating that he was come to town, was entered a member
of the Upper Temple, and was reading hard for the bar.

Lamb Court, Temple:--where was it? Major Pendennis remembered that
some ladies of fashion used to talk of dining with Mr. Ayliffe, the
barrister, who was "in society," and who lived there in the King's
Bench, of which prison there was probably a branch in the Temple, and
Ayliffe was very likely an officer. Mr. Deuceace, Lord Crab's son, had
also lived there, he recollected. He dispatched Morgan to find out where
Lamb Court was, and to report upon the lodging selected by Mr. Arthur.
That alert messenger had little difficulty in discovering Mr. Pen's
abode. Discreet Morgan had in his time traced people far more difficult
to find than Arthur.

"What sort of a place is it, Morgan?" asked the major, out of the
bed-curtains in Bury-street the next morning, as the valet was arranging
his toilet in the deep yellow London fog.

"I should say rayther a shy place," said Mr. Morgan. "The lawyers lives
there, and has their names on the doors. Mr. Harthur lives three pair
high, sir. Mr. Warrington live there too, sir."

"Suffolk Warringtons! I shouldn't wonder: a good family," thought the
major. "The cadets of many of our good families follow the robe as a
profession. Comfortable rooms, eh?"

"Honly saw the outside of the door, sir, with Mr. Warrington's name and
Mr. Arthur's painted up, and a piece of paper with 'Back at 6;' but I
couldn't see no servant, sir."

"Economical at any rate," said the major.

"Very, sir. Three pair, sir. Nasty black staircase as ever I see. Wonder
how a gentleman can live in such a place."

"Pray, who taught you where gentlemen should or should not live, Morgan.
Mr. Arthur, sir, is going to study for the bar, sir;" the major said
with much dignity; and closed the conversation and began to array
himself, in the yellow fog.

"Boys will be boys," the mollified uncle thought to himself. "He has
written to me a dev'lish good letter. Colchicum says he has had him to
dine, and thinks him agentleman like lad. His mother is one of the best
creatures in the world. If he has sown his wild oats, and will stick to
his business, he may do well yet. Think of Charley Mirabel, the old fool
marrying that flame of his! that Fotheringay! He doesn't like to come
here until I give him leave, and puts it in a very manly, nice way. I
was deuced angry with him, after his Oxbridge escapades--and showed it,
too, when he was here before--Gad, I'll go and see him, hang me if I
don't."

And having ascertained from Morgan that he could reach the Temple
without much difficulty, and that a city omnibus would put him down
at the gate, the major one day after breakfast at his club--not the
Polyanthus, whereof Mr. Pen was just elected a member, but another club:
for the major was too wise to have a nephew as a constant inmate of any
house where he was in the habit of passing his time--the major one day
entered one of those public vehicles, and bade the conductor to put him
down at the gate of the Upper Temple.

When Major Pendennis reached that dingy portal it was about twelve
o'clock in the day; and he was directed by a civil personage with a
badge and a white apron, through some dark alleys, and under various
melancholy archways into courts each more dismal than the other, until
finally he reached Lamb Court. If it was dark in Pall Mall, what was it
in Lamb Court? Candles were burning in many of the rooms there--in the
pupil-room of Mr. Hodgeman, the special pleader, where six pupils were
scribbling declarations under the tallow; in Sir Hokey Walker's clerk's
room, where the clerk, a person far more gentlemanlike and cheerful in
appearance than the celebrated counsel, his master, was conversing in a
patronizing manner with the managing clerk of an attorney at the door;
and in Curling, the wig-maker's melancholy shop, where, from behind the
feeble glimmer of a couple of lights, large sergeants' and judges' wigs
were looming drearily, with the blank blocks looking at the lamp-post in
the court. Two little clerks were playing at toss-halfpenny under that
lamp. A laundress in pattens passed in at one door, a newspaper boy
issued from another. A porter, whose white apron was faintly visible,
paced up and down. It would be impossible to conceive a place more
dismal, and the major shuddered to think that any one should select such
a residence. "Good Ged!" he said, "the poor boy mustn't live on here."

The feeble and filthy oil-lamps, with which the stair-cases of the Upper
Temple are lighted of night, were of course not illuminating the stairs
by day, and Major Pendennis, having read with difficulty his nephew's
name under Mr. Warrington's on the wall of No. 6, found still greater
difficulty in climbing the abominable black stairs, up the banisters of
which, which contributed their damp exudations to his gloves, he groped
painfully until he came to the third story. A candle was in the passage
of one of the two sets of rooms; the doors were open, and the names of
Mr. Warrington and Mr. A. Pendennis were very clearly visible to the
major as he went in. An Irish charwoman, with a pail and broom, opened
the door for the major.

"Is that the beer?" cried out a great voice: "give us hold of it."

The gentleman who was speaking was seated on a table, unshorn and
smoking a short pipe; in a farther chair sate Pen, with a cigar, and
his legs near the fire. A little boy, who acted as the clerk of these
gentlemen, was grinning in the major's face, at the idea of his being
mistaken for beer. Here, upon the third floor, the rooms were somewhat
lighter, and the major could see the place.

"Pen, my boy, it's I--it's your uncle," he said, choking with the smoke.
But as most young men of fashion used the weed, he pardoned the practice
easily enough.

Mr. Warrington got up from the table, and Pen, in a very perturbed
manner, from his chair. "Beg your pardon, for mistaking you," said
Warrington, in a frank, loud voice. "Will you take a cigar, sir? Clear
those things off the chair, Pidgeon, and pull it round to the fire."

Pen flung his cigar into the grate; and was pleased with the cordiality
with which his uncle shook him by the hand. As soon as he could speak
for the stairs and the smoke, the major began to ask Pen very kindly
about himself and about his mother; for blood is blood, and he was
pleased once more to see the boy.

Pen gave his news, and then introduced Mr. Warrington--an old Boniface
man--whose chambers he shared.

The major was quite satisfied when he heard that Mr. Warrington was a
younger son of Sir Miles Warrington of Suffolk. He had served with an
uncle of his in India and in New South Wales, years ago.

"Took a sheep-farm there, sir, made a fortune--better thing than law
or soldiering," Warrington said. "Think I shall go there too." And here
the expected beer coming in, in a tankard with a glass bottom, Mr.
Warrington, with a laugh, said he supposed the major would not have any,
and took a long, deep draught himself, after which he wiped his wrist
across his beard with great satisfaction. The young man was perfectly
easy and unembarrassed. He was dressed in a ragged old shooting-jacket,
and had a bristly blue beard. He was drinking beer like a coal-heaver,
and yet you couldn't but perceive that he was a gentleman.

When he had sate for a minute or two after his draught he went out of
the room, leaving it to Pen and his uncle, that they might talk over
family affairs were they so inclined.

"Rough and ready, your chum seems," the major said. "Somewhat different
from your dandy friends at Oxbridge."

"Times are altered," Arthur replied, with a blush. "Warrington is only
just called, and has no business, but he knows law pretty well: and
until I can afford to read with a pleader, I use his books, and get his
help."

"Is that one of the books?" the major asked, with a smile. A French
novel was lying at the foot of Pen's chair.

"This is not a working day, sir," the lad said. "We were out very late
at a party last night--at Lady Whiston's," Pen added, knowing his
uncle's weakness. "Every body in town was there except you, sir; Counts,
Embassadors, Turks, Stars and Garters--I don't know who--it's all in the
paper--and my name, too," said Pen, with great glee. "I met an old flame
of mine there, sir," he added, with a laugh. "You know whom I mean,
sir--Lady Mirabel--to whom I was introduced over again. She shook hands,
and was gracious enough. I may thank you for being out of that scrape,
sir. She presented me to the husband, too--an old beau in a star and a
blonde wig. He does not seem very wise. She has asked me to call on her,
sir: and I may go now without any fear of losing my heart."

"What, we have had some new loves, have we?" the major asked, in high
good-humor.

"Some two or three," Mr. Pen said, laughing. "But I don't put on my
_grand sérieux_ any more, sir. That goes off after the first flame."

"Very right, my dear boy. Flames and darts and passion, and that sort
of thing, do very well for a lad: and you were but a lad when that
affair with the Fotheringill--Fotheringay--(what's her name?) came off.
But a man of the world gives up those follies. You still may do very
well. You have been hit, but you may recover. You are heir to a little
independence, which every body fancies is a doosid deal more. You have
a good name, good wits, good manners, and a good person--and, begad!
I don't see why you shouldn't many a woman with money--get into
Parliament--distinguish yourself, and--and, in fact, that sort of thing.
Remember, it's as easy to marry a rich woman as a poor woman: and a
devilish deal pleasanter to sit down to a good dinner, than to a scrag
of mutton in lodgings. Make up your mind to that. A woman with a good
jointure is a doosid deal easier a profession than the law, let me tell
you. Look out; I shall be on the watch for you: and I shall die content,
my boy, if I can see you with a good lady-like wife, and a good
carriage, and a good pair of horses, living in society, and seeing your
friends, like a gentleman. Would you like to vegetate like your dear
good mother at Fairoaks? Dammy, sir! life, without money and the best
society, isn't worth having." It was thus this affectionate uncle spoke,
and expounded to Pen his simple philosophy.

"What would my mother and Laura say to this, I wonder?" thought the lad.
Indeed old Pendennis's morals were not their morals, nor was his wisdom
theirs.

This affecting conversation between uncle and nephew had scarcely
concluded, when Warrington came out of his bed-room, no longer in rags,
but dressed like a gentleman, straight and tall, and perfectly frank and
good-humored. He did the honors of his ragged sitting-room with as much
ease as if it had been the finest apartment in London. And queer rooms
they were in which the major found his nephew. The carpet was full of
holes--the table stained with many circles of Warrington's previous
ale-pots. There was a small library of law-books, books of poetry, and
of mathematics, of which he was very fond. (He had been one of the
hardest livers and hardest readers of his time at Oxbridge, where the
name of Stunning Warrington was yet famous for beating bargemen, pulling
matches, winning prizes, and drinking milk-punch.) A print of the old
college hung up over the mantle-piece, and some battered volumes of
Plato, bearing its well-known arms, were on the book-shelves. There were
two easy chairs; a standing reading-desk piled with bills; a couple of
very meager briefs on a broken-legged study-table. Indeed, there was
scarcely any article of furniture that had not been in the wars, and
was not wounded. "Look here, sir, here is Pen's room. He is a dandy,
and has got curtains to his bed, and wears shiny boots, and a silver
dressing-case." Indeed, Pen's room was rather coquettishly arranged, and
a couple of neat prints of opera-dancers, besides a drawing of Fairoaks,
hung on the walls. In Warrington's room there was scarcely any article
of furniture, save a great shower-bath, and a heap of books by the
bed-side: where he lay upon straw like Margery Daw, and smoked his pipe,
and read half through the night his favorite poetry or mathematics.

When he had completed his simple toilet, Mr. Warrington came out of this
room, and proceeded to the cupboard to search for his breakfast.

"Might I offer you a mutton-chop, sir? We cook 'em ourselves hot and
hot; and I am teaching Pen the first principles of law, cooking, and
morality at the same time. He's a lazy beggar, sir, and too much of
a dandy."

And so saying, Mr. Warrington wiped a gridiron with a piece of paper,
put it on the fire, and on it two mutton-chops, and took from the
cupboard a couple of plates and some knives and silver forks, and
castors.

"Say but a word, Major Pendennis," he said; "there's another chop in the
cupboard, or Pidgeon shall go out and get you any thing you like."

Major Pendennis sate in wonder and amusement, but he said he had just
breakfasted, and wouldn't have any lunch. So Warrington cooked the
chops, and popped them hissing hot upon the plates.

Pen fell to at his chop with a good appetite, after looking up at his
uncle, and seeing that gentleman was still in good-humor.

"You see, sir," Warrington said, "Mrs. Flanagan isn't here to do 'em,
and we can't employ the boy, for the little beggar is all day occupied
cleaning Pen's boots. And now for another swig at the beer. Pen drinks
tea; it's only fit for old women."

"And so you were at Lady Whiston's last night," the major said, not in
truth knowing what observation to make to this rough diamond.

"I at Lady Whiston's! not such a flat, sir. I don't care for female
society. In fact it bores me. I spent my evening philosophically at the
Back Kitchen."

"The Back Kitchen? indeed!" said the major.

"I see you don't know what it means," Warrington said. "Ask Pen. He was
there after Lady Whiston's. Tell Major Pendennis about the Back Kitchen,
Pen--don't be ashamed of yourself."

So Pen said it was a little eccentric society of men of letters and
men about town, to which he had been presented; and the major began to
think that the young fellow had seen a good deal of the world since his
arrival in London.



CHAPTER XXX.

THE KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE.


[Illustration]

Colleges, schools, and inns of court, still have some respect for
antiquity, and maintain a great number of the customs and institutions
of our ancestors, with which those persons who do not particularly
regard their forefathers, or perhaps are not very well acquainted with
them, have long since done away. A well-ordained work-house or prison
is much better provided with the appliances of health, comfort, and
cleanliness, than a respectable Foundation School, a venerable College,
or a learned Inn. In the latter place of residence men are contented
to sleep in dingy closets, and to pay for the sitting-room and the
cupboard, which is their dormitory, the price of a good villa and
garden in the suburbs, or of a roomy house in the neglected squares
of the town. The poorest mechanic in Spitalfields has a cistern and an
unbounded supply of water at his command; but the gentlemen of the inns
of court, and the gentlemen of the universities, have their supply of
this cosmetic fetched in jugs by laundresses and bedmakers, and live
in abodes which were erected long before the custom of cleanliness and
decency obtained among us. There are individuals still alive who sneer
at the people and speak of them with epithets of scorn. Gentlemen, there
can be but little doubt that your ancestors were the Great Unwashed:
and in the Temple especially, it is pretty certain, that, only under
the greatest difficulties and restrictions, the virtue which has been
pronounced to be next to godliness could have been practiced at all.

Old Grump, of the Norfolk Circuit, who had lived for more than thirty
years in the chambers under those occupied by Warrington and Pendennis,
and who used to be awakened by the roaring of the shower-baths which
those gentlemen had erected in their apartments--a part of the contents
of which occasionally trickled through the roof into Mr. Grump's
room--declared that the practice was an absurd, newfangled, dandyfied
folly, and daily cursed the laundress who slopped the staircase by which
he had to pass. Grump, now much more than half a century old, had indeed
never used the luxury in question. He had done without water very well,
and so had our fathers before him. Of all those knights and baronets,
lords and gentlemen, bearing arms, whose escutcheons are painted upon
the walls of the famous hall of the Upper Temple, was there no
philanthropist good-natured enough to devise a set of Hummums for the
benefit of the lawyers, his fellows and successors? The Temple historian
makes no mention of such a scheme. There is Pump Court and Fountain
Court, with their hydraulic apparatus, but one never heard of a bencher
disporting in the fountain; and can't but think how many a counsel
learned in the law of old days might have benefited by the pump.

Nevertheless, those venerable Inns which have the Lamb and Flag and
the Winged Horse for their ensigns, have attractions for persons who
inhabit them, and a share of rough comforts and freedom, which men
always remember with pleasure. I don't know whether the student of law
permits himself the refreshment of enthusiasm, or indulges in poetical
reminiscences as he passes by historical chambers, and says, "Yonder
Eldon lived--upon this site Coke mused upon Lyttleton--here Chitty
toiled--here Barnwell and Alderson joined in their famous labors--here
Byles composed his great work upon bills, and Smith compiled his
immortal leading cases--here Gustavus still toils, with Solomon to aid
him;" but the man of letters can't but love the place which has been
inhabited by so many of his brethren, or peopled by their creations as
real to us at this day as the authors whose children they were--and Sir
Roger de Coverley walking in the Temple Garden, and discoursing with Mr.
Spectator about the beauties in hoops and patches who are sauntering
over the grass, is just as lively a figure to me as old Samuel Johnson
rolling through the fog with the Scotch gentleman at his heels on their
way to Dr. Goldsmith's chambers in Brick Court; or Harry Fielding, with
inked ruffles and a wet towel round his head, dashing off articles at
midnight for the Covent Garden Journal, while the printer's boy is
asleep in the passage.

If we could but get the history of a single day as it passed in any one
of those four-storied houses in the dingy court where our friends Pen
and Warrington dwelt, some Temple Asmodeus might furnish us with a queer
volume. There may be a great parliamentary counsel on the ground-floor,
who drives off to Belgravia at dinner time, when his clerk, too, becomes
a gentleman, and goes away to entertain his friends, and to take his
pleasure. But a short time since he was hungry and briefless in some
garret of the Inn; lived by stealthy literature; hoped, and waited, and
sickened, and no clients came; exhausted his own means and his friends'
kindness; had to remonstrate humbly with duns, and to implore the
patience of poor creditors. Ruin seemed to be staring him in the face,
when, behold, a turn of the wheel of fortune, and the lucky wretch in
possession of one of those prodigious prizes which are sometimes drawn
in the great lottery of the Bar. Many a better lawyer than himself does
not make a fifth part of the income of his clerk, who, a few months
since, could scarcely get credit for blacking for his master's unpaid
boots. On the first-floor, perhaps, you will have a venerable man whose
name is famous, who has lived for half a century in the Inn, whose
brains are full of books, and whose shelves are stored with classical
and legal lore. He has lived alone all these fifty years, alone and for
himself, amassing learning, and compiling a fortune. He comes home now
at night alone from the club, where he has been dining freely, to the
lonely chambers where he lives a godless old recluse. When he dies, his
Inn will erect a tablet to his honor, and his heirs burn a part of his
library. Would you like to have such a prospect for your old age, to
store up learning and money, and end so? But we must not linger too long
by Mr. Doomsday's door. Worthy Mr. Grump lives over him, who is also an
ancient inhabitant of the Inn, and who, when Doomsday comes home to read
Catullus, is sitting down with three steady seniors of his standing, to
a steady rubber at whist, after a dinner at which they have consumed
their three steady bottles of Port. You may see the old boys asleep
at the Temple Church of a Sunday. Attorneys seldom trouble them, and
they have small fortunes of their own. On the other side of the third
landing, where Pen and Warrington live, till long after midnight, sits
Mr. Paley, who took the highest honors, and who is a fellow of his
college, who will sit and read and note cases until two o'clock in the
morning; who will rise at seven and be at the pleader's chambers as soon
as they are open, where he will work until an hour before dinner-time;
who will come home from Hall and read and note cases again until
dawn next day, when perhaps Mr. Arthur Pendennis and his friend Mr.
Warrington are returning from some of their wild expeditions. How
differently employed Mr. Paley has been! He has not been throwing
himself away: he has only been bringing a great intellect laboriously
down to the comprehension of a mean subject, and in his fierce grasp of
that, resolutely excluding from his mind all higher thoughts, all better
things, all the wisdom of philosophers and historians, all the thoughts
of poets; all wit, fancy, reflection, art, love, truth altogether--so
that he may master that enormous legend of the law, which he proposes
to gain his livelihood by expounding. Warrington and Paley had been
competitors for university honors in former days, and had run each other
hard; and every body said now that the former was wasting his time and
energies, while all people praised Paley for his industry. There may
be doubts, however, as to which was using his time best. The one could
afford time to think, and the other never could. The one could have
sympathies and do kindnesses; and the other must needs be always selfish.
He could not cultivate a friendship or do a charity, or admire a work
of genius, or kindle at the sight of beauty or the sound of a sweet
song--he had no time, and no eyes for any thing but his law-books. All
was dark outside his reading-lamp. Love, and Nature, and Art (which is
the expression of our praise and sense of the beautiful world of God),
were shut out from him. And as he turned off his lonely lamp at night,
he never thought but that he had spent the day profitably, and went to
sleep alike thankless and remorseless. But he shuddered when he met his
old companion Warrington on the stairs, and shunned him as one that was
doomed to perdition.

It may have been the sight of that cadaverous ambition, and
self-complacent meanness, which showed itself in Paley's yellow face,
and twinkled in his narrow eyes, or it may have been a natural appetite
for pleasure and joviality, of which it must be confessed Mr. Pen was
exceedingly fond, which deterred that luckless youth from pursuing
his designs upon the Bench or the Woolsack with the ardor, or rather
steadiness, which is requisite in gentlemen who would climb to those
seats of honor. He enjoyed the Temple life with a great deal of relish:
his worthy relatives thought he was reading as became a regular student;
and his uncle wrote home congratulatory letters to the kind widow at
Fairoaks, announcing that the lad had sown his wild oats, and was
becoming quite steady. The truth is, that it was a new sort of
excitement to Pen, the life in which he was now engaged; and having
given up some of the dandyfied pretensions, and fine-gentleman airs
which he had contracted among his aristocratic college acquaintances,
of whom he now saw but little, the rough pleasures and amusements of a
London bachelor were very novel and agreeable to him, and he enjoyed
them all. Time was he would have envied the dandies their fine horses
in Rotten Row, but he was contented now to walk in the Park and look
at them. He was too young to succeed in London society without a better
name and a larger fortune than he had, and too lazy to get on without
these adjuncts. Old Pendennis fondly thought he was busied with law
because he neglected the social advantages presented to him, and, having
been at half a dozen balls and evening parties, retreated before their
dullness and sameness; and whenever any body made inquiries of the
worthy major about his nephew, the old gentleman said the young rascal
was reformed, and could not be got away from his books. But the major
would have been almost as much horrified as Mr. Paley was, had he known
what was Mr. Pen's real course of life, and how much pleasure entered
into his law studies.

[Illustration][**moved up from 301]

A long morning's reading, a walk in the Park, a pull on the river, a
stretch up the hill to Hampstead, and a modest tavern dinner; a bachelor
night passed here or there, in joviality, not vice (for Arthur Pendennis
admired women so heartily that he never could bear the society
of any of them that were not, in his fancy at least, good and pure);
a quiet evening at home, alone with a friend and a pipe or two, and
a humble potation of British spirits, whereof Mrs. Flanagan, the
laundress, invariably tested the quality; these were our young
gentleman's pursuits, and it must be owned that his life was not
unpleasant. In term-time, Mr. Pen showed a most praiseworthy regularity
in performing one part of the law-student's course of duty, and eating
his dinners in Hall. Indeed, that Hall of the Upper Temple is a sight
not uninteresting, and with the exception of some trifling improvements
and anachronisms which have been introduced into the practice there, a
man may sit down and fancy that he joins in a meal of the seventeenth
century. The bar have their messes, the students their tables apart; the
benchers sit at the high table on the raised platform, surrounded by
pictures of judges of the law and portraits of royal personages who have
honored its festivities with their presence and patronage. Pen looked
about, on his first introduction, not a little amused with the scene
which he witnessed. Among his comrades of the student class there were
gentlemen of all ages, from sixty to seventeen; stout gray-headed
attorneys who were proceeding to take the superior dignity--dandies and
men-about-town who wished, for some reason, to be barristers of seven
years' standing--swarthy, black-eyed natives of the Colonies, who came
to be called here before they practiced in their own islands--and many
gentlemen of the Irish nation, who make a sojourn in Middle Temple Lane
before they return to the green country of their birth. There were
little squads of reading students who talked law all dinner-time; there
were rowing men, whose discourse was of sculling matches, the Red House,
Vauxhall, and the Opera; there were others great in politics, and
orators of the students' debating clubs; with all of which sets, except
the first, whose talk was an almost unknown and a quite uninteresting
language to him, Mr. Pen made a gradual acquaintance, and had many
points of sympathy.

The ancient and liberal Inn of the Upper Temple provides in its Hall,
and for a most moderate price, an excellent wholesome dinner of soup,
meat, tarts, and port wine or sherry, for the barristers and students
who attend that place of refection. The parties are arranged in messes
of four, each of which quarters has its piece of beef or leg of mutton,
its sufficient apple-pie and its bottle of wine. But the honest habitués
of the hall, among the lower rank of students, who have a taste for good
living, have many harmless arts by which they improve their banquet,
and innocent "dodges" (if we may be permitted to use an excellent
phrase that has become vernacular since the appearance of the last
dictionaries) by which they strive to attain for themselves more
delicate food than the common every-day roast meat of the students'
tables.

"Wait a bit," said Mr. Lowton, one of these Temple gourmands. "Wait a
bit," said Mr. Lowton, tugging at Pen's gown--"the tables are very full,
and there's only three benchers to eat ten side dishes--if we wait,
perhaps we shall get something from their table." And Pen looked with
some amusement, as did Mr. Lowton with eyes of fond desire, toward the
benchers' high table, where three old gentlemen were standing up before
a dozen silver dish-covers, while the clerk was quavering out a grace.

Lowton was great in the conduct of the dinner. His aim was to manage so
as to be the first, a captain of the mess, and to secure for himself
the thirteenth glass of the bottle of port wine. Thus he would have the
command of the joint on which he operated his favorite cuts, and made
rapid, dexterous appropriations of gravy, which amused Pen infinitely.
Poor Jack Lowton! thy pleasures in life were very harmless; an eager
epicure, thy desires did not go beyond eighteen-pence.

Pen was somewhat older than many of his fellow-students, and there was
that about his style and appearance which, as we have said, was rather
haughty and impertinent, that stamped him as a man of _ton_--very
unlike those pale students who were talking law to one another, and
those ferocious dandies, in rowing shirts and astonishing pins and
waistcoats, who represented the idle part of the little community. The
humble and good-natured Lowton had felt attracted by Pen's superior
looks and presence--and had made acquaintance with him at the mess by
opening the conversation.

"This is boiled-beef day, I believe, sir," said Lowton to Pen.

"Upon my word, sir, I'm not aware," said Pen, hardly able to contain his
laughter, but added, "I'm a stranger; this is my first term;" on which
Lowton began to point out to him the notabilities in the Hall.

"That's Boosey the bencher, the bald one sitting under the picture and
aving soup; I wonder whether it's turtle? They often ave turtle. Next
is Balls, the king's counsel, and Swettenham--Hodge and Swettenham, you
know. That's old Grump, the senior of the bar; they say he's dined here
forty years. They often send 'em down their fish from the benchers to
the senior table. Do you see those four fellows seated opposite us?
Those are regular swells--tip-top fellows, I can tell you--Mr. Trail,
the Bishop of Ealing's son, Honorable Fred. Ringwood, Lord Cinqbar's
brother, you know. _He'll_ have a good place, I bet any money; and Bob
Suckling, who's always with them--a high fellow, too. Ha! ha!" Here
Lowton burst into a laugh.

"What is it?" said Pen, still amused.

"I say, I like to mess with those chaps," Lowton said, winking his eye
knowingly, and pouring out his glass of wine.

"And why?" asked Pen.

"Why! they don't come down here to dine, you know, they only make
believe to dine. _They_ dine here, Law bless you! They go to some of the
swell clubs, or else to some grand dinner party. You see their names in
the 'Morning Post' at all the fine parties in London. Why, I bet any
thing that Ringwood has his cab, or Trail his Brougham (he's a devil
of a fellow, and makes the bishop's money spin, I can tell you) at the
corner of Essex-street at this minute. They dine! They won't dine these
two hours, I dare say."

"But why should you like to mess with them, if they don't eat any
dinner?" Pen asked, still puzzled. "There's plenty, isn't there?"

"How green you are," said Lowton. "Excuse me, but you _are_ green. They
don't drink any wine, don't you see, and a fellow gets the bottle to
himself, if he likes it, when he messes with those three chaps. That's
why Corkoran got in with 'em."

"Ah, Mr. Lowton, I see you are a sly fellow," Pen said, delighted with
his acquaintance: on which the other modestly replied, that he had lived
in London the better part of his life, and of course had his eyes about
him; and went on with his catalogue to Pen.

"There's a lot of Irish here," he said; "that Corkoran's one, and I
can't say I like him. You see that handsome chap with the blue neck-cloth
and pink shirt, and yellow waistcoat, that's another; that's Molloy
Maloney of Ballymaloney, and nephew to Major-general Sir Hector O'Dowd,
he, he," Lowton said, trying to imitate the Hibernian accent. "He's
always bragging about his uncle; and came into Hall in silver-striped
trowsers the day he had been presented. That other near him, with the
long black hair, is a tremendous rebel. By Jove, sir, to hear him at
the Forum it makes your blood freeze; and the next is an Irishman, too,
Jack Finucane, reporter of a newspaper. They all stick together, those
Irish. It's your turn to fill your glass. What! you won't have any port?
Don't like port with your dinner? Here's your health." And this worthy
man found himself not the less attached to Pendennis because the latter
disliked port wine at dinner.

It was while Pen was taking his share of one of these dinners, with his
acquaintance Lowton as the captain of his mess, that there came to join
them a gentleman in a barrister's gown, who could not find a seat, as
it appeared, among the persons of his own degree, and who strode over
the table, and took his seat on the bench where Pen sate. He was dressed
in old clothes and a faded gown, which hung behind him, and he wore a
shirt, which, though clean, was extremely ragged, and very different
to the magnificent pink raiment of Mr. Molloy Maloney, who occupied
a commanding position in the next mess. In order to notify their
appearance at dinner, it is the custom of the gentlemen who eat in the
Upper Temple Hall to write down their names upon slips of paper, which
are provided for that purpose, with a pencil for each mess. Lowton wrote
his name first, then came Arthur Pendennis, and the next was that of
the gentleman in the old clothes. He smiled when he saw Pen's name, and
looked at him. "We ought to know each other," he said. "We're both
Boniface men; my name's Warrington."

"Are you St---- Warrington?" Pen said, delighted to see this hero.

Warrington laughed--"Stunning Warrington--yes," he said. "I recollect
you in your freshman's term. But you appear to have quite cut me out."

"The college talks about you still," said Pen, who had a generous
admiration for talent and pluck. "The bargeman you thrashed, Bill Simes,
don't you remember, wants you up again at Oxbridge. The Miss Notleys,
the haberdashers--"

"Hush!" said Warrington--"glad to make your acquaintance, Pendennis.
Heard a good deal about you."

The young men were friends immediately, and at once deep in
college-talk. And Pen, who had been acting rather the fine gentleman on
a previous day, when he pretended to Lowton that he could not drink port
wine at dinner, seeing Warrington take his share with a great deal of
gusto, did not scruple about helping himself any more, rather to the
disappointment of honest Lowton. When the dinner was over, Warrington
asked Arthur where he was going.

"I thought of going home to dress, and hear Grisi in Norma," Pen said.

"Are you going to meet any body there?" he asked.

Pen said, "No--only to hear the music, of which he was very fond."

"You had much better come home and smoke a pipe with me," said
Warrington--"a very short one. Come, I live close by in Lamb Court, and
we'll talk over Boniface and old times."

They went away; Lowton sighed after them. He knew that Warrington was
a baronet's son, and he looked up with simple reverence to all the
aristocracy. Pen and Warrington became sworn friends from that night.
Warrington's cheerfulness and jovial temper, his good sense, his rough
welcome, and his never-failing pipe of tobacco, charmed Pen, who found
it more pleasant to dive into shilling taverns with him, than to dine
in solitary state among the silent and polite frequenters of the
Polyanthus.

Ere long Pen gave up the lodgings in St. James's, to which he had
migrated on quitting his hotel, and found it was much more economical to
take up his abode with Warrington in Lamb Court, and furnish and occupy
his friend's vacant room there. For it must be said of Pen, that no man
was more easily led than he to do a thing, when it was a novelty, or
when he had a mind to it. And Pidgeon, the youth, and Flanagan, the
laundress, divided their allegiance now between Warrington and Pen.



CHAPTER XXXI.

OLD AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES.


[Illustration]

Elated with the idea of seeing life, Pen went into a hundred queer
London haunts. He liked to think he was consorting with all sorts of
men--so he beheld coalheavers in their tap-rooms; boxers in their
inn-parlors; honest citizens disporting in the suburbs or on the river;
and he would have liked to hob and nob with celebrated pick-pockets, or
drink a pot of ale with a company of burglars and cracksmen, had chance
afforded him an opportunity of making the acquaintance of this class of
society. It was good to see the gravity with which Warrington listened
to the Tutbury Pet or the Brighton Stunner at the Champion's Arms, and
behold the interest which he took in the coalheaving company assembled
at the Fox-under-the-Hill. His acquaintance with the public-houses of
the metropolis and its neighborhood, and with the frequenters of their
various parlors, was prodigious. He was the personal friend of the
landlord and landlady, and welcome to the bar as to the club-room. He
liked their society, he said, better than that of his own class, whose
manners annoyed him, and whose conversation bored him. "In society," he
used to say, "ever body is the same, wears the same dress, eats and
drinks, and says the same things; one young dandy at the club talks and
looks just like another, one Miss at a ball exactly resembles another,
whereas there's character here. I like to talk with the strongest man
in England, or the man who can drink the most beer in England, or with
that tremendous republican of a hatter, who thinks Thistlewood was the
greatest character in history. I like gin-and-water better than claret.
I like a sanded floor in Carnaby Market better than a chalked one in
Mayfair. I prefer Snobs, I own it." Indeed, this gentleman was a social
republican; and it never entered his head while conversing with Jack and
Tom that he was in any respect their better; although, perhaps, the
deference which they paid him might secretly please him.

Pen followed him then to these various resorts of men with great glee
and assiduity. But he was considerably younger, and therefore much
more pompous and stately than Warrington; in fact, a young prince in
disguise, visiting the poor of his father's kingdom. They respected him
as a high chap, a fine fellow, a regular young swell. He had somehow
about him an air of imperious good-humor, and a royal frankness and
majesty, although he was only heir apparent to twopence-halfpenny, and
but one in descent from a gallypot. If these positions are made for
us, we acquiesce in them very easily; and are always pretty ready to
assume a superiority over those who are as good as ourselves. Pen's
condescension at this time of his life was a fine thing to witness.
Among men of ability this assumption and impertinence passes off with
extreme youth: but it is curious to watch the conceit of a generous and
clever lad--there is something almost touching in that early exhibition
of simplicity and folly.

So, after reading pretty hard of a morning, and, I fear, not law merely,
but politics and general history and literature, which were as necessary
for the advancement and instruction of a young man as mere dry law,
after applying with tolerable assiduity to letters, to reviews, to
elemental books of law, and, above all, to the newspaper, until the hour
of dinner was drawing nigh, these young gentlemen would sally out upon
the town with great spirits and appetite, and bent upon enjoying a merry
night as they had passed a pleasant forenoon. It was a jovial time, that
of four-and-twenty, when every muscle of mind and body was in healthy
action, when the world was new as yet, and one moved over it spurred
onward by good spirits and the delightful capability to enjoy. If ever
we feel young afterward, it is with the comrades of that time: the tunes
we hum in our old age, are those we learned then. Sometimes, perhaps,
the festivity of that period revives in our memory; but how dingy the
pleasure-garden has grown, how tattered the garlands look, how scant and
old the company, and what a number of the lights have gone out since
that day! Gray hairs have come on like daylight streaming in--daylight
and a headache with it. Pleasure has gone to bed with the rouge on her
cheeks. Well, friend, let us walk through the day, sober and sad, but
friendly.

I wonder what Laura and Helen would have said, could they have seen, as
they might not unfrequently have done, had they been up and in London,
in the very early morning, when the bridges began to blush in the
sunrise, and the tranquil streets of the city to shine in the dawn,
Mr. Pen and Mr. Warrington rattling over the echoing flags toward the
Temple, after one of their wild nights of carouse--nights wild, but not
so wicked as such nights sometimes are, for Warrington was a woman-hater;
and Pen, as we have said, too lofty to stoop to a vulgar intrigue. Our
young Prince of Fairoaks never could speak to one of the sex but with
respectful courtesy, and shrank from a coarse word or gesture with
instinctive delicacy--for though we have seen him fall in love with a
fool, as his betters and inferiors have done, and as it is probable
that he did more than once in his life, yet for the time of the delusion
it was always as a goddess that he considered her, and chose to wait
upon her. Men serve women kneeling--when they get on their feet, they
go away.

That was what on acquaintance of Pen's said to him in his hard, homely
way; an old friend with whom he had fallen in again in London--no other
than honest Mr. Bows of the Chatteries Theater, who was now employed
as piano-forte player, to accompany the eminent lyrical talent which
nightly delighted the public at the Fielding's Head in Covent Garden:
and where was held the little club called the Back Kitchen.

Numbers of Pen's friends frequented this very merry meeting. The
Fielding's Head had been a house of entertainment, almost since the
time when the famous author of Tom Jones presided as magistrate in
the neighboring Bow-street; his place was pointed out, and the chair
said to have been his, still occupied by the president of the night's
entertainment. The worthy Cutts, the landlord of the Fielding's Head,
generally occupied this post when not disabled by gout or other
illness. His jolly appearance and fine voice may be remembered by some
of my male readers: he used to sing profusely in the course of the
harmonic meeting, and his songs were of what may be called the British
Brandy-and-Water School of Song--such as "The Good Old English
Gentleman," "Dear Tom, this Brown Jug," and so forth--songs in which
pathos and hospitality are blended, and the praises of good liquor and
the social affections are chanted in a barytone voice. The charms of our
women, the heroic deeds of our naval and military commanders, are often
sung in the ballads of this school, and many a time in my youth have I
admired how Cutts the singer, after he had worked us all up to patriotic
enthusiasm, by describing the way in which the brave Abercrombie
received his death-wound, or made us join him in tears, which he shed
liberally himself, as in faltering accents he told how autumn's falling
leaf "proclaimed the old man he must die"--how Cutts the singer became
at once Cutts the landlord, and, before the applause which we were
making with our fists on his table, in compliment to his heart-stirring
melody, had died away, was calling, "Now, gentlemen, give your orders,
the waiter's in the room--John, a champagne cup for Mr. Green. I think,
sir, you said sausages and mashed potatoes? John, attend on the
gentleman."

"And I'll thank ye give me a glass of punch too, John, and take care the
wather boils," a voice would cry not unfrequently, a well-known voice to
Pen, which made the lad blush and start when he heard it first--that of
the venerable Captain Costigan; who was now established in London, and
one of the great pillars of the harmonic meetings at the Fielding's
Head.

The captain's manners and conversation brought very many young men to
the place. He was a character, and his fame had begun to spread soon
after his arrival in the metropolis, and especially after his daughter's
marriage. He was great in his conversation to the friend for the time
being (who was the neighbor drinking by his side), about "me daughter."
He told of her marriage, and of the events previous and subsequent to
that ceremony; of the carriages she kept; of Mirabel's adoration for her
and for him; of the hundther pounds which he was at perfect liberty to
draw from his son-in-law, whenever necessity urged him. And having
stated that it was his firm intention to "dthraw next Sathurday, I give
ye me secred word and honor next Sathurday, the fourteenth, when ye'll
see the money will be handed over to me at Coutts's, the very instant
I present the check," the captain would not unfrequently propose to
borrow a half-crown of his friend until the arrival of that day of Greek
Calends, when, on the honor of an officer and gentleman, he would repee
the thrifling obligetion.

Sir Charles Mirabel had not that enthusiastic attachment to his
father-in-law, of which the latter sometimes boasted (although in other
stages of emotion Cos would inveigh, with tears in his eyes, against the
ingratitude of the child of his bosom, and the stinginess of the wealthy
old man who had married her); but the pair had acted not unkindly toward
Costigan; had settled a small pension on him, which was paid regularly,
and forestalled with even more regularity by poor Cos; and the period
of the payments were always well known by his friend at the Fielding's
Head, whither the honest captain took care to repair, bank notes in
hand, calling loudly for change in the midst of the full harmonic
meeting. "I think ye'll find _that_ note won't be refused at the Bank
of England, Cutts, my boy," Captain Costigan would say. "Bows, have a
glass? Ye needn't stint yourself to-night, any how; and a glass of punch
will make ye play _con spirito_." For he was lavishly free with his
money when it came to him, and was scarcely known to button his breeches
pocket, except when the coin was gone, or sometimes, indeed, when a
creditor came by.

It was in one of these moments of exultation that Pen found his old
friend swaggering at the singers' table at the back kitchen of the
Fielding's Head, and ordering glasses of brandy and water for any of his
acquaintances who made their appearance in the apartment. Warrington who
was on confidential terms with the bass singer, made his way up to this
quarter of the room, and Pen walked at his friend's heels.

Pen started and blushed to see Costigan. He had just come from Lady
Whiston's party, where he had met and spoken with the captain's daughter
again, for the first time after very old, old days. He came up with
out-stretched hand, very kindly and warmly to greet the old man; still
retaining a strong remembrance, of the time when Costigan's daughter had
been every thing in the world to him. For though this young gentleman
may have been somewhat capricious in his attachments, and occasionally
have transferred his affections from one woman to another, yet he always
respected the place where Love had dwelt, and, like the Sultan of
Turkey, desired that honors should be paid to the lady toward whom he
had once thrown the royal pocket-handkerchief.

The tipsy captain returning the clasp of Pen's hand with all the
strength of a palm which had become very shaky by the constant lifting
up of weights of brandy-and-water, looked hard in Pen's face, and said,
"Grecious heavens, is it possible? Me dear boy, me dear fellow, me dear
friend;" and then with a look of muddled curiosity, fairly broke down
with, "I know your face, me dear, dear friend, but, bedad, I've forgot
your name." Five years of constant punch had passed since Pen and
Costigan met. Arthur was a good deal changed, and the captain may surely
be excused for forgetting him; when a man at the actual moment sees
things double, we may expect that his view of the past will be rather
muzzy.

Pen saw his condition, and laughed, although, perhaps, he was
somewhat mortified. "Don't you remember me, captain?" he said. "I am
Pendennis--Arthur Pendennis of Chatteries."

The sound of the young man's friendly voice recalled and steadied Cos's
tipsy remembrance, and he saluted Arthur as soon as he knew him, with a
loud volley of friendly greetings. Pen was his dearest boy, his gallant
young friend, his noble collagian, whom he had held in his inmost heart
ever since they had parted--how was his fawther, no, his mother, and his
guardian, the general, the major. "I preshoom, from your apparance, that
you've come into your prawpertee; and, bedad, yee'll spend it like a man
of spirit--I'll go bail for _that_. No? not yet come into your estete?
If ye want any thrifle, heark ye, there's poor old Jack Costigan has got
a guinea or two in his pocket--and, be heavens! _you_ shall never want,
Awthur, me dear boy. What'll ye have? John, come hither, and look
aloive; give this gentleman a glass of punch, and I'll pay for't.--Your
friend? I've seen him before. Permit me to have the honor of making
meself known to ye, sir, and requesting ye'll take a glass of punch."

"I don't envy Sir Charles Mirabel his father-in-law," thought Pendennis.
"And how is my old friend, Mr. Bows, captain? Have you any news of him,
and do you see him still?"

"No doubt he's very well," said the captain, jingling his money, and
whistling the air of a song--"The Little Doodeen"--for the singing of
which he was celebrated at the Fielding's Head. "Me dear boy--I've
forgot your name again--but my name's Costigan, Jack Costigan, and I'd
loike ye to take as many tumblers of punch in my name as ever ye loike.
Ye know my name; I'm not ashamed of it." And so the captain went
maundering on.

"It's pay-day with the general," said Mr. Hodgen, the bass singer, with
whom Warrington was in deep conversation: "and he's a precious deal more
than half seas over. He has already tried that 'Little Doodeen' of his,
and broke it, too, just before I sang 'King Death.' Have you heard
my new song, 'The Body Snatcher,' Mr. Warrington?--angcored at Saint
Bartholomew's the other night--composed expressly for me. Per'aps you
or your friend would like a copy of the song, sir? John, just 'ave the
kyndness to 'and over a 'Body Snatcher' 'ere, will yer?--There's a
portrait of me, sir, as I sing it--as the Snatcher--considered rather
like."

"Thank you," said Warrington; "heard it nine times--know it by heart,
Hodgen."

Here the gentleman who presided at the piano-forte began to play upon
his instrument, and Pen, looking in the direction of the music, beheld
that very Mr. Bows, for whom he had been asking but now, and whose
existence Costigan had momentarily forgotten. The little old man sate
before the battered piano (which had injured its constitution woefully
by sitting up so many nights, and spoke with a voice, as it were, at
once hoarse and faint), and accompanied the singers, or played with
taste and grace in the intervals of the songs.

Bows had seen and recollected Pen at once when the latter came into the
room, and had remarked the eager warmth of the young man's recognition
of Costigan. He now began to play an air, which Pen instantly remembered
as one which used to be sung by the chorus of villagers in "The
Stranger," just before Mrs. Haller came in. It shook Pen as he heard it.
He remembered how his heart used to beat as that air was played, and
before the divine Emily made her entry. Nobody, save Arthur, took any
notice of old Bows' playing: it was scarcely heard amid the clatter of
knives and forks, the calls for poached eggs and kidneys, and the tramp
of guests and waiters.

Pen went up and kindly shook the player by the hand at the end of his
performance; and Bows greeted Arthur with great respect and cordiality.
"What, you haven't forgot the old tune, Mr. Pendennis?" he said; "I
thought you'd remember it. I take it, it was the first tune of that sort
you ever heard played--wasn't it, sir? You were quite a young chap then.
I fear the captain's very bad to-night. He breaks out on a pay-day; and
I shall have the deuce's own trouble in getting home. We live together.
We still hang on, sir, in partnership, though Miss Em--though my Lady
Mirabel has left the firm. And so you remember old times, do you? Wasn't
she a beauty, sir? Your health and my service to you"--and he took a sip
at the pewter measure of porter which stood by his side as he played.

Pen had many opportunities of seeing his early acquaintances afterward,
and of renewing his relations with Costigan and the old musician.

       *       *       *       *       *

As they sate thus in friendly colloquy, men of all sorts and
conditions entered and quitted the house of entertainment; and Pen had
the pleasure of seeing as many different persons of his race, as the
most eager observer need desire to inspect. Healthy country tradesmen
and farmers, in London for their business, came and recreated themselves
with the jolly singing and suppers of the Back Kitchen--squads of young
apprentices and assistants, the shutters being closed over the scene of
their labors, came hither, for fresh air doubtless--rakish young medical
students, gallant, dashing, what is called "loudly" dressed, and (must
it be owned?) somewhat dirty--were here smoking and drinking, and
vociferously applauding the songs; young University bucks were to be
found here, too, with that indescribable genteel simper which is only
learned at the knees of Alma Mater; and handsome young guardsmen, and
florid bucks from the St. James's-street Clubs; nay, senators, English
and Irish; and even members of the House of Peers.

The bass singer had made an immense hit with his song of "The Body
Snatcher," and the town rushed to listen to it. A curtain drew aside,
and Mr. Hodgen appeared in the character of the Snatcher, sitting on a
coffin, with a flask of gin before him, with a spade, and a candle stuck
in a skull. The song was sung with a really admirable terrific humor.
The singer's voice went down so low, that its grumbles rumbled into the
hearer's awe-stricken soul; and in the chorus he clamped with his spade,
and gave a demoniac "Ha! ha!" which caused the very glasses to quiver
on the table, as with terror. None of the other singers, not even
Cutts himself, as that high-minded man owned, could stand up before
the Snatcher, and he commonly used to retire to Mrs. Cutts' private
apartments, or into the bar, before that fatal song extinguished
him. Poor Cos's ditty, "The Little Doodeen," which Bows accompanied
charmingly on the piano, was sung but to a few admirers, who might
choose to remain after the tremendous resurrectionist chant. The room
was commonly emptied after that, or only left in possession of a very
few and persevering votaries of pleasure.

While Pen and his friend were sitting here together one night, or rather
morning, two habitués of the house entered almost together. "Mr. Hoolan
and Mr. Doolan," whispered Warrington to Pen, saluting these gentlemen,
and in the latter Pen recognized his friend of the Alacrity coach, who
could not dine with Pen on the day on which the latter had invited him,
being compelled by his professional duties to decline dinner-engagements
on Fridays, he had stated, with his compliments to Mr. Pendennis.

Doolan's paper, the Dawn, was lying on the table much bestained by
porter, and cheek-by-jowl with Hoolan's paper, which we shall call the
Day; the Dawn was liberal--the Day was ultra-conservative. Many of our
journals are officered by Irish gentlemen, and their gallant brigade
does the penning among us, as their ancestors used to transact the
fighting in Europe; and engage under many a flag, to be good friends
when the battle is over.

"Kidneys, John, and a glass of stout," says Hoolan. "How are you,
Morgan? how's Mrs. Doolan?"

"Doing pretty well, thank ye, Mick, my boy--faith she's accustomed to
it," said Doolan. "How's the lady that owns ye? Maybe I'll step down
Sunday, and have a glass of punch, Kilburn way."

"Don't bring Patsey with you, Morgan, for Georgy's got the measles,"
said the friendly Mick, and they straightway fell to talk about matters
connected with their trade--about the foreign mails--about who was
correspondent at Paris, and who wrote from Madrid--about the expense
the Morning Journal was at in sending couriers, about the circulation of
the Evening Star, and so forth.

Warrington, laughing, took the Dawn which was lying before him, and
pointed to one of the leading articles in that journal, which commenced
thus--

"As rogues of note in former days who had some wicked work to
perform--an enemy to be put out of the way, a quantity of false coin
to be passed, a lie to be told, or a murder to be done--employed a
professional perjurer or assassin to do the work, which they were
themselves too notorious or too cowardly to execute; our notorious
contemporary, the 'Day,' engages smashers out of doors to utter
forgeries against individuals, and calls in auxiliary cut-throats to
murder the reputation of those who offend him. A black vizarded ruffian
(whom we will unmask), who signs the forged name of Trefoil, is at
present one of the chief bravoes and bullies in our contemporary's
establishment. He is the eunuch who brings the bowstring, and strangles
at the order of the Day. We can convict this cowardly slave, and propose
to do so. The charge which he has brought against Lord Bangbanagher,
because he is a liberal Irish peer, and against the Board of Poor Law
Guardians of the Bangbanagher Union, is," &c.

"How did they like the article at your place, Mick?" asked Morgan, "when
the captain puts his hand to it he's a tremendous hand at a smasher. He
wrote the article in two hours--in--whew--you know where, while the boy
was waiting."

"Our governor thinks the public don't mind a straw about these newspaper
rows, and has told the docthor to stop answering," said the other. "Them
two talked it out together in my room. The docthor would have liked a
turn, for he says it's such easy writing, and requires no reading up of
a subject; but the governor put a stopper on him."

"The taste for eloquence is going out, Mick," said Morgan.

"'Deed then it is, Morgan," said Mick. "That was fine writing when the
docthor wrote in the Phaynix, and he and Condy Roony blazed away at each
other day after day."

"And with powder and shot, too, as well as paper," says Morgan. "Faith,
the docthor was out twice, and Condy Roony winged his man."

"They are talking about Doctor Boyne and Captain Shandon," Warrington
said, "who are the two Irish controversialists of the 'Dawn' and the
'Day,' Dr. Boyne being the Protestant champion, and Captain Shandon the
liberal orator. They are the best friends in the world, I believe, in
spite of their newspaper controversies; and though they cry out against
the English for abusing their country, by Jove they abuse it themselves
more in a single article than we should take the pains to do in a dozen
volumes. How are you, Doolan?"

"Your servant, Mr. Warrington--Mr. Pendennis, I am delighted to have the
honor of seeing ye again. The night's journey on the top of the Alacrity
was one of the most agreeable I ever enjoyed in my life, and it was your
liveliness and urbanity that made the trip so charming. I have often
thought over that happy night, sir, and talked over it to Mrs. Doolan.
I have seen your elegant young friend, Mr. Foker, too, here, sir, not
unfrequently. He is an occasional frequenter of this hostelry, and a
right good one it is. Mr. Pendennis, when I saw you I was on the Tom
and Jerry Weekly Paper; I have now the honor to be sub-editor of the
Dawn, one of the best written papers of the empire"--and he bowed very
slightly to Mr. Warrington. His speech was unctuous and measured, his
courtesy oriental, his tone, when talking with the two Englishmen, quite
different to that with which he spoke to his comrade.

"Why the devil will the fellow compliment so?" growled Warrington, with
a sneer which he hardly took the pains to suppress. "Psha--who comes
here?--all Parnassus is abroad to-night: here's Archer. We shall have
some fun. Well, Archer, House up?"

"Haven't been there. I have been," said Archer, with an air of mystery,
"where I was wanted. Get me some supper, John--something substantial. I
hate your grandees who give you nothing to eat. If it had been at Apsley
House, it would have been quite different. The duke knows what I like,
and says to the Groom of the Chambers, 'Martin, you will have some cold
beef, not too much done, and a pint bottle of pale ale, and some brown
sherry, ready in my study as usual: Archer is coming here this evening.'
The duke doesn't eat supper himself, but he likes to see a man enjoy a
hearty meal, and he knows that I dine early. A man can't live upon air,
be hanged to him."

"Let me introduce you to my friend, Mr. Pendennis," Warrington said,
with great gravity. "Pen, this is Mr. Archer, whom you have heard me
talk about. You must know Pen's uncle, the major, Archer, you who know
every body."

"Dined with him the day before yesterday at Gaunt House," Archer said.
"We were four--the French embassador, Steyne, and we two commoners."

"Why, my uncle is in Scot--" Pen was going to break out, but Warrington
pressed his foot under the table as a signal for him to be quiet.

"It was about the same business that I have been to the palace to-night,"
Archer went on simply, "and where I've been kept four hours, in an
ante-room, with nothing but yesterday's Times, which I knew by heart,
as I wrote three of the leading articles myself; and though the lord
chamberlain came in four times, and once holding the royal teacup and
saucer in his hand, he did not so much as say to me, 'Archer, will you
have a cup of tea?'"

"Indeed! what is in the wind now?" asked Warrington--and turning to Pen,
added, "You know, I suppose, that when there is any thing wrong at
court, they always send for Archer."

"There is something wrong," said Mr. Archer, "and as the story will be
all over the town in a day or two I don't mind telling it.--At the last
Chantilly races, where I rode Brian Boru for my old friend the Duke
de St. Cloud--the old king said to me, Archer, I'm uneasy about Saint
Cloud. I have arranged his marriage with the Princess Marie Cunégonde;
the peace of Europe depends upon it--for Russia will declare war if the
marriage does not take place, and the young fool is so mad about Madame
Massena, Marshal Massena's wife, that he actually refuses to be a party
to the marriage. Well, sir, I spoke to Saint Cloud, and having got him
into pretty good humor by winning the race, and a good bit of money into
the bargain, he said to me, 'Archer, tell the governor I'll think of
it.'"

"How do you say governor in French," asked Pen, who piqued himself on
knowing that language.

"Oh, we speak in English--I taught him when we were boys, and I saved
his life at Twickenham, when he fell out of a punt," Archer said. "I
shall never forget the queen's looks as I brought him out of the water.
She gave me this diamond ring, and always calls me Charles to this day."

"Madame Massena must be rather an old woman, Archer," Warrington said.

"Dev'lish old--old enough to be his grandmother; I told him so," Archer
answered at once. "But those attachments for old women are the deuce and
all. That's what the king feels: that's what shocks the poor queen so
much. They went away from Paris last Tuesday night, and are living at
this present moment at Jaunay's hotel."

"Has there been a private marriage, Archer?" asked Warrington.

"Whether there has or not I don't know," Mr. Archer replied; "all I know
is that I was kept waiting four hours at the palace; that I never saw a
man in such a state of agitation as the King of Belgium when he came out
to speak to me, and that I'm devilish hungry--and here comes some
supper."

"He has been pretty well to-night," said Warrington, as the pair went
home together: "but I have known him in much greater force, and keeping
a whole room in a state of wonder. Put aside his archery practice,
that man is both able and honest--a good man of business, an excellent
friend, admirable to his family as husband, father, and son."

"What is it makes him pull the long bow in that wonderful manner?"

"An amiable insanity," answered Warrington. "He never did any body harm
by his talk, or said evil of any body. He is a stout politician too, and
would never write a word or do an act against his party, as many of us
do."

"Of _us_! Who are _we_?" asked Pen. "Of what profession is Mr. Archer?"

"Of the Corporation of Goosequill--of the Press, my boy," said
Warrington; "of the fourth estate."

"Are you, too, of the craft, then?" Pendennis said.

"We will talk about that another time," answered the other. They were
passing through the Strand as they talked, and by a newspaper office,
which was all lighted up and bright. Reporters were coming out of the
place, or rushing up to it in cabs; there were lamps burning in the
editors' rooms, and above, where the compositors were at work: the
windows of the building were in a blaze of gas.

"Look at that, Pen," Warrington said. "There she is--the great
engine--she never sleeps. She has her embassadors in every quarter of
the world--her couriers upon every road. Her officers march along
with armies, and her envoys walk into statesmen's cabinets. They are
ubiquitous. Yonder journal has an agent, at this minute, giving bribes
at Madrid; and another inspecting the price of potatoes in Covent
Garden. Look! here comes the Foreign Express galloping in. They will be
able to give news to Downing-street to-morrow: funds will rise or fall,
fortunes be made or lost; Lord B. will get up, and, holding the paper in
his hand, and seeing the noble marquis in his place, will make a great
speech; and--and Mr. Doolan will be called away from his supper at the
Back Kitchen; for he is foreign sub-editor, and sees the mail on the
newspaper sheet before he goes to his own."

And so talking, the friends turned into their chambers, and the dawn was
beginning to peep.



CHAPTER XXXII.

IN WHICH THE PRINTER'S DEVIL COMES TO THE DOOR.


[Illustration]

Pen in the midst of his revels and enjoyments, humble as they were, and
moderate in cost if not in kind, saw an awful sword hanging over him
which must drop down before long and put an end to his follies and
feasting. His money was very nearly spent. His club subscription had
carried away a third part of it. He had paid for the chief articles of
furniture with which he had supplied his little bed-room: in fine, he
was come to the last five-pound note in his pocket-book, and could think
of no method of providing a successor; for our friend had been bred up
like a young prince as yet, or as a child in arms whom his mother feeds
when it cries out.

Warrington did not know what his comrade's means were. An only child,
with a mother at her country house, and an old dandy of an uncle who
dined with a great man every day, Pen might have a large bank at his
command for any thing that the other knew. He had gold chains and a
dressing-case fit for a lord. His habits were those of an aristocrat--not
that he was expensive upon any particular point, for he dined and
laughed over the pint of porter and the plate of beef from the cook's
shop with perfect content and good appetite--but he could not adopt the
penny-wise precautions of life. He could not give twopence to a waiter:
he could not refrain from taking a cab if he had a mind to do so, or if
it rained, and as surely as he took the cab he overpaid the driver. He
had a scorn for cleaned gloves and minor economies. Had he been bred to
ten thousand a year he could scarcely have been more free-handed; and
for a beggar, with a sad story, or a couple of pretty piteous-faced
children, he never could resist putting his hand into his pocket. It was
a sumptuous nature, perhaps, that could not be brought to regard money;
a natural generosity and kindness; and possibly a petty vanity that was
pleased with praise, even with the praise of waiters and cabmen. I doubt
whether the wisest of us know what our own motives are, and whether some
of the actions of which we are the very proudest will not surprise us
when we trace them, as we shall one day, to their source.

Warrington then did not know, and Pen had not thought proper to confide
to his friend, his pecuniary history. That Pen had been wild and
wickedly extravagant at college, the other was aware; every body at
college was extravagant and wild; but how great the son's expenses had
been, and how small the mother's means, were points which had not been
as yet submitted to Mr. Warrington's examination.

At last the story came out, while Pen was grimly surveying the change
for the last five-pound note, as it lay upon the tray from the
public-house by Mr. Warrington's pot of ale.

"It is the last rose of summer," said Pen; "its blooming companions have
gone long ago; and behold the last one of the garland has shed its
leaves;" and he told Warrington the whole story, which we know, of his
mother's means, of his own follies, of Laura's generosity; during which
time Warrington smoked his pipe and listened intent.

"Impecuniosity will do you good," Pen's friend said, knocking out
the ashes at the end of the narration; "I don't know any thing more
wholesome for a man--for an honest man, mind you--for another, the
medicine loses its effect--than a state of tick. It is an alterative
and a tonic; it keeps your moral man in a perpetual state of excitement:
as a man who is riding at a fence, or has his opponent's single stick
before him, is forced to look his obstacle steadily in the face, and
braces himself to repulse or overcome it; a little necessity brings out
your pluck if you have any, and nerves you to grapple with fortune. You
will discover what a number of things you can do without when you have
no money to buy them. You won't want new gloves and varnished boots,
eau de Cologne, and cabs to ride in. You have been bred up as a
molly-coddle, Pen, and spoilt by the women. A single man who has health
and brains, and can't find a livelihood in the world, doesn't deserve
to stay there. Let him pay his last halfpenny and jump over Waterloo
Bridge. Let him steal a leg of mutton and be transported and get out of
the country--he is not fit to live in it. Dixi; I have spoken. Give us
another pull at the pale ale."

"You have certainly spoken; but how is one to live?" said Pen. "There is
beef and bread in plenty in England, but you must pay for it with work
or money. And who will take my work? and what work can I do?"

Warrington burst out laughing, "Suppose we advertise in the Times," he
said, "for an usher's place at a classical and commercial academy--A
gentleman, B.A. of St. Boniface College, Oxbridge, and who was
plucked for his degree--"

"Confound you," cried Pen.

"--Wishes to give lessons in classics and mathematics, and the rudiments
of the French language; he can cut hair, attend to the younger pupils,
and play a second on the piano with the daughters of the principal.
Address A. P., Lamb Court, Temple."

"Go on," said Pen, growling.

"Men take to all sorts of professions. Why, there is your friend
Bloundell-Bloundell is a professional blackleg, and travels the
continent, where he picks up young gentlemen of fashion and fleeces
them. There is Bob O'Toole, with whom I was at school, who drives the
Ballynafad mail now, and carries honest Jack Finucane's own correspondence
to that city. I know a man, sir, a doctor's son, like--well, don't be
angry, I meant nothing offensive--a doctor's son, I say, who was walking
the hospitals here, and quarreled with his governor on questions of
finance, and what did he do when he came to his last five-pound note?
he let his mustaches grow, went into a provincial town, where he
announced himself as Professor Spineto, chiropodist to the Emperor of
all the Russias, and by a happy operation on the editor of the country
newspaper, established himself in practice, and lived reputably for
three years. He has been reconciled to his family, and has now succeeded
to his father's gallypots."

"Hang gallypots," cried Pen. "I can't drive a coach, cut corns, or cheat
at cards. There's nothing else you propose?"

"Yes; there's our own correspondent," Warrington said. "Every man
has his secrets, look you. Before you told me the story of your
money-matters, I had no idea but that you were a gentleman of fortune,
for, with your confounded airs and appearance, any body would suppose
you to be so. From what you tell me about your mother's income, it is
clear that you must not lay any more hands on it. You can't go on
spunging upon the women. You must pay off that trump of a girl. Laura is
her name?--here is your health, Laura!--and carry a hod rather than ask
for a shilling from home."

"But how earn one?" asked Pen.

"How do I live, think you?" said the other. "On my younger brother's
allowance, Pendennis? I have secrets of my own, my boy;" and here
Warrington's countenance fell. "I made away with that allowance five
years ago: if I had made away with myself a little time before, it would
have been better. I have played off my own bat, ever since. I don't want
much money. When my purse is out, I go to work and fill it, and then lie
idle like a serpent or an Indian, until I have digested the mass. Look,
I begin to feel empty," Warrington said, and showed Pen a long lean
purse, with but a few sovereigns at one end of it.

"But how do you fill it?" said Pen.

"I write," said Warrington. "I don't tell the world that I do so," he
added, with a blush. "I do not choose that questions should be asked:
or, perhaps, I am an ass, and don't wish it to be said that George
Warrington writes for bread. But I write in the Law Reviews: look here,
these articles are mine." And he turned over some sheets. "I write in
a newspaper, now and then, of which a friend of mine is editor." And
Warrington, going with Pendennis to the club one day, called for a
file of the "Dawn," and pointed with his finger silently to one or
two articles, which Pen read with delight. He had no difficulty in
recognizing the style afterward--the strong thoughts and curt periods,
the sense, the satire, and the scholarship.

"I am not up to this," said Pen, with a genuine admiration of his
friend's powers. "I know very little about politics or history,
Warrington; and have but a smattering of letters. I can't fly upon such
a wing as yours."

"But you can on your own, my boy, which is lighter, and soars higher,
perhaps," the other said, good-naturedly. "Those little scraps and
verses which I have seen of yours show me, what is rare in these days,
a natural gift, sir. You needn't blush, you conceited young jackanapes.
You have thought so yourself any time these ten years. You have got the
sacred flame--a little of the real poetical fire, sir, I think; and
all our oil-lamps are nothing, compared to that, though ever so well
trimmed. You are a poet, Pen, my boy," and so speaking, Warrington
stretched out his broad hand, and clapped Pen on the shoulder.

Arthur was so delighted that the tears came into his eyes. "How kind you
are to me, Warrington!" he said.

"I like you, old boy," said the other. "I was dev'lish lonely in
chambers, and wanted somebody, and the sight of your honest face somehow
pleased me. I liked the way you laughed at Lowton--that poor good little
snob. And, in fine, the reason why I can not tell--but so it is, young
'un. I'm alone in the world, sir; and I wanted some one to keep me
company;" and a glance of extreme kindness and melancholy passed out of
Warrington's dark eyes.

Pen was too much pleased with his own thoughts to perceive the sadness
of the friend who was complimenting him. "Thank you, Warrington," he
said, "thank you for your friendship to me, and--and what you say about
me. I _have_ often thought I was a poet. I will be one--I think I am
one, as you say so, though the world mayn't. Is it--is it the Ariadne
in Naxos which you liked (I was only eighteen when I wrote it), or the
Prize Poem?"

Warrington burst into a roar of laughter. "Why, you young goose," he
yelled out--"of all the miserable weak rubbish I ever tried, Ariadne in
Naxos is the most mawkish and disgusting. The Prize Poem is so pompous
and feeble, that I'm positively surprised, sir, it didn't get the medal.
You don't suppose that you are a serious poet, do you, and are going to
cut out Milton and Æschylus? Are you setting up to be a Pindar, you
absurd little tom-tit, and fancy you have the strength and pinion which
the Theban eagle bear, sailing with supreme dominion through the azure
fields of air? No, my boy, I think you can write a magazine article, and
turn out a pretty copy of verses; that's what I think of you."

"By Jove!" said Pen, bouncing up and stamping his foot, "I'll show you
that I am a better man than you think for."

Warrington only laughed the more, and blew twenty-four puffs rapidly out
of his pipe by way of reply to Pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

An opportunity for showing his skill presented itself before very
long. That eminent publisher, Mr. Bacon (formerly Bacon and Bungay)
of Paternoster Row, besides being the proprietor of the legal Review,
in which Mr. Warrington wrote, and of other periodicals of note and
gravity, used to present to the world every year a beautiful gilt volume
called the Spring Annual, edited by the Lady Violet Lebas, and numbering
among its contributors not only the most eminent, but the most
fashionable poets of our time. Young Lord Dodo's poems first appeared in
this miscellany--the Honorable Percy Popjoy, whose chivalrous ballads
have obtained him such a reputation--Bedwin Sands's Eastern Ghazuls,
and many more of the works of our young nobles, were first given to the
world in the Spring Annual, which has since shared the fate of other
vernal blossoms, and perished out of the world. The book was daintily
illustrated with pictures of reigning beauties, or other prints of a
tender and voluptuous character; and, as these plates were prepared long
beforehand, requiring much time in engraving, it was the eminent poets
who had to write to the plates, and not the painters who illustrated
the poems.

One day, just when this volume was on the eve of publication, it chanced
that Mr. Warrington called in Paternoster Row to talk with Mr. Hack, Mr.
Bacon's reader and general manager of publications--for Mr. Bacon, not
having the least taste in poetry or in literature of any kind, wisely
employed the services of a professional gentleman. Warrington, then,
going into Mr. Hack's room on business of his own, found that gentleman
with a bundle of proof plates and sheets of the Spring Annual before
him, and glanced at some of them.

Percy Popjoy had written some verses to illustrate one of the pictures,
which was called The Church Porch. A Spanish damsel was hastening to
church with a large prayer-book; a youth in a cloak was hidden in a
niche watching this young woman. The picture was pretty; but the great
genius of Percy Popjoy had deserted him, for he had made the most
execrable verses which ever were perpetrated by a young nobleman.

Warrington burst out laughing as he read the poem: and Mr. Hack laughed
too, but with rather a rueful face.--"It won't do," he said, "the public
won't stand it. Bungay's people are going to bring out a very good book,
and have set up Miss Bunyan against Lady Violet. We have most titles to
be sure--but the verses are too bad. Lady Violet herself owns it; she's
busy with her own poem; what's to be done? We can't lose the plate. The
governor gave sixty pounds for it?"

"I know a fellow who would do some verses, I think," said Warrington.
"Let me take the plate home in my pocket: and send to my chambers in the
morning for the verses. You'll pay well of course."

"Of course," said Mr. Hack; and Warrington, having dispatched his own
business, went home to Mr. Pen, plate in hand.

"Now, boy, here's a chance for you. Turn me off a copy of verses to
this."

"What's this? A Church Porch--a lady entering it, and a youth out of a
wine-shop window ogling her.--What the deuce am I to do with it?"

"Try," said Warrington. "Earn your livelihood for once, you who long so
to do it."

"Well, I will try," said Pen.

"And I'll go out to dinner," said Warrington, and left Mr. Pen in a
brown study.

[Illustration]

When Warrington came home that night, at a very late hour, the verses
were done. "There they are," said Pen. "I've screwed 'em out at last.
I think they'll do."

"I think they will," said Warrington, after reading them; they ran as
follows:--


The Church Porch.

  Although I enter not,
  Yet round about the spot
    Sometimes I hover,
  And at the sacred gate,
  With longing eyes I wait,
    Expectant of her.

  The Minster bell tolls out
  Above the city's rout
    And noise and humming:
  They've stopp'd the chiming bell,
  I hear the organ's swell--
    She's coming, she's coming!

  My lady comes at last,
  Timid and stepping fast,
    And hastening hither,
  With modest eyes downcast,
  She comes--she's here--she's past.
    May Heaven go with her!

  Kneel undisturb'd, fair saint,
  Pour out your praise or plaint
    Meekly and duly.
  I will not enter there,
  To sully your pure prayer
    With thoughts unruly.

  But suffer me to pace
  Round the forbidden place,
    Lingering a minute,
  Like outcast spirits, who wait
  And see through Heaven's gate
    Angels within it.


"Have you got any more, young fellow?" asked Warrington. "We must make
them give you a couple of guineas a page; and if the verses are liked,
why you'll get an entrée into Bacon's magazines, and may turn a decent
penny."

Pen examined his portfolio and found another ballad which he thought
might figure with advantage in the Spring Annual, and consigning these
two precious documents to Warrington, the pair walked from the Temple,
to the famous haunt of the Muses and their masters, Paternoster Row.
Bacon's shop was an ancient low-browed building, with a few of the books
published by the firm displayed in the windows, under a bust of my Lord
of Verulam, and the name of Mr. Bacon in brass on the private door.
Exactly opposite to Bacon's house was that of Mr. Bungay, which was
newly painted and elaborately decorated in the style of the seventeenth
century, so that you might have fancied stately Mr. Evelyn passing over
the threshold, or curious Mr. Pepys examining the books in the window.
Warrington went into the shop of Mr. Bacon, but Pen stayed without.
It was agreed that his embassador should act for him entirely; and the
young fellow paced up and down the street in a very nervous condition,
until he should learn the result of the negotiation. Many a poor devil
before him has trodden those flags, with similar cares and anxieties at
his heels, his bread and his fame dependent upon the sentence of his
magnanimous patrons of the Row. Pen looked at all the wonders of all
the shops; and the strange variety of literature which they exhibit.
In this were displayed black-letter volumes and books in the clear
pale types of Aldus and Elzevir: in the next, you might see the Penny
Horrific Register; the Halfpenny Annals of Crime and History of the most
celebrated Murderers of all Countries, The Raff's Magazine, The Larky
Swell, and other publications of the penny press; while at the next
window, portraits of ill-favored individuals, with facsimiles of the
venerated signatures of the Reverend Grimes Wapshot, the Reverend Elias
Howle, and the works written, and the sermons preached by them, showed
the British Dissenter where he could find mental pabulum. Hard by would
be a little casement hung with emblems, with medals and rosaries,
with little paltry prints of saints, gilt and painted, and books of
controversial theology, by which the faithful of the Roman opinion might
learn a short way to deal with Protestants, at a penny apiece, or
ninepence the dozen for distribution; while in the very next window you
might see "Come out of Rome," a sermon preached at the opening of the
Shepherd's Bush College, by John Thomas Lord Bishop of Ealing. Scarce
an opinion but has its expositor and its place of exhibition in this
peaceful old Paternoster Row, under the toll of the bells of Saint Paul.

Pen looked in at all the windows and shops, as a gentleman who is
going to have an interview with the dentist, examines the books on the
waiting-room table. He remembered them afterward. It seemed to him that
Warrington would never come out; and indeed the latter was engaged for
some time in pleading his friend's cause.

Pen's natural conceit would have swollen immensely if he could but
have heard the report which Warrington gave of him. It happened that
Mr. Bacon himself had occasion to descend to Mr. Hack's room while
Warrington was talking there, and Warrington knowing Bacon's weaknesses,
acted upon them with great adroitness in his friend's behalf. In the
first place, he put on his hat to speak to Bacon, and addressed him
from the table on which he seated himself. Bacon liked to be treated
with rudeness by a gentleman, and used to pass it on to his inferiors,
as boys pass the mark. "What! not know Mr. Pendennis, Mr. Bacon?"
Warrington said. "You can't live much in the world, or you would know
him. A man of property in the West, of one of the most ancient families
in England, related to half the nobility in the empire--he's cousin to
Lord Pontypool--he was one of the most distinguished men at Oxbridge;
he dines at Gaunt House every week."

"Law bless me, you don't say so, sir. Well--really--Law bless me now,"
said Mr. Bacon.

"I have just been showing Mr. Hack some of his verses, which he sat up
last night, at my request, to write; and Hack talks about giving him a
copy of the book--the what-d'-you-call-'em."

"Law bless me now, does he? The what-d'-you-call-'em. Indeed!"

"'The Spring Annual' is its name--as payment for these verses. You don't
suppose that such a man as Mr. Arthur Pendennis gives up a dinner at
Gaunt House for nothing? You know, as well as any body, that the men of
fashion want to be paid."

"That they do, Mr. Warrington, sir," said the publisher.

"I tell you he's a star; he'll make a name, sir. He's a new man, sir."

"They've said that of so many of those young swells, Mr. Warrington,"
the publisher interposed, with a sigh. "There was Lord Viscount Dodo,
now; I gave his lordship a good bit of money for his poems, and only
sold eighty copies. Mr. Popjoy's Hadgincourt, sir, fell dead."

"Well, then, I'll take my man over to Bungay," Warrington said,
and rose from the table. This threat was too much for Mr. Bacon,
who was instantly ready to accede to any reasonable proposal of Mr.
Warrington's, and finally asked his manager what those proposals were.
When he heard that the negotiation only related as yet to a couple of
ballads, which Mr. Warrington offered for the Spring Annual, Mr. Bacon
said, "Law bless you, give him a check directly;" and with this paper
Warrington went out to his friend, and placed it, grinning, in Pen's
hands. Pen was as elated as if somebody had left him a fortune. He
offered Warrington a dinner at Richmond instantly. "What should he go
and buy for Laura and his mother? He must buy something for them."

"They'll like the book better than any thing else," said Warrington,
"with the young one's name to the verses, printed among the swells."

"Thank God! thank God!" cried Arthur, "I needn't be a charge upon the
old mother. I can pay off Laura now. I can get my own living. I can make
my own way."

"I can marry the grand vizier's daughter; I can purchase a house in
Belgrave Square; I can build a fine castle in the air!" said Warrington,
pleased with the other's exultation. "Well, you may get bread and
cheese, Pen: and I own it tastes well, the bread which you earn
yourself."

They had a magnum of claret at dinner at the club that day, at Pen's
charges. It was long since he had indulged in such a luxury, but
Warrington would not balk him; and they drank together to the health
of the Spring Annual.

It never rains but it pours, according to the proverb; so very speedily
another chance occurred, by which Mr. Pen was to be helped in his scheme
of making a livelihood. Warrington one day threw him a letter across
the table, which was brought by a printer's boy, "from Captain Shandon,
sir"--the little emissary said: and then went and fell asleep on his
accustomed bench in the passage. He paid many a subsequent visit there,
and brought many a message to Pen.


    "_F. P. Tuesday Morning._

    "My Dear Sir,

    "Bungay will be here to-day about the 'Pall-Mall Gazette.' You would
    be the very man to help us _with a genuine West-end article_--you
    understand--dashing, trenchant, and d---- aristocratic. Lady Hipshaw
    will write; but she's not much, you know; and we've two lords, but
    the less they do the better. We must have you. We'll give you your
    own terms, and we'll make a hit with the 'Gazette.'

    "Shall B. come and see you, or can you look in upon me here?

    "Ever yours,

    "C. S."


"Some more opposition," Warrington said, when Pen had read the note.
"Bungay and Bacon are at daggers-drawn; each married the sister of the
other, and they were for some time the closest friends and partners.
Hack says it was Mrs. Bungay who caused all the mischief between the
two; whereas Shandon, who reads for Bungay a good deal, says Mrs. Bacon
did the business; but I don't know which is right, Peachum or Lockit.
But since they have separated, it is a furious war between the two
publishers; and no sooner does one bring out a book of travels, or
poems, a magazine or periodical, quarterly, or monthly, or weekly, or
annual, but the rival is in the field with something similar. I have
heard poor Shandon tell with great glee how he made Bungay give a grand
dinner at Blackwall to all his writers, by saying that Bacon had invited
his corps to an entertainment at Greenwich. When Bungay engaged your
celebrated friend Mr. Wagg to edit the 'Londoner,' Bacon straightway
rushed off and secured Mr. Grindle to give his name to the 'Westminster
Magazine.' When Bacon brought out his comic Irish novel of 'Barney
Brallaghan,' off went Bungay to Dublin, and produced his rollicking
Hibernian story of 'Looney MacTwolter.' When Doctor Hicks brought out
his 'Wanderings in Mesopotamia,' under Bacon's auspices, Bungay produced
Professor Sandiman's 'Researches in Zahara;' and Bungay is publishing
his 'Pall-Mall Gazette' as a counterpoise to Bacon's 'Whitehall Review.'
Let us go and hear about the 'Gazette.' There may be a place for you in
it, Pen, my boy. We will go and see Shandon. We are sure to find him at
home."

"Where does he live?" asked Pen.

"In the Fleet Prison," Warrington said. "And very much at home he is
there, too. He is the king of the place."

Pen had never seen this scene of London life, and walked with no small
interest in at the grim gate of that dismal edifice. They went through
the ante-room, where the officers and janitors of the place were seated,
and passing in at the wicket, entered the prison. The noise and the
crowd, the life and the shouting, the shabby bustle of the place, struck
and excited Pen. People moved about ceaselessly and restless, like caged
animals in a menagerie. Men were playing at fives. Others pacing and
tramping: this one in colloquy with his lawyer in dingy black--that one
walking sadly, with his wife by his side, and a child on his arm. Some
were arrayed in tattered dressing-gowns, and had a look of rakish
fashion. Every body seemed to be busy, humming, and on the move. Pen
felt as if he choked in the place, and as if the door being locked upon
him they never would let him out.

They went through a court up a stone staircase, and through passages
full of people, and noise, and cross lights, and black doors clapping
and banging; Pen feeling as one does in a feverish morning-dream. At
last the same little runner who had brought Shandon's note, and had
followed them down Fleet-street munching apples, and who showed the way
to the two gentlemen through the prison, said, "This is the captain's
door," and Mr. Shandon's voice from within bade them enter.

The room, though bare, was not uncheerful. The sun was shining in at the
window--near which sate a lady at work, who had been gay and beautiful
once, but in whose faded face kindness and tenderness still beamed.
Through all his errors and reckless mishaps and misfortunes, this
faithful creature adored her husband, and thought him the best and
cleverest, as indeed he was one of the kindest of men. Nothing ever
seemed to disturb the sweetness of his temper; not debts: not duns:
not misery: not the bottle: not his wife's unhappy position, or his
children's ruined chances. He was perfectly fond of wife and children,
after his fashion: he always had the kindest words and smiles for them,
and ruined them with the utmost sweetness of temper. He never could
refuse himself or any man any enjoyment which his money could purchase;
he would share his last guinea with Jack and Tom, and we may be sure he
had a score of such retainers. He would sign his name at the back of any
man's bill, and never pay any debt of his own. He would write on any
side, and attack himself or another man with equal indifference. He
was one of the wittiest, the most amiable, and the most incorrigible
of Irishmen. Nobody could help liking Charley Shandon who saw him once,
and those whom he ruined could scarcely be angry with him.

When Pen and Warrington arrived, the captain (he had been in an Irish
militia regiment once, and the title remained with him) was sitting on
his bed in a torn dressing-gown, with a desk on his knees, at which he
was scribbling as fast as his rapid pen could write. Slip after slip of
paper fell off the desk wet on to the ground. A picture of his children
was hung up over his bed, and the youngest of them was pattering about
the room.

Opposite the captain sate Mr. Bungay, a portly man of stolid
countenance, with whom the little child had been trying a conversation.

"Papa's a very clever man," said she; "mamma says so."

"Oh, very," said Mr. Bungay.

"And you're a very rich man, Mr. Bundy," cried the child, who could
hardly speak plain.

"Mary!" said mamma, from her work.

"Oh, never mind," Bungay roared out with a great laugh; "no harm in
saying I'm rich--he, he--I am pretty well off, my little dear."

"If you're rich, why don't you take papa out of piz'n?" asked the child.

Mamma at this began to wipe her eyes with the work on which she was
employed. (The poor lady had hung curtains up in the room, had brought
the children's picture and placed it there, and had made one or two
attempts to ornament it.) Mamma began to cry; Mr. Bungay turned red, and
looked fiercely out of his blood-shot little eyes; Shandon's pen went on,
and Pen and Warrington arrived with their knock.

Captain Shandon looked up from his work. "How do you do, Mr. Warrington,"
he said. "I'll speak to you in a minute. Please sit down, gentlemen, if
you can find places," and away went the pen again.

Warrington pulled forward an old portmanteau--the only available
seat--and sate down on it with a bow to Mrs. Shandon, and a nod to
Bungay: the child came and looked at Pen solemnly: and in a couple of
minutes the swift scribbling ceased; and Shandon, turning the desk over
on the bed, stooped and picked up the papers.

"I think this will do," said he. "It's the prospectus for the 'Pall-Mall
Gazette.'"

"And here's the money for it," Mr. Bungay said, laying down a five-pound
note. "I'm as good as my word, I am. When I say I'll pay, I pay."

"Faith that's more than some of us can say," said Shandon, and he
eagerly clapped the note into his pocket.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

WHICH IS PASSED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF LUDGATE HILL.


[Illustration]

Our imprisoned captain announced, in smart and emphatic language in his
prospectus, that the time had come at last when it was necessary for the
gentlemen of England to band together in defense of their common rights
and their glorious order, menaced on all sides by foreign revolutions,
by intestine radicalism, by the artful calumnies of mill-owners and
cotton-lords, and the stupid hostility of the masses whom they gulled
and led. "The ancient monarchy was insulted," the captain said, "by a
ferocious republican rabble. The Church was deserted by envious dissent,
and undermined by stealthy infidelity. The good institutions, which
had made our country glorious, and the name of English Gentleman the
proudest in the world, were left without defense, and exposed to assault
and contumely from men to whom no sanctuary was sacred, for they
believed in nothing holy; no history venerable, for they were too
ignorant to have heard of the past; and no law was binding which they
were strong enough to break, when their leaders gave the signal for
plunder. It was because the kings of France mistrusted their gentlemen,"
Mr. Shandon remarked, "that the monarchy of Saint Louis went down: it
was because the people of England still believed in their gentlemen,
that this country encountered and overcame the greatest enemy a nation
ever met: it was because we were headed by gentlemen that the Eagles
retreated before us from the Douro to the Garonne: it was a gentleman
who broke the line at Trafalgar, and swept the plain of Waterloo."

Bungay nodded his head in a knowing manner, and winked his eyes when the
captain came to the Waterloo passage: and Warrington burst out laughing.

"You see how our venerable friend Bungay is affected," Shandon said,
slily looking up from his papers--"that's your true sort of test. I have
used the Duke of Wellington and the battle of Waterloo a hundred times:
and I never knew the Duke to fail."

The captain then went on to confess with much candor, that up to the
present time the gentlemen of England, confident of their right, and
careless of those who questioned it, had left the political interest
of their order as they did the management of their estates, or the
settlement of their legal affairs, to persons affected to each peculiar
service, and had permitted their interests to be represented in the
press by professional proctors and advocates. That time, Shandon
professed to consider, was now gone by: the gentlemen of England must
be their own champions: the declared enemies of their order were brave,
strong, numerous, and uncompromising. They must meet their foes in the
field: they must not be belied and misrepresented by hireling advocates:
they must not have Grub-street publishing Gazettes from Whitehall;
"that's a dig at Bacon's people, Mr. Bungay," said Shandon, turning
round to the publisher.

Bungay clapped his stick on the floor. "Hang him, pitch into him,
capting," he said, with exultation: and turning to Warrington, wagged
his dull head more vehemently than ever, and said, "For a slashing
article, sir, there's nobody like the capting--no-obody like him."

The prospectus-writer went on to say that some gentlemen, whose names
were, for obvious reasons, not brought before the public (at which Mr.
Warrington began to laugh again), had determined to bring forward a
journal, of which the principles were so and so. "These men are proud
of their order, and anxious to uphold it," cried out Captain Shandon,
flourishing his paper with a grin. "They are loyal to their sovereign,
by faithful conviction and ancestral allegiance; they love their Church,
where they would have their children worship, and for which their
forefathers bled; they love their country, and would keep it what the
gentlemen of England--yes, _the gentlemen of England_ (we'll have that
in large caps., Bungay, my boy) have made it--the greatest and freest
in the world: and as the names of some of them are appended to the deed
which secured our liberties at Runnymede--"

"What's that?" asked Mr. Bungay.

"An ancestor of mine sealed it with his sword-hilt," Pen said, with
great gravity.

"It's the Habeas Corpus, Mr. Bungay," Warrington said, on which the
publisher answered, "All right, I dare say," and yawned, though he said,
"Go on, capting."

--"at Runnymede; they are ready to defend that freedom to-day with sword
and pen, and now, as then, to rally round the old laws and liberties of
England."

"Brayvo!" cried Warrington. The little child stood wondering; the lady
was working silently, and looking with fond admiration. "Come here,
little Mary," said Warrington, and patted the child's fair curls with
his large hand. But she shrank back from his rough caress, and preferred
to go and take refuge at Pen's knee, and play with his fine watch-chain:
and Pen was very much pleased that she came to him; for he was very
soft-hearted and simple, though he concealed his gentleness under a shy
and pompous demeanor. So she clambered up on his lap, while her father
continued to read his programme.

"You were laughing," the captain said to Warrington, "about 'the
obvious reasons' which I mentioned. Now, I'll show ye what they are,
ye unbelieving heathen. 'We have said,'" he went on, "'that we can not
give the names of the parties engaged in this undertaking, and that
there were obvious reasons for that concealment. We number influential
friends in both Houses of the Senate, and have secured allies in every
diplomatic circle in Europe. Our sources of intelligence are such as can
not, by any possibility, be made public--and, indeed, such as no other
London or European journal could, by any chance, acquire. But this we
are free to say, that the very earliest information connected with the
movement of English and continental politics, will be found only in the
columns of the 'Pall Mall Gazette.' The statesman and the capitalist,
the country gentleman, and the divine, will be among our readers,
because our writers are among them. We address ourselves to the higher
circles of society: we care not to disown it--the 'Pall Mall Gazette' is
written by gentlemen for gentlemen; its conductors speak to the classes
in which they live and were born. The field-preacher has his journal,
the radical free-thinker has his journal: why should the gentlemen of
England be unrepresented in the Press?'"

Mr. Shandon then went on with much modesty to descant upon the literary
and fashionable departments of the "Pall Mall Gazette," which were to
be conducted by gentlemen of acknowledged reputation; men famous at the
Universities (at which Mr. Pendennis could scarcely help laughing and
blushing), known at the Clubs, and of the Society which they described.
He pointed out delicately to advertisers that there would be no such
medium as the "Pall Mall Gazette" for giving publicity to their sales;
and he eloquently called upon the nobility of England, the baronetage of
England, the revered clergy of England, the bar of England, the matrons,
the daughters, the homes and hearths of England, to rally round the good
old cause; and Bungay at the conclusion of the reading woke up from a
second snooze in which he had indulged himself, and again said it was
all right.

The reading of the prospectus concluded, the gentlemen present entered
into some details regarding the political and literary management of the
paper, and Mr. Bungay sate by listening and nodding his head, as if he
understood what was the subject of their conversation, and approved of
their opinions. Bungay's opinions, in truth, were pretty simple. He
thought the captain could write the best smashing article in England.
He wanted the opposition house of Bacon smashed, and it was his opinion
that the captain could do that business. If the captain had written a
letter of Junius on a sheet of paper, or copied a part of the Church
Catechism, Mr. Bungay would have been perfectly contented, and have
considered that the article was a smashing article. And he pocketed the
papers with the greatest satisfaction: and he not only paid for the MS.,
as we have seen, but he called little Mary to him, and gave her a penny
as he went away.

The reading of the manuscript over, the party engaged in general
conversation, Shandon leading with a jaunty fashionable air in
compliment to the two guests who sate with him, and who, by their
appearance and manner, he presumed to be persons of the _beau monde_.
He knew very little indeed of the great world, but he had seen it, and
made the most of what he had seen. He spoke of the characters of the
day, and great personages of the fashion, with easy familiarity and
jocular allusions, as if it was his habit to live among them. He told
anecdotes of their private life, and of conversations he had had, and
entertainments at which he had been present, and at which such and such
a thing occurred. Pen was amused to hear the shabby prisoner in a
tattered dressing-gown talking glibly about the great of the land. Mrs.
Shandon was always delighted when her husband told these tales, and
believed in them fondly every one. She did not want to mingle in the
fashionable world herself, she was not clever enough; but the great
society was the very place for her Charles: he shone in it: he was
respected in it. Indeed, Shandon had once been asked to dinner by the
Earl of X.; his wife treasured the invitation-card in her work-box at
that very day.

Mr. Bungay presently had enough of this talk and got up to take leave,
whereupon Warrington and Pen rose to depart with the publisher, though
the latter would have liked to stay to make a further acquaintance with
this family, who interested him and touched him. He said something about
hoping for permission to repeat his visit, upon which Shandon, with a
rueful grin, said he was always to be found at home, and should be
delighted to see Mr. Pennington.

"I'll see you to my park-gate, gentlemen," said Captain Shandon, seizing
his hat, in spite of a deprecatory look, and a faint cry of "Charles"
from Mrs. Shandon. And the captain, in shabby slippers, shuffled out
before his guests, leading the way through the dismal passages of the
prison. His hand was already fiddling with his waistcoat pocket, where
Bungay's five-pound note was, as he took leave of the three gentlemen at
the wicket; one of them, Mr. Arthur Pendennis, being greatly relieved
when he was out of the horrid place, and again freely treading the flags
of Farringdon-street.

Mrs. Shandon sadly went on with her work at the window looking into the
court. She saw Shandon with a couple of men at his heels run rapidly in
the direction of the prison tavern. She had hoped to have had him to
dinner herself that day: there was a piece of meat, and some salad in a
basin, on the ledge outside of the window of their room, which she had
expected that she and little Mary were to share with the child's father.
But there was no chance of that now. He would be in that tavern until
the hours for closing it; then he would go and play at cards or drink in
some other man's room, and come back silent, with glazed eyes, reeling a
little in his walk, that his wife might nurse him. Oh, what varieties of
pain do we not make our women suffer!

[Illustration]

So Mrs. Shandon went to the cupboard, and, in lieu of a dinner, made
herself some tea. And in those varieties of pain of which we spoke anon,
what a part of confidante has that poor tea-pot played ever since the
kindly plant was introduced among us! What myriads of women have cried
over it, to be sure! What sick beds it has smoked by! What fevered lips
have received refreshment from out of it! Nature meant very gently by
women when she made that tea-plant; and with a little thought what a
series of pictures and groups the fancy may conjure up and assemble
round the tea-pot and cup. Melissa and Sacharissa are talking love
secrets over it. Poor Polly has it and her lover's letters upon the
table; his letters who was her lover yesterday, and when it was with
pleasure, not despair, she wept over them. Mary comes tripping
noiselessly into her mother's bed-room, bearing a cup of the consoler
to the widow who will take no other food. Ruth is busy concocting it for
her husband, who is coming home from the harvest-field--one could fill a
page with hints for such pictures; finally, Mrs. Shandon and little Mary
sit down and drink their tea together, while the captain goes out and
takes his pleasure. She cares for nothing else but that, when her
husband is away.

A gentleman with whom we are already slightly acquainted, Mr. Jack
Finucane, a townsman of Captain Shandon's, found the captain's wife and
little Mary (for whom Jack always brought a sweetmeat in his pocket)
over this meal. Jack thought Shandon the greatest of created geniuses;
had had one or two helps from the good-natured prodigal, who had always
a kind word, and sometimes a guinea for any friend in need; and never
missed a day in seeing his patron. He was ready to run Shandon's errands
and transact his money-business with publishers and newspaper editors,
duns, creditors, holders of Shandon's acceptances, gentlemen disposed
to speculate in those securities, and to transact the thousand little
affairs of an embarrassed Irish gentleman. I never knew an embarrassed
Irish gentleman yet, but he had an aid-de-camp of his own nation,
likewise in circumstances of pecuniary discomfort. That aid-de-camp
has subordinates of his own, who again may have other insolvent
dependents--all through his life our captain marched at the head of
a ragged staff, who shared in the rough fortunes of their chieftain.

"He won't have that five-pound note very long, I bet a guinea," Mr.
Bungay said of the captain, as he and his two companions walked away
from the prison; and the publisher judged rightly, for when Mrs.
Shandon came to empty her husband's pockets, she found but a couple of
shillings, and a few half-pence out of the morning's remittance. Shandon
had given a pound to one follower; had sent a leg of mutton and potatoes
and beer to an acquaintance in the poor side of the prison; had paid an
outstanding bill at the tavern where he had changed his five-pound
note; had had a dinner with two friends there, to whom he lost sundry
half-crowns at cards afterward; so that the night left him as poor as
the morning had found him.

The publisher and the two gentlemen had had some talk together after
quitting Shandon, and Warrington reiterated to Bungay what he had said
to his rival, Bacon, viz., that Pen was a high fellow, of great genius,
and what was more, well with the great world, and related to "no end"
of the peerage. Bungay replied that he should be happy to have dealings
with Mr. Pendennis, and hoped to have the pleasure of seeing both gents
to cut mutton with him before long; and so, with mutual politeness and
protestations, they parted.

       *       *       *       *       *

"It is hard to see such a man as Shandon," Pen said, musing, and talking
that night over the sight which he had witnessed, "of accomplishments
so multifarious, and of such an undoubted talent and humor, an inmate
of a jail for half his time, and a bookseller's hanger-on when out of
prison."

"I am a bookseller's hanger-on--you are going to try your paces as
a hack," Warrington said, with a laugh. "We are all hacks upon some
road or other. I would rather be myself, than Paley, our neighbor in
chambers: who has as much enjoyment of his life as a mole. A deuced deal
of undeserved compassion has been thrown away upon what you call your
bookseller's drudge."

"Much solitary pipes and ale make a cynic of you," Pen said. "You are
a Diogenes by a beer-barrel, Warrington. No man shall tell me that a
man of genius, as Shandon is, ought to be driven by such a vulgar slave
driver, as yonder Mr. Bungay, whom we have just left, who fattens
on the profits of the other's brains, and enriches himself out of his
journeyman's labor. It makes me indignant to see a gentleman the serf of
such a creature as that, of a man who can't speak the language that he
lives by, who is not fit to black Shandon's boots."

"So you have begun already to gird at the publishers, and to take your
side among our order. Bravo, Pen, my boy!" Warrington answered, laughing
still. "What have you got to say against Bungay's relations with
Shandon? Was it the publisher, think you, who sent the author to prison?
Is it Bungay who is tippling away the five-pound note which we saw just
now, or Shandon?"

"Misfortune drives a man into bad company," Pen said. "It is easy to cry
'Fie!' against a poor fellow who has no society but such as he finds in
a prison; and no resource except forgetfulness and the bottle. We must
deal kindly with the eccentricities of genius, and remember that the
very ardor and enthusiasm of temperament which makes the author
delightful often leads the man astray."

"A fiddlestick about men of genius!" Warrington cried out, who was
a very severe moralist upon some points, though possibly a very bad
practitioner. "I deny that there are so many geniuses as people who
whimper about the fate of men of letters assert there are. There are
thousands of clever fellows in the world who could, if they would,
turn verses, write articles, read books, and deliver a judgment upon
them; the talk of professional critics and writers is not a whit more
brilliant, or profound, or amusing, than that of any other society of
educated people. If a lawyer, or a soldier, or a parson, outruns his
income, and does not pay his bills, he must go to jail; and an author
must go, too. If an author fuddles himself, I don't know why he should
be let off a headache the next morning--if he orders a coat from the
tailor's, why he shouldn't pay for it."

"I would give him more money to buy coats," said Pen, smiling. "I
suppose I should like to belong to a well-dressed profession. I protest
against that wretch of a middle-man whom I see between Genius and his
great landlord, the Public, and who stops more than half of the
laborer's earnings and fame."

"I am a prose laborer," Warrington said: "you, my boy, are a poet in a
small way, and so, I suppose, consider you are authorized to be flighty.
What is it you want? Do you want a body of capitalists that shall be
forced to purchase the works of all authors, who may present themselves,
manuscript in hand? Every body who writes his epic, every driveler who
can or can't spell, and produces his novel or his tragedy--are they all
to come and find a bag of sovereigns in exchange for their worthless
reams of paper? Who is to settle what is good or bad, salable or
otherwise? Will you give the buyer leave, in fine, to purchase or not?
Why, sir, when Johnson sate behind the screen at Saint John's Gate, and
took his dinner apart, because he was too shabby and poor to join the
literary bigwigs who were regaling themselves round Mr. Cave's best
table-cloth, the tradesman was doing him no wrong. You couldn't force
the publisher to recognize the man of genius in the young man who
presented himself before him, ragged, gaunt, and hungry. Rags are not
a proof of genius; whereas capital is absolute, as times go, and is
perforce the bargain-master. It has a right to deal with the literary
inventor as with any other;--if I produce a novelty in the book trade,
I must do the best I can with it; but I can no more force Mr. Murray to
purchase my book of travels or sermons, than I can compel Mr. Tattersall
to give me a hundred guineas for my horse. I may have my own ideas of
the value of my Pegasus, and think him the most wonderful of animals;
but the dealer has a right to his opinion, too, and may want a lady's
horse, or a cob for a heavy timid rider, or a sound hack for the road,
and my beast won't suit him."

"You deal in metaphors, Warrington," Pen said; "but you rightly say
that you are very prosaic. Poor Shandon! There is something about the
kindness of that man, and the gentleness of that sweet creature of a
wife, which touches me profoundly. I like him, I am afraid, better than
a better man."

"And so do I," Warrington said. "Let us give him the benefit of our
sympathy, and the pity that is due to his weakness: though I fear that
sort of kindness would be resented as contempt by a more high-minded
man. You see he takes his consolation along with his misfortune, and one
generates the other or balances it, as is the way of the world. He is a
prisoner, but he is not unhappy."

"His genius sings within his prison bars," Pen said.

"Yes," Warrington said, bitterly; "Shandon accommodates himself to a
cage pretty well. He ought to be wretched, but he has Jack and Tom to
drink with, and that consoles him: he might have a high place, but, as
he can't, why he can drink with Tom and Jack;--he might be providing for
his wife and children, but Thomas and John have got a bottle of brandy
which they want him to taste;--he might pay poor Snip, the tailor, the
twenty pounds which the poor devil wants for his landlord, but John
and Thomas lay their hands upon his purse;--and so he drinks while
his tradesman goes to jail and his family to ruin. Let us pity the
misfortunes of genius, and conspire against the publishing tyrants who
oppress men of letters."

"What! are you going to have another glass of brandy-and-water?" Pen
said, with a humorous look. It was at the Back Kitchen that the above
philosophical conversation took place between the two young men.

Warrington began to laugh as usual. "_Video meliora proboque_--I mean,
bring it me hot, with sugar, John," he said to the waiter.

"I would have some more, too, only I don't want it," said Pen. "It does
not seem to me, Warrington, that we are much better than our neighbors."
And Warrington's last glass having been dispatched, the pair returned to
their chambers.

They found a couple of notes in the letter-box, on their return, which
had been sent by their acquaintance of the morning, Mr. Bungay. That
hospitable gentleman presented his compliments to each of the gentlemen,
and requested the pleasure of their company at dinner on an early day,
to meet a few literary friends.

"We shall have a grand spread," said Warrington. "We shall meet all
Bungay's corps."

"All except poor Shandon," said Pen, nodding a good night to his friend,
and he went into his own little room. The events and acquaintances of
the day had excited him a good deal, and he lay for some time awake
thinking over them, as Warrington's vigorous and regular snore from the
neighboring apartment pronounced that that gentleman was engaged in deep
slumber.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is it true, thought Pendennis, lying on his bed and gazing at a bright
moon without, that lighted up a corner of his dressing-table, and the
frame of a little sketch of Fairoaks, drawn by Laura, that hung over his
drawers--is it true that I am going to earn my bread at last, and with
my pen? that I shall impoverish the dear mother no longer; and that I
may gain a name and reputation in the world, perhaps? These are welcome
if they come, thought the young visionary, laughing and blushing to
himself, though alone and in the night, as he thought how dearly he
would relish honor and fame if they could be his. If fortune favors me,
I laud her; if she frowns, I resign her. I pray Heaven I may be honest
if I fail, or if I succeed. I pray Heaven I may tell the truth as far as
I know it: that I mayn't swerve from it through flattery, or interest,
or personal enmity, or party prejudice. Dearest old mother, what a pride
will you have, if I can do any thing worthy of our name! and you, Laura,
you won't scorn me as the worthless idler and spendthrift, when you
see that I--when I have achieved a--psha! what an Alnaschar I am because
I have made five pounds by my poems, and am engaged to write half a
dozen articles for a newspaper. He went on with these musings, more
happy and hopeful, and in a humbler frame of mind, than he had felt to
be for many a day. He thought over the errors and idleness, the passions,
extravagancies, disappointments, of his wayward youth: he got up from
the bed: threw open the window, and looked out into the night: and then,
by some impulse, which we hope was a good one, he went up and kissed the
picture of Fairoaks, and flinging himself down on his knees by the bed,
remained for some time in that posture of hope and submission. When
he rose, it was with streaming eyes. He had found himself repeating,
mechanically, some little words which he had been accustomed to repeat
as a child at his mother's side, after the saying of which she would
softly take him to his bed and close the curtains round him, hushing him
with a benediction.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next day, Mr. Pidgeon, their attendant, brought in a large brown
paper parcel, directed to G. Warrington, Esq., with Mr. Trotter's
compliments, and a note which Warrington read.

"Pen, you beggar!" roared Warrington to Pen, who was in his own room.

"Hullo!" sung out Pen.

"Come here, you're wanted," cried the other, and Pen came out. "What is
it?" said he.

"_Catch!_" cried Warrington, and flung the parcel at Pen's head, who
would have been knocked down had he not caught it.

"It's books for review for the 'Pall Mall Gazette': pitch into 'em,"
Warrington said. As for Pen, he never had been so delighted in his life:
his hand trembled as he cut the string of the packet, and beheld within
a smart set of new neat calico-bound books, travels, and novels, and
poems.

"Sport the oak, Pidgeon," said he. "I'm not at home to any body to-day."
And he flung into his easy chair, and hardly gave himself time to drink
his tea, so eager was he to begin to read and to review.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

IN WHICH THE HISTORY STILL HOVERS ABOUT FLEET-STREET


[Illustration]

Captain Shandon, urged on by his wife, who seldom meddled in business
matters, had stipulated that John Finucane, Esquire, of the Upper
Temple, should be appointed sub-editor of the forthcoming "Pall-Mall
Gazette," and this post was accordingly conferred upon Mr. Finucane by
the spirited proprietor of the Journal. Indeed he deserved any kindness
at the hands of Shandon, so fondly attached was he, as we have said,
to the captain and his family, and so eager to do him a service. It was
in Finucane's chambers that Shandon used in former days to hide when
danger was near and bailiffs abroad: until at length his hiding-place
was known, and the sheriff's officers came as regularly to wait for
the captain on Finucane's stair-case as at his own door. It was to
Finucane's chambers that poor Mrs. Shandon came often and often to
explain her troubles and griefs, and devise means of rescue for her
adored captain. Many a meal did Finucane furnish for her and the child
there. It was an honor to his little rooms to be visited by such a lady;
and as she went down the stair-case with her vail over her face, Fin
would lean over the balustrade looking after her, to see that no Temple
Lovelace assailed her upon the road, perhaps hoping that some rogue
might be induced to waylay her, so that he, Fin, might have the pleasure
of rushing to her rescue, and breaking the rascal's bones. It was a
sincere pleasure to Mrs. Shandon when the arrangements were made by
which her kind, honest champion was appointed her husband's aid-de-camp
in the newspaper.

He would have sate with Mrs. Shandon as late as the prison hours
permitted, and had indeed many a time witnessed the putting to bed
of little Mary, who occupied a crib in the room; and to whose evening
prayers that God might bless papa, Finucane, although of the Romish
faith himself, had said Amen with a great deal of sympathy--but he had
an appointment with Mr. Bungay regarding the affairs of the paper which
they were to discuss over a quiet dinner. So he went away at six o'clock
from Mrs. Shandon, but made his accustomed appearance at the Fleet
Prison next morning, having arrayed himself in his best clothes and
ornaments, which, though cheap as to cost were very brilliant as to
color and appearance, and having in his pocket four pounds two shillings,
being the amount of his week's salary at the Daily Journal, minus two
shillings expended by him in the purchase of a pair of gloves on his way
to the prison.

He had cut his mutton with Mr. Bungay, as the latter gentleman phrased
it, and Mr. Trotter, Bungay's reader and literary man of business, at
Dick's Coffee-House on the previous day, and entered at large into his
views respecting the conduct of the "Pall-Mall Gazette." In a masterly
manner he had pointed out what should be the sub-editorial arrangements
of the paper: what should be the type for the various articles: who
should report the markets; who the turf and ring; who the Church
intelligence; and who the fashionable chit-chat. He was acquainted with
gentlemen engaged in cultivating these various departments of knowledge,
and in communicating them afterward to the public--in fine, Jack
Finucane was, as Shandon had said of him, and, as he proudly owned
himself to be, one of the best sub-editors of a paper in London. He knew
the weekly earnings of every man connected with the Press, and was up
to a thousand dodges, or ingenious economic contrivances, by which
money could be saved to spirited capitalists, who were going to set up
a paper. He at once dazzled and mystified Mr. Bungay, who was slow of
comprehension, by the rapidity of the calculations which he exhibited
on paper, as they sate in the box. And Bungay afterward owned to his
subordinate Mr. Trotter, that that Irishman seemed a clever fellow.

And now having succeeded in making this impression upon Mr. Bungay, the
faithful fellow worked round to the point which he had very near at
heart, viz., the liberation from prison of his admired friend and chief,
Captain Shandon. He knew to a shilling the amount of the detainers
which were against the captain at the porter's lodge of the Fleet; and,
indeed, professed to know all his debts, though this was impossible, for
no man in England, certainly not the captain, himself, was acquainted
with them. He pointed out what Shandon's engagements already were; and
how much better he would work if removed from confinement; (though this
Mr. Bungay denied, for, "when the captain's locked up," he said, "we
are sure to find him at home; whereas, when he's free, you can never
catch hold of him;") finally, he so worked on Mr. Bungay's feelings,
by describing Mrs. Shandon pining away in the prison, and the child
sickening there, that the publisher was induced to promise that, if Mrs.
Shandon would come to him in the morning, he would see what could be
done. And the colloquy ending at this time with the second round of
brandy-and-water, although Finucane, who had four guineas in his pocket,
would have discharged the tavern reckoning with delight, Bungay said,
"No, sir,--this is my affair, sir, if you please. James, take the bill,
and eighteen-pence for yourself," and he handed over the necessary funds
to the waiter. Thus it Was that Finucane who went to bed at the Temple
after the dinner at Dick's, found himself actually with his week's
salary intact upon Saturday morning.

He gave Mrs. Shandon a wink so knowing and joyful, that that kind
creature knew some good news was in store for her, and hastened to
get her bonnet and shawl, when Fin asked if he might have the honor of
taking her a walk, and giving her a little fresh air. And little Mary
jumped for joy at the idea of this holiday, for Finucane never neglected
to give her a toy, or to take her to a show, and brought newspaper
orders in his pocket for all sorts of London diversions to amuse the
child. Indeed, he loved them with all his heart, and would cheerfully
have dashed out his rambling brains to do them, or his adored captain,
a service.

"May I go, Charley? or shall I stay with you, for you're poorly, dear,
this morning? He's got a headache, Mr. Finucane. He suffers from
headaches, and I persuaded him to stay in bed," Mrs. Shandon said.

"Go along with you, and Polly. Jack, take care of 'em. Hand me over the
Burton's Anatomy, and leave me to my abominable devices," Shandon said,
with perfect good humor. He was writing, and not uncommonly took his
Greek and Latin quotations (of which he knew the use as a public writer)
from that wonderful repertory of learning.

So Fin gave his arm to Mrs. Shandon, and Mary went skipping down the
passages of the prison, and through the gate into the free air. From
Fleet-street to Paternoster Row is not very far. As the three reached
Mr. Bungay's shop, Mrs. Bungay was also entering at the private door,
holding in her hand a paper parcel and a manuscript volume bound in red,
and, indeed, containing an account of her transactions with the butcher
in the neighboring market. Mrs. Bungay was in a gorgeous shot silk
dress, which flamed with red and purple; she wore a yellow shawl, and
had red flowers inside her bonnet, and a brilliant light blue parasol.
Mrs. Shandon was in an old black watered silk; her bonnet had never seen
very brilliant days of prosperity any more than its owner, but she could
not help looking like a lady, whatever her attire was. The two women
courtesied to each other, each according to her fashion.

"I hope you're pretty well, mum?" said Mrs. Bungay.

"It's a very fine day," said Mrs. Shandon.

"Won't you step in, mum?" said Mrs. Bungay, looking so hard at the child
as almost to frighten her.

"I--I came about business with Mr. Bungay--I--I hope he's pretty well?"
said timid Mrs. Shandon.

"If you go to see him in the counting-house, couldn't you--couldn't you
leave your little _gurl_ with me?" said Mrs. Bungay, in a deep voice,
and with a tragic look, as she held out one finger toward the child.

"I want to stay with mamma," cried little Mary, burying her face in her
mother's dress.

"Go with this lady, Mary, my dear," said the mother.

"I'll show you some pretty pictures," said Mrs. Bungay, with the voice
of an ogress, "and some nice things besides; look here"--and opening her
brown paper parcel, Mrs. Bungay displayed some choice sweet biscuits,
such as her Bungay loved after his wine. Little Mary followed after this
attraction, the whole party entering at the private entrance, from which
a side door led into Mr. Bungay's commercial apartments. Here, however,
as the child was about to part from her mother, her courage again
failed her, and again she ran to the maternal petticoat; upon which the
kind and gentle Mrs. Shandon, seeing the look of disappointment in Mrs.
Bungay's face, good-naturedly said, "If you will let me, I will come
up too, and sit for a few minutes," and so the three females ascended
the stairs together. A second biscuit charmed little Mary into perfect
confidence, and in a minute or two she prattled away without the least
restraint.

[Illustration]

Faithful Finucane meanwhile found Mr. Bungay in a severer mood than he
had been on the night previous, when two-thirds of a bottle of port,
and two large glasses of brandy-and-water, had warmed his soul into
enthusiasm, and made him generous in his promises toward Captain
Shandon. His impetuous wife had rebuked him on his return home. She
had ordered that he should give no relief to the captain; he was a
good-for-nothing fellow, whom no money would help; she disapproved of
the plan of the "Pall-Mall Gazette," and expected that Bungay would only
lose his money in it as they were losing over the way (she always called
her brother's establishment "over the way"), by the "Whitehall Journal."
Let Shandon stop in prison and do his work; it was the best place for
him. In vain Finucane pleaded and promised and implored, for his friend
Bungay had had an hour's lecture in the morning and was inexorable.

But what honest Jack failed to do below stairs in the counting-house,
the pretty faces and manners of the mother and child were effecting in
the drawing-room, where they were melting the fierce but really soft
Mrs. Bungay. There was an artless sweetness in Mrs. Shandon's voice,
and a winning frankness of manner, which made most people fond of her,
and pity her: and taking courage by the rugged kindness with which her
hostess received her, the captain's lady told her story, and described
her husband's goodness and virtues, and her child's failing health (she
was obliged to part with two of them, she said, and send them to school,
for she could not have them in that horrid place)--that Mrs. Bungay,
though as grim as Lady Macbeth, melted under the influence of the
simple tale, and said she would go down and speak to Bungay. Now in this
household to speak was to command, with Mrs. Bungay; and with Bungay, to
hear was to obey.

It was just when poor Finucane was in despair about his negotiation,
that the majestic Mrs. Bungay descended upon her spouse, politely
requested Mr. Finucane to step up to his friends in her drawing-room,
while she held a few minutes' conversation with Mr. B., and when the
pair were alone the publisher's better half informed him of her
intentions toward the captain's lady.

"What's in the wind now, my dear?" Mæcenas asked, surprised at his
wife's altered tone. "You wouldn't hear of my doing any thing for the
captain this morning: I wonder what has been a-changing of you."

"The captain is an Irishman," Mrs. Bungay replied; "and those Irish
I have always said I couldn't abide. But his wife is a lady, as any
one can see; and a good woman, and a clergyman's daughter, and a west
of England woman, B., which I am myself, by my mother's side--and, O
Marmaduke! didn't you remark her little gurl?"

"Yes, Mrs. B., I saw the little girl."

"And didn't you see how like she was to our angel, Bessy, Mr. B.?"--and
Mrs. Bungay's thoughts flew back to a period eighteen years back, when
Bacon and Bungay had just set up in business as small booksellers in a
country town, and when she had had a child, named Bessy, something like
the little Mary who had just moved her compassion.

"Well, well, my dear," Mr. Bungay said, seeing the little eyes of his
wife begin to twinkle and grow red; "the captain ain't in for much.
There's only a hundred and thirty pound against him. Half the money
will take him out of the Fleet, Finucane says, and we'll pay him half
salaries till he has made the account square. When the little 'un said,
'Why, don't you take Par out of pizn?' I did feel it, Elizabeth, upon my
honor I did, now." And the upshot of this conversation was, that Mr. and
Mrs. Bungay both ascended to the drawing-room, and Mr. Bungay made a
heavy and clumsy speech, in which he announced to Mrs. Shandon, that,
hearing sixty-five pounds would set her husband free, he was ready to
advance that sum of money, deducting it from the captain's salary, and
that he would give it to her on condition that she would personally
settle with the creditors regarding her husband's liberation.

I think this was the happiest day that Mrs. Shandon and Mr. Finucane had
had for a long time. "Bedad, Bungay, you're a trump!" roared out Fin,
in an overpowering brogue and emotion. "Give us your fist, old boy: and
won't we send the 'Pall-Mall Gazette' up to ten thousand a week, that's
all!" and he jumped about the room, and tossed up little Mary, with a
hundred frantic antics.

"If I could drive you any where in my carriage, Mrs. Shandon--I'm
sure it's quite at your service," Mrs. Bungay said, looking out at a
one-horsed vehicle which had just driven up, and in which this lady took
the air considerably--and the two ladies, with little Mary between them
(whose tiny hand Mæcenas's wife kept fixed in her great grasp), with the
delighted Mr. Finucane on the back seat, drove away from Paternoster
Row, as the owner of the vehicle threw triumphant glances at the
opposite windows at Bacon's.

"It won't do the captain any good," thought Bungay, going back to his
desk and accounts, "but Mrs. B. becomes reglar upset when she thinks
about her misfortune. The child would have been of age yesterday, if
she'd lived. Bessy told me so:" and he wondered how women did remember
things.

We are happy to say that Mrs. Shandon sped with very good success upon
her errand. She who had had to mollify creditors when she had no money
at all, and only tears and entreaties wherewith to soothe them, found no
difficulty in making them relent by means of a bribe of ten shillings
in the pound; and the next Sunday was the last, for some time at least,
which the captain spent in prison.



CHAPTER XXXV.

A DINNER IN THE ROW.


[Illustration]

Upon the appointed day our two friends made their appearance at Mr.
Bungay's door in Paternoster Row; not the public entrance through which
booksellers' boys issued with their sacks full of Bungay's volumes, and
around which timid aspirants lingered with their virgin manuscripts
ready for sale to Sultan Bungay, but at the private door of the house,
whence the splendid Mrs. Bungay would come forth to step into her chaise
and take her drive, settling herself on the cushions, and casting looks
of defiance, at Mrs. Bacon's opposite windows--at Mrs. Bacon, who was as
yet a chaiseless woman.

On such occasions, when very much wroth at her sister-in-law's splendor,
Mrs. Bacon would fling up the sash of her drawing-room window, and look
out with her four children at the chaise, as much as to say, "Look at
these four darlings, Flora Bungay! This is why I can't drive in my
carriage; you would give a coach and four to have the same reason." And
it was with these arrows out of her quiver that Emma Bacon shot Flora
Bungay as she sate in her chariot, envious and childless.

As Pen and Warrington came to Bungay's door, a carriage and a cab drove
up to Bacon's. Old Dr. Slocum descended heavily from the first; the
doctor's equipage was as ponderous as his style, but both had a fine
sonorous effect upon the publishers in the Row. A couple of dazzling
white waistcoats stepped out of the cab.

Warrington laughed. "You see Bacon has his dinner party too. That is
Dr. Slocum, author of 'Memoirs of the Poisoners.' You would hardly have
recognized our friend Hoolan in that gallant white waistcoat. Doolan is
one of Bungay's men, and, faith, here he comes." Indeed Messrs. Hoolan
and Doolan had come from the Strand in the same cab, tossing up by the
way which should pay the shilling; and Mr. D. stepped from the other
side of the way, arrayed in black, with a large pair of white gloves
which were spread out on his hands, and which the owner could not help
regarding with pleasure.

The house porter in an evening coat, and gentlemen with gloves as
large as Doolan's, but of the famous Berlin web, were in the passage
of Mr. Bungay's house to receive the guests' hats and coats, and bawl
their names up the stair. Some of the latter had arrived when the three
new visitors made their appearance; but there was only Mrs. Bungay
in red satin and a turban to represent her own charming sex. She made
courtesies to each new comer as he entered the drawing-room, but her
mind was evidently pre-occupied by extraneous thoughts. The fact is,
Mrs. Bacon's dinner party was disturbing her, and as soon as she had
received each individual of her own company, Flora Bungay flew back to
the embrasure of the window, whence she could rake the carriages of
Emma Bacon's friends as they came rattling up the Row. The sight of Dr.
Slocum's large carriage, with the gaunt job-horses, crushed Flora: none
but hack cabs had driven up to her own door on that day.

They were all literary gentlemen, though unknown as yet to Pen. There
was Mr. Bole the real editor of the magazine, of which Mr. Wagg was the
nominal chief; Mr. Trotter, who, from having broken out on the world as
a poet of a tragic and suicidal cast, had now subsided into one of Mr.
Bungay's back shops as reader for that gentleman; and Captain Sumph,
an ex-beau still about town, and related in some indistinct manner to
Literature and the Peerage. He was said to have written a book once,
to have been a friend of Lord Byron, to be related to Lord Sumphington;
in fact, anecdotes of Byron formed his staple, and he seldom spoke but
with the name of that poet or some of his contemporaries in his mouth,
as thus: "I remember poor Shelley at school being sent up for good
for a copy of verses, every line of which I wrote, by Jove;" or,
"I recollect, when I was at Missolonghi with Byron, offering to bet
Gamba," and so forth. This gentleman, Pen remarked, was listened to
with great attention by Mrs. Bungay; his anecdotes of the aristocracy,
of which he was a middle-aged member, delighted the publisher's lady;
and he was almost a greater man than the great Mr. Wagg himself in
her eyes. Had he but come in his own carriage, Mrs. Bungay would have
made her Bungay purchase any given volume from his pen.

Mr. Bungay went about to his guests as they arrived, and did the honors
of his house with much cordiality. "How are you, sir? Fine day, sir.
Glad to see you year, sir. Flora, my love, let me ave the honor of
introducing Mr. Warrington to you. Mr. Warrington, Mrs. Bungay; Mr.
Pendennis, Mrs. Bungay. Hope you've brought good appetites with you,
gentlemen. _You_, Doolan, I know ave, for you've always ad a deuce of
a twist."

"Lor, Bungay!" said Mrs. Bungay.

"Faith, a man must be hard to please, Bungay, who can't eat a good
dinner in _this_ house," Doolan said, and he winked and stroked his lean
chops with his large gloves; and made appeals of friendship to Mrs.
Bungay, which that honest woman refused with scorn from the timid man.
"She couldn't abide that Doolan," she said in confidence to her friends.
Indeed, all his flatteries failed to win her.

As they talked, Mrs. Bungay surveying mankind from her window, a
magnificent vision of an enormous gray cab-horse appeared, and neared
rapidly. A pair of white reins, held by small white gloves, were visible
behind it; a face pale, but richly decorated with a chin-tuft, the head
of an exiguous groom bobbing over the cab-head--these bright things were
revealed to the delighted Mrs. Bungay. "The Honorable Percy Popjoy's
quite punctual, I declare," she said, and sailed to the door to be in
waiting at the nobleman's arrival.

"It's Percy Popjoy," said Pen, looking out of window, and seeing an
individual, in extremely lacquered boots, descend from the swinging cab:
and, in fact, it was that young nobleman--Lord Falconet's eldest son,
as we all very well know, who was come to dine with the publisher--his
publisher of the Row.

"He was my fag at Eton," Warrington said. "I ought to have licked him a
little more." He and Pen had had some bouts at the Oxford Union debates,
in which Pen had had very much the better of Percy: who presently
appeared, with his hat under his arm, and a look of indescribable good
humor and fatuity in his round, dimpled face: upon which Nature had
burst out with a chin-tuft, but, exhausted with the effort, had left
the rest of the countenance bare of hair.

The temporary groom of the chambers bawled out, "The Honorable Percy
Popjoy," much to that gentleman's discomposure at hearing his titles
announced.

"What did the man want to take away my hat for, Bungay?" he asked of
the publisher. "Can't do without my hat--want it to make my bow to
Mrs. Bungay. How well you look, Mrs. Bungay, to-day. Haven't seen your
carriage in the Park: why haven't you been there? I missed you; indeed,
I did."

"I'm afraid you're a sad quiz," said Mrs. Bungay.

"Quiz! Never made a joke in my--hullo! who's here? How d'ye do,
Pendennis? How d'ye do, Warrington? These are old friends of mine, Mrs.
Bungay. I say, how the doose did _you_ come here?" he asked of the two
young men, turning his lacquered heels upon Mrs. Bungay, who respected
her husband's two young guests, now that she found they were intimate
with a lord's son.

"What! do _they_ know him?" she asked rapidly of Mr. B.

"High fellers, I tell you--the young one related to all the nobility,"
said the publisher; and both ran forward, smiling and bowing, to greet
almost as great personages as the young lord--no less characters,
indeed, than the great Mr. Wenham and the great Mr. Wagg, who were now
announced.

Mr. Wenham entered, wearing the usual demure look and stealthy smile
with which he commonly surveyed the tips of his neat little shining
boots, and which he but seldom brought to bear upon the person who
addressed him. Wagg's white waistcoat, spread out, on the contrary,
with profuse brilliancy; his burly, red face shone resplendent over it,
lighted up with the thoughts of good jokes and a good dinner. He liked
to make his _entrée_ into a drawing-room with a laugh, and, when he
went away at night, to leave a joke exploding behind him. No personal
calamities or distresses (of which that humorist had his share in common
with the unjocular part of mankind) could altogether keep his humor
down. Whatever his griefs might be, the thought of a dinner rallied his
great soul; and when he saw a lord, he saluted him with a pun.

Wenham went up, then, with a smug smile and whisper, to Mrs. Bungay, and
looked at her from under his eyes, and showed her the tips of his shoes.
Wagg said she looked charming, and pushed on straight at the young
nobleman, whom he called Pop; and to whom he instantly related a funny
story, seasoned with what the French call _gros sel_. He was delighted
to see Pen, too, and shook hands with him, and slapped him on the back
cordially; for he was full of spirits and good humor. And he talked in
a loud voice about their last place and occasion of meeting at Baymouth;
and asked how their friends of Clavering Park were, and whether Sir
Francis was not coming to London for the season; and whether Pen had
been to see Lady Rockminster, who had arrived--fine old lady, Lady
Rockminster! These remarks Wagg made not for Pen's ear so much as for
the edification of the company, whom he was glad to inform that he paid
visits to gentlemen's country seats, and was on intimate terms with the
nobility.

Wenham also shook hands with our young friend--all of which scenes Mrs.
Bungay remarked with respectful pleasure, and communicated her ideas to
Bungay, afterward, regarding the importance of Mr. Pendennis--ideas by
which Pen profited much more than he was aware.

Pen, who had read, and rather admired some of her works (and expected to
find in Miss Bunion a person somewhat resembling her own description of
herself in the "Passion-Flower," in which she stated that her youth
resembled--

  "A violet, shrinking meanly
  When blows the March wind keenly
  A timid fawn, on wild-wood lawn,
  Where oak-boughs rustle greenly--"

and that her maturer beauty was something very different, certainly, to
the artless loveliness of her prime, but still exceedingly captivating
and striking), beheld, rather to his surprise and amusement, a large and
bony woman in a crumpled satin dress, who came creaking into the room
with a step as heavy as a grenadier's. Wagg instantly noted the straw
which she brought in at the rumpled skirt of her dress, and would
have stooped to pick it up: but Miss Bunion disarmed all criticism by
observing this ornament herself, and, putting her own large foot upon
it, so as to separate it from her robe, she stopped and picked up the
straw, saying to Mrs. Bungay, that she was very sorry to be a little
late, but that the omnibus was very slow, and what a comfort it was to
get a ride all the way from Brompton for sixpence. Nobody laughed at the
poetess's speech, it was uttered so simply. Indeed, the worthy woman had
not the least notion of being ashamed of an action incidental upon her
poverty.

"Is that 'Passion-Flowers?'" Pen said to Wenham, by whom he was
standing. "Why, her picture in the volume represents her as a very
well-looking young woman."

"You know passion-flowers, like all others, will run to seed," Wenham
said; "Miss Bunion's portrait was probably painted some years ago."

"Well, I like her for not being ashamed of her poverty."

"So do I," said Mr. Wenham, who would have starved rather than have come
to dinner in an omnibus, "but I don't think that she need flourish the
straw about, do you, Mr. Pendennis? My dear Miss Bunion, how do you do?
I was in a great lady's drawing-room this morning, and every body was
charmed with your new volume. Those lines on the christening of Lady
Fanny Fantail brought tears into the Duchess's eyes. I said that I
thought I should have the pleasure of meeting you to-day, and she begged
me to thank you, and say how greatly she was pleased."

This history, told in a bland, smiling manner, of a Duchess whom Wenham
had met that very morning, too, quite put poor Wagg's dowager and
baronet out of court, and placed Wenham beyond Wagg as a man of fashion.
Wenham kept this inestimable advantage, and having the conversation to
himself, ran on with a number of anecdotes regarding the aristocracy.
He tried to bring Mr. Popjoy into the conversation by making appeals to
him, and saying, "I was telling your father this morning," or, "I think
you were present at W. House the other night when the Duke said so
and so," but Mr. Popjoy would not gratify him by joining in the talk,
preferring to fall back into the window recess with Mrs. Bungay, and
watch the cabs that drove up to the opposite door. At least, if he would
not talk, the hostess hoped that those odious Bacons would see how she
had secured the noble Percy Popjoy for her party.

And now the bell of Saint Paul's tolled half an hour later than that for
which Mr. Bungay had invited his party, and it was complete with the
exception of two guests, who at last made their appearance, and in whom
Pen was pleased to recognize Captain and Mrs. Shandon.

When these two had made their greetings to the master and mistress of
the house, and exchanged nods of more or less recognition with most of
the people present, Pen and Warrington went up and shook hands very
warmly with Mrs. Shandon, who, perhaps was affected to meet them, and
think where it was she had seen them but a few days before. Shandon was
brushed up, and looked pretty smart, in a red velvet waistcoat, and a
frill, into which his wife had stuck her best brooch. In spite of Mrs.
Bungay's kindness, perhaps in consequence of it, Mrs. Shandon felt great
terror and timidity in approaching her: indeed, she was more awful than
ever in her red satin and bird of paradise, and it was not until she had
asked in her great voice about the dear little gurl, that the latter was
somewhat encouraged, and ventured to speak.

"Nice-looking woman," Popjoy whispered to Warrington. "Do introduce
me to Captain Shandon, Warrington. I'm told he's a tremendous clever
fellow; and, dammy, I adore intellect, by Jove I do!" This was the
truth: Heaven had not endowed young Mr. Popjoy with much intellect of
his own, but had given him a generous faculty for admiring, if not for
appreciating, the intellect of others. "And introduce me to Miss Bunion.
I'm told she's very clever too. She's rum to look at, certainly, but
that don't matter. Dammy, I consider myself a literary man, and I wish
to know all the clever fellows." So Mr. Popjoy and Mr. Shandon had the
pleasure of becoming acquainted with one another; and now the doors of
the adjoining dining-room being flung open, the party entered and took
their seats at table. Pen found himself next to Bunion on one side, and
to Mr. Wagg--the truth is, Wagg fled alarmed from the vacant place by
the poetess, and Pen was compelled to take it.

The gifted being did not talk much during dinner, but Pen remarked that
she ate, with a vast appetite, and never refused any of the supplies of
wine which were offered to her by the butler. Indeed, Miss Bunion having
considered Mr. Pendennis for a minute, who gave himself rather grand
airs, and who was attired in an extremely fashionable style, with his
very best chains, shirt studs, and cambric fronts, was set down, and not
without reason, as a prig by the poetess; who thought it was much better
to attend to her dinner than to take any notice of him. She told him as
much in after days, with her usual candor. "I took you for one of the
little Mayfair dandies," she said to Pen. "You looked as solemn as a
little undertaker; and as I disliked beyond measure, the odious creature
who was on the other side of me, I thought it was best to eat my dinner
and hold my tongue."

"And you did both very well, my dear Miss Bunion," Pen said, with a
laugh.

"Well, so I do, but I intend to talk to you the next time a great deal:
for you are neither so solemn, nor so stupid, nor so pert as you look."

"Ah, Miss Bunion, how I pine for that 'next time' to come," Pen said,
with an air of comical gallantry. But we must return to the day, and the
dinner at Paternoster Row.

The repast was of the richest description--"What I call of the florid
Gothic style," Wagg whispered to Pen, who sate beside the humorist, in
his side-wing voice. The men in creaking shoes and Berlin gloves were
numerous and solemn, carrying on rapid conversations behind the guests,
as they moved to and fro with the dishes. Doolan called out, "Waither,"
to one of them, and blushed when he thought of his blunder. Mrs.
Bungay's own footboy was lost amidst those large and black-coated
attendants.

"Look at that _very_ bow-windowed man," Wagg said. "He's an undertaker
in Amen Corner, and attends funerals and dinners. Cold meat and hot,
don't you perceive? He's the sham butler here, and I observe, my dear
Mr. Pendennis, as you will through life, that wherever there is a sham
butler at a London dinner there is sham wine--this sherry is filthy.
Bungay, my boy, where did you get this delicious brown sherry?"

"I'm glad you like it, Mr. Wagg; glass with you," said the publisher.
"It's some I got from Alderman Benning's store, and gave a good figure
for it, I can tell you. Mr. Pendennis, will you join us? Your 'ealth,
gentlemen."

"The old rogue, where does he expect to go to? It came from the public
house," Wagg said. "It requires two men to carry off that sherry, 'tis
so uncommonly strong. I wish I had a bottle of old Steyne's wine here,
Pendennis: your uncle and I have had many a one. He sends it about to
people where he is in the habit of dining. I remember at poor Rawdon
Crawley's, Sir Pitt Crawley's brother--he was Governor of Coventry
Island--Steyne's chef always came in the morning, and the butler arrived
with the champagne from Gaunt House, in the ice-pails ready."

"How good this is!" said Popjoy, good-naturedly. You must have a _cordon
bleu_ in your kitchen."

"O, yes," Mrs. Bungay said, thinking he spoke of a jack-chain very
likely.

"I mean a French chef," said the polite guest.

"O, yes, your lordship," again said the lady.

"Does your artist say he's a Frenchman, Mrs. B.?" called out Wagg.

"Well, I'm sure I don't know," answered the publisher's lady.

"Because, if he does, he's a _quizzin yer_," cried Mr. Wagg; but nobody
saw the pun, which disconcerted somewhat the bashful punster. "The
dinner is from Grigg's, in St. Paul's churchyard; so is Bacon's," he
whispered Pen. "Bungay writes to give half-a-crown a head more than
Bacon,--so does Bacon. They would poison each other's ices if they
could get near them; and as for the made-dishes--they are poison.
This--hum--ha--this _Brimborion a la Sévigné_ is delicious, Mrs. B.,"
he said, helping himself to a dish which the undertaker handed to him.

"Well, I'm glad you like it," Mrs. Bungay answered, blushing, and
not knowing whether the name of the dish was actually that which Wagg
gave to it, but dimly conscious that that individual was quizzing her.
Accordingly she hated Mr. Wagg with female ardor; and would have deposed
him from his command over Mr. Bungay's periodical, but that his name was
great in the trade, and his reputation in the land considerable.

By the displacement of persons, Warrington had found himself on the
right hand of Mrs. Shandon, who sate in plain black silk and faded
ornaments by the side of the florid publisher. The sad smile of the lady
moved his rough heart to pity. Nobody seemed to interest himself about
her: she sate looking at her husband, who himself seemed rather abashed
in the presence of some of the company. Wenham and Wagg both knew him and
his circumstances. He had worked with the latter, and was immeasurably
his superior in wit, genius, and acquirement; but Wagg's star was
brilliant in the world, and poor Shandon was unknown there. He could not
speak before the noisy talk of the coarser and more successful man; but
drank his wine in silence, and as much of it as the people would give
him. He was under _surveillance_. Bungay had warned the undertaker not
to fill the captain's glass too often or too full. It was a melancholy
precaution that, and the more melancholy that it was necessary. Mrs.
Shandon, too, cast alarmed glances across the table to see that her
husband did not exceed.

Abashed by the failure of his first pun, for he was impudent and easily
disconcerted, Wagg kept his conversation pretty much to Pen during the
rest of dinner, and of course chiefly spoke about their neighbors. "This
is one of Bungay's grand field-days," he said. "We are all Bungavians
here.--Did you read Popjoy's novel? It was an old magazine story written
by poor Buzzard years ago, and forgotten here until Mr. Trotter (that
is Trotter with the large shirt collar) fished it out, and bethought
him that it was applicable to the late elopement; so Bob wrote a few
chapters _apropos_--Popjoy permitted the use of his name, and I dare
say supplied a page here and there--and 'Desperation, or, the Fugitive
Duchess' made its appearance. The great fun is to examine Popjoy about
his own work, of which he doesn't know a word.--I say, Popjoy, what a
capital passage that is in Volume Three--where the cardinal in disguise,
after being converted by the Bishop of London, proposes marriage to the
duchess's daughter."

"Glad you like it," Popjoy answered; "it's a favorite bit of my own."

"There's no such thing in the whole book," whispered Wagg to Pen.
"Invented it myself. Gad! it wouldn't be a bad plot for a high-church
novel."

"I remember poor Byron, Hobhouse, Trelawney, and myself, dining with
Cardinal Mezzocaldo, at Rome," Captain Sumph began, "and we had some
Orvieto wine for dinner, which Byron liked very much. And I remember
how the cardinal regretted that he was a single man. We went to Civita
Vecchia two days afterward where Byron's yacht was--and, by Jove, the
cardinal died within three weeks; and Byron was very sorry, for he
rather liked him."

"A devilish interesting story, Sumph, indeed," Wagg said.

"You should publish some of those stories, Captain Sumph, you really
should. Such a volume would make our friend Bungay's fortune," Shandon
said.

"Why don't you ask Sumph to publish 'em in your new paper--the
what-d'ye-call'em?--hay, Shandon," bawled out Wagg.

"Why don't you ask him to publish 'em in your old magazine, the
Thingumbob?" Shandon replied.

"Is there going to be a new paper!" asked Wenham, who knew perfectly
well; but was ashamed of his connection with the press.

"Bungay going to bring out a paper?" cried Popjoy, who, on the contrary,
was proud of his literary reputation and acquaintances. "You must employ
me. Mrs. Bungay, use your influence with him, and make him employ me.
Prose or verse--what shall it be? Novels, poems, travels, or leading
articles, begad. Any thing or every thing--only let Bungay pay me, and
I'm ready--I am now, my dear Mrs. Bungay, begad now."

"It's to be called the 'Small Beer Chronicle,'" growled Wagg, "and little
Popjoy is to be engaged for the infantine department."

"It is to be called the 'Pall-Mall Gazette,' sir, and we shall be very
happy to have you with us," Shandon said.

"'Pall-Mall Gazette'--why 'Pall-Mall Gazette?'" asked Wagg.

"Because the editor was born at Dublin, the sub-editor at Cork, because
the proprietor lives in Paternoster Row, and the paper is published in
Catherine-street, Strand. Won't that reason suffice you, Wagg?" Shandon
said; he was getting rather angry. "Every thing must have a name. My dog
Ponto has got a name. You've got a name, and a name which you deserve,
more or less, bedad. Why d'ye grudge the name to our paper?"

"By any other name it would smell as sweet," said Wagg.

"I'll have ye remember its name's not what-d'ye-call'em, Mr. Wagg," said
Shandon. "You know its name well enough, and--and you know mine."

"And I know your address too," said Wagg, but this was spoken in an
under-tone, and the good-natured Irishman was appeased almost in an
instant after his ebullition of spleen, and asked Wagg to drink wine
with him, in a friendly voice.

When the ladies retired from the table, the talk grew louder still; and
presently Wenham, in a courtly speech, proposed that every body should
drink to the health of the new Journal, eulogizing highly the talents,
wit, and learning, of its editor, Captain Shandon. It was his maxim
never to lose the support of a newspaper man, and in the course of that
evening, he went round and saluted every literary gentleman present with
a privy compliment specially addressed to him; informing this one how
great an impression had been made in Downing-street by his last article,
and telling that one how profoundly his good friend, the Duke of So and
So, had been struck by the ability of the late numbers.

The evening came to a close, and in spite of all the precautions to
the contrary, poor Shandon reeled in his walk, and went home to his new
lodgings, with his faithful wife by his side, and the cabman on his
box jeering at him. Wenham had a chariot of his own, which he put at
Popjoy's seat; and the timid Miss Bunion seeing Mr. Wagg, who was her
neighbor, about to depart, insisted upon a seat in his carriage, much
to that gentleman's discomfiture.

Pen and Warrington walked home together in the moonlight. "And now,"
Warrington said, "that you have seen the men of letters, tell me, was I
far wrong in saying that there are thousands of people in this town, who
don't write books, who are, to the full, as clever and intellectual as
people who do?"

Pen was forced to confess that the literary personages with whom he
had become acquainted had not said much, in the course of the night's
conversation, that was worthy to be remembered or quoted. In fact, not
one word about literature had been said during the whole course of the
night:--and it may be whispered to those uninitiated people who are
anxious to know the habits and make the acquaintance of men of letters,
that there are no race of people who talk about books, or, perhaps, who
read books, so little as literary men.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE PALL-MALL GAZETTE.


[Illustration]

Considerable success at first attended the new journal. It was generally
stated, that an influential political party supported the paper; and
great names were cited among the contributors to its columns. Was there
any foundation for these rumors? We are not at liberty to say whether
they were well or ill-founded; but this much we may divulge, that an
article upon foreign policy, which was generally attributed to a noble
lord, whose connection with the Foreign Office is very well known, was
in reality composed by Captain Shandon, in the parlor of the Bear and
Staff public-house near Whitehall Stairs, whither the printer's boy
had tracked him, and where a literary ally of his, Mr. Bludyer, had a
temporary residence; and that a series of papers on finance questions,
which were universally supposed to be written by a great statesman of
the House of Commons, were in reality composed by Mr. George Warrington
of the Upper Temple.

That there may have been some dealings between the "Pall-Mall Gazette"
and this influential party, is very possible. Percy Popjoy (whose
father, Lord Falconet, was a member of the party) might be seen not
unfrequently ascending the stairs to Warrington's chambers; and some
information appeared in the paper which gave it a character, and could
only be got from very peculiar sources. Several poems, feeble in
thought, but loud and vigorous in expression, appeared in the "Pall-Mall
Gazette," with the signature of "P. P.," and it must be owned that his
novel was praised in the new journal in a very outrageous manner.

In the political department of the paper Mr. Pen did not take any share;
but he was a most active literary contributor. The "Pall-Mall Gazette"
had its offices, as we have heard, in Catherine-street, in the Strand,
and hither Pen often came with his manuscripts in his pocket, and with
a great deal of bustle and pleasure; such as a man feels at the outset
of his literary career, when to see himself in print is still a novel
sensation, and he yet pleases himself to think that his writings are
creating some noise in the world.

[Illustration]

Here it was that Mr. Jack Finucane, the sub-editor, compiled with paste
and scissors the Journal of which he was supervisor. With an eagle eye
he scanned all the paragraphs of all the newspapers which had any thing
to do with the world of fashion over which he presided. He didn't let a
death or a dinner-party of the aristocracy pass without having the event
recorded in the columns of his Journal: and from the most recondite
provincial prints, and distant Scotch and Irish newspapers, he fished
out astonishing paragraphs and intelligence regarding the upper classes
of society. It was a grand, nay, a touching sight, for a philosopher, to
see Jack Finucane, Esquire, with a plate of meat from the cookshop, and
a glass of porter from the public-house, for his meal, recounting the
feasts of the great, as if he had been present at them; and in tattered
trowsers and dingy shirt sleeves, cheerfully describing and arranging
the most brilliant _fêtes_ of the world of fashion. The incongruity
of Finucane's avocation, and his manners and appearance, amused his
new friend Pen. Since he left his own native village, where his rank
probably was not very lofty, Jack had seldom seen any society but such
as used the parlor of the taverns which he frequented, whereas from his
writing you would have supposed that he dined with embassadors, and that
his common lounge was the bow-window of White's. Errors of description,
it is true, occasionally slipped from his pen; but the "Ballinafad
Sentinel," of which he was own correspondent, suffered by these, not the
"Pall-Mall Gazette," in which Jack was not permitted to write much, his
London chiefs thinking that the scissors and the paste were better
wielded by him than the pen.

Pen took a great deal of pains with the writing of his reviews, and
having a pretty fair share of desultory reading, acquired in the early
years of his life, an eager fancy and a keen sense of fun, his articles
pleased his chief and the public, and he was proud to think that he
deserved the money which he earned. We may be sure that the "Pall-Mall
Gazette" was taken in regularly at Fairoaks, and read with delight by
the two ladies there. It was received at Clavering Park, too, where we
know there was a young lady of great literary tastes; and old Doctor
Portman himself, to whom the widow sent her paper after she had got her
son's articles by heart, signified his approval of Pen's productions,
saying that the lad had spirit, taste, and fancy, and wrote, if not like
a scholar, at any rate like a gentleman.

And what was the astonishment and delight of our friend Major Pendennis,
on walking into one of his clubs, the Regent, where Wenham, Lord
Falconet, and some other gentlemen of good reputation and fashion were
assembled, to hear them one day talking over a number of the "Pall-Mall
Gazette," and of an article which appeared in its columns, making some
bitter fun of a book recently published by the wife of a celebrated
member of the opposition party. The book in question was a Book of
Travels in Spain and Italy, by the Countess of Muffborough, in which it
was difficult to say which was the most wonderful, the French or the
English, in which languages her ladyship wrote indifferently, and upon
the blunders of which the critic pounced with delighted mischief. The
critic was no other than Pen: he jumped and danced round about his
subject with the greatest jocularity and high spirits: he showed up the
noble lady's faults with admirable mock gravity and decorum. There was
not a word in the article which was not polite and gentlemanlike; and
the unfortunate subject of the criticism was scarified and laughed at
during the operation. Wenham's bilious countenance was puckered up with
malign pleasure as he read the critique. Lady Muffborough had not asked
him to her parties during the last year. Lord Falconet giggled and
laughed with all his heart; Lord Muffborough and he had been rivals ever
since they began life; and these complimented Major Pendennis, who until
now had scarcely paid any attention to some hints which his Fairoaks
correspondence threw out of "dear Arthur's constant and severe literary
occupations, which I fear may undermine the poor boy's health," and had
thought any notice of Mr. Pen and his newspaper connections quite below
his dignity as a major and a gentleman.

But when the oracular Wenham praised the boy's production; when Lord
Falconet, who had had the news from Percy Popjoy, approved of the genius
of young Pen; when the great Lord Steyne himself, to whom the major
referred the article, laughed and sniggered over it, swore it was
capital, and that the Muffborough would writhe under it, like a whale
under a harpoon, the major, as in duty bound, began to admire his nephew
very much, said, "By gad, the young rascal had some stuff in him, and
would do something; he had always said he would do something;" and with
a hand quite tremulous with pleasure, the old gentleman sate down to
write to the widow at Fairoaks all that the great folks had said in
praise of Pen; and he wrote to the young rascal, too, asking when he
would come and eat a chop with his old uncle, and saying that he was
commissioned to take him to dinner at Gaunt House, for Lord Steyne liked
any body who could entertain him, whether by his folly, wit, or by
his dullness, by his oddity, affectation, good spirits, or any other
quality. Pen flung his letter across the table to Warrington: perhaps he
was disappointed that the other did not seem to be much affected by it.

The courage of young critics is prodigious: they clamber up to the
judgment-seat, and, with scarce a hesitation, give their opinion
upon works the most intricate or profound. Had Macaulay's History or
Herschel's Astronomy been put before Pen at this period, he would have
looked through the volumes, meditated his opinion over a cigar, and
signified his august approval of either author, as if the critic had
been their born superior and indulgent master and patron. By the help
of the Biographie Universelle or the British Museum, he would be able
to take a rapid _resume_ of a historical period, and allude to names,
dates, and facts, in such a masterly, easy way, as to astonish his
mamma at home, who wondered where her boy could have acquired such a
prodigious store of reading; and himself, too, when he came to read over
his articles two or three months after they had been composed, and when
he had forgotten the subject and the books which he had consulted. At
that period of his life Mr. Pen owns, that he would not have hesitated,
at twenty-four hours' notice, to pass an opinion upon the greatest
scholars, or to give a judgment upon the Encyclopædia. Luckily he had
Warrington to laugh at him and to keep down his impertinence by a
constant and wholesome ridicule, or he might have become conceited
beyond all sufferance; for Shandon liked the dash and flippancy of his
young _aid-de-camp_, and was, indeed, better pleased with Pen's light
and brilliant flashes, than with the heavier metal which his elder
coadjutor brought to bear.

But though he might justly be blamed on the score of impertinence and a
certain prematurity of judgment, Mr. Pen was a perfectly honest critic;
a great deal too candid for Mr. Bungay's purposes, indeed, who grumbled
sadly at his impartiality. Pen and his chief, the captain, had a dispute
upon this subject one day. "In the name of common sense, Mr. Pendennis,"
Shandon asked, "what have you been doing--praising one of Mr. Bacon's
books? Bungay has been with me in a fury this morning, at seeing a
laudatory article upon one of the works of the odious firm over the
way."

Pen's eyes opened with wide astonishment. "Do you mean to say," he
asked, "that we are to praise no books that Bacon publishes: or that,
if the books are good, we are to say they are bad?"

"My good young friend--for what do you suppose a benevolent publisher
undertakes a critical journal, to benefit his rival?" Shandon inquired.

"To benefit himself certainly, but to tell the truth too," Pen
said--"_ruat cælum_, to tell the truth."

"And my prospectus," said Shandon, with a laugh and a sneer; "do you
consider that was a work of mathematical accuracy of statement?"

"Pardon me, that is not the question," Pen said; "and I don't think you
very much care to argue it. I had some qualms of conscience about that
same prospectus, and debated the matter with my friend Warrington. We
agreed, however," Pen said, laughing, "that because the prospectus was
rather declamatory and poetical, and the giant was painted upon the
show-board rather larger than the original, who was inside the caravan;
we need not be too scrupulous about this trifling inaccuracy, but might
do our part of the show, without loss of character or remorse of
conscience. We are the fiddlers, and play our tunes only; you are the
showman."

"And leader of the van," said Shandon. "Well I am glad that your
conscience gave you leave to play for us."

"Yes, but," said Pen, with a fine sense of the dignity of his position,
"we are all party men in England, and I will stick to my party like a
Briton. I will be as good-natured as you like to our own side; he is a
fool who quarrels with his own nest; and I will hit the enemy as hard as
you like--but with fair play, captain, if you please. One can't tell all
the truth, I suppose; but one can tell nothing but the truth; and I
would rather starve, by Jove, and never earn another penny by my pen"
(this redoubted instrument had now been in use for some six weeks,
and Pen spoke of it with vast enthusiasm and respect) "than strike an
opponent an unfair blow, or, if called upon to place him, rank him below
his honest desert."

"Well, Mr. Pendennis, when we want Bacon smashed, we must get some other
hammer to do it," Shandon said with fatal good-nature; and very likely
thought within himself, "A few years hence perhaps the young gentleman
won't be so squeamish." The veteran Condottiere himself was no longer so
scrupulous. He had fought and killed on so many a side for many a year
past, that remorse had long left him. "Gad," said he, "you've a tender
conscience, Mr. Pendennis. It's the luxury of all novices, and I may
have had one once myself; but that sort of bloom wears off with the
rubbing of the world, and I'm not going to the trouble myself of putting
on an artificial complexion, like our pious friend Wenham, or our model
of virtue, Wagg."

"I don't know whether some people's hypocrisy is not better, captain,
than others' cynicism."

"It's more profitable, at any rate," said the captain, biting his
nails. "That Wenham is as dull a quack as ever quacked: and you see
the carriage in which he drove to dinner. 'Faith, it'll be a long time
before Mrs. Shandon will take a drive in her own chariot. God help
her, poor thing!" And Pen went away from his chief, after their little
dispute and colloquy, pointing his own moral to the captain's tale,
and thinking to himself, "Behold this man, stored with genius, wit,
learning, and a hundred good natural gifts: see how he has wrecked them,
by paltering with his honesty, and forgetting to respect himself. Wilt
thou remember thyself, O Pen? thou art conceited enough. Wilt thou
sell thy honor for a bottle? No, by heaven's grace, we will be honest,
whatever befalls, and our mouths shall only speak the truth when they
open."

A punishment, or, at least, a trial, was in store for Mr. Pen. In the
very next Number of the "Pall-Mall Gazette," Warrington read out, with
roars of laughter, an article which by no means amused Arthur Pendennis,
who was himself at work with a criticism for the next week's number of
the same journal; and in which the Spring Annual was ferociously
maltreated by some unknown writer. The person of all most cruelly mauled
was Pen himself. His verses had not appeared with his own name in the
Spring Annual, but under an assumed signature. As he had refused to
review the book, Shandon had handed it over to Mr. Bludyer, with
directions to that author to dispose of it. And he had done so
effectually. Mr. Bludyer, who was a man of very considerable talent, and
of a race which, I believe, is quite extinct in the press of our time,
had a certain notoriety in his profession, and reputation for savage
humor. He smashed and trampled down the poor spring flowers with no more
mercy than a bull would have on a parterre; and having cut up the volume
to his heart's content, went and sold it at a book-stall, and purchased a
pint of brandy with the proceeds of the volume.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

WHERE PEN APPEARS IN TOWN AND COUNTRY.


[Illustration]

Let us be allowed to pass over a few months of the history of Mr. Arthur
Pendennis's lifetime, during the which, many events may have occurred
which were more interesting and exciting to himself, than they would be
likely to prove to the reader of his present memoirs. We left him, in
his last chapter, regularly entered upon his business as a professional
writer, or literary hack, as Mr. Warrington chooses to style himself and
his friend; and we know how the life of any hack, legal or literary, in
a curacy, or in a marching regiment, or at a merchant's desk, is dull of
routine, and tedious of description. One day's labor resembles another
much too closely. A literary man has often to work for his bread
against time, or against his will, or in spite of his health, or of his
indolence, or of his repugnance to the subject on which he is called
to exert himself, just like any other daily toiler. When you want to
make money by Pegasus (as he must, perhaps, who has no other salable
property), farewell poetry and aerial flights: Pegasus only rises now
like Mr. Green's balloon, at periods advertised beforehand, and when
the spectator's money has been paid. Pegasus trots in harness, over the
stony pavement, and pulls a cart or a cab behind him. Often Pegasus does
his work with panting sides and trembling knees, and not seldom gets a
cut of the whip from his driver.

Do not let us, however, be too prodigal of our pity upon Pegasus. There
is no reason why this animal should be exempt from labor, or illness,
or decay, any more than any of the other creatures of God's world. If he
gets the whip, Pegasus very often deserves it, and I for one am quite
ready to protest with my friend, George Warrington, against the doctrine
which some poetical sympathizers are inclined to put forward, viz., that
men of letters, and what is called genius, are to be exempt from the
prose duties of this daily, bread-wanting, tax-paying life, and are not
to be made to work and pay like their neighbors.

Well, then, the "Pall Mall Gazette" being duly established, and Arthur
Pendennis's merits recognized as a flippant, witty, and amusing critic,
he worked away hard every week, preparing reviews of such works as came
into his department, and writing his reviews with flippancy certainly,
but with honesty, and to the best of his power. It might be that a
historian of three-score, who had spent a quarter of a century in
composing a work of which our young gentleman disposed in the course
of a couple of days' reading at the British Museum, was not altogether
fairly treated by such a facile critic; or that a poet, who had been
elaborating sublime sonnets and odes until he thought them fit for the
public and for fame, was annoyed by two or three dozen pert lines in
Mr. Pen's review, in which the poet's claims were settled by the critic,
as if the latter were my lord on the bench, and the author a miserable
little suitor trembling before him. The actors at the theaters
complained of him woefully, too, and very likely he was too hard upon
them. But there was not much harm done after all. It is different now,
as we know; but there were so few great historians, or great poets, or
great actors, in Pen's time, that scarce any at all came up for judgment
before his critical desk. Those who got a little whipping, got what in
the main was good for them; not that the judge was any better or wiser
than the persons whom he sentenced, or indeed ever fancied himself
so. Pen had a strong sense of humor and justice, and had not therefore
an overweening respect for his own works; besides, he had his friend
Warrington at his elbow--a terrible critic if the young man was disposed
to be conceited, and more savage over Pen than ever he was to those whom
he tried at his literary assize.

By these critical labors, and by occasional contributions to leading
articles of the journal, when, without wounding his paper, this eminent
publicist could conscientiously speak his mind, Mr. Arthur Pendennis
gained the sum of four pounds four shillings weekly, and with no small
pains and labor. Likewise he furnished magazines and reviews with
articles of his composition, and is believed to have been (though on
this score he never chooses to speak) London correspondent of the
Chatteris Champion, which at that time contained some very brilliant
and eloquent letters from the metropolis. By these labors the fortunate
youth was enabled to earn a sum very nearly equal to four hundred pounds
a year; and on the second Christmas after his arrival in London, he
actually brought a hundred pounds to his mother, as a dividend upon the
debt which he owed to Laura. That Mrs. Pendennis read every word of her
son's works, and considered him to be the profoundest thinker and most
elegant writer of the day; that she thought his retribution of the
hundred pounds an act of angelic virtue; that she feared he was ruining
his health by his labors, and was delighted when he told her of the
society which he met, and of the great men of letters and fashion whom
he saw, will be imagined by all readers who have seen son-worship among
mothers, and that charming simplicity of love with which women in the
country watch the career of their darlings in London. If John has held
such and such a brief; if Tom has been invited to such and such a ball;
or George has met this or that great and famous man at dinner; what
a delight there is in the hearts of mothers and sisters at home in
Somersetshire! How young Hopeful's letters are read and remembered! What
a theme for village talk they give, and friendly congratulation! In the
second winter, Pen came for a very brief space, and cheered the widow's
heart, and lightened up the lonely house at Fairoaks. Helen had her son
all to herself; Laura was away on a visit to old Lady Rockminster; the
folks of Clavering Park were absent; the very few old friends of the
house, Dr. Portman at their head, called upon Mr. Pen, and treated him
with marked respect; between mother and son, it was all fondness,
confidence, and affection. It was the happiest fortnight of the widow's
whole life; perhaps in the lives of both of them. The holiday was gone
only too quickly; and Pen was back in the busy world, and the gentle
widow alone again. She sent Arthur's money to Laura: I don't know why
this young lady took the opportunity of leaving home when Pen was coming
thither, or whether he was the more piqued or relieved by her absence.

He was by this time, by his own merits and his uncle's introductions,
pretty well introduced into London, and known both in literary and
polite circles. Among the former his fashionable reputation stood him
in no little stead; he was considered to be a gentleman of good present
means and better expectations, who wrote for his pleasure, than which
there can not be a greater recommendation to a young literary aspirant.
Bacon, Bungay, and Co., were proud to accept his articles; Mr. Wenham
asked him to dinner; Mr. Wagg looked upon him with a favorable eye;
and they reported how they met him at the houses of persons of fashion,
among whom he was pretty welcome, as they did not trouble themselves
about his means, present or future; as his appearance and address were
good; and as he had got a character for being a clever fellow. Finally,
he was asked to one house because he was seen at another house; and
thus no small varieties of London life were presented to the young man:
he was made familiar with all sorts of people, from Paternoster Row to
Pimlico, and was as much at home at Mayfair dining-tables as at those
tavern boards where some of his companions of the pen were accustomed
to assemble.

[Illustration][**moved up from 364]

Full of high spirits and curiosity, easily adapting himself to all whom
he met, the young fellow pleased himself in this strange variety and
jumble of men, and made himself welcome, or at ease at least, where-ever
he went. He would breakfast, for instance, at Mr. Plover's of a morning,
in company with a peer, a bishop, a parliamentary orator, two blue
ladies of fashion, a popular preacher, the author of the last new novel,
and the very latest lion imported from Egypt or from America: and would
quit this distinguished society for the back room at the newspaper
office, where pens and ink and the wet proof-sheets were awaiting him.
Here would be Finucane, the sub-editor, with the last news from the Row:
and Shandon would come in presently, and giving a nod to Pen, would
begin scribbling his leading article at the other end of the table,
flanked by the pint of sherry, which, when the attendant boy beheld
him, was always silently brought for the captain: or Mr. Bludyer's
roaring voice would be heard in the front room, where that truculent
critic would impound the books on the counter in spite of the timid
remonstrances of Mr. Midge, the publisher, and after looking through
the volumes would sell them at his accustomed book-stall, and having
drunken and dined upon the produce of the sale in a tavern box, would
call for ink and paper, and proceed to "smash" the author of his dinner
and the novel. Toward evening Mr. Pen would stroll in the direction of
his club, and take up Warrington there for a constitutional walk. This
exercise freed the lungs, and gave an appetite for dinner, after which
Pen had the privilege to make his bow at some very pleasant houses which
were opened to him; or the town, before him for amusement. There was the
Opera; or the Eagle Tavern; or a ball to go to in May Fair; or a quiet
night with a cigar and a book and a long talk with Warrington; or a
wonderful new song at the Back Kitchen; at this time of his life Mr.
Pen beheld all sorts of places and men; and very likely did not know
how much he enjoyed himself until long after, when balls gave him no
pleasure, neither did farces make him laugh; nor did the tavern joke
produce the least excitement in him; nor did the loveliest dancer that
ever showed her ankles cause him to stir from his chair after dinner.
At his present mature age all these pleasures are over: and the times
have passed away too. It is but a very few years since--but the time is
gone, and most of the men. Bludyer will no more bully authors or cheat
landlords of their score. Shandon, the learned and thriftless, the witty
and unwise, sleeps his last sleep. They buried honest Doolan the other
day: never will he cringe or flatter, never pull long-bow or empty
whisky-noggin any more.

       *       *       *       *       *

The London season was now blooming in its full vigor, and the
fashionable newspapers abounded with information regarding the grand
banquets, routs, and balls, which were enlivening the polite world. Our
gracious sovereign was holding levees and drawing-rooms at St. James's:
the bay-windows of the clubs were crowded with the heads of respectable,
red-faced, newspaper-reading gentlemen: along the Serpentine trailed
thousands of carriages: squadrons of dandy horsemen trampled over Rotten
Row: every body was in town in a word; and, of course, Major Arthur
Pendennis, who was somebody, was not absent.

With his head tied up in a smart bandana handkerchief, and his meager
carcass enveloped in a brilliant Turkish dressing-gown, the worthy
gentleman sate on a certain morning by his fire-side, letting his feet
gently simmer in a bath, while he took his early cup of tea, and perused
his "Morning Post." He could not have faced the day without his two
hours' toilet, without his early cup of tea, without his "Morning Post."
I suppose nobody in the world except Morgan, not even Morgan's master
himself, knew how feeble and ancient the major was growing, and what
numberless little comforts he required.

If men sneer, as our habit is, at the artifices of an old beauty, at
her paint, perfumes, ringlets; at those innumerable, and to us unknown
stratagems, with which she is said to remedy the ravages of time, and
reconstruct the charms whereof years have bereft her; the ladies, it
is to be presumed, are not on their side altogether ignorant that men
are vain as well as they, and that the toilets of old bucks are to the
full as elaborate as their own. How is it that old Blushington keeps
that constant little rose-tint on his cheeks; and where does old Blondel
get the preparation which makes his silver hair pass for golden? Have
you ever seen Lord Hotspur get off his horse when he thinks nobody is
looking? Taken out of his stirrups, his shiny boots can hardly totter up
the steps of Hotspur House. He is a dashing young nobleman still as you
see the back of him in Rotten Row; when you behold him on foot what an
old, old fellow! Did you ever form to yourself any idea of Dick Lacy
(Dick has been Dick these sixty years) in a natural state, and without
his stays? All these men are objects whom the observer of human life
and manners may contemplate with as much profit as the most elderly
Belgravian Venus, or inveterate Mayfair Jezebel. An old reprobate
daddy-long-legs, who has never said his prayers (except perhaps in
public) these fifty years: an old buck who still clings to as many of
the habits of youth as his feeble grasp of health can hold by: who has
given up the bottle, but sits with young fellows over it, and tells
naughty stories upon toast and water--who has given up beauty, but
still talks about it as wickedly as the youngest _roué_ in company--such
an old fellow, I say, if any parson in Pimlico or St. James's were to
order the beadles to bring him into the middle aisle, and there set him
in an arm-chair, and make a text of him, and preach about him to the
congregation, could be turned to a wholesome use for once in his life,
and might be surprised to find that some good thoughts came out of him.
But, we are wandering from our text, the honest major, who sits all this
while with his feet cooling in the bath: Morgan takes them out of that
place of purification, and dries them daintily, and proceeds to set the
old gentleman on his legs, with waistband and wig, starched cravat, and
spotless boots and gloves.

It was during these hours of the toilet that Morgan and his employer had
their confidential conversations, for they did not meet much at other
times of the day--the major abhorring the society of his own chairs and
tables in his lodgings; and Morgan, his master's toilet over and letters
delivered, had his time very much on his own hands.

This spare time the active and well-mannered gentleman bestowed among
the valets and butlers of the nobility, his acquaintance; and Morgan
Pendennis, as he was styled, for, by such compound names, gentlemen's
gentlemen are called in their private circles, was a frequent and
welcome guest at some of the very highest tables in this town. He was a
member of two influential clubs in Mayfair and Pimlico; and he was thus
enabled to know the whole gossip of the town, and entertain his master
very agreeably during the two hours' toilet conversation. He knew a
hundred tales and legends regarding persons of the very highest _ton_,
whose valets canvass their august secrets, just, my dear madam, as our
own parlor-maids and dependents in the kitchen discuss our characters,
our stinginess and generosity, our pecuniary means or embarrassments,
and our little domestic or connubial tiffs and quarrels. If I leave this
manuscript open on my table, I have not the slightest doubt Betty will
read it, and they will talk it over in the lower regions to-night; and
to-morrow she will bring in my breakfast with a face of such entire
imperturbable innocence, that no mortal could suppose her guilty of
playing the spy. If you and the captain have high words upon any
subject, which is just possible, the circumstances of the quarrel,
and the characters of both of you, will be discussed with impartial
eloquence over the kitchen tea-table; and if Mrs. Smith's maid should
by chance be taking a dish of tea with yours, her presence will not
undoubtedly act as a restraint upon the discussion in question; her
opinion will be given with candor; and the next day her mistress will
probably know that Captain and Mrs. Jones have been a-quarreling as
usual. Nothing is secret. Take it as a rule that John knows every thing:
and as in our humble world so in the greatest: a duke is no more a hero
to his _valet-de-chambre_ than you or I; and his grace's man at his
club, in company doubtless with other men of equal social rank, talks
over his master's character and affairs with the ingenuous truthfulness
which befits gentlemen who are met together in confidence. Who is a
niggard and screws up his money-boxes: who is in the hands of the
money-lenders, and is putting his noble name on the back of bills of
exchange: who is intimate with whose wife: who wants whom to marry her
daughter, and which he won't, no not at any price: all these facts
gentlemen's confidential gentlemen discuss confidentially, and are
known and examined by every person who has any claim to rank in genteel
society. In a word, if old Pendennis himself was said to know every
thing, and was at once admirably scandalous and delightfully discreet,
it is but justice to Morgan to say, that a great deal of his master's
information was supplied to that worthy man by his valet, who went out
and foraged knowledge for him. Indeed, what more effectual plan is there
to get a knowledge of London society, than to begin at the
foundation--that is, at the kitchen floor?

So Mr. Morgan and his employer conversed as the latter's toilet
proceeded. There had been a drawing-room on the day previous, and
the major read among the presentations that of Lady Clavering by Lady
Rockminster, and of Miss Amory by her mother Lady Clavering; and in a
further part of the paper their dresses were described, with a precision
and in a jargon which will puzzle and amuse the antiquary of future
generations. The sight of these names carried Pendennis back to the
country.

"How long have the Claverings been in London?" he asked: "pray, Morgan,
have you seen any of their people?"

"Sir Francis have sent away his foring man, sir," Mr. Morgan replied;
"and have took a friend of mine as own man, sir. Indeed, he applied on
my reckmendation. You may recklect Towler, sir--tall, red-aired man--but
dyes his air. Was groom of the chambers in Lord Levant's famly, till his
lordship broke hup. It's a fall for Towler, sir; but pore men can't be
particklar," said the valet, with a pathetic voice.

"Devilish hard on Towler, by gad!" said the major, amused, "and not
pleasant for Lord Levant--he, he!"

"Always knew it was coming, sir. I spoke to you of it Michaelmas was
four years: when her ladyship put the diamonds in pawn. It was Towler,
sir, took 'em in two cabs to Dobree's; and a good deal of the plate went
the same way. Don't you remember seeing of it at Blackwall, with the
Levant arms and coronick, and Lord Levant settn oppsit to it at the
Marquis of Steyne's dinner? Beg your pardon; did I cut you, sir?"

Morgan was now operating upon the major's chin; he continued the
theme while stropping the skillful razor. "They've took a house in
Grosvenor-place, and are coming out strong, sir. Her ladyship's going
to give three parties, besides a dinner a week, sir. Her fortune won't
stand it--can't stand it."

"Gad, she had a devilish good cook when I was at Fairoaks," the major
said, with very little compassion for the widow Amory's fortune.

"Mirobblan was his name, sir; Mirobblan's gone away, sir," Morgan said;
and the major, this time, with hearty sympathy said, "he was devilish
sorry to lose him."

"There's been a tremenjuous row about that Mosseer Mirobblan," Morgan
continued. "At a ball at Baymouth, sir, bless his impadence, he
challenged Mr. Harthur to fight a jewel, sir, which Mr. Harthur was very
near knocking him down, and pitchin' him out awinder, and serve him
right; but Chevalier Strong, sir, came up and stopped the shindy--I beg
pardon, the holtercation, sir--them French cooks has as much pride and
hinsolence as if they was real gentlemen."

"I heard something of that quarrel," said the major; "but Mirobolant was
not turned off for that?"

"No, sir; that affair, sir, Mr. Harthur forgave it him, and beaved most
handsome, was hushed hup: it was about Miss Hamory, sir, that he ad his
dismissal. Those French fellers, they fancy every body is in love with
'em; and he climbed up the large grape vine to her winder, sir, and was
a trying to get in, when he was caught, sir; and Mr. Strong came out,
and they got the garden-engine and played on him, and there was no end
of a row, sir."

"Confound his impudence! You don't mean to say Miss Amory encouraged
him," cried the major, amazed at a peculiar expression in Mr. Morgan's
countenance.

Morgan resumed his imperturbable demeanor. "Know nothing about it, sir.
Servants don't know them kind of things the least. Most probbly there
was nothing in it--so many lies is told about families--Marobblan went
away, bag and baggage, saucepans, and piano, and all--the feller ad a
pianna, and wrote potry in French, and he took a lodging at Clavering,
and he hankered about the primises, and it was said that Madam Fribsby,
the milliner, brought letters to Miss Hamory, though I don't believe a
word about it; nor that he tried to pison hisself with charcoal, which
it was all a humbug betwigst him and Madam Fribsby; and he was nearly
shot by the keeper in the park."

[Illustration]

In the course of that very day, it chanced that the major had stationed
himself in the great window of Bays's Club, in St. James's-street, at
the hour in the afternoon when you see a half score of respectable old
bucks similarly recreating themselves (Bays's is rather an old-fashioned
place of resort now, and many of its members more than middle-aged; but
in the time of the prince regent, these old fellows occupied the same
window, and were some of the very greatest dandies in this empire);
Major Pendennis was looking from the great window, and spied his nephew
Arthur walking down the street in company with his friend Mr. Popjoy.

"Look!" said Popjoy to Pen, as they passed, "did you ever pass Bays's
at four o'clock, without seeing that collection of old fogies? It's a
regular museum. They ought to be cast in wax, and set up at Madame
Tussaud's--"

"--In a chamber of old horrors by themselves," Pen said, laughing.

"--In the chamber of horrors! Gad, doosid good!" Pop cried. "They
_are_ old rogues, most of 'em, and no mistake. There's old Blondel;
there's my Uncle Colchicum, the most confounded old sinner in Europe;
there's--hullo! there's somebody rapping the window, and nodding at us."

"It's my uncle, the major," said Pen. "Is he an old sinner, too?"

"Notorious old rogue," Pop said, wagging his head. ("Notowious old
wogue," he pronounced the words, thereby rendering them much more
emphatic.) "He's beckoning you in; he wants to speak to you."

"Come in too," Pen said.

"--Can't," replied the other. "Cut uncle Col. two years ago, about
Mademoiselle Frangipane--Ta, ta," and the young sinner took leave
of Pen, and the club of the elder criminals, and sauntered into
Blacquiere's, an adjacent establishment, frequented by reprobates of
his own age.

Colchicum, Blondel, and the senior bucks had just been conversing about
the Clavering family, whose appearance in London had formed the subject
of Major Pendennis's morning conversation with his valet. Mr. Blondel's
house was next to that of Sir Francis Clavering, in Grosvenor-place:
giving very good dinners himself, he had remarked some activity in his
neighbor's kitchen. Sir Francis, indeed, had a new chef, who had come in
more than once, and dressed Mr. Blondel's dinner for him; that gentleman
having only a remarkably expert female artist permanently engaged in his
establishment, and employing such chiefs of note as happened to be free
on the occasion of his grand banquets. "They go to a devilish expense
and see devilish bad company as yet, I hear," Mr. Blondel said; "they
scour the streets, by gad, to get people to dine with 'em. Champignon
says it breaks his heart to serve up a dinner to their society. What a
shame it is that those low people should have money at all," cried Mr.
Blondel, whose grandfather had been a reputable leather-breeches maker,
and whose father had lent money to the princes.

"I wish I had fallen in with the widow myself," sighed Lord Colchicum,
"and not been laid up with that confounded gout at Leghorn. I would have
married the woman myself. I'm told she has six hundred thousand pounds
in the Threes."

"Not _quite_ so much as that. I knew her family in India," Major
Pendennis said. "I knew her family in India; her father was an
enormously rich old indigo-planter; know all about her: Clavering has
the next estate to ours in the country. Ha! there's my nephew walking
with--"

"With mine: the infernal young scamp!" said Lord Colchicum, glowering at
Popjoy out of his heavy eyebrows; and he turned away from the window as
Major Pendennis tapped upon it.

The major was in high good-humor. The sun was bright, the air brisk and
invigorating. He had determined upon a visit to Lady Clavering on that
day, and bethought him that Arthur would be a good companion for the
walk across the Green Park to her ladyship's door. Master Pen was not
displeased to accompany his illustrious relative, who pointed out a
dozen great men in their brief transit through St. James's-street, and
got bows from a duke, at a crossing, a bishop (on a cob), and a cabinet
minister with an umbrella. The duke gave the elder Pendennis the finger
of a pipe-clayed glove to shake, which the major embraced with great
veneration; and all Pen's blood tingled, as he found himself in actual
communication, as it were, with this famous man (for Pen had possession
of the major's left arm, while that gentleman's other wing was engaged
with his grace's right), and he wished all Gray Friar's School, all
Oxbridge University, all Paternoster Row and the temple, and Laura and
his mother at Fairoaks, could be standing on each side of the street,
to see the meeting between him and his uncle and the most famous duke
in Christendom.

"How do, Pendennis? fine day," were his grace's remarkable words, and
with a nod of his august head he passed on--in a blue frock coat and
spotless white duck trowsers, in a white stock, with a shining buckle
behind.

Old Pendennis, whose likeness to his grace has been remarked, began to
imitate him unconsciously, after they had parted, speaking with curt
sentences, after the manner of the great man. We have all of us, no
doubt, met with more than one military officer who has so imitated the
manner of a certain great captain of the age; and has, perhaps, changed
his own natural character and disposition, because Fate had endowed him
with an aquiline nose. In like manner have we not seen many another man
pride himself on having a tall forehead and a supposed likeness to Mr.
Canning? many another go through life swelling with self-gratification
on account of an imagined resemblance (we say "imagined," because that
any body should be _really_ like that most beautiful and perfect of men
is impossible) to the great and revered George IV.: many third parties,
who wore low necks to their dresses because they fancied that Lord Byron
and themselves were similar in appearance: and has not the grave closed
lately upon poor Tom Bickerstaff, who having no more imagination
than Mr. Joseph Hume, looked in the glass and fancied himself like
Shakspeare? shaved his forehead so as farther to resemble the immortal
bard, wrote tragedies incessantly, and died perfectly crazy--actually
perished of his forehead! These or similar freaks of vanity most people
who have frequented the world must have seen in their experience. Pen
laughed in his roguish sleeve at the manner in which his uncle began to
imitate the great man from whom they had just parted: but Mr. Pen was as
vain in his own way, perhaps, as the elder gentleman, and strutted, with
a very consequential air of his own, by the major's side.

"Yes, my dear boy," said the old bachelor, as they sauntered through
the Green Park, where many poor children were disporting happily, and
errand boys were playing at toss-halfpenny, and black sheep were
grazing in the sunshine, and an actor was learning his part on a bench,
and nursery maids and their charges sauntered here and there, and
several couples were walking in a leisurely manner; "yes, depend on it,
my boy, for a poor man, there is nothing like having good acquaintances.
Who were those men, with whom you saw me in the bay-window at Bays's?
Two were peers of the realm. Hobananob _will_ be a peer as soon as his
grand-uncle dies, and he has had his third seizure; and of the other
four, not one has less than his seven thousand a year. Did you see that
dark blue brougham, with that tremendous stepping horse, waiting at the
door of the club? You'll know it again. It is Sir Hugh Trumpington's;
he was never known to walk in his life; never appears in the streets on
foot--never; and if he is going two doors off, to see his mother, the
old dowager (to whom I shall certainly introduce you, for she receives
some of the best company in London), gad, sir, he mounts his horse at
No. 23, and dismounts again at No. 25 A. He is now up-stairs, at Bays's,
playing piquet with Count Punter: he is the second-best player in
England: as well he may be; for he plays every day of his life, except
Sundays (for Sir Hugh is an uncommonly religious man), from half-past
three to half-past seven, when he dresses for dinner."

"A very pious manner of spending his time," Pen said, laughing, and
thinking that his uncle was falling into the twaddling state.

"Gad, sir, that is not the question. A man of his estate may employ
his time as he chooses. When you are a baronet, a county member, with
ten thousand acres of the best land in Cheshire, and such a place as
Trumpington (though he never goes there), you may do as you like."

"And so that was his brougham, sir, was it?" the nephew said, with
almost a sneer.

"His brougham--O ay, yes!--and that brings me back to my point--revenons
à nos moutons. Yes, begad! revenons à nos moutons. Well, that brougham
is mine, if I choose, between four and seven. Just as much mine as if I
jobbed it from Tilbury's, begad, for thirty pound a month. Sir Hugh is
the best-natured fellow in the world; and if it hadn't been so fine an
afternoon as it is, you and I would have been in that brougham at this
very minute, on our way to Grosvenor-place. That is the benefit of
knowing rich men: I dine for nothing, sir; I go into the country, and
I'm mounted for nothing. Other fellows keep hounds and gamekeepers for
me. _Sic vos non vobis_, as we used to say at Gray Friars, hey? I'm of
the opinion of my old friend Leech, of the Forty-fourth; and a devilish
good shrewd fellow he was, as most Scotchmen are. Gad, sir, Leech used
to say, 'He was so poor that he couldn't afford to know a poor man.'"

"You don't act up to your principles, uncle," Pen said, good-naturedly.

"Up to my principles; how, sir?" the major asked, rather testily.

"You would have cut me in Saint James's-street, sir," Pen said, "were
your practice not more benevolent than your theory; you who live with
dukes and magnates of the land, and would take no notice of a poor devil
like me." By which speech we may see that Mr. Pen was getting on in the
world, and could flatter as well as laugh in his sleeve.

Major Pendennis was appeased instantly, and very much pleased. He tapped
affectionately his nephew's arm on which he was leaning, and said,
"You, sir, you are my flesh and blood! Hang it, sir, I've been very
proud of you and very fond of you, but for your confounded follies
and extravagancies, and wild oats, sir, which I hope you've sown. Yes,
begad! I hope you've sown 'em; I hope you've sown 'em, begad! My object,
Arthur, is to make a man of you, to see you well placed in the world,
as becomes one of your name and my own, sir. You have got yourself a
little reputation by your literary talents, which I am very far from
undervaluing, though in my time, begad, poetry and genius and that sort
of thing were devilish disreputable. There was poor Byron, for instance,
who ruined himself, and contracted the worst habits by living with
poets and newspaper-writers, and people of that kind. But the times are
changed now--there's a run upon literature--clever fellows get into the
best houses in town, begad! _Tempora mutantur_, sir; and by Jove, I
suppose whatever is is right, as Shakspeare says."

Pen did not think fit to tell his uncle who was the author who had made
use of that remarkable phrase, and here descending from the Green Park,
the pair made their way into Grosvenor-place, and to the door of the
mansion occupied there by Sir Francis and Lady Clavering.

The dining-room shutters of this handsome mansion were freshly gilded;
the knockers shone gorgeous upon the newly-painted door; the balcony
before the drawing-room bloomed with a portable garden of the most
beautiful plants, and with flowers, white, and pink, and scarlet; the
windows of the upper room (the sacred chamber and dressing-room of my
lady, doubtless), and even a pretty little casement of the third story,
which keen-sighted Mr. Pen presumed to belong to the virgin bed-room of
Miss Blanche Amory, were similarly adorned with floral ornaments, and
the whole exterior face of the house presented the most brilliant aspect
which fresh new paint, shining plate glass, newly cleaned bricks, and
spotless mortar, could offer to the beholder.

"How Strong must have rejoiced in organizing all this splendor," thought
Pen. He recognized the chevalier's genius in the magnificence before
him.

"Lady Clavering is going out for her drive," the major said. "We
shall only have to leave our pasteboards, Arthur." He used the word
"pasteboards," having heard it from some of the ingenuous youth of
the nobility about town, and as a modern phrase suited to Pen's tender
years. Indeed, as the two gentlemen reached the door, a landau drove up,
a magnificent yellow carriage, lined with brocade or satin of a faint
cream color, drawn by wonderful gray horses, with flaming ribbons, and
harness blazing all over with crests: no less than three of these
heraldic emblems surmounted the coats of arms on the panels, and these
shields contained a prodigious number of quarterings, betokening the
antiquity and splendor of the house of Clavering and Snell. A coachman
in a tight silver wig surmounted the magnificent hammer-cloth (whereon
the same arms were worked in bullion), and controlled the prancing
grays--a young man still, but of a solemn countenance, with a laced
waistcoat and buckles in his shoes--little buckles, unlike those which
John and Jeames, the footmen, wear, and which we know are large, and
spread elegantly over the foot.

One of the leaves of the hall door was opened, and John--one of the
largest of his race--was leaning against the door pillar, with his
ambrosial hair powdered, his legs crossed; beautiful, silk-stockinged;
in his hand his cane, gold-headed, _dolichoskion_. Jeames was invisible,
but near at hand, waiting in the hall, with the gentleman who does not
wear livery, and ready to fling down the roll of hair-cloth over which
her ladyship was to step to her carriage. These things and men, the
which to tell of demands time, are seen in the glance of a practiced
eye: and, in fact, the major and Pen had scarcely crossed the street,
when the second _battant_ of the door flew open; the horse-hair carpet
tumbled down the door-steps to those of the carriage; John was opening
it on one side of the emblazoned door, and Jeames on the other, and two
ladies, attired in the highest style of fashion, and accompanied by a
third, who carried a Blenheim spaniel, yelping in a light blue ribbon,
came forth to ascend the carriage.

Miss Amory was the first to enter, which she did with aerial lightness,
and took the place which she liked best. Lady Clavering next followed,
but her ladyship was more mature of age and heavy of foot, and one of
those feet, attired in a green satin boot, with some part of a stocking,
which was very fine, whatever the ankle might be which it encircled,
might be seen swaying on the carriage-step, as her ladyship leaned for
support on the arm of the unbending Jeames, by the enraptured observer
of female beauty who happened to be passing at the time of this imposing
ceremonial.

The Pendennises, senior and junior, beheld those charms as they came
up to the door--the major looking grave and courtly, and Pen somewhat
abashed at the carriage and its owners; for he thought of sundry little
passages at Clavering, which made his heart beat rather quick.

At that moment Lady Clavering, looking round, saw the pair--she was on
the first carriage-step, and would have been in the vehicle in another
second, but she gave a start backward (which caused some of the powder
to fly from the hair of ambrosial Jeames), and crying out, "Lor, if it
isn't Arthur Pendennis and the old major!" jumped back to terra firma
directly, and holding out two fat hands, encased in tight orange-colored
gloves, the good-natured woman warmly greeted the major and his nephew.

"Come in both of you. Why haven't you been before? Get out, Blanche,
and come and see your old friends. O, I'm so glad to see you. We've been
waitin and waitin for you ever so long. Come in, luncheon ain't gone
down," cried out this hospitable lady, squeezing Pen's hand in both hers
(she had dropped the major's after a brief wrench of recognition), and
Blanche, casting up her eyes toward the chimneys, descended from the
carriage presently, with a timid, blushing, appealing look, and gave a
little hand to Major Pendennis.

The companion with the spaniel looked about irresolute, and doubting
whether she should not take Fido his airing; but she too turned right
about face and entered the house, after Lady Clavering, her daughter,
and the two gentlemen. And the carriage, with the prancing grays, was
left unoccupied, save by the coachman in the silver wig.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

IN WHICH THE SYLPH REAPPEARS.


[Illustration]

Better folks than Morgan, the valet, were not so well instructed
as that gentleman, regarding the amount of Lady Clavering's riches;
and the legend in London, upon her ladyship's arrival in the polite
metropolis, was, that her fortune was enormous. Indigo factories, opium
clippers, banks overflowing with rupees, diamonds and jewels of native
princes, and vast sums of interest paid by them for loans contracted
by themselves or their predecessors to Lady Clavering's father, were
mentioned as sources of her wealth. Her account at her London banker's
was positively known, and the sum embraced so many ciphers as to create
as many O s of admiration in the wondering hearer. It was a known fact
that an envoy from an Indian prince, a Colonel Altamont, the Nawaub of
Lucknow's prime favorite, an extraordinary man, who had, it was said,
embraced Mohammedanism, and undergone a thousand wild and perilous
adventures, was at present in this country, trying to negotiate with the
Begum Clavering, the sale of the Nawaub's celebrated nose-ring diamond,
"the light of the Dewan."

Under the title of the Begum, Lady Clavering's fame began to spread in
London before she herself descended upon the capital, and as it has
been the boast of De Lolme, and Blackstone, and all panegyrists of the
British Constitution, that we admit into our aristocracy merit of every
kind, and that the lowliest-born man, if he but deserve it, may wear
the robes of a peer, and sit alongside of a Cavendish or a Stanley: so
it ought to be the boast of our good society, that haughty though it be,
naturally jealous of its privileges, and careful who shall be admitted
into its circle, yet, if an individual be but rich enough, all barriers
are instantly removed, and he or she is welcomed, as from her wealth
he merits to be. This fact shows our British independence and honest
feeling--our higher orders are not such mere haughty aristocrats as the
ignorant represent them: on the contrary, if a man have money they will
hold out their hands to him, eat his dinners, dance at his balls, marry
his daughters, or give their own lovely girls to his sons, as affably as
your commonest roturier would do.

As he had superintended the arrangements of the country mansion, our
friend, the Chevalier Strong, gave the benefit of his taste and advice
to the fashionable London upholsterers, who prepared the town house
for the reception of the Clavering family. In the decoration of this
elegant abode, honest Strong's soul rejoiced as much as if he had been
himself its proprietor. He hung and re-hung the pictures, he studied the
positions of sofas, he had interviews with wine merchants and purveyors
who were to supply the new establishment; and at the same time the
baronet's factotum and confidential friend took the opportunity of
furnishing his own chambers, and stocking his snug little cellar: his
friends complimented him upon the neatness of the former; and the select
guests who came in to share Strong's cutlet now found a bottle of
excellent claret to accompany the meal. The chevalier was now, as he
said, "in clover:" he had a very comfortable set of rooms in Shepherd's
Inn. He was waited on by a former Spanish Legionary and comrade of his
whom he had left at a breach of a Spanish fort, and found at a crossing
in Tottenham-court Road, and whom he had elevated to the rank of
body-servant to himself and to the chum who, at present, shared his
lodgings. This was no other than the favorite of the Nawaub of Lucknow,
the valiant Colonel Altamont.

No man was less curious, or at any rate, more discreet, than Ned Strong,
and he did not care to inquire into the mysterious connection which,
very soon after their first meeting at Baymouth, was established between
Sir Francis Clavering and the envoy of the Nawaub. The latter knew
some secret regarding the former, which put Clavering into his power,
somehow; and Strong, who knew that his patron's early life had been
rather irregular, and that his career with his regiment in India had not
been brilliant, supposed that the colonel, who swore he knew Clavering
well at Calcutta, had some hold upon Sir Francis, to which the latter
was forced to yield. In truth, Strong had long understood Sir Francis
Clavering's character, as that of a man utterly weak in purpose, in
principle, and intellect, a moral and physical trifler and poltroon.

With poor Clavering, his excellency had had one or two interviews after
their Baymouth meeting, the nature of which conversations the baronet
did not confide to Strong: although he sent letters to Altamont by that
gentleman, who was his embassador in all sorts of affairs. On one of
these occasions the Nawaub's envoy must have been in an exceeding
ill-humor; for he crushed Clavering's letter in his hand, and said with
his own particular manner and emphasis:

"A hundred, be hanged. I'll have no more letters nor no more
shilly-shally. Tell Clavering I'll have a thousand, or by Jove I'll
split, and burst him all to atoms. Let him give me a thousand, and
I'll go abroad, and I give you my honor as a gentleman, I'll not ask
him for no more for a year. Give him that message from me, Strong, my
boy; and tell him if the money ain't here next Friday at 12 o'clock,
as sure as my name's what it is, I'll have a paragraph in the newspaper
on Saturday, and next week I'll blow up the whole concern."

Strong carried back these words to his principal, on whom their effect
was such that actually on the day and hour appointed, the chevalier made
his appearance once more at Altamont's hotel at Baymouth, with the sum
of money required. Altamont was a gentleman, he said, and behaved as
such; he paid his bill at the inn, and the Baymouth paper announced his
departure on a foreign tour. Strong saw him embark at Dover. "It must
be forgery at the very least," he thought, "that has put Clavering into
this fellow's power, and the colonel has got the bill."

Before the year was out, however, this happy country saw the colonel
once more upon its shores. A confounded run on the red had finished him,
he said, at Baden Baden: no gentleman could stand against a color
coming up fourteen times. He had been obliged to draw upon Sir Francis
Clavering for means of returning home: and Clavering, though pressed
for money (for he had election expenses, had set up his establishment in
the country, and was engaged in furnishing his London house), yet found
means to accept Colonel Altamont's bill, though evidently very much
against his will; for in Strong's hearing, Sir Francis wished to heaven,
with many curses, that the colonel could have been locked up in a
debtors' jail in Germany, for life, so that he might never be troubled
again.

These sums for the colonel, Sir Francis was obliged to raise without
the knowledge of his wife; for though perfectly liberal, nay, sumptuous
in her expenditure, the good lady had inherited a tolerable aptitude
for business along with the large fortune of her father, Snell, and gave
to her husband only such a handsome allowance as she thought befitted
a gentleman of his rank. Now and again she would give him a present,
or pay an outstanding gambling debt; but she always exacted a pretty
accurate account of the moneys so required; and respecting the subsidies
to the colonel, Clavering fairly told Strong that he _couldn't_ speak to
his wife.

Part of Mr. Strong's business in life was to procure this money and
other sums, for his patron. And in the chevalier's apartments, in
Shepherd's Inn, many negotiations took place between gentlemen of the
moneyed world and Sir Francis Clavering; and many valuable bank notes
and pieces of stamped paper were passed between them. When a man has
been in the habit of getting in debt from his early youth, and of
exchanging his promises to pay at twelve months against present sums
of money, it would seem as if no piece of good fortune ever permanently
benefited him: a little while after the advent of prosperity, the
money-lender is pretty certain to be in the house again, and the bills
with the old signature in the market. Clavering found it more convenient
to see these gentry at Strong's lodgings than at his own; and such was
the chevalier's friendship for the baronet, that although he did not
possess a shilling of his own, his name might be seen as the drawer of
almost all the bills of exchange which Sir Francis Clavering accepted.
Having drawn Clavering's bills, he got them discounted "in the city."
When they became due he parleyed with the bill-holders, and gave
them installments of their debt, or got time in exchange for fresh
acceptances. Regularly or irregularly, gentlemen must live somehow:
and as we read how, the other day, at Comorn, the troops forming that
garrison were gay and lively, acted plays, danced at balls, and consumed
their rations; though menaced with an assault from the enemy without the
walls, and with a gallows if the Austrians were successful--so there are
hundreds of gallant spirits in this town, walking about in good spirits,
dining every day in tolerable gayety and plenty, and going to sleep
comfortably; with a bailiff always more or less near, and a rope of debt
round their necks--the which trifling inconveniences, Ned Strong, the
old soldier, bore very easily.

But we shall have another opportunity of making acquaintance with these
and some other interesting inhabitants of Shepherd's Inn, and in the
mean while are keeping Lady Clavering and her friends too long waiting
on the door steps of Grosvenor-place.

First they went into the gorgeous dining-room, fitted up, Lady Clavering
couldn't for goodness gracious tell why, in the middle-aged style,
"unless," said her good-natured ladyship, laughing, "because me and
Clavering are middle-aged people;" and here they were offered the
copious remains of the luncheon of which Lady Clavering and Blanche had
just partaken. When nobody was near, our little Sylphide, who scarcely
ate at dinner more than the six grains of rice of Amina, the friend of
the Ghouls in the Arabian Nights, was most active with her knife and
fork, and consumed a very substantial portion of mutton cutlets: in
which piece of hypocrisy it is believed she resembled other young ladies
of fashion. Pen and his uncle declined the refection, but they admired
the dining-room with fitting compliments, and pronounced it "very
chaste," that being the proper phrase. There were, indeed, high-backed
Dutch chairs of the seventeenth century; there was a sculptured carved
buffet of the sixteenth; there was a sideboard robbed out of the carved
work of a church in the Low Countries, and a large brass cathedral
lamp over the round oak table; there were old family portraits from
Wardour-street and tapestry from France, bits of armor, double-handed
swords and battle-axes made of _carton-pierre_, looking-glasses,
statuettes of saints, and Dresden china--nothing, in a word, could be
chaster. Behind the dining-room was the library, fitted with busts and
books all of a size, and wonderful easy chairs, and solemn bronzes in
the severe classic style. Here it was that, guarded by double doors, Sir
Francis smoked cigars, and read "Bell's Life in London," and went to
sleep after dinner, when he was not smoking over the billiard-table at
his clubs, or punting at the gambling-houses in Saint James's.

But what could equal the chaste splendor of the drawing-rooms? the
carpets were so magnificently fluffy that your feet made no more noise
on them than your shadow: on their white ground bloomed roses and tulips
as big as warming-pans: about the room were high chairs and low chairs,
bandy-legged chairs, chairs so attenuated that it was a wonder any but
a sylph could sit upon them, marqueterie-tables covered with marvelous
gimcracks, china ornaments of all ages and countries, bronzes, gilt
daggers, Books of Beauty, yataghans, Turkish papooshes and boxes of
Parisian bonbons. Wherever you sate down there were Dresden shepherds
and shepherdesses convenient at your elbow; there were, moreover, light
blue poodles and ducks and cocks and hens in porcelain; there were
nymphs by Boucher, and shepherdesses by Greuze, very chaste indeed;
there were muslin curtains and brocade curtains, gilt cages with
parroquets and love birds, two squealing cockatoos, each out-squealing
and out-chattering the other; a clock singing tunes on a console-table,
and another booming the hours like Great Tom, on the mantle-piece--there
was, in a word, every thing that comfort could desire, and the most
elegant taste devise. A London drawing-room, fitted up without regard
to expense, is surely one of the noblest and most curious sights of the
present day. The Romans of the Lower Empire, the dear marchionesses
and countesses of Louis XV., could scarcely have had a finer taste
than our modern folks exhibit; and every body who saw Lady Clavering's
reception-rooms, was forced to confess that they were most elegant; and
that the prettiest rooms in London--Lady Harley Quin's, Lady Hanway
Wardour's, or Mrs. Hodge-Podgson's own, the great Railroad Croesus'
wife, were not fitted up with a more consummate "chastity."

Poor Lady Clavering, meanwhile, knew little regarding these things, and
had a sad want of respect for the splendors around her. "I only know
they cost a precious deal of money, major," she said to her guest, "and
that I don't advise you to try one of them gossamer gilt chairs: I came
down on one the night we gave our second dinner party. Why didn't you
come and see us before? We'd have asked you to it."

"You would have liked to see mamma break a chair, wouldn't you, Mr.
Pendennis?" dear Blanche said, with a sneer. She was angry because Pen
was talking and laughing with mamma, because mamma had made a number of
blunders in describing the house--for a hundred other good reasons.

"I should like to have been by to give Lady Clavering my arm if she had
need of it," Pen answered, with a bow and a blush.

"_Quel preux chevalier!_" cried the Sylphide, tossing up her little
head.

"I have a fellow-feeling with those who fall, remember," Pen said. "I
suffered myself very much from doing so once."

"And you went home to Laura to console you," said Miss Amory.

Pen winced. He did not like the remembrance of the consolation which
Laura had given to him, nor was he very well pleased to find that his
rebuff in that quarter was known to the world; so as he had nothing to
say in reply, he began to be immensely interested in the furniture round
about him, and to praise Lady Clavering's taste with all his might.

"Me, don't praise me," said honest Lady Clavering, "it's all the
upholsterer's doings and Captain Strong's, they did it all while we was
at the Park--and--and--Lady Rockminster has been here and says the
salongs are very well," said Lady Clavering, with an air and tone of
great deference.

"My cousin Laura has been staying with her," Pen said.

"It's not the dowager: it is _the_ Lady Rockminster."

"Indeed!" cried Major Pendennis, when he heard this great name of
fashion "if you have her ladyship's approval, Lady Clavering, you can
not be far wrong. No, no, you can not be far wrong. Lady Rockminster,
I should say, Arthur, is the very center of the circle of fashion and
taste. The rooms _are_ beautiful, indeed!" and the major's voice hushed
as he spoke of this great lady, and he looked round and surveyed the
apartments awfully and respectfully, as if he had been at church.

"Yes, Lady Rockminster has took us up," said Lady Clavering.

"Taken us up, mamma," cried Blanche, in a shrill voice.

"Well, taken us up, then," said my lady; "it's very kind of her, and
I dare say we shall like it when we git used to it, only at first one
don't fancy being took--well, taken up, at all. She is going to give our
balls for us; and wants to invite all our dinners. But I won't stand
that. I will have my old friends and I won't let her send all the cards
out, and sit mum at the head of my own table. You must come to me,
Arthur, and major--come, let me see, on the 14th. It ain't one of our
grand dinners, Blanche," she said, looking round at her daughter, who
bit her lips and frowned very savagely for a Sylphide.

The major, with a smile and a bow, said he would much rather come to a
quiet meeting than to a grand dinner. He had had enough of those large
entertainments, and preferred the simplicity of the home circle.

"I always think a dinner's the best the second day," said Lady Clavering,
thinking to mend her first speech. "On the 14th we'll be quite a snug
little party;" at which second blunder, Miss Blanche clasped her hands
in despair, and said, "O, mamma, _vous êtes incorrigible_." Major
Pendennis vowed that he liked snug dinners of all things in the world,
and confounded her ladyship's impudence for daring to ask such a man as
_him_ to a second day's dinner. But he was a man of an economical turn
of mind, and bethinking himself that he could throw over these people if
any thing better should offer, he accepted with the blandest air. As for
Pen, he was not a diner-out of thirty years' standing as yet, and the
idea of a fine feast in a fine house was still perfectly welcome to him.

"What was that pretty little quarrel which engaged itself between your
worship and Miss Amory?" the major asked of Pen, as they walked away
together. "I thought you used to be _au mieux_ in that quarter."

"Used to be," answered Pen, with a dandified air, "is a vague phrase
regarding a woman. Was and is are two very different terms, sir, as
regards women's hearts especially."

"Egad, they change as we do," cried the elder. "When we took the Cape of
Good Hope, I recollect there was a lady who talked of poisoning herself
for your humble servant; and, begad, in three months, she ran away from
her husband with somebody else. Don't get yourself entangled with that
Miss Amory. She is forward, affected, and underbred; and her character
is somewhat--never mind what. But don't think of her; ten thousand pound
won't do for you. What, my good follow, is ten thousand pound? I would
scarcely pay that girl's milliner's bill with the interest of the
money."

"You seem to be a connoisseur in millinery, uncle," Pen said.

"I was, sir, I was," replied the senior; "and the old war-horse, you
know, never hears the sound of a trumpet, but he begins to he, he!--you
understand;" and he gave a killing though somewhat superannuated leer
and bow to a carriage that passed them, and entered the Park.

"Lady Catherine Martingale's carriage," he said; "mons'ous fine
girls the daughters, though, gad, I remember their mother a thousand
times handsomer. No, Arthur, my dear fellow, with your person and
expectations, you ought to make a good coup in marriage some day or
other; and though I wouldn't have this repeated at Fairoaks, you rogue,
ha! ha! a reputation for a little wickedness, and for being an _homme
dangereux_, don't hurt a young fellow with the women. They like it,
sir--they hate a milksop ... young men must be young men, you know. But
for marriage," continued the veteran moralist, "that is a very different
matter. Marry a woman with money. I've told you before, it is as easy to
get a rich wife as a poor one; and a doosed deal more comfortable to sit
down to a well-cooked dinner, with your little entrées nicely served,
than to have nothing but a damned cold leg of mutton between you and
your wife. We shall have a good dinner on the 14th, when we dine with
Sir Francis Clavering: stick to that, my boy, in your relations with the
family. Cultivate 'em, but keep 'em for dining. No more of your youthful
follies and nonsense about love in a cottage."

"It must be a cottage with a double coach-house, a cottage of gentility,
sir," said Pen, quoting the hackneyed ballad of the Devil's Walk:
but his uncle did not know that poem (though, perhaps, he might be
leading Pen upon the very promenade in question), and went on with his
philosophical remarks, very much pleased with the aptness of the pupil
to whom he addressed them. Indeed Arthur Pendennis was a clever fellow,
who took his color very readily from his neighbor, and found the
adaptation only too easy.

Warrington, the grumbler, growled out that Pen was becoming such a
puppy, that soon there would be no bearing him. But the truth is, the
young man's success and dashing manners pleased his elder companion. He
liked to see Pen gay and spirited, and brimful of health, and life, and
hope; as a man who has long since left off being amused with clown and
harlequin, still gets a pleasure in watching a child at a pantomime.
Mr. Pen's former sulkiness disappeared with his better fortune: and he
bloomed as the sun began to shine upon him.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

IN WHICH COLONEL ALTAMONT APPEARS AND DISAPPEARS.


[Illustration]

On the day appointed, Major Pendennis, who had formed no better
engagement, and Arthur, who desired none, arrived together to dine with
Sir Francis Clavering. The only tenants of the drawing-room when Pen
and his uncle reached it, were Sir Francis and his wife, and our friend
Captain Strong, whom Arthur was very glad to see, though the major
looked very sulkily at Strong, being by no means well pleased to sit
down to dinner with Clavering's d----d house-steward, as he irreverently
called Strong. But Mr. Welbore Welbore, Clavering's country neighbor and
brother member of Parliament, speedily arriving, Pendennis the elder was
somewhat appeased, for Welbore, though perfectly dull, and taking no
more part in the conversation at dinner than the footman behind his
chair, was a respectable country gentleman of ancient family and seven
thousand a year; and the major felt always at ease in such society. To
these were added other persons of note: the Dowager Lady Rockminster,
who had her reasons for being well with the Clavering family, and the
Lady Agnes Foker, with her son Mr. Harry, our old acquaintance. Mr.
Pynsent could not come, his parliamentary duties keeping him at the
House, duties which sate upon the two other senators very lightly. Miss
Blanche Amory was the last of the company who made her appearance. She
was dressed in a killing white silk dress, which displayed her pearly
shoulders to the utmost advantage. Foker whispered to Pen, who regarded
her with eyes of evident admiration, that he considered her "a stunner."
She chose to be very gracious to Arthur upon this day, and held out her
hand most cordially, and talked about dear Fairoaks, and asked for
dear Laura and his mother, and said she was longing to go back to the
country, and in fact, was entirely simple, affectionate, and artless.

Harry Foker thought he had never seen any body so amiable and
delightful. Not accustomed much to the society of ladies, and ordinarily
being dumb in their presence, he found that he could speak before Miss
Amory, and became uncommonly lively and talkative, even before the
dinner was announced and the party descended to the lower rooms. He
would have longed to give his arm to the fair Blanche, and conduct her
down the broad carpeted stair; but she fell to the lot of Pen upon this
occasion, Mr. Foker being appointed to escort Mrs. Welbore Welbore, in
consequence of his superior rank as an earl's grandson.

But though he was separated from the object of his desire during the
passage down stairs, the delighted Foker found himself by Miss Amory's
side at the dinner-table, and flattered himself that he had maneuvered
very well in securing that happy place. It may be that the move was not
his, but that it was made by another person. Blanche had thus the two
young men, one on each side of her, and each tried to render himself
gallant and agreeable.

Foker's mamma, from her place, surveying her darling boy, was surprised
at his vivacity. Harry talked constantly to his fair neighbor about the
topics of the day.

"Seen Taglioni in the Sylphide, Miss Amory? Bring me that souprame of
Volile again, if you please (this was addressed to the attendant near
him), very good: can't think where the souprames come from; what becomes
of the legs of the fowls, I wonder? She's clipping in the Sylphide,
ain't she?" and he began very kindly to hum the pretty air which
pervades that prettiest of all ballets, now faded into the past with
that most beautiful and gracious of all dancers? Will the young folks
ever see any thing so charming, any thing so classic, any thing like
Taglioni?

"Miss Amory is a Sylph herself," said Mr. Pen.

"What a delightful tenor voice you have, Mr. Foker," said the young
lady. "I am sure you have been well taught. I sing a little myself;
I should like to sing with you."

Pen remembered that words very similar had been addressed to himself by
the young lady, and that she had liked to sing with him in former days.
And sneering within himself, he wondered with how many other gentlemen
she had sung duets since his time? But he did not think fit to put this
awkward question aloud; and only said, with the very tenderest air which
he could assume, "I should like to hear you sing again, Miss Blanche.
I never heard a voice I liked so well as yours, I think."

"I thought you liked Laura's," said Miss Blanche.

"Laura's is a contralto: and that voice is very often out, you know,"
Pen said, bitterly. "I have heard a great deal of music in London," he
continued. "I'm tired of those professional people--they sing too loud,
or I have grown too old or too blasé. One grows old very soon in London,
Miss Amory. And like all old fellows, I only care for the songs I heard
in my youth."

"I like English music best. I don't care for foreign songs much. Get me
some saddle of mutton," said Mr. Foker.

"I adore English ballads, of all things," said Miss Amory.

"Sing me one of the old songs after dinner, will you?" said Pen, with an
imploring voice.

"Shall I sing you an English song after dinner?" asked the Sylphide,
turning to Mr. Foker. "I will, if you will promise to come up soon," and
she gave him a perfect broadside of her eyes.

"_I'll_ come up after dinner, fast enough," he said, simply. "I don't
care about much wine afterward--I take my whack at dinner--I mean my
share, you know; and when I have had as much as I want I toddle up to
tea. I'm a domestic character, Miss Amory--my habits are simple--and
when I'm pleased I'm generally in a good humor, ain't I, Pen?--that
jelly, if you please--not that one, the other with the cherries inside.
How the doose _do_ they get those cherries inside the jellies?" In this
way the artless youth prattled on; and Miss Amory listened to him with
inexhaustible good humor. When the ladies took their departure for the
upper regions, Blanche made the two young men promise faithfully to quit
the table soon, and departed with kind glances to each. She dropped her
gloves on Foker's side of the table, and her handkerchief on Pen's. Each
had some little attention paid to him: her politeness to Mr. Foker was
perhaps a little more encouraging than her kindness to Arthur; but the
benevolent little creature did her best to make both the gentlemen
happy. Foker caught her last glance as she rushed out of the door; that
bright look passed over Mr. Strong's broad white waistcoat, and shot
straight at Harry Foker's. The door closed on the charmer: he sate down
with a sigh, and swallowed a bumper of claret.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the dinner at which Pen and his uncle took their places was not one
of our grand parties, it had been served at a considerably earlier hour
than those ceremonial banquets of the London season, which custom has
ordained shall scarcely take place before nine o'clock; and, the company
being small, and Miss Blanche anxious to betake herself to her piano in
the drawing-room, giving constant hints to her mother to retreat--Lady
Clavering made that signal very speedily, so that it was quite
daylight yet when the ladies reached the upper apartments, from the
flower-embroidered balconies of which they could command a view of the
two parks, of the poor couples and children still sauntering in the one,
and of the equipages of ladies and the horses of dandies passing through
the arch of the other. The sun, in a word, had not set behind the elms
of Kensington Gardens, and was still gilding the statue erected by the
ladies of England in honor of his grace the Duke of Wellington, when
Lady Clavering and her female friends left the gentlemen drinking wine.

The windows of the dining-room were opened to let in the fresh air,
and afforded to the passers-by in the street a pleasant, or, perhaps,
tantalizing view of six gentlemen in white waistcoats, with a quantity
of decanters and a variety of fruits before them--little boys, as they
passed and jumped up at the area-railings, and took a peep, said to one
another, "Mi hi, Jim, shouldn't you like to be there, and have a cut of
that there pine-apple?"--the horses and carriages of the nobility and
gentry passed by, conveying them to Belgravian toilets: the policeman,
with clamping feet, patrolled up and down before the mansion: the shades
of evening began to fall: the gas-man came and lighted the lamps before
Sir Francis's door: the butler entered the dining-room, and illuminated
the antique Gothic chandelier over the antique carved oak dining-table:
so that from outside the house you looked inward upon a night scene of
feasting and wax candles; and from within you beheld a vision of a calm
summer evening, and the wall of St. James's Park, and the sky above, in
which a star or two was just beginning to twinkle.

Jeames, with folded legs, leaning against the door-pillar of his
master's abode, looked forth musingly upon the latter tranquil sight;
while a spectator, clinging to the railings, examined the former scene.
Policeman X passing, gave his attention to neither, but fixed it upon
the individual holding by the railings, and gazing into Sir Francis
Clavering's dining-room, where Strong was laughing and talking away,
making the conversation for the party.

The man at the railings was very gorgeously attired with chains,
jewelry, and waistcoats, which the illumination from the house lighted
up to great advantage; his boots were shiny; he had brass buttons to his
coat, and large white wristbands over his knuckles; and indeed looked so
grand, that X imagined he beheld a member of parliament, or a person
of consideration before him. Whatever his rank, however, the M.P.,
or person of consideration, was considerably excited by wine; for he
lurched and reeled somewhat in his gait, and his hat was cocked over
his wild and blood-shot eyes in a manner which no sober hat ever could
assume. His copious black hair was evidently surreptitious, and his
whiskers of the Tyrian purple.

As Strong's laughter, following after one of his own _gros mots_, came
ringing out of window, this gentleman without laughed and sniggered
in the queerest way likewise, and he slapped his thigh, and winked at
Jeames pensive in the portico, as much as to say, "Plush, my boy, isn't
that a good story?"

Jeames's attention had been gradually drawn from the moon in the
heavens to this sublunary scene; and he was puzzled and alarmed by
the appearance of the man in shiny boots. "A holtercation," he remarked
afterward in the servants'-hall--a "holtercation with a feller in the
streets is never no good; and indeed he was not hired for any such
purpose." So, having surveyed the man for some time, who went on
laughing, reeling, nodding his head with tipsy knowingness, Jeames
looked out of the portico, and softly called "Pleaceman," and beckoned
to that officer.

X marched up resolute, with one Berlin glove stuck in his belt-side,
and Jeames simply pointed with his index finger to the individual
who was laughing against the railings. Not one single word more than
"Pleaceman," did he say, but stood there in the calm summer evening,
pointing calmly: a grand sight.

X advanced to the individual and said, "Now, sir, will you have the
kindness to move hon?"

The individual, who was in perfect good humor, did not appear to hear
one word which Policeman X uttered, but nodded and waggled his grinning
head at Strong, until his hat almost fell from his head over the area
railings.

"Now, sir, move on, do you hear?" cries X, in a much more peremptory
tone, and he touched the stranger gently with one of the fingers
inclosed in the gauntlets of the Berlin woof.

He of the many rings instantly started, or rather staggered back, into
what is called an attitude of self-defense, and in that position began
the operation which is entitled "squaring" at Policeman X, and showed
himself brave and warlike, if unsteady. "Hullo! keep your hands off a
gentleman," he said, with an oath which need not be repeated.

"Move on out of this," said X, "and don't be a blocking up the pavement,
staring into gentlemen's dining-rooms."

"Not stare--ho, ho!--not stare--that is a good one," replied the other,
with a satiric laugh and sneer. "Who's to prevent me from staring,
looking at my friends, if I like? not you, old highlows."

"Friends! I dessay. Move on," answered X.

"If you touch me, I'll pitch into you, I will," roared the other. "I
tell you I know 'em all--that's Sir Francis Clavering, Baronet, M.P.--I
know him, and he knows me--and that's Strong, and that's the young chap
that made the row at the ball. I say, Strong, Strong!"

"It's that d---- Altamont," cried Sir Francis within, with a start and a
guilty look; and Strong also, with a look of annoyance, got up from the
table, and ran out to the intruder.

A gentleman in a white waistcoat, running out from a dining-room
bare-headed, a policeman, and an individual decently attired, engaged in
almost fistycuffs on the pavement, were enough to make a crowd, even in
that quiet neighborhood, at half-past eight o'clock in the evening, and
a small mob began to assemble before Sir Francis Clavering's door. "For
God's sake, come in," Strong said, seizing his acquaintance's arm. "Send
for a cab, James, if you please," he added, in an under voice to that
domestic; and carrying the excited gentleman out of the street, the outer
door was closed upon him, and the small crowd began to move away.

Mr. Strong had intended to convey the stranger into Sir Francis's
private sitting-room, where the hats of the male guests were awaiting
them, and having there soothed his friend by bland conversation, to have
carried him off as soon as the cab arrived; but the new comer was in a
great state of wrath at the indignity which had been put upon him, and
when Strong would have led him into the second door, said, in a tipsy
voice, "_That_ ain't the door: that's the dining-room door, where the
drink's going on: and I'll go and have some, by Jove; I'll go and have
some." At this audacity the butler stood aghast in the hall, and placed
himself before the door: but it opened behind him, and the master of the
house made his appearance, with anxious looks.

"I _will_ have some--by ---- I will," the intruder was roaring out, as
Sir Francis came forward. "Hullo! Clavering, I say I'm come to have some
wine with you; hay! old boy--hay! old corkscrew? Get us a bottle of the
yellow seal, you old thief: the very best--a hundred rupees a dozen, and
no mistake."

The host reflected a moment over his company. There is only Welbore,
Pendennis, and those two lads, he thought; and with a forced laugh and a
piteous look, he said, "Well, Altamont, come in. I am very glad to see
you, I'm sure."

Colonel Altamont, for the intelligent reader has doubtless long ere this
discovered in the stranger His Excellency the Embassador of the Nawaub
of Lucknow, reeled into the dining-room, with a triumphant look toward
Jeames, the footman, which seemed to say, "There, sir, what do you think
of that? _Now_, am I a gentleman or no?" and sank down into the first
vacant chair. Sir Francis Clavering timidly stammered out the colonel's
name to his guest Mr. Welbore Welbore, and his excellency began drinking
wine forthwith, and gazing round upon the company, now with the most
wonderful frowns, and anon with the blandest smiles, and hiccupped
remarks encomiastic of the drink which he was imbibing.

"Very singular man. Has resided long in a native court in India,"
Strong said, with great gravity, the chevalier's presence of mind never
deserting him; "in those Indian courts they get very singular habits."

"Very," said Major Pendennis, dryly, and wondering what in goodness'
name was the company into which he had got.

Mr. Foker was pleased with the new comer. "It's the man who would sing
the Malay song at the Back-Kitchen," he whispered to Pen. "Try this
pine, sir," he then said to Colonel Altamont; "it's uncommonly fine."

"Pines! I've seen 'em feed pigs on pines," said the colonel.

"All the Nawaub of Lucknow's pigs are fed on pines," Strong whispered to
Major Pendennis.

"O, of course," the major answered. Sir Francis Clavering was, in the
mean while, endeavoring to make an excuse to his brother guest, for the
new comer's condition, and muttered something regarding Altamont, that
he was an extraordinary character, very eccentric, very--had Indian
habits--didn't understand the rules of English society; to which old
Welbore, a shrewd old gentleman, who drank his wine with great
regularity, said, "that seemed pretty clear."

Then the colonel seeing Pen's honest face, regarded it for a while with
as much steadiness as became his condition, and said, "I know you, too,
young fellow. I remember you. Baymouth ball, by Jingo. Wanted to fight
the Frenchman. _I_ remember you;" and he laughed, and he squared with
his fists, and seemed hugely amused in the drunken depths of his mind,
as these recollections passed, or, rather, reeled across it.

"Mr. Pendennis, you remember Colonel Altamont, at Baymouth?" Strong
said; upon which Pen, bowing rather stiffly, said, "he had the pleasure
of remembering that circumstance perfectly."

"_What's_ his name?" cried the colonel. Strong named Mr. Pendennis
again.

"Pendennis!--Pendennis be hanged!" Altamont roared out, to the surprise
of every one, and thumping with his fist on the table.

"My name is also Pendennis, sir," said the major, whose dignity was
exceedingly mortified by the evening's events--that he, Major Pendennis,
should have been asked to such a party, and that a drunken man should
have been introduced to it. "My name is Pendennis, and I will be obliged
to you not to curse it too loudly."

The tipsy man turned round to look at him, and as he looked, it appeared
as if Colonel Altamont suddenly grew sober. He put his hand across his
forehead, and in doing so, displaced somewhat the black wig which he
wore; and his eyes stared fiercely at the major, who, in his turn, like
a resolute old warrior as he was, looked at his opponent very keenly and
steadily. At the end of the mutual inspection, Altamont began to button
up his brass-buttoned coat, and rising up from his chair, suddenly,
and to the company's astonishment, reeled toward the door, and issued
from it, followed by Strong: all that the latter heard him utter was,
"Captain Beak! Captain Beak, by jingo!"

There had not passed above