Part 4 out of 6
thousand pounds." And this worldly wisdom little George received in
profound silence, taking it for what it was worth.
About this time old Osborne conceived much admiration for Major Dobbin,
which he had acquired from the world's opinion of that gentleman. Also
Major Dobbin's name appeared in the lists of one or two great parties of
the nobility, which circumstance had a prodigious effect upon the old
aristocrat of Russell Square. Also the Major's position as guardian to
George, whose possession had been ceded to his grandfather, rendered some
meetings between the two gentleman inevitable, and it was in one of these
that old Osborne, from a chance hint supplied by the blushing Major,
discovered that a part of the fund upon which the poor widow and her
child had subsisted during their time of want, had been supplied out of
William Dobbin's own pocket. This information gave old Osborne pain, but
increased his admiration for the Major, who had been such a loyal friend
to his son's wife. From that time it was evident that old Osborne's
opinion was softening, and soon Jos and the Major were asked to dinner at
Russell Square,--to a dinner the most splendid that perhaps ever Mr.
Osborne gave; every inch of the family plate was exhibited and the best
company was asked. More than once old Osborne asked Major Dobbin about
Mrs. George Osborne,--a theme on which the Major could be very eloquent.
"You don't know what she endured, sir," said honest Dobbin; "and I hope
and trust you will be reconciled to her. If she took your son away from
you, she gave hers to you; and however much you loved your George, depend
on it, she loved hers ten times more."
"You are a good fellow, sir!" was all Mr. Osborne said. But it was
evident in later events that the conversation had had its effect upon the
old man. He sent for his lawyers, and made some changes in his will,
which was well, for one day shortly after that act he died suddenly.
When his will was read it was found that half the property was left to
George. Also an annuity of five hundred pounds was left to his mother,
"the widow of my beloved son, George Osborne," who was to resume the
guardianship of the boy.
Major William Dobbin was appointed executor, "and as out of his kindness
and bounty he maintained my grandson and my son's widow with his own
private funds when they were otherwise without means of support" (the
testator went on to say), "I hereby thank him heartily, and beseech him
to accept such a sum as may be sufficient to purchase his commission as a
Lieutenant Colonel, or to be disposed of in any way he may think fit."
When Amelia heard that her father-in-law was reconciled to her, her heart
melted, and she was grateful for the fortune left to her. But when she
heard how George was restored to her, and that it had been William's
bounty that supported her in poverty, that it was William who had
reconciled old Osborne to her, then her gratitude and joy knew no bounds.
When the nature of Mr. Osborne's will became known to the world, once
more Mrs. George Osborne rose in the estimation of the people forming her
circle of acquaintance; even Jos himself paid her and her rich little
boy, his nephew, the greatest respect, and began to show her much more
attention than formerly.
As George's guardian, Amelia begged Miss Osborne to live in the Russell
Square house, but Miss Osborne did not choose to do so. And Amelia also
declined to occupy the gloomy old mansion. But one day, clad in deep
sables, she went with George to visit the deserted house which she had
not entered since she was a girl. They went into the great blank rooms,
the walls of which bore the marks where pictures and mirrors had hung.
Then they went up the great stone staircase into the upper rooms, into
that where grandpapa died, as Georgie said in a whisper, and then higher
still into George's own room. The boy was still clinging by her side, but
she thought of another besides him. She knew that it had been his
father's room before it was his.
"Look here, mother," said George, standing by the window, "here's
G.O. scratched on the glass with a diamond; I never saw it before. I
never did it."
"It was your father's room long before you were born, George," she said,
and she blushed as she kissed the boy.
She was very silent as they drove back to Richmond, where they had
taken a temporary house, but after that time practical matters occupied
her mind. There were many directions to be given and much business to
transact, and Amelia immediately found herself in the whirl of quite a
new life, and experienced the extreme joy of having George continually
with her, as he was at that time removed from Mr. Veal's on an
George's aunt, Mrs. Bullock, who had before her marriage been Miss
Osborne, thought it wise now to become reconciled with Amelia and her
boy. Consequently one day her chariot drove up to Amelia's house, and
the Bullock family made an irruption into the garden, where Amelia
Jos was in an arbour, placidly dipping strawberries into wine, and the
Major was giving a back to George, who chose to jump over him. He went
over his head, and bounded into the little group of Bullocks, with
immense black bows on their hats, and huge black sashes, accompanying
their mourning mamma.
"He is just the age for Rosa," the fond parent thought, and glanced
towards that dear child, a little miss of seven years. "Rosa, go and kiss
your dear cousin," added Mrs. Bullock. "Don't you know me, George? I am
"I know you well enough," George said; "but I don't like kissing,
please," and he retreated from the obedient caresses of his cousin.
"Take me to your dear mamma, you droll child," Mrs. Bullock said; and
those ladies met, after an absence of more than fifteen years. During
Emmy's poverty Mrs. Bullock had never thought about coming to see her;
but now that she was decently prosperous in the world, her sister-in-law
came to her as a matter of course.
So did many others. In fact, before the period of grief for Mr. Osborne's
death had subsided, Emmy, had she wished, could have become a leader in
fashionable society. But that was not her desire: worn out with the long
period of poverty, care, and separation from George, her one wish was a
change of scene and thought.
Because of this wish, some time later, on a fine morning, when the
Batavier steamboat was about to leave its dock, we see among the
carriages being taken on, a very neat, handsome travelling carriage, from
which a courier, Kirsch by name, got out and informed inquirers that the
carriage belonged to an enormously rich Nabob from Calcutta and Jamaica,
with whom he was engaged to travel. At this moment a young gentleman who
had been warned off the bridge between the paddle-boxes, and who had
dropped thence onto the roof of Lord Methusala's carriage, from which he
made his way over other carriages until he had clambered onto his own,
descended thence and through the window into the body of the carriage to
the applause of the couriers looking on.
"_Nous allons avoir une belle traversee_, Monsieur George," said Kirsch
with a grin, as he lifted his gold laced cap.
"Bother your French!" said the young gentleman.
"Where's the biscuits, ay?" Whereupon Kirsch answered him in such
English as he could command and produced the desired repast.
The imperious young gentleman who gobbled the biscuits (and indeed it was
time to refresh himself, for he had breakfasted at Richmond full three
hours before) was our young friend George Osborne. Uncle Jos and his
mamma were on the quarter-deck with Major Dobbin, and the four were about
to make a summer tour. Amelia wore a straw bonnet with black ribbons, and
otherwise dressed in mourning, but the little bustle and holiday of the
journey pleased and excited her, and from that day throughout the entire
journey she continued to be very happy and pleased. Wherever they stopped
Dobbin used to carry about for her her stool and sketch book, and admired
her drawings as they never had been admired before. She sat upon steamer
decks and drew crags and castles, or she mounted upon donkeys and
descended to ancient robber towers, attended by her two escorts, Georgie
and Dobbin. Dobbin was interpreter for the party, having a good military
knowledge of the German language, and he and the delighted George, who
was having a wonderful trip, fought over again the campaigns of the Rhine
and the Palatinate. In the course of a few weeks of constant conversation
with Herr Kirsch on the box of the carriage, George made great advance in
the knowledge of High Dutch, and could talk to hotel waiters and
postilions in a way that charmed his mother and amused his guardian.
At the little ducal town of Pumpernickel our party settled down for a
protracted stay. There each one of them found something especially
pleasing or interesting them, and there it was that they encountered an
acquaintance of other days,--no other than Mrs. Rawdon Crawley; and
because of Becky's experiences since she had quitted her husband, her
child, and the little house in Curzon Street, London, of which he knew
the details, Major Dobbin was anything but pleased at the meeting.
But Becky told Amelia a pathetic little tale of misery, neglect, and
estrangement from those she loved, and tenderhearted Amelia, who quivered
with indignation at the recital, at once invited Becky to join their
party. To this Major Dobbin made positive objections, but Amelia remained
firm in her resolve to shelter the friend of her school-days, the mother
who had been cruelly taken away from her boy by a misjudging
sister-in-law. This decision brought about a crisis in Amelia's affairs:
Major Dobbin, who had been so devotedly attached to Amelia for years,
also remained firm, and insisted not only that Amelia have no more to do
with Mrs. Crawley, but that if she did, he would leave the party. Amelia
was firm and loyal, and honest Dobbin made preparations for his
When the coach that was to carry old Dob away drew up before the door,
Georgie gave an exclamation of surprise.
"Hello!" said he, "there's Dob's trap! There's Francis coming out with
the portmanteau, and the postilion. Look at his boots and yellow
jacket--why--they are putting the horses to Dob's carriage. Is he going
"Yes," said Amelia, "he is going on a journey."
"Going on a journey! And when is he coming back?"
"He is--not coming back," answered Amelia.
"Not coming back!" cried out Georgie, jumping up.
"Stay here," roared out Jos.
"Stay, Georgie," said his mother, with a very sad face.
The boy stopped, kicked about the room, jumped up and down from the
window seat, and finally, when the Major's luggage had been carried out,
gave way to his feelings again. "By Jove, I _will_ go!" screamed out
George, and rushed downstairs and flung across the street in a minute.
The yellow postilion was cracking his whip gently. William had got into
the carriage, George bounded in after him, and flung his arms around the
Major's neck, asking him multiplied questions. William kissed Georgie,
spoke gently and sadly to him, and the boy got out, doubling his fists
into his eyes. The yellow postilion cracked his whip again, up sprang
Francis to the box, and away Dobbin was carried, never looking up as he
passed under Amelia's window; and Georgie, left alone in the street,
burst out crying in the face of all the crowd and continued his
lamentations far into the night, when Amelia's maid, who heard him
howling, brought him some preserved apricots to console him.
Thus honest Dobbin passed out of the life of Amelia and her boy, but
not forever. Gentle Amelia was soon disillusioned in regard to the old
schoolmate whom she had taken under her care, and found that in all the
world there was no one who meant so much to her as faithful Dobbin. One
morning she wrote and despatched a note, the inscription of which no
one saw; but on account of which she looked very much flushed and
agitated when Georgie met her coming from the Post; and she kissed him
and hung over him a great deal that night. Two mornings later George,
walking on the dyke with his mother, saw by the aid of his telescope an
English steamer near the pier. George took the glass again and watched
"How she does pitch! There goes a wave slap over her bows. There's a man
lying down, and a--chap--in a--cloak with a--Hurrah! It's _Dob_, by
jingo!" He clapped to the telescope and flung his arms round his mother,
then ran swiftly off; and Amelia was left to make her peace alone with
the faithful Major, who had returned at her request.
Some days later Becky Sharp felt it wise to leave for Bruges, and in the
little church at Ostend there was a wedding, at which the only witnesses
were Georgie and his Uncle Jos. Amelia Osborne had decided to accept the
Major's protection for life, to the never-ending satisfaction of George,
to whom the Major had always been comrade and father.
Immediately after his marriage Colonel Dobbin quitted the service and
rented a pretty little country place in Hampshire, not far from Queen's
Crawley, where Sir Pitt and his family constantly resided now, and where
Rawdon Crawley was regarded as their son.
Lady Jane and Mrs. Dobbin became great friends, and there was a perpetual
crossing of pony chaises between the two places. Lady Jane was godmother
to Mrs. Dobbin's little girl, who bore her name, and the two lads, George
Osborne and Rawdon Crawley, who had met so many years before as children
when little Rawdon invited George to take a ride on his pony, and whose
lives had been filled with such different experiences since that time,
now became close friends. They were both entered at the same college at
Cambridge, hunted and shot together in the vacations, confided in each
other; and when we last see them, fast becoming young men, they are deep
in a quarrel about Lady Jane's daughter, with whom they were both, of
course, in love.
No further proof of approaching age is needed than a quarrel over a young
lady, and the lads, George and Rawdon, now give place forever to men.
Though the circumstances of their lives had been unlike, though George
had had all the love that a devoted mother could give, and all the
luxury which money could supply: and Rawdon had been without a mother's
devotion; without the surroundings which had made George's life
luxurious,--on the threshold of manhood we find them on an equal footing,
entering life's arena, strong of limb, glad of heart, eager for what
manhood was to bring them.
CLIVE AND ETHEL NEWCOME
[Illustration: CLIVE AND ETHEL NEWCOME.]
When one is about to write the biography of a certain person, it seems
but fair to give as its background such facts concerning the hero's
antecedents as place the details of his life in their proper setting. And
so, having the honour to be the juvenile biographer of Mr. Clive Newcome,
I deem it wise to preface the story of his life with a brief account of
events and persons antecedent to his birth.
Thomas Newcome, Clive's grandfather, had been a weaver in his native
village, and brought the very best character for honesty, thrift, and
ingenuity with him to London, where he was taken into the house of Hobson
Brothers, cloth-manufacturers; afterwards Hobson & Newcome. When Thomas
Newcome had been some time in London, he quitted the house of Hobson, to
begin business for himself. And no sooner did his business prosper than
he married a pretty girl from his native village. What seemed an
imprudent match, as his wife had no worldly goods to bring him, turned
out a very lucky one for Newcome. The whole countryside was pleased to
think of the marriage of the prosperous London tradesman with the
penniless girl whom he had loved in the days of his own poverty; the
great country clothiers, who knew his prudence and honesty, gave him
much of their business, and Susan Newcome would have been the wife of a
rich man had she not died a year after her marriage, at the birth of her
Newcome had a nurse for the child, and a cottage at Clapham, hard by Mr.
Hobson's house, and being held in good esteem by his former employers,
was sometimes invited by them to tea. When his wife died, Miss Hobson,
who since her father's death had become a partner in the firm, met Mr.
Newcome with his little boy as she was coming out of meeting one Sunday,
and the child looked so pretty, and Mr. Newcome so personable, that Miss
Hobson invited him and little Tommy into the grounds; let the child frisk
about in the hay on the lawn, and at the end of the visit gave him a
large piece of pound-cake, a quantity of the finest hot-house grapes, and
a tract in one syllable. Tommy was ill the next day; but on the next
Sunday his father was at meeting, and not very long after that Miss
Hobson became Mrs. Newcome.
After his father's second marriage, Tommy and Sarah, his nurse, who was
also a cousin of Mr. Newcome's first wife, were transported from the
cottage, where they had lived in great comfort, to the palace hard by,
surrounded by lawns and gardens, graperies, aviaries, luxuries of all
kinds. This paradise was separated from the outer world by a, thick hedge
of tall trees and an ivy-covered porter's gate, through which they who
travelled to London on the top of the Clapham coach could only get a
glimpse of the bliss within. It was a serious paradise. As you entered at
the gate, gravity fell on you; and decorum wrapped you in a garment of
starch. The butcher boy who galloped his horse and cart madly about the
adjoining lanes, on passing that lodge fell into an undertaker's pace,
and delivered his joints and sweetbreads silently at the servant's
entrance. The rooks in the elms cawed sermons at morning and evening; the
peacocks walked demurely on the terraces; the guinea fowls looked more
Quaker-like than those birds usually do. The lodge-keeper was serious,
and a clerk at the neighbouring chapel. The pastor, who entered at that
gate and greeted his comely wife and children, fed the little lambkins
with tracts. The head gardener was a Scotch Calvinist, after the
strictest order. On a Sunday the household marched away to sit under his
or her favourite minister, the only man who went to church being Thomas
Newcome, with Tommy, his little son. Tommy was taught hymns suited to his
tender age, pointing out the inevitable fate of wicked children and
giving him a description of the punishment of little sinners, which poems
he repeated to his step-mother after dinner, before a great shining
mahogany table, covered with grapes, pineapples, plum cake, port wine,
and madeira, and surrounded by stout men in black, with baggy white
neckcloths, who took the little man between their knees and questioned
him as to his right understanding of the place whither naughty boys were
bound. They patted his head if he said well, or rebuked him if he was
bold, as he often was.
Then came the birth of Mrs. Newcome's twin boys, Hobson and Bryan, and
now there was no reason why young Newcome, their step-brother, should not
go to school, and to Grey Friars Thomas Newcome was accordingly sent,
exchanging--O ye gods! with what delight--the splendour of Clapham for
the rough, plentiful fare of the new place. The pleasures of school-life
were such to him that he did not care to go home for a holiday; for by
playing tricks and breaking windows, by taking the gardener's peaches and
the housekeeper's jam, by upsetting his two little brothers in a go-cart
(of which injury the Baronet's nose bore marks to his dying day), by
going to sleep during the sermons, and treating reverend gentlemen with
levity, he drew down on himself the merited anger of his step-mother; and
many punishments. To please Mrs. Newcome, his father whipped Tommy for
upsetting his little brothers in the go-cart; but, upon being pressed to
repeat the whipping for some other prank, Mr. Newcome refused, saying
that the boy got flogging enough at school, with which opinion Master
Tommy fully agreed. His step-mother, however, determined to make the
young culprit smart for his offences, and one day, when Mr. Newcome was
absent, and Tommy refractory as usual, summoned the butler and footman to
flog the young criminal. But he dashed so furiously against the butler's
shins as to cause that menial to limp and suffer for many days after;
and, seizing the decanter, he threatened to discharge it at Mrs.
Newcome's head before he would submit to the punishment she desired
administered. When Mr. Newcome returned, he was indignant at his wife's
treatment of Tommy, and said so, to her great displeasure. This affair,
indeed, almost caused a break in their relations, and friends and clergy
were obliged to interfere to allay the domestic quarrel. At length Mrs.
Newcome, who was not unkind, and could be brought to own that she was
sometimes in fault, was induced to submit to the decrees of her husband,
whom she had vowed to love and honour. When Tommy fell ill of scarlet
fever she nursed him through his illness, and uttered no reproach to her
husband when the twins took the disease. And even though Tommy in his
delirium vowed that he would put on his clothes and run away to his old
nurse Sarah, Mrs. Newcome's kindness to him never faltered. What the boy
threatened in his delirium, a year later he actually achieved. He ran
away from home, and appeared one morning, gaunt and hungry, at Sarah's
cottage two hundred miles away from Clapham. She housed the poor prodigal
with many tears and kisses, and put him to bed and to sleep; from which
slumber he was aroused by the appearance of his father, whose instinct,
backed by Mrs. Newcome's intelligence, had made him at once aware whither
the young runaway had fled. Seeing a horsewhip in his parent's hand,
Tommy, scared out of a sweet sleep and a delightful dream of cricket,
knew his fate; and getting out of bed, received his punishment without a
word. Very likely the father suffered more than the child; for, when the
punishment was over, the little man yet quivering with the pain, held out
his little bleeding hand, and said, "I can--I can take it from you, sir,"
saying which his face flushed, and his eyes filled, whereupon the father
burst into a passion of tears, and embraced the boy, and kissed him,
besought him to be rebellious no more, flung the whip away from him, and
swore, come what would, he would never strike him again. The quarrel was
the means of a great and happy reconciliation. But the truce was only a
temporary one. War very soon broke out again between the impetuous lad
and his rigid, domineering step-mother. It was not that he was very bad,
nor she so very stern, but the two could not agree. The boy sulked and
was miserable at home, and, after a number of more serious escapades than
he had before indulged in, he was sent to a tutor for military
instruction, where he was prepared for the army and received a fairly
good professional education. He cultivated mathematics and fortification,
and made rapid progress in his study of the French language. But again
did our poor Tommy get into trouble, and serious trouble indeed this
time, for it involved his French master's pretty young daughter as well
as himself. Frantic with wrath and despair at the unfortunate climax of
events, young Newcome embarked for India, and quitted the parents whom he
was never more to see. His name was no more mentioned at Clapham, but he
wrote constantly to his father, who sent Tom liberal private remittances
to India, and was in turn made acquainted with the fact of his son's
marriage, and later received news of the birth of his grandson, Clive.
Old Thomas Newcome would have liked to leave all his private fortune to
his son Thomas, for the twins were only too well provided for, but he
dared not, for fear of his wife, and he died, and poor Tom was only
So much for the history of Clive Newcome's father and grandfather. Having
related it in full detail, we can now proceed to the narrative of Clive's
life, he being the hero of this tale.
From the day of his birth until he was some seven years old, Clive's
English relatives knew nothing about him. Then, Colonel Newcome's wife
having died, and having kept the boy with him as long as the climate
would allow, Thomas Newcome, now Lieutenant-Colonel, decided that it was
wise to send Clive to England, to entrust him to the boy's maternal aunt,
Miss Honeyman, who was living at Brighton, that Clive might have the
superior advantages of school days in England.
Let us glance at a few extracts from letters received by Colonel Newcome
after his boy had reached England. The aunt to whose care he was
entrusted wrote as follows:
* * * * *
With the most heartfelt joy, my dear Major, I take up my pen to
announce to you the happy arrival of the Ramchunder and the dearest
and handsomest little boy who, I am sure, ever came from India. Little
Clive is in perfect health. He speaks English wonderfully well. He cried
when he parted from Mr. Sneid, the supercargo, who most kindly brought
him from Southhampton in a postchaise, but these tears in childhood are
of very brief duration!...
You may be sure that the most liberal sum which you have placed to
my credit with the Messrs. Hobson & Co. shall be faithfully expended
on my dear little charge. Of course, unless Mrs. Newcome,--who can
scarcely be called his grandmamma, I suppose,--writes to invite dear
Clive to Clapham, I shall not think of sending him there. My brother,
who thanks you for your continuous bounty, will write next month, and
report progress as to his dear pupil. Clive will add a postscript of his
own, and I am, my dear Major,
Your grateful and affectionate,
* * * * *
In a round hand and on lines ruled with pencil:
* * * * *
_Dearest Papa_ I am very well I hope you are Very Well. Mr. Sneed
brought me in a postchaise I like Mr. Sneed very much. I like Aunt
Martha I like Hannah. There are no ships here I am your affectionate
son CLIVE NEWCOME.
* * * * *
There was also a note from Colonel Newcome's stepbrother, Bryan,
* * * * *
_My Dear Thomas_: Mr. Sneid, supercargo of the Ramchunder, East
Indiaman, handed over to us yesterday your letter, and, to-day, I have
purchased three thousand three hundred and twenty-three pounds 6
and 8, three per cent Consols, in our joint names (H. and B. Newcome),
held for your little boy. Mr. S. gives a favourable account of
the little man, and left him in perfect health two days since, at the
house of his aunt, Miss Honeyman. We have placed L200 to that lady's
credit, at your desire. I dare say my mother will ask your little boy to
the Hermitage; and when we have a house of our own I am sure Ann
and I shall be very happy to see him.
* * * * *
And another from Miss Honeyman's brother, containing the following:
* * * * *
_My Dear Colonel_: ... Clive is everything that a father's and
uncle's, a pastor's, a teacher's, affections could desire. He is not a
premature genius; he is not, I frankly own, more advanced in his
classical and mathematical studies than some children even younger than
himself; but he has acquired the rudiments of health; he has laid in a
store of honesty and good-humour which are not less likely to advance him
in life than mere science and language ... etc., etc.,
Your affectionate brother-in-law,
* * * * *
Another letter from Miss Honeyman herself said:
* * * * *
_My Dear Colonel_: ... As my dearest little Clive was too small
for a great school, I thought he could not do better than stay with his
old aunt and have his uncle Charles for a tutor, who is one of the finest
scholars in the world. Of late he has been too weak to take a curacy,
so I thought he could not do better than become Clive's tutor, and agreed
to pay him out of your handsome donation of L250 for Clive, a sum of
one hundred pounds per year. But I find that Charles is too kind to
be a schoolmaster, and Master Clive laughs at him. It was only the
other day after his return from his grandmamma's that I found a picture
of Mrs. Newcome and Charles, too, and of both their spectacles, quite
like. He has done me and Hannah, too. Mr. Speck, the artist, says he
is a wonder at drawing.
Our little Clive has been to London on a visit to his uncles and to
Clapham, to pay his duty to his step-grandmother, the wealthy Mrs.
Newcome. She was very gracious to him, and presented him with a five
pound note, a copy of Kirk White's poems and a work called Little
Henry and his Bearer, relating to India, and the excellent catechism of
our Church. Clive is full of humour, and I enclose you a rude scrap
representing the Bishopess of Clapham, as Mrs. Newcome is called.
Instead then of allowing Clive to be with Charles in London next
month I shall send him to Doctor Timpany's school, Marine Parade, of
which I hear the best account; but I hope you will think of soon sending
him to a great school. My father always said it was the best place for
boys, and I have a brother to whom my poor mother spared the rod, and
who I fear has turned out but a spoiled child.
I am, dear Colonel, your most faithful servant,
* * * * *
Besides the news gleaned from these letters we gather the main facts
concerning little Clive's departure from the Colonel's side. He had kept
the child with him until he felt sure that the change would be of
advantage to the pretty boy, then had parted from him with bitter pangs
of heart, and thought constantly of him with longing and affection. With
the boy, it was different. Half an hour after his father had left him and
in grief and loneliness was rowing back to shore, Clive was at play with
a dozen other children on the sunny deck of the ship. When two bells rang
for their dinner, they were all hurrying to the table, busy over their
meal, and forgetful of all but present happiness.
But with that fidelity which was an instinct of his nature, Colonel
Newcome thought ever of his absent child and longed after him. He never
forsook the native servants who had had charge of Clive, but endowed them
with money sufficient to make all their future lives comfortable. No
friends went to Europe, nor ship departed, but Newcome sent presents to
the boy and costly tokens of his love and thanks to all who were kind to
his son. His aim was to save money for the youngster, but he was of a
nature so generous that he spent five rupees where another would save
them. However, he managed to lay by considerable out of his liberal
allowances, and to find himself and Clive growing richer every year.
"When Clive has had five or six years at school"--that was his
scheme--"he will be a fine scholar, and have at least as much classical
learning as a gentleman in the world need possess. Then I will go to
England, and we will pass three or four years together, in which he will
learn to be intimate with me, and, I hope, to like me. I shall be his
pupil for Latin and Greek, and try and make up for lost time. I know
there is nothing like a knowledge of the classics to give a man good
breeding. I shall be able to help him with my knowledge of the world,
and to keep him out of the way of sharpers and a pack of rogues who
commonly infest young men. And we will travel together, first through
England, Scotland, and Ireland, for every man should know his own
country, and then we will make the grand tour. Then by the time he is
eighteen he will be able to choose his profession. He can go into the
army, or, if he prefers, the church, or the law--they are open to him;
and when he goes to the university, by which time I shall be, in all
probability, a major-general, I can come back to India for a few years,
and return by the time he has a wife and a home for his old father; or,
if I die, I shall have done the best for him, and my boy will be left
with the best education, a tolerable small fortune, and the blessing of
his old father."
Such were the plans of the kind schemer. How fondly he dwelt on them, how
affectionately he wrote of them to his boy! How he read books of travels
and looked over the maps of Europe! and said, "Rome, sir, glorious Rome;
it won't be very long, major, before my boy and I see the Colosseum, and
kiss the Pope's toe. We shall go up the Rhine to Switzerland, and over
the Simplon, the work of the great Napoleon. By jove, sir, think of the
Turks before Vienna, and Sobieski clearing eighty thousand of 'em off the
face of the earth! How my boy will rejoice in the picture galleries
there, and in Prince Eugene's prints! The boy's talent for drawing is
wonderful, sir, wonderful. He sent me a picture of our old school. The
very actual thing, sir; the cloisters, the school, the head gown boy
going in with the rods, and the doctor himself. It would make you die of
He regaled the ladies of the regiment with dive's letters, and those of
Miss Honeyman, which contained an account of the boy. He even bored some
of his hearers with this prattle; and sporting young men would give or
take odds that the Colonel would mention Clive's name, once before five
minutes, three times in ten minutes, twenty-five times in the course of
dinner, and so on. But they who laughed at the Colonel laughed very
kindly; and everybody who knew him, loved him; everybody that is, who
loved modesty, generosity and honour.
As to Clive himself, by this time he was thoroughly enjoying his new life
in England. After remaining for a time at Doctor Timpany's school, where
he was first placed by his aunt, Miss Honeyman, he was speedily removed
to that classical institution in which Colonel Newcome had been a student
in earlier days. My acquaintance with young Clive was at this school,
Grey Friars, where our acquaintance was brief and casual. He had the
advantage of being six years my junior, and such a difference of age
between lads at a public school puts intimacy out of the question, even
though we knew each other at home, as our school phrase was, and our
families were somewhat acquainted. When Newcome's uncle, the Reverend
Charles Honeyman, brought Newcome to the Grey Friars School, he
recommended him to my superintendence and protection, and told me that
his young nephew's father, Colonel Thomas Newcome, C.B., was a most
gallant and distinguished officer in the Bengal establishment of the
honourable East India Company; and that his uncles, the Colonel's
half-brothers, were the eminent bankers, heads of the firm of Hobson
Brothers & Newcome, Hobson Newcome, Esquire, Brianstone Square, and
Marblehead, Sussex, and Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome, and Park Lane,
"whom to name," says Mr. Honeyman, with the fluent eloquence with which
he decorated the commonest circumstances of life, "is to designate two of
the merchant princes of the wealthiest city the world has ever known; and
one, if not two, of the leaders of that aristocracy which rallies round
the throne of the most elegant and refined of European sovereigns."
I promised Mr. Honeyman to do what I could for the boy; and he proceeded
to take leave of his little nephew in my presence in terms equally
eloquent, pulling out a long and very slender green purse, from which he
extracted the sum of two and sixpence, which he presented to the child,
who received the money with rather a queer twinkle in his blue eyes.
After that day's school I met my little protege in the neighbourhood of
the pastry cook's, regaling himself with raspberry tarts. "You must not
spend all the money, sir, which your uncle gave you," said I, "in tarts
The urchin rubbed the raspberry jam off his mouth, and said, "It don't
matter, sir, for I've got lots more."
"How much?" says the Grand Inquisitor: for the formula of interrogation
used to be, when a new boy came to the school, "What's your name? Who's
your father? and how much money have you got?"
The little fellow pulled such a handful of sovereigns out of his pocket
as might have made the tallest scholar feel a pang of envy. "Uncle
Hobson," says he, "gave me two; Aunt Hobson gave me one--no, Aunt Hobson
gave me thirty shillings; Uncle Newcome gave me three pound; and Aunt Ann
gave me one pound five; and Aunt Honeyman sent me ten shillings in a
letter. And Ethel wanted to give me a pound, only I wouldn't have it, you
know; because Ethel's younger than me, and I have plenty."
"And who is Ethel?" I ask, smiling at the artless youth's confessions.
"Ethel is my cousin," replied little Newcome; "Aunt Ann's daughter.
There's Ethel and Alice, and Aunt Ann wanted the baby to be called
Boadicea, only uncle wouldn't; and there's Barnes and Egbert and little
Alfred, only he don't count; he's quite a baby, you know. Egbert and me
was at school at Timpany's; he's going to Eton next half. He's older than
me, but I can lick him."
"And how old is Egbert?" asks the smiling senior.
"Egbert's ten, and I'm nine, and Ethel's seven," replied the little
chubby-faced hero, digging his hands deep into his trousers, and jingling
all the sovereigns there. I advised him to let me be his banker; and,
keeping one out of his many gold pieces, he handed over the others, on
which he drew with great liberality till his whole stock was expended.
The school hours of the upper and under boys were different at that time;
the little fellows coming out of their hall half an hour before the Fifth
and Sixth Forms; and many a time I used to find my little blue-jacket in
waiting, with his honest square face, and white hair, and bright blue
eyes, and I knew that he was come to draw on his bank. Ere long one of
the pretty blue eyes was shut up, and a fine black one substituted in its
place. He had been engaged, it appeared, in a pugilistic encounter with a
giant of his own form whom he had worsted in the combat. "Didn't I pitch
into him, that's all?" says he in the elation of victory; and, when I
asked whence the quarrel arose, he stoutly informed me that "Wolf Minor,
his opponent, had been bullying a little boy, and that he, the gigantic
Newcome, wouldn't stand it."
So, being called away from the school, I said "Farewell and God bless
you," to the brave little man, who remained a while at the Grey Friars,
where his career and troubles had only just begun, and lost sight of him
for several years. Nor did we meet again until I was myself a young man
occupying chambers in the Temple.
Meanwhile the years of Clive's absence had slowly worn away for Colonel
Newcome, and at last the happy time came which he had been longing more
passionately than any prisoner for liberty, or schoolboy for holiday. The
Colonel had taken leave of his regiment. He had travelled to Calcutta;
and the Commander-in-Chief announced that in giving to Lieutenant-Colonel
Thomas Newcome, of the Bengal Cavalry, leave for the first time, after no
less than thirty-four years' absence from home, he could not refrain from
expressing his sense of the great services of this most distinguished
officer, who had left his regiment in a state of the highest discipline
This kind Colonel had also to take leave of a score, at least, of adopted
children to whom he chose to stand in the light of a father. He was
forever whirling away in post-chaises to this school and that, to see
Jack Brown's boys, of the Cavalry; or Mrs. Smith's girls, of the Civil
Service; or poor Tom Hick's orphan, who had nobody to look after him now
that the cholera had carried off Tom and his wife, too. On board the ship
in which he returned from Calcutta were a dozen of little children, some
of whom he actually escorted to their friends before he visited his own,
though his heart was longing for his boy at Grey Friars. The children at
the schools seen, and largely rewarded out of his bounty (his loose white
trousers had great pockets, always heavy with gold and silver, which he
jingled when he was not pulling his moustaches, and to see the way in
which he tipped children made one almost long to be a boy again) and when
he had visited Miss Pinkerton's establishment, or Doctor Ramshorn's
adjoining academy at Chiswick, and seen little Tom Davis or little Fanny
Holmes, the honest fellow would come home and write off straightway a
long letter to Tom's or Fanny's parents, far away in the country, whose
hearts he made happy by his accounts of their children, as he had
delighted the children themselves by his affection and bounty. All the
apple and orange-women (especially such as had babies as well as
lollipops at their stalls), all the street-sweepers on the road between
Nerot's and the Oriental, knew him, and were his pensioners. His brothers
in Threadneedle Street cast up their eyes at the cheques which he drew.
The Colonel had written to his brothers from Portsmouth, announcing his
arrival, and three words to Clive, conveying the same intelligence. The
letter was served to the boy along with one bowl of tea and one buttered
roll, of eighty such which were distributed to fourscore other boys,
boarders of the same house with our young friend. How the lad's face must
have flushed and his eyes brightened when he read the news! When the
master of the house, the Reverend Mister Popkinson, came into the
lodging-room, with a good-natured face, and said, "Newcome, you're
wanted," he knew who had come. He did not heed that notorious bruiser,
old Hodge, who roared out, "Confound you, Newcome: I'll give it you for
upsetting your tea over my new trousers." He ran to the room where the
stranger was waiting for him. We will shut the door, if you please, upon
If Clive had not been as fine and handsome a young lad as any in that
school or country, no doubt his fond father would have been just as well
pleased and endowed him with a hundred fanciful graces; but, in truth, in
looks and manners he was everything which his parent could desire. He was
the picture of health, strength, activity, and good-humour. He had a good
forehead shaded with a quantity of waving light hair; a complexion which
ladies might envy; a mouth which seemed accustomed to laughing; and a
pair of blue eyes that sparkled with intelligence and frank kindness. No
wonder the pleased father could not refrain from looking at him.
The bell rang for second school, and Mr. Popkinson, arrayed in cap and
gown, came in to shake Colonel Newcome by the hand, and to say he
supposes it was to be a holiday for Newcome that day. He said not a word
about Clive's scrape of the day before, and that awful row in the
bedrooms, where the lad and three others were discovered making a supper
off a pork pie and two bottles of prime old port from the Red Cow
public-house in Grey Friars Lane.
When the bell was done ringing, and all these busy little bees swarmed
into their hive, there was a solitude in the place. The Colonel and his
son walked the play-ground together, that gravelly flat, as destitute of
herbage as the Arabian desert, but, nevertheless, in the language of the
place, called the green. They walked the green, and they paced the
cloisters, and Clive showed his father his own name of Thomas Newcome
carved upon one of the arches forty years ago. As they talked, the boy
gave sidelong glances at his new friend, and wondered at the Colonel's
loose trousers, long moustaches, and yellow face. He looked very odd,
Clive thought, very odd and very kind, and like a gentleman, every inch
of him:--not like Martin's father, who came to see his son lately in
highlows, and a shocking bad hat, and actually flung coppers amongst the
boys for a scramble. He burst out a-laughing at the exquisitely ludicrous
idea of a gentleman of his fashion scrambling for coppers.
And now enjoining the boy to be ready against his return, the Colonel
whirled away in his cab to the city to shake hands with his brothers,
whom he had not seen since they were demure little men in blue jackets
under charge of a serious tutor.
He rushed into the banking house, broke into the parlour where the lords
of the establishment were seated, and astonished these trim, quiet
gentlemen by the warmth of his greeting, by the vigour of his handshake,
and the loud tones of his voice, which might actually be heard by the
busy clerks in the hall without. He knew Bryan from Hobson at once--that
unlucky little accident in the go-cart having left its mark forever on
the nose of Sir Bryan Newcome. He had a bald head and light hair, a short
whisker cut to his cheek, a buff waistcoat, very neat boots and hands,
and was altogether dignified, bland, smiling, and statesmanlike.
Hobson Newcome, Esquire, was more portly than his elder brother, and
allowed his red whiskers to grow on his cheeks and under his chin. He
wore thick shoes with nails in them, and affected the country gentleman
in his appearance. His hat had a broad brim, and his ample pockets always
contained agricultural produce, samples of bean or corn, or a whiplash or
balls for horses. In fine, he was a good old country gentleman, and a
better man of business than his more solemn brother, at whom he laughed
in his jocular way; and said rightly that a gentleman must get up very
early to get ahead of him.
These gentlemen each received the Colonel in a manner consistent with his
peculiar nature. Sir Bryan regretted that Lady Ann was away from London,
being at Brighton with the children, who were all ill of the measles.
Hobson said, "Maria can't treat you to such good company as Lady Ann
could give you; but when will you take a day and come and dine with us?
Let's see, to-day is Wednesday; to-morrow we are engaged. Friday, we dine
at Judge Budge's; Saturday I am going down to Marblehead to look after
the hay. Come on Monday, Tom, and I'll introduce you to the missus and
the young uns."
"I will bring Clive," says Colonel Newcome, rather disturbed at this
reception. "After his illness my sister-in-law was very kind to him."
"No, hang it, don't bring boys; there's no good in boys; they stop the
talk downstairs, and the ladies don't want 'em in the drawing-room. Send
him to dine with the children on Sunday, if you like, and come along down
with me to Marblehead, and I'll show you such a crop of hay as will make
your eyes open. Are you fond of farming?"
"I have not seen my boy for years," says the Colonel; "I had rather pass
Saturday and Sunday with him, if you please, and some day we will go to
"Well, an offer's an offer. I don't know any pleasanter thing than
getting out of this confounded city and smelling the hedges, and looking
at the crops coming up, and passing the Sunday in quiet." And his own
tastes being thus agricultural, the worthy gentleman thought that
everybody else must delight in the same recreation.
"In the winter, I hope, we shall see you at Newcome," says the elder
brother, blandly smiling. "I can't give you any tiger-shooting, but I'll
promise you that you shall find plenty of pheasants in our jungle," and
he laughed very gently at this mild sally.
At this moment a fair-haired young gentleman, languid and pale, and
dressed in the height of fashion, made his appearance and was introduced
as the Baronet's oldest son, Barnes Newcome. He returned Colonel
Newcome's greeting with a smile, saying, "Very happy to see you, I am
sure. You find London very much changed since you were here? Very good
time to come, the very full of the season."
Poor Thomas Newcome was quite abashed by his strange reception. Here was
a man, hungry for affection, and one relation asked him to dinner next
Monday, and another invited him to shoot pheasants at Christmas. Here was
a beardless young sprig, who patronised him and asked him whether he
found London was changed. As soon as possible he ended the interview with
his step-brothers, and drove back to Ludgate Hill, where he dismissed his
cab and walked across the muddy pavements of Smithfield, on his way back
to the old school where his son was, a way which he had trodden many a
time in his own early days. There was Cistercian Street, and the Red Cow
of his youth; there was the quaint old Grey Friars Square, with its
blackened trees and garden, surrounded by ancient houses of the build of
the last century, now slumbering like pensioners in the sunshine.
Under the great archway of the hospital he could look at the old Gothic
building; and a black-gowned pensioner or two crawling over the quiet
square, or passing from one dark arch to another. The boarding-houses of
the school were situated in the square, hard by the more ancient
buildings of the hospital. A great noise of shouting, crying, clapping
forms and cupboards, treble voices, bass voices, poured out of the
schoolboys' windows; their life, bustle, and gaiety contrasted strangely
with the quiet of those old men, creeping along in their black gowns
under the ancient arches yonder, whose struggle of life was over, whose
hope and noise and bustle had sunk into that grey calm. There was Thomas
Newcome arrived at the middle of life, standing between the shouting boys
and the tottering seniors and in a situation to moralise upon both, had
not his son Clive, who espied him, come jumping down the steps to greet
his sire. Clive was dressed in his very best; not one of those four
hundred young gentlemen had a better figure, a better tailor, or a neater
boot. Schoolfellows, grinning through the bars, envied him as he walked
away; senior boys made remarks on Colonel Newcome's loose clothes and
long moustaches, his brown hands and unbrushed hat. The Colonel was
smoking a cheroot as he walked; and the gigantic Smith, the cock of the
school, who happened to be looking majestically out of the window, was
pleased to say that he thought Newcome's governor was a fine
"Tell me about your uncles, Clive," said the Colonel, as they walked on
arm in arm.
"What about them, sir?" asks the boy. "I don't think I know much."
"You have been to stay with them. You wrote about them. Were they
kind to you?"
"Oh, yes, I suppose they are very kind. They always tipped me: only you
know when I go there I scarcely ever see them. Mr. Newcome asks me the
oftenest--two or three times a quarter when he's in town, and gives me a
"Well, he must see you to give you the sovereign," says Clive's
The boy blushed rather.
"Yes. When it's time to go back to Smithfield on a Saturday night, I go
into the dining-room to shake hands, and he gives it to me; but he don't
speak to me much, you know, and I don't care about going to Bryanstone
Square, except for the tip (of course that's important), because I am
made to dine with the children, and they are quite little ones; and a
great cross French governess, who is always crying and shrieking after
them, and finding fault with them. My uncle generally has his dinner
parties on Saturday, or goes out; and aunt gives me ten shillings and
sends me to the play; that's better fun than a dinner party." Here the
lad blushed again. "I used," said he, "when I was younger, to stand on
the stairs and prig things out of the dishes when they came out from
dinner, but I'm past that now. Maria (that's my cousin) used to take the
sweet things and give 'em to the governess. Fancy! she used to put lumps
of sugar into her pocket and eat them in the schoolroom! Uncle Hobson
don't live in such good society as Uncle Newcome. You see, Aunt Hobson,
she's very kind, you know, and all that, but I don't think she's what you
call _comme il faut_"
"Why, how are you to judge?" asks the father, amused at the lad's candid
prattle, "and where does the difference lie?"
"I can't tell you what it is, or how it is," the boy answered, "only one
can't help seeing the difference. It isn't rank and that: only somehow
there are some men gentlemen and some not, and some women ladies and some
not. There's Jones now, the fifth-form master, every man sees he's a
gentleman, though he wears ever so old clothes; and there's Mr. Brown,
who oils his hair, and wears rings, and white chokers--my eyes! such
white chokers!--and yet we call him the handsome snob! And so about Aunt
Maria, she's very handsome and she's very finely dressed, only somehow
she's not the ticket, you see."
"Oh, she's not the ticket?" says the Colonel, much amused.
"Well, what I mean is--but never mind," says the boy. "I can't tell you
what I mean. I don't like to make fun of her, you know, for after all
she's very kind to me; but Aunt Ann is different, and it seems as if what
she says is more natural; and though she has funny ways of her own, too,
yet somehow she looks grander,"--and here the lad laughed again. "And do
you know, I often think that as good a lady as Aunt Ann herself, is old
Aunt Honeyman at Brighton--that is, in all essentials, you know? And she
is not a bit ashamed of letting lodgings, or being poor herself, as
sometimes I think some of our family--"
"I thought we were going to speak no ill of them," says the
"Well, it only slipped out unawares," says Clive, laughing, "but at
Newcome when they go on about the Newcomes, and that great ass, Barnes
Newcome, gives himself his airs, it makes me die of laughing. That time I
went down to Newcome I went to see old Aunt Sarah, and she told me
everything, and do you know, I was a little hurt at first, for I thought
we were swells till then? And when I came back to school, where perhaps I
had been giving myself airs, and bragging about Newcome, why, you know, I
thought it was right to tell the fellows."
"That's a man," said the Colonel, with delight; though had he said,
"That's a boy," he had spoken more correctly. "That's a man," cried the
Colonel; "never be ashamed of your father, Clive."
"_Ashamed of my father_!" says Clive, looking up to him, and walking on
as proud as a peacock. "I say," the lad resumed, after a pause--
"Say what you say," said the father.
"Is that all true what's in the Peerage--in the Baronetage, about Uncle
Newcome and Newcome; about the Newcome who was burned at Smithfield;
about the one that was at the battle of Bosworth; and the old, old
Newcome who was bar--that is, who was surgeon to Edward the Confessor,
and was killed at Hastings? I am afraid it isn't; and yet I should like
it to be true."
"I think every man would like to come of an ancient and honourable race,"
said the Colonel in his honest way. "As you like your father to be an
honourable man, why not your grandfather, and his ancestors before him?
But if we can't inherit a good name, at least we can do our best to leave
one, my boy; and that is an ambition which, please God., you and I will
both hold by."
With this simple talk the old and young gentleman beguiled their way,
until they came into the western quarter of the town, where Hobson
Newcome lived in a handsome and roomy mansion. Colonel Newcome was bent
on paying a visit to his sister-in-law, although as they waited to be let
in they could not but remark through the opened windows of the
dining-room that a great table was laid and every preparation was made
for a feast.
"My brother said he was engaged to dinner to-day," said the Colonel.
"Does Mrs. Newcome give parties when he is away?"
"She invites all the company," answered Clive. "My uncle never asks any
one without aunt's leave."
The Colonel's countenance fell. "He has a great dinner, and does not ask
his own brother!" Newcome thought. "Why, if he had come to India with all
his family, he might have stayed for a year, and I should have been
offended had he gone elsewhere."
A hot menial in a red waistcoat came and opened the door, and without
waiting for preparatory queries said, "Not at home."
"It's my father, John," said Clive. "My aunt will see Colonel Newcome."
"Missis is not at home," said the man. "Missis is gone in carriage--Not
at this door!--Take them things down the area steps, young man!"
This latter speech was addressed to a pastry cook's boy with a large
sugar temple and many conical papers containing delicacies for
dessert. "Mind the hice is here in time; or there'll be a blow-up with
your governor,"--and John struggled back, closing the door on the
"Upon my life, they actually shut the door in our faces," said the poor
"The man is very busy, sir. There's a great dinner. I'm sure my aunt
would not refuse you," Clive interposed. "She is very kind. I suppose
it's different here from what it is in India. There are the children in
the Square,--those are the girls in blue,--that's the French governess,
the one with the yellow parasol. How d'ye do, Mary? How d'ye do, Fanny?
This is my father,--this is your uncle."
The Colonel surveyed his little nieces with that kind expression which
his face always wore when it was turned toward children.
"Have you heard of your uncle in India?" he asked them.
"No," says Maria.
"Yes," says Fannie. "You know mademoiselle said that if we were naughty
we should be sent to our uncle in India. I think I should like to go
"Oh, you silly child!" cries Maria.
"Yes, I should, if Clive went, too," says little Fanny.
"Behold madame, who arrives from her promenade!" mademoiselle exclaimed,
and, turning round, Colonel Newcome beheld, for the first time, his
sister-in-law, a stout lady with fair hair and a fine bonnet and a
pelisse, who was reclining in her barouche with the scarlet plush
garments of her domestics blazing before and behind her.
Clive ran towards his aunt. She bent over the carriage languidly towards
him. She liked him. "What, you, Clive!" she said, "How come you away from
school of a Thursday, sir?"
"It is a holiday," said he. "My father is come; and he is come to see
She bowed her head with an expression of affable surprise and majestic
satisfaction. "Indeed, Clive!" she exclaimed, and the Colonel stepped
forward and took off his hat and bowed and stood bareheaded. She surveyed
him blandly, and put forward a little hand, saying, "You have only
arrived to-day, and you came to see me? That was very kind. Have you had
a pleasant voyage? These are two of my girls. My boys are at school. I
shall be so glad to introduce them to their uncle. _This_ naughty boy
might never have seen you, but that we took him home after the scarlet
fever, and made him well, didn't we Clive? And we are all very fond of
him, and you must not be jealous of his love for his aunt. We feel that
we quite know you through him, and we know that you know us, and we hope
you will like us. Do you think your papa will like us, Clive? Or, perhaps
you will like Lady Ann best? Yes; you have been to her first, of course?
Not been? Oh! because she is not in town." Leaning fondly on Clive's
arm, mademoiselle standing with the children hard by, while John with his
hat off stood at the opened door, Mrs. Newcome slowly uttered the above
remarkable remarks to the Colonel, on the threshold of her house, which
she never asked him to pass.
"If you will come in to us about ten this evening," she then said, "you
will find some men not undistinguished, who honour me of an evening.
Perhaps they will be interesting to you, Colonel Newcome, as you are
newly arriven in Europe. A stranger coming to London could scarcely have
a better opportunity of seeing some of our great illustrations of science
and literature. We have a few friends at dinner, and now I must go in and
consult with my housekeeper. Good-bye for the present. Mind, not later
than ten, as Mr. Newcome must be up betimes in the morning, and _our_
parties break up early. When Clive is a little older I dare say we shall
see him, too. Goodbye!"
And again the Colonel was favoured with a shake of the hand, and the lady
sailed up the stair, and passed in at the door, with not the faintest
idea but that the hospitality which she was offering to her kinsman was
of the most cordial and pleasant kind.
Having met Colonel Newcome on the steps of her house, she ordered him to
come to her evening party; and though he had not been to an evening party
for five and thirty years--though he had not been to bed the night
before--he never once thought of disobeying Mrs. Newcome's order, but was
actually at her door at five minutes past ten, having arrayed himself, to
the wonderment of Clive, and left the boy to talk to Mr. Binnie, a friend
and fellow-passenger, who had just arrived from Portsmouth, who had
dined with him, and taken up his quarters at the same hotel.
Well, then, the Colonel is launched in English society of an intellectual
order, and mighty dull he finds it. During two hours of desultory
conversation and rather meagre refreshments, the only bright spot is his
meeting with Charles Honeyman, his dead wife's brother, whom he was
mighty glad to see. Except for this meeting there was little to entertain
the Colonel, and as soon as possible he and Honeyman walked away
together, the Colonel returning to his hotel, where he found his friend
James Binnie installed in his room in the best arm-chair,
sleeping-cosily, but he woke up briskly when the Colonel entered. "It is
you, you gadabout, is it?" cried Binnie. "See what it is to have a real
friend now, Colonel! I waited for you, because I knew you would want to
talk about that scapegrace of yours."
"Isn't he a fine fellow, James?" says the Colonel, lighting a cheroot as
he sits on the table. Was it joy, or the bedroom candle with which he
lighted his cigar, which illuminated his honest features so, and made
them so to shine?
"I have been occupied, sir, in taking the lad's moral measurement: and I
have pumped him as successfully as ever I cross-examined a rogue in my
court. I place his qualities thus:--Love of approbation, sixteen.
Benevolence, fourteen. Combativeness, fourteen. Adhesiveness, two.
Amativeness is not yet of course fully developed, but I expect will be
prodigiously strong. The imaginative and reflective organs are very
large; those of calculation weak. He may make a poet or a painter, or you
may make a sojor of him, though worse men than him's good enough for
that--but a bad merchant, a lazy lawyer, and a miserable mathematician.
My opinion, Colonel, is that young scapegrace will give you a deal of
trouble; or would, only you are so absurdly proud of him, and you think
everything he does is perfection. He'll spend your money for you; he'll
do as little work as need be. He'll get into scrapes with the sax. He's
almost as simple as his father, and that is to say that any rogue will
cheat him; and he seems to me to have your obstinate habit of telling the
truth, Colonel, which may prevent his getting on in the world; but on the
other hand will keep him from going very wrong. So that, though there is
every fear for him, there's some hope and some consolation."
"What do you think of his Latin and Greek?" asked the Colonel. Before
going out to his party Newcome had laid a deep scheme with Binnie, and it
had been agreed that the latter should examine the young fellow in his
"Wall," cries the Scot, "I find that the lad knows as much about Greek
and Latin as I knew myself when I was eighteen years of age."
"My dear Binnie, is it possible? You, the best scholar in all India!"
"And which amounted to exactly nothing. By the admirable seestem purshood
at your public schools, just about as much knowledge as he could get by
three months' application at home. Mind ye, I don't say he would apply;
it is most probable he would do no such thing. But, at the cost of--how
much? two hundred pounds annually--for five years--he has acquired about
five and twenty guineas' worth of classical leeterature--enough, I dare
say, to enable him to quote Horace respectably through life, and what
more do you want from a young man of his expectations? I think I should
send him into the army, that's the best place for him--there's the least
to do and the handsomest clothes to wear," says the little wag, daintily
taking up the tail of his friend's coat. "In earnest now, Tom Newcome, I
think your boy is as fine a lad as I ever set eyes on. He seems to have
intelligence and good temper. He carries his letter of recommendation in
his countenance; and with the honesty--and the rupees, mind ye,--which he
inherits from his father, the deuce is in it if he can't make his way.
What time's the breakfast? Eh, but it was a comfort this morning not to
hear the holystoning on the deck. We ought to go into lodgings, and not
fling our money out of the window of this hotel. We must make the young
chap take us about and show us the town in the morning, eh, Colonel?"
With this the jolly gentleman nodded over his candle to his friend, and
trotted off to bed.
The Colonel and his friend were light sleepers and early risers. The next
morning when Binnie entered the sitting-room he found the Colonel had
preceded him. "Hush," says the Colonel, putting a long finger up to his
mouth, and advancing towards him as noiselessly as a ghost.
"What's in the wind now?" asks the little Scot; "and what for have ye not
got your shoes on?"
"Clive's asleep," says the Colonel, with a countenance full of
"The darling boy slumbers, does he?" said the wag. "Mayn't I just step in
and look at his beautiful countenance whilst he's asleep, Colonel?"
"You may if you take off those confounded creaking, shoes," the other
answered, quite gravely: and Binnie turned away to hide his jolly round
face, which was screwed up with laughter.
"Have ye been breathing a prayer over your rosy infant's slumbers, Tom?"
asks Mr. Binnie.
"And if I have, James Binnie," the Colonel said gravely, and his sallow
face blushing somewhat, "if I have I hope I've done no harm. The last
time I saw him asleep was nine years ago, a sickly little pale-faced
boy, in his little cot, and now, sir, that I see him again, strong and
handsome and all that a fond father can wish to see a boy, I should be an
ungrateful villain, James, if I didn't do what you said just now, and
thank God Almighty for restoring him to me."
Binnie did not laugh any more. "By George! Tom Newcome," said he, "you're
just one of the saints of the earth. If all men were like you there'd be
an end of both our trades; and there would be no fighting and no
soldiering, no rogues, and no magistrates to catch them." The Colonel
wondered at his friend's enthusiasm, who was not used to be
complimentary; indeed what so usual with him as that simple act of
gratitude and devotion about which his comrade spoke to him? To ask a
blessing for his boy was as natural to him as to wake with the sunrise,
or to go to rest when the day was over. His first and his last thought
was always the child.
The two gentlemen were home in time enough to find Clive dressed, and his
uncle arrived for breakfast. The Colonel said a grace over that meal; the
life was begun which he had longed and prayed for, and the son smiling
before his eyes who had been in his thoughts for so many fond years.
If my memory serves me right it was at about this time that I, the humble
biographer of Mr. Clive Newcome's life, met him again for the first time
since my school days at Grey Friars.
Going to the play one night with some fellows of my own age, and laughing
enthusiastically at the farce, we became naturally hungry at midnight,
and a desire for Welch Rabbits and good old glee-singing led us to the
"Cave of Harmony," then kept by the celebrated Hoskins, with whom we
enjoyed such intimacy that he never failed to greet us with a kind nod.
We also knew the three admirable glee-singers. It happened that there was
a very small attendance at the "Cave" that night, and we were all more
sociable and friendly because the company was select. The songs were
chiefly of the sentimental class; such ditties were much in vogue at the
time of which I speak.
There came into the "Cave" a gentleman with a lean brown face and long
black moustaches, dressed in very loose clothes, and evidently a stranger
to the place. At least he had not visited it for a long time. He was
pointing out changes to a lad who was in his company; and, calling for
sherry and water, he listened to the music, and twirled his moustaches
with great enthusiasm.
At the very first glimpse of me the boy jumped up from the table, bounded
across the room, ran to me with his hands out, and, blushing, said,
"Don't you know me?"
It was little Newcome, my school-fellow, whom I had not seen for six
years, grown a fine tall young stripling now, with the same bright blue
eyes which I remembered when he was quite a little boy.
"What the deuce brings you here?" said I.
He laughed and looked roguish. "My father--that's my father--would come.
He's just come back from India. He says all the wits used to come here. I
told him your name, and that you used to be very kind to me when I first
went to Smithfield. I've left now: I'm to have a private tutor. I say,
I've got such a jolly pony. It's better fun than old Smiffle."
Here the whiskered gentleman, Newcome's father, strode across the room
twirling his moustaches, and came up to the table where we sat, making a
salutation with his hat in a very stately and polite manner, so that
Hoskins himself felt obliged to bow; the glee-singers murmured among
themselves, and that mischievous little wag, little Nadab the
Improvisatore, began to mimic him, feeling his imaginary whiskers, after
the manner of the stranger, and flapping about his pocket-handkerchief in
the most ludicrous manner. Hoskins checked this sternly, looking towards
Nadab, and at the same time calling upon the gents to give their orders.
Newcome's father came up and held out his hand to me, and he spoke in a
voice so soft and pleasant, and with a cordiality so simple and sincere,
that my laughter shrank away ashamed; and gave place to a feeling much
more respectful and friendly.
"I have heard of your kindness, sir," says he, "to my boy. And whoever is
kind to him is kind to me. Will you allow me to sit down by you? And may
I beg you to try my cheroots?" We were friends in a minute, young Newcome
snuggling by my side, his father opposite, to whom, after a minute or two
of conversation, I presented my three college friends.
"You have come here, gentlemen, to see the wits," says the Colonel. "Are
there any celebrated persons in the room? I have been five and thirty
years from home, and want to see all there is to be seen."
King of Corpus (who was an incorrigible wag) was about to point out a
half dozen of people in the room, as the most celebrated wits of that
day; but I cut King's shins under the table, and got the fellow to hold
his tongue, while Jones wrote on his card to Hoskins, hinted to him that
a boy was in the room, and a gentleman who was quite a greenhorn: hence
that the songs had better be carefully selected.
And so they were. A lady's school might have come in, and have taken no
harm by what happened. It was worth a guinea to see the simple Colonel
and his delight at the music. He forgot all about the distinguished wits
whom he had expected to see, in his pleasure over the glees, and joined
in all the choruses with an exceedingly sweet voice.
And now young Nadab commenced one of those surprising feats of
Improvisation with which he used to charm audiences. He took us all off
and had rhymes pat about all the principal persons in the room; when he
came to the Colonel himself, he burst out--
A military gent I see, and while his face I scan,
I think you'll all agree with me he came from Hindostan.
And by his side sits laughing free a youth with curly head,
I think you'll all agree with me that he was best in bed.
Ritolderol, etc., etc.
The Colonel laughed immensely at this sally, and clapped his son, young
Clive, on the shoulder. "Hear what he says of you, sir? Clive, best be
off to bed, my boy--ho, ho! No, no. We know a trick worth two of that.
'We won't go home till morning, till daylight does appear.' Why should
we? Why shouldn't my boy have innocent pleasure? I was allowed none when
I was a young chap, and the severity was nearly the ruin of me. I must go
and speak with that young man--the most astonishing thing I ever heard in
my life. What's his name? Mr. Nadab? Mr. Nadab; sir, you have delighted
me. May I make so free as to ask you to come and dine with me to-morrow
at six. I am always proud to make the acquaintance of men of genius, and
you are one or my name is not Newcome!"
"Sir, you do me the Honour," says Mr. Nadab, "and perhaps the day will
come when the world will do me justice,--may I put down your Honoured
name for my book of poems?"
"Of course, my dear sir," says the enthusiastic Colonel, "I'll send them
all over India. Put me down for six copies and do me the favour to bring
them to-morrow when you come to dinner."
And now Mr. Hoskins, asking if any gentleman would volunteer a song, what
was our amazement when the simple Colonel offered to sing himself, at
which the room applauded vociferously; whilst methought poor Clive
Newcome hung down his head, and blushed as red as a peony.
The Colonel selected the ditty of "Wapping Old Stairs," which charming
old song he sang so pathetically that even the professional gentlemen
buzzed a sincere applause, and some wags who were inclined to jeer at the
beginning of the performance, clinked their glasses and rapped their
sticks with quite a respectful enthusiasm. When the song was over, Clive
held up his head too; looked round with surprise and pleasure in his
eyes; and we, I need not say, backed our friend, delighted to see him
come out of his queer scrape so triumphantly. The Colonel bowed and
smiled with very pleasant good-nature at our plaudits. There was
something touching in the naivetee and kindness of the placid and simple
Whilst the Colonel had been singing his ballad there had come into the
room a gentleman, by name Captain Costigan, who was in his usual
condition at this hour of the night. Holding on by various tables, he had
sidled up without accident to himself or any of the jugs and glasses
round about him, to the table where we sat, and seated himself warbling
the refrain of the Colonel's song. Then having procured a glass of
whiskey and water he gave what he called one of his prime songs. The
unlucky wretch, who scarcely knew what he was doing or saying, selected
the most offensive song in his repertoire. At the end of the second verse
the Colonel started up, clapping on his hat, seizing his stick, and
looking ferocious. "Silence!" he roared out.
"Hear, hear!" cried certain wags at a farther table. "Go on, Costigan!"
"Go on!" cries the Colonel in his high voice, trembling with anger. "Does
any gentleman say go on? Does any man who has a wife and sisters or
children at home, say go on? Do you dare, sir, to call yourself a
gentleman, and to say that you hold the King's commission, and to sit
amongst Christians and men of honour, and defile the ears of young boys
with this wicked balderdash?"
"Why do you bring young boys here, old boy?" cries a voice of the
"Why? Because I thought I was coming to a society of gentlemen," cried
out the indignant Colonel. "Because I never could have believed that
Englishmen could meet together and allow a man, and an old man, so to
disgrace himself. For shame, you old wretch! Go home to your bed, you
hoary old sinner! And for my part, I'm not sorry that my son should see,
for once in his life, to what shame and degradation and dishonour,
drunkenness and whiskey may bring a man. Never mind the change,
sir!--Curse the change!" says the Colonel, facing the amazed waiter.
"Keep it till you see me in this place again; which will be never--by
George, never!" And shouldering his stick, and scowling round at the
company of scared bacchanalians, the indignant gentleman stalked away,
his boy after him.
Clive seemed rather shamedfaced, but I fear the rest of the company
looked still more foolish. For if the truth be told that uplifted cane
of the Colonel's had somehow fallen on the back of every man in the room.
While Clive and his father are becoming better acquainted let us pass on
to Brighton, and glance at the household of that good, brisk old lady,
Clive's Aunt Honeyman. Now Aunt Honeyman was a woman of spirit and
resolution, and when she found her income sadly diminished by financial
reverses she brought her furniture to Brighton, also a faithful maid
servant who had learned her letters and worked her first sampler under
Miss Honeyman's own eye, and whom she adored all through her life. With
this outfit the brisk little lady took a house, and let the upper floors
to lodgers, and because of her personal attractions and her good
housekeeping her rooms were seldom empty.
On the morning when we first visit Miss Honeyman's a gentleman had just
applied there for rooms. "Please to speak to mistress," says Hannah, the
maid, opening the parlour door with a curtsey. "A gentleman about the
"Fife bet-rooms," says the man entering. "Six bets, two or dree
sitting-rooms? We gome from Dr. Good-enough."
"Are the apartments for you, sir?" says Miss Honeyman, looking up at the
"For my lady," answers the man.
"Had you not better take off your hat?" asks Miss Honeyman.
The man grins and takes off his hat. Whereupon Miss Honeyman, having
heard also that a German's physician has especially recommended Miss
Honeyman's as a place in which one of his patients can have a change of
air and scene, informs the man that she can let his mistress have the
desired number of apartments. The man reports to his mistress, who
descends to inspect the apartments, and pronounces them exceedingly neat
and pleasant and exactly what are wanted. The baggage is forthwith
ordered to be brought from the carriages. The little invalid, wrapped in
his shawl, is carried upstairs as gently as possible, while the young
ladies, the governess, the maids, are shown to their apartments. The
eldest young lady, a slim black-haired young lass of thirteen, frisks
about the rooms, looks at all the pictures, runs in and out of the
veranda, tries the piano, and bursts out laughing at its wheezy jingle.
She also kisses her languid little brother laid on the sofa, and performs
a hundred gay and agile motions suited to her age.
"Oh, what a piano! Why, it is as cracked as Miss Quigley's voice!"
"My dear!" says mamma. The little languid boy bursts out into a
"What funny pictures, mamma! Action with Count de Grasse; the death of
General Wolfe; a portrait of an officer, an old officer in blue, like
grandpapa; Brasenose College, Oxford; what a funny name."
At the idea of Brasenose College, another laugh comes from the invalid.
"I suppose they've all got _brass noses_ there," he says; and he explodes
at this joke. The poor little laugh ends in a cough, and mamma's
travelling basket, which contains everything, produces a bottle of syrup,
labelled "Master A. Newcome. A teaspoonful to be taken when the cough is
"Oh, the delightful sea! the blue, the fresh, the ever free," sings the
young lady, with a shake. "How much better is this than going home and
seeing those horrid factories and chimneys! I love Dr. Goodenough for
sending us here. What a sweet house it is. What nice rooms!"
Presently little Miss Honeyman makes her appearance in a large cap
bristling with ribbons, with her best chestnut front and her best black
silk gown, on which her gold watch shines very splendidly. She curtseys
with dignity to her lodger, who vouchsafes a very slight inclination of
the head, saying that the apartments will do very well.
"And they have such a beautiful view of the sea!" cries Ethel.
"As if all the houses hadn't a view of the sea, Ethel! The price has been
arranged, I think? My servants will require a comfortable room to dine
in--by themselves mam, if you please. My governess and the younger
children will dine together. My daughter dines with me--and my little
boy's dinner will be ready at two o'clock precisely if you please. It is
now near one."
"Am I to understand--?" interposed Miss Honeyman.
"Oh! I have no doubt we shall understand each other, mam," cried Lady Ann
Newcome, for it was no other than that noble person, with her children,
who had invaded the precincts of Miss Honeyman's home. "Dr. Goodenough
has given me a most satisfactory account of you--more satisfactory,
perhaps, than you are aware of. Breakfast and tea, if you please, will be
served in the same manner as dinner, and you will have the kindness to
order fresh milk every morning for my little boy--ass's milk. Dr.
Goodenough has ordered ass's milk. Anything further I want I will
communicate through the man who first spoke to you--and that will do."
A heavy shower of rain was descending at this moment, and little Miss
Honeyman, looking at her lodger, who had sat down and taken up her book,
said, "Have your ladyship's servants unpacked your trunks?"
"What on earth, madam, have you--has that to do with the question?"
"They will be put to the trouble of packing again, I fear. I cannot
provide--three times five are fifteen--fifteen separate meals for seven
persons--besides those of my own family. If your servants cannot eat
with mine, or in my kitchen, they and their mistress must go elsewhere.
And the sooner the better, madam, the sooner the better!" says Miss
Honeyman, trembling with indignation, and sitting down in a chair,
spreading her silks.
"Do you know who I am?" asks Lady Ann, rising.
"Perfectly well, madam," says the other, "And had I known, you should
never have come into my house, that's more."
"Madam!" cries the lady, on which the poor little invalid, scared and
nervous, and hungry for his dinner, began to cry from his sofa.
"It will be a pity that the dear little boy should be disturbed. Dear
little child, I have often heard of him, and of you, miss," says the
little householder, rising. "I will get you some dinner, my dear, for
Clive's sake. And meanwhile your ladyship will have the kindness to seek
for some other apartments--for not a bit shall my fire cook for any one
else of your company." And with this the indignant little landlady sailed
out of the room.
"Gracious goodness! Who is the woman?" cries Lady Ann. "I never was so
insulted in my life."
"Oh, mamma, it was you began!" says downright Ethel. "That is--Hush,
Alfred dear,--Hush my darling!"
"Oh, it was mamma began! I'm so hungry! I'm so hungry!" howled the little
man on the sofa, or off it rather, for he was now down on the ground
kicking away the shawls which enveloped him.
"What is it, my boy? What is it, my blessed darling? You _shall_ have
your dinner! Give her all, Ethel. There are the keys of my desk, there's
my watch, there are my rings. Let her take my all. The monster! The child
must live! It can't go away in such a storm as this. Give me a cloak, a
parasol, anything--I'll go forth and get a lodging. I'll beg my bread
from house to house, if this fiend refuses me. Eat the biscuits, dear! A
little of the syrup, Alfred darling; it's very nice, love, and come to
your old mother--your poor old mother."
Alfred roared out, "No, it's not n--ice; it's n-a-a-sty! I won't have
syrup. I _will_ have dinner." The mother, whose embraces the child
repelled with infantine kicks, plunged madly at the bells, rang them all
four vehemently, and ran downstairs towards the parlour, whence Miss
Honeyman was issuing.
The good lady had not at first known the names of her lodgers, until one
of the nurses intrusted with the care of Master Alfred's dinner informed
her that she was entertaining Lady Ann Newcome; and that the pretty girl
was the fair Miss Ethel; the little sick boy, the little Alfred of whom
his cousin spoke, and of whom Clive had made a hundred little drawings in
his rude way, as he drew everybody. Then bidding Sally run off to St.
James Street for a chicken, she saw it put on the spit, and prepared a
bread sauce, and composed a batter-pudding, as she only knew how to make
batter puddings. Then she went to array herself in her best clothes, as
we have seen; then she came to wait upon Lady Ann, not a little flurried
as to the result of that queer interview; then she whisked out of the
drawing-room, as before has been shown; and, finding the chicken roasted
to a turn, the napkin and tray ready spread by Hannah the neat-handed,
she was bringing them up to the little patient when the frantic parent
met her on the stair.
"Is it--is it for my child?" cried Lady Ann, reeling against the
"Yes, it's for the child," says Miss Honeyman, tossing up her head. "But
nobody else has anything in the house."
"God bless you! God bless you! A mother's bl--l-ess-ings go with you,"
gurgled the lady, who was not, it must be confessed, a woman of strong
It was good to see the little man eating the fowl. Ethel, who had never
cut anything in her young existence, except her fingers now and then with
her brother's and her governess's penknives, bethought her of asking Miss
Honeyman to carve the chicken. Lady Ann, with clasped hands and streaming
eyes, sat looking on at the ravishing scene.
"Why did you not let us know you were Clive's aunt?" Ethel asked, putting
out her hand. The old lady took hers very kindly, and said, "Because you
didn't give me time,--and do you love Clive, my dear?"
The reconciliation between Miss Honeyman and her lodger was perfect, and
for a brief season Lady Ann Newcome was in rapture with her new lodgings
and every person and thing which they contained. The drawing-rooms were
fitted with the greatest taste; the dinner was exquisite; were there ever
such delicious veal cutlets, such fresh French beans?
"Indeed they were very good," said Miss Ethel, "I am so glad you like the
house, and Clive, and Miss Honeyman."
Ethel's mother was constantly falling in love with new acquaintances; so
these raptures were no novelty to her daughter. Ethel had had so many
governesses, all darlings during the first week, and monsters afterwards,
that the poor child possessed none of the accomplishments of her age.
She could not play on the piano; she could not speak French well; she
could not tell you when gunpowder was invented; she had not the faintest
idea of the date of the Norman Conquest, or whether the earth went round
the sun, or vice versa. She did not know the number of counties in
England, Scotland and Wales, let alone Ireland; she did not know the
difference between latitude and longitude. She had had so many
governesses; their accounts differed; poor Ethel was bewildered by a
multiplicity of teachers, and thought herself a monster of ignorance.
They gave her a book at a Sunday school, and little girls of eight years
old answered questions of which she knew nothing. The place swam before
her. She could not see the sun shining on their fair flaxen heads and
pretty faces. The rosy little children, holding up their eager hands and
crying the answer to this question and that, seemed mocking her. She
seemed to read in the book, "Oh, Ethel, you dunce, dunce, dunce!" She
went home silent in the carriage, and burst into bitter tears on her bed.
Naturally a haughty girl of the highest spirit, resolute and imperious,
this little visit to the parish school taught Ethel lessons more valuable
than ever so much arithmetic and geography.
When Ethel was thirteen years old she had grown to be such a tall girl
that she overtopped her companions by a head or more, and morally
perhaps, also, felt herself too tall for their society. "Fancy myself,"
she thought, "dressing a doll like Lily Putland, or wearing a pinafore
like Lucy Tucker!" She did not care for their sports. She could not walk
with them; it seemed as if everyone stared; nor dance with them at the
academy; nor attend the _Cours de Litterature Universelle et de Science
Comprehensive_ of the professor then the mode. The smallest girls took
her up in the class. She was bewildered by the multitude of things they
bade her learn. At the youthful little assemblies of her sex, when, under
the guide of their respected governesses, the girls came to tea at six
o'clock, dancing, charades, and so forth, Ethel herded not with the
children of her own age, nor yet with the teachers who sat apart at these
assemblies, imparting to each other their little wrongs. But Ethel romped
with the little children, the rosy little trots, and took them on her
knees, and told them a thousand stories. By these she was adored, and
loved like a mother almost, for as such the hearty, kindly girl showed
herself to them; but at home she was alone, and intractable, and did
battle with the governesses, and overcame them one after another.
While Lady Ann Newcome and her children were at Brighton, Lady Kew,
mother of Lady Ann, was also staying there, but refused to visit the
house in which her daughter was stopping for fear that she herself might
contract the disease from which her grandchildren were recovering. She
received news of them, however, through her grandson, Lord Kew, and his
friend Jack Belsize, who enjoyed dining with the old lady whenever they
were given the opportunity. Having met their cousins one day before
dining with Lady Kew their news was most interesting and enthusiastic.
"That little chap who has just had the measles--he's a dear little
brick," said Jack Belsize. "And as for Miss Ethel--"
"Ethel is a trump, mam," says Lord Kew, slapping his hand on his knee.
"Ethel is a brick, and Alfred is a trump, I think you say," remarks Lady
Kew, "and Barnes is a snob. This is very satisfactory to know."
"We met the children out to-day," cries the enthusiastic Kew, "as I was
driving Jack in the drag, and I got out and talked to 'em. The little
fellow wanted a drive and I said I would drive him and Ethel, too, if she
would come. Upon my word she's as pretty a girl as you can see on a
summer's day. And the governess said, no, of course; governesses always
do. But I said I was her uncle, and Jack paid her such a fine compliment
that she finally let the children take their seats beside me, and Jack
went behind. We drove on to the Downs; my horses are young, and when they
get on the grass they are as if they were mad. They ran away, ever so
far, and I thought the carriage must upset. The poor little boy, who has
lost his pluck in the fever, began to cry; but that young girl, though
she was as white as a sheet, never gave up for a moment, and sat in her
place like a man. We met nothing, luckily; and I pulled the horses in
after a mile or two, and I drove 'em into Brighton as quiet as if I had
been driving a hearse. And that little trump of an Ethel, what do you
think she said? She said: 'I was not frightened, but you must not tell
mamma.' My aunt, it appears, was in a dreadful commotion. I ought to have
thought of that."
There is a brother of Sir Brian Newcome's staying with them, Lord Kew
perceives; an East India Colonel, a very fine-looking old boy. He was on
the lookout for them, and when they came in sight he despatched a boy who
was with him, running like a lamplighter, back to their aunt to say all
was well. And he took little Alfred out of the carriage, and then helped
out Ethel, and said, "My dear, you are too pretty to scold; but you have
given us all a great fright." And then he made Kew and Jack a low bow,
and stalked into the lodgings. Then they went up and made their peace and
were presented in form to the Colonel and his youthful cub.
"As fine a fellow as I ever saw," cries Jack Belsize. "The young chap is
a great hand at drawing--upon my life the best drawings I ever saw. And
he was making a picture for little What-do-you-call-'im, and Miss Newcome
was looking over them. And Lady Ann pointed out the group to me, and said
how pretty it was."
In consequence of this conversation, which aroused her curiosity, Lady
Kew sent a letter that night to Lady Ann Newcome, desiring that Ethel
should be sent to see her grandmother; Ethel, who was no weakling in
character despite her youth, and who always rebelled against her
grandmother and always fought on her Aunt Julia's side when that amiable
invalid lady, who lived with her mother, was oppressed by the dominating
From the foregoing facts we gather that Thomas Newcome had not been many
weeks in England before he favoured good little Miss Honeyman with a
visit, to her great delight. You may be sure that the visit was an event
in her life. And she was especially pleased that it should occur at the
time when the Colonel's kinsfolk were staying under her roof. On the day
of the Colonel's arrival all the presents which Newcome had ever sent his
sister-in-law from India had been taken out of the cotton and lavender in
which the faithful creature kept them. It was a fine hot day in June, but
I promise you Miss Honeyman wore her blazing scarlet Cashmere shawl; her
great brooch, representing the Taj of Agra, was in her collar; and her
bracelets decorated the sleeves round her lean old hands, which trembled
with pleasure as they received the kind grasp of the Colonel of colonels.
How busy those hands had been that morning! What custards they had
whipped! What a triumph of pie-crusts they had achieved! Before Colonel
Newcome had been ten minutes in the house the celebrated veal-cutlets
made their appearance. Was not the whole house adorned in expectation of
his coming? The good woman's eyes twinkled, the kind old hand and voice
shook, as, holding up a bright glass of Madeira, Miss Honeyman drank the
Colonel's health. "I promise you, my dear Colonel," says she, nodding her
head, adorned with a bristling superstructure of lace and ribbons, "I
promise you, that I can drink your health in good wine!" The wine was of
his own sending, and so were the China firescreens, and the sandal-wood
work-box, and the ivory card case, and those magnificent pink and white
chessmen, carved like little sepoys and mandarins, with the castles on
elephants' backs, George the Third and his queen in pink ivory against
the Emperor of China and lady in white--the delight of Clive's
childhood, the chief ornament of the old spinster's sitting-room.
Miss Honeyman's little feast was pronounced to be the perfection of
cookery; and when the meal was over, came a noise of little feet at the
parlour door, which being opened, there appeared: first, a tall nurse
with a dancing baby; second and third, two little girls with little
frocks, little trowsers, long ringlets, blue eyes, and blue ribbons to
match; fourth, Master Alfred, now quite recovered from his illness and
holding by the hand, fifth, Miss Ethel Newcome, blushing like a rose.
Hannah, grinning, acted as mistress of the ceremonies, calling out the
names of "Miss Newcome, Master Newcome, to see the Colonel, if you
please, ma'am," bobbing a curtsey, and giving a knowing nod to Master
Clive, as she smoothed her new silk apron. Miss Ethel did not cease
blushing as she advanced towards her uncle; and the honest campaigner
started up, blushing too. Mr. Clive rose also, as little Alfred, of whom
he was a great friend, ran towards him. Clive rose, laughed, nodded at
Ethel, and ate ginger-bread nuts all at the same time. As for Colonel
Thomas Newcome and his niece, they fell in love with each other
instantaneously, like Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess of China.
"Mamma has sent us to bid you welcome to England, uncle," says Miss
Ethel, advancing, and never thinking for a moment of laying aside that
fine blush which she brought into the room, and which was her pretty
symbol of youth and modesty and beauty.
He took a little slim white hand and laid it down on his brown palm,
where it looked all the whiter; he cleared the grizzled moustache from
his mouth, and stooping down he kissed the little white hand with a great
deal of grace and dignity, after which he was forever the humble and
devoted admirer of that bright young girl.
Raising himself from his salute, he heard a pretty little infantile
chorus. "How do you do, uncle?" said girls number two and three, while
the dancing baby in the arms of the bobbing nurse babbled a welcome.
Alfred looked up for a while at his uncle in the white trousers, and then
instantly proposed that Clive should make some drawings; and was on his
knees at the next moment. He was always climbing on somebody or
something, or winding over chairs, curling through bannisters, standing
on somebody's head, or his own head; as his convalescence advanced, his
breakages were fearful. Miss Honeyman and Hannah talked about his
dilapidations for years after. When he was a jolly young officer in the
Guards, and came to see them at Brighton, they showed him the blue dragon
Chayny jar on which he would sit, and over which he cried so fearfully
upon breaking it.
When this little party had gone out smiling to take its walk on the sea
shore, the Colonel from his balcony watched the slim figure of pretty
Ethel, looked fondly after her, and as the smoke of his cigar floated in
the air, formed a fine castle in it, whereof Clive was Lord, and Ethel
Lady. "What a frank, generous, bright young creature is yonder!" thought
he. "How cheering and gay she is; how good to Miss Honeyman, to whom she
behaved with just the respect that was the old lady's due. How
affectionate with her brothers and sisters! What a sweet voice she had!
What a pretty little white hand it is! When she gave it me, it looked
like a little white bird lying in mine."
Thus mused the Colonel, upon the charms of the young girl who was
henceforth to occupy the first place in his affection.
His admiration for her might have been still further heightened had he
been at Lady Ann's breakfast table some four or five weeks later, when
Lady Ann and her nursery had just returned to London, little Alfred being
perfectly set up by a month of Brighton air. Barnes Newcome had just
discovered an article in the Newcome Independent commenting warmly upon a
visit which Colonel Newcome and Clive had recently paid to Newcome, the
object of that visit having been the Colonel's desire to gladden the eyes
of his old nurse Sarah with a sight of him. Inhabitants of Newcome,
feeling that the same Sarah Mason, who was a much respected member of the
community, was much neglected by her rich and influential relatives in
London, took great delight in commenting upon the Colonel's attention to
the aged woman. The article in the Independent on that subject was
anything but pleasing to the family pride of Mr. Barnes, who remarked in
a sneering tone, "My uncle the Colonel, and his amiable son, have been
paying a visit to Newcome. That is the news which the paper announces
triumphantly," said Mr. Barnes.
"You are always sneering about our uncle," broke in Ethel, impetuously,
"and saying unkind things about Clive. Our uncle is a dear, good, kind
man, and I love him. He came to Brighton to see us, and went out every
day for hours and hours with Alfred; and Clive, too, drew pictures for
him. And he is good, and kind, and generous, and honest as his father.
Barnes is always speaking ill of him behind his back; and Miss Honeyman
is a dear little old woman too. Was not she kind to Alfred, mamma, and
did not she make him nice jelly?"
"Did you bring some of Miss Honeyman's lodging-house cards with you,
Ethel?" sneered her brother, "and had we not better hang up one or two in
Lombard Street; hers and our other relation's, Mrs. Mason?"
"My darling love, who _is_ Mrs. Mason?" asks Lady Ann.
"Another member of the family, ma'am. She was cousin--"
"She was no such thing, sir," roars Sir Brian.
"She was relative and housemaid of my grandfather during his first
marriage. She has retired into private life in her native town of
Newcome. The Colonel and young Clive have been spending a few days with
their elderly relative. It's all here in the paper, by Jove!" Mr. Barnes
clenched his fist and stamped upon the newspaper with much energy.
"And so they should go down and see her, and so the Colonel should love
his nurse and not forget his relations if they are old and poor!"
cries Ethel, with a flush on her face, and tears starting in her eyes.
"The Colonel went to her like a kind, dear, good brave uncle as he is.
The very day I go to Newcome I'll go to see her." She caught a look of
negation in her father's eye. "I will go--that is, if papa will give me
leave," says Miss Ethel, adding simply, "if we had gone sooner there
would not have been all this abuse of us in the papers." To which
statement her worldly father and brother perforce agreeing, we may
congratulate good old nurse Sarah upon adding to the list of her
friends such a frank, open-hearted, high-spirited young woman as Miss
In spite of the notoriety given him in the newspapers by his visit to
Nurse Sarah, at his native place, he still remained in high favour with
Sir Brian Newcome's family, where he paid almost daily visits, and was
received with affection at least by the ladies and children of the house.
Who was it that took the children to Astley's but Uncle Newcome? I saw
him there in the midst of a cluster of these little people, all children
together, the little girls, Sir Brian's daughters, holding each by a
finger of his hands, young Masters Alfred and Edward clapping and
hurrahing by his side; while Mr. Clive and Miss Ethel sat in the back of
the box enjoying the scene, but with that decorum which belonged to their
superior age and gravity. As for Clive, he was in these matters much
older than the grizzled old warrior his father. It did one good to hear
the Colonel's honest laughs at Clown's jokes, and to see the tenderness
and simplicity with which he watched over this happy brood of young ones.
How lavishly did he supply them with sweetmeats between the acts! There
he sat in the midst of them, and ate an orange himself with perfect
satisfaction, and was eager to supply any luxury longed for by his young
The Colonel's organ of benevolence was so large that he would have
liked to administer bounties to the young folks his nephews and nieces
in Brianstone Square, as well as to their cousins in Park Lane; but
Mrs. Newcome was a great deal too virtuous to admit of such spoiling of
children. She took the poor gentleman to task for an attempt upon her
boys when those lads came home for their holidays, and caused them
ruefully to give back the shining gold sovereigns with which their
uncle had thought to give them a treat. So the Colonel was obliged to
confine his benevolence to that branch of the family where it was
Meanwhile the Colonel had a new interest to absorb his attention. He had
taken a new house at 120 Fitzroy Square in connection with that Indian
friend of his, Mr. Binnie. The house being taken, there was fine
amusement for Clive, Mr. Binnie, and the Colonel, in frequenting sales,
in inspection of upholsterers' shops, and the purchase of furniture for
the new mansion. There were three masters with four or five servants
under them. Irons for the Colonel and his son, a smart boy with boots
for Mr. Binnie; Mrs. Irons to cook and keep house, with a couple of
maids under her. The Colonel himself was great at making hash mutton,
hotpot, and curry. What cosy pipes did we not smoke in the dining-room,
in the drawing-room, or where we would! What pleasant evenings did we
not have together.
Clive had a tutor--Grindley of Corpus--with whom the young gentleman did
not fatigue his brains very much, his great talent lying decidedly in
drawing. He sketched the horses, he sketched the dogs, all the servants,
from the bleer-eyed boot-boy to the rosy cheeked lass whom the
housekeeper was always calling to come downstairs. He drew his father in
all postures, and jolly little Mr. Binnie too. Young Ridley, known to his
young companions as J.J., was his daily friend now, to the great joy of
that young man, who considered Clive Newcome to be the most splendid,
fortunate, beautiful, high-born and gifted youth in the world. What
generous boy in his time has not worshipped somebody? Before the female
enslaver makes her appearance, every lad has a friend of friends, a crony
of cronies, to whom he writes immense letters in vacation, whom he
cherishes in his hearts of hearts; whose sister he proposes to marry in
after life; whose purse he shares; for whom he will take a thrashing if
need be; who is his hero. Clive was John James's youthful divinity; when
he wanted to draw Thaddeus of Warsaw, a Prince, Ivanhoe, or some one
splendid and egregious, it was Clive he took for a model. His heart leapt
when he saw the young fellow. He would walk cheerfully to Grey Friars
with a letter or message for C. on the chance of seeing him and getting a
kind word from him or a shake of the hand. The poor lad was known by the
boys as Newcome's Punch. He was all but hunchback, long and lean in the
arm; sallow, with a great forehead and waving black hair, and large
melancholy eyes. But his genius for drawing was enormous, which fact
Clive fully appreciated. Because of J. J.'s admiration for Clive it was
his joy to be with Clive constantly; and after Grindley's classics and
mathematics in the morning, the young men would attend Gandish's Drawing
"Oh," says Clive, if you talk to him now about those early days, "it
was a jolly time! I do not believe there was any young fellow in London
Clive had many conversations with his father as to the profession which
he should follow. As regarded mathematical and classical learning, the
elder Newcome was forced to admit that out of every hundred boys there
were fifty as clever as his own, and at least fifty more industrious;
the army in time of peace Colonel Newcome thought a bad trade for a
young fellow so fond of ease and pleasure as his son. His delight in the
pencil was manifest to all. Were not his school books full of caricatures
of the masters? While his tutor was lecturing him, did he not draw
Grindley instinctively under his very nose? A painter Clive was
determined to be, and nothing else; and Clive, being then some sixteen
years of age, began to study art under the eminent Mr. Gandish of Soho.
It was that well-known portrait painter, Andrew Smee, Esq., R.A., who
recommended Gandish to Colonel Newcome one day when the two gentleman met
at dinner at Lady Ann Newcome's. Mr. Smee happened to examine some of
Clive's drawings, which the young fellow had executed for his cousins.
Clive found no better amusement than in making pictures for them and
would cheerfully pass evening after evening in that direction. He had
made a thousand sketches of Ethel before a year was over; a year every
day of which seemed to increase the attractions of the fair young
creature. Also, of course Clive drew Alfred and the nursery in general,
Aunt Ann and the Blenheim spaniels, the majestic John bringing in the
coal-scuttle, and all persons or objects in that establishment with which
he was familiar.
"What a genius the lad has," the complimentary Mr. Smee averred; "what a
force and individuality there is in all his drawings! Look at his horses!
Capital, by Jove, capital! And Alfred on his pony, and Miss Ethel in her
Spanish hat, with her hair flowing in the wind! I must take this sketch,
I positively must now, and show it to Landseer."
And the courtly artist daintily enveloped the drawing in a sheet of
paper, put it away in his hat, and vowed subsequently that the great
painter had been delighted with the young man's performance. Smee was not
only charmed with Clive's skill as an artist, but thought his head would
be an admirable one to paint. Such a rich complexion, such fine turns in
his hair! Such eyes! To see real blue eyes was so rare now-a-days! And
the Colonel too, if the Colonel would but give him a few sittings, the
grey uniform of the Bengal Cavalry, the silver lace, the little bit of
red ribbon just to warm up the picture! It was seldom, Mr. Smee declared,
that an artist could get such an opportunity for colour. But no
cajoleries could induce the Colonel to sit to any artist save one. There
hangs in Clive's room now, a head, painted at one sitting, of a man
rather bald, with hair touched with grey, with a large moustache and a
sweet mouth half smiling beneath it, and melancholy eyes. Clive shows
that portrait of their grandfather to his children, and tells them that
the whole world never saw a nobler gentleman.
Well, then; Clive having decided to become an artist, on a day marked
with a white stone, Colonel Newcome with his son and Mr. Smee, R. A.,
walked to Gandish's and entered the would-be artist on the roll call of
that famous academy, and of J. J. as well, for the Colonel had insisted
upon paying his expenses as an art student together with his son.
Mr. Gandish was an excellent master and the two lads made great progress
under his excellent training. Clive used to give droll accounts of the
young disciples at Gandish's, who were of various ages and conditions,
and in whose company the young fellow took his place with that good
temper and gaiety which seldom deserted him and put him at ease wherever
his fate led him. Not one of the Gandishites but liked Clive, and at that
period of his existence he enjoyed himself in all kinds of ways, making
himself popular with dancing folks and with drawing folks, and the jolly
king of his company everywhere. He gave entertainments in the rooms in
Fitzroy Square which were devoted to his use, inviting his father and Mr.
Binnie now and then, but the good Colonel did not often attend those
parties. He saw that his presence rather silenced the young men, and went
away to play his rubber of whist at the club. And although time hung a
bit heavily on the good Colonel's hands, now that Clive's interests were
separate from his own, yet of nights as he heard Clive's companions
tramping by his bedchamber door, where he lay wakeful within, he was
happy to think his son was happy. As for Clive, those were glorious days
for him. If he was successful in the Academy, he was doubly victorious
out of it. His person was handsome, his courage high, his gaiety and
frankness delightful and winning. His money was plenty and he spent it
like a young king. He was not the most docile of Mr. Gandish's pupils,
and if the truth must be told about him, though one of the most frank,
generous and kind-hearted persons, was somewhat haughty and imperious. He
had been known to lament since that he was taken from school too early
where a further course of thrashings would, he believed, have done him
good. He lamented that he was not sent to college, where if a young man
receives no other discipline at least he meets his equals in society and
assuredly finds his betters; whereas in Mr. Gandish's studio our young
gentleman scarcely found a comrade that was not in one way or other his
flatterer, his inferior, his honest or dishonest admirer. The influence
of his family's rank and wealth acted more or less on all these simple
folks, who would run on his errands and vied with each other winning his
favour. His very goodness of heart rendered him a more easy prey to
their flattery, and his kind and jovial disposition led him into company
from which he had much better have been away. In fact, as the Colonel did
not attempt in any way to check him in his youthful career of
extravagance and experiences which were the result of an excessive high
spirit, our young gentleman at this time brought down upon himself much
adverse criticism for his behaviour, especially from his uncles. Because
of this and other reasons there was not much friendliness exhibited by
the several branches of the family for Clive and his father. Colonel
Newcome, in spite of coldness, felt it his duty to make constant attempts
to remain on friendly terms at least with the wives of his stepbrothers.
But after he had called twice or thrice upon his sister-in-law in
Brianstone Square, bringing as was his wont a present for this little
niece or a book for that, Mrs. Newcome gave him to understand that the
occupation of an English matron would not allow her to pass the mornings
in idle gossip, and with curtseys and fine speeches actually bowed her
brother out of doors; and the honest gentleman meekly left her, though
with bewilderment as he thought of the different hospitality to which he
had been accustomed in the East, where no friend's house was ever closed
to him, where no neighbour was so busy but he had time to make Thomas
When Hobson Newcome's boys came home for the holidays, their kind uncle
was for treating them to the sights of the town, but here Virtue again
interposed, and laid his interdict upon pleasure. "Thank you, very much,
my dear Colonel," says Virtue; "there never was surely such a kind,
affectionate, unselfish creature as you are, and so indulgent for
children, but my boys and yours are brought up on a _very different
plan_. Excuse me for saying that I do not think it is advisable that
they should even see too much of each other, Clive's company is not good
"Great heavens, Maria!" cries the Colonel, starting up, "do you mean that
my boy's society is not good enough for any boy alive?"
Maria turned very red; she had said not more than she meant, but more