Part 3 out of 9
"You are exceedingly kind, I am sure," said Pen: "but I regret that I
have an engagement which will take me out of town to-morrow night."
And the Marquis of Fairoaks wondering that such a creature as this
could have the audacity to give him a card, put Mr. Huxter's card into
his waistcoat pocket with a lofty courtesy. Possibly Mr. Samuel Huxter
was not aware that there was any great social difference between Mr.
Arthur Pendennis and himself. Mr. Huxter's father was a surgeon and
apothecary at Clavering, just as Mr. Pendennis's papa had been a
surgeon and apothecary at Bath. But the impudence of some men is
beyond all calculation.
"Well, old fellow, never mind," said Mr. Huxter, who, always frank and
familiar, was from vinous excitement even more affable than usual. "If
ever you are passing, look up at our place--I'm mostly at home
Saturdays; and there's generally a cheese in the cupboard. Ta, Ta.
There's the bell for the fire-works ringing. Come along, Mary." And he
set off running with the rest of the crowd in the direction of the
So did Pen presently, when this agreeable youth was out of sight,
begin to run with his little companion; Mrs. Bolton following after
them, with Captain Costigan at her side. But the captain was too
majestic and dignified in his movements to run for friend or enemy,
and he pursued his course with the usual jaunty swagger which
distinguished his steps, so that he and his companion were speedily
distanced by Pen and Miss Fanny.
Perhaps Arthur forgot, or perhaps he did not choose to remember, that
the elder couple had no money in their pockets, as had been proved by
their adventure at the entrance of the gardens; howbeit, Pen paid a
couple of shillings for himself and his partner, and with her hanging
close on his arm, scaled the staircase which leads to the fire-work
gallery. The captain and mamma might have followed them if they liked,
but Arthur and Fanny were too busy to look back. People were pushing
and squeezing there beside and behind them. One eager individual
rushed by Fanny, and elbowed her so, that she fell back with a little
cry, upon which, of course, Arthur caught her adroitly in his arms,
and, just for protection, kept her so defended until they mounted the
stair, and took their places.
Poor Foker sate alone on one of the highest benches, his face illuminated
by the fire-works, or in their absence by the moon. Arthur
saw him, and laughed, but did not occupy himself about his friend
much. He was engaged with Fanny. How she wondered! how happy she was!
how she cried O, O, O, as the rockets soared into the air, and
showered down in azure, and emerald, and vermilion. As these wonders
blazed and disappeared before her, the little girl thrilled and
trembled with delight at Arthur's side--her hand was under his arm
still, he felt it pressing him as she looked up delighted.
"How beautiful they are, sir!" she cried.
"Don't call me sir, Fanny," Arthur said.
A quick blush rushed up into the girl's face. "What shall I call you?"
she said, in a low voice, sweet and tremulous. "What would you wish me
to say, sir?"
"Again, Fanny? Well, I forgot; it is best so, my dear," Pendennis
said, very kindly and gently. "I may call you Fanny?"
"O yes!" she said, and the little hand pressed his arm once more very
eagerly, and the girl clung to him so that he could feel her heart
beating on his shoulder.
"I may call you Fanny, because you are a young girl, and a good girl,
Fanny, and I am an old gentleman. But you mustn't call me any thing
but sir, or Mr. Pendennis, if you like; for we live in very different
stations, Fanny; and don't think I speak unkindly; and--and why do you
take your hand away, Fanny? Are you afraid of me? Do you think I would
hurt you? Not for all the world, my dear little girl. And--and look
how beautiful the moon and stars are, and how calmly they shine when
the rockets have gone out, and the noisy wheels have done hissing and
blazing. When I came here to-night, I did not think I should have had
such a pretty little companion to sit by my side, and see these fine
fire-works. You must know I live by myself, and work very hard. I
write in books and newspapers, Fanny; and I was quite tired out, and
expected to sit alone all night; and--don't cry, my dear, dear, little
girl." Here Pen broke out, rapidly putting an end to the calm oration
which he had begun to deliver; for the sight of a woman's tears always
put his nerves in a quiver, and he began forthwith to coax her and
soothe her, and to utter a hundred-and-twenty little ejaculations of
pity and sympathy, which need not be repeated here, because they would
be absurd in print. So would a mother's talk to a child be absurd in
print; so would a lover's to his bride. That sweet, artless poetry
bears no translation; and is too subtle for grammarian's clumsy
definitions. You have but the same four letters to describe the salute
which you perform on your grandmother's forehead, and that which you
bestow on the sacred cheek of your mistress; but the same four
letters, and not one of them a labial. Do we mean to hint that Mr.
Arthur Pendennis made any use of the monosyllable in question? Not so.
In the first place it was dark: the fire-works were over, and nobody
could see him; secondly, he was not a man to have this kind of secret,
and tell it; thirdly and lastly, let the honest fellow who has kissed
a pretty girl, say what would have been his own conduct in such a
Well, the truth is, that however you may suspect him, and whatever you
would have done under the circumstances, or Mr. Pen would have liked
to do, he behaved honestly, and like a man. "I will not play with this
little girl's heart," he said within himself, "and forget my own or
her honor. She seems to have a great deal of dangerous and rather
contagious sensibility, and I am very glad the fire-works are over,
and that I can take her back to her mother. Come along, Fanny; mind
the steps, and lean on me. Don't stumble, you heedless little thing;
this is the way, and there is your mamma at the door."
And there, indeed, Mrs. Bolton was, unquiet in spirit, and grasping
her umbrella. She seized Fanny with maternal fierceness and eagerness,
and uttered some rapid abuse to the girl in an under tone. The
expression in Captain Costigan's eye--standing behind the matron and
winking at Pendennis from under his hat--was, I am bound to say,
It was so much so, that Pen could not refrain from bursting into a
laugh. "You should have taken my arm, Mrs. Bolton," he said, offering
it. "I am very glad to bring Miss Fanny back quite safe to you. We
thought you would have followed us up into the gallery. We enjoyed the
fire-works, didn't we?"
"Oh, yes!" said Miss Fanny, with rather a demure look.
"And the bouquet was magnificent," said Pen. "And it is ten hours
since I had any thing to eat, ladies, and I wish you would permit me
to invite you to supper."
"Dad," said Costigan, "I'd loike a snack, tu; only I forgawt me purse,
or I should have invoited these leedies to a colleetion."
Mrs. Bolton, with considerable asperity, said, she ad an eadache, and
would much rather go home.
"A lobster salad is the best thing in the world for a headache," Pen
said, gallantly, "and a glass of wine I'm sure will do you good. Come,
Mrs. Bolton, be kind to me, and oblige me. I shan't have the heart to
sup without you, and upon my word, I have had no dinner. Give me your
arm: give me the umbrella. Costigan, I'm sure you'll take care of Miss
Fanny; and I shall think Mrs. Bolton angry with me, unless she will
favor me with her society. And we will all sup quietly, and go back in
a cab together."
The cab, the lobster salad, the frank and good-humored look of
Pendennis, as he smilingly invited the worthy matron, subdued her
suspicions and her anger. Since he _would_ be so obliging, she thought
she could take a little bit of lobster, and so they all marched away
to a box; and Costigan called for a waither with such a loud and
belligerent voice, as caused one of those officials instantly to
run to him.
The _carte_ was examined on the wall, and Fanny was asked to choose
her favorite dish; upon which the young creature said she was fond of
lobster, too, but also owned to a partiality for raspberry-tart. This
delicacy was provided by Pen, and a bottle of the most frisky
Champagne was moreover ordered for the delight of the ladies. Little
Fanny drank this: what other sweet intoxication had she not drunk in
the course of the night?
When the supper, which was very brisk and gay, was over, and Captain
Costigan and Mrs. Bolton had partaken of some of the rack punch that
is so fragrant at Vauxhall, the bill was called and discharged by Pen
with great generosity, "like a foin young English gentleman of th'
olden toime, be Jove," Costigan enthusiastically remarked. And as,
when they went out of the box, he stepped forward and gave Mrs. Bolton
his arm, Fanny fell to Pen's lot, and the young people walked away in
high good-humor together, in the wake of their seniors.
The Champagne and the rack punch, though taken in moderation by all
persons, except perhaps poor Cos, who lurched ever so little in his
gait, had set them in high spirits and good humor, so that Fanny began
to skip and move her brisk little feet in time to the band, which was
playing waltzes and galops for the dancers. As they came up to the
dancing, the music and Fanny's feet seemed to go quicker together; she
seemed to spring, as if naturally, from the ground, and as if she
required repression to keep her there.
"Shouldn't you like a turn?" said the Prince of Fairoaks. "What fun
it would be! Mrs. Bolton, ma'am, do let me take her once round." Upon
which Mr. Costigan said, "Off wid you!" and Mrs. Bolton not refusing
(indeed, she was an old war-horse, and would have liked, at the
trumpet's sound, to have entered the arena herself), Fanny's shawl was
off her back in a minute, and she and Arthur were whirling round in a
waltz in the midst of a great deal of queer, but exceedingly
Pen had no mishap this time with little Fanny, as he had with Miss
Blanche in old days; at least, there was no mishap of his making. The
pair danced away with great agility and contentment; first a waltz,
then a galop, then a waltz again, until, in the second waltz, they
were bumped by another couple who had joined the Terpsichorean choir.
This was Mr. Huxter and his pink satin young friend, of whom we have
already had a glimpse.
Mr. Huxter very probably had been also partaking of supper, for he was
even more excited now than at the time when he had previously claimed
Pen's acquaintance; and having run against Arthur and his partner, and
nearly knocked them down, this amiable gentleman of course began to
abuse the people whom he had injured, and broke out into a volley of
slang against the unoffending couple. "Now, then, stoopid! Don't keep
the ground if you can't dance, old Slow Coach!" the young surgeon
roared out (using, at the same time, other expressions far more
emphatic), and was joined in his abuse by the shrill language and
laughter of his partner, to the interruption of the ball, the terror
of poor little Fanny, and the immense indignation of Pen.
Arthur was furious; and not so angry at the quarrel as at the shame
attending it. A battle with a fellow like that! A row in a public
garden, and with a porter's daughter on his arm! What a position for
Arthur Pendennis! He drew poor little Fanny hastily away from the
dancers to her mother, and wished that lady, and Costigan, and poor
Fanny underground, rather than there, in his companionship, and under
When Huxter commenced his attack, that free spoken young gentleman had
not seen who was his opponent, and directly he was aware that it was
Arthur whom he had insulted, he began to make apologies. "Hold your
stoopid tongue, Mary," he said to his partner. "It's an old friend and
crony at home. I beg pardon, Pendennis; wasn't aware it was you, old
boy" Mr. Huxter had been one of the boys of the Clavering School, who
had been present at a combat which has been mentioned in the early
part of this story, when young Pen knocked down the biggest champion
of the academy, and Huxter knew that it was dangerous to quarrel
His apologies were as odious to the other as his abuse had been. Pen
stopped his tipsy remonstrances by telling him to hold his tongue, and
desiring him not to use his (Pendennis's) name in that place or any
other; and he walked out of the gardens with a titter behind him from
the crowd, every one of whom he would have liked to massacre for
having been witness to the degrading broil. He walked out of the
gardens, quite forgetting poor little Fanny, who came trembling behind
him with her mother and the stately Costigan.
He was brought back to himself by a word from the captain, who touched
him on the shoulder just as they were passing the inner gate.
"There's no ray-admittance except ye pay again," the captain said.
"Hadn't I better go back and take the fellow your message?"
Pen burst out laughing, "Take him a message! Do you think I would
fight with such a fellow as that?" he asked.
"No, no! Don't, don't!" cried out little Fanny. "How can you be so
wicked, Captain Costigan?" The captain muttered something about honor,
and winked knowingly at Pen, but Arthur said gallantly, "No, Fanny,
don't be frightened. It was my fault to have danced in such a place. I
beg your pardon, to have asked you to dance there." And he gave her
his arm once more, and called a cab, and put his three friends
He was about to pay the driver, and to take another carriage for
himself, when little Fanny, still alarmed, put her little hand out,
and caught him by the coat, and implored him and besought him to
"Will nothing satisfy you," said Pen, in great good-humor, "that I am
not going back to fight him? Well, I will come home with you. Drive to
Shepherd's Inn, Cab." The cab drove to its destination. Arthur was
immensely pleased by the girl's solicitude about him: her tender
terrors quite made him forget his previous annoyance.
Pen put the ladies into their lodge, having shaken hands kindly with
both of them; and the captain again whispered to him that he would see
um in the morning if he was inclined, and take his message to that
"scounthrel." But the captain was in his usual condition when he made
the proposal; and Pen was perfectly sure that neither he nor Mr.
Huxter, when they awoke, would remember any thing about the dispute.
A VISIT OF POLITENESS.
Costigan never roused Pen from his slumbers; there was no hostile
message from Mr. Huxter to disturb him; and when Pen woke, it was with
a brisker and more lively feeling than ordinarily attends that moment
in the day of the tired and _blasé_ London man. A city man wakes up
to care and consols, and the thoughts of 'Change and the
counting-house take possession of him as soon as sleep flies from
under his nightcap; a lawyer rouses himself with the early morning to
think of the case that will take him all his day to work upon, and the
inevitable attorney to whom he has promised his papers ere night.
Which of us has not his anxiety instantly present when his eyes are
opened, to it and to the world, after his night's sleep? Kind
strengthener that enables us to face the day's task with renewed
heart! Beautiful ordinance of Providence that creates rest as it
Mr. Pendennis's labor, or rather his disposition, was of that sort
that his daily occupations did not much interest him, for the
excitement of literary composition pretty soon subsides with the hired
laborer, and the delight of seeing one's self in print only extends to
the first two or three appearances in the magazine or newspaper page.
Pegasus put into harness, and obliged to run a stage every day, is as
prosaic as any other hack, and won't work without his whip or his feed
of corn. So, indeed Mr. Arthur performed his work at the Pall Mall
Gazette (and since his success as a novelist with an increased
salary), but without the least enthusiasm, doing his best or pretty
nearly, and sometimes writing ill and sometimes well. He was a
literary hack, naturally fast in pace, and brilliant in action.
Neither did society, or that portion which he saw, excite or amuse him
overmuch. In spite of his brag and boast to the contrary, he was too
young as yet for women's society, which probably can only be had in
perfection when a man has ceased to think about his own person, and
has given up all designs of being a conqueror of ladies; he was too
young to be admitted as an equal among men who had made their mark in
the world, and of whose conversation he could scarcely as yet expect
to be more than a listener. And he was too old for the men of pleasure
of his own age; too much a man of pleasure for the men of business;
destined, in a word, to be a good deal alone. Fate awards this lot of
solitude to many a man; and many like it from taste, as many without
difficulty bear it. Pendennis, in reality, suffered it very
equanimously; but in words, and according to his wont, grumbled over
it not a little.
"What a nice little artless creature that was," Mr. Pen thought at the
very instant of waking after the Vauxhall affair; "what a pretty
natural manner she has; how much pleasanter than the minanderies of
the young ladies in the ball-rooms" (and here he recalled to himself
some instances of what he could not help seeing was the artful
simplicity of Miss Blanche, and some of the stupid graces of other
young ladies in the polite world); "who could have thought that such a
pretty rose could grow in a porter's lodge, or bloom in that dismal
old flower-pot of a Shepherd's Inn? So she learns to sing from old
Bows? If her singing voice is as sweet as her speaking voice, it must
be pretty. I like those low _voilées_ voices. 'What would you like me
to call you?' indeed. Poor little Fanny! It went to my heart to adopt
the grand air with her, and tell her to call me 'sir.' But we'll have
no nonsense of that sort--no Faust and Margaret business for me. That
old Bows! So he teaches her to sing, does he? He's a dear old fellow,
old Bows: a gentleman in those old clothes: a philosopher, and with a
kind heart, too. How good he was to me in the Fotheringay business.
He, too, has had his griefs and his sorrows. I must cultivate old
Bows. A man ought to see people of all sorts. I am getting tired of
genteel society. Besides, there's nobody in town. Yes, I'll go and see
Bows, and Costigan, too; what a rich character! begad, I'll study him,
and put him into a book." In this way our young anthropologist talked
with himself: and as Saturday was the holiday of the week, the "Pall
Mall Gazette" making its appearance upon that day, and the
contributors to that journal having no further calls upon their brains
or ink-bottles, Mr. Pendennis determined he would take advantage of
his leisure, and pay a visit to Shepherd's Inn--of course to see
The truth is, that if Arthur had been the most determined _roué_ and
artful Lovelace who ever set about deceiving a young girl, he could
hardly have adopted better means for fascinating and overcoming poor
little Fanny Bolton than those which he had employed on the previous
night. His dandyfied protecting air, his conceit, generosity, and good
humor, the very sense of good and honesty which had enabled him to
check the tremulous advances of the young creature, and not to take
advantage of that little fluttering sensibility--his faults and his
virtues at once contributed to make her admire him; and if we could
peep into Fanny's bed (which she shared in a cupboard, along with
those two little sisters to whom we have seen Mr. Costigan
administering ginger-bread and apples), we should find the poor little
maid tossing upon her mattress, to the great disturbance of its other
two occupants, and thinking over all the delights and events of that
delightful, eventful night, and all the words, looks, and actions of
Arthur, its splendid hero. Many novels had Fanny read, in secret and
at home, in three volumes and in numbers. Periodical literature had
not reached the height which it has attained subsequently, and the
girls of Fanny's generation were not enabled to purchase sixteen pages
of excitement for a penny, rich with histories of crime, murder,
oppressed virtue, and the heartless seductions of the aristocracy; but
she had had the benefit of the circulating library which, in
conjunction with her school and a small brandy-ball and millinery
business, Miss Minifer kept--and Arthur appeared to her at once as the
type and realization of all the heroes of all those darling, greasy
volumes which the young girl had devoured. Mr. Pen, we have seen, was
rather a dandy about shirts and haberdashery in general. Fanny had
looked with delight at the fineness of his linen, at the brilliancy of
his shirt studs, at his elegant cambric pocket-handkerchief and white
gloves, and at the jetty brightness of his charming boots. The prince
had appeared and subjugated the poor little handmaid. His image
traversed constantly her restless slumbers; the tone of his voice, the
blue light of his eyes, the generous look, half love half pity--the
manly protecting smile, the frank, winning laughter--all these were
repeated in the girl's fond memory. She felt still his arm encircling
her, and saw him smiling so grand as he filled up that delicious glass
of Champagne. And then she thought of the girls, her friends, who used
to sneer at her--of Emma Baker, who was so proud, forsooth, because
she was engaged to a cheesemonger, in a white apron, near Clare
Market; and of Betsy Rodgers, who made such a to-do about _her_
young man--an attorney's clerk, indeed, that went about with a bag!
So that, at about two o'clock in the afternoon--the Bolton family
having concluded, their dinner (and Mr. B., who besides his place of
porter of the Inn, was in the employ of Messrs. Tressler, the eminent
undertakers of the Strand, being absent in the country with the
Countess of Estrich's hearse), when a gentleman in a white hat and
white trowsers made his appearance under the Inn archway, and stopped
at the porter's wicket, Fanny was not in the least surprised, only
delighted, only happy, and blushing beyond all measure. She knew it
could be no other than He. She knew He'd come. There he was: there was
His Royal Highness beaming upon her from the gate. She called to her
mother, who was busy in the upper apartment, "Mamma, mamma," and ran
to the wicket at once, and opened it, pushing aside the other
children. How she blushed as she gave her hand to him! How affably he
took off his white hat as he came in; the children staring up at him!
He asked Mrs. Bolton if she had slept well, after the fatigues of the
night, and hoped she had no headache: and he said that as he was
going that way, he could not pass the door without asking news of his
Mrs. Bolton was, perhaps, rather shy and suspicious about these
advances; but Mr. Pen's good humor was inexhaustible, he could not see
that he was unwelcome. He looked about the premises for a seat, and
none being disengaged, for a dish-cover was on one, a work-box on the
other, and so forth, he took one of the children's chairs, and perched
himself upon that uncomfortable eminence. At this, the children began
laughing, the child Fanny louder than all; at least, she was more
amused than any of them, and amazed at his Royal Highness's
condescension. _He_ to sit down in that chair--that little child's
chair! Many and many a time after she regarded it: haven't we almost
all, such furniture in our rooms, that our fancy peoples with dear
figures, that our memory fills with sweet, smiling faces, which may
never look on us more?
So Pen sate down, and talked away with great volubility to Mrs.
Bolton. He asked about the undertaking business, and how many mutes
went down with Lady Estrich's remains; and about the Inn, and who
lived there. He seemed very much interested about Mr. Campion's cab
and horse, and had met that gentleman in society. He thought he should
like shares in the Polwheedle and Pontydiddlum; did Mrs. Bolton do for
those chambers? Were there any chambers to let in the Inn? It was
better than the Temple: he should like to come to live in Shepherd's
Inn. As for Captain Strong and--Colonel Altamont was his name? he was
deeply interested in them, too. The captain was an old friend at home.
He had dined with him at chambers here, before the colonel came to
live with him. What sort of man was the colonel? Wasn't he a stout
man, with a large quantity of jewelry, and a wig, and large black
whiskers, _very_ black (here Pen was immensely waggish, and caused
hysteric giggles of delight from the ladies), very black, indeed; in
fact, blue-black; that is to say, a rich greenish purple? That was the
man; he had met him, too, at Sir F----in society.
"O, we know!" said the ladies; "Sir F----is Sir F. Clavering; he's
often here: two or three times a week with the captain. My little boy
has been out for bill stamps for him. Oh, Lor! I beg pardon, I
shouldn't have mentioned no secrets," Mrs. Bolton blurted out, being
talked perfectly into good-nature by this time. "But we know you to be
a gentleman, Mr. Pendennis, for I'm sure you have shown that you can
_beayve_ as such. Hasn't Mr. Pendennis, Fanny?"
Fanny loved her mother for that speech. She cast up her dark eyes to
the low ceiling, and said, "O, that he has, I'm sure, ma," with a
voice full of feeling.
Pen was rather curious about the bill stamps, and concerning the
transactions in Strong's chambers. And he asked, when Altamont came
and joined the chevalier, whether he, too, sent out for bill stamps,
who he was, whether he saw many people, and so forth. These questions,
put with considerable adroitness by Pen, who was interested about Sir
Francis Clavering's doings from private motives of his own, were
artlessly answered by Mrs. Bolton. and to the utmost of her knowledge
and ability, which, in truth, were not very great.
These questions answered, and Pen being at a loss for more, luckily
recollected his privilege as a member of the press, and asked the
ladies whether they would like any orders for the play? The play was
their delight, as it is almost always the delight of every theatrical
person. When Bolton was away professionally (it appeared that of late
the porter of Shepherd's Inn had taken a serious turn, drank a good
deal, and otherwise made himself unpleasant to the ladies of his
family), they would like of all things to slip out and go to the
theater, little Barney their son, keeping the lodge; and Mr.
Pendennis's most generous and most genteel compliment of orders was
received with boundless gratitude by both mother and daughter.
Fanny clapped her hands with pleasure: her face beamed with it. She
looked, and nodded, and laughed at her mamma, who nodded and laughed
in her turn. Mrs. Bolton was not superannuated for pleasure yet, or by
any means too old for admiration, she thought. And very likely Mr.
Pendennis, in his conversation with her, had insinuated some
compliments, or shaped his talk so as to please her. At first against
Pen, and suspicious of him, she was his partisan now, and almost as
enthusiastic about him as her daughter. When two women get together to
like a man, they help each other on; each pushes the other forward,
and the second, out of sheer sympathy, becomes as eager as the
principal: at least, so it is said by philosophers who have examined
So the offer of the play tickets, and other pleasantries, put all
parties into perfect good-humor, except for one brief moment, when one
of the younger children, hearing the name of "Astley's" pronounced,
came forward and stated that she should like very much to go, too; on
which Fanny said, "Don't bother!" rather sharply; and mamma said,
"Git-long, Betsy Jane, do now, and play in the court:" so that the two
little ones, namely, Betsy Jane and Ameliar Ann, went away in their
little innocent pinafores, and disported in the court-yard on the
smooth gravel, round about the statue of Shepherd the Great.
And here, as they were playing, they very possibly communicated with
an old friend of theirs and dweller in the Inn; for while Pen was
making himself agreeable to the ladies at the lodge, who were
laughing, delighted at his sallies, an old gentleman passed under the
archway from the Inn-square, and came and looked in at the door of
He made a very blank and rueful face when he saw Mr. Arthur seated
upon a table, like Macheath in the play, in easy discourse with Mrs.
Bolton and her daughter.
"What! Mr. Bows? How d'you do, Bows!" cried out Pen, in a cheery, loud
voice. "I was coming to see you, and was asking your address of
"You were coming to see _me_, were you, sir?" Bows said, and came in
with a sad face, and shook hands with Arthur. "Plague on that old
man!" somebody thought in the room: and so, perhaps, some one else
IN SHEPHERD'S INN.
Our friend Pen said "How d'ye do, Mr. Bows," in a loud, cheery voice,
on perceiving that gentleman, and saluted him in a dashing, off-hand
manner; yet you could have seen a blush upon Arthur's face (answered
by Fanny, whose cheek straightway threw out a similar fluttering red
signal), and after Bows and Arthur had shaken hands, and the former
had ironically accepted the other's assertion that he was about to pay
Mr. Costigan's chambers a visit, there was a gloomy and rather guilty
silence in the company, which Pen presently tried to dispel by making
a great rattling and noise. The silence of course departed at Mr.
Arthur's noise, but the gloom remained and deepened, as the darkness
does in a vault if you light up a single taper in it. Pendennis tried
to describe, in a jocular manner, the transactions of the night
previous, and attempted to give an imitation of Costigan vainly
expostulating with the check-taker at Vauxhall. It was not a good
imitation. What stranger can imitate that perfection? Nobody laughed.
Mrs. Bolton did not in the least understand what part Mr. Pendennis
was performing, and whether it was the check-taker or the captain he
was taking off. Fanny wore an alarmed face, and tried a timid giggle;
old Mr. Bows looked as glum as when he fiddled in the orchestra, or
played a difficult piece upon the old piano at the Back-Kitchen.
Pen felt that his story was a failure; his voice sank and
dwindled away dismally at the end of it--flickered, and went out;
and it was all dark again. You could hear the ticket-porter, who lolls
about Shepherd's Inn, as he passed on the flags under the archway: the
clink of his boot-heels was noted by every body.
"You were coming to see me, sir," Mr. Bows said. "Won't you have the
kindness to walk up to my chambers with me? You do them a great honor,
I am sure. They are rather high up; but--"
"O! I live in a garret myself, and Shepherd's Inn is twice as cheerful
as Lamb Court," Mr. Pendennis broke in.
"I knew that you had third floor apartments," Mr. Bows said; "and was
going to say--you will please not take my remark as discourteous--that
the air up three pair of stairs is wholesomer for gentlemen, than the
air of a porter's lodge."
"Sir!" said Pen, whose candle flamed up again in his wrath, and who
was disposed to be as quarrelsome as men are when they are in the
wrong. "Will you permit me to choose my society without--"
"You were so polite as to say that you were about to honor my umble
domicile with a visit," Mr. Bows said, with a sad voice. "Shall I show
you the way? Mr. Pendennis and I are old friends, Mrs. Bolton--very
old acquaintances; and at the earliest dawn of his life we crossed
The old man pointed toward the door with a trembling finger, and a hat
in the other hand, and in an attitude slightly theatrical; so were his
words, when he spoke, somewhat artificial, and chosen from the
vocabulary which he had heard all his life from the painted lips of
the orators before the stage-lamps. But he was not acting or
masquerading, as Pen knew very well, though he was disposed to
pooh-pooh the old fellow's melodramatic airs. "Come along, sir," he
said, "as you are so very pressing. Mrs. Bolton, I wish you a good
day. Good-by, Miss Fanny; I shall always think of our night at
Vauxhall with pleasure; and be sure I will remember the
theatre-tickets." And he took her hand, pressed it, was pressed by it,
and was gone.
"What a nice young man, to be sure!" cried Mrs. Bolton.
"D'you think so, ma?" said Fanny.
"I was a-thinkin who he was like. When I was at the Wells with Mrs.
Serle," Mrs. Bolton continued, looking through the window curtain
after Pen, as he went up the court with Bows; "there was a young
gentleman from the city, that used to come in a tilbry, in a white at,
the very image of him, ony his whiskers was black, and Mr. P's.
"Law, ma! they are a most beautiful hawburn," Fanny said.
"He used to come for Emly Budd, who danced Columbine in 'Arleykin
Ornpipe, or the Battle of Navarino,' when Miss De la Bosky was took
ill--a pretty dancer, and a fine stage figure of a woman--and he was a
great sugar-baker in the city, with a country ouse at Omerton; and he
used to drive her in the tilbry down Goswell-street-road; and one
day they drove and was married at St. Bartholomew's Church Smithfield,
where they had their bands read quite private; and she now keeps her
carriage; and I sor her name in the paper as patroness of the
Manshing-House Ball for the Washywomen's Asylum. And look at Lady
Mirabel--Capting Costigan's daughter--she was profeshnl, as all very
well know." Thus, and more to this purpose, Mrs. Bolton spoke, now
peeping through the window-curtain, now cleaning the mugs and plates,
and consigning them to their place in the corner cupboard; and
finishing her speech as she and Fanny shook out and folded up the
dinner-cloth between them, and restored it to its drawer in the table.
Although Costigan had once before been made pretty accurately to
understand what Pen's pecuniary means and expectations were, I suppose
Cos had forgotten the information acquired at Chatteris years ago, or
had been induced by his natural enthusiasm to exaggerate his friend's
income. He had described Fairoaks Park in the most glowing terms to
Mrs. Bolton, on the preceding evening, as he was walking about with
her during Pen's little escapade with Fanny, had dilated upon the
enormous wealth of Pen's famous uncle, the major, and shown an
intimate acquaintance with Arthur's funded and landed property. Very
likely Mrs. Bolton, in her wisdom, had speculated upon these matters
during the night; and had had visions of Fanny driving in her
carriage, like Mrs. Bolton's old comrade, the dancer of
In the last operation of table-cloth folding, these two foolish women,
of necessity, came close together; and as Fanny took the cloth and
gave it the last fold, her mother put her finger under the young
girl's chin, and kissed her. Again the red signal flew out, and
fluttered on Fanny's cheek. What did it mean? It was not alarm this
time. It was pleasure which caused the poor little Fanny to blush so.
Poor little Fanny! What? is love sin; that it is so pleasant at the
beginning, and so bitter at the end?
After the embrace, Mrs. Bolton thought proper to say that she was
a-goin out upon business, and that Fanny must keep the lodge; which
Fanny, after a very faint objection indeed, consented to do. So Mrs.
Bolton took her bonnet and market-basket, and departed; and the
instant she was gone, Fanny went and sate by the window which
commanded Bows's door, and never once took her eyes away from that
quarter of Shepherd's Inn.
Betsy-Jane and Ameliar-Ann were buzzing in one corner of the place,
and making believe to read out of a picture-book, which one of them
held topsy-turvy. It was a grave and dreadful tract, of Mr. Bolton's
collection. Fanny did not hear her sisters prattling over it. She
noticed nothing but Bows's door.
At last she gave a little shake, and her eyes lighted up. He had come
out. He would pass the door again. But her poor little countenance
fell in an instant more. Pendennis, indeed, came out; but Bows
followed after him. They passed under the archway together. He only
took off his hat, and bowed as he looked in. He did not stop to speak.
In three or four minutes--Fanny did not know how long, but she
looked furiously at him when he came into the lodge--Bows returned
alone, and entered into the porter's room.
"Where's your ma, dear?" he said to Fanny.
"I don't know," Fanny said, with an angry toss. "I don't follow ma's
steps wherever she goes, I suppose, Mr. Bows."
"Am I my mother's keeper?" Bows said, with his usual melancholy
bitterness. "Come here, Betsy-Jane and Amelia-Ann; I've brought a cake
for the one who can read her letters best, and a cake for the other
who can read them the next best."
When the young ladies had undergone the examination through which Bows
put them, they were rewarded with their gingerbread medals, and went
off to discuss them in the court. Meanwhile Fanny took out some work,
and pretended to busy herself with it, her mind being in great
excitement and anger, as she plied her needle, Bows sate so that he
could command the entrance from the lodge to the street. But the
person whom, perhaps, he expected to see, never made his appearance
again. And Mrs. Bolton came in from market, and found Mr. Bows in
place of the person whom _she_ had expected to see. The reader perhaps
can guess what was his name?
The interview between Bows and his guest, when those two mounted to
the apartment occupied by the former in common with the descendant of
the Milesian kings, was not particularly satisfactory to either party.
Pen was sulky. If Bows had any thing on his mind, he did not care to
deliver himself of his thoughts in the presence of Captain Costigan,
who remained in the apartment during the whole of Pen's visit; having
quitted his bed-chamber, indeed, but a very few minutes before the
arrival of that gentleman. We have witnessed the deshabillé of Major
Pendennis: will any man wish to be valet-de-chambre to our other hero,
Costigan? It would seem that the captain, before issuing from his
bedroom, scented himself with otto of whisky. A rich odor of that
delicious perfume breathed from out him, as he held out the grasp of
cordiality to his visitor. The hand which performed that grasp shook
woefully: it was a wonder how it could hold the razor with which the
poor gentleman daily operated on his chin.
Bows's room was as neat, on the other hand, as his comrade's was
disorderly. His humble wardrobe hung behind a curtain. His books and
manuscript music were trimly arranged upon shelves. A lithographed
portrait of Miss Fotheringay, as Mrs. Haller, with the actress's
sprawling signature at the corner, hung faithfully over the old
gentleman's bed. Lady Mirabel wrote much better than Miss Fotheringay
had been able to do. Her ladyship had labored assiduously to acquire
the art of penmanship since her marriage; and, in a common note of
invitation or acceptance, acquitted herself very genteelly. Bows loved
the old handwriting best, though; the fair artist's earlier manner. He
had but one specimen of the new style, a note in reply to a song
composed and dedicated to Lady Mirabel, by her most humble servant
Robert Bows; and which document was treasured in his desk among his
other state papers. He was teaching Fanny Bolton now to sing and to
write, as he had taught Emily in former days. It was the nature of the
man to attach himself to something. When Emily was torn from him he
took a substitute: as a man looks out for a crutch when he loses a
leg, or lashes himself to a raft when he has suffered shipwreck.
Latude had given his heart to a woman, no doubt, before he grew to be
so fond of a mouse in the Bastille. There are people who in their
youth have felt and inspired an heroic passion, and end by being happy
in the caresses, or agitated by the illness of a poodle. But it was
hard upon Bows, and grating to his feelings as a man and a
sentimentalist, that he should find Pen again upon his track, and in
pursuit of this little Fanny.
Meanwhile, Costigan had not the least idea but that his company was
perfectly welcome to Messrs. Pendennis and Bows, and that the visit of
the former was intended for himself. He expressed himself greatly
pleased with that mark of poloightness, and promised, in his own mind,
that he would repay that obligation at least--which was not the only
debt which the captain owed in life--by several visits to his young
friend. He entertained him affably with news of the day, or rather of
ten days previous; for Pen, in his quality of journalist, remembered
to have seen some of the captain's opinions in the Sporting and
Theatrical Newspaper, which was Costigan's oracle. He stated that Sir
Charles and Lady Mirabel were gone to Baden-Baden, and were most
pressing in their invitations that he should join them there. Pen
replied with great gravity, that he had heard that Baden was very
pleasant, and the Grand Duke exceedingly hospitable to English.
Costigan answered, that the laws of hospitalitee bekeam a Grand Juke;
that he sariously would think about visiting him; and made some
remarks upon the splendid festivities at Dublin Castle, when his
Excellency the Earl of Portansherry held the Viceraygal Coort there,
and of which he Costigan had been an humble but pleased spectator. And
Pen--as he heard these oft-told, well-remembered legends--recollected
the time when he had given a sort of credence to them, and had a
certain respect for the captain. Emily and first love, and the little
room at Chatteris; and the kind talk with Bows on the bridge came back
to him. He felt quite kindly disposed toward his two old friends; and
cordially shook the hands of both of them when he rose to go away.
He had quite forgotten about little Fanny Bolton while the captain was
talking, and Pen himself was absorbed in other selfish meditations, He
only remembered her again as Bows came hobbling down the stairs after
him, bent evidently upon following him out of Shepherd's Inn.
Mr. Bows's precaution was not a lucky one. The wrath of Mr. Arthur
Pendennis rose at the poor old fellow's feeble persecution. Confound
him, what does he mean by dogging me? thought Pen. And he burst out
laughing when he was in the Strand and by himself, as he thought of
the elder's stratagem. It was not an honest laugh, Arthur Pendennis.
Perhaps the thought struck Arthur himself, and he blushed at his own
sense of humor. He went off to endeavor to banish the thoughts which
occupied him, whatever those thoughts might be, and tried various
places of amusement with but indifferent success. He struggled up the
highest stairs of the Panorama; but when he had arrived, panting, at
the height of the eminence, Care had come up with him, and was bearing
him company. He went to the Club, and wrote a long letter home,
exceedingly witty and sarcastic, and in which, if he did not say a
single word about Vauxhall and Fanny Bolton, it was because he thought
that subject, however interesting to himself, would not be very
interesting to his mother and Laura. Nor could the novels on the
library table fix his attention, nor the grave and respectable Jawkins
(the only man in town), who wished to engage him in conversation; nor
any of the amusements which he tried, after flying from Jawkins. He
passed a Comic Theater on his way home, and saw "Stunning Farce,"
"Roars of Laughter," "Good Old English Fun and Frolic," placarded in
vermilion letters on the gate. He went into the pit, and saw the
lovely Mrs. Leary, as usual, in a man's attire; and that eminent buffo
actor, Tom Horseman, dressed as a woman. Horseman's travestie seemed
to him a horrid and hideous degradation; Mrs. Leary's glances and
ankles had not the least effect. He laughed again, and bitterly, to
himself, as he thought of the effect which she had produced upon him,
on the first night of his arrival in London, a short time--what a
long, long time ago.
IN OR NEAR THE TEMPLE GARDEN.
Fashion has long deserted the green and pretty Temple Garden, in which
Shakspeare makes York and Lancaster to pluck the innocent white and
red roses which became the badges of their bloody wars; and the
learned and pleasant writer of the Handbook of London tells us that
"the commonest and hardiest kind of rose has long ceased to put forth
a bud" in that smoky air. Not many of the present occupiers of the
buildings round about the quarter know, or care, very likely, whether
or not roses grow there, or pass the old gate, except on their way to
chambers. The attorneys' clerks don't carry flowers in their bags, or
posies under their arms, as they run to the counsel's chambers; the
few lawyers who take constitutional walks think very little about York
and Lancaster, especially since the railroad business is over. Only
antiquarians and literary amateurs care to look at the gardens with
much interest, and fancy good Sir Roger de Coverley and Mr. Spectator
with his short face pacing up and down the road; or dear Oliver
Goldsmith in the summer-house, perhaps meditating about the next
"Citizen of the World," or the new suit that Mr. Filby, the tailor, is
fashioning for him, or the dunning letter that Mr. Newberry has sent.
Treading heavily on the gravel, and rolling majestically along in a
snuff-colored suit, and a wig that sadly wants the barber's powder and
irons, one sees the Great Doctor step up to him, (his Scotch lackey
following at the lexicographer's heels, a little the worse for Port
wine that they have been taking at the Miter), and Mr. Johnson asks
Mr. Goldsmith to come home and take a dish of tea with Miss Williams.
Kind faith of Fancy! Sir Hoger and Mr. Spectator are as real to us now
as the two doctors and the boozy and faithful Scotchman. The poetical
figures live in our memory just as much as the real personages--and as
Mr. Arthur Pendennis was of a romantic and literary turn, by no means
addicted to the legal pursuits common in the neighborhood of the
place, we may presume that he was cherishing some such poetical
reflections as these, when, upon the evening after the events recorded
in the last chapter the young gentleman chose the Temple Gardens as a
place for exercise and meditation.
On the Sunday evening the Temple is commonly calm. The chambers are
for the most part vacant; the great lawyers are giving grand dinner
parties at their houses in the Belgravian or Tyburnian districts: the
agreeable young barristers are absent, attending those parties, and
paying their respects to Mr. Kewsy's excellent claret, or Mr. Justice
Ermine's accomplished daughters; the uninvited are partaking of the
economic joint, and the modest half-pint of wine at the Club,
entertaining themselves and the rest of the company in the Club-room,
with Circuit jokes and points of wit and law. Nobody is in chambers at
all, except poor Mr. Cockle, who is ill, and whose laundress is making
him gruel; or Mr. Toodle, who is an amateur of the flute, and whom you
may hear piping solitary from his chambers in the second floor: or
young Tiger, the student, from whose open windows come a great gush of
cigar smoke, and at whose door are a quantity of dishes and covers,
bearing the insignia of Dicks' or the Cock. But stop! Whither does
Fancy lead us? It is vacation time; and with the exception of
Pendennis, nobody is in chambers at all.
Perhaps it was solitude, then, which drove Pen into the Garden; for
although he had never before passed the gate, and had looked rather
carelessly at the pretty flower-beds, and the groups of pleased
citizens sauntering over the trim lawn and the broad gravel-walks by
the river, on this evening it happened, as we have said, that the
young gentleman, who had dined alone at a tavern in the neighborhood
of the Temple, took a fancy, as he was returning home to his chambers,
to take a little walk in the gardens, and enjoy the fresh evening air,
and the sight of the shining Thames. After walking for a brief space,
and looking at the many peaceful and happy groups round about him, he
grew tired of the exercise, and betook himself to one of the
summer-houses which flank either end of the main walk, and there
modestly seated himself. What were his cogitations? The evening was
delightfully bright and calm; the sky was cloudless; the chimneys on
the opposite bank were not smoking; the wharves and warehouses looked
rosy in the sunshine, and as clear as if they too, had washed for the
holiday. The steamers rushed rapidly up and down the stream, laden
with holiday passengers. The bells of the multitudinous city churches
were ringing to evening prayers--such peaceful Sabbath evenings as
this Pen may have remembered in his early days, as he paced, with his
arm round his mother's waist, on the terrace before the lawn at
home. The sun was lighting up the little Brawl, too, as well as the
broad Thames, and sinking downward majestically behind the Clavering
elms, and the tower of the familiar village church. Was it thoughts of
these, or the sunset merely, that caused the blush in the young man's
face? He beat time on the bench, to the chorus of the bells without;
flicked the dust off his shining boots with his pocket-handkerchief,
and starting up, stamped with his foot and said, "No, by Jove, I'll go
home." And with this resolution, which indicated that some struggle as
to the propriety of remaining where he was, or of quitting the garden,
had been going on in his mind, he stepped out of the summer-house.
He nearly knocked down two little children, who did not indeed reach
much higher than his knee, and were trotting along the gravel-walk,
with their long blue shadows slanting toward the east.
One cried out, "Oh!" the other began to laugh; and with a knowing
little infantine chuckle, said, "Missa Pendennis!" And Arthur looking
down, saw his two little friends of the day before, Mesdemoiselles
Ameliar-Ann and Betsy-Jane. He blushed more than ever at seeing them,
and seizing the one whom he had nearly upset, jumped her up into the
air, and kissed her; at which sudden assault Ameliar-Ann began to cry
in great alarm.
This cry brought up instantly two ladies in clean collars and new
ribbons, and grand shawls, namely, Mrs. Bolton in a rich scarlet
Caledonian Cashmere, and a black silk dress, and Miss F. Bolton with a
yellow scarf and a sweet sprigged muslin, and a parasol--quite the
lady. Fanny did not say one single word: though her eyes flashed a
welcome, and shone as bright--as bright as the most blazing windows in
Paper Buildings. But Mrs. Bolton, after admonishing Betsy-Jane, said,
"Lor, sir, how _very_ odd that we should meet _you_ year? I ope you
ave your ealth well, sir. Ain't it odd, Fanny, that we should meet Mr.
Pendennis?" What do you mean by sniggering, mesdames? When young
Croesus has been staying at a country-house, have you never, by any
singular coincidence, been walking with your Fanny in the shrubberies?
Have you and your Fanny never happened to be listening to the band of
the Heavies at Brighton, when young De Boots and Captain Padmore came
clinking down the Pier? Have you and your darling Frances never
chanced to be visiting old widow Wheezy at the cottage on the common,
when the young curate has stepped in with a tract adapted to the
rheumatism? Do you suppose that, if singular coincidences occur at the
Hall, they don't also happen at the Lodge?
It _was_ a coincidence, no doubt: that was all. In the course of the
conversation on the day previous, Mr. Pendennis had merely said, in
the simplest way imaginable, and in reply to a question of Miss
Bolton, that although some of the courts were gloomy, parts of the
Temple were very cheerful and agreeable, especially the chambers
looking on the river and around the gardens, and that the gardens were
a very pleasant walk on Sunday evenings, and frequented by a great
number of people--and here, by the merest chance, all our
acquaintances met together, just like so many people in genteel
life. What could be more artless, good-natured, or natural?
Pen looked very grave, pompous, and dandified. He was unusually smart
and brilliant in his costume. His white duck trowsers and white hat,
his neckcloth of many colors, his light waistcoat, gold chains, and
shirt studs, gave him the air of a prince of the blood at least. How
his splendor became his figure! Was any body ever like him? some one
thought. He blushed--how his blushes became him! the same individual,
said to herself. The children, on seeing him the day before, had
been so struck with him, that after he had gone away they had been
playing at him. And Ameliar-Ann, sticking her little chubby fingers
into the arm-holes of her pinafore, as Pen was won't to do with his
waistcoat, had said, "Now, Bessy-Jane, I'll be Missa Pendennis."
Fanny had laughed till she cried, and smothered her sister with kisses
for that feat. How happy, too, she was to see Arthur embracing
If Arthur was red, Fanny, on the contrary, was very worn and pale.
Arthur remarked it, and asked kindly why she looked so fatigued.
"I was awake all night," said Fanny, and began to blush a little.
"I put out her candle, and _hordered_ her to go to sleep and leave off
readin," interposed the fond mother.
"You were reading! And what was it that interested you so?" asked Pen,
"Oh, it's so beautiful!" said Fanny.
"Walter Lorraine," Fanny sighed out. "How I do _hate_ that Neara
--Neara--I don't know the pronunciation. And how I love Leonora, and
Walter, oh, how dear he is!"
How had Fanny discovered the novel of Walter Lorraine, and that Pen
was the author? This little person remembered every single word which
Mr. Pendennis had spoken on the night previous, and how he wrote in
books and newspapers. What books? She was so eager to know, that she
had almost a mind to be civil to old Bows, who was suffering under her
displeasure since yesterday, but she determined first to make
application to Costigan. She began by coaxing the captain and smiling
upon him in her most winning way, as she helped to arrange his dinner
and set his humble apartment in order. She was sure his linen wanted
mending (and indeed the captain's linen-closet contained some curious
specimens of manufactured flax and cotton). She would mend his
shirts--_all_ his shirts. What horrid holes--what funny holes! She put
her little face through one of them, and laughed at the old warrior in
the most winning manner. She would have made a funny little picture
looking through the holes. Then she daintily removed Costigan's dinner
things, tripping about the room as she had seen the dancers do at the
play; and she danced to the captain's cupboard, and produced his
whisky bottle, and mixed him a tumbler, and must taste a drop of it--a
little drop; and the captain must sing her one of his songs, his dear
songs, and teach it to her. And when he had sung an Irish melody in
his rich quavering voice, fancying it was he who was fascinating the
little siren, she put her little question about Arthur Pendennis and
his novel, and having got an answer, cared for nothing more, but left
the captain at the piano about to sing her another song, and the
dinner tray on the passage, and the shirts on the chair, and ran down
stairs quickening her pace as she sped.
Captain Costigan, as he said, was not a litherary cyarkter, nor had he
as yet found time to peruse his young friend's ellygant perfaurumance,
though he intended to teak an early opporchunitee of purchasing a
cawpee of his work. But he knew the name of Pen's novel from the fact
that Messrs. Finucane, Bludyer, and other frequenters of the
Back-Kitchen, spoke of Mr. Pendennis (and not all of them with great
friendship; for Bludyer called him a confounded coxcomb, and Hoolan
wondered that Doolan did not kick him, &c.) by the sobriquet of Walter
Lorraine--and was hence enabled to give Fanny the information which
"And she went and ast for it at the libery," Mrs. Bolton said--
"several liberies--and some ad it and it was hout, and some adn't it.
And one of the liberies as ad it wouldn't let er ave it without a
sovering: and she adn't one, and she came back a-cryin to me--didn't
you, Fanny?--and I gave her a sovering."
"And, oh, I was in such a fright lest any one should have come to the
libery and took it while I was away," Fanny said, her cheeks and eyes
glowing. "And, oh, I do like it so!"
Arthur was touched by this artless sympathy, immensely flattered and
moved by it. "Do you like it?" he said. "If you will come up to my
chambers I will--No, I will bring you one--no, I will send you one.
Good night. Thank you, Fanny. God bless you. I mustn't stay with you.
Good-by, good-by." And, pressing her hand once, and nodding to her
mother and the other children, he strode out of the gardens.
He quickened his pace as he went from them, and ran out of the gate
talking to himself. "Dear, dear little thing," he said, "darling
little Fanny! You are worth them all. I wish to heaven Shandon was
back, I'd go home to my mother. I mustn't see her. I won't. I won't so
As he was talking thus, and running, the passers by turning to look at
him, he ran against a little old man, and perceived it was Mr. Bows.
"Your very umble servant, sir," said Mr. Bows, making a sarcastic bow,
and lifting his old hat from his forehead.
"I wish you a good day," Arthur answered sulkily. "Don't let me detain
you, or give you the trouble to follow me again. I am in a hurry, sir.
Bows thought Pen had some reason for hurrying to his rooms. "Where are
they?" exclaimed the old gentleman. "You know whom I mean. They're not
in your rooms, sir, are they? They told Bolton they were going to
church at the Temple: they weren't there. They are in your chambers:
they mustn't stay in your chambers, Mr. Pendennis."
"Damn it, sir!" cried out Pendennis, fiercely. "Come and see if they
are in my chambers: here's the court and the door--come in and see."
And Bows, taking off his hat and bowing first, followed the young man.
They were not in Pen's chambers, as we know. But when the gardens were
closed, the two women, who had had but a melancholy evening's
amusement, walked away sadly with the children, and they entered into
Lamb-court, and stood under the lamp-post which cheerfully ornaments
the center of that quadrangle, and looked up to the third floor of the
house where Pendennis's chambers were, and where they saw a light
presently kindled. Then this couple of fools went away, the children
dragging wearily after them, and returned to Mr. Bolton, who was
immersed in rum-and-water at his lodge in Shepherd's Inn.
Mr. Bows looked round the blank room which the young man occupied, and
which had received but very few ornaments or additions since the last
time we saw them. Warrington's old book-case and battered library,
Pen's writing-table with its litter of papers presented an aspect
cheerless enough. "Will you like to look in the bedrooms, Mr. Bows,
and see if my victims are there?" he said bitterly; "or whether I have
made away with the little girls, and hid them in the coal-hole?"
"Your word is sufficient, Mr. Pendennis," the other said, in his sad
tone. "You say they are not here, and I know they are not. And I hope
they never have been here, and never will come."
"Upon my word, sir, you are very good, to choose my acquaintances for
me," Arthur said, in a haughty tone; "and to suppose that any body
would be the worse for my society. I remember you, and owe you
kindness from old times, Mr. Bows; or I should speak more angrily than
I do, about a very intolerable sort of persecution to which you seem
inclined to subject me. You followed me out of your inn yesterday, as
if you wanted to watch that I shouldn't steal something." Here Pen
stammered and turned red, directly he had said the words; he felt he
had given the other an opening, which Bows instantly took.
"I do think you came to steal something, as you say the words, sir,"
Bows said. "Do you mean to say that you came to pay a visit to poor
old Bows, the fiddler; or to Mrs. Bolton at the porter's lodge? O fie!
Such a fine gentleman as Arthur Pendennis, Esquire, doesn't condescend
to walk up to my garret, or to sit in a laundress's kitchen, but for
reasons of his own. And my belief is that you came to steal a pretty
girl's heart away, and to ruin it, and to spurn it afterward, Mr.
Arthur Pendennis. That's what the world makes of you young dandies,
you gentlemen of fashion, you high and mighty aristocrats that trample
upon the people. It's sport to you, but what is it, to the poor, think
you the toys of your pleasures, whom you play with and whom you fling
into the streets when you are tired? I know your order, sir. I know
your selfishness, and your arrogance, and your pride. What does it
matter to my lord, that the poor man's daughter is made miserable, and
her family brought to shame? You must have your pleasures, and the
people of course must pay for them. What are we made for, but for
that? It's the way with you all--the way with you all, sir."
Bows was speaking beside the question, and Pen had his advantage here,
which he was not sorry to take--not sorry to put off the debate from
the point upon which his adversary had first engaged it. Arthur broke
out with a sort of laugh, for which he asked Bows's pardon. "Yes, I am
an aristocrat," he said, "in a palace up three pair of stairs, with a
carpet nearly as handsome as yours, Mr. Bows. My life is passed in
grinding the people, is it?--in ruining virgins and robbing the poor?
My good sir, this is very well in a comedy, where Job Thornberry
slaps his breast, and asks my lord how dare he trample on an honest
man and poke out an Englishman's fire-side; but in real life, Mr.
Bows, to a man who has to work for his bread as much as you do--how
can you talk about aristocrats tyrannizing over the people? Have I
ever done you a wrong? or assumed airs of superiority over you? Did
you not have an early regard for me--in days when we were both of us
romantic young fellows, Mr. Bows? Come, don't be angry with me now,
and let us be as good friends as we were before."
"Those days were very different," Mr. Bows answered; "and Mr. Arthur
Pendennis was an honest, impetuous young fellow then; rather selfish
and conceited, perhaps, but honest. And I liked you then, because you
were ready to ruin yourself for a woman."
"And now, sir?" Arthur asked.
"And now times are changed, and you want a woman to ruin herself for
you," Bows answered. "I know this child, sir. I've always said this
lot was hanging over her. She has heated her little brain with novels
until her whole thoughts are about love and lovers, and she scarcely
sees that she treads on a kitchen floor. I have taught the little
thing. She is full of many talents and winning ways, I grant you. I am
fond of the girl, sir. I'm a lonely old man; I lead a life that I
don't like, among boon companions, who make me melancholy. I have but
this child that I care for. Have pity upon me, and don't take her away
from me, Mr. Pendennis--don't take her away."
The old man's voice broke as he spoke, its accents touched Pen, much
more than the menacing or sarcastic tone which Bows had commenced
"Indeed," said he, kindly; "you do me a wrong if you fancy I intend
one to poor little Fanny. I never saw her till Friday night. It was
the merest chance that our friend Costigan threw her into my way. I
have no intentions regarding her--that is--"
"That is, you know very well that she is a foolish girl, and her
mother a foolish woman--that is, you meet her in the Temple Gardens,
and of course, without previous concert, that is, that when I found
her yesterday, reading the book you've wrote, she scorned me," Bows
said. "What am I good for but to be laughed at? a deformed old fellow
like me; an old fiddler, that wears a thread-bare coat, and gets his
bread by playing tunes at an alehouse? You are a fine gentleman, you
are. You wear scent in your handkerchief, and a ring on your finger.
You go to dine with great people. Who ever gives a crust to old Bows?
And yet I might have been as good a man as the best of you. I might
have been a man of genius, if I had had the chance; ay, and have lived
with the master-spirits of the land. But every thing has failed with
me. I'd ambition once, and wrote plays, poems, music--nobody would
give me a hearing. I never loved a woman, but she laughed at me; and
here I am in my old age alone--alone! Don't take this girl from me,
Mr. Pendennis, I say again. Leave her with me a little longer. She was
like a child to me till yesterday. Why did you step in and make her
mock my deformity and old age?"
THE HAPPY VILLAGE AGAIN.
Early in this history, we have had occasion to speak of the little
town of Clavering, near which Pen's paternal home of Fairoaks stood,
and of some of the people who inhabited the place, and as the society
there was by no means amusing or pleasant, our reports concerning it
were not carried to any very great length. Mr. Samuel Huxter, the
gentleman whose acquaintance we lately made at Vauxhall, was one of
the choice spirits of the little town, when he visited it during his
vacations, and enlivened the tables of his friends there, by the wit
of Bartholomew's and the gossip of the fashionable London circles
which he frequented.
Mr. Hobnell, the young gentleman whom Pen had thrashed, in consequence
of the quarrel in the Fotheringay affair, was, while a pupil at the
Grammar-school at Clavering, made very welcome at the tea-table of
Mrs. Huxter, Samuel's mother, and was free of the surgery, where he
knew the way to the tamarind-pots, and could scent his pocket-handkerchief
with rose-water. And it was at this period of his life that he formed an
attachment for Miss Sophy Huxter, whom, on his father's demise, he
married, and took home to his house of the Warren, at a few miles from
The family had possessed and cultivated an estate there for many years
as yeomen and farmers. Mr. Hobnell's father pulled down the old
farm-house; built a flaring new white-washed mansion, with capacious
stables; and a piano in the drawing-room; kept a pack of harriers; and
assumed the title of Squire Hobnell. When he died, and his son reigned
in his stead, the family might be fairly considered to be established
as county gentry. And Sam Huxter, at London, did no great wrong in
boasting about his brother-in-law's place, his hounds, horses, and
hospitality, to his admiring comrades at Bartholomew's. Every year, at
a time commonly when Mrs. Hobnell could not leave the increasing
duties of her nursery, Hobnell came up to London for a lark, had rooms
at the Tavistock, and indulged in the pleasures of the town together.
Ascott, the theaters, Vauxhall, and the convivial taverns in the
joyous neighborhood of Covent Garden, were visited by the vivacious
squire, in company with his learned brother. When he was in London, as
he said, he liked to do as London does, and to "go it a bit," and when
he returned to the west, he took a new bonnet and shawl to Mrs.
Hobnell, and relinquished for country sports and occupations, during
the next eleven months, the elegant amusements of London life.
Sam Huxter kept up a correspondence with his relative, and supplied
him with choice news of the metropolis, in return for the baskets of
hares, partridges, and clouted cream which the squire and his
good-natured wife forwarded to Sam. A youth more brilliant and
distinguished they did not know. He was the life and soul of their
house, when he made his appearance in his native place. His songs,
jokes, and fun kept the Warren in a roar. He had saved their eldest
darling's life, by taking a fish-bone out of her throat; in fine, he
was the delight of their circle.
As ill-luck would have it, Pen again fell in with Mr. Huxter, only
three days after the rencounter at Vauxhall. Faithful to his vow, he
had not been to see little Fanny. He was trying to drive her from his
mind by occupation, or other mental excitement. He labored, though not
to much profit, incessantly in his rooms; and, in his capacity of
critic for the "Pall Mall Gazette," made woeful and savage onslaught
on a poem and a romance which came before him for judgment. These
authors slain, he went to dine alone at the lonely club of the
Polyanthus, where the vast solitudes frightened him, and made him only
the more moody. He had been to more theaters for relaxation. The whole
house was roaring with laughter and applause, and he saw only an
ignoble farce that made him sad. It would have damped the spirits of
the buffoon on the stage to have seen Pen's dismal face. He hardly
knew what was happening; the scene, and the drama passed before him
like a dream or a fever. Then he thought he would go to the
Back-Kitchen, his old haunt with Warrington--he was not a bit sleepy
yet. The day before he had walked twenty miles in search after rest,
over Hampstead Common and Hendon lanes, and had got no sleep at night.
He would go to the Back-Kitchen. It was a sort of comfort to him to
think he should see Bows. Bows was there, very calm, presiding at the
old piano. Some tremendous comic songs were sung, which made the room
crack with laughter. How strange they seemed to Pen! He could only see
Bows. In an extinct volcano, such as he boasted that his breast was,
it was wonderful how he should feel such a flame! Two days' indulgence
had kindled it; two days' abstinence had set it burning in fury. So,
musing upon this, and drinking down one glass after another, as
ill-luck would have it, Arthur's eyes lighted upon Mr. Huxter, who had
been to the theater, like himself, and, with two or three comrades,
now entered the room, Huxter whispered to his companions, greatly to
Pen's annoyance. Arthur felt that the other was talking about him.
Huxter then worked through the room, followed by his friends, and came
and took a place opposite to Pen, nodding familiarly to him, and
holding him out a dirty hand to shake.
Pen shook hands with his fellow townsman. He thought he had been
needlessly savage to him on the last night when they had met. As for
Huxter, perfectly at good humor with himself and the world, it never
entered his mind that he could be disagreeable to any body; and the
little dispute, or "chaff," as he styled it, of Vauxhall, was a trifle
which he did not in the least regard.
The disciple of Galen having called for "four stouts," with which he
and his party refreshed themselves, began to think what would be the
most amusing topic of conversation with Pen, and hit upon that precise
one which was most painful to our young gentleman.
"Jolly night at Vauxhall--wasn't it?" he said, and winked in a very
"I'm glad you liked it," poor Pen said, groaning in spirit.
"I was dev'lish cut--uncommon--been dining with some chaps at
Greenwich. That was a pretty bit of muslin hanging on your arm--who
was she?" asked the fascinating student.
The question was too much for Arthur. "Have I asked you any questions
about yourself, Mr. Huxter?" he said.
"I didn't mean any offense--beg pardon--hang it, you cut up quite
savage," said Pen's astonished interlocutor.
"Do you remember what took place between us the other night?" Pen
asked, with gathering wrath. "You forget? Very probably. You were
tipsy, as you observed just now, and very rude."
"Hang it, sir, I asked your pardon," Huxter said, looking red.
"You did certainly, and it was granted with all my heart, I am sure.
But if you recollect I begged that you would have the goodness to omit
me from the list of your acquaintance for the future; and when we met
in public, that you would not take the trouble to recognize me. Will
you please to remember this hereafter; and as the song is beginning,
permit me to leave you to the unrestrained enjoyment of the music."
He took his hat, and making a bow to the amazed Mr. Huxter, left the
table, as Huxter's comrades, after a pause of wonder, set up such a
roar of laughter at Huxter, as called for the intervention of the
president of the room; who bawled out, "Silence, gentlemen; do have
silence for the Body Snatcher!" which popular song began as Pen left
the Back-Kitchen. He flattered himself that he had commanded his
temper perfectly. He rather wished that Huxter had been pugnacious. He
would have liked to fight him or somebody. He went home. The day's
work, the dinner, the play, the whisky-and-water, the quarrel--
nothing soothed him. He slept no better than on the previous night.
A few days afterward, Mr. Sam Huxter wrote home a letter to Mr.
Hobnell in the country, of which Mr. Arthur Pendennis formed the
principal subject. Sam described Arthur's pursuits in London, and his
confounded insolence of behavior to his old friends from home. He
said he was an abandoned criminal, a regular Don Juan, a fellow who,
when he _did_ come into the country, ought to be kept out of _honest
people's houses_. He had seen him at Vauxhall, dancing with an
innocent girl in the lower ranks of life, of whom he was making a
victim. He had found out from an Irish gentleman (formerly in the
army), who frequented a club of which he, Huxter, was member, who the
girl was, on whom this _conceited humbug_ was practicing his infernal
arts; and he thought he should warn her father, &c., &c.,--the letter
then touched on general news, conveyed the writer's thanks for the
last parcel and the rabbits, and hinted his extreme readiness for
About once a year, as we have stated, there was occasion for a
christening at the Warren, and it happened that this ceremony took
place a day after Hobnell had received the letter of his
brother-in-law in town. The infant (a darling little girl) was
christened Myra-Lucretia, after its two godmothers, Miss Portman and
Mrs. Pybus of Clavering, and as of course Hobnell had communicated
Sam's letter to his wife, Mrs. Hobnell imparted its horrid contents to
her two gossips. A pretty story it was, and prettily it was told
throughout Clavering in the course of that day.
Myra did not--she was too much shocked to do so--speak on the matter
to her mamma, but Mrs. Pybus had no such feelings of reserve. She
talked over the matter not only with Mrs. Portman, but with Mr. and
the Honorable Mrs. Simcoe, with Mrs. Glanders, her daughters being to
that end ordered out of the room, with Madame Fribsby, and, in a word,
with the whole of the Clavering society. Madam Fribsby looking
furtively up at her picture of the dragoon, and inwards into her own
wounded memory, said that men would be men, and as long as they were
men would be deceivers; and she pensively quoted some lines from
Marmion, requesting to know where deceiving lovers should rest? Mrs.
Pybus had no words of hatred, horror, contempt, strong enough for a
villain who could be capable of conduct so base. This was what came of
early indulgence, and insolence, and extravagance, and aristocratic
airs (it is certain that Pen had refused to drink tea with Mrs.
Pybus), and attending the corrupt and horrid parties in the dreadful
modern Babylon! Mrs. Portman was afraid that she must acknowledge that
the mother's fatal partiality had spoiled this boy, that his literary
successes had turned his head, and his horrid passions had made him
forget the principles which Dr. Portman had instilled into him in
early life. Glanders, the atrocious Captain of Dragoons, when informed
of the occurrence by Mrs. Glanders, whistled and made jocular
allusions to it at dinner time; on which Mrs. Glanders called him a
brute, and ordered the girls again out of the room, as the horrid
captain burst out laughing. Mr. Simcoe was calm under the
intelligence; but rather pleased than otherwise; it only served to
confirm the opinion which he had always had of that wretched young
man: not that he knew any thing about him--not that he had read one
line of his dangerous and poisonous works; Heaven forbid that he
should: but what could be expected from such a youth, and such
frightful, such lamentable, such deplorable want of seriousness? Pen
formed the subject for a second sermon at the Clavering chapel of
ease: where the dangers of London, and the crime of reading and
writing novels, were pointed out on a Sunday evening to a large and
warm congregation. They did not wait to hear whether he was guilty or
not. They took his wickedness for granted: and with these admirable
moralists, it was who should fling the stone at poor Pen.
The next day Mrs. Pendennis, alone and almost fainting with emotion
and fatigue, walked or rather ran to Dr. Portman's house, to consult
the good doctor. She had had an anonymous letter; some Christian had
thought it his or her duty to stab the good soul who had never done
mortal a wrong--an anonymous letter with references to Scripture,
pointing out the doom of such sinners, and a detailed account of Pen's
crime. She was in a state of terror and excitement pitiable to
witness. Two or three hours of this pain had aged her already. In her
first moment of agitation she had dropped the letter, and Laura had
read it. Laura blushed when she read it; her whole frame trembled, but
it was with anger. "The cowards," she said. "It isn't true. No,
mother, it isn't true."
"It _is_ true, and you've done it, Laura," cried out Helen fiercely.
"Why did you refuse him when he asked you? Why did you break my heart
and refuse him? It is you who led him into crime. It is you who flung
him into the arms of this--this woman. Don't speak to me. Don't answer
me. I will never forgive you, never. Martha, bring me my bonnet and
shawl. I'll go out. I won't have you come with me. Go away. Leave me,
cruel girl; why have you brought this shame on me?" And bidding her
daughter and her servants keep away from her, she ran down the road to
Doctor Portman, glancing over the letter, thought he knew the hand
writing, and, of course, was already acquainted with the charge made
against poor Pen. Against his own conscience, perhaps (for the worthy
doctor, like most of us, had a considerable natural aptitude for
receiving any report unfavorable to his neighbors), he strove to
console Helen; he pointed out that the slander came from an anonymous
quarter, and therefore must be the work of a rascal; that the charge
might not be true--was not true, most likely--at least, that Pen must
be heard before he was condemned; that the son of such a mother was
not likely to commit such a crime, &c., &c.
Helen at once saw through his feint of objection and denial. "You
think he has done it," she said, "you know you think he has done it,
Oh, why did I ever leave him, Doctor Portman, or suffer him away from
me? But he can't be dishonest--pray God, not dishonest--you don't
think that, do you? Remember his conduct about that other--person
--how madly he was attached to her. He was an honest boy then--he is
now. And I thank God--yes, I fall down on my knees and thank God he
paid Laura. You said he was good--you did yourself. And now--if this
woman loves him--and you know they must--if he has taken her from her
home, or she tempted him, which is most likely-why still, she must be
his wife and my daughter. And he must leave the dreadful world and
come back to me--to his mother, Doctor Portman. Let us go away and
bring him back--yes--bring him back--and there shall be joy for
the--the sinner that repenteth. Let us go now, directly, dear
Helen could say no more. She fell back and fainted. She was carried to
a bed in the house of the pitying doctor, and the surgeon was called
to attend her. She lay all night in an alarming state. Laura came to
her, or to the rectory rather; for she would not see Laura. And Doctor
Portman, still beseeching her to be tranquil, and growing bolder and
more confident of Arthur's innocence as he witnessed the terrible
grief of the poor mother, wrote a letter to Pen warning him of the
rumors that were against him, and earnestly praying that he would
break off and repent of a connection so fatal to his best interests
and his soul's welfare.
And Laura?--was her heart not wrung by the thought of Arthur's crime
and Helen's estrangement? Was it not a bitter blow for the innocent
girl to think that at one stroke she should lose _all_ the love which
she cared for in the world?
WHICH HAD VERY NEARLY BEEN THE LAST OF THE STORY.
Doctor Portman's letter was sent off to its destination in London, and
the worthy clergyman endeavored to sooth down Mrs. Pendennis into some
state of composure until an answer should arrive, which the doctor
tried to think, or, at any rate, persisted in saying, would be
satisfactory as regarded the morality of Mr. Pen. At least Helen's
wish of moving upon London and appearing in person to warn her son of
his wickedness, was impracticable for a day or two. The apothecary
forbade her moving even so far as Fairoaks for the first day, and it
was not until the subsequent morning that she found herself again back
on her sofa at home, with the faithful, though silent Laura, nursing
at her side.
Unluckily for himself and all parties, Pen never read that homily
which Doctor Portman addressed to him, until many weeks after the
epistle had been composed; and day after day, the widow waited for her
son's reply to the charges against him; her own illness increasing
with every day's delay. It was a hard task for Laura to bear the
anxiety; to witness her dearest friend's suffering: worst of all, to
support Helen's estrangement, and the pain caused to her by that
averted affection. But it was the custom of this young lady to the
utmost of her power, and by means of that gracious assistance which
Heaven awarded to her pure and constant prayers, to do her duty. And,
as that duty was performed quite noiselessly--while, the
supplications, which endowed her with the requisite strength for
fulfilling it, also took place in her own chamber, away from all
mortal sight,--we, too, must be perforce silent about these virtues of
hers, which no more bear public talking about, than a flower will bear
to bloom in a ball-room. This only we will say-that a good woman is
the loveliest flower that blooms under Heaven; and that we look with
love and wonder upon its silent grace, its pure fragrance, its
delicate bloom of beauty. Sweet and beautiful!--the fairest and the
most spotless!--is it not pity to see them bowed down or devoured by
Grief or Death inexorable--wasting in disease-pining with long pain-or
cut off by sudden fate in their prime? _We_ may deserve grief--but
why should these be unhappy?--except that we know that Heaven chastens
those whom it loves best; being pleased, by repeated trials, to make
these pure spirits more pure.
So Pen never got the letter, although it was duly posted and
faithfully discharged by the postman into his letter-box in Lamb
Court, and thence carried by the laundress to his writing-table with
the rest of his lordship's correspondence; into which room, have we
not seen a picture of him, entering from his little bedroom adjoining,
as Mrs. Flanagan, his laundress, was in the act of drinking his gin?
Those kind readers who have watched Mr. Arthur's career hitherto, and
have made, as they naturally would do, observations upon the moral
character and peculiarities of their acquaintance, have probably
discovered by this time what was the prevailing fault in Mr. Pen's
disposition, and who was that greatest enemy, artfully indicated in
the title-page, with whom he had to contend. Not a few of us, my
beloved public, have the very same rascal to contend with: a scoundrel
who takes every opportunity of bringing us into mischief, of plunging
us into quarrels, of leading us into idleness and unprofitable
company, and what not. In a word, Pen's greatest enemy was himself:
and as he had been pampering, and coaxing, and indulging that
individual all his life, the rogue grew insolent, as all spoiled
servants will be; and at the slightest attempt to coerce him, or make
him do that which was unpleasant to him, became frantically rude and
unruly. A person who is used to making sacrifices--Laura, for
instance, who had got such a habit of giving up her own pleasure for
others-can do the business quite easily; but Pen, unaccustomed as he
was to any sort of self-denial, suffered woundily when called on to
pay his share, and savagely grumbled at being obliged to forego any
thing he liked.
He had resolved in his mighty mind then that he would not see Fanny;
and he wouldn't. He tried to drive the thoughts of that fascinating
little person out of his head, by constant occupation, by exercise, by
dissipation, and society. He worked, then, too much; he walked and
rode too much; he ate, drank, and smoked too much; nor could all the
cigars and the punch of which he partook drive little Fanny's image
out of his inflamed brain, and at the end of a week of this discipline
and self-denial our young gentleman was in bed with a fever. Let the
reader who has never had a fever in chambers pity the wretch who is
bound to undergo that calamity.
A committee of marriageable ladies, or of any Christian persons
interested in the propagation of the domestic virtues, should employ a
Cruikshank, or a Leech, or some other kindly expositor of the follies
of the day, to make a series of designs representing the horrors of a
bachelor's life in chambers, and leading the beholder to think of
better things, and a more wholesome condition. What can be more
uncomfortable than the bachelor's lonely breakfast?--with the black
kettle in the dreary fire in Midsummer; or, worse still, with the fire
gone out at Christmas, half an hour after the laundress has quitted
the sitting-room? Into this solitude the owner enters shivering, and
has to commence his day by hunting for coals and wood: and before he
begins the work of a student, has to discharge the duties of a
housemaid, vice Mrs. Flanagan, who is absent without leave. Or, again,
what can form a finer subject for the classical designer than the
bachelor's shirt--that garment which he wants to assume just at
dinner-time, and which he finds without any buttons to fasten it? Then
there is the bachelor's return to chambers after a merry Christmas
holiday, spent in a cozy country-house, full of pretty faces, and kind
welcomes and regrets. He leaves his portmanteau at the barber's in the
court: he lights his dismal old candle at the sputtering little lamp
on the stair: he enters the blank familiar room, where the only tokens
to greet him, that show any interest in his personal welfare, are the
Christmas bills, which are lying in wait for him, amicably spread out
on his reading-table. Add to these scenes an appalling picture of
bachelor's illness, and the rents in the Temple will begin to fall
from the day of the publication of the dismal diorama. To be well in
chambers is melancholy, and lonely and selfish enough; but to be ill
in chambers--to pass nights of pain and watchfulness--to long for the
morning and the laundress--to serve yourself your own medicine by your
own watch--to have no other companion for long hours but your own
sickening fancies and fevered thoughts: no kind hand to give you drink
if you are thirsty, or to smooth the hot pillow that crumples under
you--this indeed, is a fate so dismal and tragic, that we shall not
enlarge upon its horrors; and shall only heartily pity those bachelors
in the Temple who brave it every day.
This lot befell Arthur Pendennis after the various excesses which we
have mentioned, and to which he had subjected his unfortunate brains.
One night he went to bed ill, and next the day awoke worse. His only
visitor that day, besides the laundress, was the Printer's Devil, from
the "Pall Mall Gazette Office," whom the writer endeavored, as best he
could, to satisfy. His exertions to complete his work rendered his
fever the greater: he could only furnish a part of the quantity of
"copy" usually supplied by him; and Shandon being absent, and
Warrington not in London to give a help, the political and editorial
columns of the "Gazette" looked very blank indeed; nor did the
sub-editor know how to fill them. Mr. Finucane rushed up to Pen's
Chambers, and found that gentleman so exceedingly unwell, that the
good-natured Irishman set to work to supply his place, if possible,
and produced a series of political and critical compositions, such as
no doubt greatly edified the readers of the periodical in which he and
Pen were concerned. Allusions to the greatness of Ireland, and the
genius and virtue of the inhabitants of that injured country, flowed
magnificently from Finucane's pen; and Shandon, the Chief of the
paper, who was enjoying himself placidly at Boulogne-sur-mer, looking
over the columns of the journal, which was forwarded to him, instantly
recognized the hand of the great sub-editor, and said, laughing, as he
flung over the paper to his wife, "Look here, Mary, my dear, here is
Jack at work again." Indeed, Jack was a warm friend, and a gallant
partisan, and when he had the pen in hand, seldom let slip an
opportunity of letting the world know that Rafferty was the greatest
painter in Europe, and wondering at the petty jealousy of the Academy,
which refused to make him an R. A.: of stating that it was generally
reported at the West End, that Mr. Rooney, M. P. was appointed
Governor of Barataria; or of introducing into the subject in hand,
whatever it might be, a compliment to the Round Towers, or the Giant's
Causeway. And besides doing Pen's work for him, to the best of his
ability, his kind-hearted comrade offered to forego his Saturday's and
Sunday's holiday, and pass those days of holiday and rest as
nurse-tender to Arthur, who, however, insisted, that the other should
not forego his pleasure, and thankfully assured him that he could bear
best his malady alone.
Taking his supper at the Back-Kitchen on the Friday night, after
having achieved the work of the paper, Finucane informed Captain
Costigan of the illness of their young friend in the Temple; and
remembering the fact two days afterward, the captain went to Lamb
Court and paid a visit to the invalid on Sunday afternoon. He found
Mrs. Flanagan, the laundress, in tears in the sitting-room, and got a
bad report of the poor dear young gentleman within. Pen's condition
had so much alarmed her, that she was obliged to have recourse to the
stimulus of brandy to enable her to support the grief which his
illness occasioned. As she hung about his bed, and endeavored to
minister to him, her attentions became intolerable to the invalid, and
he begged her peevishly not to come near him. Hence the laundress's
tears and redoubled grief, and renewed application to the bottle,
which she was accustomed to use as an anodyne. The captain rated the
woman soundly for her intemperance, and pointed out to her the fatal
consequences which must ensue if she persisted in her imprudent
courses. Pen, who was by this time in a very fevered state, was yet
greatly pleased to receive Costigan's visit. He heard the well-known
voice in his sitting-room, as he lay in the bedroom within, and called
the captain eagerly to him, and thanked him for coming, and begged him
to take a chair and talk to him. The captain felt the young man's
pulse with great gravity--(his own tremulous and clammy hand growing
steady for the instant while his finger pressed Arthur's throbbing
vein)--the pulse was beating very fiercely--Pen's face was haggard
and hot--his eyes were bloodshot and gloomy; his "bird," as the
captain pronounced the word, afterward giving a description of his
condition, had not been shaved for nearly a week. Pen made his visitor
sit down, and, tossing and turning in his comfortless bed, began to
try and talk to the captain in a lively manner, about the
Back-Kitchen, about Vauxhall and when they should go again, and about
Fanny--how was little Fanny?
Indeed how was she? We know how she went home very sadly on the
previous Sunday evening, after she had seen Arthur light his lamp in
his chambers, while he was having his interview with Bows. Bows came
back to his own rooms presently, passing by the Lodge door, and
looking into Mrs. Bolton's, according to his wont, as he passed, but
with a very melancholy face. She had another weary night that night.
Her restlessness wakened her little bedfellows more than once. She
daren't read more of Walter Lorraine: Father was at home, and would
suffer no light. She kept the book under her pillow, and felt for it
in the night. She had only just got to sleep, when the children began
to stir with the morning, almost as early as the birds. Though she was
very angry with Bows, she went to his room at her accustomed hour in
the day, and there the good-hearted musician began to talk to her.
"I saw Mr. Pendennis last night, Fanny," he said.
"Did you? I thought you did," Fanny answered, looking fiercely at the
melancholy old gentleman.
"I've been fond of you ever since we came to live in this place," he
continued. "You were a child when I came; and you used to like me,
Fanny, until three or four days ago: until you saw this gentleman."
"And now, I suppose, you are going to say ill of him," said Fanny.
"Do, Mr. Bows--that will make me like you better."
"Indeed I shall do no such thing," Bows answered; "I think he is a
very good and honest young man."
"Indeed, you know that if you said a word against him, I would never
speak a word to you again--never!" cried Miss Fanny; and clenched her
little hand, and paced up and down the room. Bows noted, watched, and
followed the ardent little creature with admiration and gloomy
sympathy. Her cheeks flushed, her frame trembled; her eyes beamed
love, anger, defiance. "You would like to speak ill of him," she said;
"but you daren't--you know you daren't!"
"I knew him many years since," Bows continued, "when he was almost as
young as you are, and he had a romantic attachment for our friend the
captain's daughter--Lady Mirabel that is now."
Fanny laughed. "I suppose there was other people, too, that had a
romantic attachment for Miss Costigan," she said: "I don't want to
hear about 'em."
"He wanted to marry her; but their ages were quite disproportionate:
and their rank in life. She would not have him because he had no
money. She acted very wisely in refusing him; for the two would have
been very unhappy, and she wasn't a fit person to go and live with his
family, or to make his home comfortable. Mr. Pendennis has his way to
make in the world, and must marry a lady of his own rank. A woman who
loves a man will not ruin his prospects, cause him to quarrel with his
family, and lead him into poverty and misery for her gratification. An
honest girl won't do that, for her own sake, or for the man's."
Fanny's emotion, which but now had been that of defiance and anger,
here turned to dismay and supplication. "What do I know about
marrying, Bows?" she said; "When was there any talk of it? What has
there been between this young gentleman and me that's to make people
speak so cruel? It was not my doing; nor Arthur's--Mr. Pendennis's
--that I met him at Vauxhall. It was the captain took me and
ma there. We never thought of nothing wrong, I'm sure. He came and
rescued us, and was so very kind. Then he came to call and ask after
us: and very, very good it was of such a grand gentleman to be so
polite to humble folks like us! And yesterday ma and me just went to
walk in the Temple Gardens, and--and"--here she broke out with that
usual, unanswerable female argument of tears--and cried, "Oh! I wish I
was dead! I wish I was laid in my grave; and had never, never
"He said as much himself, Fanny," Bows said; and Fanny asked through
her sobs, Why, why should he wish he had never seen her? Had she ever
done him any harm? Oh, she would perish rather than do him any harm.
Whereupon the musician informed her of the conversation of the day
previous, showed her that Pen could not and must not think of her as a
wife fitting for him, and that she, as she valued her honest
reputation, must strive too to forget him. And Fanny, leaving the
musician, convinced but still of the same mind, and promising that she
would avoid the danger which menaced her, went back to the Porter's
Lodge, and told her mother all. She talked of her love for Arthur, and
bewailed, in her artless manner, the inequality of their condition,
that set barriers between them. "There's the Lady of Lyons," Fanny
said; "Oh, ma! how I did love Mr. Macready when I saw him do it; and
Pauline, for being faithful to poor Claude, and always thinking of
him; and he coming back to her, an officer, through all his dangers!
And if every body admires Pauline--and I'm sure every body does, for
being so true to a poor man--why should a gentleman be ashamed of
loving a poor girl? Not that Mr. Arthur loves me--Oh, no, no! I ain't
worthy of him; only a princess is worthy of such a gentleman as him.
Such a poet!--writing so beautifully, and looking so grand! I'm sure
he's a nobleman, and of ancient family, and kep out of his estate.
Perhaps his uncle has it. Ah, if I might, oh, how I'd serve him, and
work for him, and slave for him, that I would. I wouldn't ask for more
than that, ma--just to be allowed to see him of a morning; and
sometimes he'd say 'How d'you do, Fanny?' or, 'God bless you Fanny!'
as he said on Sunday. And I'd work, and work; and I'd, sit up all
night, and read, and learn, and make myself worthy of him. The captain
says his mother lives in the country, and is a grand lady there. Oh,
how I wish I might go and be her servant, ma! I can do plenty of
things, and work very neat; and--and sometimes he'd come home, and I
should see him!"
The girl's head fell on her mother's shoulder as she spoke, and she
gave way to a plentiful outpouring of girlish tears, to which the
matron, of course, joined her own. "You mustn't think no more of him,
Fanny," she said. "If he don't come to you, he's a horrid,
"Don't call him so, mother," Fanny replied. "He's the best of men, the
best and the kindest. Bows says he thinks he is unhappy at leaving
poor little Fanny. It wasn't his fault, was it, that we met?--and it
ain't his that I mustn't see him again. He says I mustn't--and I
mustn't, mother. He'll forget me, but I shall never forget him. No!
I'll pray for him, and love him always--until I die--and I shall die,
I know I shall--and then my spirit will always go and be with him."
"You forget your poor mother, Fanny, and you'll break my heart by
goin' on so," Mrs. Bolton said. "Perhaps you will see him. I'm sure
you'll see him. I'm sure he'll come to-day. If ever I saw a man
in love, that man is him. When Emily Budd's young man first came about
her, he was sent away by old Budd, a most respectable man, and
violoncello in the orchestra at the Wells; and his own family wouldn't
hear of it neither. But he came back. We all knew he would. Emily
always said so; and he married her; and this one will come back too;
and you mark a mother's words, and see if he don't, dear."
At this point of the conversation Mr. Bolton entered the Lodge for his
evening meal. At the father's appearance, the talk between mother and
daughter ceased instantly. Mrs. Bolton caressed and cajoled the surly
undertaker's aid-de-camp, and said, "Lor, Mr. B., who'd have thought to
see you away from the Club of a Saturday night. Fanny, dear, get your
pa some supper. What will you have, B.? The poor gurl's got a
gathering in her eye, or somethink in it--_I_ was looking at it
just now as you came in." And she squeezed her daughter's hand as a
signal of prudence and secrecy; and Fanny's tears were dried up
likewise; and by that wondrous hypocrisy and power of disguise which
women practice, and with which weapons of defense nature endows them,
the traces of her emotion disappeared; and she went and took her work,
and sat in the corner so demure and quiet, that the careless male
parent never suspected that any thing ailed her.
Thus, as if fate seemed determined to inflame and increase the poor
child's malady and passion, all circumstances and all parties round
about her urged it on. Her mother encouraged and applauded it; and the
very words which Bows used in endeavoring to repress her flame only
augmented this unlucky fever. Pen was not wicked and a seducer: Pen
was high-minded in wishing to avoid her. Pen loved her: the good and
the great, the magnificent youth, with the chains of gold and the
scented auburn hair! And so he did; or so he would have loved her five
years back, perhaps, before the world had hardened the ardent and
reckless boy--before he was ashamed of a foolish and imprudent
passion, and strangled it as poor women do their illicit children, not
on account of the crime, but of the shame, and from dread that the
finger of the world should point to them.
What respectable person in the world will not say he was quite right
to avoid a marriage with an ill-educated person of low degree, whose
relations a gentleman could not well acknowledge, and whose manners
would not become her new station?--and what philosopher would not tell
him that the best thing to do with these little passions if they
spring up, is to get rid of them, and let them pass over and cure
them: that no man dies about a woman, or vice versâ: and that one or
the other having found the impossibility of gratifying his or her
desire in the particular instance, must make the best of matters,
forget each other, look out elsewhere, and choose again? And yet,
perhaps, there may be something said on the other side. Perhaps Bows
was right in admiring that passion of Pen's, blind and unreasoning as
it was, that made him ready to stake his all for his love; perhaps, if
self-sacrifice is a laudable virtue, mere worldly self-sacrifice is
not very much to be praised;--in fine, let this be a reserved point
to be settled by the individual moralist who chooses to debate it.
So much is certain, that with the experience of the world which Mr.
Pen now had, he would have laughed at and scouted the idea of marrying
a penniless girl out of a kitchen. And this point being fixed in his
mind, he was but doing his duty as an honest man, in crushing any
unlucky fondness which he might feel toward poor little Fanny.
So she waited and waited in hopes that Arthur would come. She waited
for a whole week, and it was at the end of that time that the poor
little creature heard from Costigan of the illness under which Arthur
It chanced on that very evening after Costigan had visited Pen, that
Arthur's uncle, the excellent major, arrived in town from Buxton,
where his health had been mended, and sent his valet Morgan to make
inquiries for Arthur, and to request that gentleman to breakfast with
the major the next morning. The major was merely passing through
London on his way to the Marquis of Steyne's house of Stillbrook,
where he was engaged to shoot partridges.
Morgan came back to his master with a very long face. He had seen Mr.
Arthur; Mr. Arthur was very bad indeed; Mr. Arthur was in bed with a
fever. A doctor ought to be sent to him; and Morgan thought his case
Gracious goodness! this was sad news indeed. He had hoped that Arthur
could come down to Stillbrook: he had arranged that he should go, and
procured an invitation for his nephew from Lord Steyne. He must go
himself; he couldn't throw Lord Steyne over; the fever might be
catching: it might be measles: he had never himself had the measles;
they were dangerous when contracted at his age. Was any body with
Morgan said there was somebody a nussing of Mr. Arthur.
The major then asked, had his nephew taken any advice? Morgan said he
had asked that question, and had been told that Mr. Pendennis had had
Morgan's master was sincerely vexed at hearing of Arthur's calamity.
He would have gone to him, but what good could it do Arthur that he,
the major, should catch a fever? His own ailments rendered it absolutely
impossible that he should attend to any body but himself. But
the young man must have advice--the best advice; and Morgan was
straightway dispatched with a note from Major Pendennis to his friend
Doctor Goodenough, who by good luck happened to be in London and at
home, and who quitted his dinner instantly, and whose carriage was in
half an hour in Upper Temple Lane, near Pen's chambers. The major had
asked the kind-hearted physician to bring him news of his nephew at
the Club where he himself was dining, and in the course of the night
the doctor made his appearance. The affair was very serious: the
patient was in a high fever: he had had Pen bled instantly: and would
see him the first thing in the morning. The major went disconsolate
to bed with this unfortunate news. When Goodenough came to see him
according to his promise the next day, the doctor had to listen for a
quarter of an hour to an account of the major's own maladies, before
the latter had leisure to hear about Arthur.
He had had a very bad night--his--his nurse said; at one hour he had
been delirious. It might end badly: his mother had better be sent for
immediately. The major wrote the letter to Mrs. Pendennis with the
greatest alacrity, and at the same time with the most polite
precautions. As for going himself to the lad, in his state it was
impossible. "Could I be of any use to him, my dear doctor?" he asked.
The doctor, with a peculiar laugh, said, No: he didn't think the major
could be of any use; that his own precious health required the most
delicate treatment, and that he had best go into the country and stay:
that he himself would take care to see the patient twice a day, and do
all in his power for him.
The major declared upon his honor, that if he could be of any use he
would rush to Pen's chambers. As it was, Morgan should go and see that
every thing was right. The doctor must write to him by every post to
Stillbrook; it was but forty miles distant from London, and if any
thing happened he would come up at any sacrifice.
Major Pendennis transacted his benevolence by deputy and by post.
"What else could he do," as he said? "Gad, you know, in these cases,
it's best not disturbing a fellow. If a poor fellow goes to the bad,
why, Gad, you know, he's disposed of. But in order to get well (and in
this, my dear doctor, I'm sure that you will agree with me), the best
way is to keep him quiet--perfectly quiet."
Thus it was the old gentleman tried to satisfy his conscience; and he
went his way that day to Stillbrook by railway (for railways have
sprung up in the course of this narrative, though they have not quite
penetrated into Pen's country yet), and made his appearance in his
usual trim order and curly wig, at the dinner-table of the Marquis of
Steyne. But we must do the major the justice to say, that he was very
unhappy and gloomy in demeanor. Wagg and Wenham rallied him about his
low spirits; asked whether he was crossed in love? and otherwise
diverted themselves at his expense. He lost his money at whist after
dinner, and actually trumped his partner's highest spade. And the
thoughts of the suffering boy, of whom he was proud, and whom he loved
after his manner, kept the old fellow awake half through the night,
and made him feverish and uneasy.
On the morrow he received a note in a handwriting which he did not
know: it was that of Mr. Bows, indeed, saying, that Mr. Arthur
Pendennis had had a tolerable night; and that as Dr. Goodenough had
stated that the major desired to be informed of his nephew's health,
he, R. B., had sent him the news per rail.
The next day he was going out shooting, about noon, with some of the
gentlemen staying at Lord Steyne's house; and the company, waiting
for the carriages, were assembled on the terrace in front of the
house, when a fly drove up from the neighboring station, and a
gray-headed, rather shabby old gentleman, jumped out, and asked for
Major Pendennis? It was Mr. Bows. He took the major aside and spoke to
him; most of the gentlemen round about saw that something serious had
happened, from the alarmed look of the major's face.
Wagg said, "It's a bailiff come down to nab the major;" but nobody
laughed at the pleasantry.
"Hullo! What's the matter, Pendennis?" cried Lord Steyne, with his
strident voice; "any thing wrong?"
"It's--it's my boy that's _dead_," said the major, and burst into a
sob--the old man was quite overcome.
"Not dead, my lord; but very ill when I left London," Mr. Bows said,
in a low voice.
A britzka came up at this moment as the three men were speaking. The
peer looked at his watch. "You've twenty minutes to catch the
mail-train. Jump in, Pendennis; and drive like h--, sir, do
The carriage drove off swiftly with Pendennis and his companions, and
let us trust that the oath will be pardoned to the Marquis of Steyne.
The major drove rapidly from the station to the Temple, and found a
traveling carriage already before him, and blocking up the narrow
Temple Lane. Two ladies got out of it, and were asking their way of
the porters; the major looked by chance at the panel of the carriage,
and saw the worn-out crest of the eagle looking at the sun, and the
motto, "nec tenui pennâ," painted beneath. It was his brother's old
carriage, built many, many years ago. It was Helen and Laura that were
asking their way to poor Pen's room.
He ran up to them; hastily clasped his sister's arm and kissed her
hand; and the three entered into Lamb-court, and mounted the long,
They knocked very gently at the door, on which Arthur's name was
written, and it was opened by Fanny Bolton.
A CRITICAL CHAPTER.
As Fanny saw the two ladies and the anxious countenance of the elder,
who regarded her with a look of inscrutable alarm and terror, the poor
girl at once knew that Pen's mother was before her; there was a
resemblance between the widow's haggard eyes and Arthur's as he tossed
in his bed in fever. Fanny looked wistfully at Mrs. Pendennis and at
Laura afterward; there was no more expression in the latter's face
than if it had been a mass of stone. Hard-heartedness and gloom dwelt
on the figures of both the new comers; neither showed any the faintest
gleam of mercy or sympathy for Fanny. She looked desperately from them
to the major behind them. Old Pendennis dropped his eyelids, looking
up ever so stealthily from under them at Arthur's poor little nurse.
"I--I wrote to you yesterday, if you please, ma'am," Fanny said,
trembling in every limb as she spoke; and as pale as Laura, whose sad
menacing face looked over Mrs. Pendennis's shoulder.
"Did you, madam?" Mrs. Pendennis said, "I suppose I may now relieve
you from nursing my son. I am his mother, you understand."
"Yes, ma'am. I--this is the way to his--O, wait a minute," cried out
Fanny. "I must prepare you for his--"
The widow, whose face had been hopelessly cruel and ruthless, here
started back with a gasp and a little cry, which she speedily
stifled. "He's been so since yesterday," Fanny said, trembling very
much, and with chattering teeth.
A horrid shriek of laughter came out of Pen's room, whereof the door
was open; and, after several shouts, the poor wretch began to sing a
college drinking song, and then to hurra and to shout as if he was in
the midst of a wine party, and to thump with his fist against the
wainscot. He was quite delirious.
"He does not know me, ma'am," Fanny said.
"Indeed. Perhaps he will know his mother; let me pass, if you please,
and go into him." And the widow hastily pushed by little Fanny, and
through the dark passage which led into Pen's sitting-room.
Laura sailed by Fanny, too, without a word; and Major Pendennis
followed them. Fanny sat down on a bench in the passage, and cried,
and prayed as well as she could. She would have died for him; and they