Part 5 out of 9
men with queer little anecdotes and _grivoises_ stories on their
shooting parties, or in their smoking-room, where they laughed at him
and with him. He was obsequious with the ladies of a morning, in the
rooms dedicated to them. He walked the new arrivals about the park and
gardens, and showed them the _carte du pays_, and where there was the
best view of the mansion, and where the most favorable point to look
at the lake: he showed where the timber was to be felled, and where
the old road went before the new bridge was built, and the hill cut
down; and where the place in the wood was where old Lord Lynx
discovered Sir Phelim O'Neal on his knees before her ladyship, &c.
&c.; he called the lodge keepers and gardeners by their names; he knew
the number of domestics that sat down in the housekeeper's room, and
how many dined in the servants' hall; he had a word for every body,
and about every body, and a little against every body. He was
invaluable in a country house, in a word: and richly merited and
enjoyed his vacation after his labors. And perhaps while he was thus
deservedly enjoying himself with his country friends, the major was
not ill-pleased at transferring to Warrington the command of the
family expedition to the Continent, and thus perforce keeping him in
the service of the ladies--a servitude which George was only too
willing to undergo for his friend's sake, and for that of a society
which he found daily more delightful. Warrington was a good German
scholar and was willing to give Miss Laura lessons in the language,
who was very glad to improve herself, though Pen, for his part, was
too weak or lazy now to resume his German studies. Warrington acted as
courier and interpreter; Warrington saw the baggage in and out of
ships, inns, and carriages, managed the money matters, and put the
little troop into marching order. Warrington found out where the
English church was, and, if Mrs. Pendennis and Miss Laura were
inclined to go thither, walked with great decorum along with them.
Warrington walked by Mrs. Pendennis's donkey, when that lady went out
on her evening excursions; or took carriages for her; or got
"Galignani" for her; or devised comfortable seats under the lime trees
for her, when the guests paraded after dinner, and the Kursaal band at
the bath, where our tired friends stopped, performed their pleasant
music under the trees. Many a fine whiskered Prussian or French dandy,
come to the bath for the "_Trente et quarante_" cast glances of
longing toward the pretty, fresh-colored English girl who accompanied
the pale widow, and would have longed to take a turn with her at the
galop or the waltz. But Laura did not appear in the ball-room,
except once or twice, when Pen vouchsafed to walk with her; and as for
Warrington that rough diamond had not had the polish of a dancing
master, and he did not know how to waltz--though he would have liked
to learn, if he could have had such a partner as Laura. Such a
partner! psha, what had a stiff bachelor to do with partners and
waltzing? what was he about, dancing attendance here? drinking in
sweet pleasure at a risk he knows not of what after sadness and
regret, and lonely longing? But yet he staid on. You would have said
he was the widow's son, to watch his constant care and watchfulness of
her; or that he was an adventurer, and wanted to marry her fortune, or
at any rate, that he wanted some very great treasure or benefit from her
--and very likely he did--for ours, as the reader has possibly already
discovered, is a Selfish Story, and almost every person, according to his
nature, more or less generous than George, and according to the way of
the world as it seems to us, is occupied about Number One. So Warrington
selfishly devoted himself to Helen, who selfishly devoted herself to Pen,
who selfishly devoted himself to himself at this present period, having
no other personage or object to occupy him, except, indeed, his mother's
health, which gave him a serious and real disquiet; but though they
sate together, they did not talk much, and the cloud was always
Every day Laura looked for Warrington, and received him with more
frank and eager welcome. He found himself talking to her as he didn't
know himself that he could talk. He found himself performing acts of
gallantry which astounded him after the performance: he found himself
looking blankly in the glass at the crow's-feet round his eyes, and at
some streaks of white in his hair, and some intrusive silver bristles
in his grim, blue beard. He found himself looking at the young bucks
at the bath--at the blond, tight-waisted Germans--at the capering
Frenchmen, with their lackered mustaches and trim varnished boots--at
the English dandies, Pen among them, with their calm domineering air,
and insolent languor: and envied each one of these some excellence or
quality of youth, or good looks which he possessed, and of which
Warrington felt the need. And every night, as the night came, he
quitted the little circle with greater reluctance; and, retiring to
his own lodging in their neighborhood, felt himself the more lonely
and unhappy. The widow could not help seeing his attachment. She
understood, now, why Major Pendennis (always a tacit enemy of her
darling project) had been so eager that Warrington should be of their
party. Laura frankly owned her great, her enthusiastic, regard for
him: and Arthur would make no movement. Arthur did not choose to see
what was going on; or did not care to prevent, or actually encouraged,
it. She remembered his often having said that he could not understand
how a man proposed to a woman twice. She was in torture--at secret
feud with her son, of all objects in the world the dearest to her--in
doubt, which she dared not express to herself, about Laura--averse to
Warrington, the good and generous. No wonder that the healing waters
of Rosenbad did not do her good, or that Doctor von Glauber, the bath
physician, when he came to visit her, found that the poor lady made no
progress to recovery. Meanwhile Pen got well rapidly; slept with
immense perseverance twelve hours out of the twenty-four; ate huge
meals; and, at the end of a couple of months, had almost got back the
bodily strength and weight which he had possessed before his illness.
After they had passed some fifteen days at their place of rest and
refreshment, a letter came from Major Pendennis announcing his speedy
arrival at Rosenbad, and, soon after the letter, the major himself
made his appearance accompanied by Morgan his faithful valet, without
whom the old gentleman could not move. When the major traveled he wore
a jaunty and juvenile traveling costume; to see his back still you
would have taken him for one of the young fellows whose slim waist and
youthful appearance Warrington was beginning to envy. It was not until
the worthy man began to move, that the observer remarked that Time had
weakened his ancient knees, and had unkindly interfered to impede the
action of the natty little varnished boots in which the old traveler
still pinched his toes. There were magnates both of our own country
and of foreign nations present that autumn at Rosenbad. The elder
Pendennis read over the strangers' list with great gratification on
the night of his arrival, was pleased to find several of his
acquaintances among the great folks, and would have the honor of
presenting his nephew to a German Grand Duchess, a Russian Princess,
and an English Marquis, before many days were over: nor was Pen by any
means averse to making the acquaintance of these great personages,
having a liking for polite life, and all the splendors and amenities
belonging to it. That very evening the resolute old gentlemen, leaning
on his nephew's arm, made his appearance in the halls of the Kursaal,
and lost or won a napoleon or two at the table of _Trente et
quarante_. He did not play to lose, he said, or to win, but he did as
other folks did, and betted his napoleon and took his luck as it came.
He pointed out the Russians and Spaniards gambling for heaps of gold,
and denounced their eagerness as something sordid and barbarous; an
English gentleman should play where the fashion is play, but should
not elate or depress himself at the sport; and he told how he had seen
his friend the Marquis of Steyne, when Lord Gaunt, lose eighteen
thousand at a sitting, and break the bank three nights running at
Paris, without ever showing the least emotion at his defeat or
victory--"And that's what I call being an English gentleman, Pen, my
dear boy," the old gentleman said, warming as he prattled about his
recollections--"what I call the great manner only remains with us and
with a few families in France." And as Russian princesses passed him,
whose reputation had long ceased to be doubtful, and damaged English
ladies, who are constantly seen in company of their faithful attendant
for the time being in these gay haunts of dissipation, the old major,
with eager garrulity and mischievous relish told his nephew wonderful
particulars regarding the lives of these heroines; and diverted the
young man with a thousand scandals. Egad, he felt himself quite young
again, he remarked to Pen, as, rouged and grinning, her enormous
chasseur behind her bearing her shawl, the Princess Obstropski smiled
and recognized and accosted him. He remembered her in '14 when she was
an actress of the Paris Boulevard, and the Emperor Alexander's
aid-de-camp Obstropski (a man of great talents, who knew a good deal
about the Emperor Paul's death, and was a devil to play) married her.
He most courteously and respectfully asked leave to call upon the
princess, and to present to her his nephew, Mr. Arthur Pendennis; and
he pointed out to the latter a half-dozen of other personages whose
names were as famous, and whose histories were as edifying. What would
poor Helen have thought, could she have heard those tales, or known to
what kind of people her brother-in-law was presenting her son? Only
once, leaning on Arthur's arm, she had passed through the room where
the green tables were prepared for play, and the croaking croupiers
were calling out their fatal words of _Rouge gagne_ and _Couleur
perd_. She had shrunk terrified out of the pandemonium, imploring Pen,
extorting from him a promise, on his word of honor, that he would
never play at those tables; and the scene which so frightened the
simple widow, only amused the worldly old veteran, and made him young
again! He could breath the air cheerfully which stifled her. Her right
was not his right: his food was her poison. Human creatures are
constituted thus differently, and with this variety the marvelous
world is peopled. To the credit of Mr. Pen, let it be said, that he
kept honestly the promise made to his mother, and stoutly told his
uncle of his intention to abide by it.
When the major arrived, his presence somehow cast a damp upon at least
three persons of our little party--upon Laura, who had any thing but
respect for him; upon Warrington, whose manner toward him showed an
involuntary haughtiness and contempt; and upon the timid and alarmed
widow, who dreaded lest he should interfere with her darling, though
almost desperate projects for her boy. And, indeed, the major, unknown
to himself, was the bearer of tidings which were to bring about a
catastrophe in the affairs of all our friends.
Pen with his two ladies had apartments in the town of Rosenbad; honest
Warrington had lodgings hard by; the major, on arrival at Rosenbad,
had, as befitted his dignity, taken up his quarters at one of the
great hotels, at the Roman Emperor or the Four Seasons, where two or
three hundred gamblers, pleasure-seekers, or invalids, sate down and
over-ate themselves daily at the enormous table d'hote. To this hotel
Pen went on the morning after the major's arrival dutifully to pay his
respects to his uncle, and found the latter's sitting-room duly
prepared and arranged by Mr. Morgan, with the major's hats brushed,
and his coats laid out: his dispatch-boxes and umbrella-cases, his
guide-books, passports, maps, and other elaborate necessaries of the
English traveler, all as trim and ready as they could be in their
master's own room in Jermyn-street. Every thing was ready, from the
medicine-bottle fresh filled from the pharmacien's, down to the old
fellow's prayer-book, without which he never traveled, for he made a
point of appearing at the English church at every place which he
honored with a stay. "Every body did it," he said; "every English
gentleman did it," and this pious man would as soon have thought of
not calling upon the English embassador in a continental town, as of
not showing himself at the national place of worship.
The old gentleman had been to take one of the baths for which Rosenbad
is famous, and which every body takes, and his after-bath toilet was
not yet completed when Pen arrived. The elder called out to Arthur in
a cheery voice from the inner apartment, in which he and Morgan were
engaged, and the valet presently came in, bearing a little packet to
Pen's address--Mr. Arthur's letters and papers, Morgan said, which he
had brought from Mr. Arthur's chambers in London, and which consisted
chiefly of numbers of the "Pall Mall Gazette," which our friend Mr.
Finucane thought his _collaborateur_ would like to see. The papers
were tied together: the letters in an envelope, addressed to Pen, in
the last-named gentleman's handwriting.
Among the letters there was a little note addressed, as a former
letter we have heard of had been, to "Arthur Pendennis, Esquire,"
which Arthur opened with a start and a blush, and read with a very
keen pang of interest, and sorrow, and regard. She had come to
Arthur's house, Fanny Bolton said--and found that he was gone--gone
away to Germany without ever leaving a word for her--or answer to her
last letter, in which she prayed but for one word of kindness--or the
books which he had promised her in happier times, before he was ill,
and which she would like to keep in remembrance of him. She said she
would not reproach those who had found her at his bedside when he was
in the fever, and knew nobody, and who had turned the poor girl away
without a word. She thought she should have died, she said, of that,
but Doctor Goodenough had kindly tended her, and kept her life, when,
perhaps, the keeping of it was of no good, and she forgave every body:
and as for Arthur, she would pray for him forever. And when he was so
ill, and they cut off his hair, she had made so free as to keep one
little lock for herself, and that she owned. And might she still keep
it, or would his mamma order that that should be gave up too? She was
willing to obey him in all things, and couldn't but remember that once
he was so kind, oh! so good and kind! to his poor Fanny. When Major
Pendennis, fresh and smirking from his toilet, came out of his bedroom
to his sitting-room, he found Arthur with this note before him, and an
expression of savage anger on his face, which surprised the elder
gentleman. "What news from London, my boy?" he rather faintly asked;
"are the duns at you that you look so glum?"
"Do you know any thing about this letter, sir?" Arthur asked.
"What letter, my good sir?" said the other drily, at once perceiving
what had happened.
"You know what I mean--about, about Miss--about Fanny Bolton--the
poor dear little girl," Arthur broke out. "When was she in my room?
Was she there when I was delirious--I fancied she was--was she? Who
sent her out of my chambers? Who intercepted her letters to me? Who
dared to do it? Did you do it, uncle?"
"It's not my practice to tamper with gentlemen's letters, or to answer
damned impertinent questions," Major Pendennis cried out, in a great
tremor of emotion and indignation. "There was a girl in your rooms
when I came up at great personal inconveinence, daymy--and to meet
with a return of this kind for my affection to you, is not pleasant,
by Gad, sir--not at all pleasant."
"That's not the question, sir," Arthur said hotly--"and--and, I beg
your pardon, uncle. You were, you always have been, most kind to me:
but I say again, did you say any thing harsh to this poor girl. Did
you send her away from me?"
"I never spoke a word to the girl," the uncle said, "and I never sent
her away from you, and know no more about her, and wish to know no
more about her, than about the man in the moon."
"Then it's my mother that did it," Arthur broke out. "Did my mother
send that poor child away?"
"I repeat I know nothing about it, sir," the elder said testily.
"Let's change the subject, if you please."
"I'll never forgive the person who did it," said Arthur, bouncing up
and seizing his hat.
The major cried out, "Stop, Arthur, for God's sake, stop;" but before
he had uttered his sentence Arthur had rushed out of the room, and at
the next minute the major saw him striding rapidly down the street
that led toward his home.
"Get breakfast!" said the old fellow to Morgan, and he wagged his head
and sighed as he looked out of the window. "Poor Helen--poor soul!
There'll be a row. I knew there would: and begad all the fat's in
When Pen reached home he only found Warrington in the ladies'
drawing-room, waiting their arrival in order to conduct them to the
room where the little English colony at Rosenbad held their Sunday
church. Helen and Laura had not appeared as yet; the former was
ailing, and her daughter was with her. Pen's wrath was so great that
he could not defer expressing it. He flung Fanny's letter across the
table to his friend. "Look there, Warrington," he said; "she tended me
in my illness, she rescued me out of the jaws of death, and this is
the way they have treated the dear little creature. They have kept her
letters from me; they have treated me like a child, and her like a
dog, poor thing! My mother has done this."
"If she has, you must remember it is your mother," Warrington
"It only makes the crime the greater, because it is she who has done
it," Pen answered. "She ought to have been the poor girl's defender,
not her enemy: she ought to go down on her knees and ask pardon of
her. I ought! I will! I am shocked at the cruelty which has been shown
her. What? She gave me her all, and this is her return! She sacrifices
every thing for me, and they spurn her."
"Hush!" said Warrington, "they can hear you from the next room."
"Hear; let them hear!" Pen cried out, only so much the louder. "Those
may overhear my talk who intercept my letters. I say this poor girl
has been shamefully used, and I will do my best to right her; I will."
The door of the neighboring room opened and Laura came forth with pale
and stern face. She looked at Pen with glances from which beamed
pride, defiance, aversion. "Arthur, your mother is very ill," she
said; "it is a pity that you should speak so loud as to disturb her."
"It is a pity that I should have been obliged to speak at all," Pen
answered. "And I have more to say before I have done."
"I should think what you have to say will hardly be fit for me to
hear," Laura said, haughtily.
"You are welcome to hear it or not, as you like," said Mr. Pen. "I
shall go in now and speak to my mother."
Laura came rapidly forward, so that she should not be overheard by her
friend within. "Not now, sir," she said to Pen. "You may kill her if
you do. Your conduct has gone far enough to make her wretched."
"What conduct?" cried out Pen, in a fury. "Who dares impugn it? Who
dares meddle with me? Is it you who are the instigator of this
"I said before it was a subject of which it did not become me to hear
or to speak," Laura said. "But as for mamma, if she had acted
otherwise than she did with regard to--to the person about whom you
seem to take such an interest, it would have been I that must have
quitted your house, and not that--that person."
"By heavens! this is too much," Pen cried out, with a violent
"Perhaps that is what you wished," Laura said, tossing her head up.
"No more of this, if you please; I am not accustomed to hear such
subjects spoken of in such language;" and with a stately courtesy the
young lady passed to her friend's room, looking her adversary full in
the face as she retreated and closed the door upon him.
Pen was bewildered with wonder, perplexity, fury, at this monstrous
and unreasonable persecution. He burst out into a loud and bitter
laugh as Laura quitted him, and with sneers and revilings, as a man
who jeers under an operation, ridiculed at once his own pain and his
persecutor's anger. The laugh, which was one of bitter humor, and no
unmanly or unkindly expression of suffering under most cruel and
unmerited torture, was heard in the next apartment, as some of his
unlucky previous expressions had been, and, like them, entirely
misinterpreted by the hearers. It struck like a dagger into the
wounded and tender heart of Helen; it pierced Laura, and inflamed the
high-spirited girl, with scorn and anger. "And it was to this hardened
libertine," she thought--"to this boaster of low intrigues, that I
had given my heart away." "He breaks the most sacred laws," thought
Helen. "He prefers the creature of his passion to his own mother; and
when he is upbraided, he laughs, and glories in his crime. 'She gave
me her all,' I heard him say it," argued the poor widow; "and he
boasts of it, and laughs, and breaks his mother's heart." The emotion,
the shame, the grief, the mortification almost killed her. She felt
she should die of his unkindness.
Warrington thought of Laura's speech--"Perhaps that is what you
wished." "She loves Pen still," he said. "It was jealousy made her
speak."--"Come away, Pen. Come away, and let us go to church and get
calm. You must explain this matter to your mother. She does not appear
to know the truth: nor do you quite, my good fellow. Come away, and
let us talk about it." And again he muttered to himself, "'Perhaps
that is what you wished.' Yes, she loves him. Why shouldn't she love
him? Whom else would I have her love? What can she be to me but the
dearest, and the fairest, and the best of women?"
So, leaving the women similarly engaged within, the two gentlemen
walked away, each occupied with his own thoughts, and silent for a
considerable space. "I must set this matter right," thought honest
George, "as she loves him still--I must set his mind right about the
other woman." And with this charitable thought, the good fellow began
to tell more at large what Bows had said to him regarding Miss
Bolton's behavior and fickleness, and he described how the girl was no
better than a little light-minded flirt; and, perhaps, he exaggerated
the good humor and contentedness which he had himself, as he thought,
witnessed in her behavior in the scene with Mr. Huxter.
Now, all Bows's statements had been colored by an insane jealousy and
rage on that old man's part; and instead of allaying Pen's renascent
desire to see his little conquest again, Warrington's accounts
inflamed and angered Pendennis, and made him more anxious than before
to set himself right, as he persisted in phrasing it, with Fanny. They
arrived at the church-door presently; but scarce one word of the
service, and not a syllable of Mr. Shamble's sermon, did either of
them comprehend, probably--so much was each engaged with his own
private speculations. The major came up to them after the service,
with his well-brushed hat and wig, and his jauntiest, most cheerful
air. He complimented them upon being seen at church; again he said
that every _comme-il-faut_ person made a point of attending the
English service abroad; and he walked back with the young men,
prattling to them in garrulous good-humor, and making bows to his
acquaintances as they passed; and thinking innocently that Pen and
George were both highly delighted by his anecdotes, which they
suffered to run on in a scornful and silent acquiescence.
At the time of Mr. Shamble's sermon (an erratic Anglican divine hired
for the season at places of English resort, and addicted to debts,
drinking, and even to roulette, it was said), Pen, chafing under the
persecution which his womankind inflicted upon him, had been
meditating a great act of revolt and of justice, as he had worked
himself up to believe; and Warrington on his part had been thinking
that a crisis in his affairs had likewise come, and that it was
necessary for him to break away from a connection which every day made
more and more wretched and dear to him. Yes, the time was come. He
took those fatal words, "Perhaps that is what you wished," as a text
for a gloomy homily, which he preached to himself, in the dark pew of
his own heart, while Mr. Shamble was feebly giving utterance to his
"FAIROAKS TO LET."
Our poor widow (with the assistance of her faithful Martha of
Fairoaks, who laughed and wondered at the German ways, and
superintended the affairs of the simple household) had made a little
feast in honor of Major Pendennis's arrival, of which, however, only
the major and his two younger friends partook, for Helen sent to say
that she was too unwell to dine at their table, and Laura bore her
company. The major talked for the party, and did not perceive, or
choose to perceive, what a gloom and silence pervaded the other two
sharers of the modest dinner. It was evening before Helen and Laura
came into the sitting-room to join the company there. She came in
leaning on Laura, with her back to the waning light, so that Arthur
could not see how palid and woe-stricken her face was, and as she went
up to Pen, whom she had not seen during the day, and placed her fond
arms on his shoulder and kissed him tenderly, Laura left her, and
moved away to another part of the room. Pen remarked that his mother's
voice and her whole frame trembled, her hand was clammy cold as she
put it up to his forehead, piteously embracing him. The spectacle of
her misery only added, somehow, to the wrath and testiness of the
young man. He scarcely returned the kiss which the suffering lady gave
him: and the countenance with which he met the appeal of her look was
hard and cruel. "She persecutes me," he thought within himself, "and
she comes to me with the air of a martyr." "You look very ill, my
child," she said. "I don't like to see you look in that way." And she
tottered to a sofa, still holding one of his passive hands in her
thin, cold, clinging fingers.
"I have had much to annoy me, mother," Pen said with a throbbing
breast: and as he spoke Helen's heart began to beat so, that she sate
almost dead and speechless with terror.
Warrington, Laura, and Major Pendennis, all remained breathless,
aware that a storm was about to break.
"I have had letters from London," Arthur continued, "and one that has
given me more pain than I ever had in my life. It tells me that former
letters of mine have been intercepted and purloined away from me;
that--that a young creature who has shown the greatest love and care
for me, has been most cruelly used by--by you, mother."
"For God's sake stop," cried out Warrington. "She's ill--don't you see
she is ill?"
"Let him go on," said the widow faintly.
"Let him go on and kill her," said Laura, rushing up to her mother's
side. "Speak on, sir, and see her die."
"It is you who are cruel," cried Pen, more exasperated and more
savage, because his own heart, naturally soft and weak, revolted
indignantly at the injustice of the very suffering which was laid at
his door. "It is you that are cruel, who attribute all this pain to
me: it is you who are cruel with your wicked reproaches, your wicked
doubts of me, your wicked persecutions of those who love me--yes,
those who love me, and who brave every thing for me, and whom you
despise and trample upon because they are of lower degree than you.
Shall I tell you what I will do--what I am resolved to do, now that I
know what your conduct has been? I will, go back to this poor girl
whom you turned out of my doors, and ask her to come back and share my
home with me. I'll defy the pride which persecutes her, and the
pitiless suspicion which insults her and me."
"Do you mean, Pen, that you--" here the widow, with eager eyes and
out-stretched hands, was breaking out, but Laura stopped her;
"Silence, hush, dear mother," she cried and the widow hushed. Savagely
as Pen spoke, she was only too eager to hear what more he had to say,
"Go on, Arthur, go on, Arthur," was all she said, almost swooning away
as she spoke.
"By Gad, I say he shan't go on, or I won't hear him, by Gad," the
major said, trembling too in his wrath. "If you choose, sir, after all
we've done for you, after all I've done for you myself, to insult your
mother and disgrace your name, by allying yourself with a low-born
kitchen-girl, go and do it, by Gad, but let us, ma'am have no more to
do with him. I wash my hands of you, sir--I wash my hands of you. I'm
an old fellow--I ain't long for this world. I come of as ancient and
honorable a family as any in England, by Gad, and I did hope, before I
went off the hooks, by Gad, that the fellow that I'd liked, and
brought up, and nursed through life, by Jove, would do something to
show me that our name--yes, the name of Pendennis, by Gad, was left
undishonored behind us, but if he won't, dammy, I say, amen. By G--,
both my father and my brother Jack were the proudest men in England,
and I never would have thought that there would come this disgrace to
my name--never--and--and I'm ashamed that it's Arthur Pendennis." The
old fellow's voice here broke off into a sob: it was a second time
that Arthur had brought tears from those wrinkled lids.
The sound of his breaking voice stayed Pen's anger instantly, and he
stopped pacing the room, as he had been doing until that moment. Laura
was by Helen's sofa; and Warrington had remained hitherto an almost
silent, but not uninterested spectator of the family storm. As the
parties were talking, it had grown almost dark; and after the lull
which succeeded the passionate outbreak of the major, George's deep
voice, as it here broke trembling into the twilight room, was heard
with no small emotion by all.
"Will you let me tell you something about myself, my kind friends?" he
said, "you have been so good to me, ma'am--you have been so kind to
me, Laura--I hope I may call you so sometimes--my dear Pen and I have
been such friends that--that I have long wanted to tell you my story,
such as it is, and would have told it to you earlier but that it is a
sad one, and contains another's secret. However, it may do good for
Arthur to know it--it is right that every one here should. It will
divert you from thinking about a subject, which, out of a fatal
misconception, has caused a great deal of pain to all of you. May I
please tell you, Mrs. Pendennis?"
"Pray speak," was all Helen said; and indeed she was not much heeding;
her mind was full of another idea with which Pen's words had supplied
her, and she was in a terror of hope that what he had hinted might be
as she wished.
George filled himself a bumper of wine and emptied it, and began to
speak. "You all of you know how you see me," he said, "A man without a
desire to make an advance in the world; careless about reputation; and
living in a garret and from hand to mouth, though I have friends and a
name, and I dare say capabilities of my own, that would serve me if I
had a mind. But mind I have none. I shall die in that garret most
likely, and alone. I nailed myself to that doom in early life. Shall I
tell you what it was that interested me about Arthur years ago, and
made me inclined toward him when first I saw him? The men from our
college at Oxbridge brought up accounts of that early affair with the
Chatteris actress, about whom Pen has often talked to me since; and
who, but for the major's generalship, might have been your
daughter-in-law, ma'am. I can't see Pen in the dark, but he blushes,
I'm sure; and I dare say Miss Bell does; and my friend Major
Pendennis, I dare say, laughs as he ought to do--for he won. What
would have been Arthur's lot now had he been tied at nineteen to an
illiterate woman older than himself, with no qualities in common
between them to make one a companion for the other, no equality, no
confidence, and no love speedily? What could he have been but most
miserable? And when he spoke just now and threatened a similar union,
be sure it was but a threat occasioned by anger, which you must give
me leave to say, ma'am, was very natural on his part, for after a
generous and manly conduct--let me say who know the circumstances
well--most generous and manly and self-denying (which is rare with
him)--he has met from some friends of his with a most unkind
suspicion, and has had to complain of the unfair treatment of another
innocent person, toward whom he and you all are under much
The widow was going to get up here, and Warrington, seeing her attempt
to rise, said, "Do I tire you, ma'am?"
"O no--go on--go on," said Helen, delighted, and he continued.
"I liked him, you see, because of that early history of his, which had
come to my ears in college gossip, and because I like a man, if you
will pardon me for saying so, Miss Laura, who shows that he can have a
great unreasonable attachment for a woman. That was why we became
friends--and are all friends here--for always, aren't we?" he added,
in a lower voice, leaning over to her, "and Pen has been a great
comfort and companion to a lonely and unfortunate man.
"I am not complaining of my lot, you see; for no man's is what he
would have it; and up in my garret, where you left the flowers, and
with my old books and my pipe for a wife, I am pretty contented, and
only occasionally envy other men, whose careers in life are more
brilliant, or who can solace their ill fortune by what Fate and my own
fault has deprived me of--the affection of a woman or a child." Here
there came a sigh from somewhere near Warrington in the dark, and a
hand was held out in his direction, which, however, was instantly
withdrawn, for the prudery of our females is such, that before all
expression of feeling, or natural kindness and regard, a woman is
taught to think of herself and the proprieties, and to be ready to
blush at the very slightest notice; and checking, as, of course, it
ought, this spontaneous motion, modesty drew up again, kindly
friendship shrank back ashamed of itself, and Warrington resumed his
history. "My fate is such as I made it, and not lucky for me or for
others involved in it.
"I, too, had an adventure before I went to college; and there was no
one to save me as Major Pendennis saved Pen. Pardon me, Miss Laura, if
I tell this story before you. It is as well that you all of you should
hear my confession. Before I went to college, as a boy of eighteen, I
was at a private tutor's and there, like Arthur, I became attached, or
fancied I was attached, to a woman of a much lower degree and a
greater age than my own. You shrink from me--"
"No I don't," Laura said, and here the hand went out resolutely, and
laid itself in Warrington's. She had divined his story from some
previous hints let fall by him, and his first words at its
"She was a yeoman's daughter in the neighborhood," Warrington said,
with rather a faltering voice, "and I fancied--what all young men
fancy. Her parents knew who my father was, and encouraged me, with all
sorts of coarse artifices and scoundrel flatteries, which I see now,
about their house. To do her justice, I own she never cared for me but
was forced into what happened by the threats and compulsion of her
family. Would to God that I had not been deceived: but in these
matters we are deceived because we wish to be so, and I thought I
loved that poor woman.
"What could come of such a marriage? I found, before long, that I was
married to a boor. She could not comprehend one subject that
interested me. Her dullness palled upon me till I grew to loathe it.
And after some time of a wretched, furtive union--I must tell you all
--I found letters somewhere (and such letters they were!) which showed
me that her heart, such as it was, had never been mine, but had always
belonged to a person of her own degree.
"At my father's death, I paid what debts I had contracted at college,
and settled every shilling which remained to me in an annuity upon--
upon those who bore my name, on condition that they should hide
themselves away, and not assume it. They have kept that condition, as
they would break it, for more money. If I had earned fame or
reputation, that woman would have come to claim it: if I had made a
name for myself, those who had no right to it would have borne it; and
I entered life at twenty, God help me--hopeless and ruined beyond
remission. I was the boyish victim of vulgar cheats, and, perhaps, it
is only of late I have found out how hard--ah, how hard--it is to
forgive them. I told you the moral before, Pen; and now I have told
you the fable. Beware how you marry out of your degree. I was made for
a better lot than this, I think: but God has awarded me this one--and
so, you see, it is for me to look on, and see others successful and
others happy, with a heart that shall be as little bitter as
"By Gad, sir," cried the major, in high good humor, "I intended you to
marry Miss Laura here."
"And, by Gad, Master Shallow, I owe you a thousand pound," Warrington
"How d'ye mean a thousand? it was only a pony, sir," replied the major
simply, at which the other laughed.
As for Helen, she was so delighted, that she started up, and said,
"God bless you--God forever bless you, Mr. Warrington;" and kissed
both his hands, and ran up to Pen, and fell into his arms.
"Yes, dearest mother," he said as he held her to him, and with a noble
tenderness and emotion, embraced and forgave her. "I am innocent, and
my dear, dear mother has done me a wrong."
"Oh, yes, my child, I have wronged you, thank God, I have wronged
you!" Helen whispered. "Come away, Arthur--not here--I want to ask my
child to forgive me--and--and my God, to forgive me; and to bless you,
and love you, my son."
He led her, tottering, into her room, and closed the door, as the
three touched spectators of the reconciliation looked on in pleased
silence. Ever after, ever after, the tender accents of that voice
faltering sweetly at his ear--the look of the sacred eyes beaming with
an affection unutterable--the quiver of the fond lips smiling
mournfully--were remembered by the young man. And at his best moments,
and at his hours of trial and grief, and at his times of success or
well doing, the mother's face looked down upon him, and blessed him
with its gaze of pity and purity, as he saw it in that night when she
yet lingered with him; and when she seemed, ere she quite left him, an
angel, transfigured and glorified with love--for which love, as for
the greatest of the bounties and wonders of God's provision for us,
let us kneel and thank Our Father.
The moon had risen by this time; Arthur recollected well afterward how
it lighted up his mother's sweet pale face. Their talk, or his rather,
for she scarcely could speak, was more tender and confidential than it
had been for years before. He was the frank and generous boy of her
early days and love. He told her the story, the mistake regarding
which had caused her so much pain--his struggles to fly from
temptation, and his thankfulness that he had been able to overcome it.
He never would do the girl wrong, never; or wound his own honor or his
mother's pure heart. The threat that he would return was uttered in a
moment of exasperation, of which he repented. He never would see her
again. But his mother said yes he should; and it was she who had been
proud and culpable--and she would like to give Fanny Bolton
something--and she begged her dear boy's pardon for opening the letter
--and she would write to the young girl, if--if she had time. Poor
thing! was it not natural that she should love her Arthur? And again
she kissed him, and she blessed him.
As they were talking the clock struck nine, and Helen reminded him
how, when he was a little boy, she used to go up to his bedroom at
that hour, and hear him say Our Father. And once more, oh, once more,
the young man fell down at his mother's sacred knees, and sobbed out
the prayer which the Divine Tenderness uttered for us, and which has
been echoed for twenty ages since by millions of sinful and humbled
men. And as he spoke the last words of the supplication, the mother's
head fell down on her boy's, and her arms closed round him, and
together they repeated the words "for ever and ever," and "Amen."
A little time after, it might have been a quarter of an hour, Laura
heard Arthur's voice calling from within, "Laura! Laura!" She rushed
into the room instantly, and found the young man still on his knees
and holding his mother's hand. Helen's head had sunk back and was
quite pale in the moon. Pen looked round, scared with a ghastly terror
"Help, Laura, help!" he said--"she's fainted--she's--"
Laura screamed, and fell by the side of Helen. The shriek brought
Warrington and Major Pendennis and the servants to the room. The
sainted woman was dead. The last emotion of her soul here was joy, to
be henceforth uncheckered and eternal. The tender heart beat no more--
it was to have no more pangs, no more doubts, no more griefs and
trials. Its last throb was love; and Helen's last breath was a
The melancholy party bent their way speedily homewards, and Helen was
laid by her husband's side at Clavering, in the old church where she
had prayed so often. For a while Laura went to stay with Dr. Portman,
who read the service over his dear sister departed, amidst his own
sobs and those of the little congregation which assembled round
Helen's tomb. There were not many who cared for her, or who spoke of
her when gone. Scarcely more than of a nun in a cloister did people
know of that pious and gentle lady. A few words among the cottagers
whom her bounty was accustomed to relieve, a little talk from house to
house, at Clavering, where this lady, told how their neighbor died of
a complaint in the heart; while that speculated upon the amount of
property which the widow had left; and a third wondered whether Arthur
would let Fairoaks or live in it, and expected that he would not be
long getting through his property--this was all, and except with one
or two who cherished her, the kind soul was forgotten by the next
market-day. Would you desire that grief for you should last for a
few more weeks? and does after-life seem less solitary, provided that
our names, when we "go down into silence," are echoing on this side of
the grave yet for a little while, and human voices are still talking
about us? She was gone, the pure soul, whom only two or three loved
and knew. The great blank she left was in Laura's heart, to whom her
love had been every thing, and who had now but to worship her memory.
"I am glad that she gave me her blessing before she went away,"
Warrington said to Pen; and as for Arthur, with a humble
acknowledgment and wonder at so much affection, he hardly dared to ask
of Heaven to make him worthy of it, though he felt that a saint there
was interceding for him.
All the lady's affairs were found in perfect order, and her little
property ready for transmission to her son, in trust for whom she held
it. Papers in her desk showed that she had long been aware of the
complaint, one of the heart, under which she labored, and knew it
would suddenly remove her: and a prayer was found in her hand-writing,
asking that her end might be, as it was, in the arms of her son.
Laura and Arthur talked over her sayings, all of which the former most
fondly remembered, to the young man's shame somewhat, who thought how
much greater her love had been for Helen than his own. He referred
himself entirely to Laura to know what Helen would have wished should
be done; what poor persons she would have liked to relieve; what
legacies or remembrances she would have wished to transmit. They
packed up the vase which Helen in her gratitude had destined to Dr.
Goodenough, and duly sent it to the kind doctor: a silver coffee-pot,
which she used, was sent off to Portman: a diamond ring with her hair,
was given with affectionate greeting to Warrington.
It must have been a hard day for poor Laura when she went over to
Fairoaks first, and to the little room which she had occupied, and
which was hers no more, and to the widow's own blank chamber in which
those two had passed so many beloved hours. There, of course, were the
clothes in the wardrobe, the cushion on which she prayed, the chair at
the toilet: the glass that was no more to reflect her dear sad face.
After she had been here awhile, Pen knocked and led her down stairs to
the parlor again, and made her drink a little wine, and said, "God
bless you," as she touched the glass. "Nothing shall ever be changed
in your room," he said, "it is always your room--it is always my
sister's room. Shall it not be so, Laura?" and Laura said, "Yes!"
Among the widow's papers was found a packet, marked by the widow
"Letters from Laura's father," and which Arthur gave to her. They were
the letters which had passed between the cousins in the early days
before the marriage of, either of them. The ink was faded in which
they were written: the tears dried out that both perhaps had shed over
them: the grief healed now whose bitterness they chronicled: the
friends doubtless united whose parting on earth had caused to both
pangs so cruel. And Laura learned fully now for the first time what
the tie was which had bound her so tenderly to Helen: how faithfully
her more than mother had cherished her father's memory, how truly she
had loved him, how meekly resigned him.
One legacy of his mother's Pen remembered, of which Laura could have
no cognizance. It was that wish of Helen's to make some present to
Fanny Bolton; and Pen wrote to her, putting his letter under an
envelope to Mr. Bows, and requesting that gentleman to read it before
he delivered it to Fanny. "Dear Fanny," Pen said, "I have to
acknowledge two letters from you, one of which was delayed in my
illness," (Pen found the first letter in his mother's desk after her
decease, and the reading it gave him a strange pang), "and to thank
you, my kind nurse and friend, who watched me so tenderly during my
fever. And I have to tell you that the last words of my dear mother,
who is no more, were words of good-will and gratitude to you for
nursing me: and she said she would have written to you had she had
time--that she would like to ask your pardon if she had harshly
treated you--and that she would beg you to show your forgiveness by
accepting some token of friendship and regard from her." Pen concluded
by saying that his friend, George Warrington, Esq., of Lamb-court
Temple, was trustee of a little sum of money, of which the interest
would be paid to her until she became of age, or changed her name,
which would always be affectionately remembered by her grateful
friend, A. Pendennis. The sum was in truth but small, although enough
to make a little heiress of Fanny Bolton, whose parents were appeased,
and whose father said Mr. P. had acted quite as the gentleman--though
Bows growled out that to plaster a wounded heart with a bank-note was
an easy kind of sympathy; and poor Fanny felt only too clearly that
Pen's letter was one of farewell.
"Sending hundred-pound notes to porters' daughters is all dev'lish
well," old Major Pendennis said to his nephew (whom, as the proprietor
of Fairoaks and the head of the family, he now treated with marked
deference and civility), "and as there was a little ready money at the
bank, and your poor mother wished it, there's perhaps no harm done.
But my good lad, I'd have you to remember that you've not above five
hundred a year, though, thanks to me, the world gives you credit for
being a doosid deal better off; and, on my knees, I beg you, my boy,
don't break into your capital. Stick to it, sir; don't speculate with
it, sir; keep your land, and don't borrow on it. Tatham tells me that
the Chatteris branch of the railway may--will almost certainly pass
through Chatteris, and if it can be brought on this side of the Brawl,
sir, and through your fields, they'll be worth a dev'lish deal of
money, and your five hundred a year will jump up to eight or nine.
Whatever it is, keep it, I implore you, keep it. And I say, Pen, I
think you should give up living in those dirty chambers in the Temple
and get a decent lodging. And I should have a man, sir, to wait upon
me; and a horse or two in town in the season. All this will pretty
well swallow up your income, and I know you must live close. But
remember you have a certain place in society, and you can't afford to
cut a poor figure in the world. What are you going to do in the
winter? You don't intend to stay down here, or, I suppose, to go on
writing for that--what-d'ye-call'em--that newspaper?"
"Warrington and I are going abroad again, sir, for a little, and then
we shall see what is to be done," Arthur replied.
"And you'll let Fairoaks, of course? Good school in the neighborhood;
cheap country: dev'lish nice place for East India Colonels or families
wanting to retire. I'll speak about it at the club; there are lots of
fellows at the club want a place of that sort."
"I hope Laura will live in it for the winter, at least, and will make
it her home," Arthur replied: at which the major pish'd, and psha'd,
and said that there ought to be convents, begad, for English ladies,
and wished that Miss Bell had not been there to interfere with the
arrangements of the family, and that she would mope herself to death
alone in that place.
Indeed, it would have been a very dismal abode for poor Laura, who was
not too happy either in Doctor Portman's household, and in the town
where too many things reminded her of the dear parent whom she had
lost. But old Lady Rockminster, who adored her young friend Laura, as
soon as she read in the paper of her loss, and of her presence in the
country, rushed over from Baymouth, where the old lady was staying,
and insisted that Laura should remain six months, twelve months, all
her life with her; and to her ladyship's house, Martha from Fairoaks,
as _femme de chambre_, accompanied her young mistress.
Pen and Warrington saw her depart. It was difficult to say which of
the young men seemed to regard her the most tenderly. "Your cousin is
pert and rather vulgar, my dear, but he seems to have a good heart,"
little Lady Rockminster said, who said her say about every body--"but
I like Bluebeard best. Tell, me is he _touche au coeur?_"
"Mr. Warrington has been long--engaged," Laura said dropping her eyes.
"Nonsense, child! And good heavens, my dear! that's a pretty diamond
cross. What do you mean by wearing it in the morning?"
"Arthur--my brother gave it to me just now. It was--it was--" She
could not finish the sentence. The carriage passed over the bridge,
and by the dear, dear gate of Fairoaks--home no more.
It chanced at that great English festival, at which all London takes a
holiday upon Epsom Downs, that a great number of the personages to
whom we have been introduced in the course of this history, were
assembled to see the Derby. In a comfortable open carriage, which had
been brought to the ground by a pair of horses, might be seen Mrs.
Bungay, of Paternoster-row, attired like Solomon in all his glory, and
having by her side modest Mrs. Shandon, for whom, since the
commencement of their acquaintance, the worthy publisher's lady had
maintained a steady friendship. Bungay, having recreated himself with
a copious luncheon, was madly shying at the sticks hard by, till the
perspiration ran off his bald pate. Shandon was shambling about among
the drinking tents and gipsies: Finucane constant in attendance on the
two ladies, to whom gentlemen of their acquaintance, and connected
with the publishing house, came up to pay a visit.
Among others, Mr. Archer came up to make her his bow, and told Mrs.
Bungay who was on the course. Yonder was the prime minister: his
lordship had just told him to back Borax for the race; but Archer
thought Muffineer the better horse. He pointed out countless dukes and
grandees to the delighted Mrs. Bungay. "Look yonder in the Grand
Stand," he said. "There sits the Chinese embassador with the mandarins
of his suite. Fou-choo-foo brought me over letters of introduction
from the Governor-general of India, my most intimate friend, and I was
for some time very kind to him, and he had his chop-sticks laid for
him at my table whenever he chose to come and dine. But he brought his
own cook with him, and--would you believe it, Mrs. Bungay?--one day,
when I was out, and the embassador was with Mrs. Archer in our garden
eating gooseberries, of which the Chinese are passionately fond, the
beast of a cook, seeing my wife's dear little Blenheim spaniel (that we
had from the Duke of Maryborough himself, whose ancestor's life Mrs.
Archer's great-great-grandfather saved at the battle of Malplaquet),
seized upon the poor little devil, cut his throat, and skinned him,
and served him up stuffed with forced meat in the second course."
"Law!" said Mrs. Bungay.
"You may fancy my wife's agony when she knew what had happened! The
cook came screaming up-stairs, and told us that she had found poor
Fido's skin in the area, just after we had all of us tasted of the
dish! She never would speak to the embassador again--never; and, upon
my word, he has never been to dine with us since. The Lord Mayor, who
did me the honor to dine, liked the dish very much; and, eaten with
green peas, it tastes rather like duck."
"You don't say so, now!" cried the astonished publisher's lady.
"Fact, upon my word. Look at that lady in blue, seated by the
embassador: that is Lady Flamingo, and they say she is going to be
married to him, and return to Pekin with his Excellency. She is
getting her feet squeezed down on purpose. But she'll only cripple
herself, and will never be able to do it--never. My wife has the
smallest foot in England, and wears shoes for a six-year's old child;
but what is that to a Chinese lady's foot, Mrs. Bungay?"
"Who is that carriage as Mr. Pendennis is with, Mr. Archer?" Mrs.
Bungay presently asked. "He and Mr. Warrington was here just now. He's
'aughty in his manners, that Mr. Pendennis, and well he may be, for
I'm told he keeps tip-top company. As he 'ad a large fortune left
him, Mr. Archer? He's in black still, I see."
"Eighteen hundred a year in land, and twenty-two thousand five hundred
in the three-and-a-half per cents.; that's about it," said Mr. Archer.
"Law! why you know every thing Mr. A.!" cried the lady of Paternoster
"I happen to know, because I was called in about poor Mrs. Pendennis's
will," Mr. Archer replied. "Pendennis's uncle, the major, seldom does
any thing without me; and as he is likely to be extravagant we've tied
up the property, so that he can't make ducks and drakes with it. How
do you do, my Lord?--Do you know that gentleman, ladies? You have read
his speeches in the House; it is Lord Rochester."
"Lord Fiddlestick," cried out Finucane, from the box. "Sure it's Tom
Staples, of the Morning Advertiser, Archer."
"Is it?" Archer said, simply. "Well I'm very short-sighted, and upon
my word I thought it was Rochester. That gentleman with the double
opera-glass (another nod) is Lord John; and the tall man with him,
don't you know him? is Sir James."
"You know 'em because you see 'em in the house," growled Finucane.
"I know them because they are kind enough to allow me to call them my
most intimate friends," Archer continued. "Look at the Duke of
Hampshire; what a pattern of a fine old English gentleman! He never
misses 'the Derby.' 'Archer,' he said to me only yesterday, 'I have
been at sixty-five Derbies! appeared on the field for the first time
on a piebald pony when I was seven years old, with my father, the
Prince of Wales, and Colonel Hanger; and only missing two races--one
when I had the measles at Eton, and one in the Waterloo year, when I
was with my friend Wellington in Flanders.'"
"And who is that yellow carriage, with the pink and yellow parasols,
that Mr. Pendennis is talking to, and ever so many gentlemen?" asked
"That is Lady Clavering, of Clavering Park, next estate to my friend
Pendennis. That is the young son and heir upon the box; he's awfully
tipsy, the little scamp! and the young lady is Miss Amory, Lady
Clavering's daughter by a first marriage, and uncommonly sweet upon my
friend Pendennis; but I've reason to think he has his heart fixed
elsewhere. You have heard of young Mr. Foker--the great brewer, Foker,
you know--he was going to hang himself in consequence of a fatal
passion for Miss Amory, who refused him, but was cut down just in time
by his valet, and is now abroad, under a keeper."
"How happy that young fellow is!" sighed Mrs. Bungay. "Who'd have
thought when he came so quiet and demure to dine with us, three or
four years ago, he would turn out such a grand character! Why, I saw
his name at court the other day, and presented by the Marquis of
Steyne and all; and in every party of the nobility his name's down, as
sure as a gun."
"I introduced him a good deal when he first came up to town," Mr.
Archer said, "and his uncle, Major Pendennis, did the rest. Halloo!
There's Cobden here, of all men in the world! I must go and speak to
him. Good-by, Mrs. Bungay. Good morning, Mrs. Shandon."
An hour previous to this time, and at a different part of the course,
there might have been seen an old stage-coach, on the battered roof of
which a crowd of shabby raffs were stamping and hallooing, as the
great event of the day--the Derby race--rushed over the green sward,
and by the shouting millions of people assembled to view that
magnificent scene. This was Wheeler's (the "Harlequin's Head") drag,
which had brought down a company of choice spirits from Bow-street,
with a slap-up luncheon in the "boot." As the whirling race flashed
by, each of the choice spirits bellowed out the name of the horse or
the colors which he thought or he hoped might be foremost. "The
Cornet!" "It's Muffineer!" "It's blue sleeves!'" "Yallow cap! yallow
cap! yallow cap!" and so forth, yelled the gentlemen sportsmen during
that delicious and thrilling minute before the contest was decided;
and as the fluttering signal blew out, showing the number of the
famous horse Podasokus as winner of the race, one of the gentlemen on
the "Harlequin's Head" drag sprang up off the roof, as if he was a
pigeon and about to fly away to London or York with the news.
But his elation did not lift him many inches from his standing-place,
to which he came down again on the instant, causing the boards of the
crazy old coach-roof to crack with the weight of his joy. "Hurrah,
hurrah!" he bawled out, "Podasokus is the horse! Supper for ten
Wheeler, my boy. Ask you all round of course, and damn the expense."
And the gentlemen on the carriage, the shabby swaggerers, the dubious
bucks, said, "Thank you--congratulate you, colonel; sup with you with
pleasure:" and whispered to one another, "The colonel stands to win
fifteen hundred, and he got the odds from a good man, too."
And each of the shabby bucks and dusky dandies began to eye his
neighbor with suspicion, lest that neighbor, taking his advantage,
should get the colonel into a lonely place and borrow money of him.
And the winner on Podasokus could not be alone during the whole of
that afternoon, so closely did his friends watch him and each other.
At another part of the course you might have seen a vehicle, certainly
more modest, if not more shabby than that battered coach which had
brought down the choice spirits from the Harlequin's Head; this was
cab No. 2002, which had conveyed a gentleman and two ladies from the
cab-stand in the Strand: whereof one of the ladies, as she sate on the
box of the cab enjoying with her mamma and their companion a repast of
lobster-salad and bitter ale, looked so fresh and pretty that many of
the splendid young dandies who were strolling about the course, and
enjoying themselves at the noble diversion of sticks, and talking to
the beautifully dressed ladies in the beautiful carriages on the hill,
forsook these fascinations to have a glance at the smiling and
rosy-cheeked lass on the cab. The blushes of youth and good-humor
mantled on the girl's cheeks, and played over that fair countenance
like the pretty shining cloudlets on the serene sky over head; the
elder lady's cheek was red too; but that was a permanent mottled rose,
deepening only as it received fresh draughts of pale ale and
brandy-and-water, until her face emulated the rich shell of the
lobster which she devoured.
The gentleman who escorted these two ladies was most active in
attendance upon them: here on the course, as he had been during the
previous journey. During the whole of that animated and delightful
drive from London, his jokes had never ceased. He spoke up undauntedly
to the most awful drags full of the biggest and most solemn guardsmen;
as to the humblest donkey-chaise in which Bob the dustman was driving
Molly to the race. He had fired astonishing volleys of what is called
"chaff" into endless windows as he passed; into lines of grinning
girls' schools; into little regiments of shouting urchins hurrahing
behind the railings of their classical and commercial academies; into
casements whence smiling maid-servants, and nurses tossing babies, or
demure old maiden ladies with dissenting countenances, were looking.
And the pretty girl in the straw bonnet with pink ribbon, and her
mamma the devourer of lobsters, had both agreed that when he was in
"spirits" there was nothing like that Mr. Sam. He had crammed the cab
with trophies won from the bankrupt proprietors of the sticks hard by,
and with countless pincushions, wooden-apples, backy-boxes,
Jack-in-the-boxes, and little soldiers. He had brought up a gipsy with
a tawny child in her arms to tell the fortunes of the ladies; and the
only cloud which momentarily obscured the sunshine of that happy
party, was when the teller of fate informed the young lady that she
had had reason to beware of a fair man, who was false to her: that she
had had a bad illness, and that she would find that a dark man would
The girl looked very much abashed at this news: her mother and the
young man interchanged signs of wonder and intelligence. Perhaps the
conjuror had used the same words to a hundred different carriages
on that day.
Making his way solitary among the crowd and the carriages, and noting,
according to his wont, the various circumstances and characters which
the animated scene presented, a young friend of ours came suddenly
upon cab 2002, and the little group of persons assembled on the
outside of the vehicle. As he caught sight of the young lady on the
box, she started and turned pale: her mother became redder than ever:
the heretofore gay and triumphant Mr. Sam. immediately assumed a
fierce and suspicious look, and his eyes turned savagely from Fanny
Bolton (whom the reader no doubt, has recognized in the young lady of
the cab) to Arthur Pendennis, advancing to meet her.
Arthur too, looked dark and suspicious on perceiving Mr. Samuel
Huxter in company with his old acquaintances: but his suspicion was
that of alarmed morality, and, I dare say, highly creditable to Mr.
Arthur: like the suspicion of Mrs. Lynx, when she sees Mr. Brown and
Mrs. Jones talking together, or when she remarks Mrs. Lamb twice or
thrice in a handsome opera-box. There _may_ be no harm in the
conversation of Mr. B. and Mrs. J.: and Mrs. Lamb's opera box (though
she notoriously can't afford one) may be honestly come by: but yet a
moralist like Mrs. Lynx has a right to the little precautionary
fright: and Arthur was no doubt justified in adopting that severe
demeanor of his.
Fanny's heart began to patter violently: Huxter's fists, plunged into
the pockets of his paletot, clenched themselves involuntarily, and
armed themselves, as it were, in ambush: Mrs. Bolton began to talk
with all her might, and with a wonderful volubility: and Lor! she was
so 'appy to see Mr. Pendennis, and how well he was a lookin', and we'd
been talkin' about Mr. P. only jest before; hadn't we, Fanny? and if
this was the famous Hepsom races that they talked so much about, she
didn't care, for her part, if she never saw them again. And how was
Major Pendennis, and that kind Mr. Warrington, who brought Mr. P's
great kindness to Fanny; and she never would forget it, never: and Mr.
Warrington was so tall, he almost broke his 'ead up against their
lodge door. You recollect Mr. Warrington a knockin' of his head--don't
While Mrs. Bolton was so discoursing, I wonder how many thousands of
thoughts passed through Fanny's mind, and what dear times, sad
struggles, lonely griefs, and subsequent shame-faced consolations were
recalled to her? What pangs had the poor little thing, as she thought
how much she had loved him, and that she loved him no more? There he
stood, about whom she was going to die ten months since, dandified,
supercilious, with a black crape to his white hat, and jet buttons in
his shirt front: and a pink in his coat, that some one else had
probably given him: with the tightest lavender-colored gloves sewn
with black: and the smallest of canes. And Mr. Huxter wore no gloves,
and great blucher boots, and smelt very much of tobacco certainly; and
looked, oh, it must be owned, he looked as if a bucket of water would
do him a great deal of good! All these thoughts, and a myriad of
others rushed through Fanny's mind as her mamma was delivering herself
of her speech, and as the girl, from under her eyes, surveyed
Pendennis--surveyed him entirely from head to foot, the circle on his
white forehead that his hat left when he lifted it (his beautiful,
beautiful hair had grown again), the trinkets at his watch-chain, the
ring on his hand under his glove, the neat shining boot, so, so unlike
Sam's high-low!--and after her hand had given a little twittering
pressure to the lavender-colored kid grasp which was held out to it,
and after her mother had delivered herself of her speech, all Fanny
could find to say was, "This is Mr. Samuel Huxter whom you knew
formerly, I believe, sir; Mr. Samuel, you know you knew Mr. Pendennis
formerly--and--and--will you take a little refreshment?" These
little words tremulous and uncolored as they were, yet were understood
by Pendennis in such a manner as to take a great load of suspicion
from off his mind--of remorse, perhaps from his heart. The frown on
the countenance of the prince of Fairoaks disappeared, and a
good-natured smile and a knowing twinkle of the eyes illuminated his
highness's countenance. "I am very thirsty," he said, "and I will be
glad to drink your health, Fanny; and I hope Mr. Huxter will pardon me
for having been very rude to him the last time we met, and when I was
so ill and out of spirits, that indeed I scarcely knew what I said."
And herewith the lavender-colored dexter kid-glove was handed out, in
token of amity, to Huxter.
The dirty fist in the young surgeon's pocket was obliged to undouble
itself, and come out of its ambush disarmed. The poor fellow himself
felt, as he laid it in Pen's hand, how hot his own was, and how
black--it left black marks on Pen's gloves; he saw them--he would have
liked to have clenched it again and dashed it into the other's
good-humored face; and have seen, there upon that ground, with Fanny,
with all England looking on, which was the best man--he Sam Huxter of
Bartholomew's, or that grinning dandy.
Pen with ineffable good-humor took a glass--he didn't mind what it
was--he was content to drink after the ladies; and he filled it with
frothing lukewarm beer, which he pronounced to be delicious, and which
he drank cordially to the health of the party.
As he was drinking and talking on in an engaging manner, a young lady
in a shot dove-colored dress, with a white parasol lined with pink,
and the prettiest dove-colored boots that ever stepped, passed by Pen,
leaning on the arm of a stalwart gentleman with a military mustache.
The young lady clenched her little fist, and gave a mischievous
side-look as she passed Pen. He of the mustaches burst out into a
jolly laugh. He had taken off his hat to the ladies of cab No. 2002.
You should have seen Fanny Bolton's eyes watching after the
dove-colored young lady. Immediately Huxter perceived the direction
which they took, they ceased looking after the dove-colored nymph, and
they turned and looked into Sam Huxter's orbs with the most artless
"What a beautiful creature!" Fanny said. "What a lovely dress! Did you
remark, Mr. Sam, such little, little hands?"
"It was Capting Strong," said Mrs. Bolton: "and who was the young
woman, I wonder?"
"A neighbor of mine in the country--Miss Amory," Arthur said--"Lady
Clavering's daughter. You've seen Sir Francis often in Shepherd's Inn,
As he spoke, Fanny built up a perfect romance in three volumes--
love--faithlessness--splendid marriage at St. George's, Hanover-square
--broken-hearted maid--and Sam Huxter was not the hero of that
story--poor Sam, who by this time had got out an exceedingly rank Cuba
cigar, and was smoking it under Fanny's little nose.
After that confounded prig Pendennis joined and left the party the
sun was less bright to Sam Huxter, the sky less blue--the sticks had
no attraction for him--the bitter beer hot and undrinkable--the world
was changed. He had a quantity of peas and a tin pea-shooter in the
pocket of the cab for amusement on the homeward route. He didn't take
them out, and forgot their existence until some other wag, on their
return from the races, fired a volley into Sam's sad face; upon which
salute, after a few oaths indicative of surprise, he burst into a
savage and sardonic laugh.
But Fanny was charming all the way home. She coaxed, and snuggled, and
smiled. She laughed pretty laughs; she admired everything; she took
out the darling little jack-in-the-boxes, and was _so_ obliged to Sam.
And when they got home, and Mr. Huxter, still with darkness on his
countenance, was taking a frigid leave of her--she burst into tears,
and said he was a naughty, unkind thing.
Upon which, with a burst of emotion, almost as emphatic as hers, the
young surgeon held the girl in his arms--swore that she was an angel,
and that he was a jealous brute; owned that he was unworthy of her,
and that he had no right to hate Pendennis; and asked her, implored
her, to say once more that she--
That she what?--The end of the question and Fanny's answer were
pronounced by lips that were so near each other, that no bystander
could hear the words. Mrs. Bolton only said, "Come, come, Mr. H.--no
nonsense, if you please; and I think you've acted like a wicked
wretch, and been most uncommon cruel to Fanny, that I do."
When Arthur left No. 2002, he went to pay his respects to the carriage
to which, and to the side of her mamma, the dove colored author of
_Mes Larmes_ had by this time returned. Indefatigable old Major
Pendennis was in waiting upon Lady Clavering, and had occupied the
back seat in her carriage; the box being in possession of young
Hopeful, under the care of Captain Strong.
A number of dandies, and men of a certain fashion--of military bucks,
of young rakes of the public offices, of those who may be styled men's
men rather than ladies'--had come about the carriage during its
station on the hill--and had exchanged a word or two with Lady
Clavering, and a little talk (a little "chaff" some of the most
elegant of the men styled their conversation) with Miss Amory. They
had offered her sportive bets, and exchanged with her all sorts of
free-talk and knowing innuendoes. They pointed out to her who was on
the course: and the "who" was not always the person a young lady
When Pen came up to Lady Clavering's carriage, he had to push his way
through a crowd of these young bucks who were paying their court to
Miss Amory, in order to arrive as near that young lady, who beckoned
him by many pretty signals to her side.
"Je l'ai vue," she said; "elle a de bien beaux yeux; vous �tes un
"Why monster?" said Pen, with a laugh; "Honi soit qui mal y pense.
My young friend, yonder, is as well protected as any young lady in
Christendom. She has her mamma on one side, her 'pr�tendu' on the
other. Could any harm happen to a girl between those two?"
"One does not know what may or may not arrive," said Miss Blanche. in
French, "when a girl has the mind, and when she is pursued by a wicked
monster like you. Figure to yourself, colonel, that I come to find
monsieur, your nephew, near to a cab, by two ladies, and a man, oh,
such a man! and who ate lobsters, and who laughed, who laughed!"
"It did not strike me that the man laughed," Pen said. "And as for
lobsters, I thought he would have liked to eat me after the lobsters.
He shook hands with me, and griped me so, that he bruised my glove
black and blue. He is a young surgeon. He comes from Clavering. Don't
you remember the gilt pestle and mortar in High-street?"
"If he attends you when you are sick," continued Miss Amory, "he will
kill you. He will serve you right; for you are a monster."
The perpetual recurrence to the word "monster" jarred upon Pen. "She
speaks about these matters a great deal too lightly," he thought. "If
I had been a monster, as she calls it, she would have received me just
the same. This is not the way in which an English lady should speak or
think. Laura would not speak in that way, thank God!" and as he
thought so, his own countenance fell.
"Of what are you thinking? Are you going to _bouder_ me at present?"
Blanche asked. "Major, scold your _m�chant_ nephew. He does not amuse
me at all. He is as _b�te_ as Captain Crackenbury."
"What are you saying about me, Miss Amory?" said the guardsman, with a
grin. "If it's any thing good, say it in English, for I don't
understand French when it's spoke so devilish quick."
"It _ain't_ any thing good, Crack," said Crackenbury's fellow, Captain
Clinker. "Let's come away, and don't spoil sport. They say Pendennis
is sweet upon her."
"I'm told he's a devilish clever fellow," sighed Crackenbury. "Lady
Violet Lebas says he's a devilish clever fellow. He wrote a work, or a
poem, or something; and he writes those devilish clever things in
the--in the papers you know. Dammy, I wish I was a clever
"That's past wishing for, Crack, my boy," the other said. "I can't
write a good book, but I think I can make a pretty good one on the
Derby. What a flat Clavering is! And the Begum! I like that old Begum.
She's worth ten of her daughter. How pleased the old girl was at
winning the lottery!"
"Clavering's safe to pay up, ain't he?" asked Captain Crackenbury. "I
hope so," said his friend; and they disappeared, to enjoy themselves
among the sticks.
Before the end of the day's amusements, many more gentlemen of Lady
Clavering's acquaintance came up to her carriage, and chatted with the
party which it contained. The worthy lady was in high spirits and
good-humor, laughing and talking according to her wont, and offering
refreshments to all her friends, until her ample baskets and bottles
were emptied, and her servants and postillions were in such a royal
state of excitement as servants and postillions commonly are upon the
The major remarked that some of the visitors to the carriage appeared
to look with rather queer and meaning glances toward its owner. "How
easily she takes it!" one man whispered to another. "The Begum's made
of money," the friend replied. "How easily she takes what?" thought
old Pendennis. "Has any body lost any money?" Lady Clavering said she
was happy in the morning because Sir Francis had promised her not
Mr. Welbore, the country neighbor of the Claverings, was passing the
carriage, when he was called back by the Begum, who rallied him for
wishing to cut her. "Why didn't he come before? Why didn't he come to
lunch?" Her ladyship was in great delight, she told him--she told
every body--that she had won five pounds in a lottery. As she conveyed
this piece of intelligence to him, Mr. Welbore looked so particularly
knowing, and withal melancholy, that a dismal apprehension seized upon
Major Pendennis. "He would go and look after the horses and those
rascals of postillions, who were so long in coming round." When he
came back to the carriage, his usually benign and smirking countenance
was obscured by some sorrow. "What is the matter with you now?" the
good-natured Begum asked. The major pretended a headache from the
fatigue and sunshine of the day. The carriage wheeled off the course
and took its way Londonwards, not the least brilliant equipage in that
vast and picturesque procession. The tipsy drivers dashed gallantly
over the turf, amid the admiration of foot-passengers, the ironical
cheers of the little donkey-carriages and spring vans, and the loud
objurgations of horse-and-chaise men, with whom the reckless post-boys
came in contact. The jolly Begum looked the picture of good humor as
she reclined on her splendid cushions; the lovely Sylphide smiled with
languid elegance. Many an honest holiday-maker with his family wadded
into a tax-cart, many a cheap dandy working his way home on his weary
hack, admired that brilliant turn-out, and thought, no doubt, how
happy those "swells" must be. Strong sat on the box still, with a
lordly voice calling to the post-boys and the crowd. Master Frank had
been put inside of the carriage and was asleep there by the side of
the major, dozing away the effects of the constant luncheon and
champagne of which he had freely partaken.
The major was revolving in his mind meanwhile the news the receipt of
which had made him so grave. "If Sir Francis Clavering goes on in this
way," Pendennis the elder thought, "this little tipsy rascal will be
as bankrupt as his father and grandfather before him. The Begum's
fortune can't stand such drains upon it: no fortune can stand them:
she has paid his debts half-a-dozen times already. A few years more of
the turf, and a few coups like this will ruin her."
"Don't you think we could get up races at Clavering, mamma?" Miss
Amory asked. "Yes, we must have them there again. There were races
there in the old times, the good old times. It's a national amusement
you know: and we could have a Clavering ball: and we might have dances
for the tenantry, and rustic sports in the park--Oh, it would he
"Capital fun," said mamma. "Wouldn't it, major?"
"The turf is a very expensive amusement, my dear lady," Major
Pendennis answered, with such a rueful face, that the Begum rallied
him, and asked laughingly whether he had lost money on the race?
After a slumber of about an hour and a half, the heir of the house
began to exhibit symptoms of wakefulness, stretching his youthful arms
over the major's face, and kicking his sister's knees as she sate
opposite to him. When the amiable youth was quite restored to
consciousness, he began a sprightly conversation.
"I say, ma," he said, "I've gone and done it this time, I have." "What
have you gone and done, Franky, dear?" asked mamma. "How much is
seventeen half-crowns?" "Two pound and half-a-crown, ain't it? I drew
Borax in our lottery, but I bought Podasokus and Man-milliner of
Leggat minor for two open tarts and a bottle of ginger beer."
"You little wicked gambling creature, how dare you begin so soon?"
cried Miss Amory.
"Hold _your_ tongue, if you please. Who ever asked _your_ leave,
miss?" the brother said. "And I say, ma--"
"Well, Franky, dear?"
"You'll tip me all the same, you know, when I go back--" and here he
broke out into a laugh. "I say, ma, shall I tell you something?"
The Begum expressed her desire to hear this something, and her son and
"When me and Strong was down at the grand stand after the race, and I
was talking to Leggat minor, who was there with his governor; I saw pa
look as savage as a bear. And I say, ma, Leggat minor told me that he
heard his governor say that pa had lost seven thousand backing the
favorite. I'll never back the favorite when I'm of age. No, no--hang
me if I do: leave me alone, Strong, will you?"
"Captain Strong! Captain Strong! is this true?" cried out the
unfortunate Begum. "Has Sir Francis been betting again? He promised me
he wouldn't. He gave me his word of honor he wouldn't."
Strong, from his place on the box, had overheard the end of young
Clavering's communication, and was trying in vain to stop his
"I'm afraid it's true, ma'am," he said, turning round. "I deplore the
loss as much as you can. He promised me as he promised you; but the
play is too strong for him! he can't refrain from it."
Lady Clavering at this sad news burst into a fit of tears. She
deplored her wretched fate as the most miserable of woman. She
declared she would separate, and pay no more debts for this ungrateful
man. She narrated with tearful volubility a score of stories only too
authentic, which showed how her husband had deceived, and how
constantly she had befriended him: and in this melancholy condition,
while young Hopeful was thinking about the two guineas which he
himself had won; and the major revolving, in his darkened mind,
whether certain plans which he had been forming had better not be
abandoned; the splendid carriage drove up at length to the Begum's
house in Grosvenor-place; the idlers and boys lingering about the
place to witness, according to public wont, the close of the Derby
day, cheering the carriage as it drew up, and envying the happy folks
who descended from it.
"And it's for the son of this man that I am made a beggar!" Blanche
said, quivering with anger, as she walked up stairs leaning on the
major's arm--"for this cheat--for this black-leg--for this liar--for
this robber of women."
"Calm yourself, my dear Miss Blanche," the old gentleman said; "I pray
calm yourself. You have been hardly treated, most unjustly. But
remember that you have always a friend in me; and trust to an old
fellow who will try and serve you."
And the young lady, and the heir of the hopeful house of Clavering,
having retired to their beds, the remaining three of the Epsom party
remained for some time in deep consultation.
Almost a year, as the reader will perceive, has passed since an event
described a few pages back. Arthur's black coat is about to be
exchanged for a blue one. His person has undergone other more pleasing
and remarkable changes. His wig has been laid aside, and his hair,
though somewhat thinner, has returned to public view. And he has had
the honor of appearing at court in the uniform of a cornet of the
Clavering troop of the----shire Yeomanry Cavalry, being presented to
the sovereign by the Marquis of Steyne.
This was a measure strongly and pathetically urged by Arthur's uncle.
The major would not hear of a year passing before this ceremony of
gentlemanhood was gone through. The old gentleman thought that his
nephew should belong to some rather more select club than the
Megatherium; and has announced every where in the world his
disappointment that the young man's property has turned out not by any
means as well as he could have hoped, and is under fifteen hundred
That is the amount at which Pendennis's property is set down in the
world, where his publishers begin to respect him much more than
formerly, and where even mammas are by no means uncivil to him. For if
the pretty daughters are, naturally, to marry people of very different
expectations, at any rate, he will be eligible for the plain ones; and
if the brilliant and fascinating Myra is to hook an earl, poor little
Beatrice, who has one shoulder higher than the other, must hang on to
some boor through life, and why should not Mr. Pendennis be her
support? In the very first winter after the accession to his mother's
fortune, Mrs. Hawxby in a country-house caused her Beatrice to learn
billiards from Mr. Pendennis, and would be driven by nobody but him in
the pony carriage, because he was literary and her Beatrice was
literary too, and declared that the young man, under the instigation
of his horrid old uncle, had behaved most infamously in trifling with
Beatrice's feelings. The truth is, the old gentleman, who knew Mrs.
Hawxby's character, and how desperately that lady would practice upon
unwary young men, had come to the country-house in question and
carried Arthur out of the danger of her immediate claws, though not
out of the reach of her tongue. The elder Pendennis would have had his
nephew pass a part of the Christmas at Clavering, whither the family
had returned; but Arthur had not the heart for that. Clavering was too
near poor old Fairoaks; and that was too full of sad recollections for
the young man.
We have lost sight of the Claverings, too, until their reappearance
upon the Epsom race-ground, and must give a brief account of them in
the interval. During the past year, the world has not treated any
member of the Clavering family very kindly. Lady Clavering, one of the
best-natured women that ever enjoyed a good dinner, or made a slip in
grammar, has had her appetite and good-nature sadly tried by constant
family grievances, and disputes such as make the efforts of the best
French cook unpalatable, and the most delicately-stuffed sofa-cushion
hard to lie on. "I'd rather have a turnip, Strong, for dessert, than
that pineapple, and all them Muscatel grapes, from Clavering," says
poor Lady Clavering, looking at her dinner-table, and confiding her
griefs to her faithful friend, "if I could but have a little quiet to
eat it with. Oh, how much happier I was when I was a widow, and before
all this money fell in to me!"
The Clavering family had indeed made a false start in life, and had
got neither comfort, nor position, nor thanks for the hospitalities
which they administered, nor a return of kindness from the people whom
they entertained. The success of their first London season was
doubtful; and their failure afterward notorious. "Human patience was
not great enough to put up with Sir Francis Clavering," people said.
"He was too hopelessly low, dull, and disreputable. You could not say
what, but there was a taint about the house and its _entourages_. Who
was the Begum, with her money, and without her h's, and where did she
come from? What an extraordinary little piece of conceit the daughter
was, with her Gallicised graces and daring affectations, not fit for
well-bred English girls to associate with! What strange people were
those they assembled round about them! Sir Francis Clavering was a
gambler, living notoriously in the society of blacklegs and
profligates. Hely Clinker, who was in his regiment, said that he not
only cheated at cards, but showed the white feather. What could Lady
Rockminster have meant by taking her up?" After the first season,
indeed, Lady Rockminster, who had taken up Lady Clavering, put her
down; the great ladies would not take their daughters to her parties;
the young men who attended them behaved with the most odious freedom
and scornful familiarity; and poor Lady Clavering herself avowed that
she was obliged to take what she called "the canal" into her parlor,
because the tiptops wouldn't come.
She had not the slightest ill-will toward "the canal," the poor, dear
lady, or any pride about herself, or idea that she was better than her
neighbor; but she had taken implicitly the orders which, on her entry
into the world, her social godmother had given her: she had been
willing to know whom they knew, and ask whom they asked. The "canal,"
in fact, was much pleasanter than what is called "society;" but, as we
said before, that to leave a mistress is easy, while, on the contrary,
to be left by her is cruel; so you may give up society without any
great pang, or any thing but a sensation of relief at the parting; but
severe are the mortifications and pains you have if society gives
One young man of fashion we have mentioned, who at least, it might
have been expected, would have been found faithful among the
faithless, and Harry Foker, Esq., was indeed that young man. But he
had not managed matters with prudence, and the unhappy passion at
first confided to Pen became notorious and ridiculous to the town, was
carried to the ears of his weak and fond mother, and finally brought
under the cognizance of the bald-headed and inflexible Foker senior.
When Mr. Foker learned this disagreeable news, there took place
between him and his son a violent and painful scene which ended in the
poor little gentleman's banishment from England for a year, with a
positive order to return at the expiration of that time and complete
his marriage with his cousin, or to retire into private life and three
hundred a year altogether, and never see parent or brewery more. Mr.
Henry Foker went away, then, carrying with him that grief and care
which passes free at the strictest custom-houses, and which
proverbially accompanies the exile, and with this crape over his eyes,
even the Parisian Boulevard looked melancholy to him, and the sky of
To Sir Francis Clavering, that year was a most unfortunate one. The
events described in the last chapter came to complete the ruin of the
year. It was that year of grace in which, as our sporting readers may
remember, Lord Harrowhill's horse (he was a classical young nobleman,
and named his stud out of the Iliad)--when Podasokus won the "Derby,"
to the dismay of the knowing ones, who pronounced the winning horse's
name in various extraordinary ways, and who backed Borax, who was
nowhere in the race. Sir Francis Clavering, who was intimate with some
of the most rascally characters of the turf, and, of course, had
valuable "information," had laid heavy odds against the winning horse,
and backed the favorite freely, and the result of his dealings was, as
his son correctly stated to poor Lady Clavering, a loss of seven
Indeed, it was a cruel blow upon the lady, who had discharged her
husband's debts many times over; who had received as many times his
oaths and promises of amendment; who had paid his money-lenders and
horse-dealers; who had furnished his town and country houses, and who
was called upon now instantly to meet this enormous sum, the penalty
of her cowardly husband's extravagance. It has been described in
former pages how the elder Pendennis had become the adviser of the
Clavering family, and, in his quality of intimate friend of the house,
had gone over every room of it, and even seen that ugly closet which
we all of us have, and in which, according to the proverb, the family
skeleton is locked up. About the baronet's pecuniary matters, if the
major did not know, it was because Clavering himself did not know
them, and hid them from himself and others in such a hopeless
entanglement of lies that it was impossible for adviser or attorney or
principal to get an accurate knowledge of his affairs. But, concerning
Lady Clavering, the major was much better informed; and when the
unlucky mishap of the "Derby" arose, he took upon himself to become
completely and thoroughly acquainted with all her means, whatsoever
they where; and was now accurately informed of the vast and repeated
sacrifices which the widow Amory had made in behalf of her
He did not conceal--and he had won no small favor from Miss Blanche by
avowing it--his opinion, that Lady Clavering's daughter had been
hardly treated at the expense of her son by her second marriage: and
in his conversations with Lady Clavering had fairly hinted that he
thought Miss Blanche ought to have a better provision. We have said
that he had already given the widow to understand that he knew _all_
the particulars of her early and unfortunate history, having been in
India at the time when--when the painful circumstances occurred which
had ended in her parting from her first husband. He could tell her
where to find the Calcutta newspaper which contained the account of
Amory's trial, and he showed, and the Begum was not a little grateful
to him for his forbearance, how being aware all along of this mishap
which had befallen her, he had kept all knowledge of it to himself,
and been constantly the friend of her family.
"Interested motives, my dear Lady Clavering," he said, "of course I
may have had. We all have interested motives, and mine I don't conceal
from you, was to make a marriage between my nephew and your daughter."
To which Lady Clavering, perhaps with some surprise that the major
should choose her family for a union with his own, said she was quite
willing to consent.
But frankly he said, "My dear lady, my boy has but five hundred a
year, and a wife with ten thousand pounds to her fortune would
scarcely better him. We could do better for him than that, permit me
to say, and he is a shrewd, cautious young fellow who has sown his
wild oats now--who has very good parts and plenty of ambition--and
whose object in marrying is to better himself. If you and Sir Francis
chose--and Sir Francis, take my word for it, will refuse you
nothing--you could put Arthur in a way to advance very considerably in
the world, and show the stuff which he has in him. Of what use is that
seat in Parliament to Clavering, who scarcely ever shows his face in
the House, or speaks a word there? I'm told by gentlemen who heard my
boy at Oxbridge, that he was famous as an orator, begad!--and once put
his foot into the stirrup and mount him, I've no doubt he won't be the
last of the field ma'am. I've tested the chap, and know him pretty
well, I think. He is much too lazy, and careless, and flighty a
fellow, to make a jog-trot journey, and arrive, as your lawyers do, at
the end of their lives! but give him a start and good friends, and an
opportunity, and take my word for it, he'll make himself a name that
his sons shall be proud of. I don't see any way for a fellow like him
to _parvenir_, but by making a prudent marriage--not with a beggerly
heiress--to sit down for life upon a miserable fifteen hundred a
year--but with somebody whom he can help, and who can help him forward
in the world, and whom he can give a good name and a station in the
country, begad, in return for the advantages which she brings him. It
would be better for you to have a distinguished son-in-law, than to
keep your husband on in Parliament, who's of no good to himself or to
any body else there, and that's, I say, why I've been interested about
you, and offer you what I think a good bargain for both."
"You know I look upon Arthur as one of the family almost now," said
the good-natured Begum; "he comes and goes when he likes; and the more
I think of his dear mother, the more I see there's few people so
good--none so good to me. And I'm sure I cried when I heard of her
death, and would have gone into mourning for her myself, only black
don't become me. And I know who his mother wanted him to marry
--Laura, I mean--whom old Lady Rockminster has taken such a fancy to,
and no wonder. She's a better girl than my girl. I know both, And my
Betsy--Blanche, I mean--ain't been a comfort to me, major. It's Laura
Penn ought to marry."
"Marry on five hundred a year! My dear good soul, you are mad!" Major
Pendennis said. "Think over what I have said to you. Do nothing in
your affairs with that unhappy husband of yours without consulting me;
and remember that old Pendennis is always your friend."
For some time previous, Pen's uncle had held similar language to Miss
Amory. He had pointed out to her the convenience of the match which he
had at heart, and was bound to say, that mutual convenience was of all
things the very best in the world to marry upon--the only thing. "Look
at your love-marriages, my dear young creature. The love-match people
are the most notorious of all for quarreling, afterward; and a girl
who runs away with Jack to Gretna Green, constantly runs away with Tom
to Switzerland afterward. The great point in marriage is for people to
agree to be useful to one another. The lady brings the means, and the
gentleman avails himself of them. My boy's wife brings the horse, and
begad, Pen goes in and wins the plate. That's what I call a sensible
union. A couple like that have something to talk to each other about
when they come together. If you had Cupid himself to talk to--if
Blanche and Pen were Cupid and Psyche, begad--they'd begin to yawn
after a few evenings, if they had nothing but sentiment to speak on."
As for Miss Amory, she was contented enough with Pen as long as there
was nobody better. And how many other young ladies are like
her?--and how many love marriages carry on well to the last?--and how
many sentimental firms do not finish in bankruptcy?--and how many
heroic passions don't dwindle down into despicable indifference, or
end in shameful defeat?
These views of life and philosophy the major was constantly, according
to his custom, inculcating to Pen, whose mind was such that he could
see the right on both sides of many questions, and comprehending the
sentimental life which was quite out of the reach of the honest
major's intelligence, could understand the practical life too, and
accommodate himself, or think he could accommodate himself to it. So
it came to pass that during the spring succeeding his mother's death
he became a good deal under the influence of his uncle's advice, and
domesticated in Lady Clavering's house; and in a measure was accepted
by Miss Amory without being a suitor, and was received without being
engaged. The young people were extremely familiar, without being
particularly sentimental, and met and parted with each other in
perfect good-humor. "And I," thought Pendennis, "am the fellow who
eight years ago had a grand passion, and last year was raging in a
fever about Briseis!"
Yes, it was the same Pendennis, and time had brought to him, as to the
rest of us, its ordinary consequences, consolations, developments. We
alter very little. When we talk of this man or that woman being no
longer the same person whom we remember in youth, and remark (of
course to deplore) changes in our friends, we don't, perhaps,
calculate that circumstance only brings out the latent defect or
quality, and does not create it. The selfish languor and indifference
of to-day's possession is the consequence of the selfish ardor of
yesterday's pursuit: the scorn and weariness which cries _vanitas
vanitatum_ is but the lassitude of the sick appetite palled with
pleasure: the insolence of the successful _parvenu_ is only the
necessary continuance of the career of the needy struggler: our mental
changes are like our gray hairs or our wrinkles--but the fulfillment
of the plan of mortal growth and decay: that which is snow-white now
was glossy black once; that which is sluggish obesity to-day was
boisterous rosy health a few years back; that calm weariness,
benevolent, resigned, and disappointed, was ambition, fierce and
violent, but a few years since, and has only settled into submissive
repose after many a battle and defeat. Lucky he who can bear his
failure so generously, and give up his broken sword to Fate the
Conqueror with a manly and humble heart! Are you not awe-stricken,
you, friendly reader, who, taking the page up for a moment's light
reading, lay it down, perchance, for a graver reflection--to think how
you, who have consummated your success or your disaster, may be
holding marked station, or a hopeless and nameless place, in the
crowds who have passed through how many struggles of defeat, success,
crime, remorse, to yourself only known!--who may have loved and grown
cold, wept and laughed again, how often!--to think how you are the
same, _You_, whom in childhood you remember, before the voyage of life
began? It has been prosperous, and you are riding into port, the
people huzzaing and the guns saluting,--and the lucky captain bows
from the ship's side, and there is a care under the star on his breast
which no body knows of: or you are wrecked, and lashed, hopeless, to a
solitary spar out at sea:--the sinking man and the successful one are
thinking each about home, very likely, and remembering the time when
they were children; alone on the hopeless spar, drowning out of sight;
alone in the midst of the crowd applauding you.
Our good-natured Begum was at first so much enraged at this last
instance of her husband's duplicity and folly, that she refused to
give Sir Francis Clavering any aid in order to meet his debts of
honor, and declared that she would separate from him, and leave him to
the consequences of his incorrigible weakness and waste. After that
fatal day's transactions at the Derby, the unlucky gambler was in such
a condition of mind that he was disposed to avoid every body--alike
his turf-associates with whom he had made debts which he trembled lest
he should not have the means of paying, and his wife, his
long-suffering banker, on whom he reasonably doubted whether he should
be allowed any longer to draw. When Lady Clavering asked the next
morning whether Sir Francis was in the house, she received answer that
he had not returned that night, but had sent a messenger to his valet,
ordering him to forward clothes and letters by the bearer. Strong knew
that he should have a visit or a message from him in the course of
that or the subsequent day, and accordingly got a note beseeching him
to call upon his distracted friend F. C., at Short's Hotel,
Blackfriars, and ask for Mr. Francis there. For the baronet was a
gentleman of that peculiarity of mind that he would rather tell a lie
than not, and always began a contest with fortune by running away and
hiding himself. The boots of Mr. Short's establishment, who carried
Clavering's message to Grosvenor-place, and brought back his
carpet-bag, was instantly aware who was the owner of the bag, and he
imparted his information to the footman who was laying the
breakfast-table, who carried down the news to the servant's hall, who
took it to Mrs. Bonner, my lady's housekeeper and confidential maid,
who carried it to my lady. And thus every single person in the
Grosvenor-place establishment knew that Sir Francis was in hiding,
under the name of Francis, at an inn in the Blackfriar's-road. And Sir
Francis's coachman told the news to other gentlemen's coachmen, who
carried it to their masters, and to the neighboring Tattersall's,
where very gloomy anticipations were formed that Sir Francis Clavering
was about to make a tour in the Levant.
In the course of that day the number of letters addressed to Sir
Francis Clavering, Bart., which found their way to his hall table, was
quite remarkable. The French cook sent in his account to my lady; the
tradesmen who supplied her ladyship's table, and Messrs. Finer and
Gimcrack, the mercers and ornamental dealers, and Madame Crinoline,
the eminent milliner, also forwarded their little bills to her
ladyship in company with Miss Amory's private, and by no means
inconsiderable, account at each establishment.
In the afternoon of the day after the Derby, when Strong (after a
colloquy with his principal at Short's hotel, whom he found crying and
drinking Cura�oa) called to transact business according to his custom
at Grosvenor-place, he found all these suspicious documents ranged in
the baronet's study; and began to open them and examine them with a
Mrs. Bonner, my lady's maid and housekeeper, came down upon him while
engaged in this occupation. Mrs. Bonner, a part of the family, and as
necessary to her mistress as the chevalier was to Sir Francis, was of
course on Lady Clavering's side in the dispute between her and her
husband, and as by duty bound even more angry than her ladyship herself.
"She won't pay if she takes my advice," Mrs. Bonner said. "You'll
please to go back to Sir Francis, Captain--and he lurking about in a
low public-house and don't dare to face his wife like a man;--and say
that we won't pay his debts no longer. We made a man of him, we took
him out of jail (and other folks too perhaps), we've paid his debts
over and over again--we set him up in Parliament and gave him a house
in town and country, and where he don't dare to show his face, the
shabby sneak! We've given him the horse he rides, and the dinner he
eats, and the very clothes he has on his back; and we will give him no
more. Our fortune, such as is left of it, is left to ourselves, and we
wont waste any more of it on this ungrateful man. We'll give him
enough to live upon and leave him, that's what we'll do: and that's
what you may tell him from Susan Bonner."
Susan Bonner's mistress hearing of Strong's arrival sent for him at
this juncture, and the chevalier went up to her ladyship not without
hopes that he should find her more tractable than her factotum Mrs.
Bonner. Many a time before had he pleaded his client's cause with Lady
Clavering and caused her good-nature to relent. He tried again once
more. He painted in dismal colors the situation in which he had found
Sir Francis: and would not answer for any consequences which might
ensue if he could not find means of meeting his engagements. "Kill
hisself," laughed Mrs. Bonner, "kill hisself, will he? Dying's the
best thing he could do." Strong vowed that he had found him with the
razors on the table; but at this, in her turn, Lady Clavering laughed
bitterly. "He'll do himself no harm, as long as there's a shilling
left of which he can rob a poor woman. His life's quite safe, captain:
you may depend upon that. Ah! it was a bad day that ever I set eyes
"He's worse than the first man," cried out my lady's aid-de-camp. "He
was a man, he was--a wild devil, but he had the courage of a
man--whereas this fellow--what's the use of my lady paying his bills,
and selling her diamonds, and forgiving him? He'll be as bad again
next year. The very next chance he has he'll be a cheating of her, and
robbing of her; and her money will go to keep a pack of rogues and
swindlers--I don't mean you, captain--you've been a good friend to us
enough, bating we wish we'd never set eyes on you."
The chevalier saw from the words which Mrs. Bonner had let slip
regarding the diamonds, that the kind Begum was disposed to relent
once more at least, and that there were hopes still for his principal.
"Upon my word, ma'am," he said, with a real feeling of sympathy for
Lady Clavering's troubles, and admiration for her untiring
good-nature, and with a show of enthusiasm which advanced not a little
his graceless patron's cause--"any thing you say against Clavering, or
Mrs. Bonner here cries out against me, is no better than we deserve,
both of us, and it was an unlucky day for you when you saw either. He
has behaved cruelly to you; and if you were not the most generous and
forgiving woman in the world, I know there would be no chance for him.
But you can't let the father of your son be a disgraced man, and send
little Frank into the world with such a stain upon him. Tie him down;
bind him by any promises you like: I vouch for him that he will
"And break 'em," said Mrs. Bonner.
"And keep 'em this time," cried out Strong. "He must keep them. If you
could have seen how he wept, ma'am! 'Oh, Strong,' he said to me, 'it's
not for myself I feel now: it's for my boy--it's for the best woman in
England, whom I have treated basely--I know I have.' He didn't intend
to bet upon this race, ma'am--indeed he didn't. He was cheated into
it: all the ring was taken in. He thought he might make the bet quite
safely, without the least risk. And it will be a lesson to him for all
his life long. To see a man cry--Oh, it's dreadful."
"He don't think much of making my dear missus cry," said Mrs.
Bonner--"poor dear soul!--look if he does, captain."
"If you've the soul of a man, Clavering," Strong said to his
principal, when he recounted this scene to him, "you'll keep your
promise this time: and, so help me Heaven! if you break word with her,
I'll turn against you, and tell all."
"What, all?" cried Mr. Francis, to whom his embassador brought the
news back at Short's hotel, where Strong found the baronet crying and
"Psha! Do you suppose I am a fool?" burst out Strong. "Do you suppose
I could have lived so long in the world, Frank Clavering, with out
having my eyes about me? You know I have but to speak, and you are a
beggar to-morrow. And I am not the only man who knows your secret."
"Who else does?" gasped Clavering.
"Old Pendennis does, or I am very much mistaken. He recognized the man
the first night he saw him, when he came drunk into your house."
"He knows it, does he?" shrieked out Clavering. "Damn him--kill him."
"You'd like to kill us all, wouldn't you old boy?" said Strong, with a
sneer, puffing his cigar.
The baronet dashed his weak hand against his forehead; perhaps the
other had interpreted his wish rightly. "Oh, Strong!" he cried, "if I
dared, I'd put an end to myself, for I'm the d--est miserable dog in
all England. It's that that makes me so wild and reckless. It's that
which makes me take to drink (and he drank, with a trembling hand, a
bumper of his fortifier--the Cura�oa), and to live about with these
thieves. I know they're thieves, every one of em, d--d thieves.
And--and how can I help it?--and I didn't know it, you know--and, by
gad, I'm innocent--and until I saw the d--d scoundrel first, I knew no
more about it than the dead--and I'll fly, and I'll go abroad out of
the reach of the confounded hells, and I'll bury myself in a forest,
by gad! and hang myself up to a tree--and, oh--I'm the most miserable
beggar in all England!" And so with more tears, shrieks, and curses,
the impotent wretch vented his grief and deplored his unhappy fate;
and, in the midst of groans and despair and blasphemy, vowed his
The honored proverb which declares that to be an ill wind which blows
good to nobody, was verified in the case of Sir Francis Clavering, and
another of the occupants of Mr. Strong's chambers in Shepherd's Inn.
The man was "good," by a lucky hap, with whom Colonel Altamont made
his bet; and on the settling day of the Derby--as Captain Clinker, who
was appointed to settle Sir Francis Clavering's book for him (for Lady
Clavering, by the advice of Major Pendennis, would not allow the
baronet to liquidate his own money transactions), paid over the notes
to the baronet's many creditors--Colonel Altamont had the satisfaction
of receiving the odds of thirty to one in fifties, which he had taken
against the winning horse of the day.
Numbers of the colonel's friends were present on the occasion to
congratulate him on his luck--all Altamont's own set, and the gents
who met in the private parlor of the convivial Wheeler, my host of the
Harlequin's Head, came to witness their comrade's good fortune, and
would have liked, with a generous sympathy for success, to share in
it. "Now was the time," Tom Driver had suggested to the colonel, "to
have up the specie ship that was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, with the
three hundred and eighty thousand dollars on board, besides bars and
doubloons." "The Tredyddlums were very low--to be bought for an old
song--never was such an opportunity for buying shares," Mr. Keightley
insinuated; and Jack Holt pressed forward his tobacco-smuggling
scheme, the audacity of which pleased the colonel more than any other
of the speculations proposed to him. Then of the Harlequin's Head
boys: there was Jack Hackstraw, who knew of a pair of horses which the
colonel must buy; Tom Fleet, whose satirical paper, "The Swell,"
wanted but two hundred pounds of capital to be worth a thousand a year
to any man--"with such a power and influence, colonel, you rogue, and
the _entr�e_ of all the green-rooms in London," Tom urged; while
little Moss Abrams entreated the colonel not to listen to these absurd
fellows with their humbugging speculations, but to invest his money in
some good bills which Moss could get for him, and which would return
him fifty per cent, as safe as the Bank of England.
Each and all of these worthies came round the colonel with their
various blandishments; but he had courage enough to resist them, and
to button up his notes in the pocket of his coat, and go home to
Strong, and "sport" the outer door of the chambers. Honest Strong had
given his fellow-lodger good advice about all his acquaintances; and
though, when pressed, he did not mind frankly taking twenty pounds
himself out of the colonel's winnings, Strong was a great deal too
upright to let others cheat him.
He was not a bad fellow when in good fortune, this Altamont. He
ordered a smart livery for Grady, and made poor old Costigan shed
tears of quickly dried gratitude by giving him a five-pound note after
a snug dinner at the Back-Kitchen, and he bought a green shawl for
Mrs. Bolton, and a yellow one for Fanny: the most brilliant
"sacrifices" of a Regent-street haberdasher's window. And a short time