The History of Pendennis, Volume 2 / His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemy

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THE HISTORY OF PENDENNIS.

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

BY WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS ON WOOD BY THE AUTHOR,

IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOLUME II.

1858

CHAPTER

1.—RELATES TO MR. HARRY FOKER’s AFFAIRS

2.—CARRIES THE READER BOTH TO RICHMOND AND GREENWICH
3.—CONTAINS A NOVEL INCIDENT
4.—ALSATIA
5.—IN WHICH THE COLONEL NARRATES SOME OF HIS ADVENTURES
6.—A CHAPTER OF CONVERSATIONS
7.—MISS AMORY’S PARTNERS
8.—MONSEIGNEUR S’AMUSE
9.—A VISIT OF POLITENESS
10.—IN SHEPHERD’S INN
11.—IN OR NEAR THE TEMPLE GARDEN
12.—THE HAPPY VILLAGE AGAIN
13.—WHICH HAD VERY NEARLY BEEN THE LAST OF THE STORY
14.—A CRITICAL CHAPTER
15.—CONVALESCENCE
16.—FANNY’S OCCUPATION’S GONE
17.—IN WHICH FANNY ENGAGES A NEW MEDICAL MAN
18.—FOREIGN GROUND
19.—”FAIROAKS TO LET”
20.—OLD FRIENDS
21.—EXPLANATIONS
22.—CONVERSATIONS
23.—THE WAY OF THE WORLD
24.—WHICH ACCOUNTS PERHAPS FOR CHAPTER XXIII
25.—PHILLIS AND CORYDON
26.—TEMPTATIONS
27.—IN WHICH PEN BEGINS HIS CANVASS
28.—IN WHICH PEN BEGINS TO DOUBT ABOUT HIS ELECTION
29.—IN WHICH THE MAJOR IS BIDDEN TO STAND AND DELIVER
30.—IN WHICH THE MAJOR NEITHER YIELDS HIS MONEY NOR HIS LIFE
31.—IN WHICH PENDENNIS COUNTS HIS EGGS
32.—FIAT JUSTITIA
33.—IN WHICH THE DECKS BEGIN TO CLEAR
34.—MR. AND MRS. SAM HUXTER
35.—SHOWS HOW ARTHUR HAD BETTER HAVE TAKEN A RETURN-TICKET
36.—A CHAPTER OF MATCH-MAKING
37.—EXEUNT OMNES PENDENNIS.

CHAPTER I.

RELATES TO MR. HARRY FOKER’S AFFAIRS.

Since that fatal but delightful night in Grosvenor place, Mr. Harry
Foker’s heart had been in such a state of agitation as you would
hardly have thought so great a philosopher could endure. When we
remember what good advice he had given to Pen in former days, how an
early wisdom and knowledge of the world had manifested itself in the
gifted youth; how a constant course of self-indulgence, such as
becomes a gentleman of his means and expectations, ought by right to
have increased his cynicism, and made him, with every succeeding day
of his life, care less and less for every individual in the world,
with the single exception of Mr. Harry Foker, one may wonder that he
should fall into the mishap to which most of us are subject once or
twice in our lives, and disquiet his great mind about a woman. But
Foker, though early wise, was still a man. He could no more escape the
common lot than Achilles, or Ajax, or Lord Nelson, or Adam our first
father, and now, his time being come, young Harry became a victim to
Love, the All-conqueror.

When he went to the Back Kitchen that night after quitting Arthur
Pendennis at his staircase-door in Lamb-court, the gin-twist and
deviled turkey had no charms for him, the jokes of his companions
fell flatly on his ear; and when Mr. Hodgen, the singer of “The Body
Snatcher,” had a new chant even more dreadful and humorous than that
famous composition, Foker, although he appeared his friend, and said
“Bravo Hodgen,” as common politeness, and his position as one of the
chiefs of the Back Kitchen bound him to do, yet never distinctly heard
one word of the song, which under its title of “The Cat in the
Cupboard,” Hodgen has since rendered so famous. Late and very tired,
he slipped into his private apartments at home and sought the downy
pillow, but his slumbers were disturbed by the fever of his soul, and
the very instant that he woke from his agitated sleep, the image of
Miss Amory presented itself to him, and said, “Here I am, I am your
princess and beauty, you have discovered me, and shall care for
nothing else hereafter.”

Heavens, how stale and distasteful his former pursuits and friendships
appeared to him! He had not been, up to the present time, much
accustomed to the society of females of his own rank in life. When he
spoke of such, he called them “modest women.” That virtue which, let
us hope they possessed, had not hitherto compensated to Mr. Foker for
the absence of more lively qualities which most of his own relatives
did not enjoy, and which he found in Mesdemoiselles, the ladies of the
theater. His mother, though good and tender, did not amuse her boy;
his cousins, the daughters of his maternal uncle, the respectable Earl
of Rosherville, wearied him beyond measure. One was blue, and a
geologist; one was a horsewoman, and smoked cigars; one was
exceedingly Low Church, and had the most heterodox views on religious
matters; at least, so the other said, who was herself of the very
Highest Church faction, and made the cupboard in her room into an
oratory, and fasted on every Friday in the year. Their paternal house
of Drummington, Foker could very seldom be got to visit. He swore he
had rather go to the tread-mill than stay there. He was not much
beloved by the inhabitants. Lord Erith, Lord Rosherville’s heir,
considered his cousin a low person, of deplorably vulgar habits and
manners; while Foker, and with equal reason, voted Erith a prig and a
dullard, the nightcap of the House of Commons, the Speaker’s
opprobrium, the dreariest of philanthropic spouters. Nor could George
Robert, Earl of Gravesend and Rosherville, ever forget that on one
evening when he condescended to play at billiards with his nephew,
that young gentleman poked his lordship in the side with his cue, and
said, “Well, old cock, I’ve seen many a bad stroke in my life, but I
never saw such a bad one as that there.” He played the game out with
angelic sweetness of temper, for Harry was his guest as well as his
nephew; but he was nearly having a fit in the night; and he kept to
his own rooms until young Harry quitted Drummington on his return to
Oxbridge, where the interesting youth was finishing his education at
the time when the occurrence took place. It was an awful blow to the
venerable earl; the circumstance was never alluded to in the family:
he shunned Foker whenever he came to see them in London or in the
country, and could hardly be brought to gasp out a “How d’ye do?” to
the young blasphemer. But he would not break his sister Agnes’s
heart, by banishing Harry from the family altogether; nor, indeed,
could he afford to break with Mr. Foker, senior, between whom and his
lordship there had been many private transactions, producing an
exchange of bank checks from Mr. Foker, and autographs from the earl
himself, with the letters I O U written over his illustrious
signature.

[Illustration]

Besides the four daughters of Lord Gravesend whose various qualities
have been enumerated in the former paragraph, his lordship was blessed
with a fifth girl, the Lady Ann Milton, who, from her earliest years
and nursery, had been destined to a peculiar position in life. It was
ordained between her parents and her aunt, that when Mr. Harry Foker
attained a proper age, Lady Ann should become his wife. The idea had
been familiar to her mind when she yet wore pinafores, and when
Harry, the dirtiest of little boys, used to come back with black eyes
from school to Drummington, or to his father’s house of Logwood, where
Lady Ann lived much with her aunt. Both of the young people coincided
with the arrangement proposed by the elders, without any protests or
difficulty. It no more entered Lady Ann’s mind to question the order
of her father, than it would have entered Esther’s to dispute the
commands of Ahasuerus. The heir-apparent of the house of Foker was
also obedient, for when the old gentleman said, “Harry, your uncle and
I have agreed that when you’re of a proper age, you’ll marry Lady Ann.
She won’t have any money, but she’s good blood, and a good one to look
at, and I shall make you comfortable. If you refuse, you’ll have your
mother’s jointure, and two hundred a year during my life:” Harry, who
knew that his sire, though a man of few words, was yet implicitly to
be trusted, acquiesced at once in the parental decree, and said,
“Well, sir, if Ann’s agreeable, I say ditto. She’s not a
bad-looking girl.”

“And she has the best blood in England, sir. Your mother’s blood, your
own blood, sir,” said the brewer. “There’s nothing like it, sir.”

“Well, sir, as you like it,” Harry replied. “When you want me, please
ring the bell. Only there’s no hurry, and I hope you’ll give us a long
day. I should like to have my fling out before I marry.”

“Fling away, Harry,” answered the benevolent father. “Nobody prevents
you, do they?” And so very little more was said upon this subject, and
Mr. Harry pursued those amusements in life which suited him best; and
hung up a little picture of his cousin in his sitting-room, amidst the
French prints, the favorite actresses and dancers, the racing and
coaching works of art, which suited his taste and formed his gallery.
It was an insignificant little picture, representing a simple round
face with ringlets; and it made, as it must be confessed, a very poor
figure by the side of Mademoiselle Petitot, dancing over a rainbow, or
Mademoiselle Redowa, grinning in red boots and a lancer’s cap.

Being engaged and disposed of, Lady Ann Milton did not go out so much
in the world as her sisters; and often stayed at home in London at the
parental house in Gaunt-square, when her mamma with the other ladies
went abroad. They talked and they danced with one man after another,
and the men came and went, and the stories about them were various.
But there was only this one story about Ann: she was engaged to Harry
Foker: she never was to think about any body else. It was not a very
amusing story.

Well, the instant Foker awoke on the day after Lady Clavering’s
dinner, there was Blanche’s image glaring upon him with its clear gray
eyes, and winning smile. There was her tune ringing in his ears, “Yet
round about the spot, ofttimes I hover, ofttimes I hover,” which poor
Foker began piteously to hum, as he sat up in his bed under the
crimson silken coverlet. Opposite him was a French print, of a Turkish
lady and her Greek lover, surprised by a venerable Ottoman, the
lady’s husband; on the other wall, was a French print of a gentleman
and lady, riding and kissing each other at the full gallop; all round
the chaste bed-room were more French prints, either portraits of gauzy
nymphs of the Opera or lovely illustrations of the novels; or mayhap,
an English chef-d’oeuvre or two, in which Miss Calverley of T. R. E. O.
would be represented in tight pantaloons in her favorite page part; or
Miss Rougemont as Venus; their value enhanced by the signatures of
these ladies, Maria Calverley, or Frederica Rougemont, inscribed
underneath the prints in an exquisite fac-simile. Such were the
pictures in which honest Harry delighted. He was no worse than many of
his neighbors; he was an idle, jovial, kindly fast man about town; and
if his rooms were rather profusely decorated with works of French art,
so that simple Lady Agnes, his mamma, on entering the apartments where
her darling sate enveloped in fragrant clouds of Latakia, was often
bewildered by the novelties which she beheld there, why, it must be
remembered, that he was richer than most young men, and could better
afford to gratify his taste.

A letter from Miss Calverley written in a very dégagé style of
spelling and hand-writing, scrawling freely over the filigree paper,
and commencing by calling Mr. Harry, her dear Hokey-pokey-fokey, lay
on his bed table by his side, amid keys, sovereigns, cigar-cases, and
a bit of verbena, which Miss Amory had given him, and reminding him of
the arrival of the day when he was “to stand that dinner at the
Elefant and Castle, at Richmond, which he had promised;” a card for a
private box at Miss Rougemont’s approaching benefit, a bundle of
tickets for “Ben Budgeon’s night, the North Lancashire Pippin, at
Martin Faunce’s, the Three-corned Hat in St. Martin’s Lane; where
Conkey Sam, Dick the Nailor, and Deadman (the Worcestershire Nobber),
would put on the gloves, and the lovers of the good old British sport
were invited to attend”—these and sundry other memoirs of Mr. Foker’s
pursuits and pleasures lay on the table by his side when he woke.

Ah! how faint all these pleasures seemed now. What did he care for
Conkey Sam or the Worcestershire Nobber? What for the French prints
ogling him from all sides of the room; those regular stunning slap-up
out-and-outers? And Calverley spelling bad, and calling him
Hokey-fokey, confound her impudence! The idea of being engaged to a
dinner at the Elephant and Castle at Richmond, with that old woman
(who was seven and thirty years old, if she was a day), filled his
mind with dreary disgust now, instead of that pleasure which he had
only yesterday expected to find from the entertainment.

When his fond mamma beheld her boy that morning, she remarked on the
pallor of his cheek, and the general gloom of his aspect. “Why do you
go on playing billiards at that wicked Spratt’s?” Lady Agnes asked.
“My dearest child, those billiards will kill you, I’m sure they will.”

“It isn’t the billiards,” Harry said, gloomily. “Then it’s the
dreadful Back Kitchen,” said the Lady Agnes. “I’ve often thought,
d’you know, Harry, of writing to the landlady, and begging that she
would have the kindness to put only very little wine in the negus
which you take, and see that you have your shawl on before you get
into your brougham.”

“Do, ma’am. Mrs. Cutts is a most kind, motherly woman,” Harry said.
“But it isn’t the Back Kitchen, neither,” he added with a
ghastly sigh.

As Lady Agnes never denied her son any thing, and fell into all his
ways with the fondest acquiescence, she was rewarded by a perfect
confidence on young Harry’s part, who never thought to disguise from
her a knowledge of the haunts which he frequented; and, on the
contrary, brought her home choice anecdotes from the clubs and
billiard-rooms, which the simple lady relished, if she did not
understand. “My son goes to Spratt’s,” she would say to her
confidential friends. “All the young men go to Spratt’s after their
balls. It is de rigeur, my dear; and they play billiards as they
used to play macao and hazard in Mr. Fox’s time. Yes, my dear father
often told me that they sate up always until nine o’clock the next
morning with Mr. Fox at Brooks’s, whom I remember at Drummington, when
I was a little girl, in a buff waistcoat and black satin small
clothes. My brother Erith never played as a young man, nor sate up
late—he had no health for it; but my boy must do as every body does,
you know. Yes, and then he often goes to a place called the Back
Kitchen, frequented by all the wits and authors, you know, whom one
does not see in society, but whom it is a great privilege and pleasure
for Harry to meet, and there he hears the questions of the day
discussed; and my dear father often said that it was our duty to
encourage literature, and he had hoped to see the late Dr. Johnson at
Drummington, only Dr. Johnson died. Yes, and Mr. Sheridan came over
and drank a great deal of wine—every body drank a great deal of wine
in those days—and papa’s wine-merchant’s bill was ten times as much
as Erith’s is, who gets it as he wants it from Fortnum and Mason’s,
and doesn’t keep any stock at all.”

“That was an uncommon good dinner we had yesterday, ma’am,” the artful
Harry broke out. “Their clear soup’s better than ours. Moufflet will
put too much taragon into every thing. The suprème de volaille was
very good—uncommon, and the sweets were better than Moufflet’s
sweets. Did you taste the plombière, ma’am and the maraschino jelly?
Stunningly good that maraschino jelly!”

Lady Agnes expressed her agreement in these, as in almost all other
sentiments of her son, who continued the artful conversation, saying,

“Very handsome house that of the Claverings. Furniture, I should say,
got up regardless of expense. Magnificent display of plate, ma’am.”
The lady assented to all these propositions.

“Very nice people the Claverings.”

“Hem!” said Lady Agnes.

“I know what you mean. Lady C. ain’t distangy exactly, but she is very
good-natured.” “O very,” mamma said, who was herself one of the
most good-natured of women.

“And Sir Francis, he don’t talk much before ladies: but after dinner
he comes out uncommon strong, ma’am—a highly agreeable well-informed
man. When will you ask them to dinner? Look out for an early day,
ma’am;” and looking into Lady Agnes’s pocket-book, he chose a day only
a fortnight hence (an age that fortnight seemed to the young
gentleman), when the Claverings were to be invited to Grosvenor-street.

The obedient Lady Agnes wrote the required invitation. She was
accustomed to do so without consulting her husband, who had his own
society and habits, and who left his wife to see her own friends
alone. Harry looked at the card; but there was an omission in the
invitation which did not please him.

“You have not asked Miss Whatdyecallem—Miss Emery, Lady Clavering’s
daughter.”

“O, that little creature!” Lady Agnes cried. “No, I think not, Harry.”

“We must ask Miss Amory,” Foker said. “I—I want to ask Pendennis; and
he’s very sweet upon her. Don’t you think she sings very well, ma’am?”

“I thought her rather forward, and didn’t listen to her singing. She
only sang at you and Mr. Pendennis, it seemed to me. But I will ask
her if you wish, Harry,” and so Miss Amory’s name was written on the
card with her mother’s.

This piece of diplomacy being triumphantly executed, Harry embraced
his fond parent with the utmost affection, and retired to his own
apartments, where he stretched himself on his ottoman, and lay
brooding silently, sighing for the day which was to bring the fair
Miss Amory under his paternal roof, and devising a hundred wild
schemes for meeting her.

On his return from making the grand tour, Mr. Foker, junior, had
brought with him a polyglot valet, who took the place of Stoopid, and
condescended to wait at dinner, attired in shirt fronts of worked
muslin, with many gold studs and chains, upon his master and the
elders of the family. This man, who was of no particular country, and
spoke all languages indifferently ill, made himself useful to Mr.
Harry in a variety of ways—read all the artless youth’s
correspondence, knew his favorite haunts and the addresses of his
acquaintance, and officiated at the private dinners which the young
gentleman gave. As Harry lay upon his sofa after his interview with
his mamma, robed in a wonderful dressing-gown, and puffing his pipe in
gloomy silence, Anatole, too, must have remarked that something
affected his master’s spirits; though he did not betray any ill-bred
sympathy with Harry’s agitation of mind. When Harry began to dress
himself in his out-of-door morning costume: he was very hard indeed to
please, and particularly severe and snappish about his toilet: he
tried, and cursed, pantaloons of many different stripes, checks, and
colors: all the boots were villainously varnished, the shirts too
“loud” in pattern. He scented his linen and person with peculiar
richness this day; and what must have been the valet’s astonishment,
when, after some blushing and hesitation on Harry’s part, the young
gentleman asked, “I say, Anatole, when I engaged you, didn’t
you—hem—didn’t you say that you could dress—hem—dress hair?”

The valet said, “Yes, he could.”

Cherchy alors une paire de tongs—et—curly moi un pew” Mr. Foker
said, in an easy manner; and the valet wondering whether his master
was in love or was going masquerading, went in search of the
articles—first from the old butler who waited upon Mr. Foker, senior,
on whose bald pate the tongs would have scarcely found a hundred hairs
to seize, and finally of the lady who had the charge of the meek
auburn fronts of the Lady Agnes. And the tongs being got, Monsieur
Anatole twisted his young master’s locks until he had made Harry’s
head as curly as a negro’s; after which the youth dressed himself with
the utmost care and splendor and proceeded to sally out.

“At what time sall I order de drag, sir, to be to Miss Calverley’s
door, sir?” the attendant whispered as his master was going forth.

“Confound her! Put the dinner off—I can’t go!” said Foker. “No, hang
it—I must go. Poyntz and Rougemont, and ever so many more are coming.
The drag at Pelham Corner at six o’clock, Anatole.”

The drag was not one of Mr. Foker’s own equipages, but was hired from
a livery stable for festive purposes; Foker, however, put his own
carriage into requisition that morning, and for what purpose does the
kind reader suppose? Why to drive down to Lamb-court, Temple, taking
Grosvenor-place by the way (which lies in the exact direction of the
Temple from Grosvenor-street, as every body knows), where he just had
the pleasure of peeping upward at Miss Amory’s pink window curtains,
having achieved which satisfactory feat, he drove off to Pen’s
chambers. Why did he want to see his dear friend Pen so much? Why did
he yearn and long after him; and did it seem necessary to Foker’s very
existence that he should see Pen that morning, having parted with him
in perfect health on the night previous? Pen had lived two years in
London, and Foker had not paid half a dozen visits to his chambers.
What sent him thither now in such a hurry?

What?—if any young ladies read this page, I have only to inform them
that when the same mishap befalls them, which now had for more than
twelve hours befallen Harry Foker, people will grow interesting to
them for whom they did not care sixpence on the day before; as on the
other hand persons of whom they fancied themselves fond will be found
to have become insipid and disagreeable. Then your dearest Eliza or
Maria of the other day, to whom you wrote letters and sent locks of
hair yards long, will on a sudden be as indifferent to you as your
stupidest relation: while, on the contrary, about his relations you
will begin to feel such a warm interest! such a loving desire to
ingratiate yourself with his mamma; such a liking for that dear kind
old man his father! If He is in the habit of visiting at any house,
what advances you will make in order to visit there too. If He has a
married sister you will like to spend long mornings with her. You will
fatigue your servant by sending notes to her, for which there will be
the most pressing occasion, twice or thrice in a day. You will cry if
your mamma objects to your going too often to see His family. The only
one of them you will dislike, is perhaps his younger brother, who is
at home for the holidays, and who will persist in staying in the room
when you come to see your dear new-found friend, his darling second
sister. Something like this will happen to you, young ladies, or, at
any rate, let us hope it may. Yes, you must go through the hot fits
and the cold fits of that pretty fever. Your mothers, if they would
acknowledge it, have passed through it before you were born, your dear
papa being the object of the passion of course—who could it be but
he? And as you suffer it so will your brothers in their way—and after
their kind. More selfish than you: more eager and headstrong than you:
they will rush on their destiny when the doomed charmer makes her
appearance. Or if they don’t, and you don’t, Heaven help you! As the
gambler said of his dice, to love and win is the best thing, to love
and lose is the next best. You don’t die of the complaint: or very few
do. The generous wounded heart suffers and survives it. And he is not
a man, or she a woman, who is not conquered by it, or who does not
conquer it in his time…… Now, then, if you ask why Henry Foker,
Esquire, was in such a hurry to see Arthur Pendennis, and felt such a
sudden value and esteem for him, there is no difficulty in saying it
was because Pen had become really valuable in Mr. Foker’s eyes;
because if Pen was not the rose, he yet had been near that fragrant
flower of love. Was not he in the habit of going to her house in
London? Did he not live near her in the country?—know all about the
enchantress? What, I wonder, would Lady Ann Milton, Mr. Foker’s cousin
and prétendue, have said, if her ladyship had known all that was
going on in the bosom of that funny little gentleman?

Alas! when Foker reached Lamb-court, leaving his carriage for the
admiration of the little clerks who were lounging in the arch-way that
leads thence into Flag-court which leads into Upper Temple-lane,
Warrington was in the chambers, but Pen was absent. Pen was gone to
the printing-office to see his proofs. “Would Foker have a pipe, and
should the laundress go to the Cock and get him some beer?”
—Warrington asked, remarking with a pleased surprise the
splendid toilet of this scented and shiny-booted young aristocrat; but
Foker had not the slightest wish for beer or tobacco: he had very
important business: he rushed away to the “Pall-Mall Gazette” office,
still bent upon finding Pen. Pen had quitted that place. Foker wanted
him that they might go together to call upon Lady Clavering. Foker
went away disconsolate, and whiled away an hour or two vaguely at
clubs: and when it was time to pay a visit, he thought it would be but
decent and polite to drive to Grosvenor-place and leave a card upon
Lady Clavering. He had not the courage to ask to see her when the door
was opened, he only delivered two cards, with Mr. Henry Foker engraved
upon them, to Jeames, in a speechless agony. Jeames received the
tickets bowing his powdered head. The varnished doors closed upon him.
The beloved object was as far as ever from him, though so near. He
thought he heard the tones of a piano and of a siren singing, coming
from the drawing-room and sweeping over the balcony-shrubbery of
geraniums. He would have liked to stop and listen, but it might not
be. “Drive to Tattersall’s,” he said to the groom, in a voice
smothered with emotion—”And bring my pony round,” he added, as the
man drove rapidly away.

As good luck would have it, that splendid barouche of Lady
Clavering’s, which has been inadequately described in a former
chapter, drove up to her ladyship’s door just as Foker mounted the
pony which was in waiting for him. He bestrode the fiery animal, and
dodged about the arch of the Green Park, keeping the carriage well in
view, until he saw Lady Clavering enter, and with her—whose could be
that angel form, but the enchantress’s, clad in a sort of gossamer,
with a pink bonnet and a light-blue parasol—but Miss Amory?

The carriage took its fair owners to Madame Rigodon’s cap and lace
shop, to Mrs. Wolsey’s Berlin worsted shop—who knows to what other
resorts of female commerce? Then it went and took ices at Hunter’s,
for Lady Clavering was somewhat florid in her tastes and amusements,
and not only liked to go abroad in the most showy carriage in London,
but that the public should see her in it too. And so, in a white
bonnet with a yellow feather, she ate a large pink ice in the sunshine
before Hunter’s door, till Foker on his pony, and the red jacket who
accompanied him, were almost tired of dodging.

Then at last she made her way into the Park, and the rapid Foker made
his dash forward. What to do? Just to get a nod of recognition from
Miss Amory and her mother; to cross them a half-dozen times in the
drive; to watch and ogle them from the other side of the ditch, where
the horsemen assemble when the band plays in Kensington Gardens. What
is the use of looking at a woman in a pink bonnet across a ditch? What
is the earthly good to be got out of a nod of the head? Strange that
men will be contented with such pleasures, or if not contented, at
least that they will be so eager in seeking them. Not one word did
Harry, he so fluent of conversation ordinarily, change with his
charmer on that day. Mutely he beheld her return to her carriage, and
drive away among rather ironical salutes from the young men in the
Park. One said that the Indian widow was making the paternal rupees
spin rapidly; another said that she ought to have burned herself
alive, and left the money to her daughter. This one asked who
Clavering was?—and old Tom Eales, who knew every body, and never
missed a day in the Park on his gray cob, kindly said that Clavering
had come into an estate over head and heels in mortgage: that there
were dev’lish ugly stories about him when he was a young man, and that
it was reported of him that he had a share in a gambling house, and
had certainly shown the white feather in his regiment. “He plays
still; he is in a hell every night almost,” Mr. Eales added. “I
should think so, since his marriage,” said a wag.

“He gives devilish good dinners,” said Foker, striking up for the
honor of his host of yesterday.

“I daresay, and I daresay he doesn’t ask Eales,” the wag said. “I say,

Eales, do you dine at Clavering’s—at the Begum’s?”

I dine there?” said Mr. Eales, who would have dined with Beelzebub,
if sure of a good cook, and when he came away, would have painted his
host blacker than fate had made him.

“You might, you know, although you do abuse him so,” continued the
wag. “They say it’s very pleasant. Clavering goes to sleep after
dinner; the Begum gets tipsy with cherry-brandy, and the young lady
sings songs to the young gentlemen. She sings well, don’t she, Fo?”

“Slap up,” said Fo. “I tell you what, Poyntz, she sings like a—
whatdyecallum—you know what I mean—like a mermaid, you know, but
that’s not their name.”

“I never heard a mermaid sing,” Mr. Poyntz, the wag replied. “Who ever
heard a mermaid? Eales, you are an old fellow, did you?”

“Don’t make a lark of me, hang it, Poyntz,” said Foker, turning red,
and with tears almost in his eyes, “you know what I mean: it’s those
what’s-his-names—in Homer, you know. I never said I was a
good scholar.”

“And nobody ever said it of you, my boy,” Mr. Poyntz remarked, and
Foker striking spurs into his pony, cantered away down Rotten Row, his
mind agitated with various emotions, ambitions, mortifications. He
was sorry that he had not been good at his books in early life—that
he might have cut out all those chaps who were about her, and who
talked the languages, and wrote poetry, and painted pictures in her
album, and—and that. “What am I,” thought little Foker, “compared to
her? She’s all soul, she is, and can write poetry or compose music, as
easy as I could drink a glass of beer. Beer?—damme, that’s all I’m
fit for, is beer. I am a poor, ignorant little beggar, good for
nothing but Foker’s Entire. I misspent my youth, and used to get the
chaps to do my exercises. And what’s the consequences now? O, Harry
Foker, what a confounded little fool you have been!”

As he made this dreary soliloquy, he had cantered out of Rotten Row
into the Park, and there was on the point of riding down a large, old,
roomy family carriage, of which he took no heed, when a cheery voice
cried out, “Harry, Harry!” and looking up, he beheld his aunt, the
Lady Rosherville, and two of her daughters, of whom the one who spoke
was Harry’s betrothed, the Lady Ann.

He started back with a pale, scared look, as a truth about which he
had not thought during the whole day, came across him. There was his
fate, there, in the back seat of that carriage.

“What is the matter Harry? why are you so pale? You have been raking
and smoking too much, you wicked boy,” said Lady Ann.

Foker said, “How do, aunt?” “How do, Ann?” in a perturbed
manner—muttered something about a pressing engagement—indeed he saw
by the Park clock that he must have been keeping his party in the
drag waiting for nearly an hour—and waved a good-by. The little man
and the little pony were out of sight in an instant—the great
carriage rolled away. Nobody inside was very much interested about his
coming or going; the countess being occupied with her spaniel, the
Lady Lucy’s thoughts and eyes being turned upon a volume of sermons,
and those of Lady Ann upon a new novel, which the sisters had just
procured from the library.

CHAPTER II.

CARRIES THE READER BOTH TO RICHMOND AND GREENWICH.

[Illustration]

Poor Foker found the dinner at Richmond to be the most dreary
entertainment upon which ever mortal man wasted his guineas. “I wonder
how the deuce I could ever have liked these people,” he thought in his
own mind. “Why, I can see the crow’s-feet under Rougemont’s eyes, and
the paint on her cheeks is laid on as thick as clown’s in a pantomime!
The way in which that Calverley talks slang, is quite disgusting. I
hate chaff in a woman. And old Colchicum! that old Col, coming down
here in his brougham, with his coronet on it, and sitting bodkin
between Mademoiselle Coralie and her mother! It’s too bad. An English
peer, and a horse-rider of Franconi’s! It won’t do; by Jove, it won’t
do. I ain’t proud; but it will not do!”

“Twopence-halfpenny for your thoughts, Fokey!” cried out Miss
Rougemont, taking her cigar from her truly vermilion lips, as she
beheld the young fellow lost in thought, seated at the head of his
table, amidst melting ices, and cut pine-apples, and bottles full and
empty, and cigar-ashes scattered on fruit, and the ruins of a dessert
which had no pleasure for him.

Does Foker ever think?” drawled out Mr. Poyntz. “Foker, here is a
considerable sum of money offered by a fair capitalist at this end of
the table for the present emanations of your valuable and acute
intellect, old boy!”

“What the deuce is that Poyntz a talking about?” Mrs. Calverley asked
of her neighbor. “I hate him. He’s a drawlin’, sneerin’ beast.”

“What a droll of a little man is that little Fokare, my lor,”
Mademoiselle Coralie said, in her own language, and with the rich
twang of that sunny Gascony in which her swarthy cheeks and bright
black eyes had got their fire. “What a droll of a man! He does not
look to have twenty years.”

“I wish I were of his age,” said the venerable Colchicum, with a sigh,
as he inclined his purple face toward a large goblet of claret.

C’te Jeunesse. Peuh! je m’en fiche,” said Madame Brack, Coralie’s
mamma, taking a great pinch out of Lord Colchicum’s delicate gold
snuff-box. “_Je n’aime que les hommes faits, moi. Comme milor Coralie!
n’est ce pas que tu n’aimes que les hommes faits, ma bichette?”

My lord said, with a grin, “You flatter me, Madame Brack.”

Taisez vous, Maman, vous n’ètes qu’une bête,” Coralie cried, with a
shrug of her robust shoulders; upon which, my lord said that she did
not flatter at any rate; and pocketed his snuff-box, not desirous that
Madame Brack’s dubious fingers should plunge too frequently into
his Mackabaw.

There is no need to give a prolonged detail of the animated
conversation which ensued during the rest of the banquet; a
conversation which would not much edify the reader. And it is scarcely
necessary to say, that all ladies of the corps de danse are not like
Miss Calverley, any more than that all peers resemble that illustrious
member of their order, the late lamented Viscount Colchicum. But there
have been such in our memories who have loved the society of riotous
youth better than the company of men of their own age and rank, and
have given the young ones the precious benefit of their experience and
example; and there have been very respectable men too who have not
objected so much to the kind of entertainment as to the publicity of
it. I am sure, for instance, that our friend Major Pendennis would
have made no sort of objection to join a party of pleasure, provided
that it were en petit comité, and that such men as my Lord Steyne
and my Lord Colchicum were of the society. “Give the young men their
pleasures,” this worthy guardian said to Pen more than once. “I’m not
one of your straight-laced moralists, but an old man of the world,
begad; and I know that as long as it lasts, young men will be young
men.” And there were some young men to whom this estimable philosopher
accorded about seventy years as the proper period for sowing their
wild oats: but they were men of fashion.

Mr. Foker drove his lovely guests home to Brompton in the drag that
night; but he was quite thoughtful and gloomy during the whole of the
little journey from Richmond; neither listening to the jokes of the
friends behind him and on the box by his side, nor enlivening them, as
was his wont, by his own facetious sallies. And when the ladies whom
he had conveyed alighted at the door of their house, and asked then
accomplished coachman whether he would not step in and take some thing
to drink, he declined with so melancholy an air, that they supposed
that the governor and he had had a difference, or that some calamity
had befallen him: and he did not tell these people what the cause of
his grief was, but left Mesdames Rougemont and Calverley, unheeding
the cries of the latter, who hung over her balcony like Jezebel, and
called out to him to ask him to give another party soon.

He sent the drag home under the guidance of one of the grooms, and
went on foot himself; his hands in his pockets, plunged in thought.
The stars and moon shining tranquilly over head, looked down upon Mr.
Foker that night, as he, in his turn, sentimentally regarded them. And
he went and gazed upward at the house in Grosvenor-place, and at the
windows which he supposed to be those of the beloved object; and he
moaned and he sighed in a way piteous and surprising to witness, which
Policeman X. did, who informed Sir Francis Clavering’s people, as they
took the refreshment of beer on the coach-box at the neighboring
public-house, after bringing home their lady from the French play,
that there had been another chap hanging about the premises that
evening—a little chap, dressed like a swell.

And now with that perspicuity and ingenuity and enterprise which only
belongs to a certain passion, Mr. Foker began to dodge Miss Amory
through London, and to appear wherever he could meet her. If Lady
Clavering went to the French play, where her ladyship had a box, Mr.
Foker, whose knowledge of the language, as we have heard, was not
conspicuous, appeared in a stall. He found out where her engagements
were (it is possible that Anatole, his man, was acquainted with Sir
Francis Clavering’s gentleman, and so got a sight of her ladyship’s
engagement-book), and at many of these evening parties Mr. Foker made
his appearance, to the surprise of the world, and of his mother
especially, whom he ordered to apply for cards to these parties, for
which until now he had shown a supreme contempt. He told the pleased
and unsuspicious lady that he went to parties because it was right for
him to see the world: he told her that he went to the French play
because he wanted to perfect himself in the language, and there was no
such good lesson as a comedy or vaudeville—and when one night the
astonished Lady Agnes saw him stand up and dance, and complimented him
upon his elegance and activity, the mendacious little rogue asserted
that he had learned to dance in Paris, whereas Anatole knew that his
young master used to go off privily to an academy in Brewer-street,
and study there for some hours in the morning. The casino of our
modern days was not invented, or was in its infancy as yet; and
gentlemen of Mr. Foker’s time had not the facilities of acquiring the
science of dancing which are enjoyed by our present youth.

Old Pendennis seldom missed going to church. He considered it to be
his duty as a gentleman to patronize the institution of public
worship, and that it was quite a correct thing to be seen in church of
a Sunday. One day it chanced that he and Arthur went thither together:
the latter, who was now in high favor, had been to breakfast with his
uncle, from whose lodging they walked across the Park to a church not
far from Belgrave-square. There was a charity sermon at Saint James’s,
as the major knew by the bills posted on the pillars of his parish
church, which probably caused him, for he was a thrifty man, to
forsake it for that day: besides he had other views for himself and
Pen. “We will go to church, sir, across the Park; and then, begad,
we will go to the Claverings’ house, and ask them for lunch in a
friendly way. Lady Clavering likes to be asked for lunch, and is
uncommonly kind, and monstrous hospitable.”

“I met them at dinner last week, at Lady Agnes Foker’s, sir,” Pen
said, “and the Begum was very kind indeed. So she was in the country:
so she is every where. But I share your opinion about Miss Amory; one
of your opinions, that is, uncle, for you were changing, the last time
we spoke about her.”

“And what do you think of her now?” the elder said.

“I think her the most confounded little flirt in London,” Pen
answered, laughing. “She made a tremendous assault upon Harry Foker,
who sat next to her; and to whom she gave all the talk, though I took
her down.”

“Bah! Henry Foker is engaged to his cousin, all the world knows it:
not a bad coup of Lady Rosherville’s, that. I should say, that the
young man at his father’s death, and old Mr. Foker’s life’s devilish
bad: you know he had a fit, at Arthur’s, last year: I should say, that
young Foker won’t have less than fourteen thousand a year from the
brewery, besides Logwood and the Norfolk property. I’ve no pride about
me, Pen. I like a man of birth certainly, but dammy, I like a
brewery which brings in a man fourteen thousand a year; hey, Pen? Ha,
ha, that’s the sort of man for me. And I recommend you now that you
are lancéd in the world, to stick to fellows of that sort; to
fellows who have a stake in the country, begad.”

“Foker sticks to me, sir,” Arthur answered. “He has been at our
chambers several times lately. He has asked me to dinner. We are
almost as great friends, as we used to be in our youth: and his talk
is about Blanche Amory from morning till night. I’m sure he’s sweet
upon her.”

“I’m sure he is engaged to his cousin, and that they will keep the
young man to his bargain,” said the major. “The marriages in these
families are affairs of state. Lady Agnes was made to marry old Foker
by the late Lord, although she was notoriously partial to her cousin
who was killed at Albuera afterward, and who saved her life out of the
lake at Drummington. I remember Lady Agnes, sir, an exceedingly fine
woman. But what did she do? of course she married her father’s man.
Why, Mr. Foker sate for Drummington till the Reform Bill, and paid
dev’lish well for his seat, too. And you may depend upon this, sir,
that Foker senior, who is a parvenu, and loves a great man, as all
parvenus do, has ambitious views for his son as well as himself, and
that your friend Harry must do as his father bids him Lord bless you!
I’ve known a hundred cases of love in young men and women: hey, Master
Arthur, do you take me? They kick, sir, they resist, they make a deuce
of a riot and that sort of thing, but they end by listening to
reason, begad.”

“Blanche is a dangerous girl, sir,” Pen said. “I was smitten with
her myself once, and very far gone, too,” he added; “but that is
years ago.”

“Were you? How far did it go? Did she return it?” asked the major,
looking hard at Pen.

Pen, with a laugh, said “that at one time he did think he was pretty
well in Miss Amory’s good graces. But my mother did not like her, and
the affair went off.” Pen did not think it fit to tell his uncle all
the particulars of that courtship which had passed between himself and
the young lady.

“A man might go farther and fare worse, Arthur,” the major said, still
looking queerly at his nephew.

“Her birth, sir; her father was the mate of a ship, they say; and she
has not money enough,” objected Pen, in a dandyfied manner. “What’s
ten thousand pound and a girl bred up like her?”

“You use my own words, and it is all very well. But, I tell you in
confidence, Pen—in strict honor, mind—that it’s my belief she has a
devilish deal more than ten thousand pound: and from what I saw of her
the other day, and—and have heard of her—I should say she was a
devilish accomplished, clever girl: and would make a good wife with a
sensible husband.”

“How do you know about her money?” Pen asked, smiling. “You seem to
have information about every body, and to know about all the town.”

“I do know a few things, sir, and I don’t tell all I know. Mark that,”
the uncle replied. “And as for that charming Miss Amory—for
charming, begad! she is—if I saw her Mrs. Arthur Pendennis, I should
neither be sorry nor surprised, begad! and if you object to ten
thousand pound, what would you say, sir, to thirty, or forty, or
fifty?” and the major looked still more knowingly, and still harder
at Pen.

“Well, sir,” he said, to his godfather and namesake, “make her Mrs.

Arthur Pendennis. You can do it as well as I.”

“Psha! you are laughing at me, sir,” the other replied, rather
peevishly, and you ought not to laugh so near a church gate. “Here we
are at St. Benedict’s. They say Mr. Oriel is a beautiful preacher.”

Indeed, the bells were tolling, the people were trooping into the
handsome church, the carriages of the inhabitants of the lordly
quarter poured forth their pretty loads of devotees, in whose company
Pen and his uncle, ending their edifying conversation, entered the
fane. I do not know whether other people carry their worldly affairs
to the church door. Arthur, who, from habitual reverence and feeling,
was always more than respectful in a place of worship, thought of the
incongruity of their talk, perhaps; while the old gentleman at his
side was utterly unconscious of any such contrast. His hat was
brushed: his wig was trim: his neckcloth was perfectly tied. He looked
at every soul in the congregation, it is true: the bald heads and the
bonnets, the flowers and the feathers: but so demurely that he hardly
lifted up his eyes from his book—from his book which he could not
read without glasses. As for Pen’s gravity, it was sorely put to the
test when, upon looking by chance toward the seats where the servants
were collected, he spied out, by the side of a demure gentleman in
plush, Henry Foker, Esquire, who had discovered this place of
devotion. Following the direction of Harry’s eye, which strayed a good
deal from his book, Pen found that it alighted upon a yellow bonnet
and a pink one: and that these bonnets were on the heads of Lady
Clavering and Blanche Amory. If Pen’s uncle is not the only man who
has talked about his worldly affairs up to the church door, is poor
Harry Foker the only one who has brought his worldly love into
the aisle?

[Illustration]

When the congregation issued forth at the conclusion of the service,
Foker was out among the first, but Pen came up with him presently, as
he was hankering about the entrance which he was unwilling to leave,
until my lady’s barouche, with the bewigged coachman, had borne away
its mistress and her daughter from their devotions.

When the two ladies came out, they found together the Pendennises,
uncle and nephew, and Harry Foker, Esquire, sucking the crook of his
stick, standing there in the sunshine. To see and to ask to eat were
simultaneous with the good-natured Begum, and she invited the three
gentlemen to luncheon straightway.

Blanche was, too, particularly gracious. “O! do come,” she said to
Arthur, “if you are not too great a man. I want so to talk to you
about—but we mustn’t say what, here, you know. What would Mr.
Oriel say?” And the young devotee jumped into the carriage after her
mamma. “I’ve read every word of it. It’s adorable,” she added, still
addressing herself to Pen.

“I know who is,” said Mr. Arthur, making rather a pert bow.

“What’s the row about?” asked Mr. Foker, rather puzzled.

“I suppose Miss Amory means ‘Walter Lorraine,'” said the major,
looking knowing, and nodding at Pen.

“I suppose so, sir. There was a famous review in the Pall Mall this
morning. It was Warrington’s doing, though, and I must not be
too proud.”

“A review in Pall Mall?—Walter Lorraine? What the doose do you mean?”
Foker asked. “Walter Lorraine died of the measles, poor little
beggar, when we were at Gray Friars. I remember his mother coming up.”

“You are not a literary man, Foker,” Pen said, laughing, and hooking
his arm into his friend’s. “You must know I have been writing a novel,
and some of the papers have spoken very well of it. Perhaps you don’t
read the Sunday papers?”

“I read Bell’s Life regular, old boy,” Mr. Foker answered: at which
Pen laughed again, and the three gentlemen proceeded in great good-humor
to Lady Clavering’s house.

The subject of the novel was resumed after luncheon by Miss Amory, who
indeed loved poets and men of letters if she loved any thing, and was
sincerely an artist in feeling. “Some of the passages in the book made
me cry, positively they did,” she said.

Pen said, with some fatuity, “I am happy to think I have a part of
vos larmes, Miss Blanche”—And the major (who had not read more than
six pages of Pen’s book) put on his sanctified look, saying, “Yes,
there are some passages quite affecting, mons’ous affecting:
and,”—”O, if it makes you cry,”—Lady Amory declared she would not
read it, “that she wouldn’t.”

“Don’t, mamma,” Blanche said, with a French shrug of her shoulders;
and then she fell into a rhapsody about the book, about the snatches
of poetry interspersed in it, about the two heroines, Leonora and
Neaera; about the two heroes, Walter Lorraine and his rival the young
duke—”and what good company you introduce us to,” said the young
lady, archly, “quel ton! How much of your life have you passed at
court, and are you a prime minister’s son, Mr. Arthur?”

Pen began to laugh—”It is as cheap for a novelist to create a duke as
to make a baronet,” he said. “Shall I tell you a secret, Miss Amory? I
promoted all my characters at the request of the publisher. The young
duke was only a young baron when the novel was first written; his
false friend the viscount, was a simple commoner, and so on with all
the characters of the story.”

“What a wicked, satirical, pert young man you have become! Comme vous
voilà formé!
” said the young lady, “How different from Arthur
Pendennis of the country! Ah! I think I like Arthur Pendennis of the
country best, though!” and she gave him the full benefit of her
eyes—both of the fond, appealing glance into his own, and of the
modest look downward toward the carpet, which showed off her dark
eyelids and long fringed lashes.

Pen of course protested that he had not changed in the least, to which
the young lady replied by a tender sigh; and thinking that she had
done quite enough to make Arthur happy or miserable (as the case might
be), she proceeded to cajole his companion, Mr. Harry Foker, who
during the literary conversation had sate silently imbibing the head
of his cane, and wishing that he was a clever chap, like that Pen.

If the major thought that by telling Miss Amory of Mr. Foker’s
engagement to his cousin, Lady Ann Milton (which information the old
gentleman neatly conveyed to the girl as he sate by her side at
luncheon below stairs)—if, we say, the major thought that the
knowledge of this fact would prevent Blanche from paying any further
attention to the young heir of Foker’s Entire, he was entirely
mistaken. She became only the more gracious to Foker: she praised him,
and every thing belonging to him; she praised his mamma; she praised
the pony which he rode in the Park; she praised the lovely breloques
or gimcracks which the young gentleman wore at his watch-chain, and
that dear little darling of a cane, and those dear little delicious
monkeys’ heads with ruby eyes, which ornamented Harry’s shirt, and
formed the buttons of his waistcoat. And then, having praised and
coaxed the weak youth until he blushed and tingled with pleasure, and
until Pen thought she really had gone quite far enough, she took
another theme.

“I am afraid Mr. Foker is a very sad young man,” she said, turning
round to Pen.

“He does not look so,” Pen answered with a sneer.

“I mean we have heard sad stories about him. Haven’t we, mamma? What
was Mr. Poyntz saying here, the other day, about that party at
Richmond? O you naughty creature!” But here, seeing that Harry’s
countenance assumed a great expression of alarm, while Pen’s wore a
look of amusement, she turned to the latter and said, “I believe you
are just as bad: I believe you would have liked to have been
there—wouldn’t you? I know you would: yes—and so should I.”

“Lor, Blanche!” mamma cried.

“Well, I would. I never saw an actress in my life. I would give any
thing to know one; for I adore talent. And I adore Richmond, that I
do; and I adore Greenwich, and I say I should like to go there.”

“Why should not we three bachelors,” the major here broke out,
gallantly, and to his nephew’s special surprise, “beg these ladies to
honor us with their company at Greenwich? Is Lady Clavering to go on
forever being hospitable to us, and may we make no return? Speak for
yourselves young men—eh, begad! Here is my nephew, with his pockets
full of money—his pockets full, begad! and Mr. Henry Foker, who as I
have heard say is pretty well to do in the world, how is your lovely
cousin, Lady Ann, Mr. Foker?—here are these two young ones—and they
allow an old fellow like me to speak. Lady Clavering will you do me
the favor to be my guest? and Miss Blanche shall be Arthur’s, if she
will be so good.”

“O delightful,” cried Blanche.

“I like a bit of fun, too,” said Lady Clavering; “and we will take
some day when Sir Francis—”

“When Sir Francis dines out—yes mamma,” the daughter said, “it will
be charming.”

And a charming day it was. The dinner was ordered at Greenwich, and
Foker, though he did not invite Miss Amory, had some delicious
opportunities of conversation with her during the repast, and
afterward on the balcony of their room at the hotel, and again during
the drive home in her ladyship’s barouche. Pen came down with his
uncle, in Sir Hugh Trumpington’s brougham, which the major borrowed
for the occasion.

“I am an old soldier, begad,” he said, “and I learned in early life to
make myself comfortable.”

And, being an old soldier, he allowed the two young men to pay for the
dinner between them, and all the way home in the brougham he rallied
Pen about Miss Amory’s evident partiality for him: praised her good
looks, spirits, and wit: and again told Pen in the strictest
confidence, that she would be a devilish deal richer than people
thought.

CHAPTER III.

CONTAINS A NOVEL INCIDENT.

[Illustration]

Some account has been given in a former part of this story, how Mr.
Pen, during his residence at home, after his defeat at Oxbridge, had
occupied himself with various literary compositions, and among other
works, had written the greater part of a novel. This book, written
under the influence of his youthful embarrassments, amatory and
pecuniary, was of a very fierce, gloomy and passionate sort—the
Byronic despair, the Wertherian despondency, the mocking bitterness of
Mephistopheles of Faust, were all reproduced and developed in the
character of the hero; for our youth had just been learning the German
language, and imitated, as almost all clever lads do, his favorite
poets and writers. Passages in the volumes once so loved, and now read
so seldom, still bear the mark of the pencil with which he noted them
in those days. Tears fell upon the leaf of the book, perhaps, or
blistered the pages of his manuscript as the passionate young man
dashed his thoughts down. If he took up the books afterward, he had no
ability or wish to sprinkle the leaves with that early dew of former
times: his pencil was no longer eager to score its marks of approval:
but as he looked over the pages of his manuscript, he remembered what
had been the overflowing feelings which had caused him to blot it, and
the pain which had inspired the line. If the secret history of books
could be written, and the author’s private thoughts and meanings noted
down alongside of his story, how many insipid volumes would become
interesting, and dull tales excite the reader! Many a bitter smile
passed over Pen’s face as he read his novel, and recalled the time and
feelings which gave it birth. How pompous some of the grand passages
appeared; and how weak others were in which he thought he had
expressed his full heart! This page was imitated from a then favorite
author, as he could now clearly see and confess, though he had
believed himself to be writing originally then. As he mused over
certain lines he recollected the place and hour where he wrote them:
the ghost of the dead feeling came back as he mused, and he blushed to
review the faint image. And what meant those blots on the page? As you
come in the desert to a ground where camels’ hoofs are marked in the
clay, and traces of withered herbage are yet visible, you know that
water was there once; so the place in Pen’s mind was no longer green,
and the fons lacrymarum was dried up.

He used this simile one morning to Warrington, as the latter sate over
his pipe and book, and Pen, with much gesticulation, according to his
wont when excited, and with a bitter laugh, thumped his manuscript
down on the table, making the tea-things rattle, and the blue milk
dance in the jug. On the previous night he had taken the manuscript
out of a long neglected chest, containing old shooting jackets, old
Oxbridge scribbling books, his old surplice, and battered cap and
gown, and other memorials of youth, school, and home. He read in the
volume in bed until he fell asleep, for the commencement of the tale
was somewhat dull, and he had come home tired from a London
evening party.

“By Jove!” said Pen, thumping down his papers, “when I think that
these were written but very few years ago, I am ashamed of my memory.
I wrote this when I believed myself to be eternally in love with that
little coquette, Miss Amory. I used to carry down verses to her, and
put them into the hollow of a tree, and dedicate them ‘Amori.'”

“That was a sweet little play upon words,” Warrington remarked, with a
puff “Amory—Amori. It showed profound scholarship. Let us hear a bit
of the rubbish.” And he stretched over from his easy chair, and caught
hold of Pen’s manuscript with the fire-tongs, which he was just using
in order to put a coal into his pipe. Thus, in possession of the
volume, he began to read out from the “Leaves from the Life-book of
Walter Lorraine.”

“‘False as thou art beautiful! heartless as thou art fair! mockery of
Passion!’ Walter cried, addressing Leonora; ‘what evil spirit hath
sent thee to torture me so? O Leonora * * * ‘”

“Cut that part,” cried out Pen, making a dash at the book, which,
however, his comrade would not release. “Well! don’t read it out, at
any rate. That’s about my other flame, my first—Lady Mirabel that is
now. I saw her last night at Lady Whiston’s. She asked me to a party
at her house, and said, that, as old friends, we ought to meet
oftener. She has been seeing me any time these two years in town, and
never thought of inviting me before; but seeing Wenham talking to me,
and Monsieur Dubois, the French literary man, who had a dozen orders
on, and might have passed for a Marshal of France, she condescended to
invite me. The Claverings are to be there on the same evening. Won’t
it be exciting to meet one’s two flames at the same table?” “Two
flames!—two heaps of burnt-out cinders,” Warrington said. “Are both
the beauties in this book?”

“Both or something like them,” Pen said. “Leonora, who marries the
duke, is the Fotheringay. I drew the duke from Magnus Charters, with
whom I was at Oxbridge; it’s a little like him; and Miss Amory is
Neaera. By gad, Warrington, I did love that first woman! I thought of
her as I walked home from Lady Whiston’s in the moonlight; and the
whole early scenes came back to me as if they had been yesterday. And
when I got home I pulled out the story which I wrote about her and the
other three years ago: do you know, outrageous as it is, it has some
good stuff in it, and if Bungay won’t publish it, I think Bacon will.”

“That’s the way of poets,” said Warrington. “They fall in love, jilt,
or are jilted; they suffer, and they cry out that they suffer more
than any other mortals: and when they have experienced feelings
enough, they note them down in a book, and take the book to market.
All poets are humbugs, all literary men are humbugs; directly a man
begins to sell his feelings for money he’s a humbug. If a poet gets a
pain in his side from too good a dinner, he bellows Ai, Ai, louder
than Prometheus.”

“I suppose a poet has greater sensibility than another man,” said Pen,