The Newcomes

Memoirs of a most Respectable Family

“Edited by Arthur Pendennis, Esq.”


William Makepeace Thackeray

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Table of Contents

  1. The Overture — After which the Curtain rises upon a Drinking Chorus
  2. Colonel Newcome’s Wild Oats
  3. Colonel Newcome’s Letter-box
  4. In which the Author and the Hero resume their Acquaintance
  5. Clive’s Uncles
  6. Newcome Brothers
  7. In which Mr. Clive’s School-days are over
  8. Mrs. Newcome at Home (a Small Early Party)
  9. Miss Honeyman’s
  10. Ethel and her Relations
  11. At Mrs. Ridley’s
  12. In which everybody is asked to Dinner
  13. In which Thomas Newcome sings his Last Song
  14. Park Lane
  15. The Old Ladies
  16. In which Mr. Sherrick lets his House in Fitzroy Square
  17. A School of Art
  18. New Companions
  19. The Colonel at Home
  20. Contains more Particulars of the Colonel and his Brethren
  21. Is Sentimental, but Short
  22. Describes a Visit to Paris; with Accidents and Incidents in London
  23. In which we hear a Soprano and a Contralto
  24. In which the Newcome Brothers once more meet together in Unity
  25. Is passed in a Public-house
  26. In which Colonel Newcome’s Horses are sold
  27. Youth and Sunshine
  28. In which Clive begins to see the World
  29. In which Barnes comes a-wooing
  30. A Retreat
  31. Madame la Duchesse
  32. Barnes’s Courtship
  33. Lady Kew at the Congress
  34. The End of the Congress of Baden
  35. Across the Alps
  36. In which M. de Florac is promoted
  37. Return to Lord Kew
  38. In which Lady Kew leaves his Lordship quite convalescent
  39. Amongst the Painters
  40. Returns from Rome to Pall Mall
  41. An Old Story
  42. Injured Innocence
  43. Returns to some Old Friends
  44. In which Mr. Charles Honeyman appears in an Amiable Light
  45. A Stag of Ten
  46. The Hotel de Florac
  47. Contains two or three Acts of a Little Comedy
  48. In which Benedick is a Married Man
  49. Contains at least six more Courses and two Desserts
  50. Clive in New Quarters
  51. An Old Friend
  52. Family Secrets
  53. In which Kinsmen fall out
  54. Has a Tragical Ending
  55. Barnes’s Skeleton Closet
  56. Rosa quo locorum sera moratur
  57. Rosebury and Newcome
  58. “One more Unfortunate”
  59. In which Achilles loses Briseis
  60. In which we write to the Colonel
  61. In which we are introduced to a New Newcome
  62. Mr. and Mrs. Clive Newcome
  63. Mrs. Clive at Home
  64. Absit Omen
  65. In which Mrs. Clive comes into her Fortune
  66. In which the Colonel and the Newcome Athenaeum are both lectured
  67. Newcome and Liberty
  68. A Letter and a Reconciliation
  69. The Election
  70. Chiltern Hundreds
  71. In which Mrs. Clive Newcome’s Carriage is ordered
  72. Belisarius
  73. In which Belisarius returns from Exile
  74. In which Clive begins the World
  75. Founder’s Day at the Grey Friars
  76. Christmas at Rosebury
  77. The Shortest and Happiest in the Whole History
  78. In which the Author goes on a Pleasant Errand
  79. In which Old Friends come together
  80. In which the Colonel says “Adsum” when his Name is called

CHAPTER I

The Overture — After which the Curtain rises upon a Drinking Chorus

A crow, who had flown away with a cheese from a dairy-window, sate perched on a tree looking down at a great big frog in a pool underneath him. The frog’s hideous large eyes were goggling out of his head in a manner which appeared quite ridiculous to the old blackamoor, who watched the splay-footed slimy wretch with that peculiar grim humour belonging to crows. Not far from the frog a fat ox was browsing; whilst a few lambs frisked about the meadow, or nibbled the grass and buttercups there.

Who should come in to the farther end of the field but a wolf? He was so cunningly dressed up in sheep’s clothing, that the very lambs did not know Master Wolf; nay, one of them, whose dam the wolf had just eaten, after which he had thrown her skin over his shoulders, ran up innocently towards the devouring monster, mistaking him for her mamma.

“He, he!” says a fox, sneaking round the hedge-paling, over which the tree grew, whereupon the crow was perched looking down on the frog, who was staring with his goggle eyes fit to burst with envy, and croaking abuse at the ox. “How absurd those lambs are! Yonder silly little knock-kneed baah-ling does not know the old wolf dressed in the sheep’s fleece. He is the same old rogue who gobbled up little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother for lunch, and swallowed little Red Riding Hood for supper. Tirez la bobinette et la chevillette cherra. He, he!”

An owl that was hidden in the hollow of the tree woke up. “Oho, Master Fox,” says she, “I cannot see you, but I smell you! If some folks like lambs, other folks like geese,” says the owl.

“And your ladyship is fond of mice,” says the fox.

“The Chinese eat them,” says the owl, “and I have read that they are very fond of dogs,” continued the old lady.

“I wish they would exterminate every cur of them off the face of the earth,” said the fox.

“And I have also read, in works of travel, that the French eat frogs,” continued the owl. “Aha, my friend Crapaud! are you there? That was a very pretty concert we sang together last night!”

“If the French devour my brethren, the English eat beef,” croaked out the frog — “great, big, brutal, bellowing oxen.”

“Ho, whoo!” says the owl, “I have heard that the English are toad-eaters too!”

“But who ever heard of them eating an owl or a fox, madam?” says Reynard, “or their sitting down and taking a crow to pick?” adds the polite rogue, with a bow to the old crow who was perched above them with the cheese in his mouth. “We are privileged animals, all of us; at least, we never furnish dishes for the odious orgies of man.”

“I am the bird of wisdom,” says the owl; “I was the companion of Pallas Minerva: I am frequently represented in the Egyptian monuments.”

“I have seen you over the British barn-doors,” said the fox, with a grin. “You have a deal of scholarship, Mrs. Owl. I know a thing or two myself; but am, I confess it, no scholar — a mere man of the world — a fellow that lives by his wits — a mere country gentleman.”

“You sneer at scholarship,” continues the owl, with a sneer on her venerable face. “I read a good deal of a night.”

“When I am engaged deciphering the cocks and hens at roost,” says the fox.

“It’s a pity for all that you can’t read; that board nailed over my head would give you some information.”

“What does it say?” says the fox.

“I can’t spell in the daylight,” answered the owl; and, giving a yawn, went back to sleep till evening in the hollow of her tree.

“A fig for her hieroglyphics!” said the fox, looking up at the crow in the tree. “What airs our slow neighbour gives herself! She pretends to all the wisdom; whereas, your reverences, the crows, are endowed with gifts far superior to these benighted old big-wigs of owls, who blink in the darkness, and call their hooting singing. How noble it is to hear a chorus of crows! There are twenty-four brethren of the Order of St. Corvinus, who have builded themselves a convent near a wood which I frequent; what a droning and a chanting they keep up! I protest their reverences’ singing is nothing to yours! You sing so deliciously in parts, do for the love of harmony favour me with a solo!”

While this conversation was going on, the ox was thumping the grass; the frog was eyeing him in such a rage at his superior proportions, that he would have spurted venom at him if he could, and that he would have burst, only that is impossible, from sheer envy; the little lambkin was lying unsuspiciously at the side of the wolf in fleecy hosiery, who did not as yet molest her, being replenished with the mutton her mamma. But now the wolf’s eyes began to glare, and his sharp white teeth to show, and he rose up with a growl, and began to think he should like lamb for supper.

“What large eyes you have got!” bleated out the lamb, with rather a timid look.

“The better to see you with, my dear.”

“What large teeth you have got!”

“The better to ——”

At this moment such a terrific yell filled the field, that all its inhabitants started with terror. It was from a donkey, who had somehow got a lion’s skin, and now came in at the hedge, pursued by some men and boys with sticks and guns.

When the wolf in sheep’s clothing heard the bellow of the ass in the lion’s skin, fancying that the monarch of the forest was near, he ran away as fast as his disguise would let him. When the ox heard the noise he dashed round the meadow-ditch, and with one trample of his hoof squashed the frog who had been abusing him. When the crow saw the people with guns coming, he instantly dropped the cheese out of his mouth, and took to wing. When the fox saw the cheese drop, he immediately made a jump at it (for he knew the donkey’s voice, and that his asinine bray was not a bit like his royal master’s roar), and making for the cheese, fell into a steel trap, which snapped off his tail; without which he was obliged to go into the world, pretending, forsooth, that it was the fashion not to wear tails any more; and that the fox-party were better without ’em.

Meanwhile, a boy with a stick came up, and belaboured Master Donkey until he roared louder than ever. The wolf, with the sheep’s clothing draggling about his legs, could not run fast, and was detected and shot by one of the men. The blind old owl, whirring out of the hollow tree, quite amazed at the disturbance, flounced into the face of a ploughboy, who knocked her down with a pitchfork. The butcher came and quietly led off the ox and the lamb; and the farmer, finding the fox’s brush in the trap, hung it up over his mantelpiece, and always bragged that he had been in at his death.

“What a farrago of old fables is this! What a dressing up in old clothes!” says the critic. (I think I see such a one — a Solomon that sits in judgment over us authors and chops up our children.) “As sure as I am just and wise, modest, learned, and religious, so surely I have read something very like this stuff and nonsense about jackasses and foxes before. That wolf in sheep’s clothing? — do I not know him? That fox discoursing with the crow? — have I not previously heard of him? Yes, in Lafontaine’s fables: let us get the Dictionary and the Fable and the Biographie Universelle, article Lafontaine, and confound the impostor.”

“Then in what a contemptuous way,” may Solomon go on to remark, “does this author speak of human nature! There is scarce one of these characters he represents but is a villain. The fox is a flatterer; the frog is an emblem of impotence and envy; the wolf in sheep’s clothing a bloodthirsty hypocrite, wearing the garb of innocence; the ass in the lion’s skin a quack trying to terrify, by assuming the appearance of a forest monarch (does the writer, writhing under merited castigation, mean to sneer at critics in this character? We laugh at the impertinent comparison); the ox, a stupid commonplace; the only innocent being in the writer’s (stolen) apologue is a fool — the idiotic lamb, who does not know his own mother!” And then the critic, if in a virtuous mood, may indulge in some fine writing regarding the holy beauteousness of maternal affection.

Why not? If authors sneer, it is the critic’s business to sneer at them for sneering. He must pretend to be their superior, or who would care about his opinion? And his livelihood is to find fault. Besides, he is right sometimes; and the stories he reads, and the characters drawn in them, are old, sure enough. What stories are new? All types of all characters march through all fables: tremblers and boasters; victims and bullies; dupes and knaves; long-eared Neddies, giving themselves leonine airs; Tartuffes wearing virtuous clothing; lovers and their trials, their blindness, their folly and constancy. With the very first page of the human story do not love and lies too begin? So the tales were told ages before Aesop; and asses under lions’ manes roared in Hebrew; and sly foxes flattered in Etruscan; and wolves in sheep’s clothing gnashed their teeth in Sanskrit, no doubt. The sun shines today as he did when he first began shining; and the birds in the tree overhead, while I am writing, sing very much the same note they have sung ever since there were finches. Nay, since last he besought good-natured friends to listen once a month to his talking, a friend of the writer has seen the New World, and found the (featherless) birds there exceedingly like their brethren of Europe. There may be nothing new under and including the sun; but it looks fresh every morning, and we rise with it to toil, hope, scheme, laugh, struggle, love, suffer, until the night comes and quiet. And then will wake Morrow and the eyes that look on it; and so da capo.

This, then, is to be a story, may it please you, in which jackdaws will wear peacocks’ feathers, and awaken the just ridicule of the peacocks; in which, while every justice is done to the peacocks themselves, the splendour of their plumage, the gorgeousness of their dazzling necks, and the magnificence of their tails, exception will yet be taken to the absurdity of their rickety strut, and the foolish discord of their pert squeaking; in which lions in love will have their claws pared by sly virgins; in which rogues will sometimes triumph, and honest folks, let us hope, come by their own; in which there will be black crape and white favours; in which there will be tears under orange-flower wreaths, and jokes in mourning-coaches; in which there will be dinners of herbs with contentment and without, and banquets of stalled oxen where there is care and hatred — ay, and kindness and friendship too, along with the feast. It does not follow that all men are honest because they are poor; and I have known some who were friendly and generous, although they had plenty of money. There are some great landlords who do not grind down their tenants; there are actually bishops who are not hypocrites; there are liberal men even among the Whigs, and the Radicals themselves are not all aristocrats at heart. But who ever heard of giving the Moral before the Fable? Children are only led to accept the one after their delectation over the other: let us take care lest our readers skip both; and so let us bring them on quickly — our wolves and lambs, our foxes and lions, our roaring donkeys, our billing ringdoves, our motherly partlets, and crowing chanticleers.

There was once a time when the sun used to shine brighter than it appears to do in this latter half of the nineteenth century; when the zest of life was certainly keener; when tavern wines seemed to be delicious, and tavern dinners the perfection of cookery; when the perusal of novels was productive of immense delight, and the monthly advent of magazine-day was hailed as an exciting holiday; when to know Thompson, who had written a magazine-article, was an honour and a privilege; and to see Brown, the author of the last romance, in the flesh, and actually walking in the Park with his umbrella and Mrs. Brown, was an event remarkable, and to the end of life to be perfectly well remembered; when the women of this world were a thousand times more beautiful than those of the present time; and the houris of the theatres especially so ravishing and angelic, that to see them was to set the heart in motion, and to see them again was to struggle for half an hour previously at the door of the pit; when tailors called at a man’s lodgings to dazzle him with cards of fancy waistcoats; when it seemed necessary to purchase a grand silver dressing-case, so as to be ready for the beard which was not yet born (as yearling brides provide lace caps, and work rich clothes, for the expected darling); when to ride in the Park on a ten-shilling hack seemed to be the height of fashionable enjoyment, and to splash your college tutor as you were driving down Regent Street in a hired cab the triumph of satire; when the acme of pleasure seemed to be to meet Jones of Trinity at the Bedford, and to make an arrangement with him, and with King of Corpus (who was staying at the Colonnade), and Martin of Trinity Hall (who was with his family in Bloomsbury Square), to dine at the Piazza, go to the play and see Braham in Fra Diavolo, and end the frolic evening by partaking of supper and a song at the “Cave of Harmony.”— It was in the days of my own youth, then, that I met one or two of the characters who are to figure in this history, and whom I must ask leave to accompany for a short while, and until, familiarised with the public, they can make their own way. As I recall them the roses bloom again, and the nightingales sing by the calm Bendemeer.

Going to the play, then, and to the pit, as was the fashion in those honest days, with some young fellows of my own age, having listened delighted to the most cheerful and brilliant of operas, and laughed enthusiastically at the farce, we became naturally hungry at twelve o’clock at night, and a desire for welsh-rabbits and good old glee-singing led us to the “Cave of Harmony,” then kept by the celebrated Hoskins, among whose friends we were proud to count.

We enjoyed such intimacy with Mr. Hoskins that he never failed to greet us with a kind nod; and John the waiter made room for us near the President of the convivial meeting. We knew the three admirable glee-singers, and many a time they partook of brandy-and-water at our expense. One of us gave his call dinner at Hoskins’s, and a merry time we had of it. Where are you, O Hoskins, bird of the night? Do you warble your songs by Acheron, or troll your choruses by the banks of black Avernus?

The goes of stout, the “Chough and Crow,” the welsh-rabbit, the “Red-Cross Knight,” the hot brandy-and-water (the brown, the strong!), the “Bloom is on the Rye” (the bloom isn’t on the rye any more!)— the song and the cup, in a word, passed round merrily; and, I daresay, the songs and bumpers were encored. It happened that there was a very small attendance at the “Cave” that night, and we were all more sociable and friendly because the company was select. The songs were chiefly of the sentimental class; such ditties were much in vogue at the time of which I speak.

There came into the “Cave” a gentleman with a lean brown face and long black mustachios, dressed in very loose clothes, and evidently a stranger to the place. At least he had not visited it for a long time. He was pointing out changes to a lad who was in his company; and, calling for sherry-and-water, he listened to the music, and twirled his mustachios with great enthusiasm.

At the very first glimpse of me the boy jumped up from the table, bounded across the room, ran to me with his hands out, and, blushing, said, “Don’t you know me?”

It was little Newcome, my school-fellow, whom I had not seen for six years, grown a fine tall young stripling now, with the same bright blue eyes which I remembered when he was quite a little boy.

“What the deuce brings you here?” said I.

He laughed and looked roguish. “My father — that’s my father — would come. He’s just come back from India. He says all the wits used to come here — Mr. Sheridan, Captain Morris, Colonel Hanger, Professor Porson. I told him your name, and that you used to be very kind to me when I first went to Smithfield. I’ve left now; I’m to have a private tutor. I say, I’ve got such a jolly pony. It’s better fun than old Smile.”

Here the whiskered gentleman, Newcome’s father, pointing to a waiter to follow him with his glass of sherry-and-water, strode across the room twirling his mustachios, and came up to the table where we sate, making a salutation with his hat in a very stately and polite manner, so that Hoskins himself was, as it were, obliged to bow; the glee-singers murmured among themselves (their eyes rolling over their glasses towards one another as they sucked brandy-and water), and that mischievous little wag, little Nadab the Improvisatore (who had just come in), began to mimic him, feeling his imaginary whiskers, after the manner of the stranger, and flapping about his pocket-handkerchief in the most ludicrous manner. Hoskins checked this ribaldry by sternly looking towards Nadab, and at the same time called upon the gents to give their orders, the waiter being in the room, and Mr. Bellew about to sing a song.

Newcome’s father came up and held out his hand to me. I dare say I blushed, for I had been comparing him to the admirable Harley in the Critic, and had christened him Don Ferolo Whiskerandos.

He spoke in a voice exceedingly soft and pleasant, and with a cordiality so simple and sincere, that my laughter shrank away ashamed, and gave place to a feeling much more respectful and friendly. In youth, you see, one is touched by kindness. A man of the world may, of course, be grateful or not as he chooses.

“I have heard of your kindness, sir,” says he, “to my boy. And whoever is kind to him is kind to me. Will you allow me to sit down by you? and may I beg you to try my cheroots?” We were friends in a minute — young Newcome snuggling by my side, his father opposite, to whom, after a minute or two of conversation, I presented my three college friends.

“You have come here, gentlemen, to see the wits,” says the Colonel. “Are there any celebrated persons in the room? I have been five-and-thirty years from home, and want to see all that is to be seen.”

King of Corpus (who was an incorrigible wag) was on the point of pulling some dreadful long-bow, and pointing out a halfdozen of people in the room, as R. and H. and L., etc., the most celebrated wits of that day; but I cut King’s shins under the table, and got the fellow to hold his tongue.

“Maxima debetur pueris,” says Jones (a fellow of very kind feeling, who has gone into the Church since), and, writing on his card to Hoskins, hinted to him that a boy was in the room, and a gentleman, who was quite a greenhorn: hence that the songs had better be carefully selected.

And so they were. A ladies’ school might have come in, and, but for the smell of the cigars and brandy-and-water, have taken no harm by what happened. Why should it not always be so? If there are any “Caves of Harmony” now, I warrant Messieurs the landlords, their interests would be better consulted by keeping their singers within bounds. The very greatest scamps like pretty songs, and are melted by them; so are honest people. It was worth a guinea to see the simple Colonel, and his delight at the music. He forgot all about the distinguished wits whom he had expected to see in his ravishment over the glees.

“I say, Clive, this is delightful. This is better than your aunt’s concert with all the Squallinis, hey? I shall come here often. Landlord, may I venture to ask those gentlemen if they will take any refreshment? What are their names?” (to one of his neighbours). “I was scarcely allowed to hear any singing before I went out, except an oratorio, where I fell asleep; but this, by George, is as fine as Incledon!” He became quite excited over his sherry-and-water-(“I’m sorry to see you, gentlemen, drinking brandy-pawnee,” says he; “it plays the deuce with our young men in India.”) He joined in all the choruses with an exceedingly sweet voice. He laughed at “The Derby Ram” so that it did you good to hear him; and when Hoskins sang (as he did admirably) “The Old English Gentleman,” and described, in measured cadence, the death of that venerable aristocrat, tears trickled down the honest warrior’s cheek, while he held out his hand to Hoskins and said, “Thank you, sir, for that song; it is an honour to human nature.” On which Hoskins began to cry too.

And now young Nadab, having been cautioned, commenced one of those surprising feats of improvisation with which he used to charm audiences. He took us all off, and had rhymes pat about all the principal persons in the room: King’s pins (which he wore very splendid), Martin’s red waistcoat, etc. The Colonel was charmed with each feat, and joined delighted with the chorus —“Ritolderol ritolderol ritolderolderay” (bis). And when, coming to the Colonel himself, he burst out —

“A military gent I see — And while his face I scan,
I think you’ll all agree with me — He came from Hindostan.
And by his side sits laughing free — A youth with curly head,
I think you’ll all agree with me — That he was best in bed.
Ritolderol,” etc.

— the Colonel laughed immensely at this sally, and clapped his son, young Clive, on the shoulder. “Hear what he says of you, sir? Clive, best be off to bed, my boy — ho, ho! No, no. We know a trick worth two of that. ‘We won’t go home till morning, till daylight does appear.’ Why should we? Why shouldn’t my boy have innocent pleasure? I was allowed none when I was a young chap, and the severity was nearly the ruin of me. I must go and speak with that young man — the most astonishing thing I ever heard in my life. What’s his name? Mr. Nadab? Mr. Nadab, sir, you have delighted me. May I make so free as to ask you to come and dine with me tomorrow at six? Colonel Newcome, if you please, Nerot’s Hotel, Clifford Street. I am always proud to make the acquaintance of men of genius, and you are one, or my name is not Newcome!”

“Sir, you do me hhonour,” says Mr. Nadab, pulling up his shirt-collar, “and perhaps the day will come when the world will do me justice — may I put down your hhonoured name for my book of poems?”

“Of course, my dear sir,” says the enthusiastic Colonel; “I’ll send them all over India. Put me down for six copies, and do me the favour to bring them tomorrow when you come to dinner.”

And now Mr. Hoskins asking if any gentleman would volunteer a song, what was our amazement when the simple Colonel offered to sing himself, at which the room applauded vociferously; whilst methought poor Clive Newcome hung down his head, and blushed as red as a peony. I felt for the young lad, and thought what my own sensations would have been if, in that place, my own uncle, Major Pendennis, had suddenly proposed to exert his lyrical powers.

The Colonel selected the ditty of “Wapping Old Stairs” (a ballad so sweet and touching that surely any English poet might be proud to be the father of it), and he sang this quaint and charming old song in an exceedingly pleasant voice, with flourishes and roulades in the old Incledon manner, which has pretty nearly passed away. The singer gave his heart and soul to the simple ballad, and delivered Molly’s gentle appeal so pathetically that even the professional gentlemen hummed and buzzed — a sincere applause; and some wags who were inclined to jeer at the beginning of the performance, clinked their glasses and rapped their sticks with quite a respectful enthusiasm. When the song was over, Clive held up his head too; after the shock of the first verse, looked round with surprise and pleasure in his eyes; and we, I need not say, backed our friend, delighted to see him come out of his queer scrape so triumphantly. The Colonel bowed and smiled with very pleasant good-nature at our plaudits. It was like Dr. Primrose preaching his sermon in the prison. There was something touching in the naivete and kindness of the placid and simple gentleman.

Great Hoskins, placed on high, amidst the tuneful choir, was pleased to signify his approbation, and gave his guest’s health in his usual dignified manner. “I am much obliged to you, sir,” says Mr. Hoskins; “the room ought to be much obliged to you: I drink your ‘ealth and song, sir;” and he bowed to the Colonel politely over his glass of brandy-and-water, of which he absorbed a little in his customer’s honour. “I have not heard that song,” he was kind enough to say, “better performed since Mr. Incledon sung it. He was a great singer, sir, and I may say, in the words of our immortal Shakspeare, that, take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again.”

The Colonel blushed in his turn, and turning round to his boy with an arch smile, said, “I learnt it from Incledon. I used to slip out from Grey Friars to hear him, Heaven bless me, forty years ago; and I used to be flogged afterwards, and serve me right too. Lord! Lord! how the time passes!” He drank off his sherry-and-water, and fell back in his chair; we could see he was thinking about his youth — the golden time — the happy, the bright, the unforgotten. I was myself nearly two-and-twenty years of age at that period, and felt as old as, ay, older than the Colonel.

Whilst he was singing his ballad, there had walked, or rather reeled, into the room, a gentleman in a military frock-coat and duck trousers of dubious hue, with whose name and person some of my readers are perhaps already acquainted. In fact it was my friend Captain Costigan, in his usual condition at this hour of the night.

Holding on by various tables, the Captain had sidled up, without accident to himself or any of the jugs and glasses round about him, to the table where we sat, and had taken his place near the writer, his old acquaintance. He warbled the refrain of the Colonel’s song, not inharmoniously; and saluted its pathetic conclusion with a subdued hiccup and a plentiful effusion of tears. “Bedad, it is a beautiful song,” says he, “and many a time I heard poor Harry Incledon sing it.”

“He’s a great character,” whispered that unlucky King of Corpus to his neighbour the Colonel; “was a Captain in the army. We call him the General. Captain Costigan, will you take something to drink?”

“Bedad, I will,” says the Captain, “and I’ll sing ye a song tu.”

And, having procured a glass of whisky-and-water from the passing waiter, the poor old man, settling his face into a horrid grin, and leering, as he was wont when he gave what he called one of his prime songs, began his music.

The unlucky wretch, who scarcely knew what he was doing or saying, selected one of the most outrageous performances of his repertoire, fired off a tipsy howl by way of overture, and away he went. At the end of the second verse the Colonel started up, clapping on his hat, seizing his stick, and looking as ferocious as though he had been going to do battle with a Pindaree.

“Silence!” he roared out.

“Hear, hear!” cried certain wags at a farther table. “Go on, Costigan!” said others.

“Go on!” cries the Colonel, in his high voice trembling with anger. “Does any gentleman say ‘Go On?’ Does any man who has a wife and sisters, or children at home, say ‘Go on’ to such disgusting ribaldry as this? Do you dare, sir, to call yourself a gentleman, and to say that you hold the King’s commission, and to sit down amongst Christians and men of honour, and defile the ears of young boys with this wicked balderdash?”

“Why do you bring young boys here, old boy?” cries a voice of the malcontents.

“Why? Because I thought I was coming to a society of gentlemen,” cried out the indignant Colonel. “Because I never could have believed that Englishmen could meet together and allow a man, and an old man, so to disgrace himself. For shame, you old wretch! Go home to your bed, you hoary old sinner! And for my part, I’m not sorry that my son should see, for once in his life, to what shame and degradation and dishonour, drunkenness and whisky may bring a man. Never mind the change, sir! — Curse the change!” says the Colonel, facing the amazed waiter. “Keep it till you see me in this place again; which will be never — by George, never!” And shouldering his stick, and scowling round at the company of scared bacchanalians, the indignant gentleman stalked away, his boy after him.

Clive seemed rather shamefaced; but I fear the rest of the company looked still more foolish.

“Aussi que diable venait — il faire dans cette galere?” says King of Corpus to Jones of Trinity; and Jones gave a shrug of his shoulders, which were smarting, perhaps; for that uplifted cane of the Colonel’s had somehow fallen on the back of every man in the room.

CHAPTER II

Colonel Newcome’s Wild Oats

As the young gentleman who has just gone to bed is to be the hero of the following pages, we had best begin our account of him with his family history, which luckily is not very long.

When pigtails still grew on the backs of the British gentry, and their wives wore cushions on their heads, over which they tied their own hair, and disguised it with powder and pomatum: when Ministers went in their stars and orders to the House of Commons, and the orators of the Opposition attacked nightly the noble lord in the blue ribbon: when Mr. Washington was heading the American rebels with a courage, it must be confessed, worthy of a better cause: there came up to London, out of a northern county, Mr. Thomas Newcome, afterwards Thomas Newcome, Esq., and sheriff of London, afterwards Mr. Alderman Newcome, the founder of the family whose name has given the title to this history. It was but in the reign of George III. that Mr. Newcome first made his appearance in Cheapside; having made his entry into London on a waggon, which landed him and some bales of cloth, all his fortune, in Bishopsgate Street; though if it could be proved that the Normans wore pigtails under William the Conqueror, and Mr. Washington fought against the English under King Richard in Palestine, I am sure some of the present Newcomes would pay the Heralds’ Office handsomely, living, as they do, amongst the noblest of the land, and giving entertainments to none but the very highest nobility and elite of the fashionable and diplomatic world, as you may read any day in the newspapers. For though these Newcomes have got a pedigree from the College, which is printed in Budge’s Landed Aristocracy of Great Britain, and which proves that the Newcome of Cromwell’s army, the Newcome who was among the last six who were hanged by Queen Mary for Protestantism, were ancestors of this house; of which a member distinguished himself at Bosworth Field; and the founder, slain by King Harold’s side at Hastings, had been surgeon-barber to King Edward the Confessor; yet, between ourselves, I think that Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome, does not believe a word of the story, any more than the rest of the world does, although a number of his children bear names out of the Saxon Calendar.

Was Thomas Newcome a foundling — a workhouse child out of that village which has now become a great manufacturing town, and which bears his name? Such was the report set about at the last election, when Sir Brian, in the Conservative interest contested the borough; and Mr. Yapp, the out-and-out Liberal candidate, had a picture of the old workhouse placarded over the town as the birthplace of the Newcomes; with placards ironically exciting freemen to vote for Newcome and union — Newcome and the parish interests, etc. Who cares for these local scandals? It matters very little to those who have the good fortune to be invited to Lady Ann Newcome’s parties whether her beautiful daughters can trace their pedigrees no higher than to the alderman their grandfather; or whether, through the mythic ancestral barber-surgeon, they hang on to the chin of Edward, Confessor and King.

Thomas Newcome, who had been a weaver in his native village, brought the very best character for honesty, thrift, and ingenuity with him to London, where he was taken into the house of Hobson Brothers, cloth-factors; afterwards Hobson and Newcome. This fact may suffice to indicate Thomas Newcome’s story. Like Whittington and many other London apprentices, he began poor and ended by marrying his master’s daughter, and becoming sheriff and alderman of the City of London.

But it was only en secondes noces that he espoused the wealthy, and religious, and eminent (such was the word applied to certain professing Christians in those days) Sophia Alethea Hobson — a woman who, considerably older than Mr. Newcome, had the advantage of surviving him many years. Her mansion at Clapham was long the resort of the most favoured amongst the religious world. The most eloquent expounders; the most gifted missionaries, the most interesting converts from foreign islands, were to be found at her sumptuous table, spread with the produce of her magnificent gardens. Heaven indeed blessed those gardens with plenty, as many reverend gentlemen remarked; there were no finer grapes, peaches, or pineapples in all England. Mr. Whitfield himself christened her; and it was said generally in the City, and by her friends, that Miss Hobson’s two Christian names, Sophia and Alethea, were two Greek words, which, being interpreted, meant wisdom and truth. She, her villa and gardens, are now no more; but Sophia Terrace, Upper and Lower Alethea Road, and Hobson’s Buildings, Square, etc., show every quarter-day that the ground sacred to her (and freehold) still bears plenteous fruit for the descendants of this eminent woman.

We are, however, advancing matters. When Thomas Newcome had been some time in London, he quitted the house of Hobson, finding an opening, though in a much smaller way, for himself. And no sooner did his business prosper, than he went down into the north, like a man, to a pretty girl whom he had left there, and whom he had promised to marry. What seemed an imprudent match (for his wife had nothing but a pale face, that had grown older and paler with long waiting) turned out a very lucky one for Newcome. The whole countryside was pleased to think of the prosperous London tradesman returning to keep his promise to the penniless girl whom he had loved in the days of his own poverty; the great country clothiers, who knew his prudence and honesty, gave him much of their business when he went back to London. Susan Newcome would have lived to be a rich woman had not fate ended her career within a year after her marriage, when she died giving birth to a son.

Newcome had a nurse for the child, and a cottage at Clapham, hard by Mr. Hobson’s house, where he had often walked in the garden of a Sunday, and been invited to sit down to take a glass of wine. Since he had left their service, the house had added a banking business, which was greatly helped by the Quakers and their religious connection; and Newcome, keeping his account there, and gradually increasing his business, was held in very good esteem by his former employers, and invited sometimes to tea at the Hermitage; for which entertainments he did not, in truth, much care at first, being a City man, a good deal tired with his business during the day, and apt to go to sleep over the sermons, expoundings, and hymns, with which the gifted preachers, missionaries, etc., who were always at the Hermitage, used to wind up the evening, before supper. Nor was he a supping man (in which case he would have found the parties pleasanter, for in Egypt itself there were not more savoury fleshpots than at Clapham); he was very moderate in his meals, of a bilious temperament, and, besides, obliged to be in town early in the morning, always setting off to walk an hour before the first coach.

But when his poor Susan died, Miss Hobson, by her father’s demise, having now become a partner in the house, as well as heiress to the pious and childless Zachariah Hobson, her uncle Mr. Newcome, with his little boy in his hand, met Miss Hobson as she was coming out of meeting one Sunday; and the child looked so pretty (Mr. N. was a very personable, fresh-coloured man himself; he wore powder to the end, and top-boots and brass buttons, in his later days, after he had been sheriff indeed, one of the finest specimens of the old London merchant); Miss Hobson, I say, invited him and little Tommy into the grounds of the Hermitage; did not quarrel with the innocent child for frisking about in the hay on the lawn, which lay basking in the Sabbath sunshine, and at the end of the visit gave him a large piece of pound-cake, a quantity of the finest hothouse grapes, and a tract in one syllable. Tommy was ill the next day; but on the next Sunday his father was at meeting.

He became very soon after this an awakened man; and the tittling and tattling, and the sneering and gossiping, all over Clapham, and the talk on ‘Change, and the pokes in the waistcoat administered by the wags to Newcome — “Newcome, give you joy, my boy;” “Newcome, new partner in Hobson’s;” “Newcome, just take in this paper to Hobson’s, they’ll do it, I warrant,” etc. etc.; and the groans of the Rev. Gideon Bawls, of the Rev. Athanasius O’Grady, that eminent convert from Popery, who, quarrelling with each other, yea, striving one against another, had yet two sentiments in common, their love for Miss Hobson, their dread, their hatred of the worldly Newcome; all these squabbles and jokes, and pribbles and prabbles, look you, may be omitted. As gallantly as he had married a woman without a penny, as gallantly as he had conquered his poverty and achieved his own independence, so bravely he went in and won the great City prize with a fortune of a quarter of a million. And every one of his old friends, and every honest-hearted fellow who likes to see shrewdness, and honesty, and courage succeed, was glad of his good fortune, and said, “Newcome, my boy” (or “Newcome, my buck,” if they were old City cronies, and very familiar), “I give you joy.”

Of course Mr. Newcome might have gone into Parliament: of course before the close of his life he might have been made a baronet: but he eschewed honours senatorial or blood-red hands. “It wouldn’t do,” with his good sense he said; “the Quaker connection wouldn’t like it.” His wife never cared about being called Lady Newcome. To manage the great house of Hobson Brothers and Newcome; to attend to the interests of the enslaved negro; to awaken the benighted Hottentot to a sense of the truth; to convert Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Papists; to arouse the indifferent and often blasphemous mariner; to guide the washerwoman in the right way; to head all the public charities of her sect, and do a thousand secret kindnesses that none knew of; to answer myriads of letters, pension endless ministers, and supply their teeming wives with continuous baby-linen; to hear preachers daily bawling for hours, and listen untired on her knees after a long day’s labour, while florid rhapsodists belaboured cushions above her with wearisome benedictions; all these things had this woman to do, and for near fourscore years she fought her fight womanfully: imperious but deserving to rule, hard but doing her duty, severe but charitable, and untiring in generosity as in labour; unforgiving in one instance — in that of her husband’s eldest son, Thomas Newcome; the little boy who had played on the hay, and whom at first she had loved very sternly and fondly.

Mr. Thomas Newcome, the father of his wife’s twin boys, the junior partner of the house of Hobson Brothers and Co., lived several years after winning the great prize about which all his friends so congratulated him. But he was, after all, only the junior partner of the house. His wife was manager in Threadneedle Street and at home — when the clerical gentlemen prayed they importuned Heaven for that sainted woman a long time before they thought of asking any favour for her husband. The gardeners touched their hats, the clerks at the bank brought him the books, but they took their orders from her, not from him. I think he grew weary of the prayer-meetings, he yawned over the sufferings of the negroes, and wished the converted Jews at Jericho. About the time the French Emperor was meeting with his Russian reverses Mr. Newcome died: his mausoleum is in Clapham Churchyard, near the modest grave where his first wife reposes.

When his father married, Mr. Thomas Newcome, jun., and Sarah his nurse were transported from the cottage where they had lived in great comfort to the palace hard by, surrounded by lawns and gardens, pineries, graperies, aviaries, luxuries of all kinds. This paradise, five miles from the Standard at Cornhill, was separated from the outer world by a thick hedge of tall trees, and an ivy-covered porter’s-gate, through which they who travelled to London on the top of the Clapham coach could only get a glimpse of the bliss within. It was a serious paradise. As you entered at the gate, gravity fell on you; and decorum wrapped you in a garment of starch. The butcher-boy who galloped his horse and cart madly about the adjoining lanes and common, whistled wild melodies (caught up in abominable playhouse galleries), and joked with a hundred cook-maids, on passing that lodge fell into an undertaker’s pace, and delivered his joints and sweetbreads silently at the servants’ entrance. The rooks in the elms cawed sermons at morning and evening; the peacocks walked demurely on the terraces; the guinea-fowls looked more Quaker-like than those savoury birds usually do. The lodge-keeper was serious, and a clerk at a neighbouring chapel. The pastors who entered at the gate, and greeted his comely wife and children, fed the little lambkins with tracts. The head-gardener was a Scotch Calvinist, after the strictest order, only occupying himself with the melons and pines provisionally, and until the end of the world, which event, he could prove by infallible calculations, was to come off in two or three years at farthest. Wherefore, he asked, should the butler brew strong ale to be drunken three years hence; or the housekeeper (a follower of Joanna Southcote) make provisions of fine linen and lay up stores of jams? On a Sunday (which good old Saxon word was scarcely known at the Hermitage) the household marched away in separate couples or groups to at least half a dozen of religious edifices, each to sit under his or her favourite minister, the only man who went to church being Thomas Newcome, accompanied by Tommy his little son, and Sarah his nurse, who was, I believe, also his aunt, or at least his mother’s first cousin. Tommy was taught hymns, very soon after he could speak, appropriate to his tender age, pointing out to him the inevitable fate of wicked children, and giving him the earliest possible warning and description of the punishment of little sinners. He repeated these poems to his stepmother after dinner, before a great shining mahogany table, covered with grapes, pineapples, plum-cake, port wine, and Madeira, and surrounded by stout men in black, with baggy white neckcloths, who took the little man between their knees, and questioned him as to his right understanding of the place whither naughty boys were bound. They patted his head with their fat hands if he said well, or rebuked him if he was bold, as he often was.

Nurse Sarah or Aunt Sarah would have died had she remained many years in that stifling garden of Eden. She could not bear to part from the child whom her mistress and kinswoman had confided to her (the women had worked in the same room at Newcome’s, and loved each other always, when Susan became a merchant’s lady, and Sarah her servant). She was nobody in the pompous new household but Master Tommy’s nurse. The honest soul never mentioned her relationship to the boy’s mother, nor indeed did Mr. Newcome acquaint his new family with that circumstance. The housekeeper called her an Erastian: Mrs. Newcome’s own serious maid informed against her for telling Tommy stories of Lancashire witches, and believing in the same. The black footman (madam’s maid and the butler were of course privately united) persecuted her with his addresses, and was even encouraged by his mistress, who thought of sending him as a missionary to the Niger. No little love, and fidelity, and constancy did honest Sarah show and use during the years she passed at the Hermitage, and until Tommy went to school. Her master, with many private prayers and entreaties, in which he passionately recalled his former wife’s memory and affection, implored his friend to stay with him; and Tommy’s fondness for her and artless caresses, and the scrapes he got into, and the howls he uttered over the hymns and catechisms which he was bidden to learn (by Rev. T. Clack,, of Highbury College, his daily tutor, who was commissioned to spare not the rod, neither to spoil the child), all these causes induced Sarah to remain with her young master until such time as he was sent to school.

Meanwhile an event of prodigious importance, a wonderment, a blessing and a delight, had happened at the Hermitage. About two years after Mrs. Newcome’s marriage, the lady being then forty-three years of age, no less than two little cherubs appeared in the Clapham Paradise — the twins, Hobson Newcome and Brian Newcome, called after their uncle and late grandfather, whose name and rank they were destined to perpetuate. And now there was no reason why young Newcome should not go to school. Old Mr. Hobson and his brother had been educated at that school of Grey Friars, of which mention has been made in former works and to Grey Friars Thomas Newcome was accordingly sent, exchanging — O ye Gods! with what delight! — the splendour of Clapham for the rough, plentiful fare of the place, blacking his master’s shoes with perfect readiness, till he rose in the school, and the time came when he should have a fag of his own: tibbing out and receiving the penalty therefore: bartering a black eye, per bearer, against a bloody nose drawn at sight, with a schoolfellow, and shaking hands the next day; playing at cricket, hockey, prisoners’ base, and football, according to the season; and gorging himself and friends with tarts when he had money (and of this he had plenty) to spend. I have seen his name carved upon the Gown Boys’ arch: but he was at school long before my time; his son showed me the name when we were boys together, in some year when George the Fourth was king.

The pleasures of this school-life were such to Tommy Newcome, that he did not care to go home for a holiday: and indeed, by insubordination and boisterousness; by playing tricks and breaking windows; by marauding upon the gardener’s peaches and the housekeeper’s jam; by upsetting his two little brothers in a go-cart (of which wanton and careless injury the present Baronet’s nose bears marks to this very day); by going to sleep during the sermons, and treating reverend gentlemen with levity, he drew down on himself the merited wrath of his stepmother; and many punishments in this present life, besides those of a future and much more durable kind, which the good lady did not fail to point out that he must undoubtedly inherit. His father, at Mrs. Newcome’s instigation, certainly whipped Tommy for upsetting his little brothers in the go-cart; but upon being pressed to repeat the whipping for some other peccadillo performed soon after, Mr. Newcome refused at once, using a wicked, worldly expression, which well might shock any serious lady; saying, in fact, that he would be deed if he beat the boy any more, and that he got flogging enough at school, in which opinion Master Tommy fully coincided.

The undaunted woman, his stepmother, was not to be made to forgo her plans for the boy’s reform by any such vulgar ribaldries; and Mr. Newcome being absent in the City on his business, and Tommy refractory as usual, she summoned the serious butler and the black footman (for the lashings of whose brethren she felt an unaffected pity) to operate together in the chastisement of this young criminal. But he dashed so furiously against the butler’s shins as to draw blood from his comely limbs, and to cause that serious and overfed menial to limp and suffer for many days after; and, seizing the decanter, he swore he would demolish blacky’s ugly face with it: nay, he threatened to discharge it at Mrs. Newcome’s own head before he would submit to the coercion which she desired her agents to administer.

High words took place between Mr. and Mrs. Newcome that night on the gentleman’s return home from the City, and on his learning the events of the morning. It is to be feared he made use of further oaths, which hasty ejaculations need not be set down in this place; at any rate, he behaved with spirit and manliness as master of the house, vowed that if any servant laid a hand on the child, he would thrash him first and then discharge him; and I dare say expressed himself with bitterness and regret that he had married a wife who would not be obedient to her husband, and had entered a house of which he was not suffered to be the master. Friends were called in-the interference, the supplications, of the Clapham clergy, some of whom dined constantly at the Hermitage, prevailed to allay this domestic quarrel; and no doubt the good sense of Mrs. Newcome — who, though imperious, was yet not unkind; and who, excellent as she was, yet could be brought to own that she was sometimes in fault — induced her to make at least a temporary submission to the man whom she had placed at the head of her house, and whom it must be confessed she had vowed to love and honour. When Tommy fell ill of the scarlet fever, which afflicting event occurred presently after the above dispute, his own nurse, Sarah, could not have been more tender, watchful, and affectionate than his stepmother showed herself to be. She nursed him through his illness; allowed his food and medicine to be administered by no other hand; sat up with the boy through a night of his fever, and uttered not one single reproach to her husband (who watched with her) when the twins took the disease (from which we need not say they happily recovered); and though young Tommy, in his temporary delirium, mistaking her for Nurse Sarah, addressed her as his dear Fat Sally — whereas no whipping-post to which she ever would have tied him could have been leaner than Mrs. Newcome — and, under this feverish delusion, actually abused her to her face; calling her an old cat, an old Methodist, and, jumping up in his little bed, forgetful of his previous fancy, vowing that he would put on his clothes and run away to Sally. Sally was at her northern home by this time, with a liberal pension which Mr. Newcome gave her, and which his son and his son’s son after him, through all their difficulties and distresses, always found means to pay.

What the boy threatened in his delirium he had thought of, no doubt, more than once in his solitary and unhappy holidays. A year after he actually ran away, not from school, but from home; and appeared one morning, gaunt and hungry, at Sarah’s cottage two hundred miles away from Clapham, who housed the poor prodigal, and killed her calf for him — washed him, with many tears and kisses, and put him to bed and to sleep; from which slumber he was aroused by the appearance of his father, whose sure instinct, backed by Mrs. Newcome’s own quick intelligence, had made him at once aware whither the young runaway had fled. The poor father came horsewhip in hand — he knew of no other law or means to maintain his authority; many and many a time had his own father, the old weaver, whose memory he loved and honoured, strapped and beaten him. Seeing this instrument in the parent’s hand, as Mr. Newcome thrust out the weeping trembling Sarah and closed the door upon her, Tommy, scared out of a sweet sleep and a delightful dream of cricket, knew his fate; and, getting up out of bed, received his punishment without a word. Very likely the father suffered more than the child; for when the punishment was over, the little man, yet trembling and quivering with the pain, held out his little bleeding hand and said, “I can — I can take it from you, sir;” saying which his face flushed, and his eyes filled, for the first time; whereupon the father burst into a passion of tears, and embraced the boy and kissed him, besought and prayed him to be rebellious no more — flung the whip away from him and swore, come what would, he would never strike him again. The quarrel was the means of a great and happy reconciliation. The three dined together in Sarah’s cottage. Perhaps the father would have liked to walk that evening in the lanes and fields where he had wandered as a young fellow: where he had first courted and first kissed the young girl he loved — poor child — who had waited for him so faithfully and fondly, who had passed so many a day of patient want and meek expectance, to be repaid by such a scant holiday and brief fruition.

Mrs. Newcome never made the slightest allusion to Tom’s absence after his return, but was quite gentle and affectionate with him, and that night read the parable of the Prodigal in a very low and quiet voice.

This, however, was only a temporary truce. War very soon broke out again between the impetuous lad and his rigid domineering mother-inlaw. It was not that he was very bad, or she perhaps more stern than other ladies, but the two could not agree. The boy sulked and was miserable at home. He fell to drinking with the grooms in the stables. I think he went to Epsom races, and was discovered after that act of rebellion. Driving from a most interesting breakfast at Roehampton (where a delightful Hebrew convert had spoken, oh! so graciously!), Mrs. Newcome — in her state-carriage, with her bay horses — met Tom, her son-inlaw, in a tax-cart, excited by drink, and accompanied by all sorts of friends, male and female. John the black man was bidden to descend from the carriage and bring him to Mrs. Newcome. He came; his voice was thick with drink. He laughed wildly: he described a fight at which he had been present. It was not possible that such a castaway as this should continue in a house where her two little cherubs were growing up in innocence and grace.

The boy had a great fancy for India; and Orme’s History, containing the exploits of Clive and Lawrence, was his favourite book of all in his father’s library. Being offered a writership, he scouted the idea of a civil appointment, and would be contented with nothing but a uniform. A cavalry cadetship was procured for Thomas Newcome; and the young man’s future career being thus determined, and his stepmother’s unwilling consent procured, Mr. Newcome thought fit to send his son to a tutor for military instruction, and removed him from the London school, where in truth he had made but very little progress in the humaner letters. The lad was placed with a professor who prepared young men for the army, and received rather a better professional education than fell to the lot of most young soldiers of his day. He cultivated the mathematics and fortification with more assiduity than he had ever bestowed on Greek and Latin, and especially made such a progress in the French tongue as was very uncommon among the British youth his contemporaries.

In the study of this agreeable language, over which young Newcome spent a great deal of his time, he unluckily had some instructors who were destined to bring the poor lad into yet further trouble at home. His tutor, an easy gentleman, lived at Blackheath, and, not far from thence, on the road to Woolwich, dwelt the little Chevalier de Blois, at whose house the young man much preferred to take his French lessons rather than to receive them under his tutor’s own roof.

For the fact was that the little Chevalier de Blois had two pretty young daughters, with whom he had fled from his country along with thousands of French gentlemen at the period of revolution and emigration. He was a cadet of a very ancient family, and his brother, the Marquis de Blois, was a fugitive like himself, but with the army of the princes on the Rhine, or with his exiled sovereign at Mittau. The Chevalier had seen the wars of the great Frederick: what man could be found better to teach young Newcome the French language and the art military? It was surprising with what assiduity he pursued his studies. Mademoiselle Leonore, the Chevalier’s daughter, would carry on her little industry very undisturbedly in the same parlour with her father and his pupil. She painted card-racks: laboured at embroidery; was ready to employ her quick little brain or fingers in any way by which she could find means to add a few shillings to the scanty store on which this exiled family supported themselves in their day of misfortune. I suppose the Chevalier was not in the least unquiet about her, because she was promised in marriage to the Comte de Florac, also of the emigration — a distinguished officer like the Chevalier, than whom he was a year older — and, at the time of which we speak, engaged in London in giving private lessons on the fiddle. Sometimes on a Sunday he would walk to Blackheath with that instrument in his hand, and pay his court to his young fiancee, and talk over happier days with his old companion-inarms. Tom Newcome took no French lessons on a Sunday. He passed that day at Clapham generally, where, strange to say, he never said a word about Mademoiselle de Blois.

What happens when two young folks of eighteen, handsome and ardent, generous and impetuous, alone in the world, or without strong affections to bind them elsewhere — what happens when they meet daily over French dictionaries, embroidery frames, or indeed upon any business whatever? No doubt Mademoiselle Leonore was a young lady perfectly bien elevee, and ready, as every well-elevated young Frenchwoman should be, to accept a husband of her parents’ choosing; but while the elderly M. de Florac was fiddling in London, there was that handsome young Tom Newcome ever present at Blackheath. To make a long matter short, Tom declared his passion, and was for marrying Leonore off hand, if she would but come with him to the little Catholic chapel at Woolwich. Why should they not go out to India together and be happy ever after?

The innocent little amour may have been several months in transaction, and was discovered by Mrs. Newcome, whose keen spectacles nothing could escape. It chanced that she drove to Blackheath to Tom’s tutor’s. Tom was absent taking his French and drawing lesson of M. de Blois. Thither Tom’s stepmother followed him, and found the young man sure enough with his instructor over his books and plans of fortification. Mademoiselle and her card-screens were in the room, but behind those screens she could not hide her blushes and confusion from Mrs. Newcome’s sharp glances. In one moment the banker’s wife saw the whole affair — the whole mystery which had been passing for months under poor M. de Blois’ nose, without his having the least notion of the truth.

Mrs. Newcome said she wanted her son to return home with her upon private affairs; and before they had reached the Hermitage a fine battle had ensued between them. His mother had charged him with being a wretch and a monster, and he had replied fiercely, denying the accusation with scorn, and announcing his wish instantly to marry the most virtuous, the most beautiful of her sex. To marry a Papist! This was all that was wanted to make poor Tom’s cup of bitterness run over. Mr. Newcome was called in, and the two elders passed a great part of the night in an assault upon the lad. He was grown too tall for the cane; but Mrs. Newcome thonged him with the lash of her indignation for many an hour that evening.

He was forbidden to enter, M. de Blois’ house, a prohibition at which the spirited young fellow snapped his fingers, and laughed in scorn. Nothing, he swore, but death should part him from the young lady. On the next day his father came to him alone and plied him with entreaties, but he was as obdurate as before. He would have her; nothing should prevent him. He cocked his hat and walked out of the lodge-gate, as his father, quite beaten by the young man’s obstinacy, with haggard face and tearful eyes, went his own way into town. He was not very angry himself: in the course of their talk overnight the boy had spoken bravely and honestly, and Newcome could remember how, in his own early life, he too had courted and loved a young lass. It was Mrs. Newcome the father was afraid of. Who shall depict her wrath at the idea that a child of her house was about to marry a Popish girl?

So young Newcome went his way to Blackheath, bent upon falling straightway down upon his knees before Leonore, and having the Chevalier’s blessing. That old fiddler in London scarcely seemed to him to be an obstacle: it seemed monstrous that a young creature should be given away to a man older than her own father. He did not know the law of honour, as it obtained amongst French gentlemen of those days, or how religiously their daughters were bound by it.

But Mrs. Newcome had been beforehand with him, and had visited the Chevalier de Blois almost at cockcrow. She charged him insolently with being privy to the attachment between the young people; pursued him with vulgar rebukes about beggary, Popery, and French adventurers. Her husband had to make a very contrite apology afterwards for the language which his wife had thought fit to employ. “You forbid me,” said the Chevalier, “you forbid Mademoiselle de Blois to marry your son, Mr. Thomas! No, madam, she comes of a race which is not accustomed to ally itself with persons of your class; and is promised to a gentleman whose ancestors were dukes and peers when Mr. Newcome’s were blacking shoes!” Instead of finding his pretty blushing girl on arriving at Woolwich, poor Tom only found his French master, livid with rage and quivering under his ailes de pigeon. We pass over the scenes that followed; the young man’s passionate entreaties, and fury and despair. In his own defence, and to prove his honour to the world, M. de Blois determined that his daughter should instantly marry the Count. The poor girl yielded without a word, as became her; and it was with this marriage effected almost before his eyes, and frantic with wrath and despair, that young Newcome embarked for India, and quitted the parents whom he was never more to see.

Tom’s name was no more mentioned at Clapham. His letters to his father were written to the City; very pleasant they were, and comforting to the father’s heart. He sent Tom liberal private remittances to India, until the boy wrote to say that he wanted no more. Mr. Newcome would have liked to leave Tom all his private fortune, for the twins were only too well cared for; but he dared not on account of his terror of Sophia Alethea, his wife; and he died, and poor Tom was only secretly forgiven.

CHAPTER III

Colonel Newcome’s Letter-box

I

“With the most heartfelt joy, my dear Major, I take up my pen to announce to you the happy arrival of the Ramchunder, and the dearest and handsomest little boy who, I am sure, ever came from India. Little Clive is in perfect health. He speaks English wonderfully well. He cried when he parted from Mr. Sneid, the supercargo, who most kindly brought him from Southampton in a postchaise, but these tears in childhood are of very brief duration! The voyage, Mr. Sneid states, was most favourable, occupying only four months and eleven days. How different from that more lengthened and dangerous passage of eight months, and almost perpetual sea-sickness, in which my poor dear sister Emma went to Bengal, to become the wife of the best of husbands and the mother of the dearest of little boys, and to enjoy these inestimable blessings for so brief an interval! She has quitted this wicked and wretched world for one where all is peace. The misery and ill-treatment which she endured from Captain Case her first odious husband, were, I am sure, amply repaid, my dear Colonel, by your subsequent affection. If the most sumptuous dresses which London, even Paris, could supply, jewellery the most costly, and elegant lace, and everything lovely and fashionable, could content a woman, these, I am sure, during the last four years of her life, the poor girl had. Of what avail are they when this scene of vanity is closed?

“Mr. Sneid announces that the passage was most favourable. They stayed a week at the Cape, and three days at St. Helena, where they visited Bonaparte’s tomb (another instance of the vanity of all things!), and their voyage was enlivened off Ascension by the taking of some delicious turtle!

“You may be sure that the most liberal sum which you have placed to my credit with the Messrs. Hobson and Co. shall be faithfully expended on my dear little charge. Mrs. Newcome can scarcely be called his grandmamma, I suppose; and I daresay her Methodistical ladyship will not care to see the daughter and grandson of a clergyman of the Church of England! My brother Charles took leave to wait upon her when he presented your last most generous bill at the bank. She received him most rudely, and said a fool and his money are soon parted; and when Charles said, ‘Madam, I am the brother of the late Mrs. Major Newcome,’ ‘Sir,’ says she, ‘I judge nobody; but from all accounts, you are the brother of a very vain, idle, thoughtless, extravagant woman; and Thomas Newcome was as foolish about his wife as about his money.’ Of course, unless Mrs. N. writes to invite dear Clive, I shall not think of sending him to Clapham.

“It is such hot weather that I cannot wear the beautiful shawl you have sent me, and shall keep it in lavender till next winter! My brother, who thanks you for your continuous bounty, will write next month, and report progress as to his dear pupil. Clive will add a postscript of his own, and I am, my dear Major, with a thousand thanks for your kindness to me, — Your grateful and affectionate Martha Honeyman.”

In a round hand and on lines ruled with pencil:—

“Dearest Papa i am very well i hope you are Very Well. M Sneed brought me in a postchaise i like Mr. Sneed very much. i like Aunt Martha i like Hannah. There are no ships here i am your affectionate son Clive Newcome.”

II

Rue St. Dominique, St. Germain, Paris,

Nov. 15, 1820,

“Long separated from the country which was the home of my youth, I carried from her tender recollections, and bear her always a lively gratitude. The Heaven has placed me in a position very different from that in which I knew you. I have been the mother of many children. My husband has recovered a portion of the property which the Revolution tore from us; and France, in returning to its legitimate sovereign, received once more the nobility which accompanied his august house into exile. We, however, preceded His Majesty, more happy than many of our companions. Believing further resistance to be useless; dazzled, perhaps, by the brilliancy of that genius which restored order, submitted Europe, and governed France; M. de Florac, in the first days, was reconciled to the Conqueror of Marengo and Austerlitz, and held a position in his Imperial Court. This submission, at first attributed to infidelity, has subsequently been pardoned to my husband. His sufferings during the Hundred Days made to pardon his adhesion to him who was Emperor. My husband is now an old man. He was of the disastrous campaign of Moscow, as one of the chamberlains of Napoleon. Withdrawn from the world, he gives his time to his feeble health — to his family — to Heaven.

“I have not forgotten a time before those days, when, according to promises given by my father, I became the wife of M. de Florac. Sometimes I have heard of your career. One of my parents, M. de F., who took service in the English India, has entertained me of you; he informed me how yet a young man you won laurels at Argom and Bhartpour; how you escaped to death at Laswari. I have followed them, sir, on the map. I have taken part in your victories and your glory. Ah! I am not so cold, but my heart has trembled for your dangers; not so aged, but I remember the young man who learned from the pupil of Frederick the first rudiments of war. Your great heart, your love of truth, your courage were your own. None had to teach you those qualities, of which a good God had endowed you, My good father is dead since many years. He, too, was permitted to see France before to die.

“I have read in the English journals not only that you are married, but that you have a son. Permit me to send to your wife, to your child, these accompanying tokens of an old friendship. I have seen that Mistress Newcome was widow, and am not sorry of it. My friend, I hope there was not that difference of age between your wife and you that I have known in other unions. I pray the good God to bless yours. I hold you always in my memory. As I write, the past comes back to me. I see a noble young man, who has a soft voice, and brown eyes. I see the Thames, and the smiling plains of Blackheath. I listen and pray at my chamber-door as my father talks to you in our little cabinet of studies. I look from my window, and see you depart.

“My son’s are men: one follows the profession of arms, one has embraced the ecclesiastical state; my daughter is herself a mother. I remember this was your birthday; I have made myself a little fete in celebrating it, after how many years of absence, of silence! Comtesse De Florac.

(Nee L. de Blois.)”

III

“My Dear Thomas — Mr. Sneid, supercargo of the Ramchunder, East Indiaman, handed over to us yesterday your letter, and, today, I have purchased three thousand three hundred and twenty-three pounds 6 and 8d. three per cent Consols, in our joint names (H. and B. Newcome), held for your little boy. Mr. S. gives a very favourable account of the little man, and left him in perfect health two days since, at the house of his aunt, Miss Honeyman. We have placed 200 pounds to that lady’s credit, at your desire.

“Lady Anne is charmed with the present which she received yesterday, and says the white shawl is a great deal too handsome. My mother is also greatly pleased with hers, and has forwarded, by the coach to Brighton, today, a packet of books, tracts, etc., suited for his tender age, for your little boy. She heard of you lately from the Rev. T. Sweatenham on his return from India. He spoke of your kindness — and of the hospitable manner in which you had received him at your house, and alluded to you in a very handsome way in the course of the thanksgiving that evening. I dare say my mother will ask your little boy to the Hermitage; and when we have a house of our own, I am sure Anne and I will be very happy to see him. Yours affectionately, Major Newcome. B. Newcome.”

IV

“My Dear Colonel — Did I not know the generosity of your heart, and the bountiful means which Heaven has put at your disposal in order to gratify that noble disposition; were I not certain that the small sum I required will permanently place me beyond the reach of the difficulties of life, and will infallibly be repaid before six months are over, believe me I never would have ventured upon that bold step which our friendship (carried on epistolarily as it has been), our relationship, and your admirable disposition, have induced me to venture to take.

“That elegant and commodious chapel, known as Lady Whittlesea’s, Denmark Street, Mayfair, being for sale, I have determined on venturing my all in its acquisition, and in laying, as I hope, the foundation of a competence for myself and excellent sister. What is a lodging-house at Brighton but an uncertain maintenance? The mariner on the sea before those cliffs is no more sure of wind and wave, or of fish to his laborious net, than the Brighton house-owner (bred in affluence she may have been, and used to unremitting plenty) to the support of the casual travellers who visit the city. On one day they come in shoals, it is true, but where are they on the next? For many months my poor sister’s first floor was a desert, until occupied by your noble little boy, my nephew and pupil. Clive is everything that a father’s, an uncle’s (who loves him as a father), a pastor’s, a teacher’s affections could desire. He is not one of those premature geniuses whose much-vaunted infantine talents disappear along with adolescence; he is not, I frankly own, more advanced in his classical and mathematical studies than some children even younger than himself; but he has acquired the rudiments of health; he has laid in a store of honesty and good-humour, which are not less likely to advance him in life than mere science and language, than the as in praesenti, or the pons asinorum.

“But I forget, in thinking of my dear little friend and pupil, the subject of this letter — namely, the acquisition of the proprietary chapel to which I have alluded, and the hopes, nay, certainty of a fortune, if aught below is certain, which that acquisition holds out. What is a curacy, but a synonym for starvation? If we accuse the Eremites of old of wasting their lives in unprofitable wildernesses, what shall we say to many a hermit of Protestant, and so-called civilised times, who hides his head in a solitude in Yorkshire, and buries his probably fine talents in a Lincolnshire fen? Have I genius? Am I blessed with gifts of eloquence to thrill and soothe, to arouse the sluggish, to terrify the sinful, to cheer and convince the timid, to lead the blind groping in darkness, and to trample the audacious sceptic in the dust? My own conscience, besides a hundred testimonials from places of popular, most popular worship, from reverend prelates, from distinguished clergy, tells me I have these gifts. A voice within me cries, ‘Go forth, Charles Honeyman, fight the good fight; wipe the tears of the repentant sinner; sing of hope to the agonised criminal; whisper courage, brother, courage, at the ghastly deathbed, and strike down the infidel with the lance of evidence and the shield of reason!’ In a pecuniary point of view I am confident, nay, the calculations may be established as irresistibly as an algebraic equation, that I can realise, as incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s chapel, the sum of not less than one thousand pounds per annum. Such a sum, with economy (and without it what sum were sufficient?), will enable me to provide amply for my wants, to discharge my obligations to you, to my sister, and some other creditors, very, very unlike you, and to place Miss Honeyman in a home more worthy of her than that which she now occupies, only to vacate it at the beck of every passing stranger!

“My sister does not disapprove of my plan, into which enter some modifications which I have not, as yet, submitted to her, being anxious at first that they should be sanctioned by you. From the income of the Whittlesea chapel I propose to allow Miss Honeyman the sum of two hundred pounds per annum, paid quarterly. This, with her private property, which she has kept more thriftily than her unfortunate and confiding brother guarded his (for whenever I had a guinea a tale of distress would melt it into half a sovereign), will enable Miss Honeyman to live in a way becoming my father’s daughter.

“Comforted with this provision as my sister will be, I would suggest that our dearest young Clive should be transferred from her petticoat government, and given up to the care of his affectionate uncle and tutor. His present allowance will most liberally suffice for his expenses, board, lodging, and education while under my roof, and I shall be able to exert a paternal, a pastoral influence over his studies, his conduct, and his highest welfare, which I cannot so conveniently exercise at Brighton, where I am but Miss Honeyman’s stipendiary, and where I often have to submit in cases where I know, for dearest Clive’s own welfare, it is I, and not my sister, should be paramount.

“I have given then to a friend, the Rev. Marcus Flather a draft for two hundred and fifty pounds sterling, drawn upon you at your agent’s in Calcutta, which sum will go in liquidation of dear Clive’s first year’s board with me, or, upon my word of honour as a gentleman and clergyman, shall be paid back at three months after sight, if you will draw upon me. As I never — no, were it my last penny in the world — would dishonour your draft, I implore you, my dear Colonel, not to refuse mine. My credit in this city, where credit is everything, and the awful future so little thought of, my engagements to Mr. Flather, my own prospects in life, and the comfort of my dear sister’s declining years, all — all depend upon this bold, this eventful measure. My ruin or my earthly happiness lies entirely in your hands. Can I doubt which way your kind heart will lead you, and that you will come to the aid of your affectionate brother-inlaw? Charles Honeyman.”

“Our little Clive has been to London on a visit to his uncles and to the Hermitage, Clapham, to pay his duty to his step-grandmother, the wealthy Mrs. Newcome. I pass over words disparaging of myself which the child in his artless prattles subsequently narrated. She was very gracious to him, and presented him with a five-pound note, a copy of Kirk White’s Poems, and a work called Little Henry and his Bearer, relating to India, and the excellent Catechism of our Church. Clive is full of humour, and I enclose you a rude scrap representing the Bishopess of Clapham, as she is called — the other figure is a rude though entertaining sketch of some other droll personage.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Newcome, etc.”

V

“My Dear Colonel; — The Rev. Marcus Flather has just written me a letter at which I am greatly shocked and perplexed, informing me that my brother Charles has given him a draft upon you for two hundred and fifty pounds, when goodness knows it is not you but we who are many, many hundred pounds debtors to you. Charles has explained that he drew the bill at your desire, that you wrote to say you would be glad to serve him in any way, and that the money is wanted to make his fortune. Yet I don’t know — poor Charles is always going to make his fortune and has never done it. That school which he bought, and for which you and me between us paid the purchase-money, turned out no good, and the only pupils left at the end of the first half-year were two woolly-headed poor little mulattos, whose father was in gaol at St. Kitt’s, and whom I kept actually in my own second-floor back room whilst the lawyers were settling things, and Charles was away in France, and until my dearest little Clive came to live with me.

“Then, as he was too small for a great school, I thought Clive could not do better than stay with his old aunt and have his Uncle Charles for a tutor, who is one of the finest scholars in the world. I wish you could hear him in the pulpit. His delivery is grander and more impressive than any divine now in England. His sermons you have subscribed for, and likewise his book of elegant poems, which are pronounced to be very fine.

“When he returned from Calais, and those horrid lawyers had left off worriting him, I thought as his frame was much shattered and he was too weak to take a curacy, that he could not do better than become Clive’s tutor, and agreed to pay him out of your handsome donation of 250 pounds for Clive, a sum of one hundred pounds per year, so that, when the board of the two and Clive’s clothing are taken into consideration, I think you will see that no great profit is left to Miss Martha Honeyman.

“Charles talks to me of his new church in London, and of making me some grand allowance. The poor boy is very affectionate, and always building castles in the air, and of having Clive to live with him in London. Now this mustn’t be, and I won’t hear of it. Charles is too kind to be a schoolmaster, and Master Clive laughs at him. It was only the other day, after his return from his grandmamma’s, regarding which I wrote you, per Burrampooter, the 23rd ult., that I found a picture of Mrs. Newcome and Charles too, and of both their spectacles, quite like. I put it away, but some rogue, I suppose, has stolen it. He has done me and Hannah too. Mr. Speck, the artist, laughed and took it home, and says he is a wonder at drawing.

“Instead, then, of allowing Clive to go with Charles to London next month, where my brother is bent on going, I shall send Clivey to Dr. Timpany’s school, Marine Parade, of which I hear the best account, but I hope you will think of soon sending him to a great school. My father always said it was the best place for boys, and I have a brother to whom my poor mother spared the rod, and who, I fear, has turned out but a spoilt child.

“I am, dear Colonel, your most faithful servant, Martha Honeyman.”

“Lieutenant-Colonel Newcome, C. B.”

VI

“My Dear Brother — I hasten to inform you of a calamity which, though it might be looked for in the course of nature, has occasioned deep grief not only in our family but in this city. This morning, at half-past four o’clock, our beloved and respected mother, Sophia Alethea Newcome, expired, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. On the night of Tuesday-Wednesday, the 12-13th, having been engaged reading and writing in her library until a late hour, and having dismissed the servants, whom she never would allow to sit up for her, as well as my brother and his wife, who always are in the habit of retiring early, Mrs. Newcome extinguished the lamps, took a bedchamber candle to return to her room, and must have fallen on the landing, where she was discovered by the maids, sitting with her head reclining against the balustrades, and endeavouring to staunch a wound in her forehead, which was bleeding profusely, having struck in a fall against the stone step of the stair.

“When Mrs. Newcome was found she was speechless, but still sensible, and medical aid being sent for, she was carried to bed. Mr. Newcome and Lady Anne both hurried to her apartment, and she knew them, and took the hands of each, but paralysis had probably ensued in consequence of the shock of the fall; nor was her voice ever heard, except in inarticulate moanings, since the hour on the previous evening when she gave them her blessing and bade them good-night. Thus perished this good and excellent woman, the truest Christian, the most charitable friend to the poor and needful, the head of this great house of business, the best and most affectionate of mothers.

“The contents of her will have long been known to us, and that document was dated one month after our lamented father’s death. Mr. Thomas Newcome’s property being divided equally amongst his three sons, the property of his second wife naturally devolves upon her own issue, my brother Brian and myself. There are very heavy legacies to servants and to charitable and religious institutions, of which, in life, she was the munificent patroness; and I regret, my dear brother, that no memorial to you should have been left by my mother, because she often spoke of you latterly in terms of affection, and on the very day on which she died, commenced a letter to your little boy, which was left unfinished on the library table. My brother said that on that same day, at breakfast, she pointed to a volume of Orme’s Hindostan, the book, she said, which set poor dear Tom wild to go to India, I know you will be pleased to hear of these proofs of returning goodwill and affection in one who often spoke latterly of her early regard for you. I have no more time, under the weight of business which this present affliction entails, than to say that I am yours, dear brother, very sincerely, H. Newcome.”

“Lieutenant-Colonel Newcome, etc.”

CHAPTER IV

In which the Author and the Hero resume their Acquaintance

If we are to narrate the youthful history not only of the hero of this tale, but of the hero’s father, we shall never have done with nursery biography. A gentleman’s grandmother may delight in fond recapitulation of her darling’s boyish frolics and early genius; but shall we weary our kind readers by this infantile prattle, and set down the revered British public for an old woman? Only to two or three persons in all the world are the reminiscences of a man’s early youth interesting: to the parent who nursed him; to the fond wife or child mayhap afterwards who loves him; to himself always and supremely — whatever may be his actual prosperity or ill-fortune, his present age, illness, difficulties, renown, or disappointments, the dawn of his life still shines brightly for him, the early griefs and delights and attachments remain with him ever faithful and dear. I shall ask leave to say, regarding the juvenile biography of Mr. Clive Newcome, of whose history I am the chronicler, only so much as is sufficient to account for some peculiarities of his character, and for his subsequent career in the world.

Although we were schoolfellows, my acquaintance with young Newcome at the seat of learning where we first met was very brief and casual. He had the advantage of being six years the junior of his present biographer, and such a difference of age between lads at a public school puts intimacy out of the question — a junior ensign being no more familiar with the Commander-inChief at the Horse Guards, or a barrister on his first circuit with my Lord Chief Justice on the bench, than the newly breeched infant in the Petties with a senior boy in a tailed coat. As we “knew each other at home,” as our school phrase was, and our families being somewhat acquainted, Newcome’s maternal uncle, the Rev. Charles Honeyman (the highly gifted preacher, and incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel, Denmark Street, Mayfair), when he brought the child, after the Christmas vacation of 182-, to the Grey Friars’ school, recommended him in a neat complimentary speech to my superintendence and protection. My uncle, Major Pendennis, had for a while a seat in the chapel of this sweet and popular preacher, and professed, as a great number of persons of fashion did, a great admiration for him — an admiration which I shared in my early youth, but which has been modified by maturer judgment.

Mr. Honeyman told me, with an air of deep respect, that his young nephew’s father, Colonel Thomas Newcome, C.B., was a most gallant and distinguished officer in the Bengal establishment of the Honourable East India Company; — and that his uncles, the Colonel’s half-brothers, were the eminent bankers, heads of the firm of Hobson Brothers and Newcome, Hobson Newcome, Esquire, Bryanstone Square, and Marblehead, Sussex, and Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome and Park Lane, “whom to name,” says Mr. Honeyman, with the fluent eloquence with which he decorated the commonest circumstances of life, “is to designate two of the merchant princes of the wealthiest city the world has ever known; and one, if not two, of the leaders of that aristocracy which rallies round the throne of the most elegant and refined of European sovereigns.” I promised Mr. Honeyman to do what I could for the boy; and he proceeded to take leave of his little nephew in my presence in terms equally eloquent, pulling out a long and very slender green purse, from which he extracted the sum of two-and-sixpence, which he presented to the child, who received the money with rather a queer twinkle in his blue eyes.

After that day’s school, I met my little protege in the neighbourhood of the pastrycook’s, regaling himself with raspberry-tarts. “You must not spend all that money, sir, which your uncle gave you,” said I (having perhaps even at that early age a slightly satirical turn), “in tarts and ginger-beer.”

The urchin rubbed the raspberry-jam off his mouth, and said, “It don’t matter, sir, for I’ve got lots more.”

“How much?” says the Grand Inquisitor: for the formula of interrogation used to be, when a new boy came to the school, “What’s your name? Who’s your father? and how much money have you got?”

The little fellow pulled such a handful of sovereigns out of his pocket as might have made the tallest scholar feel a pang of envy. “Uncle Hobson,” says he, “gave me two; Aunt Hobson gave me one — no, Aunt Hobson gave me thirty shillings; Uncle Newcome gave me three pound; and Aunt Anne gave me one pound five; and Aunt Honeyman sent me ten shillings in a letter. And Ethel wanted to give me a pound, only I wouldn’t have it, you know; because Ethel’s younger than me, and I have plenty.”

“And who is Ethel?” asks the senior boy, smiling at the artless youth’s confessions.

“Ethel is my cousin,” replies little Newcome; “Aunt Anne’s daughter. There’s Ethel and Alice, and Aunt Anne wanted the baby to be called Boadicea, only uncle wouldn’t; and there’s Barnes and Egbert and little Alfred; only he don’t count, he’s quite a baby you know. Egbert and me was at school at Timpany’s; he’s going to Eton next half. He’s older than me, but I can lick him.”

“And how old is Egbert?” asks the smiling senior.

“Egbert’s ten, and I’m nine, and Ethel’s seven,” replies the little chubby-faced hero, digging his hands deep into his trousers’ pockets, and jingling all the sovereigns there. I advised him to let me be his banker; and, keeping one out of his many gold pieces, he handed over the others, on which he drew with great liberality till his whole stock was expended. The school hours of the upper and under boys were different at that time; the little fellows coming out of their hall half an hour before the Fifth and Sixth Forms; and many a time I used to find my little blue jacket in waiting, with his honest square face, and white hair, and bright blue eyes, and I knew that he was come to draw on his bank. Ere long one of the pretty blue eyes was shut up, and a fine black one substituted in its place. He had been engaged, it appeared, in a pugilistic encounter with a giant of his own Form, whom he had worsted in the combat. “Didn’t I pitch into him, that’s all?” says he in the elation of victory; and when I asked whence the quarrel arose, he stoutly informed me that “Wolf minor, his opponent, had been bullying a little boy, and that he (the gigantic Newcome) wouldn’t stand it.”

So, being called away from the school, I said farewell and God bless you to the brave little man, who remained a while at the Grey Friars, where his career and troubles had only just begun.

Nor did we meet again until I was myself a young man occupying chambers in the Temple, when our rencontre took place in the manner already described.

Poor Costigan’s outrageous behaviour had caused my meeting with my schoolfellow of early days to terminate so abruptly and unpleasantly, that I scarce expected to see Clive again, or at any rate to renew my acquaintance with the indignant East Indian warrior who had quitted our company in such a huff. Breakfast, however, was scarcely over in my chambers the next morning, when there came a knock at the outer door, and my clerk introduced “Colonel Newcome and Mr. Newcome.”

Perhaps the (joint) occupant of the chambers in Lamb Court, Temple, felt a little pang of shame at hearing the name of the visitors; for, if the truth must be told, I was engaged pretty much as I had been occupied on the night previous, and was smoking a cigar over the Times newspaper. How many young men in the Temple smoke a cigar after breakfast as they read the Times? My friend and companion of those days, and all days, Mr. George Warrington, was employed with his short pipe, and was not in the least disconcerted at the appearance of the visitors, as he would not have been had the Archbishop of Canterbury stepped in.

Little Clive looked curiously about our queer premises, while the Colonel shook me cordially by the hand. No traces of yesterday’s wrath were visible on his face, but a friendly smile lighted his bronzed countenance, as he too looked round the old room with its dingy curtains and prints and bookcases, its litter of proof-sheets, blotted manuscripts, and books for review, empty soda-water bottles, cigar-boxes, and what not.

“I went off in a flame of fire last night,” says the Colonel, “and being cooled this morning, thought it but my duty to call on Mr. Pendennis and apologise for my abrupt behaviour. The conduct of that tipsy old Captain — what is his name? — was so abominable, that I could not bear that Clive should be any longer in the same room with him, and I went off without saying a word of thanks or good-night to my son’s old friend. I owe you a shake of the hand for last night, Mr. Pendennis.” And, so saying, he was kind enough to give me his hand a second time.

“And this is the abode of the Muses, is it, sir?” our guest went on. “I know your writings very well. Clive here used to send me the Pall Mall Gazette every month.”

“We took it at Smiffle, regular,” says Clive. “Always patronise Grey Friars men.” “Smiffle,” it must be explained, is a fond abbreviation for Smithfield, near to which great mart of mutton and oxen our school is situated, and old Cistercians often playfully designate their place of education by the name of the neighbouring market.

“Clive sent me the Gazette every month; and I read your romance of Walter Lorraine in my boat as I was coming down the river to Calcutta.”

“Have Pen’s immortal productions made their appearance on board Bengalee budgerows; and are their leaves floating on the yellow banks of Jumna?” asks Warrington, that sceptic, who respects no work of modern genius.

“I gave your book to Mrs. Timmins, at Calcutta,” says the Colonel simply. “I daresay you have heard of her. She is one of the most dashing women in all India. She was delighted with your work; and I can tell you it is not with every man’s writing that Mrs. Timmins is pleased,” he added, with a knowing air.

“It’s capital,” broke in Clive. “I say, that part, you know, where Walter runs away with Neaera, and the General can’t pursue them, though he has got the postchaise at the door, because Tim O’Toole has hidden his wooden leg! By Jove, it’s capital! — All the funny part — I don’t like the sentimental stuff, and suicide, and that; and as for poetry, I hate poetry.”

“Pen’s is not first chop,” says Warrington. “I am obliged to take the young man down from time to time, Colonel Newcome. Otherwise he would grow so conceited there would be no bearing him.”

“I say,” says Clive.

“What were you about to remark?” asks Mr. Warrington, with an air of great interest.

“I say, Pendennis,” continued the artless youth, “I thought you were a great swell. When we used to read about the grand parties in the Pall Mall Gazette, the fellows used to say you were at every one of them, and you see, I thought you must have chambers in the Albany, and lots of horses to ride, and a valet and a groom, and a cab at the very least.”

“Sir,” says the Colonel, “I hope it is not your practice to measure and estimate gentlemen by such paltry standards as those. A man of letters follows the noblest calling which any man can pursue. I would rather be the author of a work of genius, than be Governor-General of India. I admire genius. I salute it wherever I meet it. I like my own profession better than any in the world, but then it is because I am suited to it. I couldn’t write four lines in verse, no, not to save me from being shot. A man cannot have all the advantages of life. Who would not be poor if he could be sure of possessing genius, and winning fame and immortality, sir? Think of Dr. Johnson, what a genius he had, and where did he live? In apartments that, I daresay, were no better than these, which, I am sure, gentlemen, are most cheerful and pleasant,” says the Colonel, thinking he had offended us. “One of the great pleasures and delights which I had proposed to myself on coming home was to be allowed to have the honour of meeting with men of learning and genius, with wits, poets, and historians, if I may be so fortunate; and of benefiting by their conversation. I left England too young to have that privilege. In my father’s house money was thought of, I fear, rather than intellect; neither he nor I had the opportunities which I wish you to have; and I am surprised you should think of reflecting upon Mr. Pendennis’s poverty, or of feeling any sentiment but respect and admiration when you enter the apartments of the poet and the literary man. I have never been in the rooms of a literary man before,” the Colonel said, turning away from his son to us: “excuse me, is that — that paper really a proof-sheet?” We handed over to him that curiosity, smiling at the enthusiasm of the honest gentleman who could admire what to us was as unpalatable as a tart to a pastrycook.

Being with men of letters, he thought proper to make his conversation entirely literary; and in the course of my subsequent more intimate acquaintance with him, though I knew he had distinguished himself in twenty actions, he never could be brought to talk of his military feats or experience, but passed them by, as if they were subjects utterly unworthy of notice.

I found he believed Dr. Johnson to be the greatest of men: the Doctor’s words were constantly in his mouth; and he never travelled without Boswell’s Life. Besides these, he read Caesar and Tacitus, “with translations, sir, with translations — I’m thankful that I kept some of my Latin from Grey Friars;” and he quoted sentences from the Latin Grammar, apropos of a hundred events of common life, and with perfect simplicity and satisfaction to himself. Besides the above-named books, the Spectator, Don Quixote, and Sir Charles Grandison formed a part of his travelling library. “I read these, sir,” he used to say, “because I like to be in the company of gentlemen; and Sir Roger de Coverley, and Sir Charles Grandison, and Don Quixote are the finest gentlemen in the world.” And when we asked him his opinion of Fielding —

“Tom Jones, sir; Joseph Andrews, sir!” he cried, twirling his mustachios. “I read them when I was a boy, when I kept other bad company, and did other low and disgraceful things, of which I’m ashamed now. Sir, in my father’s library I happened to fall in with those books; and I read them in secret, just as I used to go in private and drink beer, and fight cocks, and smoke pipes with Jack and Tom, the grooms in the stables. Mrs. Newcome found me, I recollect, with one of those books; and thinking it might be by Mrs. Hannah More, or some of that sort, for it was a grave-looking volume: and though I wouldn’t lie about that or anything else — never did, sir; never, before heaven, have I told more than three lies in my life — I kept my own counsel; I say, she took it herself to read one evening; and read on gravely — for she had no more idea of a joke than I have of Hebrew — until she came to the part about Lady B—— and Joseph Andrews; and then she shut the book, sir; and you should have seen the look she gave me! I own I burst out a-laughing, for I was a wild young rebel, sir. But she was in the right, sir, and I was in the wrong. A book, sir, that tells the story of a parcel of servants, of a pack of footmen and ladies’-maids fuddling in alehouses! Do you suppose I want to know what my kitmutgars and cousomahs are doing? I am as little proud as any man in the world: but there must be distinction, sir; and as it is my lot and Clive’s lot to be a gentleman, I won’t sit in the kitchen and boose in the servants’-hall. As for that Tom Jones — that fellow that sells himself, sir — by heavens, my blood boils when I think of him! I wouldn’t sit down in the same room with such a fellow, sir. If he came in at that door, I would say, ‘How dare you, you hireling ruffian, to sully with your presence an apartment where my young friend and I are conversing together? where two gentlemen, I say, are taking their wine after dinner? How dare you, you degraded villain?’ I don’t mean you, sir. I— I— I beg your pardon.”

The Colonel was striding about the room in his loose garments, puffing his cigar fiercely anon, and then waving his yellow bandana; and it was by the arrival of Larkins, my clerk, that his apostrophe to Tom Jones was interrupted; he, Larkins, taking care not to show his amazement, having been schooled not to show or feel surprise at anything he might see or hear in our chambers.

“What is it, Larkins?” said I. Larkins’ other master had taken his leave some time before, having business which called him away, and leaving me with the honest Colonel, quite happy with his talk and cigar.

“It’s Brett’s man,” says Larkins.

I confounded Brett’s man, and told the boy to bid him call again. Young Larkins came grinning back in a moment, and said:

“Please, sir, he says his orders is not to go away without the money.”

“Confound him again,” I cried. “Tell him I have no money in the house. He must come tomorrow.”

As I spoke, Clive was looking in wonder, and the Colonel’s countenance assumed an appearance of the most dolorous sympathy. Nevertheless, as with a great effort, he fell to talking about Tom Jones again, and continued:

“No, sir, I have no words to express my indignation against such a fellow as Tom Jones. But I forgot that I need not speak. The great and good Dr. Johnson has settled that question. You remember what he said to Mr. Boswell about Fielding?”

“And yet Gibbon praises him, Colonel,” said the Colonel’s interlocutor, “and that is no small praise. He says that Mr. Fielding was of the family that drew its origin from the Counts of Hapsburg; but ——”

“Gibbon! Gibbon was an infidel, and I would not give the end of this cigar for such a man’s opinion. If Mr. Fielding was a gentleman by birth, he ought to have known better; and so much the worse for him that he did not. But what am I talking of, wasting your valuable time? No more smoke, thank you. I must away into the City, but would not pass the Temple without calling on you, and thanking my boy’s old protector. You will have the kindness to come and dine with us — tomorrow, the next day, your own day? Your friend is going out of town? I hope, on his return, to have the pleasure of making his further acquaintance. Come, Clive.”

Clive, who had been deep in a volume of Hogarth’s engravings during the above discussion, or rather oration of his father’s, started up and took leave, beseeching me, at the same time, to come soon and see his pony; and so, with renewed greetings, we parted.

I was scarcely returned to my newspaper again, when the knocker of our door was again agitated, and the Colonel ran back, looking very much agitated and confused.

“I beg pardon,” says he; “I think I left my — my ——” Larkins had quitted the room by this time, and then he began more unreservedly. “My dear young friend,” says he, “a thousand pardons for what I am going to say, but, as Clive’s friend, I know I may take that liberty. I have left the boy in the court. I know the fate of men of letters and genius: when we were here just now, there came a single knock — a demand — that, that you did not seem to be momentarily able to meet. Now do, do pardon the liberty, and let me be your banker. You said you were engaged in a new work: it will be a masterpiece, I am sure, if it’s like the last. Put me down for twenty copies, and allow me to settle with you in advance. I may be off, you know. I’m a bird of passage — a restless old soldier.”

“My dear Colonel,” said I, quite touched and pleased by this extreme kindness, “my dun was but the washerwoman’s boy, and Mrs. Brett is in my debt, if I am not mistaken. Besides, I already have a banker in your family.”

“In my family, my dear Sir?”

“Messrs. Newcome, in Threadneedle Street, are good enough to keep my money for me when I have any, and I am happy to say they have some of mine in hand now. I am almost sorry that I am not in want, in order that I might have the pleasure of receiving a kindness from you.” And we shook hands for the fourth time that morning, and the kind gentleman left me to rejoin his son.

CHAPTER V

Clive’s Uncles

The dinner so hospitably offered by the Colonel was gladly accepted, and followed by many more entertainments at the cost of that good-natured friend. He and an Indian chum of his lived at this time at Nerot’s Hotel, in Clifford Street, where Mr. Clive, too, found the good cheer a great deal more to his taste than the homely, though plentiful, fare at Grey Friars, at which, of course, when boys, we all turned up our noses, though many a poor fellow, in the struggles of after-life, has looked back with regret very likely to that well-spread youthful table. Thus my intimacy with the father and the son grew to be considerable, and a great deal more to my liking than my relations with Clive’s City uncles, which have been mentioned in the last chapter, and which were, in truth, exceedingly distant and awful.

If all the private accounts kept by those worthy bankers were like mine, where would have been Newcome Hall and Park Lane, Marblehead and Bryanstone Square? I used, by strong efforts of self-denial, to maintain a balance of two or three guineas untouched at the bank, so that my account might still remain open; and fancied the clerks and cashiers grinned when I went to draw for money. Rather than face that awful counter, I would send Larkins, the clerk, or Mrs. Flanagan, the laundress. As for entering the private parlour at the back, wherein behind the glazed partition I could see the bald heads of Newcome Brothers engaged with other capitalists or peering over the newspaper, I would as soon have thought of walking into the Doctor’s own library at Grey Friars, or of volunteering to take an armchair in a dentist’s studio, and have a tooth out, as of entering into that awful precinct. My good uncle, on the other hand, the late Major Pendennis, who kept naturally but a very small account with Hobsons’, would walk into the parlour and salute the two magnates who governed there with the ease and gravity of a Rothschild. “My good fellow,” the kind old gentleman would say to his nephew and pupil, “il faut se faire valoir. I tell you, sir, your bankers like to keep every gentleman’s account. And it’s a mistake to suppose they are only civil to their great moneyed clients. Look at me. I go in to them and talk to them whenever I am in the City. I hear the news of ‘Change, and carry it to our end of the town. It looks well, sir, to be well with your banker; and at our end of London, perhaps, I can do a good turn for the Newcomes.”

It is certain that in his own kingdom of Mayfair and St. James’s my revered uncle was at least the bankers’ equal. On my coming to London, he was kind enough to procure me invitations to some of Lady Anne Newcome’s evening parties in Park Lane, as likewise to Mrs. Newcome’s entertainments in Bryanstone Square; though, I confess, of these latter, after a while, I was a lax and negligent attendant. “Between ourselves, my good fellow,” the shrewd old Mentor of those days would say, “Mrs. Newcome’s parties are not altogether select; nor is she a lady of the very highest breeding; but it gives a man a good air to be seen at his banker’s house. I recommend you to go for a few minutes whenever you are asked.” And go I accordingly did sometimes, though I always fancied, rightly or wrongly, from Mrs. Newcome’s manner to me, that she knew I had but thirty shillings left at the bank. Once and again, in two or three years, Mr. Hobson Newcome would meet me, and ask me to fill a vacant place that day or the next evening at his table; which invitation I might accept or otherwise. But one does not eat a man’s salt, as it were, at these dinners. There is nothing sacred in this kind of London hospitality. Your white waistcoat fills a gap in a man’s table, and retires filled for its service of the evening. “Gad,” the dear old Major used to say, “if we were not to talk freely of those we dine with, how mum London would be! Some of the pleasantest evenings I have ever spent have been when we have sate after a great dinner, en petit comite, and abused the people who are gone. You have your turn, mon cher; but why not? Do you suppose I fancy my friends haven’t found out my little faults and peculiarities? And as I can’t help it, I let myself be executed, and offer up my oddities de bonne grace. Entre nous, Brother Hobson Newcome is a good fellow, but a vulgar fellow; and his wife — his wife exactly suits him.”

Once a year Lady Anne Newcome (about whom my Mentor was much more circumspect; for I somehow used to remark that as the rank of persons grew higher, Major Pendennis spoke of them with more caution and respect)— once or twice in a year Lady Anne Newcome opened her saloons for a concert and a ball, at both of which the whole street was crowded with carriages, and all the great world, and some of the small, were present. Mrs. Newcome had her ball too, and her concert of English music, in opposition to the Italian singers of her sister-inlaw. The music of her country, Mrs. N. said, was good enough for her.

The truth must be told, that there was no love lost between the two ladies. Bryanstone Square could not forget the superiority of Park Lane’s rank; and the catalogue of grandees at dear Anne’s parties filled dear Maria’s heart with envy. There are people upon whom rank and worldly goods make such an impression, that they naturally fall down on their knees and worship the owners; there are others to whom the sight of Prosperity is offensive, and who never see Dives’ chariot but to growl and hoot at it. Mrs. Newcome, as far as my humble experience would lead me to suppose, is not only envious, but proud of her envy. She mistakes it for honesty and public spirit. She will not bow down to kiss the hand of a haughty aristocracy. She is a merchant’s wife and an attorney’s daughter. There is no pride about her. Her brother-inlaw, poor dear Brian — considering everybody knows everything in London, was there ever such a delusion as his? — was welcome, after banking-hours, to forsake his own friends for his wife’s fine relations, and to dangle after lords and ladies in Mayfair. She had no such absurd vanity — not she. She imparted these opinions pretty liberally to all her acquaintances in almost all her conversations. It was clear that the two ladies were best apart. There are some folks who will see insolence in persons of rank, as there are others who will insist; that all clergymen are hypocrites, all reformers villains, all placemen plunderers, and so forth; and Mrs. Newcome never, I am sure, imagined that she had a prejudice, or that she was other than an honest, independent, high-spirited woman. Both of the ladies had command over their husbands, who were of soft natures easily led by woman, as, in truth, are all the males of this family. Accordingly, when Sir Brian Newcome voted for the Tory candidate in the City, Mr. Hobson Newcome plumped for the Reformer. While Brian, in the House of Commons, sat among the mild Conservatives, Hobson unmasked traitors and thundered at aristocratic corruption, so as to make the Marylebone Vestry thrill with enthusiasm. When Lady Anne, her husband, and her flock of children fasted in Lent, and declared for the High Church doctrines, Mrs. Hobson had paroxysms of alarm regarding the progress of Popery, and shuddered out of the chapel where she had a pew, because the clergyman there, for a very brief season, appeared to preach in a surplice.

Poor bewildered Honeyman! it was a sad day for you, when you appeared in your neat pulpit with your fragrant pocket-handkerchief (and your sermon likewise all millefleurs), in a trim, prim, freshly mangled surplice, which you thought became you! How did you look aghast, and pass your jewelled hand through your curls, as you saw Mrs. Newcome, who had been as good as five-and-twenty pounds a year to you, look up from her pew, seize hold of Mr. Newcome, fling open the pew-door, drive out with her parasol her little flock of children, bewildered but not ill-pleased to get away from the sermon, and summon John from the back seats to bring away the bag of prayer-books! Many a good dinner did Charles Honeyman lose by assuming that unlucky ephod. Why did the high-priest of his diocese order him to put it on? It was delightful to view him afterwards, and the airs of martyrdom which he assumed. Had they been going to tear him to pieces with wild beasts next day, he could scarcely have looked more meek, or resigned himself more pathetically to the persecutors. But I am advancing matters. At this early time of which I write, a period not twenty years since, surplices were not even thought of in conjunction with sermons: clerical gentlemen have appeared in them, and under the heavy hand of persecution have sunk down in their pulpits again, as Jack pops back into his box. Charles Honeyman’s elegant discourses were at this time preached in a rich silk Master of Arts’ gown, presented to him, along with a teapot full of sovereigns, by his affectionate congregation at Leatherhead.

But that I may not be accused of prejudice in describing Mrs. Newcome and her family, and lest the reader should suppose that some slight offered to the writer by this wealthy and virtuous banker’s lady was the secret reason for this unfavourable sketch of her character, let me be allowed to report, as accurately as I can remember them, the words of a kinsman of her own, —— Giles, Esquire, whom I had the honour of meeting at her table, and who, as we walked away from Bryanstone Square, was kind enough to discourse very freely about the relatives whom he had just left.

“That was a good dinner, sir,” said Mr. Giles, puffing the cigar which I offered to him, and disposed to be very social and communicative. “Hobson Newcome’s table is about as good a one as any I ever put my legs under. You didn’t have twice of turtle, sir, I remarked that — I always do, at that house especially, for I know where Newcome gets it. We belong to the same livery in the City, Hobson and I, the Oystermongers’ Company, sir, and we like our turtle good, I can tell you — good, and a great deal of it, you say. Hay, hay, not so bad!

“I suppose you’re a young barrister, sucking lawyer, or that sort of thing. Because you was put at the end of the table and nobody took notice of you. That’s my place too; I’m a relative and Newcome asks me if he has got a place to spare. He met me in the City today, and says, ‘Tom,’ says he, ‘there’s some dinner in the Square at half-past seven: I wish you would go and fetch Louisa, whom we haven’t seen this ever so long.’ Louisa is my wife, sir — Maria’s sister — Newcome married that gal from my house. ‘No, no,’ says I, ‘Hobson; Louisa’s engaged nursing number eight’ — that’s our number, sir. The truth is, between you and me, sir, my missis won’t come any more at no price. She can’t stand it; Mrs. Newcome’s dam patronising airs is enough to choke off anybody. ‘Well, Hobson, my boy,’ says I, ‘a good dinner’s a good dinner; and I’ll come though Louisa won’t, that is, can’t.’”

While Mr. Giles, who was considerably enlivened by claret, was discoursing thus candidly, his companion was thinking how he, Mr. Arthur Pendennis, had been met that very afternoon on the steps of the Megatherium Club by Mr. Newcome, and had accepted that dinner which Mrs. Giles, with more spirit, had declined. Giles continued talking —“I’m an old stager, I am. I don’t mind the rows between the women. I believe Mrs. Newcome and Lady Newcome’s just as bad too; I know Maria is always driving at her one way or the other, and calling her proud and aristocratic, and that; and yet my wife says Maria, who pretends to be such a Radical, never asks us to meet the Baronet and his lady. ‘And why should she, Loo, my dear?’ says I. ‘I don’t want to meet Lady Newcome, nor Lord Kew, nor any of ’em.’ Lord Kew, ain’t it an odd name? Tearing young swell, that Lord Kew: tremendous wild fellow.”

“I was a clerk in that house, sir, as a young man; I was there in the old woman’s time, and Mr. Newcome’s — the father of these young men — as good a man as ever stood on ‘Change.” And then Mr. Giles, warming with his subject, enters at large into the history of the house. “You see, sir,” says he, “the banking-house of Hobson Brothers, or Newcome Brothers, as the partners of the firm really are, is not one of the leading banking firms of the City of London, but a most respectable house of many years’ standing, and doing a most respectable business, especially in the Dissenting connection.” After the business came into the hands of the Newcome Brothers, Hobson Newcome, Esq., and Sir Brian Newcome, Bart., M.P., Mr. Giles shows how a considerable West End connection was likewise established, chiefly through the aristocratic friends and connections of the above-named Bart.

But the best man of business, according to Mr. Giles, whom the firm of Hobson Brothers ever knew, better than her father and uncle, better than her husband Sir T. Newcome, better than her sons and successors above mentioned, was the famous Sophia Alethea Hobson, afterwards Newcome — of whom might be said what Frederick the Great said of his sister, that she was sexu foemina, vir ingenio — in sex a woman, and in mind a man. Nor was she, my informant told me, without even manly personal characteristics: she had a very deep and gruff voice, and in her old age a beard which many a young man might envy; and as she came into the bank out of her carriage from Clapham, in her dark green pelisse with fur trimmings, in her grey beaver hat, beaver gloves, and great gold spectacles, not a clerk in that house did not tremble before her, and it was said she only wanted a pipe in her mouth considerably to resemble the late Field-Marshal Prince Blucher.

Her funeral was one of the most imposing sights ever witnessed in Clapham. There was such a crowd you might have thought it was a Derby-day. The carriages of some of the greatest City firms, and the wealthiest Dissenting houses; several coaches full of ministers of all denominations, including the Established Church; the carriage of the Right Honourable the Earl of Kew, and that of his daughter, Lady Anne Newcome, attended that revered lady’s remains to their final resting-place. No less than nine sermons were preached at various places of public worship regarding her end. She fell upstairs at a very advanced age, going from the library to the bedroom, after all the household was gone to rest, and was found by the maids in the morning, inarticulate, but still alive, her head being cut frightfully with the bedroom candle with which she was retiring to her apartment. “And,” said Mr. Giles with great energy, “besides the empty carriages at that funeral, and the parson in black, and the mutes and feathers and that, there were hundreds and hundreds of people who wore no black, and who weren’t present; and who wept for their benefactress, I can tell you. She had her faults, and many of ’em; but the amount of that woman’s charities are unheard of, sir — unheard of — and they are put to the credit side of her account up yonder.

“The old lady had a will of her own,” my companion continued. “She would try and know about everybody’s business out of business hours: got to know from the young clerks what chapels they went to, and from the clergymen whether they attended regular; kept her sons, years after they were grown men, as if they were boys at school — and what was the consequence? They had a quarrel with Sir Thomas Newcome’s own son, a harum-scarum lad, who ran away, and then was sent to India; and, between ourselves, Mr. Hobson and Mr. Brian both, the present Baronet, though at home they were as mum as Quakers at a meeting, used to go out on the sly, sir, and be off to the play, sir, and sowed their wild oats like any other young men, sir, like any other young men. Law bless me, once, as I was going away from the Haymarket, if I didn’t see Mr. Hobson coming out of the Opera, in tights and an opera-hat, sir, like ‘Froggy would wooing go,’ of a Saturday-night, too, when his ma thought him safe in bed in the City! I warrant he hadn’t his opera-hat on when he went to chapel with her ladyship the next morning — that very morning, as sure as my name’s John Giles.

“When the old lady was gone, Mr. Hobson had no need of any more humbugging, but took his pleasure freely. Fighting, tandems, four-inhand, anything. He and his brother — his elder brother by a quarter of an hour — were always very good friends; but after Mr. Brian married, and there was only court-cards at his table, Mr. Hobson couldn’t stand it. They weren’t of his suit, he said; and for some time he said he wasn’t a marrying man — quite the contrary; but we all come to our fate, you know, and his time came as mine did. You know we married sisters? It was thought a fine match for Polly Smith, when she married the great Mr. Newcome; but I doubt whether my old woman at home hasn’t had the best of it, after all; and if ever you come Bernard Street way on a Sunday, about six o’clock, and would like a slice of beef and a glass of port, I hope you’ll come and see us.”

Do not let us be too angry with Colonel Newcome’s two most respectable brothers, if for some years they neglected their Indian relative, or held him in slight esteem. Their mother never pardoned him, or at least by any actual words admitted his restoration to favour. For many years, as far as they knew, poor Tom was an unrepentant prodigal, wallowing in bad company, and cut off from all respectable sympathy. Their father had never had the courage to acquaint them with his more true, and kind, and charitable version of Tom’s story. So he passed at home for no better than a black sheep; his marriage with a penniless young lady did not tend to raise him in the esteem of his relatives at Clapham; it was not until he was a widower, until he had been mentioned several times in the Gazette for distinguished military service, until they began to speak very well of him in Leadenhall Street, where the representatives of Hobson Brothers were of course East India proprietors, and until he remitted considerable sums of money to England, that the bankers his brethren began to be reconciled to him.

I say, do not let us be hard upon them. No people are so ready to give a man a bad name as his own kinsfolk; and having made him that present, they are ever most unwilling to take it back again. If they give him nothing else in the days of his difficulty, he may be sure of their pity, and that he is held up as an example to his young cousins to avoid. If he loses his money they call him poor fellow, and point morals out of him. If he falls among thieves, the respectable Pharisees of his race turn their heads aside and leave him penniless and bleeding. They clap him on the back kindly enough when he returns, after shipwreck, with money in his pocket. How naturally Joseph’s brothers made salaams to him, and admired him, and did him honour, when they found the poor outcast a prime minister, and worth ever so much money! Surely human nature is not much altered since the days of those primeval Jews. We would not thrust brother Joseph down a well and sell him bodily, but — but if he has scrambled out of a well of his own digging, and got out of his early bondage into renown and credit, at least we applaud him and respect him, and are proud of Joseph as a member of the family.

Little Clive was the innocent and lucky object upon whom the increasing affection of the Newcomes for their Indian brother was exhibited. When he was first brought home a sickly child, consigned to his maternal aunt, the kind old maiden lady at Brighton, Hobson Brothers scarce took any notice of the little man, but left him to the entire superintendence of his own family. Then there came a large remittance from his father, and the child was asked by Uncle Newcome at Christmas. Then his father’s name was mentioned in general orders, and Uncle Hobson asked little Clive at Midsummer. Then Lord H., a late Governor-General, coming home, and meeting the brothers at a grand dinner at the Albion, given by the Court of Directors to his late Excellency, spoke to the bankers about that most distinguished officer their relative; and Mrs. Hobson drove over to see his aunt, where the boy was; gave him a sovereign out of her purse, and advised strongly that he should be sent to Timpany’s along wit her own boy. Then Clive went from one uncle’s house to another; and was liked at both; and much preferred ponies to ride, going out after rabbits with the keeper, money in his pocket (charge to the debit of Lieut.-Col. T. Newcome), and clothes from the London tailor, to the homely quarters and conversation of poor kind old Aunt Honeyman at Brighton. Clive’s uncles were not unkind; they liked each other; their wives, who hated each other, united in liking Clive when they knew him, and petting the wayward handsome boy: they were only pursuing the way of the world, which huzzas all prosperity, and turns away from misfortune as from some contagious disease. Indeed, how can we see a man’s brilliant qualities if he is what we call in the shade?

The gentlemen, Clive’s uncles, who had their affairs to mind during the day, society and the family to occupy them of evenings and holidays, treated their young kinsman, the Indian Colonel’s son, as other wealthy British uncles treat other young kinsmen. They received him in his vacations kindly enough. They tipped him when he went to school; when he had the hooping-cough, a confidential young clerk went round by way of Grey Friars Square to ask after him; the sea being recommended to him, Mrs. Newcome gave him change of air in Sussex, and transferred him to his maternal aunt at Brighton. Then it was bonjour. As the lodge-gates closed upon him, Mrs. Newcome’s heart shut up too and confined itself within the firs, laurels, and palings which bound the home precincts. Had not she her own children and affairs? her brood of fowls, her Sunday-school, her melon-beds, her rose-garden, her quarrel with the parson, etc., to attend to? Mr. Newcome, arriving on a Saturday night; hears he is gone, says “Oh!” and begins to ask about the new gravel-walk along the cliff, and whether it is completed, and if the China pig fattens kindly upon the new feed.

Clive, in the avuncular gig, is driven over the downs to Brighton to his maternal aunt there; and there he is a king. He has the best bedroom, Uncle Honeyman turning out for him sweetbreads for dinner; no end of jam for breakfast; excuses from church on the plea of delicate health; his aunt’s maid to see him to bed; his aunt to come smiling in when he rings his bell of a morning. He is made much of, and coaxed, and dandled and fondled, as if he were a young duke. So he is to Miss Honeyman. He is the son of Colonel Newcome, C.B., who sends her shawls, ivory chessmen, scented sandalwood workboxes and kincob scarfs; who, as she tells Martha the maid, has fifty servants in India; at which Martha constantly exclaims, “Lor’, mum, what can he do with ’em, mum?” who, when in consequence of her misfortunes she resolved on taking a house at Brighton, and letting part of the same furnished, sent her an order for a hundred pounds towards the expenses thereof; who gave Mr. Honeyman, her brother, a much larger sum of money at the period of his calamity. Is it gratitude for past favours? is it desire for more? is it vanity of relationship? is it love for the dead sister — or tender regard for her offspring which makes Mrs. Martha Honeyman so fond of her nephew? I never could count how many causes went to produce any given effect or action in a person’s life, and have been for my own part many a time quite misled in my own case, fancying some grand, some magnanimous, some virtuous reason, for an act of which I was proud, when lo! some pert little satirical monitor springs up inwardly, upsetting the fond humbug which I was cherishing — the peacock’s tail wherein my absurd vanity had clad itself — and says, “Away with this boasting! I am the cause of your virtue, my lad. You are pleased that yesterday at dinner you refrained from the dry champagne? My name is Worldly Prudence, not Self-denial, and I caused you to refrain. You are pleased because you gave a guinea to Diddler? I am Laziness, not Generosity, which inspired you. You hug yourself because you resisted other temptation? Coward! it was because you dared not run the risk of the wrong. Out with your peacock’s plumage! walk off in the feathers which Nature gave you, and thank Heaven they are not altogether black.” In a word, Aunt Honeyman was a kind soul, and such was the splendour of Clive’s father, of his gifts, his generosity, his military services, and companionship of the battles, that the lad did really appear a young duke to her. And Mrs. Newcome was not unkind: and if Clive had been really a young duke, I am sure he would have had the best bedroom at Marble Hill, and not one of the far-off little rooms in the boys’ wing; I am sure he would have had jellies and Charlottes Russes, instead of mere broth, chicken, and batter-pudding, as fell to his lot; and when he was gone (in the carriage, mind you, not in the gig driven by a groom), I am sure Mrs. Newcome would have written a letter that night to Her Grace the Duchess Dowager his mamma, full of praise of the dear child, his graciousness, his beauty, and his wit, and declaring that she must love him henceforth and for ever after as a son of her own. You toss down the page with scorn, and say, “It is not true. Human nature is not so bad as this cynic would have it to be. You would make no difference between the rich and the poor.” Be it so. You would not. But own that your next-door neighbour would. Nor is this, dear madam, addressed to you; no, no, we are not so rude as to talk about you to your face; but if we may not speak of the lady who has just left the room, what is to become of conversation and society?

We forbear to describe the meeting between the Colonel and his son — the pretty boy from whom he had parted more than seven years before with such pangs of heart; and of whom he had thought ever since with such a constant longing affection. Half an hour after the father left the boy, and in his grief and loneliness was rowing back to shore, Clive was at play with a dozen of other children on the sunny deck of the ship. When two bells rang for their dinner, they were all hurrying to the cuddy table, and busy over their meal. What a sad repast their parents had that day! How their hearts followed the careless young ones home across the great ocean! Mothers’ prayers go with them. Strong men, alone on their knees, with streaming eyes and broken accents, implore Heaven for those little ones, who were prattling at their sides but a few hours since. Long after they are gone, careless and happy, recollections of the sweet past rise up and smite those who remain: the flowers they had planted in their little gardens, the toys they played with, the little vacant cribs they slept in as fathers’ eyes looked blessings down on them. Most of us who have passed a couple of score of years in the world, have had such sights as these to move us. And those who have will think none the worse of my worthy Colonel for his tender and faithful heart.

With that fidelity which was an instinct of his nature, this brave man thought ever of his absent child, and longed after him. He never forsook the native servants and nurses who had had charge of the child, but endowed them with money sufficient (and indeed little was wanted by people of that frugal race) to make all their future lives comfortable. No friends went to Europe, nor ship departed, but Newcome sent presents and remembrances to the boy, and costly tokens of his love and thanks to all who were kind to his son. What a strange pathos seems to me to accompany all our Indian story! Besides that official history which fills Gazettes, and embroiders banners with names of victory; which gives moralists and enemies cause to cry out at English rapine; and enables patriots to boast of invincible British valour — besides the splendour and conquest, the wealth and glory, the crowned ambition, the conquered danger, the vast prize, and the blood freely shed in winning it — should not one remember the tears, too? Besides the lives of myriads of British men, conquering on a hundred fields, from Plassey to Meanee, and bathing them cruore nostro: think of the women, and the tribute which they perforce must pay to those victorious achievements. Scarce a soldier goes to yonder shores but leaves a home and grief in it behind him. The lords of the subject province find wives there; but their children cannot live on the soil. The parents bring their children to the shore, and part from them. The family must be broken up — keep the flowers of your home beyond a certain time, and the sickening buds wither and die. In America it is from the breast of a poor slave that a child is taken. In India it is from the wife, and from under the palace, of a splendid proconsul.

The experience of this grief made Newcome’s naturally kind heart only the more tender, and hence he had a weakness for children which made him the laughing-stock of old maids, old bachelors, and sensible persons; but the darling of all nurseries, to whose little inhabitants he was uniformly kind: were they the collectors’ progeny in their palanquins, or the sergeants’ children tumbling about the cantonment, or the dusky little heathens in the huts of his servants round his gate.

It is known that there is no part of the world where ladies are more fascinating than in British India. Perhaps the warmth of the sun kindles flames in the hearts of both sexes, which would probably beat quite coolly in their native air: else why should Miss Brown be engaged ten days after her landing at Calcutta? or why should Miss Smith have half a dozen proposals before she has been a week at the station? And it is not only bachelors on whom the young ladies confer their affections; they will take widowers without any difficulty; and a man so generally liked as Major Newcome, with such a good character, with a private fortune of his own, so chivalrous, generous, good-looking, eligible in a word, you may be sure would have found a wife easily enough, had he any mind for replacing the late Mrs. Casey.

The Colonel, as has been stated, had an Indian chum or companion, with whom he shared his lodgings; and from many jocular remarks of this latter gentleman (who loved good jokes, and uttered not a few) I could gather that the honest widower Colonel Newcome had been often tempted to alter his condition, and that the Indian ladies had tried numberless attacks upon his bereaved heart, and devised endless schemes of carrying it by assault, treason, or other mode of capture. Mrs. Casey (his defunct wife) had overcome it by sheer pity and helplessness. He had found her so friendless, that he took her into the vacant place, and installed her there as he would have received a traveller into his bungalow. He divided his meal with her, and made her welcome to his best. “I believe Tom Newcome married her,” sly Mr. Binnie used to say, “in order that he might have permission to pay her milliner’s bills;” and in this way he was amply gratified until the day of her death. A feeble miniature of the lady, with yellow ringlets and a guitar, hung over the mantelpiece of the Colonel’s bedchamber, where I have often seen that work of art; and subsequently, when he and Mr. Binnie took a house, there was hung up in the spare bedroom a companion portrait to the miniature — that of the Colonel’s predecessor, Jack Casey, who in life used to fling plates at his Emma’s head, and who perished from a fatal attachment to the bottle. I am inclined to think that Colonel Newcome was not much cast down by the loss of his wife, and that they lived but indifferently together. Clive used to say in his artless way that his father scarcely ever mentioned his mother’s name; and no doubt the union was not happy, although Newcome continued piously to acknowledge it, long after death had brought it to a termination, by constant benefactions and remembrances to the departed lady’s kindred.

Those widows or virgins who endeavoured to fill Emma’s place found the door of Newcombe’s heart fast and barred, and assailed it in vain. Miss Billing sat down before it with her piano, and, as the Colonel was a practitioner on the flute, hoped to make all life one harmonious duet with him; but she played her most brilliant sonatas and variations in vain; and, as everybody knows, subsequently carried her grand piano to Lieutenant and Adjutant Hodgkin’s house, whose name she now bears. The lovely widow Wilkins, with two darling little children, stopped at Newcome’s hospitable house, on her way to Calcutta; and it was thought she might never leave it; but her kind host, as was his wont, crammed her children with presents and good things, consoled and entertained the fair widow, and one morning, after she had remained three months at the station, the Colonel’s palanquins and bearers made their appearance, and Elvira Wilkins went away weeping as a widow should. Why did she abuse Newcome ever after at Calcutta, Bath, Cheltenham, and wherever she went, calling him selfish, pompous, Quixotic, and a Bahawder? I could mention half a dozen other names of ladies of most respectable families connected with Leadenhall Street, who, according to Colonel Newcome’s chum — that wicked Mr. Binnie — had all conspired more or less to give Clive Newcome a stepmother.

But he had had an unlucky experience in his own case; and thought within himself, “No, I won’t give Clive a stepmother. As Heaven has taken his own mother from him, why, I must try to be father and mother too to the lad.” He kept the child as long as ever the climate would allow of his remaining, and then sent him home. Then his aim was to save money for the youngster. He was of a nature so uncontrollably generous, that to be sure he spent five rupees where another would save them, and make a fine show besides; but it is not a man’s gifts or hospitalities that generally injure his fortune. It is on themselves that prodigals spend most. And as Newcome had no personal extravagances, and the smallest selfish wants; could live almost as frugally as a Hindoo; kept his horses not to race but to ride; wore his old clothes and uniforms until they were the laughter of his regiment; did not care for show, and had no longer an extravagant wife; he managed to lay by considerably out of his liberal allowances, and to find himself and Clive growing richer every year.

“When Clive has had five or six years at school”— that was his scheme — “he will be a fine scholar, and have at least as much classical learning as a gentleman in the world need possess. Then I will go to England, and we will pass three or four years together, in which he will learn to be intimate with me, and, I hope, to like me. I shall be his pupil for Latin and Greek, and try and make up for lost time. I know there is nothing like a knowledge of the classics to give a man good breeding — Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes emollunt mores, nec sinuisse feros. I shall be able to help him with my knowledge of the world, and to keep him out of the way of sharpers and a pack of rogues who commonly infest young men. I will make myself his companion, and pretend to no superiority; for, indeed, isn’t he my superior? Of course he is, with his advantages. He hasn’t been an idle young scamp as I was. And we will travel together, first through England, Scotland, and Ireland, for every man should know his own country, and then we will make the grand tour. Then, by the time he is eighteen, he will be able to choose his profession. He can go into the army, and emulate the glorious man after whom I named him; or if he prefers the church, or the law, they are open to him; and when he goes to the university, by which time I shall be in all probability a major-general, I can come back to India for a few years, and return by the time he has a wife and a home for his old father; or if I die I shall have done the best for him, and my boy will be left with the best education, a tolerable small fortune, and the blessing of his old father.”

Such were the plans of our kind schemer. How fondly he dwelt on them, how affectionately he wrote of them to his boy! How he read books of travels and looked over the maps of Europe! and said, “Rome, sir, glorious Rome; it won’t be very long, Major, before my boy and I see the Colosseum, and kiss the Pope’s toe. We shall go up the Rhine to Switzerland, and over the Simplon, the work of the great Napoleon. By Jove, sir, think of the Turks before Vienna, and Sobieski clearing eighty thousand of ’em off the face of the earth! How my boy will rejoice in the picture-galleries there, and in Prince Eugene’s prints! You know, I suppose, that Prince Eugene, one of the greatest generals in the world, was also one of the greatest lovers of the fine arts. Ingenuas didicisse, hey, Doctor! you know the rest — emollunt mores nec ——”

“Emollunt mores! Colonel,” says Doctor McTaggart, who perhaps was too canny to correct the commanding officer’s Latin. “Don’t ye noo that Prence Eugene was about as savage a Turrk as iver was? Have ye niver rad the mimores of the Prants de Leen?”

“Well, he was a great cavalry officer,” answers the Colonel, “and he left a great collection of prints — that you know. How Clive will delight in them! The boy’s talent for drawing is wonderful, sir, wonderful. He sent me a picture of our old school — the very actual thing, sir; the cloisters, the school, the head gown-boy going in with the rods, and the Doctor himself. It would make you die of laughing!”

He regaled the ladies of the regiment with Clive’s letters, and those of Miss Honeyman, which contained an account of the boy. He even bored some of his bearers with this prattle; and sporting young men would give or take odds that the Colonel would mention Clive’s name, once before five minutes, three times in ten minutes, twenty-five times in the course of dinner, and so on. But they who laughed at the Colonel laughed very kindly; and everybody who knew him, loved him; everybody, that is, who loved modesty, and generosity, and honour.

At last the happy time came for which the kind father had been longing more passionately than any prisoner for liberty, or schoolboy for holiday. Colonel Newcome has taken leave of his regiment, leaving Major Tomkinson, nothing loth, in command. He has travelled to Calcutta; and the Commander-inChief, in general orders, has announced that in giving to Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Newcome, C.B., of the Bengal Cavalry, leave for the first time, after no less than thirty-four years’ absence from home, “he (Sir George Hustler) cannot refrain from expressing his sense of the great and meritorious services of this most distinguished officer, who has left his regiment in a state of the highest discipline and efficiency.” And now the ship has sailed, the voyage is over, and once more, after so many long years, the honest soldier’s foot is on his native shore.

CHAPTER VI

Newcome Brothers

Besides his own boy, whom he worshipped, this kind Colonel had a score, at least, of adopted children, to whom he chose to stand in the light of a father. He was for ever whirling away in postchaises to this school and that, to see Jack Brown’s boys, of the Cavalry; or Mrs. Smith’s girls, of the Civil Service; or poor Tom Hicks’s orphan, who had nobody to look after him now that the cholera had carried off Tom, and his wife too. On board the ship in which he returned from Calcutta were a dozen of little children, of both sexes, some of whom he actually escorted to their friends before he visited his own; and though his heart was longing for his boy at Grey Friars. The children at the schools seen, and largely rewarded out of his bounty (his loose white trousers had great pockets, always heavy with gold and silver, which he jingled when he was not pulling his mustachios — to see the way in which he tipped children made one almost long to be a boy again); and when he had visited Miss Pinkerton’s establishment, or Doctor Ramshorn’s adjoining academy at Chiswick, and seen little Tom Davis or little Fanny Holmes the honest fellow would come home and write off straightway a long letter to Tom’s or Fanny’s parents, far away in the Indian country, whose hearts he made happy by his accounts of their children, as he had delighted the children themselves by his affection and bounty. All the apple — and orange-women (especially such as had babies as well as lollipops at their stalls), all the street-sweepers on the road between Nerot’s and the Oriental, knew him, and were his pensioners. His brothers in Threadneedle Street cast up their eyes at the cheques which he drew.

One of the little people of whom the kind Newcome had taken charge luckily dwelt near Portsmouth; and when the faithful Colonel consigned Miss Fipps to her grandmother, Mrs. Admiral Fipps, at Southampton, Miss Fipps clung to her guardian, and with tears and howls was torn away from him. Not until her maiden aunts had consoled her with strawberries, which she never before had tasted, was the little Indian comforted for the departure of her dear Colonel. Master Cox, Tom Cox’s boy, of the Native Infantry, had to be carried asleep from the “George” to the mail that night. Master Cox woke up at the dawn wondering, as the coach passed through the pleasant green roads of Bromley. The good gentleman consigned the little chap to his uncle, Dr. Cox, Bloomsbury Square, before he went to his own quarters, and then on the errand on which his fond heart was bent.

He had written to his brothers from Portsmouth, announcing his arrival, and three words to Clive, conveying the same intelligence. The letter was served to the boy along with one bowl of tea and one buttered roll, of eighty such which were distributed to fourscore other boys, boarders of the same house with our young friend. How the lad’s face must have flushed, and his eyes brightened, when he read the news! When the master of the house, the Rev. Mr. Popkinson, came into the long-room, with a good-natured face, and said, “Newcome, you’re wanted,” he knows who is come. He does not heed that notorious bruiser, Old Hodge, who roars out, “Confound you, Newcome: I’ll give it you for upsetting your tea over my new trousers.” He runs to the room where the stranger is waiting for him. We will shut the door, if you please, upon that scene.

If Clive had not been as fine and handsome a young lad as any in that school or country, no doubt his fond father would have been just as well pleased, and endowed him with a hundred fanciful graces; but in truth, in looks and manners he was every thing which his parent could desire; and I hope the artist who illustrates this work will take care to do justice to his portrait. Mr. Clive himself, let that painter be assured, will not be too well pleased if his countenance and figure do not receive proper attention. He is not yet endowed with those splendid mustachios and whiskers which he has himself subsequently depicted, but he is the picture of health, strength, activity, and good-humour. He has a good forehead, shaded with a quantity of waving light hair; a complexion which ladies might envy; a mouth which seems accustomed to laughing; and a pair of blue eyes that sparkle with intelligence and frank kindness. No wonder the pleased father cannot refrain from looking at him. He is, in a word, just such a youth as has a right to be the hero of a novel.

The bell rings for second school, and Mr. Popkinson, arrayed in cap and gown, comes in to shake Colonel Newcome by the hand, and to say he supposes it’s to be a holiday for Newcome that day. He does not say a word about Clive’s scrape of the day before, and that awful row in the bedrooms, where the lad and three others were discovered making a supper off a pork-pie and two bottles of prime old port from the Red Cow public-house in Grey Friars Lane. When the bell has done ringing, and all these busy little bees have swarmed into their hive, there is a solitude in the place. The Colonel and his son walked the playground together, that gravelly flat, as destitute of herbage as the Arabian desert, but, nevertheless, in the language of the place called the green. They walk the green, and they pace the cloisters, and Clive shows his father his own name of Thomas Newcome carved upon one of the arches forty years ago. As they talk, the boy gives sidelong glances at his new friend, and wonders at the Colonel’s loose trousers, long mustachios, and yellow face. He looks very odd, Clive thinks, very odd and very kind, and he looks like a gentleman, every inch of him:— not like Martin’s father, who came to see his son lately in high-lows, and a shocking bad hat, and actually flung coppers amongst the boys for a scramble. He bursts out a-laughing at the exquisitely ludicrous idea of a gentleman of his fashion scrambling for coppers.

And now, enjoining the boy to be ready against his return (and you may be sure Mr. Clive was on the look-out long before his sire appeared), the Colonel whirled away in his cab to the City to shake hands with his brothers, whom he had not seen since they were demure little men in blue jackets, under charge of a serious tutor.

He rushed through the clerks and the banking-house, he broke into the parlour where the lords of the establishment were seated. He astonished those trim quiet gentlemen by the warmth of his greeting, by the vigour of his hand-shake, and the loud high tones of his voice, which penetrated the glass walls of the parlour, and might actually be heard by the busy clerks in the hall without. He knew Brian from Hobson at once — that unlucky little accident in the go-cart having left its mark for ever on the nose of Sir Brian Newcome, the elder of the twins. Sir Brian had a bald head and light hair, a short whisker cut to his cheek, a buff waistcoat, very neat boots and hands. He looked like the “Portrait of a Gentleman” at the Exhibition, as the worthy is represented: dignified in attitude, bland, smiling, and statesmanlike, sitting at a table unsealing letters, with a despatch-box and a silver inkstand before him, a column and a scarlet curtain behind, and a park in the distance, with a great thunderstorm lowering in the sky. Such a portrait, in fact, hangs over the great sideboard at Newcome to this day, and above the three great silver waiters, which the gratitude of as many Companies has presented to their respected director and chairman.

In face, Hobson Newcome, Esq., was like his elder brother, but was more portly in person. He allowed his red whiskers to grow wherever nature had planted them, on his cheeks and under his chin. He wore thick shoes with nails in them, or natty round-toed boots, with tight trousers and a single strap. He affected the country gentleman in his appearance. His hat had a broad brim, and the ample pockets of his cut-away coat were never destitute of agricultural produce, samples of beans or corn, which he used to bite and chew even on ‘Change, or a whip-lash, or balls for horses: in fine, he was a good old country gentleman. If it was fine in Threadneedle Street, he would say it was good weather for the hay; if it rained, the country wanted rain; if it was frosty, “No hunting today, Tomkins, my boy,” and so forth. As he rode from Bryanstone Square to the City you would take him — and he was pleased to be so taken — for a jolly country squire. He was a better man of business than his more solemn and stately brother, at whom he laughed in his jocular way; and he said rightly, that a gentleman must get up very early in the morning who wanted to take him in.

The Colonel breaks into the sanctum of these worthy gentlemen; and each receives him in a manner consonant with his peculiar nature. Sir Brian regretted that Lady Anne was away from London, being at Brighton with the children, who were all ill of the measles. Hobson said, “Maria can’t treat you to such good company as my lady could give you, but when will you take a day and come and dine with us? Let’s see, today’s Wednesday; tomorrow we’ve a party. No, we’re engaged.” He meant that his table was full, and that he did not care to crowd it; but there was no use in imparting this circumstance to the Colonel. “Friday, we dine at Judge Budge’s — queer name, Judge Budge, ain’t it? Saturday, I’m going down to Marblehead, to look after the hay. Come on Monday, Tom, and I’ll introduce you to the missus and the young ‘uns.”

“I will bring Clive,” says Colonel Newcome, rather disturbed at this reception. “After his illness my sister-inlaw was very kind to him.”

“No, hang it, don’t bring boys; there’s no good in boys; they stop the talk downstairs, and the ladies don’t want ’em in the drawing-room. Send him to dine with the children on Sunday, if you like, and come along down with me to Marblehead, and I’ll show you such a crop of hay as will make your eyes open. Are you fond of farming?”

“I have not seen my boy for years,” says the Colonel; “I had rather pass Saturday and Sunday with him, if you please, and some day we will go to Marblehead together.”

“Well, an offer’s an offer. I don’t know any pleasanter thing than getting out of this confounded City and smelling the hedges, and looking at the crops coming up, and passing the Sunday in quiet.” And his own tastes being thus agricultural, the honest gentleman thought that everybody else must delight in the same recreation.

“In the winter, I hope we shall see you at Newcome,” says the elder brother, blandly smiling. “I can’t give you any tiger-shooting, but I’ll promise you that you shall find plenty of pheasants in our jungle,” and he laughed very gently at this mild sally.

The Colonel gave him a queer look. “I shall be at Newcome before the winter. I shall be there, please God, before many days are over.”

“Indeed!” says the Baronet, with an air of great surprise. “You are going down to look at the cradle of our race. I believe the Newcomes were there before the Conqueror. It was but a village in our grandfather’s time, and it is an immense flourishing town now, for which I hope to get — I expect to get — a charter.”

“Do you?” says the Colonel. “I am going down there to see a relation.”

“A relation! What relatives have we there?” cries the Baronet. “My children, with the exception of Barnes. Barnes, this is your uncle Colonel Thomas Newcome. I have great pleasure, brother, in introducing you to my eldest son.”

A fair-haired young gentleman, languid and pale, and arrayed in the very height of fashion, made his appearance at this juncture in the parlour, and returned Colonel Newcome’s greeting with a smiling acknowledgment of his own. “Very happy to see you, I’m sure,” said the young man. “You find London very much changed since you were here? Very good time to come — the very full of the season.”

Poor Thomas Newcome was quite abashed by this strange reception. Here was a man, hungry for affection, and one relation asked him to dinner next Monday, and another invited him to shoot pheasants at Christmas. Here was a beardless young sprig, who patronised him, and vouchsafed to ask him whether he found London was changed.

“I don’t know whether it’s changed,” says the Colonel, biting his nails; “I know it’s not what I expected to find it.”

“To-day it’s really as hot as I should thing it must be in India,” says young Mr. Barnes Newcome.

“Hot!” says the Colonel, with a grin. “It seems to me you are all cool enough here.”

“Just what Sir Thomas de Boots said, sir,” says Barnes, turning round to his father. “Don’t you remember when he came home from Bombay? I recollect his saying, at Lady Featherstone’s, one dooced hot night, as it seemed to us; I recklect his saying that he felt quite cold. Did you know him in India, Colonel Newcome? He’s liked at the Horse Guards, but he’s hated in his regiment.”

Colonel Newcome here growled a wish regarding the ultimate fate of Sir Thomas de Boots, which we trust may never be realised by that distinguished cavalry officer.

“My brother says he’s going to Newcome, Barnes, next week,” said the Baronet, wishing to make the conversation more interesting to the newly arrived Colonel. “He was saying so just when you came in, and I was asking him what took him there?”

“Did you ever hear of Sarah Mason?” says the Colonel.

“Really, I never did,” the Baronet answered.

“Sarah Mason? No, upon my word, I don’t think I ever did, said the young man.

“Well, that’s a pity too,” the Colonel said, with a sneer. “Mrs. Mason is a relation of yours — at least by marriage. She is my aunt or cousin — I used to call her aunt, and she and my father and mother all worked in the same mill at Newcome together.”

“I remember — God bless my soul — I remember now!” cried the Baronet. “We pay her forty pound a year on your account — don’t you know, brother? Look to Colonel Newcome’s account — I recollect the name quite well. But I thought she had been your nurse, and — and an old servant of my father’s.”

“So she was my nurse, and an old servant of my father’s,” answered the Colonel. “But she was my mother’s cousin too and very lucky was my mother to have such a servant, or to have a servant at all. There is not in the whole world a more faithful creature or a better woman.”

Mr. Hobson rather enjoyed his brother’s perplexity, and to see when the Baronet rode the high horse, how he came down sometimes, “I am sure it does you very great credit,” gasped the courtly head of the firm, “to remember a — a humble friend and connexion of our father’s so well.”

“I think, brother, you might have recollected her too,” the Colonel growled out. His face was blushing; he was quite angry and hurt at what seemed to him Sir Brian’s hardness of heart.

“Pardon me if I don’t see the necessity,” said Sir Brian. “I have no relationship with Mrs. Mason, and do not remember ever having seen her. Can I do anything for you, brother? Can I be useful to you in any way? Pray command me and Barnes here, who after City hours will be delighted if he can be serviceable to you — I am nailed to this counter all the morning, and to the House of Commons all night; — I will be with you in one moment, Mr. Quilter. Good-bye, my dear Colonel. How well India has agreed with you! how young you look! the hot winds are nothing to what we endure in Parliament. — Hobson,” in a low voice, “you saw about that h’m, that power of attorney — and h’m and h’m will call here at twelve about that h’m. — I am sorry I must say good-bye — it seems so hard after not meeting for so many years.”

“Very,” says the Colonel.

“Mind and send for me whenever you want me, now.”

“Oh, of course,” said the elder brother, and thought when will that ever be!

“Lady Anne will be too delighted at hearing of your arrival. Give my love to Clive — a remarkable fine boy, Clive — good morning:” and the Baronet was gone, and his bald head might presently be seen alongside of Mr. Quilter’s confidential grey poll, both of their faces turned into an immense ledger.

Mr. Hobson accompanied the Colonel to the door, and shook him cordially by the hand as he got into his cab. The man asked whither be should drive? and poor Newcome hardly knew where he was or whither he should go. “Drive! a — oh — ah — damme, drive me anywhere away from this place!” was all he could say; and very likely the cabman thought he was a disappointed debtor who had asked in vain to renew a bill. In fact, Thomas Newcome had overdrawn his little account. There was no such balance of affection in that bank of his brothers, as the simple creature had expected to find there.

When he was gone, Sir Brian went back to his parlour, where sate young Barnes perusing the paper. “My revered uncle seems to have brought back a quantity of cayenne pepper from India, sir,” he said to his father.

“He seems a very kind-hearted simple man,” the Baronet said “eccentric, but he has been more than thirty years away from home. Of course you will call upon him tomorrow morning. Do everything you can to make him comfortable. Whom would he like to meet at dinner? I will ask some of the Direction. Ask him, Barnes, for next Wednesday or Saturday — no; Saturday I dine with the Speaker. But see that every attention is paid him.”

“Does he intend to have our relation up to town, sir? I should like to meet Mrs. Mason of all things. A venerable washerwoman, I daresay, or perhaps keeps a public-house,” simpered out young Barnes.

“Silence, Barnes; you jest at everything, you young men do — you do. Colonel Newcome’s affection for his old nurse does him the greatest honour,” said the Baronet, who really meant what he said.

“And I hope my mother will have her to stay a good deal at Newcome. I’m sure she must have been a washerwoman, and mangled my uncle in early life. His costume struck me with respectful astonishment. He disdains the use of straps to his trousers, and is seemingly unacquainted with gloves. If he had died in India, would my late aunt have had to perish on a funeral pile?” Here Mr. Quilter, entering with a heap of bills, put an end to these sarcastic remarks, and young Newcome, applying himself to his business (of which he was a perfect master), forgot about his uncle till after City hours, when he entertained some young gentlemen of Bays’s Club with an account of his newly arrived relative.

Towards the City, whither he wended his way whatever had been the ball or the dissipation of the night before, young Barnes Newcome might be seen walking every morning, resolutely and swiftly, with his neat umbrella. As he passed Charing Cross on his way westwards, his little boots trailed slowly over the pavement, his head hung languid (bending lower still, and smiling with faded sweetness as he doffed his hat and saluted a passing carriage), his umbrella trailed after him. Not a dandy on all the Pall Mall pavement seemed to have less to do than he.

Heavyside, a large young officer of the household troops — old Sir Thomas de Boots — and Horace Fogey, whom every one knows — are in the window of Bays’s, yawning as widely as that window itself. Horses under the charge of men in red jackets are pacing up and down St. James’s Street. Cabmen on the stand are regaling with beer. Gentlemen with grooms behind them pass towards the Park. Great dowager barouches roll along emblazoned with coronets, and driven by coachmen in silvery wigs. Wistful provincials gaze in at the clubs. Foreigners chatter and show their teeth, and look at the ladies in the carriages, and smoke and spit refreshingly round about. Policeman X slouches along the pavement. It is five o’clock, the noon in Pall Mall.

“Here’s little Newcome coming,” says Mr. Horace Fogey. “He and the muffin-man generally make their appearance in public together.”

“Dashed little prig,” says Sir Thomas de Boots, “why the dash did they ever let him in here? If I hadn’t been in India, by dash — he should have been blackballed twenty times over, by dash.” Only Sir Thomas used words far more terrific than dash, for this distinguished cavalry officer swore very freely.

“He amuses me; he’s such a mischievous little devil,” says good-natured Charley Heavyside.

“It takes very little to amuse you,” remarks Fogey.

“You don’t, Fogey,” answers Charley. “I know every one of your demd old stories, that are as old as my grandmother. How-dy-do, Barney?” (Enter Barnes Newcome.) “How are the Three per Cents, you little beggar? I wish you’d do me a bit of stiff; and just tell your father, if I may overdraw my account I’ll vote with him — hanged if I don’t.”

Barnes orders absinthe-and-water, and drinks: Heavyside resuming his elegant raillery. “I say, Barney, your name’s Barney, and you’re a banker. You must be a little Jew, hey? Vell, how mosh vill you to my little pill for?”

“Do hee-haw in the House of Commons, Heavyside,” says the young man with a languid air. “That’s your place: you’re returned for it.” (Captain the Honourable Charles Heavyside is a member of the legislature, and eminent in the House for asinine imitations which delight his own, and confuse the other party.) “Don’t bray here. I hate the shop out of shop hours.”

“Dash the little puppy,” growls Sir de Boots, swelling in his waistband.

“What do they say about the Russians in the City?” says Horace Fogey, who has been in the diplomatic service. “Has the fleet left Cronstadt, or has it not?”

“How should I know?” asks Barney. “Ain’t it all in the evening paper?”

“That is very uncomfortable news from India, General,” resumes Fogey — “there’s Lady Doddington’s carriage, how well she looks — that movement of Runjeet-Singh on Peshawur: that fleet on the Irrawaddy. It looks doocid queer, let me tell you, and Penguin is not the man to be Governor-General of India in a time of difficulty.”

“And Hustler’s not the man to be Commander-inChief: dashder old fool never lived: a dashed old psalm-singing, blundering old woman,” says Sir Thomas, who wanted the command himself.

“You ain’t in the psalm-singing line, Sir Thomas,” says Mr. Barnes; “quite the contrary.” In fact, Sir de Boots in his youth used to sing with the Duke of York, and even against Captain Costigan, but was beaten by that superior bacchanalian artist.

Sir Thomas looks as if to ask what the dash is that to you? but wanting still to go to India again, and knowing how strong the Newcomes are in Leadenhall Street, he thinks it necessary to be civil to the young cub, and swallows his wrath once more into his waistband.

“I’ve got an uncle come home from India — upon my word I have,” says Barnes Newcome. “That is why I am so exhausted. I am going to buy him a pair of gloves, number fourteen — and I want a tailor for him — not a young man’s tailor. Fogey’s tailor rather. I’d take my father’s; but he has all his things made in the country — all — in the borough, you know — he’s a public man.”

“Is Colonel Newcome, of the Bengal Cavalry, your uncle?” asks Sir Thomas de Boots.

“Yes; will you come and meet him at dinner next Wednesday week, Sir Thomas? and, Fogey, you come; you know you like a good dinner. You don’t know anything against my uncle, do you, Sir Thomas? Have I any Brahminical cousins? Need we be ashamed of him?”

“I tell you what, young man, if you were more like him it wouldn’t hurt you. He’s an odd man; they call him Don Quixote in India; I suppose you’ve read Don Quixote?”

“Never heard of it, upon my word; and why do you wish I should be more like him? I don’t wish to be like him at all, thank you.”

“Why, because he is one of the bravest officers that ever lived,” roared out the old soldier. “Because he’s one of the kindest fellows; because he gives himself no dashed airs, although he has reason to be proud if he chose. That’s why, Mr. Newcome.”

“A topper for you, Barney, my boy,” remarks Charles Heavyside, as the indignant General walks away gobbling and red. Barney calmly drinks the remains of his absinthe.

“I don’t know what that old muff means,” he says innocently, when he has finished his bitter draught. “He’s always flying out at me, the old turkey-cock. He quarrels with my play at whist, the old idiot, and can no more play than an old baby. He pretends to teach me billiards, and I’ll give him fifteen in twenty and beat his old head off. Why do they let such fellows into clubs? Let’s have a game at piquet till dinner, Heavyside. Hallo! That’s my uncle, that tall man with the mustachios and the short trousers, walking with that boy of his. I dare say they are going to dine in Covent Garden, and going to the play. How-dy-do, Nunky?”— and so the worthy pair went up to the card-room, where they sate at piquet until the hour of sunset and dinner arrived.

CHAPTER VII

In which Mr. Clive’s School-days are over

Our good Colonel had luckily to look forward to a more pleasant meeting with his son, than that unfortunate interview with his other near relatives. He dismissed his cab at Ludgate Hill, and walked thence by the dismal precincts of Newgate, and across the muddy pavement of Smithfield, on his way back to the old school where his son was, a way which he had trodden many a time in his own early days. There was Cistercian Street, and the Red Cow of his youth: there was the quaint old Grey Friars Square, with its blackened trees and garden, surrounded by ancient houses of the build of the last century, now slumbering like pensioners in the sunshine.

Under the great archway of the hospital he could look at the old Gothic building: and a black-gowned pensioner or two crawling over the quiet square, or passing from one dark arch to another. The boarding-houses of the school were situated in the square, hard by the more ancient buildings of the hospital. A great noise of shouting, crying, clapping forms and cupboards, treble voices, bass voices, poured out of the schoolboys’ windows: their life, bustle, and gaiety contrasted strangely with the quiet of those old men creeping along in their black gowns under the ancient arches yonder, whose struggle of life was over, whose hope and noise and bustle had sunk into that grey calm. There was Thomas Newcome arrived at the middle of life, standing between the shouting boys and the tottering seniors, and in a situation to moralise upon both, had not his son Clive, who has espied him from within Mr. Hopkinson’s, or let us say at once Hopkey’s house, come jumping down the steps to greet his sire. Clive was dressed in his very best; not one of those four hundred young gentlemen had a better figure, a better tailor, or a neater boot. Schoolfellows, grinning through the bars, envied him as he walked away; senior boys made remarks on Colonel Newcome’s loose clothes and long mustachios, his brown hands and unbrushed hat. The Colonel was smoking a cheroot as he walked; and the gigantic Smith, the cock of the school, who happened to be looking majestically out of window, was pleased to say that he thought Newcome’s governor was a fine manly-looking fellow.

“Tell me about your uncles, Clive,” said the Colonel, as they walked on arm in arm.

“What about them, sir?” asks the boy. “I don’t think I know much.”

“You have been to stay with them. You wrote about them. Were they kind to you?”

“Oh, yes, I suppose they are very kind. They always tipped me: only you know when I go there I scarcely ever see them. Mr. Newcome asks me the oftenest — two or three times a quarter when he’s in town, and gives me a sovereign regular.”

“Well, he must see you to give you the sovereign,” says Clive’s father, laughing.

The boy blushed rather.

“Yes. When it’s time to go back to Smithfield on a Sunday night, I go into the dining-room to shake hands, and he gives it me; but he don’t speak to me much, you know, and I don’t care about going to Bryanstone Square, except for the tip, of course that’s important, because I am made to dine with the children, and they are quite little ones; and a great cross French governess, who is always crying and shrieking after them, and finding fault with them. My uncle generally has his dinner-parties on Saturday, or goes out; and aunt gives me ten shillings and sends me to the play; that’s better fun than a dinner-party.” Here the lad blushed again. “I used,” says he, “when I was younger, to stand on the stairs and prig things out of the dishes when they came out from dinner, but I’m past that now. Maria (that’s my cousin) used to take the sweet things and give ’em to the governess. Fancy! she used to put lumps of sugar into her pocket and eat them in the schoolroom! Uncle Hobson don’t live in such good society as Uncle Newcome. You see, Aunt Hobson, she’s very kind, you know, and all that, but I don’t think she’s what you call comme il faut.”

“Why, how are you to judge?” asks the father, amused at the lad’s candid prattle, “and where does the difference lie?”

“I can’t tell you what it is, or how it is,” the boy answered, “only one can’t help seeing the difference. It isn’t rank and that; only somehow there are some men gentlemen and some not, and some women ladies and some not. There’s Jones now, the fifth form master, every man sees he’s a gentleman, though he wears ever so old clothes; and there’s Mr. Brown, who oils his hair, and wears rings, and white chokers — my eyes! such white chokers! — and yet we call him the handsome snob! And so about Aunt Maria, she’s very handsome and she’s very finely dressed, only somehow she’s not — she’s not the ticket, you see.”

“Oh, she’s not the ticket,” says the Colonel, much amused.

“Well, what I mean is — but never mind,” says the boy. “I can’t tell you what I mean. I don’t like to make fun of her, you know, for after all, she is very kind to me; but Aunt Anne is different, and it seems as if what she says is more natural; and though she has funny ways of her own too, yet somehow she looks grander,”— and here the lad laughed again. “And do you know, I often think that as good a lady as Aunt Anne herself, is old Aunt Honeyman at Brighton — that is, in all essentials, you know. For she is not proud, and she is not vain, and she never says an unkind word behind anybody’s back, and she does a deal of kindness to the poor without appearing to crow over them, you know; and she is not a bit ashamed of letting lodgings, or being poor herself, as sometimes I think some of our family ——”

“I thought we were going to speak no ill of them?” says the Colonel, smiling.

“Well, it only slipped out unawares,” says Clive, laughing; “but at Newcome when they go on about the Newcomes, and that great ass, Barnes Newcome, gives himself his airs, it makes me die of laughing. That time I went down to Newcome, I went to see old Aunt Sarah, and she told me everything, and showed me the room where my grandfather — you know; and do you know I was a little hurt at first, for I thought we were swells till then. And when I came back to school, where perhaps I had been giving myself airs, and bragging about Newcome, why, you know, I thought it was right to tell the fellows.”

“That’s a man,” said the Colonel, with delight; though had he said, “That’s a boy,” he had spoken more correctly. Indeed, how many men do we know in the world without caring to know who their fathers were? and how many more who wisely do not care to tell us? “That’s a man,” cries the Colonel; “never be ashamed of your father, Clive.”

“Ashamed of my father!” says Clive, looking up to him, and walking on as proud as a peacock. “I say,” the lad resumed, after a pause —

“Say what you say,” said the father.

“Is that all true what’s in the Peerage — in the Baronetage, about Uncle Newcome and Newcome; about the Newcome who was burned at Smithfield; about the one that was at the battle of Bosworth; and the old old Newcome who was bar — that is, who was surgeon to Edward the Confessor, and was killed at Hastings? I am afraid it isn’t; and yet I should like it to be true.”

“I think every man would like to come of an ancient and honourable race,” said the Colonel, in his honest way. “As you like your father to be an honourable man, why not your grandfather, and his ancestors before him? But if we can’t inherit a good name, at least we can do our best to leave one, my boy; and that is an ambition which, please God, you and I will both hold by.”

With this simple talk the old and young gentleman beguiled their way, until they came into the western quarter of the town, where the junior member of the firm of Newcome Brothers had his house — a handsome and roomy mansion in Bryanstone Square. Colonel Newcome was bent on paying a visit to his sister-inlaw, and as he knocked at the door, where the pair were kept waiting some little time, he could remark through the opened windows of the dining-room, that a great table was laid and every preparation made for a feast.

“My brother said he was engaged to dinner today,” said the Colonel. “Does Mrs. Newcome give parties when he is away?”

“She invites all the company,” answered Clive. “My uncle never asks any one without aunt’s leave.”

The Colonel’s countenance fell. He has a great dinner, and does not ask his own brother! Newcome thought. Why, if he had come to me in India with all his family, he might have stayed for a year, and I should have been offended if he had gone elsewhere.

A hot menial, in a red waistcoat, came and opened the door; and without waiting for preparatory queries, said, “Not at home.”

“It’s my father, John,” said Clive; “my aunt will see Colonel Newcome.”

“Missis not at home,” said the man. “Missis is gone in carriage — Not at this door!-Take them things down the area steps, young man!” bawls out the domestic. This latter speech was addressed to a pastrycook’s boy, with a large sugar temple and many conical papers containing delicacies for dessert. “Mind the hice is here in time; or there’ll be a blow-up with your governor,”— and John struggled back, closing the door on the astonished Colonel.

“Upon my life, they actually shut the door in our faces,” said the poor gentleman.

“The man is very busy, sir. There’s a great dinner. I’m sure my aunt would not refuse you,” Clive interposed. “She is very kind. I suppose it’s different here to what it is in India. here are the children in the square — those are the girls in blue — that’s the French governess, the one with the mustachios and the yellow parasol. How d’ye do, Mary? How d’ye do, Fanny? This is my father — this is your uncle.”

“Mesdemoiselles! Je vous ddfends de parler a qui que ce soit hors du squar!” screams out the lady of the mustachios; and she strode forward to call back her young charges.

The Colonel addressed her in very good French. “I hope you will permit me to make acquaintance with my nieces,” he said, “and with their instructress, of whom my son has given me such a favourable account.”

“Hem!” said Mademoiselle Lebrun, remembering the last fight she and Clive had had together, and a portrait of herself (with enormous whiskers) which the young scapegrace had drawn. “Monsieur is very good. But one cannot too early inculcate retenue and decorum to young ladies in a country where demoiselles seem for ever to forget that they are young ladies of condition. I am forced to keep the eyes of lynx upon these young persons, otherwise heaven knows what would come to them. Only yesterday, my back is turned for a moment, I cast my eyes on a book, having but little time for literature, monsieur — for literature, which I adore — when a cry makes itself to hear. I turn myself, and what do I see? Mesdemoiselles, your nieces, playing at criquette, with the Messieurs Smees — sons of Doctor Smees — young galopins, monsieur!” All this was shrieked with immense volubility and many actions of the hand and parasol across the square-railings to the amused Colonel, at whom the little girls peered through the bars.

“Well, my dears, I should like to have a game at cricket with you, too,” says the kind gentleman, reaching them each a brown hand.

“You, monsieur, c’est different — a man of your age! Salute monsieur, your uncle, mesdemoiselles. You conceive, monsieur, that I also must be cautious when I speak to a man so distinguished in a public squar.” And she cast down her great eyes and hid those radiant orbs from the Colonel.

Meanwhile, Colonel Newcome, indifferent to the direction which Miss Lebrun’s eyes took, whether towards his hat or his boots, was surveying his little nieces with that kind expression which his face always wore when it was turned towards children. “Have you heard of your uncle in India?” he asked them.

“No,” says Maria.

“Yes,” says Fanny. “You know mademoiselle said” (mademoiselle at this moment was twittering her fingers, and, as it were, kissing them in the direction of a grand barouche that was advancing along the Square)—“you know mademoiselle said that if we were mechantes we should be sent to our uncle in India. I think I should like to go with you.”

“O you silly child!” cries Maria.

“Yes I should, if Clive went too,” says little Fanny.

“Behold madam, who arrives from her promenade!” Miss Lebrun exclaimed; and, turning round, Colonel Newcome had the satisfaction of beholding, for the first time, his sister-inlaw.

A stout lady, with fair hair and a fine bonnet and pelisse (who knows what were the fine bonnets and pelisses of the year 183-?), was reclining in the barouche, the scarlet-plush integuments of her domestics blazing before and behind her. A pretty little foot was on the cushion opposite to her; feathers waved in her bonnet; a book was in her lap; an oval portrait of a gentleman reposed on her voluminous bosom. She wore another picture of two darling heads, with pink cheeks and golden hair, on one of her wrists, with many more chains, bracelets, bangles, and knick-knacks. A pair of dirty gloves marred the splendour of this appearance; a heap of books from the library strewed the back seat of the carriage, and showed that her habits were literary. Springing down from his station behind his mistress, the youth clad in the nether garments of red sammit discharged thunderclaps on the door of Mrs. Newcome’s house, announcing to the whole Square that his mistress had returned to her abode. Since the fort saluted the Governor-General at —— — Colonel Newcome had never heard such a cannonading.

Clive, with a queer twinkle of his eyes, ran towards his aunt.

She bent over the carriage languidly towards him. She liked him. “What, you, Clive?” she said. “How come you away from school of a Thursday, sir?”

“It is a holiday,” says he. “My father is come; and he is come to see you.”

She bowed her head with an expression of affable surprise and majestic satisfaction. “Indeed, Clive!” she was good enough to exclaim and with an air which seemed to say, “Let him come up and be presented to me.” The honest gentleman stepped forward and took off his hat and bowed, and stood bareheaded. She surveyed him blandly, and with infinite grace put forward one of the pudgy little hands in one of the dirty gloves. Can you fancy a twopenny-halfpenny baroness of King Francis’s time patronising Bayard? Can you imagine Queen Guinever’s lady’s-maid’s lady’s maid being affable to Sir Lancelot? I protest there is nothing like the virtue of English women.

“You have only arrived today, and you came to see me? That was very kind. N’est-ce pas que c’etoit bong de Mouseer le Collonel, mademoiselle? Madamaselle Lebrun, le Collonel Newcome, mong frere.” (In a whisper, “My children’s governess and my friend, a most superior woman.”) “Was it not kind of Colonel Newcome to come to see me? Have you had a pleasant voyage? Did you come by St. Helena? Oh, how I envy you seeing the tomb of that great man! Nous parlong de Napolleong, mademoiselle, dong voter pere a ete le General favvory.”

“O Dieu! que n’ai je pu le voir,” interjaculates mademoiselle. “Lui dont parle l’univers, dont mon pere m’a si souvent parle!” but this remark passes quite unnoticed by mademoiselle’s friend, who continues:

“Clive, donnez-moi voter bras. These are two of my girls. My boys are at school. I shall be so glad to introduce them to their uncle. This naughty boy might never have seen you, but that we took him home to Marblehead, after the scarlet fever, and made him well, didn’t we, Clive? And we are all very fond of him, and you must not be jealous of his love for his aunt. We feel that we quite know you through him, and we know that you know us, and we hope you will like us. Do you think your pa will like us, Clive? Or perhaps you will like Lady Anne best? Yes; you have been to her first, of course? Not been? Oh! because she is not in town.” Leaning fondly on the arm of Clive, mademoiselle standing grouped with the children hard by while John, with his hat off, stood at the opened door, Mr Newcome slowly uttered the above remarkable remarks to the Colonel, on the threshold of her house, which she never asked him to pass.

“If you will come in to us at about ten this evening,” she then said, “you will find some men, not undistinguished, who honour me of an evening. Perhaps they will be interesting to you, Colonel Newcome, as you are newly arrived in Europe. Not men of worldly rank, necessarily, although some of them are amongst the noblest of Europe. But my maxim is, that genius is an illustration, and merit is better than any pedigree. You have heard of Professor Bodgers? Count Poski? Doctor McGuffog, who is called in his native country the Ezekiel of Clackmannan? Mr. Shaloony, the great Irish patriot? our papers have told you of him. These and some more I have been good enough to promise me a visit to-night. A stranger coming to London could scarcely have a better opportunity of seeing some of our great illustrations of science and literature. And you will meet our own family — not Sir Brian’s, who — who have other society and amusements — but mine. I hope Mr. Newcome and myself will never forget them. We have a few friends at dinner, and now I must go in and consult with Mrs. Hubbard, my housekeeper. Good-bye for the present. Mind, not later than ten, as Mr. Newcome must be up betimes in the morning, and our parties break up early. When Clive is a little older, I dare say we shall see him, too. Good-bye!” And again the Colonel was favoured with a shake of the glove, and the lady and her suite sailed up the stair, and passed in at the door.

She had not the faintest idea but that the hospitality which she was offering to her kinsman was of the most cordial and pleasant kind. She fancied everything she did was perfectly right and graceful. She invited her husband’s clerks to come through the rain at ten o’clock from Kentish Town; she asked artists to bring their sketch-books from Kensington, or luckless pianists to trudge with their music from Brompton. She rewarded them with a smile and a cup of tea, and thought they were made happy by her condescension. If, after two or three of these delightful evenings, they ceased to attend her receptions, she shook her little flaxen head, and sadly intimated that Mr. A. was getting into bad courses, or feared that Mr. B. found merely intellectual parties too quiet for him. Else, what young man in his senses could refuse such entertainment and instruction?

CHAPTER VIII

Mrs. Newcome at Home (a Small Early Party)

To push on in the crowd, every male or female struggler must use his shoulders. If a better place than yours presents itself just beyond your neighbour, elbow him and take it. Look how a steadily purposed man or woman at court, at a ball, or exhibition, wherever there is a competition and a squeeze, gets the best place; the nearest the sovereign, if bent on kissing the royal hand; the closest to the grand stand, if minded to go to Ascot; the best view and hearing of the Rev. Mr. Thumpington, when all the town is rushing to hear that exciting divine; the largest quantity of ice, champagne, and seltzer, cold pate, or other his or her favourite flesh-pot, if gluttonously minded, at a supper whence hundreds of people come empty away. A woman of the world will marry her daughter and have done with her; get her carriage and be at home and asleep in bed; whilst a timid mamma has still her girl in the nursery, or is beseeching the servants in the cloakroom to look for her shawls, with which some one else has whisked away an hour ago. What a man has to do in society is to assert himself. Is there a good place at table? Take it. At the Treasury or the Home Office? Ask for it. Do you want to go to a party to which you are not invited? Ask to be asked. Ask A., ask B., ask Mrs. C., ask everybody you know: you will be thought a bore; but you will have your way. What matters if you are considered obtrusive, provided that you obtrude? By pushing steadily, nine hundred and ninety-nine people in a thousand will yield to you. Only command persons, and you may be pretty sure that a good number will obey. How well your money will have been laid out, O gentle reader, who purchase this; and, taking the maxim to heart, follow it through life! You may be sure of success. If your neighbour’s foot obstructs you, stamp on it; and do you suppose he won’t take it away?

The proofs of the correctness of the above remarks I show in various members of the Newcome family. Here was a vulgar little woman, not clever nor pretty, especially; meeting Mr. Newcome casually, she ordered him to marry her, and he obeyed; as he obeyed her in everything else which she chose to order through life. Meeting Colonel Newcome on the steps of her house, she orders him to come to her evening party; and though he has not been to an evening party for five-and-thirty years — though he has not been to bed the night before — though he has no mufti-coat except one sent him out by Messrs. Stultz to India in the year 1821 — he never once thinks of disobeying Mrs. Newcome’s order, but is actually at her door at five minutes past ten, having arrayed himself to the wonderment of Clive, and left the boy to talk with his friend and fellow-passenger, Mr. Binnie, who has just arrived from Portsmouth, who has dined with him, and who, by previous arrangement, has taken up his quarters at the same hotel.

This Stultz coat, a blue swallow-tail, with yellow buttons, now wearing a tinge of their native copper, a very high velvet collar on a level with the tips of the Captain’s ears, with a high waist, indicated by two lapelles, and a pair of buttons high up in the wearer’s back, a white waistcoat and scarlet under-waistcoat, and a pair of the never-failing duck trousers, complete Thomas Newcome’s costume, along with the white hat in which we have seen him in the morning, and which was one of two dozen purchased by him some years since at public outcry, Burrumtollah. We have called him Captain purposely, while speaking of his coat, for he held that rank when the garment came out to him; and having been in the habit of considering it a splendid coat for twelve years past, he has not the least idea of changing his opinion.

The Doctor McGuffog, Professor Bodgers, Count Poski, and all the lions present at Mrs. Newcome’s reunion that evening, were completely eclipsed by Colonel Newcome. The worthy soul, who cared not the least about adorning himself, had a handsome diamond brooch of the year 1801 — given him by poor Jack Cutler, who was knocked over by his side at Argaum — and wore this ornament in his desk for a thousand days and nights at a time; in his shirt-frill, on such parade evenings as he considered Mrs. Newcome’s to be. The splendour of this jewel, and of his flashing buttons, caused all eyes to turn to him. There were many pairs of mustachios present, those of Professor Schnurr, a very corpulent martyr, just escaped from Spandau, and of Maximilien Tranchard, French exile and apostle of liberty, were the only whiskers in the room capable of vying in interest with Colonel Newcome’s. Polish chieftains were at this time so common in London, that nobody (except one noble Member for Marylebone, once a year, the Lord Mayor) took any interest in them. The general opinion was, that the stranger was the Wallachian Boyar, whose arrival at Mivart’s the Morning Post had just announced. Mrs. Miles, whose delicious every other Wednesdays in Montague Square are supposed by some to be rival entertainments to Mrs. Newcome’s alternate Thursdays in Bryanstone Square, pinched her daughter Mira, engaged in a polyglot conversation with Herr Schnurr, nor Carabossi, the guitarist, and Monsieur Pivier, the celebrated French chess-player, to point out the Boyar. Mira Miles wished she knew a little Moldavian, not so much that she might speak it, but that she might be heard to speak it. Mrs. Miles, who had not had the educational advantages of her daughter, simpered up with “Madame Newcome pas ici — votre excellence nouvellement arrive — avez-vous fait ung bong voyage? Je recois chez moi Mercredi prochaing; lonnure de vous voir — Madamasel Miles ma fille;” and, Mira, now reinforcing her mamma, poured in a glib little oration in French, somewhat to the astonishment of the Colonel, who began to think, however, that perhaps French was the language of the polite world, into which he was now making his very first entree.

Mrs. Newcome had left her place at the door of her drawing-room, to walk through her rooms with Rummun Loll, the celebrated Indian merchant, otherwise His Excellency Rummun Loll, otherwise his Highness Rummun Loll, the chief proprietor of the diamond-mines in Golconda, with a claim of three millions and a-half upon the East India Company — who smoked his hookah after dinner when the ladies were gone, and in whose honour (for his servants always brought a couple or more of hookahs with them) many English gentlemen made themselves sick, while trying to emulate the same practice. Mr. Newcome had been obliged to go to bed himself in consequence of the uncontrollable nausea produced by the chillum; and Doctor McGuffog, in hopes of converting His Highness, had puffed his till he was as black in the face as the interesting Indian — and now, having hung on his arm — always in the dirty gloves — flirting a fan whilst His Excellency consumed betel out of a silver box; and having promenaded him and his turban, and his shawls, and his kincab pelisse, and his lacquered moustache, and keen brown face; and opal eyeballs, through her rooms, the hostess came back to her station at the drawing-room door.

As soon as His Excellency saw the Colonel, whom he perfectly well knew, His Highness’s princely air was exchanged for one of the deepest humility. He bowed his head and put his two hands before his eyes, and came creeping towards him submissively, to the wonderment of Mrs. Miles; who was yet more astonished when the Moldavian magnate exclaimed in perfectly good English, “What, Rummun, you here?”

The Rummun, still bending and holding his hands before him, uttered a number of rapid sentences in the Hindustani language, which Colonel Newcome received twirling his mustachios with much hauteur. He turned on his heel rather abruptly and began to speak to Mrs. Newcome, who smiled and thanked him for coming on his first night after his return.

The Colonel said, “To whose house should he first come but to his brother’s?” How Mrs. Newcome wished she could have had room for him at dinner! And there was room after all, for Mr. Shaloony was detained at the House. The most interesting conversation. The Indian Prince was so intelligent!

“The Indian what?” asks Colonel Newcome. The heathen gentleman had gone off, and was seated by one of the handsomest young women in the room, whose fair face was turned towards him, whose blond ringlets touched his shoulder, and who was listening to him as eagerly as Desdemona listened to Othello.

The Colonel’s rage was excited as he saw the Indian’s behaviour. He curled his mustachios up to his eyes in his wrath. “You don’t mean that that man calls himself a Prince? That a fellow who wouldn’t sit down in an officer’s presence is ——”

“How do you do, Mr. Honeyman? — Eh, bong soir, Monsieur — You are very late, Mr. Pressly. — What, Barnes! is it possible that you do me the honour to come all the way from Mayfair to Marylebone? I thought you young men of fashion never crossed Oxford Street. Colonel Newcome, this is your nephew.”

“How do you do, sir?” says Barnes, surveying the Colonel’s costume with inward wonder, but without the least outward manifestation of surprise. “I suppose you dined here to meet the black Prince. I came to ask him and my uncle to meet you at dinner on Wednesday. Where’s my uncle, ma’am?”

“Your uncle is gone to bed ill. He smoked one of those hookahs which the Prince brings, and it has made him very unwell indeed, Barnes. How is Lady Anne? Is Lord Kew in London? Is your sister better for Brighton air? I see your cousin is appointed Secretary of Legation. Have you good accounts of your aunt Lady Fanny?”

“Lady Fanny is as well as can be expected, and the baby is going on perfectly well, thank you,” Barnes said drily; and his aunt, obstinately gracious with him, turned away to some other new comet.

“It’s interesting, isn’t it, sir,” says Barnes, turning to the Colonel, “to see such union in families? Whenever I come here, my aunt trots out all my relations; and I send a man round in the mornin to ask how they all are. So Uncle Hobson is gone to bed sick with a hookah? I know there was a deuce of a row made when I smoked at Marblehead. You are promised to us for Wednesday, please. Is there anybody you would like to meet? Not our friend the Rummun? How the girls crowd round him! By Gad, a fellow who’s rich in London may have the pick of any gal — not here — not in this sort of thing; I mean in society, you know,” says Barnes confidentially, “I’ve seen the old dowagers crowdin round that fellow, and the girls snugglin up to his india-rubber face. He’s known to have two wives already in India; but, by Gad, for a settlement, I believe some of ’em here would marry — I mean of the girls in society.”

“But isn’t this society?” asked the Colonel.

“Oh, of course. It’s very good society and that sort of thing — but it’s not, you know — you understand. I give you my honour there are not three people in the room one meets anywhere, except the Rummun. What is he at home, sir? I know he ain’t a Prince, you know, any more than I am.”

“I believe he is a rich man now,” said the Colonel. “He began from very low beginnings, and odd stories are told about the origin of his fortune.”

“That may be,” says the young man; “of course, as businessmen, that’s not our affair. But has he got the fortune? He keeps a large account with us; and, I think, wants to have larger dealings with us still. As one of the family we may ask you to stand by us, and tell us anything you know. My father has asked him down to Newcome, and we’ve taken him up; wisely or not I can’t say. I think otherwise; but I’m quite young in the house, and of course the elders have the chief superintendence.” The young man of business had dropped his drawl or his languor, and was speaking quite unaffectedly; good-naturedly, and selfishly. Had you talked to him for a week, you could not have made him understand the scorn and loathing with which the Colonel regarded him. Here was a young fellow as keen as the oldest curmudgeon; a lad with scarce a beard to his chin, that would pursue his bond as rigidly as Shylock. “If he is like this at twenty, what will he be at fifty?” groaned the Colonel. “I’d rather Clive were dead than have him such a heartless woriding as this.” And yet the young man was not ungenerous, not untruth-telling, not unserviceable. He thought his life was good enough. It was as good as that of other folks he lived with. You don’t suppose he had any misgivings, provided he was in the City early enough in the morning; or slept badly, unless he indulged too freely over-night; or twinges of conscience that his life was misspent? He thought his life a most lucky and reputable one. He had a share in a good business, and felt that he could increase it. Some day he would marry a good match, with a good fortune; meanwhile he could take his pleasure decorously, and sow his wild oats as some of the young Londoners sow them, not broadcast after the fashion of careless scatter-brained youth, but trimly and neatly, in quiet places, where the crop can come up unobserved, and be taken in without bustle or scandal. Barnes Newcome never missed going to church, or dressing for dinner. He never kept a tradesman waiting for his money. He never drank too much, except when other fellows did, and in good company. He never was late for business, or huddled over his toilet, however brief had been his sleep, or severe his headache. In a word, he was as scrupulously whited as any sepulchre in the whole bills of mortality.

Whilst young Barnes and his uncle were thus holding parley, a slim gentleman of bland aspect, with a roomy forehead, or what his female admirers called “a noble brow,” and a neat white neckcloth tied with clerical skill, was surveying Colonel Newcome through his shining spectacles, and waiting for an opportunity to address him. The Colonel remarked the eagerness with which the gentleman in black regarded him, and asked Mr. Barnes who was the padre? Mr. Barnes turned his eyeglass towards the spectacles, and said “he didn’t know any more than the dead; he didn’t know two people in the room.” The spectacles nevertheless made the eyeglass a bow, of which the latter took no sort of cognisance. The spectacles advanced; Mr. Newcome fell back with a peevish exclamation of “Confound the fellow, what is he coming to speak to me for?” He did not choose to be addressed by all sorts of persons in all houses.

But he of the spectacles, with an expression of delight in his pale blue eyes, and smiles dimpling his countenance, pressed onwards with outstretched hands, and it was towards the Colonel he turned these smiles and friendly salutations. “Did I hear aright, sir, from Mrs. Miles,” he said, “and have I the honour of speaking to Colonel Newcome?”

“The same, sir,” says the Colonel; at which the other, tearing off a glove of lavender-coloured kid, uttered the words, “Charles Honeyman,” and seized the hand of his brother-inlaw. “My poor sister’s husband,” he continued; “my own benefactor; Clive’s father. How strange are these meetings in the mighty world! How I rejoice to see you, and know you!”

“You are Charles, are you?” cries the other. “I am very glad, indeed, to shake you by the hand, Honeyman. Clive and I should have beat up your quarters today, but we were busy until dinnertime. You put me in mind of poor Emma, Charles,” he added, sadly. Emma had not been a good wife to him; a flighty silly little woman, who had caused him when alive many a night of pain and day of anxiety.

“Poor, poor Emma!” exclaimed the ecclesiastic, casting his eyes towards the chandelier, and passing a white cambric pocket-handkerchief gracefully before them. No man in London understood the ring business or the pocket-handkerchief business better, or smothered his emotion more beautifully. “In the gayest moments, in the giddiest throng of fashion, the thoughts of the past will rise; the departed will be among us still. But this is not the strain wherewith to greet the friend newly arrived on our shores. How it rejoices me to behold you in old England! How you must have joyed to see Clive!”

“D—— the humbug,” muttered Barnes, who knew him perfectly well. “The fellow is always in the pulpit.”

The incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s chapel smiled and bowed to him. “You do not recognise me, sir; I have had the honour of seeing you in your public capacity in the City, when I have called at the bank, the bearer of my brother-inlaw’s generous ——”

“Never mind that, Honeyman!” cried the Colonel.

“But I do mind, my dear Colonel,” answers Mr. Honeyman. “I should be a very bad man, and a very ungrateful brother, if I ever forgot your kindness.”

“For God’s sake leave my kindness alone.”

“He’ll never leave it alone as long as he can use it,” muttered Mr. Barnes in his teeth; and turning to his uncle, “May I take you home, sir? my cab is at the door, and I shall be glad to drive you.” But the Colonel said he must talk to his brother-inlaw for a while, and Mr. Barnes, bowing very respectfully to him, slipped under a dowager’s arm in the doorway, and retreated silently downstairs.

Newcome was now thrown entirely upon the clergyman, and the latter described the personages present to the stranger, who was curious to know how the party was composed. Mrs. Newcome herself would have been pleased had she heard Honeyman’s discourse regarding her guests and herself. Charles Honeyman so spoke of most persons that you might fancy they were listening over his shoulder. Such an assemblage of learning, genius, and virtue, might well delight and astonish a stranger. “That lady in the red turban, with the handsome daughters, is Lady Budge, wife of the eminent judge of that name — everybody was astonished that he was not made Chief Justice, and elevated to the Peerage — the only objection (as I have heard confidentially) was on the part of a late sovereign, who said he never could consent to have a peer of the name of Budge. Her ladyship was of humble, I have heard even menial, station originally, but becomes her present rank, dispenses the most elegant hospitality at her mansion in Connaught Terrace, and is a pattern as a wife and a mother. The young man talking to her daughter is a young barrister, already becoming celebrated as a contributor to some of our principal reviews.”

“Who is that cavalry officer in a white waistcoat talking to the Jew with the beard?” asks the Colonel.

“He, he! That cavalry officer is another literary man of celebrity, and by profession an attorney. But he has quitted the law for the Muses, and it would appear that the Nine are never wooed except by gentlemen with mustachios.”

“Never wrote a verse in my life,” says the Colonel, laughing, and stroking his own.

“For I remark so many literary gentlemen with that decoration. The Jew with the beard, as you call him, is Herr von Lungen, the eminent hautboy-player. The three next gentlemen are Mr. Smee, of the Royal Academy (who is shaved as you perceive), and Mr. Moyes and Mr. Cropper, who are both very hairy about the chin. At the piano, singing, accompanied by Mademoiselle Lebrun, is Signor Mezzocaldo, the great barytone from Rome. Professor Quartz and Baron Hammerstein, celebrated geologists from Germany, are talking with their illustrious confrere, Sir Robert Craxton, in the door. Do you see yonder that stout gentleman with stuff on his shirt? the eloquent Dr. McGuffog, of Edinburgh, talking to Dr. Ettore, who lately escaped from the Inquisition at Rome in the disguise of a washerwoman, after undergoing the question several times, the rack and the thumbscrew. They say that he was to have been burned in the Grand Square the next morning; but between ourselves, my dear Colonel, I mistrust these stories of converts and martyrs. Did you ever see a more jolly-looking man than Professor Schnurr, who was locked up in Spielberg, and got out up a chimney, and through a window? Had he waited a few months there are very few windows he could have passed through. That splendid man in the red fez is Kurbash Pasha — another renegade, I deeply lament to say — a hairdresser from Marseilles, by name Monsieur Ferehaud, who passed into Egypt, and laid aside the tongs for a turban. He is talking with Mr. Palmer, one of our most delightful young poets, and with Desmond O’Tara, son of the late revered Bishop of Ballinafad, who has lately quitted ours for the errors of the Church of Rome. Let me whisper to you that your kinswoman is rather a searcher after what we call here notabilities. I heard talk of one I knew in better days — of one who was the comrade of my youth, and the delight of Oxford — poor Pidge of Brasenose, who got the Newdigate in my third year, and who, under his present name of Father Bartolo, was to have been here in his capuchin dress, with a beard and bare feet; but I presume he could not get permission from his Superior. That is Mr. Huff, the political economist, talking with Mr. Macduff, the Member for Glenlivat. That is the coroner for Middlesex conversing with the great surgeon Sir Cutler Sharp, and that pretty laughing girl talking with them is no other than the celebrated Miss Pinnnifer, whose novel of Ralph the Resurrectionist created such a sensation after it was abused in the Trimestrial Review. It was a little bold certainly — I just looked at it at my club — after hours devoted to parish duty a clergyman is sometimes allowed, you know, desipere in loco — there are descriptions in it certainly startling — ideas about marriage not exactly orthodox; but the poor child wrote the book actually in the nursery, and all England was ringing with it before Dr. Pinnifer, her father, knew who was the author. That is the Doctor asleep in the corner by Miss Rudge, the American authoress, who I dare say is explaining to him the difference between the two Governments. My dear Mrs. Newcome, I am giving my brother-inlaw a little sketch of some of the celebrities who are crowding your salon to-night. What a delightful evening you have given us!”

“I try to do my best, Colonel Newcome,” said the lady of the house. “I hope many a night we may see you here; and, as I said this morning, Clive, when he is of an age to appreciate this kind of entertainment. Fashion I do not worship. You may meet that amongst other branches of our family; but genius and talent I do reverence. And if I can be the means — the humble means — to bring men of genius together — mind to associate with mind — men of all nations to mingle in friendly unison — I shall not have lived altogether in vain. They call us women of the world frivolous, Colonel Newcome. So some may be; I do not say there are not in our own family persons who worship mere worldly rank, and think but of fashion and gaiety; but such, I trust, will never be the objects in life of me and my children. We are but merchants; we seek to be no more. If I can look around me and see as I do”-(she waves her fan round, and points to the illustrations scintillating round the room)—“and see as I do now — a Poski, whose name is ever connected with Polish history — an Ettore, who has exchanged a tonsure and a rack for our own free country — a Hammerstein, and a Quartz, a Miss Rudge, our Transatlantic sister (who I trust will not mention this modest salon in her forthcoming work on Europe), and Miss Pinnifer, whose genius I acknowledge, though I deplore her opinions; if I can gather together travellers, poets, and painters, princes and distinguished soldiers from the East, and clergymen remarkable for their eloquence, my humble aim is attained, and Maria Newcome is not altogether useless in her generation. Will you take a little refreshment? Allow your sister to go down to the dining-room supported by your gallant arm.” She looked round to the admiring congregation, whereof Honeyman, as it were acted as clerk, and flirting her fan, and flinging up her little head. Consummate Virtue walked down on the arm of the Colonel.

The refreshment was rather meagre. The foreign artists generally dashed downstairs, and absorbed all the ices, creams, etc. To those coming late there were chicken-bones, table-cloths puddled with melted ice, glasses hazy with sherry, and broken bits of bread. The Colonel said he never supped; and he and Honeyman walked away together, the former to bed, the latter, I am sorry to say, to his club; for he was a dainty feeder, and loved lobster, and talk late at night, and a comfortable little glass of something wherewith to conclude the day.

He agreed to come to breakfast with the Colonel, who named eight or nine for the meal. Nine Mr. Honeyman agreed to with a sigh. The incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s chapel seldom rose before eleven. For, to tell the truth, no French abbot of Louis XV. was more lazy and luxurious, and effeminate, than our polite bachelor preacher.

One of Colonel Newcome’s fellow-passengers from India was Mr. James Binnie of the Civil Service, a jolly young bachelor of two — or three-and-forty, who, having spent half of his past life in Bengal, was bent upon enjoying the remainder in Britain or in Europe, if a residence at home should prove agreeable to him. The Nabob of books and tradition is a personage no longer to be found among us. He is neither as wealthy nor as wicked as the jaundiced monster of romances and comedies, who purchases the estates of broken-down English gentlemen, with rupees tortured out of bleeding rajahs, who smokes a hookah in public, and in private carries about a guilty conscience, diamonds of untold value, and a diseased liver; who has a vulgar wife, with a retinue of black servants whom she maltreats, and a gentle son and daughter with good impulses and an imperfect education, desirous to amend their own and their parents’ lives, and thoroughly ashamed of the follies of the old people. If you go to the house of an Indian gentleman now, he does not say, “Bring more curricles,” like the famous Nabob of Stanstead Park. He goes to Leadenhall Street in an omnibus, and walks back from the City for exercise. I have known some who have had maid-servants to wait on them at dinner. I have met scores who look as florid and rosy as any British squire who has never left his paternal beef and acres. They do not wear nankeen jackets in summer. Their livers are not out of order any more; and as for hookahs, I dare swear there are not two now kept alight within the bills of mortality; and that retired Indians would as soon think of smoking them, as their wives would of burning themselves on their husbands’ bodies at the cemetery, Kensal Green, near to the Tyburnian quarter of the city which the Indian world at present inhabits. It used to be Baker Street and Harley Street; it used to be Portland Place, and in more early days Bedford Square, where the Indian magnates flourished; districts which have fallen from their pristine state of splendour now, even as Agra, and Benares, and Lucknow, and Tippoo Sultan’s city are fallen.

After two-and-twenty years’ absence from London, Mr. Binnie returned to it on the top of the Gosport coach with a hatbox and a little portmanteau, a pink fresh-shaven face, a perfect appetite, a suit of clothes like everybody else’s, and not the shadow of a black servant. He called a cab at the White Horse Cellar, and drove to Nerot’s Hotel, Clifford Street; and he gave the cabman eightpence, making the fellow, who grumbled, understand that Clifford Street was not two hundred yards from Bond Street, and that he was paid at the rate of five shillings and fourpence per mile — calculating the mile at only sixteen hundred yards. He asked the waiter at what time Colonel Newcome had ordered dinner, and finding there was an hour on his hands before the meal, walked out to examine the neighbourhood for a lodging where he could live more quietly than in a hotel. He called it a hotel. Mr. Binnie was a North Briton, his father having been a Writer to the Signet, in Edinburgh, who had procured his son a writership in return for electioneering services done to an East Indian Director. Binnie had his retiring pension, and, besides, had saved half his allowances ever since he had been in India. He was a man of great reading, no small ability, considerable accomplishment, excellent good sense and good humour. The ostentatious said he was a screw; but he gave away more money than far more extravagant people: he was a disciple of David Hume (whom he admired more than any other mortal), and the serious denounced him as a man of dangerous principles, though there were, among the serious, men much more dangerous than James Binnie.

On returning to his hotel, Colonel Newcome found this worthy gentleman installed in his room in the best arm-chair sleeping cosily; the evening paper laid decently over his plump waistcoat, and his little legs placed on an opposite chair. Mr. Binnie woke up briskly when the Colonel entered. “It is you, you gad-about, is it?” cried the civilian. “How has the beau monde of London treated the Indian Adonis? Have you made a sensation, Newcome? Gad, Tom, I remember you a buck of bucks when that coat first came out to Calcutta — just a Barrackpore Brummell — in Lord Minto’s reign, was it, or when Lord Hastings was satrap over us?”

“A man must have one good coat,” says the Colonel; “I don’t profess to be a dandy; but get a coat from a good tailor, and then have done with it.” He still thought his garment was as handsome as need be.

“Done with it — ye’re never done with it!” cries the civilian.

“An old coat is an old friend, old Binnie. I don’t want to be rid of one or the other. How long did you and my boy sit up together — isn’t he a fine lad, Binnie? I expect you are going to put him down for something handsome in your will.”

“See what it is to have a real friend now, Colonel! I sate up for ye, or let us say more correctly, I waited for you — because I knew you would want to talk about that scapegrace of yours. And if I had gone to bed, I should have had you walking up to No. 28, and waking me out of my first rosy slumber. Well, now confess; avoid not. Haven’t ye fallen in love with some young beauty on the very first night of your arrival in your sister’s salong, and selected a mother-inlaw for young Scapegrace?”

“Isn’t he a fine fellow, James?” says the Colonel, lighting a cheroot as he sits on the table. Was it joy, or the bedroom candle with which he lighted his cigar, which illuminated his honest features so, and made them so to shine?

“I have been occupied, sir, in taking the lad’s moral measurement: and have pumped him as successfully as ever I cross-examined a rogue in my court. I place his qualities thus:— Love of approbation sixteen. Benevolence fourteen. Combativeness fourteen. Adhesiveness two. Amativeness is not yet of course fully developed, but I expect will be prodeegiously strong. The imaginative and reflective organs are very large — those, of calculation weak. He may make a poet or a painter, or you may make a sojer of him, though worse men than him’s good enough for that — but a bad merchant, a lazy lawyer, and a miserable mathematician. He has wit and conscientiousness, so ye mustn’t think of making a clergyman of him.”

“Binnie!” says the Colonel gravely, “you are always sneering at the cloth.”

“When I think that, but for my appointment to India, I should have been a luminary of the faith and a pillar of the church! grappling with the ghostly enemy in the pulpit, and giving out the psawm. Eh, sir, what a loss Scottish Divinity has had in James Binnie!” cries the little civilian with his most comical face. “But that is not the question. My opinion, Colonel, is, that young Scapegrace will give you a deal of trouble; or would, only you are so absurdly proud of him that you think everything he does is perfaction. He’ll spend your money for you: he’ll do as little work as need be. He’ll get into scrapes with the sax. He’s almost as simple as his father, and that is to say that any rogue will cheat him; and he seems to me to have got your obstinate habit of telling the truth, Colonel, which may prevet his getting on in the world, but on the other hand will keep him from going very wrong. So that, though there is every fear for him, there’s some hope and some consolation.”

“What do you think of his Latin and Greek?” asks the Colonel. Before going out to his party, Newcome had laid a deep scheme with Binnie, and it had been agreed that the latter should examine the young fellow in his humanities.

“Wall,” cries the Scot, “I find that the lad knows as much about Greek and Latin as I knew myself when I was eighteen years of age.”

“My dear Binnie, is it possible? You, the best scholar in all India!”

“And which amounted to exactly nothing. He has acquired in five years, and by the admirable seestem purshood at your public schools, just about as much knowledge of the ancient languages as he could get by three months’ application at home. Mind ye, I don’t say he would apply; it is most probable he would do no such thing. But at the cost of — how much? two hundred pounds annually — for five years — he has acquired about five-and-twenty guineas’ worth of classical leeterature — enough, I dare say, to enable him to quote Horace respectably through life, and what more do ye want from a young man of his expectations? I think I should send him into the army, that’s the best place for him — there’s the least to do, and the handsomest clothes to wear. Acce segnum!” says the little wag, daintily taking up the tail of his friend’s coat.

“There’s never any knowing whether you are in jest or in earnest, Binnie,” the puzzled Colonel said.

“How should you know, when I don’t know myself?” answered the Scotchman. “In earnest now, Tom Newcome, I think your boy is as fine a lad as I ever set eyes on. He seems to have intelligence and good temper. He carries his letter of recommendation in his countenance; and with the honesty — and the rupees, mind ye — which he inherits from his father, the deuce is in it if he can’t make his way. What time’s the breakfast? Eh, but it was a comfort this morning not to hear the holystoning on the deck. We ought to go into lodgings, and not fling our money out of the window of this hotel. We must make the young chap take us about and show us the town in the morning, Tom. I had but three days of it five-and-twenty years ago, and I propose to reshoome my observations tomorrow after breakfast. We’ll just go on deck and see how’s her head before we turn in, eh, Colonel?” and with this the jolly gentleman nodded over his candle to his friend, and trotted off to bed.

The Colonel and his friend were light sleepers and early risers, like most men that come from the country where they had both been so long sojourning, and were awake and dressed long before the London waiters had thought of quitting their beds. The housemaid was the only being stirring in the morning when little Mr. Binnie blundered over her pail as she was washing the deck. Early as he was, his fellow-traveller had preceded him. Binnie found the Colonel in his sitting-room arrayed in what are called in Scotland his stocking-feet, already puffing the cigar, which in truth was seldom out of his mouth at any hour of the day.

He had a couple of bedrooms adjacent to this sitting-room, and when Binnie, as brisk and rosy about the gills as chanticleer, broke out in a morning salutation, “Hush,” says the Colonel, putting a long finger up to his mouth, and advancing towards him as noiselessly as a ghost.

“What’s in the wind now?” asks the little Scot; “and what for have ye not got your shoes on?”

“Clive’s asleep,” says the Colonel, with a countenance full of extreme anxiety.

“The darling boy slumbers, does he?” said the wag; “mayn’t I just step in and look at his beautiful countenance whilst he’s asleep, Colonel?”

“You may if you take off those confounded creaking shoes,” the other answered, quite gravely; and Binnie turned away to hide his jolly round face, which was screwed up with laughter.

“Have ye been breathing a prayer over your rosy infant’s slumbers, Tom?” asks Mr. Binnie.

“And if I have, James Binnie,” the Colonel said gravely, and his sallow face blushing somewhat, “if I have, I hope I’ve done no harm. The last time I saw him asleep was nine years ago, a sickly little pale-faced boy in his little cot, and now, sir, that I see him again, strong and handsome, and all that a fond father can wish to see a boy, I should be an ungrateful villain, James, if I didn’t — if I didn’t do what you said just now, and thank God Almighty for restoring him to me.”

Binnie did not laugh any more. “By George, Tom Newcome,” said he, “you’re just one of the saints of the earth. If all men were like you there’d be an end of both our trades; there would be no fighting and no soldiering, no rogues and no magistrates to catch them.” The Colonel wondered at his friend’s enthusiasm, who was not used to be complimentary; indeed what so usual with him as that simple act of gratitude and devotion about which his comrade spoke to him? To ask a blessing for his boy was as natural to him as to wake with the sunrise, or to go to rest when the day was over. His first and his last thought was always the child.

The two gentlemen were home in time enough to find Clive dressed, and his uncle arrived for breakfast. The Colonel said a grace over that meal: the life was begun which he had longed and prayed for, and the son smiling before his eyes who had been in his thoughts for so many fond years.

CHAPTER IX

Miss Honeyman’s

In Steyne Gardens, Brighton, the lodging-houses are among the most frequented in that city of lodging-houses. These mansions have bow-windows in front, bulging out with gentle prominences, and ornamented with neat verandahs, from which you can behold the tide of humankind as it flows up and down the Steyne, and that blue ocean over which Britannia is said to rule, stretching brightly away eastward and westward. The chain-pier, as every body knows, runs intrepidly into the sea, which sometimes, in fine weather, bathes its feet with laughing wavelets, and anon, on stormy days, dashes over its sides with roaring foam. Here, for the sum of twopence, you can go out to sea and pace this vast deck without need of a steward with a basin. You can watch the sun setting in splendour over Worthing, or illuminating with its rising glories the ups and downs of Rottingdean. You see the citizen with his family inveigled into the shallops of the mercenary native mariner, and fancy that the motion cannot be pleasant; and how the hirer of the boat, otium et oppidi laudat rura sui, haply sighs for ease, and prefers Richmond or Hampstead. You behold a hundred bathing-machines put to sea; and your naughty fancy depicts the beauties splashing under their white awnings. Along the rippled sands (stay, are they rippled sands or shingly beach?) the prawn-boy seeks the delicious material of your breakfast. Breakfast-meal in London almost unknown, greedily devoured in Brighton! In yon vessels now nearing the shore the sleepless mariner has ventured forth to seize the delicate whiting, the greedy and foolish mackerel, and the homely sole. Hark to the twanging horn! it is the early coach going out to London. Your eye follows it, and rests on the pinnacles built by the beloved GEORGE. See the worn-out London roue pacing the pier, inhaling the sea air, and casting furtive glances under the bonnets of the pretty girls who trot here before lessons! Mark the bilious lawyer, escaped for a day from Pump Court, and sniffing the fresh breezes before he goes back to breakfast and a bag full of briefs at the Albion! See that pretty string of prattling schoolgirls, from the chubby-cheeked, flaxen-headed little maiden just toddling by the side of the second teacher, to the arch damsel of fifteen, giggling and conscious of her beauty, whom Miss Griffin, the stern head-governess, awfully reproves! See Tomkins with a telescope and marine jacket; young Nathan and young Abrams, already bedizened in jewellery, and rivalling the sun in oriental splendour; yonder poor invalid crawling along in her chair; yonder jolly fat lady examining the Brighton pebbles (I actually once saw a lady buy one), and her children wondering at the sticking-plaister portraits with gold hair, and gold stocks, and prodigious high-heeled boots, miracles of art, and cheap at seven-and-sixpence! It is the fashion to run down George IV., but what myriads of Londoners ought to thank him for inventing Brighton! One of the best of physicians our city has ever known, is kind, cheerful, merry Doctor Brighton. Hail, thou purveyor of shrimps and honest prescriber of Southdown mutton! There is no mutton so good as Brighton mutton; no flys so pleasant as Brighton flys; nor any cliff so pleasant to ride on; no shops so beautiful to look at as the Brighton gimcrack shops, and the fruit shops, and the market. I fancy myself in Mrs. Honeyman’s lodgings in Steyne Gardens, and in enjoyment of all these things.

If the gracious reader has had losses in life, losses not so bad as to cause absolute want, or inflict upon him or her the bodily injury of starvation, let him confess that the evils of this poverty are by no means so great as his timorous fancy depicted. Say your money has been invested in West Diddlesex bonds, or other luckless speculations — the news of the smash comes; you pay your outlying bills with the balance at the banker’s; you assemble your family and make them a fine speech; the wife of your bosom goes round and embraces the sons and daughters seriatim; nestling in your own waistcoat finally, in possession of which, she says (with tender tears and fond quotations from Holy Writ, God bless her!), and of the darlings round about, lies all her worldly treasure: the weeping servants are dismissed, their wages paid in full, and with a present of prayer — and hymn-books from their mistress; your elegant house in Harley Street is to let, and you subside into lodgings in Pentonville, or Kensington, or Brompton. How unlike the mansion where you paid taxes and distributed elegant hospitality for so many years!

You subside into lodgings, I say, and you find yourself very tolerably comfortable. I am not sure that in her heart your wife is not happier than in what she calls her happy days. She will be somebody hereafter: she was nobody in Harley Street: that is, everybody else in her visiting-book, take the names all round, was as good as she. They had the very same entrees, plated ware, men to wait, etc., at all the houses where you visited in the street. Your candlesticks might be handsomer (and indeed they had a very fine effect upon the dinner-table), but then Mr. Jones’s silver (or electro-plated) dishes were much finer. You had more carriages at your door on the evening of your delightful soirees than Mrs. Brown (there is no phrase more elegant, and to my taste, than that in which people are described as “seeing a great deal of carriage company”); but yet Mrs. Brown, from the circumstance of her being a baronet’s niece, took precedence of your dear wife at most tables. Hence the latter charming woman’s scorn at the British baronetcy, and her many jokes at the order. In a word, and in the height of your social prosperity, there was always a lurking dissatisfaction, and a something bitter, in the midst of the fountain of delights at which you were permitted to drink.

There is no good (unless your taste is that way) in living in a society where you are merely the equal of everybody else. Many people give themselves extreme pains to frequent company where all around them are their superiors, and where, do what you will, you must be subject to continual mortification —(as, for instance, when Marchioness X. forgets you, and you can’t help thinking that she cuts you on purpose; when Duchess Z. passes by in her diamonds, etc.). The true pleasure of life is to live with your inferiors. Be the cock of your village; the queen of your coterie; and, besides very great persons, the people whom Fate has specially endowed with this kindly consolation are those who have seen what are called better days — those who have had losses. I am like Caesar, and of a noble mind: if I cannot be first in Piccadilly, let me try Hatton Garden, and see whether I cannot lead the ton there. If I cannot take the lead at White’s or the Travellers’, let me be president of the Jolly Bandboys at the Bag of Nails, and blackball everybody who does not pay me honour. If my darling Bessy cannot go out of a drawing-room until a baronet’s niece (ha! ha! a baronet’s niece, forsooth!) has walked before her, let us frequent company where we shall be the first; and how can we be the first unless we select our inferiors for our associates? This kind of pleasure is to be had by almost everybody, and at scarce any cost. With a shilling’s-worth of tea and muffins you can get as much adulation and respect as many people cannot purchase with a thousand pounds’ worth of plate and profusion, hired footmen, turning their houses topsy-turvy, and suppers from Gunter’s. Adulation! — why, the people who come to you give as good parties as you do. Respect! — the very menials, who wait behind your supper-table, waited at a duke’s yesterday, and actually patronise you! O you silly spendthrift! you can buy flattery for twopence, and you spend ever so much money in entertaining your equals and betters, and nobody admires you!

Now Aunt Honeyman was a woman of a thousand virtues; cheerful, frugal, honest, laborious, charitable, good-humoured, truth-telling, devoted to her family, capable of any sacrifice for those she loved; and when she came to have losses of money, Fortune straightway compensated her by many kindnesses which no income can supply. The good old lady admired the word gentlewoman of all others in the English vocabulary, and made all around her feel that such was her rank. Her mother’s father was a naval captain; her father had taken pupils, got a living, sent his son to college, dined with the squire, published his volume of sermons, was liked in his parish, where Miss Honeyman kept house for him, was respected for his kindness and famous for his port wine; and so died, leaving about two hundred pounds a year to his two children, nothing to Clive Newcome’s mother who had displeased him by her first marriage (an elopement with Ensign Casey) and subsequent light courses. Charles Honeyman spent his money elegantly in wine-parties at Oxford, and afterwards in foreign travel; — spent his money and as much of Miss Honeyman’s as that worthy soul would give him. She was a woman of spirit and resolution. She brought her furniture to Brighton (believing that the whole place still fondly remembered her grandfather, Captain Nokes, who had resided there and his gallantry in Lord Rodney’s action with the Count de Grasse), took a house, and let the upper floors to lodgers.

The little brisk old lady brought a maid-servant out of the country with her, who was daughter to her father’s clerk, and had learned her letters and worked her first sampler under Miss Honeyman’s own eye, whom she adored all through her life. No Indian begum rolling in wealth, no countess mistress of castles and townhouses, ever had such a faithful toady as Hannah Hicks was to her mistress. Under Hannah was a young lady from the workhouse, who called Hannah “Mrs. Hicks, mum,” and who bowed in awe as much before that domestic as Hannah did before Miss Honeyman. At five o’clock in summer, at seven in winter (for Miss Honeyman, a good economist, was chary of candlelight), Hannah woke up little Sally, and these three women rose. I leave you to imagine what a row there was in the establishment if Sally appeared with flowers under her bonnet, gave signs of levity or insubordination, prolonged her absence when sent forth for the beer, or was discovered in flirtation with the baker’s boy or the grocer’s young man. Sally was frequently renewed. Miss Honeyman called all her young persons Sally; and a great number of Sallies were consumed in her house. The qualities of the Sally for the time-being formed a constant and delightful subject of conversation between Hannah and her mistress. The few friends who visited Miss Honeyman in her back-parlour had their Sallies, in discussing whose peculiarities of disposition these good ladies passed the hours agreeably over their tea.

Many persons who let lodgings in Brighton have been servants themselves — are retired housekeepers, tradesfolk, and the like. With these surrounding individuals Hannah treated on a footing of equality, bringing to her mistress accounts of their various goings on; “how No. 6 was let; how No. 9 had not paid his rent again; how the first floor at 27 had game almost every day, and made-dishes from Mutton’s; how the family who had taken Mrs. Bugsby’s had left as usual after the very first night, the poor little infant blistered all over with bites on its little dear face; how the Miss Learys was going on shameful with the two young men, actially in their setting-room, mum, where one of them offered Miss Laura Leary a cigar; how Mrs. Cribb still went cuttin’ pounds and pounds of meat off the lodgers’ jints, emptying their tea-caddies, actially reading their letters. Sally had been told so by Polly the Cribb’s maid, who was kep, how that poor child was kep, hearing language perfectly hawful!” These tales and anecdotes, not altogether redounding to their neighbours’ credit, Hannah copiously collected and brought to her mistress’s tea-table, or served at her frugal little supper when Miss Honeyman, the labours of the day over, partook of that cheerful meal. I need not say that such horrors as occurred at Mrs. Bugsby’s never befell in Mrs. Honeyman’s establishment. Every room was fiercely swept and sprinkled, and watched by cunning eyes which nothing could escape; curtains were taken down, mattresses explored, every bone in bed dislocated and washed as soon as a lodger took his departure. And as for cribbing meat or sugar, Sally might occasionally abstract a lump or two, or pop a veal-cutlet into her mouth while bringing the dishes downstairs:— Sallies would — giddy creatures bred in workhouses; but Hannah might be entrusted with untold gold and uncorked brandy; and Miss Honeyman would as soon think of cutting a slice off Hannah’s nose and devouring it, as of poaching on her lodgers’ mutton. The best mutton-broth, the best veal-cutlets, the best necks of mutton and French beans, the best fried fish and plumpest partridges, in all Brighton, were to be had at Miss Honeyman’s — and for her favourites the best Indian curry and rice, coming from a distinguished relative, at present an officer in Bengal. But very few were admitted to this mark of Miss Honeyman’s confidence. If a family did not go to church they were not in favour: if they went to a Dissenting meeting she had no opinion of them at all. Once there came to her house a quiet Staffordshire family who ate no meat on Fridays, and whom Miss Honeyman pitied as belonging to the Romish superstition; but when they were visited by two corpulent gentlemen in black, one of whom wore a purple underwaistcoat, before whom the Staffordshire lady absolutely sank down on her knees as he went into the drawing-room — Miss Honeyman sternly gave warning to these idolaters. She would have no Jesuits in her premises. She showed Hannah the picture in Howell’s Medulla of the martyrs burning at Smithfield: who said, “Lord bless you, mum,” and hoped it was a long time ago. She called on the curate: and many and many a time, for years after, pointed out to her friends, and sometimes to her lodgers, the spot on the carpet where the poor benighted creature had knelt down. So she went on, respected by all her friends, by all her tradesmen, by herself not a little, talking of her previous “misfortunes” with amusing equanimity; as if her father’s parsonage-house had been a palace of splendour, and the one-horse chaise (with the lamps for evenings) from which she had descended, a noble equipage. “But I know it is for the best, Clive,” she would say to her nephew in describing those grandeurs, “and, thank heaven, can be resigned in that station in life to which it has pleased God to call me.”

The good lady was called the Duchess by her fellow-tradesfolk in the square in which she lived. (I don’t know what would have come to her had she been told she was a tradeswoman!) Her butchers, bakers, and market-people paid her as much respect as though she had been a grandee’s housekeeper out of Kemp Town. Knowing her station, she yet was kind to those inferior beings. She held affable conversations with them, she patronised Mr. Rogers, who was said to be worth a hundred thousand — two-hundred-thousand pounds (or lbs. was it?), and who said, “Law bless the old Duchess, she do make as much of a pound of veal cutlet as some would of a score of bullocks, but you see she’s a lady born and a lady bred: she’d die before she’d owe a farden, and she’s seen better days, you know.” She went to see the grocer’s wife on an interesting occasion, and won the heart of the family by tasting their candle. Her fishmonger (it was fine to hear her talk of “my fishmonger”) would sell her a whiting as respectfully as if she had called for a dozen turbots and lobsters. It was believed by those good folks that her father had been a Bishop at the very least; and the better days which she had known were supposed to signify some almost unearthly prosperity. “I have always found, Hannah,” the simple soul would say, “that people know their place, or can be very very easily made to find it if they lose it; and if a gentlewoman does not forget herself, her inferiors will not forget that she is a gentlewoman.” “No indeed, mum, and I’m sure they would do no such thing, mum,” says Hannah, who carries away the teapot for her own breakfast (to be transmitted to Sally for her subsequent refection), whilst her mistress washes her cup and saucer, as her mother had washed her own china many scores of years ago.

If some of the surrounding lodging-house keepers, as I have no doubt they did, disliked the little Duchess for the airs which she gave herself, as they averred; they must have envied her too her superior prosperity, for there was scarcely ever a card in her window, whilst those ensigns in her neighbours’ houses would remain exposed to the flies and the weather, and disregarded by passers-by for months together. She had many regular customers, or what should be rather called constant friends. Deaf old Mr. Cricklade came every winter for fourteen years, and stopped until the hunting was over; an invaluable man, giving little trouble, passing all day on horseback, and all night over his rubber at the club. The Misses Barkham, Barkhambury, Tunbridge Wells, whose father had been at college with Mr. Honeyman, came regularly in June for sea air, letting Barkhambury for the summer season. Then, for many years, she had her nephew, as we have seen; and kind recommendations from the clergymen of Brighton, and a constant friend in the celebrated Dr. Goodenough of London. who had been her father’s private pupil, and of his college afterwards, who sent his patients from time to time down to her, and his fellow-physician, Dr. H— — who on his part would never take any fee from Miss Honeyman, except a packet of India curry-powder, a ham cured as she only knew how to cure them, and once a year, or so, a dish of her tea.

“Was there ever such luck as that confounded old Duchess’s?” says Mr. Gawler, coal-merchant and lodging-house keeper, next door but two, whose apartments were more odious in some respects than Mrs. Bugsby’s own. “Was there ever such devil’s own luck, Mrs. G.? It’s only a fortnight ago as I read in the Sussex Advertiser the death of Miss Barkham, of Barkhambury, Tunbridge Wells, and thinks I, there’s a spoke in your wheel, you stuck-up little old Duchess, with your cussed airs and impudence. And she ain’t put her card up three days; and look yere, yere’s two carriages, two maids, three children, one of them wrapped up in a Hinjar shawl — man hout a livery — looks like a foring cove I think — lady in satin pelisse, and of course they go to the Duchess, be hanged to her! Of course it’s our luck, nothing ever was like our luck. I’m blowed if I don’t put a pistol to my ‘ead, and end it, Mrs. G. There they go in-three, four, six, seven on ’em, and the man. That’s the precious child’s physic I suppose he’s a-carryin’ in the basket. Just look at the luggage. I say! There’s a bloody hand on the first carriage. It’s a baronet, is it? I ‘ope your ladyship’s very well; and I ‘ope Sir John will soon be down yere to join his family.” Mr. Gawler makes sarcastic bows over the card in his bow-window whilst making this speech. The little Gawlers rush on to the drawing-room verandah themselves to examine the new arrivals.

“This is Mrs. Honeyman’s?” asks the gentleman designated by Mr. Gawler as “the foring cove,” and hands in a card on which the words, “Miss Honeyman, 110, Steyne Gardens. J. Goodenough,” are written in that celebrated physician’s handwriting. “We want five bet-rooms, six bets, two or dree sitting-rooms. Have you got dese?”

“Will you speak to my mistress?” says Hannah. And if it is a fact that Miss Honeyman does happen to be in the front parlour looking at the carriages, what harm is there in the circumstance, pray? Is not Gawler looking, and the people next door? Are not half a dozen little boys already gathered in the street (as if they started up out of the trap-doors for the coals), and the nursery maids in the stunted little garden, are not they looking through the bars of the square? “Please to speak to mistress,” says Hannah, opening the parlour-door, and with a curtsey, “A gentleman about the apartments, mum.”

“Five bet-rooms,” says the man, entering. “Six bets, two or dree sitting-rooms? We gome from Dr. Goodenough.”

“Are the apartments for you, sir?” says the little Duchess, looking up at the large gentleman.

“For my lady,” answers the man.

“Had you not better take off your hat?” asks the Duchess, pointing out of one of her little mittens to “the foring cove’s” beaver, which he has neglected to remove.

The man grins, and takes off the hat. “I beck your bardon, ma’am,” says he. “Have you fife bet-rooms?” etc. The doctor has cured the German of an illness, as well as his employers, and especially recommended Miss Honeyman to Mr. Kuhn.

“I have such a number of apartments. My servant will show them to you.” And she walks back with great state to her chair by the window, and resumes her station and work there.

Mr. Kuhn reports to his mistress, who descends to inspect the apartments, accompanied through them by Hannah. The rooms are pronounced to be exceedingly neat and pleasant, and exactly what are wanted for the family. The baggage is forthwith ordered to be brought from the carriages. The little invalid wrapped in his shawl is brought upstairs by the affectionate Mr. Kuhn, who carries him as gently as if he had been bred all his life to nurse babies. The smiling Sally (the Sally for the time-being happens to be a very fresh pink-cheeked pretty little Sally) emerges from the kitchen and introduces the young ladies, the governess, the maids, to their apartments. The eldest, a slim black-haired young lass of thirteen, frisks about the rooms, looks at all the pictures, runs in and out of the verandah, tries the piano, and bursts out laughing at its wheezy jingle (it had been poor Emma’s piano, bought for her on her seventeenth birthday, three weeks before she ran away with the ensign; her music is still in the stand by it: the Rev. Charles Honeyman has warbled sacred melodies over it, and Miss Honeyman considers it a delightful instrument), kisses her languid little brother laid on the sofa, and performs a hundred gay and agile motions suited to her age.

“Oh, what a piano! Why, it is as cracked as Miss Quigley’s voice!”

“My dear!” says mamma. The little languid boy bursts out into a jolly laugh.

“What funny pictures, mamma! Action with Count de Grasse; the death of General Wolfe; a portrait of an officer, an old officer in blue, like grandpapa; Brazen Nose College, Oxford: what a funny name!”

At the idea of Brazen Nose College, another laugh comes from the invalid. “I suppose they’ve all got brass noses there,” he says; and explodes at this joke. The poor little laugh ends in a cough, and mamma’s travelling-basket, which contains everything, produces a bottle of syrup, labelled “Master A. Newcome. A teaspoonful to be taken when the cough is troublesome.”

“‘Oh, the delightful sea! the blue, the fresh, the ever free,’” sings the young lady, with a shake. (I suppose the maritime song from which she quoted was just written at this time.) “How much better this is than going home and seeing those horrid factories and chimneys! I love Doctor Goodenough for sending us here. What a sweet house it is! Everybody is happy in it, even Miss Quigley is happy, mamma. What nice rooms! What pretty chintz! What a — oh, what a — comfortable sofa!” and she falls down on the sofa, which, truth to say, was the Rev. Charles Honeyman’s luxurious sofa from Oxford, presented to him by young Cibber Wright of Christchurch, when that gentleman-commoner was eliminated from the University.

“The person of the house,” mamma says, “hardly comes up to Dr. Goodenough’s description of her. He says he remembers her a pretty little woman when her father was his private tutor.”

“She has grown very much since,” says the girl. And an explosion takes place from the sofa, where the little man is always ready to laugh at any joke, or anything like a joke, uttered by himself or by any of his family or friends. As for Doctor Goodenough, he says laughing has saved that boy’s life.

“She looks quite like a maid,” continues the lady. “She has hard hands, and she called me mum always. I was quite disappointed in her.” And she subsides into a novel, with many of which kind of works, and with other volumes, and with workboxes, and with wonderful inkstands, portfolios, portable days of the month, scent-bottles, scissor-cases, gilt miniature easels displaying portraits, and countless gimcracks of travel, the rapid Kuhn has covered the tables in the twinkling of an eye.

The person supposed to be the landlady enters the room at this juncture, and the lady rises to receive her. The little wag on the sofa puts his arm round his sister’s neck, and whispers, “I say, Eth, isn’t she a pretty girl? I shall write to Doctor Goodenough and tell him how much she’s grown.” Convulsions follow this sally, to the surprise of Hannah, who says, “Pooty little dear! — what time will he have his dinner, mum?”

“Thank you, Mrs. Honeyman, at two o’clock,” says the lady with a bow of her head. “There is a clergyman of your name in London; is he a relation?” The lady in her turn is astonished, for the tall person breaks out into a grin, and says, “Law, mum, you’re speakin’ of Master Charles. He’s in London.”

“Indeed! — of Master Charles?”

“And you take me for missis, mum. I beg your pardon, mum,” cries Hannah. The invalid hits his sister in the side with a weak little fist. If laughter can cure, salva est res. Doctor Goodenough’s patient is safe. “Master Charles is missis’s brother, mum. I’ve got no brother, mum — never had no brother. Only one son, who’s in the police, mum, thank you. And law bless me, I was going to forget! If you please, mum, missis says, if you are quite rested, she will pay her duty to you, mum.”

“Oh, indeed,” says the lady, rather stiffly; and, taking this for an acceptance of her mistress’s visit, Hannah retires.

“This Miss Honeyman seems to be a great personage,” says the lady. “If people let lodgings, why do they give themselves such airs?”

“We never saw Monsieur de Boigne at Boulogne, mamma,” interposes the girl.

“Monsieur de Boigne, my dear Ethel! Monsieur de Boigne is very well. But —” here the door opens, and in a large cap bristling with ribbons, with her best chestnut front, and her best black silk gown, on which her gold watch shines very splendidly, little Miss Honeyman makes her appearance, and a dignified curtsey to her lodger.

That lady vouchsafes a very slight inclination of the head indeed, which she repeats when Miss Honeyman says, “I am glad to hear your ladyship is pleased with the apartments.”

“Yes, they will do very well, thank you,” answers the latter person, gravely.

“And they have such a beautiful view of the sea!” cries Ethel.

“As if all the houses hadn’t a view of the sea, Ethel! The price has been arranged, I think? My servants will require a comfortable room to dine in-by themselves, ma’am, if you please. My governess and the younger children will dine together. My daughter dines with me — and my little boy’s dinner will be ready at two o’clock precisely, if you please. It is now near one.”

“Am I to understand ——” interposed Miss Honeyman.

“Oh! I have no doubt we shall understand each other, ma’am,” cried Lady Anne Newcome (whose noble presence the acute reader has no doubt ere this divined and saluted). “Doctor Goodenough has given me a most satisfactory account of you — more satisfactory perhaps than — than you are aware of.” Perhaps Lady Anne’s sentence was not going to end in a very satisfactory way for Miss Honeyman; but, awed by a peculiar look of resolution in the little lady, her lodger of an hour paused in whatever offensive remark she might have been about to make. “It is as well that I at last have the pleasure of seeing you, that I may state what I want, and that we may, as you say, understand each other. Breakfast and tea, if you please, will be served in the same manner as dinner. And you will have the kindness to order fresh milk every morning for my little boy — ass’s milk — Doctor Goodenough has ordered ass’s milk. Anything further I want I will communicate through the person who spoke to you — Kuhn, Mr. Kuhn; and that will do.”

A heavy shower of rain was descending at this moment, and little Mrs. Honeyman looking at her lodger, who had sate down and taken up her book, said, “Have your ladyship’s servants unpacked your trunks?”

“What on earth, madam, have you — has that to do with the question?”

“They will be put to the trouble of packing again, I fear. I cannot provide — three times five are fifteen — fifteen separate meals for seven persons — besides those of my own family. If your servants cannot eat with mine, or in my kitchen, they and their mistress must go elsewhere. And the sooner the better, madam, the sooner the better!” says Mrs. Honeyman, trembling with indignation, and sitting down in a chair spreading her silks.

“Do you know who I am?” asks Lady Anne, rising.

“Perfectly well, madam,” says the other. “And had I known, you should never have come into my house, that’s more.”

“Madam!” cries the lady, on which the poor little invalid, scared and nervous, and hungry for his dinner, began to cry from his sofa.

“It will be a pity that the dear little boy should be disturbed. Dear little child, I have often heard of him, and of you, miss,” says the little householder, rising. “I will get you some dinner, my dear, for Clive’s sake. And meanwhile your ladyship will have the kindness to seek for some other apartments — for not a bit shall my fire cook for any one else of your company.” And with this the indignant little landlady sailed out of the room.

“Gracious goodness! Who is the woman?” cries Lady Anne. “I never was so insulted in my life.”

“Oh, mamma, it was you began!” says downright Ethel. “That is — Hush, Alfred dear! — Hush, my darling!”

“Oh, it was mamma began! I’m so hungry! I’m so hungry!” howled the little man on the sofa — or off it rather — for he was now down on the ground, kicking away the shawls which enveloped him.

“What is it, my boy? What is it, my blessed darling? You shall have your dinner! Give her all, Ethel. There are the keys of my desk — there’s my watch — there are my rings. Let her take my all. The monster! the child must live! It can’t go away in such a storm as this. Give me a cloak, a parasol, anything — I’ll go forth and get a lodging. I’ll beg my bread from house to house — if this fiend refuses me. Eat the biscuits, dear! A little of the syrup, Alfred darling; it’s very nice, love! and come to your old mother — your poor old mother.”

Alfred roared out, “No — it’s not n-ice: it’s n-a-a-asty! I won’t have syrup. I will have dinner.” The mother, whose embraces the child repelled with infantine kicks, plunged madly at the bells, rang them all four vehemently, and ran downstairs towards the parlour, whence Miss Honeyman was issuing.

The good lady had not at first known the names of her lodgers, but had taken them in willingly enough on Dr. Goodenough’s recommendation. And it was not until one of the nurses entrusted with the care of Master Alfred’s dinner informed Miss Honeyman of the name of her guest, that she knew she was entertaining Lady Anne Newcome; and that the pretty girl was the fair Miss Ethel; the little sick boy, the little Alfred of whom his cousin spoke, and of whom Clive had made a hundred little drawings in his rude way, as he drew everybody. Then bidding Sally run off to St. James’s Street for a chicken — she saw it put on the spit, and prepared a bread sauce, and composed a batter-pudding as she only knew how to make batter-puddings. Then she went to array herself in her best clothes, as we have seen — as we have heard rather (Goodness forbid that we should see Miss Honeyman arraying herself, or penetrate that chaste mystery, her toilette!)— then she came to wait upon Lady Anne, not a little flurried as to the result of that queer interview; then she whisked out of the drawing-room as before has been shown; and, finding the chicken roasted to a turn, the napkin and tray ready spread by Hannah the neat-handed, she was bearing them up to the little patient when the frantic parent met her on the stair.

“Is it — is it for my child?” cried Lady Anne, reeling against the bannister.

“Yes, it’s for the child,” says Miss Honeyman, tossing up her head. “But nobody else has anything in the house.”

“God bless you — God bless you! A mother’s bl-l-essings go with you,” gurgled the lady, who was not, it must be confessed, a woman of strong moral character.

It was good to see the little man eating the fowl. Ethel, who had never cut anything in her young existence, except her fingers now and then with her brother’s and her governess’s penknives, bethought her of asking Miss Honeyman to carve the chicken. Lady Anne, with clasped hands and streaming eyes, sate looking on at the ravishing scene.

“Why did you not let us know you were Clive’s aunt?” Ethel asked, putting out her hand. The old lady took hers very kindly, and said, “Because you didn’t give me time. And do you love Clive, my dear?”

The reconciliation between Miss Honeyman and her lodger was perfect. Lady Anne wrote a quire of notepaper off to Sir Brian for that day’s post — only she was too late, as she always was. Mr. Kuhn perfectly delighted Miss Honeyman that evening by his droll sayings, jokes, and pronunciation, and by his praises of Master Glife, as he called him. He lived out of the house, did everything for everybody, was never out of the way when wanted, and never in the way when not wanted. Ere long Miss Honeyman got out a bottle of the famous Madeira which her Colonel sent her, and treated him to a glass in her own room. Kuhn smacked his lips and held out the glass again. The honest rogue knew good wine.

CHAPTER X

Ethel and her Relations

For four-and-twenty successive hours Lady Anne Newcome was perfectly in raptures with her new lodgings, and every person and thing which they contained. The drawing-rooms were fitted with the greatest taste; the dinner was exquisite. Were there ever such delicious veal-cutlets, such verdant French beans? “Why do we have those odious French cooks, my dear, with their shocking principles — the principles of all Frenchmen are shocking — and the dreadful bills they bring us in; and their consequential airs and graces? I am determined to part with Brignol. I have written to your father this evening to give Brignol warning. When did he ever give us veal-cutlets? What can be nicer?”

“Indeed they were very good,” said Miss Ethel, who had mutton five times a week at one o’clock. “I am so glad you like the house, and Clive, and Mrs. Honeyman.”

“Like her! the dear little old woman. I feel as if she had been my friend all my life! I feel quite drawn towards her. What a wonderful coincidence that Dr. Goodenough should direct us to this very house! I have written to your father about it. And to think that I should have written to Clive at this very house, and quite forgotten Mrs. Honeyman’s name — and such an odd name too. I forget everything, everything! You know I forgot your Aunt Louisa’s husband’s name; and when I was godmother to her baby, and the clergyman said, ‘What is the infant’s name?’ I said, ‘Really I forget.’ And so I did. He was a London clergyman, but I forget at what church. Suppose it should be this very Mr. Honeyman! It may have been, you know, and then the coincidence would be still more droll. That tall, old, nice-looking, respectable person, with a mark on her nose, the housekeeper — what is her name? — seems a most invaluable person. I think I shall ask her to come to us. I am sure she would save me I don’t know how much money every week; and I am certain Mrs. Trotter is making a fortune by us. I shall write to your papa, and ask him permission to ask this person.” Ethel’s mother was constantly falling in love with her new acquaintances; their man-servants and their maid-servants, their horses and ponies, and the visitor within their gates. She would ask strangers to Newcome, hug and embrace them on Sunday; not speak to them on Monday; and on Tuesday behave so rudely to them, that they were gone before Wednesday. Her daughter had had so many governesses — all darlings during the first week, and monsters afterwards — that the poor child possessed none of the accomplishments of her age. She could not play on the piano; she could not speak French well; she could not tell you when gunpowder was invented: she had not the faintest idea of the date of the Norman Conquest, or whether the earth went round the sun, or vice versa. She did not know the number of counties in England, Scotland, and Wales, let alone Ireland; she did not know the difference between latitude and longitude. She had had so many governesses: their accounts differed: poor Ethel was bewildered by a multiplicity of teachers, and thought herself a monster of ignorance. They gave her a book at a Sunday School, and little girls of eight years old answered questions of which she knew nothing. The place swam before her. She could not see the sun shining on their fair flaxen heads and pretty faces. The rosy little children holding up their eager hands, and crying the answer to this question and that, seemed mocking her. She seemed to read in the book, “O Ethel, you dunce, dunce, dunce!” She went home silent in the carriage, and burst into bitter tears on her bed. Naturally a haughty girl of the highest spirit, resolute and imperious, this little visit to the parish school taught Ethel lessons more valuable than ever so much arithmetic and geography. Clive has told me a story of her in her youth, which, perhaps, may apply to some others of the youthful female aristocracy. She used to walk, with other select young ladies and gentlemen, their nurses and governesses, in a certain reserved plot of ground railed off from Hyde Park, whereof some of the lucky dwellers in the neighbourhood of Apsley House have a key. In this garden, at the age of nine or thereabout, she had contracted an intimate friendship with the Lord Hercules O’Ryan. — as every one of my gentle readers knows, one of the sons of the Marquis of Ballyshannon. The Lord Hercules was a year younger than Miss Ethel Newcome, which may account for the passion which grew up between these young persons; it being a provision in nature that a boy always falls in love with a girl older than himself, or rather, perhaps, that a girl bestows her affections on a little boy, who submits to receive them.

One day Sir Brian Newcome announced his intention to go to Newcome that very morning, taking his family, and of course Ethel, with him. She was inconsolable. “What will Lord Hercules do when he finds I am gone?” she asked of her nurse.

The nurse endeavouring to soothe her, said, “Perhaps his lordship would know nothing about the circumstance.” “He will,” said Miss Ethel —“he’ll read it in the newspaper.” My Lord Hercules, it is to be hoped, strangled this infant passion in the cradle; having long since married Isabella, only daughter of ——— Grains, Esq., of Drayton Windsor, a partner in the great brewery of Foker and Co.

When Ethel was thirteen years old, she had grown to be such a tall girl, that she overtopped her companions by a head or more, and morally perhaps, also, felt herself too tall for their society. “Fancy myself,” she thought, “dressing a doll like Lily Putland or wearing a pinafore like Lucy Tucker!” She did not care for their sports. She could not walk with them: it seemed as if every one stared; nor dance with them at the academy, nor attend the Cours de Litterature Universelle et de Science Comprehensive of the professor then the mode — the smallest girls took her up in the class. She was bewildered by the multitude of things they bade her learn. At the youthful little assemblies of her sex, when, under the guide of their respected governesses, the girls came to tea at six o’clock, dancing, charades, and so forth, Ethel herded not with the children of her own age, nor yet with the teachers who sit apart at these assemblies, imparting to each other their little wrongs; but Ethel romped with the little children — the rosy little trots — and took them on her knees, and told them a thousand stories. By these she was adored, and loved like a mother almost, for as such the hearty kindly girl showed herself to them; but at home she was alone, farouche and intractable, and did battle with the governesses, and overcame them one after another. I break the promise of a former page, and am obliged to describe the youthful days of more than one person who is to take a share in this story. Not always doth the writer know whither the divine Muse leadeth him. But of this be sure — she is as inexorable as Truth. We must tell our tale as she imparts it to us, and go on or turn aside at her bidding.

Here she ordains that we should speak of other members of the family, whose history we chronicle, and it behoves us to say a word regarding the Earl of Kew, the head of the noble house into which Sir Brian Newcome had married.

When we read in the fairy stories that the King and Queen, who lived once upon a time, build a castle of steel, defended by moats and sentinels innumerable, in which they place their darling only child, the Prince or Princess, whose birth has blessed them after so many years of marriage, and whose christening feast has been interrupted by the cantankerous humour of that notorious old fairy who always persists in coming, although she has not received any invitation to the baptismal ceremony: when Prince Prettyman is locked up in the steel tower, provided only with the most wholesome food, the most edifying educational works, and the most venerable old tutor to instruct and to bore him, we know, as a matter of course, that the steel bolts and brazen bars one day will be of no avail, the old tutor will go off in a doze, and the moats and drawbridges will either be passed by His Royal Highness’s implacable enemies, or crossed by the young scapegrace himself, who is determined to outwit his guardians, and see the wicked world. The old King and Queen always come in and find the chambers empty, the saucy heir-apparent flown, the porter and sentinels drunk, the ancient tutor asleep; they tear their venerable wigs in anguish, they kick the major-domo downstairs, they turn the duenna out of doors — the toothless old dragon! There is no resisting fate. The Princess will slip out of window by the rope-ladder; the Prince will be off to pursue his pleasures, and sow his wild oats at the appointed season. How many of our English princes have been coddled at home by their fond papas and mammas, walled up in inaccessible castles, with a tutor and a library, guarded by cordons of sentinels, sermoners, old aunts, old women from the world without, and have nevertheless escaped from all these guardians, and astonished the world by their extravagance and their frolics? What a wild rogue was that Prince Harry, son of the austere sovereign who robbed Richard the Second of his crown — the youth who took purses on Gadshill, frequented Eastcheap taverns with Colonel Falstaff and worse company, and boxed Chief Justice Gascoigne’s ears! What must have been the venerable Queen Charlotte’s state of mind when she heard of the courses of her beautiful young Prince; of his punting at gambling-tables; of his dealings with horse-jockeys; of his awful doings with Perdita? Besides instances taken from our Royal Family, could we not draw examples from our respected nobility? There was that young Lord Warwick, Mr. Addison’s stepson. We know that his mother was severe, and his stepfather a most eloquent moralist, yet the young gentleman’s career was shocking, positively shocking. He boxed the watch; he fuddled himself at taverns; he was no better than a Mohock. The chronicles of that day contain accounts of many a mad prank which he played, as we have legends of a still earlier date of the lawless freaks of the wild Prince and Poins. Our people has never looked very unkindly on these frolics. A young nobleman, full of life and spirits, generous of his money, jovial in his humour, ready with his sword, frank, handsome, prodigal, courageous, always finds favour. Young Scapegrace rides a steeplechase or beats a bargeman, and the crowd applauds him. Sages and seniors shake their heads, and look at him not unkindly; even stern old female moralists are disarmed at the sight of youth and gallantry, and beauty. I know very well that Charles Surface is a sad dog, and Tom Jones no better than he should be; but, in spite of such critics as Dr. Johnson and Colonel Newcome, most of us have a sneaking regard for honest Tom, and hope Sophia will be happy, and Tom will end well at last.

Five-and-twenty years ago the young Earl of Kew came upon the town, which speedily rang with the feats of his lordship. He began life time enough to enjoy certain pleasures from which our young aristocracy of the present day seem, alas! to be cut off. So much more peaceable and polished do we grow, so much does the spirit of the age appear to equalise all ranks; so strongly has the good sense of society, to which in the end gentlemen of the very highest fashion must bow, put its veto upon practices and amusements with which our fathers were familiar. At that time the Sunday newspapers contained many and many exciting reports of boxing-matches. Bruising was considered a fine manly old English custom. Boys at public schools fondly perused histories of the noble science, from the redoubtable days of Broughton and Slack, to the heroic times of Dutch Sam and the Game Chicken. Young gentlemen went eagerly to Moulsey to see the Slasher punch the Pet’s head, or the Negro beat the Jew’s nose to a jelly. The island rang as yet with the tooting horns and rattling teams of mail-coaches; a gay sight was the road in merry England in those days, before steam-engines arose and flung its hostelry and chivalry over. To travel in coaches, to drive coaches, to know coachmen and guards, to be familiar with inns along the road, to laugh with the jolly hostess in the bar, to chuck the pretty chambermaid under the chin, were the delight of men who were young not very long ago. Who ever thought of writing to the Times then? “Biffin,” I warrant, did not grudge his money, and “A Thirsty Soul” paid cheerfully for his drink. The road was an institution, the ring was an institution. Men rallied round them; and, not without a kind conservatism, expatiated upon the benefits with which they endowed the country, and the evils which would occur when they should be no more:— decay of English spirit, decay of manly pluck, ruin of the breed of horses, and so forth, and so forth. To give and take a black eye was not unusual nor derogatory in a gentleman; to drive a stage-coach the enjoyment, the emulation of generous youth. Is there any young fellow of the present time who aspires to take the place of a stoker? You see occasionally in Hyde Park one dismal old drag with a lonely driver. Where are you, charioteers? Where are you, O rattling Quicksilver, O swift Defiance? You are passed by racers stronger and swifter than you. Your lamps are out, and the music of your horns has died away.

Just at the ending of that old time, Lord Kew’s life began. That kindly middle-aged gentleman whom his county knows that good landlord, and friend of all his tenantry round about; that builder of churches, and indefatigable visitor of schools; that writer of letters to the farmers of his shire, so full of sense and benevolence; who wins prizes at agricultural shows, and even lectures at county town institutes in his modest, pleasant way, was the wild young Lord Kew of a quarter of a century back; who kept racehorses, patronised boxers, fought a duel, thrashed a Life Guardsman, gambled furiously at Crockford’s, and did who knows what besides?

His mother, a devout lady, nursed her son and his property carefully during the young gentleman’s minority: keeping him and his younger brother away from all mischief, under the eyes of the most careful pastors and masters. She learnt Latin with the boys, she taught them to play on the piano: she enraged old Lady Kew, the children’s grandmother, who prophesied that her daughter-inlaw would make milksops of her sons, to whom the old lady was never reconciled until after my lord’s entry at Christchurch, where he began to distinguish himself very soon after his first term. He drove tandems, kept hunters, gave dinners, scandalised the Dean, screwed up the tutor’s door, and agonised his mother at home by his lawless proceedings. He quitted the University after a very brief sojourn at that seat of learning. It may be the Oxford authorities requested his lordship to retire; let bygones be bygones. His youthful son, the present Lord Walham, is now at Christchurch, reading with the greatest assiduity. Let us not be too particular in narrating his father’s unedifying frolics of a quarter of a century ago.

Old Lady Kew, who, in conjunction with Mrs. Newcome, had made the marriage between Mr. Brian Newcome and her daughter, always despised her son-inlaw; and being a frank, open person, uttering her mind always, took little pains to conceal her opinion regarding him or any other individual. “Sir Brian Newcome,” she would say, “is one of the most stupid and respectable of men; Anne is clever, but has not a grain of common sense. They make a very well assorted couple. Her flightiness would have driven any man crazy who had an opinion of his own. She would have ruined any poor man of her own rank; as it is, I have given her a husband exactly suited for her. He pays the bills, does not see how absurd she is, keeps order in the establishment, and checks her follies. She wanted to marry her cousin, Tom Poyntz, when they were both very young, and proposed to die of a broken heart when I arranged her match with Mr. Newcome. A broken fiddlestick! she would have ruined Tom Poyntz in a year; and has no more idea of the cost of a leg of mutton, than I have of algebra.”

The Countess of Kew loved Brighton, and preferred living there even at the season when Londoners find such especial charms in their own city. “London after Easter,” the old lady said, “was intolerable. Pleasure becomes a business, then so oppressive, that all good company is destroyed by it. Half the men are sick with the feasts which they eat day after day. The women are thinking of the half-dozen parties they have to go to in the course of the night. The young girls are thinking of their partners and their toilettes. Intimacy becomes impossible, and quiet enjoyment of life. On the other hand, the crowd of bourgeois has not invaded Brighton. The drive is not blocked up by flys full of stockbrokers’ wives and children; and you can take the air in your chair upon the chain-pier, without being stifled by the cigars of the odious shop-boys from London.” So Lady Kew’s name was usually amongst the earliest which the Brighton newspapers recorded amongst the arrivals.

Her only unmarried daughter, Lady Julia, lived with her ladyship. Poor Lady Julia had suffered early from a spine disease, which had kept her for many years to her couch. Being always at home, and under her mother’s eyes, she was the old lady’s victim, her pincushion, into which Lady Kew plunged a hundred little points of sarcasm daily. As children are sometimes brought before magistrates, and their poor little backs and shoulders laid bare, covered with bruises and lashes which brutal parents have inflicted, so, I dare say, if there had been any tribunal or judge, before whom this poor patient lady’s heart could have been exposed, it would have been found scarred all over with numberless ancient wounds, and bleeding from yesterday’s castigation. Old Lady Kew’s tongue was a dreadful thong which made numbers of people wince. She was not altogether cruel, but she knew the dexterity with which she wielded her lash, and liked to exercise it. Poor Lady Julia was always at hand, when her mother was minded to try her powers.

Lady Kew had just made herself comfortable at Brighton, when her little grandson’s illness brought Lady Anne Newcome and her family down to the sea. Lady Kew was almost scared back to London again, or blown over the water to Dieppe. She had never had the measles. “Why did not Anne carry the child to some other place? Julia, you will on no account go and see that little pestiferous swarm of Newcomes, unless you want to send me out of the world — which I dare say you do, for I am a dreadful plague to you, I know, and my death would be a release to you.”

“You see Doctor H., who visits the child every day,” cries poor Pincushion; “you are not afraid when he comes.”

“Doctor H.? Doctor H. comes to cure me, or to tell me the news, or to flatter me, or to feel my pulse and to pretend to prescribe, or to take his guinea; of course Dr. H. must go to see all sorts of people in all sorts of diseases. You would not have me be such a brute as to order him not to attend my own grandson? I forbid you to go to Anne’s house. You will send one of the men every day to inquire. Let the groom go — yes, Charles — he will not go into the house. He will ring the bell and wait outside. He had better ring the bell at the area — I suppose there is an area — and speak to the servants through the bars, and bring us word how Alfred is.” Poor Pincushion felt fresh compunctions; she had met the children, and kissed the baby, and held kind Ethel’s hand in hers, that day, as she was out in her chair. There was no use, however, to make this confession. Is she the only good woman or man of whom domestic tyranny has made a hypocrite?

Charles, the groom, brings back perfectly favourable reports of Master Alfred’s health that day, which Doctor H., in the course of his visit, confirms. The child is getting well rapidly; eating like a little ogre. His cousin Lord Kew has been to see him. He is the kindest of men, Lord Kew; he brought the little man Tom and Jerry with the pictures. The boy is delighted with the pictures.

“Why has not Kew come to see me? When did he come? Write him a note, and send for him instantly, Julia. Did you know he was here?”

Julia says, that she had but that moment read in the Brighton papers the arrival of the Earl of Kew and the Honourable J. Belsize at the Albion.

“I am sure they are here for some mischief,” cries the old lady, delighted. “Whenever George and John Belsize are together, I know there is some wickedness planning. What do you know, Doctor? I see by your face you know something. Do tell it me, that I may write it to his odious psalm-singing mother.”

Doctor H.‘s face does indeed wear a knowing look. He simpers and says, “I did see Lord Kew driving this morning, first with the Honourable Mr. Belsize, and afterwards”— here he glances towards Lady Julia, as if to say, “Before an unmarried lady, I do not like to tell your ladyship with whom I saw Lord Kew driving, after he had left the Honourable Mr. Belsize, who went to play a match with Captain Huxtable at tennis.”

“Are you afraid to speak before Julia?” cries the elder lady. “Why, bless my soul, she is forty years old, and has heard everything that can be heard. Tell me about Kew this instant, Doctor H.”

The Doctor blandly acknowledges that Lord Kew had been driving Madame Pozzoprofondo, the famous contralto of the Italian Opera, in his phaeton, for two hours, in the face of all Brighton.

“Yes, Doctor,” interposes Lady Julia, blushing; “but Signor Pozzoprofondo was in the carriage too — a-a-sitting behind with the groom. He was indeed, mamma.”

“Julia, vous n’etes qu’une panache,” says Lady Kew, shrugging her shoulders, and looking at her daughter from under her bushy black eyebrows. Her ladyship, a sister of the late lamented Marquis of Steyne, possessed no small share of the wit and intelligence, and a considerable resemblance to the features, of that distinguished nobleman.

Lady Kew bids her daughter take a pen and write:—“Monsieur le Mauvais Sujet — Gentlemen who wish to take the sea air in private, or to avoid their relations, had best go to other places than Brighton, where their names are printed in the newspapers. If you are not drowned in a pozzo —”

“Mamma!” interposes the secretary.

“— in a pozzo-profondo, you will please come to dine with two old women, at half-past seven. You may bring Mr. Belsize, and must tell us a hundred stories. — Yours, etc., L. Kew.”

Julia wrote all the letter as her mother dictated it, save only one sentence, and the note was sealed and despatched to my Lord Kew, who came to dinner with Jack Belsize. Jack Belsize liked to dine with Lady Kew. He said, “she was an old dear, and the wickedest old woman in all England;” and he liked to dine with Lady Julia, who was “a poor suffering dear, and the best woman in all England.” Jack Belsize liked every one, and every one liked him.

Two evenings afterwards the young men repeated their visit to Lady Kew, and this time Lord Kew was loud in praises of his cousins of the house of Newcome.

“Not of the eldest, Barnes, surely, my dear?” cries Lady Kew.

“No, confound him! not Barnes.”

“No, d —— it, not Barnes. I beg your pardon, Lady Julia,” broke in Jack Belsize. “I can get on with most men; but that little Barney is too odious a little snob.”

“A little what — Mr. Belsize?”

“A little snob, ma’am. I have no other word, though he is your grandson. I never heard him say a good word of any mortal soul, or do a kind action.”

“Thank you, Mr. Belsize,” says the lady.

“But the others are capital. There is that little chap who has just had the measles — he’s a clear little brick. And as for Miss Ethel ——”

“Ethel is a trump, ma’am,” says Lord Kew, slapping his hand on his knee.

“Ethel is a brick, and Alfred is a trump, I think you say,” remarks Lady Kew, nodding approval; “and Barnes is a snob. This is very satisfactory to know.”

“We met the children out today,” cries the enthusiastic Kew, “as I was driving Jack in the drag, and I got out and talked to ’em.”

“Governess an uncommonly nice woman — oldish, but — I beg your pardon, Lady Julia,” cries the inopportune Jack Belsize —“I’m always putting my foot in it.”

“Putting your foot into what? Go on, Kew.”

“Well, we met the whole posse of children; and the little fellow wanted a drive, and I said I would drive him and Ethel too, if she would come. Upon my word she is as pretty a girl as you can see on a summer’s day. And the governess said ‘No,’ of course. Governesses always do. But I said I was her uncle, and Jack paid her such a fine compliment, that the young woman was mollified, and the children took their seats beside me, and Jack went behind.”

“Where Monsieur Pozzoprofondo sits, bon.”

“We drove on to the Downs, and we were nearly coming to grief. My horses are young, and when they get on the grass they are as if they were mad. It was very wrong; I know it was.”

“D——d rash,” interposes Jack. “He had nearly broken all our necks.”

“And my brother Frank would have been Lord Kew,” continued the young Earl, with a quiet smile. “What an escape for him! The horses ran away — ever so far — and I thought the carriage must upset. The poor little boy, who has lost his pluck in the fever, began to cry; but that young girl, though she was as white as a sheet, never gave up for a moment, and sate in her place like a man. We met nothing, luckily; and I pulled the horses in after a mile or two, and I drove ’em into Brighton as quiet as if I had been driving a hearse. And that little trump of an Ethel, what do you think she said? She said, ‘I was not frightened, but you must not tell mamma.’ My aunt, it appears, was in a dreadful commotion — I ought to have thought of that.”

“Lady Anne is a ridiculous old dear. I beg your pardon, Lady Kew,” here breaks in Jack the apologiser.

“There is a brother of Sir Brian Newcome’s staying with them,” Lord Kew proceeds; “an East India Colonel — a very fine-looking old boy.”

“Smokes awfully, row about it in the hotel. Go on, Kew; beg your ——”

“This gentleman was on the look-out for us, it appears, for when we came in sight he despatched a boy who was with him, running like a lamplighter back to my aunt, to say all was well. And he took little Alfred out of the carriage, and then helped out Ethel, and said, ‘My dear, you are too pretty to scold; but you have given us all a belle peur.’ And then he made me and Jack a low bow, and stalked into the lodgings.”

“I think you do deserve to be whipped, both of you,” cries Lady Kew.

“We went up and made our peace with my aunt, and were presented in form to the Colonel and his youthful cub.”

“As fine a fellow as ever I saw: and as fine a boy as ever I saw,” cries Jack Belsize. “The young chap is a great hand at drawing — upon my life the best drawings I ever saw. And he was making a picture for little What-d’you-call-’em. And Miss Newcome was looking over them. And Lady Anne pointed out the group to me, and said how pretty it was. She is uncommonly sentimental, you know, Lady Anne.”

“My daughter Anne is the greatest fool in the three kingdoms,” cried Lady Kew, looking fiercely over her spectacles. And Julia was instructed to write that night to her sister, and desire that Ethel should be sent to see her grandmother:— Ethel, who rebelled against her grandmother, and always fought on her Aunt Julia’s side, when the weaker was oppressed by the older and stronger lady.

CHAPTER XI

At Mrs. Ridley’s

Saint Peter of Alcantara, as I have read in a life of St. Theresa, informed that devout lady that he had passed forty years of his life sleeping only an hour and a half each day; his cell was but four feet and a half long, so that he never lay down: his pillow was a wooden log in the stone wall: he ate but once in three days: he was for three years in a convent of his order without knowing any one of his brethren except by the sound of their voices, for he never during this period took his eyes off the ground: he always walked barefoot, and was but skin and bone when he died. The eating only once in three days, so he told his sister Saint, was by no means impossible, if you began the regimen in your youth. To conquer sleep was the hardest of all austerities which he practised:— I fancy the pious individual so employed, day after day, night after night, on his knees, or standing up in devout meditation in the cupboard — his dwelling-place; bareheaded and barefooted, walking over rocks, briars, mud, sharp stones (picking out the very worst places, let us trust, with his downcast eyes), under the bitter snow, or the drifting rain, or the scorching sunshine — I fancy Saint Peter of Alcantara, and contrast him with such a personage as the Incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel, Mayfair.

His hermitage is situated in Walpole Street, let us say, on the second floor of a quiet mansion, let out to hermits by a nobleman’s butler, whose wife takes care of the lodgings. His cells consist of a refectory, a dormitory, and an adjacent oratory where he keeps his shower-bath and boots — the pretty boots trimly stretched on boot-trees and blacked to a nicety (not varnished) by the boy who waits on him. The barefooted business may suit superstitious ages and gentlemen of Alcantara, but does not become Mayfair and the nineteenth century. If St. Pedro walked the earth now with his eyes to the ground he would know fashionable divines by the way in which they were shod. Charles Honeyman’s is a sweet foot. I have no doubt as delicate and plump and rosy as the white hand with its two rings, which he passes in impassioned moments through his slender flaxen hair.

A sweet odour pervades his sleeping apartment — not that peculiar and delicious fragrance with which the Saints of the Roman Church are said to gratify the neighbourhood where they repose — but oils, redolent of the richest perfumes of Macassar, essences (from Truefitt’s or Delcroix’s) into which a thousand flowers have expressed their sweetest breath, await his meek head on rising; and infuse the pocket-handkerchief with which he dries and draws so many tears. For he cries a good deal in his sermons, to which the ladies about him contribute showers of sympathy.

By his bedside are slippers lined with blue silk and worked of an ecclesiastical pattern, by some of the faithful who sit at his feet. They come to him in anonymous parcels: they come to him in silver paper: boys in buttons (pages who minister to female grace!) leave them at the door for the Rev. C. Honeyman, and slip away without a word. Purses are sent to him — penwipers — a portfolio with the Honeyman arms; yea, braces have been known to reach him by the post (in his days of popularity); and flowers, and grapes, and jelly when he was ill, and throat comforters, and lozenges for his dear bronchitis. In one of his drawers is the rich silk cassock presented to him by his congregation at Leatherhead (when the young curate quitted that parish for London duty), and on his breakfast-table the silver teapot, once filled with sovereigns and presented by the same devotees. The devo-teapot he has, but the sovereigns, where are they?

What a different life this is from our honest friend of Alcantara, who eats once in three days! At one time if Honeyman could have drunk tea three times in an evening, he might have had it. The glass on his chimneypiece is crowded with invitations, not merely cards of ceremony (of which there are plenty), but dear little confidential notes from sweet friends of his congregation. “Ob, dear Mr. Honeyman,” writes Blanche, “what a sermon that was! I cannot go to bed to-night without thanking you for it.” “Do, do, dear Mr. Honeyman,” writes Beatrice, “lend me that delightful sermon. And can you come and drink tea with me and Selina, and my aunt? Papa and mamma dine out, but you know I am always your faithful Chesterfield Street.” And so on. He has all the domestic accomplishments; he plays on the violoncello: he sings a delicious second, not only in sacred but in secular music. He has a thousand anecdotes, laughable riddles, droll stories (of the utmost correctness, you understand) with which he entertains females of all ages; suiting his conversation to stately matrons, deaf old dowagers (who can hear his clear voice better than the loudest roar of their stupid sons-inlaw), mature spinsters, young beauties dancing through the season, even rosy little slips out of the nursery, who cluster round his beloved feet. Societies fight for him to preach their charity sermon. You read in the papers, “The Wapping Hospital for Wooden-legged Seamen. — On Sunday the 23rd, Sermons will be preached in behalf of this charity, by the Lord Bishop of Tobago in the morning, in the afternoon by the Rev. C. Honeyman, A.M., Incumbent of,” etc. “Clergymen’s Grandmothers’ Fund. — Sermons in aid of this admirable institution will be preached on Sunday, 4th May, by the Very Rev. the Dean of Pimlico, and the Rev. C. Honeyman, A.M.” When the Dean of Pimlico has his illness, many people think Honeyman will have the Deanery; that he ought to have it, a hundred female voices vow and declare: though it is said that a right reverend head at headquarters shakes dubiously when his name is mentioned for preferment. His name is spread wide, and not only women but men come to hear him. Members of Parliament, even Cabinet Ministers, sit under him. Lord Dozeley of course is seen in a front pew: where was a public meeting without Lord Dozeley? The men come away from his sermons and say, “It’s very pleasant, but I don’t know what the deuce makes all you women crowd so to hear the man.” “Oh, Charles! if you would but go oftener!” sighs Lady Anna Maria. “Can’t you speak to the Home Secretary? Can’t you do something for him?” “We can ask him to dinner next Wednesday if you like,” Says Charles. “They say he’s a pleasant fellow out of the wood. Besides there is no use in doing anything for him,” Charles goes on. “He can’t make less than a thousand a year out of his chapel, and that is better than anything any one can give him. A thousand a year, besides the rent of the wine-vaults below the chapel.”

“Don’t, Charles!” says his wife, with a solemn look. “Don’t ridicule things in that way.

“Confound it! there are wine-vaults under the chapel!” answers downright Charles. “I saw the name, Sherrick and Co.; offices, a green door, and a brass plate. It’s better to sit over vaults with wine in them than coffins. I wonder whether it’s the Sherrick with whom Kew and Jack Belsize had that ugly row?”

“What ugly row? — don’t say ugly row. It is not a nice word to hear the children use. Go on, my darlings. What was the dispute of Lord Kew and Mr. Belsize, and this Mr. Sherrick?”

“It was all about pictures, and about horses, and about money, and about one other subject which enters into every row that I ever heard of.”

“And what is that, dear?” asks the innocent lady, hanging on her husband’s arm, and quite pleased to have led him to church and brought him thence. “And what is it, that enters into every row, as you call it, Charles?”

“A woman, my love,” answers the gentleman, behind whom we have been in imagination walking out from Charles Honeyman’s church on a Sunday in June: as the whole pavement blooms with artificial flowers and fresh bonnets; as there is a buzz and cackle all around regarding the sermon; as carriages drive off; as lady-dowagers walk home; as prayer-books and footmen’s sticks gleam in the sun; as little boys with baked mutton and potatoes pass from the courts; as children issue from the public-houses with pots of beer; as the Reverend Charles Honeyman, who has been drawing tears in the sermon, and has seen, not without complacent throbs, a Secretary of State in the pew beneath him, divests himself of his rich silk cassock in the vestry, before he walks away to his neighbouring hermitage — where have we placed it? — in Walpole Street. I wish St. Pedro of Alcantara could have some of that shoulder of mutton with the baked potatoes, and a drink of that frothing beer. See, yonder trots little Lord Dozeley, who has been asleep for an hour with his head against the wood, like St. Pedro of Alcantara.

An East Indian gentleman and his son wait until the whole chapel is clear, and survey Lady Whittlesea’s monument at their leisure, and other hideous slabs erected in memory of defunct frequenters of the chapel. Whose was that face which Colonel Newcome thought he recognised — that of a stout man who came down from the organ-gallery? Could it be Broff the bass singer, who delivered the “Red Cross Knight” with such applause at the Cave of Melody, and who has been singing in this place? There are some chapels in London, where, the function over, one almost expects to see the sextons put brown hollands over the pews and galleries, as they do at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.

The writer of these veracious pages was once walking through a splendid English palace, standing amidst parks and gardens, than which none more magnificent has been seen since the days of Aladdin, in company with a melancholy friend, who viewed all things darkly through his gloomy eyes. The housekeeper, pattering on before us from chamber to chamber, was expatiating upon the magnificence of this picture; the beauty of that statue; the marvellous richness of these hangings and carpets; the admirable likeness of the late Marquis by Sir Thomas; of his father, the fifth Earl, by Sir Joshua, and so on; when, in the very richest room of the whole castle, Hicks — such was my melancholy companion’s name — stopped the cicerone in her prattle, saying in a hollow voice, “And now, madam, will you show us the closet where the skeleton is?” The seared functionary paused in the midst of her harangue; that article was not inserted in the catalogue which she daily utters to visitors for their half-crown. Hicks’s question brought a darkness down upon the hall where we were standing. We did not see the room: and yet I have no doubt there is such an one; and ever after, when I have thought of the splendid castle towering in the midst of shady trees, under which the dappled deer are browsing; of the terraces gleaming with statues, and bright with a hundred thousand flowers; of the bridges and shining fountains and rivers wherein the castle windows reflect their festive gleams, when the halls are filled with happy feasters, and over the darkling woods comes the sound of music; — always, I say, when I think of Castle Bluebeard:— it is to think of that dark little closet, which I know is there, and which the lordly owner opens shuddering — after midnight — when he is sleepless and must go unlock it, when the palace is hushed, when beauties are sleeping around him unconscious, and revellers are at rest. O Mrs. Housekeeper: all the other keys hast thou: but that key thou hast not!

Have we not all such closets, my jolly friend, as well as the noble Marquis of Carabas? At night, when all the house is asleep but you, don’t you get up and peep into yours? When you in your turn are slumbering, up gets Mrs. Brown from your side, steals downstairs like Amina to her ghoul, clicks open the secret door, and looks into her dark depository. Did she tell you of that little affair with Smith long before she knew you? Psha! who knows any one save himself alone? Who, in showing his house to the closest and dearest, doesn’t keep back the key of a closet or two? I think of a lovely reader laying down the page and looking over at her unconscious husband, asleep, perhaps, after dinner. Yes, madam, a closet he hath: and you, who pry into everything, shall never have the key of it. I think of some honest Othello pausing over this very sentence in a railroad carriage, and stealthily gazing at Desdemona opposite to him, innocently administering sandwiches to their little boy — I am trying to turn off the sentence with a joke, you see — I feel it is growing too dreadful, too serious.

And to what, pray, do these serious, these disagreeable, these almost personal observations tend? To this simply, that Charles Honeyman, the beloved and popular preacher, the elegant divine to whom Miss Blanche writes sonnets, and whom Miss Beatrice invites to tea; who comes with smiles on his lip, gentle sympathy in his tones, innocent gaiety in his accent; who melts, rouses, terrifies in the pulpit; who charms over the tea-urn and the bland bread-and-butter: Charles Honeyman has one or two skeleton closets in his lodgings, Walpole Street, Mayfair; and many a wakeful night, whilst Mrs. Ridley, his landlady, and her tired husband, the nobleman’s major-domo, whilst the lodger on the first floor, whilst the cook and housemaid and weary little bootboy are at rest (mind you, they have all got their closets, which they open with their skeleton-keys); he wakes up, and looks at the ghastly occupant of that receptacle. One of the Reverend Charles Honeyman’s grisly night-haunters is — but stop; let us give a little account of the lodgings, and of some of the people frequenting the same.

First floor, Mr. Bagshot, Member for a Norfolk borough. Stout jolly gentleman; — dines at the Carlton Club; greatly addicted to Greenwich and Richmond, in the season: bets in a moderate way: does not go into society, except now and again to the chiefs of his party, when they give great entertainments; and once or twice to the houses of great country dons who dwell near him in the country. Is not of very good family; was, in fact, an apothecary: married a woman with money, much older than himself, who does not like London, and stops at home at Hummingham, not much to the displeasure of Bagshot; gives every now and then nice little quiet dinners, which Mrs. Ridley cooks admirably, to exceedingly stupid jolly old Parliamentary fogies, who absorb, with much silence and cheerfulness, a vast quantity of wine. They have just begun to drink ‘24 claret now, that of ‘15 being scarce, and almost drunk up. Writes daily, and hears every morning from Mrs. Bagshot; does not read her letters always: does not rise till long past eleven o’clock of a Sunday, and has John Bull and Bell’s Life, in bed: frequents the Blue Posts sometimes; rides a stout cob out of his county, and pays like the Bank of England.

The house is a Norfolk house. Mrs. Ridley was housekeeper to the great Squire Bayham, who had the estate before the Conqueror, and who came to such a dreadful crash in the year 1825, the year of the panic. Bayhams still belongs to the family, but in what a state, as those can say who recollect it in its palmy days! Fifteen hundred acres of the best land in England were sold off: all the timber cut down as level as a billiard-board. Mr. Bayham now lives up in one corner of the house, which used to be filled with the finest company in Europe. Law bless you! the Bayhams have seen almost all the nobility of England come in and go out, and were gentlefolks when many a fine lord’s father of the present day was sweeping a counting-house.

The house will hold genteelly no more than these two inmates; but in the season it manages to accommodate Miss Cann, who too was from Bayhams, having been a governess there to the young lady who is dead, and who now makes such a livelihood as she can best raise, by going out as a daily teacher. Miss Cann dines with Mrs. Ridley in the adjoining little back-parlour. Ridley but seldom can be spared to partake of the family dinner, his duties in the house and about the person of my Lord Todmorden keeping him constantly near that nobleman. How little Miss Cann can go on and keep alive on the crumb she eats for breakfast, and the scrap she picks at dinner, du astonish Mrs. Ridley, that it du! She declares that the two canary-birds encaged in her window (whence is a cheerful prospect of the back of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel) eat more than Miss Cann. The two birds set up a tremendous singing and chorussing when Miss Cann, spying the occasion of the first-floor lodger’s absence, begins practising her music-pieces. Such trills, roulades, and flourishes go on from the birds and the lodger! it is a wonder how any fingers can move over the jingling ivory so quickly as Miss Cann’s. Excellent a woman as she is, admirably virtuous, frugal, brisk, honest, and cheerful, I would not like to live in lodgings where there was a lady so addicted to playing variations. No more does Honeyman. On a Saturday, when he is composing his valuable sermons (the rogue, you may be sure, leaves his work to the last day, and there are, I am given to understand, among the clergy many better men than Honeyman, who are as dilatory as he), he begs, he entreats with tears in his eyes, that Miss Cann’s music may cease. I would back little Cann to write a sermon against him, for all his reputation as a popular preacher.

Old and weazened as that piano is, feeble and cracked her voice, it is wonderful what a pleasant concert she can give in that parlour of a Saturday evening, to Mrs. Ridley, who generally dozes a good deal, and to a lad, who listens with all his soul, with tears sometimes in his great eyes, with crowding fancies filling his brain and throbbing at his heart, as the artist plies her humble instrument. She plays old music of Handel and Haydn, and the little chamber anon swells into a cathedral, and he who listens beholds altars lighted, priests ministering, fair children swinging censers, great oriel windows gleaming in sunset, and seen through arched columns and avenues of twilight marble. The young fellow who hears her has been often and often to the opera and the theatres. As she plays Don Juan, Zerlina comes tripping over the meadows, and Masetto after her, with a crowd of peasants and maidens: and they sing the sweetest of all music, and the heart beats with happiness, and kindness, and pleasure. Piano, pianissimo! the city is hushed. The towers of the great cathedral rise in the distance, its spires lighted by the broad moon. The statues in the moonlit place cast long shadows athwart the pavement: but the fountain in the midst is dressed out like Cinderella for the night, and sings and wears a crest of diamonds. That great sombre street all in shade, can it be the famous Toledo? — or is it the Corso? — or is it the great street in Madrid, the one which leads to the Escurial where the Rubens and Velasquez are? It is Fancy Street — Poetry Street — Imagination Street — the street where lovely ladies look from balconies, where cavaliers strike mandolins and draw swords and engage, where long processions pass, and venerable hermits, with long beards, bless the kneeling people: where the rude soldiery, swaggering through the place with flags and halberts, and fife and dance, seize the slim waists of the daughters of the people, and bid the pifferari play to their dancing. Blow, bagpipes, a storm of harmony! become trumpets, trombones, ophicleides, fiddles, and bassoons! Fire, guns sound, tocsins! Shout, people! Louder, shriller and sweeter than all, sing thou, ravishing heroine! And see, on his cream-coloured charger Massaniello prances in, and Fra Diavolo leaps down the balcony, carabine in hand; and Sir Huon of Bordeaux sails up to the quay with the Sultan’s daughter of Babylon. All these delights and sights, and joys and glories, these thrills of sympathy, movements of unknown longing, and visions of beauty, a young sickly lad of eighteen enjoys in a little dark room where there is a bed disguised in the shape of a wardrobe, and a little old woman is playing under a gas-lamp on the jingling keys of an old piano.

For a long time Mr. Samuel Ridley, butler and confidential valet to the Right Honourable John James Baron Todmorden, was in a state of the greatest despair and gloom about his only son, the little John James — a sickly and almost deformed child “of whom there was no making nothink,” as Mr. Ridley said. His figure precluded him from following his father’s profession, and waiting upon the British nobility, who naturally require large and handsome men to skip up behind their rolling carriages, and hand their plates at dinner. When John James was six years old his father remarked, with tears in his eyes, he wasn’t higher than a plate-basket. The boys jeered at him in the streets — some whopped him, spite of his diminutive size. At school he made but little progress. He was always sickly and dirty, and timid and crying, whimpering in the kitchen away from his mother; who, though she loved him, took Mr. Ridley’s view of his character, and thought him little better than an idiot until such time as little Miss Cann took him in hand, when at length there was some hope of him.

“Half-witted, you great stupid big man,” says Miss Cann, who had a fine spirit of her own. “That boy half-witted! He has got more wit in his little finger than you have in all your great person! You are a very good man, Ridley, very good-natured I’m sure, and bear with the teasing of a waspish old woman: but you are not the wisest of mankind. Tut, tut, don’t tell me. You know you spell out the words when you read the newspaper still, and what would your bills look like if I did not write them in my nice little hand? I tell you that boy is a genius. I tell you that one day the world will hear of him. His heart is made of pure gold. You think that all the wit belongs to the big people. Look at me, you great tall man! Am I not a hundred times cleverer than you are? Yes, and John James is worth a thousand such insignificant little chits as I am; and he is as tall as me too, sir. Do you hear that! One day I am determined he shall dine at Lord Todmorden’s table, and he shall get the prize at the Royal Academy, and be famous, sir — famous!”

“Well, Miss C., I wish he may get it; that’s all I say,” answers Mr. Ridley. “The poor fellow does no harm, that I acknowledge; but I never see the good he was up to yet. I wish he’d begin it; I du wish he would now.” And the honest gentleman relapses into the study of his paper.

All those beautiful sounds and thoughts which Miss Cann conveys to him out of her charmed piano, the young artist straightway translates into forms; and knights in armour, with plume, and shield, and battle-axe; and splendid young noblemen with flowing ringlets, and bounteous plumes of feathers, and rapiers, and russet boots; and fierce banditti with crimson tights, doublets profusely illustrated with large brass buttons, and the dumpy basket-hilted claymores known to be the favourite weapon with which these whiskered ruffians do battle; wasp-waisted peasant girls, and young countesses with oh, such large eyes and the lips! — all these splendid forms of war and beauty crowd to the young draughtsman’s pencil, and cover letter-backs, copybooks, without end. If his hand strikes off some face peculiarly lovely, and to his taste, some fair vision that has shone on his imagination, some houri of a dancer, some bright young lady of fashion in an opera-box, whom he has seen, or fancied he has seen (for the youth is short-sighted, though he hardly as yet knows his misfortune)— if he has made some effort extraordinarily successful, our young Pygmalion hides away the masterpiece, and he paints the beauty with all his skill; the lips a bright carmine, the eyes a deep, deep cobalt, the cheeks a dazzling vermilion, the ringlets of a golden hue; and he worships this sweet creature of his in secret, fancies a history for her; a castle to storm, a tyrant usurper who keeps her imprisoned, and a prince in black ringlets and a spangled cloak, who scales the tower, who slays the tyrant, and then kneels gracefully at the princess’s feet, and says, “Lady, wilt thou be mine?”

There is a kind lady in the neighbourhood, who takes in dressmaking for the neighbouring maid-servants, and has a small establishment of lollipops, theatrical characters, and ginger-beer for the boys in Little Craggs Buildings, hard by the Running Footman public-house, where father and other gentlemen’s gentlemen have their club: this good soul also sells Sunday newspapers to the footmen of the neighbouring gentry; and besides, has a stock of novels for the ladies of the upper servants’ table. Next to Miss Cann, Miss Flinders is John James’s greatest friend and benefactor. She has remarked him when he was quite a little man, and used to bring his father’s beer of a Sunday. Out of her novels he has taught himself to read, dull boy at the day-school though he was, and always the last in his class, there. Hours, happy hours, has he spent cowering behind her counter, or hugging her books under his pinafore when he had leave to carry them home. The whole library has passed through his hands, his long, lean, tremulous hands, and under his eager eyes. He has made illustrations to every one of those books, and been frightened at his own pictures of Manfroni or the One-handed Monk, Abellino the Terrific Bravo of Venice, and Rinaldo Rinaldini Captain of Robbers. How he has blistered Thaddeus of Warsaw with his tears, and drawn him in his Polish cap, and tights, and Hessians! William Wallace, the Hero of Scotland, how nobly he has depicted him! With what whiskers and bushy ostrich plumes! — in a tight kilt, and with what magnificent calves to his legs, laying about him with his battle-axe, and bestriding the bodies of King Edward’s prostrate cavaliers! At this time Mr. Honeyman comes to lodge in Walpole Street, and brings a set of Scott’s novels, for which he subscribed when at Oxford; and young John James, who at first waits upon him and does little odd jobs for the reverend gentleman, lights upon the volumes, and reads them with such a delight and passion of pleasure as all the delights of future days will scarce equal. A fool, is he? — an idle feller, out of whom no good will ever come, as his father says. There was a time when, in despair of any better chance for him, his parents thought of apprenticing him to a tailor, and John James was waked up from a dream of Rebecca and informed of the cruelty meditated against him. I forbear to describe the tears and terror, and frantic desperation in which the poor boy was plunged. Little Miss Cann rescued him from that awful board, and Honeyman likewise interceded for him, and Mr. Bagshot promised that, as soon as his party came in, he would ask the Minister for a tide-waitership for him; for everybody liked the solemn, soft-hearted, willing little lad, and no one knew him less than his pompous and stupid and respectable father.

Miss Cann painted flowers and card-screens elegantly, and “finished” pencil-drawings most elaborately for her pupils. She could copy prints, so that at a little distance you would scarcely know that the copy in stumped chalk was not a bad mezzotinto engraving. She even had a little old paint-box, and showed you one or two ivory miniatures out of the drawer. She gave John James what little knowledge of drawing she had, and handed him over her invaluable recipes for mixing water-colours —“for trees in foregrounds, burnt sienna and indigo”—“for very dark foliage, ivory black and gamboge”—“for flesh-colour,” etc. etc. John James went through her poor little course, but not so brilliantly as she expected. She was forced to own that several of her pupils’ “pieces” were executed much more dexterously than Johnny Ridley’s. Honeyman looked at the boy’s drawings from time to time, and said, “Hm, ha! — very clever — a great deal of fancy, really.” But Honeyman knew no more of the subject than a deaf and dumb man knows of music. He could talk the art cant very glibly, and had a set of Morghens and Madonnas as became a clergyman and a man of taste; but he saw not with eyes such as those wherewith Heaven had endowed the humble little butler’s boy, to whom splendours of Nature were revealed to vulgar sights invisible, and beauties manifest in forms, colours, shadows of common objects, where most of the world saw only what was dull, and gross, and familiar. One reads in the magic story-books of a charm or a flower which the wizard gives, and which enables the bearer to see the fairies. O enchanting boon of Nature, which reveals to the possessor the hidden spirits of beauty round about him! spirits which the strongest and most gifted masters compel into painting or song. To others it is granted but to have fleeting glimpses of that fair Art-world; and tempted by ambition, or barred by faint-heartedness, or driven by necessity, to turn away thence to the vulgar life-track, and the light of common day.

The reader who has passed through Walpole Street scores of times, knows the discomfortable architecture of all, save the great houses built in Queen Anne’s and George the First’s time; and while some of the neighbouring streets, to wit, Great Craggs Street, Bolingbroke Street, and others, contain mansions fairly coped with stone, with little obelisks before the doors, and great extinguishers wherein the torches of the nobility’s running footmen were put out a hundred and thirty or forty years ago:— houses which still remain abodes of the quality, and where you shall see a hundred carriages gather of a public night; Walpole Street has quite faded away into lodgings, private hotels, doctors’ houses, and the like; nor is No. 23 (Ridley’s) by any means the best house in the street. The parlour, furnished and tenanted by Miss Cann as has been described; the first floor, Bagshot, Esq., M.P.; the second floor, Honeyman; what remains but the garrets, and the ample staircase and the kitchens? and the family being all put to bed, how can you imagine there is room for any more inhabitants?

And yet there is one lodger more, and one who, like almost all the other personages mentioned up to the present time (and some of whom you have no idea yet), will play a definite part in the ensuing history. At night, when Honeyman comes in, he finds on the hall-table three wax bedroom candles — his own, Bagshot’s, and another. As for Miss Cann, she is locked into the parlour in bed long ago, her stout little walking-shoes being on the mat at the door. At 12 o’clock at noon, sometimes at 1, nay at 2 and 3 — long after Bagshot is gone to his committees, and little Cann to her pupils — a voice issues from the very topmost floor, from a room where there is no bell; a voice of thunder calling out “Slavey! Julia! Julia, my love! Mrs. Ridley!” And this summons not being obeyed, it will not unfrequently happen that a pair of trousers enclosing a pair of boots with iron heels, and known by the name of the celebrated Prussian General who came up to help the other christener of boots at Waterloo, will be flung down from the topmost story, even to the marble floor of the resounding hall. Then the boy Thomas, otherwise called Slavey, may say, “There he goes again;” or Mrs. Ridley’s own back-parlour bell rings vehemently, and Julia the cook will exclaim, “Lor, it’s Mr. Frederick.”

If the breeches and boots are not understood, the owner himself appears in great wrath dancing on the upper story; dancing down to the lower floor; and loosely enveloped in a ragged and flowing robe de chambre. In this costume and condition he will dance into Honeyman’s apartment, where that meek divine may be sitting with a headache or over a novel or a newspaper; dance up to the fire flapping his robe-tails, poke it, and warm himself there; dance up to the cupboard where his reverence keeps his sherry, and help himself to a glass.

“Salve, spes fidei, lumen ecclesiae,” he will say; “here’s towards you, my buck. I knows the tap. Sherrick’s Marsala bottled three months after date, at two hundred and forty-six shillings the dozen.”

“Indeed, indeed it’s not” (and now we are coming to an idea of the skeleton in poor Honeyman’s closet — not that this huge handsome jolly Fred Bayham is the skeleton, far from it. Mr. Frederick weighs fourteen stone). “Indeed, indeed it isn’t, Fred, I’m sure,” sighs the other. “You exaggerate, indeed you do. The wine is not dear, not by any means so expensive as you say.”

“How much a glass, think you?” says Fred, filling another bumper. “A half-crown, think ye? — a half-crown, Honeyman? By cock and pye, it is not worth a bender.” He says this in the manner of the most celebrated tragedian of the day. He can imitate any actor, tragic or comic; any known Parliamentary orator or clergyman; any saw, cock, cloop of a cork wrenched from a bottle and guggling of wine into the decanter afterwards, bee buzzing, little boy up a chimney, etc. He imitates people being ill on board a steam-packet so well that he makes you die of laughing: his uncle the Bishop could not resist this comic exhibition, and gave Fred a cheque for a comfortable sum of money; and Fred, getting cash for the cheque at the Cave of Harmony, imitated his uncle the Bishop and his Chaplain, winding up with his Lordship and Chaplain being unwell at sea — the Chaplain and Bishop quite natural and distinct.

“How much does a glass of this sack cost thee, Charley?” resumes Fred, after this parenthesis. “You say it is not dear. Charles Honeyman, you had, even from your youth up, a villainous habit. And I perfectly well remember, sir, in boyhood’s breezy hour, when I was the delight of his school, that you used to tell lies to your venerable father. You did, Charles. Excuse the frankness of an early friend, it’s my belief you’d rather lie than not. Hm”— he looks at the cards in the chimney-glass “Invitations to dinner, proffers of muffins. Do lend me your sermon. Oh, you old impostor! you hoary old Ananias! I say, Charley, why haven’t you picked out some nice girl for yours truly? One with lauds and beeves, with rents and consols, mark you? I have no money, ’tis true, but then I don’t owe as much as you. I am a handsomer man than you are. Look at this chest” (he slaps it), “these limbs; they are manly, sir, manly.”

“For Heaven’s sake, Bayham,” cries Mr. Honeyman, white with terror; “if anybody were to come ——”

“What did I say anon, sir? that I was manly, ay, manly. Let any ruffian, save a bailiff, come and meet the doughty arm of Frederick Bayham.”

“Oh, Lord, Lord, here’s somebody coming into the room!” cries Charles, sinking back on the sofa, as the door opens.

“Ha! dost thou come with murderous intent?” and he now advances in an approved offensive attitude. “Caitiff, come on, come on!” and he walks off with a tragic laugh, crying, “Ha, ha, ha, ’tis but the slavey!”

The slavey has Mr. Frederick’s hot water, and a bottle of sodawater on the same tray. He has been instructed to bring soda whenever he hears the word slavey pronounced from above. The bottle explodes, and Frederick drinks, and hisses after his drink as though he had been all hot within.

“What’s o’clock now, slavey — half-past three? Let me see, I breakfasted exactly ten hours ago, in the rosy morning, off a modest cup of coffee in Covent Garden Market. Coffee, a penny; bread, a simple halfpenny. What has Mrs. Ridley for dinner?”

“Please, sir, roast pork.”

“Get me some. Bring it into my room, unless, Honeyman, you insist upon my having it here, kind fellow!”

At the moment a smart knock comes to the door, and Fred says, “Well, Charles, it may be a friend or a lady come to confess, and I’m off; I knew you’d be sorry I was going. Tom, bring up my things; brush ’em gently, you scoundrel, and don’t take the nap off. Bring up the roast pork, and plenty of apple-sauce, tell Mrs. Ridley, with my love; and one of Mr. Honeyman’s shirts, and one of his razors. Adieu, Charles! Amend! Remember me.” And he vanishes into the upper chambers.

CHAPTER XII

In which everybody is asked to Dinner

John James had opened the door hastening to welcome a friend and patron, the sight of whom always gladdened the youth’s eyes; no other than Clive Newcome — in young Ridley’s opinion, the most splendid, fortunate, beautiful, high-born, and gifted youth this island contained. What generous boy in his time has not worshipped somebody? Before the female enslaver makes her appearance, every lad has a friend of friends, a crony of cronies, to whom he writes immense letters in vacation, whom he cherishes in his heart of hearts; whose sister he proposes to marry in after life; whose purse he shares; for whom he will take a thrashing if need be: who is his hero. Clive was John James’s youthful divinity: when he wanted to draw Thaddeus of Warsaw, a Prince, Ivanhoe, or some one splendid and egregious, it was Clive he took for a model. His heart leapt when he saw the young fellow. He would walk cheerfully to Grey Friars, with a letter or message for Clive, on the chance of seeing him, and getting a kind word from him, or a shake of the hand. An ex-butler of Lord Todmorden was a pensioner in the Grey Friars Hospital (it has been said that at that ancient establishment is a college for old men as well as for boys), and this old man would come sometimes to his successor’s Sunday dinner, and grumble from the hour of that meal until nine o’clock, when he was forced to depart, so as to be within Grey Friars’ gates before ten; grumble about his dinner — grumble about his beer — grumble about the number of chapels he had to attend, about the gown he wore, about the master’s treatment of him, about the want of plums in the pudding, as old men and schoolboys grumble. It was wonderful what a liking John James took to this odious, querulous, graceless, stupid, and snuffy old man, and how he would find pretexts for visiting him at his lodging in the old hospital. He actually took that journey that he might have a chance of seeing Clive. He sent Clive notes and packets of drawings; thanked him for books lent, asked advice about future reading — anything, so that he might have a sight of his pride, his patron, his paragon.

I am afraid Clive Newcome employed him to smuggle rum-shrub and cigars into the premises; giving him appointments in the school precincts, where young Clive would come and stealthily receive the forbidden goods. The poor lad was known by the boys, and called Newcome’s Punch. He was all but hunchbacked; long and lean in the arm; sallow, with a great forehead, and waving black hair, and large melancholy eyes.

“What, is it you, J. J.?” cries Clive gaily, when his humble friend appears at the door. “Father, this is my friend Ridley. This is the fellow what can draw.”

“I know who I will back against any young man of his size at that,” says the Colonel, looking at Clive fondly. He considered there was not such a genius in the world; and had already thought of having some of Clive’s drawings published by M’Lean of the Haymarket.

“This is my father just come from India — and Mr. Pendennis, an old Grey Friars’ man. Is my uncle at home?” Both these gentlemen bestow rather patronising nods of the head on the lad introduced to them as J. J. His exterior is but mean-looking. Colonel Newcome, one of the humblest-minded men alive, has yet his old-fashioned military notions; and speaks to a butler’s son as to a private soldier, kindly, but not familiarly.

“Mr Honeyman is at home, gentlemen,” the young lad says, humbly. “Shall I show you up to his room?” And we walk up the stairs after our guide. We find Mr. Honeyman deep in study on his sofa, with Pearson on the Creed before him. The novel has been whipped under the pillow. Clive found it there some short time afterwards, during his uncle’s temporary absence in his dressing-room. He has agreed to suspend his theological studies, and go out with his brother-inlaw to dine.

As Clive and his friends were at Honeyman’s door, and just as we were entering to see the divine seated in state before his folio, Clive whispers, “J. J., come along, old fellow, and show us some drawings. What are you doing?”

“I was doing some Arabian Nights,” says J. J., “up in my room; and hearing a knock which I thought was yours, I came down.”

“Show us the pictures. Let’s go up into your room,” cries Clive. “What — will you?” says the other. “It is but a very small place.”

“Never mind, come along,” says Clive; and the two lads disappear together, leaving the three grown gentlemen to discourse together, or rather two of us to listen to Honeyman, who expatiates upon the beauty of the weather, the difficulties of the clerical calling, the honour Colonel Newcome does him by a visit, etc., with his usual eloquence.

After a while Clive comes down without J. J., from the upper regions. He is greatly excited. “Oh, sir,” he says to his father, “you talk about my drawings — you should see J. J.‘s! By Jove, that fellow is a genius. They are beautiful, sir. You seem actually to read the Arabian Nights, you know, only in pictures. There is Scheherazade telling the stories, and — what do you call her? — Dinarzade and the Sultan sitting in bed and listening. Such a grim old cove! You see he has cut off ever so many of his wives’ heads. I can’t think where that chap gets his ideas from. I can beat him in drawing horses, I know, and dogs; but I can only draw what I see. Somehow he seems to see things we don’t, don’t you know? Oh, father, I’m determined I’d rather be a painter than anything.” And he falls to drawing horses and dogs at his uncle’s table, round which the elders are seated.

“I’ve settled it upstairs with J. J.,” says Clive, working away with his pen. “We shall take a studio together; perhaps we will go abroad together. Won’t that be fun, father?”

“My dear Clive,” remarks Mr. Honeyman, with bland dignity, “there are degrees in society which we must respect. You surely cannot think of being a professional artist. Such a profession is very well for your young protege; but for you ——”

“What for me?” cries Clive. “We are no such great folks that I know of; and if we were, I say a painter is as good as a lawyer, or a doctor, or even a soldier. In Dr. Johnston’s Life — which my father is always reading — I like to read about Sir Joshua Reynolds best: I think he is the best gentleman of all in the book. My! wouldn’t I like to paint a picture like Lord Heathfield in the National Gallery! Wouldn’t I just! I think I would sooner have done that, than have fought at Gibraltar. And those Three Graces — oh, aren’t they graceful! And that Cardinal Beaufort at Dulwich! — it frightens me so, I daren’t look at it. Wasn’t Reynolds a clipper, that’s all! and wasn’t Rubens a brick! He was an ambassador, and Knight of the Bath; so was Vandyck. And Titian, and Raphael, and Velasquez? — I’ll just trouble you to show me better gentlemen than them, Uncle Charles.”

“Far be it from me to say that the pictorial calling is not honourable,” says Uncle Charles; “but as the world goes there are other professions in greater repute; and I should have thought Colonel Newcome’s son ——”

“He shall follow his own bent,” said the Colonel; “as long as his calling is honest it becomes a gentleman; and if he were to take a fancy to play on the fiddle — actually on the fiddle — I shouldn’t object.”

“Such a rum chap there was upstairs!” Clive resumes, looking up from his scribbling. “He was walking up and down on the landing in a dressing-gown, with scarcely any other clothes on, holding a plate in one hand, and a pork-chop he was munching with the other. Like this” (and Clive draws a figure). “What do you think, sir? He was in the Cave of Harmony, he says, that night you flared up about Captain Costigan. He knew me at once; and he says, ‘Sir, your father acted like a gentleman, a Christian, and a man of honour. Maxima debetur puero reverentia. Give him my compliments. I don’t know his highly respectable name.’ His highly respectable name,” says Clive, cracking with laughter —“those were his very words. ‘And inform him that I am an orphan myself — in needy circumstances’— he said he was in needy circumstances; ‘and I heartily wish he’d adopt me.’”

The lad puffed out his face, made his voice as loud and as deep as he could; and from his imitation and the picture he had drawn, I knew at once that Fred Bayham was the man he mimicked.

“And does the Red Rover live here,” cried Mr. Pendennis, “and have we earthed him at last?”

“He sometimes comes here,” Mr. Honeyman said with a careless manner. “My landlord and landlady were butler and housekeeper to his father, Bayham of Bayham, one of the oldest families in Europe. And Mr. Frederick Bayham, the exceedingly eccentric person of whom you speak, was a private pupil of my own dear father in our happy days at Borehambury.”

He had scarcely spoken when a knock was heard at the door, and before the occupant of the lodgings could say “Come in!” Mr. Frederick Bayham made his appearance, arrayed in that peculiar costume which he affected. In those days we wore very tall stocks, only a very few poetic and eccentric persons venturing on the Byron collar; but Fred Bayham confined his neck by a simple ribbon, which allowed his great red whiskers to curl freely round his capacious jowl. He wore a black frock and a large broad-brimmed hat, and looked somewhat like a Dissenting preacher. At other periods you would see him in a green coat and a blue neckcloth, as if the turf or the driving of coaches was his occupation.

“I have heard from the young man of the house who you were, Colonel Newcome,” he said with the greatest gravity, “and happened to be present, sir, the other night; for I was aweary, having been toiling all the day in literary labour, and needed some refreshment. I happened to be present, sir, at a scene which did you the greatest honour, and of which I spoke, not knowing you, with something like levity to your son. He is an ingenui vultus puer ingenuique pudoris — Pendennis, how are you? And I thought, sir, I would come down and tender an apology if I had said any words that might savour of offence to a gentleman who was in the right, as I told the room when you quitted it, as Mr. Pendennis, I am sure, will remember.”

Mr. Pendennis looked surprise and perhaps negation.

“You forget, Pendennis? Those who quit that room, sir, often forget on the morrow what occurred during the revelry of the night. You did right in refusing to return to that scene. We public men are obliged often to seek our refreshment at hours when luckier individuals are lapt in slumber.”

“And what may be your occupation, Mr. Bayham?” asks the Colonel, rather gloomily, for he had an idea that Bayham was adopting a strain of persiflage which the Indian gentleman by no means relished. Never saying aught but a kind word to any one, he was on fire at the notion that any should take a liberty with him.

“A barrister, sir, but without business — a literary man, who can but seldom find an opportunity to sell the works of his brains — a gentleman, sir, who has met with neglect, perhaps merited, perhaps undeserved, from his family. I get my bread as best I may. On that evening I had been lecturing on the genius of some of our comic writers, at the Parthenopoeon, Hackney. My audience was scanty, perhaps equal to my deserts. I came home on foot to an egg and a glass of beer after midnight, and witnessed the scene which did you so much honour. What is this? I fancy a ludicrous picture of myself”— he had taken up the sketch which Clive had been drawing —“I like fun, even at my own expense; and can afford to laugh at a joke which is meant in good-humour.” This speech quite reconciled the honest Colonel. “I am sure the author of that, Mr. Bayham, means you or any man no harm. Why! the rascal, sir, has drawn me, his own father; and I have sent the drawing to Major Hobbs, who is in command of my regiment. Chinnery himself, sir, couldn’t hit off a likeness better; he has drawn me on horseback, and he has drawn me on foot, and he has drawn my friend, Mr. Binnie, who lives with me. We have scores of his drawings at my lodgings; and if you will favour us by dining with us today, and these gentlemen, you shall see that you are not the only person caricatured by Clive here.”

“I just took some little dinner upstairs, sir. I am a moderate man, and can live, if need be, like a Spartan; but to join such good company I will gladly use the knife and fork again. You will excuse the traveller’s dress? I keep a room here, which I use only occasionally, and am at present lodging — in the country.”

When Honeyman was ready, the Colonel, who had the greatest respect for the Church, would not hear of going out of the room before the clergyman, and took his arm to walk. Bayham then fell to Mr. Pendennis’s lot, and they went together. Through Hill Street and Berkeley Square their course was straight enough; but at Hay Hill, Mr. Bayham made an abrupt tack larboard, engaging in a labyrinth of stables, and walking a long way round from Clifford Street, whither we were bound. He hinted at a cab, but Pendennis refused to ride, being, in truth, anxious to see which way his eccentric companion would steer. “There are reasons,” growled Bayham, “which need not be explained to one of your experience, why Bond Street must be avoided by some men peculiarly situated. The smell of Truefitt’s pomatum makes me ill. Tell me, Pendennis, is this Indian warrior a rajah of large wealth? Could he, do you think, recommend me to a situation in the East India Company? I would gladly take any honest post in which fidelity might be useful, genius might be appreciated, and courage rewarded. Here we are. The hotel seems comfortable. I never was in it before.”

When we entered the Colonel’s sitting-room at Nerot’s, we found the waiter engaged in extending the table. “We are a larger party than I expected,” our host said. “I met my brother Brian on horseback leaving cards at that great house in ——— Street.”

“The Russian Embassy,” says Mr. Honeyman, who knew the town quite well.

“And he said he was disengaged, and would dine with us,” continues the Colonel.

“Am I to understand, Colonel Newcome,” says Mr. Frederick Bayham, “that you are related to the eminent banker, Sir Brian Newcome, who gives such uncommonly swell parties in Park Lane?”

“What is a swell party?” asks the Colonel, laughing. “I dined with my brother last Wednesday; and it was a very grand dinner certainly. The Governor-General himself could not give a more splendid entertainment. But, do you know, I scarcely had enough to eat? I don’t eat side dishes; and as for the roast beef of Old England, why, the meat was put on the table and whisked away like Sancho’s inauguration feast at Barataria. We did not dine till nine o’clock. I like a few glasses of claret and a cosy talk after dinner; but — well, well”—(no doubt the worthy gentleman was accusing himself of telling tales out of school and had come to a timely repentance). “Our dinner, I hope, will be different. Jack Binnie will take care of that. That fellow is full of anecdote and fun. You will meet one or two more of our service; Sir Thomas de Boots, who is not a bad chap over a glass of wine; Mr. Pendennis’s chum, Mr. Warrington, and my nephew, Barnes Newcome — a dry fellow at first, but I dare say he has good about him when you know him; almost every man has,” said the good-natured philosopher. “Clive, you rogue, mind and be moderate with the champagne, sir!”

“Champagne’s for women,” says Clive. “I stick to claret.”

“I say, Pendennis,” here Bayham remarked, “it is my deliberate opinion that F. B. has got into a good thing.”

Mr. Pendennis seeing there was a great party was for going home to his chambers to dress. “Hm!” says Mr. Bayham, “don’t see the necessity. What right-minded man looks at the exterior of his neighbour? He looks here, sir, and examines there,” and Bayham tapped his forehead, which was expansive, and then his heart, which he considered to be in the right place.

“What is this I hear about dressing?” asks our host. “Dine in your frock, my good friend, and welcome, if your dress-coat is in the country.”

“It is at present at an uncle’s,” Mr. Bayham said, with great gravity, “and I take your hospitality as you offer it, Colonel Newcome, cordially and frankly.”

Honest Mr. Binnie made his appearance a short time before the appointed hour for receiving the guests, arrayed in a tight little pair of trousers, and white silk stockings and pumps, his bald head shining like a billiard-ball, his jolly gills rosy with good-humour. He was bent on pleasure. “Hey, lads!” says he; “but we’ll make a night of it. We haven’t had a night since the farewell dinner off Plymouth.”

“And a jolly night it was, James,” ejaculates the Colonel.

“Egad, what a song that Tom Norris sings!”

“And your ‘Jock o’ Hazeldean’ is as good as a play, Jack.”

“And I think you beat iny one I iver hard in ‘Tom Bowling,’ yourself, Tom!” cries the Colonel’s delighted chum. Mr. Pendennis opened the eyes of astonishment at the idea of the possibility of renewing these festivities, but he kept the lips of prudence closed. And now the carriages began to drive up, and the guests of Colonel Newcome to arrive.

CHAPTER XIII

In which Thomas Newcome sings his Last Song

The earliest comers were the first mate and the medical officer of the ship in which the two gentlemen had come to England. The mate was a Scotchman: the doctor was a Scotchman; of the gentlemen from the Oriental Club, three were Scotchmen.

The Southrons, with one exception, were the last to arrive, and for a while we stood looking out of the windows awaiting their coming. The first mate pulled out a penknife and arranged his nails. The doctor and Mr. Binnie talked of the progress of medicine. Binnie had walked the hospitals of Edinburgh before getting his civil appointment to India. The three gentlemen from Hanover Square and the Colonel had plenty to say about Tom Smith of the Cavalry, and Harry Hall of the Engineers: how Topham was going to marry poor little Bob Wallis’s widow; how many lakhs Barber had brought home, and the like. The tall grey-headed Englishman, who had been in the East too, in the King’s service, joined for a while in this conversation, but presently left it, and came and talked with Clive; “I knew your father in India,” said the gentleman to the lad; “there is not a more gallant or respected officer in that service. I have a boy too, a stepson, who has just gone into the army; he is older than you, he was born at the end of the Waterloo year, and so was a great friend of his and mine, who was at your school, Sir Rawdon Crawley.”

“He was in Gown Boys, I know,” says the boy; “succeeded his uncle Pitt, fourth Baronet. I don’t know how his mother — her who wrote the hymns, you know, and goes to Mr. Honeyman’s chapel — comes to be Rebecca, Lady Crawley. His father, Colonel Rawdon Crawley, died at Coventry Island, in August, 182-, and his uncle, Sir Pitt, not till September here. I remember, we used to talk about it at Grey Friars, when I was quite a little chap; and there were bets whether Crawley, I mean the young one, was a Baronet or not.”

“When I sailed to Rigy, Cornel,” the first mate was speaking — nor can any spelling nor combination of letters of which I am master, reproduce this gentleman’s accent when he was talking his best —“I racklackt they used always to sairve us a drem before denner. And as your frinds are kipping the denner, and as I’ve no watch to-night, I’ll jist do as we used to do at Rigy. James, my fine fellow, jist look alive and breng me a small glass of brandy, will ye? Did ye iver try a brandy cocktail, Cornel? Whin I sailed on the New York line, we used jest to make bits before denner and — thank ye, James:” and he tossed off a glass of brandy.

Here a waiter announces, in a loud voice, “Sir Thomas de Boots,” and the General enters, scowling round the room according to his fashion, very red in the face, very tight in the girth, splendidly attired with a choking white neckcloth, a voluminous waistcoat, and his orders on.

“Stars and garters, by jingo!” cries Mr. Frederick Bayham; “I say, Pendennis, have you any idea, is the Duke coming? I wouldn’t have come in these Bluchers if I had known it. Confound it, no — Hoby himself, my own bootmaker, wouldn’t have allowed poor F. B. to appear in Bluchers, if he had known that I was going to meet the Duke. My linen’s all right, anyhow;”

F. B. breathed a thankful prayer for that. Indeed, who but the very curious could tell that not F. B.‘s, but C. H.‘s — Charles Honeyman’s — was the mark upon that decorous linen?

Colonel Newcome introduced Sir Thomas to every one in the room, as he had introduced us all to each other previously, and as Sir Thomas looked at one after another, his face was kind enough to assume an expression which seemed to ask, “And who the devil are you, sir?” as clearly as though the General himself had given utterance to the words. With the gentleman in the window talking to Clive he seemed to have some acquaintance, and said not unkindly, “How d’you do, Dobbin?”

The carriage of Sir Brian Newcome now drove up, from which the Baronet descended in state, leaning upon the arm of the Apollo in plush and powder, who closed the shutters of the great coach, and mounted by the side of the coachman, laced and periwigged. The Bench of Bishops has given up its wigs; cannot the box, too, be made to resign that insane decoration? Is it necessary for our comfort, that the men who do our work in stable or household should be dressed like Merry-Andrews? Enter Sir Brian Newcome, smiling blandly: he greets his brother affectionately, Sir Thomas gaily; he nods and smiles to Clive, and graciously permits Mr. Pendennis to take hold of two fingers of his extended right hand. That gentleman is charmed, of course, with the condescension. What man could be otherwise than happy to be allowed a momentary embrace of two such precious fingers? When a gentleman so favours me, I always ask, mentally, why he has taken the trouble at all, and regret that I have not had the presence of mind to poke one finger against his two. If I were worth ten thousand a year, I cannot help inwardly reflecting, and kept a large account in Threadneedle Street, I cannot help thinking he would have favoured me with the whole palm.

The arrival of these two grandees has somehow cast a solemnity over the company. The weather is talked about: brilliant in itself, it does not occasion very brilliant remarks among Colonel Newcome’s guests. Sir Brian really thinks it must be as hot as it is in India. Sir Thomas de Boots, swelling in his white waistcoat, in the armholes of which his thumbs are engaged, smiles scornfully, and wishes Sir Brian had ever felt a good sweltering day in the hot winds in India. Sir Brian withdraws the untenable proposition that London is as hot as Calcutta. Mr. Binnie looks at his watch, and at the Colonel. “We have only your nephew, Tom, to wait for,” he says; “I think we may make so bold as to order the dinner,”— a proposal heartily seconded by Mr. Frederick Bayham.

The dinner appears steaming, borne by steaming waiters. The grandees take their places, one on each side of the Colonel. He begs Mr. Honeyman to say grace, and stands reverentially during that brief ceremony, while de Boots looks queerly at him from over his napkin. All the young men take their places at the farther end of the table, round about Mr. Binnie; and at the end of the second course Mr. Barnes Newcome makes his appearance.

Mr. Barnes does not show the slightest degree of disturbance, although he disturbs all the company. Soup and fish are brought for him, and meat, which he leisurely eats, while twelve other gentlemen are kept waiting. We mark Mr. Binnie’s twinkling eyes, as they watch the young man. “Eh,” he seems to say, “but that’s just about as free-and-easy a young chap as ever I set eyes on.” And so Mr. Barnes was a cool young chap. That dish is so good, he must really have some more. He discusses the second supply leisurely; and turning round simpering to his neighbour, says, “I really hope I’m not keeping everybody waiting.”

“Hem!” grunts the neighbour, Mr. Bayham; “it doesn’t much matter, for we had all pretty well done dinner.” Barnes takes a note of Mr. Bayham’s dress — his long frock-coat, the ribbon round his neck; and surveys him with an admirable impudence. “Who are these people,” thinks he, “my uncle has got together?” He bows graciously to the honest Colonel, who asks him to take wine. He is so insufferably affable, that every man near him would like to give him a beating.

All the time of the dinner the host was challenging everybody to drink wine, in his honest old-fashioned way, and Mr. Binnie seconding the chief entertainer. Such was the way in England and Scotland when they were young men. And when Binnie, asking Sir Brian, receives for reply from the Baronet —“Thank you, no, my dear sir. I have exceeded already, positively exceeded,” the poor discomfited gentleman hardly knows whither to apply: but, luckily, Tom Norris, the first mate, comes to his rescue, and cries out, “Mr. Binnie, I’ve not had enough, and I’ll drink a glass of anything ye like with ye.” The fact is, that Mr. Norris has had enough. He has drunk bumpers to the health of every member of the company; his glass has been filled scores of times by watchful waiters. So has Mr. Bayham absorbed great quantities of drink; but without any visible effect on that veteran toper. So has young Clive taken more than is good for him. His cheeks are flushed and burning; he is chattering and laughing loudly at his end of the table. Mr. Warrington eyes the lad with some curiosity; and then regards Mr. Barnes with a look of scorn, which does not scorch that affable young person.

I am obliged to confess that the mate of the Indiaman, at an early period of the dessert, and when nobody had asked him for any such public expression of his opinion, insisted on rising and proposing the health of Colonel Newcome, whose virtues he lauded outrageously, and whom he pronounced to be one of the best of mortal men. Sir Brian looked very much alarmed at the commencement of this speech, which the mate delivered with immense shrieks and gesticulation: but the Baronet recovered during the course of the rambling oration, and at its conclusion gracefully tapped the table with one of those patronising fingers; and lifting up a glass containing at least a thimbleful of claret, said, “My dear brother, I drink your health with all my heart, I’m su-ah.” The youthful Barnes had uttered many “Hear, hears!” during the discourse, with an irony which, with every fresh glass of wine he drank, he cared less to conceal. And though Barnes had come late he had drunk largely, making up for lost time.

Those ironical cheers, and all his cousin’s behaviour during dinner, had struck young Clive, who was growing very angry. He growled out remarks uncomplimentary to Barnes. His eyes, as he looked towards his kinsman, flashed out challenges, of which we who were watching him could see the warlike purport. Warrington looked at Bayham and Pendennis with glances of apprehension. We saw that danger was brooding, unless the one young man could be restrained from his impertinence, and the other from his wine.

Colonel Newcome said a very few words in reply to his honest friend the chief mate, and there the matter might have ended: but I am sorry to say Mr. Binnie now thought it necessary to rise and deliver himself of some remarks regarding the King’s service, coupled with the name of Major-General Sir Thomas de Boots, K.C.B., etc. — the receipt of which that gallant officer was obliged to acknowledge in a confusion amounting almost to apoplexy. The glasses went whack whack upon the hospitable board; the evening set in for public speaking. Encouraged by his last effort, Mr. Binnie now proposed Sir Brian Newcome’s health; and that Baronet rose and uttered an exceedingly lengthy speech, delivered with his wine-glass on his bosom.

Then that sad rogue Bayham must get up, and call earnestly and respectfully for silence and the chairman’s hearty sympathy, for the few observations which he had to propose. “Our armies had been drunk with proper enthusiasm — such men as he beheld around him deserved the applause of all honest hearts, and merited the cheers with which their names had been received. (‘Hear, hear!’ from Barnes Newcome sarcastically. ‘Hear, hear, HEAR!’ fiercely from Clive.) But whilst we applauded our army, should we forget a profession still more exalted? Yes, still more exalted, I say in the face of the gallant General opposite; and that profession, I need not say, is the Church. (Applause.) Gentlemen, we have among us one who, while partaking largely of the dainties on this festive board, drinking freely of the sparkling wine-cup which our gallant hospitality administers to us, sanctifies by his presence the feast of which he partakes, inaugurates with appropriate benedictions, and graces it, I may say, both before and after meat. Gentlemen, Charles Honeyman was the friend of my childhood, his father the instructor of my early days. If Frederick Bayham’s latter life has been chequered by misfortune, it may be that I have forgotten the precepts which the venerable parent of Charles Honeyman poured into an inattentive ear. He too, as a child, was not exempt from faults; as a young man, I am told, not quite free from youthful indiscretions. But in this present Anno Domini, we hail Charles Honeyman as a precept and an example, as a decus fidei and a lumen ecclesiae (as I told him in the confidence of the private circle this morning, and ere I ever thought to publish my opinion in this distinguished company). Colonel Newcome and Mr. Binnie! I drink to the health of the Reverend Charles Honeyman, A.M. May we listen to many more of his sermons, as well as to that admirable discourse with which I am sure he is about to electrify us now. May we profit by his eloquence; and cherish in our memories the truths which come mended from his tongue!” He ceased; poor Honeyman had to rise on his legs, and gasp out a few incoherent remarks in reply. Without a book before him, the Incumbent of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel was no prophet, and the truth is he made poor work of his oration.

At the end of it, he, Sir Brian, Colonel Dobbin, and one of the Indian gentlemen quitted the room, in spite of the loud outcries of our generous host, who insisted that the party should not break up. “Close up, gentlemen,” called out honest Newcome, “we are not going to part just yet. Let me fill your glass, General. You used to have no objection to a glass of wine.” And he poured out a bumper for his friend, which the old campaigner sucked in with fitting gusto. “Who will give us a song? Binnie, give us the ‘Laird of Cockpen.’ It’s capital, my dear General. Capital,” the Colonel whispered to his neighbour.

Mr. Binnie struck up the “Laird of Cockpen,” without, I am bound to say, the least reluctance. He bobbed to one man, and he winked to another, and he tossed his glass, and gave all the points of his song in a manner which did credit to his simplicity and his humour. You haughty Southerners little know how a jolly Scotch gentleman can desipere in loco, and how he chirrups over his honest cups. I do not say whether it was with the song or with Mr. Binnie that we were most amused. It was a good commonty, as Christopher Sly says; nor were we sorry when it was done.

Him the first mate succeeded; after which came a song from the redoubted F. Bayham, which he sang with a bass voice which Lablache might envy, and of which the chorus was frantically sung by the whole company. The cry was then for the Colonel; on which Barnes Newcome, who had been drinking much, started up with something like an oath, crying, “Oh, I can’t stand this.”

“Then leave it, confound you!” said young Clive, with fury in his face. “If our company is not good for you, why do you come into it?”

“What’s that?” asks Barnes, who was evidently affected by wine. Bayham roared “Silence!” and Barnes Newcome, looking round with a tipsy toss of the head, finally sate down.

The Colonel sang, as we have said, with a very high voice, using freely the falsetto, after the manner of the tenor singers of his day. He chose one of his maritime songs, and got through the first verse very well, Barnes wagging his head at the chorus, with a “Bravo!” so offensive that Fred Bayham, his neighbour, gripped the young man’s arm, and told him to hold his confounded tongue.

The Colonel began his second verse: and here, as will often happen to amateur singers, his falsetto broke down. He was not in the least annoyed, for I saw him smile very good-naturedly; and he was going to try the verse again, when that unlucky Barnes first gave a sort of crowing imitation of the song, and then burst into a yell of laughter. Clive dashed a glass of wine in his face at the next minute, glass and all; and no one who had watched the young man’s behaviour was sorry for the insult.

I never saw a kind face express more terror than Colonel Newcome’s. He started back as if he had himself received the blow from his son. “Gracious God!” he cried out. “My boy insult a gentleman at my table!”

“I’d like to do it again,” says Clive, whose whole body was trembling with anger.

“Are you drunk, sir?” shouted his father.

“The boy served the young fellow right, sir,” growled Fred Bayham in his deepest voice. “Come along, young man. Stand up straight, and keep a civil tongue in your head next time, mind you, when you dine with gentlemen. It’s easy to see,” says Fred, looking round with a knowing air, “that this young man hasn’t got the usages of society — he’s not been accustomed to it:” and he led the dandy out.

Others had meanwhile explained the state of the case to the Colonel — including Sir Thomas de Boots, who was highly energetic and delighted with Clive’s spirit; and some were for having the song to continue; but the Colonel, puffing his cigar, said, “No. My pipe is out. I will never sing again.” So this history will record no more of Thomas Newcome’s musical performances.

CHAPTER XIV

Park Lane

Clive woke up the next morning to be aware of a racking headache, and, by the dim light of his throbbing eyes, to behold his father with solemn face at his bed-foot — a reproving conscience to greet his waking.

“You drank too much wine last night, and disgraced yourself, sir,” the old soldier said. “You must get up and eat humble pie this morning, my boy.”

“Humble what, father?” asked the lad, hardly aware of his words, or the scene before him. “Oh, I’ve got such a headache!”

“Serve you right, sir. Many a young fellow has had to go on parade in the morning, with a headache earned overnight. Drink this water. Now, jump up. Now, dash the water well over your head. There you come! Make your toilette quickly; and let us be off, and find cousin Barnes before he has left home.”

Clive obeyed the paternal orders; dressed himself quickly; and descending, found his father smoking his morning cigar in the apartment where they had dined the night before, and where the tables still were covered with the relics of yesterday’s feast — the emptied bottles, the blank lamps, the scattered ashes and fruits, the wretched heel-taps that have been lying exposed all night to the air. Who does not know the aspect of an expired feast?

“The field of action strewed with the dead, my boy,” says Clive’s father. “See, here’s the glass on the floor yet, and a great stain of claret on the carpet.”

“Oh, father!” says Clive, hanging his head down, “I know I shouldn’t have done it. But Barnes Newcome would provoke the patience of Job; and I couldn’t bear to have my father insulted.”

“I am big enough to fight my own battles, my boy,” the Colonel said good-naturedly, putting his hand on the lad’s damp head. “How your head throbs! If Barnes laughed at my singing, depend upon it, sir, there was something ridiculous in it, and he laughed because he could not help it. If he behaved ill, we should not; and to a man who is eating our salt too, and is of our blood.”

“He is ashamed of our blood, father,” cries Clive, still indignant.

“We ought to be ashamed of doing wrong. We must go and ask his pardon. Once when I was a young man in India,” the father continued very gravely, “some hot words passed at mess — not such an insult as that of last night; I don’t think I could have quite borne that — and people found fault with me for forgiving the youngster who had uttered the offensive expressions over his wine. Some of my acquaintance sneered at my courage, and that is a hard imputation for a young fellow of spirit to bear. But providentially, you see, it was war-time, and very soon after I had the good luck to show that I was not a poule mouillee, as the French call it; and the man who insulted me, and whom I forgave, became my fastest friend, and died by my side — it was poor Jack Cutler — at Argaum. We must go and ask Barnes Newcome’s pardon, sir, and forgive other people’s trespasses, my boy, if we hope forgiveness of our own.” His voice sank down as he spoke, and he bowed his honest head reverently. I have heard his son tell the simple story years afterwards, with tears in his eyes.

Piccadilly was hardly yet awake the next morning, and the sparkling dews and the poor homeless vagabonds still had possession of the grass of Hyde Park, as the pair walked up to Sir Brian Newcome’s house, where the shutters were just opening to let in the day. The housemaid, who was scrubbing the steps of the house, and washing its trim feet in a manner which became such a polite mansion’s morning toilet, knew Master Clive, and smiled at him from under her blousy curl-papers, admitting the two gentlemen into Sir Brian’s dining-room, where they proposed to wait until Mr. Barnes should appear. There they sate for an hour looking at Lawrence’s picture of Lady Anne, leaning over a harp, attired in white muslin; at Harlowe’s portrait of Mrs. Newcome, with her two sons simpering at her knees, painted at a time when the Newcome Brothers were not the bald-headed, red-whiskered British merchants with whom the reader has made acquaintance, but chubby children with hair flowing down their backs, and quaint little swallow-tailed jackets and nankeen trousers. A splendid portrait of the late Earl of Kew in his peer’s robes hangs opposite his daughter and her harp. We are writing of George the Fourth’s reign; I dare say there hung in the room a fine framed print of that great sovereign. The chandelier is in a canvas bag; the vast sideboard, whereon are erected open frames for the support of Sir Brian Newcome’s grand silver trays, which on dinner days gleam on that festive board, now groans under the weight of Sir Brian’s bluebooks. An immense receptacle for wine, shaped like a Roman sarcophagus, lurks under the sideboard. Two people sitting at that large dining-table must talk very loud so as to make themselves heard across those great slabs of mahogany covered with damask. The butler and servants who attend at the table take a long time walking round it. I picture to myself two persons of ordinary size sitting in that great room at that great table, far apart, in neat evening costume, sipping a little sherry, silent, genteel, and glum; and think the great and wealthy are not always to be envied, and that there may be more comfort and happiness in a snug parlour, where you are served by a brisk little maid, than in a great dark, dreary dining-hall, where a funereal major-domo and a couple of stealthy footmen minister to you your mutton-chops. They come and lay the cloth presently, wide as the main-sheet of some tall ammiral. A pile of newspapers and letters for the master of the house; the Newcome Sentinel, old county paper, moderate conservative, in which our worthy townsman and member is praised, his benefactions are recorded, and his speeches given at full length; the Newcome Independent, in which our precious member is weekly described as a ninny, and informed almost every Thursday morning that he is a bloated aristocrat, as he munches his dry toast. Heaps of letters, county papers, Times and Morning Herald for Sir Brian Newcome; little heaps of letters (dinner and soiree cards most of these) and Morning Post for Mr. Barnes. Punctually as eight o’clock strikes, that young gentleman comes to breakfast; his father will lie yet for another hour; the Baronet’s prodigious labours in the House of Commons keeping him frequently out of bed till sunrise.

As his cousin entered the room, Clive turned very red, and perhaps a faint blush might appear on Barnes’s pallid countenance. He came in, a handkerchief in one hand, a pamphlet in the other, and both hands being thus engaged, he could offer neither to his kinsmen.

“You are come to breakfast, I hope,” he said — calling it “weakfast,” and pronouncing the words with a most languid drawl —“or, perhaps, you want to see my father? He is never out of his room till half-past nine. Harper, did Sir Brian come in last night before or after me?” Harper, the butler, thinks Sir Brian came in after Mr. Barnes.

When that functionary had quitted the room, Barnes turned round to his uncle in a candid, smiling way, and said, “The fact is, sir, I don’t know when I came home myself very distinctly, and can’t, of course, tell about my father. Generally, you know, there are two candles left in the hall, you know; and if there are two, you know, I know of course that my father is still at the House. But last night, after that capital song you sang, hang me if I know what happened to me. I beg your pardon, sir, I’m shocked at having been so overtaken. Such a confounded thing doesn’t happen to me once in ten years. I do trust I didn’t do anything rude to anybody, for I thought some of your friends the pleasantest fellows I ever met in my life; and as for the claret, ‘gad, as if I hadn’t had enough after dinner, I brought a quantity of it away with me on my shirt-front and waistcoat!”

“I beg your pardon, Barnes,” Clive said, blushing deeply, “and I’m very sorry indeed for what passed; I threw it.”

The Colonel, who had been listening with a queer expression of wonder and doubt on his face, here interrupted Mr. Barnes. “It was Clive that — that spilled the wine over you last night,” Thomas Newcome said; “the young rascal had drunk a great deal too much wine, and had neither the use of his head nor his hands, and this morning I have given him a lecture, and he has come to ask your pardon for his clumsiness; and if you have forgotten your share in the night’s transaction, I hope you have forgotten his, and will accept his hand and his apology.”

“Apology: There’s no apology,” cries Barnes, holding out a couple of fingers of his hand, but looking towards the Colonel. “I don’t know what happened any more than the dead. Did we have a row? Were there any glasses broken? The best way in such cases is to sweep ’em up. We can’t mend them.”

The Colonel said gravely —“that he was thankful to find that the disturbance of the night before had no worse result.” He pulled the tail of Clive’s coat, when that unlucky young blunderer was about to trouble his cousin with indiscreet questions or explanations, and checked his talk. “The other night you saw an old man in drink, my boy,” he said, “and to what shame and degradation the old wretch had brought himself. Wine has given you a warning too, which I hope you will remember all your life; no one has seen me the worse for drink these forty years, and I hope both you young gentlemen will take counsel by an old soldier, who fully preaches what he practises, and beseeches you to beware of the bottle.”

After quitting their kinsman, the kind Colonel further improved the occasion with his son; and told him out of his own experience many stories of quarrels, and duels, and wine; — how the wine had occasioned the brawls, and the foolish speech overnight the bloody meeting at morning; how he had known widows and orphans made by hot words uttered in idle orgies: how the truest honour was the manly confession of wrong; and the best courage the courage to avoid temptation. The humble-minded speaker, whose advice contained the best of all wisdom, that which comes from a gentle and reverent spirit, and a pure and generous heart, never for once thought of the effect which he might be producing, but uttered his simple say according to the truth within him. Indeed, he spoke out his mind pretty resolutely on all subjects which moved or interested him; and Clive, his son, and his honest chum, Mr. Binnie, who had a great deal more reading and much keener intelligence than the Colonel, were amused often at his naive opinion about men, or books, or morals. Mr. Clive had a very fine natural sense of humour, which played perpetually round his father’s simple philosophy with kind and smiling comments. Between this pair of friends the superiority of wit lay, almost from the very first, on the younger man’s side; but, on the other hand, Clive felt a tender admiration for his father’s goodness, a loving delight in contemplating his elder’s character, which he has never lost, and which in the trials of their future life inexpressibly cheered and consoled both of them! Beati illi! O man of the world, whose wearied eyes may glance over this page, may those who come after you so regard you! O generous boy, who read in it, may you have such a friend to trust and cherish in youth, and in future days fondly and proudly to remember!

Some four or five weeks after the quasi-reconciliation between Clive and his kinsman, the chief part of Sir Brian Newcome’s family were assembled at the breakfast-table together, where the meal was taken in common, and at the early hour of eight (unless the senator was kept too late in the House of Commons overnight); and Lady Anne and her nursery were now returned to London again, little Alfred being perfectly set up by a month of Brighton air. It was a Thursday morning; on which day of the week, it has been said, the Newcome Independent and the Newcome Sentinel both made their appearance upon the Baronet’s table. The household from above and from below; the maids and footmen from the basement; the nurses, children, and governesses from the attics; all poured into the room at the sound of a certain bell.

I do not sneer at the purpose for which, at that chiming eight-o’clock bell, the household is called together. The urns are hissing, the plate is shining; the father of the house, standing up, reads from a gilt book for three or four minutes in a measured cadence. The members of the family are around the table in an attitude of decent reverence; the younger children whisper responses at their mother’s knees; the governess worships a little apart; the maids and the large footmen are in a cluster before their chairs, the upper servants performing their devotion on the other side of the sideboard; the nurse whisks about the unconscious last-born, and tosses it up and down during the ceremony. I do not sneer at that — at the act at which all these people are assembled — it is at the rest of the day I marvel; at the rest of the day, and what it brings. At the very instant when the voice has ceased speaking and the gilded book is shut, the world begins again, and for the next twenty-three hours and fifty-seven minutes all that household is given up to it. The servile squad rises up and marches away to its basement, whence, should it happen to be a gala-day, those tall gentlemen at present attired in Oxford mixture will issue forth with flour plastered on their heads, yellow coats, pink breeches, sky-blue waistcoats, silver lace, buckles in their shoes, black silk bags on their backs, and I don’t know what insane emblems of servility and absurd bedizenments of folly. Their very manner of speaking to what we call their masters and mistresses will be a like monstrous masquerade. You know no more of that race which inhabits the basement floor, than of the men and brethren of Timbuctoo, to whom some among us send missionaries. If you met some of your servants in the streets (I respectfully suppose for a moment that the reader is a person of high fashion and a great establishment), you would not know their faces. You might sleep under the same roof for half a century and know nothing about them. If they were ill, you would not visit them, though you would send them an apothecary and of course order that they lacked for nothing. You are not unkind, you are not worse than your neighbours. Nay, perhaps, if you did go into the kitchen, or to take the tea in the servants’-hall, you would do little good, and only bore the folks assembled there. But so it is. With those fellow-Christians who have been just saying Amen to your prayers, you have scarcely the community of Charity. They come, you don’t know whence; they think and talk, you don’t know what; they die, and you don’t care, or vice versa. They answer the bell for prayers as they answer the bell for coals: for exactly three minutes in the day you all kneel together on one carpet — and, the desires and petitions of the servants and masters over, the rite called family worship is ended.

Exeunt servants, save those two who warm the newspaper, administer the muffins, and serve out the tea. Sir Brian reads his letters, and chumps his dry toast. Ethel whispers to her mother, she thinks Eliza is looking very ill. Lady Anne asks, which is Eliza? Is it the woman that was ill before they left town? If she is ill, Mrs. Trotter had better send her away. Mrs. Trotter is only a great deal too good-natured. She is always keeping people who are ill. Then her ladyship begins to read the Morning Post, and glances over the names of the persons who were present at Baroness Bosco’s ball, and Mrs. Toddle Tompkyns’s soiree dansante in Belgrave Square.

“Everybody was there,” says Barnes, looking over from his paper.

“But who is Mrs. Toddle Tompkyns?” asks mamma. “Who ever heard of a Mrs. Toddle Tompkyns? What do people mean by going to such a person?”

“Lady Popinjoy asked the people,” Barnes says gravely. “The thing was really doosed well done. The woman looked frightened; but she’s pretty, and I am told the daughter will have a great lot of money.”

“Is she pretty, and did you dance with her?” asks Ethel.

“Me dance!” says Mr. Barnes. We are speaking of a time before casinos were, and when the British youth were by no means so active in dancing practice as at this present period. Barnes resumed the reading of his county paper, but presently laid it down, with an execration so brisk and loud, that his mother gave a little outcry, and even his father looked up from his letters to ask the meaning of an oath so unexpected and ungenteel.

“My uncle, the Colonel of sepoys, and his amiable son have been paying a visit to Newcome — that’s the news which I have the pleasure to announce to you,” says Mr. Barnes.

“You are always sneering about our uncle,” breaks in Ethel, with impetuous voice, “and saying unkind things about Clive. Our uncle is a dear, good, kind man, and I love him. He came to Brighton to see us, and went out every day for hours and hours with Alfred; and Clive, too, drew pictures for him. And he is good, and kind, and generous, and honest as his father. And Barnes is always speaking ill of him behind his back.”

“And his aunt lets very nice lodgings, and is altogether a most desirable acquaintance,” says Mr. Barnes. “What a shame it is that we have not cultivated that branch of the family!”

“My dear fellow,” cries Sir Brian, “I have no doubt Miss Honeyman is a most respectable person. Nothing is so ungenerous as to rebuke a gentleman or a lady on account of their poverty, and I coincide with Ethel in thinking that you speak of your uncle and his son in terms which, to say the least, are disrespectful.”

“Miss Honeyman is a dear little old woman,” breaks in Ethel. “Was not she kind to Alfred, mamma, and did not she make him nice jelly? And a Doctor of Divinity — you know Clive’s grandfather was a Doctor of Divinity, mamma, there’s a picture of him in a wig — is just as good as a banker, you know he is.”

“Did you bring some of Miss Honeyman’s lodging-house cards with you, Ethel?” says her brother, “and had we not better hang up one or two in Lombard Street; hers and our other relation’s, Mrs. Mason?”

“My darling love, who is Mrs. Mason?” asks Lady Anne.

“Another member of the family, ma’am. She was cousin ——”

“She was no such thing, sir,” roars Sir Brian.

“She was relative and housemaid of my grandfather during his first marriage. She acted, I believe, as dry nurse to the distinguished Colonel of sepoys, my uncle. She has retired into private life in her native town of Newcome, and occupies her latter days by the management of a mangle. The Colonel and young pothouse have gone down to spend a few days with their elderly relative. It’s all here in the paper, by Jove!” Mr. Barnes clenched his fist, and stamped upon the newspaper with much energy.

“And so they should go down and see her, and so the Colonel should love his nurse, and not forget his relations if they are old and poor,” cries Ethel, with a flush on her face, and tears starting into her eyes.

“Hear what the Newcome papers say about it,” shrieks out Mr. Barnes, his voice quivering, his little eyes flashing out scorn. “It’s in both the papers, I dare say. It will be in the Times tomorrow. By —— it’s delightful. Our paper only mentions the gratifying circumstance; here is the paragraph. ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Newcome, C.B., a distinguished Indian officer, and younger brother of our respected townsman and representative Sir Brian Newcome, Bart., has been staying for the last week at the King’s Arms, in our city. He has been visited by the principal inhabitants and leading gentlemen of Newcome, and has come among us, as we understand, in order to pass a few days with an elderly relative, who has been living for many years past in great retirement in this place.’”

“Well, I see no great harm in that paragraph,” says Sir Brian. “I wish my brother had gone to the Roebuck, and not to the King’s Arms, as the Roebuck is our house: but he could not be expected to know much about the Newcome inns, as he is a new comer himself. And I think it was very right of the people to call on him.”

“Now hear what the Independent says, and see if you like that, sir,” cries Barnes, grinning fiercely; and he began to read as follows:—

“‘Mr. Independent — I was born and bred a Screwcomite, and am naturally proud of everybody and everything which bears the revered name of Screwcome. I am a Briton and a man, though I have not the honour of a vote for my native borough; if I had, you may be sure I would give it to our admired and talented representative, Don Pomposo Lickspittle Grindpauper, Poor House Agincourt, Screwcome, whose ancestors fought with Julius Caesar against William the Conqueror, and whose father certainly wielded a cloth yard shaft in London not fifty years ago.

“’ Don Pomposo, as you know, seldom favours the town o Screwcome with a visit. — Our gentry are not of ancient birth enough to be welcome to a Lady Screwcome. Our manufacturers make their money by trade. Oh, fie I how can it be supposed that such vulgarians should be received among the, aristocratic society of Screwcome House? Two balls in the season, and ten dozen o gooseberry, are enough for them.’”

“It’s that scoundrel Parrot,” burst out Sir Brian; “because I wouldn’t have any more wine of him — No, it’s Vidler, the apothecary. By heavens! Lady Anne, I told you it would be so. Why didn’t you ask the Miss Vidlers to your ball?”

“They were on the list,” cries Lady Anne, “three of them; I did everything I could; I consulted Mr. Vidler for poor Alfred, and he actually stopped and saw the dear child take the physic. Why were they not asked to the ball?” cries her ladyship bewildered; “I declare to gracious goodness I don’t know.”

“Barnes scratched their names,” cries Ethel, “out of the list, mamma. You know you did, Barnes; you said you had gallipots enough.”

“I don’t think it is like Vidler’s writing,” said Mr. Barnes, perhaps willing to turn the conversation. “I think it must be that villain Duff the baker, who made the song about us at the last election; — but hear the rest of the paragraph,” and he continued to read:—

“‘The Screwcomites are at this moment favoured with a visit from a gentleman of the Screwcome family, who, having passed all his life abroad, is somewhat different from his relatives, whom we all so love and honour! This distinguished gentleman, this gallant soldier, has come among us, not merely to see our manufactures — in which Screwcome can vie with any city in the North — but an old servant and relation of his family, whom he is not above recognising; who nursed him in his early days; who has been living in her native place for many years, supported by the generous bounty of Colonel N———. The gallant officer, accompanied by his son, a fine youth, has taken repeated drives round our beautiful environs in one of friend Taplow’s (of the King’s Arms) open drags, and accompanied by Mrs. —— — now an aged lady, who speaks, with tears in her eyes, of the goodness and gratitude of her gallant soldier!

“‘One day last week they drove to Screwcome House. Will it be believed that, though the house is only four miles distant from our city — though Don Pomposo’s family have inhabited it these twelve years for four or five months every year — Mrs. M——— saw her cousin’s house for the first time; has never set eyes upon those grandees, except in public places, since the day when they honoured the county by purchasing the estate which they own?

“‘I have, as I repeat, no vote for the borough; but if I had, oh, wouldn’t I show my respectful gratitude at the next election, and plump for Pomposo! I shall keep my eye upon him, and am, Mr. Independent — Your Constant Reader, Peeping Tom.’”

“The spirit of radicalism abroad in this country,” said Sir Brian Newcome, crushing his egg-shell desperately, “is dreadful, really dreadful. We are on the edge of a positive volcano.” Down went the egg-spoon into its crater. “The worst sentiments are everywhere publicly advocated; the licentiousness of the press has reached a pinnacle which menaces us with ruin; there is no law which these shameless newspapers respect; no rank which is safe from their attacks; no ancient landmark which the lava-flood of democracy does not threaten to overwhelm and destroy.”

“When I was at Spielburg,” Barnes Newcome remarked kindly, “I saw three long-bearded, putty-faced blaguards pacin up and down a little courtyard, and Count Keppenheimer told me they were three damned editors of Milanese newspapers, who had had seven years of imprisonment already; and last year when Keppenheimer came to shoot at Newcome, I showed him that old thief, old Batters, the proprietor of the Independent, and Potts, his infernal ally, driving in a dogcart; and I said to him, Keppenheimer, I wish we had a place where we could lock up some of our infernal radicals of the press, or that you could take off those two villains to Spielburg; and as we were passin, that infernal Potts burst out laughin in my face, and cut one of my pointers over the head with his whip. We must do something with that Independent, sir.”

“We must,” says the father, solemnly, “we must put it down, Barnes, we must put it down.”

“I think,” says Barnes, “we had best give the railway advertisements to Batters.”

“But that makes the man of the Sentinel so angry,” says the elder persecutor of the press.

“Then let us give Tom Potts some shootin at any rate; the ruffian is always poachin about our covers as it is. Speers should be written to, sir, to keep a look-out upon Batters and that villain his accomplice, and to be civil to them, and that sort of thing; and, damn it, to be down upon them whenever he sees the opportunity.”

During the above conspiracy for bribing or crushing the independence of a great organ of British opinion, Miss Ethel Newcome held her tongue; but when her papa closed the conversation by announcing solemnly that he would communicate with Speers, Ethel turning to her mother said, “Mamma, is it true that grandpapa has a relation living at Newcome who is old and poor?”

“My darling child, how on earth should I know?” says Lady Anne. “I daresay Mr. Newcome had plenty of poor relations.”

“I am sure some on your side, Anne, have been good enough to visit me at the bank,” said Sir Brian, who thought his wife’s ejaculation was a reflection upon his family, whereas it was the statement of a simple fact in natural history. “This person was no relation of my father’s at all. She was remotely connected with his first wife, I believe. She acted as servant to him, and has been most handsomely pensioned by the Colonel.”

“Who went to her, like a kind, dear, good, brave uncle as he is,” cried Ethel; “the very day I go to Newcome I’ll go to see her.” She caught a look of negation in her father’s eye —“I will go — that is, if papa will give me leave,” says Miss Ethel.

“By Gad, sir,” says Barnes, “I think it is the very best thing she could do; and the best way of doing it, Ethel can go with one of the boys and take Mrs. What-do-you-call’em a gown, or a, tract, or that sort of thing, and stop that infernal Independent’s mouth.”

“If we had gone sooner,” said Miss Ethel, simply, “there would not have been all this abuse of us in the paper.” To which statement her worldly father and brother perforce agreeing, we may congratulate good old Mrs. Mason upon the new and polite acquaintances she is about to make.

CHAPTER XV

The Old Ladies

The above letter and conversation will show what our active Colonel’s movements and history had been since the last chapter in which they were recorded. He and Clive took the Liverpool mail, and travelled from Liverpool to Newcome with a post-chaise and a pair of horses, which landed them at the King’s Arms. The Colonel delighted in post-chaising — the rapid transit through the country amused him and cheered his spirits. Besides, had he not Dr. Johnson’s word for it, that a swift journey in a post-chaise was one of the greatest enjoyments in life, and a sojourn in a comfortable inn one of its chief pleasures? In travelling he was as happy and noisy as a boy. He talked to the waiters, and made friends with the landlord; got all the information which he could gather regarding the towns into which he came; and drove about from one sight or curiosity to another with indefatigable good-humour and interest. It was good for Clive to see men and cities; to visit mills, manufactories, country seats, cathedrals. He asked a hundred questions regarding all things round about him; and any one caring to know who Thomas Newcome was, and what his rank and business, found no difficulty in having his questions answered by the simple and kindly traveller.

Mine host of the King’s Arms, Mr. Taplow aforesaid, knew in five minutes who his guest was, and the errand on which he came. Was not Colonel Newcome’s name painted on all his trunks and boxes? Was not his servant ready to answer all questions regarding the Colonel and his son? Newcome pretty generally introduced Clive to my landlord, when the latter brought his guest his bottle of wine. With old-fashioned cordiality, the Colonel would bid the landlord drink a glass of his own liquor, and seldom failed to say to him, “This is my son, sir. We are travelling together to see the country. Every English gentleman should see his own country first, before he goes abroad, as we intend to do afterwards — to make the Grand Tour. And I will thank you to tell me what there is remarkable in your town, and what we ought to see — antiquities, manufactures, and seats in the neighbourhood. We wish to see everything, sir — everything. Elaborate diaries of these home tours are still extant, in Clive’s boyish manuscript and the Colonel’s dashing handwriting — quaint records of places visited, and alarming accounts of inn bills paid.”

So Mr. Taplow knew in five minutes that his guest was a brother of Sir Brian, their member; and saw the note despatched by an ostler to “Mrs. Sarah Mason, Jubilee Row,” announcing that the Colonel had arrived, and would be with her after his dinner. Mr. Taplow did not think fit to tell his guest that the house Sir Brian used — the Blue house — was the Roebuck, not the King’s Arms. Might not the gentlemen be of different politics? Mr. Taplow’s wine knew none.

Some of the jolliest fellows in all Newcome use the Boscawen Room at the King’s Arms as their club, and pass numberless merry evenings and crack countless jokes there.

Duff, the baker; old Mr. Vidler, when he can get away from his medical labours (and his hand shakes, it must be owned, very much now, and his nose is very red); Parrot, the auctioneer; and that amusing dog, Tom Potts, the talented reporter of the Independent — were pretty constant attendants at the King’s Arms; and Colonel Newcome’s dinner was not over before some of these gentlemen knew what dishes he had had; how he had called for a bottle of sherry and a bottle of claret, like a gentleman; how he had paid the postboys, and travelled with a servant like a top-sawyer; that he was come to shake hands with an old nurse and relative of his family. Every one of those jolly Britons thought well of the Colonel for his affectionateness and liberality, and contrasted it with the behaviour of the Tory Baronet — their representative.

His arrival made a sensation in the place. The Blue Club at the Roebuck discussed it, as well as the uncompromising Liberals at the King’s Arms. Mr. Speers, Sir Brian’s agent, did not know how to act, and advised Sir Brian by the next night’s mail, The Reverend Dr. Bulders, the rector, left his card.

Meanwhile it was not gain or business, but only love and gratitude, which brought Thomas Newcome to his father’s native town. Their dinner over, away went the Colonel and Clive, guided by the ostler, their previous messenger, to the humble little tenement which Thomas Newcome’s earliest friend inhabited. The good old woman put her spectacles into her Bible, and flung herself into her boy’s arms — her boy who was more than fifty years old. She embraced Clive still more eagerly and frequently than she kissed his father. She did not know her Colonel with them whiskers. Clive was the very picture of the dear boy as he had left her almost twoscore years ago. And as fondly as she hung on the boy, her memory had ever clung round that early time when they were together. The good soul told endless tales of her darling’s childhood, his frolics and beauty. To-day was uncertain to her, but the past was still bright and clear. As they sat prattling together over the bright tea-table, attended by the trim little maid, whose services the Colonel’s bounty secured for his old nurse, the kind old creature insisted on having Clive by her side. Again and again she would think he was actually her own boy, forgetting, in that sweet and pious hallucination, that the bronzed face, and thinned hair, and melancholy eyes of the veteran before her, were those of her nursling of old days. So for near half the space of man’s allotted life he had been absent from her, and day and night wherever he was, in sickness or health, in sorrow or danger, her innocent love and prayers had attended the absent darling. Not in vain, not in vain, does he live whose course is so befriended. Let us be thankful for our race, as we think of the love that blesses some of us. Surely it has something of Heaven in it, and angels celestial may rejoice in it, and admire it.

Having nothing whatever to do, our Colonel’s movements are of course exceedingly rapid, and he has the very shortest time to spend in any single place. That evening, Saturday, and the next day, Sunday, when he will faithfully accompany his dear old nurse to church. And what a festival is that day for her, when she has her Colonel and that beautiful brilliant boy of his by her side, and Mr. Hicks, the curate, looking at him, and the venerable Dr. Bulders himself eyeing him from the pulpit, and all the neighbours fluttering and whispering, to be sure, who can be that fine military gentleman, and that splendid young man sitting by old Mrs. Mason, and leading her so affectionately out of church? That Saturday and Sunday the Colonel will pass with good old Mason, but on Monday he must be off; on Tuesday he must be in London, he has important business in London — in fact, Tom Hamilton, of his regiment, comes up for election at the Oriental on that day, and on such an occasion could Thomas Newcome be absent? He drives away from the King’s Arms through a row of smirking chambermaids, smiling waiters, and thankful ostlers, accompanied to the post-chaise, of which the obsequious Taplow shuts the door; and the Boscawen Room pronounces him that night to be a trump; and the whole of the busy town, ere the next day is over, has heard of his coming and departure, praised his kindliness and generosity, and no doubt contrasted it with the different behaviour of the Baronet, his brother, who has gone for some time by the ignominious sobriquet of Screwcome, in the neighbourhood of his ancestral hall.

Dear old nurse Mason will have a score of visits to make and to receive, at all of which you may be sure that triumphal advent of the Colonel’s will be discussed and admired. Mrs. Mason will show her beautiful new India shawl, and her splendid Bible with the large print, and the affectionate inscription, from Thomas Newcome to his dearest old friend; her little maid will exhibit her new gown; the curate will see the Bible, and Mrs. Bulders will admire the shawl; and the old friends and humble companions of the good old lady, as they take their Sunday walks by the pompous lodge-gates of Newcome Park, which stand with the Baronet’s new-fangled arms over them, gilded, and filagreed, and barred, will tell their stories, too, about the kind Colonel and his hard brother. When did Sir Brian ever visit a poor old woman’s cottage, or his bailiff exempt from the rent? What good action, except a few thin blankets and beggarly coal and soup tickets, did Newcome Park ever do for the poor? And as for the Colonel’s wealth, Lord bless you, he’s been in India these five-and-thirty years; the Baronet’s money is a drop in the sea to his. The Colonel is the kindest, the best, the richest of men. These facts and opinions, doubtless, inspired the eloquent pen of “Peeping Tom,” when he indited the sarcastic epistle to the Newcome Independent, which we perused over Sir Brian Newcome’s shoulder in the last chapter.

And you may be sure Thomas Newcome had not been many weeks in England before good little Miss Honeyman, at Brighton, was favoured with a visit from her dear Colonel. The envious Gawler scowling out of his bow-window, where the fly-blown card still proclaimed that his lodgings were unoccupied, had the mortification to behold a yellow post-chaise drive up to Miss Honeyman’s door, and having discharged two gentlemen from within, trot away with servant and baggage to some house of entertainment other than Gawler’s. Whilst this wretch was cursing his own ill fate, and execrating yet more deeply Miss Honeyman’s better fortune, the worthy little lady was treating her Colonel to a sisterly embrace and a solemn reception. Hannah, the faithful housekeeper, was presented, and had a shake of the hand. The Colonel knew all about Hannah: ere he had been in England a week, a basket containing pots of jam of her confection, and a tongue of Hannah’s curing, had arrived for the Colonel. That very night when his servant had lodged Colonel Newcome’s effects at the neighbouring hotel, Hannah was in possession of one of the Colonel’s shirts, she and her mistress having previously conspired to make a dozen of those garments for the family benefactor.

All the presents which Newcome had ever transmitted to his sister-inlaw from India had been taken out of the cotton and lavender in which the faithful creature kept them. It was a fine hot day in June, but I promise you Miss Honeyman wore her blazing scarlet Cashmere shawl; her great brooch, representing the Taj of Agra, was in her collar; and her bracelets (she used to say, I am given to understand they are called bangles, my dear, by the natives) decorated the sleeves round her lean old hands, which trembled with pleasure as they received the kind grasp of the Colonel of colonels. How busy those hands had been that morning! What custards they had whipped! — what a triumph of pie-crusts they had achieved! Before Colonel Newcome had been ten minutes in the house, the celebrated veal-cutlets made their appearance. Was not the whole house adorned in expectation of his coming? Had not Mr. Kuhn, the affable foreign gentleman of the first-floor lodgers, prepared a French dish? Was not Betty on the look-out, and instructed to put the cutlets on the fire at the very moment when the Colonel’s carriage drove up to her mistress’s door? The good woman’s eyes twinkled, the kind old hand and voice shook, as, holding up a bright glass of Madeira, Miss Honeyman drank the Colonel’s health. “I promise you, my dear Colonel,” says she, nodding her head, adorned with a bristling superstructure of lace and ribbons, “I promise you, that I can drink your health in good wine!” The wine was of his own sending, and so were the China fire-screens, and the sandalwood workbox, and the ivory cardcase, and those magnificent pink and white chessmen, carved like little sepoys and mandarins, with the castles on elephants’ backs, George the Third and his queen in pink ivory, against the Emperor of China and lady in white — the delight of Clive’s childhood, the chief ornament of the old spinster’s sitting-room.

Miss Honeyman’s little feast was pronounced to be the perfection of cookery; and when the meal was over, came a noise of little feet at the parlour door, which being opened, there appeared, first, a tall nurse with a dancing baby; second and third, two little girls with little frocks, little trousers, long ringlets, blue eyes, and blue ribbons to match; fourth, Master Alfred, now quite recovered from his illness, and holding by the hand, fifth, Miss Ethel Newcome, blushing like a rose.

Hannah, grinning, acted as mistress of the ceremonies, calling out the names of “Miss Newcomes, Master Newcomes, to see the Colonel, if you please, ma’am,” bobbing a curtsey, and giving a knowing nod to Master Clive, as she smoothed her new silk apron. Hannah, too, was in new attire, all crisp and rustling, in the Colonel’s honour. Miss Ethel did not cease blushing as she advanced towards her uncle; and the honest campaigner started up, blushing too. Mr. Clive rose also, as little Alfred, of whom he was a great friend, ran towards him. Clive rose, laughed, nodded at Ethel, and ate gingerbread nuts all at the same time. As for Colonel Thomas Newcome and his niece, they fell in love with each other instantaneously, like Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess of China.

I have turned away one artist: the poor creature was utterly incompetent to depict the sublime, graceful, and pathetic personages and events with which this history will most assuredly abound, and I doubt whether even the designer engaged in his place can make such a portrait of Miss Ethel Newcome as shall satisfy her friends and her own sense of justice. That blush which we have indicated, he cannot render. How are you to copy it with a steel point and a ball of printer’s ink? That kindness which lights up the Colonel’s eyes; gives an expression to the very wrinkles round about them; shines as a halo round his face; — what artist can paint it? The painters of old, when they portrayed sainted personages, were fain to have recourse to compasses and gold leaf — as if celestial splendour could be represented by Dutch metal! As our artist cannot come up to this task, the reader will be pleased to let his fancy paint for itself the look of courtesy for a woman, admiration for a young beauty, protection for an innocent child, all of which are expressed upon the Colonel’s kind face, as his eyes are set upon Ethel Newcome.

“Mamma has sent us to bid you welcome to England, uncle,” says Miss Ethel, advancing, and never thinking for a moment of laying aside that fine blush which she brought into the room, and which is her pretty symbol of youth, and modesty, and beauty.

He took a little slim white hand and laid it down on his brown palm, where it looked all the whiter: he cleared the grizzled mustachio from his mouth, and stooping down he kissed the little white hand with a great deal of grace and dignity. There was no point of resemblance, and yet a something in the girl’s look, voice, and movements, which caused his heart to thrill, and an image out of the past to rise up and salute him. The eyes which had brightened his youth (and which he saw in his dreams and thoughts for faithful years afterwards, as though they looked at him out of heaven) seemed to shine upon him after five-and-thirty years. He remembered such a fair bending neck and clustering hair, such a light foot and airy figure, such a slim hand lying in his own — and now parted from it with a gap of ten thousand long days between. It is an old saying, that we forget nothing; as people in fever begin suddenly to talk the language of their infancy we are stricken by memory sometimes, and old affections rush back on us as vivid as in the time when they were our daily talk, when their presence gladdened our eyes, when their accents thrilled in our ears, when with passionate tears and grief we flung ourselves upon their hopeless corpses. Parting is death, at least as far as life is concerned. A passion comes to an end; it is carried off in a coffin, or weeping in a post-chaise; it drops out of life one way or other, and the earthclods close over it, and we see it no more. But it has been part of our souls, and it is eternal. Does a mother not love her dead infant? a man his lost mistress? with the fond wife nestling at his side — yes, with twenty children smiling round her knee. No doubt, as the old soldier held the girl’s hand in his, the little talisman led him back to Hades, and he saw Leonora. ——

“How do you do, uncle?” say girls Nos. 2 and 3 in a pretty little infantile chorus. He drops the talisman, he is back in common life again — the dancing baby in the arms of the bobbing nurse babbles a welcome. Alfred looks up for a while at his uncle in the white trousers, and then instantly proposes that Clive should make him some drawings; and is on his knees at the next moment. He is always climbing on somebody or something, or winding over chairs, curling through banisters, standing on somebody’s head, or his own head — as his convalescence advances, his breakages are fearful. Miss Honeyman and Hannah will talk about his dilapidations for years after the little chap has left them. When he is a jolly young officer in the Guards, and comes to see them at Brighton, they will show him the blue-dragon Chayny jar, on which he would sit, and which he cried so fearfully upon breaking.

When this little party has gone out smiling to take its walk on the sea-shore, the Colonel sits down and resumes the interrupted dessert. Miss Honeyman talks of the children and their mother, and the merits of Mr. Kuhn, and the beauty of Miss Ethel, glancing significantly towards Clive, who has had enough of gingerbread nuts and dessert and wine, and whose youthful nose is by this time at the window. What kind-hearted woman, young or old, does not love match-making?

The Colonel, without lifting his eyes from the table, says “she reminds him of — of somebody he knew once.”

“Indeed?” cries Miss Honeyman, and thinks Emma must have altered very much after going to India, for she had fair hair, and white eyelashes, and not a pretty foot certainly — but, my dear good lady, the Colonel is not thinking of the late Mrs. Casey.

He has taken a fitting quantity of the Madeira, the artless greeting of the people here, young and old, has warmed his heart, and he goes upstairs to pay a visit to his sister-inlaw, to whom he makes his most courteous bow as becomes a lady of her rank. Ethel takes her place quite naturally beside him during his visit. Where did he learn those fine manners which all of us who knew him admired in him? He had a natural simplicity, an habitual practice of kind and generous thoughts; a pure mind, and therefore above hypocrisy and affectation — perhaps those French people with whom he had been intimate in early life had imparted to him some of the traditional graces of their vieille tour — certainly his half-brothers had inherited none such. “What is this that Barnes has written about his uncle, that the Colonel is ridiculous?” Lady Anne said to her daughter that night. “Your uncle is adorable. I have never seen a more perfect grand Seigneur. He puts me in mind of my grandfather, though grandpapa’s grand manner was more artificial, and his voice spoiled by snuff. See the Colonel. He smokes round the garden, but with what perfect grace! This is the man Uncle Hobson, and your poor dear papa, have represented to us as a species of bear! Mr. Newcome, who has himself the ton of a waiter! The Colonel is perfect. What can Barnes mean by ridiculing him? I wish Barnes had such a distinguished air; but he is like his poor dear papa. Que voulez-vous, my love? The Newcomes are honourable: the Newcomes are wealthy: but distinguished — no. I never deluded myself with that notion when I married your poor dear papa. At once I pronounce Colonel Newcome a person to be in every way distinguished by us. On our return to London I shall present him to all our family: poor good man! let him see that his family have some presentable relations besides those whom he will meet at Mrs. Newcome’s, in Bryanstone Square. You must go to Bryanstone Square immediately we return to London. You must ask your cousins and their governess, and we will give them a little party. Mrs. Newcome is insupportable, but we must never forsake our relatives, Ethel. When you come out you will have to dine there, and to go to her ball. Every young lady in your position in the world has sacrifices to make, and duties to her family to perform. Look at me. Why did I marry your poor dear papa? From duty. Has your Aunt Fanny, who ran away with Captain Canonbury, been happy? They have eleven children, and are starving at Boulogne. Think of three of Fanny’s boys in yellow stockings at the Bluecoat School. Your papa got them appointed. I am sure my papa would have gone mad if he had seen that day! She came with one of the poor wretches to Park Lane: but I could not see them. My feelings would not allow me. When my maid — I had a French maid then, Louise, you remember; her conduct was abominable: so was Preville’s — when she came and said that my Lady Fanny was below with a young gentleman, qui portait des bas jaunes, I could not see the child. I begged her to come up in my room: and, absolutely that I might not offend her, I went to bed. That wretch Louise met her at Boulogne and told her afterwards. Good night, we must not stand chattering here any more. Heaven bless you, my darling! Those are the Colonel’s windows! Look, he is smoking on his balcony — that must be Clive’s room. Clive is a good kind boy. It was very kind of him to draw so many pictures for Alfred. Put the drawings away, Ethel. Mr. Smee saw some in Park Lane, and said they showed remarkable genius. What a genius your Aunt Emily had for drawing; but it was flowers! I had no genius in particular, so mamma used to say — and Doctor Belper said, ‘My dear Lady Walham’ (it was before my grandpapa’s death), ‘has Miss Anne a genius for sewing buttons and making puddens?’— puddens he pronounced it. Goodnight, my own love. Blessings, blessings, on my Ethel!”

The Colonel from his balcony saw the slim figure of the retreating girl, and looked fondly after her: and as the smoke of his cigar floated in the air, he formed a fine castle in it, whereof Clive was lord, and that pretty Ethel, lady. “What a frank, generous, bright young creature is yonder!” thought he. “How cheery and gay she is; how good to Miss Honeyman, to whom she behaved with just the respect that was the old lady’s due — how affectionate with her brothers and sisters! What a sweet voice she has! What a pretty little white hand it is! When she gave it me, it looked like a little white bird lying in mine. I must wear gloves, by Jove I must, and my coat is old-fashioned, as Binnie says; what a fine match might be made between that child and Clive! She reminds me of a pair of eyes I haven’t seen these forty years. I would like to have Clive married to her; to see him out of the scrapes and dangers that young fellows encounter, and safe with such a sweet girl as that. If God had so willed it, I might have been happy myself, and could have made a woman happy. But the Fates were against me. I should like to see Clive happy, and then say Nunc dimittis. I shan’t want anything more to-night, Kean, and you can go to bed.”

“Thank you, Colonel,” says Kean, who enters, having prepared his master’s bedchamber, and is retiring when the Colonel calls after him:

“I say, Kean, is that blue coat of mine very old?”

“Uncommon white about the seams, Colonel,” says the man.

“Is it older than other people’s coats?”— Kean is obliged gravely to confess that the Colonel’s coat is very queer.

“Get me another coat, then — see that I don’t do anything or wear anything unusual. I have been so long out of Europe, that I don’t know the customs here, and am not above learning.”

Kean retires, vowing that his master is an old trump; which opinion he had already expressed to Mr. Kuhn, Lady Hanne’s man, over a long potation which those two gentlemen had taken together. And, as all of us, in one way or another, are subject to this domestic criticism, from which not the most exalted can escape, I say, lucky is the man whose servants speak well of him.

CHAPTER XVI

In which Mr. Sherrick lets his House in Fitzroy Square

In spite of the sneers of the Newcome Independent, and the Colonel’s unlucky visit to his nurse’s native place, he still remained in high favour in Park Lane; where the worthy gentleman paid almost daily visits, and was received with welcome and almost affection, at least by the ladies and the children of the house. Who was it that took the children to Astley’s but Uncle Newcome? I saw him there in the midst of a cluster of these little people, all children together. He laughed delighted at Mr. Merryman’s jokes in the ring. He beheld the Battle of Waterloo with breathless interest, and was amazed — amazed, by Jove, sir — at the prodigious likeness of the principal actor to the Emperor Napoleon; whose tomb he had visited on his return from India, as it pleased him to tell his little audience who sat clustering round him: the little girls, Sir Brian’s daughters, holding each by a finger of his honest hands; young Masters Alfred and Edward clapping and hurrahing by his side; while Mr. Clive and Miss Ethel sat in the back of the box enjoying the scene, but with that decorum which belonged to their superior age and gravity. As for Clive, he was in these matters much older than the grizzled old warrior his father. It did one good to hear the Colonel’s honest laughs at clown’s jokes, and to see the tenderness and simplicity with which he watched over this happy brood of young ones. How lavishly did he supply them with sweetmeats between the acts! There he sat in the midst of them, and ate an orange himself with perfect satisfaction. I wonder what sum of money Mr. Barnes Newcome would have taken to sit for five hours with his young brothers and sisters in a public box at the theatre and eat an orange in the face of the audience? When little Alfred went to Harrow, you may be sure Colonel Newcome and Clive galloped over to see the little man, and tipped him royally. What money is better bestowed than that of a schoolboy’s tip? How the kindness is recalled by the recipient in after days! It blesses him that gives and him that takes. Remember how happy such benefactions made you in your own early time, and go off on the very first fine day and tip your nephew at school!

The Colonel’s organ of benevolence was so large, that he would have liked to administer bounties to the young folks his nephews and nieces in Bryanstone Square, as well as to their cousins in Park Lane; but Mrs. Newcome was a great deal too virtuous to admit of such spoiling of children. She took the poor gentleman to task for an attempt upon her boys when those lads came home for their holidays, and caused them ruefully to give back the shining gold sovereign with which their uncle had thought to give them a treat.

“I do not quarrel with other families,” says she; “I do not allude to other families;” meaning, of course, that she did not allude to Park Lane. “There may be children who are allowed to receive money from their father’s grown-up friends. There may be children who hold out their hands for presents, and thus become mercenary in early life. I make no reflections with regard to other households. I only look, and think, and pray for the welfare of my own beloved ones. They want for nothing. Heaven has bounteously furnished us with every comfort, with every elegance, with every luxury. Why need we be bounden to others, who have been ourselves so amply provided? I should consider it ingratitude, Colonel Newcome, want of proper spirit, to allow my boys to accept money. Mind, I make no allusions. When they go to school they receive a sovereign a-piece from their father, and a shilling a week, which is ample pocket-money. When they are at home, I desire that they may have rational amusements: I send them to the Polytechnic with Professor Hickson, who kindly explains to them some of the marvels of science and the wonders of machinery. I send them to the picture-galleries and the British Museum. I go with them myself to the delightful lectures at the institution in Albemarle Street. I do not desire that they should attend theatrical exhibitions. I do not quarrel with those who go to plays; far from it! Who am I that I should venture to judge the conduct of others? When you wrote from India, expressing a wish that your boy should be made acquainted with the works of Shakspeare, I gave up my own opinion at once. Should I interpose between a child and his father? I encouraged the boy to go to the play, and sent him to the pit with one of our footmen.”

“And you tipped him very handsomely, my dear Maria, too,” said the good-natured Colonel, breaking in upon her sermon; but Virtue was not to be put off in that way.

“And why, Colonel Newcome,” Virtue exclaimed, laying a pudgy little hand on its heart; “why did I treat Clive so? Because I stood towards him in loco parentis; because he was as a child to me, and I to him as a mother. I indulged him more than my own. I loved him with a true maternal tenderness. Then he was happy to come to our house: then perhaps Park Lane was not so often open to him as Bryanstone Square: but I make no allusions. Then he did not go six times to another house for once that he came to mine. He was a simple, confiding, generous boy, was not dazzled by worldly rank or titles of splendour. He could not find these in Bryanstone Square. A merchant’s wife, a country lawyer’s daughter — I could not be expected to have my humble board surrounded by titled aristocracy; I would not if I could. I love my own family too well; I am too honest, too simple — let me own it at once, Colonel Newcome, too proud! And now, now his father has come to England, and I have resigned him, and he meets with no titled aristocrats at my house, and he does not come here any more.”

Tears rolled out of her little eyes as she spoke, and she covered her round face with her pocket-handkerchief.

Had Colonel Newcome read the paper that morning, he might have seen amongst what are called the fashionable announcements, the cause, perhaps, why his sister-inlaw had exhibited so much anger and virtue. The Morning Post stated, that yesterday Sir Brian and Lady Newcome entertained at dinner His Excellency the Persian Ambassador and Bucksheesh Bey; the Right Honourable Cannon Rowe, President of the Board of Control, and Lady Louisa Rowe; the Earl of H—— — the Countess of Kew, the Earl of Kew, Sir Currey Baughton, Major-General and Mrs. Hooker, Colonel Newcome, and Mr. Horace Fogey. Afterwards her ladyship had an assembly, which was attended by, etc. etc.

This catalogue of illustrious names had been read by Mr. Newcome to her spouse at breakfast, with such comments as she was in the habit of making.

“The President of the Board of Control, the Chairman of the Court of Directors, and Ex-Governor-General of India, and a whole regiment of Kews. By Jove, Maria, the Colonel is in good company,” cries Mr. Newcome, with a laugh. “That’s the sort of dinner you should have given him. Some people to talk about India. When he dined with us he was put between old Lady Wormely and Professor Roots. I don’t wonder at his going to sleep after dinner. I was off myself once or twice during that confounded long argument between Professor Roots and Dr. Windus. That Windus is the deuce to talk.”

“Dr. Windus is a man of science, and his name is of European celebrity!” says Maria solemnly. “Any intellectual person would prefer such company to the titled nobodies into whose family your brother has married.”

“There you go, Polly; you are always having a shy at Lady Anne and her relations,” says Mr. Newcome, good-naturedly.

“A shy! How can you use such vulgar words, Mr. Newcome? What have I to do with Sir Brian’s titled relations? I do not value nobility. I prefer people of science — people of intellect — to all the rank in the world.”

“So you do,” says Hobson her spouse. “You have your party — Lady Anne has her party. You take your line — Lady Anne takes her line. You are a superior woman, my dear Polly; every one knows that. I’m a plain country farmer, I am. As long as you are happy, I am happy too. The people you get to dine here may talk Greek or algebra for what I care. By Jove, my dear, I think you can hold your own with the best of them.”

“I have endeavoured by assiduity to make up for time lost, and an early imperfect education,” says Mrs. Newcome. “You married a poor country lawyer’s daughter. You did not seek a partner in the Peerage, Mr. Newcome.”

“No, no. Not such a confounded flat as that,” cries Mr. Newcome, surveying his plump partner behind her silver teapot, with eyes of admiration.

“I had an imperfect education, but I knew its blessings, and have, I trust, endeavoured to cultivate the humble talents which Heaven has given me, Mr. Newcome.”

“Humble, by Jove!” exclaims the husband. “No gammon of that sort, Polly. You know well enough that you are a superior woman. I ain’t a superior man. I know that: one is enough in a family. I leave the reading to you, my dear. Here comes my horses. I say, I wish you’d call on Lady Anne today. Do go and see her, now that’s a good girl. I know she is flighty, and that; and Brian’s back is up a little. But he ain’t a bad fellow; and I wish I could see you and his wife better friends.”

On his way to the City, Mr. Newcome rode to look at the new house, No. 120 Fitzroy Square, which his brother, the Colonel, had taken in conjunction with that Indian friend of his, Mr. Binnie. Shrewd old cock, Mr. Binnie. Has brought home a good bit of money from India. Is looking out for safe investments. Has been introduced to Newcome Brothers. Mr. Newcome thinks very well of the Colonel’s friend.

The house is vast, but, it must be owned, melancholy. Not long since it was a ladies’ school, in an unprosperous condition. The scar left by Madame Latour’s brass plate may still be seen on the tall black door, cheerfully ornamented in the style of the end of the last century, with a funereal urn in the centre of the entry, and garlands, and the skulls of rams at each corner. Madame Latour, who at one time actually kept a large yellow coach, and drove her parlour young ladies in the Regent’s Park, was an exile from her native country (Islington was her birthplace, and Grigson her paternal name), and an outlaw at the suit of Samuel Sherrick: that Mr. Sherrick whose wine-vaults undermine Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel where the eloquent Honeyman preaches.

The house is Mr. Sherrick’s house. Some say his name is Shadrach, and pretend to have known him as an orange-boy, afterwards as a chorus-singer in the theatres, afterwards as secretary to a great tragedian. I know nothing of these stories. He may or he may not be a partner of Mr. Campion, of Shepherd’s Inn: he has a handsome villa, Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood, entertains good company, rather loud, of the sporting sort, rides and drives very showy horses, has boxes at the Opera whenever he likes, and free access behind the scenes: is handsome, dark, bright-eyed, with a quantity of jewellery, and a tuft to his chin; sings sweetly sentimental songs after dinner. Who cares a fig what was the religion of Mr. Sherrick’s ancestry, or what the occupation of his youth? Mr. Honeyman, a most respectable man surely, introduced Sherrick to the Colonel and Binnie.

Mr. Sherrick stocked their cellar with some of the wine over which Honeyman preached such lovely sermons. It was not dear; it was not bad when you dealt with Mr. Sherrick for wine alone. Going into his market with ready money in your hand, as our simple friends did, you were pretty fairly treated by Mr. Sherrick.

The house being taken, we may be certain there was fine amusement for Clive, Mr. Binnie, and the Colonel, in frequenting the sales, in the inspection of upholsterers’ shops, and the purchase of furniture for the new mansion. It was like nobody else’s house. There were three masters with four or five servants over them. Kean for the Colonel and his son; a smart boy with boots for Mr. Binnie; Mrs. Kean to cook and keep house, with a couple of maids under her. The Colonel, himself, was great at making hash mutton, hot-pot, curry, and pillau. What cosy pipes did we not smoke in the dining-room, in the drawing-room, or where we would! What pleasant evenings did we not have with Mr Binnie’s books and Schiedam! Then there were the solemn state dinners, at most of which the writer of this biography had a corner.

Clive had a tutor — Cirindey of Corpus — whom we recommended to him, and with whom the young gentleman did not fatigue his brains very much; but his great forte decidedly lay in drawing. He sketched the horses, he sketched the dogs; all the servants from the blear-eyed boot-boy to the rosy-cheeked lass, Mrs. Kean’s niece, whom that virtuous housekeeper was always calling to come downstairs. He drew his father in all postures — asleep, on foot, on horseback; and jolly little Mr. Binnie, with his plump legs on a chair, or jumping briskly on the back of the cob which he rode. He should have drawn the pictures for this book, but that he no longer condescends to make sketches. Young Ridley was his daily friend now; and Grindley, his classics and mathematics over in the morning, and the ride with father over, this pair of young men would constantly attend Gandish’s Drawing Academy, where, to be sure, Ridley passed many hours at work on his art, before his young friend and patron could be spared from his books to his pencil.

“Oh,” says Clive, “if you talk to him now about those early days, it was a jolly time! I do not believe there was any young fellow in London so happy.” And there hangs up in his painting-room now, a head, painted at one sitting, of a man rather bald, with hair touched with grey, with a large moustache, and a sweet mouth half smiling beneath it, and melancholy eyes; and Clive shows that portrait of their grandfather to his children, and tells them that the whole world never saw a nobler gentleman.

CHAPTER XVII

A School of Art

British art either finds her peculiar nourishment in melancholy, and loves to fix her abode in desert places; or it may be her purse is but slenderly furnished, and she is forced to put up with accommodations rejected by more prosperous callings. Some of the most dismal quarters of the town are colonised by her disciples and professors. In walking through streets which may have been gay and polite when ladies’ chairmen jostled each other on the pavement, and linkboys with their torches lighted the beaux over the mud, who has not remarked the artist’s invasion of those regions once devoted to fashion and gaiety? Centre windows of drawing-rooms are enlarged so as to reach up into bedrooms — bedrooms where Lady Betty has had her hair powdered, and where the painter’s north-light now takes possession of the place which her toilet-table occupied a hundred years ago. There are degrees in decadence: after the Fashion chooses to emigrate, and retreats from Soho or Bloomsbury, let us say, to Cavendish Square, physicians come and occupy the vacant houses, which still have a respectable look, the windows being cleaned, and the knockers and plates kept bright, and the doctor’s carriage rolling round the square, almost as fine as the countess’s, which has whisked away her ladyship to other regions. A boarding-house mayhap succeeds the physician, who has followed after his sick folks into the new country; and then Dick Tinto comes with his dingy brass plate, and breaks in his north window, and sets up his sitters’ throne. I love his honest moustache, and jaunty velvet jacket; his queer figure, his queer vanities, and his kind heart. Why should he not suffer his ruddy ringlets to fall over his shirt-collar? Why should he deny himself his velvet? it is but a kind of fustian which costs him eighteenpence a yard. He is naturally what he is, and breaks out into costume as spontaneously as a bird sings, or a bulb bears a tulip. And as Dick, under yonder terrific appearance of waving cloak, bristling beard, and shadowy sombrero, is a good kindly simple creature, got up at a very cheap rate, his life is so consistent with his dress; he gives his genius a darkling swagger, and a romantic envelope, which, being removed, you find, not a bravo, but a kind chirping soul; not a moody poet avoiding mankind for the better company of his own great thoughts, but a jolly little chap who has an aptitude for painting brocade gowns, a bit of armour (with figures inside them), or trees and cattle, or gondolas and buildings, or what not; an instinct for the picturesque, which exhibits itself in his works, and outwardly on his person; beyond this, a gentle creature loving his friends, his cups, feasts, merrymakings, and all good things. The kindest folks alive I have found among those scowling whiskeradoes. They open oysters with their yataghans, toast muffins on their rapiers, and fill their Venice glasses with half-and-half. If they have money in their lean purses, be sure they have a friend to share it. What innocent gaiety, what jovial suppers on threadbare cloths, and wonderful songs after; what pathos, merriment, humour does not a man enjoy who frequents their company! Mr. Clive Newcome, who has long since shaved his beard, who has become a family man, and has seen the world in a thousand different phases, avers that his life as an art-student at home and abroad was the pleasantest part of his whole existence. It may not be more amusing in the telling than the chronicle of a feast, or the accurate report of two lovers’ conversation; but the biographer, having brought his hero to the period of his life, is bound to relate it, before passing to other occurrences which are to be narrated in their turn.

We may be sure the boy had many conversations with his affectionate guardian as to the profession which he should follow. As regarded mathematical and classical learning, the elder Newcome was forced to admit, that out of every hundred boys, there were fifty as clever as his own, and at least fifty more industrious; the army in time of peace Colonel Newcome thought a bad trade for a young fellow so fond of ease and pleasure as his son: his delight in the pencil was manifest to all. Were not his school-books full of caricatures of the masters? Whilst his tutor, Grindley, was lecturing him, did he not draw Grindley instinctively under his very nose? A painter Clive was determined to be, and nothing else; and Clive, being then some sixteen years of age, began to study the art, en regle, under the eminent Mr. Gandish, of Soho.

It was that well-known portrait-painter, Alfred Smee, Esq., R.A., who recommended Gandish to Colonel Newcome, one day when the two gentlemen met at dinner at Lady Anne Newcome’s table. Mr. Smee happened to examine some of Clive’s drawings, which the young fellow had executed for his cousins. Clive found no better amusement than in making pictures for them, and would cheerfully pass evening after evening in that diversion. He had made a thousand sketches of Ethel before a year was over; a year, every day of which seemed to increase the attractions of the fair young creature, develop her nymph-like form, and give her figure fresh graces. He also of course drew Alfred and the nursery in general, Aunt Anne and the Blenheim spaniels, and Mr. Kuhn and his earrings, the majestic John bringing in the coal-scuttle, and all persons or objects in that establishment with which he was familiar. “What a genius the lad has,” the complimentary Mr. Smee averred; “what a force and individuality there is in all his drawings! Look at his horses! capital, by Jove, capital! and Alfred on his pony, and Miss Ethel in her Spanish bat, with her hair flowing in the wind! I must take this sketch, I positively must now, and show it to Landseer.” And the courtly artist daintily enveloped the drawing in a sheet of paper, put it away in his hat, and vowed subsequently that the great painter had been delighted with the young man’s performance. Smee was not only charmed with Clive’s skill as an artist, but thought his head would be an admirable one to paint. Such a rich complexion, such fine turns in his hair! such eyes! to see real blue eyes was so rare nowadays! And the Colonel too, if the Colonel would but give him a few sittings, the grey uniform of the Bengal Cavalry, the silver lace, the little bit of red ribbon just to warm up the picture! it was seldom, Mr. Smee declared, that an artist could get such an opportunity for colour. With our hideous vermilion uniforms there was no chance of doing anything; Rubens himself could scarcely manage scarlet. Look at the horseman in Cuyp’s famous picture at the Louvre: the red was a positive blot upon the whole picture. There was nothing like French grey and silver! All which did not prevent Mr. Smee from painting Sir Brian in a flaring deputy-lieutenant’s uniform, and entreating all military men whom he met to sit to him in scarlet. Clive Newcome the Academician succeeded in painting, of course for mere friendship’s sake, and because he liked the subject, though he could not refuse the cheque which Colonel Newcome sent him for the frame and picture; but no cajoleries could induce the old campaigner to sit to any artist save one. He said he should be ashamed to pay fifty guineas for the likeness of his homely face; he jocularly proposed to James Binnie to have his head put on the canvas, and Mr. Smee enthusiastically caught at the idea; but honest James winked his droll eyes, saying his was a beauty that did not want any paint; and when Mr. Smee took his leave after dinner in Fitzroy Square, where this conversation was held, James Binnie hinted that the Academician was no better than an old humbug, in which surmise he was probably not altogether incorrect. Certain young men who frequented the kind Colonel’s house were also somewhat of this opinion; and made endless jokes at the painter’s expense. Smee plastered his sitters with adulation as methodically as he covered his canvas. He waylaid gentlemen at dinner; he inveigled unsuspecting folks into his studio, and had their heads off their shoulders before they were aware. One day, on our way from the Temple, through Howland Street, to the Colonel’s house, we beheld Major-General Sir Thomas de Boots, in full uniform, rushing from Smee’s door to his brougham. The coachman was absent refreshing himself at a neighbouring tap: the little street-boys cheered and hurrayed Sir Thomas, as, arrayed in gold and scarlet, he sate in his chariot. He blushed purple when he beheld us. No artist would have dared to imitate those purple tones: he was one of the numerous victims of Mr. Smee.

One day, then, day to be noted with a white stone, Colonel Newcome, with his son and Mr. Smee, R.A., walked from the Colonel’s house to Gandish’s, which was not far removed thence; and young Clive, who was a perfect mimic, described to his friends, and illustrated, as was his wont, by diagrams, the interview which he had with that professor. “By Jove, you must see Gandish, pa!” cries Clive: “Gandish is worth the whole world. Come and be an art-student. You’ll find such jolly fellows there! Gandish calls it hart-student, and says, ‘Hars est celare Hartem’— by Jove he does! He treated us to a little Latin, as he brought out a cake and a bottle of wine, you know.”

“The governor was splendid, sir. He wore gloves: you know he only puts them on on parade days; and turned out for the occasion spick and span. He ought to be a general officer. He looks like a field-marshal — don’t he? You should have seen him bowing to Mrs. Gandish and the Miss Gandishes, dressed all in their best, round the cake-tray! He takes his glass of wine, and sweeps them all round with a bow. ‘I hope, young ladies,’ says he, ‘you don’t often go to the students’ room. I’m afraid the young gentlemen would leave off looking at the statues if you came in.’ And so they would: for you never saw such guys; but the dear old boy fancies every woman is a beauty.

“‘Mr. Smee, you are looking at my picture of ‘Boadishia?’’ says Gandish. Wouldn’t he have caught it for his quantities at Grey Friars, that’s all.

“‘Yes — ah — yes,’ says Mr. Smee, putting his hand over his eyes, and standing before it, looking steady, you know, as if he was going to see whereabouts he should hit Boadishia.

“‘It was painted when you were a young man, four years before you were an associate, Smee. Had some success in its time, and there’s good pints about that picture,’ Gandish goes on. ‘But I never could get my price for it; and here it hangs in my own room. Igh art won’t do in this country, Colonel — it’s a melancholy fact.’

“‘High art! I should think it is high art!’ whispers old Smee; ‘fourteen feet high, at least!” And then out loud he says ‘The picture has very fine points in it, Gandish, as you say. Foreshortening of that arm, capital! That red drapery carried off into the right of the picture very skilfully managed!’

“‘It’s not like portrait-painting, Smee — Igh art,’ says Gandish. ‘The models of the hancient Britons in that pictur alone cost me thirty pound — when I was a struggling man, and had just married my Betsey here. You reckonise Boadishia, Colonel, with the Roman elmet, cuirass, and javeling of the period — all studied from the hantique, sir, the glorious hantique.’

“‘All but Boadicea,’ says father. ‘She remains always young.’ And he began to speak the lines out of Cowper, he did — waving his stick like an old trump — and famous they are,” cries the lad:

“When the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods”—

“Jolly verses! Haven’t I translated them into alcaics?” says Clive, with a merry laugh, and resumes his history.

“‘Oh, I must have those verses in my album,’ cries one of the young ladies. ‘Did you compose them, Colonel Newcome?’ But Gandish, you see, is never thinking about any works but his own, and goes on, ‘Study of my eldest daughter, exhibited 1816.’

“‘No, pa, not ‘16,’ cries Miss Gandish. She don’t look like a chicken, I can tell you.

“‘Admired,’ Gandish goes on, never heeding her — ‘I can show you what the papers said of it at the time — Morning Chronicle and Examiner — spoke most ighly of it. My son as an infant Ercules, stranglin the serpent over the piano. Fust conception of my picture of ‘Non Hangli said Hangeli.’’

“‘For which I can guess who were the angels that sat,’ says father. Upon my word, that old governor! He is a little too strong. But Mr. Gandish listened no more to him than to Mr. Smee, and went on, buttering himself all over, as I have read the Hottentots do. ‘Myself at thirty-three years of age!’ says he, pointing to a portrait of a gentleman in leather breeches and mahogany boots; ‘I could have been a portrait-painter, Mr. Smee.’

“‘Indeed it was lucky for some of us you devoted yourself to high art, Gandish,’ Mr. Smee says, and sips the wine and puts it down again, making a face. It was not first-rate tipple, you see.

“‘Two girls,’ continues that indomitable Mr. Gandish. ‘Hidea for ‘Babes in the Wood.’ ‘View of Paestum,’ taken on the spot by myself, when travelling with the late lamented Earl of Kew. ‘Beauty, Valour, Commerce, and Liberty, condoling with Britannia on the death of Admiral Viscount Nelson,’— allegorical piece drawn at a very early age after Trafalgar. Mr. Fuseli saw that piece, sir, when I was a student of the Academy, and said to me, ‘Young man, stick to the antique. There’s nothing like it.’ Those were ‘is very words. If you do me the favour to walk into the Hatrium, you’ll remark my great pictures also from English istry. An English historical painter, sir, should be employed chiefly in English istry. That’s what I would have done. Why ain’t there temples for us, where the people might read their history at a glance, and without knowing how to read? Why is my ‘Alfred’ ‘anging up in this ‘all? Because there is no patronage for a man who devotes himself to Igh art. You know the anecdote, Colonel? King Alfred flying from the Danes, took refuge in a neaterd’s ‘ut. The rustic’s wife told him to bake a cake, and the fugitive sovering set down to his ignoble task, and forgetting it in the cares of state, let the cake burn, on which the woman struck him. The moment chose is when she is lifting her ‘and to deliver the blow. The king receives it with majesty mingled with meekness. In the background the door of the ‘ut is open, letting in the royal officers to announce the Danes are defeated. The daylight breaks in at the aperture, signifying the dawning of ‘Ope. That story, sir, which I found in my researches in istry, has since become so popular, sir, that hundreds of artists have painted it, hundreds! I who discovered the legend, have my picture — here!’

“‘Now, Colonel,’ says the showman, ‘let me — let me lead you through the statue gallery. ‘Apollo,’ you see. The ‘Venus Hanadyomene,’ the glorious Venus of the Louvre, which I saw in 1814, Colonel, in its glory — the ‘Laocoon’— my friend Gibson’s ‘Nymth,’ you see, is the only figure I admit among the antiques. Now up this stair to the students’ room, where I trust my young friend, Mr. Newcome, will labour assiduously. Ars longa est, Mr. Newcome. Vita ——’”

“I trembled,” Clive said, “lest my father should introduce a certain favourite quotation, beginning ‘ingenuas didicisse’— but he refrained, and we went into the room, where a score of students were assembled, who all looked away from their drawing-boards as we entered.

“‘Here will be your place, Mr. Newcome,’ says the Professor, ‘and here that of your young friend — what did you say was his name?’ I told him Rigby, for my dear old governor has promised to pay for J. J. too, you know. ‘Mr. Chivers is the senior pupil and custos of the room in the absence of my son. Mr. Chivers, Mr. Newcome; gentlemen, Mr. Newcome, a new pupil. My son, Charles Gandish, Mr. Newcome. Assiduity, gentlemen, assiduity. Ars longa. Vita brevis, et linea recta brevissima est. This way, Colonel, down these steps, across the courtyard, to my own studio. There, gentlemen,’— and pulling aside a curtain, Gandish says ‘There!’”

“And what was the masterpiece behind it?” we ask of Clive, after we have done laughing at his imitation.

“Hand round the hat, J. J.!” cries Clive. “Now, ladies and gentlemen, pay your money. Now walk in, for the performance is ‘just a-going to begin.’” Nor would the rogue ever tell us what Gandish’s curtained picture was.

Not a successful painter, Mr. Gandish was an excellent master, and regarding all artists save one perhaps a good critic. Clive and his friend J. J. came soon after and commenced their studies under him. The one took his humble seat at the drawing-board, a poor mean-looking lad, with worn clothes, downcast features, and a figure almost deformed; the other adorned by good health, good looks, and the best of tailors; ushered into the studio with his father and Mr. Smee as his aides-de-camp on his entry; and previously announced there with all the eloquence of honest Gandish. “I bet he’s ‘ad cake and wine,” says one youthful student, of an epicurean and satirical turn. “I bet he might have it every day if he liked.” In fact Gandish was always handing him sweetmeats of compliments and cordials of approbation. He had coat-sleeves with silk linings — he had studs in his shirt. How different was the texture and colour of that garment, to the sleeves Bob Grimes displayed when he took his coat off to put on his working jacket! Horses used actually to come for him to Gandish’s door (which was situated in a certain lofty street in Soho). The Miss G.‘s would smile at him from the parlour window as he mounted and rode splendidly off; and those opposition beauties, the Miss Levisons, daughters of the professor of dancing over the way, seldom failed to greet the young gentleman with an admiring ogle from their great black eyes. Master Clive was pronounced an ‘out-and-outer,’ a ‘swell and no mistake,’ and complimented with scarce one dissentient voice by the simple academy at Gandish’s. Besides, he drew very well. There could be no doubt about that. Caricatures of the students of course were passing constantly among them, and in revenge for one which a huge red-haired Scotch student, Mr. Sandy M’Collop, had made of John James, Clive perpetrated a picture of Sandy which set the whole room in a roar; and when the Caledonian giant uttered satirical remarks against the assembled company, averring that they were a parcel of sneaks, a set of lick-spittles, and using epithets still more vulgar, Clive slipped off his fine silk-sleeved coat in an instant, invited Mr. M’Collop into the back-yard, instructed him in a science which the lad himself had acquired at Grey Friars, and administered two black eyes to Sandy, which prevented the young artist from seeing for some days after the head of the ‘Laocoon’ which he was copying. The Scotchman’s superior weight and age might have given the combat a different conclusion, had it endured long after Clive’s brilliant opening attack with his right and left; but Professor Gandish came out of his painting-room at the sound of battle, and could scarcely credit his own eyes when he saw those of poor M’Collop so darkened. To do the Scotchman justice, he bore Clive no rancour. They became friends there, and afterwards at Rome, whither they subsequently went to pursue their studies. The fame of Mr. M’Collop as an artist has long since been established. His pictures of ‘Lord Lovat in Prison,’ and ‘Hogarth painting him,’ of the ‘Blowing up of the Kirk of Field’ (painted for M’Collop of M’Collop), of the ‘Torture of the Covenanters,’ the ‘Murder of the Regent,’ the ‘Murder of Rizzio,’ and other historical pieces, all of course from Scotch history, have established his reputation in South as well as in North Britain. No one would suppose from the gloomy character of his works that Sandy M’Collop is one of the most jovial souls alive. Within six months after their little difference, Clive and he were the greatest of friends, and it was by the former’s suggestion that Mr. James Binnie gave Sandy his first commission, who selected the cheerful subject of ‘The Young Duke of Rothsay starving in Prison.’

During this period, Mr. Clive assumed the toga virilis, and beheld with inexpressible satisfaction the first growth of those mustachios which have since given him such a marked appearance.

Being at Gandish’s, and so near the dancing academy, what must he do but take lessons in the terpsichorean art too? — making himself as popular with the dancing folks as with the drawing folks, and the jolly king of his company everywhere. He gave entertainments to his fellow-students in the upper chambers in Fitzroy Square, which were devoted to his use, inviting his father and Mr. Binnie to those parties now and then. And songs were sung, and pipes were smoked, and many a pleasant supper eaten. There was no stint: but no excess. No young man was ever seen to quit those apartments the worse, as it is called, for liquor. Fred Bayham’s uncle the Bishop could not be more decorous than F. B. as he left the Colonel’s house, for the Colonel made that one of the conditions of his son’s hospitality, that nothing like intoxication should ensue from it. The good gentleman did not frequent the parties of the juniors. He saw that his presence rather silenced the young men; and left them to themselves, confiding in Clive’s parole, and went away to play his honest rubber of whist at the Club. And many a time he heard the young fellows’ steps tramping by his bedchamber door, as he lay wakeful within, happy to think his son was happy.

CHAPTER XVIII

New Companions

Clive used to give droll accounts of the young disciples at Gandish’s, who were of various ages and conditions, and in whose company the young fellow took his place with that good temper and gaiety which have seldom deserted him in life, and have put him at ease wherever his fate has led him. He is, in truth, as much at home in a fine drawing-room as in a public-house parlour; and can talk as pleasantly to the polite mistress of the mansion, as to the jolly landlady dispensing her drinks from her bar. Not one of the Gandishites but was after a while well inclined to the young fellow; from Mr. Chivers, the senior pupil, down to the little imp Harry Hooker, who knew as much mischief at twelve years old, and could draw as cleverly as many a student of five-and-twenty; and Bob Trotter, the diminutive fag of the studio, who ran on all the young men’s errands, and fetched them in apples, oranges, and walnuts. Clive opened his eyes with wonder when he first beheld these simple feasts, and the pleasure with which some of the young men partook of them. They were addicted to polonies; they did not disguise their love for Banbury cakes; they made bets in ginger-beer, and gave and took the odds in that frothing liquor. There was a young Hebrew amongst the pupils, upon whom his brother-students used playfully to press ham sandwiches, pork sausages, and the like. This young man (who has risen to great wealth subsequently, and was bankrupt only three months since) actually bought cocoa-nuts, and sold them at a profit amongst the lads. His pockets were never without pencil-cases, French chalk, garnet brooches, for which he was willing to bargain. He behaved very rudely to Gandish, who seemed to be afraid before him. It was whispered that the Professor was not altogether easy in his circumstances, and that the elder Moss had some mysterious hold over him. Honeyman and Bayham, who once came to see Clive at the studio, seemed each disturbed at beholding young Moss seated there (making a copy of the Marsyas). “Pa knows both those gents,” he informed Clive afterwards, with a wicked twinkle of his Oriental eyes. “Step in, Mr. Newcome, any day you are passing down Wardour Street, and see if you don’t want anything in our way.” (He pronounced the words in his own way, saying: “Step id, Bister Doocob, ady day idto Vordor Street,” etc.) This young gentleman could get tickets for almost all the theatres, which he gave or sold, and gave splendid accounts at Cavendish’s of the brilliant masquerades. Clive was greatly diverted at beholding Mr. Moss at one of these entertainments, dressed in a scarlet coat and top-boots, and calling out, “Yoicks! Hark forward!” fitfully to another Orientalist, his younger brother, attired like a midshipman. Once Clive bought a half-dozen of theatre tickets from Mr. Moss, which he distributed to the young fellows of the studio. But, when this nice young man tried further to tempt him on the next day, “Mr. Moss,” Clive said to him with much dignity, “I am very much obliged to you for your offer, but when I go to the play, I prefer paying at the doors.”

Mr. Chivers used to sit in one corner of the room, occupied over a lithographic stone. He was an uncouth and peevish young man; for ever finding fault with the younger pupils, whose butt he was. Next in rank and age was M’Collop, before named: and these two were at first more than usually harsh and captious with Clive, whose prosperity offended them, and whose dandified manners, free-and-easy ways, and evident influence over the younger scholars, gave umbrage to these elderly apprentices. Clive at first returned Mr. Chivers war for war, controlment for controlment; but when he found Chivers was the son of a helpless widow; that be maintained her by his lithographic vignettes for the music-sellers, and by the scanty remuneration of some lessons which he gave at a school at Highgate; — when Clive saw, or fancied he saw, the lonely senior eyeing with hungry eyes the luncheons of cheese and bread, and sweetstuff, which the young lads of the studio enjoyed, I promise you Mr. Clive’s wrath against Chivers was speedily turned into compassion and kindness, and he sought, and no doubt found, means of feeding Chivers without offending his testy independence.

Nigh to Gandish’s was, and perhaps is, another establishment for teaching the art of design — Barker’s, which had the additional dignity of a life academy and costume; frequented by a class of students more advanced than those of Gandish’s. Between these and the Barkerites there was a constant rivalry and emulation, in and out of doors. Gandish sent more pupils to the Royal Academy; Gandish had brought up three medallists; and the last R.A. student sent to Rome was a Gandishite. Barker, on the contrary, scorned and loathed Trafalgar Square, and laughed at its art. Barker exhibited in Pall Mall and Suffolk Street: he laughed at old Gandish and his pictures, made mincemeat of his “Angli and Angeli,” and tore “King Alfred” and his muffins to pieces. The young men of the respective schools used to meet at Lundy’s coffee-house and billiard-room, and smoke there, and do battle. Before Clive and his friend J. J. came to Gandish’s, the Barkerites were having the best of that constant match which the two academies were playing. Fred Bayham, who knew every coffee-house in town, and whose initials were scored on a thousand tavern doors, was for a while a constant visitor at Lundy’s, played pool with the young men, and did not disdain to dip his beard into their porter-pots, when invited to partake of their drink; treated them handsomely when he was in cash himself; and was an honorary member of Barker’s academy. Nay, when the guardsman was not forthcoming, who was standing for one of Barker’s heroic pictures, Bayham bared his immense arms and brawny shoulders, and stood as Prince Edward, with Philippa sucking the poisoned wound. He would take his friends up to the picture in the Exhibition, and proudly point to it. “Look at that biceps, sir, and now look at this — that’s Barker’s masterpiece, sir, and that’s the muscle of F. B., sir.” In no company was F. B. greater than in the society of the artists, in whose smoky haunts and airy parlours he might often be found. It was from F. B. that Clive heard of Mr. Chivers’ struggles and honest industry. A great deal of shrewd advice could F. B. give on occasion, and many a kind action and gentle office of charity was this jolly outlaw known to do and cause to be done. His advice to Clive was most edifying at this time of our young gentleman’s life, and he owns that he was kept from much mischief by this queer counsellor.

A few months after Clive and J. J. had entered at Gandish’s, that academy began to hold its own against its rival. The silent young disciple was pronounced to be a genius. His copies were beautiful in delicacy and finish. His designs were for exquisite grace and richness of fancy. Mr. Gandish took to himself the credit for J. J.‘s genius; Clive ever and fondly acknowledged the benefit he got from his friend’s taste and bright enthusiasm and sure skill. As for Clive, if he was successful in the academy he was doubly victorious out of it. His person was handsome, his courage high, his gaiety and frankness delightful and winning. His money was plenty and he spent it like a young king. He could speedily beat all the club at Lundy’s at billiards, and give points to the redoubted F. B. himself. He sang a famous song at their jolly supper-parties: and J. J. had no greater delight than to listen to his fresh voice, and watch the young conqueror at the billiard-table, where the balls seemed to obey him.

Clive was not the most docile of Mr. Gandish’s pupils. If he had not come to the studio on horseback, several of the young students averred, Gandish would not always have been praising him and quoting him as that professor certainly did. It must be confessed that the young ladies read the history of Clive’s uncle in the Book of Baronets, and that Gandish jun., probably with an eye to business, made a design of a picture, in which, according to that veracious volume, one of the Newcomes was represented as going cheerfully to the stake at Smithfield, surrounded by some very ill-favoured Dominicans, whose arguments did not appear to make the least impression upon the martyr of the Newcome family. Sandy M’Collop devised a counter picture, wherein the barber-surgeon of King Edward the Confessor was drawn, operating upon the beard of that monarch. To which piece of satire Clive gallantly replied by a design, representing Sawney Bean M’Collop, chief of the clan of that name, descending from his mountains into Edinburgh, and his astonishment at beholding a pair of breeches for the first time. These playful jokes passed constantly amongst the young men of Gandish’s studio. There was no one there who was not caricatured in one way or another. He whose eyes looked not very straight was depicted with a most awful squint. The youth whom nature had endowed with somewhat lengthy nose was drawn by the caricaturists with a prodigious proboscis. Little Bobby Moss, the young Hebrew artist from Wardour Street, was delineated with three hats and an old-clothes bag. Nor were poor J. J.‘s round shoulders spared, until Clive indignantly remonstrated at the hideous hunchback pictures which the boys made of his friend, and vowed it was a shame to make jokes at such a deformity.

Our friend, if the truth must be told regarding him, though one of the most frank, generous, and kind-hearted persons, is of a nature somewhat haughty and imperious, and very likely the course of life which he now led and the society which he was compelled to keep, served to increase some original defects in his character, and to fortify a certain disposition to think well of himself, with which his enemies not unjustly reproach him. He has been known very pathetically to lament that he was withdrawn from school too early, where a couple of years’ further course of thrashings from his tyrant, old Hodge, he avers, would have done him good. He laments that he was not sent to college, where if a young man receives no other discipline, at least he acquires that of meeting with his equals in society and of assuredly finding his betters: whereas in poor Mr. Gandish’s studio of art, our young gentleman scarcely found a comrade that was not in one way or other his flatterer, his inferior, his honest or dishonest admirer. The influence of his family’s rank and wealth acted more or less on all those simple folks, who would run on his errands and vied with each other in winning the young nabob’s favour. His very goodness of heart rendered him a more easy prey to their flattery, and his kind and jovial disposition led him into company from which he had been much better away. I am afraid that artful young Moss, whose parents dealt in pictures, furniture, gimcracks, and jewellery, victimised Clive sadly with rings and chains, shirt-studs and flaming shirt-pins, and such vanities, which the poor young rogue locked up in his desk generally, only venturing to wear them when he was out of his father’s sight or of Mr. Binnie’s, whose shrewd eyes watched him very keenly.

Mr. Clive used to leave home every day shortly after noon, when he was supposed to betake himself to Gandish’s studio. But was the young gentleman always at the drawing-board copying from the antique when his father supposed him to be so devotedly engaged? I fear his place was sometimes vacant. His friend J. J. worked every day and all day. Many a time the steady little student remarked his patron’s absence, and no doubt gently remonstrated with him, but when Clive did come to his work he executed it with remarkable skill and rapidity; and Ridley was too fond of him to say a word at home regarding the shortcomings of the youthful scapegrace. Candid readers may sometimes have heard their friend Jones’s mother lament that her darling was working too hard at college: or Harry’s sisters express their anxiety lest his too rigorous attendance in chambers (after which he will persist in sitting up all night reading those dreary law books which cost such an immense sum of money) should undermine dear Henry’s health; and to such acute persons a word is sufficient to indicate young Mr. Clive Newcome’s proceedings. Meanwhile his father, who knew no more of the world than Harry’s simple sisters or Jones’s fond mother, never doubted that all Clive’s doings were right, and that his boy was the best of boys.

“If that young man goes on as charmingly as he has begun,” Clive’s cousin, Barnes Newcome, said of his kinsman, “he will be a paragon. I saw him last night at Vauxhall in company with young Moss, whose father does bills and keeps the bric-a-brac shop in Wardour Street. Two or three other gentlemen, probably young old-clothes-men, who had concluded for the day the labours of the bag, joined Mr. Newcome and his friend, and they partook of rack-punch in an arbour. He is a delightful youth, cousin Clive, and I feel sure he is about to be an honour to our family.”

CHAPTER XIX

The Colonel at Home

Our good Colonel’s house had received a coat of paint, which, like Madame Latour’s rouge in her latter days, only served to make her careworn face look more ghastly. The kitchens were gloomy. The stables were gloomy. Great black passages; cracked conservatory; dilapidated bathroom, with melancholy waters moaning and fizzing from the cistern; the great large blank stone staircase — were all so many melancholy features in the general countenance of the house; but the Colonel thought it perfectly, cheerful and pleasant, and furnished it in his rough-and-ready way. One day a cartload of chairs; the next a waggonful of fenders, fire-irons, and glass and crockery — a quantity of supplies, in a word, he poured into the place. There were a yellow curtain in the back drawing-room, and green curtains in the front. The carpet was an immense bargain, bought dirt cheap, sir, at a sale in Euston Square. He was against the purchase of a carpet for the stairs. What was the good of it? What did men want with stair-carpets? His own apartment contained a wonderful assortment of lumber. Shelves which he nailed himself, old Indian garments, camphor trunks. What did he want with gewgaws? anything was good enough for an old soldier. But the spare bedroom was endowed with all sorts of splendour: a bed as big as a general’s tent, a cheval glass — whereas the Colonel shaved in a little cracked mirror, which cost him no more than King Stephen’s breeches — and a handsome new carpet; while the boards of the Colonel’s bedchamber were as bare — as bare as old Miss Scragg’s shoulders, which would be so much more comfortable were they covered up. Mr. Binnie’s bedchamber was neat, snug, and appropriate. And Clive had a study and bedroom at the top of the house, which he was allowed to furnish entirely according to his own taste. How he and Ridley revelled in Wardour Street! What delightful coloured prints of hunting, racing, and beautiful ladies, did they not purchase, mount with their own hands, cut out for screens, frame and glaze, and hang up on the walls. When the rooms were ready they gave a party, inviting the Colonel and Mr. Binnie by note of hand, two gentlemen from Lamb Court, Temple, Mr. Honeyman, and Fred Bayham. We must have Fred Bayham. Fred Bayham frankly asked, “Is Mr. Sherrick, with whom you have become rather intimate lately — and mind you I say nothing, but I recommend strangers in London to be cautious about their friends — is Mr. Sherrick coming to you, young ’un? because if he is, F. B. must respectfully decline.”

Mr. Sherrick was not invited, and accordingly F. B. came. But Sherrick was invited on other days, and a very queer society did our honest Colonel gather together in that queer house, so dreary, so dingy, so comfortless, so pleasant. He, who was one of the most hospitable men alive, loved to have his friends around him; and it must be confessed that the evening parties now occasionally given in Fitzroy Square were of the oddest assemblage of people. The correct East India gentlemen from Hanover Square: the artists, Clive’s friends, gentlemen of all ages with all sorts of beards, in every variety of costume. Now and again a stray schoolfellow from Grey Friars, who stared, as well he might, at the company in which he found himself. Sometimes a few ladies were brought to these entertainments. The immense politeness of the good host compensated some of them for the strangeness of his company. They had never seen such odd-looking hairy men as those young artists, nor such wonderful women as Colonel Newcome assembled together. He was good to all old maids and poor widows. Retired captains with large families of daughters found in him their best friend. He sent carriages to fetch them and bring them back from the suburbs where they dwelt. Gandish, Mrs. Gandish, and the four Miss Gandishes in scarlet robes, were constant attendants at the Colonel’s soirees.

“I delight, sir, in the ‘ospitality of my distinguished military friend,” Mr. Gandish would say. “The harmy has always been my passion. — I served in the Soho Volunteers three years myself, till the conclusion of the war, sir, till the conclusion of the war.”

It was a great sight to see Mr. Frederick Bayham engaged in the waltz or the quadrille with some of the elderly houris at the Colonel’s parties. F. B., like a good-natured F. B. as he was, always chose the plainest women as partners, and entertained them with profound compliments and sumptuous conversation. The Colonel likewise danced quadrilles with the utmost gravity. Waltzing had been invented long since his time: but he practised quadrilles when they first came in, about 1817, in Calcutta. To see him leading up a little old maid, and bowing to her when the dance was ended, and performing cavalier seul with stately simplicity, was a sight indeed to remember. If Clive Newcome had not such a fine sense of humour, he would have blushed for his father’s simplicity. — As it was, the elder’s guileless goodness and childlike trustfulness endeared him immensely to his son. “Look at the old boy, Pendennis,” he would say, “look at him leading up that old Miss Tidswell to the piano. Doesn’t he do it like an old duke? I lay a wager she thinks she is going to be my mother-inlaw; all the women are in love with him, young and old. ‘Should he upbraid?’ There she goes. ‘I’ll own that he’ll prevail, and sing as sweetly as a nigh-tin-gale!’ Oh, you old warbler! Look at father’s old head bobbing up and down! Wouldn’t he do for Sir Roger de Coverley? How do you do, Uncle Charles? — I say, M’Collop, how gets on the Duke of What-d’ye-call-’em starving in the castle? — Gandish says it’s very good.” The lad retires to a group of artists. Mr. Honeyman comes up with a faint smile playing on his features, like moonlight on the facade of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel.

“These parties are the most singular I have ever seen,” whispers Honeyman. “In entering one of these assemblies, one is struck with the immensity of London: and with the sense of one’s own insignificance. Without, I trust, departing from my clerical character, nay, from my very avocation as incumbent of a London chapel — I have seen a good deal of the world, and here is an assemblage no doubt of most respectable persons, on scarce one of whom I ever set eyes till this evening. Where does my good brother find such characters?”

“That,” says Mr. Honeyman’s interlocutor, “is the celebrated, though neglected artist, Professor Gandish, whom nothing but jealousy has kept out of the Royal Academy. Surely you have heard of the great Gandish?”

“Indeed I am ashamed to confess my ignorance, but a clergyman busy with his duties knows little, perhaps too little, of the fine arts.”

“Gandish, sir, is one of the greatest geniuses on whom our ungrateful country ever trampled; he exhibited his first celebrated picture of ‘Alfred in the Neatherd’s Hut’ (he says he is the first who ever touched that subject) in 180-; but Lord Nelson’s death, and victory of Trafalgar, occupied the public attention at that time, and Gandish’s work went unnoticed. In the year 1816, he painted his great work of ‘Boadicea.’ You see her before you. That lady in yellow, with a light front and a turban. Boadicea became Mrs. Gandish in that year. So late as ‘27, he brought before the world his ‘Non Angli sed Angeli.’ Two of the angels are yonder in sea-green dresses — the Misses Gandish. The youth in Berlin gloves was the little male angelus of that piece.”

“How came you to know all this, you strange man?” says Mr. Honeyman.

“Simply because Gandish has told me twenty times. He tells the story to everybody, every time he sees them. He told it today at dinner. Boadicea and the angels came afterwards.”

“Satire! satire! Mr. Pendennis,” says the divine, holding up a reproving finger of lavender kid, “beware of a wicked wit! — But when a man has that tendency, I know how difficult it is to restrain. My dear Colonel, good evening! You have a great reception to-night. That gentleman’s bass voice is very fine; Mr. Pendennis and I were admiring it. ‘The Wolf’ is a song admirably adapted to show its capabilities.”

Mr. Gandish’s autobiography had occupied the whole time of the retirement of the ladies from Colonel Newcome’s dinner-table. Mr. Hobson Newcome had been asleep during the performance; Sir Curry Baughton and one or two of the Colonel’s professional and military guests, silent and puzzled. Honest Mr. Binnie, with his shrewd good-humoured face, sipping his claret as usual, and delivering a sly joke now and again to the gentlemen at his end of the table. Mrs. Newcome had sat by him in sulky dignity; was it that Lady Baughton’s diamonds offended her? — her ladyship and her daughters being attired in great splendour for a Court ball, which they were to attend that evening. Was she hurt because she was not invited to that Royal Entertainment? As the festivities were to take place at an early hour, the ladies bidden were obliged to quit the Colonel’s house before the evening part commenced, from which Lady Anne declared she was quite vexed to be obliged to run away.

Lady Anne Newcome had been as gracious on this occasion as her sister-inlaw had been out of humour. Everything pleased her in the house. She had no idea that there were such fine houses in that quarter of the town. She thought the dinner so very nice — that Mr Binnie such a good-humoured-looking gentleman. That stout gentleman with his collars turned down like Lord Byron, so exceedingly clever and full of information. A celebrated artist was he? (courtly Mr. Smee had his own opinion upon that point, but did not utter it). All those artists are so eccentric and amusing and clever. Before dinner she insisted upon seeing Clive’s den with its pictures and casts and pipes. “You horrid young wicked creature, have you begun to smoke already?” she asks, as she admires his room. She admired everything. Nothing could exceed her satisfaction.

The sisters-inlaw kissed on meeting, with that cordiality so delightful to witness in sisters who dwell together in unity. It was, “My dear Maria, what an age since I have seen you!” “My dear Anne, our occupations are so engrossing, our circles are so different,” in a languid response from the other. “Sir Brian is not coming, I suppose? Now, Colonel,” she turns in a frisky manner towards him, and taps her fan, “did I not tell you Sir Brian would not come?”

“He is kept at the House of Commons, my dear. Those dreadful committees. He was quite vexed at not being able to come.”

“I know, I know, dear Anne, there are always excuses to gentlemen in Parliament; I have received many such. Mr. Shaloo and Mr. M’Sheny, the leaders of our party, often and often disappoint me. I knew Brian would not come. My husband came down from Marble Head on purpose this morning. Nothing would have induced us to give up our brother’s party.”

“I believe you. I did come down from Marble Head this morning, and I was four hours in the hay-field before I came away, and in the City till five, and I’ve been to look at a horse afterwards at Tattersall’s, and I’m as hungry as a hunter, and as tired as a hodman,” says Mr. Newcome, with his hands in his pockets. “How do you do, Mr. Pendennis? Maria, you remember Mr. Pendennis — don’t you?”

“Perfectly,” replies the languid Maria. Mrs. Gandish, Colonel Topham, Major M’Cracken. are announced, and then, in diamonds, feathers, and splendour, Lady Baughton and Miss Baughton, who are going to the Queen’s ball, and Sir Curry Baughton, not quite in his deputy-lieutenant’s uniform as yet, looking very shy in a pair of blue trousers, with a glittering stripe of silver down the seams. Clive looks with wonder and delight at these ravishing ladies, rustling in fresh brocades, with feathers, diamonds, and every magnificence. Aunt Anne has not her Court dress on as yet; and Aunt Maria blushes as she beholds the new comers, having thought fit to attire herself in a high dress, with a Quaker-like simplicity, and a pair of gloves more than ordinarily dingy. The pretty little foot she has, it is true, and sticks it out from habit; but what is Mrs. Newcome’s foot compared with that sweet little chaussure which Miss Baughton exhibits and withdraws? The shiny white satin slipper, the pink stocking which ever and anon peeps from the rustling folds of her robe, and timidly retires into its covert — that foot, light as it is, crushes Mrs. Newcome.

No wonder she winces, and is angry; there are some mischievous persons who rather like to witness that discomfiture. All Mr. Smee’s flatteries that day failed to soothe her. She was in the state in which his canvasses sometimes are, when he cannot paint on them.

What happened to her alone in the drawing-room, when the ladies invited to the dinner had departed, and those convoked to the soiree began to arrive — what happened to her or to them I do not like to think. The Gandishes arrived first. Boadicea and the angels. We judged from the fact that young Mr. Gandish came blushing in to the dessert. Name after name was announced of persons of whom Mrs. Newcome knew nothing. The young and the old, the pretty and homely, they were all in their best dresses, and no doubt stared at Mrs. Newcome, so obstinately plain in her attire. When we came upstairs from dinner, we found her seated entirely by herself, tapping her fan at the fireplace. Timid groups of persons were round about, waiting for the irruption of the gentlemen, until the pleasure should begin. Mr. Newcome, who came upstairs yawning, was heard to say to his wife, “Oh, dam, let’s cut!” And they went downstairs, and waited until their carriage had arrived, when they quitted Fitzroy Square.

Mr. Barnes Newcome presently arrived, looking particularly smart and lively, with a large flower in his button-hole, and leaning on the arm of a friend. “How do you do, Pendennis?” he says, with a peculiarly dandified air. “Did you dine here? You look as if you dined here” (and Barnes, certainly, as if he had dined elsewhere). “I was only asked to the cold soiree. Who did you have for dinner? You had my mamma and the Baughtons, and my uncle and aunt, I know, for they are down below in the library, waiting for the carriage: he is asleep, and she is as sulky as a bear.”

“Why did Mrs. Newcome say I should find nobody I knew up here?” asks Barnes’s companion. “On the contrary, there are lots of fellows I know. There’s Fred Bayham, dancing like a harlequin. There’s old Gandish, who used to be my drawing-master; and my Brighton friends, your uncle and cousin, Barnes. What relations are they to me? must be some relations. Fine fellow your cousin.”

“Hm,” growls Barnes. “Very fine boy — not spirited at all — not fond of flattery — not surrounded by toadies — not fond of drink — delightful boy! See yonder, the young fellow is in conversation with his most intimate friend, a little crooked fellow, with long hair. Do you know who he is? he is the son of old Todmoreton’s butler. Upon my life it’s true.”

“And suppose it is; what the deuce do I care!” cries Lord Kew. “Who can be more respectable than a butler? A man must be somebody’s son. When I am a middle-aged man, I hope humbly I shall look like a butler myself. Suppose you were to put ten of Gunter’s men into the House of Lords, do you mean to say that they would not look as well as any average ten peers in the house? Look at Lord Westcot; he is exactly like a butler that’s why the country has such confidence in him. I never dine with him but I fancy he ought to be at the sideboard. Here comes that insufferable little old Smee. How do you do, Mr. Smee?”

Mr. Smee smiles his sweetest smile. With his rings, diamond shirt-studs, and red velvet waistcoat, there are few more elaborate middle-aged bucks than Alfred Smee. “How do you do, my dear lord?” cries the bland one. “Who would ever have thought of seeing your lordship here?”

“Why the deuce not, Mr. Smee?” asks Lord Kew, abruptly. “Is it wrong to come here? I have been in the house only five minutes, and three people have said the same thing to me — Mrs. Newcome, who is sitting downstairs in a rage waiting for her carriage, the condescending Barnes, and yourself. Why do you come here, Since? How are you, Mr. Gandish? How do the fine arts go?”

“Your lordship’s kindness in asking for them will cheer them if anything will,” says Mr. Gandish. “Your noble family has always patronised them. I am proud to be reckonised by your lordship in this house, where the distinguished father of one of my pupils entertains us this evening. A most promising young man is young Mr. Clive — talents for a hamateur really most remarkable.”

“Excellent, upon my word — excellent,” cries Mr. Smee. “I’m not an animal painter myself, and perhaps don’t think much of that branch of the profession; but it seems to me the young fellow draws horses with the most wonderful spirit. I hope Lady Walham is very well, and that she was satisfied with her son’s portrait. Stockholm, I think, your brother is appointed to? I wish I might be allowed to paint the elder as well as the younger brother, my lord.”

“I am an historical painter; but whenever Lord Kew is painted I hope his lordship will think of the old servant of his lordship’s family, Charles Gandish,” cries the Professor.

“I am like Susannah between the two Elders,” says Lord Kew. “Let my innocence alone, Smee. Mr. Gandish, don’t persecute my modesty with your addresses. I won’t be painted. I am not a fit subject for a historical painter, Mr. Gandish.”

“Halcibiades sat to Praxiteles, and Pericles to Phridjas,” remarks Gandish.

“The cases are not quite similar,” says Lord Kew, languidly. “You are no doubt fully equal to Praxiteles; but I don’t see my resemblance to the other party. I should not look well as a hero, and Smee could not paint me handsome enough.”

“I would try, my dear lord,” cries Mr. Smee.

“I know you would, my dear fellow,” Lord Kew answered, looking at the painter with a lazy scorn in his eyes. “Where is Colonel Newcome, Mr. Gandish?” Mr. Gandish replied that our gallant host was dancing a quadrille in the next room; and the young gentleman walked on towards that apartment to pay his respects to the giver of the evening’s entertainment.

Newcome’s behaviour to the young peer was ceremonious, but not in the least servile. He saluted the other’s superior rank, not his person, as he turned the guard out for a general officer. He never could be brought to be otherwise than cold and grave in his behaviour to John James; nor was it without difficulty, when young Ridley and his son became pupils at Gandish’s, he could be induced to invite the former to his parties. “An artist is any man’s equal,” he said. “I have no prejudice of that sort; and think that Sir Joshua Reynolds and Doctor Johnson were fit company for any person, of whatever rank. But a young man whose father may have had to wait behind me at dinner, should not be brought into my company.” Clive compromises the dispute with a laugh. “First,” says he, “I will wait till I am asked; and then I promise I will not go to dine with Lord Todmoreton.”

CHAPTER XX

Contains more Particulars of the Colonel and his Brethren

Clive’s amusements, studies, or occupations, such as they were, filled his day pretty completely, and caused the young gentleman’s time to pass rapidly and pleasantly, his father, it must be owned, had no such resources, and the good Colonel’s idleness hung heavily upon him. He submitted very kindly to this infliction, however, as he would have done to any other for Clive’s sake; and though he may have wished himself back with his regiment again, and engaged in the pursuits in which his life had been spent, he chose to consider these desires as very selfish and blameable on his part, and sacrificed them resolutely for his son’s welfare. The young fellow, I dare say, gave his parent no more credit for his long self-denial, than many other children award to theirs. We take such life-offerings as our due commonly. The old French satirist avers that, in a love affair, there is usually one person who loves, and the other, qui se laisse aimer; it is only in later days, perhaps, when the treasures of love are spent, and the kind hand cold which ministered them, that we remember how tender it was; how soft to soothe; how eager to shield; how ready to support and caress. The ears may no longer hear, which would have received our words of thanks so delightedly. Let us hope those fruits of love, though tardy, are yet not all too late; and though we bring our tribute of reverence and gratitude, it may be to a gravestone, there is an acceptance even there for the stricken heart’s oblation of fond remorse, contrite memories, and pious tears. I am thinking of the love of Clive Newcome’s father for him (and, perhaps, young reader, that of yours and mine for ourselves); how the old man lay awake, and devised kindnesses, and gave his all for the love of his son; and the young man took, and spent, and slept, and made merry. Did we not say at our tale’s commencement that all stories were old? Careless prodigals and anxious elders have been from the beginning:— and so may love, and repentance, and forgiveness endure even till the end.

The stifling fogs, the slippery mud, the dun dreary November mornings, when the Regent’s Park, where the Colonel took his early walk, was wrapped in yellow mist, must have been a melancholy exchange for the splendour of Eastern sunrise, and the invigorating gallop at dawn, to which, for so many years of his life, Thomas Newcome had accustomed himself. His obstinate habit of early waking accompanied him to England, and occasioned the despair of his London domestics, who, if master wasn’t so awful early, would have found no fault with him; for a gentleman as gives less trouble to his servants; as scarcely ever rings the bell for his self; as will brush his own clothes; as will even boil his own shaving-water in the little hetna which he keeps up in his dressing-room; as pays so regular, and never looks twice at the accounts; such a man deserved to be loved by his household, and I dare say comparisons were made between him and his son, who do ring the bells, and scold if his boots ain’t nice, and horder about like a young lord. But Clive, though imperious, was very liberal and good-humoured, and not the worse served because he insisted upon exerting his youthful authority. As for friend Binnie, he had a hundred pursuits of his own, which made his time pass very comfortably. He had all the Lectures at the British Institution; he had the Geographical Society, the Asiatic Society, and the Political Economy Club; and though he talked year after year of going to visit his relations in Scotland, the months and seasons passed away, and his feet still beat the London pavement.

In spite of the cold reception his brothers gave him, duty was duty, and Colonel Newcome still proposed, or hoped to be well with the female members of the Newcome family; and having, as we have said, plenty of time on his hands, and living at no very great distance from either of his brothers’ town houses, when their wives were in London, the elder Newcome was for paying them pretty constant visits. But after the good gentleman had called twice or thrice upon his sister-inlaw in Bryanstone Square — bringing, as was his wont, a present for this little niece, or a book for that — Mrs. Newcome, with her usual virtue, gave him to understand that the occupation of an English matron, who, besides her multifarious family duties, had her own intellectual culture to mind, would not allow her to pass the mornings in idle gossips: and of course took great credit to herself for having so rebuked him. “I am not above instruction of any age,” says she, thanking Heaven (or complimenting it, rather, for having created a being so virtuous and humble-minded). “When Professor Schroff comes, I sit with my children, and take lessons in German — and I say my verbs with Maria and Tommy in the same class!” Yes, with curtsies and fine speeches she actually bowed her brother out of doors; and the honest gentleman meekly left her, though with bewilderment, as he thought of the different hospitality to which he had been accustomed in the East, where no friend’s house was ever closed to him, where no neighbour was so busy but he had time to make Thomas Newcome welcome.

When Hobson Newcome’s boys came home for the holidays, their kind uncle was for treating them to the sights of the town, but here Virtue again interposed and laid its interdict upon pleasure. “Thank you, very much, my dear Colonel,” says Virtue, “there never was surely such a kind, affectionate, unselfish creature as you are, and so indulgent for children, but my boys and yours are brought up on a very different plan. Excuse me for saying that I do not think it is advisable that they should even see too much of each other. Clive’s company is not good for them.”

“Great heavens, Maria!” cries the Colonel, starting up, “do you mean that my boy’s society is not good enough for any boy alive?”

Maria turned very red: she had said not more than she meant, but more than she meant to say. “My dear Colonel, how hot we are! how angry you Indian gentlemen become with us poor women! Your boy is much older than mine. He lives with artists, with all sorts of eccentric people. Our children are bred on quite a diferent plan. Hobson will succeed his father in the bank, and dear Samuel I trust will go into the Church. I told you, before, the views I had regarding the boys: but it was most kind of you to think of them — most generous and kind.”

“That nabob of ours is a queer fish,” Hobson Newcome remarked to his nephew Barnes. “He is as proud as Lucifer, he is always taking huff about one thing or the other. He went off in a fume the other night because your aunt objected to his taking the boys to the play. She don’t like their going to the play. My mother didn’t either. Your aunt is a woman who is uncommon wideawake, I can tell you.”

“I always knew, sir, that my aunt was perfectly aware of the time of the day,” says Barnes, with a bow.

“And then the Colonel flies out about his boy, and says that my wife insulted him! I used to like that boy. Before his father came he was a good lad enough — a jolly brave little fellow.”

“I confess I did not know Mr. Clive at that interesting period of his existence,” remarks Barnes.

“But since he has taken this madcap freak of turning painter,” the uncle continues, “there is no understanding the chap. Did you ever see such a set of fellows as the Colonel had got together at his party the other night? Dirty chaps in velvet coats and beards? They looked like a set of mountebanks. And this young Clive is going to turn painter!”

“Very advantageous thing for the family. He’ll do our pictures for nothing. I always said he was a darling boy,” simpered Barnes.

“Darling jackass!” growled out the senior. “Confound it, why doesn’t my brother set him up in some respectable business? I ain’t proud. I have not married an earl’s daughter. No offence to you, Barnes.”

“Not at all, sir. I can’t help it if my grandfather is a gentleman,” says Barnes, with a fascinating smile.

The uncle laughs. “I mean I don’t care what a fellow is if he is a good fellow. But a painter! hang it — a painter’s no trade at all — I don’t fancy seeing one of our family sticking up pictures for sale. I don’t like it, Barnes.”

“Hush! here comes his distinguished friend, Mr. Pendennis,” whispers Barnes; and the uncle growling out, “Damn all literary fellows — all artists — the whole lot of them!” turns away. Barnes waves three languid fingers of recognition towards Pendennis: and when the uncle and nephew have moved out of the club newspaper room, little Tom Eaves comes up and tells the present reporter every word of their conversation.

Very soon Mrs. Newcome announced that their Indian brother found the society of Bryanstone Square very little to his taste, as indeed how should he? being a man of a good harmless disposition certainly, but of small intellectual culture. It could not be helped. She had done her utmost to make him welcome, and grieved that their pursuits were not more congenial. She heard that he was much more intimate in Park Lane. Possibly the superior rank of Lady Anne’s family might present charms to Colonel Newcome, who fell asleep at her assemblies. His boy, she was afraid, was leading the most irregular life. He was growing a pair of mustachios, and going about with all sorts of wild associates. She found no fault; who was she, to find fault with any one? But she had been compelled to hint that her children must not be too intimate with him. And so, between one brother who meant no unkindness, and another who was all affection and goodwill, this undoubting woman created difference, distrust, dislike, which might one day possibly lead to open rupture. The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts: but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?

To her sister-inlaw, Lady Anne, the Colonel’s society was more welcome. The affectionate gentleman never tired of doing kindnesses to his brother’s many children; and as Mr. Clive’s pursuits now separated him a good deal from his father, the Colonel, not perhaps without a sigh that fate should so separate him from the society which he loved best in the world, consoled himself as best he might with his nephews and nieces, especially with Ethel, for whom his belle passion conceived at first sight never diminished. If Uncle Newcome had a hundred children, Ethel said, who was rather jealous of disposition, he would spoil them all. He found a fine occupation in breaking a pretty little horse for her, of which he made her a present, and there was no horse in the Park that was so handsome, and surely no girl who looked more beautiful than Ethel Newcome with her broad hat and red ribbon, with her thick black locks waving round her bright face, galloping along the ride on Bhurtpore. Occasionally Clive was at their riding-parties, when the Colonel would fall back and fondly survey the young people cantering side by side over the grass: but by a tacit convention it was arranged that the cousins should be but seldom together; the Colonel might be his niece’s companion and no one could receive him with a more joyous welcome, but when Mr. Clive made his appearance with his father at the Park Lane door, a certain gene was visible in Miss Ethel, who would never mount except with Colonel Newcome’s assistance, and who, especially after Mr. Clive’s famous mustachios made their appearance, rallied him, and remonstrated with him regarding those ornaments, and treated him with much distance and dignity. She asked him if he was going into the army? she could not understand how any but military men could wear mustachios; and then she looked fondly and archly at her uncle, and said she liked none that were not grey.

Clive set her down as a very haughty, spoiled, aristocratic young creature. If he had been in love with her, no doubt he would have sacrificed even those beloved new-born whiskers for the charmer. Had he not already bought on credit the necessary implements in a fine dressing-case, from young Moss? But he was not in love with her; otherwise he would have found a thousand opportunities of riding with her, walking with her, meeting her, in spite of all prohibitions tacit or expressed, all governesses, guardians, mamma’s punctilios, and kind hints from friends. For a while, Mr. Clive thought himself in love with his cousin; than whom no more beautiful young girl could be seen in any park, ball, or drawing-room; and he drew a hundred pictures of her, and discoursed about her beauties to J. J., who fell in love with her on hearsay. But at this time Mademoiselle Saltarelli was dancing at Drury Lane Theatre, and it certainly may be said that Clive’s first love was bestowed upon that beauty: whose picture of course he drew in most of her favourite characters; and for whom his passion lasted until the end of the season, when her night was announced, tickets to be had at the theatre, or of Mademoiselle Saltarelli, Buckingham Street, Strand. Then it was that with a throbbing heart and a five-pound note, to engage places for the houri’s benefit, Clive beheld Madame Rogomme, Mademoiselle Saltarelli’s mother, who entertained him in the French language in a dark parlour smelling of onions. And oh! issuing from the adjoining dining-room (where was a dingy vision of a feast and pewter pots upon a darkling tablecloth), could that lean, scraggy, old, beetle-browed yellow face, who cried, “Ou es tu donc, maman?” with such a shrill nasal voice — could that elderly vixen be that blooming and divine Saltarelli? Clive drew her picture as she was, and a likeness of Madame Rogomme, her mamma; a Mosaic youth, profusely jewelled, and scented at once with tobacco and eau-de-cologne, occupied Clive’s stall on Mademoiselle Saltarelli’s night. It was young Mr. Moss, of Gandish’s to whom Newcome ceded his place, and who laughed (as he always did at Clive’s jokes) when the latter told the story of his interview with the dancer. “Paid five pound to see that woman! I could have took you behind the scenes” (or “beide the seeds,” Mr. Moss said) “and showed her to you for dothing.” Did he take Clive behind the scenes? Over this part of the young gentleman’s life, without implying the least harm to him — for have not others been behind the scenes; and can there be any more dreary object than those whitened and raddled old women who shudder at the slips? — over this stage of Clive Newcome’s life we may surely drop the curtain.

It is pleasanter to contemplate that kind old face of Clive’s father, that sweet young blushing lady by his side, as the two ride homewards at sunset. The grooms behind in quiet conversation about horses, as men never tire of talking about horses. Ethel wants to know about battles; about lovers’ lamps, which she has read of in Lalla Rookh. “Have you ever seen them, uncle, floating down the Ganges of a night?” About Indian widows. “Did you actually see one burning, and hear her scream as you rode up?” She wonders whether he will tell her anything about Clive’s mother: how she must have loved Uncle Newcome! Ethel can’t bear, somehow, to think that her name was Mrs. Casey, perhaps he was very fond of her; though he scarcely ever mentions her name. She was nothing like that good old funny Miss Honeyman at Brighton. Who could the person be? — a person that her uncle knew ever so long ago — a French lady, whom her uncle says Ethel often resembles? That is why he speaks French so well. He can recite whole pages out of Racine. Perhaps it was the French lady who taught him. And he was not very happy at the Hermitage (though grandpapa was a very kind good man), and he upset papa in a little carriage, and was wild, and got into disgrace, and was sent to India? He could not have been very bad, Ethel thinks, looking at him with her honest eyes. Last week he went to the Drawing-room, and papa presented him. His uniform of grey and silver was quite old, yet he looked much grander than Sir Brian in his new deputy-lieutenant’s dress. “Next year, when I am presented, you must come too, sir,” says Ethel. “I insist upon it, you must come too!”

“I will order a new uniform, Ethel,” says her uncle.

The girl laughs. “When little Egbert took hold of your sword, uncle, and asked you how many people you had killed, do you know I had the same question in my mind; and I thought when you went to the Drawing-room, perhaps the King will knight him. But instead he knighted mamma’s apothecary, Sir Danby Jilks: that horrid little man, and I won’t have you knighted any more.”

“I hope Egbert won’t ask Sir Danby Jilks how many people HE has killed,” says the Colonel, laughing; but thinking the joke too severe upon Sir Danby and the profession, he forthwith apologises by narrating many anecdotes he knows to the credit of surgeons. How, when the fever broke out on board the ship going to India, their surgeon devoted himself to the safety of the crew, and died himself, leaving directions for the treatment of the patients when he was gone! What heroism the doctors showed during the cholera in India; and what courage he had seen some of them exhibit in action: attending the wounded men under the hottest fire, and exposing themselves as readily as the bravest troops. Ethel declares that her uncle always will talk of other people’s courage, and never say a word about his own; “and the only reason,” she says, “which made me like that odious Sir Thomas de Boots, who laughs so, and looks so red, and pays such horrid compliments to all ladies, was, that he praised you, uncle, at Newcome, last year, when Barnes and he came to us at Christmas. Why did you not come? Mamma and I went to see your old nurse; and we found her such a nice old lady.” So the pair talk kindly on, riding homewards through the pleasant summer twilight. Mamma had gone out to dinner; and there were cards for three parties afterwards. “Oh, how I wish it was next year!” says Miss Ethel.

Many a splendid assembly, and many a brilliant next year, will the ardent and hopeful young creature enjoy; but in the midst of her splendour and triumphs, buzzing flatterers, conquered rivals, prostrate admirers, no doubt she will think sometimes of that quiet season before the world began for her, and that dear old friend, on whose arm she leaned while she was yet a young girl.

The Colonel comes to Park Street early in the forenoon, when the mistress of the house, surrounded by her little ones, is administering dinner to them. He behaves with splendid courtesy to Miss Quigley, the governess, and makes a point of taking wine with her, and of making a most profound bow during that ceremony. Miss Quigley cannot help thinking Colonel Newcome’s bow very fine. She has an idea that his late Majesty must have bowed in that way: she flutteringly imparts this opinion to Lady Anne’s maid; who tells her mistress, who tells Miss Ethel, who watches the Colonel the next time he takes wine with Miss Quigley, and they laugh, and then Ethel tells him; so that the gentleman and the governess have to blush ever after when they drink wine together. When she is walking with her little charges in the Park, or in that before-mentioned paradise nigh to Apsley House, faint signals of welcome appear on her wan cheeks. She knows the dear Colonel amongst a thousand horsemen. If Ethel makes for her uncle purses, guard-chains, antimacassars, and the like beautiful and useful articles, I believe it is in reality Miss Quigley who does four-fifths of the work, as she sits alone in the schoolroom, high, high up in that lone house, when the little ones are long since asleep, before her dismal little tea-tray, and her little desk containing her mother’s letters and her mementos of home.

There are, of course, numberless fine parties in Park Lane, where the Colonel knows he would be very welcome. But if there be grand assemblies, he does not care to come. “I like to go to the club best,” he says to Lady Anne. “We talk there as you do here about persons, and about Jack marrying, and Tom dying, and so forth. But we have known Jack and Tom all our lives, and so are interested in talking about them. Just as you are in speaking of your own friends and habitual society. They are people whose names I have sometimes read in the newspaper, but whom I never thought of meeting until I came to your house. What has an old fellow like me to say to your young dandies or old dowagers?”

“Mamma is very odd and sometimes very captious, my dear Colonel,” said Lady Anne, with a blush; “she suffers so frightfully from tic that we are all bound to pardon her.”

Truth to tell, old Lady Kew had been particularly rude to Colonel Newcome and Clive. Ethel’s birthday befell in the spring, on which occasion she was wont to have a juvenile assembly, chiefly of girls of her own age and condition; who came, accompanied by a few governesses, and they played and sang their little duets and choruses together, and enjoyed a gentle refection of sponge-cakes, jellies, tea, and the like. — The Colonel, who was invited to this little party, sent a fine present to his favourite Ethel; and Clive and his friend J. J. made a funny series of drawings, representing the life of a young lady as they imagined it, and drawing her progress from her cradle upwards: now engaged with her doll, then with her dancing-master; now marching in her back-board; now crying over her German lessons: and dressed for her first ball finally, and bestowing her hand upon a dandy, of preternatural ugliness, who was kneeling at her feet as the happy man. This picture was the delight of the laughing happy girls; except, perhaps, the little cousins from Bryanstone Square, who were invited to Ethel’s party, but were so overpowered by the prodigious new dresses in which their mamma had attired them, that they could admire nothing but their rustling pink frocks, their enormous sashes, their lovely new silk stockings.

Lady Kew coming to London attended on the party, and presented her granddaughter with a sixpenny pincushion. The Colonel had sent Ethel a beautiful little gold watch and chain. Her aunt had complimented her with that refreshing work, Alison’s History of Europe, richly bound. — Lady Kew’s pincushion made rather a poor figure among the gifts, whence probably arose her ladyship’s ill-humour.

Ethel’s grandmother became exceedingly testy when, the Colonel arriving, Ethel ran up to him and thanked him for the beautiful watch, in return for which she gave him a kiss, which, I dare say, amply repaid Colonel Newcome; and shortly after him Mr. Clive arrived, looking uncommonly handsome, with that smart little beard and mustachio with which nature had recently gifted him. As he entered, all the girls, who had been admiring his pictures, began to clap their hands. Mr. Clive Newcome blushed, and looked none the worse for that indication of modesty.

Lady Kew had met Colonel Newcome a half-dozen times at her daughter’s house: but on this occasion she had quite forgotten him, for when the Colonel made her a bow, her ladyship regarded him steadily, and beckoning her daughter to her, asked who the gentleman was who has just kissed Ethel? Trembling as she always did before her mother, Lady Anne explained. Lady Kew said “Oh!” and left Colonel Newcome blushing and rather embarrasse de sa personne — before her.

With the clapping of hands that greeted Clive’s arrival, the Countess was by no means more good-humoured. Not aware of her wrath, the young fellow, who had also previously been presented to her, came forward presently to make her his compliments. “Pray, who are you?” she said, looking at him very earnestly in the face. He told her his name.

“Hm,” said Lady Kew, “I have heard of you, and I have heard very little good of you.”

“Will your ladyship please to give me your informant?” cried out Colonel Newcome.

Barnes Newcome, who had condescended to attend his sister’s little fete, and had been languidly watching the frolics of the young people, looked very much alarmed.

CHAPTER XXI

Is Sentimental, but Short

Without wishing to disparage the youth of other nations, I think a well-bred English lad has this advantage over them, that his bearing is commonly more modest than theirs. He does not assume the tail-coat and the manners of manhood too early: he holds his tongue, and listens to his elders: his mind blushes as well as his cheeks: he does not know how to make bows and pay compliments like the young Frenchman: nor to contradict his seniors as I am informed American striplings do. Boys, who learn nothing else at our public schools, learn at least good manners, or what we consider to be such; and with regard to the person at present under consideration, it is certain that all his acquaintances, excepting perhaps his dear cousin Barnes Newcome, agreed in considering him as a very frank, manly, modest, and agreeable young fellow. — My friend Warrington found a grim pleasure in his company; and his bright face, droll humour, and kindly laughter were always welcome in our chambers. Honest Fred Bayham was charmed to be in his society; and used pathetically to aver that he himself might have been such a youth, had he been blest with a kind father to watch, and good friends to guide, his early career. In fact, Fred was by far the most didactic of Clive’s bachelor acquaintances, pursued the young man with endless advice and sermons, and held himself up as a warning to Clive, and a touching example of the evil consequences of early idleness and dissipation. Gentlemen of much higher rank in the world took a fancy to the lad. Captain Jack Belsize introduced him to his own mess, as also to the Guard dinner at St. James’s; and my Lord Kew invited him to Kewbury, his lordship’s house in Oxfordshire, where Clive enjoyed hunting, shooting, and plenty of good company. Mrs. Newcome groaned in spirit when she heard of these proceedings; and feared, feared very much that that unfortunate young man was going to ruin; and Barnes Newcome amiably disseminated reports amongst his family that the lad was plunged in all sorts of debaucheries: that he was tipsy every night: that he was engaged, in his sober moments, with dice, the turf, or worse amusements: and that his head was so turned by living with Kew and Belsize, that the little rascal’s pride and arrogance were perfectly insufferable. Ethel would indignantly deny these charges; then perhaps credit a few of them; and she looked at Clive with melancholy eyes when he came to visit his aunt; and I hope prayed that Heaven might mend his wicked ways. The truth is, the young fellow enjoyed life, as one of his age and spirit might be expected to do; but he did very little harm, and meant less; and was quite unconscious of the reputation which his kind friends were making for him.

There had been a long-standing promise that Clive and his father were to go to Newcome at Christmas: and I dare say Ethel proposed to reform the young prodigal, if prodigal he was, for she busied herself delightedly in preparing the apartments which they were to inhabit during their stay — speculated upon it in a hundred pleasant ways, putting off her visit to this pleasant neighbour, or that pretty scene in the vicinage, until her uncle should come and they should be enabled to enjoy the excursion together. And before the arrival of her relatives, Ethel, with one of her young brothers, went to see Mrs. Mason; and introduced herself as Colonel Newcome’s niece; and came back charmed with the old lady, and eager once more in defence of Clive (when that young gentleman’s character happened to be called in question by her brother Barnes), for had she not seen the kindest letter, which Clive had written to old Mrs. Mason, and the beautiful drawing of his father on horseback and in regimentals, waving his sword in front of the gallant the Bengal Cavalry, which the lad had sent down to the good old woman? He could not be very bad, Ethel thought, who was so kind and thoughtful for the poor. His father’s son could not be altogether a reprobate. When Mrs. Mason, seeing how good and beautiful Ethel was, and thinking in her heart nothing could be too good or beautiful for Clive, nodded her kind old head at Miss Ethel, and said she should like to find a husband for her, Miss Ethel blushed, and looked handsomer than ever; and at home, when she was describing the interview, never mentioned this part of her talk with Mrs. Mason.

But the enfant terrible, young Alfred, did: announcing to all the company at dessert, that Ethel was in love with Clive — that Clive was coming to marry her — that Mrs. Mason, the old woman at Newcome, had told him so.

“I dare say she has told the tale all over Newcome!” shrieked out Mr. Barnes. “I dare say it will be in the Independent next week. By Jove, it’s a pretty connexion — and nice acquaintances this uncle of ours brings us!” A fine battle ensued upon the receipt and discussion of this intelligence: Barnes was more than usually bitter and sarcastic: Ethel haughtily recriminated, losing her temper, and then her firmness, until, fairly bursting into tears, she taxed Barnes with meanness and malignity in for ever uttering stories to his cousin’s disadvantage, and pursuing with constant slander and cruelty one of the very best of men. She rose and left the table in great tribulation — she went to her room and wrote a letter to her uncle, blistered with tears, in which she besought him not to come to Newcome. — Perhaps she went and looked at the apartments which she had adorned and prepared for his reception. It was for him and for his company that she was eager. She had met no one so generous and gentle, so honest and unselfish, until she had seen him.

Lady Anne knew the ways of women very well; and when Ethel that night, still in great indignation and scorn against Barnes, announced that she had written a letter to her uncle, begging the Colonel not to come at Christmas, Ethel’s mother soothed the wounded girl, and treated her with peculiar gentleness and affection; and she wisely gave Mr. Barnes to understand, that if he wished to bring about that very attachment, the idea of which made him so angry, he could use no better means than those which he chose to employ at present, of constantly abusing and insulting poor Clive, and awakening Ethel’s sympathies by mere opposition. And Ethel’s sad little letter was extracted from the post-bag: and her mother brought it to her, sealed, in her own room, where the young lady burned it: being easily brought by Lady Anne’s quiet remonstrances to perceive that it was best no allusion should take place to the silly dispute which had occurred that evening; and that Clive and his father should come for the Christmas holidays, if they were so minded. But when they came, there was no Ethel at Newcome. She was gone on a visit to her sick aunt, Lady Julia. Colonel Newcome passed the holidays sadly without his young favourite, and Clive consoled himself by knocking down pheasants with Sir Brian’s keepers: and increased his cousin’s attachment for him by breaking the knees of Barnes’s favourite mare out hunting. It was a dreary entertainment; father and son were glad enough to get away from it, and to return to their own humbler quarters in London.

Thomas Newcome had now been for three years in the possession of that felicity which his soul longed after; and had any friend of his asked him if he was happy, he would have answered in the affirmative no doubt, and protested that he was in the enjoyment of everything a reasonable man could desire. And yet, in spite of his happiness, his honest face grew more melancholy: his loose clothes hung only the looser on his lean limbs: he ate his meals without appetite: his nights were restless: and he would sit for hours silent in the midst of his family, so that Mr. Binnie first began jocularly to surmise that Tom was crossed in love; then seriously to think that his health was suffering and that a doctor should be called to see him; and at last to agree that idleness was not good for the Colonel, and that he missed the military occupation to which he had been for so many years accustomed.

The Colonel insisted that he was perfectly happy and contented. What could he want more than he had — the society of his son, for the present; and a prospect of quiet for his declining days? Binnie vowed that his friend’s days had no business to decline as yet; that a sober man of fifty ought to be at his best; and that Newcome had grown older in three years in Europe, than in a quarter of a century in the East — all which statements were true, though the Colonel persisted in denying them.

He was very restless. He was always finding business in distant quarters of England. He must go visit Tom Barker who was settled in Devonshire, or Harry Johnson who had retired and was living in Wales. He surprised Mrs. Honeyman by the frequency of his visits to Brighton, and always came away much improved in health by the sea air, and by constant riding with the harriers there. He appeared at Bath and at Cheltenham, where, as we know, there are many old Indians. Mr. Binnie was not indisposed to accompany him on some of these jaunts —“provided,” the civilian said, “you don’t take young Hopeful, who is much better without us; and let us two old fogies enjoy ourselves together.”

Clive was not sorry to be left alone. The father knew that only too well. The young man had occupations, ideas, associates, in whom the elder could take no interest. Sitting below in his blank, cheerless bedroom, Newcome could hear the lad and his friends talking, singing, and making merry overhead. Something would be said in Clive’s well-known tones, and a roar of laughter would proceed from the youthful company. They had all sorts of tricks, bywords, waggeries, of which the father could not understand the jest nor the secret. He longed to share in it, but the party would be hushed if he went in to join it — and he would come away sad at heart, to think that his presence should be a signal for silence among them; and that his son could not be merry in his company.

We must not quarrel with Clive and Clive’s friends, because they could not joke and be free in the presence of the worthy gentleman. If they hushed when he came in, Thomas Newcome’s sad face would seem to look round — appealing to one after another of them, and asking, “Why don’t you go on laughing?” A company of old comrades shall be merry and laughing together, and the entrance of a single youngster will stop the conversation — and if men of middle age feel this restraint with our juniors, the young ones surely have a right to be silent before their elders. The boys are always mum under the eyes of the usher. There is scarce any parent, however friendly or tender with his children, but must feel sometimes that they have thoughts which are not his or hers; and wishes and secrets quite beyond the parental control: and, as people are vain, long after they are fathers, ay; or grandfathers, and not seldom fancy that mere personal desire of domination is overweening anxiety and love for their family, no doubt that common outcry against thankless children might often be shown to prove, not that the son is disobedient, but the father too exacting. When a mother (as fond mothers often will) vows that she knows every thought in her daughter’s heart, I think she pretends to know a great deal too much; nor can there be a wholesomer task for the elders, as our young subjects grow up, naturally demanding liberty and citizen’s rights, than for us gracefully to abdicate our sovereign pretensions and claims of absolute control. There’s many a family chief who governs wisely and gently, who is loth to give the power up when he should. Ah, be sure, it is not youth alone that has need to learn humility! By their very virtues, and the purity of their lives, many good parents create flatterers for themselves, and so live in the midst of a filial court of parasites — and seldom without a pang of unwillingness, and often not at all, will they consent to forgo their autocracy, and exchange the tribute they have been wont to exact of love and obedience for the willing offering of love and freedom.

Our good Colonel was not of the tyrannous, but of the loving order of fathers: and having fixed his whole heart upon this darling youth, his son, was punished, as I suppose such worldly and selfish love ought to be punished (so Mr. Honeyman says, at least, in his pulpit), by a hundred little mortifications, disappointments, and secret wounds, which stung not the less severely though never mentioned by their victim.

Sometimes he would have a company of such gentlemen as Messrs. Warrington, Honeyman, and Pendennis, when haply a literary conversation would ensue after dinner; and the merits of our present poets and writers would be discussed with the claret. Honeyman was well enough read in profane literature, especially of the lighter sort; and, I dare say, could have passed a satisfactory examination in Balzac, Dumas, and Paul de Kock himself, of all whose works our good host was entirely ignorant, — as indeed he was of graver books, and of earlier books, and of books in general — except those few which we have said formed his travelling library. He heard opinions that amazed and bewildered him. He heard that Byron was no great poet, though a very clever man. He heard that there had been a wicked persecution against Mr. Pope’s memory and fame, and that it was time to reinstate him that his favourite, Dr. Johnson, talked admirably, but did not write English: that young Keats was a genius to be estimated in future days with young Raphael: and that a young gentleman of Cambridge who had lately published two volumes of verses, might take rank with the greatest poets of all. Doctor Johnson not write English! Lord Byron not one of the greatest poets of the world! Sir Walter a poet of the second order! Mr. Pope attacked for inferiority and want of imagination; Mr. Keats and this young Mr. Tennyson of Cambridge, the chief of modern poetic literature! What were these new dicta, which Mr. Warrington delivered with a puff of tobacco-smoke: to which Mr. Honeyman blandly assented and Clive listened with pleasure? Such opinions were not of the Colonel’s time. He tried in vain to construe Oenone, and to make sense of Lamia. Ulysses he could understand; but what were these prodigious laudations bestowed on it? And that reverence for Mr. Wordsworth, what did it mean? Had he not written Peter Bell, and been turned into deserved ridicule by all the reviews? Was that dreary Excursion to be compared to Goldsmith’s Traveller, or Doctor Johnson’s Imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal? If the young men told the truth, where had been the truth in his own young days, and in what ignorance had our forefathers been brought up? — Mr. Addison was only an elegant essayist, and shallow trifler! All these opinions were openly uttered over the Colonel’s claret, as he and Mr. Binnie sate wondering at the speakers, who were knocking the gods of their youth about their ears. To Binnie the shock was not so great; the hard-headed Scotchman had read Hume in his college days, and sneered at some of the gods even at that early time. But with Newcome the admiration for the literature of the last century was an article of belief: and the incredulity of the young men seemed rank blasphemy. “You will be sneering at Shakspeare next,” he said: and was silenced, though not better pleased, when his youthful guests told him, that Doctor Goldsmith sneered at him too; that Dr. Johnson did not understand him, and that Congreve, in his own day and afterwards, was considered to be, in some points, Shakspeare’s superior. “What do you think a man’s criticism is worth, sir,” cries Mr. Warrington, “who says those lines of Mr. Congreve, about a church —

‘How reverend is the face of yon tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars rear their marble heads,
To bear aloft its vast and ponderous roof,
By its own weight made steadfast and immovable;
Looking tranquillity. It strikes an awe
And terror on my aching sight’— et caetera

what do you think of a critic who says those lines are finer than anything Shakspeare ever wrote?” A dim consciousness of danger for Clive, a terror that his son had got into the society of heretics and unbelievers, came over the Colonel — and then presently, as was the wont with his modest soul, a gentle sense of humility. He was in the wrong, perhaps, and these younger men were right. Who was he, to set up his judgment against men of letters, educated at college? It was better that Clive should follow them than him, who had had but a brief schooling, and that neglected, and who had not the original genius of his son’s brilliant companions. We particularise these talks, and the little incidental mortifications which one of the best of men endured, not because the conversations are worth the remembering or recording, but because they presently very materially influenced his own and his son’s future history.

In the midst of the artists and their talk the poor Colonel was equally in the dark. They assaulted this Academician and that; laughed at Mr. Haydon, or sneered at Mr. Eastlake, or the contrary; deified Mr. Turner on one side of the table, and on the other scorned him as a madman — nor could Newcome comprehend a word of their jargon. Some sense there must be in their conversation: Clive joined eagerly in it and took one side or another. But what was all this rapture about a snuffy brown picture called Titian, this delight in three flabby nymphs by Rubens, and so forth? As for the vaunted Antique, and the Elgin Marbles — it might be that that battered torso was a miracle, and that broken-nosed bust a perfect beauty. He tried and tried to see that they were. He went away privily and worked at the National Gallery with a catalogue: and passed hours in the Museum before the ancient statues, desperately praying to comprehend them, and puzzled before them as he remembered he was puzzled before the Greek rudiments as a child when he cried over o kai hae alaethaes kai to alaethaes. Whereas when Clive came to look at these same things his eyes would lighten up with pleasure, and his cheeks flush with enthusiasm. He seemed to drink in colour as he would a feast of wine. Before the statues he would wave his finger, following the line of grace, and burst into ejaculations of delight and admiration. “Why can’t I love the things which he loves?” thought Newcome; “why am I blind to the beauties which he admires so much — and am I unable to comprehend what he evidently understands at his young age?”

So, as he thought what vain egotistical hopes he used to form about the boy when he was away in India — how in his plans for the happy future, Clive was to be always at his side; how they were to read, work, play, think, be merry together — a sickening and humiliating sense of the reality came over him: and he sadly contrasted it with the former fond anticipations. Together they were, yet he was alone still. His thoughts were not the boy’s: and his affections rewarded but with a part of the young man’s heart. Very likely other lovers have suffered equally. Many a man and woman has been incensed and worshipped, and has shown no more feeling than is to be expected from idols. There is yonder statue in St. Peter’s, of which the toe is worn away with kisses, and which sits, and will sit eternally, prim and cold. As the young man grew, it seemed to the father as if each day separated them more and more. He himself became more melancholy and silent. His friend the civilian marked the ennui, and commented on it in his laughing way. Sometimes he announced to the club that Tom Newcome was in love: then he thought it was not Tom’s heart but his liver that was affected, and recommended blue pill. O thou fond fool! who art thou, to know any man’s heart save thine alone? Wherefore were wings made, and do feathers grow, but that birds should fly? The instinct that bids you love your nest, leads the young ones to seek a tree and a mate of their own. As if Thomas Newcome by poring over poems or pictures ever so much could read them with Clive’s eyes! — as if by sitting mum over his wine, but watching till the lad came home with his latchkey (when the Colonel crept back to his own room in his stockings), by prodigal bounties, by stealthy affection, by any schemes or prayers, he could hope to remain first in his son’s heart!

One day going into Clive’s study, where the lad was so deeply engaged that he did not hear the father’s steps advancing, Thomas Newcome found his son, pencil in hand, poring over a paper, which, blushing, he thrust hastily into his breast-pocket, as soon as he saw his visitor. The father was deeply smitten and mortified. “I— I am sorry you have any secrets from me, Clive,” he gasped out at length.

The boy’s face lighted up with humour. “Here it is, father, if you would like to see:"— and he pulled out a paper which contained neither more nor less than a copy of very flowery verses, about a certain young lady, who had succeeded (after I know not how many predecessors) to the place of prima-donna assoluta in Clive’s heart. And be pleased, madam, not to be too eager with your censure, and fancy that Mr. Clive or his chronicler would insinuate anything wrong. I dare say you felt a flame or two before you were married yourself: and that the Captain or the Curate, and the interesting young foreigner with whom you danced, caused your heart to beat, before you bestowed that treasure on Mr. Candour. Clive was doing no more than your own son will do when he is eighteen or nineteen years old himself — if he is a lad of any spirit and a worthy son of so charming a lady as yourself.

CHAPTER XXII

Describes a Visit to Paris; with Accidents and Incidents in London

Mr. Clive, as we have said, had now begun to make acquaintances of his own; and the chimney-glass in his study was decorated with such a number of cards of invitation, as made his ex-fellow-student of Gandish’s, young Moss, when admitted into that sanctum, stare with respectful astonishment. “Lady Bary Rowe at obe,” the young Hebrew read out; “Lady Baughton at obe, dadsig! By eyes! what a tip-top swell you’re a gettid to be, Newcome! I guess this is a different sort of business to the hops at old Levison’s, where you first learned the polka; and where we had to pay a shilling a glass for negus!”

“We had to pay! You never paid anything, Moss,” cries Clive, laughing; and indeed the negus imbibed by Mr. Moss did not cost that prudent young fellow a penny.

“Well, well; I suppose at these swell parties you ‘ave as bush champade as ever you like,” continues Moss. “Lady Kicklebury at obe — small early party. Why, I declare you know the whole peerage! I say, if any of these swells want a little tip-top lace, a real bargain, or diamonds, you know, you might put in a word for us, and do us a good turn.”

“Give me some of your cards,” says Clive; “I can distribute them about at the balls I go to. But you must treat my friends better than you serve me. Those cigars which you sent me were abominable, Moss; the groom in the stable won’t smoke them.”

“What a regular swell that Newcome has become!” says Mr. Moss to an old companion, another of Clive’s fellow-students: “I saw him riding in the Park with the Earl of Kew, and Captain Belsize, and a whole lot of ’em — I know ’em all — and he’d hardly nod to me. I’ll have a horse next Sunday, and then I’ll see whether he’ll cut me or not. Confound his airs! For all he’s such a count, I know he’s got an aunt who lets lodgings at Brighton, and an uncle who’ll be preaching in the Bench if he don’t keep a precious good look-out.”

“Newcome is not a bit of a count,” answers Moss’s companion, indignantly. “He don’t care a straw whether a fellow’s poor or rich; and he comes up to my room just as willingly as he would go to a duke’s. He is always trying to do a friend a good turn. He draws the figure capitally: he looks proud, but he isn’t, and is the best-natured fellow I ever saw.”

“He ain’t been in our place this eighteen months,” says Mr. Moss: “I know that.”

“Because when he came you were always screwing him with some bargain or other,” cried the intrepid Hicks, Mr. Moss’s companion for the moment. “He said he couldn’t afford to know you: you never let him out of your house without a pin, or a box of eau-de-cologne, or a bundle of cigars. And when you cut the arts for the shop, how were you and Newcome to go on together, I should like to know?”

“I know a relative of his who comes to our ’ouse every three months, to renew a little bill,” says Mr. Moss, with a grin: “and I know this, if I go to the Earl of Kew in the Albany, or the Honourable Captain Belsize, Knightsbridge Barracks, they let me in soon enough. I’m told his father ain’t got much money.”

“How the deuce should I know? or what do I care?” cries the young artist, stamping the heel of his blucher on the pavement. “When I was sick in that confounded Clipstone Street, I know the Colonel came to see me, and Newcome too, day after day, and night after night. And when I was getting well, they sent me wine and jelly, and all sorts of jolly things. I should like to know how often you came to see me, Moss, and what you did for a fellow?”

“Well, I kep away because I thought you wouldn’t like to be reminded of that two pound three you owe me, Hicks: that’s why I kep away,” says Mr. Moss, who, I dare say, was good-natured too. And when young Moss appeared at the billiard-room that night, it was evident that Hicks had told the story; for the Wardour Street youth was saluted with a roar of queries, “How about that two pound three that Hicks owes you?”

The artless conversation of the two youths will enable us to understand how our hero’s life was speeding. Connected in one way or another with persons in all ranks, it never entered his head to be ashamed of the profession which he had chosen. People in the great world did not in the least trouble themselves regarding him, or care to know whether Mr. Clive Newcome followed painting or any other pursuit: and though Clive saw many of his schoolfellows in the world, these entering into the army, others talking with delight of college, and its pleasures or studies; yet, having made up his mind that art was his calling, he refused to quit her for any other mistress, and plied his easel very stoutly. He passed through the course of study prescribed by Mr. Gandish, and drew every cast and statue in that gentleman’s studio. Grindley, his tutor, getting a curacy, Clive did not replace him; but he took a course of modern languages, which he learned with considerable aptitude and rapidity. And now, being strong enough to paint without a master, it was found that there was no good light in the house in Fitzroy Square; and Mr. Clive must needs have an atelier hard by, where he could pursue his own devices independently.

If his kind father felt any pang even at this temporary parting, he was greatly soothed and pleased by a little mark of attention on the young man’s part, of which his present biographer happened to be a witness; for having walked over with Colonel Newcome to see the new studio, with its tall centre window, and its curtains, and carved wardrobes, china jars, pieces of armour, and other artistical properties, the lad, with a very sweet smile of kindness and affection lighting up his honest face, took one of two Bramah’s house-keys with which he was provided, and gave it to his father: “That’s your key, sir,” he said to the Colonel; “and you must be my first sitter, please, father; for though I’m a historical painter, I shall condescend to do a few portraits, you know.” The Colonel took his son’s hand, and grasped it; as Clive fondly put the other hand on his father’s shoulder. Then Colonel Newcome walked away into the next room for a minute or two, and came back wiping his moustache with his handkerchief, and still holding the key in the other hand. He spoke about some trivial subject when he returned; but his voice quite trembled; and I thought his face seemed to glow with love and pleasure. Clive has never painted anything better than that head, which he executed in a couple of sittings; and wisely left without subjecting it to the chances of further labour.

It is certain the young man worked much better after he had been inducted into this apartment of his own. And the meals at home were gayer; and the rides with his father more frequent and agreeable. The Colonel used his key once or twice, and found Clive and his friend Ridley engaged in depicting a life-guardsman — or a muscular negro — or a Malay from a neighbouring crossing, who would appear as Othello, conversing with a Clipstone Street nymph, who was ready to represent Desdemona, Diana, Queen Ellinor (sucking poison from the arm of the Plantagenet of the Blues), or any other model of virgin or maiden excellence.

Of course our young man commenced as a historical painter, deeming that the highest branch of art; and declining (except for preparatory studies) to operate on any but the largest canvasses. He painted a prodigious battle-piece of Assaye, with General Wellesley at the head of the 19th Dragoons charging the Mahratta Artillery, and sabring them at their guns. A piece of ordnance was dragged into the back-yard, and the Colonel’s stud put into requisition to supply studies for this enormous picture. Fred Bayham (a stunning likeness) appeared as the principal figure in the foreground, terrifically wounded, but still of undaunted courage, slashing about amidst a group of writhing Malays, and bestriding the body of a dead cab-horse, which Clive painted, until the landlady and rest of the lodgers cried out, and for sanitary reasons the knackers removed the slaughtered charger. So large was this picture that it could only be got out of the great window by means of artifice and coaxing; and its transport caused a shout of triumph among the little boys in Charlotte Street. Will it be believed that the Royal Academicians rejected the “Battle of Assaye”? The masterpiece was so big that Fitzroy Square could not hold it; and the Colonel had thoughts of presenting it to the Oriental Club; but Clive (who had taken a trip to Paris with his father, as a delassement after the fatigues incident on this great work), when he saw it, after a month’s interval, declared the thing was rubbish, and massacred Britons, Malays, Dragoons, Artillery and all.

“Hotel de la Terrasse, Rue de Rivoli,

“April 27 — May 1, 183-.

“My Dear Pendennis — You said I might write you a line from Paris; and if you find in my correspondence any valuable hints for the Pall Mall Gazette, you are welcome to use them gratis. Now I am here, I wonder I have never been here before, and that I have seen the Dieppe packet a thousand times at Brighton pier without thinking of going on board her. We had a rough little passage to Boulogne. We went into action as we cleared Dover pier — when the first gun was fired, and a stout old lady was carried off by a steward to the cabin; half a dozen more dropped immediately, and the crew bustled about, bringing basins for the wounded. The Colonel smiled as he saw them fall. ‘I’m an old sailor,’ says he to a gentleman on board. ‘I was coming home, sir, and we had plenty of rough weather on the voyage, I never thought of being unwell. My boy here, who made the voyage twelve years ago last May, may have lost his sea-legs; but for me, sir —’ Here a great wave dashed over the three of us; and would you believe it? in five minutes after, the dear old governor was as ill as all the rest of the passengers. When we arrived, we went through a line of ropes to the custom-house, with a crowd of snobs jeering at us on each side; and then were carried off by a bawling commissioner to an hotel, where the Colonel, who speaks French beautifully, you know, told the waiter to get us a petit dejeuner soigne; on which the fellow, grinning, said, a ‘nice fried sole, sir — nice mutton-chop, sir,’ in regular Temple Bar English; and brought us Harvey sauce with the chops, and the last Bell’s Life to amuse us after our luncheon. I wondered if all the Frenchmen read Bell’s Life, and if all the inns smell so of brandy-and-water!

“We walked out to see the town, which I dare say you know, and therefore shan’t describe. We saw some good studies of fishwomen with bare legs, and remarked that the soldiers were very dumpy and small. We were glad when the time came to set off by the diligence; and having the coupe to ourselves, made a very comfortable journey to Paris. It was jolly to hear the postillions crying to their horses, and the bells of the team, and to feel ourselves really in France. We took in provender at Abbeville and Amiens, and were comfortably landed here after about six-and-twenty hours of coaching. Didn’t I get up the next morning and have a good walk in the Tuileries! The chestnuts were out, and the statues all shining, and all the windows of the palace in a blaze. It looks big enough for the king of the giants to live in. How grand it is! I like the barbarous splendour of the architecture, and the ornaments profuse and enormous with which it is overladen. Think of Louis XVI. with a thousand gentlemen at his back, and a mob of yelling ruffians in front of him, giving up his crown without a fight for it; leaving his friends to be butchered, and himself sneaking into prison! No end of little children were skipping and playing in the sunshiny walks, with dresses as bright and cheeks as red as the flowers and roses in the parterres. I couldn’t help thinking of Barbaroux and his bloody pikemen swarming in the gardens, and fancied the Swiss in the windows yonder; where they were to be slaughtered when the King had turned his back. What a great man that Carlyle is! I have read the battle in his History so often, that I knew it before I had seen it. Our windows look out on the obelisk where the guillotine stood. The Colonel doesn’t admire Carlyle. He says Mrs. Graham’s Letters from Paris are excellent, and we bought Scott’s Visit to Paris, and Paris Re-visited, and read them in the diligence. They are famous good reading; but the Palais Royal is very much altered since Scott’s time: no end of handsome shops; I went there directly — the same night we arrived, when the Colonel went to bed. But there is none of the fun going on which Scott describes. The laquais de place says Charles X. put an end to it all.

“Next morning the governor had letters to deliver after breakfast, and left me at the Louvre door. I shall come and live here, I think. I feel as if I never want to go away. I had not been ten minutes in the place before I fell in love with the most beautiful creature the world has ever seen. She was standing silent and majestic in the centre of one of the rooms of the statue-gallery; and the very first glimpse of her struck one breathless with the sense of her beauty. I could not see the colour of her eyes and hair exactly, but the latter is light, and the eyes I should think are grey. Her complexion is of a beautiful warm marble tinge. She is not a clever woman, evidently; I do not think she laughs or talks much — she seems too lazy to do more than smile. She is only beautiful. This divine creature has lost an arm, which has been cut off at the shoulder, but she looks none the less lovely for the accident. She maybe some two-and-thirty years old; and she was born about two thousand years ago. Her name is the Venus of Milo. O Victrix! O lucky Paris! (I don’t mean this present Lutetia, but Priam’s son.) How could he give the apple to any else but this enslaver — this joy of gods and men? at whose benign presence the flowers spring up, and the smiling ocean sparkles, and the soft skies beam with serene light! I wish we might sacrifice. I would bring a spotless kid, snowy-coated, and a pair of doves and a jar of honey — yea, honey from Morel’s in Piccadilly, thyme-flavoured, narbonian, and we would acknowledge the Sovereign Loveliness, and adjure the Divine Aphrodite. Did you ever see my pretty young cousin, Miss Newcome, Sir Brian’s daughter? She has a great look of the huntress Diana. It is sometimes too proud and too cold for me. The blare of those horns is too shrill and the rapid pursuit through bush and bramble too daring. O thou generous Venus! O thou beautiful bountiful calm! At thy soft feet let me kneel — on cushions of Tyrian purple. Don’t show this to Warrington, please: I never thought when I began that Pegasus was going to run away with me.

“I wish I had read Greek a little more at school: it’s too late at my age; I shall be nineteen soon, and have got my own business; but when we return I think I shall try and read it with Cribs. What have I been doing, spending six months over a picture of sepoys and dragoons cutting each other’s throats? Art ought not to be a fever. It ought to be a calm; not a screaming bull-fight or a battle of gladiators, but a temple for placid contemplation, rapt worship, stately rhythmic ceremony, and music solemn and tender. I shall take down my Snyders and Rubens when I get home; and turn quietist. To think I have spent weeks in depicting bony life-guardsmen delivering cut one, or Saint George, and painting black beggars off a crossing!

“What a grand thing it is to think of half a mile of pictures at the Louvre! Not but that there are a score under the old pepper-boxes in Trafalgar Square as fine as the best here. I don’t care for any Raphael here, as much as our own St. Catharine. There is nothing more grand. Could the Pyramids of Egypt or the Colossus of Rhodes be greater than our Sebastian? and for our Bacchus and Ariadne, you cannot beat the best you know. But if we have fine jewels, here there are whole sets of them: there are kings and all their splendid courts round about them. J. J. and I must come and live here. Oh, such portraits of Titian! Oh, such swells by Vandyke! I’m sure he must have been as fine a gentleman as any he painted! It’s a shame they haven’t got a Sir Joshua or two. At a feast of painters he has a right to a place, and at the high table too. Do you remember Tom Rogers, of Gandish’s? He used to come to my rooms — my other rooms in the Square. Tom is here with a fine carrotty beard, and a velvet jacket, cut open at the sleeves, to show that Tom has a shirt. I dare say it was clean last Sunday. He has not learned French yet, but pretends to have forgotten English; and promises to introduce me to a set of the French artists his camarades. There seems to be a scarcity of soap among these young fellows; and I think I shall cut off my mustachios; only Warrington will have nothing to laugh at when I come home.

“The Colonel and I went to dine at the Cafe de Paris, and afterwards to the opera. Ask for huitres de Marenne when you dine here. We dined with a tremendous French swell, the Vicomte de Florac, officier d’ordonnance to one of the princes, and son of some old friends of my father’s. They are of very high birth, but very poor. He will be a duke when his cousin, the Duc d’Ivry, dies. His father is quite old. The vicomte was born in England. He pointed out to us no end of famous people at the opera — a few of the Fauxbourg St. Germain, and ever so many of the present people:— M. Thiers, and Count Mole, and Georges Sand, and Victor Hugo, and Jules Janin — I forget half their names. And yesterday we went to see his mother, Madame de Florac. I suppose she was an old flame of the Colonel’s, for their meeting was uncommonly ceremonious and tender. It was like an elderly Sir Charles Grandison saluting a middle-aged Miss Byron. And only fancy! the Colonel has been here once before since his return to England! It must have been last year, when he was away for ten days, whilst I was painting that rubbishing picture of the Black Prince waiting on King John. Madame de F. is a very grand lady, and must have been a great beauty in her time. There are two pictures by Gerard in her salon — of her and M. de Florac. M. de Florac, old swell, powder, thick eyebrows, hooked nose; no end of stars, ribbons, and embroidery. Madame also in the dress of the Empire — pensive, beautiful, black velvet, and a look something like my cousin’s. She wore a little old-fashioned brooch yesterday, and said, ‘Voila, la reconnoissez-vous? Last year when you were here, it was in the country;’ and she smiled at him: and the dear old boy gave a sort of groan and dropped his head in his hand. I know what it is. I’ve gone through it myself. I kept for six months an absurd ribbon of that infernal little flirt Fanny Freeman. Don’t you remember how angry I was when you abused her?

“‘Your father and I knew each other when we were children, my friend,’ the Countess said to me (in the sweetest French accent). He was looking into the garden of the house where they live, in the Rue Saint Dominique. ‘You must come and see me often, always. You remind me of him,’ and she added, with a very sweet kind smile, ‘Do you like best to think that he was better-looking than you, or that you excel him?’ I said I should like to be like him. But who is? There are cleverer fellows, I dare say; but where is there such a good one? I wonder whether he was very fond of Madame de Florac? The old Count does not show. He is quite old, and wears a pigtail. We saw it bobbing over his garden chair. He lets the upper part of his house; Major-General the Honourable Zeno F. Pokey, of Cincinnati, U.S., lives in it. We saw Mrs. Pokey’s carriage in the court, and her footmen smoking cigars there; a tottering old man with feeble legs, as old as old Count de Florac, seemed to be the only domestic who waited on the family below.

“Madame de Florac and my father talked about my profession. The Countess said it was a belle carriere. The Colonel said it was better than the army. ‘Ah oui, monsieur,’ says she very sadly. And then he said, ‘that presently I should very likely come to study at Paris, when he knew there would be a kind friend to watch over son garcon.’

“‘But you will be here to watch over him yourself, mon ami?’ says the French lady.

“Father shook his head. ‘I shall very probably have to go back to India,’ he said. ‘My furlough is expired. I am now taking my extra leave. If I can get my promotion, I need not return. Without that I cannot afford to live in Europe. But my absence in all probability will be but very short,’ he said. ‘And Clive is old enough now to go on without me.’

“Is this the reason why father has been so gloomy for some months past? I thought it might have been some of my follies which made him uncomfortable; and you know I have been trying my best to amend — I have not half such a tailor’s bill this year as last. I owe scarcely anything. I have paid off Moss every halfpenny for his confounded rings and gimcracks. I asked father about this melancholy news as we walked away from Madame de Florac.

“He is not near so rich as we thought. Since he has been at home he says he has spent greatly more than his income, and is quite angry at his own extravagance. At first he thought he might have retired from the army altogether; but after three years at home, he finds he cannot live upon his income. When he gets his promotion as full Colonel, he will be entitled to a thousand a year; that, and what he has invested in India, and a little in this country, will be plenty for both of us. He never seems to think of my making money by my profession. Why, suppose I sell the ‘Battle of Assaye’ for 500 pounds? that will be enough to carry me on ever so long, without dipping into the purse of the dear old father.

“The Viscount de Florac called to dine with us. The Colonel said he did not care about going out: and so the Viscount and I went together. Trois Freres Provencaux — he ordered the dinner and of course I paid. Then we went to a little theatre, and he took me behind the scenes — such a queer place! We went to the loge of Mademoiselle Fine who acted the part of ‘Le petit Tambour,’ in which she sings a famous song with a drum. He asked her and several literary fellows to supper at the Cafe Anglais. And I came home ever so late, and lost twenty napoleons at a game called bouillotte. It was all the change out of a twenty-pound note which dear old Binnie gave me before we set out, with a quotation out of Horace, you know, about Neque tu choreas sperne puer. O me! how guilty I felt as I walked home at ever so much o’clock to the Hotel de la Terrasse, and sneaked into our apartment! But the Colonel was sound asleep. His dear old boots stood sentries at his bedroom door, and I slunk into mine as silently as I could.

“P.S. — Wednesday. — There’s just one scrap of paper left. I have got J. J.‘s letter. He has been to the private view of the Academy (so that his own picture is in), and the ‘Battle of Assaye’ is refused. Smee told him it was too big. I dare say it’s very bad. I’m glad I’m away, and the fellows are not condoling with me.

“Please go and see Mr. Binnie. He has come to grief. He rode the Colonel’s horse; came down on the pavement and wrenched his leg, and I’m afraid the grey’s. Please look at his legs; we can’t understand John’s report of them. He, I mean Mr. B., was going to Scotland to see his relations when the accident happened. You know he has always been going to Scotland to see his relations. He makes light of the business, and says the Colonel is not to think of coming to him: and I don’t want to go back just yet, to see all the fellows from Gandish’s and the Life Academy, and have them grinning at my misfortune.

“The governor would send his regards, I dare say, but he is out, and I am always yours affectionately, Clive Newcome.”

“P.S. — He tipped me himself this morning; isn’t he a kind, dear old fellow?”

Arthur Pendennis, Esq., to Clive Newcome, Esq.

“‘Pall Mall Gazette,’ Journal of Politics, Literature and Fashion, 225 Catherine Street, Strand,

“Dear Clive — I regret very much for Fred Bayham’s sake (who has lately taken the responsible office of Fine Arts Critic for the P. G.) that your extensive picture of the ‘Battle of Assaye’ has not found a place in the Royal Academy Exhibition. F. B. is at least fifteen shillings out of pocket by its rejection, as he had prepared a flaming eulogium of your work, which of course is so much waste paper in consequence of this calamity. Never mind. Courage, my son. The Duke of Wellington you know was best back at Seringapatam before he succeeded at Assaye. I hope you will fight other battles, and that fortune in future years will be more favourable to you. The town does not talk very much of your discomfiture. You see the parliamentary debates are very interesting just now, and somehow the ‘Battle of Assaye’ did not seem to excite the public mind.

“I have been to Fitzroy Square; both to the stables and the house. The Houyhnhnm’s legs are very well; the horse slipped on his side and not on his knees, and has received no sort of injury. Not so Mr. Binnie; his ankle is much wrenched and inflamed. He must keep his sofa for many days, perhaps weeks. But you know he is a very cheerful philosopher, and endures the evils of life with much equanimity. His sister has come to him. I don’t know whether that may be considered as a consolation of his evil or an aggravation of it. You know he uses the sarcastic method in his talk, and it was difficult to understand from him whether he was pleased or bored by the embraces of his relative. She was an infant when he last beheld her, on his departure to India. She is now (to speak with respect) a very brisk, plump, pretty little widow; having, seemingly, recovered from her grief at the death of her husband, Captain Mackenzie in the West Indies. Mr. Binnie was just on the point of visiting his relatives, who reside at Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, when he met with the fatal accident which prevented his visit to his native shores. His account of his misfortune and his lonely condition was so pathetic that Mrs. Mackenzie and her daughter put themselves into the Edinburgh steamer, and rushed to console his sofa. They occupy your bedroom and sitting-room, which latter Mrs. Mackenzie says no longer smells of tobacco smoke, as it did when she took possession of your den. If you have left any papers about, any bills, any billets-doux, I make no doubt the ladies have read every single one of them, according to the amiable habits of their sex. The daughter is a bright little blue-eyed fair-haired lass, with a very sweet voice, in which she sings (unaided by instrumental music, and seated on a chair in the middle of the room) the artless ballads of her native country. I had the pleasure of hearing the ‘Bonnets of Bonny Dundee’ and ‘Jack of Hazeldean’ from her ruby lips two evenings since; not indeed for the first time in my life, but never from such a pretty little singer. Though both ladies speak our language with something of the tone usually employed by the inhabitants of the northern part of Britain, their accent is exceedingly pleasant, and indeed by no means so strong as Mr. Binnie’s own; for Captain Mackenzie was an Englishman, for whose sake his lady modified her native Musselburgh pronunciation. She tells many interesting anecdotes of him, of the West Indies, and of the distinguished regiment of infantry to which the captain belonged. Miss Rosa is a great favourite with her uncle, and I have had the good fortune to make their stay in the metropolis more pleasant, by sending them orders, from the Pall Mall Gazette, for the theatres, panoramas, and the principal sights in town. For pictures they do not seem to care much; they thought the National Gallery a dreary exhibition, and in the Royal Academy could be got to admire nothing but the picture of M’Collop of M’Collop, by our friend of the like name; but they think Madame Tussaud’s interesting exhibition of waxwork the most delightful in London; and there I had the happiness of introducing them to our friend Mr. Frederick Bayham; who, subsequently, on coming to this office with his valuable contributions on the Fine Arts, made particular inquiries as to their pecuniary means, and expressed himself instantly ready to bestow his hand upon the mother or daughter, provided old Mr. Binnie would make a satisfactory settlement. I got the ladies a box at the opera, whither they were attended by Captain Goby of their regiment, godfather to Miss, and where I had the honour of paying them a visit. I saw your fair young cousin Miss Newcome in the lobby with her grandmamma Lady Kew. Mr. Bayham with great eloquence pointed out to the Scotch ladies the various distinguished characters in the house. The opera delighted them, but they were astounded at the ballet, from which mother and daughter retreated in the midst of a fire of pleasantries of Captain Goby. I can fancy that officer at mess, and how brilliant his anecdotes must be when the company of ladies does not restrain his genial flow of humour.

“Here comes Mr. Baker with the proofs. In case you don’t see the P. G. at Galignani’s, I send you an extract from Bayham’s article on the Royal Academy, where you will have the benefit of his opinion on the works of some of your friends:—

“‘617. ‘Moses Bringing Home the Gross of Green Spectacles,’ Smith, R.A. — Perhaps poor Goldsmith’s exquisite little work has never been so great a favourite as in the present age. We have here, in a work by one of our most eminent artists, an homage to the genius of him ‘who touched nothing which he did not adorn:’ and the charming subject is handled in the most delicious manner by Mr. Smith. The chiaroscuro is admirable: the impasto is perfect. Perhaps a very captious critic might object to the foreshortening of Moses’s left leg; but where there is so much to praise justly, the Pall Nall Gazette does not care to condemn.

“‘420. Our (and the public’s) favourite, Brown, R.A., treats us to a subject from the best of all stories, the tale ‘which laughed Spain’s chivalry away,’ the ever new Don Quixote. The incident which Brown has selected is the ‘Don’s Attack on the Flock of Sheep;’ the sheep are in his best manner, painted with all his well-known facility and brio. Mr. Brown’s friendly rival, Hopkins, has selected Gil Blas for an illustration this year; and the ‘Robber’s Cavern’ is one of the most masterly of Hopkins’ productions.

“‘Great Rooms. 33. ‘Portrait of Cardinal Cospetto,’ O’Gogstay, A.R.A.; and ‘Neighbourhood of Corpodibacco — Evening — a Contadina and a Trasteverino dancing at the door of a Locanda to the music of a Pifferaro.’— Since his visit to Italy Mr. O’Gogstay seems to have given up the scenes of Irish humour with which he used to delight us; and the romance, the poetry, the religion of ‘Italia la bella’ form the subjects of his pencil. The scene near Corpodibacco (we know the spot well, and have spent many a happy month in its romantic mountains) is most characteristic. Cardinal Cospetto, we must say, is a most truculent prelate, and not certainly an ornament to his church.

“‘49, 210, 311. Smee, R.A. — Portraits which a Reynolds might be proud of — a Vandyke or Claude might not disown. ‘Sir Brian Newcome, in the costume of a Deputy-Lieutenant,’ ‘Major-General Sir Thomas de Boots, K.C.B.,’ painted for the 50th Dragoons, are triumphs, indeed, of this noble painter. Why have we no picture of the Sovereign and her august consort from Smee’s brush? When Charles II. picked up Titian’s mahl-stick, he observed to a courtier, ‘A king you can always have; a genius comes but rarely.’ While we have a Smee among us, and a monarch whom we admire — may the one be employed to transmit to posterity the beloved features of the other! We know our lucubrations are read in high places, and respectfully insinuate verbum sapienti.

“‘1906. ‘The M’Collop of M’Collop,’— A. M’Collop — is a noble work of a young artist, who, in depicting the gallant chief of a hardy Scottish clan, has also represented a romantic Highland landscape, in the midst of which, ‘his foot upon his native heath,’ stands a man of splendid symmetrical figure and great facial advantages. We shall keep our eye on Mr. M’Collop.

“‘1367. ‘Oberon and Titania.’ Ridley. — This sweet and fanciful little picture draws crowds round about it, and is one of the most charming and delightful works of the present exhibition. We echo the universal opinion in declaring that it shows not only the greatest promise, but the most delicate and beautiful performance. The Earl of Kew, we understand, bought the picture at the private view; and we congratulate the young painter heartily upon his successful debut. He is, we understand, a pupil of Mr. Gandish. Where is that admirable painter? We miss his bold canvasses and grand historic outline.’

“I shall alter a few inaccuracies in the composition of our friend F. B., who has, as he says, ‘drawn it uncommonly mild in the above criticism.’ In fact, two days since, he brought in an article of quite a different tendency, of which he retains only the two last paragraphs; but he has, with great magnanimity, recalled his previous observations; and, indeed, he knows as much about pictures as some critics I could name.

“Good-bye, my dear Clive! I send my kindest regards to your father; and think you had best see as little as possible of your bouillotte-playing French friend and his friends. This advice I know you will follow, as young men always follow the advice of their seniors and well-wishers. I dine in Fitzroy Square today with the pretty widow and her daughter, and am yours always, dear Clive, A. P.”

CHAPTER XXIII

In which we hear a Soprano and a Contralto

The most hospitable and polite of Colonels would not hear of Mrs. Mackenzie and her daughter quitting his house when he returned to it, after six weeks’ pleasant sojourn in Paris; nor, indeed, did his fair guest show the least anxiety or intention to go away. Mrs. Mackenzie had a fine merry humour of her own. She was an old soldier’s wife, she said and knew when her quarters were good; and I suppose, since her honeymoon, when the captain took her to Harrogate and Cheltenham, stopping at the first hotels, and travelling in a chaise-and-pair the whole way, she had never been so well off as in that roomy mansion near Tottenham Court Road. Of her mother’s house at Musselburgh she gave a ludicrous but dismal account. “Eh, James,” she said, “I think if you had come to mamma, as you threatened, you would not have staid very long. It’s a wearisome place. Dr. M’Craw boards with her; and it’s sermon and psalm-singing from morning till night. My little Josey takes kindly to the life there, and I left her behind, poor little darling! It was not fair to bring three of us to take possession of your house, dear James; but my poor little Rosey was just withering away there. It’s good for the dear child to see the world a little, and a kind uncle, who is not afraid of us now he sees us, is he?” Kind Uncle James was not at all afraid of little Rosey; whose pretty face and modest manners, and sweet songs, and blue eyes, cheered and soothed the old bachelor. Nor was Rosey’s mother less agreeable and pleasant. She had married the captain (it was a love-match, against the will of her parents, who had destined her to be the third wife of old Dr. M’Mull) when very young. Many sorrows she had had, including poverty, the captain’s imprisonment for debt, and his demise; but she was of a gay and lightsome spirit. She was but three-and-thirty years old, and looked five-and-twenty. She was active, brisk, jovial, and alert; and so good-looking, that it was a wonder she had not taken a successor to Captain Mackenzie. James Binnie cautioned his friend the Colonel against the attractions of the buxom siren; and laughingly would ask Clive how he would like Mrs. Mackenzie for a mamaw?

Colonel Newcome felt himself very much at ease regarding his future prospects. He was very glad that his friend James was reconciled to his family, and hinted to Clive that the late Captain Mackenzie’s extravagance had been the cause of the rupture between him and his brother-inlaw, who had helped that prodigal captain repeatedly during his life; and, in spite of family quarrels, had never ceased to act generously to his widowed sister and her family. “But I think, Mr. Clive,” said he, “that as Miss Rosa is very pretty, and you have a spare room at your studio, you had best take up your quarters in Charlotte Street as long as the ladies are living with us.” Clive was nothing loth to be independent; but he showed himself to be a very good home-loving youth. He walked home to breakfast every morning, dined often, and spent the evenings with the family. Indeed, the house was a great deal more cheerful for the presence of the two pleasant ladies. Nothing could be prettier than to see the two ladies tripping downstairs together, mamma’s pretty arm round Rosey’s pretty waist. Mamma’s talk was perpetually of Rosey. That child was always gay, always good, always happy! That darling girl woke with a smile on her face, it was sweet to see her! Uncle James, in his dry way, said, he dared to say it was very pretty. “Go away, you droll, dear old kind Uncle James!” Rosey’s mamma would cry out. “You old bachelors are wicked old things!” Uncle James used to kiss Rosey very kindly and pleasantly. She was as modest, as gentle, as eager to please Colonel Newcome as any little girl could be. It was pretty to see her tripping across the room with his coffee-cup, or peeling walnuts for him after dinner with her white plump little fingers.

Mrs. Irons, the housekeeper, naturally detested Mrs. Mackenzie, and was jealous of her: though the latter did everything to soothe and coax the governess of the two gentlemen’s establishment. She praised her dinners, delighted in her puddings, must beg Mrs. Irons to allow her to see one of those delicious puddings made, and to write the receipt for her, that Mrs. Mackenzie might use it when she was away. It was Mrs. Irons’ belief that Mrs. Mackenzie never intended to go away. She had no ideer of ladies, as were ladies, coming into her kitchen. The maids vowed that they heard Miss Rosa crying, and mamma scolding in her bedroom for all she was so soft-spoken. How was that jug broke, and that chair smashed in the bedroom, that day there was such a awful row up there?

Mrs. Mackenzie played admirably, in the old-fashioned way, dances, reels, and Scotch and Irish tunes, the former, of which filled James Binnie’s soul with delectation. The good mother naturally desired that her darling should have a few good lessons of the piano while she was in London. Rosey was eternally strumming upon an instrument which had been taken upstairs for her special practice; and the Colonel, who was always seeking to do harmless jobs of kindness for his friends, bethought him of little Miss Cann, the governess at Ridley’s, whom he recommended as an instructress. “Anybody whom you recommend I’m sure, dear Colonel, we shall like,” said Mrs. Mackenzie, who looked as black as thunder, and had probably intended to have Monsieur Quatremains or Signor Twankeydillo; and the little governess came to her pupil. Mrs. Mackenzie treated her very gruffly and haughtily at first; but as soon as she heard Miss Cann play, the widow was pacified — nay, charmed. Monsieur Quatremains charged a guinea for three-quarters of an hour; while Miss Cann thankfully took five shillings for an hour and a half; and the difference of twenty lessons, for which dear Uncle James paid, went into Mrs. Mackenzie’s pocket, and thence probably on to her pretty shoulders and head in the shape of a fine silk dress and a beautiful French bonnet, in which Captain Goby said, upon his life, she didn’t look twenty.

The little governess trotting home after her lesson would often look in to Clive’s studio in Charlotte Street, where her two boys, as she called Clive and J. J., were at work each at his easel. Clive used to laugh, and tell us, who joked him about the widow and her daughter, what Miss Cann said about them. Mrs. Mack was not all honey, it appeared. If Rosey played incorrectly, mamma flew at her with prodigious vehemence of language, and sometimes with a slap on poor Rosey’s back. She must make Rosey wear tight boots, and stamp on her little feet if they refused to enter into the slipper. I blush for the indiscretion of Miss Cann; but she actually told J. J., that mamma insisted upon lacing her so tight, as nearly to choke the poor little lass. Rosey did not fight: Rosey always yielded; and the scolding over and the tears dried, would come simpering downstairs with mamma’s arm round her waist, and her pretty artless happy smile for the gentlemen below. Besides the Scottish songs without music, she sang ballads at the piano very sweetly. Mamma used to cry at these ditties. “That child’s voice brings tears into my eyes, Mr. Newcome,” she would say. “She has never known a moment’s sorrow yet! Heaven grant, heaven grant, she may be happy! But what shall I be when I lose her?”

“Why, my dear, when ye lose Rosey, ye’ll console yourself with Josey,” says droll Mr. Binnie from the sofa, who perhaps saw the manoeuvre of the widow.

The widow laughs heartily and really. She places a handkerchief over her mouth. She glances at her brother with a pair of eyes full of knowing mischief. “Ah, dear James,” she says, “you don’t know what it is to have a mother’s feelings.”

“I can partly understand them,” says James. “Rosey, sing me that pretty little French song.” Mrs. Mackenzie’s attention to Clive was really quite affecting. If any of his friends came to the house, she took them aside and praised Clive to them. The Colonel she adored. She had never met with such a man or seen such a manner. The manners of the Bishop of Tobago were beautiful, and he certainly had one of the softest and finest hands in the world; but not finer than Colonel Newcome’s. “Look at his foot!” (and she put out her own, which was uncommonly pretty, and suddenly withdrew it, with an arch glance meant to represent a blush)—“my shoe would fit it! When we were at Coventry Island, Sir Peregrine Blandy, who succeeded poor dear Sir Rawdon Crawley — I saw his dear boy was gazetted to a lieutenant-colonelcy in the Guards last week — Sir Peregrine, who was one of the Prince of Wales’s most intimate friends, was always said to have the finest manner and presence of any man of his day; and very grand and noble he was, but I don’t think he was equal to Colonel Newcome — I don’t really think so. Do you think so, Mr. Honeyman? What a charming discourse that was last Sunday! I know there were two pair of eyes not dry in the church. I could not see the other people just for crying myself. Oh, but I wish we could have you at Musselburgh! I was bred a Presbyterian, of course; but in much travelling through the world with my dear husband, I came to love his church. At home we sit under Dr M’Craw, of course; but he is so awfully long! Four hours every Sunday at least, morning and afternoon! It nearly kills poor Rosey. Did you hear her voice at your church? The dear girl is delighted with the chants. Rosey, were you not delighted with the chants?”

If she is delighted with the chants, Honeyman is delighted with the chantress and her mamma. He dashes the fair hair from his brow: he sits down to the piano, and plays one or two of them, warbling a faint vocal accompaniment, and looking as if he would be lifted off the screw music-stool, and flutter up to the ceiling.

“Oh, it’s just seraphic!” says the widow. “It’s just the breath of incense and the pealing of the organ at the Cathedral at Montreal. Rosey doesn’t remember Montreal. She was a wee wee child. She was born on the voyage out, and christened at sea. You remember, Goby.”

“Gad, I promised and vowed to teach her her catechism; ‘gad, but I haven’t,” says Captain Goby. “We were between Montreal and Quebec for three years with the Hundredth, and the Hundred Twentieth Highlanders, and the Thirty-third Dragoon Guards a part of the time; Fipley commanded them, and a very jolly time we had. Much better than the West Indies, where a fellow’s liver goes to the deuce with hot pickles and sangaree. Mackenzie was a dev’lish wild fellow,” whispers Captain Goby to his neighbour (the present biographer, indeed), “and Mrs. Mack was as pretty a little woman as ever you set eyes on.” (Captain Goby winks, and looks peculiarly sly as he makes this statement.) “Our regiment wasn’t on your side of India, Colonel.”

And in the interchange of such delightful remarks, and with music and song, the evening passes away. “Since the house had been adorned by the fair presence of Mrs. Mackenzie and her daughter,” Honeyman said, always gallant in behaviour and flowery in expression, “it seemed as if spring had visited it. Its hospitality was invested with a new grace; its ever welcome little reunions were doubly charming. But why did these ladies come, if they were to go away again? How — how would Mr. Binnie console himself (not to mention others) if they left him in solitude?”

“We have no wish to leave my brother James in solitude,” cries Mrs. Mackenzie, frankly laughing. “We like London a great deal better than Musselburgh.”

“Oh, that we do!” ejaculates the blushing Rosey.

“And we will stay as long as ever my brother will keep us,” continues the widow.

“Uncle James is so kind and dear,” says Rosey. “I hope he won’t send me and mamma away.”

“He were a brute — a savage, if he did!” cries Binnie, with glances of rapture towards the two pretty faces. Everybody liked them. Binnie received their caresses very good-humouredly. The Colonel liked every woman under the sun. Clive laughed and joked and waltzed alternately with Rosey and her mamma. The latter was the briskest partner of the two. The unsuspicious widow, poor dear innocent, would leave her girl at the painting-room, and go shopping herself; but little J. J. also worked there, being occupied with his second picture: and he was almost the only one of Clive’s friends whom the widow did not like. She pronounced the quiet little painter a pert, little, obtrusive, underbred creature.

In a word, Mrs. Mackenzie was, as the phrase is, “setting her cap” so openly at Clive, that none of us could avoid seeing her play: and Clive laughed at her simple manoeuvres as merrily as the rest. She was a merry little woman. We gave her and her pretty daughter a luncheon in Lamb Court, Temple; in Sibwright’s chambers — luncheon from Dick’s Coffee House — ices and dessert from Partington’s in the Strand. Miss Rosey, Mr. Sibwright, our neighbour in Lamb Court, and the Reverend Charles Honeyman sang very delightfully after lunch; there was quite a crowd of porters, laundresses, and boys to listen in the court; Mr. Paley was disgusted with the noise we made — in fact, the party was perfectly successful. We all liked the widow, and if she did set her pretty ribbons at Clive, why should not she? We all liked the pretty, fresh, modest Rosey. Why, even the grave old benchers in the Temple church, when the ladies visited it on Sunday, winked their reverend eyes with pleasure, as they looked at those two uncommonly smart, pretty, well-dressed, fashionable women. Ladies, go to the Temple church. You will see more young men, and receive more respectful attention there than in any place, except perhaps at Oxford or Cambridge. Go to the Temple church — not, of course, for the admiration which you will excite and which you cannot help; but because the sermon is excellent, the choral services beautifully performed, and the church so interesting as a monument of the thirteenth century, and as it contains the tombs of those dear Knights Templars!

Mrs. Mackenzie could be grave or gay, according to her company: nor could any woman be of more edifying behaviour when an occasional Scottish friend bringing a letter from darling Josey, or a recommendatory letter from Josey’s grandmother, paid a visit in Fitzroy Square. Little Miss Cann used to laugh and wink knowingly, saying, “You will never get back your bedroom, Mr. Clive. You may be sure that Miss Josey will come in a few months; and perhaps old Mrs. Binnie, only no doubt she and her daughter do not agree. But the widow has taken possession of Uncle James; and she will carry off somebody else if I am not mistaken. Should you like a stepmother, Mr. Clive, or should you prefer a wife?”

Whether the fair lady tried her wiles upon Colonel Newcome the present writer has no certain means of ascertaining: but I think another image occupied his heart: and this Circe tempted him no more than a score of other enchantresses who had tried their spells upon him. If she tried she failed. She was a very shrewd woman, quite frank in her talk when such frankness suited her. She said to me, “Colonel Newcome has had some great passion, once upon a time, I am sure of that, and has no more heart to give away. The woman who had his must have been a very lucky woman: though I daresay she did not value what she had; or did not live to enjoy it — or — or something or other. You see tragedies in some people’s faces. I recollect when we were in Coventry Island — there was a chaplain there — a very good man — a Mr. Bell, and married to a pretty little woman who died. The first day I saw him I said, ‘I know that man has had a great grief in life. I am sure that he left his heart in England.’ You gentlemen who write books, Mr. Pendennis, and stop at the third volume, know very well that the real story often begins afterwards. My third volume ended when I was sixteen, and was married to my poor husband. Do you think all our adventures ended then, and that we lived happy ever after? I live for my darling girls now. All I want is to see them comfortable in life. Nothing can be more generous than my dear brother James has been. I am only his half-sister, you know, and was an infant in arms when he went away. He had differences with Captain Mackenzie, who was headstrong and imprudent, and I own my poor dear husband was in the wrong. James could not live with my poor mother. Neither could by possibility suit the other. I have often, I own, longed to come and keep house for him. His home, the society he sees, of men of talents like Mr. Warrington and — and I won’t mention names, or pay compliments to a man who knows human nature so well as the author of Walter Lorraine: this house is pleasanter a thousand times than Musselburgh — pleasanter for me and my dearest Rosey, whose delicate nature shrunk and withered up in poor mamma’s society. She was never happy except in my room, the dear child! She’s all gentleness and affection. She doesn’t seem to show it: but she has the most wonderful appreciation of wit, of genius, and talent of all kinds. She always hides her feelings, except from her fond old mother. I went up into our room yesterday, and found her in tears. I can’t bear to see her eyes red or to think of her suffering. I asked her what ailed her, and kissed her. She is a tender plant, Mr. Pendennis! Heaven knows with what care I have nurtured her! She looked up smiling on my shoulder. She looked so pretty! ‘Oh, mamma,’ the darling child said, ‘I couldn’t help it. I have been crying over Walter Lorraine.’ (Enter Rosey.) Rosey, darling! I have been telling Mr. Pendennis what a naughty, naughty child you were yesterday, and how you read a book which I told you you shouldn’t read; for it is a very wicked book; and though it contains some sad sad truths, it is a great deal too misanthropic (is that the right word? I’m a poor soldier’s wife, and no scholar, you know), and a great deal too bitter; and though the reviews praise it, and the clever people — we are poor simple country people — we won’t praise it. Sing, dearest, that little song” (profuse kisses to Rosey), “that pretty thing that Mr. Pendennis likes.”

“I am sure that I will sing anything that Mr. Pendennis likes,” says Rosey, with her candid bright eyes — and she goes to the piano and warbles “Batti, Batti,” with her sweet fresh artless voice.

More caresses follow. Mamma is in a rapture. How pretty they look — the mother and daughter — two lilies twining together! The necessity of an entertainment at the Temple-lunch from Dick’s (as before mentioned), dessert from Partington’s, Sibwright’s spoons, his boy to aid ours, nay, Sib himself, and his rooms, which are so much more elegant than ours, and where there is a piano and guitar: all these thoughts pass in rapid and brilliant combination in the pleasant Mr. Pendennis’s mind. How delighted the ladies are with the proposal! Mrs. Mackenzie claps her pretty hands, and kisses Rosey again. If osculation is a mark of love, surely Mrs. Mack is the best of mothers. I may say, without false modesty, that our little entertainment was most successful. The champagne was iced to a nicety. The ladies did not perceive that our laundress, Mrs. Flanagan, was intoxicated very early in the afternoon. Percy Sibwright sang admirably, and with the greatest spirit, ditties in many languages. I am sure Miss Rosey thought him (as indeed he is) one of the most fascinating young fellows about town. To her mother’s excellent accompaniment Rosey sang her favourite songs (by the way, her stock was very small — five, I think, was the number). Then the table was moved into a corner, where the quivering moulds of jelly seemed to keep time to the music; and whilst Percy played, two couple of waltzers actually whirled round the little room. No wonder that the court below was thronged with admirers, that Paley the reading man was in a rage, and Mrs. Flanagan in a state of excitement. Ah! pleasant days, happy gold dingy chambers illuminated by youthful sunshine! merry songs and kind faces — it is pleasant to recall you. Some of those bright eyes shine no more: some of those smiling lips do not speak. Some are not less kind, but sadder than in those days: of which the memories revisit us for a moment, and sink back into the grey past. The dear old Colonel beat time with great delight to the songs; the widow lit his cigar with her own fair fingers. That was the only smoke permitted during the entertainment — George Warrington himself not being allowed to use his cutty-pipe — though the gay little widow said that she had been used to smoking in the West Indies and I dare say spoke the truth. Our entertainment lasted actually until after dark: and a particularly neat cab being called from St. Clement’s by Mr. Binnie’s boy, you may be sure we all conducted the ladies to their vehicle: and many a fellow returning from his lonely club that evening into chambers must have envied us the pleasure of having received two such beauties.

The clerical bachelor was not to be outdone by the gentlemen of the bar; and the entertainment at the Temple was followed by one at Honeyman’s lodgings, which, I must own, greatly exceeded ours in splendour, for Honeyman had his luncheon from Gunter’s; and if he had been Miss Rosey’s mother, giving a breakfast to the dear girl on her marriage, the affair could not have been more elegant and handsome. We had but two bouquets at our entertainment; at Honeyman’s there were four upon the breakfast-table, besides a great pineapple, which must have cost the rogue three or four guineas, and which Percy Sibwright delicately cut up. Rosey thought the pineapple delicious. “The dear thing does not remember the pineapples in the West Indies!” cries Mrs. Mackenzie; and she gave us many exciting narratives of entertainments at which she had been present at various colonial governors’ tables. After luncheon, our host hoped we should have a little music. Dancing, of course, could not be allowed. “That,” said Honeyman with his soft-bleating sigh, “were scarcely clerical. You know, besides, you are in a hermitage; and” (with a glance round the table) “must put up with Cenobite’s fare.” The fare was, as I have said, excellent. The wine was bad, as George, and I, and Sib agreed; and in so far we flattered ourselves that our feast altogether excelled the parson’s. The champagne especially was such stuff, that Warrington remarked on it to his neighbour, a dark gentleman, with a tuft to his chin, and splendid rings and chains.

The dark gentleman’s wife and daughter were the other two ladies invited by our host. The elder was splendidly dressed. Poor Mrs. Mackenzie’s simple gimcracks, though she displayed them to the most advantage, and could make an ormolu bracelet go as far as another woman’s emerald clasps, were as nothing compared to the other lady’s gorgeous jewellery. Her fingers glittered with rings innumerable. The head of her smelling-bottle was as big as her husband’s gold snuff box, and of the same splendid material. Our ladies, it must be confessed, came in a modest cab from Fitzroy Square; these arrived in a splendid little open carriage with white ponies, and harness all over brass, which the lady of the rings drove with a whip that was a parasol. Mrs. Mackenzie, standing at Honeyman’s window, with her arm round Rosey’s waist, viewed this arrival perhaps with envy. “My dear Mr. Honeyman, whose are those beautiful horses?” cries Rosey, with enthusiasm.

The divine says with a faint blush —“It is — ah — it is Mrs. Sherrick and Miss Sherrick who have done me the favour to come to luncheon.”

“Wine-merchant. Oh!” thinks Mrs. Mackenzie, who has seen Sherrick’s brass plate on the cellar door of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel; and hence, perhaps, she was a trifle more magniloquent than usual, and entertained us with stories of colonial governors and their ladies, mentioning no persons but those who “had handles to their names,” as the phrase is.

Although Sherrick had actually supplied the champagne which Warrington abused to him in confidence, the wine-merchant was not wounded; on the contrary, he roared with laughter at the remark, and some of us smiled who understood the humour of the joke. As for George Warrington, he scarce knew more about the town than the ladies opposite to him; who, yet more innocent than George, thought the champagne very good. Mrs. Sherrick was silent during the meal, looking constantly up at her husband, as if alarmed and always in the habit of appealing to that gentleman, who gave her, as I thought, knowing glances and savage winks, which made me augur that he bullied her at home. Miss Sherrick was exceedingly handsome: she kept the fringed curtains of her eyes constantly down; but when she lifted them up towards Clive, who was very attentive to her (the rogue never sees a handsome woman but to this day he continues the same practice)— when she looked up and smiled, she was indeed a beautiful young creature to behold — with her pale forehead, her thick arched eyebrows, her rounded cheeks, and her full lips slightly shaded — how shall I mention the word? — slightly pencilled, after the manner of the lips of the French governess, Mademoiselle Lenoir.

Percy Sibwright engaged Miss Mackenzie with his usual grace and affability. Mrs. Mackenzie did her very utmost to be gracious, but it was evident the party was not altogether to her liking. Poor Percy, about whose means and expectations she had in the most natural way in the world asked information from me, was not perhaps a very eligible admirer for darling Rosey. She knew not that Percy can no more help gallantry than the sun can help shining. As soon as Rosey had done eating up her pineapple, artlessly confessing (to Percy Sibwright’s inquiries) that she preferred it to the rasps and hinnyblobs in her grandmamma’s garden, “Now, dearest Rosey,” cries Mrs. Mack, “now, a little song. You promised Mr. Pendennis a little song.” Honeyman whisks open the piano in a moment. The widow takes off her cleaned gloves (Mrs. Sherrick’s were new, and of the best Paris make), and little Rosey sings No. 1, followed by No. 2, with very great applause. Mother and daughter entwine as they quit the piano. “Brava! brava!” says Percy Sibwright. Does Mr. Clive Newcome say nothing? His back is turned to the piano, and he is looking with all his might into the eyes of Miss Sherrick.

Percy sings a Spanish seguidilla, or a German lied, or a French romance, or a Neapolitan canzonet, which, I am bound to say, excites very little attention. Mrs. Ridley is sending in coffee at this juncture, of which Mrs. Sherrick partakes, with lots of sugar, as she has partaken of numberless things before. Chicken, plovers’ eggs, prawns, aspics, jellies, creams, grapes, and what-not. Mr. Honeyman advances, and with deep respect asks if Mrs. Sherrick and Miss Sherrick will not be persuaded to sing? She rises and bows, and again takes off the French gloves, and shows the large white hands glittering with rings, and, summoning Emily her daughter, they go to the piano.

“Can she sing,” whispers Mrs. Mackenzie, “can she sing after eating so much?” Can she sing, indeed! Oh, you poor ignorant Mrs. Mackenzie! Why, when you were in the West Indies, if you ever read the English newspapers, you must have read of the fame of Miss Folthorpe. Mrs. Sherrick is no other than the famous artist, who, after three years of brilliant triumphs at the Scala, the Pergola, the San Carlo, the opera in England, forsook her profession, rejected a hundred suitors, and married Sherrick, who was Mr. Cox’s lawyer, who failed, as everybody knows, as manager of Drury Lane. Sherrick, like a man of spirit, would not allow his wife to sing in public after his marriage; but in private society, of course, she is welcome to perform: and now with her daughter, who possesses a noble contralto voice, she takes her place royally at the piano, and the two sing so magnificently that everybody in the room, with one single exception, is charmed and delighted; and that little Miss Cann herself creeps up the stairs, and stands with Mrs. Ridley at the door to listen to the music.

Miss Sherrick looks doubly handsome as she sings. Clive Newcome is in a rapture; so is good-natured Miss Rosey, whose little heart beats with pleasure, and who says quite unaffectedly to Miss Sherrick, with delight and gratitude beaming from her blue eyes, “Why did you ask me to sing, when you sing so wonderfully, so beautifully, yourself? Do not leave the piano, please — do sing again!” And she puts out a kind little hand towards the superior artist, and, blushing, leads her back to the instrument. “I’m sure me and Emily will sing for you as much as you like, dear,” says Mrs. Sherrick, nodding to Rosey good-naturedly. Mrs. Mackenzie, who has been biting her lips and drumming the time on a side-table, forgets at last the pain of being vanquished in admiration of the conquerors. “It was cruel of you not to tell us, Mr. Honeyman,” she says, “of the — of the treat you had in store for us. I had no idea we were going to meet professional people; Mrs. Sherrick’s singing is indeed beautiful.”

“If you come up to our place in the Regent’s Park, Mr. Newcome,” Mr. Sherrick says, “Mrs. S. and Emily will give you as many songs as you like. How do you like the house in Fitzroy Square? Anything wanting doing there? I’m a good landlord to a good tenant. Don’t care what I spend on my houses. Lose by ’em sometimes. Name a day when you’ll come to us; and I’ll ask some good fellows to meet you. Your father and Mr. Binnie came once. That was when you were a young chap. They didn’t have a bad evening, I believe. You just come and try us — I can give you as good a glass of wine as most, I think,” and he smiles, perhaps thinking of the champagne which Mr. Warrington had slighted. “I’ve ad the close carriage for my wife this evening,” he continues, looking out of window at a very handsome brougham which has just drawn up there. “That little pair of horses steps prettily together, don’t they? Fond of horses? I know you are. See you in the Park; and going by our house sometimes. The Colonel sits a horse uncommonly well: so do you, Mr. Newcome. I’ve often said, ‘Why don’t they get off their horses and say, Sherrick, we’re come for a bit of lunch and a glass of Sherry?’ Name a day, sir. Mr. P., will you be in it?”

Clive Newcome named a day, and told his father of the circumstance in the evening. The Colonel looked grave. “There was something which I did not quite like about Mr. Sherrick,” said that acute observer of human nature. “It was easy to see that the man is not quite a gentleman. I don’t care what a man’s trade is, Clive. Indeed, who are we, to give ourselves airs upon that subject? But when I am gone, my boy, and there is nobody near you who knows the world as I do, you may fall into designing hands, and rogues may lead you into mischief: keep a sharp look-out, Clive. Mr. Pendennis, here, knows that there are designing fellows abroad” (and the dear old gentleman gives a very knowing nod as he speaks). “When I am gone, keep the lad from harm’s way, Pendennis. Meanwhile Mr. Sherrick has been a very good and obliging landlord; and a man who sells wine may certainly give a friend a bottle. I am glad you had a pleasant evening, boys. Ladies, I hope you have had a pleasant afternoon. Miss Rosey, you are come back to make tea for the old gentlemen? James begins to get about briskly now. He walked to Hanover Square, Mrs. Mackenzie, without hurting his ankle in the least.”

“I am almost sorry that he is getting well,” says Mrs. Mackenzie sincerely. “He won’t want us when he is quite cured.”

“Indeed, my dear creature!” cries the Colonel, taking her pretty hand and kissing it; “he will want you, and he shall want you. James no more knows the world than Miss Rosey here; and if I had not been with him, would have been perfectly unable to take care of himself. When I am gone to India, somebody must stay with him; and — and my boy must have a home to go to,” says the kind soldier, his voice dropping. “I had been in hopes that his own relatives would have received him more, but never mind about that,” he cried more cheerfully. “Why, I may not be absent a year! I perhaps need not go at all — I am second for promotion. A couple of our old generals may drop any day; and when I get my regiment I come back to stay, to live at home. Meantime, whilst I am gone, my dear lady, you will take care of James; and you will be kind to my boy.”

“That I will!” said the widow, radiant with pleasure, and she took one of Clive’s hands and pressed it for an instant; and from Clive’s father’s kind face there beamed out that benediction which always made his countenance appear to me among the most beautiful of human faces.

CHAPTER XXIV

In which the Newcome Brothers once more meet together in Unity

His narrative, as the judicious reader no doubt is aware, is written maturely and at ease, long after the voyage is over, whereof it recounts the adventures and perils; the winds adverse and favourable; the storms, shoals, shipwrecks, islands, and so forth, which Clive Newcome met in his early journey in life. In such a history events follow each other without necessarily having a connection with one another. One ship crosses another ship, and after a visit from one captain to his comrade, they sail away each on his course. The Clive Newcome meets a vessel which makes signals that she is short of bread and water; and after supplying her, our captain leaves her to see her no more. One or two of the vessels with which we commenced the voyage together, part company in a gale, and founder miserably; others, after being wofully battered in the tempest, make port, or are cast upon surprising islands where all sorts of unlooked-for prosperity awaits the lucky crew. Also, no doubt, the writer of the book, into whose hands Clive Newcome’s logs have been put, and who is charged with the duty of making two octavo volumes out of his friend’s story, dresses up the narrative in his own way; utters his own remarks in place of Newcome’s; makes fanciful descriptions of individuals and incidents with which he never could have been personally acquainted; and commits blunders, which the critics will discover. A great number of the descriptions in Cook’s Voyages, for instance, were notoriously invented by Dr. Hawkesworth, who “did” the book: so in the present volumes, where dialogues are written down, which the reporter could by no possibility have heard, and where motives are detected which the persons actuated by them certainly never confided to the writer, the public must once for all be warned that the author’s individual fancy very likely supplies much of the narrative; and that he forms it as best he may, out of stray papers, conversations reported to him, and his knowledge, right or wrong, of the characters of the persons engaged. And, as is the case with the most orthodox histories, the writer’s own guesses or conjectures are printed in exactly the same type as the most ascertained patent facts. I fancy, for my part, that the speeches attributed to Clive, the Colonel, and the rest, are as authentic as the orations in Sallust or Livy, and only implore the truth-loving public to believe that incidents here told, and which passed very probably without witnesses, were either confided to me subsequently as compiler of this biography, or are of such a nature that they must have happened from what we know happened after. For example, when you read such words as QVE ROMANVS on a battered Roman stone, your profound antiquarian knowledge enables you to assert that SENATVS POPVLVS was also inscribed there at some time or other. You take a mutilated statue of Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, or Virorum, and you pop him on a wanting hand, an absent foot, or a nose which time or barbarians have defaced. You tell your tales as you can, and state the facts as you think they must have been. In this manner, Mr. James (historiographer to Her Majesty), Titus Livius, Professor Alison, Robinson Crusoe, and all historians proceeded. Blunders there must be in the best of these narratives, and more asserted than they can possibly know or vouch for.

To recur to our own affairs, and the subject at present in hand, I am obliged here to supply from conjecture a few points of the history, which I could not know from actual experience or hearsay. Clive, let us say, is Romanus, and we must add Senatus Populusque to his inscription. After Mrs. Mackenzie and her pretty daughter had been for a few months in London, which they did not think of quitting, although Mr. Binnie’s wounded little leg was now as well and as brisk as ever it had been, a redintegration of love began to take place between the Colonel and his relatives in Park Lane. How should we know that there had ever been a quarrel, or at any rate a coolness? Thomas Newcome was not a man to talk at length of any such matter; though a word or two occasionally dropped in conversation by the simple gentleman might lead persons who chose to interest themselves about his family affairs to form their own opinions concerning them. After that visit of the Colonel and his son to Newcome, Ethel was constantly away with her grandmother. The Colonel went to see his pretty little favourite at Brighton, and once, twice, thrice, Lady Kew’s door was denied to him. The knocker of that door could not be more fierce than the old lady’s countenance, when Newcome met her in her chariot driving on the cliff. Once, forming the loveliest of a charming Amazonian squadron, led by Mr. Whiskin, the riding-master, when the Colonel encountered his pretty Ethel, she greeted him affectionately, it is true; there was still the sweet look of candour and love in her eyes; but when he rode up to her she looked so constrained, when he talked about Clive, so reserved, when he left her, so sad, that he could not but feel pain and commiseration. Back he went to London, having in a week only caught this single glance of his darling.

This event occurred while Clive was painting his picture of the “Battle of Assaye” before mentioned, during the struggles incident on which composition he was not thinking much about Miss Ethel, or his papa, or any other subject but his great work. Whilst Assaye was still in progress, Thomas Newcome must have had an explanation with his sister-inlaw, Lady Anne, to whom he frankly owned the hopes which he had entertained for Clive, and who must as frankly have told the Colonel that Ethel’s family had very different views for that young lady to those which the simple Colonel had formed. A generous early attachment, the Colonel thought, is the safeguard of a young man. To love a noble girl; to wait a while and struggle, and haply do some little achievement in order to win her; the best task to which his boy could set himself. If two young people so loving each other were to marry on rather narrow means, what then? A happy home was better than the finest house in Mayfair; a generous young fellow, such as, please God, his son was — loyal, upright, and a gentleman — might pretend surely to his kinswoman’s hand without derogation; and the affection he bore Ethel himself was so great, and the sweet regard with which she returned it, that the simple father thought his kindly project was favoured by Heaven, and prayed for its fulfilment, and pleased himself to think, when his campaigns were over, and his sword hung on the wall, what a beloved daughter he might have to soothe and cheer his old age. With such a wife for his son, and child for himself, he thought the happiness of his last years might repay him for friendless boyhood, lonely manhood, and cheerless exile; and he imparted his simple scheme to Ethel’s mother, who no doubt was touched as he told his story; for she always professed regard and respect for him, and in the differences which afterwards occurred in the family, and the quarrels which divided the brothers, still remained faithful to the good Colonel.

But Barnes Newcome, Esquire, was the bead of the house, and the governor of his father and all Sir Brian’s affairs; and Barnes Newcome, Esquire, hated his cousin Clive, and spoke of him as a beggarly painter, an impudent snob, an infernal young puppy, and so forth; and Barnes with his usual freedom of language imparted his opinions to his Uncle Hobson at the bank, and Uncle Hobson carried them home to Mrs. Newcome in Bryanstone Square; and Mrs. Newcome took an early opportunity of telling the Colonel her opinion on the subject, and of bewailing that love for aristocracy which she saw actuated some folks; and the Colonel was brought to see that Barnes was his boy’s enemy, and words very likely passed between them, for Thomas Newcome took a new banker at this time, and, as Clive informed me, was in very great dudgeon because Hobson Brothers wrote to him to say that he had overdrawn his account. “I am sure there is some screw loose,” the sagacious youth remarked to me; “and the Colonel and the people in Park Lane are at variance, because he goes there very little now; and he promised to go to Court when Ethel was presented, and he didn’t go.”

Some months after the arrival of Mr. Binnie’s niece and sister in Fitzroy Square, the fraternal quarrel between the Newcomes must have come to an end — for that time at least — and was followed by a rather ostentatious reconciliation. And pretty little Rosey Mackenzie was the innocent and unconscious cause of this amiable change in the minds of the three brethren, as I gathered from a little conversation with Mrs. Newcome, who did me the honour to invite me to her table. As she had not vouchsafed this hospitality to me for a couple of years previously, and perfectly stifled me with affability when we met — as her invitation came quite at the end of the season, when almost everybody was out of town, and a dinner to a man is no compliment — I was at first for declining this invitation, and spoke of it with great scorn when Mr. Newcome orally delivered it to me at Bays’s Club.

“What,” said I, turning round to an old man of the world, who happened to be in the room at the time, “what do these people mean by asking a fellow to dinner in August, and taking me up after dropping me for two years?”

“My good fellow,” says my friend — it was my kind old Uncle Major Pendennis, indeed —“I have lived long enough about town never to ask myself questions of that sort. In the world people drop you and take you up every day. You know Lady Cheddar by sight? I have known her husband for forty years: I have stayed with them in the country, for weeks at a time. She knows me as well as she knows King Charles at Charing Cross, and a doosid deal better, and yet for a whole season she will drop me — pass me by, as if there was no such person in the world. Well, sir, what do I do? I never see her. I give you my word I am never conscious of her existence; and if I meet her at dinner, I’m no more aware of her than the fellows in the play are of Banquo. What’s the end of it? She comes round — only last Toosday she came round — and said Lord Cheddar wanted me to go down to Wiltshire. I asked after the family (you know Henry Churningham is engaged to Miss Rennet? — a doosid good match for the Cheddars). We shook hands and are as good friends as ever. I don’t suppose she’ll cry when I die, you know,” said the worthy old gentleman with a grin. “Nor shall I go into very deep mourning if anything happens to her. You were quite right to say to Newcome that you did not know whether you were free or not, and would look at your engagements when you got home, and give him an answer. A fellow of that rank has no right to give himself airs. But they will, sir. Some of those bankers are as high and mighty as the oldest families. They marry noblemen’s daughters, by Jove, and think nothing is too good for ’em. But I should go, if I were you, Arthur. I dined there a couple of months ago; and the bankeress said something about you: that you and her nephew were much together, that you were sad wild dogs, I think — something of that sort. ‘Gad, ma’am,’ says I, ‘boys will be boys.’ ‘And they grow to be men!’ says she, nodding her head. Queer little woman, devilish pompous. Dinner confoundedly long, stoopid, scientific.”

The old gentleman was on this day inclined to be talkative and confidential, and I set down some more remarks which he made concerning my friends. “Your Indian Colonel,” says he, “seems a worthy man.” The Major quite forgot having been in India himself, unless he was in company with some very great personage. “He don’t seem to know much of the world, and we are not very intimate. Fitzroy Square is a dev’lish long way off for a fellow to go for a dinner, and entre nous, the dinner is rather queer and the company still more so. It’s right for you who are a literary man to see all sorts of people; but I’m different, you know, so Newcome and I are not very thick together. They say he wanted to marry your friend to Lady Anne’s daughter, an exceedingly fine girl; one of the prettiest girls come out this season. I hear the young men say so. And that shows how monstrous ignorant of the world Colonel Newcome is. His son could no more get that girl than he could marry one of the royal princesses. Mark my words, they intend Miss Newcome for Lord Kew. Those banker fellows are wild after grand marriages. Kew will sow his wild oats, and they’ll marry her to him; or if not to him, to some man of high rank. His father Walham was a weak young man; but his grandmother, old Lady Kew, is a monstrous clever old woman, too severe with her children, one of whom ran away and married a poor devil without a shilling. Nothing could show a more deplorable ignorance of the world than poor Newcome supposing his son could make such a match as that with his cousin. Is it true that he is going to make his son an artist? I don’t know what the dooce the world is coming to. An artist! By gad, in my time a fellow would as soon have thought of making his son a hairdresser, or a pastrycook, by gad.” And the worthy Major gives his nephew two fingers, and trots off to the next club in St. James’s Street, of which he is a member.

The virtuous hostess of Bryanstone Square was quite civil and good-humoured when Mr. Pendennis appeared at her house; and my surprise was not inconsiderable when I found the whole party from Saint Pancras there assembled — Mr. Binnie; the Colonel and his son; Mrs. Mackenzie, looking uncommonly handsome and perfectly well-dressed; and Miss Rosey, in pink crape, with pearly shoulders and blushing cheeks, and beautiful fair ringlets — as fresh and comely a sight as it was possible to witness. Scarcely had we made our bows, and shaken our hands, and imparted our observations about the fineness of the weather, when, behold! as we look from the drawing-room windows into the cheerful square of Bryanstone, a great family coach arrives, driven by a family coachman in a family wig, and we recognise Lady Anne Newcome’s carriage, and see her ladyship, her mother, her daughter, and her husband, Sir Brian, descend from the vehicle. “It is quite a family party,” whispers the happy Mrs. Newcome to the happy writer conversing with her in the niche of the window. “Knowing your intimacy with our brother, Colonel Newcome, we thought it would please him to meet you here. Will you be so kind as to take Miss Newcome to dinner?”

Everybody was bent upon being happy and gracious. It was “My dear brother, how do you do?” from Sir Brian. “My dear Colonel, how glad we are to see you! how well you look!” from Lady Anne. Miss Newcome ran up to him with both hands out, and put her beautiful face so close to his that I thought, upon my conscience, she was going to kiss him. And Lady Kew, advancing in the frankest manner, with a smile, I must own, rather awful, playing round her many wrinkles, round her ladyship’s hooked nose, and displaying her ladyship’s teeth (a new and exceedingly handsome set), held out her hand to Colonel Newcome, and said briskly, “Colonel, it is an age since we met.” She turns to Clive with equal graciousness and good-humour, and says, “Mr. Clive, let me shake hands with you; I have heard all sorts of good of you, that you have been painting the most beautiful things, that you are going to be quite famous.” Nothing can exceed the grace and kindness of Lady Anne Newcome towards Mrs. Mackenzie: the pretty widow blushes with pleasure at this greeting; and now Lady Anne must be introduced to Mrs. Mackenzie’s charming daughter, and whispers in the delighted mother’s ear, “She is lovely!” Rosey comes up looking rosy indeed, and executes a pretty curtsey with a great deal of blushing grace.

Ethel has been so happy to see her dear uncle, that as yet she has had no eyes for any one else, until Clive advancing, those bright eyes become brighter still with surprise and pleasure as she beholds him. For being absent with his family in Italy now, and not likely to see this biography for many many months, I may say that he is a much handsomer fellow than our designer has represented; and if that wayward artist should take this very scene for the purpose of illustration, he is requested to bear in mind that the hero of this story will wish to have justice done to his person. There exists in Mr. Newcome’s possession a charming little pencil-drawing of Clive at this age, and which Colonel Newcome took with him when he went — whither he is about to go in a very few pages — and brought back with him to this country. A florid apparel becomes some men, as simple raiment suits others, and Clive in his youth was of the ornamental class of mankind — a customer to tailors, a wearer of handsome rings, shirt-studs, mustachios, long hair, and the like; nor could he help, in his costume or his nature, being picturesque and generous and splendid. He was always greatly delighted with that Scotch man-at-arms in Quentin Durward, who twists off an inch or two of his gold chain to treat a friend and pay for a bottle. He would give a comrade a ring or a fine jewelled pin, if he had no money. Silver dressing-cases and brocade morning-gowns were in him a sort of propriety at this season of his youth. It was a pleasure to persons of colder temperament to sun themselves in the warmth of his bright looks and generous humour. His laughter cheered one like wine. I do not know that he was very witty; but he was pleasant. He was prone to blush: the history of a generous trait moistened his eyes instantly. He was instinctively fond of children, and of the other sex from one year old to eighty. Coming from the Derby once — a merry party — and stopped on the road from Epsom in a lock of carriages, during which the people in the carriage ahead saluted us with many vituperative epithets, and seized the heads of our leaders — Clive in a twinkling jumped off the box, and the next minute we saw him engaged with a half-dozen of the enemy: his hat gone, his fair hair flying off his face, his blue eyes flashing with fire, his lips and nostrils quivering wrath, his right and left hand hitting out, que c’etoit un plaisir voir. His father sat back in the carriage, looking with delight and wonder — indeed it was a great sight. Policeman X separated the warriors. Clive ascended the box again with a dreadful wound in the coat, which was gashed from the waist to the shoulder. I hardly ever saw the elder Newcome in such a state of triumph. The postboys quite stared at the gratuity he gave them, and wished they might drive his lordship to the Oaks.

All the time we have been making this sketch Ethel is standing, looking at Clive; and the blushing youth casts down his eyes before hers. Her face assumes a look of arch humour. She passes a slim hand over the prettiest lips and a chin with the most lovely of dimples, thereby indicating her admiration of Mr. Clive’s mustachios and imperial. They are of a warm yellowish chestnut colour, and have not yet known the razor. He wears a low cravat; a shirt-front of the finest lawn, with ruby buttons. His hair, of a lighter colour, waves almost to his “manly shoulders broad.” “Upon my word; my dear Colonel,” says Lady Kew, after looking at him, and nodding her head shrewdly, “I think we were right.”

“No doubt right in everything your ladyship does, but in what particularly?” asks the Colonel.

“Right to keep him out of the way. Ethel has been disposed of these ten years. Did not Anne tell you? How foolish of her! But all mothers like to have young men dying for their daughters. Your son is really the handsomest boy in London. Who is that conceited-looking young man in the window? Mr. Pen — what? has your son really been very wicked? I was told he was a sad scapegrace.”

“I never knew him do, and I don’t believe he ever thought, anything that was untrue, or unkind, or ungenerous,” says the Colonel. “If any one has belied my boy to you, and I think I know who his enemy has been ——”

“The young lady is very pretty,” remarks Lady Kew, stopping the Colonel’s further outbreak. “How very young her mother looks! Ethel, my dear! Colonel Newcome must present us to Mrs. Mackenzie and Miss Mackenzie;” and Ethel, giving a nod to Clive, with whom she has talked for a minute or two, again puts her hand in her uncle’s, and walks towards Mrs. Mackenzie and her daughter.

And now let the artist, if he has succeeded in drawing Clive to his liking, cut a fresh pencil, and give us a likeness of Ethel. She is seventeen years old; rather taller than the majority of women; of a countenance somewhat grave and haughty, but on occasion brightening with humour or beaming with kindliness and affection. Too quick to detect affectation or insincerity in others, too impatient of dulness or pomposity, she is more sarcastic now than she became when after years of suffering had softened her nature. Truth looks out of her bright eyes, and rises up armed, and flashes scorn or denial, perhaps too readily, when she encounters flattery, or meanness, or imposture. After her first appearance in the world, if the truth must be told, this young lady was popular neither with many men, nor with most women. The innocent dancing youth who pressed round her, attracted by her beauty, were rather afraid, after a while, of engaging her. This one felt dimly that she despised him; another, that his simpering commonplaces (delights of how many well-bred maidens!) only occasioned Miss Newcome’s laughter. Young Lord Croesus, whom all maidens and matrons were eager to secure, was astounded to find that he was utterly indifferent to her, and that she would refuse him twice or thrice in an evening, and dance as many times with poor Tom Spring, who was his father’s ninth son, and only at home till he could get a ship and go to sea again. The young women were frightened at her sarcasm. She seemed to know what fadaises they whispered to their partners as they paused in the waltzes; and Fanny, who was luring Lord Croesus towards her with her blue eyes, dropped them guiltily to the floor when Ethel’s turned towards her; and Cecilia sang more out of time than usual; and Clara, who was holding Freddy, and Charley, and Tommy round her enchanted by her bright conversation and witty mischief, became dumb and disturbed when Ethel passed her with her cold face; and old Lady Hookham, who was playing off her little Minnie now at young Jack Gorget of the Guards, now at the eager and simple Bob Bateson of the Coldstreams, would slink off when Ethel made her appearance on the ground, whose presence seemed to frighten away the fish and the angler. No wonder that the other Mayfair nymphs were afraid of this severe Diana, whose looks were so cold and whose arrows were so keen.

But those who had no cause to heed Diana’s shot or coldness might admire her beauty; nor could the famous Parisian marble, which Clive said she resembled, be more perfect in form than this young lady. Her hair and eyebrows were jet black (these latter may have been too thick according to some physiognomists, giving rather a stern expression to the eyes, and hence causing those guilty ones to tremble who came under her lash), but her complexion was as dazzlingly fair and her cheeks as red as Miss Rosey’s own, who had a right to those beauties, being a blonde by nature. In Miss Ethel’s black hair there was a slight natural ripple, as when a fresh breeze blows over the melan hudor — a ripple such as Roman ladies nineteen hundred years ago, and our own beauties a short time since, endeavoured to imitate by art, paper, and I believe crumpling-irons. Her eyes were grey; her mouth rather large; her teeth as regular and bright as Lady Kew’s own; her voice low and sweet; and her smile, when it lighted up her face and eyes, as beautiful as spring sunshine; also they could lighten and flash often, and sometimes, though rarely, rain. As for her figure — but as this tall slender form is concealed in a simple white muslin robe (of the sort which I believe is called demi-toilette), in which her fair arms are enveloped, and which is confined at her slim waist by an azure ribbon, and descends to her feet — let us make a respectful bow to that fair image of Youth, Health, and Modesty, and fancy it as pretty as we will. Miss Ethel made a very stately curtsey to Mrs. Mackenzie, surveying that widow calmly, so that the elder lady looked up and fluttered; but towards Rosey she held out her hand, and smiled with the utmost kindness, and the smile was returned by the other; and the blushes with which Miss Mackenzie was always ready at this time, became her very much. As for Mrs. Mackenzie — the very largest curve that shall not be a caricature, and actually disfigure the widow’s countenance — a smile so wide and steady, so exceedingly rident, indeed, as almost to be ridiculous, may be drawn upon her buxom face, if the artist chooses to attempt it as it appeared during the whole of this summer evening, before dinner came (when people ordinarily look very grave), when she was introduced to the company: when she was made known to our friends Julia and Maria — the darling child, lovely little dears! how like their papa and mamma! — when Sir Brian Newcome gave her his arm downstairs to the dining-room when anybody spoke to her: when John offered her meat, or the gentleman in the white waistcoat, wine; when she accepted or when she refused these refreshments; when Mr. Newcome told her a dreadfully stupid story; when the Colonel called cheerily from his end of the table, “My dear Mrs. Mackenzie, you don’t take any wine today; may I not have the honour of drinking a glass of champagne with you?” when the new boy from the country upset some sauce upon her shoulder: when Mrs. Newcome made the sign for departure; and I have no doubt in the drawing-room, when the ladies retired thither. “Mrs. Mack is perfectly awful,” Clive told me afterwards, “since that dinner in Bryanstone Square. Lady Kew and Lady Anne are never out of her mouth; she has had white muslin dresses made just like Ethel’s for herself and her daughter. She has bought a Peerage, and knows the pedigree of the whole Kew family. She won’t go out in a cab now without the boy on the box; and in the plate for the cards which she has established in the drawing-room, you know, Lady Kew’s pasteboard always will come up to the top, though I poke it down whenever I go into the room. As for poor Lady Trotter, the governess of St. Kitt’s, you know, and the Bishop of Tobago, they are quite bowled out: Mrs. Mack has not mentioned them for a week.”

During the dinner it seemed to me that the lovely young lady by whom I sate cast many glances towards Mrs. Mackenzie, which did not betoken particular pleasure. Miss Ethel asked me several questions regarding Clive, and also respecting Miss Mackenzie: perhaps her questions were rather downright and imperious, and she patronised me in a manner that would not have given all gentlemen pleasure. I was Clive’s friend, his schoolfellow? had I seen him a great deal? know him very well — very well indeed? Was it true that he had been very thoughtless? very wild? Who told her so? That was not her question (with a blush). It was not true, and I ought to know? He was not spoiled? He was very good-natured, generous, told the truth? He loved his profession very much, and had great talent? Indeed she was very glad. Why do they sneer at his profession? It seemed to her quite as good as her father’s and brother’s. Were artists not very dissipated? Not more so, nor often so much as other young men? Was Mr. Binnie rich, and was he going to leave all his money to his niece? How long have you known them? Is Miss Mackenzie as good-natured as she looks? Not very clever, I suppose. Mrs. Mackenzie looks very — No, thank you, no more. Grandmamma (she is very deaf, and cannot hear) scolded me for reading the book you wrote, and took the book away. I afterwards got it, and read it all. I don’t think there was any harm in it. Why do you give such bad characters of women? Don’t you know any good ones? Yes, two as good as any in the world. They are unselfish: they are pious; they are always doing good; they live in the country? Why don’t you put them into a book? Why don’t you put my uncle into a book? He is so good, that nobody could make him good enough. Before I came out, I heard a young lady —(Lady Clavering’s daughter, Miss Amory) sing a song of yours. I have never spoken to an author before. I saw Mr. Lyon at Lady Popinjoy’s, and heard him speak. He said it was very hot, and he looked so, I am sure. Who is the greatest author now alive? You will tell me when you come upstairs after dinner; — and the young lady sails away, following the matrons, who rise and ascend to the drawing-room. Miss Newcome has been watching the behaviour of the author by whom she sate; curious to know what such a person’s habits are; whether he speaks and acts like other people; and in what respect authors are different from persons “in society.”

When we had sufficiently enjoyed claret and politics below-stairs, the gentlemen went to the drawing-room to partake of coffee and the ladies’ delightful conversation. We had heard previously the tinkling of the piano above, and the well-known sound of a couple of Miss Rosey’s five songs. The two young ladies were engaged over an album at a side-table, when the males of the party arrived. The book contained a number of Clive’s drawings made in the time of his very early youth for the amusement of his little cousins. Miss Ethel seemed to be very much pleased with these performances, which Miss Mackenzie likewise examined with great good-nature and satisfaction. So she did the views of Rome, Naples, Marble Hill in the county of Sussex, etc., in the same collection: so she did the Berlin cockatoo and spaniel which Mrs. Newcome was working in idle moments: so she did the “Books of Beauty,” “Flowers of Loveliness,” and so forth. She thought the prints very sweet and pretty: she thought the poetry very pretty and sweet. Which did she like best, Mr. Niminy’s “Lines to a bunch of violets,” or Miss Piminy’s “Stanzas to a wreath of roses”? Miss Mackenzie was quite puzzled to say which of these masterpieces she preferred; she found them alike so pretty. She appealed, as in most cases, to mamma. “How, my darling love, can I pretend to know?” mamma says. “I have been a soldier’s wife, battling about the world. I have not had your advantages. I had no drawing-masters, nor music-masters as you have. You, dearest child, must instruct me in these things.” This poses Rosey: who prefers to have her opinions dealt out to her like her frocks, bonnets, handkerchiefs, her shoes and gloves, and the order thereof; the lumps of sugar for her tea, the proper quantity of raspberry jam for breakfast; who trusts for all supplies corporeal and spiritual to her mother. For her own part, Rosey is pleased with everything in nature. Does she love music? Oh, yes. Bellini and Donizetti? Oh, yes. Dancing? They had no dancing at grandmamma’s, but she adores dancing, and Mr. Clive dances very well indeed. (A smile from Miss Ethel at this admission.) Does she like the country? Oh, she is so happy in the country! London? London is delightful, and so is the seaside. She does not really know which she likes best, London or the country, for mamma is not near her to decide, being engaged listening to Sir Brian, who is laying down the law to her, and smiling, smiling with all her might. In fact, Mr. Newcome says to Mr. Pendennis in his droll, humorous way, “That woman grins like a Cheshire cat.” Who was the naturalist who first discovered that peculiarity of the cats in Cheshire?

In regard to Miss Mackenzie’s opinions, then, it is not easy to discover that they are decided, or profound, or original; but it seems pretty clear that she has a good temper, and a happy contented disposition. And the smile which her pretty countenance wears shows off to great advantage the two dimples on her pink cheeks. Her teeth are even and white, her hair of a beautiful colour, and no snow can be whiter than her fair round neck and polished shoulders. She talks very kindly and good-naturedly with Julia and Maria (Mrs. Hobson’s precious ones) until she is bewildered by the statements which those young ladies make regarding astronomy, botany, and chemistry, all of which they are studying. “My dears, I don’t know a single word about any of these abstruse subjects: I wish I did,” she says. And Ethel Newcome laughs. She too is ignorant upon all these subjects. “I am glad there is some one else,” says Rosey, with naivete, “who is as ignorant as I am.” And the younger children, with a solemn air, say they will ask mamma leave to teach her. So everybody, somehow, great or small, seems to protect her; and the humble, simple, gentle little thing wins a certain degree of goodwill from the world, which is touched by her humility and her pretty sweet looks. The servants in Fitzroy Square waited upon her much more kindly than upon her smiling bustling mother. Uncle James is especially fond of his little Rosey. Her presence in his study never discomposes him; whereas his sister fatigues him with the exceeding activity of her gratitude, and her energy in pleasing. As I was going away, I thought I heard Sir Brian Newcome say, “It” (but what “it” was, of course I cannot conjecture)—“it will do very well. The mother seems a superior woman.”

CHAPTER XXV

Is passed in a Public-house

I had no more conversation with Miss Newcome that night, who had forgotten her curiosity about the habits of authors. When she had ended her talk with Miss Mackenzie, she devoted the rest of the evening to her uncle, Colonel Newcome; and concluded by saying, “And now you will come and ride with me tomorrow, uncle, won’t you?” which the Colonel faithfully promised to do. And she shook hands with Clive very kindly: and with Rosey very frankly, but as I thought with rather a patronising air: and she made a very stately bow to Mrs. Mackenzie, and so departed with her father and mother. Lady Kew had gone away earlier. Mrs. Mackenzie informed us afterwards that the Countess had gone to sleep after her dinner. If it was at Mrs. Mack’s story about the Governor’s ball at Tobago, and the quarrel for precedence between the Lord Bishop’s lady, Mrs. Rotchet, and the Chief Justice’s wife, Lady Barwise, I should not be at all surprised.

A handsome fly carried off the ladies to Fitzroy Square, and the two worthy Indian gentlemen in their company; Clive and I walking, with the usual Havannah to light us home. And Clive remarked that he supposed there had been some difference between his father and the bankers: for they had not met for ever so many months before, and the Colonel always had looked very gloomy when his brothers were mentioned. “And I can’t help thinking,” says the astute youth, “that they fancied I was in love with Ethel (I know the Colonel would have liked me to make up to her), and that may have occasioned the row. Now, I suppose, they think I am engaged to Rosey. What the deuce are they in such a hurry to marry me for?”

Clive’s companion remarked, “that marriage was a laudable institution: and an honest attachment an excellent conservator of youthful morals.” On which Clive replied, “Why don’t you marry yourself?”

This it was justly suggested was no argument, but a merely personal allusion foreign to the question, which was, that marriage was laudable, etc.

Mr. Clive laughed. “Rosey is as good a little creature as can be,” he said. “She is never out of temper, though I fancy Mrs. Mackenzie tries her. I don’t think she is very wise: but she is uncommonly pretty, and her beauty grows on you. As for Ethel, anything so high and mighty I have never seen since I saw the French giantess. Going to Court, and about to parties every night where a parcel of young fools flatter her, has perfectly spoiled her. By Jove, how handsome she is! How she turns with her long neck, and looks at you from under those black eyebrows! If I painted her hair, I think I should paint it almost blue, and then glaze over with lake. It is blue. And how finely her head is joined on to her shoulders!”— And he waves in the air an imaginary line with his cigar. “She would do for Judith, wouldn’t she? Or how grand she would look as Herodias’s daughter sweeping down a stair — in a great dress of cloth-of-gold like Paul Veronese — holding a charger before her with white arms, you know — with the muscles accented like that glorious Diana at Paris — a savage smile on her face and a ghastly solemn gory head on the dish. I see the picture, sir, I see the picture!” and he fell to curling his mustachios just like his brave old father.

I could not help laughing at the resemblance, and mentioning it to my friend. He broke, as was his wont, into a fond eulogium of his sire, wished he could be like him — worked himself up into another state of excitement, in which he averred “that if his father wanted him to marry, he would marry that instant. And why not Rosey? She is a dear little thing. Or why not that splendid Miss Sherrick? What ahead! — a regular Titian! I was looking at the difference of their colour at Uncle Honeyman’s that day of the dejeuner. The shadows in Rosey’s face, sir, are all pearly-tinted. You ought to paint her in milk, sir!” cries the enthusiast. “Have you ever remarked the grey round her eyes, and the sort of purple bloom of her cheek? Rubens could have done the colour: but I don’t somehow like to think of a young lady and that sensuous old Peter Paul in company. I look at her like a little wild-flower in a field — like a little child at play, sir. Pretty little tender nursling! If I see her passing in the street, I feel as if I would like some fellow to be rude to her, that I might have the pleasure of knocking him down. She is like a little songbird, sir — a tremulous, fluttering little linnet that you would take into your hand, pavidam quaerentem matrem, and smooth its little plumes, and let it perch on your finger and sing. The Sherrick creates quite a different sentiment — the Sherrick is splendid, stately, sleepy ——”

“Stupid,” hints Clive’s companion.

“Stupid! Why not? Some women ought to be stupid. What you call dulness I call repose. Give me a calm woman, a slow woman — a lazy, majestic woman. Show me a gracious virgin bearing a lily: not a leering giggler frisking a rattle. A lively woman would be the death of me. Look at Mrs. Mack, perpetually nodding, winking, grinning, throwing out signals which you are to be at the trouble to answer! I thought her delightful for three days; I declare I was in love with her — that is, as much as I can be after — but never mind that, I feel I shall never be really in love again. Why shouldn’t the Sherrick be stupid, I say? About great beauty there should always reign a silence. As you look at the great stars, the great ocean, any great scene of nature: you hush, sir. You laugh at a pantomime, but you are still in a temple. When I saw the great Venus of the Louvre, I thought — Wert thou alive, O goddess, thou shouldst never open those lovely lips but to speak lowly, slowly: thou shouldst never descend from that pedestal but to walk stately to some near couch, and assume another attitude of beautiful calm. To be beautiful is enough. If a woman can do that well: who shall demand more from her? You don’t want a rose to sing. And I think wit is out of place where there’s great beauty; as I wouldn’t have a Queen to cut jokes on her throne. I say, Pendennis,”— here broke off the enthusiastic youth — “have you got another cigar? Shall we go into Finch’s, and have a game at billiards? Just one — it’s quite early yet. Or shall we go in the Haunt? It’s Wednesday night, you know, when all the boys go.” We tap at a door in an old, old street in Soho: an old maid with a kind, comical face opens the door, and nods friendly, and says, “How do, sir? ain’t seen you this ever so long. How do, Mr. Noocom?” “Who’s here?” “Most everybody’s here.” We pass by a little snug bar, in which a trim elderly lady is seated by a great fire, on which boils an enormous kettle; while two gentlemen are attacking a cold saddle of mutton and West India pickles: hard by Mrs. Nokes the landlady’s elbow — with mutual bows — we recognise Hickson, the sculptor, and Morgan, the intrepid Irish chieftain, chief of the reporters of the Morning Press newspaper. We pass through a passage into a back room, and are received with a roar of welcome from a crowd of men, almost invisible in the smoke.

“I am right glad to see thee, boy!” cries a cheery voice (that will never troll a chorus more). “We spake anon of thy misfortune, gentle youth! and that thy warriors of Assaye have charged the Academy in vain. Mayhap thou frightenedst the courtly school with barbarous visages of grisly war. — Pendennis, thou dost wear a thirsty look! Resplendent swell! untwine thy choker white, and I will either stand a glass of grog, or thou shalt pay the like for me, my lad, and tell us of the fashionable world.” Thus spake the brave old Tom Sarjent — also one of the Press, one of the old boys: a good old scholar with a good old library of books, who had taken his seat any time these forty years by the chimney-fire in this old Haunt: where painters, sculptors, men of letters, actors, used to congregate, passing pleasant hours in rough kindly communion, and many a day seeing the sunrise lighting the rosy street ere they parted, and Betsy put the useless lamp out and closed the hospitable gates of the Haunt.

The time is not very long since, though today is so changed. As we think of it, the kind familiar faces rise up, and we hear the pleasant voices and singing. There are they met, the honest hearty companions. In the days when the Haunt was a haunt, stage-coaches were not yet quite over. Casinos were not invented: clubs were rather rare luxuries: there were sanded floors, triangular sawdust-boxes, pipes, and tavern parlours. Young Smith and Brown, from the Temple, did not go from chambers to dine at the Polyanthus, or the Megatherium, off potage a la Bisque, turbot au gratin, cotelettes a la What-do-you-call-’em, and a pint of St. Emilion; but ordered their beefsteak and pint of port from the “plump head-waiter at the Cock;” did not disdain the pit of the theatre; and for a supper a homely refection at the tavern. How delightful are the suppers in Charles Lamb to read of even now! — the cards — the punch — the candles to be snuffed — the social oysters — the modest cheer! Whoever snuffs a candle now? What man has a domestic supper whose dinner-hour is eight o’clock? Those little meetings, in the memory of many of us yet, are gone quite away into the past. Five-and-twenty years ago is a hundred years off — so much has our social life changed in those five lustres. James Boswell himself, were he to revisit London, would scarce venture to enter a tavern. He would find scarce a respectable companion to enter its doors with him. It is an institution as extinct as a hackney-coach. Many a grown man who peruses this historic page has never seen such a vehicle, and only heard of rum-punch as a drink which his ancestors used to tipple.

Cheery old Tom Sarjent is surrounded at the Haunt by a dozen of kind boon companions. They toil all day at their avocations of art, or letters, or law, and here meet for a harmless night’s recreation and converse. They talk of literature, or politics, or pictures, or plays; socially banter one another over their cheap cups: sing brave old songs sometimes when they are especially jolly kindly ballads in praise of love and wine; famous maritime ditties in honour of Old England. I fancy I hear Jack Brent’s noble voice rolling out the sad, generous refrain of “The Deserter,” “Then for that reason and for a season we will be merry before we go,” or Michael Percy’s clear tenor carolling the Irish chorus of “What’s that to any one, whether or no!” or Mark Wilder shouting his bottle-song of “Garryowen na gloria.” These songs were regarded with affection by the brave old frequenters of the Haunt. A gentleman’s property in a song was considered sacred. It was respectfully asked for: it was heard with the more pleasure for being old. Honest Tom Sarjent! how the times have changed since we saw thee! I believe the present chief of the reporters of the newspaper (which responsible office Tom filled) goes to Parliament in his brougham, and dines with the Ministers of the Crown.

Around Tom are seated grave Royal Academicians, rising gay Associates; writers of other journals besides the Pall Mall Gazette; a barrister maybe, whose name will be famous some day: a hewer of marble perhaps: a surgeon whose patients have not come yet; and one or two men about town who like this queer assembly better than haunts much more splendid. Captain Shandon has been here, and his jokes are preserved in the tradition of the place. Owlet, the philosopher, came once and tried, as his wont is, to lecture; but his metaphysics were beaten down by a storm of banter. Slatter, who gave himself such airs because he wrote in the ——— Review, tried to air himself at the Haunt, but was choked by the smoke, and silenced by the unanimous pooh-poohing of the assembly. Dick Walker, who rebelled secretly at Sarjent’s authority, once thought to give himself consequence by bringing a young lord from the Blue Posts, but he was so unmercifully “chaffed” by Tom, that even the young lord laughed at him. His lordship has been heard to say he had been taken to a monsus queeah place, queeah set of folks, in a tap somewhere, though he went away quite delighted with Tom’s affability, but he never came again. He could not find the place, probably. You might pass the Haunt in the daytime, and not know it in the least. “I believe,” said Charley Ormond (A.R.A. he was then)—“I believe in the day there’s no such place at all: and when Betsy turns the gas off at the door-lamp as we go away, the whole thing vanishes: the door, the house, the bar, the Haunt, Betsy, the beer-boy, Mrs. Nokes and all.” It has vanished: it is to be found no more: neither by night nor by day — unless the ghosts of good fellows still haunt it.

As the genial talk and glass go round, and after Clive and his friend have modestly answered the various queries put to them by good old Tom Sarjent, the acknowledged Praeses of the assembly and Sachem of this venerable wigwam, the door opens and another well-known figure is recognised with shouts as it emerges through the smoke. “Bayham, all hail!” says Tom. “Frederick, I am right glad to see thee!”

Bayham says he is disturbed in spirit, and calls for a pint of beer to console him.

“Hast thou flown far, thou restless bird of night?” asks Father Tom, who loves speaking in blank verses.

“I have come from Cursitor Street,” says Bayham, in a low groan. “I have just been to see a poor devil in quod there. Is that you, Pendennis? You know the man — Charles Honeyman.”

“What!” cries Clive, starting up.

“O my prophetic soul, my uncle!” growls Bayham. “I did not see the young one; but ’tis true.”

The reader is aware that more than the three years have elapsed, of which time the preceding pages contain the harmless chronicle; and while Thomas Newcome’s leave has been running out and Clive’s mustachios growing, the fate of other persons connected with our story has also had its development, and their fortune has experienced its natural progress, its increase or decay. Our tale, such as it has hitherto been arranged, has passed leisurely in scenes wherein the present tense is perforce adopted; the writer acting as chorus to the drama, and occasionally explaining, by hints or more open statements, what has occurred during the intervals of the acts; and how it happens that the performers are in such or such a posture. In the modern theatre, as the play-going critic knows, the explanatory personage is usually of quite a third-rate order. He is the two walking-gentlemen friends of Sir Harry Courtly, who welcome the young baronet to London, and discourse about the niggardliness of Harry’s old uncle, the Nabob; and the depth of Courtly’s passion for Lady Annabel the premiere amoureuse. He is the confidant in white linen to the heroine in white satin. He is “Tom, you rascal,” the valet or tiger, more or less impudent and acute — that well-known menial in top-boots and a livery frock with red cuffs and collar, whom Sir Harry always retains in his service, addresses with scurrilous familiarity, and pays so irregularly: or he is Lucetta, Lady Annabel’s waiting-maid, who carries the billets-doux and peeps into them; knows all about the family affairs; pops the lover under the sofa; and sings a comic song between the scenes. Our business now is to enter into Charles Honeyman’s privacy, to peer into the secrets of that reverend gentleman, and to tell what has happened to him during the past months, in which he has made fitful though graceful appearances on our scene.

While his nephew’s whiskers have been budding, and his brother-inlaw has been spending his money and leave, Mr. Honeyman’s hopes have been withering, his sermons growing stale, his once blooming popularity drooping and running to seed. Many causes have contributed to bring him to his present melancholy strait. When you go to Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel now, it is by no means crowded. Gaps are in the pews: there is not the least difficulty in getting a snug place near the pulpit, whence the preacher can look over his pocket-handkerchief and see Lord Dozeley no more: his lordship has long gone to sleep elsewhere and a host of the fashionable faithful have migrated too. The incumbent can no more cast his fine eyes upon the French bonnets of the female aristocracy and see some of the loveliest faces in Mayfair regarding his with expressions of admiration. Actual dowdy tradesmen of the neighbourhood are seated with their families in the aisles: Ridley and his wife and son have one of the very best seats. To be sure Ridley looks like a nobleman, with his large waistcoat, bald head, and gilt book: J. J. has a fine head; but Mrs. Ridley! cook and housekeeper is written on her round face. The music is by no means of its former good quality. That rebellious and ill-conditioned basso Bellew has seceded, and seduced the four best singing boys, who now perform glees at the Cave of Harmony. Honeyman has a right to speak of persecution, and to compare himself to a hermit in so far that he preaches in a desert. Once, like another hermit, St. Hierome, he used to be visited by lions. None such come to him now. Such lions as frequent the clergy are gone off to lick the feet of other ecclesiastics. They are weary of poor Honeyman’s old sermons.

Rivals have sprung up in the course of these three years — have sprung up round about Honeyman and carried his flock into their folds. We know how such simple animals will leap one after another, and that it is the sheepish way. Perhaps a new pastor has come to the church of St. Jacob’s hard by — bold, resolute, bright, clear, a scholar and no pedant: his manly voice is thrilling in their ears, he speaks of life and conduct, of practice as well as faith; and crowds of the most polite and most intelligent, and best informed, and best dressed, and most selfish people in the world come and hear him twice at least. There are so many well-informed and well-dressed etc. etc. people in the world that the succession of them keeps St. Jacob’s full for a year or more. Then, it may be, a bawling quack, who has neither knowledge, nor scholarship, nor charity, but who frightens the public with denunciations and rouses them with the energy of his wrath, succeeds in bringing them together for a while till they tire of his din and curses. Meanwhile the good quiet old churches round about ring their accustomed bell: open their Sabbath gates: receive their tranquil congregations and sober priest, who has been busy all the week, at schools and sick-beds, with watchful teaching, gentle counsel, and silent alms.

Though we saw Honeyman but seldom, for his company was not altogether amusing, and his affectation, when one became acquainted with it, very tiresome to witness, Fred Bayham, from his garret at Mrs. Ridley’s, kept constant watch over the curate, and told us of his proceedings from time to time. When we heard the melancholy news first announced, of course the intelligence damped the gaiety of Clive and his companion; and F. B., conducted all the affairs of life with great gravity, telling Tom Sarjent that he had news of importance for our private ear, Tom with still more gravity than F. B.‘s, said, “Go, my children, you had best discuss this topic in a separate room, apart from the din and fun of a convivial assembly;” and ringing the bell he bade Betsy bring him another glass of rum-and-water, and one for Mr. Desborough, to be charged to him.

We adjourned to another parlour then, where gas was lighted up: and F. B. over a pint of beer narrated poor Honeyman’s mishap. “Saving your presence, Clive,” said Bayham, “and with every regard for the youthful bloom of your young heart’s affections, your uncle Charles Honeyman, sir, is a bad lot. I have known him these twenty years, when I was at his father’s as a private tutor. Old Miss Honeyman is one of those cards which we call trumps — so was old Honeyman a trump; but Charles and his sister ——”

I stamped on F. B.‘s foot under the table. He seemed to have forgotten that he was about to speak of Clive’s mother.

“Hem! of your poor mother, I— hem — I may say vidi tantum. I scarcely knew her. She married very young: as I was when she left Borhambury. But Charles exhibited his character at a very early age — and it was not a charming one — no, by no means a model of virtue. He always had a genius for running into debt. He borrowed from every one of the pupils — I don’t know how he spent it except in hardbake and alycompaine — and even from old Nosey’s groom — pardon me, we used to call your grandfather by that playful epithet (boys will be boys, you know) — even from the doctor’s groom he took money, and I recollect thrashing Charles Honeyman for that disgraceful action.

“At college, without any particular show, he was always in debt and difficulties. Take warning by him, dear youth! By him and by me, if you like. See me — me, F. Bayham, descended from the ancient kings that long the Tuscan sceptre swayed, dodge down a street to get out of sight of a boot-shop, and my colossal frame tremble if a chap puts his hand on my shoulder, as you did, Pendennis, the other day in the Strand, when I thought a straw might have knocked me down! I have had my errors, Clive. I know ’em. I’ll take another pint of beer, if you please. Betsy, has Mrs. Nokes any cold meat in the bar? and an accustomed pickle? Ha! Give her my compliments, and say F. B. is hungry. I resume my tale. Faults F. B. has, and knows it. Humbug he may have been sometimes; but I’m not such a complete humbug as Honeyman.”

Clive did not know how to look at this character of his relative, but Clive’s companion burst into a fit of laughter, at which F. B. nodded gravely, and resumed his narrative. “I don’t know how much money he has had from your governor, but this I can say, the half of it would make F. B. a happy man. I don’t know out of how much the reverend party has nobbled his poor old sister at Brighton. He has mortgaged his chapel to Sherrick, I suppose you know, who is master of it, and could turn him out any day. I don’t think Sherrick is a bad fellow. I think he’s a good fellow; I have known him do many a good turn to a chap in misfortune. He wants to get into society: what more natural? That was why you were asked to meet him the other day, and why he asked you to dinner. I hope you had a good one. I wish he’d ask me.

“Then Moss has got his bills, and Moss’s brother-inlaw in Cursitor Street has taken possession of his revered person. He’s very welcome. One Jew has the chapel, another Hebrew has the clergyman. It’s singular, ain’t it? Sherrick might turn Lady Whittlesea into a synagogue and have the Chief Rabbi into the pulpit, where my uncle the Bishop has given out the text.

“The shares of that concern ain’t at a premium. I have had immense fun with Sherrick about it. I like the Hebrew, sir. He maddens with rage when F. B. goes and asks him whether any more pews are let overhead. Honeyman begged and borrowed in order to buy out the last man. I remember when the speculation was famous, when all the boxes (I mean the pews) were taken for the season, and you couldn’t get a place, come ever so early. Then Honeyman was spoilt, and gave his sermons over and over again. People got sick of seeing the old humbug cry, the old crocodile! Then we tried the musical dodge. F. B. came forward, sir, there. That was a coup: I did it, sir. Bellew wouldn’t have sung for any man but me — and for two-and-twenty months I kept him as sober as Father Mathew. Then Honeyman didn’t pay him: there was a row in the sacred building, and Bellew retired. Then Sherrick must meddle in it. And having heard a chap out Hampstead way who Sherrick thought would do, Honeyman was forced to engage him, regardless of expense. You recollect the fellow, sir? The Reverend Simeon Rawkins, the lowest of the Low Church, sir — a red-haired dumpy man, who gasped at his h’s and spoke with a Lancashire twang — he’d no more do for Mayfair than Grimaldi for Macbeth. He and Honeyman used to fight like cat and dog in the vestry: and he drove away a third part of the congregation. He was an honest man and an able man too, though not a sound Churchman” (F. B. said this with a very edifying gravity): “I told Sherrick this the very day I heard him. And if he had spoken to me on the subject I might have saved him a pretty penny — a precious deal more than the paltry sum which he and I had a quarrel about at that time — a matter of business, sir — a pecuniary difference about a small three months’ thing which caused a temporary estrangement between us. As for Honeyman, he used to cry about it. Your uncle is great in the lachrymatory line, Clive Newcome. He used to go with tears in his eyes to Sherrick, and implore him not to have Rawkins, but he would. And I must say for poor Charles that the failure of Lady Whittlesea’s has not been altogether Charles’s fault; and that Sherrick has kicked down that property.

“Well, then, sir, poor Charles thought to make it all right by marrying Mrs. Brumby; — and she was very fond of him and the thing was all but done, in spite of her sons, who were in a rage as you may fancy. But Charley, sir, has such a propensity for humbug that he will tell lies when there is no earthly good in lying. He represented his chapel at twelve hundred a year, his private means as so-and-so; and when he came to book up with Briggs the lawyer, Mrs. Brumby’s brother, it was found that he lied and prevaricated so, that the widow in actual disgust would have nothing more to do with him. She was a good woman of business, and managed the hat-shop for nine years, whilst poor Brumby was at Dr. Tokelys. A first-rate shop it was, too. I introduced Charles to it. My uncle the Bishop had his shovels there: and they used for a considerable period to cover this humble roof with tiles,” said F. B., tapping his capacious forehead; “I am sure he might have had Brumby,” he added, in his melancholy tones, “but for those unlucky lies. She didn’t want money. She had plenty. She longed to get into society, and was bent on marrying a gentleman.

“But what I can’t pardon in Honeyman is the way in which he has done poor old Ridley and his wife. I took him there, you know, thinking they would send their bills in once a month: that he was doing a good business: in fact, that I had put ’em into a good thing. And the fellow has told me a score of times that he and the Ridleys were all right. But he has not only not paid his lodgings, but he has had money of them: he has given dinners: he has made Ridley pay for wine. He has kept paying lodgers out of the house, and he tells me all this with a burst of tears, when he sent for me to Lazarus’s to-night, and I went to him, sir, because he was in distress — went into the lion’s den, sir!” says F. B., looking round nobly. “I don’t know how much he owes them: because of course you know the sum he mentions ain’t the right one. He never does tell the truth — does Charles. But think of the pluck of those good Ridleys never saying a single word to F. B. about the debt! ‘We are poor, but we have saved some money and can lie out of it. And we think Mr. Honeyman will pay us,’ says Mrs. Ridley to me this very evening. And she thrilled my heart-strings, sir; and I took her in my arms, and kissed the old woman,” says Bayham; “and I rather astonished little Miss Cann, and young J. J., who came in with a picture under his arm. But she said she had kissed Master Frederick long before J. J. was born — and so she had: that good and faithful servant — and my emotion in embracing her was manly, sir, manly.”

Here old Betsy came in to say that the supper was a-waitin’ for Mr. Bayham and it was a-getting’ very late; and we left F. B. to his meal; and bidding adieu to Mrs. Nokes, Clive and I went each to our habitation.

CHAPTER XXVI

In which Colonel Newcome’s Horses are sold

At an hour early the next morning I was not surprised to see Colonel Newcome at my chambers, to whom Clive had communicated Bayham’s important news of the night before. The Colonel’s object, as any one who knew him need scarcely be told, was to rescue his brother-inlaw; and being ignorant of lawyers, sheriffs’-officers, and their proceedings, he bethought him that he would apply to Lamb Court for information, and in so far showed some prudence, for at least I knew more of the world and its ways than my simple client, and was enabled to make better terms for the unfortunate prisoner, or rather for Colonel Newcome, who was the real sufferer, than Honeyman’s creditors might otherwise have been disposed to give.

I thought it would be more prudent that our good Samaritan should not see the victim of rogues whom he was about to succour; and left him to entertain himself with Mr. Warrington in Lamb Court, while I sped to the lock-up house, where the Mayfair pet was confined. A sickly smile played over his countenance as he beheld me when I was ushered to his private room. The reverent gentleman was not shaved; he had partaken of breakfast. I saw a glass which had once contained brandy on the dirty tray whereon his meal was placed: a greasy novel from a Chancery Lane library lay on the table: but he was at present occupied in writing one or more of those great long letters, those laborious, ornate, eloquent statements, those documents so profusely underlined, in which the machinations of villains are laid bare with italic fervour; the coldness, to use no harsher phrase, of friends on whom reliance might have been placed; the outrageous conduct of Solomons; the astonishing failure of Smith to pay a sum of money on which he had counted as on the Bank of England; finally, the infallible certainty of repaying (with what heartfelt thanks need not be said) the loan of so many pounds next Saturday week at farthest. All this, which some readers in the course of their experience have read no doubt in many handwritings, was duly set forth by poor Honeyman. There was a wafer in a wine-glass on the table, and the bearer no doubt below to carry the missive. They always sent these letters by a messenger, who is introduced in the postscript; he is always sitting in the hall when you get the letter, and is “a young man waiting for an answer, please.”

No one can suppose that Honeyman laid a complete statement of his affairs before the negotiator who was charged to look into them. No debtor does confess all his debts, but breaks them gradually to his man of business, factor or benefactor, leading him on from surprise to surprise; and when he is in possession of the tailor’s little account, introducing him to the bootmaker. Honeyman’s schedule I felt perfectly certain was not correct. The detainees against him were trifling. “Moss of Wardour Street, one hundred and twenty — I believe I have paid him thousands in this very transaction,” ejaculates Honeyman. “A heartless West End tradesman hearing of my misfortune — all these people a linked together, my dear Pendennis, and rush like vultures upon their prey! — Waddilove, the tailor, has another writ out for ninety-eight pounds; a man whom I have made by my recommendations! Tobbins, the bootmaker, his neighbour in Jermyn Street, forty-one pounds more, and that is all — I give you my word, all. In a few months, when my pew-rents will be coming in, I should have settled with those cormorants; otherwise, my total and irretrievable ruin, and the disgrace and humiliation of a prison attends me. I know it; I can bear it; I have been wretchedly weak, Pendennis: I can say mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, and I can — bear — my — penalty.” In his finest moments he was never more pathetic. He turned his head away, and concealed it in a handkerchief not so white as those which veiled his emotions at Lady Whittlesea’s.

How by degrees this slippery penitent was induced to make other confessions; how we got an idea of Mrs. Ridley’s account from him, of his dealings with Mr. Sherrick, need not be mentioned here. The conclusion to which Colonel Newcome’s ambassador came was, that to help such a man would be quite useless; and that the Fleet Prison would be a most wholesome retreat for this most reckless divine. Ere the day was out, Messrs. Waddilove and Tobbins had conferred with their neighbour in St. James’s, Mr. Brace; and there came a detainer from that haberdasher for gloves, cravats, and pocket-handkerchiefs, that might have done credit to the most dandified young Guardsman. Mr. Warrington was on Mr. Pendennis’s side, and urged that the law should take its course. “Why help a man,” said he, “who will not help himself? Let the law sponge out the fellow’s debts; set him going again with twenty pounds when he quits the prison, and get him a chaplaincy in the Isle of Man.”

I saw by the Colonel’s grave kind face that these hard opinions did not suit him. “At all events, sir, promise us,” we said, “that you will pay nothing yourself — that you won’t see Honeyman’s creditors, and let people, who know the world better, deal with him.” “Know the world, young man!” cries Newcome; “I should think if I don’t know the world at my age, I never shall.” And if he had lived to be as old as Jahaleel, a boy could still have cheated him.

“I do not scruple to tell you,” he said, after a pause during which a plenty of smoke was delivered from the council of three, “that I have — a fund — which I had set aside for mere purposes of pleasure, I give you my word, and a part of which I shall think it my duty to devote to poor Honeyman’s distresses. The fund is not large. The money was intended, in fact:— however, there it is. If Pendennis will go round to these tradesmen, and make some composition with them, as their prices have been no doubt enormously exaggerated, I see no harm. Besides the tradesfolk, there is good Mrs. Ridley and Mr. Sherrick — we must see them; and, if we can, set this luckless Charles again on his legs. We have read of other prodigals who were kindly treated; and we may have debts of our own to forgive, boys.”

Into Mr. Sherrick’s account we had no need to enter. That gentleman had acted with perfect fairness by Honeyman. He laughingly said to us, “You don’t imagine I would lend that chap a shilling without security? I will give him fifty or a hundred. Here’s one of his notes, with What-do-you-call-‘ems — that rum fellow Bayham’s name as drawer. A nice pair, ain’t they? Pooh! I shall never touch ’em. I lent some money on the shop overhead,” says Sherrick, pointing to the ceiling (we were in his counting-house in the cellar of Lady Whittlesea’s Chapel), “because I thought it was a good speculation. And so it was at first. The people liked Honeyman. All the nobs came to hear him. Now the speculation ain’t so good. He’s used up. A chap can’t be expected to last for ever. When I first engaged Mademoiselle Bravura at my theatre, you couldn’t get a place for three weeks together. The next year she didn’t draw twenty pounds a week. So it was with Pottle and the regular drama humbug. At first it was all very well. Good business, good houses, our immortal bard, and that sort of game. They engaged the tigers and the French riding people over the way; and there was Pottle bellowing away in my place to the orchestra and the orders. It’s all a speculation. I’ve speculated in about pretty much everything that’s going: in theatres, in joint-stock jobs, in building-ground, in bills, in gas and insurance companies, and in this chapel. Poor old Honeyman! I won’t hurt him. About that other chap I put in to do the first business — that red-haired chap, Rawkins — I think I was wrong. I think he injured the property. But I don’t know everything, you know. I wasn’t bred to know about parsons — quite the reverse. I thought, when I heard Rawkins at Hampstead, he was just the thing. I used to go about, sir, just as I did to the provinces, when I had the theatre — Camberwell, Islington, Kennington, Clapton, all about, and hear the young chaps. Have a glass of sherry; and here’s better luck to Honeyman. As for that Colonel, he’s a trump, sir! I never see such a man. I have to deal with such a precious lot of rogues, in the City and out of it, among the swells and all, you know, that to see such a fellow refreshes me; and I’d do anything for him. You’ve made a good thing of that Pall Mall Gazette! I tried papers too; but mine didn’t do. I don’t know why. I tried a Tory one, moderate Liberal, and out-and-out uncompromising Radical. I say, what d’ye think of a religious paper, the Catechism, or some such name? Would Honeyman do as editor? I’m afraid it’s all up with the poor cove at the chapel.” And I parted with Mr. Sherrick, not a little edified by his talk, and greatly relieved as to Honeyman’s fate. The tradesmen of Honeyman’s body were appeased; and as for Mr. Moss, when he found that the curate had no effects, and must go before the Insolvent Court, unless Moss chose to take the composition which we were empowered to offer him, he too was brought to hear reason, and parted with the stamped paper on which was poor Honeyman’s signature. Our negotiation had like to have come to an end by Clive’s untimely indignation, who offered at one stage of the proceedings to pitch young Moss out of window; but nothing came of this most ungentlemanlike behaviour on Noocob’s part, further than remonstrance and delay in the proceedings; and Honeyman preached a lovely sermon at Lady Whittlesea’s the very next Sunday. He had made himself much liked in the sponging-house, and Mr. Lazarus said, “if he hadn’t a got out time enough, I’d a let him out for Sunday, and sent one of my men with him to show him the way ome, you know; for when a gentleman behaves as a gentleman to me, I behave as a gentleman to him.”

Mrs. Ridley’s account, and it was a long one, was paid without a single question, or the deduction of a farthing; but the Colonel rather sickened of Honeyman’s expressions of rapturous gratitude, and received his professions of mingled contrition and delight very coolly. “My boy,” says the father to Clive, “you see to what straits debt brings a man, to tamper with truth to have to cheat the poor. Think of flying before a washerwoman, or humbling yourself to a tailor, or eating a poor man’s children’s bread!” Clive blushed, I thought, and looked rather confused.

“Oh, father,” says he, “I— I’m afraid I owe some money too — not much; but about forty pound, five-and-twenty for cigars, and fifteen I borrowed of Pendennis, and — and I’ve been devilish annoyed about it all this time.”

“You stupid boy,” says the father “I knew about the cigars bill, and paid it last week. Anything I have is yours, you know. As long as there is a guinea, there is half for you. See that every shilling we owe is paid before — before a week is over. And go down and ask Binnie if I can see him in his study. I want to have some conversation with him.” When Clive was gone away, he said to me in a very sweet voice, “In God’s name, keep my boy out of debt when I am gone, Arthur. I shall return to India very soon.”

“Very soon, sir! You have another year’s leave,” said I.

“Yes, but no allowances, you know; and this affair of Honeyman’s has pretty nearly emptied the little purse I had set aside for European expenses. They have been very much heavier than I expected. As it is, I overdrew my account at my brother’s, and have been obliged to draw money from my agents in Calcutta. A year sooner or later (unless two of our senior officers had died, when I should have got my promotion and full colonel’s pay with it, and proposed to remain in this country)— a year sooner or later, what does it matter? Clive will go away and work at his art, and see the great schools of painting while I am absent. I thought at one time how pleasant it would be to accompany him. But l’homme propose, Pendennis. I fancy now a lad is not the better for being always tied to his parent’s apron-string. You young fellows are too clever for me. I haven’t learned your ideas or read your books. I feel myself very often an old damper in your company. I will go back, sir, where I have some friends, where I am somebody still. I know an honest face or two, white and brown, that will lighten up in the old regiment when they see Tom Newcome again. God bless you, Arthur. You young fellows in this country have such cold ways that we old ones hardly know how to like you at first. James Binnie and I, when we first came home, used to talk you over, and think you laughed at us. But you didn’t, I know. God Almighty bless you, and send you a good wife, and make a good man of you. I have bought a watch, which I would like you to wear in remembrance of me and my boy, to whom you were so kind when you were boys together in the old Grey Friars.” I took his hand, and uttered some incoherent words of affection and respect. Did not Thomas Newcome merit both from all who knew him?

His resolution being taken, our good Colonel began to make silent but effectual preparations for his coming departure. He was pleased during these last days of his stay to give me even more of his confidence than I had previously enjoyed, and was kind enough to say that he regarded me almost as a son of his own, and hoped I would act as elder brother and guardian to Clive. Ah! who is to guard the guardian? The younger brother had many nobler qualities than belonged to the elder. The world had not hardened Clive, nor even succeeded in spoiling him. I perceive I am diverging from his history into that of another person, and will return to the subject proper of the book.

Colonel Newcome expressed himself as being particularly touched and pleased with his friend Binnie’s conduct, now that the Colonel’s departure was determined. “James is one of the most generous of men, Pendennis, and I am proud to be put under an obligation to him, and to tell it too. I hired this house, as you are aware, of our speculative friend Mr. Sherrick, and am answerable for the payment of the rent till the expiry of the lease. James has taken the matter off my hands entirely. The place is greatly too large for him, but he says that he likes it, and intends to stay, and that his sister and niece shall be his housekeepers. Clive” (here, perhaps, the speaker’s voice drops a little) —“Clive will be the son of the house still, honest James says, and God bless him. James is richer than I thought by near a lakh of rupees — and here is a hint for you, Master Arthur. Mr. Binnie has declared to me in confidence that if his niece, Miss Rosey, shall marry a person of whom he approves, he will leave her a considerable part of his fortune.”

The Colonel’s confidant here said that his own arrangements were made in another quarter, to which statement the Colonel replied knowingly, “I thought so. A little bird has whispered to me the name of a certain Miss A. I knew her grandfather, an accommodating old gentleman, and I borrowed some money from him when I was a subaltern at Calcutta. I tell you in strict confidence, my dear young friend, that I hope and trust a certain young gentleman of your acquaintance may be induced to think how good and pretty and sweet-tempered a girl Miss Mackenzie is, and that she may be brought to like him. If you young men would marry in good time good and virtuous women — as I am sure — ahem! — Miss Amory is — half the temptations of your youth would be avoided. You would neither be dissolute, has many of you seem to me, or cold and selfish, which are worse vices still. And my prayer is, that my Clive may cast anchor early out of the reach of temptation, and mate with some such kind girl as Binnie’s niece. When I first came home I formed other plans for him which could not be brought to a successful issue; and knowing his ardent disposition, and having kept an eye on the young rogue’s conduct, I tremble lest some mischance with a woman should befall him, and long to have him out of danger.”

So the kind scheme of the two elders was, that their young ones should marry and be happy ever after, like the Prince and Princess of the Fairy Tale: and dear Mrs. Mackenzie (have I said that at the commencement of her visit to her brother she made almost open love to the Colonel?), dear Mrs. Mack was content to forgo her own chances so that her darling Rosey might be happy. We used to laugh and say, that as soon as Clive’s father was gone, Josey would be sent for to join Rosey. But little Josey being under her grandmother’s sole influence took most gratifying and serious turn; wrote letters, in which she questioned the morality of operas, Towers of London, and waxworks; and, before a year was out, married Elder Bogie, of Mr. M’Craw’s church.

Presently was to be read in the Morning Post an advertisement of the sale of three horses (the description and pedigree following), “the property of an officer returning to India. Apply to the groom, at the stables, 150 Fitzroy Square.”

The Court of Directors invited Lieutenant-Colonel Newcome to an entertainment given to Major-General Sir Ralph Spurrier, K.C.B., appointed Commander-inChief at Madras. Clive was asked to this dinner too, “and the governor’s health was drunk, sir,” Clive said, “after dinner, and the dear old fellow made such a good speech, in returning thanks!”

He, Clive, and I made a pilgrimage to Grey Friars, and had the Green to ourselves, it being the Bartlemytide vacation, and the boys all away. One of the good old Poor Brothers whom we both recollected accompanied us round the place; and we sate for a while in Captain Scarsdale’s little room (he had been a Peninsular officer, who had sold out, and was fain in his old age to retire into this calm retreat). And we talked, as old schoolmates and lovers talk, about subjects interesting to schoolmates and lovers only.

One by one the Colonel took leave of his friends, young and old; ran down to Newcome, and gave Mrs. Mason a parting benediction; slept a night at Tom Smith’s, and passed a day with Jack Brown; went to all the boys’ and girls’ schools where his little proteges were, so as to be able to take the very last and most authentic account of the young folks to their parents in India; spent a week at Marble Hill, and shot partridges there, but for which entertainment, Clive said, the place would have been intolerable; and thence proceeded to Brighton to pass a little time with good Miss Honeyman. As for Sir Brian’s family, when Parliament broke up, of course, they did not stay in town. Barnes, of course, had part of a moor in Scotland, whither his uncle and cousin did not follow him. The rest went abroad. Sir Brian wanted the waters of Aix-la-Chapelle. The brothers parted very good friends; Lady Anne, and all the young people, heartily wished him farewell. I believe Sir Brian even accompanied the Colonel downstairs from the drawing-room, in Park Lane, and actually came out and saw his brother into his cab (just as he would accompany old Lady Bagges when she came to look at her account at the bank, from the parlour to her carriage). But as for Ethel, she was not going to be put off with this sort of parting and the next morning a cab dashed up to Fitzroy Square, and a veiled lady came out thence, and was closeted with Colonel Newcome for five minutes, and when he led her back to the carriage there were tears in his eyes.

Mrs. Mackenzie joked about the transaction (having watched it from the dining-room windows), and asked the Colonel who his sweetheart was? Newcome replied very sternly, that he hoped no one would ever speak lightly of that young lady, whom he loved as his own daughter; and I thought Rosey looked vexed at the praises thus bestowed. This was the day before we all went down to Brighton. Miss Honeyman’s lodgings were taken for Mr. Binnie and his ladies. Clive and her dearest Colonel had apartments next door. Charles Honeyman came dawn and preached one of his very best sermons. Fred Bayham was there, and looked particularly grand and noble on the pier and the cliff. I am inclined to think he had had some explanation with Thomas Newcome, which had placed F. B. in a state of at least temporary prosperity. Whom did he not benefit whom he knew, and what eye that saw him did not bless him? F. B. was greatly affected at Charles’s sermon, of which our party of course could see the allusions. Tears actually rolled down his brown cheeks; for Fred was a man very easily moved, and, as it were, a softened sinner. Little Rosey and her mother sobbed audibly, greatly to the surprise of stout old Miss Honeyman, who had no idea of such watery exhibitions, and to the discomfiture of poor Newcome, who was annoyed to have his praises even hinted in that sacred edifice. Good Mr. James Binnie came for once to church; and, however variously their feelings might be exhibited or, repressed, I think there was not one of the little circle there assembled who did not bring to the place a humble prayer and a gentle heart. It was the last Sabbath-bell our dear friend was to hear for many a day on his native shore. The great sea washed the beach as we came out, blue with the reflection of the skies, and its innumerable waves crested with sunshine. I see the good man and his boy yet clinging to him, as they pace together by the shore.

The Colonel was very much pleased by a visit from Mr. Ridley and the communication which he made (my Lord Todmorden has a mansion and park in Sussex, whence Mr. Ridley came to pay his duty to Colonel Newcome). He said he “never could forget the kindness with which the Colonel have a treated him. His lordship have taken a young man, which Mr. Ridley had brought him up under his own eye, and can answer for him, Mr. R. says, with impunity; and which he is to be his lordship’s own man for the future. And his lordship have appointed me his steward, and having, as he always hev been, been most liberal in point of sellary. And me and Mrs. Ridley was thinking, sir, most respectfully, with regard to our son, Mr. John James Ridley — as good and honest a young man, which I am proud to say it, that if Mr. Clive goes abroad we should be most proud and happy if John James went with him. And the money which you have paid us so handsome, Colonel, he shall have it; which it was the excellent ideer of Miss Cann; and my lord have ordered a pictur of John James in the most libral manner, and have asked my son to dinner, sir, at his lordship’s own table, which I have faithfully served him five-and-thirty years.” Ridley’s voice fairly broke down at this part of his speech, which evidently was a studied composition, and he uttered no more of it, for the Colonel cordially shook him by the hand, and Clive jumped up clapping his, and saying that it was the greatest wish of his heart that J. J. and he should be companions in France and Italy. “But I did not like to ask my dear old father,” he said, “who has had so many calls on his purse, and besides, I knew that J. J. was too independent to come as my follower.”

The Colonel’s berth has been duly secured ere now. This time he makes the overland journey; and his passage is to Alexandria, taken in one of the noble ships of the Peninsular and Oriental Company. His kit is as simple as a subaltern’s; I believe, but for Clive’s friendly compulsion, he would have carried back no other than the old uniform which has served him for so many years. Clive and his father travelled to Southampton together by themselves. F. B. and I took the Southampton coach: we had asked leave to see the last of him, and say a “God bless you” to our dear old friend. So the day came when the vessel was to sail. We saw his cabin, and witnessed all the bustle and stir on board the good ship on a day of departure. Our thoughts, however, were fixed but on one person — the case, no doubt, with hundreds more on such a day. There was many a group of friends closing wistfully together on the sunny deck, and saying the last words of blessing and farewell. The bustle of the ship passes dimly round about them; the hurrying noise of crew and officers running on their duty; the tramp and song of the men at the capstan-bars; the bells ringing, as the hour for departure comes nearer and nearer, as mother and son, father and daughter, husband and wife, hold hands yet for a little while. We saw Clive and his father talking together by the wheel. Then they went below; and a passenger, her husband, asked me to give my arm to an almost fainting lady, and to lead her off the ship. Bayham followed us, carrying their two children in his arms, as the husband turned away and walked aft. The last bell was ringing, and they were crying, “Now for the shore.” The whole ship had begun to throb ere this, and its great wheels to beat the water, and the chimneys had flung out their black signals for sailing. We were as yet close on the dock, and we saw Clive coming up from below, looking very pale; the plank was drawn after him as he stepped on land.

Then, with three great cheers from the dock, and from the crew in the bows, and from the passengers on the quarter-deck, the noble ship strikes the first stroke of her destined race, and swims away towards the ocean. “There he is, there he is,” shouts Fred Bayham, waving his hat. “God bless him, God bless him!” I scarce perceived at the ship’s side, beckoning an adieu, our dear old friend, when the lady, whose husband had bidden me to lead her away from the ship, fainted in my arms. Poor soul! Her, too, has fate stricken. Ah, pangs of hearts torn asunder, passionate regrets, cruel, cruel partings! Shall you not end one day, ere many years; when the tears shall be wiped from all eyes, and there shall be neither sorrow nor pain?

CHAPTER XXVII

Youth and Sunshine

Although Thomas Newcome was gone back to India in search of more money, finding that he could not live upon his income at home, he was nevertheless rather a wealthy man; and at the moment of his departure from Europe had two lakhs of rupees invested in various Indian securities. “A thousand a year,” he thought, “more, added to the interest accruing from my two lakhs, will enable us to live very comfortably at home. I can give Clive ten thousand pounds when he marries, and five hundred a year out of my allowances. If he gets a wife with some money, they may have every enjoyment of life; and as for his pictures, he can paint just as few or as many of those as he pleases.” Newcome did not seem seriously to believe that his son would live by painting pictures, but considered Clive as a young prince who chose to amuse himself with painting. The Muse of Painting is a lady whose social station is not altogether recognised with us as yet. The polite world permits a gentleman to amuse himself with her; but to take her for better or for worse! forsake all other chances and cleave unto her! to assume her name! Many a respectable person would be as much shocked at the notion, as if his son had married an opera-dancer.

Newcome left a hundred a year in England, of which the principal sum was to be transferred to his boy as soon as he came of age. He endowed Clive further with a considerable annual sum, which his London bankers would pay: “And if these are not enough,” says he kindly, “you must draw upon my agents, Messrs. Frank and Merryweather at Calcutta, who will receive your signature just as if it was mine.” Before going away, he introduced Clive to F. and M.‘s corresponding London house, Jolly and Baines, Fog Court — leading out of Leadenhall — Mr. Jolly, a myth as regarded the firm, now married to Lady Julia Jolly — a Park in Kent — evangelical interest — great at Exeter Hall meetings — knew Clive’s grandmother — that is, Mrs. Newcome, a most admirable woman. Baines represents a house in the Regent’s Park, with an emigrative tendency towards Belgravia — musical daughters — Herr Moscheles, Benedick, Ella — Osborne, constantly at dinner-sonatas in P flat (op. 936), composed and dedicated to Miss Euphemia Baines, by her most obliged, most obedient servant, Ferdinando Blitz. Baines hopes that his young friend will come constantly to York Terrace, where the most girls will be happy to see him; and mentions at home a singular whim of Colonel Newcome’s, who can give his son twelve or fifteen hundred a year, and makes an artist of him. Euphemia and Flora adore artists; they feel quite interested about this young man. “He was scribbling caricatures all the time I was talking with his father in my parlour,” says Mr. Baines, and produces a sketch of an orange-woman near the Bank, who had struck Clive’s eyes, and been transferred to the blotting-paper in Fog Court. “He needn’t do anything,” said good-natured Mr. Baines. “I guess all the pictures he’ll paint won’t sell for much.”

“Is he fond of music, papa?” asks Miss. “What a pity he had not come to our last evening; and now the season is over!”

“And Mr. Newcome is going out of town. He came to me, today for circular notes — says he’s going through Switzerland and into Italy — lives in Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square. Queer place, ain’t it? Put his name down in your book, and ask him to dinner next season.”

Before Clive went away, he had an apparatus of easels, sketching-stools, umbrellas, and painting-boxes, the most elaborate and beautiful that Messrs. Soap and Isaac could supply. It made J. J.‘s eyes glisten to see those lovely gimcracks of art; those smooth mill-boards, those slab-tinted sketching-blocks, and glistening rows of colour-tubes lying in their boxes, which seemed to cry, “Come, squeeze me.” If painting-boxes made painters, if sketching-stools would but enable one to sketch, surely I would hasten this very instant to Messrs. Soap and Isaac! but, alas! these pretty toys no more make artists than cowls make monks.

As a proof that Clive did intend to practise his profession, and to live by it too, at this time he took four sporting sketches to a printseller in the Haymarket, and disposed of them at the rate of seven shillings and sixpence per sketch. His exultation at receiving a sovereign and half a sovereign from Mr. Jones was boundless. “I can do half a dozen of these things easily in a morning,” he says. “Two guineas a day is twelve guineas — say ten guineas a week, for I won’t work on Sundays, and may take a holiday in the week besides. Ten guineas a week is five hundred a year. That is pretty nearly as much money as I shall want, and I need not draw the dear old governor’s allowance at all.” He wrote an ardent letter, full of happiness and affection, to the kind father, which he shall find a month after he has arrived in India, and read to his friends in Calcutta and Barrackpore. Clive invited many of his artist friends to a grand feast in honour of the thirty shillings. The King’s Arms, Kensington, was the hotel selected (tavern beloved of artists for many score years!). Gandish was there, and the Gandishites, and some chosen spirits from the Life Academy, Clipstone Street, and J. J. was vice-president, with Fred Bayham by his side, to make the speeches and carve the mutton; and I promise you many a merry song was sung, and many a health drunk in flowing bumpers; and as jolly a party was assembled as any London contained that day. The beau-monde had quitted it; the Park was empty as we crossed it; and the leaves of Kensington Gardens had begun to fall, dying after the fatigues of a London season. We sang all the way home through Knightsbridge and by the Park railings, and the Covent Garden carters halting at the Half-way House were astonished at our choruses. There is no half-way house now; no merry chorus at midnight.

Then Clive and J. J. took the steamboat to Antwerp; and those who love pictures may imagine how the two young men rejoiced in one of the most picturesque cities of the world; where they went back straightway into the sixteenth century; where the inn at which they stayed (delightful old Grand Laboureur, thine ancient walls are levelled! thy comfortable hospitalities exist no more!) seemed such a hostelry as that where Quentin Durward first saw his sweetheart; where knights of Velasquez or burgomasters of Rubens seemed to look from the windows of the tall-gabled houses and the quaint porches; where the Bourse still stood, the Bourse of three hundred years ago, and you had but to supply figures with beards and ruffs, and rapiers and trunk-hose, to make the picture complete; where to be awakened by the carillon of the bells was to waken to the most delightful sense of life and happiness; where nuns, actual nuns, walked the streets, and every figure in the Place de Meir, and every devotee at church, kneeling and draped in black, or entering the confessional (actually the confessional!), was a delightful subject for the new sketchbook. Had Clive drawn as much everywhere as at Antwerp, Messrs. Soap and Isaac might have made a little income by supplying him with materials.

After Antwerp, Clive’s correspondent gets a letter dated from the Hotel de Suede at Brussels, which contains an elaborate eulogy of the cookery and comfort of that hotel, where the wines, according to the writer’s opinion, are unmatched almost in Europe. And this is followed by a description of Waterloo, and a sketch of Hougoumont, in which J. J. is represented running away in the character of a French grenadier, Clive pursuing him in the lifeguard’s habit, and mounted on a thundering charger.

Next follows a letter from Bonn. Verses about Drachenfels of a not very superior style of versification; an account of Crichton, an old Grey Friars man, who has become a student at the university; of a commerz, a drunken bout, and a students’ duel at Bonn. “And whom should I find here,” says Mr. Clive, “but Aunt Anne, Ethel, Miss Quigley, and the little ones, the whole detachment under the command of Kuhn? Uncle Brian is staying at Aix. He is recovered from his attack. And, upon my conscience, I think my pretty cousin looks prettier every day.

“When they are not in London,” Clive goes on to write, “or I sometimes think when Barnes or old Lady Kew are not looking over them, they are quite different. You know how cold they have latterly seemed to us, and how their conduct annoyed my dear old father. Nothing can be kinder than their behaviour since we have met. It was on the little hill at Godesberg: J. J. and I were mounting to the ruin, followed by the beggars who waylay you, and have taken the place of the other robbers who used to live there, when there came a procession of donkeys down the steep, and I heard a little voice cry, ‘Hullo! it’s Clive! hooray, Clive!’ and an ass came pattering down the declivity, with a little pair of white trousers at an immensely wide angle over the donkey’s back, and behold there was little Alfred grinning with all his might.

“He turned his beast and was for galloping up the hill again, I suppose to inform his relations; but the donkey refused with many kicks, one of which sent Alfred plunging amongst the stones, and we were rubbing him down just as the rest of the party came upon us. Miss Quigley looked very grim on an old white pony; my aunt was on a black horse that might have turned grey, he is so old. Then come two donkeysful of children, with Kuhn as supercargo; then Ethel on donkey-back, too, with a bunch of wildflowers in her hand, a great straw hat with a crimson ribbon, a white muslin jacket, you know, bound at the waist with a ribbon of the first, and a dark skirt, with a shawl round her feet which Kuhn had arranged. As she stopped, the donkey fell to cropping greens in the hedge; the trees there chequered her white dress and face with shadow. Her eyes, hair, and forehead were in shadow too — but the light was all upon her right cheek: upon her shoulder down to her arm, which was of a warmer white, and on the bunch of flowers which she held, blue, yellow, and red poppies, and so forth.

“J. J. says, ‘I think the birds began to sing louder when she came.’ We have both agreed that she is the handsomest woman in England. It’s not her form merely, which is certainly as yet too thin and a little angular — it is her colour. I do not care for woman or picture without colour. O ye carnations! O ye lilia mista rosis! O such black hair and solemn eyebrows! It seems to me the roses and carnations have bloomed again since we saw them last in London, when they were drooping from the exposure to night air, candle-light, and heated ballrooms.

“Here I was in the midst of a regiment of donkeys, bearing a crowd of relations; J. J. standing modestly in the background — beggars completing the group, and Kuhn ruling over them with voice and gesture, oaths and whip. Throw in the Rhine in the distance flashing by the Seven Mountains — but mind and make Ethel the principal figure: if you make her like, she certainly will be — and other lights will be only minor fires. You may paint her form, but you can’t paint her colour; that is what beats us in nature. A line must come right; you can force that into its place, but you can’t compel the circumambient air. There is no yellow I know of will make sunshine, and no blue that is a bit like sky. And so with pictures: I think you only get signs of colour, and formulas to stand for it. That brick-dust which we agree to receive as representing a blush, look at it — can you say it is in the least like the blush which flickers and varies as it sweeps over the down of the cheek — as you see sunshine playing over a meadow? Look into it and see what a variety of delicate blooms there are! a multitude of flowerets twining into one tint! We may break our colour-pots and strive after the line alone: that is palpable and we can grasp it — the other is impossible and beyond us.” Which sentiment I here set down, not on account of its worth (and I think it is contradicted — as well as asserted — in more than one of the letters I subsequently had from Mr. Clive, but it may serve to show the ardent and impulsive disposition of this youth), by whom all beauties of art and nature, animate or inanimate (the former especially), were welcomed with a gusto and delight whereof colder temperaments are incapable. The view of a fine landscape, a fine picture, a handsome woman, would make this harmless young sensualist tipsy with pleasure. He seemed to derive an actual hilarity and intoxication as his eye drank in these sights; and, though it was his maxim that all dinners were good, and he could eat bread and cheese and drink small beer with perfect good-humour, I believe that he found a certain pleasure in a bottle of claret, which most men’s systems were incapable of feeling.

This springtime of youth is the season of letter-writing. A lad in high health and spirits, the blood running briskly in his young veins, and the world, and life, and nature bright and welcome to him, looks out, perforce, for some companion to whom he may impart his sense of the pleasure which he enjoys, and which were not complete unless a friend were by to share it. I was the person most convenient for the young fellow’s purpose; he was pleased to confer upon me the title of friend en titre, and confidant in particular; to endow the confidant in question with a number of virtues and excellences which existed very likely only in the lad’s imagination; to lament that the confidant had no sister whom he, Clive, might marry out of hand; and to make me a thousand simple protests of affection and admiration, which are noted here as signs of the young man’s character, by no means as proofs of the goodness of mine. The books given to the present biographer by “his affectionate friend, Clive Newcome,” still bear on the titlepages the marks of that boyish hand and youthful fervour. He had a copy of Walter Lorraine bound and gilt with such splendour as made the author blush for his performance, which has since been seen at the bookstalls at a price suited to the very humblest purses. He fired up and fought a newspaper critic (whom Clive met at the Haunt one night) who had dared to write an article in which that work was slighted; and if, in the course of nature, his friendship has outlived that rapturous period, the kindness of the two old friends, I hope, is not the less because it is no longer romantic, and the days of white vellum and gilt edges have passed away. From the abundance of the letters which the affectionate young fellow now wrote, the ensuing portion of his youthful history is compiled. It may serve to recall passages of their early days to such of his seniors as occasionally turn over the leaves of a novel; and in the story of his faults, indiscretions, passions, and actions, young readers may be reminded of their own.

Now that the old Countess, and perhaps Barnes, were away, the barrier between Clive and this family seemed to be withdrawn. The young folks who loved him were free to see him as often as he would come. They were going to Baden: would he come too? Baden was on the road to Switzerland, he might journey to Strasbourg, Basle, and so on. Clive was glad enough to go with his cousins, and travel in the orbit of such a lovely girl as Ethel Newcome. J. J. performed the second part always when Clive was present: and so they all travelled to Coblentz, Mayence, and Frankfort together, making the journey which everybody knows, and sketching the mountains and castles we all of us have sketched. Ethel’s beauty made all the passengers on all the steamers look round and admire. Clive was proud of being in the suite of such a lovely person. The family travelled with a pair of those carriages which used to thunder along the Continental roads a dozen years since, and from interior, box, and rumble discharge a dozen English people at hotel gates.

The journey is all sunshine and pleasure and novelty: the circular notes with which Mr. Baines of Fog Court has supplied Clive Newcome, Esquire, enabled that young gentleman to travel with great ease and comfort. He has not yet ventured upon engaging a valet-de-chambre, it being agreed between him and J. J. that two travelling artists have no right to such an aristocratic appendage; but he has bought a snug little britzska at Frankfort (the youth has very polite tastes, is already a connoisseur in wine, and has no scruple in ordering the best at the hotels), and the britzska travels in company with Lady Anne’s caravan, either in its wake so as to be out of reach of the dust, or more frequently ahead of that enormous vehicle and its tender, in which come the children and the governess of Lady Anne Newcome, guarded by a huge and melancholy London footman, who beholds Rhine and Neckar, valley and mountain, village and ruin, with a like dismal composure. Little Alfred and little Egbert are by no means sorry to escape from Miss Quigley and the tender, and for a stage ride or two in Clive’s britzska. The little girls cry sometimes to be admitted to that privilege. I dare say Ethel would like very well to quit her place in the caravan, where she sits, circumvented by mamma’s dogs, and books, bags, dressing-boxes, and gimcrack cases, without which apparatus some English ladies of condition cannot travel; but Miss Ethel is grown up, she is out, and has been presented at Court, and is a person of too great dignity now to sit anywhere but in the place of state in the chariot corner. I like to think, for my part, of the gallant young fellow taking his pleasure and enjoying his holiday, and few sights are more pleasant than to watch a happy, manly English youth, free-handed and generous-hearted, content and good-humour shining in his honest face, pleased and pleasing, eager, active, and thankful for services, and exercising bravely his noble youthful privilege to be happy and to enjoy. Sing, cheery spirit, whilst the spring lasts; bloom whilst the sun shines, kindly flowers of youth! You shall be none the worse tomorrow for having been happy today, if the day brings no action to shame it. As for J. J., he too had his share of enjoyment; the charming scenes around him did not escape his bright eye, he absorbed pleasure in his silent way, he was up with the sunrise always, and at work with his eyes and his heart if not with his hands. A beautiful object too is such a one to contemplate, a pure virgin soul, a creature gentle, pious, and full of love, endowed with sweet gifts, humble and timid; but for truth’s and justice’s sake inflexible, thankful to God and man, fond, patient, and faithful. Clive was still his hero as ever, his patron, his splendid young prince and chieftain. Who was so brave, who was so handsome, generous, witty as Clive? To hear Clive sing, as the lad would whilst they were seated at their work, or driving along on this happy journey, through fair landscapes in the sunshine, gave J. J. the keenest pleasure; his wit was a little slow, but he would laugh with his eyes at Clive’s sallies, or ponder over them and explode with laughter presently, giving a new source of amusement to these merry travellers, and little Alfred would laugh at J. J.‘s laughing; and so, with a hundred harmless jokes to enliven, and the ever-changing, ever-charming smiles of nature to cheer and accompany it, the happy day’s journey would come to an end.

So they travelled by the accustomed route to the prettiest town of all places where Pleasure has set up her tents; and where the gay, the melancholy, the idle or occupied, grave or haughty, come for amusement, or business, or relaxation; where London beauties, having danced and flirted all the season, may dance and flirt a little more; where well-dressed rogues from all quarters of the world assemble; where I have seen severe London lawyers, forgetting their wigs and the Temple, trying their luck against fortune and M. Benazet; where wistful schemers conspire and prick cards down, and deeply meditate the infallible coup; and try it, and lose it, and borrow a hundred francs to go home; where even virtuous British ladies venture their little stakes, and draw up their winnings with trembling rakes, by the side of ladies who are not virtuous at all, no, not even by name; where young prodigals break the bank sometimes, and carry plunder out of a place which Hercules himself could scarcely compel; where you meet wonderful countesses and princesses, whose husbands are almost always absent on their vast estates — in Italy, Spain, Piedmont — who knows where their lordships’ possessions are? — while trains of suitors surround those wandering Penelopes their noble wives; Russian Boyars, Spanish Grandees of the Order of the Fleece, Counts of France, and Princes Polish and Italian innumerable, who perfume the gilded halls with their tobacco-smoke, and swear in all languages against the black and the red. The famous English monosyllable by which things, persons, luck, even eyes, are devoted to the infernal gods, we may be sure is not wanting in that Babel. Where does one not hear it? “D—— the luck,” says Lord Kew, as the croupier sweeps off his lordship’s rouleaux. “D—— the luck,” says Brown the bagman, who has been backing his lordship with five-franc pieces. “Ah, body of Bacchus!” says Count Felice, whom we all remember a courier. “Ah, sacre coup,” cries M. le Vicomte de Florac, as his last louis parts company from him — each cursing in his native tongue. Oh, sweet chorus!

That Lord Kew should be at Baden is no wonder. If you heard of him at the Finish, or at Buckingham Palace ball, or in a watch-house, or at the Third Cataract, or at a Newmarket meeting, you would not be surprised. He goes everywhere; does everything with all his might; knows everybody. Last week he won who knows how many thousand louis from the bank (it appears Brown has chosen one of the unlucky days to back his lordship). He will eat his supper as gaily after a great victory as after a signal defeat; and we know that to win with magnanimity requires much more constancy than to lose. His sleep will not be disturbed by one event or the other. He will play skittles all the morning with perfect contentment, romp with children in the forenoon (he is the friend of half the children in the place), or he will cheerfully leave the green table and all the risk and excitement there, to take a hand at sixpenny whist with General Fogey, or to give the six Miss Fogeys a turn each in the ballroom. From H.R.H. the Prince Royal of — — who is the greatest guest at Baden, down to Brown the bagman, who does not consider himself the smallest, Lord Kew is hail fellow with everybody, and has a kind word from and for all.

CHAPTER XXVIII

In which Clive begins to see the World

In the company assembled at Baden, Clive found one or two old acquaintances; among them his friend of Paris, M. de Florac, not in quite so brilliant a condition as when Newcome had last met him on the Boulevard. Florac owned that Fortune had been very unkind to him at Baden; and, indeed, she had not only emptied his purse, but his portmanteaus, jewel-box, and linen-closet — the contents of all of which had ranged themselves on the red and black against Monsieur Benazet’s crown-pieces: whatever side they took was, however, the unlucky one. “This campaign has been my Moscow, mon cher,” Florac owned to Clive. “I am conquered by Benazet; I have lost in almost every combat. I have lost my treasure, my baggage, my ammunition of war, everything but my honour, which, au reste, Mons. Benazet will not accept as a stake; if he would, there are plenty here, believe me, who would set it on the trente-et-quarante. Sometimes I have had a mind to go home; my mother, who is an angel all forgiveness, would receive her prodigal, and kill the fatted veal for me. But what will you? He annoys me — the domestic veal. Besides, my brother the Abbe, though the best of Christians, is a Jew upon certain matters; a Benazet who will not troquer absolution except against repentance; and I have not for a sou of repentance in my pocket! I have been sorry, yes — but it was because odd came up in place of even, or the reverse. The accursed apres has chased me like a remorse, and when black has come up I have wished myself converted to red. Otherwise I have no repentance — I am joueur — nature has made me so, as she made my brother devot. The Archbishop of Strasbourg is of our parents; I saw his grandeur when I went lately to Strasbourg, on my last pilgrimage to the Mont de Piete. I owned to him that I would pawn his cross and ring to go play: the good prelate laughed, and said his chaplain should keep an eye on them. Will you dine with me? The landlord of my hotel was the intendant of our cousin, the Duc d’Ivry, and will give me credit to the day of judgment. I do not abuse his noble confidence. My dear! there are covers of silver put upon my table every day with which I could retrieve my fortune, did I listen to the suggestions of Satanas; but I say to him, Vade retro. Come and dine with me — Duluc’s kitchen is very good.”

These easy confessions were uttered by a gentleman who was nearly forty years of age, and who had indeed played the part of a young man in Paris and the great European world so long, that he knew or chose to perform no other. He did not want for abilities; had the best temper in the world; was well bred and gentlemanlike always; and was gay even after Moscow. His courage was known, and his character for bravery and another kind of gallantry probably exaggerated by his bad reputation. Had his mother not been alive, perhaps he would have believed in the virtue of no woman. But this one he worshipped, and spoke with tenderness and enthusiasm of her constant love and patience and goodness. “See her miniature!” he said, “I never separate myself from it — oh, never! It saved my life in an affair about — about a woman who was not worth the powder which poor Jules and I burned for her. His ball struck me here, upon the waistcoat, bruising my rib and sending me to my bed, which I never should have left alive but for this picture. Oh, she is an angel, my mother! I am sure that Heaven has nothing to deny that saint, and that her tears wash out my sins.”

Olive smiled. “I think Madame de Florac must weep a good deal,” he said.

“Enormement, my friend! My faith! I do not deny it! I give her cause, night and evening. I am possessed by demons! This little Affenthaler wine of this country has a little smack which is most agreeable. The passions tear me, my young friend! Play is fatal, but play is not so fatal as woman. Pass me the ecrevisses, they are most succulent. Take warning by me, and avoid both. I saw you roder round the green tables, and marked your eyes as they glistened over the heaps of gold, and looked at some of our beauties of Baden. Beware of such sirens, young man! and take me for your Mentor; avoiding what I have done — that understands itself. You have not played as yet? Do not do so; above all avoid a martingale, if you do. Play ought not to be an affair of calculation, but of inspiration. I have calculated infallibly, and what has been the effect? Gousset empty, tiroirs empty, necessaire parted for Strasbourg! Where is my fur pelisse, Frederic?”

“Parbleu, vous le savez bien, Monsieur le Vicomte,” says Frederic, the domestic, who was waiting on Clive and his friend.

“A pelisse lined with true sable, and, worth three thousand francs, that I won of a little Russian at billiards. That pelisse at Strasbourg (where the infamous worms of the Mount of Piety are actually gnawing her). Two hundred francs and this reconnaissance, which Frederic receive, are all that now represent the pelisse. How many chemises have I, Frederic?”

“Eh, parbleu, Monsieur le Vicomte sait bien que nous avons toujours vingt-quatre chemises,” says Frederic, grumbling.

Monsieur le Vicomte springs up shrieking from the dinner-table. “Twenty-four shirts,” says he, “and I have been a week without a louis in my pocket! Belitre! Nigaud!” He flings open one drawer after another, but there are no signs of that — superfluity of linen of which the domestic spoke, whose countenance now changes from a grim frown to a grim smile.

“Ah, my faithful Frederic, I pardon thee! Mr. Newcome will understand my harmless supercherie. Frederic was in my company of the Guard, and remains with me since. He is Caleb Balderstone and I am Ravenswood. Yes, I am Edgard. Let us have coffee and a cigar, Balderstone.”

“Plait-il, Monsieur le Vicomte?” says the French Caleb.

“Thou comprehendest not English. Thou readest not Valtare Scott, thou!” cries the master. “I was recounting to Monsieur Newcome thy history and my misfortunes. Go seek coffee for us, nigaud.” And as the two gentlemen partake of that exhilarating liquor, the elder confides gaily to his guest the reason why he prefers taking coffee at the hotel to the coffee at the great Cafe of the Redoute, with a duris urgens in rebus egestass! pronounced in the true French manner.

Clive was greatly amused by the gaiety of the Viscount after his misfortunes and his Moscow; and thought that one of Mr. Baines’s circular notes might not be ill laid out in succouring this hero. It may have been to this end that Florac’s confessions tended; though, to do him justice, the incorrigible young fellow would confide his adventures to any one who would listen; and the exact state of his wardrobe, and the story of his pawned pelisse, dressing-case, rings and watches, were known to all Baden.

“You tell me to marry and range myself,” said Clive (to whom the Viscount was expatiating upon the charms of the superbe young Anglaise with whom he had seen Clive walking on the promenade). “Why do you not marry and range yourself too?”

“Eh, my dear! I am married already. You do not know it? I am married since the Revolution of July. Yes. We were poor in those days, as poor we remain. My cousins the Duc d’Ivry’s sons and his grandson were still alive. Seeing no other resource and pursued by the Arabs, I espoused the Vicomtesse de Florac. I gave her my name, you comprehend, in exchange for her own odious one. She was Miss Higg. Do you know the family Higg of Manchesterre in the comte of Lancastre? She was then a person of a ripe age. The Vicomtesse is now — ah! it is fifteen years since, and she dies not. Our union was not happy, my friend — Madame Paul de Florac is of the reformed religion — not of the Anglican Church, you understand — but a dissident I know not of what sort. We inhabited the Hotel de Florac for a while after our union, which was all of convenience, you understand. She filled her salon with ministers to make you die. She assaulted my poor father in his garden-chair, whence he could not escape her. She told my sainted mother that she was an idolatress — she who only idolatrises her children! She called us other poor Catholics who follow the rites of our fathers, des Romishes; and Rome, Babylon; and the Holy Father — a scarlet — eh! a scarlet abomination. She outraged my mother, that angel; essayed to convert the antechamber and the office; put little books in the Abbe’s bedroom. Eh, my friend! what a good king was Charles IX., and his mother what a wise sovereign! I lament that Madame de Florac should have escaped the St. Barthelemi, when no doubt she was spared on account of her tender age. We have been separated for many years; her income was greatly exaggerated. Beyond the payment of my debts I owe her nothing. I wish I could say as much of all the rest of the world. Shall we take a turn of promenade? Mauvais sujet! I see you are longing to be at the green table.”

Clive was not longing to be at the green table: but his companion was never easy at it or away from it. Next to winning, losing, M. de Florac said, was the best sport — next to losing, looking on. So he and Clive went down to the Redoute, where Lord Kew was playing with a crowd of awestruck amateurs and breathless punters admiring his valour and fortune; and Clive, saying that he knew nothing about the game, took out five Napoleons from his purse, and besought Florac to invest them in the most profitable manner at roulette. The other made some faint attempts at a scruple: but the money was speedily laid on the table, where it increased and multiplied amazingly too; so that in a quarter of an hour Florac brought quite a handful of gold pieces to his principal. Then Clive, I dare say blushing as he made the proposal, offered half the handful of Napoleons to M. de Florac, to be repaid when he thought fit. And fortune must have been very favourable to the husband of Miss Higg that night; for in the course of an hour he insisted on paying back Clive’s loan; and two days afterwards appeared with his shirt-studs (of course with his shirts also), released from captivity, his watch, rings, and chains, on the parade; and was observed to wear his celebrated fur pelisse as he drove back in a britzska from Strasbourg. “As for myself,” wrote Clive, “I put back into my purse the five Napoleons with which I had begun; and laid down the whole mass of winnings on the table, where it was doubled and then quadrupled, and then swept up by the croupiers, greatly to my ease of mind. And then Lord Kew asked me to supper and we had a merry night.”

This was Mr. Clive’s first and last appearance as a gambler. J. J. looked very grave when he heard of these transactions. Clive’s French friend did not please his English companion at all, nor the friends of Clive’s French friend, the Russians, the Spaniards, the Italians, of sounding titles and glittering decorations, and the ladies who belonged to their society. He saw by chance Ethel, escorted by her cousin Lord Kew, passing through a crowd of this company one day. There was not one woman there who was not the heroine of some discreditable story. It was the Comtesse Calypso who had been jilted by the Duc Ulysse. It was the Marquise Ariane to whom the Prince Thesee had behaved so shamefully, and who had taken to Bacchus as a consolation. It was Madame Medee, who had absolutely killed her old father by her conduct regarding Jason: she had done everything for Jason: she had got him the toison d’or from the Queen Mother, and now had to meet him every day with his little blonde bride on his arm! J. J. compared Ethel, moving in the midst of these folks, to the Lady amidst the rout of Comus. There they were the Fauns and Satyrs: there they were, the merry Pagans: drinking and dancing, dicing and sporting; laughing out jests that never should be spoken; whispering rendezvous to be written in midnight calendars; jeering at honest people who passed under their palace windows — jolly rebels and repealers of the law. Ah, if Mrs. Brown, whose children are gone to bed at the hotel, knew but the history of that calm dignified-looking gentleman who sits under her, and over whose patient back she frantically advances and withdraws her two-franc piece, whilst his own columns of louis d’or are offering battle to fortune — how she would shrink away from the shoulder which she pushes! That man so calm and well bred, with a string of orders on his breast, so well dressed, with such white hands, has stabbed trusting hearts; severed family ties; written lying vows; signed false oaths; torn up pitilessly tender appeals for redress, and tossed away into the fire supplications blistered with tears; packed cards and cogged dice; or used pistol or sword as calmly and dexterously as he now ranges his battalions of gold pieces.

Ridley shrank away from such lawless people with the delicacy belonging to his timid and retiring nature, but it must be owned that Mr. Clive was by no means so squeamish. He did not know, in the first place, the mystery of their iniquities; and his sunny kindly spirit, undimmed by any of the cares which clouded it subsequently, was disposed to shine upon all people alike. The world was welcome to him: the day a pleasure: all nature a gay feast: scarce any dispositions discordant with his own (for pretension only made him laugh, and hypocrisy he will never be able to understand if he lives to be a hundred years old): the night brought him a long sleep, and the morning a glad waking. To those privileges of youth what enjoyments of age are comparable? what achievements of ambition? what rewards of money and fame? Clive’s happy friendly nature shone out of his face; and almost all who beheld it felt kindly towards him. As those guileless virgins of romance and ballad, who walk smiling through dark forests charming off dragons and confronting lions, the young man as yet went through the world harmless; no giant waylaid him as yet; no robbing ogre fed on him: and (greatest danger of all for one of his ardent nature) no winning enchantress or artful siren coaxed him to her cave, or lured him into her waters — haunts into which we know so many young simpletons are drawn, where their silly bones are picked and their tender flesh devoured.

The time was short which Clive spent at Baden, for it has been said the winter was approaching, and the destination of our young artists was Rome; but he may have passed some score of days here, to which he and another person in that pretty watering-place possibly looked back afterwards, as not the unhappiest period of their lives. Among Colonel Newcome’s papers to which the family biographer has had subsequent access, there are a couple of letters from Clive, dated Baden, at this time, and full of happiness, gaiety, and affection. Letter No. 1 says, “Ethel is the prettiest girl here. At the assemblies all the princes, counts, dukes, Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, are dying to dance with her. She sends her dearest love to her uncle.” By the side of the words “prettiest girl,” was written in a frank female hand the monosyllable “Stuff;” and as a note to the expression “dearest love,” with a star to mark the text and the note, are squeezed, in the same feminine characters, at the bottom of Clive’s page, the words, “That I do. E. N.”

In letter No. 2, the first two pages are closely written in Clive’s handwriting, describing his pursuits and studies, and giving amusing details of the life at Baden, and the company whom he met there — narrating his rencontre with their Paris friend, M. de Florac, and the arrival of the Duchesse d’Ivry, Florac’s cousin, whose titles the Vicomte will probably inherit. Not a word about Florac’s gambling propensities are mentioned in the letter; but Clive honestly confesses that he has staked five Napoleons, doubled them, quadrupled them, won ever so much, lost it all back again, and come away from the table with his original five pounds in his pocket — proposing never to play any more. “Ethel,” he concluded, “is looking over my shoulder. She thinks me such a delightful creature that she is never easy without me. She bids me to say that I am the best of sons and cousins, and am, in a word, a darling du —” The rest of this important word is not given, but goose is added in the female hand. In the faded ink, on the yellow paper that may have crossed and recrossed oceans, that has lain locked in chests for years, and buried under piles of family archives, while your friends have been dying and your head has grown white — who has not disinterred mementos like these — from which the past smiles at you so sadly, shimmering out of Hades an instant but to sink back again into the cold shades, perhaps with a faint, faint sound as of a remembered tone — a ghostly echo of a once familiar laughter? I was looking of late at a wall in the Naples Museum, whereon a boy of Herculaneum eighteen hundred years ago had scratched with a nail the figure of a soldier. I could fancy the child turning round and smiling on me after having done his etching. Which of us that is thirty years old has not had his Pompeii? Deep under ashes lies the Life of Youth — the careless Sport, the Pleasure and Passion, the darling Joy. You open an old letter-box and look at your own childish scrawls, or your mother’s letters to you when you were at school; and excavate your heart. Oh me, for the day when the whole city shall be bare and the chambers unroofed — and every cranny visible to the Light above, from the Forum to the Lupanar!

Ethel takes up the pen. “My dear uncle,” she says, “while Clive is sketching out of window, let me write you a line or two on his paper, though I know you like to hear no one speak but him. I wish I could draw him for you as he stands yonder, looking the picture of good health, good spirits, and good humour. Everybody likes him. He is quite unaffected; always gay; always pleased. He draws more and more beautifully every day; and his affection for young Mr. Ridley, who is really a most excellent and astonishing young man, and actually a better artist than Clive himself, is most romantic, and does your son the greatest credit. You will order Clive not to sell his pictures, won’t you? I know it is not wrong, but your son might look higher than to be an artist. It is a rise for Mr. Ridley, but a fall for him. An artist, an organist, a pianist, all these are very good people, but you know not de notre monde, and Clive ought to belong to it.

“We met him at Bonn on our way to a great family gathering here; where, I must tell you, we are assembled for what I call the Congress of Baden! The chief of the house of Kew is here, and what time he does not devote to skittles, to smoking cigars, to the jeu in the evenings, to Madame d’Ivry, to Madame de Cruchecassee, and the foreign people (of whom there are a host here of the worst kind, as usual), he graciously bestows on me. Lord and Lady Dorking are here, with their meek little daughter, Clara Pulleyn; and Barnes is coming. Uncle Hobson has returned to Lombard Street to relieve guard. I think you will hear before very long of Lady Clara Newcome. Grandmamma, who was to have presided at the Congress of Baden, and still, you know, reigns over the house of Kew, has been stopped at Kissingen with an attack of rheumatism; I pity poor Aunt Julia, who can never leave her. Here are all our news. I declare I have filled the whole page; men write closer than we do. I wear the dear brooch you gave me, often and often; I think of you always, dear, kind uncle, as your affectionate Ethel.”

Besides roulette and trente-et-quarante, a number of amusing games are played at Baden, which are not performed, so to speak, sur table. These little diversions and jeux de societe can go on anywhere; in an alley in the park; in a picnic to this old schloss, or that pretty hunting-lodge; at a tea-table in a lodging-house or hotel; in a ball at the Redoute; in the play-rooms behind the backs of the gamblers, whose eyes are only cast upon rakes and rouleaux, and red and black; or on the broad walk in front of the conversation rooms, where thousands of people are drinking and chattering, lounging and smoking, whilst the Austrian brass band, in the little music pavilion, plays the most delightful mazurkas and waltzes. Here the widow plays her black suit and sets her bright eyes against the rich bachelor, elderly or young as may be. Here the artful practitioner, who has dealt in a thousand such games, engages the young simpleton with more money than wit; and knowing his weakness and her skill, we may safely take the odds, and back rouge et couleur to win. Here mamma, not having money, perhaps, but metal more attractive, stakes her virgin daughter against Count Fettacker’s forests and meadows; or Lord Lackland plays his coronet, of which the jewels have long since been in pawn, against Miss Bags’ three-per-cents. And so two or three funny little games were going on at Baden amongst our immediate acquaintance; besides that vulgar sport round the green table, at which the mob, with whom we have little to do, was elbowing each other. A hint of these domestic prolusions has been given to the reader in the foregoing extract from Miss Ethel Newcome’s letter: likewise some passions have been in play, of which a modest young English maiden could not be aware. Do not, however, let us be too prematurely proud of our virtue. That tariff of British virtue is wonderfully organised. Heaven help the society which made its laws! Gnats are shut out of its ports, or not admitted without scrutiny and repugnance, whilst herds of camels are let in. The law professes to exclude some goods (or bads shall we call them?)— well, some articles of baggage, which are yet smuggled openly under the eyes of winking officers, and worn every day without shame. Shame! What is shame? Virtue is very often shameful according to the English social constitution, and shame honourable. Truth, if yours happens to differ from your neighbour’s, provokes your friend’s coldness, your mother’s tears, the world’s persecution. Love is not to be dealt in, save under restrictions which kill its sweet, healthy, free commerce. Sin in man is so light, that scarce the fine of a penny is imposed; while for woman it is so heavy that no repentance can wash it out. Ah! yes; all stories are old. You proud matrons in your Mayfair markets, have you never seen a virgin sold, or sold one? Have you never heard of a poor wayfarer fallen among robbers, and not a Pharisee to help him? of a poor woman fallen more sadly yet, abject in repentance and tears, and a crowd to stone her? I pace this broad Baden walk as the sunset is gilding the hills round about, as the orchestra blows its merry tunes, as the happy children laugh and sport in the alleys, as the lamps of the gambling-palace are lighted up, as the throngs of pleasure-hunters stroll, and smoke, and flirt, and hum: and wonder sometimes, is it the sinners who are the most sinful? Is it poor Prodigal yonder amongst the bad company, calling black and red and tossing the champagne; or brother Straitlace that grudges his repentance? Is it downcast Hagar that slinks away with poor little Ishmael in her hand; or bitter old virtuous Sarah, who scowls at her from my demure Lord Abraham’s arm?

One day of the previous May, when of course everybody went to visit the Water-colour Exhibitions, Ethel Newcome was taken to see the pictures by her grandmother, that rigorous old Lady Kew, who still proposed to reign over all her family. The girl had high spirit, and very likely hot words had passed between the elder and the younger lady; such as I am given to understand will be uttered in the most polite families. They came to a piece by Mr. Hunt, representing one of those figures which he knows how to paint with such consummate truth and pathos — a friendless young girl cowering in a doorway, evidently without home or shelter. The exquisite fidelity of the details, and the plaintive beauty of the expression of the child, attracted old Lady Kew’s admiration, who was an excellent judge of works of art; and she stood for some time looking at the drawing, with Ethel by her side. Nothing, in truth, could be more simple or pathetic; Ethel laughed, and her grandmother looking up from her stick on which she hobbled about, saw a very sarcastic expression in the girl’s eyes.

“You have no taste for pictures, only for painters, I suppose,” said Lady Kew.

“I was not looking at the picture,” said Ethel, still with a smile, “but at the little green ticket in the corner.”

“Sold,” said Lady Kew. “Of course it is sold; all Mr. Hunt’s pictures are sold. There is not one of them here on which you won’t see the green ticket. He is a most admirable artist. I don’t know whether his comedy or tragedy are the most excellent.”

“I think, grandmamma,” Ethel said, “we young ladies in the world, when we are exhibiting, ought to have little green tickets pinned on our backs, with ‘Sold’ written on them; it would prevent trouble and any future haggling, you know. Then at the end of the season the owner would come to carry us home.”

Grandmamma only said, “Ethel, you are a fool,” and hobbled on to Mr. Cattermole’s picture hard by. “What splendid colour; what a romantic gloom; what a flowing pencil and dexterous hand!” Lady Kew could delight in pictures, applaud good poetry, and squeeze out a tear over a good novel too. That afternoon, young Dawkins, the rising water-colour artist, who used to come daily to the gallery and stand delighted before his own piece, was aghast to perceive that there was no green ticket in the corner of his frame, and he pointed out the deficiency to the keeper of the pictures. His landscape, however, was sold and paid for, so no great mischief occurred. On that same evening, when the Newcome family assembled at dinner in Park Lane, Ethel appeared with a bright green ticket pinned in the front of her white muslin frock, and when asked what this queer fancy meant, she made Lady Kew a curtsey, looking her full in the face, and turning round to her father, said, “I am a tableau-vivant, papa. I am Number 46 in the Exhibition of the Gallery of Painters in Water-colours.”

“My love, what do you mean?” says mamma; and Lady Kew, jumping up on her crooked stick with immense agility, tore the card out of Ethel’s bosom, and very likely would have boxed her ears, but that her parents were present and Lord Kew announced.

Ethel talked about pictures the whole evening, and would talk of nothing else. Grandmamma went away furious. “She told Barnes, and when everybody was gone there was a pretty row in the building,” said Madam Ethel, with an arch look, when she narrated the story. “Barnes was ready to kill me and eat me; but I never was afraid of Barnes.” And the biographer gathers from this little anecdote, narrated to him, never mind by whom, at a long subsequent period, that there had been great disputes in Sir Brian Newcome’s establishment, fierce drawing-room battles, whereof certain pictures of a certain painter might have furnished the cause, and in which Miss Newcome had the whole of the family forces against her. That such battles take place in other domestic establishments, who shall say or shall not say? Who, when he goes out to dinner, and is received by a bland host with a gay shake of the hand, and a pretty hostess with a gracious smile of welcome, dares to think that Mr. Johnson upstairs, half an hour before, was swearing out of his dressing-room at Mrs. Johnson, for having ordered a turbot instead of a salmon, or that Mrs. Johnson now talking to Lady Jones so nicely about their mutual darling children, was crying her eyes out as her maid was fastening her gown, as the carriages were actually driving up? The servants know these things, but not we in the dining-room. Hark with what a respectful tone Johnson begs the clergyman present to say grace!

Whatever these family quarrels may have been, let bygones be bygones, and let us be perfectly sure, that to whatever purpose Miss Ethel Newcome, for good or for evil, might make her mind up, she had quite spirit enough to hold her own. She chose to be Countess of Kew because she chose to be Countess of Kew; had she set her heart on marrying Mr. Kuhn, she would have had her way, and made the family adopt it, and called him dear Fritz, as by his godfathers and godmothers, in his baptism, Mr. Kuhn was called. Clive was but a fancy, if he had even been so much as that, not a passion, and she fancied a pretty four-pronged coronet still more.

So that the diatribe wherein we lately indulged, about the selling of virgins, by no means applies to Lady Anne Newcome, who signed the address to Mrs Stowe, the other day, along with thousands more virtuous British matrons; but should the reader haply say, “Is thy fable, O Poet, narrated concerning Tancred Pulleyn, Earl of Dorking, and Sigismunda, his wife?” the reluctant moralist is obliged to own that the cap does fit those noble personages, of whose lofty society you will, however, see but little.

For though I would like to go into an Indian Brahmin’s house, and see the punkahs, and the purdahs and tattys, and the pretty brown maidens with great eyes, and great nose-rings, and painted foreheads, and slim waists cased in Cashmir shawls, Kincob scarfs, curly slippers, gilt trousers, precious anklets and bangles; and have the mystery of Eastern existence revealed to me (as who would not who has read the Arabian Nights in his youth?), yet I would not choose the moment when the Brahmin of the house was dead, his women howling, his priests doctoring his child of a widow, now frightening her with sermons, now drugging her with bang, so as to push her on his funeral pile at last, and into the arms of that carcase, stupefied, but obedient and decorous. And though I like to walk, even in fancy, in an earl’s house, splendid, well ordered, where there are feasts and fine pictures and fair ladies and endless books and good company; yet there are times when the visit is not pleasant; and when the parents in that fine house are getting ready their daughter for sale, and frightening away her tears with threats, and stupefying her grief with narcotics, praying her and imploring her, and dramming her and coaxing her, and blessing her, and cursing her perhaps, till they have brought her into such a state as shall fit the poor young thing for that deadly couch upon which they are about to thrust her. When my lord and lady are so engaged I prefer not to call at their mansion, Number 1000 in Grosvenor Square, but to partake of a dinner of herbs rather than of that stalled ox which their cook is roasting whole. There are some people who are not so squeamish. The family comes, of course; the Most Reverend the Lord Arch-Brahmin of Benares will attend the ceremony; there will be flowers and lights and white favours; and quite a string of carriages up to the pagoda; and such a breakfast afterwards; and music in the street and little parish boys hurrahing; and no end of speeches within and tears shed (no doubt), and His Grace the Arch-Brahmin will make a highly appropriate speech, just with a faint scent of incense about it as such a speech ought to have; and the young person will slip away unperceived, and take off her veils, wreaths, orange-flowers, bangles and finery, and will put on a plain dress more suited for the occasion, and the house-door will open — and there comes the SUTTEE in company of the body: yonder the pile is waiting on four wheels with four horses, the crowd hurrahs and the deed is done.

This ceremony amongst us is so stale and common that to be sure there is no need to describe its rites, and as women sell themselves for what you call an establishment every day; to the applause of themselves, their parents, and the world, why on earth should a man ape at originality and pretend to pity them? Never mind about the lies at the altar, the blasphemy against the godlike name of love, the sordid surrender, the smiling dishonour. What the deuce does a mariage de convenance mean but all this, and are not such sober Hymeneal torches more satisfactory often than the most brilliant love matches that ever flamed and burnt out? Of course. Let us not weep when everybody else is laughing: let us pity the agonised duchess when her daughter, Lady Atalanta, runs away with the doctor — of course, that’s respectable; let us pity Lady Iphigenia’s father when that venerable chief is obliged to offer up his darling child; but it is over her part of the business that a decorous painter would throw the veil now. Her ladyship’s sacrifice is performed, and the less said about it the better.

Such was the case regarding an affair which appeared in due subsequence in the newspapers not long afterwards under the fascinating title of “Marriage in High Life,” and which was in truth the occasion of the little family Congress of Baden which we are now chronicling. We all know — everybody at least who has the slightest acquaintance with the army list — that, at the commencement of their life, my Lord Kew, my Lord Viscount Rooster, the Earl of Dorking’s eldest son, and the Honourable Charles Belsize, familiarly called Jack Belsize, were subaltern officers in one of His Majesty’s regiments of cuirassier guards. They heard the chimes at midnight like other young men, they enjoyed their fun and frolics as gentlemen of spirit will do; sowing their wild oats plentifully, and scattering them with boyish profusion. Lady Kew’s luck had blessed him with more sacks of oats than fell to the lot of his noble young companions. Lord Dorking’s house is known to have been long impoverished; an excellent informant, Major Pendennis, has entertained me with many edifying accounts of the exploits of Lord Rooster’s grandfather “with the wild Prince and Poins,” of his feats in the hunting-field, over the bottle, over the dice-box. He played two nights and two days at a sitting with Charles Fox, when they both lost sums awful to reckon. He played often with Lord Steyne, and came away, as all men did, dreadful sufferers from those midnight encounters. His descendants incurred the penalties of the progenitor’s imprudence, and Chanticlere, though one of the finest castles in England, is splendid but for a month in the year. The estate is mortgaged up to the very castle windows. “Dorking cannot cut a stick or kill a buck in his own park,” the good old Major used to tell with tragic accents, “he lives by his cabbages, grapes, and pineapples, and the fees which people give for seeing the place and gardens, which are still the show of the county, and among the most splendid in the island. When Dorking is at Chanticlere, Ballard, who married his sister, lends him the plate and sends three men with it. Four cooks inside, and four maids and six footmen on the roof, with a butler driving, come down from London in a trap, and wait the month. And as the last carriage of the company drives away, the servants’ coach is packed, and they all bowl back to town again. It’s pitiable, sir, pitiable.”

In Lord Kew’s youth, the names of himself and his two noble friends appeared on innumerable slips of stamped paper, conveying pecuniary assurances of a promissory nature; all of which promises, my Lord Kew singly and most honourably discharged. Neither of his two companions-inarms had the means of meeting these engagements. Ballard, Rooster’s uncle, was said to make his lordship some allowance. As for Jack Belsize: how he lived; how he laughed; how he dressed himself so well, and looked so fat and handsome; how he got a shilling to pay for a cab or a cigar; what ravens fed him; was a wonder to all. The young men claimed kinsmanship with one another, which those who are learned in the peerage may unravel.

When Lord Dorking’s eldest daughter married the Honourable and Venerable Dennis Gallowglass, Archdeacon of Bullintubber (and at present Viscount Gallowglass and Killbrogue, and Lord Bishop of Ballyshannon), great festivities took place at Chanticlere, whither the relatives of the high contracting parties were invited. Among them came poor Jack Belsize, and hence the tears which are dropping at Baden at this present period of our history. Clara Pulleyn was then a pretty little maiden of sixteen, and Jack a handsome guardsman of six or seven and twenty. As she had been especially warned against Jack as a wicked young rogue, whose antecedents were wofully against him; as she was never allowed to sit near him at dinner, or to walk with him, or to play at billiards with him, or to waltz with him; as she was scolded if he spoke a word to her, or if he picked up her glove, or touched her hand in a round game, or caught him when they were playing at blindman’s-buff; as they neither of them had a penny in the world, and were both very good-looking, of course Clara was always catching Jack at blindman’s-buff; constantly lighting upon him in the shrubberies or corridors, etc. etc. etc. She fell in love (she was not the first) with Jack’s broad chest and thin waist; she thought his whiskers as indeed they were, the handsomest pair in all His Majesty’s Brigade of Cuirassiers.

We know not what tears were shed in the vast and silent halls of Chanticlere, when the company were gone, and the four cooks, and four maids, six footmen, and temporary butler had driven back in their private trap to the metropolis, which is not forty miles distant from that splendid castle. How can we tell? The guests departed, the lodge-gates shut; all is mystery:— darkness with one pair of wax candles blinking dismally in a solitary chamber; all the rest dreary vistas of brown hollands, rolled Turkey carpets, gaunt ancestors on the walls scowling out of the twilight blank. The imagination is at liberty to depict his lordship, with one candle, over his dreadful endless tapes and papers; her ladyship with the other, and an old, old novel, wherein perhaps, Mrs. Radcliffe describes a castle as dreary as her own; and poor little Clara sighing and crying in the midst of these funereal splendours, as lonely and heart-sick as Oriana in her moated grange:— poor little Clara!

Lord Kew’s drag took the young men to London; his lordship driving, and the servants sitting inside. Jack sat behind with the two grooms, and tooted on a cornet-a-piston in the most melancholy manner. He partook of no refreshment on the road. His silence at his clubs was remarked: smoking, billiards, military duties, and this and that, roused him a little, and presently Jack was alive again. But then came the season, Lady Clara Pulleyn’s first season in London, and Jack was more alive than ever. There was no ball he did not go to; no opera (that is to say, no opera of certain operas) which he did not frequent. It was easy to see by his face, two minutes after entering a room, whether the person he sought was there or absent; not difficult for those who were in the secret to watch in another pair of eyes the bright kindling signals which answered Jack’s fiery glances. Ah! how beautiful he looked on his charger on the birthday, all in a blaze of scarlet, and bullion, and steel. O Jack! tear her out of yon carriage, from the side of yonder livid, feathered, painted, bony dowager! place her behind you on the black charger; cut down the policeman, and away with you! The carriage rolls in through St. James’s Park; Jack sits alone with his sword dropped to the ground, or only atra cura on the crupper behind him; and Snip, the tailor, in the crowd, thinks it is for fear of him Jack’s head droops. Lady Clara Pulleyn is presented by her mother, the Countess of Dorking; and Jack is arrested that night as he is going out of White’s to meet her at the Opera.

Jack’s little exploits are known in the Insolvent Court, where he made his appearances as Charles Belsize, commonly called the Honourable Charles Belsize, whose dealings were smartly chronicled by the indignant moralists of the press of those days. The Scourge flogged him heartily. The Whip (of which the accomplished editor was himself in Whitecross Street prison) was especially virtuous regarding him; and the Penny Voice of Freedom gave him an awful dressing. I am not here to scourge sinners; I am true to my party; it is the other side this humble pen attacks; let us keep to the virtuous and respectable, for as for poor sinners they get the whipping-post every day. One person was faithful to poor Jack through all his blunders and follies and extravagance and misfortunes, and that was the pretty young girl of Chanticlere, round whose young affections his luxuriant whiskers had curled. And the world may cry out at Lord Kew for sending his brougham to the Queen’s Bench prison, and giving a great feast at Grignon’s to Jack on the day of his liberation, but I for one will not quarrel with his lordship. He and many other sinners had a jolly night. They said Kew made a fine speech, in hearing and acknowledging which Jack Belsize wept copiously. Barnes Newcome was in a rage at Jack’s manumission, and sincerely hoped Mr. Commissioner would give him a couple of years longer; and cursed and swore with a great liberality on hearing of his liberty.

That this poor prodigal should marry Clara Pulleyn, and by way of a dowry lay his schedule at her feet, was out of the question. His noble father, Lord Highgate, was furious against him; his eldest brother would not see him; he had given up all hopes of winning his darling prize long ago, and one day there came to him a great packet bearing the seal of Chanticlere, containing a wretched little letter signed C. P., and a dozen sheets of Jack’s own clumsy writing, delivered who knows how, in what crush-rooms, quadrilles, bouquets, balls, and in which were scrawled Jack’s love and passion and ardour. How many a time had he looked into the dictionary at White’s, to see whether eternal was spelt with an e, and adore with one a or two! There they were, the incoherent utterances of his brave longing heart; and those two wretched, wretched lines signed C., begging that C.‘s little letters might too be returned or destroyed. To do him justice, he burnt them loyally every one along with his own waste paper. He kept not one single little token which she had given him or let him take. The rose, the glove, the little handkerchief which she had dropped to him, how he cried over them! The ringlet of golden hair — he burnt them all, all in his own fire in the prison, save a little, little bit of the hair, which might be any one’s, which was the colour of his sister’s. Kew saw the deed done; perhaps he hurried away when Jack came to the very last part of the sacrifice, and flung the hair into the fire, where he would have liked to fling his heart and his life too.

So Clara was free, and the year when Jack came out of prison and went abroad, she passed the season in London dancing about night after night, and everybody said she was well out of that silly affair with Jack Belsize. It was then that Barnes Newcome, Esq., a partner of the wealthy banking firm of Hobson Brothers and Newcome, son and heir of Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome, Bart., and M. P., descended in right line from Bryan de Newcomyn, slain at Hastings, and barber-surgeon to Edward the Confessor, etc. etc., cast the eyes of regard on the Lady Clara Pulleyn, who was a little pale and languid certainly, but had blue eyes, a delicate skin, and a pretty person, and knowing her previous history as well as you who have just perused it, deigned to entertain matrimonial intentions towards her ladyship.

Not one of the members of these most respectable families, excepting poor little Clara perhaps, poor little fish (as if she had any call but to do her duty, or to ask a quelle sauce elle serait mangee), protested against this little affair of traffic; Lady Dorking had a brood of little chickens to succeed Clara. There was little Hennie, who was sixteen, and Biddy, who was fourteen, and Adelaide, and who knows how many more? How could she refuse a young man, not very agreeable it is true, nor particularly amiable, nor of good birth, at least on his father’s side, but otherwise eligible, and heir to so many thousands a year? The Newcomes, on their side, think it a desirable match. Barnes, it must be confessed, is growing rather selfish, and has some bachelor ways which a wife will reform. Lady Kew is strongly for the match. With her own family interest, Lord Steyne and Lord Kew, her nephews, and Barnes’s own father-inlaw, Lord Dorking, in the Peers, why shall not the Newcomes sit there too, and resume the old seat which all the world knows they had in the time of Richard III.? Barnes and his father had got up quite a belief about a Newcome killed at Bosworth, along with King Richard, and hated Henry VII. as an enemy of their noble race. So all the parties were pretty well agreed. Lady Anne wrote rather a pretty little poem about welcoming the white Fawn to the Newcome bowers, and “Clara” was made to rhyme with “fairer,” and “timid does and antlered deer to dot the glades of Chanticlere,” quite in a picturesque way. Lady Kew pronounced that the poem was very pretty indeed.

The year after Jack Belsize made his foreign tour he returned to London for the season. Lady Clara did not happen to be there; her health was a little delicate, and her kind parents took her abroad; so all things went on very smoothly and comfortably indeed.

Yes, but when things were so quiet and comfortable, when the ladies of the two families had met at the Congress of Baden, and liked each other so much, when Barnes and his papa the Baronet, recovered from his illness, were actually on their journey from Aix-la-Chapelle, and Lady Kew in motion from Kissingen to the Congress of Baden, why on earth should Jack Belsize, haggard, wild, having been winning great sums, it was said, at Hombourg, forsake his luck there, and run over frantically to Baden? He wore a great thick beard, a great slouched hat — he looked like nothing more or less than a painter or an Italian brigand. Unsuspecting Clive, remembering the jolly dinner which Jack had procured for him at the Guards’ mess in St. James’s, whither Jack himself came from the Horse Guards — simple Clive, seeing Jack enter the town, hailed him cordially, and invited him to dinner, and Jack accepted, and Clive told him all the news he had of the place; how Kew was there, and Lady Anne Newcome, and Ethel; and Barnes was coming. “I am not very fond of him either,” says Clive, smiling, when Belsize mentioned his name. So Barnes was coming to marry that pretty little Lady Clara Pulleyn. The knowing youth! I dare say he was rather pleased with his knowledge of the fashionable world, and the idea that Jack Belsize would think he, too, was somebody.

Jack drank an immense quantity of champagne, and the dinner over, as they could hear the band playing from Clive’s open windows in the snug clean little Hotel de France, Jack proposed they should go on the promenade. M. de Florac was of the party; he had been exceedingly jocular when Lord Kew’s name was mentioned, and said, “Ce petit Kiou! M. le Duc d’Ivry, mon oncle, l’honore d’une amitie toute particuliere.” These three gentlemen walked out; the promenade was crowded, the was band playing “Home, sweet Home” very sweetly, and the very first persons they met on the walk were the Lords of Kew and Dorking, on the arm of which latter venerable peer his daughter Lady Clara was hanging.

Jack Belsize, in a velvet coat, with a sombrero slouched over his face, with a beard reaching to his waist, was, no doubt, not recognised at first by the noble lord of Dorking, for he was greeting the other two gentlemen with his usual politeness and affability; when, of a sudden, Lady Clara looking up, gave a little shriek and fell down lifeless on the gravel walk. Then the old earl recognised Mr. Belsize, and Clive heard him say, “You villain, how dare you come here?”

Belsize had flung himself down to lift up Clara, calling her frantically by her name, when old Dorking sprang to seize him.

“Hands off, my lord,” said the other, shaking the old man from his back. “Confound you, Jack, hold your tongue,” roars out Kew. Clive runs for a chair, and a dozen were forthcoming. Florac skips back with a glass of water. Belsize runs towards the awakening girl: and the father, for an instant losing all patience and self-command, trembling in every limb, lifts his stick, and says again, “Leave her, you ruffian.” “Lady Clara has fainted again, sir,” says Captain Belsize. “I am staying at the Hotel de France. If you touch me, old man” (this in a very low voice), “by Heaven I shall kill you. I wish you good morning;” and taking a last long look at the lifeless girl, he lifts his hat and walks away. Lord Dorking mechanically takes his hat off, and stands stupidly gazing after him. He beckoned Clive to follow him, and a crowd of the frequenters of the place are by this time closed round the fainting young lady.

Here was a pretty incident in the Congress of Baden!

CHAPTER XXIX

In which Barnes comes a-wooing

Ethel had all along known that her holiday was to be a short one, and that, her papa and Barnes arrived, there was to be no more laughing and fun and sketching and walking with Clive; so she took the sunshine while it lasted, determined to bear with a stout heart the bad weather.

Sir Brian Newcome and his eldest born arrived at Baden on the very night of Jack Belsize’s performance upon the promenade; of course it was necessary to inform the young bridegroom of the facts. His acquaintances of the public, who by this time know his temper, and are acquainted with his language, can imagine the explosions of the one and the vehemence of the other; it was a perfect feu d’artifice of oaths which he sent up. Mr. Newcome only fired off these volleys of curses when he was in a passion, but then he was in a passion very frequently.

As for Lady Clara’s little accident, he was disposed to treat that very lightly. “Poor dear Clara, of course, of course,” he said, “she’s been accustomed to fainting fits; no wonder she was agitated on the sight of that villain, after his infernal treatment of her. If I had been there” (a volley of oaths comes here along the whole line) “I should have strangled the scoundrel; I should have murdered him.”

“Mercy, Barnes!” cries Lady Anne.

“It was a mercy Barnes was not there,” says Ethel, gravely; “a fight between him and Captain Belsize would have been awful indeed.”

“I am afraid of no man, Ethel,” says Barnes fiercely, with another oath.

“Hit one of your own size, Barnes,” says Miss Ethel (who had a number of school-phrases from her little brothers, and used them on occasions skilfully). “Hit Captain Belsize, he has no friends.”

As Jack Belsize from his height and strength was fitted to be not only an officer but actually a private in his former gallant regiment, and brother Barnes was but a puny young gentleman, the idea of a personal conflict between them was rather ridiculous. Some notion of this sort may have passed through Sir Brian’s mind, for the Baronet said with his usual solemnity, “It is the cause, Ethel, it is the cause, my dear, which gives strength; in such a cause as Barnes’s, with a beautiful young creature to protect from a villain, any man would be strong, any man would be strong.” “Since his last attack,” Barnes used to say, “my poor old governor is exceedingly shaky, very groggy about the head;” which was the fact. Barnes was already master at Newcome and the bank, and awaiting with perfect composure the event which was to place the blood-red hand of the Newcome baronetcy on his own brougham.

Casting his eyes about the room, a heap of drawings, the work of a well-known hand which he hated, met his eye. There were a half-dozen sketches of Baden; Ethel on horseback again; the children and the dogs just in the old way. “D—— him, is he here?” screams out Barnes. “Is that young pothouse villain here? and hasn’t Kew knocked his head off? Is Clive Newcome here, sir,” he cries out to his father. “The Colonel’s son. I have no doubt they met by ——”

“By what, Barnes?” says Ethel.

“Clive is here, is he?” says the Baronet; “making caricatures, hey? You did not mention him in your letters, Lady Anne.”

Sir Brian was evidently very much touched by his last attack.

Ethel blushed; it was a curious fact, but there had been no mention of Clive in the ladies’ letters to Sir Brian.

“My dear, we met him by the merest chance, at Bonn, travelling with a friend of his; and he speaks a little German, and was very useful to us, and took one of the boys in his britzska the whole way.”

“Boys always crowd in a carriage,” says Sir Brian. “Kick your shins; always in the way. I remember, when we used to come in the carriage from Clapham, when we were boys, I used to kick my brother Tom’s shins. Poor Tom, he was a devilish wild fellow in those days. You don’t recollect Tom, my Lady Anne?”

Further anecdotes from Sir Brian are interrupted by Lord Kew’s arrival. “How dydo, Kew!” cries Barnes. “How’s Clara?” and Lord Kew walking up with great respect to shake hands with Sir Brian, says, “I am glad to see you looking so well, sir,” and scarcely takes any notice of Barnes. That Mr. Barnes Newcome was an individual not universally beloved, is a point of history of which there can be no doubt.

“You have not told me how Clara is, my good fellow,” continues Barnes. “I have heard all about her meeting with that villain, Jack Belsize.”

“Don’t call names, my good fellow,” says Lord Kew. “It strikes me you don’t know Belsize well enough to call him by nicknames or by other names. Lady Clara Pulleyn, I believe, is very unwell indeed.”

“Confound the fellow! How dared he to come here?” cries Barnes, backing from this little rebuff.

“Dare is another ugly word. I would advise you not to use it to the fellow himself.”

“What do you mean?” says Barnes, looking very serious in an instant.

“Easy, my good friend. Not so very loud. It appears, Ethel, that poor Jack — I know him pretty well, you see, Barnes, and may call him by what names I like — had been dining today with cousin Clive; he and M. de Florac; and that they went with Jack to the promenade, not in the least aware of Mr. Jack Belsize’s private affairs, or of the shindy that was going to happen.”

“By Jove, he shall answer for it,” cries out Barnes in a loud voice.

“I dare say he will, if you ask him,” says the other drily; “but not before ladies. He’d be afraid of frightening them. Poor Jack was always as gentle as a lamb before women. I had some talk with the Frenchman just now,” continued Lord Kew gaily, as if wishing to pass over this side of the subject. “Mi Lord Kiou,” says he, “we have made your friend Jac to hear reason. He is a little fou, your friend Jack. He drank champagne at dinner like an ogre. How is the charmante Miss Clara? Florac, you see, calls her Miss Clara, Barnes; the world calls her Lady Clara. You call her Clara. You happy dog, you.”

“I don’t see why that infernal young cub of a Clive is always meddling in our affairs,” cries out Barnes, whose rage was perpetually being whipped into new outcries. “Why has he been about this house? Why is he here?”

“It is very well for you that he was, Barnes,” Lord Kew said. “The young fellow showed great temper and spirit. There has been a famous row, but don’t be alarmed, it is all over. It is all over, everybody may go to bed and sleep comfortably. Barnes need not get up in the morning to punch Jack Belsize’s head. I’m sorry for your disappointment, you Fenchurch Street fire-eater. Come away. It will be but proper, you know, for a bridegroom elect to go and ask news of la charmante Miss Clara.”

“As we went out of the house,” Lord Kew told Clive, “I said to Barnes that every word I had uttered upstairs with regard to the reconciliation was a lie. That Jack Belsize was determined to have his blood, and was walking under the lime-trees by which we had to pass with a thundering big stick. You should have seen the state the fellow was in, sir. The sweet youth started back, and turned as yellow as a cream cheese. Then he made a pretext to go into his room, and said it was for his pocket-handkerchief, but I know it was for a pistol; for he dropped his hand from my arm into his pocket, every time I said ‘Here’s Jack,’ as we walked down the avenue to Lord Dorking’s apartment.”

A great deal of animated business had been transacted during the two hours subsequent to poor Lady Clara’s mishap. Clive and Belsize had returned to the former’s quarters, while gentle J. J. was utilising the last rays of the sun to tint a sketch which he had made during the morning. He fled to his own apartment on the arrival of the fierce-looking stranger, whose glaring eyes, pallid looks, shaggy beard, clutched hands, and incessant gasps and mutterings as he strode up and down, might well scare a peaceable person. Very terrible must Jack have looked as he trampled those boards in the growing twilight, anon stopping to drink another tumbler of champagne, then groaning expressions of inarticulate wrath, and again sinking down on Clive’s bed with a dropping head and breaking voice, crying, “Poor little thing, poor little devil.”

“If the old man sends me a message, you will stand by me, won’t you, Newcome? He was a fierce old fellow in his time, and I have seen him shoot straight enough at Chanticlere. I suppose you know what the affair is about?”

“I never heard of it before, but I think I understand,” says Clive, gravely.

“I can’t ask Kew, he is one of the family; he is going to marry Miss Newcome. It is no use asking him.”

All Clive’s blood tingled at the idea that any man was going to marry Miss Newcome. He knew it before — a fortnight since, and it was nothing to him to hear it. He was glad that the growing darkness prevented his face from being seen. “I am of the family, too,” said Clive, “and Barnes Newcome and I had the same grandfather.”

“Oh, yes, old boy — old banker, the weaver, what was he? I forgot,” says poor Jack, kicking on Clive’s bed, “in that family the Newcomes don’t count. I beg your pardon,” groans poor Jack.

They lapse into silence, during which Jack’s cigar glimmers from the twilight corner where Clive’s bed is; whilst Clive wafts his fragrance out of the window where he sits, and whence he has a view of Lady Anne Newcome’s windows to the right, over the bridge across the little rushing river, at the Hotel de Hollande hard by. The lights twinkle in the booths under the pretty lime avenues. The hum of distant voices is heard; the gambling-palace is all in a blaze; it is an assembly night, and from the doors of the conversation rooms, as they open and close, escape gusts of harmony. Behind on the little hill the darkling woods lie calm, the edges of the fir-trees cut sharp against the sky, which is clear with a crescent moon and the lambent lights of the starry hosts of heaven. Clive does not see pine-robed hills and shining stars, nor think of pleasure in its palace yonder, nor of pain writhing on his own bed within a few feet of him, where poor Belsize was groaning. His eyes are fixed upon a window whence comes the red light of a lamp, across which shadows float now and again. So every light in every booth yonder has a scheme of its own: every star above shines by itself; and each individual heart of ours goes on brightening with its own hopes, burning with its own desires, and quivering with its own pain.

The reverie is interrupted by the waiter, who announces M. le Vicomte de Florac, and a third cigar is added to the other two smoky lights. Belsize is glad to see Florac, whom he has known in a thousand haunts. “He will do my business for me. He has been out half a dozen times,” thinks Jack. It would relieve the poor fellow’s boiling blood that some one would let a little out. He lays his affair before Florac; he expects a message from Lord Dorking.

“Comment donc?” cries Florac; “il y avait donc quelque chose! Cette pauvre petite Miss! Vous voulez tuer le pere, apres avoir delaisse la fille? Cherchez d’autres temoins, Monsieur. Le Vicomte de Florac ne se fait pas complice de telles lachetes.”

“By Heaven,” says Jack, sitting up on the bed, with his eyes glaring, “I have a great mind, Florac, to wring your infernal little neck, and to fling you out of the window. Is all the world going to turn against me? I am half mad as it is. If any man dares to think anything wrong regarding that little angel, or to fancy that she is not as pure, and as good, and as gentle, and as innocent, by Heaven, as any angel there — if any man thinks I’d be the villain to hurt her, I should just like to see him,” says Jack. “By the Lord, sir, just bring him to me. Just tell the waiter to send him upstairs. Hurt her! I hurt her! Oh! I’m a fool! a fool! a d —— d fool! Who’s that?”

“It’s Kew,” says a voice out of the darkness from behind cigar No. 4, and Clive now, having a party assembled, scrapes a match and lights his candles.

“I heard your last words, Jack,” Lord Kew says bluntly, “and you never spoke more truth in your life. Why did you come here? What right had you to stab that poor little heart over again, and frighten Lady Clara with your confounded hairy face? You promised me you would never see her. You gave your word of honour you wouldn’t, when I gave you the money to go abroad. Hang the money, I don’t mind that; it was on your promise that you would prowl about her no more. The Dorkings left London before you came there; they gave you your innings. They have behaved kindly and fairly enough to that poor girl. How was she to marry such a bankrupt beggar as you are? What you have done is a shame, Charley Belsize. I tell you it is unmanly and cowardly.”

“Pst,” says Florac, “numero deux, voila le mot lache.”

“Don’t bite your thumb at me,” Kew went on. “I know you could thrash me, if that’s what you mean by shaking your fists; so could most men. I tell you again — you have done a bad deed; you have broken your word of honour, and you knocked down Clara Pulleyn today as cruelly as if you had done it with your hand.”

With this rush upon him, and fiery assault of Kew, Belsize was quite bewildered. The huge man flung up his great arms, and let them drop at his side as a gladiator that surrenders, and asks for pity. He sank down once more on the iron bed.

“I don’t know,” says he, rolling and rolling round, in one of his great hands, one of the brass knobs of the bed by which he was seated. “I don’t know, Frank,” says he, “what the world is coming to, or me either; here is twice in one night I have been called a coward by you, and by that little what-d’-you-call-‘m. I beg your pardon, Florac. I don’t know whether it is very brave in you to hit a chap when he is down: hit again, I have no friends. I have acted like a blackguard, I own that; I did break my promise; you had that safe enough, Frank, my boy; but I did not think it would hurt her to see me,” says he, with a dreadful sob in his voice. “By — I would have given ten years of my life to look at her. I was going mad without her. I tried every place, everything; went to Ems, to Wiesbaden, to Hombourg, and played like hell. It used to excite me once, and now I don’t care for it. I won no end of money — no end for a poor beggar like me, that is; but I couldn’t keep away. I couldn’t, and if she had been at the North Pole, by Heavens I would have followed her.”

“And so just to look at her, just to give your confounded stupid eyes two minutes’ pleasure, you must bring about all this pain, you great baby,” cries Kew, who was very soft-hearted, and in truth quite torn himself by the sight of poor Jack’s agony.

“Get me to see her for five minutes, Kew,” cries the other, griping his comrade’s hand in his; “but for five minutes.”

“For shame,” cries Lord Kew, shaking away his hand, “be a man, Jack, and have no more of this puling. It’s not a baby, that must have its toy, and cries because it can’t get it. Spare the poor girl this pain, for her own sake, and balk yourself of the pleasure of bullying and making her unhappy.”

Belsize started up with looks that were by no means pleasant. “There’s enough of this chaff I have been called names, and blackguarded quite sufficiently for one sitting. I shall act as I please. I choose to take my own way, and if any gentleman stops me he has full warning.” And he fell to tugging his mustachios, which were of a dark tawny hue, and looked as warlike as he had ever done on any field-day.

“I take the warning!” said Lord Kew. “And if I know the way you are going, as I think I do, I will do my best to stop you, madman as you are! You can hardly propose to follow her to her own doorway and pose yourself before your mistress as the murderer of her father, like Rodrigue in the French play. If Rooster were here it would be his business to defend his sister; In his absence I will take the duty on myself, and I say to you, Charles Belsize, in the presence of these gentlemen, that any man who iusults this young lady, who persecutes her with his presence, knowing it can but pain her, who persists in following her when he has given his word of honour to avoid her, that such a man is ——”

“What, my Lord Kew?” cries Belsize, whose chest began to heave.

“You know what,” answers the other. “You know what a man is who insults a poor woman, and breaks his word of honour. Consider the word said, and act upon it as you think fit.”

“I owe you four thousand pounds, Kew,” says Belsize, “and I have got four thousand on the bills, besides four hundred when I came out of that place.”

“You insult me the more,” cries Kew, flashing out, “by alluding to the money. If you will leave this place tomorrow, well and good; if not, you will please to give me a meeting. Mr. Newcome will you be so kind as to act as my friend? We are connexions, you know, and this gentleman chooses to insult a lady who is about to become one of our family.”

“C’est bien, milord. Ma foi! c’est d’agir en vrai gentilhomme,” says Florac, delighted. “Touchez-la, mon petit Kiou. Tu as du coeur. Godam! you are a brave! A brave fellow!” and the Viscount reached out his hand cordially to Lord Kew.

His purpose was evidently pacific. From Kew he turned to the great guardsman, and taking him by the coat began to apostrophise him. “And you, mon gros,” says he, “is there no way of calming this hot blood without a saignee? Have you a penny to the world? Can you hope to carry off your Chimene, O Rodrigue, and live by robbing afterwards on the great way? Suppose you kill ze Fazer, you kill Kiou, you kill Roostere, your Chimene will have a pretty moon of honey.”

“What the devil do you mean about your Chimene and your Rodrigue? Do you mean, Viscount ——?” says Belsize, “Jack Belsize once more, and he dashed his hand across his eyes. Kew has riled me, and he drove me half wild. I ain’t much of a Frenchman, but I know enough of what you said, to say it’s true, by Jove, and that Frank Kew’s a trump. That’s what you mean. Give us your hand, Frank. God bless you, old boy; don’t be too hard upon me, you know I’m d —— d miserable, that I am. Hullo! What’s this?” Jack’s pathetic speech was interrupted at this instant, for the Vicomte de Florac in his enthusiasm rushed into his arms, and jumped up towards his face and proceeded to kiss Jack. A roar of immense laughter, as he shook the little Viscount off, cleared the air and ended this quarrel.

Everybody joined in this chorus, the Frenchman with the rest, who said, “he loved to laugh meme when he did not know why.” And now came the moment of the evening, when Clive, according to Lord Kew’s saying, behaved so well and prevented Barnes from incurring a great danger. In truth, what Mr. Clive did or said amounted exactly to nothing. What moments can we not all remember in our lives when it would have been so much wittier and wiser to say and do nothing?

Florac, a very sober drinker like most of his nation, was blessed with a very fine appetite, which, as he said, renewed itself thrice a day at least. He now proposed supper, and poor Jack was for supper too, and especially more drink, champagne and seltzer-water; “bring champagne and seltzer-water, there is nothing like it.” Clive could not object to this entertainment, which was ordered forthwith, and the four young men sat down to share it.

Whilst Florac was partaking of his favourite ecrevisses, giving not only his palate but his hands, his beard, his mustachios and cheeks a full enjoyment of the sauce which he found so delicious, he chose to revert now and again to the occurrences which had just passed, and which had better perhaps have been forgotten, and gaily rallied Belsize upon his warlike humour. “If ze petit pretendu was here, what would you have done wiz him, Jac? You would croquer im, like zis ecrevisse, hein? You would mache his bones, hein?”

Jack, who had forgotten to put the seltzer-water into his champagne, writhed at the idea of having Barnes Newcome before him, and swore, could he but see Barnes, he would take the little villain’s life.

And but for Clive, Jack might actually have beheld his enemy. Young Clive after the meal went to the window with his eternal cigar, and of course began to look at That Other window. Here, as he looked, a carriage had at the moment driven up. He saw two servants descend, then two gentlemen, and then he heard a well-known voice swearing at the couriers. To his credit be it said, he checked the exclamation which was on his lips, and when he came back to the table did not announce to Kew or his right-hand neighbour Belsize, that his uncle and Barnes had arrived. Belsize, by this time, had had quite too much wine: when the viscount went away, poor Jack’s head was nodding; he had been awake all the night before; sleepless for how many nights previous. He scarce took any notice of the Frenchman’s departure.

Lord Kew remained. He was for taking Jack to walk, and for reasoning with him further, and for entering more at large than perhaps he chose to do before the two others upon this family dispute. Clive took a moment to whisper to Lord Kew, “My uncle and Barnes are arrived, don’t let Belsize go out; for goodness’ sake let us get him to bed.”

And lest the poor fellow should take a fancy to visit his mistress by moonlight, when he was safe in his room Lord Kew softly turned the key in Mr. Jack’s door.

CHAPTER XXX

A Retreat

As Clive lay awake revolving the strange incidents of the day, and speculating upon the tragedy in which he had been suddenly called to take a certain part, a sure presentiment told him that his own happy holiday was come to an end, and that the clouds and storm which he had always somehow foreboded, were about to break and obscure this brief pleasant period of sunshine. He rose at a very early hour, flung his windows open, looked out no doubt towards those other windows in the neighbouring hotel, where he may have fancied he saw a curtain stirring, drawn by a hand that every hour now he longed more to press. He turned back into his chamber with a sort of groan, and surveyed some of the relics of the last night’s little feast, which still remained on the table. There were the champagne-flasks which poor Jack Belsize had emptied, the tall seltzer-water bottle, from which the gases had issued and mingled with the hot air of the previous night’s talk; glasses with dregs of liquor, ashes of cigars, or their black stumps, strewing the cloth; the dead men, the burst guns of yesterday’s battle. Early as it was, his neighbour J. J had been up before him. Clive could hear him singing as was his wont when the pencil went well, and the colours arranged themselves to his satisfaction over his peaceful and happy work.

He pulled his own drawing-table to the window, set out his board and colour-box, filled a great glass from the seltzer-water bottle, drank some of the vapid liquor, and plunged his brushes in the rest, with which he began to paint. The work all went wrong. There was no song for him over his labour; he dashed brush and board aside after a while, opened his drawers, pulled out his portmanteaus from under the bed, and fell to packing mechanically. J. J. heard the noise from the next room, and came in smiling, with a great painting-brush in his mouth.

“Have the bills in, J. J.,” says Clive. “Leave your cards on your friends, old boy; say good-bye to that pretty little strawberry-girl whose picture you have been doing; polish it off today, and dry the little thing’s tears. I read P.P.C. in the stars last night, and my familiar spirit came to me in a vision, and said, ‘Clive, son of Thomas, put thy travelling-boots on.’”

Lest any premature moralist should prepare to cry fie against the good, pure-minded little J. J., I hereby state that his strawberry-girl was a little village maiden of seven years old, whose sweet little picture a bishop purchased at the next year’s Exhibition.

“Are you going already?” cries J. J., removing the bit out of his mouth. “I thought you had arranged parties for a week to come, and that the princesses and the duchesses had positively forbidden the departure of your lordship!”

“We have dallied at Capua long enough,” says Clive; “and the legions have the route for Rome. So wills Hannibal, the son of Hasdrubal.”

“The son of Hasdrubal is quite right,” his companion answered; “the sooner we march the better. I have always said it; I will get all the accounts in. Hannibal has been living like a voluptuous Carthaginian prince. One, two, three champagne-bottles! There will be a deuce of a bill to pay.”

“Ah! there will be a deuce of a bill to pay,” says Clive, with a groan whereof J. J. knew the portent; for the young men had the confidence of youth one in another. Clive was accustomed to pour out his full heart to any crony who was near him; and indeed had he spoken never a word, his growing attachment to his cousin was not hard to see. A hundred times, and with the glowing language and feelings of youth, with the fire of his twenty years, with the ardour of a painter, he had spoken of her and described her. Her magnanimous simplicity, her courage and lofty scorn, her kindness towards her little family, her form, her glorious colour of rich carnation and dazzling white, her queenly grace when quiescent and in motion, had constantly formed the subjects of this young gentleman’s ardent eulogies. As he looked at a great picture or statue, as the Venus of Milo, calm and deep, unfathomably beautiful as the sea from which she sprung; as he looked at the rushing Aurora of the Rospigliosi, or the Assumption of Titian, more bright and glorious than sunshine, or that divine Madonna and divine Infant, of Dresden, whose sweet faces must have shone upon Raphael out of heaven; his heart sang hymns, as it were, before these gracious altars; and, somewhat as he worshipped these masterpieces of his art, he admired the beauty of Ethel.

J. J. felt these things exquisitely after his manner, and enjoyed honest Clive’s mode of celebration and rapturous fioriture of song; but Ridley’s natural note was much gentler, and he sang his hymns in plaintive minors. Ethel was all that was bright and beautiful but — but she was engaged to Lord Kew. The shrewd kind confidant used gently to hint the sad fact to the impetuous hero of this piece. The impetuous hero knew this quite well. As he was sitting over his painting-board he would break forth frequently, after his manner, in which laughter and sentiment were mingled, and roar out with all the force of his healthy young lungs ——

“But her heart it is another’s, she never — can — be — mine;”

and then hero and confidant would laugh each at his drawing-table. Miss Ethel went between the two gentlemen by the name of Alice Grey.

Very likely, Night, the Grey Mentor, had given Clive Newcome the benefit of his sad counsel. Poor Belsize’s agony, and the wretchedness of the young lady who shared in the desperate passion, may have set our young man a-thinking; and Lord Kew’s frankness and courage, and honour, whereof Clive had been a witness during the night, touched his heart with a generous admiration, and manned him for a trial which he felt was indeed severe. He thought of the dear old father ploughing the seas on the way to his duty, and was determined, by Heaven’s help, to do his own. Only three weeks since, when strolling careless about Bonn he had lighted upon Ethel and the laughing group of little cousins, he was a boy as they were, thinking but of the enjoyment of the day and the sunshine, as careless as those children. And now the thoughts and passions which had sprung up in a week or two, had given him an experience such as years do not always furnish; and our friend was to show, not only that he could feel love in his heart, but that he could give proof of courage, and self-denial, and honour.

“Do you remember, J. J.,” says he, as boots and breeches went plunging into the portmanteau, and with immense energy, he pummels down one upon the other, “do you remember” (a dig into the snowy bosom of a dress cambric shirt) “my dear old father’s only campaign story of his running away” (a frightful blow into the ribs of a waistcoat), “running away at Asseer-Ghur?”

“Asseer-What?” says J. J. wondering.

“The siege of Asseer-Ghur!” says Clive, “fought in the eventful year 1803: Lieutenant Newcome, who has very neat legs, let me tell you, which also he has imparted to his descendants, had put on a new pair of leather breeches, for he likes to go handsomely dressed into action. His horse was shot, the enemy were upon him, and the governor had to choose between death and retreat. I have heard his brother-officers say that my dear old father was the bravest man they ever knew, the coolest hand, sir. What do you think it was Lieutenant Newcome’s duty to do under these circumstances? To remain alone as he was, his troop having turned about, and to be cut down by the Mahratta horsemen — to perish or to run, sir?”

“I know which I should have done,” says Ridley.

“Exactly. Lieutenant Newcome adopted that course. His bran-new leather breeches were exceedingly tight, and greatly incommoded the rapidity of his retreating movement, but he ran away, sir, and afterwards begot your obedient servant. That is the history of the battle of Asseer-Ghur.”

“And now for the moral,” says J. J., not a little amused.

“J. J., old boy, this is my battle of Asseer-Ghur. I am off. Dip into the money-bag: pay the people: be generous, J. J., but not too prodigal. The chambermaid is ugly, yet let her not want for a crown to console her at our departure. The waiters have been brisk and servile; reward the slaves for their labours. Forget not the humble boots, so shall he bless us when we depart. For artists are gentlemen, though Ethel does not think so. De — No — God bless her, God bless her,” groans out Clive, cramming his two fists into his eyes. If Ridley admired him before, he thought none the worse of him now. And if any generous young fellow in life reads the Fable, which may possibly concern him, let him take a senior’s counsel and remember that there are perils in our battle, God help us, from which the bravest had best run away.

Early as the morning yet was, Clive had a visitor, and the door opened to let in Lord Kew’s honest face. Ridley retreated before it into his own den; the appearance of earls scared the modest painter, though he was proud and pleased that his Clive should have their company. Lord Kew indeed lived in more splendid apartments on the first floor of the hotel, Clive and his friend occupying a couple of spacious chambers on the second story. “You are an early bird,” says Kew. “I got up myself in a panic before daylight almost; Jack was making a deuce of a row in his room, and fit to blow the door out. I have been coaxing him for this hour; I wish we had thought of giving him a dose of laudanum last night; if it finished him, poor old boy, it would do him no harm.” And then, laughing, he gave Clive an account of his interview with Barnes on the previous night. “You seem to be packing up to go, too,” says Lord Kew, with a momentary glance of humour darting from his keen eyes. The weather is breaking up here, and if you are going to cross the St. Gothard, as the Newcomes told me, the sooner the better. It’s bitter cold over the mountains in October.”

“Very cold,” says Clive, biting his nails.

“Post or Vett.?” asks my lord.

“I bought a carriage at Frankfort,” says Clive, in an offhand manner.

“Hulloh!” cries the other, who was perfectly kind, and entirely frank and pleasant, and showed no difference in his conversation with men of any degree, except perhaps that to his inferiors in station he was a little more polite than to his equals; but who would as soon have thought of a young artist leaving Baden in a carriage of his own as of his riding away on a dragon.

“I only gave twenty pounds for the carriage; it’s a little light thing, we are two, a couple of horses carry us and our traps, you know, and we can stop where we like. I don’t depend upon my profession,” Clive added, with a blush. “I made three guineas once, and that is the only money I ever gained in my life.”

“Of course, my dear fellow, have not I been to your father’s house? At that pretty ball, and seen no end of fine people there? We are young swells. I know that very well. We only paint for pleasure.”

“We are artists, and we intend to paint for money, my lord,” says Clive. “Will your lordship give me an order?”

“My lordship serves me right,” the other said. “I think, Newcome, as you are going, I think you might do some folks here a good turn, though the service is rather a disagreeable one. Jack Belsize is not fit to be left alone. I can’t go away from here just now for reasons of state. Do be a good fellow and take him with you. Put the Alps between him and this confounded business, and if I can serve you in any way I shall be delighted, if you will furnish me with the occasion. Jack does not know yet that our amiable Barnes is here. I know how fond you are of him. I have heard the story — glass of claret and all. We all love Barnes. How that poor Lady Clara can have accepted him the Lord knows. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, especially women.”

“Good heavens,” Clive broke out, “can it be possible that a young creature can have been brought to like such a selfish, insolent coxcomb as that, such a cocktail as Barnes Newcome? You know very well, Lord Kew, what his life is. There was a poor girl whom he brought out of a Newcome factory when he was a boy himself, and might have had a heart one would have thought, whom he ill-treated, whom he deserted, and flung out of doors without a penny, upon some pretence of her infidelity towards him; who came and actually sat down on the steps of Park Lane with a child on each side of her, and not their cries and their hunger, but the fear of his own shame and a dread of a police-court, forced him to give her a maintenance. I never see the fellow but I loathe him, and long to kick him out of window and this man is to marry a noble young lady because forsooth he is a partner in a bank, and heir to seven or eight thousand a year. Oh, it is a shame, it is a shame! It makes me sick when I think of the lot which the poor thing is to endure.”

“It is not a nice story,” said Lord Kew, rolling a cigarette; “Barnes is not a nice man. I give you that in. You have not heard it talked about in the family, have you?”

“Good heavens! you don’t suppose that I would speak to Ethel, to Miss Newcome, about such a foul subject as that?” cries Clive. “I never mentioned it to my own father. He would have turned Barnes out of his doors if he had known it.”

“It was the talk about town, I know,” Kew said dryly. “Everything is told in those confounded clubs. I told you I give up Barnes. I like him no more than you do. He may have treated the woman ill, I suspect he has not an angelical temper: but in this matter he has not been so bad, so very bad as it would seem. The first step is wrong, of course — those factory towns — that sort of thing, you know — well, well, the commencement of the business is a sad one. But he is not the only sinner in London. He has declared on his honour to me when the matter was talked about, and he was coming on for election at Bays’s, and was as nearly as any man I ever knew in my life — he declared on his word that he only parted from poor Mrs. Delacy, (Mrs. Delacy, the devil used to call herself) because he found that she had served him — as such women will serve men. He offered to send his children to school in Yorkshire — rather a cheap school — but she would not part with them. She made a scandal in order to get good terms, and she succeeded. He was anxious to break the connexion: he owned it had hung like a millstone round his neck and caused him a great deal of remorse — annoyance you may call it. He was immensely cut up about it. I remember, when that fellow was hanged for murdering a woman, Barnes said he did not wonder at his having done it. Young men make those connexions in their early lives and rue them all their days after. He was heartily sorry, that we may take for granted. He wished to lead a proper life. My grandmother managed this business with the Dorkings. Lady Kew still pulls stroke oar in our boat, you know, and the old woman will not give up her place. They know everything, the elders do. He is a clever fellow. He is witty in his way. When he likes he can make himself quite agreeable to some people. There has been no sort of force. You don’t suppose young ladies are confined in dungeons and subject to tortures, do you? But there is a brood of Pulleyns at Chanticlere, and old Dorking has nothing to give them. His daughter accepted Barnes of her own free will, he knowing perfectly well of that previous affair with Jack. The poor devil bursts into the place yesterday and the girl drops down in a faint. She will see Belsize this very day if he likes. I took a note from Lady Dorking to him at five o’clock this morning. If he fancies that there is any constraint put upon Lady Clara’s actions she will tell him with her own lips that she has acted of her own free will. She will marry the husband she has chosen and do her duty by him. You are quite a young un who boil and froth up with indignation at the idea that a girl hardly off with an old love should take on with a new ——”

“I am not indignant with her,” says Clive, “for breaking with Belsize, but for marrying Barnes.”

“You hate him, and you know he is your enemy; and, indeed, young fellow, he does not compliment you in talking about you. A pretty young scapegrace he has made you out to be, and very likely thinks you to be. It depends on the colours in which a fellow is painted. Our friends and our enemies draw us — and I often think both pictures are like,” continued the easy world-philosopher. “You hate Barnes, and cannot see any good in him. He sees none in you. There have been tremendous shindies in Park Lane a propos of your worship, and of a subject which I don’t care to mention,” said Lord Kew, with some dignity; “and what is the upshot of all this malevolence? I like you; I like your father, I think he is a noble old boy; there are those who represented him as a sordid schemer. Give Mr. Barnes the benefit of common charity at any rate; and let others like him, if you do not.

“And as for this romance of love,” the young nobleman went on, kindling as he spoke, and forgetting the slang and colloquialisms with which we garnish all our conversation —“this fine picture of Jenny and Jessamy falling in love at first sight, billing and cooing in an arbour, and retiring to a cottage afterwards to go on cooing and billing — Psha! what folly is this! It is good for romances, and for misses to sigh about; but any man who walks through the world with his eyes open, knows how senseless is all this rubbish. I don’t say that a young man and woman are not to meet, and to fall in love that instant, and to marry that day year, and love each other till they are a hundred; that is the supreme lot — but that is the lot which the gods only grant to Baucis and Philemon, and a very, very few besides. As for the rest, they must compromise; make themselves as comfortable as they can, and take the good and the bad together. And as for Jenny and Jessamy, by Jove! look round among your friends, count up the love matches, and see what has been the end of most of them! Love in a cottage! Who is to pay the landlord for the cottage? Who is to pay for Jenny’s tea and cream, and Jessamy’s mutton-chops? If he has cold mutton, he will quarrel with her. If there is nothing in the cupboard, a pretty meal they make. No, you cry out against people in our world making money marriages. Why, kings and queens marry on the same understanding. My butcher has saved a stockingful of money, and marries his daughter to a young salesman; Mr. and Mrs. Salesman prosper in life, and get an alderman’s daughter for their son. My attorney looks out amongst his clients for an eligible husband for Miss Deeds; sends his son to the bar, into Parliament, where he cuts a figure and becomes attorney-general, makes a fortune, has a house in Belgrave Square, and marries Miss Deeds of the second generation to a peer. Do not accuse us of being more sordid than our neighbours. We do but as the world does; and a girl in our society accepts the best party which offers itself, just as Miss Chummey, when entreated by two young gentlemen of the order of costermongers, inclines to the one who rides from market on a moke, rather than to the gentleman who sells his greens from a handbasket.”

This tirade, which his lordship delivered with considerable spirit, was intended no doubt to carry a moral for Clive’s private hearing; and which, to do him justice, the youth was not slow to comprehend. The point was, “Young man, if certain persons of rank choose to receive you very kindly, who have but a comely face, good manners, and three or four hundred pounds a year, do not presume upon their good-nature, or indulge in certain ambitious hopes which your vanity may induce you to form. Sail down the stream with the brass-pots, Master Earthen-pot, but beware of coming too near! You are a nice young man, but there are prizes which are some too good for you, and are meant for your betters. And you might as well ask the prime minister for the next vacant garter as expect to wear on your breast such a star as Ethel Newcome.”

Before Clive made his accustomed visit to his friends at the hotel opposite, the last great potentiary had arrived who was to take part in the family Congress of Baden. In place of Ethel’s flushing cheeks and bright eyes, Clive found, on entering Lady Anne Newcome’s sitting-room, the parchment-covered features and the well-known hooked beak of the old Countess of Kew. To support the glances from beneath the bushy black eyebrows on each side of that promontory was no pleasant matter. The whole family cowered under Lady Kew’s eyes and nose, and she ruled by force of them. It was only Ethel whom these awful features did not utterly subdue and dismay.

Besides Lady Kew, Clive had the pleasure of finding his lordship, her grandson, Lady Anne and children of various sizes, and Mr. Barnes; not one of whom was the person whom Clive desired to behold.

The queer glance in Kew’s eye directed towards Clive, who was himself not by any means deficient in perception, informed him that there had just been a conversation in which his own name had figured. Having been abusing Clive extravagantly as he did whenever he mentioned his cousin’s name, Barnes must needs hang his head when the young fellow came in. His hand was yet on the chamber-door, and Barnes was calling his miscreant and scoundrel within; so no wonder Barnes had a hangdog look. But as for Lady Kew, that veteran diplomatist allowed no signs of discomfiture, or any other emotion, to display themselves on her ancient countenance. Her bushy eyebrows were groves of mystery, her unfathomable eyes were wells of gloom.

She gratified Clive by a momentary loan of two knuckly old fingers, which he was at liberty to hold or to drop; and then he went on to enjoy the felicity of shaking hands with Mr. Barnes, who, observing and enjoying his confusion over Lady Kew’s reception, determined to try Clive in the same way, and he gave Clive at the same time a supercilious “How de dah,” which the other would have liked to drive down his throat. A constant desire to throttle Mr. Barnes — to beat him on the nose — to send him flying out of window, was a sentiment with which this singular young man inspired many persons whom he accosted. A biographer ought to be impartial, yet I own, in a modified degree, to have partaken of this sentiment. He looked very much younger than his actual time of life, and was not of commanding stature; but patronised his equals, nay, let us say, his betters, so insufferably, that a common wish for his suppression existed amongst many persons in society.

Clive told me of this little circumstance, and I am sorry to say of his own subsequent ill behaviour. “We were standing apart from the ladies,” so Clive narrated, “when Barnes and I had our little passage-of-arms. He had tried the finger business upon me before, and I had before told him, either to shake hands or to leave it alone. You know the way in which the impudent little beggar stands astride, and sticks his little feet out. I brought my heel well down on his confounded little varnished toe, and gave it a scrunch which made Mr. Barnes shriek out one of his loudest oaths.”

“D—— clumsy ——!” screamed out Barnes.

Clive said, in a low voice, “I thought you only swore at women, Barnes.”

“It is you that say things before women, Clive,” cries his cousin, looking very furious.

Mr. Clive lost all patience. “In what company, Barnes, would you like me to say, that I think you are a snob? Will you have it on the Parade? Come out and I will speak to you.”

“Barnes can’t go out on the Parade,” cries Lord Kew, bursting out laughing: “there’s another gentleman there wanting him.” And two of the three young men enjoyed this joke exceedingly. I doubt whether Barnes Newcome Newcome, Esq., of Newcome, was one of the persons amused.

“What wickedness are you three boys laughing at?” cries Lady Anne, perfectly innocent and good-natured; “no good, I will be bound. Come here, Clive.” Our young friend, it must be premised, had no sooner received the thrust of Lady Kew’s two fingers on entering, than it had been intimated to him that his interview with that gracious lady was at an end. For she had instantly called her daughter to her, with whom her ladyship fell a-whispering; and then it was that Clive retreated from Lady Kew’s hand, to fall into Barnes’s.

“Clive trod on Barnes’s toe,” cries out cheery Lord Kew, “and has hurt Barnes’s favourite corn, so that he cannot go out, and is actually obliged to keep the room. That’s what we were laughing at.”

“Hem!” growled Lady Kew. She knew to what her grandson alluded. Lord Kew had represented Jack Belsize, and his thundering big stick, in the most terrific colours to the family council. The joke was too good a one not to serve twice.

Lady Anne, in her whispered conversation with the old Countess, had possibly deprecated her mother’s anger towards poor Clive, for when he came up to the two ladies, the younger took his hand with great kindness, and said, “My dear Clive, we are very sorry you are going. You were of the greatest use to us on the journey. I am sure you have been uncommonly good-natured and obliging, and we shall all miss you very much.” Her gentleness smote the generous young fellow, and an emotion of gratitude towards her for being so compassionate to him in his misery, caused his cheeks to blush and his eyes perhaps to moisten. “Thank you, dear aunt,” says he, “you have been very good and kind to me. It is I that shall feel lonely; but — but it is quite time that I should go to my work.”

“Quite time!” said the severe possessor of the eagle beak. “Baden is a bad place for young men. They make acquaintances here of which very little good can come. They frequent the gambling-tables, and live with the most disreputable French Viscounts. We have heard of your goings-on, sir. It is a great pity that Colonel Newcome did not take you with him to India.”

“My dear mamma,” cries Lady Anne, “I am sure Clive has been a very good boy indeed.” The old lady’s morality put a stop to Clive’s pathetic mood, and he replied with a great deal of spirit, “Dear Lady Anne, you have been always very good, and kindness is nothing surprising from you; but Lady Kew’s advice, which I should not have ventured to ask, is an unexpected favour; my father knows the extent of the gambling transactions to which your ladyship was pleased to allude, and introduced me to the gentleman whose acquaintance you don’t seem to think eligible.”

“My good young man, I think it is time you were off,” Lady Kew said, this time with great good-humour; she liked Clive’s spirit, and as long as he interfered with none of her plans, was quite disposed to be friendly with him. “Go to Rome, go to Florence, go wherever you like, and study very hard, and make very good pictures, and come back again, and we shall all be very glad to see you. You have very great talents — these sketches are really capital.”

“Is not he very clever, mamma?” said kind Lady Anne, eagerly. Clive felt the pathetic mood coming on again, and an immense desire to hug Lady Anne in his arms, and to kiss her. How grateful are we — how touched a frank and generous heart is for a kind word extended to us in our pain! The pressure of a tender hand nerves a man for an operation, and cheers him for the dreadful interview with the surgeon.

That cool old operator, who had taken Mr. Clive’s case in hand, now produced her shining knife, and executed the first cut with perfect neatness and precision. “We are come here, as I suppose you know, Mr. Newcome, upon family matters, and I frankly tell you that I think, for your own sake, you would be much better away. I wrote my daughter a great scolding when I heard that you were in this place.”

“But it was by the merest chance, mamma, indeed it was,” cries Lady Anne.

“Of course, by the merest chance, and by the merest chance I heard of it too. A little bird came and told me at Kissingen. You have no more sense, Anne, than a goose. I have told you so a hundred times. Lady Anne requested you to stay, and I, my good young friend, request you to go away.”

“I needed no request,” said Clive. “My going, Lady Kew, is my own act. I was going without requiring any guide to show me to the door.”

“No doubt you were, and my arrival is the signal for Mr. Newcome’s bon jour. I am Bogey, and I frighten everybody away. By the scene which you witnessed yesterday, my good young friend, and all that painful esclandre on the promenade, you must see how absurd, and dangerous, and wicked — yes, wicked it is for parents to allow intimacies to spring up between young people, which can only lead to disgrace and unhappiness. Lady Dorking was another good-natured goose. I had not arrived yesterday ten minutes, when my maid came running in to tell me of what had occurred on the promenade; and, tired as I was, I went that instant to Jane Dorking and passed the evening with her, and that poor little creature to whom Captain Belsize behaved so cruelly. She does not care a fig for him — not one fig. Her childish inclination is passed away these two years, whilst Mr. Jack was performing his feats in prison; and if the wretch flatters himself that it was on his account she was agitated yesterday, he is perfectly mistaken, and you may tell him Lady Kew said so. She is subject to fainting fits. Dr. Finck has been attending her ever since she has been here. She fainted only last Tuesday at the sight of a rat walking about their lodgings (they have dreadful lodgings, the Dorkings), and no wonder she was frightened at the sight of that great coarse tipsy wretch! She is engaged, as you know, to your connexion, my grandson, Barnes:— in all respects a most eligible union. The rank of life of the parties suits them to one another. She is a good young woman, and Barnes has experienced from persons of another sort such horrors, that he will know the blessing of domestic virtue. It was high time he should. I say all this in perfect frankness to you.

“Go back again and play in the garden, little brats” (this to the innocents who came frisking in from the lawn in front of the windows). “You have been? And Barnes sent you in here? Go up to Miss Quigley. No, stop. Go and tell Ethel to come down; bring her down with you. Do you understand?”

The unconscious infants toddle upstairs to their sister; and Lady Kew blandly says, “Ethel’s engagement to my grandson, Lord Kew, has long been settled in our family, though these things are best not talked about until they are quite determined, you know, my dear Mr. Newcome. When we saw you and your father in London, we heard that you too-that you too were engaged to a young lady in your own rank of life, a Miss — what was her name? — Miss MacPherson, Miss Mackenzie. Your aunt, Mrs. Hobson Newcome, who I must say is a most blundering silly person, had set about this story. It appears there is no truth in it. Do not look surprised that I know about your affairs. I am an old witch, and know numbers of things.”

And, indeed, how Lady Kew came to know this fact, whether her maid corresponded with Lady Anne’s maid, what her ladyship’s means of information were, avowed or occult, this biographer has never been able to ascertain. Very likely Ethel, who in these last three weeks had been made aware of that interesting circumstance, had announced it to Lady Kew in the course of a cross-examination, and there may have been a battle between the granddaughter and the grandmother, of which the family chronicler of the Newcomes has had no precise knowledge. That there were many such I know — skirmishes, sieges, and general engagements. When we hear the guns, and see the wounded, we know there has been a fight. Who knows had there been a battle-royal, and was Miss Newcome having her wounds dressed upstairs?

“You will like to say good-bye to your cousin, I know,” Lady Kew continued, with imperturbable placidity. “Ethel, my dear, here is Mr. Clive Newcome, who has come to bid us all good-bye.” The little girls came trotting down at this moment, each holding a skirt of their elder sister. She looked rather pale, but her expression was haughty — almost fierce.

Clive rose up as she entered, from the sofa by the old Countess’s side, which place she had pointed him to take during the amputation. He rose up and put his hair back off his face, and said very calmly, “Yes, I’m come to say good-bye. My holidays are over, and Ridley and I are off for Rome; good-bye, and God bless you, Ethel.”

She gave him her hand and said, “Good-bye, Clive,” but her hand did not return his pressure, and dropped to her side, when he let it go.

Hearing the words good-bye, little Alice burst into a howl, and little Maude, who was an impetuous little thing, stamped her little red shoes and said, “It san’t be good-bye. Tlive san’t go.” Alice, roaring, clung hold of Clive’s trousers. He took them up gaily, each on an arm, as he had done a hundred times, and tossed the children on to his shoulders, where they used to like to pull his yellow mustachios. He kissed the little hands and faces, and a moment after was gone.

“Qu’as-tu?” says M. de Florac, meeting him going over the bridge to his own hotel. “Qu’as-tu, mon petit Claive? Est-ce qu’on vient de t’arracher une dent?”

“C’est ca,” says Clive, and walked into the Hotel de France. “Hulloh! J. J.! Ridley!” he sang out. “Order the trap out and let’s be off.” “I thought we were not to march till tomorrow,” says J. J., divining perhaps that some catastrophe had occurred. Indeed, Mr. Clive was going a day sooner than he had intended. He woke at Fribourg the next morning. It was the grand old cathedral he looked at, not Baden of the pine-clad hills, of the pretty walks and the lime-tree avenues. Not Baden, the prettiest booth of all Vanity Fair. The crowds and the music, the gambling-tables and the cadaverous croupiers and chinking gold, were far out of sight and hearing. There was one window in the Hotel de Hollande that he thought of, how a fair arm used to open it in the early morning, how the muslin curtain in the morning air swayed to and fro. He would have given how much to see it once more! Walking about at Fribourg in the night, away from his companions, he had thought of ordering horses, galloping back to Baden, and once again under that window, calling Ethel, Ethel. But he came back to his room and the quiet J. J., and to poor Jack Belsize, who had had his tooth taken out too.

We had almost forgotten Jack, who took a back seat in Clive’s carriage, as befits a secondary personage in this history, and Clive in truth had almost forgotten him too. But Jack having his own cares and business, and having rammed his own carpet-bag, brought it down without a word, and Clive found him environed in smoke when he came down to take his place in the little britzska. I wonder whether the window at the Hotel de Hollande saw him go? There are some curtains behind which no historian, however prying, is allowed to peep.

“Tiens, le petit part,” says Florac of the cigar, who was always sauntering. “Yes, we go,” says Clive. “There is a fourth place, Viscount; will you come too?”

“I would love it well,” replies Florac, “but I am here in faction. My cousin and seigneur M. le Duc d’Ivry is coming all the way from Bagneres de Bigorre. He says he counts on me:— affaires mon cher, affaires d’etat.”

“How pleased the duchess will be! Easy with that bag!” shouts Clive. “How pleased the princess will be!” In truth he hardly knew what he was saying.

“Vous croyez; vous croyez,” says M. de Florac. “As you have a fourth place, I know who had best take it.”

“And who is that?” asked the young traveller.

Lord Kew and Barnes, Esq., of Newcome, came out of the Hotel de Hollande at this moment. Barnes slunk back, seeing Jack Belsize’s hairy face. Kew ran over the bridge. “Good-bye, Clive. Good-bye, Jack.” “Good-bye, Kew.” It was a great handshake. Away goes the postillion blowing his horn, and young Hannibal has left Capua behind him.

CHAPTER XXXI

Madame la Duchesse

In one of Clive Newcome’s letters from Baden, the young man described to me, with considerable humour and numerous illustrations as his wont was, a great lady to whom he was presented at that watering-place by his friend Lord Kew. Lord Kew had travelled in the East with Monsieur le Duc and Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry — the prince being an old friend of his lordship’s family. He is the “Q” of Madame d’Ivry’s book of travels, Footprints of the Gazelles, by a daughter of the Crusaders, in which she prays so fervently for Lord Kew’s conversion. He is the “Q” who rescued the princess from the Arabs, and performed many a feat which lives in her glowing pages. He persists in saying that he never rescued Madame la Princesse from any Arabs at all, except from one beggar who was bawling out for bucksheesh, and whom Kew drove away with a stick. They made pilgrimages to all the holy places, and a piteous sight it was, said Lord Kew, to see the old prince in the Jerusalem processions at Easter pacing with bare feet and a candle. Here Lord Kew separated from the prince’s party. His name does not occur in the last part of the Footprints; which, in truth, are filled full of strange rhapsodies, adventures which nobody was but the princess, and mystic disquisitions. She hesitates at nothing, like other poets of her nation: not profoundly learned, she invents where she has not acquired: mingles together religion and the opera; and performs Parisian pas-de-ballet before the gates of monasteries and the cells of anchorites. She describes, as if she had herself witnessed the catastrophe, the passage of the Red Sea: and, as if there were no doubt of the transaction, an unhappy love-affair between Pharaoh’s eldest son and Moses’s daughter. At Cairo, apropos of Joseph’s granaries, she enters into a furious tirade against Putiphar, whom she paints as an old savage, suspicious and a tyrant. They generally have a copy of the Footprints of the Gazelles at the Circulating Library at Baden, as Madame d’Ivry constantly visits that watering-place. M. le Duc was not pleased with the book, which was published entirely without his concurrence, and which he described as one of the ten thousand follies of Madame la Duchesse.

This nobleman was five-and-forty years older than his duchess. France is the country where that sweet Christian institution of mariages de convenance (which so many folks of the family about which this story treats are engaged in arranging) is most in vogue. There the newspapers daily announce that M. de Foy has a bureau de confiance, where families may arrange marriages for their sons and daughters in perfect comfort and security. It is but a question of money on one side and the other. Mademoiselle has so many francs of dot; Monsieur has such and such rentes or lands in possession or reversion, an etude d’avoue, a shop with a certain clientele bringing him such and such an income, which may be doubled by the judicious addition of so much capital, and the pretty little matrimonial arrangement is concluded (the agent touching his percentage), or broken off, and nobody unhappy, and the world none the wiser. The consequences of the system I do not pretend personally to know; but if the light literature of a country is a reflex of its manners, and French novels are a picture of French life, a pretty society must that be into the midst of which the London reader may walk in twelve hours from this time of perusal, and from which only twenty miles of sea separate us.

When the old Duke d’Ivry, of the ancient ancient nobility of France, an emigrant with Artois, a warrior with Conde, an exile during the reign of the Corsican usurper, a grand prince, a great nobleman afterwards, though shorn of nineteen-twentieths of his wealth by the Revolution — when the Duke d’Ivry lost his two sons, and his son’s son likewise died, as if fate had determined to end the direct line of that noble house, which had furnished queens to Europe, and renowned chiefs to the Crusaders — being of an intrepid spirit, the Duke was ill disposed to yield to his redoubtable energy, in spite of the cruel blows which the latter had inflicted upon him, and when he was more than sixty years of age, three months before the July Revolution broke out, a young lady of a sufficient nobility, a virgin of sixteen, was brought out of the convent of the Sacre Coeur at Paris, and married with immense splendour and ceremony to this princely widower. The most august names signed the book of the civil marriage. Madame la Dauphine and Madame la Duchesse de Berri complimented the young bride with royal favours. Her portrait by Dubufe was in the Exhibition next year, a charming young duchess indeed, with black eyes, and black ringlets, pearls on her neck, and diamonds in her hair, as beautiful as a princess of a fairy tale. M. d’Ivry, whose early life may have been rather oragious, was yet a gentleman perfectly well conserved. Resolute against fate his enemy (one would fancy fate was of an aristocratic turn, and took especial delight in combats with princely houses; the Atridae, the Borbonidae, the Ivrys — the Browns and Joneses being of no account), the prince seemed to be determined not only to secure a progeny, but to defy age. At sixty he was still young, or seemed to be so. His hair was as black as the princess’s own, his teeth as white. If you saw him on the Boulevard de Gand, sunning among the youthful exquisites there, or riding au Bois, with a grace worthy of old Franconi himself, you would take him for one of the young men, of whom indeed up to his marriage he retained a number of the graceful follies and amusements, though his manners had a dignity acquired in old days of Versailles and the Trianon, which the moderns cannot hope to imitate. He was as assiduous behind the scenes of the opera as any journalist, or any young dandy of twenty years. He “ranged himself,” as the French phrase is, shortly before his marriage, just like any other young bachelor: took leave of Phryne and Aspasie in the coulisses, and proposed to devote himself henceforth to his charming young wife.

The affreux catastrophe of July arrived. The ancient Bourbons were once more on the road to exile (save one wily old remnant of the race, who rode grinning over the barricades, and distributing poignees de main to the stout fists that had pummelled his family out of France). M. le Duc d’Ivry, who lost his place at court, his appointments which helped his income very much, and his peerage would no more acknowledge the usurper of Neuilly, than him of Elba. The ex-peer retired to his terres. He barricaded his house in Paris against all supporters of the citizen king; his nearest kinsman, M. de Florac, among the rest, who for his part cheerfully took his oath of fidelity, and his seat in Louis Philippe’s house of peers, having indeed been accustomed to swear to all dynasties for some years past.

In due time Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry gave birth to a child, a daughter, whom her noble father received with but small pleasure. What the Duke desired, was an heir to his name, a Prince of Moncontour, to fill the place of the sons and grandsons gone before him, to join their ancestors in the tomb. No more children, however, blessed the old Duke’s union. Madame d’Ivry went the round of all the watering-places: pilgrimages were tried: vows and gifts to all saints supposed to be favourable to the d’Ivry family, or to families in general:— but the saints turned a deaf ear; they were inexorable since the true religion and the elder Bourbons were banished from France.

Living by themselves in their ancient castles, or their dreary mansion of the Faubourg St. Germain, I suppose the Duke and Duchess grew tried of one another, as persons who enter into a mariage de convenance sometimes, nay, as those who light a flaming love-match, and run away with one another, will be found to do. A lady of one-and-twenty, and a gentleman of sixty-six, alone in a great castle, have not unfrequently a third guest at their table, who comes without a card, and whom they cannot shut out, though they keep their doors closed ever so. His name is Ennui, and many a long hour and weary night must such folks pass in the unbidden society of this Old Man of the Sea; this daily guest at the board; this watchful attendant at the fireside; this assiduous companion who will walk out with you; this sleepless restless bedfellow.

At first, M. d’Ivry, that well-conserved nobleman who never would allow that he was not young, exhibited no sign of doubt regarding his own youth except an extreme jealousy and avoidance of all other young fellows. Very likely Madame la Duchesse may have thought men in general dyed their hair, wore stays, and had the rheumatism. Coming out of the convent of the Sacre Coeur, how was the innocent young lady to know better? You see, in these mariages de convenance, though a coronet may be convenient to a beautiful young creature, and a beautiful young creature may be convenient to an old gentleman, there are articles which the marriage-monger cannot make to convene at all: tempers over which M. de Foy and his like have no control; and tastes which cannot be put into the marriage settlements. So this couple were unhappy, and the Duke and Duchess quarrelled with one another like the most vulgar pair who ever fought across a table.

In this unhappy state of home affairs, madame took to literature, monsieur to politics. She discovered that she was a great unappreciated soul, and when a woman finds that treasure in her bosom of course she sets her own price on the article. Did you ever see the first poems of Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry, Les Cris de l’Ame? She used to read them to her very intimate friends, in white, with her hair a good deal down her back. They had some success. Dubufe having painted her as a Duchess, Scheffer depicted her as a Muse. That was in the third year of her marriage, when she rebelled against the Duke her husband, insisted on opening her saloons to art and literature, and, a fervent devotee still, proposed to unite genius and religion. Poets had interviews with her. Musicians came and twanged guitars to her.

Her husband, entering her room, would fall over the sabre and spurs of Count Almaviva from the boulevard, or Don Basilio with his great sombrero and shoe-buckles. The old gentleman was breathless and bewildered in following her through all her vagaries. He was of old France, she of new. What did he know of the Ecole Romantique, and these jeunes gens with their Marie Tudors and Tours de Nesle, and sanguineous histories of queens who sewed their lovers into sacks, emperors who had interviews with robber captains in Charlemagne’s tomb, Buridans and Hernanis, and stuff? Monsieur le Vicomte de Chateaubriand was a man of genius as a writer, certainly immortal; and M. de Lamartine was a young man extremely bien pensant, but, ma foi, give him Crebillon fils, or a bonne farce of M. Vade to make laugh; for the great sentiments, for the beautiful style, give him M. de Lormian (although Bonapartist) or the Abbe de Lille. And for the new school! bah! these little Dumass, and Hugos, and Mussets, what is all that? “M. de Lormian shall be immortal, monsieur,” he would say, “when all these freluquets are forgotten.” After his marriage he frequented the coulisses of the opera no more; but he was a pretty constant attendant at the Theatre Francais, where you might hear him snoring over the chefs-d’oeuvres of French tragedy.

For some little time after 1830, the Duchesse was as great a Carlist as her husband could wish; and they conspired together very comfortably at first. Of an adventurous turn, eager for excitement of all kinds, nothing would have better pleased the Duchesse than to follow MADAME in her adventurous courses in La Vendee, disguised as a boy above all. She was persuaded to stay at home, however, and aid the good cause at Paris; while Monsieur le Duc went off to Brittany to offer his old sword to the mother of his king. But MADAME was discovered up the chimney at Rennes, and all sorts of things were discovered afterwards. The world said that our silly little Duchess of Paris was partly the cause of the discovery. Spies were put upon her, and to some people she would tell anything. M. le Duc, on paying his annual visit to august exiles at Goritz, was very badly received: Madame la Dauphine gave him a sermon. He had an awful quarrel with Madame la Duchesse on returning to Paris. He provoked Monsieur le Comte Tiercelin, le beau Tiercelin, an officer of ordonnance of the Duke of Orleans, into a duel, a propos of a cup of coffee in a salon; he actually wounded the beau Tiercelin — he sixty-five years of age! his nephew, M. de Florac, was loud in praise of his kinsman’s bravery.

That pretty figure and complexion which still appear so captivating in M. Dubufe’s portrait of Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry, have long existed — it must be owned only in paint. “Je la prefere a l’huile,” the Vicomte de Florac said of his cousin. “She should get her blushes from Monsieur Dubufe — those of her present furnishers are not near so natural.” Sometimes the Duchess appeared with these postiches roses, sometimes of a mortal paleness. Sometimes she looked plump, on other occasions wofully thin. “When she goes into the world,” said the same chronicler, “ma cousine surrounds herself with jupons — c’est pour defendre sa vertu: when she is in a devotional mood, she gives up rouge, roast meat, and crinoline, and fait maigre absolument.” To spite the Duke her husband, she took up with the Vicomte de Florac, and to please herself she cast him away. She took his brother, the Abbe de Florac, for a director, and presently parted from him. “Mon frere, ce saint homme ne parle jamais de Madame la Duchesse, maintenant,” said the Vicomte. “She must have confessed to him des choses affreuses — oh, oui! — affreuses ma parole d’honneur!”

The Duke d’Ivry being archiroyaliste, Madame la Duchesse must make herself ultra-Philippiste. “Oh, oui! tout ce qu’il y a de plus Madame Adelaide au monde!” cried Florac. “She raffoles of M. le Regent. She used to keep a fast of the day of the supplice of Philippe Egalite, Saint and Martyr. I say used, for to make to enrage her husband, and to recall the Abbe my brother, did she not advise herself to consult M. le Pasteur Grigou, and to attend the preach at his Temple? When this sheep had brought her shepherd back, she dismissed the Pasteur Grigou. Then she tired of M. l’Abbe again, and my brother is come out from her, shaking his good head. Ah! she must have put things into it which astonished the good Abbe! You know he has since taken the Dominican robe? My word of honour! I believe it was terror of her that drove him into a convent. You shall see him at Rome, Clive. Give him news of his elder, and tell him this gross prodigal is repenting amongst the swine. My word of honour! I desire but the death of Madame la Vicomtesse de Florac, to marry and range myself!

“After being Royalist, Philippist, Catholic, Huguenot, Madame d’Ivry must take to Pantheism, to bearded philosophers who believe in nothing, not even in clean linen, eclecticism, republicanism, what know I? All her changes have been chronicled by books of her composition. Les Demons, poem Catholic; Charles IX. is the hero and the demons are shot for the most part at the catastrophe of St. Bartholomew. My good mother, all good Catholic as she is, was startled by the boldness of this doctrine. Then there came Une Dragonnade, par Mme. la Duchesse d’Ivry, which is all on your side. That was of the time of the Pastor Grigou, that one. The last was Les Dieux dechus, poeme en 20 chants, par Mme. la D——d’I. Guard yourself well from this Muse! If she takes a fancy to you she will never leave you alone. If you see her often, she will fancy you are in love with her, and tell her husband. She always tells my uncle — afterwards — after she has quarrelled with you and grown tired of you! Eh, being in London once, she had the idea to make herself a Quakre; wore the costume, consulted a minister of that culte, and quarrelled with him as of rule. It appears the Quakers do not beat themselves, otherwise my poor uncle must have paid of his person.

“The turn of the philosophers then came, the chemists, the natural historians, what know I? She made a laboratory in her hotel, and rehearsed poisons like Madame de Brinvilliers — she spent hours in the Jardin des Plantes. Since she has grown affreusenent maigre and wears mounting robes, she has taken more than ever to the idea that she resembles Mary Queen of Scots. She wears a little frill and a little cap. Every man she loves, she says, has come to misfortune. She calls her lodgings Lochleven. Eh! I pity the landlord of Lochleven! She calls ce gros Blackball, vous savez, that pillar of estaminets, that prince of mauvais-ton, her Bothwell; little Mijaud, the poor little pianist, she named her Rizzio; young Lord Greenhorn who was here with governor, a Monsieur of Oxfort, she christened her Darnley, and the Minister Anglican, her John Knox! The poor man was quite enchanted! Beware of this haggard siren, my little Clive! — mistrust her dangerous song! Her cave is jonchee with the bones of her victims. Be you not one!”

Far from causing Clive to avoid Madame la Duchesse, these cautions very likely would have made him only the more eager to make her acquaintance, but that a much nobler attraction drew him elsewhere. At first, being introduced to Madame d’Ivry’s salon, he was pleased and flattered, and behaved himself there merrily and agreeably enough. He had not studied Horace Vernet for nothing; he drew a fine picture of Kew rescuing her from the Arabs, with a plenty of sabres, pistols, burnouses, and dromedaries. He made a pretty sketch of her little girl Antoinette, and a wonderful likeness of Miss O’Grady, the little girl’s governess, the mother’s dame de compagnie; — Miss O’Grady, with the richest Milesian brogue, who had been engaged to give Antoinette the pure English accent. But the French lady’s great eyes and painted smiles would not bear comparison with Ethel’s natural brightness and beauty. Clive, who had been appointed painter in ordinary to the Queen of Scots, neglected his business, and went over to the English faction; so did one or two more of the Princess’s followers, leaving her Majesty by no means well pleased at their desertion.

There had been many quarrels between M. d’Ivry and his next-of-kin. Political differences, private differences — a long story. The Duke, who had been wild himself, could not pardon the Vicomte de Florac for being wild. Efforts at reconciliation had been made which ended unsuccessfully. The Vicomte de Florac had been allowed for a brief space to be intimate with the chief of his family, and then had been dismissed for being too intimate. Right or wrong, the Duke was jealous of all young men who approached the Duchesse. “He is suspicious,” Madame de Florac indignantly said, “because he remembers: and he thinks other men are like himself.” The Vicomte discreetly said, “My cousin has paid me the compliment to be jealous of me,” and acquiesced in his banishment with a shrug.

During the emigration the old Lord Kew had been very kind to exiles, M. d’Ivry amongst the number; and that nobleman was anxious to return to all Lord Kew’s family when they came to France the hospitality which he had received himself in England. He still remembered or professed to remember Lady Kew’s beauty. How many women are there, awful of aspect, at present, of whom the same pleasing legend is not narrated! It must be true, for do not they themselves confess it? I know of few things more remarkable or suggestive of philosophic contemplation than those physical changes.

When the old Duke and the old Countess met together and talked confidentially, their conversation bloomed into a jargon wonderful to hear. Old scandals woke up, old naughtinesses rose out of their graves, and danced, and smirked, and gibbered again, like those wicked nuns whom Bertram and Robert le Diable evoke from their sepulchres whilst the bassoon performs a diabolical incantation. The Brighton Pavilion was tenanted; Ranelagh and the Pantheon swarmed with dancers and masks; Perdita was found again, and walked a minuet with the Prince of Wales. Mrs. Clarke and the Duke of York danced together — a pretty dance. The old Duke wore a jabot and ailes-de-pigeon, the old Countess a hoop, and a cushion on her head. If haply the young folks came in, the elders modified their recollections, and Lady Kew brought honest old King George and good old ugly Queen Charlotte to the rescue. Her ladyship was sister of the Marquis of Steyne: and in some respects resembled that lamented nobleman. Their family had relations in France (Lady Kew had always a pied-a-terre at Paris, a bitter little scandal-shop, where les bien pensants assembled and retailed the most awful stories against the reigning dynasty). It was she who handed over le petit Kiou, when quite a boy, to Monsieur and Madame d’Ivry, to be lanced into Parisian society. He was treated as a son of the family by the Duke, one of whose many Christian names, his lordship, Francis George Xavier, Earl of Kew and Viscount Walham, bears. If Lady Kew hated any one (and she could hate very considerably) she hated her daughter-inlaw, Walham’s widow, and the Methodists who surrounded her. Kew remain among a pack of psalm-singing old women and parsons with his mother! Fi donc! Frank was Lady Kew’s boy; she would form him, marry him, leave him her money if he married to her liking, and show him life. And so she showed it to him.

Have you taken your children to the National Gallery in London, and shown them the “Marriage a la Mode?” Was the artist exceeding the privilege of his calling in painting the catastrophe in which those guilty people all suffer? If this fable were not true, if many and many of your young men of pleasure had not acted it, and rued the moral, I would tear the page. You know that in our Nursery Tales there is commonly a good fairy to counsel, and a bad one to mislead the young prince. You perhaps feel that in your own life there is a Good Principle imploring you to come into its kind bosom, and a Bad Passion which tempts you into its arms. Be of easy minds good-natured people! Let us disdain surprises and coups-de-theatre for once; and tell those good souls who are interested about him, that there is a Good Spirit coming to the rescue of our young Lord Kew.

Surrounded by her court and royal attendants, La Reine Marie used graciously to attend the play-table, where luck occasionally declared itself for and against her Majesty. Her appearance used to create not a little excitement in the Saloon of Roulette, the game which she patronised, it being more “fertile of emotions” than the slower trente-et-quarante. She dreamed of numbers, had favourite incantations by which to conjure them: noted the figures made by peels of peaches and so forth, the numbers of houses, on hackney-coaches — was superstitious comme toutes les rimes poetiques. She commonly brought a beautiful agate bonbonniere full of gold pieces, when she played. It was wonderful to see her grimaces: to watch her behaviour: her appeals to heaven, her delight and despair. Madame la Baronne de la Cruchecassee played on one side of her, Madame la Comtesse de Schlanigenbad on the other. When she had lost all her money her Majesty would condescend to borrow — not from those ladies:— knowing the royal peculiarity, they never had any money; they always lost; they swiftly pocketed their winnings and never left a mass on the table, or quitted it, as courtiers will, when they saw luck was going against their sovereign. The officers of her household were Count Punter, a Hanoverian, the Cavaliere Spada, Captain Blackball of a mysterious English regiment, which might be any one of the hundred and twenty in the Army List, and other noblemen and gentlemen, Greeks, Russians, and Spaniards. Mr. and Mrs. Jones (of England), who had made the princess’s acquaintance at Bagneres (where her lord still remained in the gout) and perseveringly followed her all the way to Baden, were dazzled by the splendour of the company in which they found themselves. Miss Jones wrote such letters to her dearest friend Miss Thompson, Cambridge Square, London, as caused that young person to crever with envy. Bob Jones, who had grown a pair of mustachios since he left home, began to think slightingly of poor little Fanny Thompson, now he had got into “the best Continental society.” Might not he quarter a countess’s coat on his brougham along with the Jones arms, or, more slap-up still, have the two shields painted on the panels with the coronet over? “Do you know the princess calls herself the Queen of Scots, and she calls me Julian Avenel?” says Jones delighted, to Clive, who wrote me about the transmogrification of our schoolfellow, an attorney’s son, whom I recollected a snivelling little boy at Grey Friars. “I say, Newcome, the princess is going to establish an order,” cried Bob in ecstasy. Every one of her aides-de-camp had a bunch of orders at his button, excepting, of course, poor Jones.

Like all persons who beheld her, when Miss Newcome and her party made their appearance at Baden, Monsieur de Florac was enraptured with her beauty. “I speak of it constantly before the Duchesse. I know it pleases her,” so the Vicomte said. “You should have seen her looks when your friend M. Jones praised Miss Newcome! She ground her teeth with fury. Tiens ce petit sournois de Kiou! He always spoke of her as a mere sac d’argent that he was about to marry — an ingot of the cite — une fille de Lord Maire. Have all English bankers such pearls of daughters? If the Vicomtesse de Florac had but quitted the earth, dont elle fait l’ornement — I would present myself to the charmante meess and ride a steeple-chase with Kiou!” That he should win it the Viscount never doubted.

When Lady Anne Newcome first appeared in the ballroom at Baden, Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry begged the Earl of Kew (notre filleul, she called him) to present her to his aunt miladi and her charming daughter. “My filleul had not prepared me for so much grace,” she said, turning a look towards Lord Kew, which caused his lordship some embarrassment. Her kindness and graciousness were extreme. Her caresses and compliments never ceased all the evening. She told the mother and the daughter too that she had never seen any one so lovely as Ethel. Whenever she saw Lady Anne’s children in the walks she ran to them (so that Captain Blackball and Count Punter, A.D.C., were amazed at her tenderness), she etouffed them with kisses. What lilies and roses! What lovely little creatures! What companions for her own Antoinette. “This is your governess, Miss Quigli; mademoiselle, you must let me present you to Miss O’Gredi, your compatriot, and I hope your children will be always together.” The Irish Protestant governess scowled at the Irish Catholic — there was a Boyne Water between them.

Little Antoinette; a lonely little girl, was glad to find any companions. “Mamma kisses me on the promenade,” she told them in her artless way. “She never kisses me at home!” One day when Lord Kew with Florac and Clive were playing with the children, Antoinette said, “Pourquoi ne venez-vous plus chez nous, M. de Kew? And why does mamma say you are a lache? She said so yesterday to ces messieurs. And why does mamma say thou art only a vaurien, mon cousin? Thou art always very good for me. I love thee better than all those messieurs. Ma tante Florac a ete bonne pour moi a Paris aussi — Ah! qu’elle a ete bonne!”

“C’est que les anges aiment bien les petits cherubins, and my mother is an angel, seest thou,” cries Florac, kissing her.

“Thy mother is not dead,” said little Antoinette, “then why dost thou cry, my cousin?” And the three spectators were touched by this little scene and speech.

Lady Anne Newcome received the caresses and compliments of Madame la Duchesse with marked coldness on the part of one commonly so very good-natured. Ethel’s instinct told her that there was something wrong in this woman, and she shrank from her with haughty reserve. The girl’s conduct was not likely to please the French lady, but she never relaxed in her smiles and her compliments, her caresses, and her professions of admiration. She was present when Clara Pulleyn fell; and, prodigal of calineries and consolation, and shawls and scent-bottles, to the unhappy young lady, she would accompany her home. She inquired perpetually after the health of cette pauvre petite Miss Clara. Oh, how she railed against ces Anglaises and their prudery! Can you fancy her and her circle, the tea-table set in the twilight that evening, the court assembled, Madame de la Cruchecassee and Madame de Schlangenbad; and their whiskered humble servants, Baron Punter and Count Spada, and Marquis Iago, and Prince Iachimo, and worthy Captain Blackball? Can you fancy a moonlight conclave, and ghouls feasting on the fresh corpse of a reputation:— the gibes and sarcasms, the laughing and the gnashing of teeth? How they tear the dainty limbs, and relish the tender morsels!

“The air of this place is not good for you, believe me, my little Kew; it is dangerous. Have pressing affairs in England; let your chateau burn down; or your intendant run away, and pursue him. Partez, mon petit Kiou; partez, or evil will come of it.” Such was the advice which a friend of Lord Kew gave the young nobleman.

CHAPTER XXXII

Barnes’s Courtship

Ethel had made various attempts to become intimate with her future sister-inlaw; had walked, and ridden, and talked with Lady Clara before Barnes’s arrival. She had come away not very much impressed with respect for Lady Clara’s mental powers; indeed, we have said that Miss Ethel was rather more prone to attack women than to admire them, and was a little hard upon the fashionable young persons of her acquaintance and sex. In after life, care and thought subdued her pride, and she learned to look at society more good-naturedly; but at this time, and for some years after, she was impatient of commonplace people, and did not choose to conceal her scorn. Lady Clara was very much afraid of her. Those timid little thoughts, which would come out, and frisk and gambol with pretty graceful antics, and advance confidingly at the sound of Jack Belsize’s jolly voice, and nibble crumbs out of his hand, shrank away before Ethel, severe nymph with the bright eyes, and hid themselves under the thickets and in the shade. Who has not overheard a simple couple of girls, or of lovers possibly, pouring out their little hearts, laughing at their own little jokes, prattling and prattling away unceasingly, until mamma appears with her awful didactic countenance, or the governess with her dry moralities, and the colloquy straightway ceases, the laughter stops, the chirp of the harmless little birds is hushed. Lady Clara being of a timid nature, stood in as much awe of Ethel as of her father and mother; whereas her next sister, a brisk young creature of seventeen, who was of the order of romps or tomboys, was by no means afraid of Miss Newcome, and indeed a much greater favourite with her than her placid elder sister.

Young ladies may have been crossed in love, and have had their sufferings, their frantic moments of grief and tears, their wakeful nights, and so forth; but it is only in very sentimental novels that people occupy themselves perpetually with that passion: and, I believe, what are called broken hearts are very rare articles indeed. Tom is jilted — is for a while in a dreadful state — bores all his male acquaintance with his groans and his frenzy — rallies from the complaint — eats his dinner very kindly — takes an interest in the next turf event, and is found at Newmarket, as usual, bawling out the odds which he will give or take. Miss has her paroxysm and recovery — Madame Crinoline’s new importations from Paris interest the young creature — she deigns to consider whether pink or blue will become her most — she conspires with her maid to make the spring morning dresses answer for the autumn — she resumes her books, piano, and music (giving up certain songs perhaps that she used to sing)— she waltzes with the Captain — gets a colour — waltzes longer, better, and ten times quicker than Lucy, who is dancing with the Major — replies in an animated manner to the Captain’s delightful remarks — takes a little supper — and looks quite kindly at him before she pulls up the carriage windows.

Clive may not like his cousin Barnes Newcome, and many other men share in that antipathy, but all ladies do not. It is a fact that Barnes, when he likes, can make himself a very pleasant fellow. He is dreadfully satirical, that is certain; but many persons are amused by those dreadful satirical young men: and to hear fun made of our neighbours, even of some of our friends, does not make us very angry. Barnes is one of the very best waltzers in all society, that is the truth; whereas it must be confessed Some One Else was very heavy and slow, his great foot always crushing you, and he always begging your pardon. Barnes whirls a partner round a room ages after she is ready to faint. What wicked fun he makes of other people when he stops! He is not handsome, but in his face there is something odd-looking and distinguished. It is certain he has beautiful small feet and hands.

He comes every day from the City, drops in, in his quiet unobtrusive way, and drinks tea at five o’clock; always brings a budget of the funniest stories with him, makes mamma laugh, Clara laugh, Henrietta, who is in the schoolroom still, die of laughing. Papa has the highest opinion of Mr. Newcome as a man of business: if he had had such a friend in early life his affairs would not be where they now are, poor dear kind papa! Do they want to go anywhere, is not Mr. Newcome always ready? Did he not procure that delightful room for them to witness the Lord Mayor’s show; and make Clara die of laughing at those odd City people at the Mansion House ball? He is at every party, and never tired though he gets up so early: he waltzes with nobody else: he is always there to put Lady Clara in the carriage: at the drawing-room he looked quite handsome in his uniform of the Newcome Hussars, bottle-green and silver lace: he speaks Politics so exceedingly well with papa and gentlemen after dinner: he is a sound conservative, full of practical good sense and information, with no dangerous new-fangled ideas, such as young men have. When poor dear Sir Brian Newcome’s health gives way quite, Mr. Newcome will go into Parliament, and then he will resume the old barony which has been in abeyance in the family since the reign of Richard the Third. They had fallen quite, quite low. Mr. Newcome’s grandfather came to London with a satchel on his back, like Whittington. Isn’t it romantic?

This process has been going on for months. It is not in one day that poor Lady Clara has been made to forget the past, and to lay aside her mourning. Day after day, very likely, the undeniable faults and many peccadilloes of — of that other person, have been exposed to her. People around the young lady may desire to spare her feelings, but can have no interest in screening Poor Jack from condign reprobation. A wild prodigal — a disgrace to his order — a son of old Highgate’s leading such a life, and making such a scandal! Lord Dorking believes Mr. Belsize to be an abandoned monster and fiend in human shape; gathers and relates all the stories that ever have been told to the young man’s disadvantage, and of these be sure there are enough, and speaks of him with transports of indignation. At the end of months of unwearied courtship, Mr. Barnes Newcome is honestly accepted, and Lady Clara is waiting for him at Baden, not unhappy to receive him; when walking on the promenade with her father, the ghost of her dead love suddenly rises before her, and the young lady faints to the ground.

When Barnes Newcome thinks fit he can be perfectly placable in his demeanour and delicate in his conduct. What he said upon this painful subject was delivered with the greatest propriety. He did not for one moment consider that Lady Clara’s agitation arose from any present feeling in Mr. Belsize’s favour, but that she was naturally moved by the remembrance of the past, and the sudden appearance which recalled it. “And but that a lady’s name should never be made the subject of dispute between men,” Newcome said to Lord Dorking, with great dignity, “and that Captain Belsize has opportunely quitted the place, I should certainly have chastised him. He and another adventurer, against whom I have had to warn my own family, have quitted Baden this afternoon. I am glad that both are gone, Captain Belsize especially; for my temper, my lord, is hot, and I do not think I should have commanded it.”

Lord Kew, when the elder lord informed him of this admirable speech of Barnes Newcome’s, upon whose character, prudence, and dignity the Earl of Dorking pronounced a fervent eulogium, shook his head gravely, and said, “Yes, Barnes was a dead shot, and a most determined fellow:” and did not burst out laughing until he and Lord Dorking had parted. Then to be sure he took his fill of laughter, he told the story to Ethel, he complimented Barnes on his heroic self-denial; the joke of the thundering big stick was nothing to it. Barnes Newcome laughed too; he had plenty of humour, Barnes. “I think you might have whopped Jack when he came out from his interview with the Dorkings,” Kew said: “the poor devil was so bewildered and weak, that Alfred might have thrashed him. At other times you would find it more difficult, Barnes my man.” Mr. B. Newcome resumed his dignity; said a joke was a joke, and there was quite enough of this one; which assertion we may be sure he conscientiously made.

That meeting and parting between the old lovers passed with a great deal of calm and propriety on both sides. Miss’s parents of course were present when Jack at their summons waited upon them and their daughter, and made his hang-dog bow. My Lord Dorking said (poor Jack in the anguish of his heart had poured out the story to Clive Newcome afterwards), “Mr. Belsize, I have to apologise for words which I used in my heat yesterday, and which I recall and regret, as I am sure you do that there should have been any occasion for them.”

Mr. Belsize looking at the carpet said he was very sorry.

Lady Dorking here remarked, that as Captain Belsize was now at Baden, he might wish to hear from Lady Clara Pulleyn’s own lips that the engagement into which she had entered was formed by herself, certainly with the consent and advice of her family. “Is it not so, my dear?”

Lady Clara said, “Yes, mamma,” with a low curtsey.

“We have now to wish you good-bye, Charles Belsize,” said my lord, with some feeling. “As your relative, and your father’s old friend, I wish you well. I hope your future course in life may not be so unfortunate as the past year. I request that we may part friends. Good-bye, Charles. Clara, shake hands with Captain Belsize. My Lady Dorking, you will please to give Charles your hand. You have known him since he was a child; and — and — we are sorry to be obliged to part in this way.” In this wise Mr. Jack Belsize’s tooth was finally extracted; and for the moment we wish him and his brother-patient a good journey.

Little lynx-eyed Dr. Von Finck, who attends most of the polite company at Baden, drove ceaselessly about the place that day, with the real version of the fainting-fit story, about which we may be sure the wicked and malicious, and the uninitiated, had a hundred absurd details. Lady Clara ever engaged to Captain Belsize? Fiddle-de-dee! Everybody knew the Captain’s affairs, and that he could no more think of marrying than flying. Lady Clara faint at seeing him! she fainted before he came up; she was always fainting, and had done so thrice in the last week to his knowledge. Lord Dorking had a nervous affection of his right arm, and was always shaking his stick. He did not say Villain, he said William; Captain Belsize’s name is William. It is not so in the Peerage? Is he called Jack in the Peerage? Those Peerages are always wrong. These candid explanations of course had their effect. Wicked tongues were of course instantaneously silent. People were entirely satisfied; they always are. The next night being Assembly night, Lady Clara appeared at the rooms and danced with Lord Kew and Mr. Barnes Newcome. All the society was as gracious and good-humoured as possible, and there was no more question of fainting than of burning down the Conversation-house. But Madame de Cruchecassee, and Madame de Schlangenbad, and those horrid people whom the men speak to, but whom the women salute with silent curtseys, persisted in declaring that there was no prude like an English prude; and to Dr. Finck’s oaths, assertions, explanations, only replied, with a shrug of their bold shoulders, “Taisez-vous, Docteur, vous n’ete qu’une vieille bete.”

Lady Kew was at the rooms, uncommonly gracious. Miss Ethel took a few turns of the waltz with Lord Kew, but this nymph looked more farouche than upon ordinary days. Bob Jones, who admired her hugely, asked leave to waltz with her, and entertained her with recollections of Clive Newcome at school. He remembered a fight in which Clive had been engaged, and recounted that action to Miss Newcome, who seemed to be interested. He was pleased to deplore Clive’s fancy for turning artist, and that Miss Newcome recommended him to have his likeness taken, for she said his appearance was exceedingly picturesque. He was going on with further prattle, but she suddenly cut Mr. Jones short, making him a bow, and going to sit down by Lady Kew. “And the next day, sir,” said Bob, with whom the present writer had the happiness of dining at a mess dinner at the Upper Temple, “when I met her on the walk, sir, she cut me as dead as a stone. The airs those swells give themselves is enough to make any man turn republican.”

Miss Ethel indeed was haughty, very haughty, and of a difficult temper. She spared none of her party except her kind mother, to whom Ethel always was kind, and her father, whom, since his illnesses, she tended with much benevolence and care. But she did battle with Lady Kew repeatedly, coming to her Aunt Julia’s rescue, on whom her mother as usual exercised her powers of torturing. She made Barnes quail before her by the shafts of contempt which she flashed at him; and she did not spare Lord Kew, whose good-nature was no shield against her scorn. The old queen-mother was fairly afraid of her; she even left off beating Lady Julia when Ethel came in, of course taking her revenge in the young girl’s absence, but trying in her presence to soothe and please her. Against Lord Kew the young girl’s anger was most unjust, and the more cruel because the kindly young nobleman never spoke a hard word of any one mortal soul, and, carrying no arms, should have been assaulted by none. But his very good-nature seemed to make his young opponent only the more wrathful; she shot because his honest breast was bare; it bled at the wounds which she inflicted. Her relatives looked at her surprised at her cruelty, and the young man himself was shocked in his dignity and best feelings by his cousin’s wanton ill-humour.

Lady Kew fancied she understood the cause of this peevishness, and remonstrated with Miss Ethel. “Shall we write a letter to Lucerne, and order Dick Tinto back again?” said her ladyship. “Are you such a fool, Ethel, as to be hankering after that young scapegrace, and his yellow beard? His drawings are very pretty. Why, I think he might earn a couple of hundred a year as a teacher, and nothing would be easier than to break your engagement with Kew, and whistle the drawing-master back again.”

Ethel took up the whole heap of Clive’s drawings, lighted a taper, carried the drawings to the fireplace, and set them in a blaze. “A very pretty piece of work,” says Lady Kew, “and which proves satisfactorily that you don’t care for the young Clive at all. Have we arranged a correspondence? We are cousins, you know; we may write pretty cousinly letters to one another.” A month before the old lady would have attacked her with other arms than sarcasm, but she was scared now, and dared to use no coarser weapons. “Oh!” cried Ethel in a transport, “what a life ours is, and how you buy and sell, and haggle over your children! It is not Clive I care about, poor boy. Our ways of life are separate. I cannot break from my own family, and I know very well how yon would receive him in it. Had he money, it would be different. You would receive him, and welcome him, and hold out your hands to him; but he is only a poor painter, and we forsooth are bankers in the City; and he comes among us on sufferance, like those concert-singers whom mamma treats with so much politeness, and who go down and have supper by themselves. Why should they not be as good as we are?”

“M. de C— — my dear, is of a noble family,” interposed Lady Kew; “when he has given up singing and made his fortune, no doubt he can go back into the world again.”

“Made his fortune, yes,” Ethel continued, “that is the cry. There never were, since the world began, people so unblushingly sordid! We own it, and are proud of it. We barter rank against money, and money against rank, day after day. Why did you marry my father to my mother? Was it for his wit? You know he might have been an angel and you would have scorned him. Your daughter was bought with papa’s money as surely as ever Newcome was. Will there be no day when this mammon-worship will cease among us?”

“Not in my time or yours, Ethel,” the elder said, not unkindly; perhaps she thought of a day long ago before she was old herself.

“We are sold,” the young girl went on, “we are as much sold as Turkish women; the only difference being that our masters may have but one Circassian at a time. No, there is no freedom for us. I wear my green ticket, and wait till my master comes. But every day as I think of our slavery, I revolt against it more. That poor wretch, that poor girl whom my brother is to marry, why did she not revolt and fly? I would, if I loved a man sufficiently, loved him better than the world, than wealth, than rank, than fine houses and titles — and I feel I love these best — I would give up all to follow him. But what can I be with my name and my parents? I belong to the world like all the rest of my family. It is you who have bred us up; you who are answerable for us. Why are there no convents to which we can fly? You make a fine marriage for me; you provide me with a good husband, a kind soul, not very wise, but very kind; you make me what you call happy, and I would rather be at the plough like the women here.”

“No, you wouldn’t, Ethel,” replies the grandmother, drily. “These are the fine speeches of schoolgirls. The showers of rain would spoil your complexion — you would be perfectly tired in an hour, and come back to luncheon — you belong to your belongings, my dear, and are not better than the rest of the world:— very good-looking, as you know perfectly well, and not very good-tempered. It is lucky that Kew is. Calm your temper, at least before marriage; such a prize does not fall to a pretty girl’s lot every day. Why, you sent him away quite seared by your cruelty; and if he is not playing at roulette, or at billiards, I dare say he is thinking what a little termagant you are, and that he had beat pause while it is yet time. Before I was married, your poor grandfather never knew I had a temper; of after-days I say nothing; but trials are good for all of us, and he bore his like an angel.”

Lady Kew, too, on this occasion at least, was admirably good-humoured. She also when it was necessary could put a restraint on her temper, and, having this match very much at heart, chose to coax and to soothe her granddaughter rather than to endeavour to scold and frighten her.

“Why do you desire this marriage so much, grandmamma,” the girl asked. “My cousin is not very much in love — at least I should fancy not,” she added, blushing. “I am bound to own Lord Kew is not in the least eager, and I think if you were to tell him to wait for five years he would be quite willing. Why should you be so very anxious?”

“Why, my dear? Because I think young ladies who want to go and work in the fields, should make hay while the sun shines; because I think it is high time that Kew should ranger himself; because I am sure he will make the best husband, and Ethel the prettiest Countess in England.” And the old lady, seldom exhibiting any signs of affection, looked at her granddaughter very fondly. From her Ethel looked up into the glass, which very likely repeated on its shining face the truth her elder had just uttered. Shall we quarrel with the girl for that dazzling reflection; for owning that charming truth, and submitting to the conscious triumph? Give her her part of vanity, of youth, of desire to rule and be admired. Meanwhile Mr. Clive’s drawings have been crackling in the fireplace at her feet, and the last spark of that combustion is twinkling out unheeded.

CHAPTER XXXIII

Lady Kew at the Congress

When Lady Kew heard that Madame d’Ivry was at Baden, and was informed at once of the French lady’s graciousness towards the Newcome family, and of her fury against Lord Kew, the old Countess gave a loose to that energetic temper with which nature had gifted her; a temper which she tied up sometimes and kept from barking and biting; but which when unmuzzled was an animal of whom all her ladyship’s family had a just apprehension. Not one of them but in his or her time had been wounded, lacerated, tumbled over, otherwise frightened or injured by this unruly brute. The cowards brought it sops and patted it; the prudent gave it a clear berth, and walked round so as not to meet it; but woe be to those of the family who had to bring the meal, and prepare the litter, and (to speak respectfully) share the kennel with Lady Kew’s “Black Dog!” Surely a fine furious temper, if accompanied with a certain magnanimity and bravery which often go together with it, is one of the most precious and fortunate gifts with which a gentleman or lady can be endowed. A person always ready to fight is certain of the greatest consideration amongst his or her family circle. The lazy grow tired of contending with him; the timid coax and flatter him; and as almost every one is timid or lazy, a bad-tempered man is sure to have his own way. It is he who commands, and all the others obey. If he is a gourmand, he has’ what he likes for dinner; and the tastes of all the rest are subservient to him. She (we playfully transfer the gender, as a bad temper is of both sexes) has the place which she likes best in the drawing-room; nor do her parents, nor her brothers and sisters, venture to take her favourite chair. If she wants to go to a party, mamma will dress herself in spite of her headache; and papa, who hates those dreadful soirees, will go upstairs after dinner and put on his poor old white neckcloth, though he has been toiling at chambers all day, and must be there early in the morning — he will go out with her, we say, and stay for the cotillon. If the family are taking their tour in the summer, it is she who ordains whither they shall go, and when they shall stop. If he comes home late, the dinner is kept for him, and not one dares to say a word though ever so hungry. If he is in a good humour, how every one frisks about and is happy! How the servants jump up at his bell and run to wait upon him! How they sit up patiently, and how eagerly they rush out to fetch cabs in the rain! Whereas for you and me, who have the tempers of angels, and never were known to be angry or to complain, nobody cares whether we are pleased or not. Our wives go to the milliners and send us the bill, and we pay it; our John finishes reading the newspaper before he answers our bell, and brings it to us; our sons loll in the arm-chair which we should like; fill the house with their young men, and smoke in the dining-room; our tailors fit us badly; our butchers give us the youngest mutton; our tradesmen dun us much more quickly than other people’s, because they know we are good-natured; and our servants go out whenever they like, and openly have their friends to supper in the kitchen. When Lady Kew said Sic volo, sic jubeo, I promise you few persons of her ladyship’s belongings stopped, before they did her biddings, to ask her reasons.

If, which very seldom happens, there are two such imperious and domineering spirits in a family, unpleasantries of course will arise from their contentions; or, if out of doors the family Bajazet meets with some other violent Turk, dreadful battles ensue, all the allies on either side are brought in, and the surrounding neighbours perforce engaged in the quarrel. This was unluckily the case in the present instance. Lady Kew, unaccustomed to have her will questioned at home, liked to impose it abroad. She judged the persons around her with great freedom of speech. Her opinions were quoted, as people’s sayings will be; and if she made bitter speeches, depend on it they lost nothing in the carrying. She was furious against Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry, and exploded in various companies whenever that lady’s name was mentioned. “Why was she not with her husband? Why was the poor old Duke left to his gout, and this woman trailing through the country with her vagabond court of billiard-markers at her heels? She to call herself Mary Queen of Scots, forsooth! — well, she merited the title in some respects, though she had not murdered her husband as yet. Ah! I should like to be Queen Elizabeth if the Duchess is Queen of Scots!” said the old lady, shaking her old fist. And these sentiments being uttered in public, upon the promenade, to mutual friends, of course the Duchess had the benefit of Lady Kew’s remarks a few minutes after they were uttered; and her grace, and the distinguished princes, counts, and noblemen in her court, designated as billiard-markers by the old Countess, returned the latter’s compliments with pretty speeches of their own. Scandals were dug up respecting her ladyship, so old that one would have thought them forgotten these forty years — so old that they happened before most of the Newcomes now extant were born, and surely therefore are out of the province of this contemporary biography. Lady Kew was indignant with her daughter (there were some moments when any conduct of her friends did not meet her ladyship’s approbation) even for the scant civility with which Lady Anne had received the Duchess’s advances. “Leave a card upon her! — yes, send a card by one of your footmen; but go in to see her — because she was at the window and saw you drive up. — Are you mad, Anne? That was the very reason you should not have come out of your carriage. But you are so weak and good-natured, that if a highwayman stopped you, you would say, ‘Thank you, sir,’ as you gave him your purse: yes, and if Mrs. Macheath called on you afterwards you would return the visit!”

Even had these speeches been made about the Duchess, and some of them not addressed to her, things might have gone on pretty well. If we quarrelled with all the people who abuse us behind our backs, and began to tear their eyes out as soon as we set ours on them, what a life it would be, and when should we have any quiet? Backbiting is all fair in society. Abuse me, and I will abuse you; but let us be friends when we meet. Have not we all entered a dozen rooms, and been sure, from the countenances of the amiable persons present, that they had been discussing our little peculiarities, perhaps as we were on the stairs? Was our visit, therefore, the less agreeable? Did we quarrel and say hard words to one another’s faces? No — we wait until some of our dear friends take their leave, and then comes our turn. My back is at my neighbour’s service; as soon as that is turned let him make what faces he thinks proper: but when we meet we grin and shake hands like well-bred folk, to whom clean linen is not more necessary than a clean sweet-looking countenance, and a nicely got-up smile, for company.

Here was Lady Kew’s mistake. She wanted, for some reason, to drive Madame d’Ivry out of Baden; and thought there were no better means of effecting this object than by using the high hand, and practising those frowns upon the Duchess which had scared away so many other persons. But the Queen of Scots was resolute, too, and her band of courtiers fought stoutly round about her. Some of them could not pay their bills, and could not retreat: others had courage, and did not choose to fly. Instead of coaxing and soothing Madame d’Ivry, Madame de Kew thought by a brisk attack to rout and dislodge her. She began on almost the very first occasion when the ladies met. “I was so sorry to hear that Monsieur le Duc was ill at Bagneres, Madame la Duchesse,” the old lady began on their very first meeting, after the usual salutations had taken place.

“Madame la Comtesse is very kind to interest herself in Monsieur d’Ivry’s health. Monsieur le Duc at his age is not disposed to travel. You, dear miladi, are more happy in being always able to retain the gout des voyages!”

“I come to my family! my dear Duchess.”

“How charmed they must be to possess you! Miladi Anne, you must be inexpressibly consoled by the presence of a mother so tender! Permit me to present Madame la Comtesse de la Cruchecassee to Madame la Comtesse de Kew. Miladi is sister to that amiable Marquis of Steyne, whom you have known, Ambrosine! Madame la Baronne de Schlangenbad, Miladi Kew. Do you not see the resemblance to milor? These ladies have enjoyed the hospitalities — the splendours of Gaunt House. They were of those famous routs of which the charming Mistress Crawley, la semillante Becki, made part! How sad the Hotel de Gaunt must be under the present circumstances! Have you heard, miladi, of the charming Mistress Becki? Monsieur le Duc describes her as the most spirituelle Englishwoman he ever met.” The Queen of Scots turns and whispers her lady of honour, and shrugs and taps her forehead. Lady Kew knows that Madame d’Ivry speaks of her nephew, the present Lord Steyne, who is not in his right mind. The Duchess looks round, and sees a friend in the distance whom she beckons. “Comtesse, you know already monsieur the Captain Blackball? He makes the delight of our society!” A dreadful man with a large cigar, a florid waistcoat, and billiards written on his countenance, swaggers forward at the Duchess’s summons. The Countess of Kew has not gained much by her attack. She has been presented to Cruchecassee and Schlangenbad. She sees herself on the eve of becoming the acquaintance of Captain Blackball.

“Permit me, Duchess, to choose my English friends at least for myself,” says Lady Kew, drumming her foot.

“But, madam, assuredly! You do not love this good Monsieur de Blackball? Eh! the English manners are droll, pardon me for saying so. It is wonderful how proud you are as a nation, and how ashamed you are of your compatriots!”

“There are some persons who are ashamed of nothing, Madame la Duchesse,” cries Lady Kew; losing her temper.

“Is that gracieusete for me? How much goodness! This good Monsieur de Blackball is not very well bred; but, for an Englishman, he is not too bad. I have met with people who are more ill-bred than Englishmen in my travels.”

“And they are?” said Lady Anne, who had been in vain endeavouring to put an end to this colloquy.

“Englishwomen, madam! I speak not for you. You are kind; you — you are too soft, dear Lady Anne, for a persecutor.”

The counsels of the worldly woman who governed and directed that branch of the Newcome family of whom it is our business to speak now for a little while, bore other results than those which the elderly lady desired and foresaw. Who can foresee everything and always? Not the wisest among us. When his Majesty Louis XIV., jockeyed his grandson on to the throne of Spain (founding thereby the present revered dynasty of that country), did he expect to peril his own, and bring all Europe about his royal ears? Could a late King of France, eager for the advantageous establishment of one of his darling sons, and anxious to procure a beautiful Spanish princess, with a crown and kingdom in reversion, for the simple and obedient youth, ever suppose that the welfare of his whole august race and reign would be upset by that smart speculation? We take only the most noble examples to illustrate the conduct of such a noble old personage as her ladyship of Kew, who brought a prodigious deal of trouble upon some of the innocent members of her family, whom no doubt she thought to better in life by her experienced guidance and undoubted worldly wisdom. We may be as deep as Jesuits, know the world ever so well, lay the best-ordered plans, and the profoundest combinations, and by a certain not unnatural turn of fate, we, and our plans and combinations, are sent flying before the wind. We may be as wise as Louis Philippe, that many-counselled Ulysses whom the respectable world admired so; and after years of patient scheming, and prodigies of skill, after coaxing, wheedling, doubling, bullying, wisdom, behold yet stronger powers interpose: and schemes, and skill and violence, are nought.

Frank and Ethel, Lady Kew’s grandchildren, were both the obedient subjects of this ancient despot: this imperious old Louis XIV. in a black front and a cap and ribbon, this scheming old Louis Philippe in tabinet; but their blood was good and their tempers high; and for all her bitting and driving, and the training of her mange, the generous young colts were hard to break. Ethel, at this time, was especially stubborn in training, rebellious to the whip, and wild under harness; and the way in which Lady Kew managed her won the admiration of her family: for it was a maxim among these folks that no one could manage Ethel but Lady Kew. Barnes said no one could manage his sister but his grandmother. He couldn’t, that was certain. Mamma never tried, and indeed was so good-natured, that rather than ride the filly, she would put the saddle on her own back and let the filly ride her; no, there was no one but her ladyship capable of managing that girl, Barnes owned, who held Lady Kew in much respect and awe. “If the tightest hand were not kept on her, there’s no knowing what she mightn’t do,” said her brother. “Ethel Newcome, by Jove, is capable of running away with the writing-master.”

After poor Jack Belsize’s mishap and departure, Barnes’s own bride showed no spirit at all, save one of placid contentment. She came at call and instantly, and went through whatever paces her owner demanded of her. She laughed whenever need was, simpered and smiled when spoken to, danced whenever she was asked; drove out at Barnes’s side in Kew’s phaeton, and received him certainly not with warmth, but with politeness and welcome. It is difficult to describe the scorn with which her sister-inlaw regarded her. The sight of the patient timid little thing chafed Ethel, who was always more haughty and flighty and bold when in Clara’s presence than at any other time. Her ladyship’s brother, Captain Lord Viscount Rooster, before mentioned, joined the family party at this interesting juncture. My Lord Rooster found himself surprised, delighted, subjugated by Miss Newcome, her wit and spirit. “By Jove, she is a plucky one,” his lordship exclaimed. “To dance with her is the best fun in life. How she pulls all the other girls to pieces, by Jove, and how splendidly she chaffs everybody! But,” he added with the shrewdness and sense of humour which distinguished the young officer, “I’d rather dance with her than marry her — by a doosid long score — I don’t envy you that part of the business, Kew, my boy.” Lord Kew did not set himself up as a person to be envied. He thought his cousin beautiful: and with his grandmother, that she would make a very handsome Countess; and he thought the money which Lady Kew would give or leave to the young couple a very welcome addition to his means.

On the next night, when there was a ball at the room, Miss Ethel chose to appear in a toilette the very grandest and finest which she had ever assumed, who was ordinarily exceedingly simple in her attire, and dressed below the mark of the rest of the world. Her clustering ringlets, her shining white shoulders, her splendid raiment (I believe indeed it was her court-dress which the young lady assumed) astonished all beholders. She ecrased all other beauties by her appearance; so much so that Madame d’Ivry’s court could not but look, the men in admiration, the women in dislike, at this dazzling young creature. None of the countesses, duchesses, princesses, Russ, Spanish, Italian, were so fine or so handsome. There were some New York ladies at Baden as there are everywhere else in Europe now. Not even these were more magnificent than Miss Ethel. General Jeremiah J. Bung’s lady owned that Miss Newcome was fit to appear in any party in Fourth Avenue. She was the only well-dressed English girl Mrs. Bung had seen in Europe. A young German Durchlaucht deigned to explain to his aide-de-camp how very handsome he thought Miss Newcome. All our acquaintances were of one mind. Mr. Jones of England pronounced her stunning; the admirable Captain Blackball examined her points with the skill of an amateur, and described them with agreeable frankness. Lord Rooster was charmed as he surveyed her, and complimented his late companion-inarms on the possession of such a paragon. Only Lord Kew was not delighted — nor did Miss Ethel mean that he should be. She looked as splendid as Cinderella in the prince’s palace. But what need for all this splendour? this wonderful toilette? this dazzling neck and shoulders, whereof the brightness and beauty blinded the eyes of lookers-on? She was dressed as gaudily as an actress of the Varietes going to a supper at Trois Freres. “It was Mademoiselle Mabille en habit de coeur,” Madame d’Ivry remarked to Madame Schlangenbad. Barnes, who with his bride-elect for a partner made a vis-a-vis for his sister and the admiring Lord Rooster, was puzzled likewise by Ethel’s countenance and appearance. Little Lady Clara looked like a little schoolgirl dancing before her.

One, two, three, of the attendants of her Majesty the Queen of Scots were carried off in the course of the evening by the victorious young beauty, whose triumph had the effect, which the headstrong girl perhaps herself anticipated, of mortifying the Duchesse d’Ivry, of exasperating old Lady Kew, and of annoying the young nobleman to whom Miss Ethel was engaged. The girl seemed to take a pleasure in defying all three, a something embittered her, alike against her friends and her enemies. The old dowager chaffed and vented her wrath upon Lady Anne and Barnes. Ethel kept the ball alive by herself almost. She refused to go home, declining hints and commands alike. She was engaged for ever so many dances more. Not dance with Count Punter? it would be rude to leave him after promising him. Not waltz with Captain Blackball? He was not a proper partner for her? Why then did Kew know him? Lord Kew walked and talked with Captain Blackball every day. Was she to be so proud as not to know Lord Kew’s friends? She greeted the Captain with a most fascinating smile as he came up whilst the controversy was pending, and ended it by whirling round the room in his arms.

Madame d’Ivry viewed with such pleasure as might be expected the defection of her adherents, and the triumph of her youthful rival, who seemed to grow more beautiful with each waltz, so that the other dancers paused to look at her, the men breaking out in enthusiasm, the reluctant women being forced to join in the applause. Angry as she was, and knowing how Ethel’s conduct angered her grandson, old Lady Kew could not help admiring the rebellious beauty, whose girlish spirit was more than a match for the imperious dowager’s tough old resolution. As for Mr. Barnes’s displeasure, the girl tossed her saucy head, shrugged her fair shoulders, and passed on with a scornful laugh. In a word, Miss Ethel conducted herself as a most reckless and intrepid young flirt, using her eyes with the most consummate effect, chattering with astounding gaiety, prodigal of smiles, gracious thanks and killing glances. What wicked spirit moved her? Perhaps had she known the mischief she was doing, she would have continued it still.

The sight of this wilfulness and levity smote poor Lord Kew’s honest heart with cruel pangs of mortification. The easy young nobleman had passed many a year of his life in all sorts of wild company. The chaumiere knew him, and the balls of Parisian actresses, the coulisses of the opera at home and abroad. Those pretty heads of ladies whom nobody knows, used to nod their shining ringlets at Kew, from private boxes at theatres, or dubious Park broughams. He had run the career of young men of pleasure, and laughed and feasted with jolly prodigals and their company. He was tired of it: perhaps he remembered an earlier and purer life, and was sighing to return to it. Living as he had done amongst the outcasts, his ideal of domestic virtue was high and pure. He chose to believe that good women were entirely good. Duplicity he could not understand; ill-temper shocked him: wilfulness he seemed to fancy belonged only to the profane and wicked; not to good girls, with good mothers, in honest homes. Their nature was to love their families; to obey their parents; to tend their poor; to honour their husbands; to cherish their children. Ethel’s laugh woke him up from one of these simple reveries very likely, and then she swept round the ballroom rapidly, to the brazen notes of the orchestra. He never offered to dance with her more than once in the evening; went away to play, and returned to find her still whirling to the music. Madame d’Ivry remarked his tribulation and gloomy face, though she took no pleasure at his discomfiture, knowing that Ethel’s behaviour caused it.

In plays and novels, and I dare say in real life too sometimes, when the wanton heroine chooses to exert her powers of fascination, and to flirt with Sir Harry or the Captain, the hero, in a pique, goes off and makes love to somebody else: both acknowledge their folly after a while, shake hands, and are reconciled, and the curtain drops, or the volume ends. But there are some people too noble and simple for these amorous scenes and smirking artifices. When Kew was pleased he laughed, when he was grieved he was silent. He did not deign to hide his grief or pleasure under disguises. His error, perhaps, was in forgetting that Ethel was very young; that her conduct was not design so much as girlish mischief and high spirits; and that if young men have their frolics, sow their wild oats, and enjoy their pleasure, young women may be permitted sometimes their more harmless vagaries of gaiety, and sportive outbreaks of wilful humour.

When she consented to go home at length, Lord Kew brought Miss Newcome’s little white cloak for her (under the hood of which her glossy curls, her blushing cheeks, and bright eyes looked provokingly handsome), and encased her in this pretty garment without uttering one single word. She made him a saucy curtsey in return for this act of politeness, which salutation he received with a grave bow; and then he proceeded to cover up old Lady Kew, and to conduct her ladyship to her chariot. Miss Ethel chose to be displeased at her cousin’s displeasure. What were balls made for but that people should dance? She a flirt? She displease Lord Kew? If she chose to dance, she would dance; she had no idea of his giving himself airs; besides it was such fun taking away the gentlemen of Mary Queen of Scots’ court from her; such capital fun! So she went to bed, singing and performing wonderful roulades as she lighted her candle and retired to her room. She had had such a jolly evening!! such famous fun, and, I dare say (but how shall a novelist penetrate these mysteries?), when her chamber door was closed, she scolded her maid and was as cross as two sticks. You see there come moments of sorrow after the most brilliant victories; and you conquer and rout the enemy utterly, and then regret that you fought.

CHAPTER XXXIV

The End of the Congress of Baden

Mention has been made of an elderly young person from Ireland, engaged by Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry, as companion and teacher of English for her little daughter. When Miss O’Grady, as she did some time afterwards, quitted Madame d’Ivry’s family, she spoke with great freedom regarding the behaviour of that duchess, and recounted horrors which she, the latter, had committed. A number of the most terrific anecdotes issued from the lips of the indignant Miss, whose volubility Lord Kew was obliged to check, not choosing that his countess, with whom he was paying a bridal visit to Paris, should hear such dreadful legends. It was there that Miss O’Grady, finding herself in misfortune, and reading of Lord Kew’s arrival at the Hotel Bristol, waited upon his lordship and the Countess of Kew, begging them to take tickets in a raffle for an invaluable ivory writing-desk, sole relic of her former prosperity, which she proposed to give her friends the chance of acquiring: in fact, Miss O’Grady lived for some years on the produce of repeated raffles for this beautiful desk: many religious ladies of the Faubourg St. Germain taking an interest in her misfortunes, and alleviating them by the simple lottery system. Protestants as well as Catholics were permitted to take shares in Miss O’Grady’s raffles; and Lord Kew, good-natured then as always, purchased so many tickets, that the contrite O’Grady informed him of a transaction which had nearly affected his happiness, and in which she took a not very creditable share. “Had I known your lordship’s real character,” Miss O’G was pleased to say, “no tortures would have induced me to do an act for which I have undergone penance. It was that black-hearted woman, my lord, who maligned your lordship to me: that woman whom I called friend once, but who is the most false, depraved, and dangerous of her sex.” In this way do ladies’ companions sometimes speak of ladies when quarrels separate them, when confidential attendants are dismissed, bearing away family secrets in their minds, and revenge in their hearts.

The day after Miss Ethel’s feats at the assembly, old Lady Kew went over to advise her granddaughter, and to give her a little timely warning about the impropriety of flirtations; above all, with such men as are to be found at watering-places, persons who are never seen elsewhere in society. “Remark the peculiarities of Kew’s temper, who never flies into a passion like you and me, my dear,” said the old lady (being determined to be particularly gracious and cautious); “when once angry he remains so, and is so obstinate that it is almost impossible to coax him into good-humour. It is much better, my love, to be like us,” continued the old lady, “to fly out in a rage and have it over; but que voulez-vous? such is Frank’s temper, and we must manage him.” So she went on, backing her advice by a crowd of examples drawn from the family history; showing how Kew was like his grandfather, her own poor husband; still more like his late father, Lord Walham; between whom and his mother there had been differences, chiefly brought on by my Lady Walham, of course, which had ended in the almost total estrangement of mother and son. Lady Kew then administered her advice, and told her stories with Ethel alone for a listener; and in a most edifying manner, she besought Miss Newcome to menager Lord Kew’s susceptibilities, as she valued her own future comfort in life, as well as the happiness of a most amiable man, of whom, if properly managed, Ethel might make what she pleased. We have said Lady Kew managed everybody, and that most of the members of her family allowed themselves to be managed by her ladyship.

Ethel, who had permitted her grandmother to continue her sententious advice, while she herself sat tapping her feet on the floor, and performing the most rapid variations of that air which is called the Devil’s Tattoo, burst out, at length, to the elder lady’s surprise, with an outbreak of indignation, a flushing face, and a voice quivering with anger.

“This most amiable man,” she cried out, “that you design for me, I know everything about this most amiable man, and thank you and my family for the present you make me! For the past year, what have you been doing? Every one of you! my father, my brother, and you yourself, have been filling my ears wit cruel reports against a poor boy, whom you chose to depict as everything that was dissolute and wicked, when there was nothing against him; nothing, but that he was poor. Yes, you yourself, grandmamma, have told me many and many a time, that Clive Newcome was not a fit companion for us; warned me against his bad courses, and painted him as extravagant, unprincipled, I don’t know how bad. How bad! I know how good he is; how upright, generous, and truth-telling: though there was not a day until lately, that Barnes did not make some wicked story against him — Barnes, who, I believe, is bad himself, like — like other young men. Yes, I am sure there was something about Barnes in that newspaper which my father took away from me. And you come, and you lift up your hands, and shake your head, because I dance with one gentleman or another. You tell me I am wrong; mamma has told me so this morning. Barnes, of course, has told me so, and you bring me Frank as a pattern, and tell me to love and honour and obey him! Look here,” and she drew out a paper and put it into Lady Kew’s hands. “Here is Kew’s history, and I believe it is true; yes, I am sure it is true.”

The old dowager lifted her eyeglass to her black eyebrow, and read a paper written in English, and bearing no signature, in which many circumstances of Lord Kew’s life were narrated for poor Ethel’s benefit. It was not a worse life than that of a thousand young men of pleasure, but there were Kew’s many misdeeds set down in order: such a catalogue as we laugh at when Leporello trolls it, and sings his master’s victories in France, Italy, and Spain. Madame d’Ivry’s name was not mentioned in this list, and Lady Kew felt sure that the outrage came from her.

With real ardour Lady Kew sought to defend her grandson from some of the attacks here made against him; and showed Ethel that the person who could use such means of calumniating him, would not scruple to resort to falsehood in order to effect her purpose.

“Her purpose!” cries Ethel. “How do you know it is a woman?” Lady Kew lapsed into generalities. She thought the handwriting was a woman’s — at least it was not likely that a man should think of addressing an anonymous letter to a young lady, and so wreaking his hatred upon Lord Kew. “Besides, Frank has had no rivals — except — except one young gentleman who has carried his paint-boxes to Italy,” says Lady Kew. “You don’t think your dear Colonel’s son would leave such a piece of mischief behind him? You must act, my dear,” continued her ladyship, “as if this letter had never been written at all; the person who wrote it no doubt will watch you. Of course we are too proud to allow him to see that we are wounded; and pray, pray do not think of letting poor Frank know a word about this horrid transaction.”

“Then the letter is true?” burst out Ethel. “You know it is true, grandmamma, and that is why you would have me keep it a secret from my cousin; besides,” she added, with a little hesitation, “your caution comes too late, Lord Kew has seen the letter.”

“You fool!” screamed the old lady, “you were not so mad as to show it to him?”

“I am sure the letter is true,” Ethel said, rising up very haughtily. “It is not by calling me bad names that your ladyship will disprove it. Keep them, if you please, for my Aunt Julia; she is sick and weak, and can’t defend herself. I do not choose to bear abuse from you, or lectures from Lord Kew. He happened to be here a short while since, when the letter arrived. He had been good enough to come to preach me a sermon on his own account. He to find fault with my actions!” cried Miss Ethel, quivering with wrath and clenching the luckless paper in her hand. “He to accuse me of levity, and to warn me against making improper acquaintances! He began his lectures too soon. I am not a lawful slave yet, and prefer to remain unmolested, at least as long as I am free.”

“And you told Frank all this, Miss Newcome, and you showed him that letter?” said the old lady.

“The letter was actually brought to me whilst his lordship was in the midst of his sermon,” Ethel replied. “I read it as he was making his speech,” she continued, gathering anger and scorn as she recalled the circumstances of the interview. “He was perfectly polite in his language. He did not call me a fool or use a single other bad name. He was good enough to advise me and to make such virtuous pretty speeches, that if he had been a bishop he could not have spoken better; and as I thought the letter was a nice commentary on his lordship’s sermon, I gave it to him. I gave it to him,” cried the young woman, “and much good may it do him. I don’t think my Lord Kew will preach to me again for some time.”

“I don’t think he will indeed,” said Lady Kew, in a hard dry voice. “You don’t know what you may have done. Will you be pleased to ring the bell and order my carriage? I congratulate you on having performed a most charming morning’s work.”

Ethel made her grandmother a very stately curtsey. I pity Lady Julia’s condition when her mother reached home.

All who know Lord Kew may be pretty sure that in that unlucky interview with Ethel, to which the young lady has alluded, he just said no single word to her that was not kind, and just, and gentle. Considering the relation between them, he thought himself justified in remonstrating with her as to the conduct which she chose to pursue, and in warning her against acquaintances of whom his own experience had taught him the dangerous character. He knew Madame d’Ivry and her friends so well that he would not have his wife-elect a member of their circle. He could not tell Ethel what he knew of those women and their history. She chose not to understand his hints — did not, very likely, comprehend them. She was quite young, and the stories of such lives as theirs had never been told before her. She was indignant at the surveillance which Lord Kew exerted over her, and the authority which he began to assume. At another moment and in a better frame of mind she would have been thankful for his care, and very soon and ever after she did justice to his many admirable qualities — his frankness, honesty, and sweet temper. Only her high spirit was in perpetual revolt at this time against the bondage in which her family strove to keep her. The very worldly advantages of the position which they offered her served but to chafe her the more. Had her proposed husband been a young prince with a crown to lay at her feet, she had been yet more indignant very likely, and more rebellious. Had Kew’s younger brother been her suitor, or Kew in his place, she had been not unwilling to follow her parents’ wishes. Hence the revolt in which she was engaged — the wayward freaks and outbreaks her haughty temper indulged in. No doubt she saw the justice of Lord Kew’s reproofs. That self-consciousness was not likely to add to her good-humour. No doubt she was sorry for having shown Lord Kew the letter the moment after she had done that act, of which the poor young lady could not calculate the consequences that were now to ensue.

Lord Kew, on glancing over the letter, at once divined the quarter whence it came. The portrait drawn of him was not unlike, as our characters described by those who hate us are not unlike. He had passed a reckless youth; indeed he was sad and ashamed of that past life, longed like the poor prodigal to return to better courses, and had embraced eagerly the chance afforded him of a union with a woman young, virtuous, and beautiful, against whom and against heaven he hoped to sin no more. If we have told or hinted at more of his story than will please the ear of modern conventionalism, I beseech the reader to believe that the writer’s purpose at least is not dishonest, nor unkindly. The young gentleman hung his head with sorrow over that sad detail of his life and its follies. What would he have given to be able to say to Ethel, “This is not true”

His reproaches to Miss Newcome of course were at once stopped by this terrible assault on himself. The letter had been put in the Baden post-box, and so had come to its destination. It was in a disguised handwriting. Lord Kew could form no idea even of the sex of the scribe. He put the envelope in his pocket, when Ethel’s back was turned. He examined the paper when he left her. He could make little of the superscription or of the wafer which had served to close the note. He did not choose to caution Ethel as to whether she should burn the letter or divulge it to her friends. He took his share of the pain, as a boy at school takes his flogging, stoutly and in silence.

When he saw Ethel again, which he did in an hour’s time, the generous young gentleman held his hand out to her. “My dear,” he said, “if you had loved me you never would have shown me that letter.” It was his only reproof. After that he never again reproved or advised her.

Ethel blushed. “You are very brave and generous, Frank,” said, bending her head, “and I am captious and wicked.” He felt the hot tear blotting on his hand from his cousin’s downcast eyes.

He kissed her little hand. Lady Anne, who was in the room with her children when these few words passed between the two in a very low tone, thought it was a reconciliation. Ethel knew it was a renunciation on Kew’s part — she never liked him so much as at that moment. The young man was too modest and simple to guess himself what the girl’s feelings were. Could he have told them, his fate and hers might have been changed.

“You must not allow our kind letter-writing friend,” Lord Kew continued, “to fancy we are hurt. We must walk out this afternoon, and we must appear very good friends.”

“Yes, always, Kew,” said Ethel, holding out her hand again. The next minute her cousin was at the table carving roast-fowls, and distributing the portions to the hungry children.

The assembly of the previous evening had been one of those which the fermier des jeux at Baden beneficently provides for the frequenters of the place, and now was to come off a much more brilliant entertainment, in which poor Clive, who is far into Switzerland by this time, was to have taken a share. The Bachelors had agreed to give a ball, one of the last entertainments of the season: a dozen or more of them had subscribed the funds, and we may be sure Lord Kew’s name was at the head of the list, as it was of any list, of any scheme, whether of charity or fun. The English were invited, and the Russians were invited; the Spaniards and Italians, Poles, Prussians, and Hebrews; all the motley frequenters of the place, and the warriors in the Duke of Baden’s army. Unlimited supper was set in the restaurant. The dancing-room glittered with extra lights, and a profusion of cut-paper flowers decorated the festive scene. Everybody was present, those crowds with whom our story has nothing to do, and those two or three groups of persons who enact minor or greater parts in it. Madame d’Ivry came in a dress of stupendous splendour, even more brilliant than that in which Miss Ethel had figured at the last assembly. If the Duchess intended to ecraser Miss Newcome by the superior magnificence of her toilet, she was disappointed. Miss Newcome wore a plain white frock on the occasion, and resumed, Madame d’Ivry said, her role of ingenue for that night.

During the brief season in which gentlemen enjoyed the favour of Mary Queen of Scots, that wandering sovereign led them through all the paces and vagaries of a regular passion. As in a fair, where time is short and pleasures numerous, the master of the theatrical booth shows you a tragedy, a farce, and a pantomime, all in a quarter of an hour, having a dozen new audiences to witness his entertainments in the course of the forenoon; so this lady with her platonic lovers went through the complete dramatic course — tragedies of jealousy, pantomimes of rapture, and farces of parting. There were billets on one side and the other; hints of a fatal destiny, and a ruthless, lynx-eyed tyrant, who held a demoniac grasp over the Duchess by means of certain secrets which he knew: there were regrets that we had not known each other sooner: why were we brought out of our convent and sacrificed to Monsieur le Duc? There were frolic interchanges of fancy and poesy: pretty bouderies; sweet reconciliations; yawns finally — and separation. Adolphe went out and Alphonse came in. It was the new audience; for which the bell rang, the band played, and the curtain rose; and the tragedy, comedy, and farce were repeated.

Those Greenwich performers who appear in the theatrical pieces above-mentioned, make a great deal more noise than your stationary tragedians; and if they have to denounce a villain, to declare a passion, or to threaten an enemy, they roar, stamp, shake their fists, and brandish their sabres, so that every man who sees the play has surely a full pennyworth for his penny. Thus Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry perhaps a little exaggerated her heroines’ parts liking to strike her audiences quickly, and also to change them often. Like good performers, she flung herself heart and soul into the business of the stage, and was what she acted. She was Phedre, and if in the first part of the play she was uncommonly tender to Hippolyte, in the second she hated him furiously. She was Medea, and if Jason was volage, woe to Creusa! Perhaps our poor Lord Kew had taken the first character in a performance with Madame d’Ivry; for his behaviour in which part it was difficult enough to forgive him; but when he appeared at Baden the affianced husband of one of the most beautiful young creatures in Europe — when his relatives scorned Madame d’Ivry — no wonder she was maddened and enraged, and would have recourse to revenge, steel, poison.

There was in the Duchess’s court a young fellow from the South of France, whose friends had sent him to faire son droit at Paris, where he had gone through the usual course of pleasure and studies of the young inhabitants of the Latin Quarter. He had at one time exalted republican opinions, and had fired his shot with distinction at St. Meri. He was a poet of some little note — a book of his lyrics, Les Rales d’un Asphyxie, having made a sensation at the time of their appearance. He drank great quantities of absinthe of a morning; smoked incessantly; played roulette whenever he could get a few pieces; contributed to a small journal, and was especially great in his hatred of l’infame Angleterre. Delenda est Carthago was tattooed beneath his shirt-sleeves. Fifine and Clarisse, young milliners of the students’ district, had punctured this terrible motto on his manly right arm. Le leopard, emblem of England, was his aversion; he shook his fist at the caged monster in the Garden of Plants. He desired to have “Here lies an enemy of England” engraved upon his early tomb. He was skilled at billiards and dominoes, adroit in the use of arms, of unquestionable courage and fierceness. Mr. Jones of England was afraid of M. de Castillonnes, and cowered before his scowls and sarcasms. Captain Blackball, the other English aide-de-camp of the Duchesse d’Ivry, a warrior of undoubted courage, who had been “on the ground” more than once, gave him a wide berth, and wondered what the little beggar meant when he used to say, “Since the days of the Prince Noir, monsieur, my family has been at feud with l’Angleterre!” His family were grocers at Bordeaux, and his father’s name was M. Cabasse. He had married a noble in the revolutionary times; and the son at Paris himself himself Victor Cabasse de Castillonnes; then Victor C. de Castillonnes; then M. de Castillonnes. One of the followers of the Black Prince had insulted a lady of the house of Castillonnes, when the English were lords of Guienne; hence our friend’s wrath against the Leopard. He had written, and afterwards dramatised a terrific legend describing the circumstances, and the punishment of the Briton by a knight of the Castillonnes family. A more awful coward never existed in a melodrama than that felon English knight. His blanche-fille, of course, died of hopeless love for the conquering Frenchman, her father’s murderer. The paper in which the feuilleton appeared died at the sixth number of the story. The theatre of the Boulevard refused the drama; so the author’s rage against l’infame Albion was yet unappeased. On beholding Miss Newcome, Victor had fancied a resemblance between her and Agnes de Calverley, the blanche Miss of his novel and drama, and cast an eye of favour upon the young creature. He even composed verses in her honour (for I presume that the “Miss Betti” and the Princess Crimhilde of the poems which he subsequently published, were no other than Miss Newcome, and the Duchess, her rival). He had been one of the lucky gentlemen who had danced with Ethel on the previous evening. On the occasion of the ball, he came to her with a highflown compliment, and a request to be once more allowed to waltz with her — a request to which he expected a favourable answer, thinking, no doubt, that his wit, his powers of conversation, and the amour qui flambait dans son regard, had had their effect upon the charming Meess. Perhaps he had a copy of the very verses in his breast-pocket, with which he intended to complete his work of fascination. For her sake alone, he had been heard to say that he would enter into a truce with England, and forget the hereditary wrongs of his race.

But the blanche Miss on this evening declined to waltz with him. His compliments were not of the least avail. He retired with them and his unuttered verses in his crumpled bosom. Miss Newcome only danced in one quadrille with Lord Kew, and left the party quite early, to the despair of many of the bachelors, who lost the fairest ornament of their ball.

Lord Kew, however, had been seen walking with her in public, and particularly attentive to her during her brief appearance in the ballroom; and the old Dowager, who regularly attended all places of amusement, and was at twenty parties and six dinners the week before she died, thought fit to be particularly gracious to Madame d’Ivry upon this evening, and, far from shunning the Duchesse’s presence or being rude to her, as on former occasions, was entirely smiling and good-humoured. Lady Kew, too, thought there had been a reconciliation between Ethel and her cousin. Lady Anne had given her mother some account of the handshaking. Kew’s walk with Ethel, the quadrille which she had danced with him alone, induced the elder lady to believe that matters had been made up between the young people.

So, by way of showing the Duchesse that her little shot of the morning had failed in its effect, as Frank left the room with his cousin, Lady Kew gaily hinted, “that the young earl was aux petits soins with Miss Ethel; that she was sure her old friend, the Duc d’Ivry, would be glad to hear that his godson was about to range himself. He would settle down on his estates. He would attend to his duties as an English peer and a country gentleman. We shall go home,” says the benevolent Countess, “and kill the veau gras, and you shall see our dear prodigal will become a very quiet gentleman.”

The Duchesse said, “my Lady Kew’s plan was most edifying. She was charmed to hear that Lady Kew loved veal; there were some who thought that meat rather insipid.” A waltzer came to claim her hand at this moment; and as she twirled round the room upon that gentleman’s arm, wafting odours as she moved, her pink silks, pink feathers, pink ribands, making a mighty rustling, the Countess of Kew had the satisfaction of thinking that she had planted an arrow in that shrivelled little waist, which Count Punter’s arms embraced, and had returned the stab which Madame d’Ivry had delivered in the morning.

Mr. Barnes, and his elect bride, had also appeared, danced, and disappeared. Lady Kew soon followed her young ones; and the ball went on very gaily, in spite of the absence of these respectable personages.

Being one of the managers of the entertainment, Lord Kew returned to it after conducting Lady Anne and her daughter to their carriage, and now danced with great vigour, and with his usual kindness, selecting those ladies whom other waltzers rejected because they were too old, or too plain, or too stout, or what not. But he did not ask Madame d’Ivry to dance. He could condescend to dissemble so far as to hide the pain which he felt; but did not care to engage in that more advanced hypocrisy of friendship, which for her part, his old grandmother had not shown the least scruple in assuming.

Amongst other partners, my lord selected that intrepid waltzer, the Graefinn von Gumpelheim, who, in spite of her age, size, and large family, never lost a chance of enjoying her favourite recreation. “Look with what a camel my lord waltzes,” said M. Victor to Madame d’Ivry, whose slim waist he had the honour of embracing to the same music. “What man but an Englishman would ever select such a dromedary?”

“Avant de se marier,” said Madame d’Ivry, “il faut avouer que my lord se permet d’enormes distractions.”

“My lord marries himself! And when and whom?” cried the Duchesse’s partner.

“Miss Newcome. Do not you approve of his choice? I thought the eyes of Stenio” (the Duchess called M. Victor, Stenio) “looked with some favour upon that little person. She is handsome, even very handsome. Is it not so often in life, Stenio? Are not youth and innocence (I give Miss Ethel the compliment of her innocence, now surtout that the little painter is dismissed)— are we not cast into the arms of jaded roues? Tender young flowers, are we not torn from our convent gardens, and flung into a world of which the air poisons our pure life, and withers the sainted buds of hope and love and faith? Faith! The mocking world tramples on it, n’est-ce pas? Love! The brutal world strangles the heaven-born infant at its birth. Hope! It smiled at me in my little convent chamber, played among the flowers which I cherished, warbled with the birds that I loved. But it quitted me at the door of the world, Stenio. It folded its white wings and veiled its radiant face! In return for my young love, they gave me — sixty years, the dregs of a selfish heart, egotism cowering over its fire, and cold for all its mantle of ermine! In place of the sweet flowers of my young years, they gave me these, Stenio!” and she pointed to her feathers and her artificial roses. “Oh, I should like to crush them under my feet!” and she put out the neatest little slipper. The Duchesse was great upon her wrongs, and paraded her blighted innocence to every one who would feel interested by that piteous spectacle. The music here burst out more swiftly and melodiously than before; the pretty little feet forgot their desire to trample upon the world. She shrugged the lean little shoulders —“Eh!” said the Queen of Scots, “dansons et oublions;” and Stenio’s arm once more surrounded her fairy waist (she called herself a fairy; other ladies called her a skeleton); and they whirled away in the waltz again and presently she and Stenio came bumping up against the stalwart Lord Kew and the ponderous Madame de Gumpelheim, as a wherry dashes against the oaken ribs of a steamer.

The little couple did not fall; they were struck on to a neighbouring bench, luckily: but there was a laugh at the expense of Stenio and the Queen of Scots — and Lord Kew, settling his panting partner on to a seat, came up to make excuses for his awkwardness to the lady who had been its victim. At the laugh produced by the catastrophe, the Duchesse’s eyes gleamed with anger.

“M. de Castillonnes,” she said to her partner, “have you had any quarrel with that Englishman?”

“With ce milor? But no,” said Stenio.

“He did it on purpose. There has been no day but his family has insulted me!” hissed out the Duchesse, and at this moment Lord Kew came up to make his apologies. He asked a thousand pardons of Madame la Duchesse for being so maladroit.

“Maladroit! et tres maladroit, monsieur,” says Stenio, curling his moustache; “c’est bien le mot, monsieur!

“Also, I make my excuses to Madame la Duchesse, which I hope she will receive,” said Lord Kew. The Duchesse shrugged her shoulders and sunk her head.

“When one does not know how to dance, one ought not to dance,” continued the Duchesse’s knight.

“Monsieur is very good to give me lessons in dancing,” said Lord Kew.

“Any lessons which you please, milor!” cries Stenio; “and everywhere where you will them.”

Lord Kew looked at the little man with surprise. He could not understand so much anger for so trifling an accident, which happens a dozen times in every crowded ball. He again bowed to the Duchesse, and walked away.

“This is your Englishman — your Kew, whom you vaunt everywhere,” said Stenio to M. de Florac, who was standing by and witnessed the scene. “Is he simply bete, or is he poltron as well? I believe him to be both.”

“Silence, Victor!” cried Florac, seizing his arm, and drawing him away. “You know me, and that I am neither one or the other. Believe my word, that my Lord Kew wants neither courage nor wit!”

“Will you be my witness, Florac?” continues the other.

“To take him your excuses? yes. It is you who have insulted —”

“Yes, parbleu, I have insulted!” says the Gascon.

“— A man who never willingly offended soul alive. A man full of heart: the most frank: the most loyal. I have seen him put to the proof, and believe me he is all I say.”

“Eh! so much the better for me!” cried the Southron. “I shall have the honour of meeting a gallant man: and there will be two on the field.”

“They are making a tool of you, my poor Gascon,” said M. de Florac, who saw Madame d’Ivry’s eyes watching the couple. She presently took the arm of the noble Count de Punter, and went for fresh air into the adjoining apartment, where play was going on as usual; and Lord Kew and his friend Lord Rooster were pacing the room apart from the gamblers.

My Lord Rooster, at something which Kew said, looked puzzled, and said, “Pooh, stuff, damned little Frenchman! Confounded nonsense!”

“I was searching you, milor!” said Madame d’Ivry, in a most winning tone, tripping behind him with her noiseless little feet. “Allow me a little word. Your arm! You used to give it me once, mon filleul! I hope you think nothing of the rudeness of M. de Castillonnes; he is a foolish Gascon: he must have been too often to the buffet this evening.”

Lord Kew said, No, indeed, he thought nothing of de Castillonnes’ rudeness.

“I am so glad! These heroes of the salle-d’armes have not the commonest manners. These Gascons are always flamberge au vent. What would the charming Miss Ethel say, if she heard of the dispute?”

“Indeed there is no reason why she should hear of it,” said Lord Kew, “unless some obliging friend should communicate it to her.”

“Communicate it to her — the poor dear! who would be so cruel as to give her pain?” asked the innocent Duchesse. “Why do you look at me so, Frank?”

“Because I admire you,” said her interlocutor, with a bow. “I have never seen Madame la Duchesse to such advantage as today.”

“You speak in enigmas! Come back with me to the ballroom. Come and dance with me once more. You used to dance with me. Let us have one waltz more, Kew. And then, and then, in a day or two I shall go back to Monsieur le Duc, and tell him that his filleul is going to marry the fairest of all Englishwomen and to turn hermit in the country, and orator in the Chamber of Peers. You have wit! ah si — you have wit!” And she led back Lord Kew, rather amazed himself at what he was doing, into the ballroom; so that the good-natured people who were there, and who beheld them dancing, could not refrain from clapping their hands at the sight of this couple.

The Duchess danced as if she was bitten by that Neapolitan spider which, according to the legend, is such a wonderful dance-incentor. She would have the music quicker and quicker. She sank on Kew’s arm, and clung on his support. She poured out all the light of her languishing eyes into his face. Their glances rather confused than charmed him. But the bystanders were pleased; they thought it so good-hearted of the Duchesse, after the little quarrel, to make a public avowal of reconciliation!

Lord Rooster looking on, at the entrance of the dancing-room, over Monsieur de Florac’s shoulder, said, “It’s all right! She’s a clipper to dance, the little Duchess.”

“The viper!” said Florac, “how she writhes!”

“I suppose that business with the Frenchman is all over,” says Lord Rooster. “Confounded piece of nonsense.”

“You believe it finished? We shall see!” said Florac, who perhaps knew his fair cousin better. When the waltz was over, Kew led his partner to a seat, and bowed to her; but though she made room for him at her side, pointing to it, and gathering up her rustling robes so that he might sit down, he moved away, his face full of gloom. He never wished to be near her again. There was something more odious to him in her friendship than her hatred. He knew hers was the hand that had dealt that stab at him and Ethel in the morning. He went back and talked with his two friends in the doorway. “Couch yourself, my little Kiou,” said Florac. “You are all pale. You were best in bed, mon garcon!”

“She has made me promise to take her in to supper,” Kew said, with a sigh.

“She will poison you,” said the other. “Why have they abolished the roue chez nous? My word of honour they should retabliche it for this woman.”

“There is one in the next room,” said Kew, with a laugh, “Come, Vicomte, let us try our fortune,” and he walked back into the play-room.

That was the last night on which Lord Kew ever played a gambling game. He won constantly. The double zero seemed to obey him; so that the croupiers wondered at his fortune. Florac backed it; saying with the superstition of a gambler, “I am sure something goes to arrive to this boy.” From time to time M. de Florac went back to the dancing-room, leaving his mise under Kew’s charge. He always found his heaps increased; indeed the worthy Vicomte wanted a turn of luck in his favour. On one occasion he returned with a grave face, saying to Lord Rooster, “She has the other one in hand. We are going to see.” “Trente-six encor! et rouge gagne,” cried the croupier with his nasal tone, Monsieur de Florac’s pockets overflowed with double Napoleons, and he stopped his play, luckily, for Kew putting down his winnings, once, twice, thrice, lost them all.

When Lord Kew had left the dancing-room, Madame d’Ivry saw Stenio following him with fierce looks, and called back that bearded bard. “You were going to pursue M. de Kew,” she said: “I knew you were. Sit down here, sir,” and she patted him down on her seat with her fan.

“Do you wish that I should call him back, madame?” said the poet, with the deepest tragic accents.

“I can bring him when I want him, Victor,” said the lady.

“Let us hope others will be equally fortunate,” the Gascon said, with one hand in his breast, the other stroking his moustache.

“Fi, monsieur, que vous sentez le tabac! je vous le defends, entendez-vous, monsieur?”

“Pourtant, I have seen the day when Madame la Duchesse did not disdain a cigar,” said Victor. “If the odour incommodes, permit that I retire.”

“And you also would quit me, Stenio? Do you think I did not mark your eyes towards Miss Newcome? your anger when she refused you to dance? Ah! we see all. A woman does not deceive herself, do you see? You send me beautiful verses, Poet. You can write as well of a statue or a picture, of a rose or a sunset, as of the heart of a woman. You were angry just now because I danced with M. de Kew. Do you think in a woman’s eyes jealousy is unpardonable?”

“You know how to provoke it, madame,” continued the tragedian.

“Monsieur,” replied the lady, with dignity, “am I to render you an account of all my actions, and ask your permission for a walk?”

“In fact, I am but the slave, madame,” groaned the Gascon, “I am not the master.”

“You are a very rebellious slave, monsieur,” continues the lady, with a pretty moue, and a glance of the large eyes artfully brightened by her rouge. “Suppose — suppose I danced with M. de Kew, not for his sake — Heaven knows to dance with him is not a pleasure — but for yours. Suppose I do not want a foolish quarrel to proceed. Suppose I know that he is ni sot ni poltron as you pretend. I overheard you, sir, talking with one of the basest of men, my good cousin, M. de Florac: but it is not of him I speak. Suppose I know the Comte de Kew to be a man, cold and insolent, ill-bred, and grossier, as the men of his nation are — but one who lacks no courage — one who is terrible when roused; might I have no occasion to fear, not for him, but ——”

“But for me! Ah, Marie! Ah, madame! Believe you that a man of my blood will yield a foot to any Englishman? Do you know the story of my race? do you know that since my childhood I have vowed hatred to that nation? Tenez, madame, this M. Jones who frequents your salon, it was but respect for you that has enabled me to keep my patience with this stupid islander. This Captain Blackball, whom you distinguish, who certainly shoots well, who mounts well to horse, I have always thought his manners were those of the marker of a billiard. But I respect him because he has made war with Don Carlos against the English. But this young M. de Kew, his laugh crisps me the nerves; his insolent air makes me bound; in beholding him I said to myself, I hate you; think whether I love him better after having seen him as I did but now, madame!” Also, but this Victor did not say, he thought Kew had laughed at him at the beginning of the evening, when the blanche Miss had refused to dance with him.

“Ah, Victor, it is not him, but you that I would save,” said the Duchess. And the people round about, and the Duchess herself, afterwards said, yes, certainly, she had a good heart. She entreated Lord Kew; she implored M. Victor; she did everything in her power to appease the quarrel between him and the Frenchman.

After the ball came the supper, which was laid at separate little tables, where parties of half a dozen enjoyed themselves. Lord Kew was of the Duchess’s party, where our Gascon friend had not a seat. But being one of the managers of the entertainment, his lordship went about from table to table, seeing that the guests at each lacked nothing. He supposed too that the dispute with the Gascon had possibly come to an end; at any rate, disagreeable as the other’s speech had been, he had resolved to put up with it, not having the least inclination to drink the Frenchman’s blood, or to part with his own on so absurd a quarrel. He asked people in his good-natured way to drink wine with him; and catching M. Victor’s eye scowling at him from a distant table, he sent a waiter with a champagne-bottle to his late opponent, and lifted his glass as a friendly challenge. The waiter carried the message to M. Victor, who, when he heard it, turned up his glass, and folded his arms in a stately manner. “M. de Castillonnes dit qu’il refuse, milor,” said the waiter, rather scared. “He charged me to bring that message to milor.” Florac ran across to the angry Gascon. It was not while at Madame d’Ivry’s table that Lord Kew sent his challenge and received his reply; his duties as steward had carried him away from that pretty early.

Meanwhile the glimmering dawn peered into the windows of the refreshment-room, and behold, the sun broke in and scared all the revellers. The ladies scurried away like so many ghosts at cock-crow, some of them not caring to face that detective luminary. Cigars had been lighted ere this; the men remained smoking them with those sleepless German waiters still bringing fresh supplies of drink. Lord Kew gave the Duchesse d’Ivry his arm, and was leading her out; M. de Castillonnes stood scowling directly in their way, upon which, with rather an abrupt turn of the shoulder, and a “Pardon, monsieur,” Lord Kew pushed by, and conducted the Duchesse to her carriage. She did not in the least see what had happened between the two gentlemen in the passage; she ogled, and nodded, and kissed her hands quite affectionately to Kew as the fly drove away.

Florac in the meanwhile had seized his compatriot, who had drunk champagne copiously with others, if not with Kew, and was in vain endeavouring to make him hear reason. The Gascon was furious; he vowed that Lord Kew had struck him. “By the tomb of my mother,” he bellowed, “I swear I will have his blood!” Lord Rooster was bawling out, “D—— him, carry him to bed, and shut him up;” which remarks Victor did not understand, or two victims would doubtless have been sacrificed on his mamma’s mausoleum.

When Kew came back (as he was only too sure to do), the little Gascon rushed forward with a glove in his hand, and having an audience of smokers round about him, made a furious speech about England, leopards, cowardice, insolent islanders, and Napoleon at St. Helena; and demanded reason for Kew’s conduct during the night. As he spoke, he advanced towards Lord Kew, glove in hand, and lifted it as if he was actually going to strike.

“There is no need for further words,” said Lord Kew, taking his cigar out of his mouth. “If you don’t drop that glove, upon my word I will pitch you out of the window. Ha! — Pick the man up, somebody. You’ll bear witness, gentlemen, I couldn’t help myself. If he wants me in the morning, he knows where to find me.”

“I declare that my Lord Kew has acted with great forbearance, and under the most brutal provocation — the most brutal provocation, entendez-vows, M. Cabasse?” cried out M. de Florac, rushing forward to the Gascon, who had now risen; “monsieur’s conduct has been unworthy of a Frenchman and a gallant homme.”

“D—— it, he has had it on his nob, though,” said Lord Viscount Rooster, laconically.

“Ah, Roosterre! ceci n’est pas pour rire,” Florac cried sadly, as they both walked away with Lord Kew; “I wish that first blood was all that was to be shed in this quarrel”

“Gaw! how he did go down!” cried Rooster, convulsed with laughter.

“I am very sorry for it,” said Kew, quite seriously; “I couldn’t help it. God forgive me.” And he hung down his head. He thought of the past, and its levities, and punishment coming after him pede claudo. It was with all his heart the contrite young man said “God forgive me.” He would take what was to follow as the penalty of what had gone before.

“Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas immolat, mon pauvre Kiou,” said his French friend. And Lord Rooster, whose classical education had been much neglected, turned round and said, “Hullo, mate, what ship’s that?”

Viscount Rooster had not been two hours in bed, when the Count de Punter (formerly of the Black Jaegers) waited upon him upon the part of M. de Castillonnes and the Earl of Kew, who had referred him to the Viscount to arrange matters for a meeting between them. As the meeting must take place out of the Baden territory, and they ought to move before the police prevented them, the Count proposed that they should at once make for France; where, as it was an affair of honneur, they would assuredly be let to enter without passports.

Lady Anne and Lady Kew heard that the gentlemen after the ball had all gone out on a hunting-party, and were not alarmed for four-and-twenty hours at least. On the next day none of them returned; and on the day after, the family heard that Lord Kew had met with rather a dangerous accident; but all the town knew he had been shot by M. de Castillonnes on one of the islands on the Rhine, opposite Kehl, where he was now lying.

CHAPTER XXXV

Across the Alps

Our discursive muse must now take her place in the little britzska in which Clive Newcome and his companions are travelling, and cross the Alps in that vehicle, beholding the snows on St. Gothard, and the beautiful region through which the Ticino rushes on its way to the Lombard lakes, and the corn-covered great plains of the Milanese; and that royal city, with the cathedral for its glittering crown, only less magnificent than the imperial dome of Rome. I have some long letters from Mr. Clive, written during this youthful tour, every step of which, from the departure at Baden, to the gate of Milan, he describes as beautiful; and doubtless, the delightful scenes through which the young man went, had their effect in soothing any private annoyances with which his journey commenced. The aspect of nature, in that fortunate route which he took, is so noble and cheering, that our private affairs and troubles shrink away abashed before that serene splendour. O sweet peaceful scene of azure lake, and snow-crowned mountain, so wonderfully lovely is your aspect, that it seems like heaven almost, and as if grief and care could not enter it! What young Clive’s private cares were I knew not as yet in those days; and he kept them out of his letters; it was only in the intimacy of future life that some of these pains were revealed to me.

Some three months after taking leave of Miss Ethel, our young gentleman found himself at Rome, with his friend Ridley still for a companion. Many of us, young or middle-aged, have felt that delightful shock which the first sight of the great city inspires. There is one other place of which the view strikes one with an emotion even greater than that with which we look at Rome, where Augustus was reigning when He saw the day, whose birthplace is separated but by a hill or two from the awful gates of Jerusalem. Who that has beheld both can forget that first aspect of either? At the end of years the emotion occasioned by the sight still thrills in your memory, and it smites you as at the moment when you first viewed it.

The business of the present novel, however, lies neither with priest nor pagan, but with Mr. Clive Newcome, and his affairs and his companions at this period of his life. Nor, if the gracious reader expects to hear of cardinals in scarlet, and noble Roman princes and princesses, will he find such in this history. The only noble Roman into whose mansion our friend got admission was the Prince Polonia, whose footmen wear the liveries of the English royal family, who gives gentlemen and even painters cash upon good letters of credit; and, once or twice in a season, opens his transtiberine palace and treats his customers to a ball. Our friend Clive used jocularly to say, he believed there were no Romans. There were priests in portentous hats; there were friars with shaven crowns; there were the sham peasantry, who dressed themselves out in masquerade costumes, with bagpipe and goatskin, with crossed leggings and scarlet petticoats, who let themselves out to artists at so many pauls per sitting; but he never passed a Roman’s door except to buy a cigar or to purchase a handkerchief. Thither, as elsewhere, we carry our insular habits with us. We have a little England at Paris, a little England at Munich, Dresden, everywhere. Our friend is an Englishman, and did at Rome as the English do.

There was the polite English society, the society that flocks to see the Colosseum lighted up with blue fire, that flocks to the Vatican to behold the statues by torchlight, that hustles into the churches on public festivals in black veils and deputy-lieutenants’ uniforms, and stares, and talks, and uses opera-glasses while the pontiffs of the Roman Church are performing its ancient rites, and the crowds of faithful are kneeling round the altars; the society which gives its balls and dinners, has its scandal and bickerings, its aristocrats, parvenus, toadies imported from Belgravia; has its club, its hunt, and its Hyde Park on the Pincio: and there is the other little English world, the broad-hatted, long-bearded, velvet-jacketed, jovial colony of the artists, who have their own feasts, haunts, and amusements by the side of their aristocratic compatriots, with whom but few of them have the honour to mingle.

J. J. and Clive engaged pleasant lofty apartments in the Via Gregoriana. Generations of painters had occupied these chambers and gone their way. The windows of their painting-room looked into a quaint old garden, where there were ancient statues of the Imperial time, a babbling fountain and noble orange-trees with broad clustering leaves and golden balls of fruit, glorious to look upon. Their walks abroad were endlessly pleasant and delightful. In every street there were scores of pictures of the graceful characteristic Italian life, which our painters seem one and all to reject, preferring to depict their quack brigands, contadini, pifferari, and the like, because Thompson painted them before Jones, and Jones before Thompson, and so on, backwards into time. There were the children at play, the women huddled round the steps of the open doorways, in the kindly Roman winter; grim, portentous old hags, such as Michael Angelo painted, draped in majestic raggery; mothers and swarming bambins; slouching countrymen, dark of beard and noble of countenance, posed in superb attitudes, lazy, tattered, and majestic. There came the red troops, the black troops, the blue troops of the army of priests; the snuffy regiments of Capuchins, grave and grotesque; the trim French abbes; my lord the bishop, with his footman (those wonderful footmen); my lord the cardinal, in his ramshackle coach and his two, nay three, footmen behind him; — flunkeys, that look as if they had been dressed by the costumier of a British pantomime; coach with prodigious emblazonments of hats and coats-of-arms, that seems as if it came out of the pantomime too, and was about to turn into something else. So it is, that what is grand to some persons’ eyes appears grotesque to others; and for certain sceptical persons, that step, which we have heard of, between the sublime and the ridiculous, is not visible.

“I wish it were not so,” writes Clive, in one of the letters wherein he used to pour his full heart out in those days. “I see these people at their devotions, and envy them their rapture. A friend, who belongs to the old religion, took me, last week, into a church where the Virgin lately appeared in person to a Jewish gentleman, flashed down upon him from heaven in light and splendour celestial, and, of course, straightway converted him. My friend bade me look at the picture, and, kneeling down beside me, I know prayed with all his honest heart that the truth might shine down upon me too; but I saw no glimpse of heaven at all. I saw but a poor picture, an altar with blinking candles, a church hung with tawdry strips of red and white calico. The good, kind W—— went away, humbly saying ‘that such might have happened again if heaven so willed it.’ I could not but feel a kindness and admiration for the good man. I know his works are made to square with his faith, that he dines on a crust, lives as chaste as a hermit, and gives his all to the poor.

“Our friend J. J., very different to myself in so many respects, so superior in all, is immensely touched by these ceremonies. They seem to answer to some spiritual want of his nature, and he comes away satisfied as from a feast, where I have only found vacancy. Of course our first pilgrimage was to St. Peter’s. What a walk! Under what noble shadows does one pass; how great and liberal the houses are, with generous casements and courts, and great grey portals which giants might get through and keep their turbans on. Why, the houses are twice as tall as Lamb Court itself; and over them hangs a noble dinge, a venerable mouldy splendour. Over the solemn portals are ancient mystic escutcheons — vast shields of princes and cardinals, such as Ariosto’s knights might take down; and every figure about them is a picture by himself. At every turn there is a temple: in every court a brawling fountain. Besides the people of the streets and houses, and the army of priests black and brown, there’s a great silent population of marble. There are battered gods tumbled out of Olympus and broken in the fall, and set up under niches and over fountains; there are senators namelessly, noselessly, noiselessly seated under archways, or lurking in courts and gardens. And then, besides these defunct ones, of whom these old figures may be said to be the corpses, there is the reigning family, a countless carved hierarchy of angels, saints, confessors of the latter dynasty which has conquered the court of Jove. I say, Pen, I wish Warrington would write the history of the Last of the Pagans. Did you never have a sympathy for them as the monks came rushing into their temples, kicking down their poor altars, smashing the fair calm faces of their gods, and sending their vestals a-flying? They are always preaching here about the persecution of the Christians. Are not the churches full of martyrs with choppers in their meek heads; virgins on gridirons; riddled St. Sebastians, and the like? But have they never persecuted in their turn? O me! You and I know better, who were bred up near to the pens of Smithfield, where Protestants and Catholics have taken their turn to be roasted.

“You pass through an avenue of angels and saints on the bridge across Tiber, all in action; their great wings seem clanking, their marble garments clapping; St. Michael, descending upon the Fiend, has been caught and bronzified just as he lighted on the Castle of St. Angelo: his enemy doubtless fell crushing through the roof and so downwards. He is as natural as blank verse — that bronze angel-set, rhythmic, grandiose. You’ll see, some day or other, he’s a great sonnet, sir, I’m sure of that. Milton wrote in bronze; I am sure Virgil polished off his Georgics in marble — sweet calm shapes! exquisite harmonies of line! As for the Aeneid; that, sir, I consider to be so many bas-reliefs, mural ornaments which affect me not much.

“I think I have lost sight of St. Peter’s, haven’t I? Yet it is big enough. How it makes your heart beat when you first see it! Ours did as we came in at night from Civita Vecchia, and saw a great ghostly darkling dome rising solemnly up into the grey night, and keeping us company ever so long as we drove, as if it had been an orb fallen out of heaven with its light put out. As you look at it from the Pincio, and the sun sets behind it, surely that aspect of earth and sky is one of the grandest in the world. I don’t like to say that the facade of the church is ugly and obtrusive. As long as the dome overawes, that facade is supportable. You advance towards it — through, oh, such a noble court! with fountains flashing up to meet the sunbeams; and right and left of you two sweeping half-crescents of great columns; but you pass by the courtiers and up to the steps of the throne, and the dome seems to disappear behind it. It is as if the throne was upset, and the king had toppled over.

“There must be moments, in Rome especially, when every man of friendly heart, who writes himself English and Protestant, must feel a pang at thinking that he and his countrymen are insulated from European Christendom. An ocean separates us. From one shore or the other one can see the neighbour cliffs on clear days: one must wish sometimes that there were no stormy gulf between us; and from Canterbury to Rome a pilgrim could pass, and not drown beyond Dover. Of the beautiful parts of the great Mother Church I believe among us many people have no idea; we think of lazy friars, of pining cloistered virgins, of ignorant peasants worshipping wood and stones, bought and sold indulgences, absolutions, and the like commonplaces of Protestant satire. Lo! yonder inscription, which blazes round the dome of the temple, so great and glorious it looks like heaven almost, and as if the words were written in stars, it proclaims to all the world, this is that Peter, and on this rock the Church shall be built, against which Hell shall not prevail. Under the bronze canopy his throne is lit with lights that have been burning before it for ages. Round this stupendous chamber are ranged the grandees of his court. Faith seems to be realised in their marble figures. Some of them were alive but yesterday; others, to be as blessed as they, walk the world even now doubtless; and the commissioners of heaven, here holding their court a hundred years hence, shall authoritatively announce their beatification. The signs of their power shall not be wanting. They heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, cause the lame to walk today as they did eighteen centuries ago. Are there not crowds ready to bear witness to their wonders? Isn’t there a tribunal appointed to try their claims; advocates to plead for and against; prelates and clergy and multitudes of faithful to back and believe them? Thus you shall kiss the hand of a priest today, who has given his to a friar whose bones are already beginning to work miracles, who has been the disciple of another whom the Church has just proclaimed a saint — hand in hand they hold by one another till the line is lost up in heaven. Come, friend, let us acknowledge this, and go and kiss the toe of St. Peter. Alas! there’s the Channel always between us; and we no more believe in the miracles of St. Thomas of Canterbury, than that the bones of His Grace John Bird, who sits in St. Thomas’s chair presently, will work wondrous cures in the year 2000: that his statue will speak, or his portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence will wink.

“So, you see, at those grand ceremonies which the Roman Church exhibits at Christmas, I looked on as a Protestant. Holy Father on his throne or in his palanquin, cardinals with their tails and their train-bearers, mitred bishops and abbots, regiments of friars and clergy, relics exposed for adoration, columns draped, altars illuminated, incense smoking, organs pealing, and boxes of piping soprani, Swiss guards with slashed breeches and fringed halberts; — between us and all this splendour of old-world ceremony, there’s an ocean flowing: and yonder old statue of Peter might have been Jupiter again, surrounded by a procession of flamens and augurs, and Augustus as Pontifex Maximus, to inspect the sacrifices — and my feelings at the spectacle had been, doubtless, pretty much the same.

“Shall I utter any more heresies? I am an unbeliever in Raphael’s ‘Transfiguration’— the scream of that devil-possessed boy, in the lower part of the figure of eight (a stolen boy too), jars the whole music of the composition. On Michael Angelo’s great wall, the grotesque and terrible are not out of place. What an awful achievement! Fancy the state of mind of the man who worked it — as alone, day after day, he devised and drew those dreadful figures! Suppose in the days of the Olympian dynasty, the subdued Titan rebels had been set to ornament a palace for Jove, they would have brought in some such tremendous work: or suppose that Michael descended to the Shades, and brought up this picture out of the halls of Limbo. I like a thousand and a thousand times better to think of Raphael’s loving spirit. As he looked at women and children, his beautiful face must have shone like sunshine: his kind hand must have caressed the sweet figures as he formed them. If I protest against the ‘Transfiguration,’ and refuse to worship at that altar before which so many generations have knelt, there are hundreds of others which I salute thankfully. It is not so much in the set harangues (to take another metaphor), as in the daily tones and talk that his voice is so delicious. Sweet poetry, and music, and tender hymns drop from him: he lifts his pencil, and something gracious falls from it on the paper. How noble his mind must have been! it seems but to receive, and his eye seems only to rest on, what is great, and generous, and lovely. You walk through crowded galleries, where are pictures ever so large and pretentious; and come upon a grey paper, or a little fresco, bearing his mark-and over all the brawl and the throng recognise his sweet presence. ‘I would like to have you been Giulio Romano,’ J. J. says (who does not care for Giulio’s pictures), ‘because then I would have been Raphael’s favourite pupil.’ We agreed that we would rather have seen him and William Shakspeare, than all the men we ever read of. Fancy poisoning a fellow out of envy — as Spagnoletto did! There are some men whose admiration takes that bilious shape. There’s a fellow in our mess at the Lepre, a clever enough fellow too — and not a bad fellow to the poor. He was a Gandishite. He is a genre and portrait painter, by the name of Haggard. He hates J. J. because Lord Fareham, who is here, has given J. J. an order; and he hates me, because I wear a clean shirt, and ride a cock-horse.

“I wish you could come to our mess at the Lepre. It’s such a dinner: such a tablecloth: such a waiter: such a company! Every man has a beard and a sombrero: and you would fancy we were a band of brigands. We are regaled with woodcocks, snipes, wild swans, ducks, robins, and owls and oionoisi te pasi for dinner; and with three pauls’ worth of wines and victuals the hungriest has enough, even Claypole the sculptor. Did you ever know him? He used to come to the Haunt. He looks like the Saracen’s head with his beard now. There is a French table still more hairy than ours, a German table, an American table. After dinner we go and have coffee and mezzo-caldo at the Cafe Greco over the way. Mezzo-caldo is not a bad drink — a little rum — a slice of fresh citron — lots of pounded sugar, and boiling water for the rest. Here in various parts of the cavern (it is a vaulted low place) the various nations have their assigned quarters, and we drink our coffee and strong waters, and abuse Guido, or Rubens, or Bernini selon les gouts, and blow such a cloud of smoke as would make Warrington’s lungs dilate with pleasure. We get very good cigars for a bajoccho and half — that is very good for us, cheap tobaccanalians; and capital when you have got no others. M’Collop is here: he made a great figure at a cardinal’s reception in the tartan of the M’Collop. He is splendid at the tomb of the Stuarts, and wanted to cleave Haggard down to the chine with his claymore for saying that Charles Edward was often drunk.

“Some of us have our breakfasts at the Cafe Greco at dawn. The birds are very early birds here; and you’ll see the great sculptors — the old Dons, you know, who look down on us young fellows — at their coffee here when it is yet twilight. As I am a swell, and have a servant, J. J. and I breakfast at our lodgings. I wish you could see Terribile our attendant, and Ottavia our old woman! You will see both of them on the canvas one day. When he hasn’t blacked our boots and has got our breakfast, Terribile the valet-de-chambre becomes Terribile the model. He has figured on a hundred canvases ere this, and almost ever since he was born. All his family were models. His mother having been a Venus, is now a Witch of Endor. His father is in the patriarchal line: he has himself done the cherubs, the shepherd-boys, and now is a grown man, and ready as a warrior, a pifferaro, a capuchin, or what you will.

“After the coffee and the Cafe Greco we all go to the Life Academy. After the Life Academy, those who belong to the world dress and go out to tea-parties just as if we were in London. Those who are not in society have plenty of fun of their own — and better fun than the tea-party fun too. Jack Screwby has a night once a week, sardines and ham for supper, and a cask of Marsala in the corner. Your humble servant entertains on Thursdays: which is Lady Fitch’s night too; and I flatter myself some of the London dandies who are passing the winter here, prefer the cigars and humble liquors which we dispense, to tea and Miss Fitch’s performance on the pianoforte.

“What is that I read in Galignani about Lord K— and an affair of honour at Baden? Is it my dear kind jolly Kew with whom some one has quarrelled? I know those who will be even more grieved than I am, should anything happen to the best of good fellows. A great friend of Lord Kew’s, Jack Belsize commonly called, came with us from Baden through Switzerland, and we left him at Milan. I see by the paper that his elder brother is dead and so poor Jack will be a great man some day. I wish the chance had happened sooner if it was to befall at all. So my amiable cousin, Barnes Newcome Newcome, Esq., has married my Lady Clara Pulleyn; I wish her joy of her bridegroom. All I have heard of that family is from the newspaper. If you meet them, tell me anything about them. — We had a very pleasant time altogether at Baden. I suppose the accident to Kew will put off his marriage with Miss Newcome. They have been engaged, you know, ever so long. — And — do, do write to me and tell me something about London. It’s best I should — should stay here and work this winter and the next. J. J. has done a famous picture, and if I send a couple home, you’ll give them a notice in the Pall Mall Gazette — won’t you? — for the sake of old times and yours affectionately, Clive Newcome.”

CHAPTER XXXVI

In which M. de Florac is promoted

However much Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry was disposed to admire and praise her own conduct in the affair which ended so unfortunately for poor Lord Kew, between whom and the Gascon her grace vowed that she had done everything in her power to prevent a battle, the old Duke, her lord, was, it appeared, by no means delighted with his wife’s behaviour, nay, visited her with his very sternest displeasure. Miss O’Grady, the Duchesse’s companion, and her little girl’s instructress, at this time resigned her functions in the Ivry family; it is possible that in the recriminations consequent upon the governess’s dismissal, the Miss Irlandaise, in whom the family had put so much confidence, divulged stories unfavourable to her patroness, and caused the indignation of the Duke, her husband. Between Florac and the Duchesse there was also open war and rupture. He had been one of Kew’s seconds in the latter’s affair with the Vicomte’s countryman. He had even cried out for fresh pistols, and proposed to engage Castillonnes, when his gallant principal fell; and though a second duel was luckily averted as murderous and needless, M. de Florac never hesitated afterwards, and in all companies, to denounce with the utmost virulence the instigator and the champion of the odious original quarrel. He vowed that the Duchesse had shot le petit Kiou as effectually as if she had herself fired the pistol at his breast. Murderer, poisoner, Brinvilliers, a hundred more such epithets he used against his kinswoman, regretting that the good old times were past — that there was no Chambre Ardente to try her, and no rack and wheel to give her her due.

The biographer of the Newcomes has no need (although he possesses the fullest information) to touch upon the Duchesse’s doings, further than as they relate to that most respectable English family. When the Duke took his wife into the country, Florac never hesitated to say that to live with her was dangerous for the old man, and to cry out to his friends of the Boulevards or the Jockey Club, “Ma parole d’honneur, cette femme le tuera!”

Do you know, O gentle and unsuspicious readers, or have you ever reckoned as you have made your calculation of society, how many most respectable husbands help to kill their wives — how many respectable wives aid in sending their husbands to Hades? The wife of a chimney-sweep or a journeyman butcher comes shuddering before a police magistrate — her head bound up — her body scarred and bleeding with wounds, which the drunken ruffian, her lord, has administered: a poor shopkeeper or mechanic is driven out of his home by the furious ill-temper of the shrill virago his wife — takes to the public-house — to evil courses — to neglecting his business — to the gin-bottle — to delirium tremens — to perdition. Bow Street, and policemen, and the newspaper reporters, have cognisance and a certain jurisdiction over these vulgar matrimonial crimes; but in politer company how many murderous assaults are there by husband or wife — where the woman is not felled by the actual fist, though she staggers and sinks under blows quite as cruel and effectual; where, with old wounds yet unhealed, which she strives to hide under a smiling face from the world, she has to bear up and to be stricken down and to rise to her feet again, under fresh daily strokes of torture; where the husband, fond and faithful, has to suffer slights, coldness, insult, desertion, his children sneered away from their love for him, his friends driven from his door by jealousy, his happiness strangled, his whole life embittered, poisoned, destroyed! If you were acquainted with the history of every family in your street, don’t you know that in two or three of the houses there such tragedies have been playing? Is not the young mistress of Number 20 already pining at her husband’s desertion? The kind master of Number 30 racking his fevered brains and toiling through sleepless nights to pay for the jewels on his wife’s neck, and the carriage out of which she ogles Lothario in the Park? The fate under which man or woman falls, blow of brutal tyranny, heartless desertion, weight of domestic care too heavy to bear — are not blows such as these constantly striking people down? In this long parenthesis we are wandering ever so far away from M. le Duc and Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry, and from the vivacious Florac’s statement regarding his kinsman, that that woman will kill him.

There is this at least to be said, that if the Duc d’Ivry did die he was a very old gentleman, and had been a great viveur for at least threescore years of his life. As Prince de Moncontour in his father’s time before the Revolution, during the Emigration, even after the Restoration, M. le Duc had vecu with an extraordinary vitality. He had gone through good and bad fortune: extreme poverty, display and splendour, affairs of love — affairs of honour — and of one disease or another a man must die at the end. After the Baden business — and he had dragged off his wife to Champagne — the Duke became greatly broken; he brought his little daughter to a convent at Paris, putting the child under the special guardianship of Madame de Florac, with whom and with whose family in these latter days the old chief of the house effected a complete reconciliation. The Duke was now for ever coming to Madame de Florac; he poured all his wrongs and griefs into her ear with garrulous senile eagerness. “That little Duchesse is a monstre, a femme d’Eugene Sue,” the Vicomte used to say; “the poor old Duke he cry — ma parole d’honneur, he cry and I cry too when he comes to recount to my poor mother, whose sainted heart is the asile of all griefs, a real Hotel Dieu, my word the most sacred, with beds for all the afflicted, with sweet words, like Sisters of Charity, to minister to them:— I cry, mon bon Pendennis, when this vieillard tells his stories about his wife and tears his white hairs to the feet of my mother.”

When the little Antoinette was separated by her father from her mother, the Duchesse d’Ivry, it might have been expected that that poetess would have dashed off a few more cris de l’ame, shrieking according to her wont, and baring and beating that shrivelled maternal bosom of hers, from which her child had been just torn. The child skipped and laughed to go away to the convent. It was only when she left Madame de Florac that she used to cry; and when urged by that good lady to exhibit a little decorous sentiment in writing to her mamma, Antoinette would ask, in her artless way, “Pourquoi? Mamma used never to speak to me except sometimes before the world, before ladies, that understands itself. When her gentleman came, she put me to the door; then she gave me tapes, o oui, she gave me tapes! I cry no more; she has so much made to cry M. le Duc, that it is quite enough of one in a family.” So Madame la Duchesse d’Ivry did not weep, even in print, for the loss of her pretty little Antoinette; besides, she was engaged, at that time, by other sentimental occupations. A young grazier of their neighbouring town, of an aspiring mind and remarkable poetic talents, engrossed the Duchesse’s platonic affections at this juncture. When he had sold his beasts at market, he would ride over and read Rousseau and Schiller with Madame la Duchesse, who formed him. His pretty young wife was rendered miserable by all these readings, but what could the poor little ignorant countrywoman know of Platonism? Faugh! there is more than one woman we see in society smiling about from house to house, pleasant and sentimental and formosa superne enough; but I fancy a fish’s tail is flapping under her fine flounces, and a forked fin at the end of it!

Finer flounces, finer bonnets, more lovely wreaths, more beautiful lace, smarter carriages, bigger white bows, larger footmen, were not seen, during all the season of 18 — than appeared round about St. George’s, Hanover Square, in the beautiful month of June succeeding that September when so many of our friends the Newcomes were assembled at Baden. Those flaunting carriages, powdered and favoured footmen, were in attendance upon members of the Newcome family and their connexions, who were celebrating what is called a marriage in high life in the temple within. Shall we set down a catalogue of the dukes, marquises, earls, who were present; cousins of the lovely bride? Are they not already in the Morning Herald and Court Journal, as well as in the Newcome Chronicle and Independent, and the Dorking Intelligencer and Chanticleer Weekly Gazette? There they are, all printed at full length sure enough; the name of the bride, Lady Clara Pulleyn, the lovely and accomplished daughter of the Earl and Countess of Dorking; of the beautiful bridesmaids, the Ladies Henrietta, Belinda, Adelaide Pulleyn, Miss Newcome, Miss Alice Newcome, Miss Maude Newcome, Miss Anna Maria (Hobson) Newcome; and all the other persons engaged in the ceremony. It was performed by the Right Honourable Viscount Gallowglass, Bishop of Ballyshannon, brother-inlaw to the bride, assisted by the Honourable and Reverend Hercules O’Grady, his lordship’s chaplain, and the Reverend John Bulders, Rector of St. Mary’s, Newcome. Then follow the names of all the nobility who were present, and of the noble and distinguished personages who signed the book. Then comes an account of the principal dresses, chefs-d’oeuvre of Madame Crinoline; of the bride’s coronal of brilliants, supplied by Messrs. Morr and Stortimer; — of the veil of priceless Chantilly lace, the gift of the Dowager Countess of Kew. Then there is a description of the wedding-breakfast at the house of the bride’s noble parents, and of the cake, decorated by Messrs. Gunter with the most delicious taste and the sweetest hymeneal allusions.

No mention was made by the fashionable chronicler of a slight disturbance which occurred at St. George’s, and which was indeed out of the province of such a genteel purveyor of news. Before the marriage service began, a woman of vulgar appearance and disorderly aspect, accompanied by two scared children who took no part in the disorder occasioned by their mother’s proceeding, except by their tears and outcries to augment the disquiet, made her appearance in one of the pews of the church, was noted there by persons in the vestry, was requested to retire by a beadle, and was finally induced to quit the sacred precincts of the building by the very strongest persuasion of a couple of policemen; X and Y laughed at one another, and nodded their heads knowingly as the poor wretch with her whimpering boys was led away. They understood very well who the personage was who had come to disturb the matrimonial ceremony; it did not commence until Mrs. De Lacy (as this lady chose to be called) had quitted this temple of Hymen. She slunk through the throng of emblazoned carriages, and the press of footmen arrayed as splendidly as Solomon in his glory. John jeered at Thomas, William turned his powdered head, and signalled Jeames, who answered with a corresponding grin, as the woman with sobs, and wild imprecations, and frantic appeals, made her way through the splendid crowd escorted by her aides-de-camp in blue. I dare say her little history was discussed at many a dinner-table that day in the basement story of several fashionable houses. I know that at clubs in St. James’s the facetious little anecdote was narrated. A young fellow came to Bays’s after the marriage breakfast and mentioned the circumstance with funny comments; although the Morning Post, in describing this affair in high life, naturally omitted all mention of such low people as Mrs. De Lacy and her children.

Those people who knew the noble families whose union had been celebrated by such a profusion of grandees, fine equipages, and footmen, brass bands, brilliant toilets, and wedding favours, asked how it was that Lord Kew did not assist at Barnes Newcome’s marriage; other persons in society inquired waggishly why Jack Belsize was not present to give Lady Clara away.

As for Jack Belsize, his clubs had not been ornamented by his presence for a year past. It was said he had broken the bank at Hombourg last autumn; had been heard of during the winter at Milan, Venice, and Vienna; and when, a few months after the marriage of Barnes Newcome and Lady Clara, Jack’s elder brother died, and he himself became the next in succession to the title and estates of Highgate, many folks said it was a pity little Barney’s marriage had taken place so soon. Lord Kew was not present, because Kew was still abroad; he had had a gambling duel with a Frenchman, and a narrow squeak for his life. He had turned Roman Catholic, some men said; others vowed that he had joined the Methodist persuasion. At all events Kew had given up his wild courses, broken with the turf, and sold his stud off; he was delicate yet, and his mother was taking care of him; between whom and the old dowager of Kew, who had made up Barney’s marriage, as everybody knew, there was no love lost.

Then who was the Prince de Moncontour, who, with his princess, figured at this noble marriage? There was a Moncontour, the Duc d’Ivry’s son, but he died at Paris before the revolution of ‘30: one or two of the oldsters at Bays’s, Major Pendennis, General Tufto, old Cackleby — the old fogies, in a word — remembered the Duke of Ivry when he was here during the Emigration, and when he was called Prince de Moncontour, the title of the eldest son of the family. Ivry was dead, having buried his son before him, and having left only a daughter by that young woman whom he married, and who led him such a life. Who was this present Moncontour?

He was a gentleman to whom the reader has already been presented, though when we lately saw him at Baden he did not enjoy so magnificent a title. Early in the year of Barnes Newcome’s marriage, there came to England, and to our modest apartment in the Temple, a gentleman bringing a letter of recommendation from our dear young Clive, who said that the bearer, the Vicomte de Florac, was a great friend of his, and of the Colonel’s, who had known his family from boyhood. A friend of our Clive and our Colonel was sure of a welcome in Lamb Court; we gave him the hand of hospitality, the best cigar in the box, the easy-chair with only one broken leg; the dinner in chambers and at the club, the banquet at Greenwich (where, ma foi, the little whites baits elicited his profound satisfaction); in a word, did our best to honour that bill which our young Clive had drawn upon us. We considered the young one in the light of a nephew of our own; we took a pride in him, and were fond of him; and as for the Colonel, did we not love and honour him; would we not do our utmost in behalf of any stranger who came recommended to us by Thomas Newcome’s good word? So Florac was straightway admitted to our companionship. We showed him the town, and some of the modest pleasures thereof; we introduced him to the Haunt, and astonished him by the company which he met there. Between Brent’s “Deserter” and Mark Wilder’s “Garryowen,” Florac sang —

Tiens voici ma pipe, voila mon bri — quet;
Et quand la Tulipe fait le noir tra — jet
Que tu sois la seule dans le regi — ment
Avec la brule-gueule de ton cher z’a — mant;

to the delight of Tom Sarjent, who, though he only partially comprehended the words of the song, pronounced the singer to be a rare gentleman, full of most excellent differences. We took our Florac to the Derby; we presented him in Fitzroy Square, whither we still occasionally went, for Clive’s and our dear Colonel’s sake.

The Vicomte pronounced himself strongly in favour of the blanche misse little Rosey Mackenzie, of whom we have lost sight for some few chapters. Mrs. Mac he considered, my faith, to be a woman superb. He used to kiss the tips of his own fingers, in token of his admiration for the lovely widow; he pronounced her again more pretty than her daughter; and paid her a thousand compliments, which she received with exceeding good-humour. If the Vicomte gave us to understand presently that Rosey and her mother were both in love with him, but that for all the world he would not meddle with the happiness of his dear little Clive, nothing unfavourable to the character or constancy of the before-mentioned ladies must be inferred from M. de Florac’s speech; his firm conviction being, that no woman could pass many hours in his society without danger to her subsequent peace of mind.

For some little time we had no reason to suspect that our French friend was not particularly well furnished with the current coin of the realm. Without making any show of wealth, he would, at first, cheerfully engage in our little parties: his lodgings in the neighbourhood of Leicester Square, though dingy, were such as many noble foreign exiles have inhabited. It was not until he refused to join some pleasure-trip which we of Lamb Court proposed, honestly confessing his poverty, that we were made aware of the Vicomte’s little temporary calamity; and, as we became more intimate with him, he acquainted us, with great openness, with the history of all his fortunes. He described energetically that splendid run of luck which had set in at Baden with Clive’s loan: his winnings, at that fortunate period, had carried him through the winter with considerable brilliancy, but bouillotte and Mademoiselle Atala, of the Varietes (une ogresse, mon cher, who devours thirty of our young men every year in her cavern, in the Rue de Breda), had declared against him, and the poor Vicomte’s pockets were almost empty when he came to London.

He was amiably communicative regarding himself, and told us his virtues and his faults (if indeed a passion for play and for women could be considered as faults in a gay young fellow of two or three and forty), with a like engaging frankness. He would weep in describing his angel mother: he would fly off again into tirades respecting the wickedness, the wit, the extravagance, the charms of the young lady of the Varietes. He would then (in conversation) introduce us to Madame de Florac, nee Higg, of Manchesterre. His prattle was incessant, and to my friend Mr. Warrington especially he was an object of endless delight and amusement and wonder. He would roll and smoke countless paper cigars, talking unrestrainedly when we were not busy, silent when we were engaged; he would only rarely partake of our meals, and altogether refused all offers of pecuniary aid. He disappeared at dinner-time into the mysterious purlieus of Leicester Square, and dark ordinaries only frequented by Frenchmen. As we walked with him in the Regent Street precincts, he would exchange marks of recognition with many dusky personages, smoking bravos; and whiskered refugees of his nation.

“That gentleman,” he would say, “who has done me the honour to salute me, is a coiffeur of the most celebrated; he forms the deuces of our table-d’hote. ‘Bon jour, mon cher monsieur!’ We are friends, though not of the same opinion. Monsieur is a republican of the most distinguished; conspirator of profession, and at this time engaged in constructing an infernal machine to the address of His Majesty, Louis Philippe, King of the French.” “Who is my friend with the scarlet beard and the white paletot? My good Warrington! you do not move in the world; you make yourself a hermit, my dear! Not know monsieur! — monsieur is secretary to Mademoiselle Caracoline, the lovely rider at the circus of Astley; I shall be charmed to introduce you to this amiable society some day at our table-d’hote.”

Warrington vowed that the company of Florac’s friends would be infinitely more amusing than the noblest society ever chronicled in the Morning Post; but we were neither sufficiently familiar with the French language to make conversation in that tongue as pleasant to us as talking in our own; and so were content with Florac’s description of his compatriots, which the Vicomte delivered in that charming French-English of which he was a master.

However threadbare in his garments, poor in purse, and eccentric in morals our friend was, his manners were always perfectly gentlemanlike, and he draped himself in his poverty with the grace of a Spanish grandee. It must be confessed, that the grandee loved the estaminet where he could play billiards with the first comer; that he had a passion for the gambling-house; that he was a loose and disorderly nobleman: but, in whatever company he found himself, a certain kindness, simplicity, and politeness distinguished him always. He bowed to the damsel who sold him a penny cigar, as graciously as to a duchess; he crushed a manant’s impertinence or familiarity as haughtily as his noble ancestors ever did at the Louvre, at Marli, or Versailles. He declined to obtemperer to his landlady’s request to pay his rent, but he refused with a dignity which struck the woman with awe; and King Alfred, over the celebrated muffin (on which Gandish and other painters have exercised their genius), could not have looked more noble than Florac in a robe-de-chambre, once gorgeous, but shady now as became its owner’s clouded fortunes; toasting his bit of bacon at his lodgings, when the fare even of his table-d’hote had grown too dear for him.

As we know from Gandish’s work, that better times were in store for the wandering monarch, and that the officers came acquainting him that his people demanded his presence a grands cris, when of course King Alfred laid down the toast and resumed the sceptre; so in the case of Florac, two humble gentlemen, inhabitants of Lamb Court, and members of the Upper temple, had the good luck to be the heralds as it were, nay indeed, the occasion, of the rising fortunes of the Prince de Moncontour. Florac had informed us of the death of his cousin the Duc d’Ivry, by whose demise the Vicomte’s father, the old Count de Florac, became the representative of the house of Ivry, and possessor, through his relative’s bequest, of an old chateau still more gloomy and spacious than the count’s own house in the Faubourg St. Germain — a chateau, of which the woods, domains, and appurtenances had been lopped off by the Revolution. “Monsieur le Comte,” Florac says, “has not wished to change his name at his age; he has shrugged his old shoulder, and said it was not the trouble to make to engrave a new card; and for me,” the philosophical Vicomte added, “of what good shall be a title of prince in the position where I find myself?” It is wonderful for us who inhabit a country where rank is worshipped with so admirable a reverence, to think that there are many gentlemen in France who actually have authentic titles and do not choose to bear them.

Mr. George Warrington was hugely amused with this notion of Florac’s ranks and dignities. The idea of the Prince purchasing penny cigars; of the Prince mildly expostulating with his landlady regarding the rent; of his punting for half-crowns at a neighbouring hall in Air Street, whither the poor gentleman desperately ran when he had money in his pocket, tickled George’s sense of humour. It was Warrington who gravely saluted the Vicomte, and compared him to King Alfred, on that afternoon when we happened to call upon him and found him engaged in cooking his modest dinner.

We were bent upon an excursion to Greenwich, and on having our friend’s company on that voyage, and we induced the Vicomte to forgo his bacon, and be our guest for once. George Warrington chose to indulge in a great deal of ironical pleasantry in the course of the afternoon’s excursion. As we went down the river, he pointed out to Florac the very window in the Tower where the captive Duke of Orleans used to sit when he was an inhabitant of that fortress. At Greenwich, which palace Florac informed us was built by Queen Elizabeth, George showed the very spot where Raleigh laid his cloak down to enable Her Majesty to step over a puddle. In a word, he mystified M. de Florac; such was Mr. Warrington’s reprehensible spirit.

It happened that Mr. Barnes Newcome came to dine at Greenwich on the same day when our little party took place. He had come down to meet Rooster and one or two other noble friends whose names he took care to give us, cursing them at the same time for having thrown him over. Having missed his own company, Mr. Barnes condescended to join ours, Warrington gravely thanking him for the great honour which he conferred upon us by volunteering to take a place at our table. Barnes drank freely, and was good enough to resume his acquaintance with Monsieur de Florac, whom he perfectly well recollected at Baden, but had thought proper to forget on the one or two occasions when they had met in public since the Vicomte’s arrival in this country. There are few men who can drop and resume an acquaintance with such admirable self-possession as Barnes Newcome. When, over our dessert, by which time all tongues were unloosed and each man talked gaily, George Warrington feelingly thanked Barnes in a little mock speech, for his great kindness in noticing us, presenting him at the same time to Florac as the ornament of the City, the greatest banker of his age, the beloved kinsman of their friend Clive, who was always writing about him; Barnes said, with one of his accustomed curses, he did not know whether Mr. Warrington was “chaffing” him or not, and indeed could never make him out. Warrington replied that he never could make himself out: and if ever Mr. Barnes could, George would thank him for information on that subject.

Florac, like most Frenchmen very sober in his potations, left us for a while over ours, which were conducted after the more liberal English manner, and retired to smoke his cigar on the terrace. Barnes then freely uttered his sentiments regarding him, which were not more favourable than those which the young gentleman generally emitted respecting gentlemen whose backs were turned. He had known a little of Florac the year before at Baden: he had been mixed up with Kew in that confounded row in which Kew was hit; he was an adventurer, a pauper, a blackleg, a regular Greek; he had heard Florac was of old family, that was true; but what of that? He was only one of those d ——— French counts; everybody was a count in France confound ’em! The claret was beastly — not fit for a gentleman to drink! — He swigged off a great bumper as he was making the remark: for Barnes Newcome abuses the men and things which he uses, and perhaps is better served than more grateful persons.

“Count!” cries Warrington, “what do you mean by talking about beggarly counts? Florac’s family is one of the noblest and most ancient in Europe. It is more ancient than your illustrious friend, the barber-surgeon; it was illustrious before the house, ay, or the pagoda of Kew was in existence.” And he went on to describe how Florac by the demise of his kinsman, was now actually Prince de Moncontour, though he did not choose to assume that title. Very likely the noble Gascon drink in which George had been indulging, imparted a certain warmth and eloquence to his descriptions of Florac’s good qualities, high birth, and considerable patrimony; Barnes looked quite amazed and scared at these announcements, then laughed and declared once more that Warrington was chaffing him.

“As sure as the Black Prince was lord of Acquitaine — as sure as the English were masters of Bordeaux — and why did we ever lose the country?” cries George, filling himself a bumper — “every word I have said about Florac is true;” and Florac coming in at this juncture havin just finished his cigar, George turned round and made him a fine speech in the French language, in which he lauded his constancy and good-humour under evil fortune, paid him two or three more cordial compliments, and finished by drinking another great bumper to his good health.

Florac took a little wine, replied “with effusion” to the toast which his excellent, his noble friend had just carried. We rapped our glasses at the end of the speech. The landlord himself seemed deeply touched by it as he stood by with a fresh bottle. “It is good wine — it is honest wine — it is capital wine” says George, “and honni soit qui mal y pence! What business have you, you little beggar, to abuse it? My ancestor drank the wine and wore the motto round his leg long before a Newcome ever showed his pale face in Lombard Street.” George Warrington never bragged about his pedigree except under certain influences. I am inclined to think that on this occasion he really did find the claret very good.

“You don’t mean to say,” says Barnes, addressing Florac in French, on which he piqued himself, “que vous avez un tel manche a votre nom, et que vous ne l’usez pas?”

Florac shrugged his shoulders; he at first did not understand that familiar figure of English speech, or what was meant by “having a handle to your name.” “Moncontour cannot dine better than Florac,” he said. “Florac has two louis in his pocket, and Moncontour exactly forty shillings. Florac’s proprietor will ask Moncontour tomorrow for five weeks’ rent; and as for Florac’s friends, my dear, they will burst out laughing to Moncontour’s nose!” “How droll you English are!” this acute French observer afterwards said, laughing, and recalling the incident. Did you not see how that little Barnes, as soon as he knew my title of Prince, changed his manner and became all respect towards me? This, indeed, Monsieur de Florac’s two friends remarked with no little amusement. Barnes began quite well to remember their pleasant days at Baden, and talked of their acquaintance there: Barnes offered the Prince the vacant seat in his brougham, and was ready to set him down anywhere that he wished in town.

“Bah!” says Florac; “we came by the steamer, and I prefer the peniboat.” But the hospitable Barnes, nevertheless, called upon Florac the next day. And now having partially explained how the Prince de Moncontour was present at Mr. Barnes Newcome’s wedding, let us show how it was that Barnes’s first-cousin, the Earl of Kew, did not attend that ceremony.

CHAPTER XXXVII

Return to Lord Kew

We do not propose to describe at length or with precision the circumstances of the duel which ended so unfortunately for young Lord Kew. The meeting was inevitable: after the public acts and insult of the morning, the maddened Frenchman went to it convinced that his antagonist had wilfully outraged him, eager to show his bravery upon the body of an Englishman, and as proud as if he had been going into actual war. That commandment, the sixth in our decalogue, which forbids the doing of murder, and the injunction which directly follows on the same table, have been repealed by a very great number of Frenchmen for many years past; and to take the neighbour’s wife, and his life subsequently, has not been an uncommon practice with the politest people in the world. Castillonnes had no idea but that he was going to the field of honour; stood with an undaunted scowl before his enemy’s pistol; and discharged his own and brought down his opponent with a grim satisfaction, and a comfortable conviction afterwards that he had acted en galant homme. “It was well for this milor that he fell at the first shot, my dear,” the exemplary young Frenchman remarked; “a second might have been yet more fatal to him; ordinarily I am sure of my coup, and you conceive that in an affair so grave it was absolutely necessary that one or other should remain on the ground.” Nay, should M. de Kew recover from his wound, it was M. de Castillonnes’ intention to propose a second encounter between himself and that nobleman. It had been Lord Kew’s determination never to fire upon his opponent, a confession which he made not to his second, poor scared Lord Rooster, who bore the young Earl to Kehl, but to some of his nearest relatives, who happened fortunately to be not far from him when he received his wound, and who came with all the eagerness of love to watch by his bedside.

We have said that Lord Kew’s mother, Lady Walham, and her second son were staying at Hombourg, when the Earl’s disaster occurred. They had proposed to come to Baden to see Kew’s new bride, and to welcome her; but the presence of her mother-inlaw deterred Lady Walham, who gave up her heart’s wish in bitterness of spirit, knowing very well that a meeting between the old Countess and herself could only produce the wrath, pain, and humiliation which their coming together always occasioned. It was Lord Kew who bade Rooster send for his mother, and not for Lady Kew; and as soon as she received those sad tidings, you may be sure the poor lady hastened to the bed where her wounded boy lay.

The fever had declared itself, and the young man had been delirious more than once. His wan face lighted up with joy when he saw his mother; he put his little feverish hand out of the bed to her —“I knew you would come, dear,” he said, “and you know I never would have fired upon the poor Frenchman.” The fond mother allowed no sign of terror or grief to appear upon her face, so as to disturb her first-born and darling; but no doubt she prayed by his side as such loving hearts know how to pray, for the forgiveness of his trespass, who had forgiven those who sinned against him. “I knew I should be hit, George,” said Kew to his brother when they were alone; “I always expected some such end as this. My life has been very wild and reckless; and you, George, have always been faithful to our mother. You will make a better Lord Kew than I have been, George. God bless you.” George flung himself down with sobs by his brother’s bedside, and swore Frank had always been the best fellow, the best brother, the kindest heart, the warmest friend in the world. Love — prayer — repentance, thus met over the young man’s bed. Anxious and humble hearts, his own the least anxious and the most humble, awaited the dread award of life or death; and the world, and its ambition and vanities, were shut out from the darkened chamber where the awful issue was being tried.

Our history has had little to do with characters resembling this lady. It is of the world, and things pertaining to it. Things beyond it, as the writer imagines, scarcely belong to the novelist’s province. Who is he, that he should assume the divine’s office; or turn his desk into a preacher’s pulpit? In that career of pleasure, of idleness, of crime we might call it (but that the chronicler of worldly matters had best be chary of applying hard names to acts which young men are doing in the world every day), the gentle widowed lady, mother of Lord Kew, could but keep aloof, deploring the course upon which her dear young prodigal had entered; and praying with that saintly love, those pure supplications, with which good mothers follow their children, for her boy’s repentance and return. Very likely her mind was narrow; very likely the precautions which she had used in the lad’s early days, the tutors and directors she had set about him, the religious studies and practices to which she would have subjected him, had served only to vex and weary the young pupil, and to drive his high spirit into revolt. It is hard to convince a woman perfectly pure in her life and intentions, ready to die if need were for her own faith, having absolute confidence in the instruction of her teachers, that she and they (with all their sermons) may be doing harm. When the young catechist yawns over his reverence’s discourse, who knows but it is the doctor’s vanity which is enraged, and not Heaven which is offended? It may have been, in the differences which took place between her son and her, the good Lady Walham never could comprehend the lad’s side of the argument; or how his Protestantism against her doctrines should exhibit itself on the turf, the gaming-table, or the stage of the opera-house; and thus but for the misfortune under which poor Kew now lay bleeding, these two loving hearts might have remained through life asunder. But by the boy’s bedside; in the paroxysms of his fever; in the wild talk of his delirium; in the sweet patience and kindness with which he received his dear nurse’s attentions; the gratefulness with which he thanked the servants who waited on him; the fortitude with which he suffered the surgeon’s dealings with his wounds; — the widowed woman had an opportunity to admire with an exquisite thankfulness the generous goodness of her son; and in those hours, those sacred hours passed in her own chamber, of prayers, fears, hopes, recollections, and passionate maternal love, wrestling with fate for her darling’s life; — no doubt the humbled creature came to acknowledge that her own course regarding him had been wrong; and, even more for herself than for him, implored forgiveness.

For some time George Barnes had to send but doubtful and melancholy bulletins to Lady Kew and the Newcome family at Baden, who were all greatly moved and affected by the accident which had befallen poor Kew. Lady Kew broke out in wrath, and indignation. We may be sure the Duchesse d’Ivry offered to condole with her upon Kew’s mishap the day after the news arrived at Baden; and, indeed, came to visit her. The old lady had just received other disquieting intelligence. She was just going out, but she bade her servant to inform the Duchess that she was never more at home to the Duchesse d’Ivry. The message was not delivered properly, or the person for whom it was intended did not choose to understand it, for presently, as the Countess was hobbling across the walk on her way to her daughter’s residence, she met the Duchesse d’Ivry, who saluted her with a demure curtsey and a commonplace expression of condolence. The Queen of Scots was surrounded by the chief part of her court, saving of course MM. Castillonnes and Punter absent on service. “We were speaking of this deplorable affair,” said Madame d’Ivry (which indeed was the truth, although she said it). “How we pity you, madame!” Blackball and Loder, Cruchecassee and Schlangenbad, assumed sympathetic countenances.

Trembling on her cane, the old Countess glared out upon Madame d’Ivry. “I pray you, madame,” she said in French, “never again to address me the word. If I had, like you, assassins in my pay, I would have you killed; do you hear me?” and she hobbled on her way. The household to which she went was in terrible agitation; the kind Lady Anne frightened beyond measure, poor Ethel full of dread, and feeling guilty almost as if she had been the cause, as indeed she was the occasion, of Kew’s misfortune. And the family had further cause of alarm from the shock which the news had given to Sir Brian. It has been said that he had had illnesses of late which caused his friends much anxiety. He had passed two months at Aix-la-Chapelle, his physicians dreading a paralytic attack; and Madame d’Ivry’s party still sauntering on the walk, the men smoking their cigars, the women breathing their scandal, now beheld Dr. Finck issuing from Lady Anne’s apartments, and wearing such a face of anxiety, that the Duchesse asked with some emotion, “Had there been a fresh bulletin from Kehl?”

“No, there had been no fresh bulletin from Kehl; but two hours since Sir Brian Newcome had had a paralytic seizure.”

“Is he very bad?”

“No,” says Dr. Finck, “he is not very bad.”

“How inconsolable M. Barnes will be!” said the Duchesse, shrugging her haggard shoulders. Whereas the fact was that Mr. Barnes retained perfect presence of mind under both of the misfortunes which had befallen his family. Two days afterwards the Duchesse’s husband arrived himself, when we may presume that exemplary woman was too much engaged with her own affairs to be able to be interested about the doings of other people. With the Duke’s arrival the court of Mary Queen of Scots was broken up. Her Majesty was conducted to Lochleven, where her tyrant soon dismissed her very last lady-inwaiting, the confidential Irish secretary, whose performance had produced such a fine effect amongst the Newcomes.

Had poor Sir Brian Newcome’s seizure occurred at an earlier period of the autumn, his illness no doubt would have kept him for some months confined at Baden; but as he was pretty nearly the last of Dr. Von Finck’s bath patients, and that eminent physician longed to be off to the Residenz, he was pronounced in a fit condition for easy travelling in rather a brief period after his attack, and it was determined to transport him to Mannheim, and thence by water to London and Newcome.

During all this period of their father’s misfortune no sister of charity could have been more tender, active, cheerful, and watchful than Miss Ethel. She had to wear a kind face, and exhibit no anxiety when occasionally the feeble invalid made inquiries regarding poor Kew at Baden; to catch the phrases as they came from him; to acquiesce, or not to deny, when Sir Brian talked of the marriages — both marriages — taking place at Christmas. Sir Brian was especially eager for his daughter’s, and repeatedly, with his broken words, and smiles, and caresses, which were now quite senile, declared that his Ethel would make the prettiest countess in England. There came a letter or two from Clive, no doubt, to the young nurse in her sick-room. Manly and generous, full of tenderness and affection, as those letters surely were, they could give but little pleasure to the young lady — indeed, only add to her doubts and pain.

She had told none of her friends as yet of those last words of Kew’s, which she interpreted as a farewell on the young nobleman’s part. Had she told them they were likely would not have understood Kew’s meaning as she did, and persisted in thinking that the two were reconciled. At any rate, whilst he and her father were still lying stricken by the blows which had prostrated them both, all questions of love and marriage had been put aside. Did she love him? She felt such a kind pity for his misfortune, such an admiration for his generous gallantry, such a remorse for her own wayward conduct and cruel behaviour towards this most honest, and kindly, and affectionate gentleman, that the sum of regard which she could bestow upon him might surely be said to amount to love. For such a union as that contemplated between them, perhaps for any marriage, no greater degree of attachment was necessary as the common cement. Warm friendship and thorough esteem and confidence (I do not say that our young lady calculated in this matter-of-fact way) are safe properties invested in the prudent marriage stock, multiplying and bearing an increasing value with every year. Many a young couple of spendthrifts get through their capital of passion in the first twelve months, and have no love left for the daily demands of after life. O me! for the day when the bank account is closed, and the cupboard is empty, and the firm of Damon and Phyllis insolvent!

Miss Newcome, we say, without doubt, did not make her calculations in this debtor and creditor fashion; it was only the gentlemen of that family who went to Lombard Street. But suppose she thought that regard, and esteem, and, affection being sufficient, she could joyfully, and with almost all her heart bring such a portion to Lord Kew; that her harshness towards him as contrasted with his own generosity, and above all with his present pain, infinitely touched her; and suppose she fancied that there was another person in the world to whom, did fates permit, she could offer not esteem, affection, pity only, but something ten thousand times more precious? We are not in the young lady’s secrets, but if she has some as she sits by her father’s chair and bed, who day or night will have no other attendant; and, as she busies herself to interpret his wants, silently moves on his errands, administers his potions, and watches his sleep, thinks of Clive absent and unhappy, of Kew wounded and in danger, she must have subject enough of thought and pain. Little wonder that her cheeks are pale and her eyes look red; she has her cares to endure now in the world, and her burden to bear in it, and somehow she feels she is alone, since that day when poor Clive’s carriage drove away.

In a mood of more than ordinary depression and weakness Lady Kew must have found her granddaughter, upon one of the few occasions after the double mishap when Ethel and her elder were together. Sir Brian’s illness, as it may be imagined, affected a lady very slightly, who was of an age when these calamities occasion but small disquiet, and who, having survived her own father, her husband, her son, and witnessed their lordships’ respective demises with perfect composure, could not reasonably be called upon to feel any particular dismay at the probable departure from this life of a Lombard Street banker, who happened to be her daughter’s husband. In fact, not Barnes Newcome himself could await that event more philosophically. So, finding Ethel in this melancholy mood, Lady Kew thought a drive in the fresh air would be of service to her, and Sir Brian happening to be asleep, carried the young girl away in her barouche.

They talked about Lord Kew, of whom the accounts were encouraging, and who is mending in spite of his silly mother and her medicines, “and as soon as he is able to move we must go and fetch him, my dear,” Lady Kew graciously said, “before that foolish woman has made a methodist of him. He is always led by the woman who is nearest him, and I know one who will make of him just the best little husband in England.” Before they had come to this delicate point the lady and her grandchild had talked Kew’s character over, the girl, you may be sure, having spoken feelingly and eloquently about his kindness and courage, and many admirable qualities. She kindled when she heard the report of his behaviour at the commencement of the fracas with M. de Castillonnes, his great forbearance and good-nature, and his resolution and magnanimity when the moment of collision came.

But when Lady Kew arrived at that period of her discourse in which she stated that Kew would make the best little husband in England, poor Ethel’s eyes filled with tears; we must remember that her high spirit was worn down by watching and much varied anxiety, and then she confessed that there had been no reconciliation, as all the family fancied, between Frank and herself — on the contrary, a parting, which she understood to be final; and she owned that her conduct towards her cousin had been most captious and cruel, and that she could not expect they should ever again come together. Lady Kew, who hated sick-beds and surgeons except for herself, who hated her daughter-inlaw above all, was greatly annoyed at the news which Ethel gave her; made light of if, however, and was quite confident that a very few words from her would place matters on their old footing, and determined on forthwith setting out for Kehl. She would have carried Ethel with her, but that the poor Baronet with cries and moans insisted on retaining his nurse, and Ethel’s grandmother was left to undertake this mission by herself, the girl remaining behind acquiescent, not unwilling, owning openly a great regard and esteem for Kew, and the wrong which she had done him, feeling secretly a sentiment which she had best smother. She had received a letter from that other person, and answered it with her mother’s cognisance, but about this little affair neither Lady Anne nor her daughter happened to say a word to the manager of the whole family.

CHAPTER XXXVIII

In which Lady Kew leaves his Lordship quite convalescent

Immediately after Lord Kew’s wound, and as it was necessary to apprise the Newcome family of the accident which had occurred, the good-natured young Kew had himself written a brief note to acquaint his relatives with his mishap, and had even taken the precaution to antedate a couple of billets to be despatched on future days; kindly forgeries, which told the Newcome family and the Countess of Kew, that Lord Kew was progressing very favourably, and that his hurt was trifling. The fever had set in, and the young patient was lying in great danger, as most of the laggards at Baden knew, when his friends there were set at ease by this fallacious bulletin. On the third day after the accident, Lady Walham arrived with her younger son, to find Lord Kew in the fever which ensued after the wound. As the terrible anxiety during the illness had been Lady Walham’s, so was hers the delight of the recovery. The commander-inchief of the family, the old lady at Baden, showed her sympathy by sending couriers, and repeatedly issuing orders to have news of Kew. Sick-beds scared her away invariably. When illness befell a member of her family she hastily retreated from before the sufferer, showing her agitation of mind, however, by excessive ill-humour to all the others within her reach.

A fortnight passed, a ball had been found and extracted, the fever was over, the wound was progressing favourably, the patient advancing towards convalescence, and the mother, with her child once more under her wing, happier than she had been for seven years past, during which her young prodigal had been running the thoughtless career of which he himself was weary, and which had occasioned the fond lady such anguish. Those doubts which perplex many a thinking man, and, when formed and uttered, give many a fond and faithful woman pain so exquisite, had most fortunately never crossed Kew’s mind. His early impressions were such as his mother had left them, and he came back to her, as she would have him, as a little child; owning his faults with a hearty humble repentance, and with a thousand simple confessions, lamenting the errors of his past days. We have seen him tired and ashamed of the pleasures which he was pursuing, of the companions who surrounded him, of the brawls and dissipations which amused him no more; in those hours of danger and doubt, when he had lain, with death perhaps before him, making up his account of the vain life which probably he would be called upon to surrender, no wonder this simple, kindly, modest, and courageous soul thought seriously of the past and of the future; and prayed, and resolved, if a future were awarded to him, it should make amends for the days gone by; and surely as the mother and son read together the beloved assurance of the divine forgiveness, and of that joy which angels feel in heaven for a sinner repentant, we may fancy in the happy mother’s breast a feeling somewhat akin to that angelic felicity, a gratitude and joy of all others the loftiest, the purest, the keenest. Lady Walham might shrink with terror at the Frenchman’s name, but her son could forgive him, with all his heart, and kiss his mother’s hand, and thank him as the best friend of his life.

During all the days of his illness, Kew had never once mentioned Ethel’s name, and once or twice as his recovery progressed, when with doubt and tremor his mother alluded to it, he turned from the subject as one that was disagreeable and painful. Had she thought seriously on certain things? Lady Walham asked. Kew thought not, “but those who are bred up as you would have them, mother, are often none the better,” the humble young fellow said. “I believe she is a very good girl. She is very clever, she is exceedingly handsome, she is very good to her parents and her brothers and sisters; but —” he did not finish the sentence. Perhaps he thought, as he told Ethel afterwards, that she would have agreed with Lady Walham even worse than with her imperious old grandmother.

Lady Walham then fell to deplore Sir Brian’s condition, accounts of whose seizure of course had been despatched to the Kehl party, and to lament that a worldly man as he was should have such an affliction, so near the grave and so little prepared for it. Here honest Kew, however, held out. “Every man for himself, mother,” says he. “Sir Brian was bred up very strictly, perhaps too strictly as a young man. Don’t you know that that good Colonel, his elder brother, who seems to me about the most honest and good old gentleman I ever met in my life, was driven into rebellion and all sorts of wild courses by old Mrs. Newcome’s tyranny over him? As for Sir Brian, he goes to church every Sunday: has prayers in the family every day: I’m sure has led a hundred times better life than I have, poor old Sir Brian. I often have thought, mother, that though our side was wrong, you could not be altogether right, because I remember how my tutor, and Mr. Bonner, and Dr. Laud, when they used to come down to us at Kewbury, used to make themselves so unhappy about other people.” So the widow withdrew her unhappiness about Sir Brian; she was quite glad to hope for the best regarding that invalid.

With some fears yet regarding her son — for many of the books with which the good lady travelled could not be got to interest him; at some he would laugh outright — with fear mixed with the maternal joy that he was returned to her, and had quitted his old ways; with keen feminine triumph, perhaps, that she had won him back, and happiness at his daily mending health, all Lady Walham’s hours were passed in thankful and delighted occupation. George Barnes kept the Newcomes acquainted with the state of his brother’s health. The skilful surgeon from Strasbourg reported daily better and better of him, and the little family were living in great peace and contentment, with one subject of dread, however, hanging over the mother of the two young men, the arrival of Lady Kew, as she was foreboding, the fierce old mother-inlaw who had worsted Lady Walham in many a previous battle.

It was what they call the summer of St. Martin, and the weather was luckily very fine; Kew could presently be wheeled into the garden of the hotel, whence he could see the broad turbid current of the swollen Rhine: the French bank fringed with alders, the vast yellow fields behind them, the great avenue of poplars stretching away to the Alsatian city, and its purple minster yonder. Good Lady Walham was for improving the shining hour by reading amusing extracts from her favourite volumes, gentle anecdotes of Chinese and Hottentot converts, and incidents from missionary travel. George Barnes, a wily young diplomatist, insinuated Galignani, and hinted that Kew might like a novel; and a profane work called Oliver Twist having appeared about this time, which George read out to his family with admirable emphasis, it is a fact that Lady Walham became so interested in the parish boy’s progress, that she took his history into her bedroom (where it was discovered, under Blatherwick’s Voice from Mesopotamia, by her ladyship’s maid), and that Kew laughed so immensely at Mr. Bumble, the Beadle, as to endanger the reopening of his wound.

While, one day, they were so harmlessly and pleasantly occupied, a great whacking of whips, blowing of horns, and whirring of wheels was heard in the street without. The wheels stopped at their hotel gate; Lady Walham started up; ran through the garden door, closing it behind her; and divined justly who had arrived. The landlord was bowing; the courier pushing about; waiters in attendance; one of them, coming up to pale-faced Lady Walham; said, “Her Excellency the Frau Graefinn von Kew is even now absteiging.”

“Will you be good enough to walk into our salon, Lady Kew?” said the daughter-inlaw, stepping forward and opening the door of that apartment. The Countess, leaning on her staff, entered that darkened chamber. She ran up towards an easy-chair, where she supposed Lord Kew was. “My dear Frank!” cries the old lady; “my dear boy, what a pretty fright you have given us all! They don’t keep you in this horrid noisy room facing that —— Ho — what is this?” cries the Countess, closing her sentence abruptly.

“It is not Frank. It is only a bolster, Lady Kew, and I don’t keep him in a noisy room towards the street,” said Lady Walham.

“Ho! how do you do? This is the way to him, I suppose;” and she went to another door — it was a cupboard full of the relics of Frank’s illness, from which Lady Walham’s mother-inlaw shrunk back aghast. “Will you please to see that I have a comfortable room, Maria; and one for my maid, next me? I will thank you to see yourself,” the Empress of Kew said, pointing with her stick, before which many a time the younger lady had trembled.

This time Lady Walham only rang the bell. “I don’t speak German; and have never been on any floor of the house but this. Your servant had better see to your room, Lady Kew. That next is mine; and I keep the door, which you are trying, locked on other side.”

“And I suppose Frank is locked up there!” cried the old lady, “with a basin of gruel and a book of Watts’s hymns.” A servant entered at this moment, answering Lady Walham’s summons. “Peacock, the Countess of Kew says that she proposes to stay here this evening. Please to ask the landlord to show her ladyship rooms,” said Lady Walham; and by this time she had thought of a reply to Lady Kew’s last kind speech.

“If my son were locked up in my room, madam, his mother is surely the best nurse for him. Why did you not come to him three weeks sooner, when there was nobody with him?”

Lady Kew said nothing, but glared and showed her teeth — those pearls set in gold.

“And my company may not amuse Lord Kew —”

“He-e-e!” grinned the elder, savagely.

“— But at least it is better than some to which you introduced my son,” continued Lady Kew’s daughter-inlaw, gathering force and wrath as she spoke. “Your ladyship may think lightly of me, but you can hardly think so ill of me as of the Duchesse d’Ivry, I should suppose, to whom you sent my boy, to form him, you said; about whom, when I remonstrated — for though I live out of the world I hear of it sometimes — you were pleased to tell me that I was a prude and a fool. It is you I thank for separating my child from me — yes, you — for so many years of my life; and for bringing me to him when he was bleeding and almost a corpse, but that God preserved him to the widow’s prayers; — and you, you were by, and never came near him.”

“I— I did not come to see you — or — or — for this kind of scene, Lady Walham,” muttered the other. Lady Kew was accustomed to triumph, by attacking in masses, like Napoleon. Those who faced her routed her.

“No; you did not come for me, I know very well,” the daughter went on. “You loved me no better than you loved your son, whose life, as long as you meddled with it, you made wretched. You came here for my boy. Haven’t you done him evil enough? And now God has mercifully preserved him, you want to lead him back again into ruin and crime. It shall not be so, wicked woman! bad mother! cruel, heartless parent! — George!” (Here her younger son entered the room, and she ran towards him with fluttering robes and seized his hands.) “Here is your grandmother; here is the Countess of Kew, come from Baden at last; and she wants — she wants to take Frank from us, my dear, and to — give — him — back to the — Frenchwoman again. No, no! Oh, my God! Never! never!” And she flung herself into George Barnes’s arms, fainting with an hysteric burst of tears.

“You had best get a strait-waistcoat for your mother, George Barnes,” Lady Kew said, scorn and hatred in her face. (If she had been Iago’s daughter, with a strong likeness to her sire, Lord Steyne’s sister could not have looked more diabolical.) “Have you had advice for her? Has nursing poor Kew turned her head? I came to