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The History of Pendennis
by William Makepeace Thackeray
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Mrs. Pendennis was, for her part, quite satisfied that her darling boy should pursue that branch of learning for which he had the greatest inclination; and only besought him not to ruin his health by too much study, for she had heard the most melancholy stories of young students who, by over-fatigue, had brought on brain-fevers and perished untimely in the midst of their university career. And Pen's health, which was always delicate, was to be regarded, as she justly said, beyond all considerations or vain honours. Pen, although not aware of any lurking disease which was likely to end his life, yet kindly promised his mamma not to sit up reading too late of nights, and stuck to his word in this respect with a great deal more tenacity of resolution than he exhibited upon some other occasions, when perhaps he was a little remiss.

Presently he began too to find that he learned little good in the classical lecture. His fellow-students there were too dull, as in mathematics they were too learned for him. Mr. Buck, the tutor, was no better a scholar than many a fifth-form boy at Grey Friars; might have some stupid humdrum notions about the metre and grammatical construction of a passage of Aeschylus or Aristophanes, but had no more notion of the poetry than Mrs. Binge, his bed-maker; and Pen grew weary of hearing the dull students and tutor blunder through a few lines of a play, which he could read in a tenth part of the time which they gave to it. After all, private reading, as he began to perceive, was the only study which was really profitable to a man; and he announced to his mamma that he should read by himself a great deal more, and in public a great deal less. That excellent woman knew no more about Homer than she did about Algebra, but she was quite contented with Pen's arrangements regarding his course of studies, and felt perfectly confident that her dear boy would get the place which he merited.

Pen did not come home until after Christmas, a little to the fond mother's disappointment, and Laura's, who was longing for him to make a fine snow fortification, such as he had made three winters before. But he was invited to Logwood, Lady Agnes Foker's, where there were private theatricals, and a gay Christmas party of very fine folks, some of them whom Major Pendennis would on no account have his nephew neglect. However, he stayed at home for the last three weeks of the vacation, and Laura had the opportunity of remarking what a quantity of fine new clothes he brought with him, and his mother admired his improved appearance and manly and decided tone.

He did not come home at Easter; but when he arrived for the long vacation, he brought more smart clothes; appearing in the morning in wonderful shooting jackets, with remarkable buttons; and in the evening in gorgeous velvet waistcoats, with richly-embroidered cravats, and curious linen. And as she pried about his room, she saw, oh, such a beautiful dressing-case, with silver mountings, and a quantity of lovely rings and jewellery. And he had a new French watch and gold chain, in place of the big old chronometer, with its bunch of jingling seals, which had hung from the fob of John Pendennis, and by the second-hand of which the defunct doctor had felt many a patient's pulse in his time. It was but a few months back Pen had longed for this watch, which he thought the most splendid and august timepiece in the world; and just before he went to college, Helen had taken it out of her trinket-box (where it had remained unwound since the death of her husband) and given it to Pen with a solemn and appropriate little speech respecting his father's virtues and the proper use of time. This portly and valuable chronometer Pen now pronounced to be out of date, and, indeed, made some comparisons between it and a warming-pan, which Laura thought disrespectful, and he left the watch in a drawer, in the company of soiled primrose gloves, cravats which had gone out of favour, and of that other school watch which has once before been mentioned in this history. Our old friend, Rebecca, Pen pronounced to be no long up to his weight, and swapped her away for another and more powerful horse, for which he had to pay rather a heavy figure. Mr. Pendennis gave the boy the money for the new horse; and Laura cried when Rebecca was fetched away.

Also Pen brought a large box of cigars branded Colorados, Afrancesados, Telescopios, Fudson Oxford Street, or by some such strange titles, and began to consume these not only about the stables and green-houses, where they were very good for Helen's plants, but in his own study, of which practice his mother did not at first approve. But he was at work upon a prize-poem, he said, and could not compose without his cigar, and quoted the late lamented it Lord Byron's lines in favour of the custom of smoking. As he was smoking to such good purpose, his mother could not of course refuse permission: in fact, the good soul coming into the room one day in the midst of Pen's labours (he was consulting a novel which had recently appeared, for the cultivation of the light literature of his own country as well as of foreign nations became every student)—Helen, we say, coming into the room and finding Pen on the sofa at this work, rather than disturb him went for a light-box and his cigar-case to his bedroom which was adjacent, and actually put the cigar into his mouth and lighted the match at which he kindled it. Pen laughed, and kissed his mother's hand as it hung fondly over the back of the sofa. "Dear old mother," he said, "if I were to tell you to burn the house down, I think you would do it." And it is very likely that Mr. Pen was right, and that the foolish woman would have done almost as much for him as he said.

Besides the works of English "light literature" which this diligent student devoured, he brought down boxes of the light literature of the neighbouring country of France: into the leaves of which when Helen dipped, she read such things as caused her to open her eyes with wonder. But Pen showed her that it was not he who made the books, though it was absolutely necessary that he should keep up his French by an acquaintance with the most celebrated writers of the day, and that it was as clearly his duty to read the eminent Paul de Kock, as to study Swift or Moliere. And Mrs. Pendennis yielded with a sigh of perplexity. But Miss Laura was warned off the books, both by his anxious mother, and that rigid moralist Mr. Arthur Pendennis himself, who, however he might be called upon to study every branch of literature in order to form his mind and to perfect his style, would by no means prescribe such a course of reading to a young lady whose business in life was very different.

In the course of this long vacation Mr. Pen drank up the bin of claret which his father had laid in, and of which we have heard the son remark that there was not a headache in a hogshead; and this wine being exhausted, he wrote for a further supply to "his wine merchants," Messrs. Binney and Latham of Mark Lane, London: from whom, indeed, old Doctor Portman had recommended Pen to get a supply of port and sherry on going to college. "You will have, no doubt, to entertain your young friends at Boniface with wine-parties," the honest rector had remarked to the lad. "They used to be customary at college in my time, and I would advise you to employ an honest and respectable house in London for your small stock of wine, rather than to have recourse to the Oxbridge tradesmen, whose liquor, if I remember rightly, was both deleterious in quality and exorbitant in price." And the obedient young gentleman took the Doctor's advice, and patronised Messrs. Binney and Latham at the rector's suggestion.

So when he wrote orders for a stock of wine to be sent down to the cellars at Fairoaks, he hinted that Messrs. B. and L. might send in his university account for wine at the same time with the Fairoaks bill. The poor widow was frightened at the amount. But Pen laughed at her old-fashioned views, said that the bill was moderate, that everybody drank claret and champagne now, and, finally, the widow paid, feeling dimly that the expenses of her household were increasing considerably, and that her narrow income would scarce suffice to meet them. But they were only occasional. Pen merely came home for a few weeks at the vacation. Laura and she might pinch when he was gone. In the brief time he was with them, ought they not to make him happy?

Arthur's own allowances were liberal all this time; indeed, much more so than those of the sons of far more wealthy men. Years before, the thrifty and affectionate John Pendennis, whose darling project it had ever been to give his son a university education, and those advantages of which his own father's extravagance had deprived him, had begun laying by a store of money which he called Arthur's Education Fund. Year after year in his book his executors found entries of sums vested as A. E. F., and during the period subsequent to her husband's decease, and before Pen's entry at college, the widow had added sundry sums to this fund, so that when Arthur went up to Oxbridge it reached no inconsiderable amount. Let him be liberally allowanced, was Major Pendennis's maxim. Let him make his first entree into the world as a gentleman, and take his place with men of good rank and station: after giving it to him, it will be his own duty to hold it. There is no such bad policy as stinting a boy—or putting him on a lower allowance than his fellows. Arthur will have to face the world and fight for himself presently. Meanwhile we shall have procured for him good friends, gentlemanly habits, and have him well backed and well trained against the time when the real struggle comes. And these liberal opinions the Major probably advanced both because they were just, and because he was not dealing with his own money.

Thus young Pen, the only son of an estated country gentleman, with a good allowance, and a gentlemanlike bearing and person, looked to be a lad of much more consequence than he was really; and was held by the Oxbridge authorities, tradesmen, and undergraduates, as quite a young buck and member of the aristocracy. His manner was frank, brave, and perhaps a little impertinent, as becomes a high-spirited youth. He was perfectly generous and free-handed with his money, which seemed pretty plentiful. He loved joviality, and had a good voice for a song. Boat-racing had not risen in Pen's time to the fureur which, as we are given to understand, it has since attained in the university; and riding and tandem-driving were the fashions of the ingenuous youth. Pen rode well to hounds, appeared in pink, as became a young buck, and, not particularly extravagant in equestrian or any other amusement, yet managed to run up a fine bill at Nile's, the livery-stable keeper, and in a number of other quarters. In fact, this lucky young gentleman had almost every taste to a considerable degree. He was very fond of books of all sorts: Doctor Portman had taught him to like rare editions, and his own taste led him to like beautiful bindings. It was marvellous what tall copies, and gilding, and marbling, and blind-tooling, the booksellers and binders put upon Pen's bookshelves. He had a very fair taste in matters of art, and a keen relish for prints of a high school—none of your French Opera Dancers, or tawdry Racing Prints, such as had delighted the simple eyes of Mr. Spicer, his predecessor—but your Stranges, and Rembrandt etchings, and Wilkies before the letter, with which his apartments were furnished presently in the most perfect good taste, as was allowed in the university, where this young fellow got no small reputation. We have mentioned that he exhibited a certain partiality for rings, jewellery, and fine raiment of all sorts; and it must be owned that Mr. Pen, during his time at the university, was rather a dressy man, and loved to array himself in splendour. He and his polite friends would dress themselves out with as much care in order to go and dine at each other's rooms, as other folks would who were going to enslave a mistress. They said he used to wear rings over his kid gloves, which he always denies; but what follies will not youth perpetrate with its own admirable gravity and simplicity? That he took perfumed baths is a truth; and he used to say that he took them after meeting certain men of a very low set in hall.

In Pen's second year, when Miss Fotheringay made her chief hit in London, and scores of prints were published of her, Pen had one of these hung in his bedroom, and confided to the men of his set how awfully, how wildly, how madly, how passionately, he had loved that woman. He showed them in confidence the verses that he had written to her, and his brow would darken, his eyes roll, his chest heave with emotion as he recalled that fatal period of his life, and described the woes and agonies which he had suffered. The verses were copied out, handed about, sneered at, admired, passed from coterie to coterie. There are few things which elevate a lad in the estimation of his brother boys, more than to have a character for a great and romantic passion. Perhaps there is something noble in it at all times—among very young men it is considered heroic—Pen was pronounced a tremendous fellow. They said he had almost committed suicide: that he had fought a duel with a baronet about her. Freshmen pointed him out to each other. As at the promenade time at two o'clock he swaggered out of college, surrounded by his cronies, he was famous to behold. He was elaborately attired. He would ogle the ladies who came to lionise the university, and passed before him on the arms of happy gownsmen, and give his opinion upon their personal charms, or their toilettes, with the gravity of a critic whose experience entitled him to speak with authority. Men used to say that they had been walking with Pendennis, and were as pleased to be seen in his company as some of us would be if we walked with a duke down Pall Mall. He and the Proctor capped each other as they met, as if they were rival powers, and the men hardly knew which was the greater.

In fact, in the course of his second year, Arthur Pendennis had become one of the men of fashion in the university. It is curious to watch that facile admiration, and simple fidelity of youth. They hang round a leader; and wonder at him, and love him, and imitate him. No generous boy ever lived, I suppose, that has not had some wonderment of admiration for another boy; and Monsieur Pen at Oxbridge had his school, his faithful band of friends and his rivals. When the young men heard at the haberdashers' shops that Mr. Pendennis, of Boniface, had just ordered a crimson satin-cravat, you would see a couple of dozen crimson satin cravats in Main Street in the course of the week—and Simon, the Jeweller, was known to sell no less than two gross of Pendennis pins, from a pattern which the young gentleman had selected in his shop.

Now if any person with an arithmetical turn of mind will take the trouble to calculate what a sum of money it would cost a young man to indulge freely in all the above propensities which we have said Mr. Pen possessed, it will be seen that a young fellow, with such liberal tastes and amusements, must needs in the course of two or three years spend or owe a very handsome sum of money. We have said our friend Pen had not a calculating turn. No one propensity of his was outrageously extravagant; and it is certain that Paddington's tailor's account; Guttlebury's cook's bill for dinners; Dillon Tandy's bill with Finn, the print seller, for Raphael-Morgheus and Landseer proofs, and Wormall's dealings with Parkton, the great bookseller, for Aldine editions, black-letter folios, and richly illuminated Missals of the XVI. Century; and Snaffle's or Foker's score with Nile the horsedealer, were, each and all of them, incomparably greater than any little bills which Mr. Pen might run up with the above-mentioned tradesmen. But Pendennis of Boniface had the advantage over all these young gentlemen, his friends and associates, of a universality of taste: and whereas young Lord Paddington did not care twopence for the most beautiful print, or to look into any gilt frame that had not a mirror within it; and Guttlebury did not mind in the least how he was dressed, and had an aversion for horse exercise, nay a terror of it; and Snaffle never read any printed works but the 'Racing Calendar' or 'Bell's Life,' or cared for any manuscript except his greasy little scrawl of a betting-book:—our Catholic-minded young friend occupied himself in every one of the branches of science or pleasure above-mentioned, and distinguished himself tolerably in each.

Hence young Pen got a prodigious reputation in the university, and was hailed as a sort of Crichton; and as for the English verse prize, in competition for which we have seen him busily engaged at Fairoaks, Jones of Jesus carried it that year certainly, but the undergraduates thought Pen's a much finer poem, and he had his verses printed at his own expense, and distributed in gilt morocco covers amongst his acquaintance. I found a copy of it lately in a dusty corner of Mr. Pen's bookcases, and have it before me this minute, bound up in a collection of old Oxbridge tracts, university statutes, prize-poems by successful and unsuccessful candidates, declamations recited in the college chapel, speeches delivered at the Union Debating Society, and inscribed by Arthur with his name and college, Pendennis—Boniface; or presented to him by his affectionate friend Thompson or Jackson, the author. How strange the epigraphs look in those half-boyish hands, and what a thrill the sight of the documents gives one after the lapse of a few lustres! How fate, since that time, has removed some, estranged others, dealt awfully with all! Many a hand is cold that wrote those kindly memorials, and that we pressed in the confident and generous grasp of youthful friendship. What passions our friendships were in those old days, how artless and void of doubt! How the arm you were never tired of having linked in yours under the fair college avenues or by the river side, where it washes Magdalen Gardens, or Christ Church Meadows, or winds by Trinity and King's, was withdrawn of necessity, when you entered presently the world, and each parted to push and struggle for himself through the great mob on the way through life! Are we the same men now that wrote those inscriptions—that read those poems? that delivered or heard those essays and speeches so simple, so pompous, so ludicrously solemn; parodied so artlessly from books, and spoken with smug chubby faces, and such an admirable aping of wisdom and gravity? Here is the book before me: it is scarcely fifteen years old. Here is Jack moaning with despair and Byronic misanthropy, whose career at the university was one of unmixed milk-punch. Here is Tom's daring Essay in defence of suicide and of republicanism in general, apropos of the death of Roland and the Girondins—Tom's, who wears the starchest tie in all the diocese, and would go to Smithfield rather than eat a beefsteak on a Friday in Lent. Here is Bob of the —— Circuit, who has made a fortune in Railroad Committees, and whose dinners are so good—bellowing out with Tancred and Godfrey, "On to the breach, ye soldiers of the cross, Scale the red wall and swim the choking foss. Ye dauntless archers, twang your cross-bows well; On, bill and battle-axe and mangonel! Ply battering-ram and hurtling catapult, Jerusalem is ours—id Deus vult." After which comes a mellifluous description of the gardens of Sharon and the maids of Salem, and a prophecy that roses shall deck the entire country of Syria, and a speedy reign of peace be established—all in undeniably decasyllabic lines, and the queerest aping of sense and sentiment and poetry. And there are Essays and Poems along with these grave parodies, and boyish exercises (which are at once so frank and false and mirthful, yet, somehow, so mournful) by youthful hands, that shall never write more. Fate has interposed darkly, and the young voices are silent, and the eager brains have ceased to work. This one had genius and a great descent, and seemed to be destined for honours which now are of little worth to him: that had virtue, learning, genius—every faculty and endowment which might secure love, admiration, and worldly fame: an obscure and solitary churchyard contains the grave of many fond hopes, and the pathetic stone which bids them farewell—I saw the sun shining on it in the fall of last year, and heard the sweet village choir raising anthems round about. What boots whether it be Westminster or a little country spire which covers your ashes, or if, a few days sooner or later, the world forgets you?

Amidst these friends, then, and a host more, Pen passed more than two brilliant and happy years of his life. He had his fill of pleasure and popularity. No dinner- or supper-party was complete without him; and Pen's jovial wit, and Pen's songs, and dashing courage and frank and manly bearing, charmed all the undergraduates, and even disarmed the tutors who cried out at his idleness, and murmured about his extravagant way of life. Though he became the favourite and leader of young men who were much his superiors in wealth and station, he was much too generous to endeavour to propitiate them by any meanness or cringing on his own part, and would not neglect the humblest man of his acquaintance in order to curry favour with the richest young grandee in the university. His name is still remembered at the Union Debating Club, as one of the brilliant orators of his day. By the way, from having been an ardent Tory in his freshman's year, his principles took a sudden turn afterwards, and he became a liberal of the most violent order. He avowed himself a Dantonist, and asserted that Louis the Sixteenth was served right. And as for Charles the First, he vowed that he would chop off that monarch's head with his own right hand were he then in the room at the Union Debating Club, and had Cromwell no other executioner for the traitor. He and Lord Magnus Charters, the Marquis of Runnymede's son, before-mentioned, were the most truculent republicans of their day.

There are reputations of this sort made, quite independent of the collegiate hierarchy, in the republic of gownsmen. A man may be famous in the Honour-lists and entirely unknown to the undergraduates: who elect kings and chieftains of their own, whom they admire and obey, as negro-gangs have private black sovereigns in their own body, to whom they pay an occult obedience, besides that which they publicly profess for their owners and drivers. Among the young ones Pen became famous and popular: not that he did much, but there was a general determination that he could do a great deal if he chose. "Ah, if Pendennis of Boniface would but try," the men said, "he might do anything." He was backed for the Greek Ode won by Smith of Trinity; everybody was sure he would have the Latin hexameter prize which Brown of St. John's, however, carried off, and in this way one university honour after another was lost by him, until, after two or three failures, Mr. Pen ceased to compete. But he got a declamation prize in his own college, and brought home to his mother and Laura at Fairoaks a set of prize-books begilt with the college arms, and so big, well-bound, and magnificent, that these ladies thought there had been no such prize ever given in a college before as this of Pen's, and that he had won the very largest honour which Oxbridge was capable of awarding.

As vacation after vacation and term after term passed away without the desired news that Pen had sate for any scholarship or won any honour, Doctor Portman grew mightily gloomy in his behaviour towards Arthur, and adopted a sulky grandeur of deportment towards him, which the lad returned by a similar haughtiness. One vacation he did not call upon the Doctor at all, much to his mother's annoyance, who thought that it was a privilege to enter the Rectory-house at Clavering, and listened to Dr. Portman's antique jokes and stories, though ever so often repeated, with unfailing veneration. "I cannot stand the Doctor's patronising air", Pen said. "He's too kind to me, a great deal fatherly. I have seen in the world better men than him, and am not going to bore myself by listening to his dull old stories and drinking his stupid old port wine." The tacit feud between Pen and the Doctor made the widow nervous, so that she too avoided Portman, and was afraid to go to the Rectory when Arthur was at home.

One Sunday in the last long vacation, the wretched boy pushed his rebellious spirit so far as not to go to church, and he was seen at the gate of the Clavering Arms smoking a cigar, in the face of the congregation as it issued from St. Mary's. There was an awful sensation in the village society, Portman prophesied Pen's ruin after that, and groaned in spirit over the rebellious young prodigal.

So did Helen tremble in her heart, and little Laura—Laura had grown to be a fine young stripling by this time, graceful and fair, clinging round Helen and worshipping her, with a passionate affection. Both of these women felt that their boy was changed. He was no longer the artless Pen of old days, so brave, so artless, so impetuous, and tender. His face looked careworn and haggard, his voice had a deeper sound, and tones more sarcastic. Care seemed to be pursuing him; but he only laughed when his mother questioned him, and parried her anxious queries with some scornful jest. Nor did he spend much of his vacations at home; he went on visits to one great friend or another, and scared the quiet pair at Fairoaks by stories of great houses whither he had been invited; and by talking of lords without their titles.

Honest Harry Foker, who had been the means of introducing Arthur Pendennis to that set of young men at the university, from whose society and connexions Arthur's uncle expected that the lad would get so much benefit; who had called for Arthur's first song at his first supper-party; and who had presented him at the Barmecide Club, where none but the very best men of Oxbridge were admitted (it consisted in Pen's time of six noblemen, eight gentlemen-pensioners, and twelve of the most select commoners of the university), soon found himself left far behind by the young freshman in the fashionable world of Oxbridge, and being a generous and worthy fellow, without a spark of envy in his composition, was exceedingly pleased at the success of his young protege, and admired Pen quite as much as any of the other youth did. I was he who followed Pen now, and quoted his sayings; learned his songs, and retailed them at minor supper-parties, and was never weary of hearing them from the gifted young poet's own mouth—for a good deal of the time which Mr. Pen might have employed much more advantageously in the pursuit of the regular scholastic studies, was given up to the composition of secular ballads, which he sang about at parties according to university wont.

It had been as well for Arthur if the honest Foker had remained for some time at college, for, with all his vivacity, he was a prudent young man, and often curbed Pen's propensity to extravagance: but Foker's collegiate career did not last very long after Arthur's entrance at Boniface. Repeated differences with the university authorities caused Mr. Foker to quit Oxbridge in an untimely manner. He would persist in attending races on the neighbouring Hungerford Heath, in spite of the injunctions of his academic superiors. He never could be got to frequent the chapel of the college with that regularity of piety which Alma Mater demands from her children; tandems, which are abominations in the eyes of the heads and tutors, were Foker's greatest delight, and so reckless was his driving and frequent the accidents and upsets out of his drag, that Pen called taking a drive with him taking the "Diversions of Purley;" finally, having a dinner-party at his rooms to entertain some friends from London, nothing would satisfy Mr. Foker but painting Mr. Buck's door vermilion, in which freak he was caught by the proctors; and although young Black Strap, the celebrated negro fighter, who was one of Mr. Foker's distinguished guests, and was holding the can of paint while the young artist operated on the door, knocked down two of the proctor's attendants and performed prodigies of valour, yet these feats rather injured than served Foker, whom the proctor knew very well and who was taken with the brush in his hand, and who was summarily convened and sent down from the university.

The tutor wrote a very kind and feeling letter to Lady Agnes on the subject, stating that everybody was fond of the youth; that he never meant harm to any mortal creature; that he for his own part would have been delighted to pardon the harmless little boyish frolic, had not its unhappy publicity rendered it impossible to look the freak over, and breathing the most fervent wishes for the young fellow's welfare—wishes no doubt sincere, for Foker, as we know, came of a noble family on his mother's side, and on the other was heir to a great number of thousand pounds a year.

"It don't matter," said Foker, talking over the matter with Pen,—"a little sooner or a little later, what is the odds? I should have been plucked for my little-go again, I know I should—that Latin I cannot screw into my head, and my mamma's anguish would have broke out next term. The Governor will blow like an old grampus, I know he will,—well, we must stop till he gets his wind again. I shall probably go abroad and improve my mind with foreign travel. Yes, parly-voo's the ticket. It'ly, and that sort of thing. I'll go to Paris and learn to dance and complete my education. But it's not me I'm anxious about, Pen. As long as people drink beer I don't care,—it's about you I'm doubtful, my boy. You're going too fast, and can't keep up the pace, I tell you. It's not the fifty you owe me,—pay it or not when you like,—but it's the every-day pace, and I tell you it will kill you. You're livin' as if there was no end to the money in the stockin' at home. You oughtn't to give dinners, you ought to eat 'em. Fellows are glad to have you. You oughtn't to owe horse bills, you ought to ride other chaps' nags. You know no more about betting than I do about Algebra: the chaps will win your money as sure as you sport it. Hang me if you are not trying everything. I saw you sit down to ecarte last week at Trumpington's, and taking your turn with the bones after Ringwood's supper. They'll beat you at it, Pen, my boy, even if they play on the square, which. I don't say they don't, nor which I don't say they do, mind. But I won't play with 'em. You're no match for 'em. You ain't up to their weight. It's like little Black Strap standing up to Tom Spring,—the Black's a pretty fighter but, Law bless you, his arm ain't long enough to touch Tom,—and I tell you, you're going it with fellers beyond your weight. Look here—If you'll promise me never to bet nor touch a box nor a card, I'll let you off the two ponies."

But Pen, laughingly, said, "that though it wasn't convenient to him to pay the two ponies at that moment, he by no means wished to be let off any just debts he owed;" and he and Foker parted, not without many dark forebodings on the latter's part with regard to his friend, who Harry thought was travelling speedily on the road to ruin.

"One must do at Rome as Rome does," Pen said, in a dandified manner, jingling some sovereigns in his waistcoat-pocket. "A little quiet play at ecarte can't hurt a man who plays pretty well—I came away fourteen sovereigns richer from Ringwood's supper, and, gad! I wanted the money."—And he walked off, after having taken leave of poor Foker, who went away without any beat of drum, or offer to drive the coach out of Oxbridge, to superintend a little dinner which he was going to give at his own rooms in Boniface, about which dinners, the cook of the college, who had a great respect for Mr. Pendennis, always took especial pains for his young favourite.



CHAPTER XX. Rake's Progress

Some short time before Mr. Foker's departure from Oxbridge, there had come up to Boniface a gentleman who had once, as it turned out, belonged to the other University of Camford, which he had quitted on account of some differences with the tutors and authorities there. This gentleman, whose name was Horace Bloundell, was of the ancient Suffolk family of Bloundell-Bloundell, of Bloundell-Bloundell Hall, Bloundell-Bloundellshire, as the young wags used to call it; and no doubt it was on account of his descent, and because Dr. Donne, the Master of Boniface, was a Suffolk man, and related perhaps to the family, that Mr. Horace Bloundell was taken in at Boniface, after St. George's and one or two other Colleges had refused to receive him. There was a living in the family, which it was important for Mr. Bloundell to hold; and, being in a dragoon regiment at the time when his third brother, for whom the living was originally intended, sickened and died, Mr. Bloundell determined upon quitting crimson pantaloons and sable shakos, for the black coat and white neckcloth of the English divine. The misfortunes which occurred at Camford, occasioned some slight disturbance to Mr. Bloundell's plans; but although defeated upon one occasion, the resolute ex-dragoon was not dismayed, and set to work to win a victory elsewhere.

In Pen's second year Major Pendennis paid a brief visit to his nephew, and was introduced to several of Pen's university friends—the gentle and polite Lord Plinlimmon, the gallant and open-hearted Magnus Charters, the sly and witty Harland; the intrepid Ringwood, who was called Rupert in the Union Debating Club, from his opinions and the bravery of his blunders; Broadbent, styled Barebones Broadbent from the republican nature of his opinions (he was of a dissenting family from Bristol and a perfect Boanerges of debate); Mr. Bloundell-Bloundell finally, who had at once taken his place among the select of the university.

Major Pendennis, though he did not understand Harland's Greek quotations, or quite appreciate Broadbent's thick shoes and dingy hands, was nevertheless delighted with the company assembled round his nephew, and highly approved of all the young men with the exception of that one who gave himself the greatest airs in the society, and affected most to have the manners of a man of the world.

As he and Pen sate at breakfast on the morning after the party in the rooms of the latter, the Major gave his opinions regarding the young men, with whom he was in the greatest good-humour. He had regaled them with some of his stories, which, though not quite so fresh in London (where people have a diseased appetite for novelty in the way of anecdotes), were entirely new at Oxbridge, and the lads heard them with that honest sympathy, that eager pleasure, that boisterous laughter, or that profound respect, so rare in the metropolis, and which must be so delightful to the professed raconteur. Only once or twice during the telling of the anecdote Mr. Bloundell's face wore a look of scorn, or betrayed by its expression that he was acquainted with the tales narrated. Once he had the audacity to question the accuracy of one of the particulars of a tale as given by Major Pendennis, and gave his own version of the anecdote, about which he knew he was right, for he heard it openly talked of at the Club by So-and-so and T'other who were present at the business. The youngsters present looked up with wonder at their associate, who dared to interrupt the Major—few of them could appreciate that melancholy grace and politeness with which Major Pendennis at once acceded to Mr. Bloundell's version of the story, and thanked him for correcting his own error. They stared on the next occasion of meeting, when Bloundell spoke in contemptuous terms of old Pen; said everybody knew old Pen, regular old trencherman at Gaunt House, notorious old bore, regular old fogy.

Major Pendennis on his side liked Mr. Bloundell not a whit. These sympathies are pretty sure to be mutual amongst men and women, and if, for my part, some kind friend tells me that such and such a man has been abusing me, I am almost sure, on my own side, that I have a misliking to such and such a man. We like or dislike each other, as folks like or dislike the odour of certain flowers, or the taste of certain dishes or wines, or certain books. We can't tell why—but as a general rule, all the reasons in the world will not make us love Dr. Fell, and as sure as we dislike him, we may be sure that he dislikes us.

So the Major said, "Pen, my boy, your dinner went off a merveille; you did the honours very nicely—you carved well—I am glad you learned to carve—it is done on the sideboard now in most good houses, but is still an important point, and may aid you in middle-life—young Lord Plinlimmon is a very amiable young man, quite the image of his dear mother (whom I knew as Lady Aquila Brownbill); and Lord Magnus's republicanism will wear off—it sits prettily enough on a young patrician in early life, though nothing is so loathsome among persons of our rank—Mr. Broadbent seems to have much eloquence and considerable reading your friend Foker is always delightful: but your acquaintance, Mr. Bloundell, struck me as in all respects a most ineligible young man."

"Bless my soul, sir, Bloundell-Bloundell!" cried Pen, laughing; "why, sir, he's the most popular man of the university. We elected him of the Barmecides the first week he came up—had a special meeting on purpose—he's of an excellent family—Suffolk Bloundells, descended from Richard's Blondel, bear a harp in chief—and motto O Mong Roy."

"A man may have a very good coat-of-arms, and be a tiger, my boy," the Major said, chipping his egg; "that man is a tiger, mark my word—a low man. I will lay a wager that he left his regiment, which was a good one (for a more respectable man than my friend Lord Martingale never sate in a saddle), in bad odour. There is the unmistakable look of slang and bad habits about this Mr. Bloundell. He frequents low gambling-houses and billiard-hells, sir—he haunts third-rate clubs—I know he does. I know by his style. I never was mistaken in my man yet. Did you remark the quantity of rings and jewellery he wore? That person has Scamp written on his countenance, if any man ever had. Mark my words and avoid him. Let us turn the conversation. The dinner was a leetle too fine, but I don't object to your making a few extra frais when you receive friends. Of course, you don't do it often, and only those whom it is your interest to feter. The cutlets were excellent, and the souffle uncommonly light and good. The third bottle of champagne was not necessary; but you have a good income, and as long as you keep within it, I shall not quarrel with you, my dear boy."

Poor Pen! the worthy uncle little knew how often those dinners took place, while the reckless young Amphitryon delighted to show his hospitality and skill in gourmandise. There is no art than that (so long to learn, so difficult to acquire, so impossible and beyond the means of many unhappy people!) about which boys are more anxious to have an air of knowingness. A taste and knowledge of wines and cookery appears to them to be the sign of an accomplished roue and manly gentleman. I like to see them wink at a glass of claret, as if they had an intimate acquaintance with it, and discuss a salmi—poor boys—it is only when they grow old that they know they know nothing of the science, when perhaps their conscience whispers them that the science is in itself little worth, and that a leg of mutton and content is as good as the dinners of pontiffs. But little Pen, in his character of Admirable Crichton, thought it necessary to be a great judge and practitioner of dinners; we have just said how the college cook respected him, and shall soon have to deplore that that worthy man so blindly trusted our Pen. In the third year of the lad's residence at Oxbridge, his staircase was by no means encumbered with dish-covers and desserts, and waiters carrying in dishes, and skips opening iced champagne; crowds of different sorts of attendants, with faces sulky or piteous, hung about the outer oak, and assailed the unfortunate lad as he issued out of his den.

Nor did his guardian's advice take any effect, or induce Mr. Pen to avoid the society of the disreputable Mr. Bloundell. What young men like in their companions is, what had got Pen a great part of his own repute and popularity, a real or supposed knowledge of life. A man who has seen the world, or can speak of it with a knowing air—a roue, or Lovelace, who has his adventures to relate, is sure of an admiring audience among boys. It is hard to confess, but so it is. We respect that sort of prowess. From our school-days we have been taught to admire it. Are there five in the hundred, out of the hundreds and hundreds of English school-boys, brought up at our great schools and colleges, that must not own at one time of their lives to having read and liked Don Juan? Awful propagation of evil!—The idea of it should make the man tremble who holds the pen, lest untruth, or impurity, or unjust anger, or unjust praise escape it.

One such diseased creature as this is enough to infect a whole colony, and the tutors of Boniface began to find the moral tone of their college lowered and their young men growing unruly, and almost ungentleman-like, soon after Mr. Bloundell's arrival at Oxbridge. The young magnates of the neighbouring great College of St. George's, who regarded Pen, and in whose society he lived, were not taken in by Bloundell's flashy graces, and rakish airs of fashion. Broadbent called him Captain Macheath, and said he would live to be hanged. Foker, during his brief stay at the university with Macheath, with characteristic caution declined to say anything in the Captain's disfavour, but hinted to Pen that he had better have him for a partner at whist than play against him, and better back him at ecarte than bet on the other side. "You see, he plays better than you do, Pen," was the astute young gentleman's remark: "he plays uncommon well, the Captain does;—and Pen, I wouldn't take the odds too freely from him, if I was you. I don't think he's too flush of money, the Captain ain't." But beyond these dark suggestions and generalities, the cautious Foker could not be got to speak.

Not that his advice would have had more weight with a headstrong young man, than advice commonly has with a lad who is determined on pursuing his own way. Pen's appetite for pleasure was insatiable, and he rushed at it wherever it presented itself, with an eagerness which bespoke his fiery constitution and youthful health. He called taking pleasure "Seeing life," and quoted well-known maxims from Terence, from Horace, from Shakspeare, to show that one should do all that might become a man. He bade fair to be utterly used up and a roue, in a few years, if he were to continue at the pace at which he was going.

One night after a supper-party in college, at which Pen and Macheath had been present, and at which a little quiet vingt-et-un had been played (an amusement much pleasanter to men in their second and third year than the boisterous custom of singing songs, which bring the proctors about the rooms, and which have grown quite stale by this time, every man having expended his budget)—as the men had taken their caps and were going away, after no great losses or winnings on any side, Mr. Bloundell playfully took up a green wine-glass from the supper-table, which had been destined to contain iced cup, but into which he inserted something still more pernicious, namely a pair of dice, which the gentleman took out of his waistcoat-pocket, and put into the glass. Then giving the glass a graceful wave which showed that his hand was quite experienced in the throwing of dice, he called sevens the main, and whisking the ivory cubes gently on the table, swept them up lightly again from the cloth, and repeated this process two or three times. The other men looked on, Pen, of course, among the number, who had never used the dice as yet, except to play a humdrum game of backgammon at home.

Mr. Bloundell, who had a good voice, began to troll out the chorus from Robert the Devil, an Opera then in great vogue, in which chorus many of the men joined, especially Pen, who was in very high spirits, having won a good number of shillings and half-crowns at the vingt-et-un—and presently, instead of going home, most of the party were seated round the table playing at dice, the green glass going round from hand to hand until Pen finally shivered it, after throwing six mains.

From that night Pen plunged into the delights of the game of hazard, as eagerly as it was his custom to pursue any new pleasure. Dice can be played of mornings as well as after dinner or supper. Bloundell would come into Pen's rooms after breakfast, and it was astonishing how quick the time passed as the bones were rattling. They had little quiet parties with closed doors, and Bloundell devised a box lined with felt, so that the dice should make no noise, and their tell-tale rattle not bring the sharp-eared tutors up to the rooms. Bloundell, Ringwood, and Pen were once very nearly caught by Mr. Buck, who, passing in the Quadrangle, thought he heard the words "Two to one on the caster," through Pen's open window; but when the tutor got into Arthur's rooms he found the lads with three Homers before them, and Pen said he was trying to coach the two other men, and asked Mr. Buck with great gravity what was the present condition of the River Scamander, and whether it was navigable or no?

Mr. Arthur Pendennis did not win much money in these transactions with Mr. Bloundell, or indeed gain good of any kind except a knowledge of the odds at hazard, which he might have learned out of books.

Captain Macheath had other accomplishments which he exercised for Pen's benefit. The Captain's stories had a great and unfortunate charm for Arthur, who was never tired of hearing Bloundell's histories of garrison conquests, and of his feats in country-quarters.—He had been at Paris, and had plenty of legends about the Palais Royal, and the Salon, and Frascati's. He had gone to the Salon one night, after a dinner at the Cafe de Paris, "when we were all devilishly cut, by Jove; and on waking in the morning in my own rooms, I found myself with twelve thousand francs under my pillow, and a hundred and forty-nine Napoleons in one of my boots. Wasn't that a coup, hay?" the Captain said. Pen's eyes glistened with excitement as he heard this story. He respected the man who could win such a sum of money. He sighed, and said it would set him all right. Macheath laughed, and told him to drink another drop of Maraschino. "I could tell you stories much more wonderful than that," he added; and so indeed the Captain could have done, without any further trouble than that of invention, with which portion of the poetic faculty Nature had copiously endowed him.

He laughed to scorn Pen's love for Miss Fotheringay, when he came to hear of that amour from Arthur, as he pretty soon did, for, we have said, Pen was not averse to telling the story now to his confidential friends, and he and they were rather proud of the transaction. But Macheath took away all Pen's conceit on this head, not by demonstrating the folly of the lad's passion for an uneducated woman much his senior in years, but by exposing his absurd desire of gratifying his passion in a legitimate way. "Marry her," said he, "you might as well marry ——," and he named one of the most notorious actresses on the stage.

"She hadn't a shred of a character." He knew twenty men who were openly admirers of her, and named them, and the sums each had spent upon her. I know no kind of calumny more frightful or frequent than this which takes away the character of women, no men more reckless and mischievous than those who lightly use it, and no kind of cowards more despicable than the people who invent these slanders.

Is it, or not, a misfortune that a man, himself of a candid disposition, and disposed, like our friend Pen, to blurt out the truth on all occasions, begins life by believing all that is said to him? Would it be better for a lad to be less trustful, and so less honest? It requires no small experience of the world to know that a man, who has no especial reason thereto, is telling you lies. I am not sure whether it is not best to go on being duped for a certain time. At all events, our honest Pen had a natural credulity, which enabled him to accept all statements which were made to him, and he took every one of Captain Macheath's figments as if they had been the most unquestioned facts of history.

So Bloundell's account about Miss Fotheringay pained and mortified Pen exceedingly. If he had been ashamed of his passion before,—what were his feelings regarding it now, when the object of so much pure flame and adoration turned out to be only a worthless impostor, an impostor detected by all but him? It never occurred to Pen to doubt the fact, or to question whether the stories of a man who, like his new friend, never spoke well of any woman, were likely to be true.

One Easter vacation, when Pen had announced to his mother and uncle his intention not to go down, but stay at Oxbridge and read, Mr. Pen was nevertheless induced to take a brief visit to London in company with his friend Mr. Bloundell. They put up at a hotel in Covent Garden, where Bloundell had a tick, as he called it, and took the pleasures of the town very freely after the wont of young university men. Bloundell still belonged to a military club, whither he took Pen to dine once or twice (the young men would drive thither in a cab, trembling lest they should meet Major Pendennis on his beat in Pall Mall), and here Pen was introduced to a number of gallant young fellows with spurs and mustachios, with whom he drank pale-ale of mornings and beat the town of a night. Here he saw a deal of life, indeed: nor in his career about the theatres and singing-houses which these roaring young blades frequented, was he very likely to meet his guardian. One night, nevertheless, they were very near to each other: a plank only separating Pen, who was in the boxes of the Museum Theatre, from the Major, who was in Lord Steyne's box, along with that venerated nobleman. The Fotheringay was in the pride of her glory. Shad made a hit: that is, she had drawn very good houses for nearly a year, had starred the provinces with great eclat, had come back to shine in London with somewhat diminished lustre, and now was acting with "ever increasing attraction; etc.," "triumph of the good old British drama," as the play-bills avowed, to houses in which there was plenty of room for anybody who wanted to see her.

It was not the first time Pen had seen her, since that memorable day when the two had parted in Chatteris. In the previous year, when the town was making much of her, and the press lauded her beauty, Pen had found a pretext for coming to London in term-time, and had rushed off to the theatre to see his old flame. He recollected it rather than renewed it. He remembered how ardently he used to be on the look-out at Chatteris, when the speech before Ophelia's or Mrs. Haller's entrance on the stage was made by the proper actor. Now, as the actor spoke, he had a sort of feeble thrill: as the house began to thunder with applause, and Ophelia entered with her old bow and sweeping curtsey, Pen felt a slight shock and blushed very much as he looked at her, and could not help thinking that all the house was regarding him. He hardly heard her for the first part of the play: and he thought with such rage of the humiliation to which she had subjected him, that he began to fancy he was jealous and in love with her still. But that illusion did not last very long. He ran round to the stage-door of the theatre to see her if possible, but he did not succeed. She passed indeed under his nose with a female companion, but he did not know her,—nor did she recognise him. The next night he came in late, and stayed very quietly for the afterpiece, and on the third and last night of his stay in London—why, Taglioni was going to dance at the Opera,—Taglioni! and there was to be Don Giovanni, which he admired of all things in the world: so Mr. Pen went to Don Giovanni and Taglioni.

This time the illusion about her was quite gone. She was not less handsome, but she was not the same, somehow. The light was gone out of her eyes which used to flash there, or Pen's no longer were dazzled by it. The rich voice spoke as of old, yet it did not make Pen's bosom thrill as formerly. He thought he could recognise the brogue underneath: the accents seemed to him coarse and false. It annoyed him to hear the same emphasis on the same words, only uttered a little louder: worse than this, it annoyed him to think that he should ever have mistaken that loud imitation for genius, or melted at those mechanical sobs and sighs. He felt that it was in another life almost, that it was another man who had so madly loved her. He was ashamed and bitterly humiliated, and very lonely. Ah, poor Pen! the delusion is better than the truth sometimes, and fine dreams than dismal waking.

They went and had an uproarious supper that night, and Mr. Pen had a fine headache the next morning, with which he went back to Oxbridge, having spent all his ready money.

As all this narrative is taken from Pen's own confessions, so that the reader may be assured of the truth of every word of it, and as Pen himself never had any accurate notion of the manner in which he spent his money, and plunged himself in much deeper pecuniary difficulties, during his luckless residence at Oxbridge University, it is, of course, impossible for me to give any accurate account of his involvements, beyond that general notion of his way of life, which has been sketched a few pages back. He does not speak too hardly of the roguery of the university tradesmen, or of those in London whom he honoured with his patronage at the outset of his career. Even Finch, the money-lender, to whom Bloundell introduced him, and with whom he had various transactions, in which the young rascal's signature appeared upon stamped paper, treated him, according to Pen's own account, with forbearance, and never mulcted him of more than a hundred per cent. The old college-cook, his fervent admirer, made him a private bill, offered to send him in dinners up to the very last, and never would have pressed his account to his dying day. There was that kindness and frankness about Arthur Pendennis, which won most people who came in contact with him, and which, if it rendered him an easy prey to rogues, got him, perhaps, more goodwill than he merited from many honest men. It was impossible to resist his good-nature, or, in his worst moments, not to hope for his rescue from utter ruin.

At the time of his full career of university pleasure, he would leave the gayest party to go and sit with a sick friend. He never knew the difference between small and great in the treatment of his acquaintances, however much the unlucky lad's tastes, which were of the sumptuous order, led him to prefer good society; he was only too ready to share his guinea with a poor friend, and when he got money had an irresistible propensity for paying, which he never could conquer through life.

In his third year at college, the duns began to gather awfully round about him, and there was a levee at his oak which scandalised the tutors, and would have scared many a stouter heart. With some of these he used to battle, some he would bully (under Mr. Bloundell's directions, who was a master in this art, though he took a degree in no other), and some deprecate. And it is reported of him that little Mary Frodsham, the daughter of a certain poor gilder and frame-maker, whom Mr. Pen had thought fit to employ, and who had made a number of beautiful frames for his fine prints, coming to Pendennis with a piteous tale that her father was ill with ague, and that there was an execution in their house, Pen in an anguish of remorse rushed away, pawned his grand watch and every single article of jewellery except two old gold sleeve-buttons, which had belonged to his father, and rushed with the proceeds to Frodsham's shop, where, with tears in his eyes, and the deepest repentance and humility, he asked the poor tradesman's pardon.

This, young gentlemen, is not told as an instance of Pen's virtue, but rather of his weakness. It would have been much more virtuous to have had no prints at all. He still stood for the baubles which he sold in order to pay Frodsham's bill, and his mother had cruelly to pinch herself in order to discharge the jeweller's account, so that she was in the end the sufferer by the lad's impertinent fancies and follies. We are not presenting Pen to you as a hero or a model, only as a lad, who, in the midst of a thousand vanities and weaknesses, has as yet some generous impulses, and is not altogether dishonest.

We have said it was to the scandal of Mr. Buck the tutor that Pen's extravagances became known: from the manner in which he entered college, the associates he kept, and the introductions of Doctor Portman and the Major, Buck for a long time thought that his pupil was a man of large property, and wondered rather that he only wore a plain gown. Once on going up to London to the levee with an address from his Majesty's Loyal University of Oxbridge, Buck had seen Major Pendennis at St. James's in conversation with two knights of the garter, in the carriage of one of whom the dazzled tutor saw the Major whisked away after the levee. He asked Pen to wine the instant he came back, let him off from chapels and lectures more than ever, and felt perfectly sure that he was a young gentleman of large estate.

Thus, he was thunderstruck when he heard the truth, and received a dismal confession from Pen. His university debts were large, and the tutor had nothing to do, and of course Pen did not acquaint him, with his London debts. What man ever does tell all when pressed by his friends about his liabilities? The tutor learned enough to know that Pen was poor, that he had spent a handsome, almost a magnificent allowance, and had raised around him such a fine crop of debts, as it would be very hard work for any man to mow down; for there is no plant that grows so rapidly when once it has taken root.

Perhaps it was because she was so tender and good that Pen was terrified lest his mother should know of his sins. "I can't bear to break it to her," he said to the tutor in an agony of grief. "O! sir, I've been a villain to her"—and he repented, and he wished he had the time to come over again, and he asked himself, "Why, why did his uncle insist upon the necessity of living with great people, and in how much did all his grand acquaintance profit him?"

They were not shy, but Pen thought they were, and slunk from them during his last terms at college. He was as gloomy as a death's-head at parties, which he avoided of his own part, or to which his young friends soon ceased to invite him. Everybody knew that Pendennis was "hard up." That man Bloundell, who could pay nobody, and who was obliged to go down after three terms, was his ruin, the men said. His melancholy figure might be seen shirking about the lonely quadrangles in his battered old cap and torn gown, and he who had been the pride of the university but a year before, the man whom all the young ones loved to look at, was now the object of conversation at freshmen's wine-parties, and they spoke of him with wonder and awe.

At last came the Degree Examinations. Many a young man of his year whose hob-nailed shoes Pen had derided, and whose face or coat he had caricatured—many a man whom he had treated with scorn in the lecture-room or crushed with his eloquence in the debating-club—many of his own set who had not half his brains, but a little regularity and constancy of occupation, took high places in the honours or passed with decent credit. And where in the list was Pen the superb, Pen the wit and dandy, Pen the poet and orator? Ah, where was Pen the widow's darling and sole pride? Let us hide our heads, and shut up the page. The lists came out; and a dreadful rumour rushed through the university, that Pendennis of Boniface was plucked.



CHAPTER XXI. Flight after Defeat

Everybody who has the least knowledge of Heraldry and the Peerage must be aware that the noble family of which, as we know, Helen Pendennis was a member, bears for a crest, a nest full of little pelicans pecking at the ensanguined bosom of a big maternal bird, which plentifully supplies the little wretches with the nutriment on which, according to the heraldic legend, they are supposed to be brought up. Very likely female pelicans like so to bleed under the selfish little beaks of their young ones: it is certain that women do. There must be some sort of pleasure, which we men don't understand, which accompanies the pain of being scarified, and indeed I believe some women would rather actually so suffer than not. They like sacrificing themselves in behalf of the object which their instinct teaches them to love. Be it for a reckless husband, a dissipated son, a darling scapegrace of a brother, how ready their hearts are to pour out their best treasures for the benefit of the cherished person; and what a deal of this sort of enjoyment are we, on one side, ready to give the soft creatures! There is scarce a man that reads this, but has administered pleasure in this fashion to his womankind, and has treated them to the luxury of forgiving him. They don't mind how they live themselves; but when the prodigal comes home they make a rejoicing, and kill the fatted calf for him: and at the very first hint that the sinner is returning, the kind angels prepare their festival, and Mercy and Forgiveness go smiling out to welcome him. I hope it may be so always for all: if we have only Justice to look to, Heaven help us!

During the latter part of Pen's residence at the University of Oxbridge, his uncle's partiality had greatly increased for the lad. The Major was proud of Arthur, who had high spirits, frank manners, a good person, and high gentleman-like bearing. It pleased the old London bachelor to see Pen walking with the young patricians of his university, and he (who was never known to entertain his friends, and whose stinginess had passed into a sort of byword among some wags at the Club, who envied his many engagements, and did not choose to consider his poverty) was charmed to give his nephew and the young lords snug little dinners at his lodgings, and to regale them with good claret, and his very best bons mots and stories: some of which would be injured by the repetition, for the Major's manner of telling them was incomparably neat and careful; and others, whereof the repetition would do good to nobody. He paid his court to their parents through the young men, and to himself as it were by their company. He made more than one visit to Oxbridge, where the young fellows were amused by entertaining the old gentleman, and gave parties and breakfasts and fetes, partly to joke him and partly to do him honour. He plied them with his stories. He made himself juvenile and hilarious in the company of the young lords. He went to hear Pen at a grand debate at the Union, crowed and cheered, and rapped his stick in chorus with the cheers of the men, and was astounded at the boy's eloquence and fire. He thought he had got a young Pitt for a nephew. He had an almost paternal fondness for Pen. He wrote to the lad letters with playful advice and the news of the town. He bragged about Arthur at his Clubs, and introduced him with pleasure into his conversation; saying, that, Egad, the young fellows were putting the old ones to the wall; that the lads who were coming up, young Lord Plinlimmon, a friend of my boy, young Lord Magnus Charters, a chum of my scapegrace, etc., would make a greater figure in the world than even their fathers had done before them. He asked permission to bring Arthur to a grand fete at Gaunt House; saw him with ineffable satisfaction dancing with the sisters of the young noblemen before mentioned; and gave himself as much trouble to procure cards of invitation for the lad to some good houses, as if he had been a mamma with a daughter to marry, and not an old half-pay officer in a wig. And he boasted everywhere of the boy's great talents, and remarkable oratorical powers; and of the brilliant degree he was going to take. Lord Runnymede would take him on his embassy, or the Duke would bring him in for one of his boroughs, he wrote over and over again to Helen; who, for her part, was too ready to believe anything that anybody chose to say in favour of her son.

And all this pride and affection of uncle and mother had been trampled down by Pen's wicked extravagance and idleness! I don't envy Pen's feelings (as the phrase is), as he thought of what he had done. He had slept, and the tortoise had won the race. He had marred at its outset what might have been a brilliant career. He had dipped ungenerously into a generous mother's purse; basely and recklessly spilt her little cruse. O! it was a coward hand that could strike and rob a creature so tender. And if Pen felt the wrong which he had done to others, are we to suppose that a young gentleman of his vanity did not feel still more keenly the shame he had brought upon himself? Let us be assured that there is no more cruel remorse than that; and no groans more piteous than those of wounded self-love. Like Joel Miller's friend, the Senior Wrangler, who bowed to the audience from his box at the play, because he and the king happened to enter the theatre at the same time, only with a fatuity by no means so agreeable to himself, poor Arthur Pendennis felt perfectly convinced that all England would remark the absence of his name from the examination-lists, and talk about his misfortune. His wounded tutor, his many duns, the skip and bed-maker who waited upon him, the undergraduates of his own time and the years below him, whom he had patronised or scorned—how could he bear to look any of them in the face now? He rushed to his rooms, into which he shut himself, and there he penned a letter to his tutor, full of thanks, regards, remorse, and despair, requesting that his name might be taken off the college books, and intimating a wish and expectation that death would speedily end the woes of the disgraced Arthur Pendennis.

Then he slunk out, scarcely knowing whither he went, but mechanically taking the unfrequented little lanes by the backs of the colleges, until he cleared the university precincts, and got down to the banks of the Camisis river, now deserted, but so often alive with the boat-races, and the crowds of cheering gownsmen, he wandered on and on, until he found himself at some miles' distance from Oxbridge, or rather was found by some acquaintances leaving that city.

As Pen went up a hill, a drizzling January rain beating in his face, and his ragged gown flying behind him—for he had not divested himself of his academical garments since the morning—a postchaise came rattling up the road, on the box of which a servant was seated, whilst within, or rather half out of the carriage window, sate a young gentleman smoking a cigar, and loudly encouraging the postboy. It was our young acquaintance of Baymouth Mr. Spavin, who had got his degree, and was driving homewards in triumph in his yellow postchaise. He caught a sight of the figure, madly gesticulating as he worked up the hill, and of poor Pen's pale and ghastly face as the chaise whirled by him.

"Wo!" roared Mr. Spavin to the postboy, and the horses stopped in their mad career, and the carriage pulled up some fifty yards before Pen. He presently heard his own name shouted, and beheld the upper half of the body of Mr. Spavin thrust out of the side-window of the vehicle, and beckoning Pen vehemently towards it.

Pen stopped, hesitated—nodded his head fiercely, and pointed onwards, as if desirous that the postillion should proceed. He did not speak: but his countenance must have looked very desperate, for young Spavin, having stared at him with an expression of blank alarm, jumped out of the carriage presently, ran towards Pen holding out his hand, and grasping Pen's, said, "I say—hullo, old boy, where are you going, and what's the row now?"

"I'm going where I deserve to go," said Pen, with an imprecation.

"This ain't the way," said Mr. Spavin, smiling. "This is the Fenbury road. I say, Pen, don't take on because you are plucked. It's nothing when you are used to it. I've been plucked three times, old boy—and after the first time I didn't care. Glad it's over, though. You'll have better luck next time."

Pen looked at his early acquaintance,—who had been plucked, who had been rusticated, who had only, after repeated failures, learned to read and write correctly, and who, in spite of all these drawbacks, had attained the honour of a degree. "This man has passed," he thought, "and I have failed!" It was almost too much for him to bear.

"Good-bye, Spavin," said he; "I'm very glad you are through. Don't let me keep you; I'm in a hurry—I'm going to town to-night."

"Gammon," said Mr. Spavin. "This ain't the way to town; this is the Fenbury road, I tell you."

"I was just going to turn back," Pen said.

"All the coaches are full with the men going down," Spavin said. Pen winced. "You'd not get a place for a ten-pound note. Get into my yellow; I'll drop you at Mudford, where you have a chance of the Fenbury mail. I'll lend you a hat and a coat; I've got lots. Come along; jump in, old boy—go it, leathers!"—and in this way Pen found himself in Mr. Spavin's postchaise, and rode with that gentleman as far as the Ram Inn at Mudford, fifteen miles from Oxbridge; where the Fenbury mail changed horses, and where Pen got a place on to London.

The next day there was an immense excitement in Boniface College, Oxbridge, where, for some time, a rumour prevailed, to the terror of Pen's tutor and tradesmen, that Pendennis, maddened at losing his degree, had made away with himself—a battered cap, in which his name was almost discernible, together with a seal bearing his crest of an eagle looking at a now extinct sun, had been found three miles on the Fenbury road, near a mill-stream, and, for four-and-twenty hours, it was supposed that poor Pen had flung himself into the stream, until letters arrived from him, bearing the London post-mark.

The mail reached London at the dreary hour of five; and he hastened to the inn at Covent Garden, at which he was accustomed to put up, where the ever-wakeful porter admitted him, and showed him to a bed. Pen looked hard at the man, and wondered whether Boots knew he was plucked? When in bed he could not sleep there. He tossed about until the appearance of the dismal London daylight, when he sprang up desperately, and walked off to his uncle's lodgings in Bury Street; where the maid, who was scouring the steps, looked up suspiciously at him, as he came with an unshaven face, and yesterday's linen. He thought she knew of his mishap, too.

"Good evens! Mr. Harthur, what as appened, sir?" Mr. Morgan, the valet, asked, who had just arranged the well-brushed clothes and shiny boots at the door of his master's bedroom, and was carrying in his wig to the Major.

"I want to see my uncle," he cried, in a ghastly voice, and flung himself down on a chair.

Morgan backed before the pale and desperate-looking young man, with terrified and wondering glances, and disappeared in his master's apartment.

The Major put his head out of the bedroom door, as soon as he had his wig on.

"What? examination over? Senior Wrangler, double First Class, hay? said the old gentleman—I'll come directly;" and the head disappeared.

"They don't know what has happened," groaned Pen; "what will they say when they know all?"

Pen had been standing with his back to the window, and to such a dubious light as Bury Street enjoys of a foggy January morning, so that his uncle could not see the expression of the young man's countenance, or the looks of gloom and despair which even Mr. Morgan had remarked.

But when the Major came out of his dressing-room neat and radiant, and preceded by faint odours from Delcroix's shop, from which emporium Major Pendennis's wig and his pocket-handkerchief got their perfume, he held out one of his hands to Pen, and was about addressing him in his cheery high-toned voice, when he caught sight of the boy's face at length, and dropping his hand, said, "Good God! Pen, what's the matter?"

"You'll see it in the papers at breakfast, sir," Pen said.

"See what?"

"My name isn't there, sir."

"Hang it, why should it be?" asked the Major, more perplexed.

"I have lost everything, sir," Pen groaned out; "my honour's gone; I'm ruined irretrievably; I can't go back to Oxbridge."

"Lost your honour?" screamed out the Major. "Heaven alive! you don't mean to say you have shown the white feather?"

Pen laughed bitterly at the word feather, and repeated it. "No, it isn't that, sir. I'm not afraid of being shot; I wish to God anybody would. I have not got my degree. I—I'm plucked, sir."

The Major had heard of plucking, but in a very vague and cursory way, and concluded that it was some ceremony performed corporally upon rebellious university youth. "I wonder you can look me in the face after such a disgrace, sir," he said; "I wonder you submitted to it as a gentleman."

"I couldn't help it, sir. I did my classical papers well enough it was those infernal mathematics, which I have always neglected."

"Was it—was it done in public, sir?" the Major said.

"What?"

"The—the plucking?" asked the guardian, looking Pen anxiously in the face.

Pen perceived the error under which his guardian was labouring, and in the midst of his misery the blunder caused the poor wretch a faint smile, and served to bring down the conversation from the tragedy-key, in which Pen had been disposed to carry it on. He explained to his uncle that he had gone in to pass his examination, and failed. On which the Major said, that though he had expected far better things of his nephew, there was no great misfortune in this, and no dishonour as far as he saw, and that Pen must try again.

"Me again at Oxbridge," Pen thought, "after such a humiliation as that!" He felt that, except he went down to burn the place, he could not enter it.

But it was when he came to tell his uncle of his debts that the other felt surprise and anger most keenly, and broke out in speeches most severe upon Pen, which the lad bore, as best might, without flinching. He had determined to make a clean breast, and had formed a full, true, and complete list of all his bills and liabilities at the university, and in London. They consisted of various items, such as:

London Tailor. Oxbridge do. Oxbridge do. Bill for horses. Haberdasher, for shirts and gloves. Printseller. Jeweller. Books. College Cook. Binding. Grump, for desserts. Hairdresser and Perfumery. Bootmaker. Hotel bill in London. Wine Merchant in London. Sundries.

All which items the reader may fill in at his pleasure—such accounts have been inspected by the parents of many university youth,—and it appeared that Mr. Pen's bills in all amounted to about seven hundred pounds; and, furthermore, it was calculated that he had had more than twice that sum of ready money during his stay at Oxbridge. This sum he had spent, and for it had to show—what?

"You need not press a man who is down, sir," Pen said to his uncle, gloomily. "I know very well, sir, how wicked and idle I have been. My mother won't like to see me dishonoured, sir," he continued, with his voice failing; "and I know she will pay these accounts. But I shall ask her for no more money."

"As you like, sir," the Major said. "You are of age, and my hands are washed of your affairs. But you can't live without money, and have no means of making it that I see, though you have a fine talent in spending it, and it is my belief that you will proceed as you have begun, and ruin your mother before you are five years older.—Good morning; it is time for me to go to breakfast. My engagements won't permit me to see you much during the time that you stay in London. I presume that you will acquaint your mother with the news which you have just conveyed to me."

And pulling on his hat, and trembling in his limbs somewhat, Major Pendennis walked out of his lodgings before his nephew, and went ruefully off to take his accustomed corner at the Club. He saw the Oxbridge examination-lists in the morning papers, and read over the names, not understanding the business, with mournful accuracy. He consulted various old fogies of his acquaintance, in the course of the day, at his Clubs; Wenham, a Dean, various Civilians; and, as it is called, "took their opinion," showing to some of them the amount of his nephew's debts, which he had dotted down on the back of a card, and asking what was to be done, and whether such debts were not monstrous, preposterous? What was to be done?—There was nothing for it but to pay. Wenham and the others told the Major of young men who owed twice as much—five times as much—as Arthur, and with no means at all to pay. The consultations, and calculations, and opinions, comforted the Major somewhat. After all, he was not to pay.

But he thought bitterly of the many plans he had formed to make a man of his nephew, of the sacrifices which he had made, and of the manner in which he was disappointed. And he wrote off a letter to Doctor Portman, informing him of the direful events which had taken place, and begging the Doctor to break them to Helen. For the orthodox old gentleman preserved the regular routine in all things, and was of opinion that it was more correct to "break" a piece of bad news to a person by means of a (possibly maladroit and unfeeling) messenger, than to convey it simply to its destination by a note. So the Major wrote to Doctor Portman, and then went out to dinner, one of the saddest men in any London dining-room that day.

Pen, too, wrote his letter, and skulked about London streets for the rest of the day, fancying that everybody was looking at him and whispering to his neighbour, "That is Pendennis of Boniface, who was plucked yesterday." His letter to his mother was full of tenderness and remorse: he wept the bitterest tears over it—and the repentance and passion soothed him to some degree.

He saw a party of roaring young blades from Oxbridge in the coffee-room of his hotel, and slunk away from them, and paced the streets. He remembers, he says, the prints which he saw hanging up at Ackermann's window in the rain, and a book which he read at a stall near the Temple: at night he went to the pit of the play, and saw Miss Fotheringay, but he doesn't in the least recollect in what piece.

On the second day there came a kind letter from his tutor, containing many grave and appropriate remarks upon the event which had befallen him, but strongly urging Pen not to take his name off the university books, and to retrieve a disaster which, everybody knew, was owing to his own carelessness alone, and which he might repair by a month's application. He said he had ordered Pen's skip to pack up some trunks of the young gentleman's wardrobe, which duly arrived with fresh copies of all Pen's bills laid on the top.

On the third day there arrived a letter from home; which Pen read in his bedroom, and the result of which was that he fell down on his knees with his head in the bedclothes, and then prayed out his heart and humbled himself; and having gone downstairs and eaten an immense breakfast he sallied forth and took his place at the Bull and Mouth, Piccadilly, by the Chatteris coach for that evening.



CHAPTER XXII. Prodigal's Return

Such a letter as the Major wrote of course, sent Doctor Portman to Fairoaks, and he went off with that alacrity which a good man shows when he has disagreeable news to commit. He wishes the deed were done, and done quickly. He is sorry, but que voulez-vous? the tooth must be taken out, and he has you in the chair, and it is surprising with what courage and vigour of wrist he applies the forceps. Perhaps he would not be quite so active or eager if it were his tooth; but, in fine, it is your duty to have it out. So the doctor, having read the epistle out to Myra and Mrs. Portman, with many damnatory comments upon the young scapegrace who was goin deeper and deeper into perdition, left those ladies to spread the news through the Clavering society, which they did with their accustomed accuracy and despatch, and strode over to Fairoaks to break the intelligence to the widow.

She had the news already. She had read Pen's letter, and it had relieved her somehow. A gloomy presentiment of evil had been hanging over her for many, many months past. She knew the worst now, and her darling boy was come back to her repentant and tender-hearted. Did she want more? All that the Rector could say (and his remarks were both dictated by common-sense, and made respectable by antiquity) could not bring Helen to feel any indignation or particular unhappiness, except that the boy should be unhappy. What was this degree that they made such an outcry about, and what good would it do Pen? Why did Doctor Portman and his uncle insist upon sending the boy to a place where there was so much temptation to be risked, and so little good to be won? Why didn't they leave him at home with his mother? As for his debts, of course they must be paid;—his debts!—wasn't his father's money all his, and hadn't he a right to spend it? In this way the widow met the virtuous Doctor, and all the arrows of his indignation somehow took no effect upon her gentle bosom.

For some time past, an agreeable practice, known since times ever so ancient, by which brothers and sisters are wont to exhibit their affection towards one another, and in which Pen and his little sister Laura had been accustomed to indulge pretty frequently in their childish days, had been given up by the mutual consent of those two individuals. Coming back from college after an absence from home of some months, in place of the simple girl whom he had left behind him, Mr. Arthur found a tall, slim, handsome young lady, to whom he could not somehow proffer the kiss which he had been in the habit of administering previously, and who received him with a gracious curtsey and a proffered hand, and with a great blush which rose up to the cheek, just upon the very spot which young Pen had been used to salute.

I am not good at descriptions of female beauty; and, indeed, do not care for it in the least (thinking that goodness and virtue are, of course, far more advantageous to a young lady than any mere fleeting charms of person and face), and so shall not attempt any particular delineation of Miss Laura Bell at the age of sixteen years. At that age she had attained her present altitude of five feet four inches, so that she was called tall and gawky by some, and a Maypole by others, of her own sex, who prefer littler women. But if she was a Maypole, she had beautiful roses about her head, and it is a fact that many swains were disposed to dance round her. She was ordinarily pale, with a faint rose tinge in her cheeks; but they flushed up in a minute when occasion called, and continued so blushing ever so long, the roses remaining after the emotion had passed away which had summoned those pretty flowers into existence. Her eyes have been described as very large from her earliest childhood, and retained that characteristic in later life. Good-natured critics (always females) said that she was in the habit of making play with those eyes, and ogling the gentlemen and ladies in her company; but the fact is, that Nature had made them so to shine and to look, and they could no more help so looking and shining than one star can help being brighter than another. It was doubtless to mitigate their brightness that Miss Laura's eyes were provided with two pairs of veils in the shape of the longest and finest black eyelashes, so that, when she closed her eyes, the same people who found fault with those orbs, said that she wanted to show her eyelashes off; and, indeed, I daresay that to see her asleep would have been a pretty sight.

As for her complexion, that was nearly as brilliant as Lady Mantrap's, and without the powder which her ladyship uses. Her nose must be left to the reader's imaginaton: if her mouth was rather large (as Miss Piminy avers, who, but for her known appetite, one would think could not swallow anything larger than a button) everybody allowed that her smile was charming, and showed off a set of pearly teeth, whilst her voice was so low and sweet, that to hear it was like listening to sweet music. Because she is in the habit of wearing very long dresses, people of course say that her feet are not small: but it may be that they are of the size becoming her figure, and it does not follow, because Mrs. Pincher is always putting her foot out, that all other ladies should be perpetually bringing theirs on the tapis. In fine, Miss Laura Bell at the age of sixteen, was a sweet young lady. Many thousands of such are to be found, let us hope, in this country where there is no lack of goodness, and modesty, and purity, and beauty.

Now Miss Laura, since she had learned to think for herself (and in the past two years her mind and her person had both developed themselves considerably) had only been half pleased with Pen's general conduct and bearing. His letters to his mother at home had become of late very rare and short. It was in vain that the fond widow urged how constant Arthur's occupations and studies were and how many his engagements. "It is better that he should lose a prize" Laura said "than forget his mother; and indeed, mamma, I don't see that he gets many prizes. Why doesn't he come home and stay with you, instead of passing his vacations at his great friends' fine houses? There is nobody there will love him half so much as—as you do." "As I do only, Laura?" sighed out Mrs. Pendennis. Laura declared stoutly that she did not love Pen a bit, when he did not do his duty to his mother nor would she be convinced by any of Helen's fond arguments, that the boy must make his way in the world; that his uncle was most desirous that Pen should cultivate the acquaintance of persons who were likely to befriend him in life; that men had a thousand ties and calls which women could not understand, and so forth. Perhaps Helen no more believed in these excuses than her adopted daughter did; but she tried to believe that she believed them, and comforted herself with the maternal infatuation. And that is a point whereon I suppose many a gentleman has reflected, that, do what we will, we are pretty sure of the woman's love that once has been ours; and that that untiring tenderness and forgiveness never fail us.

Also, there had been that freedom, not to say audacity, in Arthur's latter talk and ways, which had shocked and displeased Laura. Not that he ever offended her by rudeness, or addressed to her a word which she ought not to hear, for Mr. Pen was a gentleman, and by nature and education polite to every woman high and low; but he spoke lightly and laxly of women in general; was less courteous in his actions than in his words—neglectful in sundry ways, and in many of the little offices of life. It offended Miss Laura that he should smoke his horrid pipes in the house; that he should refuse to go to church with his mother, or on walks or visits with her, and be found yawning over his novel in his dressing-gown, when the gentle widow returned from those duties. The hero of Laura's early infancy, about whom she had passed so many, many nights talking with Helen (who recited endless stories of the boy's virtues, and love, and bravery, when he was away at school), was a very different person from the young man whom now she knew; bold and brilliant, sarcastic and defiant, seeming to scorn the simple occupations or pleasures, or even devotions, of the women with whom he lived, and whom he quitted on such light pretexts.

The Fotheringay affair, too, when Laura came to hear of it (which she did first by some sarcastic allusions of Major Pendennis, when on a visit to Fairoaks, and then from their neighbours at Clavering, who had plenty of information to give her on this head), vastly shocked and outraged Miss Laura. A Pendennis fling himself away on such a woman as that! Helen's boy galloping away from home, day after day, to fall on his knees to an actress, and drink with her horrid father! A good son want to bring such a man and such a woman into his house, and set her over his mother! "I would have run away, mamma; I would, if I had had to walk barefoot through the snow," Laura said.

"And you would have left me too, then?" Helen answered; on which, of course, Laura withdrew her previous observation, and the two women rushed into each other's embraces with that warmth which belonged to both their natures, and which characterises not a few of their sex. Whence came all Whence came all the indignation of Miss Laura about Arthur's passion? Perhaps she did not know, that, if men throw themselves away upon women, women throw themselves away upon men, too; and that there is no more accounting for love, than for any other physical liking or antipathy: perhaps she had been misinformed by the Clavering people and old Mrs. Portman, who was vastly bitter against Pen, especially since his impertinent behaviour to the Doctor and since the wretch had smoked cigars in church-time: perhaps, finally, she was jealous; but this is a vice in which it is said the ladies very seldom indulge.

Albeit she was angry with Pen, against his mother she had no such feeling; but devoted herself to Helen with the utmost force of her girlish affection—such affection as women, whose hearts are disengaged, are apt to bestow upon the near female friend. It was devotion—it was passion—it was all sorts of fondness and folly; it was a profusion of caresses, tender epithets and endearments, such as it does not become sober historians with beards to narrate. Do not let us men despise these instincts because we cannot feel them. These women were made for our comfort and delectation, gentlemen,—with all the rest of the minor animals.

But as soon as Miss Laura heard that Pen was unfortunate and unhappy, all her wrath against him straightway vanished, and gave place to the most tender and unreasonable compassion. He was the Pen of old days once more restored to her, the frank and affectionate, the generous and tender-hearted. She at once took side with Helen against Doctor Portman, when he outcried at the enormity of Pen's transgressions. Debts? what were his debts? they were a trifle; he had been thrown into expensive society by his uncle's order, and of course was obliged to live in the same manner as the young gentlemen whose company he frequented. Disgraced by not getting his degree? the poor boy was ill when he went in for the examinations: he couldn't think of his mathematics and stuff on account of those very debts which oppressed him; very likely some of the odious tutors and masters were jealous of him, and had favourites of their own whom they wanted to put over his head. Other people disliked him, and were cruel to him, and were unfair to him, she was very sure. And so, with flushing cheeks and eyes bright with anger, this young creature reasoned; and she went up and seized Helen's hand, and kissed her in the Doctor's presence, and her looks braved the Doctor, and seemed to ask how he dared to say a word against her darling mother's Pen?

When that divine took his leave, not a little discomfited and amazed at the pertinacious obstinacy of the women, Laura repeated her embraces and arguments with tenfold fervour to Helen, who felt that there was a great deal of cogency in most of the latter. There must be some jealousy against Pen. She felt quite sure that he had offended some of the examiners, who had taken a mean revenge of him—nothing more likely. Altogether, the announcement of the misfortune vexed these two ladies very little indeed. Pen, who was plunged in his shame and grief in London, and torn with great remorse for thinking of his mother's sorrow, would have wondered, had he seen how easily she bore the calamity. Indeed, calamity is welcome to women if they think it will bring truant affection home again: and if you have reduced your mistress to a crust, depend upon it that she won't repine, and only take a very little bit of it for herself, provided you will eat the remainder in her company.

And directly the Doctor was gone, Laura ordered fires to be lighted in Mr. Arthur's rooms, and his bedding to be aired; and had these preparations completed by the time Helen had finished a most tender and affectionate letter to Pen: when the girl, smiling fondly, took her mamma by the hand, and led her into those apartments where the fires were blazing so cheerfully, and there the two kind creatures sate down on the bed, and talked about Pen ever so long. Laura added a postscript to Helen's letter, in which she called him her dearest Pen, and bade him come home instantly, with two of the handsomest dashes under the word, and be happy with his mother and his affectionate sister Laura.

In the middle of the night—as these two ladies, after reading their bibles a great deal during the evening, and after taking just a look into Pen's room as they passed to their own—in the middle of the night, I say, Laura, whose head not unfrequently chose to occupy that pillow which the nightcap of the late Pendennis had been accustomed to press, cried out suddenly, "Mamma, are you awake?"

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