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been five-and-thirty years from home, and want to see all that is to be seen."
King of Corpus (who was an incorrigible wag) was on the point of pulling some dreadful long bow, and pointing out a half-dozen of people in the room, as Rogers, and Hook, and Luttrel, &c., the most celebrated wits of that day; but I cut King's shins under the table, and got the fellow to hold his tongue.
“ Maxima debetur pueris," says Jones (a fellow of very kind feeling, who has gone into the Church since,) and, writing on his card to Hoskins, hinted to him that a boy was in the room, and a gentleman who was quite a greenhorn: hence that the songs had better be carefully selected.
And so they were. A ladies' school might have come in, and, but for the smell of the cigars and brandy-and-water, have taken no harm by what happened. Why should it not always be so? If there are any “ Caves of Harmony” now, I warrant Messieurs the landlords, their interests would be better consulted by keeping their singers within bounds. The very greatest scamps like pretty songs, and are melted by them; so are honest people. It was worth a guinea to see the simple Colonel, and his delight at the music. He forgot all about the distinguished wits whom he had expected to see in his ravishment over the glees.
" I say, Clive, this is delightful. This is better than your aunt's concert with all the Squallinis, hey? I shall come here often, Landlord, may I venture to ask those gentlemen if they will take any refreshment? What are their names?" (to one of his neighbours.) “I was scarcely allowed to hear any singing before I went out, except an oratorio, where I fell asleep; but this, by George, is as fine as Incledon!” He became quite excited over his sherry-and-water("I'm sorry to see you, gentlemen, drinking brandy-pawnee," says he; “it plays the deuce with our young men in India.") He joined in all the choruses with an exceedingly sweet voice. He laughed at “ The Derby Ram” so that it did you good to hear him; and when Hoskins sang (as he did admirably) “ The Old English Gentleman," and described, in measured cadence, the death of that venerable aristocrat, tears trickled down the honest warrior's cheek, while he held out his hand to Hoskins and said, “Thank you, sir, for that song; it is an honour to human nature.” On which Hoskins began to cry too.
And now young Nadab, having been cautioned, commenced one of those surprising feats of improvisation with which he used to charm audiences. He took us all off, and had rhymes pat about all the principal persons in the room: King's pins (which he wore very splendid), Martin's red waistcoat, &c. The Colonel was charmed with each feat, and joined delighted with the chorus—“Ritolderol-ritolderol ritolderolderay” (bis). And, when coming to the Colonel himself, he burst out
" A military gent I see--and while his face I scan,
I think you'll agree with me -He came from Hindostan,
The Colonel laughed immensely at this sally, and clapped his son, young Clive, on the shoulder, “ Hear what he says of you, sir ? Clive, best be off to bed, my boy-ho, ho! No, no. We know a trick worth two of that. We won't go home till morning, till daylight does appear.' Why should we? Why shouldn't my boy have innocent pleasure ? I was allowed none when I was a young chap, and the severity was nearly the ruin of me. I must go and speak with that young man“ the most astonishing thing I ever heard in my life. What's his name? Mr. Nadab? Mr. Nadab, sir, you have delighted me. May I make so free as to ask you to come and dine with me to-morrow at six. Colonel Newcome, if you please, Nerot's Hotel, Clifford Street. I am always proud to make the acquaintance of men of genius, and you are one, or my name is not Newcome!”
“Sir, you do me Hhonour," says Mr. Nadab, pulling up his shirtcollar, “and per’aps the day will come when the world will do me justice,-may I put down your hhonoured name for my book of poems ?”
“Of course, my dear sir," says the enthusiastic Colonel; “ I'll send them all over India. Put me down for six copies, and do me the favour to bring them to-morrow when you come to dinner.”
And now Mr. Hoskins asking if any gentleman would volunteer a song, what was our amazement when the simple Colonel offered to sing himself, at which the room applauded vociferously; whilst methought poor Clive Newcome hung down his head, and blushed as red as a peony. I felt for the young lad, and thought what my own sensations would have been if, in that place, my own uncle, Major Pendennis, had suddenly proposed to exert his lyrical powers.
The Colonel selected the ditty of “Wapping Old Stairs” (a ballad so sweet and touching that surely any English poet might be proud to be the father of it), and he sang this quaint and charming old song in an exceedingly pleasant voice, with flourishes and roulades in the old Incledon manner, which has pretty nearly passed away. The singer gave his heart and soul to the simple ballad, and delivered Molly's gentle appeal so pathetically that even the professional gentlemen hummed and buzzed a sincere applause; and some wags who were inclined to jeer at the beginning of the performance, clinked their glasses and rapped their sticks with quite a respectful enthusiasm. When the song was over, Clive held up his head too; after the shock of the first verse, looked round with surprise and pleasure in his eyes; and we; I need not say, backed our friend, delighted to see him come out of his queer scrape so triumphantly. The Colonel bowed and smiled with very pleasant good nature at our plaudits. It was like Dr. Primrose preaching his sermon in the prison. There was something touching in the naïveté and kindness of the placid and simple gentleman.
Great Hoskins, placed on high, amidst the tuneful choir, was pleased to signify his approbation, and gave his guest's health in his usual dignified manner.“I am much obliged to you, sir," says Mr. Hoskins; “the room ought to be much obliged to you: I drink your ’ealth and song, sir;” and he bowed to the Colonel politely over his glass of brandy-and-water, of which he absorbed a little in his customer's honour. “I have not heard that song," he was kind enough to say, “better performed since Mr. Incledon sung it. He was a great singer, sir, and I may say, in the words of our immortal Shakspeare, that, take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again."
The Colonel blushed in his turn, and turning round to his boy with an arch smile, said, “I learnt it from Incledon. I used to slip out from Grey Friars to hear him, Heaven bless me, forty years ago, and I used to be flogged afterwards, and served me right too. Lord! Lord ! how the time passes!” He drank off his sherry-and-water, and fell back in his chair : we could see he was thinking about his youth--the golden time—the happy, the bright, the unforgotten. I was myself nearly two-and-twenty years of age at that period, and felt as old as, ay, older than the Colonel.
Whilst he was singing his ballad, there had walked, or rather reeled, into the room, a gentleman in a military frock-coat and duck trowsers of dubious hue, with whose name and person some of my readers are perhaps already acquainted. In fact it was my friend Captain Costigan, in his usual condition at this hour of the night.
Holding on by various tables, the Captain had sidled up, without accident to himself or any of the jugs and glasses round about him, to the table where we sat, and had taken his place near the writer, his old acquaintance. He warbled the refrain of the Colonel's song, not inharmoniously; and saluted its pathetic conclusion with a subdued hiccup and a plentiful effusion of tears. “Bedad, it is a beautiful song," says he, “and many a time I heard poor Harry Incledon sing it."
“He's a great character," whispered that unlucky King of Corpus to his neighbour the Colonel; "was a Captain in the army. We call him the General. Captain Costigan, will you take something to drink?"
“Bedad, I will,” says tñe Captain," and I'll sing ye a song tu."
And, having procured a glass of whisky-and-water from the passing waiter, the poor old man, settling his face into a horrid grin, and leering, as he was wont, when he gave what he called one of his prime songs, began his music.
The unlucky wretch, who scarcely knew what he was doing or saying, selected one of the most outrageous performances of his réper. toire, fired off a tipsy howl by way of overture, and away he went. At the end of the second verse the Colonel started up, clapping on his hat, seizing his stick, and looking as ferocious as though he had been going to do battle with a Pindaree, “Silence!” he roared out.
“Hear, hear !" cried certain wags at a farther table. “Go on, Costigan!” said others.
“Go on!” cries the Colonel, in his high voice, trembling with anger. “Does any gentleman say. Go on?' Does any man who has a wife and sisters, or children at home, say Go on' to such disgusting ribaldry as this ? Do you dare, sir, to call yourself a gentleman, and to say that you hold the King's commission, and to sit down amongst Christians and men of honour, and defile the ears of young boys with this wicked balderdash ?”
“Why do you bring young boys here, old boy ?.” cries a voice of the malcontents.
" Why? Because I thought I was coming to a society of gentlemen," cried out the indignant Colonel. “Because I never could have believed that Englishmen could meet together and allow a man, and an old man, so to disgrace himself. For shame, you old wretch! Go home to your bed, you hoary old sinner! And for my part, I'm not sorry that my son should see, for once in his life, to what shame and degradation and dishonour, drunkenness and whisky may bring a man. Never mind the change, sir !--Curse the change!” says the Colonel, facing the amazed waiter.' “ Keep it till you see me in this place again; which will be never-by George, never!” And shouldering his stick, and scowling round at the company of scared baccha, nalians, the indignant gentleman stalked away, his boy after him.
Clive seemed rather shamefaced; but I fear the rest of the company looked still more foolish.
“ Aussi que diable venait-il faire dans cette galère ?” says King of Corpus to Jones of Trinity; and Jones gave a shrug of his shoulders; which were smarting, perhaps; for that uplifted cane of the Colonel's had somehow fallen on the back of every man in the room.
COLONEL NEWCOME'S WILD OATS.
AS the young gentleman who has just gone to bed is to be the hero A of the following pages, we had best begin our account of him with his family history, which luckily is not very long.
When pigtails still grew on the backs of the British gentry, and their wives wore cushions on their heads, over which they tied their own hair, and disguised it with powder and pomatum: when Ministers went in their stars and orders to the House of Commons, and the orators of the Opposition attacked nightly the noble lord in the blue ribbon: when Mr. Washington was heading the American rebels with a courage, it must be confessed, worthy of a better cause: there came up to London, out of a Northern county, Mr. Thomas Newcome, afterwards Thomas Newcome, Esq., and Sheriff of London, afterwards Mr. Alderman Newcome, the founder of the family whose name has given the title to this history. It was but in the reign of George III. that Mr. Newcome first made his appearance in Cheapside; having made his entry into London on a waggon, which landed him and some bales of cloth, all his fortune, in Bishopsgate Street: though, if it could be proved that the Normans wore pigtails under William the Conqueror, and Mr. Washington fought against the English under King Richard in Palestine, I am sure some of the present Newcomes would pay the Heralds Office handsomely, living, as they do, amongst the noblest of the land, and giving entertainments to none but the very highest nobility and élite of the fashionable and diplomatic world, as you may read any day in the newspapers. For though these Newcomes have got a pedigree from the College, which is printed in Budge's “ Landed Aristocracy of Great Britain," and which proves that the Newcome of Cromwell's army, the Newcome who was among the last six who were hanged by Queen Mary for Protestantism, were ancestors of this house; of which a member distinguished himself at Bosworth Field; and the founder, slain by King Harold's side at Hastings, had been surgeon-barber to King Edward the Confessor; yet, between ourselves, I think that Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome, could not believe a word of the story, any more than the rest of the world does, although a number of his children bear names out of the Saxon Calendar.