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apartment where my young friend and I are conversing together? where two gentlemen, I say, are taking their wine after dinner? How dare you, you degraded villain! I don't mean you, sir. I-I-I beg your pardon."
The Colonel was striding about the room in his loose garments, puffing his cigar fiercely anon, and then waving his yellow bandanna; and it was by the arrival of Larkins, my clerk, that his apostrophe to Tom Jones was interrupted; he, Larkins, taking care not to show his amazement, having been schooled not to show or feel surprise at anything he might see or hear in our chambers.
“What is it, Larkins ?” said I. Larkins' other master had taken his leave some time before, having business which called him away, and leaving me with the honest Colonel, quite happy with his talk and cigar.
“ It's Brett's man," says Larkins.
I confounded Brett's man, and told the boy to bid him call again. Young Larkins came grinning back in a moment, and said,
“ Please, sir, he says his orders is not to go away without the money."
“ Confound him," again I cried. “Tell him I have no money in the house. He must come to-morrow."
As I spoke, Clive was looking in wonder, and the Colonel's countenance assumed an appearance of the most dolorous sympathy. Nevertheless, as with a great effort, he fell to talking about Tom Jones again, and continued:
“No, sir, I have no words to express my indignation against such a fellow as Toin Jones. But I forgot that I need not speak. The great and good Dr. Johnson has settled that question. You remember what he said to Mr. Boswell about Fielding?"
“And yet Gibbon praises him, Colonel," said the Colonel's interlocutor, “and that is no small praise. He says that Mr. Fielding was of the family that drew its origin from the Counts of Hapsburg; but
* Gibbon! Gibbon was an infidel, and I would not give the end of this cigar for such a man's opinion. If Mr. Fielding was a gentle. man by birth, he ought to have known better; and so much the worse for him that he did not. But what am I talking of, wasting your valuable time? No more smoke, thank you. I must away into the City, but would not pass the Temple without calling on you, and thanking my boy's old protector. You will have the kindness to come and dine with us--to-morrow, the next day, your own day? Your friend is going out of town? I hope, on his return, to have the pleasure of making his further acquaintance. Come, Clive." : .
Clive, who had been deep in a volume of Hogarth's engravings during the above discussion, or rather oration of his father's, started up and took leave, beseeching me, at the same time, to come soon and see his pony; and so, with renewed greetings, we parted.
I was scarcely returned to my newspaper again, when the knocker of our door was again agitated, and the Colonel ran back, looking very much agitated and confused.
“ I beg pardon,” says he; “I think I left my-my-—" Larkins had quitted the room by this time, and then he began' more unreservedly: 6 My dear young friend," says he, “a thousand pardons for what I am going to say, but, as Clive's friend, I know I may take that liberty. I have left the boy in the court. I know the fate of men of letters and genius: when we were here just now, there came a single knock-a demand-that, that you did not seem to be momentarily able to meet. Now do, do pardon the liberty, and let me be your banker. You said you were engaged in a new work: it will be a masterpiece, I am sure, if it's like the last. Put me down for twenty copies, and allow me to
passagema restless old soldier.”
“My dear Colonel," said I, quite touched and pleased by this extreme kindness, “my dun was but the washerwoman's boy, and Mrs. Brett is in my debt, if I am not mistaken. Besides I already have a banker in your family."
“In my family, my dear sir?”
“Messrs. Newcome, in Threadneedle Street, are good enough to keep my money for me when I have any, and I am happy to say they have some of mine in hand now. I am almost sorry that I am not in want, in order that I might have the pleasure of receiving a kindness from you.” And we shook hands for the fourth time that morning, and the kind gentleman left me to rejoin his son.
THE dinner so hospitably offered by the Colonel was gladly
I accepted, and followed by many more entertainments at the cost of that good-natured friend. He and an Indian chum of his lived at this time at Nerot's Hotel, in Clifford Street, where Mr. Clive, too, found the good cheer a great deal more to his taste than the homely, though plentiful fare at Grey Friars, at which, of course, when boys, we all turned up our noses, though many a poor fellow, in the struggles: of after-life, has looked back with regret very likely to that well-spread: youthful table. Thus my intimacy with the father and the son grew to be considerable, and a great deal more to my liking than my relations with Clive's City uncles, which have been mentioned in the last chapter, and which were, in truth, exceedingly distant and awful.
If all the private accounts kept by those worthy bankers were like mine, where would have been Newcome Hall and Park Lane, Marble Head and Bryanston Square? I used, by strong efforts of self-denial, to maintain a balance of two or three guineas untouched at the bank, so that my account might still remain open; and fancied the clerks. and cashiers grinned when I went to draw for money. Rather than face that awful counter, I would send Larkins, the clerk, or Mrs. Flanagan, the laundress. As for entering the private parlour at the back, wherein, behind the glazed partition, I could see the bald heads of Newcome Brothers engaged with other capitalists or peering over the newspaper, I would as soon have thought of walking into the Doctor's own library at Grey Friars, or of volunteering to take an armchair in a dentist's studio, and have a tooth out, as of entering into that awful precinct. My good uncle, on the other hand, the late Major Pendennis, who kept naturally but a very small account with Hobsons', would walk into the parlour and salute the two magnates. who governed there with the ease and gravity of a Rothschild. “My good fellow," the kind old gentleman would say to his nephew and pupil, “il faut se faire valoir. I tell you, sir, your bankers like to keep every gentleman's account. And it's a mistake to suppose they are only civil to their great moneyed clients. Look at me. I go in to: them, and talk to them whenever I am in the City. I hear the news. of 'Change, and carry it to our end of the town. It looks well, sir, to be well with your banker; and at our end of London, perhaps, I can do a good turn for the Newcomes.”
It is certain that, in his own kingdom of May Fair and St. James's, my revered uncle was at least the bankers' equal. On my coming to London, he was kind enough to procure me invitations to some of Lady Ann Newcome's evening parties in Park Lane, as likewise ta Mrs. Newcome's entertainments in Bryanston Square; though, I confess, of these latter, after a while, I was a lax and negligent attendant. “ Between ourselves, my good fellow," the shrewd old Mentor of those days would say, “ Mrs. Newcome's parties are not altogether select; nor is she a lady of the very highest breeding; but it gives a man a good air to be seen at his banker's house. I recommend you to go for a few minutes whenever you are asked.” And go I accordingly did sometimes, though I always fancied, rightly or wrongly, from Mrs. Newcome's manner to me, that she knew I had but thirty shillings left at the bank. Once and again, in two or three years, Mr. Hobson Newcome would meet me, and ask me to fill a vacant place that day or the next evening at his table; which invitation I might accept or otherwise. But one does not eat a man's salt, as it were, at these dinners. There is nothing sacred in this kind of London hospitality. Your white waistcoat fills a gap in a man's table, and retires filled for its service of the evening. “Gad," the dear old Major used to say, “ if we were not to talk freely of those we dine with, how mum London would be! Some of the most pleasant evenings I have ever spent have been when we have sat after a great dinner, en petit comité, and abused the people who are gone. You have your turn, inon cher; but why not? Do you suppose I fancy my friends haven't found out my little faults and peculiarities? And, as I can't help it, I let myself be executed, and offer up my oddities de bonne grâce. Entre nous, Brother Hobson Newcome is a good fellow, but a vulgar fellow; and his wife his wife exactly suits him.”
Once a year Lady Ann Newcome about whom my Mentor was. much more circumspect; for I somehow used to remark that, as the rank of persons grew higher, Major Pendennis spoke of them with more caution and respect)-once or twice in a year Lady Ann Newcome opened her saloons for a concert and a ball, at both of which the whole street was crowded with carriages, and all the great world, and some of the small, were present. Mrs. Newcome had her ball too, and her concert of English music in opposition to the Italian singers of her sister-in-law. The music of her country, Mrs. N. said, was good. enough for her.
The truth must be told, that there was no love lost between the two. ladies. Bryanston Square could not forget the superiority of Park: Lane's rank; and the catalogue of grandees at dear Ann's parties filled dear Maria's heart with envy. There are people upon whom rank and worldly goods make such an impression, that they naturally fall down on their knees and worship the owners; there are others to whom the sight of Prosperity is offensive, and who never see Dives' chariot but to growl and hoot at it. Mrs. Newcome, as far as my humble experience would lead me to suppose, is not only envious, but proud of her envy. She mistakes it for honesty and public spirit. She will not bow down to kiss the hand of a haughty aristocracy. She is a merchant's wife and an attorney's daughter. There is no pride about her. Her brother-in-law, poor dear Brian-considering everybody knows everything in London, was there ever such a delusion as his ?-was welcome, after banking-hours, to forsake his own friends for his wife's fine relations, and to dangle after lords and ladies in May Fair. She had no such absurd vanity--not she. She'imparted these opinions pretty liberally to all her acquaintances in almost all her conversations. It was clear that the two ladies were best apart. "There are some folks who will see insolence in persons of rank, as there are others who will insist that all clergymen are hypocrites, all reformers villains, all placemen plunderers, and so forth; and Mrs. Newcome never, I am sure, imagined that she had a prejudice, or that she was other than an honest, independent, high-spirited woman. Both of the ladies had command over their husbands, who were of soft natures, easily led by woman, as, in truth, are all the males of this family. Accordingly, when Sir Brian Newcome voted for the Tory candidate in the City, Mr. Hobson Newcome plumped for the Reformer. While Brian, in the House of Commons, sat among the mild Conservatives, Hobson unmasked traitors and thundered at aristocratic corruption, so as to make the Marylebone Vestry thrill with enthusiasm. When Lady Ann, her husband, and her flock of children fasted in Lent, and declared for the High Church doctrines, Mrs. Hobson had paroxysms of alarm regarding the progress of Popery, and shuddered out of the chapel where she had a pew, because
Poor bewildered Honeyman! it was a sad day for you, when you appeared in your neat pulpit with your fragrant pocket-handkerchief (and your sermon likewise all millefleurs), in a trim, prim, freshly mangled surplice, which you thought became you! How did you look aghast, and pass your jewelled hand through your curls, as you saw Mrs. Newcome, who had been as good as five-and-twenty pounds a year to you, look up from her pew, seize hold of Mr. Newcome, fling open the pew-door, drive out with her parasol her little flock of children, bewildered, but not ill-pleased to get away from the sermon,