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“My father wants me to go and see James and Madame de Florac," says Clive, as they stride down the street to the Toledo.
J. J. puts his arm through his companion's, which is deep in the pocket of his velvet paletot. “You must not go home till you hear it is over, Clive," whispers J. J.
“Of course not, old boy,” says the other, blowing tobacco out of his shaking head.
Not very long after their arrival, we may be sure they went to Pompeii, of which place, as this is not an Italian tour, but a history of Clive Newcome, Esquire, and his most respectable family, we shall offer to give no description. The young man had read Sir Bulwer Lytton's delightful story, which has become the history of Pompeii, before they came thither, and Pliny's description, apud the “Guide-Book." Admiring the wonderful ingenuity with which the English writer had illustrated the place by his text, as if the houses were so many pictures to which he had appended a story, Clive, the wag, who was always indulging his vein for caricature, was proposing that they should take the same place, names, people, and make a burlesque story : “ What would be a better figure," says he, “than Pliny's mother, whom the historian describes as exceedingly corpulent, and walking away from the catastrophe with slaves holding cushions behind her, to shield her plump person from the cinders! Yes, old Mrs. Pliny shall be my heroine !” says Clive. A picture of her on a dark grey paper, and touched up with red at the extremities, exists in Clive's album to the present day.
As they were laughing, rattling, wondering, mimicking, the cicerone attending them with his nasal twaddle, anon pausing and silent; yielding to the melancholy pity and wonder which the aspect of that strange sad smiling lonely place inspires: behold they come upon another party of English, two young men accompanying a lady.
“ What, Clive!” cries one.
My dear, dear Lord Kew !” shouts the other; and as each young man rushes up and grasps the two hands of the other, they both begin to blush ...
Lord Kew and his family resided in a neighbouring hotel on the Chiafa at Naples, and that very evening, on returning from the Pompeian excursion, the two painters were invited to take tea by these friendly persons. J. J. excused himself, and sat at home drawing all night. Clive went, and passed a pleasant evening; in which all sorts of future tours and pleasure-parties were projected by the young men. They were to visit Pæstum, Capri, Sicily; why not Malta and the East? asked Lord Kew.
Lady Walham was alarmed. Had not Kew been in the East already? Clive was surprised and agitated too. Could Kew think of going to the East, and making long journeys when he had—he had other engagements that would necessitate his return home? No, he must not go to the East, Lord Kew's mother avowed; Kew had promised to stay with her during the summer at Castellamare, and Mr. Newcome must come and paint their portraits there-all their portraits. She would like to have an entire picture-gallery of Kews, if her son would remain at home during the sittings.
At an early hour Lady Walham retired to rest, exacting Clive's promise to come to Castellamare; and George Barnes disappeared to array himself in an evening costume, and to pay his round of visits as became a young diplomatist. This part of diplomatic duty does not commence until after the opera at. Naples; and society begins when the rest of the world has gone to bed.
Kew and Clive sate till one o'clock in the morning, when the latter returned to his hotel. Not one of those fine parties at Pæstum, Sicily, &c., was carried out. Clive did not go to the East at all, and it was J. J. who painted Lord Kew's portrait that summer at Castellamare. The next day Clive went for his passport to the embassy; and a steamer departing direct for Marseilles on that very afternoon, behold Mr. Newcome was on board of her ; Lord Kew and his brother and J. J. waving their hats to him as the vessel left the shore.
Away went the ship, cleaving swiftly through the azure waters; but not swiftly enough for Clive. J. J. went back with a sigh to his sketchbook and easels. I suppose the other young disciple of Art had heard something which caused him to forsake his sublime mistress, for one who was much more capricious and earthly.
CHAPTER XL. RETURNS FROM ROME TO PALL MALL. NE morning in the month of July, when there was actually sunV shine in Lamb Court, and the two gentlemen who occupied the third-floor chambers there in partnership were engaged, as their custom was, over their pipes, their manuscripts, and their Times newspaper, behold a fresh sunshine burst into their room in the person of young Clive, with a bronzed face, and a yellow beard and mustachios, and those bright cheerful eyes, the sight of which was always so welcome to both of us. “What, Clive! What, the young one! What, Benjamin!” shout Pendennis and Warrington. Clive had obtained a very high place indeed in the latter's affections, so much so, that if I could have found it in my heart to be jealous of such a generous brave fellow, I might have grudged him his share of Warrington's regard. He blushed up with pleasure to see us again. Pidgeon, our boy, introduced him with a jubilant countenance; and Flanagan, the laundress, came smirking out of the bed-room, eager to get a nod of recognition from him, and bestow a smile of welcome upon everybody's favourite, Clive.
In two minutes an arm-chair full of magazines, slips of copy, and books for review, was emptied over the neighbouring coal-scuttle, and Clive was in the seat, a cigar in his mouth, as comfortable as if he had never been away. When did he come? Last night. He was back in Charlotte Street, at his old lodgings : he had been to breakfast in Fitzroy Square that morning; James Binnie chirped for joy at seeing him. His father had written to him desiring him to come back and see James Binnie; pretty Miss Rosey was very well, thank you; and Mrs. Mack? Wasn't Mrs. Mackenzie delighted to behold him ? 6 Come, sir, on your honour and conscience, didn't the widow give you a kiss on your return ?" Clive sends an uncut number of the Pall Mall Gazette flying across the room at the head of the inquirer; but blushes so sweetly, that I have very little doubt some such pretty meeting had taken place.
What a pity it is he had not been here a short while since for a marriage in high life, to give away his dear Barnes, and sign the book, along with the other dignitaries ! We described that ceremony to him,
and announced the promotion of his friend, Florac, now our friend also, Director of the Great Anglo-Gallic Railway, the Prince de Montcontour. Then Clive told us of his deeds during the winter; of the good fun he had had at Rome, and the jolly fellows he had met there. Was he going to astonish the world by some grand pictures ? He was not. The more he worked, the more discontented he was with his performances somehow: but J. J. was coming out very strong, J. J. was going to be a stunner. We turned with pride and satisfaction to that very number of the Pall Mall Gazette, which the youth had fung at us, and showed him a fine article by F. Bayham, Esq., in which the picture sent home by J. J. was enthusiastically lauded by the great critic.
So he was back amongst us, and it seemed but yesterday he had quitted us. To Londoners everything seems to have happened but yesterday; nobody has time to miss his neighbour who goes away. People go to the Cape, or on a campaign, or on a tour round the world, or to India, and return with a wife and two or three children, and we fancy it was only the other day they left us, so engaged is every man in his individual speculations, studies, struggles; so selfish does our life make us:-selfish, but not ill-natured. We are glad to see an old friend, though we do not weep when he leaves us. We humbly acknowledge, if fate calls us away likewise, that we are no more missed than any other atom.
After talking for a while, Mr. Clive must needs go into the City, whither I accompanied him. His interview with Messrs. Jolly and Baines, at the house in Fog Court, must have been very satisfactory; Clive came out of the parlour with a radiant countenance. “Do you want any money, old boy ? ” says he; “the dear old governor has placed a jolly sum to my account, and Mr. Baines has told me how delighted Mrs. Baines and the girls will be to see me at dinner. He says my father has made a lucky escape out of one house in India, and a famous investment in another. Nothing could be more civil; how uncommonly kind and friendly everybody is in London. Everybody!" Then bestowing ourselves in a Hansom cab, which had probably just deposited some other capitalist in the City, we made for the West End of the town, where Mr. Clive had some important business to transact with his tailors. He discharged his outstanding little account with easy liberality, blushing as he pulled out of his pocket a new cheque-book, page 1 of which he bestowed on the delighted artist. From Mr. Bi's shop to Mr. Truefitt's is but a step. Our young friend was induced to enter the hairdresser's, and leave behind him a great portion of the flowing locks and the yellow beard which he had brought with him from Rome. With his mustachios he could not be induced to part; painters and cavalry officers having a right to those decorations. And
why should not this young fellow wear smart clothes, and a smart mustachio, and look handsome, and take his pleasure, and bask in his sun when it shone? Time enough for flannel and a fire when the winter comes; and for grey hair and cork-soled boots in the natural decline of years.
Then we went to pay a visit at a hotel in Jermyn Street to our friend Florac, who was now magnificently lodged there. A powdered giant lolling in the hall, his buttons emblazoned with prodigious coronets, took our cards up to the Prince. As the door of an apartment on the first floor opened, we heard a cry as of joy; and that nobleman, in a magnificent Persian dressing-gown, rushing from the room, plunged down the stairs and began kissing Clive, to the respectful astonishment of the Titan in livery.
“ Come that I present you, my friends," our good little Frenchman exclaimed, “to Madame lamto my wife!” We entered the drawingroom; a demure little lady, of near sixty years of age, was seated there, and we were presented in form to Madame la Princesse de Montcontour, née Higg, of Manchester. She made us a stiff little curtsey, but looked not ill-natured ; indeed, few women could look at Clive Newcome's gallant figure and brave smiling countenance and keep a frown on their own very long.
"I have 'eard of you from somebodys else besides the Prince," said the lady, with rather a blush. “Your uncle has spoke to me hoften about you, Mr. Clive, and about your good father.”
“C'est son Directeur," whispers Florac to me. I wondered which of the firm of Newcome had taken that office upon him.
“ Now you are come to England," the lady continued (whose Lancashire pronunciation being once indicated, we shall henceforth, out of respect to the Princess's rank, generally pretermit),—“now you are come to England, we hope to see you often. Not here in this noisy hotel, which I can't bear, but in the country. Our house is only three miles from Newcome-not such a grand place as your uncle's; but I hope we shall see you there a great deal, and your friend, Mr. Pendennis, if he is passing that way." The invitation to Mr. Pendennis, I am bound to say, was given in terms by no means so warm as those in which the Princess's hospitality to Clive were professed.
“ Shall we meet you at your Huncle 'Obson's ?” the lady continued, to Clive ; "his wife is a most charming, well-informed womali, has been most kind and civil, and we dine there to-day. Barnes and his wife is gone to spend the honeymoon at Newcome. Lady Clara is a sweet dear thing, and her pa and ma most affable, I am sure. What a pity Sir Brian couldn't attend the marriage! There was everybody there in London, aʼmost. Sir Harvey Diggs says he is mending