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CHAPTER XLI

AN OLD STORY. | ANY of Clive's Roman friends were kiy this time come to W London, and the young man renewed his acquaintance with them, and had speedily a considerable circle of his own. He thought fit to allow himself a good horse or two, and appeared in the Park among other young dandies. He and Monsieur de Montcontour were sworn allies. Lord Fareham, who had purchased J. J.'s picture, was Clive's very good friend: Major Pendennis himself pronounced him to be a young fellow of agreeable manners, and very favourably vu (as the Major happened to know) in some very good quarters,

Ere many days Clive had been to Brighton to see Lady Ann and Sir Brian, and good Aunt Honeyman, in whose house the Baronet was lodged: and I suppose he found out, by some means or other, where Lady Kew lived in May Fair.

But her ladyship was not at home, nor was she at home on the second day, nor did there come any note from Ethel to her cousin. She did not ride in the Park as of old. Clive, bien vu as he was, did not belong to that great world as yet, in which he would be pretty sure to meet her every night at one of those parties where everybody goes. He read her name in the paper morning after morning, as having been present at Lady This's entertainment and Lady That's ministerial réunion. At first he was too shy to tell what the state of the case was, and took nobody into his confidence regarding his

little tendre. . There he was riding through Queen Street, May Fair, attired in splendid raiment: never missing the Park; actually going to places of worship in the neighbourhood; and frequenting the opera-a waste of time which one would never have expected in a youth of his nurture. At length a certain observer of human nature remarking his state, rightly conjectured that he must be in love, and taxed him with the soft impeachment--on which the young man, no doubt anxious to open his heart to some one, poured out all that story which has before been narrated; and told how he thought his passion cured, and how it was cured; but when he heard from Kew at Naples that the engagement was over between him and Miss Newcome, Clive found his own flame kindle again with new ardour. He was wild to see her. He dashed off from Naples instantly on receiving the news that she was free. He had been ten days in London without getting a glimpse of her. - That Mrs. Mackenzie bothers me so I hardly know where to turn," said poor Clive, “and poor little Rosey is made to write me a note about something twice a day. She's a good dear little thing little Rosey—and I really had thought once of-of-oh, never mind that! Oh, Pen! I'm up another tree now! and a poor miserable young beggar I am!” In fact Mr. Pendennis was installed as confidant, vice J. J.--absent on leave.

This is a part which, especially for a few days, the present biographer has always liked well enough. For a while at least, I think almost every man or woman is interesting when in love. If you know of two or three such affairs going on in any soirée to which you may be invited-is not the party straightway amusing? Yonder goes Augustus Tompkins, working his way through the rooms to that far corner where demure Miss Hopkins is seated, to whom the stupid grinning Bumpkins thinks he is making himself agreeable. Yonder sits Miss Fanny distraite, and yet trying to smile as the captain is talking his folly, the parson his glib compliments. And see, her face lights up all of a sudden: her eyes beam with delight at the captain's stories, and at that delightful young clergyman likewise. It is because Augustus has appeared; their eyes only meet for one semi-second, but that is enough for Miss Fanny. Go on, captain, with your twaddle !--Proceed, my reverend friend, with your smirking common-places! In the last two minutes the world has changed for Miss Fanny. That moment has come for which she has been fidgeting and longing and scheming all day! How different an interest, I say, has a meeting of people for a philosopher who knows of a few such little secrets, to that which your vulgar looker-on feels, who comes but to eat the ices, and stare at the ladies' dresses and beauty! There are two frames of mind under which London society is bearable to a man to be an actor in one of those sentimental performances above hinted at; or to be a spectator and watch it. But as for the mere dessus de cartes--would not an armchair and the dullest of books be better than that dull game?

So I not only became Clive's confidant in this affair, but took a pleasure in extracting the young fellow's secrets from him, or rather in encouraging him to pour them forth. Thus was the great part of the previous tale revealed to me: thus Jack Belsize's misadventures, of the first part of which we had only heard in London (and whither he returned presently to be reconciled to his father, after his elder brother's death). Thus my Lord Kew's secret history came into my possession ; let us hope for the public's future delectation, and the chronicler's private advantage. And many a night until daylight did

appear has poor Clive stamped his chamber or my own, pouring his story out to me, his griefs and raptures; recalling, in his wild young way, recollections of Ethel's sayings and doings; uttering descriptions of her beauty; and raging against the cruelty which she exhibited towards him.

As soon as the new confidant heard the name of the young lover's charmer, to do Mr. Pendennis justice, he endeavoured to fling as much cold water upon Clive's flame as a small private engine could pour on such a conflagration. “Miss Newcome! my dear Clive," says the confidant,“ do you know to what you are aspiring? For the last three months Miss Newcome has been the greatest lioness in London: the reigning beauty: the winning horse: the first favourite out of the whole Belgravian harem. No young woman of this year has come near her: those of past seasons she has distanced, and utterly put to shame. Miss Blackcap, Lady Blanche Blackcap's daughter, was (as perhaps you are not aware) considered by her mamma the great beauty of last season; and it was considered rather shabby of the young Marquis of Farintosh to leave town without offering to change Miss Blackcap's name. Heaven bless you! this year Farintosh will not look at Miss Blackcap! He finds people at home when (ha! I see you wince, my suffering innocent!)-when he calls in Queen Street; yes, and Lady Kew, who is one of the cleverest women in England, will listen for hours to Lord Farintosh's conversation; than whom the Rotten Row of Hyde Park cannot show a greater booby. Miss Blackcap may retire, like Jephthah's daughter, for all Farintosh will relieve her. Then, my dear fellow, there were, as possibly you do not know, Lady Hermengilde and Lady Yseult, Lady Rackstraw's lovely twins, whose appearance created such a sensation at Lady Hautbois' first--was it her first or was it her second ?-yes, it was her second-breakfast. Whom weren't they going to marry ? Crackthorpe was mad, they said, about both.-Bustington, Sir John Fobsby, the young Baronet with the immense Northern property-the Bishop of Windsor was actually said to be smitten with one of them, but did not like to offer, as her present M--y, like Qu-n El-z-b-th of gracious memory, is said to object to bishops, as bishops, marrying. Where is Bustington ? Where is Crackthorpe ? Where is Fobsby, the young Baronet of the North? My dear fellow, when those two girls come into a room now, they make no more sensation than you or 1. Miss Newcome has carried their admirers away from them: Fobsby has actually, it is said, proposed for her; and the real reason of that affair between Lord Bustington and Captain Crackthorpe of the Royal Horse Guards Green, was a speech of Bustington's, hinting that Miss Newcome had not behaved well in throwing Lord Kew over. Don't you know what old Lady Kew will do with this girl, Clive? She will marry Miss Newcome to the best man. If a richer and better parti than Lord Farintosh presents himself-then it will be Farintosh's turn to find that Lady Kew is not at home. Is there any young man in the Peerage unmarried and richer than Farintosh? I forget. Why does not some one publish a list of the young male nobility and baronetage, their names, weights, and probable fortunes ? I don't mean for the matrons of May Fair--they have the list by heart and study it in secret-but for young men in the world: so that they may know what their chances are, and who naturally has the pull over them. Let me see-there is young Lord Gaunt, who will have a great fortune, and is desirable because you know his father is locked upbut he is only ten years old-no-they can scarcely bring him forward as Farintosh's rival.

“You look astonished, my poor boy? You think it is wicked in me to talk in this brutal way about bargain and sale; and say that your heart's darling is, at this minute, being paced up and down the May Fair market to be taken away by the best bidder. Can you count purses with Sultan Farintosh ? Can you compete, even, with Sir John Fobsby of the North? What I say is wicked and worldly, is it? So it is: but it is true, as true as Tattersall'smas true as Cir-cassia or Virginia. Don't you know that the Circassian girls are proud of their bringing up, and take rank according to the prices which they fetch ? And you go and buy yourself some new clothes, and a fifty-pound horse, and put a penny rose in your button-hole, and ride past her window, and think to win this prize ? Oh, you idiot! A penny rosebud ! Put money in your purse. A fifty-pound hack when a butcher rides as good a one !_Put money in your purse. A braveyoung heart, all courage and love and honour! Put money in thy purse-tother coin don't pass in the market-at least, where old Lady Kew has the stall.”

By these remonstrances, playful though serious, Clive's adviser sought to teach him wisdom about his love affair; and the advice was received as advice upon those occasions usually is.

After calling thrice, and writing to Miss Newcome, there came & little note from that young lady, saying, “ Dear Clive --We were so sorry we were out when you called. We shall be at home to-morrow at lunch, when Lady Kew hopes you will come, and see yours ever, E. N.”

Clive went-poor Clive! He had the satisfaction of shaking Ethel's. hand, and a finger of Lady Kew; of eating a mutton-chop in Ethel's presence; of conversing about the state of art at. Rome with Lady Kew, and describing the last works of Gibson and Macdonald. The visit lasted but for half-an-hour. Not for one minute was Clive allowed to see Ethel alone. At three o'clock Lady Kew's carriage

was announced, and our young gentleman rose to take his leave, and 'had the pleasure of seeing the most noble Peer, Marquis of Farintosh and Earl of Rossmont, descend from his lordship's broughan, and enter at Lady Kew's door, followed by a domestic bearing a small stack of flowers from Covent Garden.

It befel that the good-natured Lady Fareham had a ball in these days; and meeting Clive in the Park, her lord invited him to the entertainment. Mr. Pendennis had also the honour of a card. Accordingly Clive took me up at Bays's, and we proceeded to the ball together.

The lady of the house, smiling upon all her guests, welcomed with particular kindness her young friend from Rome. “ Are you related to the Miss Newcome, Lady Ann Newcome's daughter? Her cousin ? She will be here to-night.” Very likely Lady Fareham did not see Clive wince and blush at this announcement, her ladyship having to occupy herself with a thousand other people. Clive found a dozen of his Roman friends in the room, ladies young and middle-aged, plain and handsome, all glad to see his kind face. The house was splendid; the ladies magnificently dressed ; the ball beautiful, though it appeared a little dull until that event took place whereof we treated a few pages back in the allegory of Mr. Tompkins and Miss Hopkins,) and Lady Kew and her granddaughter made their appearance.

That old woman, who began to look more and more like the wicked fairy of the stories, who is not invited to the Princess's Christening Feast, had this advantage over her likeness, that she was invited everywhere; though how she, at her age, could fly about to so many parties, unless she was a fairy, no one could say. Behind the fairy, up the marble stairs, came the most noble Farintosh, with that vacuous leer which distinguishes his lordship. Ethel seemed to be carrying the stack of flowers which the Marquis had sent to her. The noble Bustington (Viscount Bustington, I need scarcely tell the reader, is the heir of the house of Podbury), the Baronet of the North, the gallant Crackthorpe, the first men in town, in a word, gathered round the young beauty, forming her court; and little Dick Hitchin, who goes everywhere, you may be sure was near her with a compliment and a smile. Ere this arrival, the twins had been giving themselves great airs in the room—the poor twins! when Ethel appeared they sank into shuddering insignificance, and had to put up with the conversation and attentions of second-rate men, belonging to second-rate clubs, in heavy dragoon regiments. One of them actually walked with a dancing barrister; but he was related to a duke, and it was expected the Lord Chancellor would give him something very good.

Before he saw Ethel, Clive yowed he was aware of her. Indeed,

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