Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]





M R. FREDERICK BAYHAM waited at Fitzroy Square while

V1 Clive was yet talking with his friends there, and favoured that gentleman with his company home to the usual smoky refreshment. Clive always rejoiced in F. B.'s society, whether he was in a sportive mood, or, as now, in a solemn and didactic vein. F. B. had been more than ordinarily majestic all the evening. “I daresay you find me a good deal altered, Clive," he remarked : “ I am a good deal altered. Since that good Samaritan, your kind father, had compassion on a poor fellow fallen among thieves (though I don't say, mind you, he was much better than his company), F. B. has mended some of his ways. I am trying a course of industry, sir. Powers, perhaps naturally great, have been neglected over the wine-cup and the die. I am beginning to feel my way; and my chiefs yonder, who have just walked home with their cigars in their mouths, and without as much as saying, 'F. B., my boy, shall we go to the “Haunt” and have a cool lobster and a glass of table-beer?'«which they certainly do not consider themselves to be, I say, sir, the Politician and the Literary Critic" (there was a most sarcastic emphasis laid on these phrases, characterizing Messrs. Warrington and Pendennis) “may find that there is a humble contributor to the Pall Mall Gazette, whose name, may be, the amateur shall one day reckon even higher than their own. Mr. Warrington I do not say so much-he is an able man, sir, an able man; but there is that about your exceedingly self-satisfied friend, Mr. Arthur Pendennis, which-well, well-Jet time show. You did not-get the-hem--paper at Rome and Naples, I suppose ?”

“Forbidden by the Inquisition,” says Clive, delighted; “ and at Naples the king furious against it.”

“I don't wonder they don't like it at Rome, sir. There's serious matter in it which may set the prelates of a certain church rather in a. tremor. You haven't read-the-ahem-the Pulpit Pencillings in the P. M. G.? Slight sketches, mental and corporeal, of our chief divines now in London-and signed Laud Latimer?”

“I don't do much in that way,” said Clive.

“ So much the worse for you, my young friend. Not that I mean to judge any other fellow harshly-I mean any other fellow sinner harshly-or that I mean that those Pulpit Pencillings would be likely to do you any great good. But, such as they are, they have been productive of benefit. Thank you, Mary, my dear, the tap is uncommonly good, and I drink to your future husband's good health.-A glass of good sound beer refreshes after all that claret. Well, sir, to return to the Pencillings, pardon my vanity in saying, that though Mr. Pendennis laughs at them, they have been of essential service to the paper. They give it a character, they rally round it the respectable classes. They create correspondence. I have received many interesting letters, chiefly from females, about the Pencillings. Some complain that their favourite preachers are slighted; others applaud because the clergymen they sit under are supported by F. B. I am Laud Latimer, sir,-though I have heard the letters attributed to the Rev. Mr. Bunker, and to a Member of Parliament eminent in the religious world.”

“So you are the famous Laud Latimer?” cries Clive, who had, in fact, seen letters signed by those right reverend names in our paper.

“ Famous is hardly the word. One who scoffs at everything-I need not say I allude to Mr. Arthur Pendennis----would have had the letters signed the Beadle of the Parish. He calls me the Venerable Beadle sometimes it being, I grieve to say, his way to deride grave subjects. You wouldn't suppose now, my young Clive, that the same hand which pens the Art criticisms, occasionally, when his Highness Pendennis is lazy, takes a minor Theatre, or turns the sportive epigram, or the ephemeral paragraph, should adopt a grave theme on a Sunday, and chronicle the sermons of British Divines ? For eighteen consecutive Sunday evenings, Clive, in Mrs. Ridley's front parlour, which I now occupy, vice Miss Cann promoted, I have written the Pencillings - scarcely allowing a drop of refreshment, except under extreme exhaustion, to pass my lips. Pendennis laughs at the Pencillings. He wants to stop them; and says they bore the public. I don't want to think a man is jealous, who was himself the cause of my engagement at the P. M. G., -perhaps my powers were not developed then."

“ Pen thinks he writes better now than when he began,” remarked Clive ; " I have heard him say so."

“ His opinion of his own writings is high, whatever their date. Mine, sir, are only just coming into notice. They begin to know F. B., sir, in the sacred edifices of his metropolitan city. I saw the Bishop of London looking at me last Sunday week, and am sure his Chaplain whispered him, 'It's Mr. Bayham, my lord, nephew of your lordship’s right reverend brother, the Lord Bishop of Bullock-smithy.' And last Sunday being at church-at Saint Mungo the Martyr's, Rev. S. Sawders. - by Wednesday I got in a female hand--Mrs. Sawders's, no doubt the biography of the Incumbent of St. Mungo; an account of his early virtues; a copy of his poems; and a hint that he was the gentleman destined for the vacant Deanery.

“Ridley is not the only man I have helped in this world,” F. B. continued. "Perhaps I should blush to own it-I do blush: but I feel the ties of early acquaintance, and I own that I have puffed your uncle, Charles Honeyman, most tremendously. It was partly for the sake of the Ridleys and the tick he owes 'em: partly for old times' sake. Sir, are you aware that things are greatly changed with Charles Honeyman, and that the poor F. B. has very likely made his fortune?”

“I am delighted to hear it," cried Clive; "and how, F. B., have you wrought this miracle ?"

“By common sense and enterprise, lad—by a knowledge of the world and a benevolent disposition. You'll see Lady Whittlesea's chapel bears a very different aspect now. That miscreant Sherrick owns that he owes me a turn, and has sent me a few dozen of winewithout any stamped paper on my part in return--as an acknowledgment of my service. It chanced, sir, soon after your departure for Italy, that going to his private residence respecting a little bill to which a heedless friend had put his hand, Sherrick invited me to partake of tea in the bosom of his family. I was thirsty having walked in from 'Jack Straw's Castle,' at Hampstead, where poor Kitely and I had been taking a chop-and accepted the proffered entertainment. The ladies of the family gave us music after the domestic muffin--and then, sir, a great idea occurred to me. You know how magnificently Miss Sherrick and the mother sing? They sang Mozart, sir. Why,' I asked of Sherrick, 'should those ladies who sing Mozart to a piano, not sing Handel to an organ?"

666 Dash it, you don't mean a hurdy-gurdy?'

6. Sherrick,' says I, you are no better than a Heathen ignoramus. I mean, why shouldn't they sing Handel's Church Music, and Church Music in general, in Lady Whittlesea's Chapel? Behind the screen up in the organ-loft, what's to prevent 'em, by Jingo? Your singingboys have gone to the “ Cave of Harmony;" you and your choir have split-why should not these ladies lead it?' He caught at the idea. You never heard the chants more finely given-and they would be better still if the congregation would but hold their confounded tongues. It was an excellent though a harmless dodge, sir: and drew immensely, to speak profanely. They dress the part, sir, to admiration-a sort of nun-like costume they come in: Mrs. Sherrick has the soul of an artist still-by Jove, sir, when they have once smelt the lamps, the love of the trade never leaves 'em. The ladies actually practised by moonlight in the Chapel, and came over to Honeyman's to an oyster afterwards. The thing took, sir. People began to take box-seats, I mean, again —and Charles Honeyman, easy in his mind through your noble father's generosity, perhaps inspirited by returning good fortune, has been preaching more eloquently than ever. He took some lessons of Husler, of the Haymarket, sir. His sermons are old, I believe; but so to speak, he has got them up with new scenery, dresses, and effects, sir. They have flowers, sir, about the buildin’-pious ladies are supposed to provide 'em, but, entre nous, Sherrick contracts for them with Nathan, or some one in Covent Garden. And-don't tell this now, upon your honour!”

“ Tell what, F. B.?” says Clive.

“I got up a persecution against your uncle for Popish practices: summoned a meetin’at the 'Running Footman,' in Bolingbroke Street. Billings, the butterman; Sharwood, the turner and blacking-maker; and the Honourable Phelim O’Curragh, Lord Scullabogue's son, made speeches. Two or three respectable families (your aunt, Mrs. Whatd'you-call-'em Newcome amongst the number) quitted the Chapel in disgust-I wrote an article of controversial biography in the P. M. G.; set the business going in the daily press; and the thing was done, sir. That property is a paying one to the Incumbent, and to Sherrick over him. Charles's affairs are getting all right, sir. He never had the pluck to owe much, and if it be a sin to have wiped his slate clean, satisfied his creditors, and made Charles easy-upon my conscience, I must confess that F. B. has done it. I hope I may never do anything worse in this life, Clive. It ain't bad to see him doing the martyr, sir: Sebastian riddled with paper pellets; Bartholomew on a cold gridiron. Here comes the lobster. Upon my word, Mary, a finer fish I've seldom seen.”

Now surely this account of his uncle's affairs and prosperity was enough to send Clive to Lady Whittlesea's Chapel, and it was not because Miss Ethel had said that she and Lady Kew went there, that Clive was induced to go there too? He attended punctually on the next Sunday, and in the Incumbent's pew, whither the pew-woman conducted him, sat Mr. Sherrick in great gravity, with large gold pins, who handed him, at the anthem, a large, new, gilt hymn-book,

An odour of millefleurs rustled by them as Charles Honeyman, accompanied by his ecclesiastical valet, passed the pew from the vestry, and took his place at the desk. Formerly he used to wear a flaunting scarf over his surplice, which was very wide and full; and Clive remembered when as a boy he entered the sacred robing-room, how his uncle used to pat and puff out the scarf and the sleeves of his vestment, arrange the natty curl on his forehead, and take his place, a

fine example of florid church decoration. Now the scarf was trimmed down to be as narrow as your neckcloth, and hung loose and straight over the back; the ephod was cut straight and as close and short as might be, I believe there was a little triinming of lace to the narrow sleeves, and a slight arabesque of tape, or other substance, round the edge of the surplice. As for the curl on the forehead, it was no more visible than the Maypole in the Strand, or the Cross at Charing. Honeyman's hair was parted down the middle, short in front, and curling delicately round his ears and the back of his head. He read the service in a swift manner, and with a gentle twang. When the music began, he stood with head on one side, and two slim fingers on the book, as composed as a statue in a mediæval niche. It was fine to hear Sherrick, who had an uncommonly good voice, join in the musical parts of the service. The produce of the market-gardener decorated the church here and there; and the impresario of the establishment having picked up a Flemish painted window from old Moss in Wardour Street, had placed it in his chapel. Labels of faint green and gold, with long Gothic letters painted thereon, meandered over the organ-loft and galleries, and strove to give as mediæval a look to Lady Whittlesea's as the place was capable of assuming.

In the sermon Charles dropped the twang with the surplice, and the priest gave way to the preacher. He preached short stirring discourses on the subjects of the day. It happened that a noble young prince, the hope of a nation and heir of a royal house, had just then died by a sudden accident. Absalom, the son of David, furnished Honeyman with a parallel. He drew a picture of the two deaths, of the grief of kings, of the fate that is superior to them. It was, indeed, a stirring discourse, and caused thrills through the crowd to whom Charles imparted it. “Famous, ain't it ?” says Sherrick, giving Clive a hand when the rite was over. “How he's come out, hasn't he? Didn't think he had it in him.” Sherrick seemed to have become of late impressed with the splendour of Charles's talents, and spoke of him-was it not disrespectful ?-as a manager would of a successful tragedian. Let us pardon Sherrick: he had been in the theatrical way. 66 That Irishman was no go at all," he whispered to Mr. Newcome, “got rid of him,-let's see, at Michaelmas."

On account of Clive's tender years and natural levity, a little inattention may be allowed to the youth, who certainly looked about him very eagerly during the service. The house was filled by the ornamental classes, the bonnets of the newest Parisian fashion. Away in a darkling corner, under the organ, sat a squad of footmen. Surely that powdered one in livery wore Lady Kew's colours ? So Clive looked under all the bonnets, and presently spied old Lady Kew's face, as grim and yellow as her brass knocker, and by it Ethel's beau

« AnteriorContinuar »