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Captain Belsize, with the Earl of Kew, who's every inch the gentleman -one of nature's aristocracy, and paid up like a man. The Earl and me has had many dealings together."
Honeyman smiled faintly, and nobody complying with Mr. Sherrick's boisterous entreaties to drink more, the gentlemen quitted the dinner-table, which had been served in a style of prodigious splendour, and went to the drawing-room for a little music.
This was all of the gravest and best kind; so grave indeed, that James Binnie might be heard in a corner giving an accompaniment of little snores to the singers and the piano. But Rosey was delighted with the performance, and Sherrick remarked to Clive, “That's a good gal, that is; I like that gal; she ain't jealous of Julia cutting her out in the music, but listens as pleased as any one. She's a sweet little pipe of her own, too. Miss Mackenzie, if ever you like to go to the opera, send a word either to my West End or my City office. I've boxes every week, and you're welcome to anything I can give you."
So all agreed that the evening had been a very pleasant one; and they of Fitzroy Square returned home talking in a most comfortable friendly way that is, two of them, for Uncle James fell asleep again, taking possession of the back seat; and Clive and Rosey prattled together. He had offered to try and take all the young ladies' likenesses. “You know what a failure the last was, Rosey?"he had very nearly said " dear Rosey."
“Yes, but Miss Sherrick is so handsome, that you will succeed better with her than with my round face, Mr. Newcome.”
“Mr. What?” cries Clive.
He sought for a little hand which was not very far away. “ You know we are like brother and sister, dear Rosey ?” he said this time.
“Yes," said she, and gave a little pressure of the hand. And then Uncle James woke up; and it seemed as if the whole drive didn't occupy a minute, and they shook hands very very kindly at the door of Fitzroy Square.
Clive made a famous likeness of Miss Sherrick, with which Mr. Sherrick was delighted, and so was Mr. Honeyman, who happened to call upon his nephew once or twice when the ladies happened to be sitting. Then Clive proposed to the Rev. Charles Honeyman to take his head off; and made an excellent likeness in chalk of his unclethat one, in fact, from which the print was taken, which you may see any day at Hogarth's, in the Haymarket, along with a whole regiment of British divines. Charles became so friendly, that he was constantly coming to Charlotte Street, once or twice a week.
Mr. and Mrs. Sherrick came to look at the drawing, and were charmed with it; and when Rosey was sitting, they came to see her
portrait, which again was not quite so successful. One Monday, the Sherricks and Honeyman too happened to call to see the picture of Rosey, who trotted over with her uncle to Clive's studio, and they all had a great laugh at a paragraph in the Pall Mall Gazette, evidently from F. B.'s hand, to the following effect:
“ CONVERSION IN HIGH LIFE.--A foreign nobleman of princely rank, who has married an English lady, and has resided among us for some time, is likely, we hear and trust, to join the English Church, The Prince de M-ntc-nt-r has been a constant attendant at Lady Whittlesea's chapel, of which the Rev. C. Honeyman is the eloquent incumbent; and it is said this sound and talented divine has been the means of awakening the Prince to a sense of the erroneous doctrines in which he has been bred. His ancestors were Protestant, and fought by the side of Henry IV. at Ivry. In Louis XIV.'s time, they adopted the religion of that persecuting monarch. We sincerely trust that the present heir of the house of Ivry will see fit to return to the creed which his forefathers so unfortunately abjured."
The ladies received this news with perfect gravity; and Charles uttered a meek wish that it might prove true. As they went away, they offered more hospitalities to Clive and Mr. Binnie and his niece. They liked the music, would they not come and hear it again?
When they had departed with Mr. Honeyman, Clive could not help saying to Uncle James, “Why are those people always coming here; praising me; and asking me to dinner? Do you know, I can't help thinking that they rather want me as a pretender for Miss Sherrick?"
Binnie burst into a loud guffaw, and cried out, “ O vanitas vanitawtum!” Rosey laughed too.
“ I don't think it any joke at all,” said Clive.
“Why, you stupid lad, don't you see it is Charles Honeyman the: girl's in love with ?” cried Uncle James. “Rosey saw it in the very first instant we entered their drawing-room three weeks ago.”
6 Indeed, and how?" asked Clive.
A STAG OF TEN. THE London season was very nearly come to an end, and Lord
I Farintosh had danced I don't know how many times with Miss Newcome, had drunk several bottles of the old Kew port, had been seen at numerous breakfasts, operas, races, and public places by the young lady's side, and had not as yet made any such proposal as Lady Kew expected for her granddaughter. Clive going to see his military friends in the Regent's Park once, and finish Captain Butts's portrait in barracks, heard two or three young men talking, and one say to another, “ I bet you three to two Farintosh don't marry her, and I bet you even that he don't ask her.” Then as he entered Mr. Butts's room, where these gentlemen were conversing, there was a silence and an awkwardness. The young fellows were making an "event" out of Ethel's marriage, and sporting their money freely on it.
To have an old countess hunting a young marquis so resolutely that all the world should be able to look on and speculate whether her game would be run down by that staunch toothless old pursuerthat is an amusing sport, isn't it? and affords plenty of fun and satisfaction to those who follow the hunt. But for a heroine of a story, be she ever so clever, handsome, and sarcastic, I don't think for my part, at this present stage of the tale, Miss Ethel Newcome occupies a very dignified position. To break her heart in silence for Tompkins, who is in love with another; to suffer no end of poverty, starvation, capture by ruffians, ill-treatment by a bullying husband, loss of beauty by the small-pox, death even at the end of the volume; all these mishaps a young heroine may endure (and has endured in romances over and over again), without losing the least dignity, or suffering any diminution of the sentimental reader's esteem. But a girl of great beauty, high temper, and strong natural intellect, who submits to be dragged hither and thither in an old grandmother's leash, and in pursuit of a husband who will run away from the couple, such a person, I say, is in a very awkward position as a heroine; and I declare if I had another ready to my hand (and unless there were extenuating circumstances), Ethel should be deposed at this very sentence.
But a novelist must go on with his heroine, as a man with his wife, for better or worse, and to the end. For how many years have the Spaniards borne with their gracious queen, not because she was faultless, but because she was there. So Chambers and Grandees cried, “ God save her,” alabardéros turned out, drums beat, cannons fired, and people saluted Isabella Segunda, who was no better than the humblest washerwoman of her subjects. Are we much better than our neighbours? Do we never yield to our peculiar temptation, our pride, or our avarice, or our vanity, or what not ? Ethel is very wrong certainly. But recollect, she is very young. She is in other people's hands. She has been bred up and governed by a very worldly family, and taught their traditions. We would liardly, for instance-the staunchest Protestant in England would hardly be angry with poor Isabella Segunda for being a Catholic. So if Ethel worships at a certain image which a great number of good folks in England bow to, let us not be too angry with her idolatry, and bear with our queen a little longer before we make our pronunciamento.
No, Miss Newcome, yours is not a dignified position in life, however you may argue that hundreds of people in the world are doing like you. Oh me! what a confession it is, in the very outset of life and blushing brightness of youth's morning, to own that the aim with which a young girl sets out, and the object of her existence, is to marry a rich man; that she was endowed with beauty so that she might buy wealth, and a title with it; that as sure as she has a soul to be saved, her business here on earth is to try and get a rich husband. That is the career for which many a woman is bred and trained. A young man begins the world with some aspirations at least; he will try to be good and follow the truth; he will strive to win honours for himself, and never do a base action ; he will pass nights over his books, and forego ease and pleasure so that he may achieve a name. Many a poor wretch who is worn out now and old, and bankrupt of fame and money too, has commenced life at any rate with noble views and generous schemes, from which weakness, idleness, passion, or overpowering hostile fortune have turned him away! But a girl of the world, bon Dieu ! the doctrine with which she begins is that she is to have a wealthy husband : the article of Faith in her catechism is, “I believe in elder sons, and a house in town, and a house in the country!” They are mercenary as they step fresh and blooming into the world out of the nursery. They have been schooled there to keep their bright eyes to look only on the Prince and the Duke, Crosus and Dives. By long cramping and careful process, their little natural hearts have been squeezed up, like the feet of their fashionable little sisters in China. As you see a pauper's child, with an awful premature knowledge of the pawn-shop, able to haggle at market with her wretched halfpence, and battle .bargains at hucksters' stalls, you shall find a young beauty, who was a child in the school-room a year since, as wise and knowing as the old practitioners on that exchange; as economical of her smiles, as dexterous in keeping back or producing her beautiful wares, as skilful in setting one bidder against another, as keen as the smartest merchant in Vanity Fair.
If the young gentlemen of the Life Guards Green who were talking about Miss Newcome and her suitors were silent when Clive appeared amongst them, it was because they were aware not only of his relationship to the young lady, but his unhappy condition regarding her. Certain men there are who never tell their love, but let concealment, like a worm in the bud, feed on their damask cheeks ; others again must be not always thinking, but talking about the darling object. So it was not very long before Captain Crackthorpe was taken into Clive's confidence, and through Crackthorpe very likely the whole mess became acquainted with his passion. These young fellows, who had been early introduced into the world, gave Clive small hopes of success, putting to him, in their downright phraseology, the point of which he was already aware, that Miss Newcome was intended for his superiors, and that he had best not make his mind uneasy by sighing for those beautiful grapes which were beyond his reach.
But the good-natured Crackthorpe, who had a pity for the young painter's condition, helped him so far (and gained Clive's warmest thanks for his good offices), by asking admission for Clive to certain evening parties of the beau-monde, where he had the gratification of meeting his charmer. Ethel was surprised and pleased, and Lady Kew surprised and angry, at meeting Clive Newcome at these fashionable houses; the girl herself was touched very likely at his pertinacity in following her. As there was no actual feud between them, she could not refuse now and again to dance with her cousin ; and thus he picked up such small crumbs of consolation as a youth in his state can get ; lived upon six words vouchsafed to him in a quadrille, or brought home a glance of the eyes which she had presented to him in a waltz, or the remembrance of a squeeze of the hand on parting or meeting. How eager he was to get a card to this party or that! how attentive to the givers of such entertainments! Some friends of his accused him of being a tuft-hunter and flatterer of the aristocracy, on account of his politeness to certain people; the truth was, he wanted to go wherever Miss Ethel was; and the ball was blank to him which she did not attend.
This business occupied not only one season, but two. By the time of the second season, Mr. Newcome had made so many acquaintances, that he needed few more introductions into society. He was