Imágenes de páginas

We had seen the cherub faces of some of these darlings pressed against the drawing-room windows as our carriage drove up to the door; when, after a few minutes' conversation, another vehicle arrived, away they dashed to the windows again, the innocent little dears crying out, “Here's the Marquis ;” and in sadder tones, “Nc, it isn't the Marquis," by which artless expressions they showed how eager they were to behold an expected guest of a rank only inferior to Dukes in this great empire.

Putting two and two together, as the saying is, it was not difficult for me to guess who the expected Marquis was—and, indeed, the King's College youth set that question at once to rest, by wagging his head at me, and winking his eye, and saying, “We expect Farintosh." 1. “Why, my dearest children," Matronly Virtue exclaimed, “this anxiety to behold the young Marquis of Farintosh, whom we expect at our modest table, Mrs. Pendennis, to-day? Twice you have been at the window in your eagerness to look for him. Louisa, you silly child, do you imagine that his lordship will appear in his robes and coronet ? Rodolf, you absurd boy, do you think that a Marquis is other than a man ? I have never admired aught but intellect, Mrs. Pendennis; that, let us be thankful, is the only true title to distinction in our country now-a-days."

“Begad, sir," whispers the old Major to me, “intellect may be a doosid fine thing, but in my opinion a Marquisate and eighteen or. twenty thousand a year-I should say the Farintosh property, with the Glenlivat estate and the Roy property in England, must be wortlı. nineteen thousand a year at the very lowest figure; and I remember when this young man's father was only Tom Roy of the 42nd, with no hope of succeeding to the title, and doosidly out at elbows too ... I say what does the bankeress meas, by chattering about intellect? Hang me, a Marquis is a Marquis; and Mrs. Newcome knows it as well as I do.” My good Major was growing old, and was not unnaturally a little testy at the manner in which his hostess received him. Truth to tell, she hardly took any notice of him, and cut down a couple of the old gentleman's stories before he had been five minutes in the room. : To our party presently comes the host in a flurried countenance, with a white waistcoat, holding in his hand an open letter, towards which his wife looks with some alarm. “How dy' doo, Lady Clara ; how dy' doo, Ethel ?” he says, saluting those ladies, whom the second carriage had brought to us. “Sir Barnes is not coming, that's one place vacant; that, Lady Clara, you won't mind: you see him at home; but here's a disappointment for you, Miss Newcome: Lord Farintosh can't.come.” . At this, two of the children cry out “Oh! oh!" with such ai melancholy accent that Miss Newcome and Lady Clara burst out laughing.

“Got a dreadful toothache," said Mr. Hobson; "here's his letter." “ Hang it, what a bore !” cries artless young King's College.

“Why a bore, Samuel ? A bore, as you call it, for Lord Farintosh, I grant; but do you suppose that the high in station are exempt from the ills of mortality? I know nothing more painful than a toothache, 1 exclaims a virtuous matron, using the words of philosophy, but showing the countenance of anger.

“ Hang it, why didn't he have it out?” says Samuel.

Miss Ethel laughed. “ Lord Farintosh would not have that tooth out for the world, Samuel," she cried, gaily. “He keeps it in on purpose, and it always aches when he does not want to go out to dinner."

: “I know one humble family who will never ask him again," Mrs. Hobson exclaims, rustling in all her silks, and tapping her fan and her foot. The eclipse, however, passes off her countenance and light is restored; when at this moment, a cab having driven up during the period of darkness, the door is flung open, and Lord Highgate is announced by a loud-voiced butler.

My wife, being still the bride on this occasion, had the honour of being led to the dinner-table by our banker and host. Lord Highgate was reserved for Mrs. Hobson, who, in an engaging manner, requested poor Clive to conduct his cousin Maria to dinner, handing over Miss Ethel to another guest. Our Major gave his arm to Lady Clara, and I perceived that my wife looked very grave as he passed the place where she sat, and seated Lady Clara in the next chair to that which Lord Highgate chanced to occupy. Feeling himself en veine, and the company being otherwise rather mum and silent, my uncle told a number of delightful anecdotes about the beau-monde of his time, about the Peninsular war, the Regent, Brummel, Lord Steyne, Pea Green Payne, and so forth. He said the evening was very pleasant, though some others of the party, as it appeared to me, scarcely seemed to think so. Clive had not a word for his cousin Maria, but looked across the table at Ethel all dinner-time. What could Ethel have to say to her partner, old Colonel Sir Donald M'Craw, who gobbled and drank, as his wont is, and if he had a remark to make, imparted it to Mrs. Hobson, at whose right hand he was sitting, and to whom, during the whole course, or courses, of the dinner, my Lord Highgate scarcely uttered one single word. .

His lordship was whispering all the while into the ringlets of Lady Clara; they were talking a jargon which their hostess scarcely understood, of people only known to her by her study of the Peerage. When we joined the ladies after dinner, Lord Highgate again made way towards Lady Clara, and at an order from her, as I thought, left her ladyship, and strove hard to engage in a conversation with Mrs. Newcome. I hope he succeeded in smoothing the frowns in that round little face. Mrs. Laura, I own, was as grave as a judge all the evening; very grave even and reserved with my uncle, when the hour for parting came, and we took him home.

“He, he !” said the old man, coughing, and nodding his old head and laughing in his senile manner, when I saw him on the next day; “that was a pleasant evening we had yesterday; doosid pleasant, and I think my two neighbours seemed to be uncommonly pleased with each other; not an amusing fellow, that young painter of yours, though he is good-looking enough, but there's no conversation in him. Do you think of giving a little dinner, Arthur, in return for these hospitalities? Greenwich, hey, or something of that sort? I'll go you halves, sir, and we'll ask the young banker and bankeress--not yesterday's Amphitryon nor his wife; no, no, hang it! but Barnes Newcome is a devilish clever, rising man, and moves in about as good society as any in London. We'll ask him and Lady Clara and Highgate, and one or two more, and have a pleasant party."

But to this proposal, when the old man communicated it to her, in a very quiet, simple, artless way, Laura with a flushing face said no quite abruptly, and quitted the room, rustling in her silks, and showing at once dignity and indignation.

Not many more feasts was Arthur Pendennis, senior, to have in this world. Not many more great men was he to flatter, nor schemes to wink at, nor earthly pleasures to enjoy. His long days were well-nigh ended: on his last couch, which Laura tended so affectionately, with his last breath almost, he faltered out to me, “I had other views for you, my boy, and once hoped to see you in a higher position in life; but I begin to think now, Arthur, that I was wrong; and as for that girl, sir, I am sure she is an angel."

May I not inscribe the words with a grateful heart? Blessed he -blessed though maybe undeserving-who has the love of a good woman.


CLIVE IN NEW QUARTERS. M Y wife was much better pleased with Clive than with some of his

TV1 relatives to whom I had presented her. His face carried a recommendation with it that few honest people could resist. He was always a welcome friend in our lodgings, and even our uncle the Major signified his approval of the lad as a young fellow of very good manners and feelings, who, if he chose to throw himself away and be a painter, ma foi, was rich enough no doubt to follow his own caprices. Clive executed a capital head of Major Pendennis, which now hangs in our drawing-room at Fairoaks; and reminds me of that friend of my youth. Clive occupied ancient lofty chambers in Hanover Square now. He had furnished them in an antique manner, with hangings, cabinets, carved work, Venice glasses, fine prints, and water-colour sketches of good pictures by his own and other hands. He had horses to ride, and a liberal purse full of paternal money. Many fine equipages drew up opposite to his chambers : few artists had such luck as young Mr. Clive. And above his own chambers were other three which the young gentleman had hired, and where, says he," I hope ere very long my dear old father will be lodging with me. In another year he says he thinks he will be able to come home; when the affairs of the Bank are quite settled. You shake your head! why? The shares are worth four times what we gave for them. We are men of fortune, Pen, I give you my word. You should see how much they make of me at Baines & Jolly's, and how civil they are to me at Hobson Brothers’! I go into the City now and then, and see our manager, Mr. Blackmore. He tells me such stories about indigo, and wool, and copper, and sicca rupees, and Company's rupees. I don't know anything about the business, but my father likes me to go and see Mr. Blackmore. Dear cousin Barnes is for ever asking me to dinner; I might call Lady Clara Clara if I liked, as Sam Newcome does in Bryanston Square. You can't think how kind they are to me there. My aunt reproaches me tenderly for not going there oftener-it's not very good fun dining in Bryanston Square, is it? And she praises my cousin Maria to meyou should hear my aunt praise her! I have to take Maria down to dinner; to sit by the piano and listen to her songs in all languages,

[ocr errors]

Do you know Maria can sing Hungarian and Polish besides your common German, Spanish, and Italian. Those I have at our other agents', Baines & Jolly's--Baines's that is, in the Regent's Park, where the girls are prettier and just as civil to me as at Aunt Hobson's.” And here Clive would amuse us by the accounts which he gave us of the snares which the Misses Baines, those young sirens of Regent's Park, set for him; of the songs which they sang to enchant him, the albums in which they besought him to draw; the thousand winning ways which they employed to bring him into their cave in York Terrace. But neither Circe's smiles nor Calypso's blandishments had any effect on him; his ears were stopped to their music, and his eyes rendered dull to their charms by those of the flighty young enchantress with whom my wife had of late made acquaintance.

Capitalist though he was, our young fellow was still very affable. He forgot no old friends in his prosperity; and the lofty antique chambers would not unfrequently be lighted up at nights to receive F. B. and some of the old cronies of the “Haunt," and some of the Gandishites, who, if Clive had been of a nature that was to be spoiled by flattery, had certainly done mischief to the young man, Gandish himself, when Clive paid a visit to that illustrious artist's Academy, received his former pupil as if the young fellow had been a sovereign prince almost, accompanied him to his horse, and would have held his stirrup as he mounted, whilst the beautiful daughters of the house waved adieux to him from the parlour-window. To the young men assembled in his studio, Gandish was never tired of talking about Clive. The Professor would take occasion to inform them that he had been to visit his distinguished young friend, Mr. Newcome, son of Colonel Newcome; that last evening he had been present at an elegant entertainment at Mr. Newcome's new apartments. Clive's drawings were hung up in Gandish's gallery, and pointed out to visitors by the worthy Professor. On one or two occasions I was allowed to become a bachelor again, and participate in these jovial meetings. How guilty my coat was on my return home; how haughty the looks of the mistress of my house, as she bade Martha carry away the obnoxious garment! How grand F. B. used to be as president of Clive's smokingparty, where he laid down the law, talked the most talk, sang the jolliest song, and consumed the most drink of all the jolly talkers and drinkers ! Clive's popularity rose prodigiously; not only youngsters, but old practitioners of the fine arts, lauded his talents. What a shame that his pictures were all refused this year at the Academy! Mr. Smee, R.A., was indignant at their rejection, but J. J. confessed with a sigh, and Clive owned good-naturedly, that he had been neglecting his business, and that his pictures were not so good as those of two years before. I am afraid Mr. Clive went to too many balls and parties, to

« AnteriorContinuar »