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couples were walking in a leisurely manner; "yes, depend on it, my boy; for a poor man, there is nothing like having good acquaintances. Who were those men, with whom you saw me in the bow window at Bays’s ? Two were Peers of the realm. Hobandnob will be a Peer, as soon as his grand. uncle dies, and he has had his third seizure; and of the other four, not one has less than his seven thousand a-year. Did you see that dark blue brougham, with that tremendous stepping horse, waiting at the door of the club? You'll know it again. It is Sir Hugh Trumpington's; he was never known to walk in his life; never appears in the streets on foot-never: and if he is going two doors off, to see his mother, the old dowager (to whom I shall certainly introduce you, for she receives some of the best company in London), gad, sir, he mounts his horse at No. 23, and dismounts again at No. 254. He is now up stairs, at Bays’s, playing piquet with Count Punter: he is the second-best player in England—as well be may be ; for he plays every day of his life, except Sundays (for Sir Hugh is an uncommonly religious man), from halfpast three till half-past seven, when he dresses for dinner.”
“A very pious manner of spending his time,” Pen said, laughing, and thinking that his uncle was falling into the twaddling state.
" Gad, sir, that is not the question. A man of his estate may employ his time as he chooses. When you are a baronet, a county member, with ten thousand acres of the best land in Cheshire, and such a place as Trumpington (though he never goes there), you may do as you like.”
“And so that was his brougham, sir, was it ? " the nephew said, with almost a sneer.
“His brougham-oh ay, yes ;—and that brings me back to my point-revenons à nos moutons. Yes, begad! revenons à nos moutons. Well, that brougham is mine if I choose, between four and seven. Just as much mine as if I jobbed it from Tilbury's, begad, for thirty pound a month. Sir Hugh is the best-natured fellow in the world; and if it hadn't been so fine an afternoon as it is, you and I would have been in that brougham at this very minute, on our way to Grosvenor Place. That is the benefit of knowing rich men ;-I dine for
nothing, sir ;-I go into the country, and I'm mounted for nothing. Other fellows keep hounds and gamekeepers for me. Sic vos non vobis, as we used to say at Grey Friars, hey? I'm of the opinion of my old friend Leech, of the Forty-fourth ; and a devilish good shrewd fellow he was, as most Scotchmen are. Gad, sir, Leech used to say he was so poor that he couldn't afford to know a poor man.”
“You don't act up to your principles, uncle," Pen said good-naturedly.
“Up to my principles : how, sir ?” the Major asked, rather testily.
“You would have cut me in St. James's Street, sir,” Pen said, “were your practice not more benevolent than your theory; you who live with dukes and magnates of the land, and would take no notice of a poor devil like me." By which speech we may see that Mr. Pen was getting on in the world, and could flatter as well as laugh in his sleeve.
Major Pendennis was appeased instantly, and very much pleased. He tapped affectionately his nephew's arm on which he was leaning, and said, -"You, sir, you are my flesh and blood! Hang it, sir, I've been very proud of you and very fond of you, but for your confounded follies and extravagances -and wild oats, sir, which I hope you've sown. Yes, begad! I hope you've sown 'em; I hope you've sown 'em, begad! My object, Arthur, is to make a man of you—to see you well placed in the world, as becomes one of your name and my own, sir. You have got yourself a little reputation by your literary talents, which I am very far from undervaluing, though in my time, begad, poetry and genius and that sort of thing were devilish disreputable. There was poor Byron, for instance, who ruined himself, and contracted the worst habits by living with poets and newspaper-writers, and people of that kind. But the times are changed now—there's a run upon literature-clever fellows get into the best houses in town, begad! Tempora mutantur, sir, and, by Jove, I suppose whatever is is right, as Shakspeare says.”
Pen did not think fit to tell his uncle who was the author who had made use of that remarkable phrase, and here descending from the Green Park, the pair made their way into Grosvenor Place, and to the door of the mansion occupied there by Sir Francis and Lady Clavering.
The dining-room shutters of this handsome mansion were freshly gilded; the knockers shone gorgeous upon the newlypainted door; the balcony before the drawing-room bloomed with a portable garden of the most beautiful plants, and with flowers, white, and pink, and scarlet; the windows of the upper room (the sacred chamber and dressing-room of my lady, doubtless), and even a pretty little casement of the third story, which keen-sighted Mr. Pen presumed to belong to the virgin bedroom of Miss Blanche Amory, were similarly adorned with floral ornaments, and the whole exterior face of the house presented the most brilliant aspect which fresh new paint, shining plate-glass, newly cleaned bricks, and spotless mortar, could offer to the beholder.
“How Strong must have rejoiced in organising all this splendour," thought Pen. He recognised the Chevalier's genius in the magnificence before him.
“Lady Clavering is going out for her drive," the Major said. “We shall only have to leave our pasteboards, Arthur.” He used the word "pasteboards," having heard it from some of the ingenious youth of the nobility about town, and as a modern phrase suited to Pen's tender years. Indeed, as the two gentlemen reached the door, a landau drove up, a magnificent yellow carriage, lined with brocade or satin of a faint cream colour, drawn by wonderful grey horses, with flaming ribbons, and harness blazing all over with crests; no less than three of these heraldic emblems surmounted the coats-of-arms on the panels, and these shields contained a prodigious number of quarterings, betokening the antiquity and splendour of the houses of Clavering and Snell. A coachman in a tight silver wig surmounted the magnificent hammercloth (whereon the same arms were worked in bullion), and controlled the prancing greys-a young man still, but of a solemn countenance, with a laced waistcoat and buckles in his shoes—little buckles, unlike those which John and Jeames, the footmen, wear, and which we know are large, and spread elegantly over the foot.
One of the leaves of the hall door was opened, and John
one of the largest of his race-was leaning against the door pillar, with his ambrosial hair powdered, his legs crossed; beautiful, silk-stockinged; in his hand his cane, gold-headed, dolichoskion. Jeames was invisible, but near at hand, waiting in the hall, with the gentleman who does not wear livery, and ready to fling down the roll of hair-cloth over which her Ladyship was to step to her carriage. These things and men, the which to tell of demands time, are seen in the glance of a practised eye: and, in fact, the Major and Pen had scarcely crossed the street, when the second battant of the door flew open; the horsehair carpet tumbled down the door-steps to those of the carriage; John was opening it on one side of the emblazoned door, and Jeames on the other, and two ladies, attired in the highest style of fashion, and accompanied by a third, who carried a Blenheim spaniel, yelping in a light blue ribbon, came forth to ascend the carriage.
Miss Amory was the first to enter, which she did with aërial lightness, and took the place which she liked best. Lady Clavering next followed, but her Ladyship was more mature of age and heavy of foot, and one of those feet, attired in a green satin boot, with some part of a stocking, which was very fine, whatever the ankle might be which it encircled, might be seen swaying on the carriage-step, as her Ladyship leaned for support on the arm of the unbending Jeames, by the enraptured observer of female beauty who happened to be passing at the time of this imposing ceremonial.
The Pendennises senior and junior beheld those charms as they came up to the door—the Major looking grave and courtly, and Pen somewhat abashed at the carriage and its owners; for he thought of sundry little passages at Clavering, which made his heart beat rather quick.
At that moment Lady Clavering, looking round, saw the pair—she was on the first carriage-step, and would have been in the vehicle in another second, but she gave a start backwards (which caused some of the powder to fly from the hair of ambrosial Jeames), and crying out, “ Lor, if it isn't Arthur Pendennis and the old Major !” jumped back to terra firma directly, and holding out two fat hands, encased in tight orange-coloured gloves, the good-natured woman warmly greeted the Major and his nephew.
“Come in, both of you.—Why haven't you been before ? Get out, Blanche, and come and see your old friends.-Oh, I'm 80 glad to see you. We've been watin' and watin' for you ever so long. Come in, luncheon ain't gone down,” cried out this hospitable lady, squeezing Pen's hand in both hers (she had dropped the Major's after a brief wrench of recognition), and Blanche, casting up her eyes towards the chimneys, descended from the carriage presently, with a timid, blushing, appealing look, and gave a little hand to Major Pendennis.
The companion with the spaniel looked about irresolute, and doubting whether she should not take Fido his airing; but she too turned right about face and entered the house, after Lady Clavering, her daughter, and the two gentlemen. And the carriage, with the prancing greys, was left unoccupied, save by the coachman in the silver wig.