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him. But the truth is, the young man's success and dashing manners pleased his elder companion. He liked to see Pen gay and spirited, and brimful of health, and life, and hope; as a man who has long since left off being amused with clown and harlequin, still gets a pleasure in watching a child at a pantomime. Mr. Pen's former sulkiness disappeared with his better fortune: and he bloomed as the sun began to shine upon him.
IN WHICH COLONEL ALTAMONT APPEARS AND DISAPPEARS.
N the day appointed, Major Pendennis, who had formed no better engagement, and Arthur, who desired none, arrived together to dine with Sir Francis Clavering. The only tenants of the drawing - room when Pen and his uncle reached it, were Sir Francis and his wife, and our friend Captain Strong, whom Arthur was very
glad to see, though the Major looked very sulkily at Strong, being by no means well pleased to sit down to dinner with Clavering's d— house-steward, as he irreverently called Strong. But Mr. Welbore Welbore, Clavering's country neighbour and
sate upony, duties as Mr. Pu
brother member of Parliament, speedily arriving, Pendennis the elder was somewhat appeased, for Welbore, though perfectly dull, and taking no more part in the conversation at dinner than the footman behind his chair, was a respectable country gentleman of ancient family and seven thousand a year; and the Major felt always at ease in such society. To these were added other persons of note: the Dowager Lady Rockminster, who had her reasons for being well with the Clavering family, and the Lady Agnes Foker, with her son Mr. Harry, our old acquaintance. Mr. Pynsent could not come, his parliamentary duties keeping him at the House, duties which sate upon the two other senators very lightly. Miss Blanche Amory was the last of the company who made her appearance. She was dressed in a killing white silk dress, which displayed her pearly shoulders to the utmost advantage. Foker whispered to Pen, who regarded her with eyes of evident admiration, that he considered her “a stunner.” She chose to be very gracious to Arthur upon this day, and held out her hand most cordially, and talked about dear Fairoaks, and asked for dear Laura and his mother, and said she was longing to go back to the country, and in fact was entirely simple, affectionate, and artless.
Harry Foker thought he had never seen anybody so amiable and delightful. Not accustomed much to the society of ladies, and ordinarily being dumb in their presence, he found that he could speak before Miss Amory, and became uncommonly lively and talkative, even before the dinner was an. nounced and the party descended to the lower rooms. He would have longed to give his arm to the fair Blanche, and conduct her down the broad carpeted stair; but she fell to the lot of Pen upon this occasion, Mr. Foker being appointed to escort Mrs. Welbore Welbore, in consequence of his superior rank as an earl's grandson.
But though he was separated from the object of his desire during the passage downstairs, the delighted Foker found himself by Miss Amory's side at the dinner-table, and flattered himself that he had maneuvred very well in securing that happy place. It may be that the move was not his, but that it was made by another person. Blanche had thus the two young men, one on each side of her, and each tried to render himself gallant and agreeable.
Foker's mamma, from her place, surveying her darling boy, was surprised at his vivacity. Harry talked constantly to his fair neighbour about the topics of the day.
“ Seen Taglioni in the Sylphide, Miss Amory? Bring me that souprame of Volile again, if you please (this was addressed to the attendant near him); very good: can't think where the souprames come from; what becomes of the legs of the fowls, I wonder ? She's clipping in the Sylphide, ain't she?” and he began very kindly to hum the pretty air which pervades that prettiest of all ballets, now faded into the past with that most beautiful and gracious of all dancers. Will the young folks ever see anything so charming, anything so classic, anything like Taglioni?
“Miss Amory is a sylph herself,” said Mr. Pen.
“What a delightful tenor voice you have, Mr. Foker !" said the young lady. “I am sure you have been well taught. I sing a little myself. I should like to sing with you.”
Pen remembered that words very similar had been addressed to himself by the young lady, and that she had liked to sing with him in former days. And sneering within himself, he wondered with how many other gentlemen she had sung duets since his time? But he did not think fit to put this awkward question aloud : and only said, with the very tenderest air which he could assume, “I should like to hear you sing again, Miss Blanche. I never heard a voice I liked so well as yours, I think.”
“I thought you liked Laura's,” said Miss Blanche.
“Laura's is a contralto: and that voice is very often out, you know,” Pen said, bitterly. “I have heard a great deal of music in London,” he continued. “I'm tired of those professional people—they sing too loud—or I have grown too old or too blasé. One grows old very soon in London, Miss Amory. And like all old fellows, I only care for the songs I heard in my youth.”
“I like English music best. I don't care for foreign songs much. Get me some saddle of mutton," said Mr. Foker.
“I adore English ballads of all things,” said Miss Amory.
an English sons. I will, if you woadside
“Sing me one of the old songs after dinner, will you ? " said Pen, with an imploring voice.
“Shall I sing you an English song, after dinner ? " asked the Sylphide, turning to Mr. Foker. “I will, if you will promise to come up soon : " and she gave him a perfect broadside of her eyes.
“Pul come up after dinner, fast enough,” he said simply. “I don't care about much wine afterwards—I take my whack at dinner-I mean my share, you know; and when I have had as much as I want, I toddle up to tea. I'm a domestic character, Miss Amory—my habits are simple—and when I'm pleased I'm generally in a good humour, ain't I, Pen ?—That jelly, if you please—not that one, the other with the cherries inside. How the doose do they get those cherries inside the jellies ?” In this way the artless youth prattled on: and Miss Amory listened to him with inexhaustible good humour. When the ladies took their departure for the upper regions, Blanche made the two young men promise faithfully to quit the table soon, and departed with kind glances to each. She dropped her gloves on Foker's side of the table, and her handkerchief on Pen's. Each had some little attention paid to him ; her politeness to Mr. Foker was perhaps a little more encouraging than her kindness to Arthur: but the benevolent little creature did her best to make both the gentlemen happy. Foker caught her last glance as she rushed out of the door; that bright look passed over Mr. Strong's broad white waistcoat, and shot straight at Harry Foker's. The door closed on the charmer: he sate down with a sigh, and swallowed a bumper of claret.
As the dinner at which Pen and his uncle took their places was not one of our grand parties, it had been served at a considerably earlier hour than those ceremonial banquets of the London season, which custom has ordained shall scarcely take place before nine o'clock; and the company being small, and Miss Blanche, anxious to betake herself to her piano in the drawing-room, giving constant hints to her mother to retreat, -Lady Clavering made that signal very speedily, so that it was quite daylight yet when the ladies reached the upper