« ZurückWeiter »
been one of the hardest livers and hardest readers of his time at Oxbridge, where the name of Stunning Warrington was yet famous for beating bargemen, pulling matches, winning prizes, and drinking milkpunch.) A print of the old college hung up over the mantel-piece, and some battered volumes of Plato, bearing its well-known arms, were on the book-shelves. There were two easy chairs; a standing reading-desk piled with bills; a couple of very meagre briefs on a broken-legged study-table. Indeed, there was scarcely any article of furniture that had not been in the wars, and was not wounded. "Look here, sir, here is Pen's room. He is a dandy, and has got curtains to his bed, and wears shiny boots, and has a silver dressingcase." Indeed, Pen's room was rather coquettishly arranged, and a couple of neat prints of opera-dancers, besides a drawing of Fairoaks, hung on the walls. In Warrington's room there was scarcely any article of furniture, save a great shower-bath, and a heap of books by the bedside; where he lay upon straw like Margery Daw, and smoked his pipe, and read half through the night his favorite poetry or mathematics.
When he had completed his simple toilet, Mr. Warrington came out of this room, and proceeded to the cupboard to search for his breakfast.
u Might I offer you a mutton-chop, sir? We cook 'em ourselves, hot and hot; and I am teaching Pen the first principles of law, cooking, and morality at the same time. He's a lazy beggar, sir, and too much of a dandy."
And so saying, Mr. Warrington wiped a gridiron with a piece of paper, put it on the fire, and on it two mutton-chops, and took from the cupboard a couple of plates, and some knives and silver forks, and castors.
"Say but a word, Major Pendennis," he said; "there's another chop in the cupboard, or Pidgeon shall go out and get you anything you like."
Major Pendennis sat in wonder and amusement, but he said he had just breakfasted, and wouldn't have any lunch. So Warrington cooked the chops, and popped them hissing hot upon the plates.
Pen fell to at his chop with a good appetite, after looking up at his uncle, and seeing that gentleman was still in good-humor.
"You see, sir," Warrington said, "Mrs. Flanaghan is n't here to do 'em, and we can't employ the boy, for the little beggar is all day occupied cleaning Pen's boots. And now for another swig at the beer. Pen drinks tea; it's only fit for old women."
"And so you were at Lady Whiston's last night," the Major said, not in truth knowing what observation to make to this rough diamond.
"I at Lady Whiston's! not such a flat, sir. I don't care for female society. In fact it bores me. I spent my evening philosophically at the Back Kitchen."
"The Back Kitchen ? indeed!" said the Major.
"I see you don't know what it means," Warrington said. "Ask Pen. He was there after Lady Whiston's. Tell Major Pendennis about the Back Kitchen, Pen — don't be ashamed of yourself."
So Pen said it was a little eccentric society of men of letters and men about town, to which he had been presented; and the Major began to think that the young fellow had seen a good deal of the world since his arrival in London.
THE KNIGHT8 OF THE TEMPLE.
Colleges, schools, and inns of court, still have some respect for antiquity, and maintain a great number of the customs and institutions of our ancestors, with which those persons who do not particularly regard their forefathers, or perhaps are not very well acquainted with them, have long since done away. A well-ordained workhouse or prison is much better provided with the appliances of health, comfort, and cleanliness, than a respectable Foundation School, a venerable College, or a learned Inn. In the latter place of residence men are contented to sleep in dingy closets, and to pay for the sitting-room and the cupboard, which is their dormitory, the price of a good villa and garden in the suburbs, or of a roomy house in the neglected squares of the town. The poorest mechanic in Spitalfields has a cistern and an unbounded supply of water at his command; but the gentlemen of the inns of court, and the gentlemen of the universities, have their supply of this cosmetic fetched in jugs by laundresses and bedmakers, and live in abodes which were erected long before the custom of cleanliness and decency obtained among us. There are individuals still alive who sneer at the people, and speak of them with epithets of scorn. Gentlemen, there can be but little doubt that your ancestors were the Great Unwashed: and in the Temple especially, it is pretty certain, that only under the greatest difficulties and restrictions, the virtue which has been pronounced to be next to godliness could have been practised at all.
Old Grump, of the Norfolk Circuit, who had lived for more than thirty years in the chambers under those occupied by Warrington and Pendennis, and who used to be awakened by the roaring of the shower-baths which those gentlemen had erected in their apartments, — part of the contents of which occasionally trickled through the roof into Mr. Grump's room, — declared that the practice was an absurd, newfangled, dandified folly, and daily cursed the laundress who slopped the staircase by which he had to pass. Grump, now much more than half a century old, had indeed never used the luxury in question. He had done without water very well, and so had our fathers before him. Of all those knights and baronets, lords and gentlemen, bearing arms, whose escutcheons are painted upon the walls of the famous hall of the Upper Temple, was there no philanthropist goodnatured enough to devise a set of Hummums for the benefit of the lawyers, his fellows and successors? The Temple historian makes no mention of such a scheme. There is Pump Court and Fountain Court, with their hydraulic apparatus, but one never heard of a bencher disporting in the fountain; and can't but think how many a counsel learned in the law of old days might have benefited by the pump.
Nevertheless, those venerable Inns which have the Lamb and Flag and the Winged Horse for their ensigns, have attractions for persons who inhabit them, and a share of rough comforts and freedom, which men always remember with pleasure. I don't know whether the student of law permits himself the refreshment of enthusiasm, or indulges in poetical reminiscences as he passes by historical chambers, and says, "Yonder Eldon lived — upon this site Coke mused upon Lyttleton — here Chitty toiled — here Barnwell and Alderson joined in their famous labors — here Byles composed his great work upon bills, and Smith compiled his immortal leading cases — here Gustavus still toils, with Solomon to aid him:" but the man of letters can't but love the place which has been inhabited by so many of his brethren, or peopled by their creations as real to us at this day as the authors whose children they were — and Sir Roger de Coverley walking in the Temple Garden, and discoursing with Mr. Spectator about the beauties in hoops and patches who are sauntering over the grass, is just as lively a figure to me as old Samuel Johnson rolling through the fog with the Scotch gentleman at his heels on their way to Dr. Goldsmith's chambers in Brick Court; or Harry Fielding, with inked ruffles and a wet towel round his head, dashing off articles at midnight for the " Covent Garden Journal," while the printer's boy is asleep in the passage.
If we could but get the history of a single day as it passed in any one of those four-storied houses in the dingy court where our friends Pen and Warrington dwelt, some Temple Asmodeus might furnish us with a queer volume. There may be a great Parliamentary counsel on the ground-floor, who drives off to Belgravia at dinner-time, when his clerk, too, becomes a gentleman, and goes away to entertain his friends, and to take his pleasure. But a short time since he was hungry and briefless in some garret of the Inn; lived by stealthy literature: hoped, and waited, and sickened, and no clients came; exhausted his own means and his friends' kindness; had to remonstrate humbly with duns, and to implore