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the tailors had grown mustachios and were gone up the Ehine: the bootmakers were at Ems or Baden, blushing when they met their customers at those places of recreation, or punting beside their creditors at the gambling-tables: the clergymen of St. James's only preached to half a congregation, in which there was not a single sinner of distinction: the band in Kensington Gardens had shut up their instruments of brass and trumpets of silver: only two or three old flys and chaises crawled by the banks of the Serpentine, and Clarence Bulbul, who was retained in town by his arduous duties as a Treasury clerk, when he took his afternoon ride in Eotten Eow, compared its loneliness to the vastness of the Arabian desert, and himself to a Bedouin wending his way through that dusty solitude. Warrington stowed away a quantity of cavendish tobacco in his carpet-bag, and betook himself, as his custom was in the vacation, to his brother's house in Norfolk. Pen was left alone in chambers for a while, for this man of fashion could not quit the metropolis when he chose always: and was at present detained by the affairs of his newspaper, the Pall Mali Gazette, of which he acted as the editor and charge d'affaires during the temporary absence of the chief, Captain Shandon, who was with his family at the salutary wateringplace of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Although, as we have seen, Mr. Pen had pronounced himself for years past to be a man perfectly blase and wearied of life, yet the truth is that he was an exceedingly healthy young fellow still; with a fine appetite, which he satisfied with the greatest relish and satisfaction at least once a-day; and a constant desire for society, which showed him to be anything but misanthropical. If he could not get a good dinner he sate down to a bad one with entire contentment; if he could not procure the company of witty or great or beautiful persons, he put up with any society that came to hand; and was perfectly satisfied in a tavern parlour or on board a Greenwich steamboat, or in a jaunt to Hampstead with Mr. Finucane, his colleague at the Pall Mall Gazette; or in a visit to the 6ummer theatres across the river: or to the Eoyal Gardens of Vauxhall, where he was on terms of friendship with the great Simpson, and where he shook the principal comic singer or the lovely equestrian of the arena by the hand. And while he could watch the grimaces or the graces of these with a satiric humour that was not deprived of sympathy, he could look on with an eye of kindness at the lookers-on too; at the roystering youth bent upon enjoyment, and here taking it: at the honest parents, with then- delighted children laughing and clapping their hands at the show: at the poor outcasts, whose laughter was less innocent though perhaps louder, and who brought their shame and their youth here, to dance and be merry till the dawn at least; and to get bread and drown care. Of this sympathy with all conditions of men Arthur often boasted: he was pleased to possess it: and said that he hoped thus to the last he should retain it. As another man has an ardour for art or music, or natural science, Mr. Pen said that anthropology was his favourite pursuit; and had his eyes always eagerly open to its infinite varieties and beauties: contemplating with an unfailing delight all specimens of it in all places to which he resorted, whether it was the coquetting of a wrinkled dowager in a ball-room, or a high-bred young beauty blushing in her prime there; whether it was a hulking guardsman coaxing a servant-girl in the Park—or innocent little Tommy that was feeding the ducks whilst the nurse listened. And indeed a man, whose heart is pretty clean, can indulge in this pursuit with an enjoyment that never ceases, and is only perhaps the more keen because it is secret and has a touch of sadness in it; because he is of his mood and humour lonely, and apart although not alone.
Yes, Pen used to brag and talk in his impetuous way to Warrington. "I was in love so fiercely in my youth, that I have burned out that flame for ever, I think; and if ever I marry, it will be a marriage of reason that I will make, with a well-bred, good-tempered, good-looking person who has a little money, and so forth, that will cushion our carriage in its course through life. As for romance, it is all done; I have spent that out, and am old before my time—I'm proud of it."
"Stuff!" growled the other, "you fancied you were getting bald the other day, and bragged about it as you do about everything. But you began to use the bear's-grease pot directly the hair-dresser told you; and are scented like a barber ever since."
"You are Diogenes," the other answered, "and you want every man to live in a tub like yourself. Violets smell better than stale tobacco, you grizzly old cynic." But Mr. Pen was blushing whilst he made this reply to his unromantical friend, and indeed cared a great deal more about himself still than such a philosopher perhaps should have done. Indeed, considering that he was careless about the world, Mr. Pen ornamented his person with no small pains in order to make himself agreeable to it, and for a weary pilgrim as he was, wore very tight boots and bright varnish.
It was in this dull season of the year then, of a shining Friday night in autumn, that Mr. Pendennis, having completed at his newspaper office a brilliant leading article—such as Captain Shandon himself might have written, had the Captain been in good humour, and inclined to work, which he never would do except under compulsion—that Mr. Arthur Pendennis having written his article, and reviewed it approvingly as it lay before him in its wet proof-sheet at the office of the paper, bethought him that he would cross the water,, and regale himself with the fireworks and other amusements of Vauxhall. So he affably put in his pocket the order which admitted "Editor of Pali Mall Gazetle and friend" to that place of recreation, and paid with the coin of the realm a sufficient sum to enable him to cross Waterloo Bridge. The walk thence to the Gardens was pleasant, the stars were shining in the skies above, looking down upon the royal property, whence the rockets and Roman candles had not yet ascended to outshine the stars.
Before you enter the enchanted ground, where twenty thousand additional lamps are burned every night as usual, most of us have passed through the black and dreary passage and wickets which hide the splendours of Vauxhall from uninitiated men. In the walls of this passage are two holes strongly illuminated, in the midst of which you see twogentlemen at desks, where they will take either your money as a private individual, or your order of admission if you are provided with that passport to the Gardens. Pen went to exhibit his ticket at the last-named orifice, where, however, a gentleman and two ladies were already in parley before him.
The gentleman, whose hat was very much on one side, and who wore a short and shabby cloak in an excessively smart manner, was crying out in a voice which Pen at once recognised—
"Bedad, sir, if ye doubt me honour, will ye obleege me by stipping out of that box, and"
"Lor, Capting!" cried the elder lady.
"Don't bother me," said the man in the box.
"And ask Mr. Hodgen himself, who's in the gyardens, to let these leedies pass. Don't be froightened, me dear madam, I'm not going to quarl with this gintleman, at any reet before leedies. Will ye go, sir, and desoire Mr. Hodgen (whose orther I keem in with, and he's me most intemate friend, and I know he's goan to sing the 'Body Snatcher' here tonoight), with Captain Gostigan's compliments, to stip out and let in the leedies—for meself, sir, oi've seen Vauxhall, and I scawrun any interfayrance on moi account: but for these leedies, one of them has never been there, and oi should think ye'd hardly take advantage of me misfartune in losing the tickut, to deproive her of her pleasure."
"It ain't no use, Captain. I can't go about your business," the checktaker said; on which the Captain swore an oath, and the elder lady said, "Lor, 'ow provokin'!"
As for the young one, she looked up at the Captain and said, "Never mind, Captain Costigan, I'm sure I don't want to go at all. Come away, Mamma." And with this, although she did not want to go at all, her feelings overcame her, and she began to cry.
"Me poor child!" the Captain said. "Can ye see that, sir, and will ye not let this innocent creature in?"
"It ain't my business," cried the doorkeeper, peevishly, out of the illuminated box. And at this minute Arthur came up, and recognising Costigan, said, "Don't you know me, Captain? Pendennis!" And he took off his hat and made a bow to the two ladies. "Me dear boy! Me dear friend!" cried the Captain, extending towards Pendennis the grasp of friendship; and he rapidly explained to the other what he