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when the door was opened; he only delivered two cards, with Mr. Henry Foker engraved upon them, to Jeames, in a speechless agony. Jeames received the tickets, bowing his powdered head. The varnished doors closed upon him. The beloved object was as far as ever from him, though so near. He thought he heard the tones of a piano and of a siren singing, coming from the drawing-room and sweeping over the balcony-shrubbery of geraniums. He would have liked to stop and listen, but it might not be. "Drive to Tattersall's," he said to the groom, in a voice smothered with emotion,—"And bring my pony round," he added, as the man drove rapidly away.
As good luck would have it, that splendid barouche of Lady Clavering's, which has been inadequately described in a former chapter, drove up to her ladyship's door just as Foker mounted the pony which was in waiting for him. He bestrode the fiery animal, and dodged about the Arch of the Green Park, keeping the carriage well in view, until he saw Lady Clavering enter, and with her—whose could be that angel form, but the enchantress's, clad in a sort of gossamer, with a pink bonnet and a light-blue parasol—but Miss Amory?
The carriage took its fair owners to Madame Rigodon's cap and lace shop, to Mrs. Wolsey's Berlin worsted shop,—who knows to what other resorts of female commerce? Then it went and took ices at Hunter's, for Lady Clavering was somewhat florid in her tastes and amusements, and not only liked to go abroad in the most showy carriage in London, but that the public should see her in it too. And so, in a white bonnet with a yellow feather, she ate a large pink ice in the sunshine before Hunter's door, till Foker on his pony, and the red jacket who accompanied him, were almost tired of dodging.
Then at last she made her way into the Park, and the rapid Foker made his dash forward. What to do? Just to get a nod of recognition from Miss Amory and her mother; to cross them a half-dozen times in the drive; to watch and ogle them from the other side of the ditch, where the horsemen assemble when the band plays in Kensington Gardens. What is the use of looking at a woman in a pink bonnet across a ditch? What is the earthly good to be got out of a nod of the head? Strange that men will be contented with such pleasures, or if not contented, at least that they will be so eager in seeking them. Not one word did Harry, he so fluent of conversation ordinarily, exchange with his charmer on that day. Mutely he beheld her return to her carriage, and drive away among rather ironical salutes from the young men in the Park. One said that the Indian widow was making the paternal rupees spin rapidly; another said that she ought to have burned herself alive, and left the money to her daughter. This one asked who Clavering was?—and old Tom Eales, who knew everybody, and never missed a day in the Park on his grey cob, kindly said that Clavering had come into an estate over head and heels in mortgage: that there were devilish ugly stories about him when he was a young man, and that it was reported of him that he had a share in a gambling-house, and had certainly shown the white feather in his regiment. "He plays still; he is in a hell every night almost," Mr. Eales added.
"I should think so, since his marriage," said a wag.
"He gives devilish good dinners," said Foker, striking up for the honour of his host of yesterday.
"I daresay, and I daresay he doesn't ask Eales," the wag said. "I say, Eales, do you dine at Clavering's—at the Begum's?"
"/ dine there?" said Mr. Eales, who would have dined with Beelzebub if sure of a good cook, and when he came away, would have painted his host blacker than fate had made him.
"You might, you know, although you do abuse him so," continued the wag. "They say it's very pleasant. Clavering goes to sleep after dinner; the Begum gets tipsy with cherry-brandy, and the young lady sings songs to the young gentlemen. She sings well, don't she, Fo?"
"Slap up," said Fo. "I tell you what Poyntz, she sings like a—whatdyecallum—you know what I mean—like a mermaid, you know, but that's not their name."
"I never heard a mermaid sing," Mr. Poyntz, the wag, replied. "Who ever heard a mermaid? Eales, you are an old fellow, did you?"
"Don't make a lark of me, hang it, Poyntz," said Foker, turning red, and with tears almost in his eyes; "you know what I mean: it's those what's-his-names—in Homer, you know. I never said I was a good scholar."
"And nobody ever said it of you, my boy," Mr. Poyntz remarked; and Foker, striking spurs into his pony, cantered away down Eotten Eow, his mind agitated with various emotions, ambitions, mortifications. He was sorry that he had not been good at his books in early life, that he might have cut out all those chaps who were about her, and who talked the languages, and wrote poetry, and painted pictures in her album, and—and that.—"What am I," thought little Foker, "compared to her? She's all soul, she is, and can write poetry or compose music, as easy as I could drink a glass of beer. Beer?—damme, that's all I'm fit for, is beer. I am a poor, ignorant little beggar, good for nothing but Foker's Entire. I misspent my youth, and used to get the chaps to do my exercises. And what's the consequences now? O, Harry Foker, what a confounded little fool you have been!"
As he made this dreary soliloquy, he had cantered out of Rotten Row into the Park, and there was on the point of riding down a large old roomy family carriage, of which he took no heed, when a cheery voice cried out, "Harry, Harry!" and looking up, he beheld his aunt, the Lady Rosherville, and two of her daughters, of whom the one who spoke was Harry's betrothed, the Lady Ann.
He started back with a pale, scared look, as a truth, about which he had not thought during the whole day, came across him. There was his fate, there, in the back seat of that carriage!
"What is the matter, Harry? why are you so pale? You have been raking and smoking too much, you wicked boy," said Lady Ann.
Foker said, "How do, aunt? How do, Ann?" in a perturbed manner—muttered something about a pressing engagement,—indeed he saw by the Park clock that he must have been keeping his party in the drag waiting for nearly an hour—and waved a good-bye. The little man and the little pony were out of sight in an instant—the great carriage rolled away. Nobody inside was very much interested about his coming or going; the Countess being occupied with her spaniel, the Lady Lucy's thoughts and eyes being turned upon a volume of sermons, and those of Lady Ann upon a new novel, which the sisters had just procured from the library.
CARRIES THE READER BOTH TO RICHMOND AND GREENWICH.
coming down here in his brougham, with his coronet on it, and sitting bodkin between Mademoiselle Coralie and her mother! It's too bad. An English peer, and a horse-rider of Franconi's!—It won't do; by Jove, it won't do. I ain't proud; but it will not do!"
"Twopence-halfpenny for your thoughts, Fokey!" cried out Miss Rougemont, taking her cigar from her truly vermilion lips, as she beheld the young fellow lost in thought, seated at the head of his table, amidst melting ices, and cut pine-apples, and bottles full and empty, and cigar-ashes Vol. n. c 4
OOR Foker found the dinner at Richmond to be the most dreary entertainment upon which ever mortal man wasted his guineas. "I wonder how the deuce I could ever have liked these people," he thought in his own mind. "Why, I can see the crows'-feet under Eougemont's eyes, and the paint on her cheeks is laid on as thick as Clown's in a pantomime! The way in which that Pinckney talks slang is quite disgusting. I hate chaff in a woman. And old Colchicum! that old Col,