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windows comes a great gush of cigar smoke, and at whose door are a quantity of dishes and covers, bearing the insignia of Dick's or the Cock. But stop! Whither does Fancy lead us? It is vacation time; and with the exception of Pendennis, nobody is in chambers at all.
Perhaps it was solitude, then, which drove Pen into the garden; for although he had never before passed the gate, and had looked rather carelessly at the pretty flower-beds, and the groups of pleased citizens sauntering over the trim lawn and the broad gravel-walks by the river, on this evening it happened, as we have said, that the young gentleman, who had dined alone at a tavern in the neighbourhood of the Temple, took a fancy, as he was returning home to his chambers, to take a little walk in the gardens, and enjoy the fresh evening air, and the sight of the shining Thames. After walking for a brief space, and looking at the many peaceful and happy groups round about him, he grew tired of the exercise, and betook himself to one of the summer-houses which flank either end of the main walk, and there modestly seated himself. What were his cogitations? The evening was delightfully bright and calm; the sky was cloudless; the chimneys on the opposite bank were not smoking; the wharfs and warehouses looked rosy in the sunshine, and as clean as if they, too, had washed for the holiday. The steamers rushed rapidly up and down the stream, laden with holiday passengers. The bells of the multitudinous City churches were ringing to evening prayers,—such peaceful Sabbath evenings as this Pen may have remembered in his early days, as he paced, with his arm round his mother's waist, on the terrace before the lawn at home. The sun was lighting up the little Brawl, too, as well as the broad Thames, and sinking downwards majestically behind the Clavering elms, and the tower of the familiar village church. Was it thoughts of these, or the sunset merely, that caused the blush on the young man's face? He beat time on the bench to the chorus of the bells without; flicked the dust off his shining boots with his pockethandkerchief, and starting up, stamped with his foot and said, "No, by Jove, I'll go home." And with this resolution, which indicated that some struggle as to the propriety of remaining •where he was, or of quitting the garden, had been going on in his mind, he stepped out of the summer-house.
He nearly knocked down two little children, who did not indeed reach much higher than his knee, and were trotting along the gravel-walk, with their long blue shadows slanting 'towards the east.
One cried out "Oh!" the other began to laugh; and with a knowing little infantine chuckle, said, " Missa Pen-dennis!" And Arthur, looking down, saw his two little friends of the day before, Mesdemoiselles Ameliar-Ann and Betsy-Jane. He blushed more than ever at seeing them, and seizing the one whom he had nearly upset, jumped her up into the air, and kissed her: at which sudden assault Ameliar-Ann began to cry in great alarm.
This cry brought up instantly two ladies in clean collars and new ribbons, and grand shawls, namely: Mrs. Bolton in a rich scarlet Caledonian cashmere, and a black silk dress; and Miss F. Bolton with a yellow scarf and a sweet sprigged muslin, and a parasol—quite the lady. Fanny did not say one single word: though her eyes flashed a welcome, and shone as bright—as bright as the most blazing windows in Paper Buildings. But Mrs. Bolton, after admonishing BetsyJane, said, "Lor, sir—how very odd that we should meet you year! I 'ope you 'ave your 'ealth well, sir.—Ain't it odd, Fanny, that we should meet Mr. Pendennis?" What do you mean by sniggering, Mesdames? When young Croesus has been staying at a country house, have you never, by any singular coincidence, been walking with your Fanny in the shrubberies? Have you and your Fanny never happened to be listening to the band of the Heavies at Brighton, when young De Boots and Captain Padmore came clinking down the Pier? Have you and your darling Frances never chanced to be visiting old widow Wheezy at the cottage on the common, when the young curate has stepped in with a tract adapted to the rheumatism? Do you suppose that, if singular coincidences occur at the Hall, they don't also happen at the Lodge?
It was a coincidence, no doubt: that was all. In the course of the conversation on the day previous, Mr. Pendennis had merely said, in the simplest way imaginable, and in reply to a question of Miss Bolton, that although some of the courts were gloomy, parts of the Temple were very cheerful and agreeable, especially the chambers looking on the river and around the gardens, and that the gardens were a very pleasant walk on Sunday evenings and frequented by a great number of people—and here, by the merest chance, all our acquaintances met together, just like so many people in genteel life. What could be more artless, good-natured, or natural?
Pen looked very grave, pompous, and dandified. He was unusually smart and brilliant in his costume. His white duck trousers and white hat, his neckcloth of many colours, his light waistcoat, gold chains, and shirt-studs, gave him the air of a prince of the blood at least. How his splendour became his figure! Was anybody ever like him? some one thought. He blushed—how his blushes became him! the same individual said to herself. The children, on seeing him the day before, had been so struck with him, that after he had gone away they had been playing at him. And AmeliarAnn, sticking her little chubby fingers into the arm-holes of her pinafore, as Pen was wont to do with his waistcoat, had said, "Now, Bessy-Jane, I'll be Missa Pendennis." Fanny had laughed till she cried, and smothered her sister with kisses for that feat. How happy, too, she was to see Arthur embracing the child!
If Arthur was red, Fanny, on the contrary, was very worn and pale. Arthur remarked it, and asked kindly why she looked so fatigued.
"I was awake all night," said Fanny, and began to blush a little.
"I put out her candle, and hordered her to go to sleep and leave off readin'," interposed the fond mother.
"You were reading! And what was it that interested you so?" asked Pen, amused.
"Oh, it's so beautiful!" said Fanny.
"' Walter Lorraine,'" Fanny sighed out. "How I do hate that Neara—Naera—I don't know the pronounciation. And how I love Leonora, and Walter; oh, how dear he is!"
How had Fanny discovered the novel of "Walter Lorraine," and that Pen was the author? This little person remembered every single word which Mr. Pendennis had spoken on the night previous, and how he wrote in books and newspapers. What books? She was so eager to know, that she had almost
a mind to be civil to old Bows, who was suffering under her displeasure since yesterday, but she determined first to make application to Costigan. She began by coaxing the Captain and smiling upon him in her most winning way, as she helped to arrange his dinner and set his humble apartment in order. She was sure his linen wanted mending (and indeed the Captain's linen-closet contained some curious specimens of manufactured flax and cotton). She would mend his shirts— all his shirts. What horrid holes—what funny holes! She put her little face through one of them, and laughed at the old warrior in the most winning manner. She would have made a funny little picture looking through the holes. Then she daintily removed Costigan's dinner things, tripping about the room as she had seen the dancers do at the play; and she danced to the Captain's cupboard, and produced his whiskybottle, and mixed him a tumbler, and must taste a drop of it—a little drop; and the Captain must sing her one of his songs, his dear songs, and teach it to her. And when he had sung an Irish melody in his rich quavering voice, fancying it was he who was fascinating the little Siren, she put her little question about Arthur Pendennis and his novel, and having got an answer, cared for nothing more, but left the Captain at the piano about to sing her another song, and the dinner-tray in the passage, and the shirts on the chair, and ran downstairs, quickening her pace as she sped.
Captain Costigan, as he said, was not a litherary cyarkter, nor had he as yet found time to peruse his young friend's ellygant perfaurumance, though he intended to teak an early opporchunitee of purchasing a cawpee of his work. But he knew the name of Pen's novel from the fact that Messrs. Finucane, Bludyer, and other frequenters of the Back Kitchen, spoke of Mr. Pendennis (not all of them with great friendship; for Bludyer called him a confounded coxcomb, and Hoolan wondered that Doolan did not kick him, &c.) by the sobriquet of Walter Lorraine,—and was hence enabled to give Fanny the information which she required.
"And she went and ast for it at the libery," Mrs. Bolton said,—"several liberies—and some 'ad it and it was hout, and some 'adn't it. And one of the liberies as 'ad it wouldn't let 'er 'ave it without a sovering; and she 'adn't one, and she came back a-crying to me—didn't you, Fanny ?—and I gave her a sovering."
"And, oh, I was in such a fright lest any one should have come to the libery and took it while I was away," Fanny said, her cheeks and eyes glowing. "And, oh, I do like it so!"