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church gate. Here we are at St. Benedict's. They say Mr. Oriel is a beautiful preacher."
Indeed, the bells were tolling, the people were trooping into the handsome church, the carriages of the inhabitants of
the lordly quarter poured forth their pretty loads of devotees, in whose company Pen and his uncle, ending their edifying conversation, entered the fane. I do not know whether other people carry their worldly affairs to the church door. Arthur, who, from habitual reverence and feeling, was always more than respectful in a place of worship, thought of the incongruity of their talk, perhaps; whilst the old gentleman at his side was utterly unconscious of any such contrast. His hat was brushed: his wig was trim: his neckcloth was perfectly tied. He looked at every soul in the congregation, it is true: the bald heads and the bonnets, the flowers and the feathers: but so demurely, that he hardly lifted up his eyes from his book—from his book which he could not read without glasses. As for Pen's gravity, it was sorely put to the test when, upon looking by chance towards the seats where the servants were collected, he spied out, by the side of a demure gentleman in plush, Henry Foker, Esquire, who had discovered this place of devotion. Following the direction of Harry's eye, which strayed a good deal from his book, Pen found that it alighted upon a yellow bonnet and a pink one: and that these bonnets were on the heads of Lady Clavering and Blanche Amory. If Pen's uncle is not the only man who has talked about his worldly affairs up to the church door, is poor Harry Foker the only one who has brought his worldly love into the aisle?
When the congregation issued forth at the conclusion of the service, Foker was out amongst the first, but Pen came up with him presently, as he was hankering about the entrance which he was unwilling to leave, until my lady's barouche, with the bewigged coachman, had borne away its mistress and her daughter from their devotions.
When the two ladies came out, they found together the Pendennises, uncle and nephew, and Harry Foker, Esquire, sucking the crook of his stick, standing there in the sunshine. To see and to ask to eat were simultaneous with the goodnatured Begum, and she invited the three gentlemen to luncheon straightway.
Blanche, too, was particularly gracious. "Oh! do come," she said to Arthur, "if you are not too great a man. I want so to talk to you about—but we musn't say what, here, you know. What would Mr. Oriel say?" And the young devotee jumped in^o the carriage after her mamma.—" I've read every word of it. It's adorable," she added, still addressing herself to Pen.
"I know who is," said Mr. Arthur, making rather a pert bow.
"What's the row about?" asked Mr. Foker, rather puzzled.
"I suppose Miss Clavering means 'Walter Lorraine,'" said the Major, looking knowing, and nodding at Pen.
"I suppose so, sir. There was a famous review in the Pall Mall this morning. It was Warrington's doing though, and I must not be too proud."
"A review in Pall Mall?—Walter Lorraine? What the doose do you mean?" Foker asked. "Walter Lorraine died of the measles, poor little beggar, when we were at Grey Friars. I remember his mother coming up."
"You are not a literary man, Foker," Pen said, laughing, and hooking his arm into his friend's. "You must know I have been writing a novel, and some of the papers have spoken very well of it. Perhaps you don't read the Sunday papers?"
"I read Bella Life regular, old boy," Mr. Foker answered: at which Pen laughed again, and the three gentlemen proceeded in great good humour to Lady Clavering's house.
The subject of the novel was resumed after luncheon by Miss Amory, who indeed loved poets and men of letters if she loved anything, and was sincerely an artist in feeling. "Some of the passages in the book made me cry, positively they did," she said.
Pen said, with some fatuity, "I am happy to think I have a part of vos larmes, Miss Blanche"—and the Major (who had not read more than six pages of Pen's book) put on his sanctified look, saying, "Yes, there are some passages quite affecting, mons'ous affecting: and"
"Oh, if it makes you cry,"—Lady Clavering declared she would not read it, "that she wouldn't."
"Don't, Mamma," Blanche said, with a French shrug of her shoulders; and then she fell into a rhapsody about the book, about the snatches of poetry interspersed in it, about the two heroines, Leonora and Neaera; about the two, heroes, Walter Lorraine and his rival the young Duke—" and what good company you introduce us to," said the young lady, archly, "quel ton! How much of your life have you passed at court? and are you a prime minister's son, Mr. Arthur?"
Pen began to laugh—" It is as cheap for a novelist to create a Duke as to make a Baronet," he said. "Shall I tell you a secret, Miss Amory? I promoted all my characters at the request of the publisher. The young Duke was only a young Baron when the novel was first written; his false friend, the Viscount, was a simple commoner, and so on with all the characters of the story."
"What a wicked, satirical, pert young man you have be'come! Comme vow voila forme!" said the young lady. "How different from Arthur Pendennis of the country! Ah! I think I like Arthur Pendennis of the country best, though!" and she gave him the full benefit of her eyes,—both of the fond appealing glance into his own, and of the modest look downwards towards the carpet, which showed off her dark eyelids and long fringed lashes.
Pen of course protested that he had not changed in the least, to which the young lady replied by a tender sigh; and thinking that she had done quite enough to make Arthur happy or miserable (as the case might be), she proceeded to cajole his companion, Mr. Harry Foker, who during the literary conversation had sate silently imbibing the head of his cane, and wishing he was a clever chap like that Pen.
If the Major thought that by telling Miss Amory of Mr. Foker's engagement to his cousin, Lady Ann Milton (which information the old gentleman neatly conveyed to the girl as he sate by her side at luncheon below stairs),—if, we say, the Major thought that the knowledge of this fact would prevent Blanche from paying any further attention to the young heir •of Foker's Entire, he was entirely mistaken. She became only the more gracious to Foker: she praised him, and everything belonging to him; she praised his mamma; she praised the pony which he rode in the Park; she praised the lovely breloques or gimcracks which the young gentleman wore at his watch-chain, and that dear little darling of a cane, and those dear little delicious monkeys' heads with ruby eyes, which ornamented Harry's shirt, and formed the buttons of his waistcoat. And then, having praised and coaxed the weak youth until he blushed and tingled with pleasure, and until Pen thought she really had gone quite far enough, she took another theme.
"I am afraid Mr. Foker is a very sad young man," she said, turning round to Fen,
"He does not look so," Pen answered with a sneer.
"I mean we have heard sad stories about him. Haven't we, Mamma? What was Mr. Poyntz saying here, the other day, about that party at Eichmond? Oh you naughty creature!" But here, seeing that Harry's countenance assumed a great expression of alarm, while Pen's wore a look of amusement, she turned to the latter and said, "I believe you are just as bad: I believe you would have liked to have been there,— wouldn't you? I know you would: yes—and so should I."
"Lor, Blanche!" mamma cried.
"Well, I would. I never saw an actress in my life. I would give anything to know one; for I adore talent. And I adore Richmond, that I do; and I adore Greenwich, and I say, I should like to go there."
"Why should not we three bachelors," the Major here broke out, gallantly, and to his nephew's special surprise, "beg these ladies to honour us with their company at Greenwich? Is Lady Clavering to go on for ever being hospitable to us, and may we make no return? Speak for yourselves, young men,—eh, begad! Here is my nephew, with his pockets full of money—his pockets full, begad! and Mr. Henry Foker, who, as I have heard say, is pretty well to do in the world,— how is your lovely cousin, Lady Ann, Mr. Foker ?—here are these two young ones,—and they allow an old fellow like me to speak. Lady Clavering, will you do me the favour to be my guest? and Miss Blanche shall be Arthur's, if she will be so good."
"Oh delightful!" cried Blanche.
"I like a bit of fun too," said Lady Clavering; "and we will take some day when Sir Francis"
"When Sir Francis dines out,—yes, Mamma," the daughter said, "it will be charming."
And a charming day it was. The dinner was ordered at Greenwich, and Foker, though he did not invite Miss Amory,