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"You-you don't mean to say you have-you have done any wrong to that dear little creature, sir?" said Pen, starting up in a great fury.

"I hope not," said Huxter, with a hang-dog look: "but I've married her. And I know there will be an awful shindy at home. It was agreed that I should be taken into partnership when I had passed the College, and it was to have been Huxter & Son. But I would have it, confound it. It's all over now, and the old boy's wrote me that he's coming up to town for drugs; he will be here to-morrow, and then it must all come out."

“And when did this event happen?" asked Pen, not over well pleased, most likely, that a person who had once attracted some portion of his royal good graces should have transferred her allegiance, and consoled herself for his loss.

"Last Thursday was five weeks- it was two days after Miss Amory came to Shepherd's Inn," Huxter answered.

Pen remembered that Blanche had written and mentioned her visit. "I was called in," Huxter said. “I was in the inn looking after old Cos's leg; and about something else too, very likely: and I met Strong, who told me there was a woman taken ill in chambers, and went up to give her my professional services. It was the old lady who attends Miss Amory-her housekeeper, or some such thing. She was taken with strong hysterics: I found her kicking and scratching like a good one—in Strong's chamber, along with him and Colonel Altamont, and Miss Amory crying and as pale as a sheet; and Altamont, fuming about-a regular kick up. They were two hours in the chambers; and the old woman went whooping off in a cab. She was much worse than the young one. I

Pendennis. III.

21

called in Grosvenor Place next day to see if I could be of any service, but they were gone without so much as thanking me; and the day after I had business of my own to attend to-a bad business too," said Mr. Huxter, gloomily. "But it's done, and can't be undone; and we must make the best of it."

She has known the story for a month, thought Pen, with a sharp pang of grief, and a gloomy sympathythis accounts for her letter of to-day. She will not implicate her father, or divulge his secret; she wishes to let me off from the marriage- and finds a pretext-the generous girl!

"Do you know who Altamont is, sir?" asked Huxter, after the pause during which Pen had been thinking of his own affairs. "Fanny and I have talked him over, and we can't help fancying that it's Mrs. Lightfoot's first husband come to life again, and she who has just married a second. Perhaps Lightfoot won't be very sorry for it," sighed Huxter, looking savagely at Arthur, for the demon of jealousy was still in possession of his soul; and now, and more than ever since his marriage, the poor fellow fancied that Fanny's heart belonged to his rival.

"Show Let

"Let us talk about your affairs," said Pen. me how I can be of any service to you, Huxter. me congratulate you on your marriage. I am thankful that Fanny, who is so good, so fascinating, so kind a creature, has found an honest man, and a gentleman who will make her happy. Show me what I can do to help you."

"She thinks you can, sir," said Huxter, accepting Pen's proffered hand, "and I'm very much obliged to you, I'm sure; and that you might talk over my father, and break the business to him, and my mother, who always has her back up about being a clergyman's daughter.

Fanny ain't of a good family, I know, and not up to us in breeding and that--but she's a Huxter now."

"The wife takes the husband's rank, of course," said

Pen.

"And with a little practice in society," continued Huxter, imbibing his stick, "she'll be as good as any girl in Clavering. You should hear her sing and play on the piano. Did you ever? Old Bows taught her. And she'll do on the stage, if the governor was to throw me over; but I'd rather not have her there. She can't help being a coquette, Mr. Pendennis, she can't help it. Dammy, sir! I'll be bound to say, that two or three of the Bartholomew chaps, that I've brought into my place, are sitting with her now; even Jack Linton, that I took down as my best man, is as bad as the rest, and she will go on singing and making eyes at him. It's what Bows says, if there were twenty men in a room, and one not taking notice of her, she wouldn't be satisfied until the twentieth was at her elbow."

"You should have her mother with her," said Pen, laughing.

"She must keep the lodge. She can't see so much of her family as she used. I can't, you know, sir, go on with that lot. Consider my rank in life," said Huxter, putting a very dirty hand up to his chin.

66

Au fait," said Mr. Pen, who was infinitely amused, and concerning whom mutato nomine (and of course concerning nobody else in the world) the fable might have been narrated.

As the two gentlemen were in the midst of this colloquy, another knock came to Pen's door, and his servant presently announced Mr. Bows. The old man followed slowly, his pale face blushing,

and his hand

trembling somewhat as he took Pen's. He coughed, and wiped his face in his checked cotton pocket-handkerchief, and sate down with his hands on his knees, the sun shining on his bald head. Pen looked at the homely figure with no small sympathy and kindness. This man, too, has had his griefs, and his wounds, Arthur thought. This man, too, has brought his genius and his heart, and laid them at a woman's feet; where she spurned them. The chance of life has gone against him, and the prize is with that creature yonder. Fanny's bridegroom, thus mutely apostrophised, had winked meanwhile with one eye at old Bows, and was driving holes in the floor with the cane which he loved.

"So we have lost, Mr. Bows, and here is the lucky winner," Pen said, looking hard at the old man.

"Here is the lucky winner, sir, as you say.”

"I suppose you have come from my place?" asked Huxter, who, having winked at Bows with one eye, now favoured Pen with a wink of the other-a wink which seemed to say, "Infatuated old boy-you understandover head and ears in love with her--poor old fool!"

"Yes, I have been there ever since you went away. It was Mrs. Sam who sent me after you: who said that she thought you might be doing something stupid-something like yourself, Huxter."

"There's as big fools as I am," growled the young

surgeon.

"A few, p'raps," said the old man; “not many, let us trust. Yes, she sent me after you for fear you should offend Mr. Pendennis; and I dare say because she thought you wouldn't give her message to him, and beg him to go and see her; and she knew I would take her errand. Did he tell you that, sir?"

Huxter blushed scarlet, and covered his confusion with an imprecation. Pen laughed! the scene suited his bitter humour more and more.

"I have no doubt Mr. Huxter was going to tell me," Arthur said, "and very much flattered I am sure I shall be to pay my respects to his wife.”

"It's in Charterhouse Lane, over the baker's, on the right-hand side as you go from St. John's Street," continued Bows, without any pity. "You know Smithfield, Mr. Pendennis? St. John's Street leads into Smithfield. Doctor Johnson has been down the street many a time with ragged shoes, and a bundle of penny-a-lining for the 'Gent's Magazine.' You literary gents are better off now - eh? You ride in your cabs, and wear yellow kid gloves now."

"I have known so many brave and good men fail, and so many quacks and impostors succeed, that you mistake me if you think I am puffed up by my own personal good luck, old friend," Arthur said, sadly. "Do uyo think the prizes of life are carried by the most deserving? and set up that mean test of prosperity for merit? You must feel that you are as good as I. I have never questioned it. It is you that are peevish against the freaks of fortune, and grudge the good luck that befalls others. It's not the first time you have unjustly accused me, Bows."

"Perhaps you are not far wrong, sir," said the old fellow, wiping his bald forehead. "I am thinking about myself and grumbling; most men do when they get on that subject. Here's the fellow that's got the prize in the lottery; here's the fortunate youth."

"I don't know what you are driving at," Huxter said, who had been much puzzled as the above remarks passed between his two companions.

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