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spectacle of her misery only added, somehow, to the wrath and testiness of the young man. He scarcely returned the kiss which the suffering lady gave him: and the countenance with which he met the appeal of her look was hard and cruel. "She persecutes me," he thought within himself, "and she comes to me with the air of a martyr." "You look very ill, my child," she said. "I don't like to see you look in that way." And she tottered to a sofa, still holding one of his passive hands in her thin cold clinging fingers.

"I have had much to annoy me, mother," Pen said, with a throbbing breast: and as he spoke Helen's heart began to beat so, that she sate almost dead and speechless with terror.

Warrington, Laura, and Major Pendennis, all remained breathless, aware that the storm was about to break.

"I have had letters from London," Arthur continued, "and one that has given more pain than I ever had in my life. It tells me that former letters of mine have been intercepted and purloined away from me;-thatthat a young creature who has shown the greatest love and care for me, has been most cruelly used by-by you, mother."

"For God's sake stop," cried out Warrington. "She's ill-don't you see she is ill?"

"Let him go on," said the widow, faintly.

"Let him go on and kill her," said Laura, rushing up to her mother's side. "Speak on, sir, and see her die."

"It is you who are cruel," cried Pen, more exasperated and more savage, because his own heart, naturally soft and weak, revolted indignantly at the injustice of the very suffering which was laid at his door. "It is you

who are cruel, who attribute all this pain to me: it is you who are cruel with your wicked reproaches, your wicked doubts of me, your wicked persecutions of those who love me,—yes, those who love me, and who brave everything for me, and whom you despise and trample upon because they are of lower degree than you. Shall I tell you what I will do,--what I am resolved to do, now that I know what your conduct has been?-I will go back to this poor girl whom you turned out of my doors, and ask her to come back and share my home with me. I'll defy the pride which persecutes her, and the pitiless suspicion which insults her and me."

"Do you mean, Pen, that you-" here the widow, with eager eyes and outstretched hands, was breaking out, but Laura stopped her: "Silence, hush, dear mother," she cried, and the widow hushed. Savagely as Pen spoke, she was only too eager to hear what more he had to say. "Go on, Arthur, go on, Arthur," was all she said, almost swooning away as she spoke.

"By Gad, I say he shan't go on, or I won't hear him, by Gad," the Major said, trembling too in his wrath. "If you choose, sir, after all we've done for you, after all I've done for you myself, to insult your mother and disgrace your name, by allying yourself with a low-born kitchen-girl, go and do it, by Gad,—but let us, ma'am, have no more to do with him. I wash my hands of you, sir, I wash my hands of you. I'm an old fellow,-I ain't long for this world. I come of as ancient and honourable a family as any in England, and I did hope, before I went off the hooks, by Gad, that the fellow that I'd liked, and brought up, and nursed through life by Jove, would do something to show me that our name— yes, the name of Pendennis, was left undishonoured be

hind us; but if he won't, dammy, I say, amen. By G-, both my father and my brother Jack were the proudest men in England, and I never would have thought that there would come this disgrace to my name,-—-neverand-and I'm ashamed that it's Arthur Pendennis." The old fellow's voice here broke off into a sob: it was the second time that Arthur had brought tears from those wrinkled lids.

The sound of his breaking voice stayed Pen's anger instantly, and he stopped pacing the room, as he had been doing until that moment. Laura was by Helen's sofa; and Warrington had remained hitherto an almost silent but not uninterested spectator of the family storm. As the parties were talking, it had grown almost dark; and after the lull which succeeded the passionate outbreak of the Major, George's deep voice, as it here broke trembling into the twilight room, was heard with no small emotion by all.

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"Will you let me tell you something about myself, my kind friends?" he said,-"you have been so good to me, ma'am-you have been so kind to me, Laura-I hope I may call you so sometimes-my dear Pen and I have been such friends that—that I have long wanted to tell you my story such as it is, and would have told it to you earlier but that it is a sad one and contains another's secret. However, it may do good for Arthur to know it-it is right that every one here should. It will divert you from thinking about a subject which, out of a fatal misconception, has caused a great deal of pain to all of you. May I please tell you, Mrs. Pendennis?" "Pray speak," was all Helen said; and indeed she was not much heeding; her mind was full of another idea with which Pen's words had supplied her, and she was

in a terror of hope that what he had hinted might be as she wished.

George filled himself a bumper of wine and emptied it, and began to speak. "You all of you know how you see me," he said,—“a man without a desire to make an advance in the world: careless about reputation; and living in a garret and from hand to mouth, though I have friends and a name, and I dare say capabilities of my own, that would serve me if I had a mind. But mind I have none. I shall die in that garret most likely, and alone. I nailed myself to that doom in early life. Shall I tell you what it was that interested me about Arthur years ago, and made me inclined towards him when I first saw him? The men from our college at Oxbridge brought up accounts of that early affair with the Chatteris actress, about whom Pen has often talked to me since; and who, but for the Major's generalship, might have been your daughter-in-law, ma'am. I can't see Pen in the dark, but he blushes, I'm sure; and I dare say Miss Bell does; and my friend Major Pendennis, I dare say, laughs as he ought to do-for he won. What would have been Arthur's lot now had he been tied at nineteen to an illiterate woman older than himself, with no qualities in common between them, to make one a companion for the other, no equality, no confidence, and no love speedily? What could he have been but most miserable? And when he spoke just now and threatened a similar union, be sure it was but a threat occasioned by anger, which you must give me leave to say, ma'am, was very natural on his part, for after a generous and manly conductlet me say who know the circumstances well- most generous and manly and self-denying (which is rare with. him),—he has met from some friends of his with a most

unkind suspicion, and has had to complain of the unfair treatment of another innocent person, towards whom he and you all are under much obligation."

The widow was going to get up here, and Warrington, seeing her attempt to rise, said, “Do I tire you, ma'am?” "O no-go on-go on," said Helen, delighted, and he continued.

"I liked him, you see, because of that early history of his, which had come to my ears in college gossip, and because I like a man, if you will pardon me for saying so, Miss Laura, who shows that he can have a great unreasonable attachment for a woman. That was why we became friends-and are all friends here-for always, aren't we?" he added, in a lower voice, leaning over to her, "and Pen has been a great comfort and companion to a lonely and unfortunate man.

"I am not complaining of my lot, you see; for no man's is what he would have it; and up in my garret, where you left the flowers, and with my old books and my pipe for a wife, I am pretty contented, and only occasionally envy other men, whose careers in life are more brilliant, or who can solace their ill fortune by what Fate and my own fault has deprived me of-the affection of a woman or a child." Here there came a sigh from somewhere near Warrington in the dark, and a hand was held out in his direction, which, however, was instantly withdrawn, for the prudery of our females is such, that before all expression of feeling, or natural kindness and regard, a woman is taught to think of herself and the proprieties, and to be ready to blush at the very slightest notice; and checking, as, of course, it ought, this spontaneous motion, modesty drew up again, kindly friendship shrank back ashamed of itself, and Warrington resumed

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