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delighted to follow Lord Steyne’s ambassador, and pay his personal respects to that great man.
The visit to Chatteris was the result of their conversation: and Mr. Dolphin wrote to his Lordship from that place, and did himself the honour to inform the Marquis of Steyne, that he had seen the lady about whom his Lordship had spoken, that he was as much struck by her talents as he was by her personal appearance, and that he had made an engagement with Miss Fotheringay, who would soon have the honour of appearing before a London audience, and his noble and enlightened patron the Marquis of Steyne.
Pen read the announcement of Miss Fotheringay’s engagement in the Chatteris paper, where he had so often praised her charms. The Editor made very handsome mention of her talent and beauty, and prophesied her success in the metropolis. Bingley, the manager, began to advertise “ The last night of Miss Fotheringay’s engagement.” Poor Pen and Sir Derby Oaks were very constant at the play: Sir Derby in the stage-box, throwing bouquets and getting glances.—Pen in the almost deserted boxes, haggard, wretched, and lonely. Nobody cared whether Miss Fotheringay was going or staying except those two—and perhaps one more, which was Mr. Bows of the orchestra.
He came out of his place one night, and went into the house to the box where Pen was; and he held out his hand to him, and asked him to come and walk. They walked down the street together ; and went and sate upon Chatteris bridge in the moonlight, and talked about Her. “We may sit on the same bridge,” said he: “we have been in the same boat for a long time. You are not the only man who has made a fool of himself about that woman. And I have less excuse than you, because I’m older and know her better. She has no more heart than the stone you are leaning on; and it or you or I might fall into the water, and never come up again, and she wouldn’t care. Yes—she would care for me, because she wants me to teach her: and she won’t be able to get on without me, and will be forced to send for me from London. But she wouldn’t if she didn’t want me. She has no heart and no head, and no sense, and no feelings, and no griefs or cares, whatever. I was going to say no pleasures—but the fact is, she does like her dinner, and she is pleased when people admire her.”
“ And you do ?” said Pen, interested out of himself, and wondering at the crabbed homely little old man.
“ It’s a habit, like taking snuff, or drinking drams,” said the other. “ I’ve been taking her these five years, and can’t do without her. It was I made her. If she doesn’t send for me, I shall follow her: but I know she’ll send for me. She wants me. Some day she’ll marry, and fling me over, as I do the end of this cigar.”
The little flaming spark dropped into the water below, and disappeared; and Pen, as he rode home that night, actually thought about somebody but himself.
THE HAPPY VILLAGE .
fr.-3;’; ’ NTIL the enemy had retired. ‘ ‘ altogether from before the place, Major Pendennis was resolved to keep his garrison in Fairoaks. He did not appear to watch Pen’s behaviour, or to put any ‘restraint on his nephew’s actions, but he managed, nevertheless, to keep the lad constantly under his eye or those of his agents, and young Arthur’s comings and goings were quite well known to his vigilant guardian. ,
I suppose there is scarcely any man who reads this or any other novel but has been balked in love some time or the other, by fate, and circumstance, by falsehood of women, or his own fault. Let that worthy friend recall his own sensations under the circumstances, and apply them as illustrative of Mr. Pen’s anguish. Ah! what weary nights and sickening fevers ! Ah ! what mad desires dashing up against some rock of obstruction or indifference, and flung back again from the unimpressionable granite ! If a list could be made this very night in London of the groans, thoughts, imprecations of tossing lovers, what a catalogue it would be! I wonder what a percentage of the male population of the metropolis will be lying awake at two or three o’clock tomorrow morning, counting the hours as they go by, knelling drearily, and rolling from left to right, restless, yearning, and
heart-sick ? What a pang it is! I never knew a man die of‘
love, certainly, but I have known a twelve-stone man go down to nine stone five under a disappointed passion, so that pretty nearly a quarter of him may be said to have perished: and that is no small portion. He has come back to his old size subsequently—perhaps is bigger than ever: very likely somenew affection has closed round his heart and ribs and made1 them comfortable, and young Pen is a man who will console himself like the rest of us. We say this lest the ladies should be disposed to deplore him prematurely, or be seriously uneasy with‘ regard to his complaint. His mother was; but what will not a maternal fondness fear or invent? “ Depend on it, my dear creature,” Major Pendennis would say gallantly to her, “the boy will recover. As soon as we get her out of the country, we will take him somewhere, and show him a little life. Meantime make yourself easy about him. Half a fellow’s pangs at losing a woman result from vanity more than affection. To be left by a woman is the deuce and all, to be sure ; but look how easily we leave ’em.”
Mrs. Pendennis did not know. This sort of knowledge had by no means come within the simple lady’s scope. Indeed, she did not like the subject or to talk of it: her heart had had its own little private misadventure, and she had borne up against it, and cured it: and perhaps she had not much patience with other folks’ passions, except, of course, Arthur’s, whose sufierings she made her own, feeling indeed very likely, in many of the boy’s illnesses and pains, a great deal more than Pen himself endured. And she watched him through this present grief with a jealous silent sympathy; although, as we have said, he did not talk to her of his unfortunatecondition.
The Major must be allowed to have had not a little merit and forbearance, and to have exhibited a highly creditable degree of family affection. The life at Fairoaks was uncommonly dull to a man who had the entrée of half the houses in. London, and was in the habit of making his bow in three or' four drawing-rooms of a night. A dinner with Doctor Port
man or a neighbouring Squire now and then; a dreary rubber ,
at backgammon with the widow, who did her utmost to amuse him: these were the chief of his pleasures. He used to long for the arrival of the bag with the letters, and he read every word of the evening paper. He doctored himself, too, assiduously,—a course of quiet living would suit him well, he thought, after the London banquets. He dressed himself laboriously every morning and afternoon: he took regular exercise up and down the terrace walk. Thus, with his cane, his toilet, his medicine-chest, his backgammon-box, and his newspaper, this worthy and worldly philosopher fenced himself against ennui; and if he did not improve each shining hour, like the bees by the widow’s garden wall, Major Pendennis made one hour after another pass as he could; and rendered his captivity
just tolerable. Pen sometimes took the box at backgammon of a night, or
-would listen to his mother’s simple music of summer evenings
—but he was very restless and wretched in spite of all: and has been known to be up before the early daylight even : and down at a carp-pond in Clavering Park, a dreary pool with innumerable whispering rushes and green alders, where a milkmaid drowned herself in the Baronet’s grandfather’s time, and her ghost was said to walk still. But Pen did not drown himself, as perhaps his mother fancied might be his intention. He liked to go and fish there, and think and think at leisure, as the float quivered in the little eddies of the pond, and the fish flapped about him. If he got a bite he was excited enough: and in this way occasionally brought home carps, tenches, and eels, which the Major cooked in the Continental fashion.
By this pond, and under a tree, which was his favourite resort, Pen composed a number of poems suitable to his circumstances—over which verses he blushed in after days, wondering how he could ever have invented such rubbish. And as for the tree, why it is in a hollow of this very tree, where he used to put his tin-box of ground-bait, and other fishing commodities, that he afterwards—but we are advancing matters. Suffice it to say, he wrote poems and relieved himself very