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Saturday evening, whenever he received permission from his lady. Costigan had been also an occasional Buccaneer. But a
‘want of punctuality of payments had of late somewhat ex
cluded him from the Society, where he was subject to disagreeable remarks from the landlord, who said that a Buccaneer who didn’t pay his shot was utterly unworthy to be a Marine Bandit. But when it became known to the ‘Ears, as the Clubbists called themselves familiarly, that Miss Fotheringay had made a splendid engagement, a great revolution of feeling took place in the Club regarding Captain Costigan. Solly, mine host of the Grapes, told the gents in the Buccaneers’ room one night how noble the Captain had beayved; having been round and paid off all his ticks in Chatteris, including his score of three pound fourteen here—and pronounced that Cos was a good fellar, a gentleman at bottom, and he, Solly, had always said so, and finally worked upon the feelings of the Buccaneers to give the Captain a dinner.
The banquet took place on the last night of Costigan’s stay at Chatteris, and was served in Solly’s accustomed manner. As good a plain dinner of old English fare as ever smoked on a table was prepared by Mrs. Solly; and about eighteen gentlemen sat down to the festive board. Mr. Jubber (the eminent draper of High Street) was in the Chair, having the distinguished guest of the Club on his right. The able and consistent Hicks officiated as croupier on the occasion; most of the gentlemen of the Club were present, and H. Foker, Esq., and Spavin, Esq., friends of Captain Costigan, were also participators in the entertainment. The cloth having been drawn, the Chairman said, “Costigan, there is wine, if you like,” but the Captain preferring punch, that liquor was voted by acclamation: and “ Non Nobis” having been sung in admirable style by Messrs. Bingley, Hicks, and Bullby (of the Cathedral choir, than whom a more jovial spirit “ne’er tossed oil‘ a bumper or emptied a bowl”), the Chairman gave the health of the “King!” which was drunk with the loyalty of Chatteris men, and then, without further circumlocution, proposed their friend “ Captain Costigan.”
After the enthusiastic cheering, which rang through old Chatteris, had subsided, Captain Costigan rose in reply, and made a speech of twenty minutes, in which he was repeatedly overcome by his emotions.
The gallant Captain said he must be pardoned for incohe
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rence, if his heart was too full to speak. He was quitting a city celebrated for its antiquitee, its hospitalitee, the beautee of its women, the manly fidelitee, generositee, and jovialitee of its men. (Cheers.) He was going from that ancient and venerable city, of which, while Mimoree held her sayt, he should never think without the fondest emotion, to a methrawpolis where the talents of his daughter were about to have full play, and where he would watch over her like a guardian angel. He should never forget that it was at Chatteris she had acquired the skill which she was about to exercise in another sphere, and in her name and his own, Jack Costigan thanked and blessed them. The gallant officer’s speech was received with tremendous cheers.
Mr. Hicks, croupier, in a brilliant and energetic manner, proposed Miss Fotheringay’s health.
Captain Costigan returned thanks in a speech full of feeling and eloquence.
Mr. J ubber proposed the Drama and the Chatteris Theatre, and Mr. Bingley was about to rise, but was prevented by Captain Costigan, who, as long connected with the Chatteris Theatre, and on behalf of his daughter, thanked the company. He informed them that he had been in garrison, at Gibraltar, and at Malta, and had been at the taking of Flushing. The Duke of York was a patron of the Drama; he had the honour of dining with His Royal Highness and the Duke of Kent many times; and the former had justly been named the friend of the soldier. (Cheers.)
The Army was then proposed, and Captain Costigan returned thanks. In the course of the night, he sang his wellknown songs, “The Deserter,” “The Shan Van Voght,” “The Little Pig under the Bed,” and “The Vale of Avoca.” The evening was a great triumph for him—it ended. All triumphs and all evenings end. And the next day, Miss Costigan having taken leave of all her friends, having been reconciled to Miss Rouncy, to whom she left a necklace and a white satin gown —the next day, he and Miss Costigan had places in the Competitor coach rolling by the gates of Fairoaks Lodge—and Pendennis never saw them.
Tom Smith, the coachman, pointed out Fairoaks to Mr. Costigan, who sate on the box smelling of rum-and-water— and the Captain said it was a poor place—and added, “Ye should see Castle Costigan, County Mayo, me boy,”—which Tom said he should like very much to see.
They were gone, and Pen had never seen them! He only knew of their departure by its announcement in the county paper the next day: and straight galloped over to Chatteris to hear the truth of this news. They were gone indeed. A card of “Lodgings to let” was placed in the dear little familiar window. He rushed up into the room and viewed it over. He sate ever so long in the old window-seat looking into the Dean’s Garden; whence he and Emily had so often looked out together. He walked, with a sort of terror, into her little empty bedroom. It was swept out and prepared for new comers. The glass which had reflected her fair face was shining ready for her successor. The curtains lay square folded on the little bed: he flung himself down and buried his head on the vacant pillow.
Laura had netted a purse into which his mother had put some sovereigns, and Pen had found it on his dressing-table that very morning. He gave one to the little servant who had been used to wait upon the Costigans, and another to the children, because they said they were very fond of her. It was but a few months back, yet what years ago it seemed since he had first entered that room! He felt that it was all done. The very missing her at the coach had something fatal in it. Blank, weary, utterly wretched and lonely the poor lad felt.
His mother saw She was gone by his look when he came home. He was eager to fly too now, as were other folks round about Chatteris. Poor Smirke wanted to go away from the sight of the siren widow, Foker began to think he had had enough of Baymouth, and that a few supper parties at Saint Boniface would not be unpleasant. And Major Pendennis longed to be off, and have a little pheasant-shooting at Stillbrook, and get rid of all the annoyances and tracassen‘es of the village. The widow and Laura nervously set about the preparations for Pen’s kit, and filled trunks with his books and linen. Helen wrote cards with the name of Arthur Pendennis, Esq., which were duly nailed on the boxes; and at which both she and Laura looked with tearful, wistful eyes. It was not until long, long after he was gone, that Pen remembered how constant and tender the afiection of these women had been, and how selfish his own conduct was.
A night soon comes, when the mail, with echoing horn and blazing lamps, stops at the lodge-gate of Fairoaks, and Pen’s trunks and his Uncle’s are placed on the roof of the carriage, into which the pair presently afterwards enter. Helen and Laura are standing by the evergreens of the shrubbery, their figures lighted up by the coach lamps; the guard cries “ All right!” in another instant the carriage whirls onward; the lights disappear, and Helen’s heart and prayers go with them. Her sainted benedictions follow the departing boy. He has left the home-nest in which he has been chafing, and whither, after his very first flight, he returned bleeding and wounded; he is eager to go forth again and try his restless wings.
I How lonely the house looks without him! The corded trunks and book-boxes are there in his empty study. Laura asks leave to come and sleep in Helen’s room: and when she has cried herself to sleep there, the mother goes softly into Pen’s vacant chamber, and kneels down by the bed on which the moon is shining, and there prays for her boy, as mothers only know how to plead. He knows that her pure blessings are following him, as he is carried miles away.