« ZurückWeiter »
raiment of Mr. Molloy Maloney, who occupied a commanding position in the next mess. In order to notify their appearance at dinner, it is the custom of the gentlemen who eat in the Upper Temple Hall to write down their names upon slips of paper, which are provided for that purpose, with a pencil for each mess. Lowton wrote his name first, then came Arthur Pendennis, and the next was that of the gentleman in the old clothes. He smiled when he saw Pen’s name, and looked at him. “We ought to know each other,” he said. “We’re both Boniface men ; my name’s Warrington.”
“Are you St— Warrington?” Pen said, delighted to see this hero.
Warrington laughed—“ Stunning Warrington—yes,” he said. “I recollect you in your freshman’s term. But you appear to have quite cut me out.”
“ The college talks about you still,” said Pen, who had a generous admiration for talent and pluck. “The bargeman you thrashed, Bill Simes, don’t you remember, wants you up again at Oxbridge. The Miss Notleys, the haberdashers ”
“ Hush!” said Warrington—“ glad to make your acquaintance, Pendennis. Heard a good deal about you.”
The young men were friends immediately, and at once deep in college-talk. And Pen, who had been acting rather the fine gentleman on a previous day, when he pretended to
. Lowton that he could not drink port wine at dinner, seeing
Warrington take his share with a great deal of gusto, did not scruple about helping himself any more, rather to the disappointment of honest Lowton. When the dinner was over, Warrington asked Arthur where he was going.
“I thought of going home to dress, and hear Grisi in ‘ Norma,’ ” Pen said. ‘
“ Are you going to meet anybody there ? ” he asked.
Pen said, “ No—only to hear the music, of which he was very fond.”
“You had much better come home and smoke a pipe with me,” said Warrington,—“a very short one. Come, I live close by in Lamb Court, and we’ll talk over Boniface and old times.”
They went away; Lowton sighed after them. He knew that Warrington was a baronet’s son, and he looked up with simple reverence to all the aristocracy. Pen and Warrington became sworn friends from that night. Warrington’s cheerfulness and jovial temper, his good sense, his rough welcome, and his never-failing pipe of tobacco, charmed Pen, who found it more pleasant to dive into shilling taverns with him than to dine in solitary state amongst the silent and polite frequenters of the Polyanthus.
Ere long Pen gave up his lodgings in St. James’s, to which he had migrated on quitting his hotel, and found it was much more economical to take up his abode with Warrington in Lamb Court, and furnish and occupy his friend’s vacant room there. For it must be said of Pen, that no man was more easily led than he to do a thing, when it was a novelty, or when he had a mind to it. And Pidgeon, the youth, and Flanagan, the laundress, divided their allegiance now between Warrington and Pen.
OLD AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES.
‘. LATED with the idea of ‘ seeing life, Pen went into a hundred queer London haunts. He liked to think he was consorting with all sorts of men—so he beheld coalheavers in their taprooms; boxers in their innparlours: honest citizens disporting in the suburbs or on the river; and he would have liked to hob and nob with celebrated pickpockets, or drink a pot of ale with a company of burglars and cracksmen, had chance afforded him an opportunity of making the acquaintance of this class of society. It was good to see the gravity with which Warrington listened to the Tutbury Pet or the Brighton Stunner at the Champion’s Arms, and behold the interest which he took in the coalheaving company assembled at the Fox-under-the-Hill. His acquaintance with the public-houses of the metropolis and its neighbourhood, and with the frequenters of their various parlours, was prodigious. He was the personal friend of the landlord and landlady, and welcome to the bar as to the club-room. He VOL. I. o o 3
liked their society, he said, better than that of his own class, whose manners annoyed him, and whose conversation bored him. “ In society,” he used to say, “ everybody is the same, wears the same dress, eats and drinks, and says the same things; one young dandy at the club talks and looks just like another, one Miss at a ball exactly resembles another, whereas there’s character here. I like to talk with the strongest man in England, or the man who can drink the most beer in England, or with that tremendous republican of a hatter, who thinks Thistlewood was the greatest character in history. I like gin-and-water better than claret. I like a sanded floor in Carnaby Market better than a chalked one in Mayfair. I prefer Snobs, I own it.” Indeed, this gentleman was a social republican; and it never entered his head while conversing with Jack and Tom that he was in any respect their better; although, perhaps, the deference which they paid him might secretly please him.
Pen followed him then to these various resorts of men with great glee and assiduity. But he was considerably younger, and therefore much more pompous and stately than Warrington; in fact, a young prince in disguise, visiting the poor of his father’s kingdom. They respected him as a high chap, 8. fine fellow, a regular young swell. He had somehow about him an air of imperious good-humour, and a royal frankness and majesty, although he was only heir apparent to twopencehalfpenny, and but one in descent from a gallipot. If these positions are made for us, we acquiesce in them very easily; and are always pretty ready to assume a superiority over those who are as good as ourselves. Pen’s condescension at this time of his life was a fine thing to witness. Amongst men of ability this assumption and impertinence passes off with extreme youth: but it is curious to watch the conceit of a generous and clever lad—there is something almost touching in that early exhibition of simplicity and folly.
So, after reading pretty hard of a morning, and, I fear, not law merely, but politics and general history and literature, which were as necessary for the advancement and instruction of a young man as mere dry law, after applying with tolerable assiduity to letters, to reviews, to elemental books of law, and,
above all, to the newspaper, until the hour of dinner was drawing nigh, these young gentlemen would sally out upon the town with great spirits and appetite, and bent upon enjoying a merry night as they had passed a pleasant forenoon. It was a jovial time, that of four-and-twenty, when every muscle of mind and body was in healthy action, when the world was new as yet, and one moved over it spurred onwards by good spirits and the delightful capability to enjoy. If ever we feel young afterwards, it is with the comrades of that time: the tunes we hum in our old age are those we learned then. Sometimes, perhaps, the festivity of that period revives in our memory; but how dingy the pleasure-garden has grown, how tattered the garlands look, how scant and old the company, and what a number of the lights have gone out since that day! Grey hairs have come on like daylight streaming in—daylight and a headache with it. Pleasure has gone to bed with the rouge on her cheeks. Well, friend, let us walk through the day, sober and sad, but friendly.
I wonder what Laura and Helen would have said, could they have seen, as they might not unfrequently have done had they been up and in London, in the very early morning when the bridges began to blush in the sunrise, and the tranquil streets of the city to shine in the dawn, Mr. Pen and Mr. Warrington rattling over the echoing flags towards the Temple, after one of their wild nights of carouse— nights wild, but not so wicked as such nights sometimes are, for Warrington was a woman-hater; and Pen, as we have said, too lofty to stoop to a vulgar intrigue. Our young Prince of Fairoaks never could speak to one of the sex but with respectful courtesy, and shrank from a coarse word or gesture with instinctive delicacy —for though we have seen him fall in love with a fool, as his betters and inferiors have done, and as it is probable that he did more than once in his life, yet for the time of the delusion it was always as a Goddess that he considered her, and chose to wait upon her. Men serve women kneeling—when they get on their feet, they go away.
That was what an acquaintance of Pen’s said to him in his hard homely way—an old friend with whom he had