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other. They were passing through the Strand as they talked, and by a newspaper office, which was all lighted up and bright. Reporters were coming out of the place, or rushing up to it in cabs; there were lamps burning in the editors’ rooms, and above where the compositors were at work: the windows of the building were in a blaze of gas.
“ Look at that, Pen,” Warrington said. “ There she is— the great engine—she never sleeps. She has her ambassadors in every quarter of the world—her couriers upon every road. Her officers march along with armies, and her envoys walk into statesmen’s cabinets. They are ubiquitous. Yonder journal has an agent, at this minute, giving bribes at Madrid; and another inspecting the price of potatoes in Covent Garden. Look! here comes the Foreign Express galloping in. They will be able to give news to Downing Street to-morrow: funds will rise or fall, fortunes be made or lost; Lord B. will get up, and, holding the paper in his hand, and seeing the noble Marquis in his place, will make a great speech; and—and Mr. Doolan will be called away from his supper at the Back Kitchen; for he is foreign sub-editor, and sees the mail on the newspaper sheet before he goes to his own.”
And so talking, the friends turned into their chambers, as the dawn was beginning to peep.
IN WHICH THE PRINTER’S DEVIL COMES TO THE DOOR.
EN, in the midst of his revels
and enjoyments, humble as they were, and moderate in cost if not in kind, saw an awful sword hanging over him which must drop down before long and put an end to his frolics and feasting. His money was very nearly spent. His club subscription had carried away a third part of it. He had paid for the chief articles of furniture with which he had supplied his little bedroom: in fine, he was come to the last five-pound note in his pocketbook, and could think of no method of providing a successor : for our friend had been bred up like a young prince as yet, or as a child in arms whom his mother feeds when it cries out.
Warrington did not know what his comrade’s means were.
An only child with a mother at her country house, and an old dandy of an uncle who dined with a great man every day, Pen might have a large bank at his command for anything
that the other knew. He had gold chains and a dressingcase fit for a lord. His habits were those of an aristocrat,— not that he was expensive upon any particular point, for he dined and laughed over the pint of porter and the plate of beef from the cook’s shop with perfect content and good appetite,—but he could not adopt the penny-wise precautions of life. He could not give twopence to a waiter; he could not refrain from taking a cab if he had a mind to do so, or if it rained, and as surely as he took the cab he overpaid the driver. He had a scorn for cleaned gloves and minor economies. Had he been bred to ten thousand a-year he could scarcely have been more free-handed; and for a beggar, with a sad story, or a couple of pretty piteous-faced children, he never could resist putting his hand into his pocket. It was a sumptuous nature, perhaps, that could not be brought to regard money; a natural generosity and kindness ; and possibly a petty vanity that was pleased with praise, even with the praise of waiters and cabmen. I doubt whether the wisest of us know what our own motives are, and whether some of the actions of which we are the very proudest will not surprise us , when we trace them, as we shall one day, to their source. /
Warrington then did not know, and Pen had not thought proper to confide to his friend, his pecuniary history. That Pen had been wild and wickedly extravagant at college, the other was aware; everybody at college was extravagant and wild; but how great the son’s expenses had been, and how small the mother’s means, were points which had not been as yet submitted to Mr. Warrington’s examination. ‘
At last the story came out, while Pen was grimly surveying the change for the last five-pound note, as it lay upon the tray from the public-house by Mr. Warrington’s pot of ale.
“ It is the last rose of summer,” said Pen; “ it’s blooming companions have gone long ago; and behold the last one of the garland has shed its leaves ; ” and he told Warrington the whole story which we know of his mother’s means,‘of his own follies, of Laura’s generosity; during which time Warrington smoked his pipe and listened intent.
“ Impecuniosity will do you good,” Pen’s friend said, knocking out the ashes at the end of the narration; “ I don’t
VOL. I. n D I 3
know anything more wholesome for a man—for an honest man, mind you—for another, the medicine loses its effect— than a state of tick. It is an alterative and a tonic; it keeps your moral man in a perpetual state of excitement: as a man who is riding at a fence, or has his opponent’s single-stick before him, is forced to look his obstacle steadily in the face, and brace himself to repulse or overcome it; a little necessity brings out your pluck if you have any, and nerves you to grapple with fortune. You will discover what a number of things you can do without when you have no money to buy
" them. You won’t want new gloves and varnished boots, eau
de-Cologne, and cabs to ride in. You have been bred up as a molly-coddle, Pen, and spoilt by the women. A single man who has health and brains, and can’t find a livelihood in the world, doesn’t deserve to stay there. Let him pay his last halfpenny and jump over Waterloo Bridge. Let him steal a leg of mutton and be transported and get out of the country —he is not fit to live in it. Dixi; I have spoken. Give us another pull at the pale ale.”
“You have certainly spoken; but how is one to live? ” said Pen. “There is beef and bread in plenty in England, but you must pay for it with work or money. And who will take my work ? and what work can I do ? ”
Warrington burst out laughing. “ Suppose we advertise in the Times,” he said, “for an usher’s place at a classical and commercial academy—A gentleman, B.A. of St. Boniface College, Oxbridge, and who was plucked for his degree——”
“ Confound you,” cried Pen.
“—Wishes to give lessons in classics and mathematics, and the rudiments of the French language; he can cut hair, attend to the younger pupils, and play a second on the piano with the daughters of the principal. Address A. P., Lamb Court, Temple.”
“ Go on,” said Pen, growling.
“Men take to all sorts of professions. Why, there is your friend Bloundell—Bloundell is a professional blackleg, and travels the Continent, where he picks up young gentlemen of fashion and fleeces them. There is Bob O’Toole, with whom I was at school, who drives the Ballynafad mail now, and carries honest Jack Finucane’s own correspondence to that city. I know a man, sir, a doctor’s son, like—well, don’t be angry, I meant nothing offensive—a doctor’s son, I say, who was walking the hospitals here, and quarrelled with his governor on questions of finance, and what did he do when he came to his last five-pound note? he let his mustachios grow, went into a provincial town, where he announced himself as Professor Spineto, chiropodist to the Emperor of All the Russias, and by a happy operation on the editor of the county newspaper, established himself in practice, and lived reputably for three years. He has been reconciled to his family, and has now succeeded to his father’s gallipots.”
“Hang gallipots!” cried Pen. “I can’t drive a coach, cut corns, or cheat at cards. There’s nothing else you propose ? ”
“ Yes; there’s our own correspondent,” Warrington said. “ Every man has his secrets, look you. Before you told me the story of your money-matters, I had no idea but that you were a gentleman of fortune, for, with your confounded airs and appearance, anybody would suppose you to be so. From what you tell me about your mother’s income, it is clear that you must not lay any more hands on it. You can’t go on sponging upon the women. You must pay off that trump of a girl. Laura is her name ?—here’s your health, Laura!— and carry a hod rather than ask for a shilling from home.”
“ But how earn one ? ” asked Pen.
“How do I live, think you?” said the other. “On my younger brother’s allowance, Pendennis? I have secrets of my own, my boy; ” and here Warrington’s countenance fell. “ I made away with that allowance five years ago: if I had made away with myself a little time before, it would have been better. I have played off my own bat, ever since. I don’t want much money. When my purse is out, I go to work and fill it, and then lie idle like a serpent or an Indian, until I have digested the mass. Look, I begin to feel empty,” Warrington said, and showed Pen a long lean purse, with but a few sovereigns at one end of it.
“ But how do you fill it? ” said Pen.
“ I write,” said Warrington. “ I don’t tell the world that