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colour, with which the most brilliant geranium, sealing-wax,
or Guardsman’s coat, could not vie.
“And very warm,” continued this empress and Queen of j ‘ Sheba. '
Mr. Pen again assented, and the conversation rolled on in this manner. She asked Costigan whether he had had a pleasant evening at the George, and he recounted the supper and the tumblers of punch. Then the father asked her how she had been employing the morning.
“Bows came,” said she, “at ten, and we studied Ophalia. It’s for the twenty-fourth, when I hope, sir, we shall have the honour of seeing ye.”
“ Indeed, indeed, you will,” Mr. Pendennis cried; wondering that she could say “Ophalia,” and speak with an Irish inflection of voice naturally, who had not the least Hibernian accent on the stage.
“ I’ve secured ’um for your benefit, dear,” said the Captain, tapping his waistcoat pocket, wherein lay Pen’s sovereigns, and winking at Pen with one eye, at which the boy blushed.
“Mr. the gentleman’s very obleeging,” said Mrs. Haller.
“ My name is Pendennis,” said Pen, blushing. “I—I— hope you’ll—you’ll remember it.” His heart thumped so as he made this audacious declaration, that he almost choked in uttering it.
“ Pendennis ”—she answered slowly, and looking him full in the eyes, with a glance so straight, so clear, so bright, so killing, with a voice so sweet, so round, so low, that the word and the glance shot Pen through and through, and perfectly transfixed him with pleasure.
“ I never knew the name was so pretty before,” Pen said.
“ ’Tis a very pretty name,” Ophelia said. “ Pentweazle’s not a pretty name. Remember, papa, when we were on the Norwich Circuit, young Pentweazle, who used to play second old men, and married Miss Rancy, the Columbine; they’re both engaged in London now, at the Queen’s, and get five pounds a week. Pentweazle wasn’t his real name. ’Twas Judkin gave it him, I don’t know why. His name was Harrington; that is, his real name was Potts; fawther a
clergyman, very respectable. Harrington was in London, and got in debt. Ye remember, he came out in Falkland, to Mrs.
“And a pretty Julia she was,” the Captain interposed; “a woman of fifty, and a mother of ten children. ’Tis you who ought to have been Julia, or my name’s not Jack Costigan.”
“ I didn’t take the leading business then,” Miss Fotheringay said modestly; “ I wasn’t fit for’t till Bows taught me.”
“ True for you, my dear,” said the Captain: and bending to Pendennis, he added, “Bejuiced in circumstances, sir, I was for some time a fencing-master in Dublin; (there’s only three men in the empire could touch me with the foil once, but Jack Costigan’s getting old and stiff now, sir,) and my daughter had an engagement at the thayater there; and ’twas there that my friend, Mr. Bows, gave her lessons, and made her what ye see. What have ye done since Bows went, Emily ? ”
“ Sure, I’ve made a pie,” Emily said, with perfect simplicity. She pronounced it “ Poy.”
“If ye’ll try it at four o’clock, sir, say the word,” said Costigan gallantly. “ That girl, sir, makes the best veal-andham pie in England, and I think I can promise ye a glass of punch of the right flavour.”
Pen had promised to be home to dinner at six o’clock, but the rascal thought he could accommodate pleasure and duty in this point, and was only too eager to accept this invitation. He looked on with delight and wonder whilst Ophelia busied herself about the room, and prepared for the dinner. She arranged the glasses, and laid and smoothed the little cloth, all which duties she performed with a quiet grace and good humour, which enchanted her guest more and more. The “poy” arrived from the baker’s in the hands of one of the little choir-boy’s brothers at the proper hour: and at four o’clock, Pen found himself at dinner—actually at dinner with the handsomest woman in all creation—with his first and only love, whom he had adored ever since when ?—ever since yesterday, ever since for ever. He ate a crust of her making, be poured her out a glass of beer, he saw her drink a glass of punch—just one wineglass full—out of the tumbler which she mixed for her papa. She was perfectly good-natured, and offered to mix one for Pendennis too. It was prodigiously strong; Pen had never in his life drunk so much spirits-andwater. Was it the punch, or the punch-maker who intoxicated him ?
Pen tried to engage her in conversation about poetry and about her profession. He asked her what she thought of Ophelia’s madness, and whether she was in love with Hamlet or not? "In love with such a little ojus wretch as that stunted manager of a Bingley ? ” She bristled with indignation at the thought. Pen explained it was not of her he spoke, but of Ophelia of the play. “ Oh, indeed; if no offence was meant, none was taken: but as for Bingley, indeed, she did not value him—not that glass of punch.” Pen next tried her on Kotzebue. “ Kotzebue? who was he?”—“ The author of the play in which she had been performing so admirably.” “She did not know that—the man’s name at the beginning of the book was Thompson,” she said. Pen laughed at her adorable simplicity. He told her of the melancholy fate of the author of the play, and how Sand had killed him. It was the first time in her life that Miss Costigan had ever heard of Mr. Kotzebue’s existence, but she looked as if she was very much interested, and her sympathy sufficed for honest Pen.
And in the midst of this simple conversation, the hour and a quarter which poor Pen could afford to allow himself passed away only too quickly; and he had taken leave, he was gone, and away on his rapid road homewards on the back of Bebecca. She was called upon to show her mettle in the three journeys which she made that day.
“What was that he was talking about, the madness of Hamlet, and the theory of the great German critic on the subject ? ” Emily asked of her father.
“’Deed, then, I don’t know, Milly dear,” answered the Captain. “ We’ll ask Bows when he comes.”
“Anyhow, he’s a nice, fair-spoken, pretty young man,” the lady said: “ how many tickets did he take of you ? ”
“ ’Faith, then, he took six, and gev me two guineas, Milly,” the Captain said. “I suppose them young chaps is not too flush of coin.”
von. 1. F 3
“ He’s full of book-learning,” Miss Fotheringay continued. “Kotzebue! He, he, what a droll name, indeed, now; and the poor fellow killed by sand, too! Did ye ever hear such a thing ? I’ll ask Bows about it, papa dear.”
“A queer death, sure enoug ,” ejaculated the Captain, and changed the painful theme. “ ’Tis an elegant mare the young gentleman rides,” Costigan went on to say; “and a grand breakfast, intirely, that young Mister Foker gave us.”
“He’s good for two private boxes, and at leest twenty tickets, I should say,” cried the daughter, a prudent lass, who always kept her fine eyes on the main chance.
“I’ll go bail of that,” answered the papa; and so their conversation continued awhile, until the tumbler of punch was finished; and their hour of departure soon came, too; for at half-past six Miss Fotheringay was to appear at the theatre again, whither her father always accompanied her; and stood, as we have seen, in the side-scene watching her, and drank spirits-and-water in the green-room with the company there.
“How beautiful she is!” thought Pen, cantering homewards. “ How simple and how tender ! How charming it is to see a woman of her genius busying herself with the humble offices of domestic life, cooking dishes to make her old father comfortable, and brewing him drink ! How rude it was of me to begin to talk about professional matters, and how well she turned the conversation! By the way, she talked about professional matters herself; but then with what fun and humour she told the story of her comrade, Pentweazle, as he was called! There is no humour like Irish humour. Her father is rather tedious, but thoroughly amiable; and how fine of him, giving lessons in fencing after he quitted the army, where he was the pet of the Duke of Kent! Fencing! I should like to continue my fencing, or I shall forget what Angelo taught me. Uncle Arthur always liked me to fence— he says it is the exercise of a gentleman. Hang it ! I’ll take some lessons of Captain Costigan. Go along, Rebecca—up the hill, old lady. Pendennis, Pendennis—how she spoke the word! Emily, Emily! how good, how noble, how beautiful, how perfect, she is! ”
Now the reader, who has had the benefit of overheating the entire conversation which Pen had with Miss Fotheringay, can judge for himself about the powers of her mind, and may perhaps be disposed to think that she has not said anything astonishingly humorous or intellectual in the course of the above interview.
But what did our Pen care? He saw a pair of bright
eyes, and he believed in them—a beautiful image, and he fell down and worshipped it. He supplied the meaning which her words wanted; and created the divinity which he loved. ’W as Titania the first who fell in love with an ass, or Pygmalion the only artist who has gone crazy about a stone ? He had found her; he had found what his soul thirsted after. He flung himself into the stream and drank with all his might. Let those who have been thirsty own how delicious that first