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sit a whole night by her side !—he could not resist the idea of so much pleasure, and made a feeble speech, in which he spoke of temptation and gratitude, and finally accepted Mrs. Pendennis’s most kind ofier. As he spoke he gave her a look, which made her exceedingly uncomfortable. She had seen that look more than once, of late, pursuing her. He became more positively odious every day in the widow’s eyes.
We are not going to say a great deal about Pen’s courtship of Miss Fotheringay, for the reader has already had a specimen of her conversation, much of which need surely not be reported. Pen sate with her hour after hour, and poured forth all his honest boyish soul to her. Everything he knew, or hoped, or felt, or had read, or fancied, he told to her. He never tired of talking and longing. One after another, as 7 his thoughts rose in his hot eager brain, he clothed them in words, and told them to her. Her part of the téte-d-téte was not to talk, but to appear as if she understood what Pen talked, and to look exceedingly handsome and sympathising. The fact is, whilst he was making one of his tirades, the lovely Emily, who could not comprehend a tenth part of his talk, had leisure to think about her own affairs, and would arrange in her own mind how they should dress the cold mutton, or how she would turn the black satin, or make herself out of her scarf a bonnet like Miss Thackthwaite’s new one, and so forth. Pen spouted Byron and Moore; passion and poetry: her business was to throw up her eyes, or fixing them for a moment on his face, to cry, “ Oh, ’tis beautiful! Ah, how exquisite! Repeat those lines again.” And 011‘ the boy went, and she returned to her own simple thoughts about the turned gown, or the hashed mutton.
In fact Pen’s passion was not long a secret from the lovely Emily or her father. Upon his second visit, his admiration was quite evident to both of them, and on his departure the old gentleman said to his daughter, as he winked at her over his glass of grog, “ Faith, Milly darling, I think ye’ve hooked that chap.”
“ Pooh, ’tis only a boy, papa dear,” Milly remarked. “ Sure he’s but a child.”
“Ye’ve hooked ’um any how,” said the Captain, “ and let me tell ye he’s not a bad fish. I asked Tom at the George, and Flint, the grocer, where his mother dales—fine fortune— drives in her chariot—splendid park and grounds—Fairoaks Park—only son—property all his own at twenty-one —ye might go further and not fare so well, Miss Fotheringay.”
“ Them boys are mostly talk,” said Milly, seriously. “ Ye know at Dublin how ye went on about young Poldoody, and I’ve a whole desk full of verses he wrote me when he was in Trinity College; but he went abroad, and his mother married him to an Englishwoman.”
“ Lord Poldoody was a young nobleman; and in them it’s natural: and ye weren’t in the position in which ye are now, Milly dear. But ye mustn’t encourage this young chap too much, for, bedad, Jack Costigan won’t have any thrifling with
‘ his daughter.”
“ No more will his daughter, papa, you may be sure of that,” Milly said. “ A little sip more of the punch,-sure, ’tis beautiful. Ye needn’t be afraid about the young chap—I think I’m old enough to take care of myself, Captain Costigan.”
So Pen used to come day after day, rushing in and galloping away, and growing more wild about the girl with every visit. Sometimes the Captain was present at their meetings; but having a perfect confidence in his daughter, he was more often inclined to leave the young couple to themselves, and cocked his hat over his eye, and strutted off on some errand when Pen entered. How delightful those interviews were! / The Captain’s drawing-room was a low wainscoted room, with a large window looking into the Dean’s garden. There Pen sate and talked—and talked to Emily, looking beautiful as she sate at her work, looking beautiful and calm, and the sunshine came streaming in at the great windows, and lighted up her superb face and form. ,I In the midst of the conversation, the great hell would begin to boom, and he would pause smiling, and be silent until the sound of the vast music died away—or the rooks in the cathedral elms would make a great noise towards sunset— or the sound of the organ and the choristers would come over the quiet air, and gently hush Pen’s talking. /
By the way, it must be said that Miss Fotheringay, in a plain shawl and a close bonnet and veil, went to church every Sunday of her life, accompanied by her indefatigable father, who gave the responses in a very rich and fine brogue, joined in the psalms and chanting, and behaved in the most exemplary manner.
Little Bows, the house-friend of the family, was exceedingly wroth at the notion of Miss Fotheringay’s marriage with a stripling seven or eight years her junior. Bows, who was a cripple, and owned that he was a little more deformed even than Bingley the manager, so that he could not appear on the stage, was a singular wild man of no small talents and humour. Attracted first by Miss Fotheringay’s beauty, he began to teach her how to act. He shrieked out in his cracked voice the parts, and his pupil learned them from his lips by rote, and repeated them in her full rich tones. He indicated the attitudes, and set and moved those beautiful arms of hers. Those who remember this grand actress on the stage can recall how she used always precisely the same gestures, looks, and tones ; how she stood on the same plank of the stage in the same position, rolled her eyes at the same instant and to the same degree, and wept with precisely the same heart-rending pathos and over the same pathetic syllable. And after she had come out trembling with emotion before the audience, and looking so exhausted and tearful that you fancied she would faint with sensibility, she would 1 gather up her hair the instant she was behind the curtain, and go home to a mutton chop and a glass of brown stout; and the harrowing labours of the day over, she went to bed and snored as resolutely and as regularly as a porter.
Bows then was indignant at the notion that his pupil should throw her chances away in life by bestowing her hand upon a little country squire. As soon as a London manager saw her he prophesied that she would get a London engagement, and a great success. The misfortune was that the London managers had seen her. She had played in London three years before, and had failed from utter stupidity. Since then it was that Bows had taken her in hand and taught her part after part. How he worked and screamed, and twisted, and repeated lines over and over again, and with what indomitable
patience and dulness she followed him! She knew that he made her: and let herself be made. She was not grateful, or ungrateful, or unkind, or ill-humoured. She was only stupid ; and Pen was madly in love with her.
The post-horses from the Clavering Arms arrived in due time, and carried the party to the theatre at Chatteris, where Pen was gratified in perceiving that a tolerably large audience was assembled. The young gentlemen from Baymouth had a box, in the front of which sate Mr. Foker and his friend Mr. Spavin splendidly attired in the most full-blown evening costume. They saluted Pen in a cordial manner, and examined his party, of which they approved, for little Laura was a pretty little red-cheeked girl with a quantity of shining brown ringlets, and Mrs. Pendennis, dressed in black velvet with the diamond cross which she sported on great occasions, looked uncommonly handsome and majestic. Behind these sate Mr. Arthur, and the gentle Smirke with the curl reposing on his fair forehead, and his white tie in perfect order. He blushed to find himself in such a place—but how happy was he to be there! He and Mrs. Pendennis brought books of “ Hamlet” with them to follow the tragedy, as is the custom of honest country-folks who go to a play in state. Samuel, Coachman, groom, and gardener to Mrs. Pendennis, took his place in the pit, where Mr. Foker’s man was also visible. It was dotted with non-commissioned olficers of the dragoons, whose band, by kind permission of Colonel Swallowtail, were, as usual, in the orchestra; and that corpulent and distinguished warrior himself, with his Waterloo medal and a number of his young men, made a handsome show in the boxes.
“ Who is that odd-looking person bowing to you, Arthur ? ” Mrs. Pendennis asked of her son.
Pen blushed a great deal. “ His name is Captain Costigan, ma’am,” he said—“ a Peninsular officer.” In fact it was the Captain in a new shoot of clothes, as he called them, and with a large pair of white kid gloves, one of which he waved to Pendennis, whilst he laid the other sprawling over his heart and coat buttons. Pen did not say any more. And how was Mrs. Pendennis to know that Mr. Costigan was the father of Miss Fotheringay ?
Mr. Hornbull, from London, was the Hamlet of the night, Mr. Bingley modestly contenting himself with the part of Horatio, and reserving his chief strength for William in “ Black-Eyed Susan,” which was the second piece.
We have nothing to do with the play: except to say, that Ophelia looked lovely, and performed with admirable wild pathos: laughing, weeping, gazing wildly, waving her beautiful white arms, and flinging about her snatches of
flowers and songs with the most charming madness. What an opportunity her splendid black hair had of tossing over her shoulders! She made the most charming corpse ever seen; and while Hamlet and Laertes were battling in her grave, she was looking out from the back scenes with some curiosity towards Pen’s box, and the family party assembled in it.
There was but one voice in her praise there. Mrs. Pendennis was in ecstasies with her beauty. Little Laura was