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way of variety, and to do me a service. It is a delicate matter, entre nous une affaire de cosur. There is a young friend of mine who is gone wild about a certain Miss Fotheringay, an actress at the theatre here, and I must own to you, as handsome a woman, and, as it appears to me, as good an actress as ever put on rouge. She does Ophelia, Lady Teazle, Mrs. Haller — that sort of thing. Upon my word, she is as splendid as Georges in her best days, and, as far as I know, utterly superior to anything we have on our scene. / want a London engagement for her. Can't you get your friend Dolphin to come and see her — to engage her—to take her out of this place? A word from a noble friend of ours (you understand) would be invaluable, and if you could get the Gaunt House interest for me — I will promise anything I can in return for your service — which I shall consider one of the greatest that can be done to me. Do, do this now as a good fellow, which / always said you were: and in return command yours truly,
"It's a clear case," said Mr. Wenham, having read this letter; "old Pendennis is in love."
"And wants to get the woman up to London — evidently," continued Mr. Wagg.
"I should like to see Pendennis on his knees, with the rheumatism," said Mr. Wenham.
"Or accommodating the beloved object with a lock of his hair," said Wagg.
"Stuff," said the great man. "He has relations in the county, has n't he? He said something about a nephew, whose interest could return a member. It is the nephew's affair, depend on it. The young one is in a scrape. I was myself — when I was in the fifth form at Eton — a market gardener's daughter — and swore I'd marry her. I was mad about her — poor Polly !" — Here he made a pause, and perhaps the past rose up to Lord Steyne, and George Gaunt was a boy again not altogether lost. — " But I say, she must be a fine woman from Pendennis's account. Have in Dolphin, and let us hear if he knows anything of her."
At this Wenham sprang out of the box, passed the servitor who waited at the door communicating with the stage, and who saluted Mr. Wenham with profound respect; and the latter emissary, pushing on and familiar with the place, had no difficulty in finding out the manager, who was employed, as he not unfrequently was, in swearing and cursing the ladies of the corps-de-ballet for not doing their duty.
The oaths died away on Mr. Dolphin's lips, as soon as he saw Mr. Wenham; and he drew off the hand which was clinched in the face of one of the offending coryphees, to grasp that of the new comer. "How do, Mr. Wenham? How's his lordship to-night? Looks uncommonly well," said the manager smiling, as if he had never been out of temper in his life; and he was only too delighted to follow Lord Steyne's ambassador, and pay his personal respects to that great man.
The visit to Chatteris was the result of their conversation: and Mr. Dolphin wrote to his lordship from that place, and did himself the honor to inform the Marquis of Steyne, that he had seen the lady about whom his lordship had spoken, that he was as much struck by her talents as he was by her personal appearance, and that he had made an engagement with Miss Fotheringay, who wonld soon have the honor of appearing before a London audience, and his noble and enlightened patron the Marquis of Steyne.
Pen read the announcement of Miss Fotheringay's engagement in the Chatteris paper, where he had so often praised her charms. The Editor made very handsome mention of her talent and beauty, and prophesied her success in the metropolis. Bingley, the manager, began to advertise "The last night of Miss Fotheringay's engagement." Poor Pen and Sir Derby Oaks were very constant at the play: Sir Derby in the stage-box throwing bouquets and getting glances, — Pen in the almost deserted boxes, haggard, wretched, and lonely. Nobody cared whether Miss Fotheringay was going or staying except those two — and perhaps one more, which was Mr. Bows of the orchestra.
He came out of his place one night, and went into the house to the box where Pen was; and he held out his hand to him, and asked him to come and walk. They walked down the street together; and went and sat upon Chatteris bridge in the moonlight, and talked about Her. "We may sit on the same bridge," said he: "we have been in the same boat for a long time. You are not the only man who has made a fool of himself about that woman. And I have less excuse than you, because I'm older and know her better. She has no more heart than the stone you are leaning on; and it or you or I might fall into the water, and never come up again, and she would n't care. Yes — she would care for me, because she wants me to teach her: and she won't be able to get on without me, and will be forced to send for me from London. But she would n't if she did n't want me. She has no heart and no head, and no sense, and no feelings, and no griefs or cares, whatever. I was going to say no pleasures—but the fact is, she does like her dinner, and she is pleased when people admire her."
"And you do?" said Pen, interested out of himself, and wondering at the crabbed homely little old man.
"It's a habit, like taking snuff, or drinking drams," said the other. "I've been taking her these five years,
and can't do without her. It was I made her. If she does n't send for me, I shall follow her: but I know she'll send for me. She wants me. Some day she'll marry, and fling me over, as I do the end of this cigar."
The little flaming spark dropped into the water below, and disappeared: and Pen, as he rode home that night, actually thought about somebody but himself.
THE HAPPY VILLAGE.
Until the enemy had retired altogether from before the place, Major Pendennis was resolved to keep his garrison in Fairoaks. He did not appear to watch Pen's behavior, or to put any restraint on his nephew's actions, but he managed, nevertheless, to keep the lad constantly under his eye or those of his agents, and young Arthur's comings and goings were quite well known to his vigilant guardian.
I suppose there is scarcely any man who reads this or any other novel but has been balked in love sometime or the other, by fate and circumstance, by falsehood of women, or his own fault. Let that worthy friend recall his own sensations under the circumstances, and apply them as illustrative of Mr. Pen's anguish. Ah! what weary nights and sickening fevers! Ah! what mad desires dashing up against some rock of obstruction or indifference, and flung back again from the unimpressionable granite! If a list could be made this very night in London of the groans, thoughts, imprecations of tossing lovers, what a catalogue it would be! I wonder what a percentage of the male population of the metropolis will be lying awake at two or three o'clock to-morrow morning, counting the hours as they go by, knelling drearily, and rolling from left to right, restless, yearning, and heart-sick? What a pang it is! I never knew a man die of love, certainly, but I have known a twelve