Abbildungen der Seite

gan returned thanks. In the course of the night, he sang his well-known songs, "The Deserter," "The Shan Van Voght," "The Little Pig under the Bed," and " The Vale of Avoca." The evening was a great triumph for him — it ended. All triumphs and all evenings end. And the next day, Miss Costigan having taken leave of all her friends, having been reconciled to Miss Rouney, to whom she left a necklace and a white satin gown — the next day, he and Miss Costigan had places in the Competitor coach rolling by the gates of Fairoaks Lodge — and Pendennis never saw them.

Tom Smith, the coachman, pointed out Fairoaks to Mr. Costigan, who sat on the box smelling of rum-andwater — and the Captain said it was a poor place — and added, "Ye should see Castle Costigan, County Mayo, me boy," — which Tom said he should like very much to see.

They were gone, and Pen had never seen them! He only knew of their departure by its announcement in the county paper the next day: and straight galloped over to Chatteris to hear the truth of this news. They were gone indeed. A card of "Lodgings to let," was placed in the dear little familiar window. He rushed up into the room and viewed it over. He sat ever so long in the old window-seat looking into the Dean's Garden: whence he and Emily had so often looked out together. He walked, with a sort of terror, into her little empty bedroom. It was swept out and prepared for new comers. The glass which had reflected her fair face was shining ready for her successor. The curtains lay square folded on the little bed: he flung himself down and buried his head on the vacant pillow.

Laura had netted a purse into which his mother had put some sovereigns, and Pen had found it on his dressing-table that very morning. He gave one to the little servant who had been used to wait upon the Costigans, and another to the children, because they said they were very fond of her. It was but a few months back, yet what years ago it seemed since he had first entered that room! He felt that it was all done. The very missing her at the coach had something fatal in it. Blank, weary, utterly wretched and lonely the poor lad felt.

His mother saw She was gone by his look when he came home. He was eager to fly too now, as were other folks round about Chatteris. Poor Smirke wanted to go away from the sight of the siren widow, Foker began to think he had had enough of Baymouth, and that a few supper parties at Saint Boniface would not be unpleasant. And Major Pendennis longed to be off, and have a little pheasant-shooting at Stillbrook, and get rid of all the annoyances and tracasseries of the village. The widow and Laura nervously set about the preparations for Pen's kit, and filled trunks with his books and linen. Helen wrote cards with the name of Arthur Pendennis, Esq., which were duly nailed on the boxes; and at which both she and Laura looked with tearful, wistful eyes. It was not until long, long after he was gone, that Pen remembered how constant and tender the affection of these women had been, and how selfish his own conduct was.

A night soon comes, when the mail, with echoing horn and blazing lamps, stops at the lodge-gate of Fairoaks, and Pen's trunks and his Uncle's are placed on the roof of the carriage, into which the pair presently afterwards enter. Helen and Laura are standing by the evergreens of the shrubbery, their figures lighted up by the coach lamps; the guard cries "all right:" in another instant the carriage whirls onward; the lights disappear, and Helen's heart and prayers go with them. Her sainted benedictions follow the departing boy. He has left the home-nest in which he has been chafing, and whither, after his very first flight, he returned bleeding and wounded; he is eager to go forth again and try his restless wings.

How lonely the house looks without him! The corded trunks and book-boxes are there in his empty study. Laura asks leave to come and sleep in Helen's room: and when she has cried herself to sleep there, the mother goes softly into Pen's vacant chamber, and kneels down by the bed on which the moon is shining, and there prays for her boy, as mothers only know how to plead. He knows that her pure blessings are following him, as he is carried miles away.



Eteet man, however brief or inglorious may have been his academical career, must remember with kindness and tenderness the old university comrades and days. The young man's life is just beginning: the boy's leading strings are cut, and he has all the novel delights and dignities of freedom. He has no idea of cares yet, or of bad health, or of roguery, or poverty, or to-morrow's disappointment. The play has not been acted so often as to make him tired. Though the after-drink, as we mechanically go on repeating it, is stale and bitter, how pure and brilliant was that first sparkling draught of pleasure ! — How the boy rushes at the cup, and with what a wild eagerness he drains it! But old epicures who are cut off from the delights of the table, and are restricted to a poached egg and a glass of water, like to see people with good appetites; and, as; the next best thing to being amused at a pantomime one's self is to see one's children enjoy it, I hope there may be no degree of age or experience to which mortal may attain, when he shall become such a glum philosopher, as not to be pleased by the sight of happy youth. Coming back a few weeks since from a brief visit to the old University of Oxbridge, where my friend Mr. Arthur Pendennis passed some period of his life, I made the journey in the railroad by the side of a young fellow at present a student of Saint Boniface. He had got an exeat

VOL. IX.— 16

somehow, and was bent on a day's lark in London: he never stopped rattling and talking from the commencement of the journey until its close (which was a great deal too soon for me, for I never was tired of listening to the honest young fellow's jokes and cheery laughter) ; and when we arrived at the terminus nothing would satisfy him but a Hansom cab, so that he might get into town the quicker, and plunge into the pleasures awaiting him there. Away the young lad went whirling, with joy lighting up his honest face; and as for the reader's humble servant, having but a small carpet-bag, I got up on the outside of the omnibus, and sat there very contentedly between a Jewpedler smoking bad cigars, and a gentleman's servant taking care of a poodle-dog, until we got our fated complement of passengers and boxes, when the coachman drove leisurely away. We were n't in a hurry to get to town. Neither one of us was particularly eager about rushing into that near smoking Babylon, or thought of dining at the Club that night, or dancing at the Casino. Yet a few years more, and my young friend of the railroad will be not a whit more eager.

There were no railroads made when Arthur Pendennis went to the famous University of Oxbridge; but he drove thither in a well-appointed coach, filled inside and out with dons, gownsmen, young freshmen about to enter, and their guardians, who were conducting them to the university. A fat old gentleman, in gray stockings, from the City, who sat by Major Pendennis inside the coach, having his palefaced son opposite, was frightened beyond measure, when he heard that the coach had been driven for a couple of stages by young Mr. Foker, of Saint Boniface College, who was the friend of all men, including coachmen, and could drive as well as Tom Hicks

« ZurückWeiter »