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servant already in waiting there, accompanied by a man with a bag full of caps and a number of gowns, from which Pen might select a cap and gown for himself, and the servant, no doubt, would get a commission proportionable to the service done by him. Mr. Pen was all in a tremor of pleasure as the bustling tailor tried on a gown, and pronounced that it was an excellent fit; and then he put the pretty college cap on, in rather a dandified manner, and somewhat on one side, as he had seen Fiddicombe, the youngest master at Grey Friars, wear it. And he inspected the entire costume with a great deal of satisfaction in one of the great gilt mirrors which ornamented Mr. Buck's lecture-room : for some of these college divines are no more above looking-glasses than a lady is, and look to the set of their gowns and caps quite as anxiously as folks do of the lovelier Sex. Then Davis, the skip or attendant, led the way, keys in hand, across the quadrangle, the Major and Pen following him, the latter blushing, and pleased with his new academical habiliments, across the quadrangle to the rooms which were destined for the freshman; and which were vacated by the retreat of the gentleman-pensioner, Mr. Spicer. The rooms were very comfortable, with large cross beams, high wainscots, and small windows in deep embrasures. Mr. Spicer's furniture was there, and to be sold at a valuation, and Major Pendennis agreed on his nephew's behalf to take the available part of it, laughingly however declining (as, indeed, Pen did for his own part) six sporting prints, and four groups of operadancers with gauze draperies, which formed the late occupant's pictorial collection. Then they went to hall, where Pen sat down and
ate his commons with his brother freshmen, and the Major took his place at the high-table along with the college dignitaries and other fathers or guardians of youth, who had come up with their sons to Oxbridge ; and after all they went to Mr. Buck's to take wine; and after wine to chapel, where the Major sat with great gravity in the upper place, having a fine view of the Master in his carved throne or stall under the organ-loft, where that gentleman, the learned Doctor Donne, sat magnificent, with his great prayer-book before him, an image of statuesque piety and rigid devotion. All the young freshmen behaved with gravity and decorum, but Pen was shocked to see that atrocious little Foker, who came in very late, and half a dozen of his comrades in the gentlemen-pensioners' seats, giggling and talking as if they had been in so many stalls at the Opera.
Pen could hardly sleep at night in his bedroom at the Trencher: so anxious was he to begin his college life, and to get into his own apartments. What did he think about, as he lay tossing and awake? Was it about his mother at home; the pious soul whose life was bound up in his? Yes, let us hope he thought of her a little. Was it about Miss Fotheringay, and his eternal passion, which had kept him awake so many nights, and created such wretchedness and such longing ? He had a trick of blushing, and if you had been in the room, and the candle had not been out, you might have seen the youth's countenance redden more than once, as he broke out into passionate incoherent exclamations regarding that luckless event of his life. His uncle's lessons had not been thrown away upon him; the mist of passion had passed from his eyes now, and he saw her as she was. To think that he, Pendennis, had been enslaved
by such a woman, and then jilted by her! that he should have stooped so low, to be trampled on in the mire! that there was a time in his life, and that but a few months back, when he was willing to take Costigan for his father-in-law !
“Poor old Smirke !” Pen presently laughed out“ well, I'll write and try and console the poor old boy. He won't die of his passion, ha, ha!” The Major, had he been awake, might have heard a score of such ejaculations uttered by Pen as he lay awake and restless through the first night of his residence at Oxbridge.
It would, perhaps, have been better for a youth, the battle of whose life was going to begin on the mor. row, to have passed the eve in a different sort of vigil : but the world had got hold of Pen in the shape of his selfish old Mentor: and those who have any interest in his character, must have perceived ere now, that this lad was very weak as well as very impetuous, very vain as well as very frank, and if of a generous disposition, not a little selfish, in the midst of his profuseness, and also rather fickle, as all eager pursuers of self-gratification are.
The six-months' passion had aged him very considerably. There was an immense gulf between Pen the victim of love, and Pen the innocent boy of eighteen, sighing after it: and so Arthur Pendennis had all the experience and superiority, besides that command which afterwards conceit and imperiousness of disposition gave him over the young men with whom he now began to live.
He and his uncle passed the morning with great satisfaction in making purchases for the better comfort of the apartments which the lad was about to occupy. Mr. Spicer's china and glass were in a dreadfully dismantled condition, his lamps smashed, and his book-cases by no means so spacious as those shelves which would be requisite to receive the contents of the boxes which were lying in the hall at Fairoaks, and which were addressed to Arthur in the hand of poor Helen.
The boxes arrived in a few days, that his mother had packed with so much care. Pen was touched as he read the superscriptions in the dear well-known hand, and he arranged in their proper places all the books, his old friends, and all the linen and tablecloths which Helen had selected from the family stock, and all the jam-pots which little Laura had bound in straw, and the hundred simple gifts of home.
OUR friend Pen was not sorry when his Mentor took leave of the young gentleman on the second day after the arrival of the pair in Oxbridge, and we may be sure that the Major on his part was very glad to have discharged his duty, and to have the duty over. More than three months of precious time had that martyr of a Major given up to his nephew — Was ever selfish man called upon to make a greater sacrifice 7 Do you know many men or Majors who would do as much 7 A man will lay down his head, or peril his life for his honor, but let us be shy how we ask him to give up his ease or his heart's desire. Very few of us can bear that trial. Let us give the Major due credit for his conduct during the past quarter, and own that he has quite a right to be pleased at getting a holiday. Foker and Pen saw him off in the coach, and the former youth gave particular orders to the coachman to take care of that gentleman inside. It pleased the elder Pendennis to have his nephew in the company of a young fellow who would introduce him to the best set of the university. The Major rushed off to London and thence to Cheltenham, from which watering-place he descended upon some neighboring great houses, whereof the families were not gone abroad, and where good shooting and company were to be had.