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old gold sleeve-buttons, which had belonged to his father, and rushed with the proceeds to Frodsham's shop, where, with tears in his eyes, and the deepest repentance and humility, he asked the poor tradesman's pardon.
This, young gentlemen, is not told as an instance of Pen's virtue, but rather of his weakness. It would have been much more virtuous to have had no prints at all. He still owed for the bawbles which he sold in order to pay Frodsham's bill, and his mother had cruelly to pinch herself in order to discharge the jewellers' account, so that she was in the end the sufferer by the lad's impertinent fancies and follies. We are not presenting Pen to you as a hero or a model, only as a lad, who, in the midst of a thousand vanities and weaknesses, has as yet some generous impulses, and is not altogether dishonest.
We have said it was to the scandal of Mr. Buck the tutor that Pen's extravagances became known: from the manner in which he entered college, the associates he kept, and the introductions of Doctor Portman and the Major, Buck for a long time thought that his pupil was a man of large property, and wondered rather that he only wore a plain gown. Once on going up to London to the levee with an address from His Majesty's Loyal University of Oxbridge, Buck had seen Major Pendennis at St. James's in conversation with two knights of the garter, in the carriage of one of whom the dazzled tutor saw the Major whisked away after the levee. He asked Pen to wine the instant he came back, let him off from chapels and lectures more than ever, and felt perfectly sure that he was a young gentleman of large estate.
Thus, he was thunderstruck when he heard the truth, and received a dismal confession from Pen.