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generous mother's purse; basely and recklessly spilt her little cruse. Oh! it was a coward hand that could strike and rob a creature so tender. And if Pen felt the wrong which he had done to others, are we to suppose that a young gentleman of his vanity did not feel still more keenly the shame he had brought upon himself 2 Let us be assured that there is no more cruel remorse than that; and no groans more piteous than those of wounded self-love. Like Joe Miller's friend, the Senior Wrangler, who bowed to the audience from his box at the play, because he and the king happened to enter the theatre at the same time, only with a fatuity by no means so agreeable to himself, poor Arthur Pendennis felt perfectly convinced that all England would remark the absence of his name from the examination-lists, and talk about his misfortune. His wounded tutor, his many duns, the skip and bed-maker who waited upon him, the undergraduates of his own time and the years below him, whom he had patronized or scorned — how could he bear to look any of them in the face now? He rushed to his rooms, into which he shut himself, and there he penned a letter to his tutor, full of thanks, regards, remorse, and despair, requesting that his name might be taken off the college books, and intimating a wish and expectation that death would speedily end the woes of the disgraced Arthur Pendennis. Then he slunk out, scarcely knowing whither he went, but mechanically taking the unfrequented little lanes by the backs of the colleges, until he cleared the university precincts, and got down to the banks of the Camisis River, now deserted, but so often alive with the boat-races, and the crowds of cheering gownsmen, he wandered on and on, until he found vol. Ix. — 19
himself at some miles' distance from Oxbridge, or rather was found by some acquaintance, leaving that city.
As Pen went up a hill, a drizzling January rain beating in his face, and his ragged gown flying behind him — for he had not divested himself of his academi. cal garments since the morning — a post-chaise came rattling up the road, on the box of which a servant was seated, whilst within, or rather half out of the carriage window, sat a young gentleman smoking a cigar, and loudly encouraging the post-boy. It was our young acquaintance of Baymouth, Mr. Spavin, who had got his degree, and was driving homewards in triumph in his yellow post-chaise. He caught sight of the figure, madly gesticulating as he worked up the hill, and of poor Pen's pale and ghastly face as the chaise whirled by him.
“Wo!" roared Mr. Spavin to the post-boy, and the horses stopped in their mad career, and the carriage pulled up some fifty yards before Pen. He presently heard his own name shouted, and beheld the upper half of the body of Mr. Spavin thrust out of the sidewindow of the vehicle, and beckoning Pen vehemently towards it.
Pen stopped, hesitated — nodded his head fiercely, and pointed onwards, as if desirous that the postilion should proceed. He did not speak: but his countenance must have looked very desperate, for young Spavin, having stared at him with an expression of blank alarm, jumped out of the carriage presently, ran towards Pen holding out his hand, and grasping Pen's said, " I say — hullo, old boy, where are you going, and what's the row now?"
“I'm going where I deserve to go," said Pen with an imprecation.
becauto it. I've btime I did nuck next time" who had
“This ain't the way,” said Mr. Spavin, smiling. “ This is the Fenbury road. I say, Pen, don't take on because you are plucked. It's nothing when you are used to it. I've been plucked three times, old boy and after the first time I did n't care. Glad it's over, though. You 'll have better luck next time.”
Pen looked at his early acquaintance, — who had been plucked, who had been rusticated, who had only, after repeated failures, learned to read and write correctly, and who, in spite of all these drawbacks, had attained the honor of a degree. “This man has passed,” he thought, “and I have failed !” It was almost too much for him to bear.
“Good-by, Spavin," said he; “I'm very glad you are through. Don't let me keep you; I'm in a hurry -I'm going to town to-night."
“Gammon,” said Mr. Spavin. “ This ain't the way to town; this is the Fenbury road, I tell you."
“I was just going to turn back," Pen said.
“ All the coaches are full with the men going down," Spavin said. Pen winced. “You'd not get a place for a ten-pound note. Get into my yellow ; I'll drop you at Mudford, where you have a chance of the Fenbury mail. I'll lend you a hat and a coat; I've got lots. Come along; jump in, old boy — go it leathers !”
- and in this way Pen found himself in Mr. Spavin's post-chaise, and rode with that gentleman as far as the Ram Inn at Mudford, fifteen miles from Oxbridge ; where the Fenbury mail changed horses, and where Pen got a place on to London.
The next day there was an immense excitement in Boniface College, Oxbridge, where, for some time, a rumor prevailed, to the terror of Pen's tutor and tradesmen, that Pendennis, maddened at losing his degree, had made away with himself - a battered cap, in
which his name was almost discernible, together with a seal bearing his crest of an eagle looking at a now extinct sun, had been found three miles on the Fenbury road, near a mill stream; and, for four-and-twenty hours, it was supposed that poor Pen had flung himself into the stream, until letters arrived from him, bearing the London postmark. The mail reached London at the dreary hour of five; and he hastened to the inn at Covent Garden, at which he was accustomed to put up, where the everwakeful porter admitted him, and showed him to a bed. Pen looked hard at the man, and wondered whether Boots knew he was plucked ? When in bed he could not sleep there. He tossed about until the appearance of the dismal London daylight, when he sprang up desperately, and walked off to his uncle's lodgings in Bury Street; where the maid, who was scouring the steps, looked up suspiciously at him, as he came with an unshaven face, and yesterday's linen. He thought she knew of his mishap, too. “Good evens ! Mr. Harthur, what as appened, sir?” Mr. Morgan, the valet, asked, who had just arranged the well-brushed clothes and shiny boots at the door of his master's bedroom, and was carrying in his wig to the Major. “I want to see my uncle,” he cried, in a ghastly voice, and flung himself down on a chair. Morgan backed before the pale and desperate-looking young man, with terrified and wondering glances, and disappeared into his master's apartment. The Major put his head out of the bedroom door as soon as he had his wig on. “What ? examination over ? Senior Wrangler, double First Class, hay?” said the old gentleman — “I’ll come directly;” and the head disappeared.
“They don't know what has happened,” groaned Pen; "what will they say when they know all ?”
Pen had been standing with his back to the window, and to such a dubious light as Bury Street enjoys of a foggy January morning, so that his uncle could not see the expression of the young man's countenance, or the looks of gloom and despair which even Mr. Morgan had remarked.
But when the Major came out of his dressing-room neat and radiant, and preceded by faint odors from Delcroix's shop, from which emporium Major Pendennis's wig and his pocket-handkerchief got their perfume, he held out one of his hands to Pen, and was about addressing him in his cheery high-toned voice, when he caught sight of the boy's face at length, and dropping his hand, said, “Good God! Pen, what's the matter ?"
“You 'll see it in the papers at breakfast, sir," Pen said.
“ Hang it, why should it be?” asked the Major, more perplexed.
“I have lost everything, sir,” Pen groaned out; “my honor's gone; I'm ruined irretrievably; I can't go back to Oxbridge.”
“ Lost your honor ? ” screamed out the Major. “Heaven alive! you don't mean to say you have shown the white feather ?"
Pen laughed bitterly at the word feather, and repeated it. "No, it is n't that, sir. I'm not afraid of being shot; I wish to God anybody would shoot me. I have not got my degree. I-I'm plucked, sir.”
The Major had heard of plucking, but in a very