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Clavering — plays anything, pitch and toss, pianoforty, cwibbage if you like. How long do you think he's been staying with me? He came for a week with a carpet-bag, and gad, he's been staying thwee years. Good fellow, ain't he? Don't know how he gets a shillin', though, by Jove I don't, Miss Lauwa."
And yet the Chevalier, if he lost his money to Lady Clavering, always paid it; and if he lived with his friend for three years, paid for that too — in good-humor, in kindness and joviality, in a thousand little services by which he made himself agreeable. What gentleman could want a better friend than a man who was always in spirits, never in the way or out of it, and was ready to execute any commission for his patron, whether it was to sing a song or meet a lawyer, to fight a duel, or to carve a capon?
Although Laura and Pen commonly went to Clavering Park together, yet sometimes Mr. Pen took walks there unattended by her, and about which he did not tell her. He took to fishing the Brawl, which runs through the Park, and passes not very far from the garden-wall; and by the oddest coincidence, Miss Amory would walk out (having been to look at her flowers), and would be quite surprised to see Mr. Pendennis fishing.
I wonder what trout Pen caught while the young lady was looking on? or whether MLss Blanche was the pretty little fish which played round his fly, and which Mr. Pen was endeavoring to hook?
As for Miss Blanche, she had a kind heart; and having, as she owned, herself "suffered" a good deal in the course of her brief life and experience — why, she could compassionate other susceptible beings like Pen, who had suffered too. Her love for Laura and that dear Mrs. Pendennis redoubled: if they were not at
the Park, she was not easy unless she herself was at Fairoaks. She played with Laura; she read French and German with Laura; and Mr. Pen read French and German along with them. He turned sentimental ballads of Schiller and Goethe into English verse for the ladies, and Blanche unlocked "Mes Larmes" for him, and imparted to him some of the plaintive outpourings of her own tender Muse.
It appeared from these poems that the young creature had indeed suffered prodigiously. She was familiar with the idea of suicide. Death she repeatedly longed for. A faded rose inspired her with such grief that you would have thought she must die in pain of it. It was a wonder how a young creature should have suffered so much — should have found the means of getting at such an ocean of despair and passion (as a runaway boy who will get to sea), and having embarked on it, should survive it. What a talent she must have had for weeping to be able to pour out so many of "Mes Larmes!"
They were not particularly briny, Miss Blanche's tears, that is the truth: but Pen, who read her verses, thought them very well for a lady — and wrote some verses himself for her. His were very violent and passionate, very hot, sweet, and strong: and he not only wrote verses; but — Oh the villain! Oh, the deceiver! he altered and adapted former poems in his possession, and which had been composed for a certain Miss Emily Fotheringay, for the use and to the Christian name of Miss Blanche Amory.