« ZurückWeiter »
cast. But as these poems were no longer signed NEP by their artful composer, but subscribed EROS; neither the tutor nor Helen, the good soul, who cut all her son's verses out of the paper, knew that Nep was no other than that flaming Eros, who sang so vehemently the charms of the new actress.
“Who is the lady," at last asked Mrs. Pendennis, 66 whom your rival is always singing in the County Chronicle'? He writes something like you, dear Pen, but yours is much the best. Have you seen Miss Fotheringay?"
Pen said yes, he had ; that night he went to see “The Stranger.” she acted Mrs. Haller. By the way she was going to have a benefit, and was to appear in Ophelia — suppose we were to go - Shakspeare you know, Mother — we can get horses from the Clavering Arms. Little Laura sprang up with delight, she longed for a play.
Pen introduced “Shakspeare you know," because the deceased Pendennis, as became a man of his character, professed an uncommon respect for the bard of Avon, in whose works he safely said there was more poetry than in all “Johnson's Poets” put together. And though Mr. Pendennis did not much read the works in question, yet he enjoined Pen to peruse them, and often said what pleasure he should have, when the boy was of a proper age, in taking him and mother to see some good plays of the immortal poet.
The ready tears welled up in the kind mother's eyes as she remembered these speeches of the man who was gone. She kissed her son fondly and said she would go. Laura jumped for joy. Was Pen happy ? - was he ashamed ? As he held his mother to him, he longed to tell her all, but he kept his coun.
sel. He would see how his mother liked her; the
We are not going to say a great deal about Pen's courtship of Miss Fotheringay, for the reader has already had a specimen of her conversation, much of which need surely not be reported. Pen sat with her hour after hour, and poured forth all his honest boyish soul to her. Everything he knew, or hoped, or felt, or had read, or fancied, he told to her. He never tired of talking and longing. One after another, as his thoughts rose in his hot eager brain, he clothed them in words, and told them to her. Her part of the téte-à-téte was not to talk, but to appear as if she understood what Pen talked, and to look exceedingly handsome and sympathizing. The fact is, whilst he was making one of his tirades, the lovely Emily, who could not comprehend a tenth part of his talk, had leisure to think about her own affairs, and would arrange in her own mind how they should
dress the cold mutton, or how she would turn the black satin, or make herself out of her scarf a bonnet like Miss Thackthwaite's new one, and so forth. Pen spouted Byron and Moore; passion and poetry : her business was to throw up her eyes, or fixing them for a moment on his face, to cry, “Oh, 't is beautiful! Ah, how exquisite! Repeat those lines again." And off the boy went, and she returned to her own simple thoughts about the turned gown or the hashed mutton.
In fact Pen's passion was not long a secret from the lovely Emily or her father. Upon his second visit, his admiration was quite evident to both of them, and on his departure the old gentleman said to his daughter, as he winked at her over his glass of grog, “ Faith, Milly darling, I think ye’ve hooked that chap.”
“Pooh, 't is only a boy, Papa dear,” Milly remarked. “Sure he's but a child.”
“Ye've hooked ’um any how," said the Captain, “ and let me tell ye he's not a bad fish. I asked Tom at the George, and Flint, the grocer, where his mother dales — fine fortune — drives in her chariot - splendid park and grounds — Fairoaks Park — only son - property all his own at twenty-one-ye might go further and not fare so well, Miss Fotheringay."
“ Them boys are mostly talk,” said Milly, seriously. “Ye know at Dublin how ye went on about young Poldoody, and I've a whole desk full of verses he wrote me when he was in Trinity College; but he went abroad, and his mother married him to an English woman.”
“Lord Poldoody was a young nobleman; and in them it's natural: and ye were n't in the position in which ye are now, Milly dear. But ye must n't en. courage this young chap too much, for, bedad, Jack Costigan won't have any thrifling with his daughter."
“No more will his daughter, Papa, you may be sure of that,” Milly said. “A little sip more of the punch, - sure, 't is beautiful. Ye need n't be afraid about the young chap - I think I'm old enough to take care of myself, Captain Costigan.”
So Pen used to come day after day, rushing in and galloping away, and growing more wild about the girl with every visit. Sometimes the Captain was present at their meetings; but having a perfect confidence in his daughter, he was more often inclined to leave the young couple to themselves, and cocked his hat over his eye, and strutted off on some errand when Pen entered. How delightful those interviews were ! The Captain's drawing-room was a low wainscoted room, with a large window looking into the Dean's garden. There Pen sat and talked - and talked to Emily, looking beautiful as she sat at her work — looking beautiful and calm, and the sunshine came streaming in at the great windows, and lighted up her superb face and form. In the midst of the conversation, the great bell would begin to boom, and he would pause smiling, and be silent until the sound of the vast music died away — or the rooks in the cathedral elms would make a great noise towards sunset - or the sound of the organ and the choristers would come over the quiet air, and gently hush Pen's talking.
By the way, it must be said, that Miss Fotheringay, in a plain shawl and a close bonnet and veil, went to ehureh every Sunday of her life, accompanied by her indefatigable father, who gave the responses in a very rich and fine brogue, joined in the psalms and chanting, and behaved in the most exemplary manner.
Little Bows, the house-friend of the family, was ex
ceedingly wroth at the notion of Miss Fotheringay's marriage with a stripling seven or eight years her junior. Bows, who was a cripple, and owned that he was a little more deformed even than Bingley the manager, so that he could not appear on the stage, was a singular wild man of no small talents and humor. Attracted first by Miss Fotheringay's beauty, he began to teach her how to act. He shrieked out in his cracked voice the parts, and his pupil learned them from his lips by rote, and repeated them in her full rich tones. He indicated the attitudes, and set and moved those beautiful arms of hers. Those who remember this grand actress on the stage can recall how she used always precisely the same gestures, looks, and tones; how she stood on the same plank of the stage in the same position, rolled her eyes at the same instant and to the same degree, and wept with precisely the same heart-rending pathos and over the same pathetic syllable. And after she had come out trembling with emotion before the audience, and looking so exhausted and tearful that you fancied she would faint with sensibility, she would gather up her hair the instant she was behind the curtain, and go home to a mutton chop and a glass of brown stout; and the harrowing labors of the day over, she went to bed and snored as resolutely and as regularly as a porter. Bows then was indignant at the notion that his pupil should throw her chances away in life by bestowing her hand upon a little country squire. As soon as a London manager saw her he prophesied that she would get a London engagement, and a great success. The misfortune was that the London managers had seen her. She had played in London three years before, and had failed from utter stupidity. Since then