« ZurückWeiter »
ing the nursery maids who frequent the Elms Walk there, and here they strolled until with a final burst of music the small congregation was played out.
Old Doctor Portman was one of the few who came from the venerable gate. Spying Pen, he came and shook him by the hand, and eyed with wonder Pen's friend, from whose mouth and cigar clouds of fragrance issued, which curled round the Doctor's honest face and shovel hat.
"An old schoolfellow of mine, Mr. Foker," said Pen. The Doctor said "H'm:" and scowled at the cigar. He did not mind a pipe in his study, but the cigar was an abomination to the worthy gentleman.
"I came up on Bishop's business," the Doctor said. "We'1l ride home, Arthur, if you like?"
"I — I'm engaged to my friend here," Pen answered.
"You had better come home with me," said the Doctor.
"His mother knows he's out, sir," Mr. Foker remarked: "don't she, Pendennis?"
"But that does not prove that he had not better come home with me," the Doctor growled, and he walked off with great dignity.
"Old boy don't like the weed, I suppose," Foker said. "Ha! who's here ? — here's the General, and Bingley, the manager. How do, Cos? How do, Bingley?"
"How does my worthy and gallant young Foker?" said the gentleman addressed as the General; and who wore a shabby military cape with a mangy collar, and a hat cocked very much over one eye.
"Trust you are very well, my very dear sir," said the other gentleman, "and that the Theatre Royal will have the honor of your patronage to-night. We
VOL. IX. — 4
perform 'The Stranger,' in which your humble servant will —"
"Can't stand you in tights and Hessians, Bingley," young Mr. Foker said. On which the General, with the Irish accent, said, "But I think ye'll like Miss Fotheringay, in Mrs. Haller, or me name's not Jack Costigan."
Pen looked at these individuals with the greatest interest. He had never seen an actor before; and he saw Dr. Portman's red face looking over the Doctor's shoulder, as he retreated from the Cathedral Yard, evidently quite dissatisfied with the acquaintances into whose hands Pen had fallen.
Perhaps it would have been much better for him, had he taken the parson's advice and company home. But which of us knows his fate 1
Having returned to the George, Mr. Foker and his guest sat down to a handsome repast in the coffeeroom; where Mr. Rummer brought in the first dish, and bowed as gravely as if he was waiting upon the Lord-Lieutenant of the county. Pen could not but respect Foker's connoisseurship as he pronounced the champagne to be condemned gooseberry, and winked at the port with one eye. The latter he declared to be of the right sort; and told the waiters, there was no way of humbugging him. All these attendants he knew by their Christian names, and showed a great interest in their families; and as the London coaches drove up, which in those early days used to set off from the George, Mr. Foker flung the coffee-room window open, and called the guards and coachmen by their Christian names, too, asking about their respective families, and imitating with great liveliness and accuracy the tooting of the horns as Jem the ostler whipped the horses' cloths off, and the carriages drove gayly away.
"A bottle of sherry, a bottle of sham, a bottle of port and a shass caffy, it ain't so bad, hay, Pen?" Foker said, and pronounced, after all these delicacies and a quantity of nuts and fruit had been despatched, that it was time to "toddle." Pen sprang up with very bright eyes, and a flushed face; and they moved