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the mixture of slang and fashionable language ? the escapes, the battles, the murders? Nay, up to nine o'clock this very morning, my poor friend, Colonel Altamont, was doomed to execution, and the author only relented when his victim was actually at the window.
The “exciting” plan was laid aside (with a very honorable forbearance on the part of the publishers), because, on attempting it, I found that I failed, from want of experience of my subject; and never having been intimate with any convict in my life, and the manners of ruffians and jail-birds being quite unfamiliar to me, the idea of entering into competition with M. Eugène Sue was abandoned. To describe a real rascal, you must make him so horrible that he would be too hideous to show; and unless the painter paints him fairly, I hold he has no right to show him at all,
Even the gentlemen of our age—this is an attempt to describe one of them, no better nor worse than most educated men—even these we can not show as they are, with the notorious foibles and selfishness of their lives and their education. Since the author of Tom Jones was buried, no writer of fiction among us has been permitted to depict, to his utmost power, a Man. We must drape him, and give him a certain conventional simper. Society will not tolerate the Natural in our Art. Many ladies have remonstrated, and subscribers left me, because, in the course of the story, I described a young man resisting and affected by temptation. My object was to say, that he had the passions to feel, and the manliness and generosity to overcome them. You will not hear—it is best to know it-what moves in the real world, what passes in society, in the clubs, colleges, newsrooms—what is the life and talk of your sons. A little more frankness than is customary has been attempted in this story; with no bad desire on the writer's part, it is hoped, and with no ill consequence to any reader. If truth is not always pleasant ; at any rate truth is best, from whatever chair—from those whence graver writers or thinkers argue, as from that at which the story-teller sits as he concludes his labor, and bids his kind reader farewell.
KENSINGTON, Nov. 26th, 1850.
23.-THE WAY OF THE WORLD...
PEND EN NIS.
RELATES TO MR. HARRY FOKER'S AFFAIRS.
INCE that fatal but delightful night in Grosvenor-place, Mr. Harry Foker's heart had been in such a state of agitation as you would hardly have thought so great a philosopher could endure. When we remember what good advice he had given to Pen in former days, how an early wisdom and knowledge of the world had manifested itself in the gifted youth; how a constant course of self-indulgence, such as becomes a gentleman of his means and expectations, ought by right to have increased his cynicism, and made him, with every succeeding day of his life, care less and less for every individual in the world, with the single exception of
Mr. Harry Foker, one may wonder that he should fall into the mishap to which most of us are subject once or twice in our lives, and disquiet his great mind about a
But Foker, though early wise, was still a man. He could no more escape the common lot than Achilles, or Ajax, or Lord Nelson, or Adam our first father, and now, his time being come, young Harry became a victim to Love, the All-conqueror.
When he went to the Back Kitchen that night after quitting Arthur Pendennis at his staircase-door in Lamb-court, the gin-twist and deviled
turkey had no charms for him, the jokes of his companions fell flatly on his ear; and when Mr. Hodgen, the singer of “The Body Snatcher,” had a new chant even more dreadful and humorous than that famous composition, Foker, although he appeared his friend, and said " Bravo Hodgen,” as common politeness, and his position as one of the chiefs of the Back Kitchen bound him to do, yet never distinctly heard one word of the song, which under its title of “The Cat in the Cupboard,” Hodgen has since rendered so famous. Late and very tired, he slipped into his private apartments at home and sought the downy pillow, but his slumbers were disturbed by the fever of his soul, and the very instant that he woke from his agitated sleep, the image of Miss Amory presented itself to him, and said, “Here I am, I am your princess and beauty, you have discovered me, and shall care for nothing else hereafter.”
Heavens, how stale and distasteful his former pursuits and friendships appeared to him! He had not been, up to the present time, much accustomed to the society of females of his own rank in life. When he spoke of such, he called them “modest women.” That virtue which, let us hope they possessed, had not hitherto compensated to Mr. Foker for the absence of more lively qualities which most of his own relatives did not enjoy, and which he found in Mesdemoiselles, the ladies of the theater. His mother, though good and tender, did not amuse her boy ; his cousins, the daughters of his maternal uncle, the respectable Earl of Rosherville, wearied him beyond measure, One was blue, and a geologist; one was a horsewoman, and smoked cigars; one was exceedingly Low Church, and had the most heterodox views on religious matters; at least, so the other said, who was herself of the very Highest Church faction, and made the cupboard in her room into an oratory, and fasted on every Friday in the year. Their paternal house of Drummington, Foker could very seldom be got to visit. He swore he had rather go to the tread-mill than stay there. He was not much beloved by the inhabitants. Lord Erith, Lord Rosherville's heir, considered his cousin a low person, of deplorably vulgar habits and manners ; while Foker, and with equal reason, voted Erith a prig and a dullard, the nightcap of the House of Commons, the Speaker's opprobrium, the dreariest of philanthropic spouters. Nor could George Robert, Earl of Gravesend and Rosherville, ever forget that on one evening when he condescended to play at billiards with his nephew, that young gentleman poked his lordship in the side with his cue, and said, “ Well, old cock, I've seen many a bad stroke in my life, but I never saw such a bad one as that there.” He played the game out with angelic sweetness of temper, for Harry was his guest as well as his nephew; but he was nearly having a fit in the night; and he kept to his own rooms until young Harry quitted Drummington on his return to Oxbridge, where the interesting youth was finishing his education at the time when the occurrence took place. It was an awful blow to the venerable earl; the circumstance was never alluded to in the family : he shunned Foker whenever he came to see them in London or in the country, and could hardly be brought to gasp out a "How d'ye do ?" to the young blasphemer. But