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to hear the language of his country ever so ill spoken. Frenchmen pardon our faults in their language much more readily than we excuse their bad English; and will face our blunders throughout a long conversation, without the least propensity to grin. The rescued artist vowed that Madame Fribsby was his guardian angel, and that he had not as yet met with such suavity and politeness among les Anglaises. He was as courteous and complimentary to her as if it was the fairest and noblest of ladies whom he was addressing: for Alcide Mirobolant paid homage after his fashion to all womankind, and never dreamed of a distinction of ranks in the realms of beauty, as his phrase was.
A cream, flavoured with pine-applea mayonnaise of lobster, which he flattered himself was not unworthy of his hand, or of her to whom he had the honour to offer it as an homage, and a box of preserved fruits of Provence, were brought by one of the chef's aides-decamp, in a basket, the next day to the milliner's, and were accompanied with a gallant note to the amiable Madame Fribsby. "Her kindness, " Alcides said, "had made a green place in the desert of his existence, her suavity would ever contrast in memory with the grossierete of the rustic population, who were not worthy to possess such a jewel. An intimacy of the most confidential nature thus sprang up between the milliner and the chief of the kitchen; but I do not know whether it was with pleasure or mortification that Madame received the declarations of friendship which the young Alcides proffered to her, for he persisted in calling her "La respectable Fribsbi," "La vertueuse Fribsbi," and in stating that he should consider her as his mother, while he hoped she would regard him as her son. Ah ! it was not very long ago, Fribsby thought, that words had been addressed to her in that dear French language, indicating a different sort of attachment. And she sighed as she looked up at the picture of her Carabineer. For it is surprising how some hearts remain when their heads have need of a front or a little hair-dye,-and, at this moment, Madame Fribsby, as she told young Al
cide, felt as romantic as a girl of eigh
When the conversation took this turn -and at their first intimacy Madame Fribsby was rather inclined so to lead it -Alcide always politely diverged to another subject: it was as his mother that he persisted in considering the good milliner. He would recognise her in no other capacity, and with that relationship the gentle lady was forced to content herself, when she found how deeply the artist's heart was engaged elsewhere.
He was not long before he described to her the subject and origin of his passion.
"I declared myself to her," said Alcide, laying his hand on his heart, “in a manner which was as novel as I am charmed to think it was agreeable. Where cannot love penetrate, respectable Madame Fribsbi? Cupid is the father of invention !-I inquired of the domestics what were the plats of which Mademoiselle partook with most pleasure; and built up my little battery accordingly. On a day when her parents had gone to dine in the world (and I am grieved to say that a grossier dinner at a restaurateur, in the Boulevard, or in the Palais Royal, seemed to form the delights of these unrefined persons), the charming Miss entertained some comrades of the pension; and I advised myself to send up a little repast suitable to so delicate young palates. Her lovely name is Blanche. The veil of a maiden is white; the wreath of roses which she wears is white. I determined that my dinner should be as spotless as the snow. At her accustomed hour, and instead of the rude gigot a 'l eau, which was ordinarily served at her too simple table, I sent her up a little potage a la Reine
a la Reine Blanche I called it,-as white as her own tent-and confectioned with the most fragrant cream and almonds. I then offered up at her shrine a filet de merlan a 'l Agnes and a delicate plat, which I have designated as Eperlan a la Sainte-Therese, and of which my charming Miss partook with pleasure. I followed this by two little entrees of sweet-bread and chicken; and the only brown thing which I permitted
myself in the entertainment was a little roast of lamb, which I laid in a meadow of spinaches, surrounded with croustillons, representing sheep, and ornamented with daisies and other savage flowers. After this came my second service: a. pudding, a la Reine Elizabeth (who, Madame Fribsbi knows, was a maiden princess); a dish of opal - coloured plover's eggs, which I called Nid de tourtereaux a la Roucoule; placing in the midst of them two of those tender volatiles, billing each other, and confectioned with butter; a basket containing little gateaux of apricots, which, I know, all young ladies adore; and a jelly of marasquin, bland, insinuating, intoxicating as the glance of beauty. This I designated Ambroisie de Calypso a la Souveraine de mon Caur. And when the ice was brought in-an ice of plombiere and cherries-how do you think I had shaped them, Madame Fribsbi? In the form of two hearts united with an arrow, on which I had laid, before it entered, a bridal veil in cut-paper, surmounted by a wreath of virginal orangeflowers. I stood at the door to watch the effect of this entry. It was but one cry of admiration. The three young ladies filled their glasses with the sparkling Ay, and carried me in a toast. heard it-I heard Miss speak of me-I heard her say, 'Tell Monsieur Mirobolant that we thank him-we admire him -we love him!' My feet almost failed me as I spoke.
"Since that, can I have any reason to doubt that the young artist has made some progress in the heart of the English Miss? I am modest, but my glass informs me that I am not ill-looking. Other victories have convinced me of the fact."
"Dangerous man! cried the mil
"The blonde Misses of Albion see nothing in the dull inhabitants of their brumous isle, which can compare with the ardour and vivacity of the children of the South. We bring our sunshine with us; we are Frenchmen, and accustomed to conquer. Were it not for this affair of the heart, and my determination to marry an Anglaise, do you think I would stop in this island (which is not alto
gether ungrateful, since I have found here a tender mother in the respectable Madame Fribsbi), in this island, in this family? My genius would use itself in the company of these rustics-the poesy of my art cannot be understood by these carnivorous insularies. No-the men are odious, but the women-the women! I own, dear Fribsbi, are seducing! I have vowed to marry one; and as I can. not go into your markets and purchase, according to the custom of the coun I am resolved to adopt another custom, and fly with one to Gretna Green. The blonde Miss will go. She is fascinated. Her eyes have told me so, The white dove wants but the signal to fly."
"Have you any correspondence with her?" asked Fribsby, in amazement, and not knowing whether the young lady or the lover might be labouring under a romantic delusion.
"I correspond with her by means of my art. She partakes of dishes which I make expressly for her. I insinuate to her thus a thousand hints, which, as she is perfectly spiritual, she receives. But I want other intelligences near her." "There is Pincott, her maid," said Madame Fribsby, who, by aptitude or education, seemed to have some knowledge of affairs of the heart, but the great artist's brow darkened at this suggestion.
"Madame," he said, "there are points upon which a gallant man ought to silence himself; though, if he break the secret he may do so with the least impropriety to his best friend-his adopted mother. Know then, that there is a cause why Miss Pincott should be hostile to me-a cause not uncommon with your sex-jealousy."
"Perfidious monster!" said the confidante.
Ah, no," said the artist, with a deep bass voice, and a tragic accent worthy of the Porte St. Martin and his favourite melo-drames, "Not perfidious, but fatal. Yes, I am a fatal man, Madame Fribsbi. To inspire hopeless passion is my descannot help it that women love Is it my fault that that young woman deperishes and languishes to the view of the eye, consumed by a flame
which I cannot return? Listen! There are others in this family, who are similarly unhappy. The governess of the young Milor has encountered me in my walks, and looked at me in a way which can bear but one interpretation. And Milady herself, who is of mature age, but who has oriental blood, has once or twice addressed compliments to the lonely artist which can admit of no mistake. I avoid the household, I seek solitude, I undergo my destiny. I can marry but one, and am resolved it shall be a lady of your nation. And, if her fortune is sufficient, I think Miss would be the person who would be most suitable. I wish to ascertain what her means are before I lead her to Gretna Green."
Whether Alcide was as irresistible a conqueror as his namesake, or whether he was simply crazy, is a point which must be left to the reader's judgment. But the latter, if he has had the benefit of much French acquaintance, has perhaps met with men amongst them who fancied themselves almost as invincible; and who, if you credit them, have made equal havoc in the hearts of les Anglaises.
CONTAINS BOTH LOVE AND JEALOUSY.
OUR readers have already heard Sir Francis Clavering's candid opinion of the lady who had given him her fortune and restored him to his native country and home, and it must be owned that the Baronet was not far wrong in his estimate of his wife, and that Lady Clavering was not the wisest or the best educated of women. She had had a couple of years' education in Europe, in a suburb of London, which she persisted in calling Ackney to her dying day, whence she had been summoned to join her father at Calcutta at the age of fifteen. And it was on her voyage thither, on board the Ramchunder East Indiaman, Captain Bragg, in which ship she had two years previously made her journey to Europe, that she formed the acquaintance of her first husband, Mr.
Amory, who was third mate of the vessel in question.
We are not going to enter into the early part of Lady Clavering's history, but Captain Bragg, under whose charge Miss Snell went out to her father, who was one of the Captain's consignees, and part owner of the Ramchunder and many other vessels, found reason to put the rebellious rascal of a mate in irons, until they reached the Cape, where the Captain left his officer behind and finally delivered his ward to her father at Calcutta, after a stormy and perilous voyage in which the Ramchunder and the cargo and passengers incurred no small danger and damage.
Some months afterwards Amory made his appearance at Calcutta, having worked his way out before the mast from the Cape-married the rich Attorney's daughter in spite of that old speculator-set up as indigo planter and failed -set up as agent and failed again-set up as editor of the "Sunderland Pilot" and failed again quarrelling ceaselessly with his father-in-law and his wife during the progress of all these mercantile transactions and disasters, and ending his career finally with a crash which compelled him to leave Calcutta and go to New South Wales. It was in the course of these luckless proceedings, that Mr. Amory probably made the acquaintance of Sir Jasper Rogers, the respected Judge of the Supreme Court of Calcutta, who has been mentioned before and, as the truth must out, it was by making an improper use of his father-in-law's name, who could write perfectly well, and had no need of ar amanuensis, that fortune finally forsook Mr. Amory and caused him to abandon all further struggles with her.
Not being in the habit of reading the Calcutta law-reports very assiduously, the European public did not know of these facts as well as people did in Bengal, and Mrs. Amory and her father, finding her residence in India not a comfortable one, it was agreed that the lady should return to Europe, whither she came with her little daughter Betsy or Blanche, then four years old. They were accompanied by Betsy's nurse, who has been presented to the reader
in the last chapter as the confidential maid of Lady Clavering, Mrs. Bonner; and Captain Bragg took a house for them in the near neighbourhood of his residence in Pocklington-street.
It was a very hard bitter summer, and the rain it rained every day for some time after Mrs. Amory's arrival. Bragg was very pompous and disagreeable, perhaps ashamed, perhaps anxious, to get rid of the Indian lady. She believed that all the world in London was talking about her husband's disaster, and that the King and Queen and the Court of Directors were aware of her unlucky history. She had a good allowance from her father; she had no call to live in England; and she determined to go abroad. Away she went, then, glad to escape the gloomy surveillance of the odious bully, Captain Bragg. People had no objection to receive her at the continental towns where she stopped, and at the various boarding-houses, where she royally paid her way. She called Hackney Ackney, to be sure, (though otherwise she spoke English with a little foreign twang, very curious and not unpleasant); she dressed amazingly; she was conspicuous for her love of eating and drinking, and prepared curries and pillaws at every boardinghouse which she frequented; but her singularities of language and behaviour only gave a zest to her society, and Mrs. Amory was deservedly popular. She was the most good-natured, jovial, and generous of women. She was up to any party of pleasure by whomsoever proposed. She brought three times more champagne and fowls and ham to the pic-nics than any one else. She took endless boxes for the play, and tickets for the masked balls, and gave them away to everybody. She paid the boarding-house people months beforehand; she helped poor shabby mustachiod bucks and dowagers, whose remittances had not arrived, with constant supplies from her purse; and in this way she tramped through Europe, and appeared at Brussels, at Paris, at Milan, at Naples, at Rome, as her fancy led her. News of Amory's death_reached her at the latter place, where Captain Clavering was then staying, unable to pay his
hotel bill, as, indeed, was his friend, the Chevalier Strong, and the good-natured widow married the descendant of the ancient house of Clavering-professing, indeed, no particular grief for the scapegrace of a husband whom she had lost: and thus we have brought her up to the present time when she was mistress of Clavering Park.
Missy followed her mamma in most of her peregrinations, and so learned a deal of life. She had a governess for some time; and after her mother's second marriage, the benefit of Madame de Caramel's select pension in the Champs Elysees. When the Claverings came to England, she of course came with them. It was only within a few years, after the death of her grandfather, and the birth of her little brother, that she began to understand that her position in life was altered, and that Miss Amory, nobody's daughter, was a very small personage in a house compared with Master Francis Clavering, heir to an ancient baronetcy, and a noble estate. But for little Frank, she would have been an heiress, in spite of her father: and though she knew, and cared not much about money, of which she never had any stint, and though she was a romantic little Muse, as we have seen, yet she could not reasonably be grateful to the persons who had so contributed to change her condition: nor, indeed, did she understand what the latter really was, until she had made some further progress, and acquired more accurate knowledge in the world.
But this was clear, that her stepfather was dull and weak: that mamma dropped her H's, and was not refined in manners or appearance; and that little Frank was a spoiled quarrelsome urchin, always having his way, always treading upon her feet, always upsetting his dinner on her dresses, and keeping her out of her inheritance. None of these, as she felt, could comprehend her and her solitary heart naturally pined for other attachments, and she sought around her where to bestow the precious boon of her unoccupied affection.
This dear girl, then, from want of sympathy, or other cause, made herself so disagreeable at home, and frightened
her mother, and bored her step-father so much, that they were quite as anxious as she could be that she should settle for herself in life; and hence Sir Francis Clavering's desire expressed to his friend, in the last chapter, that Mrs. Strong should die, and that he would take Blanche to himself as a second Mrs. Strong.
But as this could not be, any other person was welcome to win her and a smart young fellow, well-looking and well-educated, like our friend Arthur Pendennis, was quite free to propose for her if he had a mind, and would have been received with open arms by Lady Clavering as a son-in-law, had he had the courage to come forward as a competitor for Miss Amory's hand.
Mr. Pen, however, besides other drawbacks, chose to entertain an extreme diffidence about himself. He was ashamed of his late failures, of his idle and nameless condition, of the poverty which he had brought on his mother by his folly, and there was as much of vanity as remorse in his present state of doubt and distrust. How could he ever hope for such a prize as this brilliant Blanche Amory, who lived in a fine park and mansion, and was waited on by a score of grand domestics, whilst a maidservant brought in their meagre meal at Fairoaks, and his mother was obliged to pinch and manage to make both ends meet? Obstacles seemed to him insurmountable, which would have vanished had he marched manfully upon them: and he preferred despairing, or dallying with his wishes, or perhaps he had not positively shaped them as yet, to attempting to win gallantly the object of his desire. Many a young man fails by that species of vanity called shyness, who might, for the asking, have his will.
But we do not pretend to say that Pen had, as yet, ascertained his or that he was doing much more than thinking about falling in love. Miss Amory was charming and lively. She fascinated and cajoled him by a thousand arts or natural graces or flatteries. But there were lurking reasons and doubts, besides shyness and vanity, withholding him. In spite of her cleverness, and her pro
testations, and her fascinations, Pen's mother had divined the girl, and did not trust her. Mrs. Pendennis saw Blanche light-minded and frivolous, detected many wants in her which offended the pure and pious-minded lady; a want of reverence for her parents, and for things more sacred, Helen thought: worldliness and selfishness couched under pretty words and tender expressions. Laura and Pen battled these points strongly at first with widow-Laura being as yet enthusiastic about her new friend, and Pen not far-gone enough in love to attempt any concealment of his feelings. He would laugh at these objections of Helen's, and say, "Psha, mother! you are jealous about Laura-all women are jealous."
But when, in the course of a month or two, and by watching the pair with that anxiety with which brooding women watch over their sons' affections--and in acknowledging which, I have no doubt there is a sexual jealousy on the mother's part, and a secret pang-when Helen saw that the intimacy appeared to make progress, that the two young people were perpetually finding pretexts to meet, and that Miss Blanche was at Fairoaks or Mr. Pen at the Park every day, the poor widow's heart began to fail herher darling project seemed to vanish before her; and, giving way to her weakness, she fairly told Pen one day what her views and longings were; that she felt herself breaking, and not long for this world, and that she hoped and prayed before she went, that she migh. see her two children one. The late events, Pen's life and career and former passion for the actress, had broken the spirit of this tender lady. She felt that he had escaped her, and was in the maternal nest no more; and she clung with a sickening fondness to Laura, Laura who had been left to her by Francis in Heaven.
Pen kissed and soothed her in his grand patronising way. He had seen something of this, he had long thought his mother wanted to make this marriage-did Laura know anything of it? (Not she,-Mrs. Pendennis said-not for worlds would she have breathed a word of it to Laura)-" Well, well, there