was time enough, his mother wouldn't die," Pen said, laughingly: "he wouldn't hear of any such thing, and as for the Muse, she is too grand a lady to think about poor little me-and as for Laura, who knows that she would have me. She would do anything you told her, to be sure. But am I worthy of her?"

“O, Pen, you might be," was the widow's reply; not that Mr. Pen ever doubted that he was; and a feeling of ndefinable pleasure and self-complacency came over him as he thought over this proposal, and imaged Laura to himself, as his memory remembered her for years past, always fair and open, kindly and pious, cheerful, tender, and true. He looked at her with brightening eyes as she came in from the garden at the end of this talk, her cheeks rather flushed, her looks frank and smiling-a basket of roses in her hand.

She took the finest of them and brought it to Mrs. Pendennis, who was refreshed by the odour and colour of these flowers; and hung over her fondly and gave it to her.

"And I might have this prize for the asking!" Pen thought, with a thrill of triumph, as he looked at the kindly girl. "Why, she is as beautiful and as generous as her roses." The image of the two women remained for ever after in his mind, and he never recalled it but the tears came into his eyes.

Before very many weeks' intimacy with her new acquaintance, however, Miss Laura was obliged to give in to Helen's opinion, and own that the Muse was selfish, unkind, and inconstant.

Little Frank, for instance, might be very provoking, and might have deprived Blanche of her mamma's affection, but this was no reason why Blanche should box the child's ears because he upset a glass of water over her drawing, and why she should call him many opprobrious names in the English and French language; and the preference accorded to little Frank was certainly no reason why Blanche should give herself imperial airs of command towards the boy's governess, and send that young lady upon messages through the house to bring her book, or to fetch her pocket-handkerchief. When a domestic performed

an errand for honest Laura, she was always thankful and pleased: whereas, she could not but perceive that the little Muse had not the slightest scruple in giving her commands to all the world round about her, and in disturbing anybody's ease or comfort, in order to administer to her own. It was Laura's first experience in friendship; and it pained the kind creature's heart to be obliged to give up as delusions, one by one, those charms and brilliant qualities in which her fancy had dressed her new friend, and to find that the fascinating little fairy was but a mortal, and not a very amiable mortal after all. What generous person is there that has not been so deceived in his time?-what person, perhaps, that has not so disappointed others in his turn?

After the scene with little Frank, in which that refractory son and heir of the house of Clavering had received the compliments in French and English, and the accompanying box on the ear from his sister, Miss Laura, who had plenty of humour, could not help calling to mind some very touching and tender verses which the Muse had read to her out of Mes Larmes, and which began, "My pretty baby brother, may angels guard thy rest,' in which the Muse, after complimenting the baby upon the station in life which it was about to occupy, and contrasting it with her own lonely condition, vowed nevertheless that the angel boy would never enjoy such affection as hers was, or find in the false world before him anything so constant and tender as a sister's heart. "It may be," the forlorn one said, "it may be, you will slight it, my pretty baby sweet, You will spurn me from your bosom, I'll cling around your feet! O let me, let me, love you! the world will prove to you As false as 'tis to others, but I am ever true.' "" And behold the Muse was boxing the darling brother's ears instead of kneeling at his feet, and giving Miss Laura her first lesson in the Cynical philosophy-not quite her first, however, something like this selfishness and waywardness, something like this contrast between practice and poetry, between grand versified aspirations and every-day life, she had witnessed at

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home in the person of our young friend

Mr. Pen.

But then Pen was different. Pen was a man. It seemed natural, somehow, that he should be self-willed and should have his own way. And under his waywardness and selfishness, indeed, there was a kind and generous heart. O it was hard that such a diamond should be changed away against such a false stone as this. In a word, Laura began to be tired of her admired Blanche. She had assayed her and found her not true; and her former admiration and delight, which she had expressed with her accustomed generous artlessness, gave way to a feeling, which we shall not call contempt, but which was very near it; and which caused Laura to adopt towards Miss Amory a grave and tranquil tone of superiority, which was at first by no means to the Muse's liking. Nobody likes to be found out, or, having held a high place, to submit to step down.

The consciousness that this event was impending did not serve to increase Miss Blanche's good humour, and as it made her peevish and dissatisfied with herself, it probably rendered her even less agreeable to the persons round about her. So there arose, one fatal day, a battle royal between dearest Blanche and dearest Laura, in which the friendship between them was all but slain outright. Dearest Blanche had been unusually capricious and wicked on this day. She had been insolent to her mother; savage to little Frank; odiously impertinent in her behaviour to the boy's governess; and intolerably cruel to Pincott, her attendant. Not venturing to attack her friend (for the little tyrant was of a timid feline nature, and only used her claws upon those who were weaker than herself), she maltreated all these, and especially poor Pincott, who was menial, confidante, companion (slave always), according to the caprice of her young mistress.

This girl, who had been sitting in the room with the young ladies, being driven thence in tears, occasioned by the cruelty of her mistress, and raked with a parting sarcasm as she went sobbing from the door, Laura fairly broke out into a loud and indignant invective

wondering how one so young could forget the deference owing to her elders as well as to her inferiors in station; and professing so much sensibility of her own, could torture the feelings of others so wantonly. Laura told her friend that her conduct was absolutely wicked, and that she ought to ask pardon of Heaven on her knees for it. And having delivered herself of a hot and voluble speech whereof the delivery astonished the speaker as much almost as her auditor, she ran to her bonnet and shawl, and went home across the park in a great flurry and perturbation, and to the surprise of Mrs. Pendennis, who had not expected her until night.

Alone with Helen, Laura gave an account of the scene, and gave up her friend henceforth. "O Mamma," she said, "you were right; Blanche, who seems so soft and so kind, is, as you have said, selfish and cruel. She who is always speaking of her affections can have no heart. No honest girl would afflict a mother so, or torture a dependant; and-and, I give her up from this day, and I will have no other friend but you."

On this the two ladies went through the osculatory ceremony which they were in the habit of performing, and Mrs. Pendennis got a great secret comfort from the little quarrel-for Laura's confession seemed to say, "That girl can never be a wife for Pen, for she is lightminded and heartless, and quite unworthy of our noble hero. He will be sure to find out her unworthiness for his own part, and then he will be saved from this flighty creature, and awake out of his delusion."

But Miss Laura did not tell Mrs. Pen dennis, perhaps did not acknowledge to herself, what had been the real cause of the day's quarrel. Being in a very wicked mood, and bent upon mischiet everywhere, the little wicked Muse of a Blanche had very soon begun her tricks. Her darling Laura had come to pass a long day; and as they were sitting in her own room together, had chosen to bring the conversation round to the subject of Mr. Pen.

"I am afraid he is sadly fickle," Miss Blanche observed; "Mrs. Pybus, and

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"Mamma has said so," said Laura. "Well, he is very clever," continued the other little dear. "What a sweet poet he is! Have you ever read his poems?"

"Only the 'Fisherman and the Diver,' which he translated for us, and his Prize Poem, which didn't get the prize; and, indeed, I thought it very pompous and prosy," Laura said, laughing.

"Has he never written you any poems, then, love?" asked Miss Amory. "No, my dear," said Miss Bell. Blanche ran up to her friend, kissed her fondly, called her my dearest Laura at least three times, looked her archly in the face, nodded her head, and said, "Promise to tell no-o-body, and I will show you something."

And tripping across the room daintily to a little mother-of-pearl inlaid desk, she opened it with a silver key, and took out two or three papers crumpled and rather stained with green, which she submitted to her friend. Laura took them and read them. They were love verses sure enough-something about Undine-about a Naiad-about a river. She looked at them for a long time; but in truth the lines were not very distinct before her eyes.

"And you have answered them, Blanche? she asked, putting them


"O no! not for worlds, dearest," the other said: and when her dearest Laura had quite done with the verses, she tripped back, and popped them again into the pretty desk.

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THE difference between the girls did not last long. Laura was always too eager to forgive and be forgiven, and as for Miss Blanche, her hostilities, never very long or durable, had not been provoked by the above scene. Nobody cares about being accused of wickedness. No vanity is hurt by that sort of charge: Blanche was rather pleased than provoked by her friend's indignation, which never would have been raised but for a cause which both knew, though neither spoke of.

And so Laura, with a sigh, was obliged to confess that the romantic part of her first friendship was at an end, and that the object of it was only worthy of a very ordinary sort of regard."

As for Blanche, she instantly com

posed a copy of touching verses, setting forth her desertion and disenchantment. It was only the old story that she wrote, of love meeting with coldness, and fidelity returned by neglect; and some new neighbours arriving from London about this time, in whose family there were daughters, Miss Amory had the advantage of selecting an eternal friend from one of these young ladies, and imparting her sorrows and disappointments to this new sister. The tall footmen came but seldom now with notes to the sweet Laura; the pony-carriage was but rarely despatched to Fairoaks to be at the orders of the ladies there. Blanche adopted a sweet look of suffering martyrdom when Laura came to see her. The other laughed at her friend's sentimental mood, and treated it with a good humour that was by no means respectful.

But if Miss Blanche found new female friends to console her, the faithful historian is also bound to say, that she discovered some acquaintances of the other sex who seemed to give her consolation too. If ever this artless young creature met a young man, and had ten minutes' conversation with him in a garden walk, in a drawing-room window, or in the intervals of a waltz, she confided in him, so to speak-made play with her beautiful eyes-spoke in a tone of tender interest, and simple and touching appeal, and left him, to perform the same pretty little drama in behalf of his successor.

When the Claverings first came down to the Park, there were very few audiences before whom Miss Blanche would perform; hence Pen had all the benefits of her glances, and confidence, and the drawing-room window, or the garden walk all to himself. In the town of Clavering, it has been said, there were actually no young men in the near surrounding country, only a curate or two, or a rustic young squire, with large feet, and ill-made clothes. To the dragoons quartered at Chatteris the Baronet made no overtures: it was unluckily his own regiment he had left it on bad terms with some officers of the corps-an ugly business about a horse bargain—a disputed play account at blind-Hookey-a white feather-who need ask?-it is not our business to inquire too closely into

the bygones of our characters, except in so far as their previous history appertains to the development of this present story.

The autumn, and the end of the Parliamentary Session, and the London season, brought one or two country families down to their houses, and filled tolerably the neighbouring little wateringplace of Baymouth, and opened our friend Mr. Bingley's Theatre Royal at Chatteris, and collected the usual company at the Assizes and Race-balls there. Up to this time, the old county families had been rather shy of our friends of Clavering Park. The Fogeys of Drummington; the Squares of Dozely Park; the Welbores of the Barrow, &c. All sorts of stories were current among these folks regarding the family at Clavering; -indeed nobody ought to say that people in the country have no imagination, who heard them talk about new neighbours. About Sir Francis and his Lady, and her birth and parentage, about Miss Amory, about Captain Strong, there had been endless histories which need not be recapitulated; and the family of the Park had been thre mo in the county before the great people around began to call.

But at the end of the season, the Earl of Trehawke, Lord Lieutenant of the County, coming to Eyrie Castle, and the Countess Dowager of Rockminster, whose son was also a magnate of the land, to occupy a mansion on the Marine Parade at Baymouth - these great folks came publicly, immediately, and in state, to call upon the family of Clavering Park; and the carriages of the county families speedily followed in the track, which had been left in the avenue by their lordly wheels.

It was then that Mirobolant began to have an opportunity of exercising that skill which he possessed, and of forgetting, in the occupations of his art, the pangs of love. It was then that the large footmen were too much employed at Clavering Park to be able to bring messages, or dally over the cup of small beer with the poor little maids at Fairoaks. It was then that Blanche found other dear friends than Laura, and other places to walk in besides the river side,

where Pen was fishing. He came day after day, and whipped the stream, but the "fish, fish!" wouldn't do their duty, nor the Peri appear. And here, though in strict confidence, and with a request that the matter go no further, we may as well allude to a delicate business, of which previous hint has been given. Mention has been made, in a former page, of a certain hollow tree, at which Pen used to take his station when engaged in his passion for Miss Fotheringay, and the cavity of which he afterwards used for other purposes than to insert his baits and fishing-cans in. The truth is, he converted this tree into a post-office. Under a piece of moss and a stone, he used to put little poems, or letters equally poetical, which were addressed to a certain Undine, or Naiad who frequented the stream, and which, once or twice, were replaced by a receipt in the shape of a flower, or by a modest little word or two of acknowledgment, written in a delicate hand, in French or English, and on pink scented paper. Certainly, Miss Amory used to walk by this stream, as we have seen; and it is a fact that she used pink scented paper for her correspondence. But after the great folks had invaded Clavering Park, and the family coach passed out of the lodgegates, evening after evening, on their way to the other great country houses, nobody came to fetch Pen's letters at the post-office; the white paper was not exchanged for the pink, but lay undisturbed under its stone and its moss, whilst the tree was reflected into the stream, and the Brawl went rolling by. There was not much in the letters certainly in the pink notes scarcely anything-merely a little word or two, half jocular, half sympathetic, such as might be written by any young lady. But oh, you silly Pendennis, if you wanted this one, why did you not speak? Perhaps neither party was in earnest. You were only playing at being in love, and the sportive little Undine was humouring you at the same time.

Nevertheless if a man is baulked at this game, he not unfrequently loses his temper; and when nobody came any more for Pen's poems, he began to look upon those compositions in a very

serious light. He felt almost tragical and romantic again, as in his first affair of the heart-at any rate he was bent upon having an explanation. One day he went to the Hall, and there was a room-full of visitors: on another, Mis; Amory was not to be seen; she was going to a ball that night, and was lying down to take a little sleep. Pen cursed balls, and the narrowness of his means, and the humility of his position in the county that caused him to be passed over by the givers of these entertainments. On a third occasion, Miss Amory was in the garden, and he ran thither: she was walking there in state with no less personages than the Bishop and Bishopess of Chatteris and the episcopal family, who scowled at him, and drew up in great dignity when he was presented to them, and they heard his name. The Right Reverend Prelate had heard it before, and also of the little transaction in the Dean's garden.

"The Bishop says you're a sad young man," good-natured Lady Clavering whispered to him. "What have you been a doing of? Nothink, I hope, to vex such a dear Mar as yours? How is your dear Mar? Why don't she come and see me? We an't seen her this ever such a time. We're a goin about a gaddin, so that we don't see no neighbours now. Give my love to her and Laurar, and come all to dinner to-morrow."

Mrs. Pendennis was too unwell to come out, but Laura and Pen came, and there was a great party, and Pen only got an opportunity of a hurried word with Miss Amory. "You never come to the river now," he said.

"I can't," said Blanche, "the house is full of people.'

"Undine has left the stream," Mr. Pen went on, choosing to be poetical.

"She never ought to ve gone there," Miss Amory answered. She won't go again. It was very foolish, very wrong: it was only play. Besides, you have other consolations at home," she added, looking him full in the face an instant, and dropping her eyes.

If he wanted her, why did he not speak then? She might have said "Yes" even then. But as she spoke of other consolations at home, he thought of

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