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from under his rough eyebrows, and shook his voice as he gazed at her and spoke to her. "And this is Laura!" his looks seemed to say. "And this is Warrington," the generous girl's heart beat back. "Arthur's hero-the brave and the kind-he has come hundreds of miles to succour him, when he heard of his friend's misfortune !"
"Thank you, Mr. Warrington," was all that Laura said, however; and as she returned the pressure of his kind hand, she blushed so, that she was glad the lamp was behind her to conceal her flushing face.
As these two were standing in this attitude, the door of Pen's bed-chamber was opened stealthily as his mother was wont to open it, and Warrington saw another lady, who first looked at him, and then turning round towards the bed, said, "Hsh!" and put up her hand.
It was to Pen Helen was turning, and giving caution. He called out with a feeble, tremulous, but cheery voice, "Come in, Stunner-come in, WarringI knew it was you-by the-by the smoke, old boy," he said, holding his worn hand out, and with tears at once of weakness and pleasure in his eyes, he greeted his friend.
"I--I beg pardon, ma'am, for smoking," Warrington said, who now almost for the first time blushed for his wicked propensity.
Helen only said, "God bless you, Mr. Warrington." She was so happy, she would have liked to kiss George. Then, and after the friends had had a brief, very brief interview, the delighted and inexorable mother, giving her hand to Warrington, sent him out of the room too, back to Laura and the Major, who had not resumed their play of Cymbeline where they had left it off at the arrival of the rightful owner of Pen's chambers.
OUR duty now is to record a fact concerning Pendennis, which, however shameful and disgraceful, when told re
garding the chief personage and Godfather of a novel, must, nevertheless, be made known to the public who reads his veritable memoirs. Having gone to bed ill with fever, and suffering to a certain degree under the passion of love, after he had gone through his physical malady, and had been bled and had been blistered, and had had his head shaved, and had been treated and medicamented as the doctor ordained;-it is a fact, that, when he rallied up from his bodily ailment, his mental malady had likewise quitted him, and he was no more in love with Fanny Bolton than you or I, who are much too wise, or too moral, to allow our hearts to go gadding after porters' daughters.
He laughed at himself as he lay on his pillow, thinking of this second cure which had been effected upon him. He did not care the least about Fanny now; he wondered how he ever should have cared and according to his custom made an autopsy of that dead passion, and anatomised his own defunct sensation for his poor little nurse. What could have made him hot and eager about her but a few weeks back? Not her wit, not her breeding, not her beauty -there were hundreds of women better looking than she. It was out of himself that the passion had gone: it did not reside in her. She was the same; but the eyes which saw her were changed; and alas, that it should be so! were not particularly eager to see her any more. He felt very well disposed towards the little thing, and so forth, but as for violent personal regard, such as he had but a few weeks ago, it had fled under the influence of the pill and lancet, which had destroyed the fever in his frame. And an immense source of comfort and gratitude it was to Pendennis (though there was something selfish in that feeling, as in most others of our young man), that he had been enabled to resist temptation at the time when the danger was greatest, and had no particular cause of self-reproach as he remembered his conduct towards the young girl. As from a precipice down which he might have fallen, so from the fever from which he had recovered, he reviewed the Fanny Bolton snare, now that he had escaped
out of it, but I'm not sure that he was not ashamed of the very satisfaction which he experienced. It is pleasant, perhaps, but it is humiliating to own that you love no more.
Meanwhile the kind smiles and tender watchfulness of the mother at his bedside, filled the young man with peace and security. To see that health was returning, was all the unwearied nurse demanded to execute any caprice or order of her patient's, her chiefest joy and reward. He felt himself environed by her love, and thought himself almost as grateful for it as he had been when weak and helpless in childhood.
Some misty notions regarding the first part of his illness, and that Fanny had nursed him, Pen may have had, but they were so dim that he could not realise them with accuracy, or distinguish them from what he knew to be delusions which had occurred and were remembered during the delirium of his fever. So as he had not thought proper on former_occasions to make any allusions about Fanny Bolton to his mother, of course he could not now confide to her his sentiments regarding Fanny, or make this worthy lady a confidante. It was on both sides an unlucky precaution and want of confidence; and a word or two in time might have spared the good lady, and those connected with her, a deal of pain and anguish.
Seeing Miss Bolton installed as nurse and tender to Pen, I am sorry to say Mrs. Pendennis had put the worst construction on the fact of the intimacy of these two unlucky young persons, and had settled in her own mind that the accusations against Arthur were true. Why not have stopped to inquire?-There are stories to a man's disadvantage that the women who are fondest of him are always the most eager to believe. Isn't a man's wife often the first to be jealous of him? Poor Pen got a good stock of this suspicious kind of love from the nurse who was now watching over him; and the kind and pure creature thought that her boy had gone through a malady much more awful and debasing than the mere physical fever, and was stained by crime as well as weakened by illness. The consciousness of this she had to
bear perforce silently, and to try to put a mask of cheerfulness and confidence over her inward doubt and despair and horror.
When Captain Shandon, at Boulogne, read the next number of the "Pall Mall Gazette," it was to remark to Mrs. Shandon that Jack Finucane's hand was no longer visible in the leading articles, and that Mr. Warrington must be at work there again. "I know the crack of his whip in a hundred, and the cut which the fellow's thong leaves. There's Jack Bludyer, goes to work like a butcher, and mangles a subject. Mr. Warrington finishes a man, and lays his cuts neat and regular, straight down the back, and drawing blood every line;" at which dreadful metaphor, Mrs. Shandon said, "Law, Charles, how can you talk so! I always thought Mr. Warrington very high, but a kind gentleman; and I'm sure he was most kind to the children.” Upon which Shandon said, "Yes; he's kind to the children; but he's savage to the men; and to be sure, my dear, you don't understand a word about what I'm saying and it's best you shouldn't; for it's little good comes out of writing for newspapers; and it's better here, living easy at Boulogne, where the wine's plenty, and the brandy costs but two francs a bottle. Mix us another tumbler, Mary my dear; we'll go back into harness soon. 'Cras ingens iterabimus æquor'-bad luck to it."
In a word, Warrington went to work with all his might, in place of his prostrate friend, and did Pen's portion of the "Pall Mall Gazette" "with a vengeance,' ," as the saying is. He wrote occasional articles and literary criticisms; he attended theatres and musical performances, and discoursed about them with his usual savage energy. His hand was too strong for such small subjects, and it pleased him to tell Arthur's mo ther, and uncle, and Laura, that there was no hand in all the band of penmen more graceful and light, more pleasant and more elegant, than Arthur's. "The people in this country, ma'am, don't understand what style is, or they would see the merits of our young one," he said to Mrs. Pendennis. "I call him ours, ma'am, for I bred him; and I am
as proud of him as you are; and, bating a little wilfulness, and a little selfishness, and a little dandyfication, I don't know a more honest, or loyal, or gentle creature. His pen is wicked sometimes, but he is as kind as a young lady-as Miss Laura here-and I believe he would not do any living mortal harm.
At this, Helen, though she heaved a deep, deep sigh, and Laura, though she, too, was sadly wounded, nevertheless were most thankful for Warrington's good opinion of Arthur, and loved him for being so attached to their Pen. And Major Pendennis was loud in his praises of Mr. Warrington,-more loud and enthusiastic than it was the Major's wont to be. "He's a gentleman, my dear creature,' " he said to Helen, every inch a gentleman, my good madam-the Suffolk Warringtons-Charles the First's baronets: what could he be but a gentleman, come out of that family? — father, Sir Miles Warrington; ran away with-beg your pardon, Miss Bell. Sir Miles was a very well-known man in London, and a friend of the Prince of Wales. This gentleman is a man of the greatest talents, the very highest accomplishments, sure to get on, if he had a motive to put his energies to work."
Laura blushed for herself whilst the Major was talking and praising Arthur's hero. As she looked at Warrington's manly face, and dark, melancholy eyes, this young person had been speculating about him, and had settled in her mind that he must have been the victim of an unhappy attachment; and as she caught herself so speculating, why, Miss Bell blushed.
Warrington got chambers hard by,— Grenier's chambers in Flag Court; and having executed Pen's task with great energy in the morning, his delight and pleasure of an afternoon was to come and sit with the sick man's company in the sunny autumn evenings; and he had the honour more than once of giving Miss Bell his arm for a walk in the Temple Gardens; to take which pastime, when the frank Laura asked of Helen permission, the Major eagerly said, "Yes, yes, begad-of course you go out with him-it's like the country, you know: everybody goes out with
everybody in the Gardens, and there are beadles, you know, and that sort of thing -everybody walks in the Temple Gardens. If the great arbiter of morals did not object, why should simple Helen? She was glad that her girl should have such fresh air as the river could give, and to see her return with heightened colour and spirits from these harmless excursions.
Laura and Helen had come, you must know, to a little explanation. When the news arrived of Pen's alarming illness, Laura insisted upon accompanying the terrified mother to London, would not hear of the refusal which the still angry Helen gave her, and, when refused a second time yet more sternly, and when it seemed that the poor lost lad's life was despaired of, and when it was known that his conduct was such as to render all thoughts of union hopeless, Laura had, with many tears, told her mother a secret with which every observant person who reads this story is acquainted already. Now she never could marry him, was she to be denied the consolation of owning how fondly, how truly, how entirely she had loved him? The mingling tears of the women appeased the agony of their grief somewhat, and the sorrows and terrors of their journey were at least in so far mitigated that they shared them together.
What could Fanny expect when suddenly brought up for sentence before a couple of such judges? Nothing but swift condemnation, awful punishment, merciless dismissal! Women are cruel critics in cases such as that in which poor Fanny was implicated; and we like them to be so; for, besides the guard which a man places round his own harem, and the defences which a woman has in her heart, her faith, and honour, hasn't she all her own friends of her own sex to keep watch that she does not go astray, and to tear her to pieces if she is found erring? When our Mahmouds or Selims of Baker Street or Belgrave Square visit their Fatimas with condign punishment, their mothers sew up Fatima's sack for her, and her sisters and sisters-in-law see her well under water. And this present writer does not say nay. He protests most solemnly he is a Turk,
too. He wears a turban and a beard like another, and is all for the sack practice, Bismillah! But O you spotless, who have the right of capital punishment vested in you, at least be very cautious that you make away with the proper (if so she may be called) person. Be very sure of the fact before you order the barge out and don't pop your subject into the Bosphorus, until you are quite certain that she deserves it. This is all I would urge in poor Fatima's behalf-absolutely all-not word more, by the beard of the Prophet. If she's guilty, down with her-heave over the sack, away with it into the Golden Horn bubble and squeak, and justice being done, give way, men, and let us pull back to supper.
So the Major did not in any way object to Warrington's continued promenades with Miss Laura, but, like a benevolent old gentleman, encouraged in every way the intimacy of that couple. Were there any exhibitions in town? he was for Warrington conducting her to them. If Warrington had proposed to take her to Vauxhall itself, this most complaisant of men would have seen no harm, nor would Helen, if Pendennis the elder had so ruled it,-nor would there have been any harm between two persons whose honour was entirely spotless,-between Warrington, who saw in intimacy a pure, and high-minded, and artless woman for the first time in his life, and Laura, who too for the first time was thrown into the constant society of a gentleman of great natural parts and powers of pleasing; who possessed varied acquirements, enthusiasm, simplicity, humour, and that freshness of mind which his simple life and habits gave him, and which contrasted so much with Pen's dandy indifference of manner and faded sneer. In Warrington's very uncouthness there was a refinement, which the other's finery lacked. In his energy, his respect, his desire to please, his hearty laughter, or simple confiding pathos, what a difference to Sultan Pen's yawning sovereignty and languid acceptance of homage? What had made Pen at home such a dandy and such a despot! The women had spoiled him, as we like them and as they like to do.
They had cloyed him with obedience, and surfeited him with sweet respect and submission, until he grew weary of the slaves who waited upon him, and their caresses and cajoleries excited him no more. Abroad, he was brisk and lively, and eager and impassioned enough— most men are, so constituted and so nurtured. Does this, like the former sentence, run a chance of being misinterpreted, and does any one dare to suppose that the writer would incite the women to revolt? Never, by the whiskers of the Prophet, again he says. He wears a beard, and he likes his women to be slaves. What man doesn't? What man would be henpecked, I say? We will cut off all the heads in Christendom or Turkeydom rather than that.
Well, then, Arthur being so languid, and indifferent, and careless about the favours bestowed upon him, how came it that Laura should have such a love and rapturous regard for him, that a mere inadequate expression of it should have kept the girl talking all the way from Fairoaks to London, as she and Helen travelled in the post-chaise? As soon as Helen had finished one story about the dear fellow, and narrated, with a hundred sobs and ejaculations, and looks up to heaven, some thrilling incidents which occurred about the period when the hero was breeched, Laura began another, equally interesting and equally ornamented with tears, and told how heroically he had a tooth out or wouldn't have it out, or how daringly he robbed a bird's nest, or how magnanimously he spared it; or how he gave a shilling to the old woman on the common, or went without his bread and butter for the beggar-boy, who came into the yard-and so on. One to another the sobbing women sang laments upon their hero, who, my worthy reader has long since perceived, is no more a hero than either one of us. Being as he was, why should a sensible girl be so fond of him?
This point has been argued before in a previous unfortunate sentence (which lately drew down all the wrath of Ireland upon the writer's head), and which said that the greatest rascal-cutthroats have had somebody to le fond of them,
and if those monsters, why not ordinary mortals? And with whom shall a young lady fall in love but with the person she sees? She is not supposed to lose her heart in a dream, like a Princess in the Arabian Nights; or to plight her young affections to the portrait of a gentleman in the Exhibition, or a sketch in the Illustrated London News. You have an instinct within you which inclines you to attach yourself to some one you meet Somebody you hear Somebody constantly praised: you walk, or ride, or waltz, or talk, or sit in the same pew at church with Somebody: you meet again, and again, and-" Marriages are made in Heaven," your dear mamma says, pinning your orange flowers wreath on, with her blessed eyes dimmed with tears -and there is a wedding breakfast, and you take off your white satin and retire to your coach and four, and you and he are a happy pair.-Or, the affair is broken off, and then, poor dear wounded heart! why then you meet Somebody Else, and twine your young affection round number two. It is your nature so to do. Do you suppose it is all for the man's sake that you love, and not a bit for your own? Do you suppose you would drink if you were not thirsty, or eat if you were not hungry?
So then Laura liked Pen because she saw scarcely anybody else at Fairoaks except Dr. Portman and Captain Glanders, and because his mother constantly praised her Arthur, and because he was gentleman-like, tolerably good-looking and witty, and because, above all, it was of her nature to like somebody. And having once received this image into her heart, she there tenderly nursed it and clasped it-she there, in his long absences and her constant solitudes, silently brooded over it and fondled itand when after this she came to London, and had an opportunity of becoming rather intimate with Mr. George Warrington, what on earth was to prevent her from thinking him a most odd, original, agreeable, and pleasing person?
A long time afterwards, when these days were over, and Fate in its own way had disposed of the various persons now assembled in the dingy building in Lamb Court, perhaps some of them
looked back and thought how happy the time was, and how pleasant had been their evening talks and little walks and simple recreations round the sofa of Pen the convalescent. The Major had a favourable opinion of September in London from that time forward, and declared at his clubs and in society that the dead season in town was often pleasant, doosid pleasant, begad. He used to go home to his lodgings in Bury Street of a night, wondering that it was already so late, and that the evening had passed away so quietly. He made his appearance at the Temple pretty constantly in the afternoon, and tugged up the long black staircase with quite a benevolent activity and perseverance. And he made interest with the chef at Bays's (that renowned cook, the superintendence of whose work upon Gastronomy compelled the gifted author to stay in the metropolis), to prepare little jellies, delicate clear soups, aspics, and other trifles good for invalids, which Morgan the valet constantly brought down to the little Lamb Court colony. And the permission to drink a glass or two of pure sherry being accorded to Pen by Dr. Goodenough, the Major told with almost tears in his eyes how his noble friend the Marquis of Steyne, passing through London on his way to the Continent, had ordered any quantity of his precious, his priceless Amontillado, that had been a present from King Ferdinand to the noble Marquis, to be placed at the disposal of Mr. Arthur Pendennis. The widow and Laura tasted it with respect (though they didn't in the least like the bitter flavour), but the invalid was greatly invigorated by it, and Warrington pronounced it superlatively good, and proposed the Major's health in a mock speech after dinner on the first day when the wine was served, and that of Lord Steyne and the aristocracy in general.
Major Pendennis returned thanks with the utmost gravity, and in a speech in which he used the words "the present occasion," at least the proper number of times. Pen cheered with his feeble voice from his arm-chair. Warrington taught Miss Laura to cry "Hear! hear!" and tapped the table with his knuckles. Pidgeon the attendant grinned, and honest