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tion," had laid heavy odds against the winning horse, and backed the favourite freely, and the result of his dealings was, as his son correctly stated to poor Lady Clavering, a loss of seven thousand pounds.
Indeed, it was a cruel blow upon the lady, who had discharged her husband's debts many times over: who had received as many times his oaths and promises of amendment; who had paid his money-lenders and horse-dealers; who had furnished his town and country houses; and who was called upon now instantly to meet this enormous sum, the penalty of her cowardly husband's extravagance.
It has been described in former pages how the elder Pendennis had become the adviser of the Clavering family, and, in his quality of intimate friend of the house, had gone over every room of it, and even seen that ugly closet which we all of us have, and in which, according to the proverb, the family skeleton is locked up. About the Baronet's pecuniary matters, if the Major did not know it, it was because Clavering himself did not know them, and hid them from himself and others in such a hopeless entanglement of lies that it was impossible for adviser or attorney or principal to get an accurate knowledge of his affairs. But, concerning Lady Clavering, the Major was much better informed; and when the unlucky mishap of the "Derby" arose, he took upon himself to become completely and thoroughly acquainted with all her means, whatsoever they were; and was now accurately informed of the vast and repeated sacrifices which the widow Amory had made in behalf of her present husband.
He did not conceal,-and he had won no small favor from Miss Blanche by avowing it, his opinion, that Lady Clavering's daughter had been hardly treated at the expense of her son, by her second marriage: and in his conversations with Lady Clavering had fairly hinted that he thought Miss Blanche ought to have a better provision. We have said that he had already given the widow to understand that he knew all the particulars of her early and unfortu
nate history, having been in India at the time when-when the painful circumstances occurred which had ended in her parting from her first husband. He could tell her where to find the Calcutta newspaper which contained the account of Amory's trial, and he showed, and the Begum was not a little grateful to him for his forbearance, how, being aware all along of this mishap which had befallen her, he had kept all knowledge of it to himself, and been constantly the friend of her family.
"Interested motives, my dear Lady Clavering," he said, "of course I may have had. We all have interested motives, and mine I don't conceal from you, was to make a marriage between my nephew and your daughter." To which Lady Clavering, perhaps with some surprise that the Major should choose her family for a union with his own, said she was quite willing to con
But frankly he said, "My dear lady, my boy has but five hundred a-year, and a wife with ten thousand pounds to her fortune would scarcely better him. We could do better for him than that, permit me to say, and he is a shrewd, cautious young fellow who has sown his wild oats now-who has very good parts and plenty of ambition-and whose object in marrying is to better himself. If you and Sir Francis chose-and Sir Francis, take my word for it, will refuse you nothing you could put Arthur in a way to advance very considerably in the world, and show the stuff which he has in him. Of what use is that seat in Parliament to Clavering, who scarcely ever shows his face in the house, or speaks a word there? I'm told by gentlemen who heard my boy at Oxbridge, that he was famous as an orator, begad!-and once put his foot into the stirrup and mount him, I've no doubt he won't be the last of the field, ma'am. I've tested the chap, and know him pretty well, I think. He is much too lazy, and careless, and flighty a fellow, to make a jog-trot journey, and arrive, as your lawyers do, at the end of their lives! but give him a start and good friends, and an oppor tunity, and take my word for it, he'll make himself a name that his sons shall
be proud of. I don't see any way for a fellow like him to parvenir, but by making a prudent marriage-not with a beggarly heiress to sit down for life upon a miserable fifteen hundred a-year-but with somebody whom he can help, and who can help him forward in the world, and whom he can give a good name and a station in the country, begad, in return for the advantages which she brings him. It would be better for you to have a distinguished son-in-law, than to keep your husband on in Parliament, whose of no good to himself or to anybody else there, and that's, I say, why I've been interested about you, and offer you what I think a good bargain for both."
"You know I look upon Arthur as one of the family almost now," said the good-natured Begum; "he comes and goes when he likes; and the 'more I think of his dear mother, the more I see there's few people so good-none so good to me. And I'm sure I cried when I heard of her death, and would have gone into mourning for her myself, only black don't become me. And I know who his mother wanted him to marryLaura, I mean-whom old Lady Rockminster has taken such a fancy to, and no wonder. She's a better girl than my girl. I know both. And my BetsyBlanche, I mean-ain't been a comfort to me, Major. It's Laura Pen ought to marry.'
'Marry on five hundred a-year! My dear good soul, you are mad!" Major Pendennis said. "Think over what I have said to you. Do nothing in your affairs with that unhappy husband of yours without consulting me; and remember that old Pendennis is always your friend."
For some time previous, Pen's uncle had held similar language to Miss Amory. He had pointed out to her the convenience of the match which he had at heart, and was bound to say, that mutual convenience was of all things the very best in the world to marry uponthe only thing. "Look at your lovemarriages, my dear young creature. The love-match people are the most notorious of all for quarrelling afterwards: and a girl who runs away with Jack to Gretna Green, constantly runs away with
Tom to Switzerland afterwards. great point in marriage is for people to agree to be useful to one another. The lady brings the means, and the gentleman avails himself of them. My boy's wife brings the horse, and begad Pen goes in and wins the plate. That's what I call a sensible union. A couple like that have something to talk to each other about when they come together. If you had Cupid himself to talk to-if Blanche and Pen were Cupid and Psyche, begad -they'd begin to yawn after a few evenings, if they had nothing but sentiment to speak on."
As for Miss Amory, she was contented enough with Pen as long as there was nobody better. And how many other young labies are like her? - and how many love-marriages carry on well to the last? and how many sentimental firms do not finish in bankruptcy?-and how many heroic passions don't dwindle down into despicable indifference, or end in shameful defeat?
These views of life and philosophy the Major was constantly, according to his custom, inculcating to Pen, whose mind was such he could see the right on both sides of many questions, and, comprehending the sentimental life which was quite out of the reach of the honest Major's intelligence, could understand the practical life too, and accommodate himself, or think he could accommodate himself, to it. So it came to pass that during the spring succeeding his mother's death he was a good deal under the influence of his uncle's advice, and domesticated in Lady Clavering's house; and in a measure was accepted by Miss Amory without being a suitor, and was received without being engaged. The young people were extremely familiar, without being particularly sentimental, and met and parted with each other in perfect good humour. "And I," thought Pendennis, "am the fellow who eight years ago had a grand passion, and last year was raging in a fever about Briseis !"
Yes, it was the same Pendennis, and time had brought to him, as to the rest of us, its ordinary consequences, consolations, developments. We alter very
little. When we talk of this man or that woman being no longer the same person whom we remember in youth, and remark (of course to deplore) changes in our friends, we don't, perhaps, calculate that circumstance only brings out the latent defect or quality, and does not create it. The selfish languor and indifference of to-day's possession is the consequence of the selfish ardour of yesterday's pursuit: the scorn and weariness which cries vanitas vanitatum is but the lassitude of the sick appetite palled with pleasure the insolence of the successful parvenu is only the necessary continuance of the career of the needy struggler; our mental changes are like our grey hairs or our wrinkles-but the fulfillment of the plan of mortal growth and decay; that which is snowwhite now was glossy black once; that which is sluggish obesity to-day was boisterous rosy health a few years back; that calm weariness, benevolent, resigned and disappointed, was ambition, fierce and violent, but a few years since, and has only settled into submissive repose after many a battle and defeat. Lucky he who can bear his failure generously, and give up his broken sword to Fate the Conqueror with a manly and humble heart! Are you not awe-stricken, you, friendly reader, who, taking up the page for a moment's light reading, lay it down, perchance, for a graver reflection,-to think how you,who have consummated your success or your disaster, may be holding marked station, or a hopeless and nameless place in the crowd-who have passed through how many struggles of defeat, success, crime, remorse, to yourself only known!-who may have loved and grown cold, wept and laughed again, how often -to think how you are the same You, whom in childhood you remember, before the voyage of life began? It has been prosperous, and you are riding into port, the people huzzaing and the guns saluting, and the lucky Captain bows from the ship's side, and there is a care under the star on his breast which nobody knows of: or you are wrecked, and lashed, hopeless, to a solitary spar out at sea: the sinking man and the successful one are thinking
each about home, very likely, and remembering the time when they were children; alone on the hopelesss spar, drowning out of sight; alone in the midst of the crowd applauding you.
OUR good-natured Begum was at first so much enraged at this last instance of her husband's duplicity and folly, that she refused to give Sir Francis Clavering any aid in order to meet his debts of honour, and declared that she would separate from him, and leave him to the consequences of his incorrigible weakness and waste. After that fatal day's transactions at the Derby, the unlucky gambler was in such a condition of mind that he was disposed to avoid everybody; alike his turf-associates, with whom he had made debts which he trembled lest he should not have the means of paying, and his wife, his longsuffering banker, on who he reasonably doubted whether he should be allowed any longer to draw. When Lady Clavering asked the next morning whether Sir Francis was in the house, she received answer that he had not returned that night, but had sent a messenger to his valet, ordering him to forward clothes and letters by the bearer. Strong knew that he should have a visit or a message from him in the course of that or the subsequent day, and accordingly got a note beseeching him to call upon his distracted friend F. C. at Short's Hotel, Blackfriars, and ask for Mr. Francis there. For the Baronet was a gentleman of that peculiarity of mind that he would rather tell a lie than not, and always began a contest with fortune by running away and hiding himself. The Boots of Mr. Short's establishment, who carried Clavering's message to Grosvenor Place, and brought back his carpet-bag, was instantly aware who was the owner of the bag, and he imparted his information to the footman who was laying the breakfast-table, whc carried down the news to the servants
hall, who took it to Mrs. Bonner, my lady's house-keeper and confidential maid, who carried it to my lady. And thus every single person in the Grosvenor Place establishment knew that Sir Francis was in hiding, under the name of Francis, at an inn in the Blackfriars Road. And Sir Francis's coachmen told the news to other gentlemen's coachmen, who carried it to their masters, and to the neighboring Tattersall's, where very gloomy anticipations were formed that Sir Francis Clavering was about to make a tour in the Levant.
In the course of that day the number of letters addressed to Sir Francis Clavering, Bart., which found their way to his hall table, was quite remarkable. The French cook sent in his account to my lady; the tradesmen who supplied her ladyship's table, and Messrs. Finer and Gimcrack, the mercers and ornamental dealers, and Madame Crinoline, the eminent milliner, also forwarded their little bills to her ladyship, in company with Miss Amory's private, and by no means inconsiderable, account at each establishment.
In the afternoon of the day after the Derby, when Strong (after a colloquy with his principal at Short's Hotel, whom he found crying and drinking Curacoa) called to transact business according to his custom at Grosvenor Place, he found all these suspicious documents ranged in the Baronet's study; and begun to open them and examine them with a rueful countenance.
Mrs. Bonner, my lady's maid and housekeeper, came down upon him whilst engaged in this occupation. Mrs. Bonner, a part of the family, and as necessary to her mistress as the Chevalier was to Sir Francis, was of course on Lady Clavering's side in the dispute between her and her husband, and as by duty bound even more angry than her ladyship herself.
"She won't pay, if she takes my advice," Mrs. Bonner said. "You'll please to go back to Sir Francis, Captain and he lurking about in a low public house and don't dare to face his wife like a man !-and say that we won't pay his debts no longer. We made a man of him, we took him out of gaol
(and other folks too perhaps), we've paid his debts over and over againwe set him up in Parliament and gave him a house in town and country, and where he don't dare show his face, the shabby sneak! We've given him the horse he rides and the dinner he eats, and the very clothes he has on his back; and we will give him no more. Our fortune, such as is left of it, is left to ourselves, and we won't waste any more of it on this ungrateful man. We'll give him enough to live upon and leave him, that's what we'll do: and that's what you may tell him from Susan Bonner."
Susan Bonner's mistress hearing of Strong's arrival, sent for him at this juncture, and the Chevalier went up to her ladyship not without hopes that he should find her more tractable than her factotum Mrs. Bonner. Many a time before had he pleaded his client's cause with Lady Clavering and caused her good-nature to relent. He tried again once more. He painted in dismal colours the situation in which he had found Sir Francis: and would not answer for any consequences which might ensue if he could not find means of meeting his engagements.
"Kill hisself," laughed Mrs. Bonner, "kill hisself, will he? Dying's the best thing he could do." Strong vowed that he had found him with the razors on the table; but at this, in her turn, Lady Clavering laughed bitterly. "He'll do himself no harm, as long as there's a shilling left of which he can rob a poor woman. His life's quite safe, Captain: you may depend upon that. Ah! it was a bad day that I ever set eyes on him."
"He's worse than the first man,' cried out my lady's aide-de-camp. "He was a man, he was-a wild devil, but he had the courage of a man-whereas this fellow-what's the use of my lady paying his bills, and selling her diamonds, and forgiving him? He'll be as bad again next year. The very next chance he has he'll be a cheating of her, and robbing of her; and her money will go to keep a pack of rogues and swindlers -I don't mean you, Captain-you've been a good friend to us enough, bat
ing we wish we'd never set eyes on you."
The Chevalier saw from the words which Mrs. Bonner had let slip regarding the diamonds, that the kind Begum was disposed to relent once more at least, and that there were hope still for his principal.
“Upon my word, ma'am," he said, with a real feeling of sympathy for Lady Clavering's troubles, and admiration for her untiring good-nature, and with a show of enthusiasm which advanced not a little his graceless patron's cause
anything you say against Clavering, or Mrs. Bonner here cries out against me, is no better than we deserve, both of us, and it was an unlucky day for you when you saw either. He has behaved cruelly to you and if you were not the most generous and forgiving woman in the world, I know there would be no chance for him. But you can't let the father of your son be a disgraced man, and send little Frank into the world with such a stain upon him. Tie him down; bind him by any promises you like I vouch for him that he will subscribe them."
"And break 'em," said Mrs. Bonner. "And keep 'em this time," cried out Strong. "He must keep them. If you could have seen how he wept, ma'am! Oh, Strong,' he said to me, 'it's not for myself I feel now it's for my boy-it's for the best woman in England, whom I have treated basely-I know I have.' He didn't intend to bet upon this race, ma'am-indeed he didn't. He was cheated into it: all the ring was taken in. He thought he might make the bet quite safely, without the least risk. And it will be a lesson to him for all his life long. To see a man cryOh, it's dreadful!"
"What, all?" cried Mr. Francis, to whom his ambassador brought the news back at Short's Hotel, where Strong found the Baronet crying and drinking Curacoa.
"Psha! Do you suppose I am a fool!" burst out Streng. "Do you suppose I could have lived so long in the world, Frank Clavering, without having my eyes about me? You know I have but to speak and you are a beggar to-morrow. And I am not the only man who knows your secret."
"Who else does?" gasped Clavering.
Old Pendennis does, or I am very much mistaken. He recognised the man the first night he saw him, when he came drunk into your house."
"He knows it, does he?" shrieked out Clavering. "Danın hin-kill him !"
"You'd like to kill us all, wouldn't you, old boy?" said Strong, with a sneer, puffing his cigar.
The Baronet dashed his weak hand against his forehead; perhaps the other had interpreted his wish rightly. "Oh, Strong!" he cried, "if I dared, I'd put an end to myself, for I'm the dest miserable dog in all England. It's that that makes me so wild and reckless. It's that which makes me take to drink (and he drank, with a trembling hand, a bumper of his fortifier-the Curacoa), and to live about with these thieves. I know they're thieves, every one of 'em, d-d thieves. And-and how can help it? and I didn't know it, you know-and, by Gad, I'm innocent-and until I saw the d-d scoundrel first, I knew no more about it than the deadand I'll fly, and I'll go abroad out of the reach of the confounded hells, and I'll bury myself in a forest, by Gad! and hang myself up to a tree-and, oh-I'm the most miserable beggar in all England!" And so with more tears, shrieks, and curses, the impotent wretch vented his grief and deplored his unhappy fate; and, in the midst of groans and despair and blasphemy, vowed his miserable repentance.
The honored proverb which declares that to be an ill wind which blows good to nobody, was verified in the case of
Sir Francis Clavering, and another of