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to the Chambers in Lamb Court, which were basking in as much sun as chose to visit that dreary but not altogether comfortless building. Freedom stands in lieu of sunshine in chambers; and Templars grumble, but take their ease in their Inn. Pen's domestic announced to him that Warrington was in chambers too, and, of course, Arthur ran up to his friend's room straightway, and found it as of old, perfumed with the pipe, and George once more at work at his newspapers and reviews. The pair greeted each other with the rough cordiality which young Englishmen use one to another: and which carries a great deal of warmth and kindness under its rude exterior. Warrington smiled and took his pipe out of his mouth, and said, "Well, young one!" Pen advanced and held out his hand, and said, "How are you, old boy?" And so this greeting passed between two friends who had not seen each other for months. Alphonse and Frederic would have rushed into each other's arms and shrieked Ce bon cœur! ce cher Alphonse! over each other's shoulders. Max and Wilhelm would have bestowed half a dozen kisses, scented with Havannah, upon each other's mustachios. "Well, young "How are you, old boy?" is what two Britons say: after saving each other's lives, possibly, the day before. To-morrow they will leave off shaking hands, and only wag their heads at one another as they come to breakfast. Each has for the other the very warmest confidence and regard; each would share his purse with the other: and hearing him attacked would break out in the loudest and most enthusiastic praise of his friend; but they part with a mere Good-bye, they meet with a mere Howd'you-do; and they don't write to each other in the interval. Curious modesty, strange stoical decorum of English friendship! "Yes, we are not demonstrative like those confounded foreignsays Hardman; who not only shows no friendship, but never felt any all his life long.
"Been in Switzerland?" says Pen. Yes," says Warrington. "Couldn't find a bit of tobacco fit to smoke till we came to Strasburg, where I got some
caporal." The man's mind is full, very likely, of the great sights which he has seen, of the great emotions with which the vast works of nature have inspired it. But his enthusiasm is too coy to show itself, even to his closest friend, and he veils it with a cloud of tobacco. He will speak more fully of confidential evenings, however, and write ardently and frankly about that which he is shy of saying. The thoughts and experience of his travel will come forth in his writings; as the learning, which he never displays in talk, enriches his style with pregnant allusion and brilliant illustration, colours his generous eloquence, and points his wit.
The elder gives a rapid account of the places which he has visited in his tour. He has seen Switzerland, North Italy, and the Tyrol-he has come home by Vienna, and Dresden, and the Rhine. He speaks about these places in a shy sulky voice, as if he had rather not mention them at all, and as if the sight of them had rendered him very unhappy. The outline of the elder man's tour thus gloomily sketched out, the young one begins to speak. He has been in the country-very much bored-canvassing -uncommonly slow-he is here for a day or two, and going on to-to the neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells, to some friends-that will be uncommonly slow, too. How hard it is to make an Englishman acknowledge that he is happy!
"And the seat in Parliament, Pen? Have you made it all right?" asks Warrington.
All right, as soon as Parliament meets and a new writ can be issued, Clavering retires, and I step into his shoes," says Pen.
"And under which king does Bezonian speak or die?" asked Warrington. "Do we come out as Liberal Conservative, or as Government man, or on our own hook?"
"Hem! There are no politics now; every man's politics, at least, are pretty much the same. I have not got acres enough to make me a Protectionist; nor could I be one, I think, if I had all the land in the county. Í shall go pretty much with Government, and in advance
"I am not Moses," said Pen, with, as usual, somewhat of melancholy in his voice. I have no laws from Heaven to bring down to the people from the mountain. I don't belong to the mountain at all, or set up to be a leader and reformer of mankind. My faith is not strong enough for that; nor my vanity, nor my hypocrisy, great enough. I will tell no lies, George, that I promise you; and do no more than coincide in those which are necessary and pass current, and can't be got in without recalling the whole circulation. Give a man at least the advantage of his sceptical turn. If I find a good thing to say in the House, I will say it; a good measure, I will support it; a fair place, I will take it, and be glad of my luck. But I would no more flatter a great man than a mob : and now you know as much about my politics as I do. What call have I to be a Whig? Whiggism is not a divine institution. Why not vote with the Liberal Conservatives? They have done for the nation what the Whigs would never have done without them. Who converted both?-the Radicals and the country outside, I think the Morning Post' is often right, and 'Punch' is often wrong. I don't profess a call, but take advantage of a chance. Parlons d'autre chose."
"The next thing at your heart, after ambition, is love, I suppose?" Warrington said. "How have our young
loves prospered? Are we going to change our condition, and give up our chambers? Are you going to divorse me, Arthur, and take unto yourself a wife?
"I suppose so. She is very good-natured and lively. She sings, and she don't mind smoking. She'll have a fair fortune-I don't know how much-but my uncle augurs everything from the Begum's generosity, and says that she will come down very handsomely. And I think Blanche is dev'lish fond of me," said Arthur, with a sigh.
"That means that we accept her caresses and her money.
"Haven't we said before that life was a transaction?" Pendennis said. "I don't pretend to break my heart about her. I have told her pretty fairly what my feelings are-and-and have engaged myself to her. And since I saw her last, and for the last two months especially, whilst I have been in the country, I think she has been growing fonder and fonder of me; and her letters to me, and especially to Laura, seem to show it. Mine have been simple enough -no raptures nor vows, you understand-but looking upon the thing as an affaire faite; and not desirous to hasten or defer the completion."
"And Laura? how is she?" Warrington asked frankly.
Laura, George," said Pen, looking his friend hard in the face-"by Heaven, Laura is the best and noblest, and dearest girl the sun ever shone upon." His own voice fell as he spoke it seemed as if he could hardly utter the words: he stretched out his hand to his comrade, who took it and nodded his head.
"Have you only found out that now, young un?" Warrington said after a
"Who has not learned things too late, George?" cried Arthur, in his impetuous way, gathering words and emotion as he went on. "Whose life is not a disappointment? Who carries his heart entire to the grave without a mutilation? I never knew anybody who was happy quite or who has not had to ransom himself out of the hands of Fate with the payment of some dearest treasure or other. Lucky if we are left alone afterwards, when we have paid our fine, and
if the tyrant visits us no more. Suppose I have found out that I have lost the greatest prize in the world, now that it can't be mine-that for years I had an angel under my tent, and let her go?am I the only one-ah, dear old boy, am I the only one? And do you think my lot is easier to bear because I own that I deserve it? She's gone from us. God's blessing be with her! She might have staid, and I lost her; it's like Undine isn't it, George?"
"She was in this room once," said George.
He saw her there-he heard the sweet low voice-he saw the sweet smile and eyes shining so kindly-the face remembered so fondly-thought of in what night-watches-blest and loved alwaysgone now! A glass that had held a nosegay-a Bible with Helen's handwriting-were all that were left him of that brief flower of his life. Say it is a dream say it passes: better the recollection of a dream than an aimless waking from a blank stupor.
The two friends sate in silence awhile, each occupied with his own thoughts and aware of the other's. Pen broke it presently, by saying that he must go and seek for his uncle, and report progress to the old gentleman. The Major had written in a very bad humour; the Major was getting old. "I should like to see you in Parliament, and snugly settled with a comfortable house and an heir to the name before I make my bow. Show me these," the Major wrote, "and then,
let old Arthur Pendennis make room for the younger fellows; he has walked the Pall Mail pave long enough."
"There is a kindness about the old heathen," said Warrington. "He cares for somebody besides himself, at least for some other part of himself besides that which is buttoned into his own coat;-for you and your race. He would like to see the progeny of the Pendennisses multiplying and increasing, and hopes that they may inherit the land. The old patriarch blesses you from the Club window of Bays's, and is carried off and buried under the flags of St. James's Church, in sight of Piccadilly, and the cab-stand, and the carriages going to the levee. It is an edifying ending,"
"The new blood I bring into the family," mused Pen, "is rather tainted. If I had chosen, I think my father-inlaw Amory would not have been the progenitor I should have desired for my race; nor my grandfather-in-law Snell; nor our oriental ancestors. By the way, who was Amory? Amory was lieutenant of an Indiaman. Blanche wrote some verses about him, about the storm, the mountain wave, the seaman's grave, the gallant father, and that so of thing. Amory was drowned commanding a country ship between Calcutta and Sydney; Amory and the Begum weren't happy together. She has been unlucky in her selection of husbands, the good old lady, for, between ourselves, a more despicable creature than Sir Francis Clavering, of Clavering Park, Baronet, never-” "Never legislated for his country," broke in Warrington; at which Pen blushed rather.
"By the way, at Baden," said Warrington, "I found our friend the Chevalier Strong in great state, and wearing his orders. He told me that he had quarrelled with Clavering, of whom he seemed to have almost as bad an opinion as you have, and in fact, I think, though I will not be certain, confided to me his opinion, that Clavering was an utter Scoundrel. That fellow Bloundell, who taught you card-playing at Oxbridge, was with Strong; and time, I think, has brought out his valuable qualities, and rendered him a more accomplished rascal than he was during your undergraduateship. But the king of the place was the famous Colonel Altamont, who was carrying all before him, giving fetes to the whole society, and breaking the bank, it was said."
"Well, young un," said he, simply, "I like you to be a buck, somehow. When I walk about with you, it is as if I had a rose in my button-hole. And you are still affable." I don't think there is any young fellow in the Temple turns out like you; and I don't believe you were ever ashamed of walking with me yet.
"Don't laugh at me, George," said Pen.
"I say, Pen," continued the other, sadly, if you write-if you write to Laura, I wish you would say 'God bless her,' from me.
Pen blushed; and then looked at Warrington; and then-and then burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughing.
"I'm going to dine with her," he said. "I brought her and Lady Rockminster up from the country to-daymade two days of it-slept last night at Bath-I say, George, come and dine, too. I may ask any one I please, and the old lady is constantly talking about you."
George refused. George had an article to write. George hesitated; and oh, strange to say! at last he agreed to go. It was agreed that they should go and call upon the ladies; and they marched away in high spirits to the hotel in Jermyn Street. Once more the dear face shone upon him; once more the sweet
THE dinner was served when Arthur returned, and Lady Rockminster began to scold him for arriving late. But Laura, looking at her cousin, saw that his face was so pale and scared, that she interrupted her imperious patroness; and asked, with tender alarm, what had happened? Was Arthur ill?
Arthur drank a large bumper of sherry. "I have heard the most extraordinary news; I will tell you afterwards," he said, looking at the servants. He was very nervous and agitated during the dinner. "Don't tramp and beat so with your feet under the table," Lady Rockminster said. "You have trodden on Fido, and upset his saucer. You see Mr. Warrington keeps his boots quiet."
At the dessert-it seemed as if the unlucky dinner would never be overLady Rockminster said, "This dinner has been exceedingly stupid. I suppose something has happened, and that you want to speak to Laura. I will go and have my nap. I am not sure that I shall have any tea-no. Good night, Mr. Warrington. You must come again, and when there is no business to talk about." And the old lady, tossing up her head, walked away from the room with great dignity.
George and the others had risen with
her, and Warrington was about to go away, and was saying "Good night" to Laura, who, of course, was looking much alarmed about her cousin, when Arthur said," Pray, stay, George. You should hear my news too, and give me your counsel in this case. I hardly know how to act in it."
"It's something about Blanche, Arthur," said Laura, her heart beating, and her cheek blushing, as she thought it had never blushed in her life.
"Yes-and the most extraordianry story," said Pen. "When I left you to go to my uncle's lodgings, I found his servant, Morgan, who has been with him so long, at the door, and he said that he and his master had parted that morning; that my uncle had quitted the house, and had gone to an hotel-this hotel. I asked for him when I came in; but he was gone out to dinner. Morgan then said that he had something of a most important nature to communicate to me, and begged me to step into the house; his house it is now. It appears the scoundrel has saved a great deal of money whilst in my uncle's service, and is now a capitalist and a millionaire, for what I know. Well, I went into the house, and what do you think he told me? This must be a secret between us all-at least if we can keep it, now that it is in the possession of that villain. Blanche's father is not dead. He has come to life again. The marriage between Clavering and the Begum is no marriage."
"And Blanche, I suppose, is her grandfather's heir," said Warrington.
"Perhaps but the child of what a father! Amory is an escaped convictClavering knows it; my uncle knows it
and it was with this piece of information held over Clavering in terrorem that the wretched old man got him to give up his borough to me."
"Blanche doesn't know it," said Laura, "nor poor Lady Clavering.' "No," said Pen; "Blanche does not even know the history of her father. She knew that he and her mother had separated, and had heard, as a child, from Bonner, her nurse, that Mr. Amory. was drowned in New South Wales. He was there as a convict, not as a ship's
captain, as the poor girl thought. Lady Clavering has told me that they were not happy, and that her husband was a bad character. She would tell me all, she said, some day and I remember her saying to me, with tears in her eyes, that it was hard for a woman to be forced to own that she was glad to hear her husband was dead: and that twice in her life she should have chosen so badly. What is to be done now? The man can't show and claim his wife: death is probably over him if he discovers himself: return to transportation certainly. But the rascal has held the threat of discovery over Clavering for some time past, and has extorted money from him time after time."
"It is our friend Colonel Altamont, of course," said Warrington: "I see all now."
"If the rascal comes back," continued Arthur, "Morgan, who knows his secret, will use it over him-and having it in his possession, proposes to extort money from us all. The d-d rascal supposed I was cognisant of it," said Pen, white with anger; "asked me if I would give him an annuity to keep it quiet; threatened me, me, as if I was trafficking with this wretched old Begum's misfortune; and would extort a seat in Parliament out of that miserable Clavering. Good heavens! was my uncle mad, to tamper in such a conspiracy? Fancy our mother's son, Laura, trading on such a treason!"
"I can't fancy it, dear Arthur," said Laura; seizing Arthur's hand, and kissing it."
"No!" broke out Warrington's deep voice, with a tremor; he surveyed the two generous and loving young people with a pang of indescribable love and pain. "No. Our boy can't meddle with such a wretched intrigue as that. Arthur Pendennis can't marry a convict's daughter; and sit in Parliament as member for the hulks. You must wash your hands of the whole affair, Pen. You must break off. You must give no explanations of why and wherefore, but state that family reasons render a match impossible. It is better that those poor women should fancy you false to your word than that they should know the