cried. I '11 take the letter to Arthur and ask him now. Look
at him there. He 's on the terrace with Mr. Warrington. They
are talking to some children. My boy was always fond of
children. He 's innocent , thank God â thank God I Let me
go to him."
Old Pendennis had his own opinion. When he briskly took
the not guilty side of the case, but a moment before, very
likely the old gentleman had a different view from that which
he chose to advocate, and judged of Arthur by what he him-
self would have done. If she goes to Arthur, and he speaks
the truth, as the rascal will, it spoils all, he thought. And
he tried one more eflfort.
"My dear, good soul," he said, taking Helen's hand and
kissing it, "as your son has not acquainted you with this
affair, think if you have any right to examine it. As you
believe him to be a man of honour, what right have you to
doubt his honour in this instance? Wlio is his accuser? An
anonymous scoundrel who has brought no specific charge
against him. If there were any such, wouldn't the girl's
parents have come forward? He is not called upon to rebut,
nor you to entertain an anonymous accusation; and as for
believing him guilty because a girl of that rank happened to be
in his rooms acting as nurse to him, begad you might as well
Pendennis. III. 9
insist upon his marrying that dem'd old Irish gin-drinking
laundress, Mrs. Flanagan."
The widow burst out laughing through her tears â the
victory was gained by the old general.
"Marry Mrs. Flanagan, by Ged," he continued, tapping
her slender hand. "No. The boy has told you nothing about
it, and you know nothing about it. The boy is innocent â
of course. And what, my good soul, is the course for us to
pursoo? Suppose he is attached to this girl â don't look sad
again, it 's merely a supposition â and begad a young fellow
may have an attachment, mayn't he? â Directly he gets well
he will be at her again."
"He must come home ! We must go off directly to Fair-
oaks,'* the widow cried out.
"My good creature, he '11 bore himself to death at Fair-
oaks. He '11 have nothing to do but to think about his passion
there. There 's no place in the world for making a little
passion into a big one, and where a fellow feeds on his own
thoughts, like a dem'd lonely country-house where there's
nothing to do. We must occupy him: amuse him: we must
take him abroad: he 's never been abroad except to Paris for
a lark. We must travel a little. He must have a nurse with
him, to take great care of him, for Goodenough says he had
a dev'lish narrow squeak of it (don't look frightened) , and
so you must come and watch: and I suppose you '11 take Miss
Bell, and I should like to ask Warrington to come. Arthur 's
dev'lish fond of Warrington. He can't do without Warring-
ton. Warrington's family is one of the oldest in England,
and he is one of the best young fellows I ever met in my life.
I like him exceedingly."
"Does Mr. Warrington know anything about this â this
affair?" asked Helen. "He had been away, I know, for two
months before it happened ; Pen wrote me so."
"Not a word â I â I 've asked him about it. I *ve pumped
him. He never heard of the transaction, never; I pledge you
my word," cried out the Major, in some alarm. "And, my
dear, I think you had much best not talk to him about it â
much best not â of course not: the subject is most delicate
The simple widow took her brother's hand and pressed
it. "Thank you, brother," she said. "You have been very,
very kind to me. You have given me a great deal of comfort.
I '11 go to my room, and think of what you have said. This
illness and these â â these emotions â have agitated me a
great deal; and I 'm not very strong, you know. But I '11 go
and thank God that my boy is innocent. He is innocent.
Isn't he, Sir?"
"Yes, my dearest creature, yes,'* said the old fellow,
kissing her affectionately, and quite overcome by her tender-
ness. He looked after her as she retreated, with a fondness
which was rendered more piquant, as it were, by the mixture
of a certain scorn which accompanied it. "Innocent!" he
said; "I'd swear, till I was black in the face, he was inno-
cent, rather than give that good soul pain."
Having achieved this victory, the fatigued and happy
warrior laid himself down on the sofa, and put his yellow silk
pocket-handkerchief over his face, and indulged in a snug
little nap, of which the dreams, no doubt, were very pleasant,
as he snored with refreshing regularity. The young men
sate, meanwhile, dawdling away the sunshiny hours on the
terrace, very happy, and Pen, at least, very talkative. He
was narrating to Warrington a plan for a new novel , and a
new tragedy. Warrington laughed at the idea of his writing
a tragedy? By Jove, he would show that he could; and he
began to spout some of the lines of his play.
The little solo on the wind instrument which the Major was
performing was interrupted by the entrance of Miss Bell. She
had been on a visit to her old friend, Lady Rockminster, who
had taken a summer villa in the neighbourhood ; and who,
hearing of Arthur's illness, and his mother's arrival at Rich-
mond, had visited the latter; and, for the benefit of the
former, whom she didn't like, had been prodigal of grapes,
partridges, and other attentions. For Laura the old lady had
a great fondness, and longed that she should come and stay
with her; but Laura could not leave her mother at this junc-
ture. Worn out by constant watching over Arthur's health,
Helen's own had suffered very considerably; and Doctor
Goodenough had had reason to prescribe for her as well as for
his younger patient.
Old Pendennis started up on the entrance of the young
lady. His slumbers were easily broken. He made her a
gallant speech â he had been full of gallantry towards her
of late. Where had she been gathering those roses which
she wore on her cheeks? How happy he was to be disturbed
out of his dreams by such a charming reality ! Laura had
plenty of humour and honesty; and these two caused her to
have on her side something very like a contempt for the old
gentleman. It delighted her to draw out his worldlinesses,
and to make the old habitue of clubs and drawing-rooms tell
his twaddling tales about great folks, and expound his views
Not in this instance, however, was she disposed to be
satirical. She had been to drive with Lady Rockminster in
the Park, she said ; and she had brought home game for Pen,
and flowers for mamma. She looked very grave about
mamma. She had just been with Mrs. Pendennis. Helen
was very much worn, and she feared she was very, very ill.
Her large eyeg filled with tender marks of the sympathy which
she felt in her beloved friend's condition. She was alarmed
about her. Could not that good Â« - that dear Dr. Goodenough
"Arthur's illness, and other mental anxiety," the Major
slowly said, "had, no doubt, shaken Helen." A burning
blush upon the girl's face showed that she understood the old
man's allusions. But she looked him full in the face and made
no reply. "He might have spared me that," she thought.
"What is he aiming at in recalling that shame to me?"
That he had an aim in view is very possible. The old
diplomatist seldom spoke without some such end. Doctor
Goodenough had talked to him, he said, about their dear
friend's health, and she wanted rest and change of sceneâ yes,
change of scene. Painful circumstances which had occurred
must be forgotten and never alluded to ; he begged pardon
for even hinting at them to Miss Bell â he never should do so
again â nor, he was sure, would she. Everything must be
done to soothe and comfort their friend, and his proposal
was that they should go abroad for the autumn to a watering-
place in the Rhine neighbourhood, where Helen might rally
her exhausted spirits, and Arthur try and become a new man.
Of course, Laura would not forsake her mother?
Of course not. It was about IJelen, and Helen only â
that is, about Arthur too for her sake that Laura was anxious.
She would go abroad or anywhere with Helen.
And Helen having thought the matter over for an hour in
her room, had by that time grown to be as anxious for the
tour as any school-boy, who has been reading a book of
voyages, is eager to go to sea. Whither should they go? the
farther the better â to some place so remote that even re-
collection could not follow them thither: so delightful that
Pen should never want to leave it â anywhere so that he
could be happy. She opened her desk with trembling fingers
and took out her banker's book, and counted up her little
savings. If more was wanted, she had the diamond cross.
She would borrow from Laura again. "Let us go â let us
go," she thought; "directly he can bear the journey let us go
away. Come, kind Doctor Goodenough â come quick, and
give us leave to quit England."
The good Doctor drove over to dine with them that very
day. "If you agitate yourself so," he said to her, "and if
your heart beats so, and if you persist in being so anxious
about a young gentleman who is getting well as fast as he can,
we shall have you laid up, and Miss Laura to watch you ; and
then it will be her turn to be ill, and I should like to know how
the deuce a doctor is to live who is obliged to come and attend
you all for nothing? Mrs. Goodenough is already jealous
of you, and says, with perfect justice, that I fall in love with
my patients. And you must please to get out of the country
as soon as ever you can, that I may have a little peace in my
When the plan of going abroad was proposed to Arthur,
it was received by that gentleman with the greatest alacrity
and enthusiasm. He longed to be off at once. He let his
mustachios grow from that very moment, in order, I suppose,
that he might get his mouth into training for a perfect French
and German pronunciation ; and he was seriously disquieted
in his mind because the mustachios, when they came, were of
a decidedly red colour. He had looked forward to an autumn
at Fairoaks; and perhaps the Idea of passing two or three
months there did not amuse the young man. "There is not a
soul to speak to in the place," he said to Warrington. "I
can't stand old Portman's sermons, and pompous after-dinner
conversation. I know all old Glanders's stories about the
Peninsular war. The Claverings are the only Christian people
in the neighbourhood, and they are not to be at home before
Christmas, my uncle says: besides, Warrington, I want to
get out of the country. Whilst you were away, confound it,
I had a temptation, from which I am very thankful to have
escaped, and which I count that even my illness came very
luckily to put an end to.'* And here he narrated to his friend
the circumstances of the Vauxhall affair, with which the reader
is already acquainted.
Warrington looked very grave when he heard this story.
Putting the moral delinquency out of the question, he was
extremely glad for Arthur's sake that the latter had escaped
from a danger which might have made his whole life
wretched; "which certainly," said Warrington, "would have
occasioned the wretchedness and ruin of the other party.
And your mother and â and your friends â what a pain it
would have been to theml" urged Pen's companion, little
knowing what grief and annoyance these good people had
"Not a word to my mother!" Pen cried out, in a state of
great alarm. " She would never get over it. An esclandre
of that sort would kill her, I do believe. And," he added,
with a knowing air, and as if, like a young rascal of a
Lovelace, he had been engaged in what are called affaires
de cceur, all his life; "the best way, when a danger of that
sort menaces, is not to face it, but to turn one's back on it
"And were you very much smitten?" Warrington
"Hml" said Lovelace. "She dropped herb's, but she
was a dear little girl."
O Clarissas of this life, O you poor little ignorant vain
foolish maidens I if you did but know the way in which the
Lovelaces speak of you: if you could but hear Jack talking
to Tom across the coffee-room of a Club ; or see Ned taking
your poor little letters out of his cigar-case, and handing them
over to Charley, and Billy, and Harry across the mess-room
table, you would not be so eager to write, or so ready to
listen! There 's a sort of crime which is not complete unless
the lucky rogue boasts of it afterwards; and the man who
betrays your honour in the first place, is pretty sure, remem-
ber that, to betray your secret too.
"It's hard to fight, and it's easy to fall," Warrington
said gloomily. "And as you say, Pendennis, when a danger
like this is imminent, the best way is to turn your back on it
After this little discourse upon a subject about which
Pen would have talked a great deal more eloquently a month
back, the conversation reverted to the plans for going abroad,
and Arthur eagerly pressed his friend to be of the party.
Warrington was a part of the family â a part of the cure.
Arthur said he should not have half the pleasure without
But George said no, he couldn't go. He must stop at
home and take Pen's place. The other remarked that that
was needless, for Shandon was now come back to London,
and Arthur was entitled to a holiday.
"Don't press me," Warrington said, "I can't go. I've
particular engagements. I 'm best at home. I 've not got the
money to travel, that 's the long and short of it â for travel-
ling costs money, you know."
This little obstacle seemed fatal to Pen. He mentioned
it to his mother: Mrs. Pendennis was very sorr)'-; Mr. War-
rington had been exceedingly kind; but she supposed he
knew best about his affairs. And then, no doubt, she re-
proached herself, for selfishness in wishing to carry the boy
off and have him to herself altogether.
"What is this I hear from Pen, my dear Mr. Warring-
ton?" the Major asked one day, when the pair were alone
and after Warrington's objection had been stated to him.
"Not go with us? We can't hear of such a thing â Pen won't
get well without you. I promise you, I 'm not going to be his
nurse. He must have somebody with him that 's stronger and
gayer and better able to amuse him than a rheumatic old fogy
like me. I shall go to Carlsbad very likely, when I 've seen
you peopie settle down. Travelling costs nothing now-a-
days â or so little ! And â and pray, Warrington, remember
that I was your father's very old friend, and if you and your
brother are not on such terms as to enable you to -~ to anti-
cipate your younger brother's allowance, I beg you to make
me your banker, for hasn't Pen been getting into your debt
these three weeks past, during which you have been doing
what he informs me is his work, with such exemplary talent
and genius, begad? "
Still, In spite of this kind offer and unheard-of generosity
on the part of the Major, George Warrington refused, and
said he would stay at home. But it was with a faltering
voice and an irresolute accent which showed how much
he would like to go, though his tongue persisted in saying
But the Major's persevering benevolence was not to be
baulked in this way. At the tea-table that evening, Helen
happening to be absent from the room for the moment, look-
ing for Pen who had gone to roost, old Pendennis returned
to the charge and rated Warrington for refusing to join in
their excursion. "Isn't it ungallant. Miss Bell?" he said,
turning to that young lady. "Isn't it unfriendly? Here we
have been the happiest party in the world, and this odious
selfish creature breaks it up I "
Miss Bell's long eye-lashes looked down towards her tea-
cup: and Warrington blushed hugely but did not speak.
Neither did Miss Bell speak: but when he blushed she
"You ask him to come, my dear," said the benevolent
old gentleman, "and then perhaps he will listen to you â "
"Why should Mr. Warrington listen to me?*' asked the
young lady, putting the query to her tea-spoon seemingly and
not to the Major.
"Ask him; you have not asked him," said Pen's artless
"I should be very glad, indeed, if Mr. Warrington would
come," remarked Laura to the tea-spoon.
" Would you ? " said George.
She looked up and said, "Yes." Their eyes met. "I
will go anywhere you ask me, or do any thing," said
George, lowly, and forcing out the words as if they gave him
Old Pendennls was delighted; the affectionate old crea-
ture clapped his hands and cried "Bravo! bravo I It's a
bargain â a bargain, begad! Shake hands on it, young
people!" And Laura, with a look full of tender brightness,
put out her hand to Warrington. He took hers; his face
indicated a strange agitation. He seemed to be about to
apeak, when, from Pen's neighbouring room Helen entered,
looking at them as the candle which she held lighted her pale
Laura blushed more red than ever and withdrew her
"What is it?" Helen asked.
"It's a bargain we have been making, my dear crea-
ture," said the Major in his most caressing voice. " We have
just bound over Mr. Warrington in a promise to come abroad
"Indeed!" Helen said.
In which Fanny engages a new medical man.
Could Helen have suspected that, with Pen's returning
strength , his unhappy partiality for little Fanny would also
reawaken? Though she never spoke a word regarding that
young person, after her conversation with the Major, and
though, to all appearance, she utterly ignored Fanny's exist-
ence, yet Mrs. Pendennis kept a particularly close watch upon
all Master Arthur's actions; on the plea of ill-health , would
scarcely let him out of her sight ; and was especially anxious
that he should he spared the trouble of all correspondence for
the present at least. Very likely Arthur looked at his own
letters with some tremor; very likely, as he received them at
the famiiy table, feeling his mother's watch upon him (though
the good soul's eye seemed fixed upon her tea-cup or her book),
he expected daily to see a little hand- writing, which he would
have known, though he had never seen it yet, and his heart
beat as he received the letters to his address. Was he more
pleased or annoyed, that, day after day, his expectations
were not realised; and was his mind relieved, that there came
no letter from Fanny? Though, no doubt, in these matters,
when Lovelace is tired of Clarissa (or the contrary), it is best
for both parties to break at once, and each, after the failure
of the attempt at union, to go his own way, and pursue his
course through life solitary; yet our self-love, or our pity, or
our sense of decency, does not like that sudden bankruptcy.
Before we announce to the world that our firm of Lovelace and
Co. can't meet its engagements, we try to make compromises:
we have mournful meetings of partners: we delay the putting
up of the shutters, and the dreary announcement of the failure.
It must come : but we pawn our jewels to keep things going a
little longer. On the "whole, I dare say, Pen was rather an*
noyed that he had no remonstrances from Fanny. What!
could she part from him, and never so much as once look
round? could she sink, and never once hold a little hand out,
or cry, "Help, Arthur?" Well, well: they don't all go
down who venture on that voyage. Some few drown when the
vessel founders; but most are only ducked, and scramble to
shore. And the reader's experience of A. Pendennis, Esquire,
of the Upper Temple, will enable him to state whether that
gentleman belonged to the class of persons who were likely to
sink or to swim.
Though Pen was as yet too weak to walk half a mile; and
might not, on account of his precious health, be trusted to
take a drive in a carriage by himself, and without a nurse in
attendance; yet Helen could not keep watch over Mr. War-
rington too , and had no authority to prevent that gentleman
from going to London if business called him thither. Indeed,
if he had gone and stayed, perhaps the widow, from reasons
of her own, would have been glad; but she checked these
selfish wishes as soon as she ascertained or owned them ; and,
remembering Warrington's great regard and services, and
constant friendship for her boy, received him as a member of
her family almost, with her usual melancholy kindness and
submissive acquiescence. Yet somehow, one moraing when
his affairs called him to town, she divined what Warrington's
errand was , and that he was gone to London to get news
about Fanny for Pen.
Indeed, Arthur had had some talk with his friend, and
told him more at large what his adventures had been with
Fanny (adventures which the reader knows already), and
what were his feelings respecting her. He was very thankful
that he had escaped the great danger, to which Warrington
said Amen heartily : that he had no great fault wherewith to
reproach himself In regard of his behaviour to her, but that if
they parted, as they must, he would be glad to say a God
bless her, and to hope that she would remember him kindly.
In his discourse with Warrington he spoke upon these matters
with so much gravity, and so much emotion, that George,
who had pronounced himself most strongly for the separation
too , began to fear that his friend was not so well cured as he
boasted of being; and that, if the two were to come together
again, all the danger and the temptation might have to be
fought once more. And with what result? "It is hard to
struggle, Arthur, and it is easy to fall," Warrington said:
"and the best courage for us poor wretches is to fly from
danger. I would not have been what I am now, had I prac-
tised what I preach."
"And what did you practise, George? " Pen asked, eagerly.
"I knew there was something. Tell us about it, Warrington."
"There was something that can't be mended, and that
shattered my whole fortunes early," Warrington answered.
"I said I would tell you about it some day, Pen : and will, but
not now. Take the moral without the fable now, Pen, my
boy; and if you want to see a man whose whole life has been
wrecked, by an unlucky rock against which he struck as a boy
â here he is , Arthur : and so I warn you."
We have shown how Mr. Huxter, m writing home to his
Clavering friends, mentioned that there was a fashionable
club in London of which he was an attendant, and that he was
there in the habit of meeting an Irish officer of distinction,
who, amongst other news, had given that intelligence regard-
ing Pendennis, which the young surgeon had transmitted to
Clavering. This club was no other than the Back Kitchen,
where the disciple of Saint Bartholomew was accustomed to
meet the General, the peculiarities of whose brogue, appear-
ance, disposition, and general conversation, greatly diverted
many young gentlemen who used the Back Kitchen as a place
of nightly entertainment and refreshment. Huxter, who had
a fine natural genius for mimicking everything, whether it was
a favourite tragic or comic actor, a cock on a dunghill, a
corkscrew going into a bottle and a cork issuing thence, or an
Irish officer of genteel connexions who offered himself as an
object of imitation with only too much readiness, talked his
talk, and twanged his poor old long bow whenever drink, a
hearer, and an opportunity occurred, studied our friend the
General with peculiar gusto , and drew the honest fellow out
many anight. A bait, consisting of sixpenny-worth of brandy
and water, the worthy old man was sure to swallow: and
under the influence of this liquor, who was more happy than
he to tell his stories of his daughter's triumphs and his own, in
love, war, drink, and polite society? Thus Huxter was
enabled to present to his friends many pictures of Costigan : of
Costigan fighting a jewel in the Phaynix â of Costigan and his
interview with the Juke of York â of Costigan at his sonun-
law's teeble, surrounded by the nobilitee of his countree â of
Costigan, when crying drunk, at which time he was in the
habit of confidentially lamenting his daughter's ingratichewd,
and stating that his grey hairs were hastening to a praymachure
greeve. And thus our friend was the means of bringing a
numberofyoungfellows to the Back Kitchen, who consumed
the landlord's liquors whilst they relished the General's pecu-
liarities, so that mine host pardoned many of the latter's
foibles, in consideration of the good which they brought to
his house. Not the highest position in life was this certainly, or
one which, if we had a reverence for an old man, we would be