cious, more celestial, he had almost said, than Miss Amory's
music. She was a most gifted being : she had a precious soul :
she had the most remarkable talents â to all outward seeming,
the most heavenly disposition, &c., &c. It was in this way
that, being then at the height of his own fever and bewitch-
ment for Blanche, Smirke discoursed to Arthur about her.
The meeting between the two old acquaintances had been
very cordial. Arthur loved anybody who loved his mother;
Smirke could speak on that theme with genuine feeling and
emotion. They had a hundred things to tell each other of
what had occurred in their lives. "Arthur would perceive,"
Smirke said, "that his â his views on Church matters had de-
veloped themselves since their acquaintance." Mrs. Smirke,
a most exemplary person, seconded them with all her endea-
vours. He had built this little church on his mother's demise,
who had left him provided with a sufficiency of worldly means.
Though in the cloister himself, he had heard of Arthur's re-
putation. He spoke in the kindest and most saddened tone;
he held his eyelids down, and bowed his fair head on one side,
Arthur was immensely amused with him; with his airs; with
his follies and simplicity; with his blank stock and long hair;
with his real goodness, kindness, friendliness of feeling. And
his praises of Blanche pleased and surprised our friend not a
little, and made him regard her with eyes of particular favour.
The truth is, Blanche was very glad to see Arthur; as
one is glad to see an agreeable man in the country, who brings
down the last news and stories from the great city ; who can
talk better than most country folks, at least can talk that dar-
ling London jargon, so dear and indispensable to London
people, so little understood by persons out of the world. The
first day Pen came down, he kept Blanche laughing for hours
after dinner. She sang her songs with redoubled spirit. She
didnot scold her mother; she fondled and kissed her, to the
honest Begum's surprise. When it came to be bed-time, she
said, "i?e/a.'" with the prettiest air of regret possible; and
was really quite sorry to goto bed, and squeezed Arthur's
hand quite fondly. He on his side gave her pretty palm a
very cordial pressure. Our young gentleman was of that turn,
that eyes very moderately bright dazzled hira.
"She is very much improved ," thought Pen, looking out
into the night, very much. I suppose the Begum won't mind
my smoking with the window open. She's a jolly good old
woman, and Blanche is immensely improved. I liked her
manner with her mother to-night. I liked her laughing way
with that stupid young cub of a boy, whom they oughtn't to
allow to get tipsy. She sang those little verses very prettily;
they were devilish pretty verses too, though I say it who
shouldn't say it." And he hummed a tune which Blanche had
put to some verses of his own. " Ah 1 what a fine night 1 How
jolly a cigar is at night! How pretty that little Saxon church
looks in the moonlight! I wonder what old Warrington's doing?
Yes, she 's a dayvlish nice little thing, as my uncle says."
"O heavenly I" Here broke out a voice from a clematis-
covered casement near â a girl's voice : it was the voice of the
author of Mes Larmes.
Pen burst into a laugh. "Don't tell about my smoking,"
he said, leaning out of his own window.
"OI go on! I adore it," cried the lady of Mes Larmes.
"Heavenly night! Heavenly, heavenly moon! but I must
shut my window, and not talk to you on account of les mceurSy
How droll they are , lesmceurs! Adieu." And Pen began to
sing the good night to Don Basilio.
The next day they were walking in the fields together,
laughing and chattering â the gayest pair of friends. They
talked about the days of their youth, and Blanche was prettily
sentimental. They talked about Laura, dearest Laura â
Blanche had loved her as a sister: was she happy with that
odd Lady Rockminster? Wouldn't she come and stay with
them at Tunbridge? O, what walks they would take to-
gether! What songs they would sing â the old, old songs.
Laura's voice was splendid. Did Arthur â she must call him
Arthur â remember the songs they sang in the happy old
days, now he was grown such a great man, and had such a
succes? &c. &c.
And the day after, which was enlivened with a happy
ramble through the woods to Penshurst, and a sight of that
pleasant park and hall, came that conversation with the
curate which we have narrated , and which made our young
friend think more and more.
" Is she all this perfection? " he asked himself. " Has she
become serious and religious? Does she tend schools, and
visit the poor? Is she kind to her mother and brother? Yes,
I am sure of that, I have seen her." And walking with his
old tutor over his little parish, and going to visit his school, it
was with inexpressible delight that Pen found Blanche seated
instructing the children, and fancied to himself how patient
she must be, how good-natured, how ingenuous, how really-
simple in her tastes , and unspoiled by the world.
"And do you really like the country?" he asked her, as
they walked together.
"I should like never to see that odious city again. O
Arthur â that is, Mr. â well, Arthur, then â one's good
thoughts grow up in these sweet woods and calm solitudes,
like those flowers which won't bloom in London, you know.
The gardener comes and changes our balconies once a week.
I don't think I shall bear to look London in the face again â
its odious, smoky, brazen face I But, heighol"
"Why that sigh, Blanche?"
"Never mind why."
"Yes , I do mind why. Tell me, tell me everything."
" 1 wish you hadn't come down ; ' ' and a second edition of
Mes Soupirs came out.
" You don't want me , Blanche ? "
"I don't want you to go away. I don't think this house
will be very happy without you, and that 's why I wish that you
never had come."
Mes Soupirs were here laid aside , and Mes Larmes had
Ah! What answer is given to those in the eyes of a young
woman? What is the method employed for drying them?
What took place? O ringdoves and roses, O dews and wild-
flowers, O waving greenwoods and balmy airs of summer!
Here were two battered London rakes, taking themselves in
for a moment, and fancying that they were in love with each
other, like Phillis and Corydon I
When one thinks of country houses and country walks, one
wonders that any man is left unmarried.
Easy and frank-spoken as Pendennis commonly was with
Warrington, how came it that Arthur did not inform the friend
and depositary of all his secrets , of the little circumstances
which had taken place at the villa near Tunbridge Wells ? He
talked about the discovery of his old tutor Smirke, freely
enough, and of his wife, and of his Anglo-Norman church,
and of his departure from Clapham to Rome; but, when asked
about Blanche, his answers were evasive or general; he said
she was a good-natured clever little thing, that rightly guided
she might make no such bad wife after all , but that he had for
the moment no intention of marriage, that his days of
romance were over, that he was contented with his present
lot, and so forth.
In the meantime there came occasionally to Lamb Court,
Temple, pretty little satin envelopes, superscribed in the
neatest handwriting, and sealed with one of those admirable
ciphers, which, if Warrington had been curious enough to
watch his friend's letters, or indeed if the cipher had been
decipherable , would have shown George that Mr. Arthur was
in correspondence with a young lady whose initials were B. A.
To these pretty little compositions Mr. Pen replied in his best
and gallantest manner; with jokes, with news of the town,
with points of wit, nay, with pretty little verses very likely,
in reply to the versicles of the Muse of "Mes Larmes."
Blanche we know rhymes with "branch," and "stanch," and
"launch," and no doubt a gentleman of Pen's ingenuity would
not forego these advantages of position, and would ring the
pretty little changes upon these pleasing notes. Indeed we
believe that those love-verses of Mr. Pen's , which had such a
pleasing success in the "Roseleaves," that charming Annual
edited by Lady Violet Lebas, and illustrated by portraits of
the female nobility by the famous artist Pinkney, were com-
posed at this period of our hero's life; and were first addressed
to Blanche, per post, before they figured in print, comets as
it were to Pinkney's pictorial garland.
"Verses are all very well," the elder Pendennis said , who
found Pen scratching down one of these artless effusions at
the Club as he was waiting for his dinner ; " and letter- writing
if mamma allows it, and between such old country friends of
course there may be a correspondence, and that sort of thing
â but mind. Pen, and don't commit yourself, my boy. For
who knows what the doose may happen? The best way is to
make your letters safe. I never wrote a letter in all my life
that would commit me, and demmy, Sir, I have had some
experience of women." And the worthy gentleman , growing
more garrulous and confidential with his nephew as he grew
older, told many afiecting instances of the evil results con-
sequent upon this want of caution to many persons in "so-
ciety;" â how from using too ardent expressions in some
poetical notes to the widow Naylor, young Spoony had sub-
jected himself to a visit of remonstrance from the widow's
brother. Colonel Flint; and thus had been forced into a
marriage with a woman old enough to be his mother: how
when Louisa Salter had at length succeeded in securing young
Sir John Bird, Hopwood, of the Blues, produced some let-
ters which Miss S. had written to him, and caused a with-
drawal on Bird's part, who afterwards was united to Miss
Stickney, of Lyme Regis, &c." The Major, if he had not
reading, had plenty of observation, and could back his wise
saws with a multitude of modern instances, which he had
acquired in a long and careful perusal of the great book of the
Pen laughed at the examples, and blushing a little athia
uncle's remonstrances, said that he would bear them in mind
and be cautious. He blushed, perhaps, because he had borne
them in mind ; because he was cautious : because in his letter
to Miss Blanche he had from instinct or honesty perhaps
refrained from any avowals which might compromise him.
"Don't you remember the lesson I had, Sir, in Lady Mirabel's
â Miss Fotheringay's affair? I am not to be caught again,
uncle," Arthur said with mock frankness and humility. Old
Pendennis congratulated himself and his nephew heartily on
the latter's prudence and progress, and was pleased at the
position which Arthur was taking as a man of the world.
No doubt, if Warrington had been consulted, his opinion
would have been different: and he would have told Pen that
the boy's foolish letters were better than the man's adroit
compliments and slippery gallantries ; that to win the woman
he loves, only a knave or a coward advances under cover,
with subterfuges, and a retreat secured behind him: but
Pen spoke not on this matter to Mr. Warrington, knowing
pretty well that he was guilty , and what his friend's verdict
Colonel Altamont had not been for many weeks absent on
his foreign tour , Sir Francis Clavering having retired mean-
while into the country pursuant to his agreement with Major
Pendennis , when the ills of fate began to fall rather suddenly
and heavily upon the sole remaining partner of the little firm
of Shepherd's Inn. When Strong, at parting with Altamont,
refused the loan proffered by the latter in the fullness of his
purse and the generosity of his heart, he made such a sacrifice
to conscience and delicacy as caused him many an after-
twinge and pang ; and he felt â it was not very many hours in
his life he had experienced the feeling â that in this juncture
of his affairs he had been too delicate and too scrupulous.
Why should a fellow in want refuse a kind offer kindly made?
"Why should a thirsty man decline a pitcher of water from a
friendly hand, because it was a little soiled? Strong's con-
science smote him for refusing what the other had fairly come
by, and generously proffered : and he thought ruefully , now
it was too late, that Altamont's cash would have been as well
in his pocket as in that of the gambling-house proprietor at
Baden or Ems, with whom his Excellency would infallibly
leave his Derby winnings. It was whispered among the trades-
men, bill-discounters, and others who had commercial deal-
ings with Captain Strong, that he and the Baronet had parted
company, and that the Captain's "paper" was henceforth of
no value. The tradesmen, who had put a wonderful con-
fidence in him hitherto , â or who could resist Strong's jolly
face and frank and honest demeanour? â now began to pour
in their bills with a cowardly mistrust and unanimity. The
knocks at the Shepherd's Inn Chambers' door were constant,
and tailors, bootmakers, pastrycooks who had furnished
dinners , in their own persons , or by the boys their represen-
tatives , held levees on Strong's stairs. To these were added
one or two persons of a less clamorous but far more sly and
dangerous sort, â the young clerks of lawyers, namely, who
lurked about the Inn, or concerted with Mr. Campion's young
man in the chambers hard by, having in their dismal pocket-
books copies of writs to be served on Edward Strong, re-
quiring him to appear on an early day next term before our
SovereignLady the Queen, and answer to, &c., &c.
From this invasion of creditors, poor Strong, who had
not a guinea in his pocket , had , of course , no refuge but that
of the Englishman's castle, into which he retired, shutting the
outer and inner door upon the enemy, and not quitting his
stronghold until after nightfall. Against this outer barrier the
foe used to come and knock and curse in vain, whilst the
Chevalier peeped at them from behind the little curtain which
he had put over the orifice of his letter-box; and had the dis-
mal satisfaction of seeing the faces of furious clerk and fiery
dun, as they dashed up against the door and retreated from
it. But as they could not be always at his gate, or sleep on
his staircase, the enemies of the Chevalier sometimes left
Strong, when so pressed by his commercial antagonists,
was not quite alone in his defence against them, but had
secured for himself an ally or two. His friends were instructed
to communicate with him by a system of private signals : and
they thus kept the garrison from starving by bringing in ne-
cessary supplies , and kept up Strong's heart and prevented
him from surrendering by visiting him and cheering him in his
retreat. Two of Ned's most faithful allies were Huxter and
Miss Fanny Bolton: when hostile visitors were prowling about
the Inn, Fanny's little sisters were taught a particular cry or
jodel, which they innocently whooped in the court: when
Fanny and Huxter came up to visit Strong, they archly sang
this same note at his door; when that barrier was straightway
opened, the honest garrison came out smiling, the provisions
and the pot of porter were brought in, and in the society of
his faithful friends the beleaguered one passed a comfortable
night. There are some men who could not live under this
excitement, but Strong was a brave man, as we have said,
who had seen service and never lost heart in peril.
But besides allies, our general had secured for himself,
under difficulties , that still more necessary aid , â a retreat.
It has been mentioned in a former part of this history, how
Messrs. Costigan and Bows lived in the house next door to
Captain Strong, and that the window of one of their rooms
was not very far ofi" the kitchen-window which was situated in
the upper story of Strong's chambers. A leaden water-pipe
and gutter served for the two ; and Strong, looking out from
his kitchen one day, saw that he could spring with great ease
up to the sill of his neighbour's window , and clamber up the
pipe which communicated from one to the other. He had
laughingly shown this refuge to his chum, Altamont ; and they
had agreed that it would be as well not to mention the circum-
stance to Captain Costigan , whose duns were numerous , and
who would be constantly flying down the pipe into their apart-
ments if this way of escape were shown to him.
But now that the evil days were come, Strong made use of
the passage, and one afternoon burst in upon Bows and
Costigan with his jolly face , and explained that the enemy was
in waiting on his staircase , and that he had taken this means
of giving them the slip. So while Mr. Marks's aid- de-camps
were in waiting in the passage of No. 3, Strong walked down
the steps of No. 4, dined at the Albion, went to the play, and
returned home at midnight, to the astonishment of Mrs. Bol-
ton and Fanny, who had not seen him quit his chambers and
could not conceive how he could have passed the line of
Strong bore this siege for some weeks with admirable spi-
rit and resolution, and as only such an old and brave soldier
would, for the pains and privations which he had to endure
were enough to depress any man of ordinary courage ; and
what vexed and "riled" him (to use his own expression) was
the infernal indifference and cowardly ingratitude of Claver-
ing, to whom he wrote letter after letter, which the Baronet
never acknowledged by a single word, or by the smallest re-
mittance, though a five-pound note, as Strong said, at that
time would have been a fortune to him.
But better days were in store for the Chevalier, and in the
midst of his despondency and perplexities there came to him
a most welcome aid. "Yes, if it hadn't been for this good
fellow here," said Strong; "for a good fellow you are, Alta-
mont, my boy, and hang me if I don't stand by you as long as
I live; I think, Pendennis, it would have been all up with
Ned Strong. It was the fifth week of my being kept a priÂ»
soner, for I couldn't be always risking my neck across that
water-pipe, and taking my walks abroad through poor old
Cos's window, and my spirit was quite broken, Sir â dammy,
quite beat, and I was thinking of putting an end to myself,
and should have done it in another week, when who should
drop down from heaven but Altamont 1"
"Heaven ain't exactly the place, Ned," said Altamont.
"I came from Baden-Baden," said he, "and I'd had a
deuced lucky month there, that 's all."
"Well, Sir, he took up Marks's bill, and he paid the
other fellows that were upon me, like a man. Sir, that he
did," said Strong, enthusiastically.
"And I shall be very happy to stand a bottle of claret for
this company, and as many more as the company chooses,"
said Mr. Altamont, with a blush. "Hallo I waiter, bring us
a magnum of the right sort, do you hear? And we '11 drink
our healths all round, Sir â and may every good fellow like
Strong find another good fellow to stand by him at a pinch.
That 's my sentiment, Mr. Pendennis, though I don't like
"No! And why?" asked Arthur.
Strong pressed the Colonel's foot under the table here ;
and Altamont, rather excited, filled up another bumper,
nodded to Pen, drank off his wine, and said, "^e was a
gentleman, and that was sufficient, and they were all gen-
The meeting between these "all gentlemen" took place at
Richmond, whither Pendennis had gone to dinner, and where
he found the Chevalier and his friend at table in the coffee-
room. Both of the latter were exceedingly hilarious , talka-
tive, and excited by wine; and Strong, who was an admira-
ble story-teller, told the story of his own siege, and adven-
tures, and escapes with great liveliness and humour, and de-
scribed the talk of the sheriff's officers at his door, the pretty
little signals of Fanny, the grotesque exclamations of Costigan
when the Chevalier burst in at his window, and his final rescue
by Altamont , in a most graphic manner , and so as greatly to
interest his hearers.
"As for me, it 's nothing," Altamont said. "When a
ship's paid off, a chap spends his money, you know. And
it 's the fellers at the black and red at Baden-Baden that did it.
I won a good bit of money there, and intend to win a good bit
more, don't I, Strong? I 'm going to take him with me. I've
got a system. I '11 make his fortune, I tell you. I '11 make
your fortune, if you like â dammy, everybody's fortune.
But what I '11 do , and no mistake, boys , I promise you. I '11
put in for that little Fanny. Dammy, Sir, what do you think
she did? She had two pound, and 1 'm blest if she didn't go
and lend it to Ned Strong! Didn't she, Ned? Let 's drink her
"With all my heart," said Arthur, and pledged this toast
with the greatest cordiality.
Mr. Altamont then began, with the greatest volubility,
and at great length, to describe his system. He said that it
was infallible, if played with coolness; that he had it from a
chap at Baden, who had lost by it, it was true, but because
he had not capital enough; if he could have stood one more
turn of the wheel, he would have all his money back; that he
and several more chaps were going to make a bank , and try
it ; and that he would put every shilling he was worth into It,
and had come back to this country for the express purpose of
fetching away his money, and Captain Strong; that Strong
should play for him ; that he could trust Strong and his temper
much better than he could his own, and much better than
Bloundell-Bloundell or the Italian that "stood in." As he
emptied his bottle, the Colonel described at full length all his
plans and prospects to Pen, who was interested in listening to
his story, and the confessions of his daring and lawless good-
"I met that queer fellow Altamont the other day," Pen
said to his uncle, a day or two afterwards.
"Altamont? What Altamont? There 's Lord Westport's
son," said the Major.
"No, no; the fellow who came tipsy into Clavering's di-
ning-room one day when we were there," said the nephew,
laughing; "and he said he did not like the name of Pendennis,
though he did me the honour to think that I was a good
"I don't know any man of the name of Altamont, I give
you my honour," said the impenetrable Major ; "and as for
your acquaintance , I think the less you have to do with him
the better, Arthur."
Arthur laughed again. "He is going to quit the country,
and make his fortune by a gambling system. He and my
amiable college acquaintance, Bloundell, are partners, and
the Colonel takes out Strong with him as aid-de-camp. What
is it that binds the Chevalier and Clavering, 1 wonder? "
"I should think, mind you, Pen, I should think, but of
course I have only the idea, that there has been something in
Clavering's previous life which gives these fellows and some
others a certain power over him; and if there should be such
a secret, which is no affair of ours, my boy, dammy, I say,
it ought to be a lesson to a man to keep himself straight in life,
and not to give any man a chance over him."
"Why, I think you have some means of persuasion over
Clavering, uncle, or why should he give me that seat In
"Clavering thinks he ain't fit for Parliament," the Major
answered. "No more he Is. What's to prevent him from
putting you or anybody else Into his place If he likes? Do you
think that the Government or the Opposition would make any
bones about accepting the seat If he ofiered it to them? Why
should you be more squeamish than the first men, and the
most honourable men , and men of the highest birth and po-
sition in the country, begad?" The Colonel had an answer of
this kind to most of Pen's objections, and Pen accepted his
uncle's replies, not so much because he believed them, but
because he wished to believe them. We do a thing â which
of us has not? â not because "everybody does It," but be-
cause we like it; and our acquiescence, alas! proves not
that everybody is right, but that we and the rest of the world
are poor creatures alike.
At his next visit to Tunbridge , Mr. Pen did not forget to
amuse Miss Blanche with the history which he had learned at
Richmond of the Chevalier's imprisonment, and of Alta-
mont's gallant rescue. And after he had told his tale in his
usual satirical way, he mentioned with praise and emotion
little Fanny's generous behaviour to the Chevalier, and Alta-
mont's enthusiasm in her behalf.