Lightfoot," and in imagination she peopled the Clavering
Arms with a Harem of the most hideous chambermaids and
Blanche, with pink and blue, and feathers, and flowers,
and trinkets, (that wondrous invention, a chÂ§,telaine, was
not extant yet, or she would have had one, we may be sure,)
and a shot silk dress, and a wonderful mantle, and a charming
parasol, presented a vision of elegance and beauty such as
bewildered the eyes of Mrs. Bolion, who was scrubbing the
lodge-floor of Shepherd's Inn, and caused Betsy- Jane, and
Ameliarann to look with delignt.
Blanche looked on them with a smile of ineffable sweetness
and protection; like Rowena going to see Ivanhoe ; like Marie
Antoinette visiting the poor in the famine; like the Marchio-
ness of Carabas alighting from her carriage- and -four at a
pauper- tenant's door, and taking from John No. II., the
packet of Epsom salts for the invalid's benefit, carrying it
with her own imperial hand into the sick room â Blanche felt
a queen stepping down from her throne to visit a subject, and
enjoyed all the bland consciousness of doing a good action.
"My good woman! I want to see Fanny - -Fanny Bolton;
is she here?"
Mrs. Bolton had a sudden suspicion, from the splendour
of Blanche's appearance, that it must be a play-actor, or
"What do you want with Fanny, pray?" she asked.
"I am Lady Clavering's daughter â you have heard of Sir
Francis Clavering? And I wish very much indeed to see
"Pray step in. Miss â Betsy- Jane, where 's Fanny?"
Betsy- Jane said Fanny had gone into No. 3 staircase, on
which Mrs. Bolton said she was probably in Strong's rooms,
and bade the child go and see if she was there.
"In Captain Strong's rooml oh, let us go to Captain
Strong's rooms," cried out Miss Blanche. "I know him
very well. You dearest little girl, show us the way to Captain
Strong 1" cried out Miss Blanche, for the floor reeked with
the recent scrubbing, and the goddess did not like the smell
And as they passed up the stairs , a gentleman by the name
of Costigan, who happened to be swaggering about the court,
and gave a very knowing look with his "oi" under Blanche's
bonnet, remarked to himself, " That 's a devilish foine gyurll,
bedad, goan up to Sthrong andAltamont: they're always
having foine gyurlls up their stairs."
"Hallo â hwhat 's that? " he presently said, looking up at
the windows : from which some piercing shrieks issued.
At the sound of the voice of a distressed female the in-
trepid Cos rushed up the stairs as fast as his old legs would
carry him , being nearly overthrown by Strong's servant, who
was descending the stair. Cos found the outer door of Strong's
chambers opened, and began to thunder at the knocker. After
many and fierce knocks, the inner door was partially unclosed,
and Strong's head appeared.
"It'soi, me boy. Hwhat 's that noise, Sthrong?" asked
"Go to the d â"was the only answer, and the door was
shut on Cos's venerable red nose: and he went down stairs
muttering threats at the indignity offered to him, and vowing
that he would have satisfaction. In the meanwhile the reader,
more lucky than Captain Costigan, will have the privilege of
being made acquainted with the secret which was withheld
from that officer.
It has been said of how generous a disposition Mr. Alta-
mont was, and when he was well supplied with funds, how
liberally he spent them. Of a hospitable turn, he had no
greater pleasure than drinking in company with other people ;
so that there was no man more welcome at Greenwich and
Richmond than the Emissary of the Nawaub of Lucknow.
Now it chanced that on the day when Blanche and Mrs.
Bonner ascended the staircase to Strong's room in Shepherd's
Inn, the Colonel had invited Miss Delaval of the â Theatre
Royal, and her mother, Mrs. Hodge, to a little party down the
river, and it had been agreed that they were to meet at Cham-
bers, and thence walk down to a port in the neighbouring
Strand to take water. So that when Mrs. Bonner and Mes
Larmes came to the door, where Grady, Altamont's servant,
was standing, the domestic said, "Walk in, ladies," with the
utmost affability, and led them into the room, which was ar-
ranged as if they had been expected there. Indeed, two bou-
quets of flowers , bought at Co vent Garden that morning, and
instances of the tender gallantry of Altamont, were awaiting
his guests upon the table. Blanche smelt at the bouquet, and
put her pretty little dainty nose into it, and tripped about the
room, and looked behind the curtains, and at the books and
prints , and at the plan of Clavering estate hanging up on the
wall; and had asked the servant for Captain Strong, and had
almost forgotten his existence and the errand about which she
had come , namely, to visit Fanny Bolton ; so pleased was she
with the new adventure, and the odd, strange, delightful,
droll little idea of being in a bachelor's chambers in a queer
old place in the city !
Grady meanwhile, with a pair of ample varnished boots,
had disappeared into his master's room. Blanche had hardly
the leisure to remark how big the boots were , and how unlike
" The women 's come ," said Grady, helping his master to
"Did you ask 'em if they would take a glass of anything? "
Grady came out â "He says, will you take anything to
drink?" the domestic asked of them; at which Blanche,
amused with the artless question , broke out into a pretty little
laugh, andaskedof Mrs. Bonner, "Shall we take anything to
"Well, you may take it or lave it," said Mr. Grady, ^ho
thought his offer slighted, and did not like the contemptuous
manners of the newcomers, and so left them.
* ' Will we take anything to drink ? " Blanche asked again :
and again began to laugh.
"Grady," bawled out a voice from the chamber within: â
a voice that made Mrs. Bonner start.
Grady did not answer: his song was heard from afar off,
from the kitchen, his upper room, where Grady was singing
at his work.
" Grady, my coat! " again roared the voice from within.
"Why, that is not Mr. Strong's voice," said the Sylphide,
stiU half laughing. " Grady my coat ! â Bonner, who is Grady
my coat? We ought to go away."
Bonner still looked quite puzzled at the sound of the voice
which she had heard.
The bed-room door here opened and the individual who
had called out "Grady, my coat," appeared without the gar-
ment in question.
He nodded to the women , and walked across the room.
"I beg your pardon, ladies. Grady, bring my coat down.
Sir I Well, my dears, it 's a fine day, and we '11 have a jolly
He said no more; for here Mrs. Bonner, who had been
looking at him with scared eyes, suddenly shrieked out,
" Amory! Amory I " and fell back screaming and fainting in
The man, so apostrophised, looked at the woman an in-
stant, and, rushing up to Blanche, seized her and kissed her,
"Yes, Betsy," he said, "by G â it is me. Mary Bonner
knew me. What a fine gal we 've grown! But it 's a secret,
Pendennis. Ill, ^0
mind. I 'm dead, though I *m your father. Your poor mother
don't know It. What a pretty gal we 've grown 1 Kiss me â
kiss me close, my Betsy I D â it, I love you: I'm your old
Betsy or Blanche looked quite bewildered, and began to
scream too â once, twice, thrice; and it was her piercing
shrieks which Captain Costigan heard as he walked the court
At the sound of these shrieks the perplexed parent clasped
his hands (his wristbands were open, and on one brawny arm
you could see letters tattooed in blue), and, rushing to his
apartment, came back with an eau de Cologne bottle from his
grand silver dressing-case, with the fragrant contents of which
he began liberally to sprinkle Bonner and Blanche.
The screams of these women brought the other occupants
of the chamber into the room: Grady from his kitchen, and
Strong from his apartment in the upper story. The latter at
once saw from the aspect of the two women what had oc-
"Grady, go. and wait in the court," he said, "and if any
body comes â you understand me."
"Is it the play-actress and her mother? " said Grady.
"Yes â confound you â say that there 's nobody in
Chambers, and the party 's off for to-day."
"Shall I say that, Sir? and after I bought them bokays?"
asked Grady of his master.
"Yes," said Amory , with a stamp of his foot; and Strong
going to the door, too, reached it just in time to prevent the
entrance of Captain Costigan, who had mounted the stair.
The ladies from the theatre did not have their treat to
Greenwich, nor did Blanche pay her visit to Fanny Bolton on
that day. And Cos, who took occasion majestically to inquire
of Grady what the mischief was, and who was crying? â had
for answer that 't was a woman, another of them, and that
they were, in Grady's opinion, the cause of 'most all the
mischief in the world.
In which Pen begins to doubt about his election.
WniLST Pen, in his own county, was thus carrying on his
selfish plans and parliamentary schemes, news came to him
that Lady Rockminster had arrived at Baymouth, and had
brought with her our friend Laura. At the announcement
that Laura his sister was near him , Pen felt rather guilty. His
wish was to stand higher in her esteem, perhaps, than in that
of any other person in the world. She was his mother's legacy
to him. He was to be her patron and protector in some sort.
How would she brave the news which he had to tell her; and
how should he explain the plans which he was meditating? He
felt as if neither he nor Blanche could bear Laura's dazzling
glance of calm scrutiny, and as if he would not dare to dis-
close his worldly hopes and ambitions to that spotless judge.
At her arrival at Baymouth, he wrote a letter thither which
contained a great number of fine phrases and protests of affec-
tion, and a great deal of easy satire and raillery ; in the midst
of all which Mr. Pen could not help feeling that he was in a
panic, and that he was acting like a rogue and hypocrite.
How was it that a simple country-girl should be the object
of fear and trembling to such an accomplished gentleman as
Mr. Pen? His worldly tactics and diplomacy, his satire and
knowledge of the world, could not bear the test of her purity,
he felt somehow. And he had to own to himself that his affairs
were in such a position, that he could not tell the truth to that
honest soul. As he rode from Clavering to Baymouth he felt
as guilty as a scTiool-boy, who doesn't know his lesson and is
about to face the awful master. For is not truth the master
always, and does she not have the power and hold the book?
Under the charge of her kind, though somewhat wayward
and absolute, patroness, Lady Rockminster, Laura had seen
somewhat of the world in the last year, had gathered some
accomplishments, and profited by the lessons of society.
Many a girl who had been accustomed to that too great
tenderness in which Laura's early life had been passed, would
have been unfitted for the changed existence which she now
had to lead. Helen worshipped her two children, and thought,
as homebred women will, that all the world was made for
them, or to be considered after them. She tended Laura
with a watchfulness of affection which never left her. If she
had a headache, the widow was as alarmed as if there had
never been an aching head before in the world. She slept and
woke, read, and moved under her mother's fond superintend-
ence, which was now withdrawn from her, along with the
tender creature whose anxious heart would beat no more.
And painful moments of grief and depression no doubt Laura
had, when she stood in the great careless world alone. Nobody
heeded her griefs or her solitude. She was not quite the
equal, in social rank, of the lady whose companion she was,
or of the friends and relatives of the imperious, but kind old
dowager. Some very likely bore her no good- will â some,
perhaps, slighted her: it might have been that servants were
occasionally rude; their mistress certainly was often. Laura
not seldom found herself in family meetings , the confidence
and familiarity of which she felt were interrupted by her in-
trusion; and her sensitiveness of course was wounded at the
idea that she should give or feel this annoyance. How many^
governesses are there in the world, thought cheerful Laura,â
how many ladies, whose necessities make them slaves and
companions by profession 1 What bad tempers and coarse un-
kindness have not these to encounter! How infinitely better
my lot is with these really kind and affectionate people than
that of thousands of unprotected girls 1 It was with this cordial
spirit that our young lady adapted herself to her new position ;
and went in advance of her fortune with a trustful smile.
Did you ever know a person who met Fortune in that way,
whom the goddess did not regard kindly? Are not even bad
people won by a constant cheerfulness and a pure and affectio-
nate heart? When the babes in the wood, in the ballad, looked
up fondly and trustfully at those notorious rogues whom their
uncle had set to make away with the little folks, we all know
how one of the rascals relented, and made away with the
other â not having the heart to be unkind to so much inno-
cence and beauty. Oh happy they who have that virgin loving
trust and sweet smiling confidence in the world, and fear no
evil because they think none! Miss Laura Bell was one of
these fortunate persons ; and besides the gentle widow's little
cross, which, as we have seen. Pen gave her, had such a
sparklingandbrilliantAoAmoor in her bosom, as is even more
precious than that famous jewel; for it not only fetches a price,
and is retained by its owner in another world where diamonds
are stated to be of no value, but here, too, is of inestimable
worth to its possessor; is a talisman against evil, and lightens
up the darkness of life, like Copia Hassan's famous stone.
So that before Miss Bell had been a year in Lady Rock-
minster's house, there was not a single person in it whose love
she had not won by the use of this talisman. From the old
lady to the lowest dependent of her bounty, Laura had secured
the good-will and kindness of every body. With a mistress
of such a temper, my Lady's woman (who had endured her
mistress for forty years , and had been clawed and scolded and
jibed every day and night in that space of time, ) could not be
expected to have a good temper of her own; and was at first
angry against Miss Laura, as she had been against her lady-
ship's fifteen preceding companions. But when Laura was ill
at Paris, this old woman nursed her in spite of her mistress,
who was afraid of catching the fever, and absolutely fought
for her medicine with Martha from Fairoaks, now advanced
to be Miss Laura's own maid. As she was recovering, Grand-
jean the chef wanted to kill her by the numbers of delicacies
which he dressed for her, and wept when she ate her first slice
of chicken. The Swiss major-domo of the house celebrated
Miss Bell's praises in almost everyEuropean language, which he
spoke with indifferent incorrectness; the coachman was happy
to drive her out; the page cried when he heard she was ill;
and Calverley and Coldstream (those two footmen, so large,
so calm ordinarily, and so difficult to move,) broke out into
extraordinary hilarity at the news of her convalescence, and
intoxicated the page at a wine shop, to fete Laura's recovery.
Even Lady Diana Pynsent (our former acquaintance Mr. Pyn-
sent had married by this time). Lady Diana, wo had had a
considerable dislike to Laura for some time, was so enthu-
siastic as to say that she thought Miss Bell was a very agree-
able person, and that grandmamma had found a great trouvaille
in her. All this good- will and kindness Laura had acquired,
not by any arts, not by any flattery, but by the simple force
of good-nature, and by the blessed gift of pleasing and being
On the one or two occasions when he had seen Lady Rock-
minster, the old lady, who did not admire him, had been
very pitiless and abrupt with our young friend, and perhaps
Pen expected when he came to Baymouth to find Laura in-
stalled in her house in the quality of humble companion, and
treated no better than himself. When she heard of his arrival
she came running down stairs, and I am not sure that she did
not embrace him in the presence of Calverley and Coldstream :
not that those gentlemen ever told: if the fractus orbis had
come to a smash, if Laura, instead of kissing Pen , had taken
her scissors and snipped oflf his head â Calverley and Cold-
stream would have looked on impavidly, without allowing a
grain of powder to be disturbed by the calamity.
Laura had so much improved in health and looks that Pen
could not but admire her. The frank and kind eyes which
met his , beamed with good health ; the cheek which he kissed
blushed with beauty. As he looked at her, artless and grace-
ful , pure and candid , he thought he had never seen her so
beautiful. Why should he remark her beauty now so much,
and remark too to himself that he had not remarked it sooner?
He took her fair trustful hand and kissed it fondly: he looked
in her bright clear eyes, and read in them that kindling wel-
come which he was always sure to find there. He was afi'ected
and touched by the tender tone and the pure sparkling glance ;
their innocence smote him somehow and moved him.
"How good you are to me, Laura â -sister!" said Pen,
"I don't deserve that you should â that you should be so kind
"Mamma left you to me," she said, stooping down and
brushing his forehead with her lips hastily. "You know you
were to come to me when you were in trouble, or to tell me
when you were very happy: that was our compact, Arthur,
last year, before we parted. Are you very happy now, or are
you in trouble, which is it? " and she looked at him with an
arch glance of kindness. " Do you like going into Parliament?
Do you intend to distinguish yourself there? How I shall
tremble for your first speech ! "
"Do you know about the Parliament plan, then?" Pen
"Know? â all the world knows! I have heard it talked
about many times. Lady Rockminster's doctor talked about
it to-day. I daresay it will be in the Chatteries paper to-
morrow. It is all over the county that Sir Francis Clavering,
of Clavering, is going to retire, in behalf of Mr. Arthur Pen-
dennis, of Falroaks; and that the young and beautiful Miss
Blanche Amory is â "
"Whatl that too?" asked Pendennis.
"That, too, dear Arthur. Toutsesait, as somebody would
say, whom I intend to be very fond of; and who I am sure is
very clever and pretty. I have had a letter from Blanche.
The kindest of letters. She speaks so warmly of you, Arthur I
I hope â I know she feels what she writes. â When is it to be,
Arthur? Why did you not tell me? I may come and live
with you then, mayn't I? "
" My home is your's , dear Laura , and everything I have ,"
Pen said. " If I did not tell you , it was because â because â
I do not know: nothing is decided as yet. No words have
passed between us. But you think Blanche could be happy
with me â don't you? Not a romantic fondness, you know.
I have no heart , I think ; I 've told her so : only a sober-sided
attachment: â and want my wife on one side of the fire and
my sister on the other, â parliament in the session and Fair-
oaks in the holidays , and my Laura never to leave me until
somebody who has a right comes to take her away. "
Somebody who has a right â somebody with a right ! Why
did Pen, as he looked at the girl and slowly uttered the words,
begin to feel angry and jealous of the invisible somebody with
the right to take her away? Anxious , but a minute ago , how
she would take the news regarding his probable arrangements
with Blanche, Pen was hurt somehow that she received the
intelligence so easily, and took his happiness for granted.
"Until somebody comes," Laura said, with a laugh, "I
will stay at home and be aunt Laura, and take care of the
children when Blanche is in the world. I have arranged it all.
I am an excellent housekeeper. Do you know I have been to
market at Paris with Mrs. Beck, and have taken some lessons
from M. Grandjean. And I have had some lessons in Paris in
singing too, with the money which you sent me, you kind boy :
and I can sing much better now : and I have learned to dance,
though not so well as Blanche, and when you become a minis-
ter of state, Blanche shall present me : " and with this, and
with a provoking good-humour, she performed for him the
last Parisian curtsey.
Lady Rockminster came in whilst this curtsey was being
performed, and gave to Arthur one finger to skake; which he
took, and over which he bowed as well as he could, which , in
truth , was very clumsily.
"So you are going to be married, Sir," said the old lady,
" Scold him. Lady Rockminster, for not telling us,*' Laura
said, going away: which, in truth, the old lady began in-
stantly to do. "So you are going to marry, and to go into
Parliament in place of that good-for-nothing Sir Francis Cla-
vering. I wanted him to give my grandson his seat â why
did he not give my grandson his seat? I hope you are to have
a great deal of money with Miss Amory. / wouldn't take her
without a great deal."
"Sir Francis Clavering is tired of Parliament," Pen said,
wincing, "and â and I rather wish to attempt that career.
The rest of the story is at least premature."
"I wonder, when you had Laura at home, you could take
up with such an affected little creature as that," the old lady
" I am very sorry Miss Amory does not please your lady-
ship," said Pen, smiling.
"You mean â that it is no affair of mine, and that I am not
going to marry her. Well I 'm not, and I 'm very glad I am
not â a little odious thing â when I think that a man could
prefer her to my Laura , I've no patience with him, and so I
tell you, Mr. Arthur Pendennis."
"I am very glad you see Laura with such favourable eyes,"
"You are very glad, and you are very sorry. What does
it matter, Sir, whether you are very glad or very sorry? A
young man who prefers Miss Amory to Miss Bell has no busi-
ness to be sorry or glad. A young man who takes up with such
a crooked lump of affectation as that little Amory, â for she is
crooked, I tell you she is, â after seeing my Laura, has no
right to hold up his head again. Where is your friend Blue-
beard? The tall young man, I mean, â Warrington, isn't
his name? W^hy does he not come down, and marry Laura?
What do the young men mean by not marrying such a girl as
that? They all marry for money now. You are all selfish
and cowards. We ran away with each other, and made foolish
matches in my time. I have no patience with the young men !
When I was at Paris in the winter, I asked all the three at-
taches at the Embassy why they did not fall in love with Miss
Bell? They laughed â they said they wanted money. You
are all selfish â you are all cowards."
"I hope before you offered Miss Bell to the attaches," said
Pen, with some heat, "you did her the favour to consult
"Miss Bell has only a little money. Miss Bell must marry
soon. Somebody must make a match for her. Sir; and a girl
can't offer herself ," said the old dowager, with great state.
"Laura, my dear, I 've been telling your cousin that all the
young men are selfish; and that there is not a pennyworth of
romance left among them. He is as bad as the rest."
" Have you been asking Arthur why he won't marry me ? "
said Laura , with a kindling smile , coming back and taking
her cousin's hand. (She had been away, perhaps, to hide some
traces of emotion, -which she did not wish others to see.) "He
is going to marry somebody else ; and I intend to be very fond
of her, and to go and live with them, provided he then does
not ask every bachelor who comes to his house, why he does
not marry me?"
The terrors of Pen's conscience being thus appeased, and
his examination before Laura over without any reproaches on
the part of the latter, Pen began to find that his duty and in-
clination led him constantly to Baymouth, where Lady Rock-
minster informed him that a place was always reserved for him
at her table. '"And I recommend you to come often," the old
lady said, *' for Gran djean is an excellent cook, and to be with