learned something which forces me to give up the plans which
I had formed, and many vain and ambitious hopes in which 1
had been indulging. I have written and despatche(f a letter
to Sir Francis Claverlng, saying that I cannot accept his seat in
Parliament until after my marriage ; in like manner I cannot
and will not accept any larger fortune with you than that which
has always belonged to you since your grandfather's death,
and the birth of your half- brother. Your good mother is not
in the least aware â I hope she never may be â of the reasons
â which force me to this very strange decision. They arise
from a painful circumstance, which is attributable to none of
our faults; but, having once befallen, they are as fatal and
irreparable as that shock which overset honest Alnaschar's
porcelain, and shattered all his hopes beyond the power of
mending. I write gaily enough, for there is no use in be-
wailing such a hopeless mischance. We have not drawn the
great prize in the lottery, dear Blanche: but I shall be con-
tented enough without it , if you can be so ; and I repeat, with
all my heart, that I will do my best to make you happy.
"And now, what news shall I give you? My uncle is very
unwell, and takes my refusal of the seat in Parliament in sad
dudgeon: the scheme was his, poor old gentleman, and he
naturally bemoans its failure. But Warrington, Laura, and
I had a council of war : they know this awful secret, and back
me in my decision. You must love George as you love what
is generous and upright and noble; and as for Laura â she
must be our Sister, Blanche, our Saint, our good Angel.
With two such friends at home, what need we care for the
world without, or who is member for Clavering, or who is
asked or not asked to the great balls of the season?"
To this frank communication came back the letter from
Blanche to Laura, and one to Pen himself , which perhaps his
own letter justified. "You are spoiled by the world," Blanche
wrote; "you do not love your poor Blanche as she would be
loved, or you would not ofi'er thus lightly to take her or to
leave her. No , Arthur , you love me not â a man of the
world , you have given me your plighted troth , and are ready
to redeem it; but that entire affection, that love whole and
abiding, where â where is that vision of my youth? I am but
a pastime of your life, and I would be its all; â but a fleeting
thought, and I would be your whole soul. I would have our
two hearts one ; butali, my Arthur, how lonely yours Is 1 how
little you give me of It ! You speak of our parting with a smile
on your lip ; of our meeting, and you care not to hasten it! Is
life but a disillusion, then, and are the flowers of our garden
faded away? I have wept â I have prayed â I have passed
sleepless hours â I have shed bitter, bitter tears over your
letter I To you I bring the gushing poesy of my being â the
yearnings of the soul that longs to be loved â that pines for
love, love, love, beyond all! â that flings Itself at your feet,
and cries , Love me, Arthur ! Your heart beats no quicker at
the kneeling appeal of my love I â your proud eye Is dimmed
by no tear of sympathy 1 â you accept my soul's treasure as
though 't were dross I not the pearls from the unfathomable
deeps of affection! not the diamonds from the caverns of the
heart. You treat me like a slave, and bid me bow to my master !
Is this the guerdon of a free maiden â Is this the price of a
life's passion? Ah me! when was It otherwise? when did love
meet with aught but disappointment? Could I hope (fond
fool!) to be the exception to the lot of my race; and lay my
fevered brow on a heart that comprehended my own? Foolish
girl that I was! One by one, all the flowers of my young life
have faded away ; and this, the last, the sweetest, the dearest,
the fondly, the madly loved, the wildly cherished â where is
It? But no more of this. Heed not ray bleeding heart. â
Bless you, bless you always , Arthur!
"I will write more when I am more collected. My racking
brain renders thought almost Impossible. I long to see Laura !
She will come to us directly we return from the country, will
she not? And you, cold one! "B."
The words of this letter were perfectly clear, and written
InBlanche's neatest hand upon her scented paper; and yet the
meaning of the composition not a little puzzled Pen. Did
Blanche mean to accept or to refuse his polite offer? Her
phrases either meant that Pen did not love her, and she de-
clined him, or that she took him, and sacrificed herself to him,
cold as he was. He laughed sardonically over the letter, and
over the transaction which occasioned it. He laughed to think
how Fortune had jilted him , and how he deserved his slippery-
fortune. He turned over and over the musky gilt-edged riddle.
It amused his humour: he enjoyed it as if it had been a funny
He was thus seated, twiddling the queer manuscript in his
hand, joking grimly to himself, when his servant came in with
a card from a gentleman, who wished to speak to him very
particularly. And if Pen had gone out into the passage, he
would have seen sucking his stick, rolling his eyes, and show-
ing great marks of anxiety, his old acquaintance, Mr. Samuel
"Mr. Huxter on particular business! Pray, beg Mr. Huxter
to come in," said Pen, amused rather; and not the less so
when poor Sam appeared before him.
"Pray take a chair, Mr. Huxter," said Pen, in his most
superb manner. "In what way can I be of service to you? "
"I had rather not speak before the flunk â before the man,
Mr. Pendennis : " on which Mr. Arthur's attendant quitted the
"I'm in a fix," said Mr. Huxter, gloomily.
"â¦SAe sent me to you," continued the young surgeon.
"What, Fanny? Is she well? I was coming to see her,
but I have had a great deal of business since my return to
"I heard of you through my governor and Jack Hobnell,"
broke in Huxter. "I wish you joy, Mr. Pendennis, both of
the borough and the lady, Sir. Fanny wishes you joy, too,"
he added, with something of ablush.
Pendennis. III. 25
" There 's many a slip between the cup and the lip ! Who
knows what may happen. Mr. Huxter, or who will sit in Par-
liament for Clavering next session? "
"You can do anything with my governor," continued Mr.
Huxter. "You got him Clavering Park. The old boy was
very much pleased, Sir, at your calling him in. Hobnell wrote
me so. Do you think you could speak to the governor for me,
Mr. Pendennis ? "
" And tell him what? "
"I 've gone and done it, Sir," said Huxter, with a parti-
"You â you don't mean to say you have â you have done
any wrong to that dear little creature , Sir," said Pen, start-
ing up in a great fury.
"I hope not," said Huxter, with a hang-dog look: "but
I 've married her. And I know there will be an awful shindy
at home. It was agreed that I should be taken into partnership
when I had passed the College, and it was to have been Huxter
and Son. But I would have it, confound it. It 's all over
now, and the old boy's wrote me that he 's coming up to town
for drugs: he will be here to-morrow, and then it must all
"And when did this event happen?" asked Pen, not over
well pleased, most likely, that a person who had once attracted
some portion of his royal good graces should have transferred
her allegiance, and consoled herself for his loss.
"Last Thursday was five weeks â it was two days after
Miss Amory came to Shepherd's Inn," Huxter answered.
Pen remembered that Blanche had written and mentioned
her visit. "I was called in," Huxter said. "I was in the inn
looking after old Cos's leg; and about something else too,
very likely: and I met Strong, who told me there was a
woman taken ill in Chambers, and went up to give her my
professional services. It was the old lady who attends Miss
Amory â her housekeeper, or some such thing. She was
taken with strong hysterics ; I found her kicking and scream-
ing like a good one â in Strong's chamber, along with him and
Colonel Aitamont, and Miss Amory crying and as pale as a
sheet ; and Aitamont fuming about â a regular kick up. They
were two hours in the chambers ; and the old woman went
whooping off in a cab. She was much worse than the young
one. I called in Grosvenor Place next day to see if I could
be of any service, but they were gone without so much as
thanking me: and the day after I had business of my own to
attend to â a bad business too," said Mr. Huxter, gloomily.
"But it 's done, and can't be undone; and we must make the
best of it."
She has known the story for a month , thought Pen , with
a sharp pang of grief, and a gloomy sympathy â this accounts
for her letter of to-day. She will not implicate her father, or
divulge his secret; she wishes to let me off from the marriage â
and finds a pretext â the generous girl !
"Do you know who Aitamont is. Sir?" asked Huxter,
after the pause during which Pen had been thinking of his own
affairs. "Fanny and I have talked him over, and we can't
help fancying that it 's Mrs. Lightfoot's first husband come to
life again, and she who has just married a second. Perhaps
Lightfoot won't be very sorry for it," sighed Huxter, looking
savagely at Arthur, for the demon of jealousy was still in
possession of his soul ; and now, and more than ever since his
marriage, the poor fellow fancied that Fanny's heart belonged
to his rival.
"Let us talk about your affairs," said Pen. "Show me
how I can be of any service to you , Huxter. Let me congra-
tulate you on your marriage. I am thankful that Fanny, who
is so good, so fascinating, so kind a creature, has found an
honest man, and a gentleman who will make her happy. Show
me what I can do to help you."
"She thinks you can, Sir," said Huxter, accepting Pen's
proffered hand, "and I 'm very much obliged to you, I 'm sure ;
and that you might talk over my father, and break the business
to him, and my mother, who always has her back up about
being a clergyman's daughter. Fanny ain't of a good family,
I know, and not up to us in breeding and that â but she 's a
" The wife takes the husband's rank, of course," said Pen.
"And with a little practice in society," continued Huxter,
imbibing his stick, "she '11 be as good as any girl in Clavering.
You should hear her sing and play on the piano. Did you
ever? Old Bows taught her. And she '11 do on the stage, if
the governor was to throw me over ; but I'd rather not have
her there. She can't help being a coquette, Mr. Pendennis,
she can't help it. Dammy, Sir! I '11 be bound to say, that
two or three of the Bartholomew chaps, that I 've brought into
my place, are sitting with her now: even Jack Linton, that I
took down as my best man, is as bad as the rest, and she will
go on singing and making eyes at him. It 's what Bows says,
if there were twenty men in a room , and one not taking notice
of her, she wouldn't be satisfied until the twentieth was at her
"You should have her mother with her," said Pen,
"She must keep the lodge. She can't see so much of her
family as she used. I can't, you know. Sir, go on with that
lot. Consider my rank in life," said Huxter, putting a very
dirty hand up to his chin.
"^m/<2iY," said Mr. Pen, who was infinitely amused, and
concerning whom mutato nomine (and of course concerning
nobody else in the world) the fable might have been narrated.
As the two gentlemen were in the midst of this colloquy,
another knock came to Pen's door, and his servant presently
announced Mr. Bows. The old man followed slowly, his pale
face blushing, and his hand trembling somewhat as he took
Pen's. He coughed, and wiped his face in his checked cotton
pocket-handkerchief, and sate down with his hands on his
knees, the sun shining on his bald head. Pen looked at the
homely figure with no small sympathy and kindness. This
man, too, has had his griefs, and his wounds, Arthur thought.
This man, too , has brought his genius and his heart, and laid
them at a woman's feet ; where she spumed them. The chance
of life has gone against him, and the prize is with that creature
yonder. Fanny's bridegroom, thus mutely apostrophised,
had winked meanwhile with one eye at old Bows, and was
driving holes in the floor with the cane which he loved.
"So we have lost, Mr. Bows, and here is the lucky win-
ner," Pen said, looking hard at the old man.
" Here is the lucky winner. Sir, as you say."
" I'suppose you have come from my place? " asked Huxter,
who , having winked at Bows with one eye, now favoured Pen
with a wink of the other â a wink which seemed to say, "In-
fatuated old boy â you understand â over head and ears in
love with her â poor old fool."
"Yes, I have been there ever since you went away. It was
Mrs. Sam who sent me after you: who said that she thought
you might be doing something stupid â something like your-
" There's as big fools as I am," growled the young surgeon.
"A few, p'raps," said the old man; "not many, let us
trust. Yes, she sent me after you for fear you should oflfend
Mr. Pendennis; and I daresay because she thought you
wouldn't give her message to him , and beg him to go and see
her; and she knew / would take her errand. Did he tell you
Huxter blushed scarlet, and covered his confusion with an
imprecation. Pen laughed ; the scene suited his bitter humour
more and more.
"I have no doubt Mr. Huxter was going to tell me," Arthur
said, "and very much flattered I am sure I shall be to pay my
respects to his wife."
"It 's in Charterhouse Lane, over the baker's, on the right
hand side as you go from St. John's Street," continued Bows,
without any pity. "You know Smithfield, Mr. Pendennis?
St. John's Street leads into Smithfield. Doctor Johnson has
been down the street many a time with ragged shoes, and a
bundle of penny a lining for the 'Gent's Magazine.' You li-
terary gents are better off now â eh? You ride in your cabs,
and wear yellow kid gloves now."
"I have known so many brave and good men fail, and so
many quacks and impostors succeed, that you mistake me if
you think I am puffed up by my own personal good luck, old
friend," Arthur said, sadly. "Do yow think the prizes of life
are carried by the most deserving? and set up that mean test
of prosperity for merit? You must feel that you are as good
as I. I have never questioned it. It is you that are peevish
against the freaks of fortune, and grudge the good luck that
befalls others. It 's not the first time you have injustly ac-
cused me. Bows."
"Perhaps you are not far wrong. Sir," said the old fellow,
wiping his bald forehead. "I am thinking about myself and
grumbling; most men do when they get on that subject.
Here 's the fellow that 's got the prize in the lottery; here 's
the fortunate youth."
"I don't know what you are driving at," Huxter said, who
had been much puzzled as the above remarks passed between
his two companions.
"Perhaps not," said Bows, drily, "Mrs. H. sent me here
to look after you, and to see that you brought that little mes-
sage to Mr. Pendennis , which you didn't, you see , and so she
was right. Women always are ; they have always a reason for
everything. Why, Sir," he said, turning round to Pen with
a sneer, " she had a reason even for giving me that message. I
was sitting with her after you left us, very quiet and comforta-
ble; I was talking away, and she was mending your shirts,
when your two young friends. Jack Linton and Bob Blades,
looked in from Bartholomew's ; and then it was she found out
that she had this message to send. You needn't hurry your-
self, she don't want you back again ; they '11 stay these two
hours, I daresay."
Huxter arose with great perturbation at this news, and
plunged his stick into the pocket of his paletot, and seized
"You'll come and see us. Sir, won't you?" he said to
Pen. "You '11 talk over the governor, won't you, Sir, if I can
get out of this place and down to Clavering?"
"You will promise to attend me gratis if ever I fall ill at
Fairoaks, will you, Huxter?" Pen said, good-naturedly.
"I will do anything I can for you. I will come and see Mrs.
Huxter immediately, and we will conspire together about
what is to be done."
"I thought that would send him out. Sir," Bows said,
dropping into his chair again as soon as the young surgeon had
quitted the room. " And it 's all true , Sir â every word of it.
She wants you back again, and sends her husband after you.
She cajoles everybody, the little devil. She tries it on you,
on me , on poor Costigan, on the young chaps from Bartholo-
mew's. She 's got a little court of 'em already. And if there 's
nobody there, she practises on the old German baker in the
shop , or coaxes the black sweeper at the crossing."
"Is she fond of that fellow?" asked Pen.
"There is no accounting for likes and dislikes," Bows
answered. "Yes, she is fond of him: and having taken the
thing into her head, she would not rest until she married him.
They had their banns published at St. Clement's, and nobody
heard it or knew any just cause or impediment. And one day
she slips out of the porter's lodge and has the business done,
and goes off to Gravesend with Lothario ; and leaves a note
for me to go and explain all things to her Ma. Bless you I the
old woman knew it as well as I did, though she pretended
ignorance. And so she goes, and I 'm alone again, I miss
her. Sir, tripping along that court, and coming for her singing
lesson; and I 've no heart to look into the porter's lodge now,
which looks very empty without her, the little flirting thing.
And I go and sit and dangle about her lodgings , like an old
fool. She makes 'em very trim and nice, though; gets up all
Huxter's shirts and clothes: cooks his little dinner, and sings
at her business like a little lark. What 's the use of being
angry? I lent 'em three pound to go on with: for they haven't
got a shilling till the reconciliation, and Pa comes down."
When Bows had taken his leave. Pen carried his letter
from Blanche, and the news which he had just received, to
his usual adviser, Laura. It was wonderful upon how many
points Mr. Arthur, who generally followed his own opinion,
now wanted another person's counsel. He could hardly so
much as choose a waistcoat without referring to Miss Bell: if
he wanted to buy a horse he must have Miss Bell's opinion;
all which marks of deference tended greatly to the amusement
of the shrewd old lady with whom Miss Bell lived, and whose
plans regarding her protegee we have indicated.
Arthur produced Blanche's letter then to Laura, and asked
her to interpret it. Laura was very much agitated, and
puzzled by the contents of the note.
"It seems to me," she said, "as if Blanche is acting very
"And wishes so to place matters that she may take me or
leave me? Is it not so?"
"It is, I am afraid, a kind of duplicity which does not
augur well for your future happiness ; and is a bad reply to
your own candour and honesty, Arthur. Do you know I think,
I think â I scarcely like to say what I think ," said Laura with
a deep blush; but of course the blushing young lady yielded
to her cousin's persuasion , and expressed what her thoughts
were. "It looks to me, Arthur, as if there might be â there
might be somebody else," said Laura with a repetition of
"And if there Is," broke in Arthur, "and if I am free
once again, will the best and dearest of all women â "
"You are not free, dear brother," Laura said calmly.
" You belong to another; of whom I own it grieves me to think
ill. But I can't do otherwise. It is very odd that in this letter
she does not urge you to tell her the reason why you have
broken arrangements which would have been so advantageous
to you; and avoids speaking on the subject. She somehow
seems to write as if she knows her father's secret."
Pen said, "Yes, she must know it;" and told the story,
which he had just heard from Huxter, of the interview at
"It was not so that she described the meeting," said
Laura; and, going to her desk, produced from it that letter
of Blanche's which mentioned her visit to Shepherd's Inn.
"Another disappointment â only the Chevalier Strong and a
friend of his in the room." This was all that Blanche had
said. "But she was bound to keep her father's secret, Pen,"
Laura added. "And yet, and yet â it Is very puzzling."
The puzzle was this, that for three weeks after this event-
ful discovery Blanche had been only too eager about her
dearest Arthur; was urging as strongly as so much modesty
could urge , the completion of the happy arrangements which
were to make her Arthur's for ever; and now it seemed as if
something had interfered to mar these happy arrangements â
as if Arthur poor was not quite so agreeable to Blanche as
Arthur rich and a member of Parliament â as if there was
some mystery. At last she said â
"Tunbridge Wells is not very far off, is it, Arthur? Hadn't
you better go and see her?"
They had been in town a week, and neither had thought
of that simple plan before 1
Shows how Arthur had better have taken a return-ticket.
The train carried Arthur only too quickly to Tunbridge,
though he had time to review all the circumstances of his life
as he made the brief journey; and to acknowledge to what
sad conclusions his selfishness and waywardness had led him.
"Here is the end of hopes and aspirations," thought he, "of
romance and ambitions ! Wherelyield orwherelam obstinate,
I am alike unfortunate ; my mother implores me , and I refuse
an angel! Say I had taken her; forced on me as she was, Laura
would never have been an angel to me. I could not have given
her my heart at another's instigation ; I never could have
known her as she is had I been obliged to ask another to inter-
pret her qualities and point out her virtues. I yield to my
uncle's solicitations, and accept on his guarantee Blanche,
and a seat in parliament, and wealth, and ambition, and a
career; and seel â fortune comes and leaves me the wife
without the dowry, which I had taken in compensation of a
heart. Why was I not more honest, or ami not less so? It
would have cost my poor old uncle no pangs to acceptBlanche's
fortune whencesoever it came; he can't even understand, he
is bitterly indignant, heart-stricken, almost, at the scruples
which actuate me in refusing it. I dissatisfy everybody. A
maimed, weak, imperfect wretch, it seems as if lam unequal
to any fortune. I neither make myself nor any one connected
with me happy. What prospect is there for this poor little
frivolous girl, who is to take my obscure name and share my
fortune? I have not even ambition to excite me, or self-esteem
enough to console myself, much more her, for my failure. If
I were to write a book that should go through twenty editions,
why, I should be the very first to sneer at my reputation. Say
I could succeed at the Bar, and achieve a fortune by bullying
witnesses and twisting evidence ; is that a fame which would
satisfy my longings, or a calling in which my life would be well
spent? How I wish I could be that priest opposite , who never
has lifted his eyes from his breviary, except when we were in
Reigate tunnel, when he could not see ; or that old gentleman
next him, who scowls at him with eyes of hatred over his news-
paper. The priest shuts his eyes to the world, but has his
thoughts on the book, which is his directory to the world to
come. His neighbour hates him as a monster, tjTant, perse-
cutor, and fancies burning martyrs, and that pale countenance
looking on, and lighted up by the flame. These have no
doubts; these march on trustfully, bearing their load of
"Would you like to look at the paper. Sir?" here inter-
posed the stout gentleman (it had a flaming article against the
order of the black-coated gentleman who was travelling with
them in the carriage) , and Pen thanked him and took it, and
pursued his reverie, without reading two sentences of the
"And yet, would you take either of those men's creeds,
with its consequences?" he thought. "Ah me I you must
bear your own burthen, fashion your own faith, think your
own thoughts, and pray your own prayer. To what mortal
ear could I tell all, if I had a mind? or who could understand
all? Who can tell another's short-comings, lost opportunities,
weigh the passions which overpower, the defects which in-