THE SURVIVOR. 203
' There were 50,000 persons to witness the " Ling-chih," ' ex-
plained Kushan, in answer to the Major's inquiry.
The governor of the gaol received them with great urbanity^
Pennicuick's quick eye detected on this man's finger, not only
his own signet-ring, but that of his deceased friend ; but upon the
whole he judged it better to utter no remonstrance.
It was not expedient to make this personage his enemy who,
though he did not know his power over him, held a secret in his
hands the betrayal of which would have been his social ruin. In
even speaking with him, in fact, he ran a great risk, but his prudence
was overborne by a certain insatiable curiosity. He wished to
know whether his unhappy friend had taken advantage of the
means in his possession to obtain a painless death, or whether he
had really undergone the agonies of the torture.
That the execution had taken place proved nothing; since that
would have happened â in order to deceive the public â had the
victim been dead or alive. It was necessary to proceed with cau-
tion in his inquiries.
' Did my friend leave any message behind him ? ' asked Penni-
' He left nothing but his clothes,' was the reply ; ' they have
passed into the legal possession of Sheer Sing, the turnkey, who
is now wearing them : he might nevertheless, however, be per-
suaded to give them up.'
Pennicuick shook his head, with a gesture of disgust. He
felt his fary rising against this man, who had been the cause of a
frightful humiliation being inflicted upon him. ' I perceive he
also left his ring,' said he sternly.
' Yes. He gave it to me as they led him forth to death,' re-
204 ^y PROXY.
plied the gaoler with imperturbable face, ' as a testimony to my
kindness towards him. I would never part with such a memento
â unless for a very considerable consideration.'
' How much ? ' inquired Pennicuick.
The gaoler named a sum greatly in excess of the value of the
trinket; Pennicuick at once produced the money, and received
the article in exchange.
' Perhaps you would like to buy back your own ring also?' said
the gaoler persuasively ; ' it is of greater cost, and has also memo-
ries of a tender nature connected with it. The regard I entertain
for yourself is very genuine.'
' You may keep it, and â and welcome,' said Pennicuick, swal-
lowing his wrath with a great effort.
' As you please,' answered the other gravely. ' By the by,
there was a little bottle found in your friend's chamber, full of
some dark liquid, and untouched. It is perhaps a cordial.'
'You and Sheer Sing can drink that between you,' said
Pennicuick quietly. ' Now answer me this question truly ; did
my poor friend suffer much ? or were those precautions taken
about which he spoke to you ? '
' Those precautions were taken,' answered the gaoler ; ' it is
very well you spoke of them, for I paid the executioner two taels
out of my own pocket for that purpose, which had escaped my
memory. It was well earned, too ; your man was dead in a second,
I do assure you.'
Pennicuick gave him the money as before, then turned upon
his heel without a word.
' Let us go,' said he to his companions. ' This fellow makes
THE SURVIVOR. 205
' You have been paying through the nose, as it seems to me,
for everything,' observed the Major, as they retraced their steps.
' No doubt. They are all cheats as well as murderers. But
what do a few pounds matter more or less ? I would have given
five hundred to learn what that scoundrel just told me, that Con-
way did not suffer pain.'
' This man is a good fellow, after all,' observed the Major to
Milbum presently, in a low tone.
' I am not sure,' answered the young man doubtfully. ' He
has a cold-blooded way with him, and gives me the idea of wishing
to get the whole affair out of his mind.'
' Grad, I can't blame him for that,' said the Major, with a shudder.
Kushan took leave of his three visitors at the boat-side with a
stately salaam to each.
To Milburn he said, ' Youth is vanity.'
To the Major he said, ' Reform yourself, that you may reform
To Pennicuick he said, ' May you and your whole family be
jammed into one coffin !'
As all these remarks were accompanied by the same sweet
smile, and the interpreter was already on board, they did not pro-
duce any particular effect.
All were sombre and silent throughout the voyage ; but Pen-
nicuick hardly uttered a word. The two officers were thinking
of their dead friend's fate, and of what steps it was probable
would be taken to avenge it ; Pennicuick, too, thought of these
things, but also of others. It was difficult to move him from what
appeared to be a species of lethargy ; but he was roused from it
on one occasion.
2o6 BY PROXY.
' I suppose,' said the Major, as the three sat smoking together
â¢on the morning of the day they reached Shanghae, ' that our poor
friend has not left much behind him in the way of money.'
' Sir ? ' said Pennicuick ; ' I beg your pardon. You were
' I was referring to what Conway may have had to leave behind
him. I am afraid it will not be much.'
* Just so ; I dare say,' answered Pennicuick abstractedly.
The Major stared at him.
' We thought you would know all about it,' explained Milburn
simply. ' Conway has spoken to me about his family more than
once. He has only one daughter ; let us hope he has been at least
enabled to provide for her.'
' Yes, indeed ; let us hope that,' said Pennicuick. ' One can-
not know anything for certain, however, just at present.'
And he again relapsed into silence.
' Now, if I were a rich man like that fellow,' observed the
Lieutenant presently to the Major, ' I would take care that my
friend's only daughter should not be unprovided for in any way.'
'My dear boy,' answered the Major, ' you think that because
you are not a rich man. If you had as much money to spend as
Pennicuick, you would perhaps be as close-fisted.'
' He paid everything very handsomely up yonder, however,' re-
' But how do you know he won't deduct it out of Conway's
little property ? It is my opinion â taking everything I have
seen of him one with another â that he is a deuced hard lot.'
' I'm glad he isn't in the regiment,' answered the Lieutenant,
with a glance of great disfavour at the subject of these remarks.
THE SURVIVOR. 207
Whether Pennicuick was a hard lot or not, he certainly did
not deserve the imputation of intending to charge his friend's
estate with the money he had just expended on his account. He
was quite ready to pay that, and would have been so had it been
thrice as much. But what he vjas thinking of, with his hand resting
on his breast pocket in which lay his dead friend's will, was whether
20,000Z. was not too large a sum to pay away without a scrap of
paper being in existence to compel him to do so â and when even
the verbal promise he had given to that effect had been passed to
a dead man. He had been thinking over the matter for four days,
and it was now become necessary to make up his mind about it
one way or the other. The question that had just been put to
him â ' What has Conway left behind him ? ' â would be put again
by others, and would have to be answered definitely. In that case,
which reply should he give, ' He has left 20,000?.,' or, ' He has left
next to nothing ' ?
2o8 BY PROXY.
Lincoln's Inn, alfhoagh it doubtless has its merits, is, viewed as
a dwelling-place, not an enticing spot. Its chambers have, to my
eye at least, an aspect especially unliveable. That they are good
to read in, good to write in, good to make money in, I do not dis-
pute ; but I would rather not sleep in them, nor eat in them. When
the day's work is over, it is well to leave them, and breathe a little
fresh air. They are a part of the necessary toil and moil of life,
but by no means of its cheerful serenity. They are dull without
being quiet (for the tliunder of Chancery Lane ever booms above
them), and their look-out is for the most part melancholy and
devoid of interest. There are trees, indeed, of goodly height â a
whole avenue of them, leading from wall to wall, in a most disap-
pointing manner : and there is one large grass-plot, which has, how-
ever, the air of a drying-green that attempts to be ornamental. On
this abuts Stone Buildings, which may therefore lay claim to com-
mand foliage and verdure. But it is not a cheerful block of
residences, nor would one's sense of the fitness of things be out-
raged if one were told it was a workhouse or a barrack. Neverthe-
less, if I must needs live in Lincoln's Inn , I would live in Stone
Buildings, where a first floor is as highly rented, I suppose, as any
twenty-roomed house in the suburbs with a garden and a double
coach-house. In this ' dusky purlieu of the law,' though by no
means on the first floor, lived or ' kept ' (for he was young enough
to retain his university phrases) Kaymond Pennicuick. He had a
large sitting-room looking down on the green, a bed-room, a
clerk's room, and a very small nondescript apartment, so wretched
and rayless that it seemed appropriate for suicidal purposes and
nothing else. The furniture of this suite, which had been passed
on, from inmate to inmate, so long, that it might have served the
student days of the Lord Chancellor, was mouldy and moth-eaten,
and looked all the worse from its contrast with the articles of modern
luxury Eaymond had brought with him from his college rooms.
The easy chair, the fire-screen (a triumph of Nelly's skill in
needlework) and the volumes of Thackeray and Dickens were like
new cloth patched on an old garment, and he himself in his youth
and comeliness looked the brightest patch of all. It was small
matter to him that the carpet was worn and that the rugs bore the
marks of coals both hot and cold ; or that when his gaze through
the open window left the elms and the grass, it had nothing but
chimney-pots to rest upon. When one is young, nmless one is a
very exceptional sort of fool, the mind is not affected by furniture ;
and the look-out from one's windows is of small importance, when,
beyond it, the world is lying before us.
Eaymond Pennicuick, therefore, had no grudge against his father
for having placed him in this dreary spot ; he had, indeed, only
murmured against the parental fiat on one occasion, when it had
removed him from college before his time. He had, it is true,
been by no means studious, and would certainly not have distin-
guished himself in the honour list ; but he would have taken his
VOL. I. P
2IO BY PROXY.
ordinary degree, like other young men in his own ' set,' and he
had not been told that more was expected of him. Yet his father
had removed him suddenly from his college joys, protesting that
he had wasted time enough, and must now buckle to the business
of life. The real reason of this was unknown to the young fellow,
though it had lain quite on the surface ; a run of ill luck on the
turf had for the time made money scarce with his father, and by
way o^f retrenchment he had withdrawn his son from the university,
the educational advantages of which, let us charitably add, he did
not perhaps very highly estimate. It was very unusual with him
to lose, for he was a book-maker, and always stood to win ; but on
this occasion a certain nobleman who had long been an ornament
of the sporting world, and who was Pennicuick's principal debtor,
had levanted. The most prudent mind cannot guard against a
catastrophe of this kind, which for some months compelled Ealph
Pennicuick to lodge under the same roof with his son. He need
not have done so, of course, since he could have procured any
amount of money ; but it was one of his caprices â he called it ' a
principle 'â never to borrow a shilling, or spend one above his in-
come. For a time Raymond rather resented this abrupt separation
from his university friends, but in London there are compensations
to be found for most things by a genial young fellow of position.
He was even more content when his father placed him in the
chambers at Stone Buildings, and himself retired to the agreeable
privacy of the Albany. There had not been the least disagreement
between them ; Raymond's sense of duty was too strong for that ;
but he had felt himself de trop, like a boy who is forced to remain
with his seniors after dinner, when the ladies have gone into the
' Youth and age,' the poet tells us, ' cannot live together ; ' but
the reasons he gives were by no means those which disinclined
Ealph Pennicuick to live in lodgings with his son. If there was
no absolute ' incompatibility of disposition,' such as nowadays so
often sunders husbands and wives, they had few ideas in common.
Ealph Pennicuick hated argument â that is, any expression of
opinion contrary to his own ; and therefore, since Kaymond was
quite incapable of hypocrisy, he had often to remain silent.
Similarly, in writing to his father, he was aware that no distasteful
topic must be broached ; a knowledge that tends to make corre-
spondence brief, though not always easy.
Unhappily, it had become necessary to Raymond to break
through his usual rule. He had ventured to address his father
upon a subject which would certainly not find favour in his eyes,
and the letter had been posted, and was now on its way. Upon
the contents of it, and on the manner in which they were likely
to be received, Raymond was now thinking, as he sat alone in his
chambers smoking his after-breakfast cigar. He did not, like
other young men of his day, smoke pipes in preference ; in which
respect, as in a few others, he showed himself his father's son.
Hq liad a natural taste for what was most expensive, though with-
out the vulgarity of liking things because they were dear.
' What will he say â what will he do â when he gets my letter ? '
were the thoughts in his mind, as he sat at the open window
watching the clouds above the elm-trees and listening to the chirps
of the sparrows. ' If Nelly will have me, I will marry her, what-
ever he does or says, that's certain.' Here again he was his father's
son. ' But without his consent it will be difficult to obtain hers.
She is so unselfish that she will never see the matter in its true
light ; lier very love for me â sweet heart ! â will prevent it.' He
rose and paced the room, with a glow upon his handsome face ; he
was recalling his last interview with her in the garden at Eichmond.
Presently his eye wandered to the dusty rows of law books that
lined one side of the apartment. ' If I had but expectations,'
muttered he, ' if there was an entail which I could cut off, and
so render him a service, I might win him over. But I have no-
thing â no plea to urge with him, except that my happiness is wrapt
up in her : and there he will not believe me.' He did not say,
'and he will care nothing for that,' which some sons would have
said, and which would in his case have been no more than the truth.
Even in his bitterness, his sense of filial duty restrained his tongue.
In this, Kaymond Pennicuick's disposition was peculiar. There
are many men who have a keen sense of filial and fraternal respect,
and who have even a strong regard for their more distant relatives
(quite independent of their merits), and who, with all this, have
scarcely any affection in them. It is doubtful, indeed, whether
this devotion to their own family does not arise from egotism.
Fathers and brothers are dear to such men because they are of
their own blood, and as it were a part of themselves. The dear-
ness is literally of the heart â or rather, of the arteries. It is an
anatomical attachment. Their love, if they boast of such a posses-
sion at all, is self-love. It is scarcely going too far to say that â
with the exception of his love for his mother â a man's power of
loving is in inverse ratio to his devotion to his elder and contem-
poraneous relatives. The more ' clannish ' people are, the less they
have generally, of geniality, friendship, and general benevolence.
But with Eaymond this was not so. He had the ' piety ' of the
ancients as well as the kindliness of the moderns. If he did not
absolutely love his father, he did his best to do so, and persuaded
himself that he had succeeded ; and, if he found it impossible to
respect him, he at least respected his authority. And notwith-
standing this, a more generous and affectionate young fellow than
Raymond did not exist. His heart and his conscience were alike
tender. He had not, indeed, much cleverness ; he had probably
never uttered ' a good thing ' intentionally in all his life. But lie
had said very many pleasant things, which go much farther to-
wards making a man popular. His popularity had had one effect,
which, had he known of it, would have given him genuine pain ;
it set people contrasting him with his father, much to the latters
disadvantage. Everybody said how ill Ralph the elder behaved
to Raymond the younger ; how short of money he kept him ; what
little natural affection he showed for him ; and generally, how
much better a son he had in Raymond than he deserved. The
young man knew that his father was disliked and feared much
more than he was admired ; but he did his best to counteract this
feeling ; no one had ever heard him complain of the manner in
which he had been treated ; and when any opportunity for praise
of his father was offered to him, he never failed to take advantage
of it. It was not his fault that it so often sounded like apology.
For his own part, he had avoided all causes of offence with him,
and bowed to his every wish, even to his caprices. But now a
cause of offence had come which could not be avoided. He did
not repent that he had sent that letter asking permission to offer
his hand where his affections had been already bestowed, but he
was full of misgivings about its reception. He was not afraid of
the effects of his father's anger, as most sons in his position would
have been afraid ; he did not di'ead disinheritance, the cutting off
214 BY PROXY.
of the supplies, &c., but he feared the anger itself, not as a coward
would have done, but as one who fears a quarrel because of his
regard for his antagonist.
' I ani very young,' he had written, ' to urge anything counter
to your wishes, as I apprehend this request may be : but my heart
is set upon the matter, and will not be moved. Neither Nelly
nor I are extravagant in our tastes ; a small income will suffice
for us : not more to begin with, perhaps, than the sum you are
at present so good as to allow me. With such an incentive to
exertion I shall set to work at my profession in earnest, and trust
not to be a burden to you.'
If he had known that in a few months the 300Z. a year to
which he had alluded would become his own, he would, of course^
have worded his communication differently ; but the tone would
have been the same. No sense of independence would have made
him undutiful. Upon the whole the letter was very simple,
honest, and dignified ; though it unconsciously betrayed the fact
that he was aware of his father's selfishness. He knew that he
should be reproached with his youth, inexperience, ignorance of his
own mind, &c. ; but that the real objection to his plan would
lie in its being expensive. His father had always insisted
upon the importance of a young fellow's becoming independent ;
and had, moreover, pointed out that the best and shortest
way of accomplishing this desirable object was to marry an
heiress. If Ralph Pennicuick's morality was not of any high
type, he could not at least be accused of hypocrisy.
It was nearly a week since Eaymond had called upon Mrs. Con-
way and her daughter, which was a longer time than he had ever
suffered to elapse between his former visits ; he had felt a little
sensitive about Nelly's reception of him on that occasion, and
still more embarrassment as to the position in which he now
stood as her avowed yet unaccepted lover ; but he meant to go
down to Richmond that very day. The longer he was away,
the more awkward, he felt, would be their next meeting; and
besides, it was his greatest happiness in life to be with her. It
was arranged that, pending his father's decision, they were to be as
brother and sister ; and though that was not the relationship he
most desired, it was a very agreeable one. He was not of those
unhappy persons who can enjoy nothing unless they get all they
want ; and he would have been very willing indeed to make
the most of his opportunities before any decided veto could
arrive from his father, but for Xelly's sake. He felt that it would
be wrong to irrevocably engage her affections unless marriage
were to follow ; and he was sure that she would be resolute against
it, if his father's consent were not obtained.
Still, as he left his chambers in his summer garb, and with a
flower in his button-hole, there was a radiance in his face that
only a certain tender expectancy can bestow, and which is very
different from the smirk of satisfaction that sits upon us in later
life, when we are about to make a coui^ in the City ; it contrasted
strongly with the expression usually worn by the inmates of
Stone Buildings, and especially with that upon the face of his
fellow-lodger, Beaumont, whom he happened to meet upon the
stairs. They were merely acquaintances, though they lived under
the same roof, and were almost contemporaries. Beaumont read
much harder; he reported legal cases for the papers; and he
took to his profession kindly, which could not quite be said of
2i6 BY PROXY.
' Hullo, Beaumont ! you look as if the Long Vacation were done
away with. There has nothing gone wrong with you, I hope.'
' No, nothing. You are playing the truant early ; you have
not even read the newspaper yet, I'll warrant.'
' I have read all that is interesting in it ; that is, your admir-
able reports. The weather is too fine for work, and I am off â
somewhere up the river.'
It was a proof of the seriousness of his intentions with re-
spect to Nelly that he did not say to Kichmond. Even the young
do not wear their hearts upon their sleeves when there is a con-
junction of hearts. He ran down-stairs with a merry laugh ; but
Beaumont, as he leant over the banisters watching him, grew
graver than before.
* He has not seen it,' he muttered, ' and I have not the pluck
to tell him.'
As Eaymond stepped across the court to Chancery Lane, where
there are always cabs to be found, he came upon two men, who
stopped their talk at his approach. One he knew just enough to
nod to him. When he had passed by, this one said to his com-
panion, 'That is the son of the very man in question.'
' Why, he looks more as if he were going courting than as
* Hush ! It is evident he knows nothing about it, poor devil ! '
' Waterloo Station ! â Kichmond line ! ' cried Raymond to his
BREAKING IT. 217
BREAK I^'G IT.
If it is true that one's ears bui'n while others are talking of us
in our absence, Eaymond Pennicuick's ears ought to have been
very red upon his road to Eichmond that morning. And, curiously
enough, those who were talking of him were tlie very folks he was
about to visit.
When Mrs. Conway and her daughter came down to breakfast,
the latter, as usual, had made the tea, while the former had taken
up the paper. She was fond of news of all kinds, and it was one
of her very few pieces of personal extravagance to have the ' Times '
' to read ' for the first two hours every day. Under such circum-
stances, it was only reasonable that during that interval she should
read it all, and get her money's worth out of it. She was one of
those terrible people who XDill read their newspapers aloud, and
poor Nelly had to listen to her. First came the Births, Deaths,
and Marriages, to which the young lady did not object â the female
niind (perhaps from the earliest ages) takes an interest in the
'Hatch, Match, and Despatch' of its fellow-creatures â and then the
general news of all descriptions, beginning with the Eoyal Family's
walking on the slopes. But there was sometimes a pause between
the extracts from the supplement and those from the main body
2i8 BY PROXY.
of the paper. This, as Nelly was well aware, was when there was
news from China, which her mother always ignored, as not havings
any interest for her, but somewhat inconsistently always read to