William Makepeace Thackeray.

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old, when they portraj'ed sainted personages, were fain to have
recourse to compasses and gold-leaf — as if celestial splendor
could be represented by Dutch metal ! As our artist cannot
come up to tiiis task, the reader will be pleased to let his fancy
paint for itself the look of courtesy for a woman, admiration
for a young beauty, protection for an innocent child, all of
which are expressed upon the Colonel's kind face, as his eyes
are set upon Ethel Newcome.*

'' Mamma has sent us to bid 3'ou welcome to England, uncle,"
says Miss Ethel, advancing, and never thinking for a moment of
laying aside that fine blush which she brought into the room,
and which is her pretty symbol of youth, and modesty, and
beauty.

He took a little slim white hand and laid it down on his brown
palm, where it looked all the whiter : he cleared the grizzled
mustachio from his mouth, and stooping down he kissed the
little white hand with a great deal of grace and dignity. There
was no point of resemblance, and yet a something in the girl's
look, voice, and movements, which caused his heart to thnll,
and an image out of the past to rise up and salute him. The
ej-es which had brightened his 3'outh (and which he saw in his
dreams and thoughts for faithful years afterwards, as though
they looked at him out of heaven), seemed to shine upon him
after five-and- thirty 3'ears. He remembered such a fair bending
neck and clustering hair, such a light foot and airy figure, such
a slim hand lying in his own — and now parted from it with a
gap of ten thousand long days between. It is an old saying,
* This refers to an illustrated edition of the work.



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THE NEWCOMES. 163

that we forget nothing ; as people in fever begin suddenly to
talk the language of their infancy, we are stricken by memory
sometimes, and old affections rush back on us as vivid as in the
time when they were oui* daily talk, when their presence glad-
dened our ejes, when their accents thrilled in our ears, when
with passionate tears and grief we flung ourselves upon their
hopeless corpses. Parting is death, at least as far as life is
concerned. A passion comes to an end ; it is carried off in a
coffin, or weeping in a post-chaise ; it drops out of life one way
or other, and the earth-clods close over it, and we see it no
more. But it has been part of our souls, and it is eternal.
Does a mother not love her dead infant ?~a man his lost mis-
tress? with the fond wife nestling at his side, — yes, with
twenty children smiling round her knee. No doubt, as the old
soldier held the girl's hand in his, the little talisman led him
back to Hades, and he saw Leonora

'* How do you do, uncle ? " says girls Nos. 2 and 3 in a pretty
little infantile chorus. He drops the talisman, he is back in
common life again — the dancing baby in the arms of the bob-
bing nurse babbles a welcome. Alfred looks up for a while at
his uncle in the white trousera, and then instantly proposes that
Clivc should make him some drawings ; and is on his knees at
the next moment. He is alwa\'s climbing on somebody or some-
thing, or winding over chairs, curling through bannisters, stand-
ing on somebody's head, or his own head, — as his convalescence
advances, his breakages are fearful. Miss Honeyman and
Hannah will talk about his dilapidations for years after the little
chap has left; them. When he is a jolly young oflScer in the
Guards, and comes to see them at Brighton, they will show him
the blue dragon Chayny jar on which he woidd sit, and over
which he cried so fearfully upon breaking.

When this little party has gone out smiling to take its walk
on the sea-shore, the Colonel sits down and resumes the inter-
rupted dessert. Miss Honeyman talks of the children and
tiieir mother, and the merits of Mr. Kuhn, and the beauty of
Miss Ethel, glancing significantly towards Clive, who has had
enough of gingerbread nuts and dessert and wine, and whose
youthful nose is by this time at the window. What kind-hearted
woman, young or old, does not love match-making?

The Colonel, without lifting his eyes from the table, says
" she remintls him of — of somebody he knew once."

" Indeed ! " cries Miss Honeyman, and thinks Emma must
have altered very much aft/Cr going to India, for she had fair
hair, and white eyelashes, and not a pretty foot certainly —



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164 THE NEWCOMES.



1



but, my dear good lady, the Colonel is not thinking of the late
Mrs. Casey.

He has taken f^ fitting quantity of the Madeira, the artless
greeting of the people here, young and old, has warmed his
heart, and he goes up staire to pay a visit to his sister-in-law,
to whom he makes his most courteous bow as becomes a lady
of her rank. Ethel takes her place quite naturally beside him
during his visit. Where did he learn those fine manners which
all of us who knew him admired in him ? He had a natural
simplicity, an habitual practice of kind and generous thoughts ;
a pure mind, and therefore above hypocrisy and affectation —
perhaps those French people with whom he had been intimate
in early life had imparted to him some of the traditional graces
of their vieille cour — certainly his half-brothers had inherited
none such. ^^ What is this that Barnes has written about his
uncle, that the Colonel is ridiculous?" Lad\' Ann said to her
daughter that night. " Your uncle is adorable. I have never
seen a more perfect grand Seigneur. He puts me in mind of
my grandfather, though grandpapa's grand manner was more
artificial, and his voice spoiled by snuff. See the Colonel.
He smokes round the garden, but with what perfect grace!
This is the man Uncle Hobson, and your i)oor dear papa, have
represented to us as a species of bear ! Mr. Newcome, who
has himself the ton of a waiter ! The Colonel is perfect. What
can Barnes mean by ridiculing him ? I wish Barnes had such
a distinguished air ; but he is like his poor dear papa. Que
voulez-vous^ my love ? The Newcomes are honorable, the New-
comes are wealthy; but distinguished? no. I never deluded
myself with that notion when I married your poor dear papa.
At once I pronounce Colonel Newcome a person to be in every
way distinguished by us. On our return to London*! 8haU
present him to all our family : poor good man ! let him see that
his family have some presentable relations besides those whom
he will meet at Mrs. Newcome's, in Bryanstone Square. You
must go to Bryanstone Squarie immediately we return to Lon-
don. You must ask your cousins and their governess, and we
will give them* a little party. Mrs. Newcome is insupportable,
but we must never forsake our relatives, £thel. When you
come out you will have to dine there, and go to her ball. Ev-
ery young lady in your position in the world has saciifices to
make, and duties to her family to i^erform. Look irt me. Why
did I marry your poor dear papa ? From dut}'. Has your Aunt
Fanny, who ran away with Captain Canonbury, been happy?
They have eleven children, and are starving at Boulogne,



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THE NEWCOMES. 165

Think of three of Fanny's boys in yellow stockings at the
Bluecoat School. Your papa got them appointed. I am sure
my papa would have gone mad, if he had seen that day ! She
came with one of the poor wretches to Park Lane ; but I could
not see them. My feelings would not allow me. When my
maid, — I had a French maid then — Louise, you remember ;
her conduct was abominable : so was Pr^ville's — when she came
and said that my Lady Fanny was below with a young gentle-
man, gm poriait des bat jaunes, I could not see the child. I
begged her to come up in my room ; and, absolutely that I might
not offend her, I went to bed. That wretch Louise met her at
Boulogne and told her afterwards. Good night, we must not
stand chattering here any more. Heaven bless you, my dar-
ling ! Those are the ColoneFs windows ! Look, he is smoking
on his balconj- — that must ,be Clive's room. Clive is a good
kind boy. It was very kind of him to draw so many pictures
for Alfred. Put the drawings away, Ethel. Mr. Smee saw
some in Park Lane, and said they showed remarkable genius.
What a genius your Aunt Emily had for drawing ; but it was
flowers! I had no genius in particular, so mamma used to
say — and Doctor Belper said, ' My dear Lady Walham ' (it
was before my grandpapa's death), * has Miss Ann a genius
for sewing buttons and making puddens ? ' — puddens he pro-
nounced it. Good night, my own love. Blessings, blessings,
on my Ethel ! "

The Colonel from his balcony saw the slim figure of the
repeating girl, and looked fondly after her : and as the smoke
of his cigar floated in the air, he formed a fine castle in it,
whereof Clive was lord, and that pretty Ethel, lady. •* What
a frank, generous, bright young creature is yonder ! " thought
he. '' How cheery and gay she is ; how good to Miss Honey-
man, to whom she behaved with just the respect that was the
old ladj^'s due — how affectionate with her brothers and sisters.
What a sweet voice she has ! What a prett}- little white hand
it is ! When she gave it me, it looked like a little white bird
lying in mine. I must wear gloves, by Jove I must, and my
coat w old-fashioned, as Binnie says ; what a fine match might
be made between that child and Clive ! She reminds me of a
pair of eyes I haven't seen these forty years. I would like to
have Clive married to her, to see him out of the scrapes and
dangers that 3'oung fellows encounter, and safe with such a
sweet girl as that. If God had so willed it, I might have been
happy m3self, and could have made a woman happy. But the
Fates were against me. I should like to see Clive happy, and



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166 THE NEWCOMES.

then say Nunc dimittis. I shan*t want anything more to-night.
Kean, and you can go to bed."

"Thank you, Colonel," says Kean, who enters, having pre-
pared his master's bed-chamber, and is retiring when the Colonel
calls after him : ,

'* I say, Kean, is that blue coat of mine very old? "

" Uncommon white about the seams, Colonel," says the
man.

" Is it older than other people's coats? " — Kean is obliged
gravely to confess that the Colonel's coat is \Qry queer.

'' Get me another coat then — see that I don't do anything
or wear anything unusual. I have been so long out of Eu-
rope, that I don't know the customs here, and am not above
learning."

Kean retires, vowing that his master is an old trump ; which
opinion he had already expressed to Mr. Kuhn, Lady Hann's
man, over a long potation which those two gentlemen had
taken together. And, as all of us, in one way or another, are
subject to this domestic criticism, from which not the most
exalted can escape, I say, lucky is the man whose servants
speak well of him.



CHAPTER XVI.

IN WHICH MR. SHERRICK LETS HIS HOUSE IN FITZROT SQUARE.

In spite of the sneers of the Newcome Independent^ and the
Colonel's unlucky visit to his nurse's native place, he still
remained in high favor in Park Lane ; where the worth}' gentle-
man paid almost daily visits, and was received with welcome
and almost affection, at least by the ladies and children of the
house. Who was it that took the children to Astley's but
Uncle Newcome ? I saw him there in the midst of a cluster of
these little people, all children together. He laughed delighted
at Mr. Merryman's jokes in the ring* He beheld the Battle of
Waterloo with breathless interest, and was amazed — amazed,
by Jove, sir — at the prodigious likeness of the principal actor
to the Emperor Napoleon, whose tomb he had visited on his
return from India, as it pleased him to tell his little audience
who sat clustering round him: the little girls. Sir Brian's
daughters, holding each by a finger of his hands ; young Mas-
ters Alfred and Edward clapping and hurraing by his side;



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Av ETBiriiro at Astlbt's.



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THE NEWCOMES. 167

while T^. Clive and Miss Ethel sat in the back of the box enjoy-
ing the scene, but with that decorum which belonged to their
superior age and gravity. As for Clive, he was in these matters
much older than the grizzled old warrior his father. It did one
good to hear the Colonel's honest laughs at Clown's jokes, and
to see the tenderness and simplicity with which he watched
over this happy brood of yo\ihg ones. How lavishly did he
suppl}^ them with sweetmeats between the acts ! There he sat
in the midst of them, and ate an orange himself with perfect
satisfaction. I wonder what sum of mone^^ Mr. Barnes New-
come would have taken to sit for five hours with his young
brothers and sisters in a public box at the theatre and eat an
orange in the face of the audience? When little Alfred went to
Harrow, you may be sure Colonel Newcome and Clive galloped
over to see the little man and tipped him royally. What money
is better bestowed than that of a schoolboy's tip? How the
kindness is recalled by the recipient in after days ? It blesses
him that gives and him that takes. Remember how happ}' such
benefactions made you ioi^our own early time, and go off on
the very first fine day and .tip your nephew at school !

The Colonel's oi-gan of benevolence was so large, that he
would have liked to administer bounties to the young folks his
nephews and nieces in Bryanstone Square, as well as to their
cousins in Park Lane ; but Mrs. Newcome was a great deal too
virtuous to admit of such spoiling of children. She took the
poor gentleman to task for an attempt upon her boys when those
lads came home for their holidays, and caused them ruefully to
give back the shining gold sovereign with which their uncle had
thought to give them a treat.

" I do not quarrel with other families," says she ; '* I do not
cdlude to other families ; " meaning, of course, that she did not
allude to Park Lane. '' There maf/ be children who are allowed
to receive money from their fathei^s grown-up friends. There
may be children who hold out their hands for presents, and thus
become mercenarj^ in early life. I make no reflections with
regard to other households, /only look, and think, and pray for
the welfare of m}' own beloved ones. The}' want for nothing.
Heaven has bounteously furnished us with every comfort, with
every elegance, with every luxury. Why need we be bounden
to others, who have been ourselves so amply provided? I
should consider it ingratitude. Colonel Newcome, want of proper
spirit, to allow mi/ boys to accept money. Mind, 1 make no
cUlustons, When they go to school the}' receive a sovereign
apiece &om their father, and a shilling a week, which is ample



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168 THE NEWCOMES.

pocket-money. When they are at home, I desire that they
may have rational amusements : I send them to the Pofytechnic
with Professor Hickson, who kindly explains to them some of
the marvels of science and the' wonders of machinery. I send
them to the picture-galleries and t^e British Museuih. I go
with them myself to the delightful lectures at the institution in
Albemarle Street. I do not desire that they should attend
theatrical exhibitions. I do not quarrel with those who go to
plays ; far from it ! Who am I that I should venture to judge
the conduct of others ? When you wrote from India, express-
ing a wish that your boy should be made acquainted with the
works of Shakspeare, I gave up my own opinion at once.
Should I interpose between a child and his father ? I encour-
aged the boy to go to the play, and sent him to the pit with
one of our footmen."

'' And you tipped him very handsomel}', my dear Maria,
too," said the good-natured Colonel, breaking in upon her ser-
mon ; but Virtue was not to be put off in that wa}-.

" And why, Colonel Newcome,"iii^irtue exclaimed, laying a
pudgy little hand on its heart; ''why did I treat Clive so?
Because I stood towards him in loco parentis; because he
was as a child to me, and I to him as a mother. I indulged
him more than my own. I loved him with a true maternal
tenderness. Then he was happ3^ to come to our house : then
perhaps Park Lane was not so often open to him as Br^anstone
Square : but I make no allusions. Then he did not go six times
to another house for once that he came to mine. He was a
simple, confiding, generous boy. He was not dazzled by
worldly rank or titles of splendor. He could not find these in
Bryanstone Square. A merchant's wife, a country lawj^ei^'s
daughter — I could not be expected to have my humble board
surrounded by titled aristocracy ; I would not if I could. I love
my own family too well ; I am too honest, too simple, — let me
own it at once. Colonel Newcome, too proud/ And now, now
his father has come to England, and I have resigned him, and
he meets with no titled aristocrats at my house, and he does
not come here any more."

Tears rolled out of her little ej-es as she spoke, and she
covered her round face with her pocket-handkerchief.

Had Colonel Newcome read the paper that morning, he
might have seen amongst what are called the fashionable
announcements, the cause, perhaps, why his sister-in-law had
exhibited so much anger and virtue. The Morning Post stated,
that yesterday Sir Brian and Lady Newcome entertained at



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THE NEWCOMES. 169

dinner His Excellency the Persian Ambassador and Backsheesh
Bey; the Right Honorable Cannon Rowe, President of the

Board of Control, and Lady Louisa Rowe ; the Earl of H ,

the Countess of Kew, the Earl of Kew, Sir Currj^ Baughton,
Major-General and Mrs. Hooker, Colonel Newcome, and Mr.
Horace Fc^ey. Afterwards her Ladyship had an assembly',
which was attended by <&c., <&c.

This catalogue of illustrious names had been read by Mrs.
Newcome to her spouse at breakfast, with such comments as
she was in the habit of making.

"The President of the Board of Control, the Chairman of
the Court of Directors, and ex-Governor General of India, and
a whole regiment of Kews. By Jove, Maria, the Colonel is in
good company," cries Mr. Newcome, with a laugh. "Thafs
the sort of dinner you should have given him. Some people to
talk about India. When he dined with us he was put between
old Lady Wormety and Professor Roots. I don*t wonder at his
going to sleep after dinner. I was off myself once or twice
during that confounded long ai^iment between Professor
Roots and Dr. Windus. That Windus is the deuce to talk."

*'Dr. Windus is a man of science, and his name is of
European celebrity ! " says Mana solemnly. '' Any intellectual
person would prefer such company to the titled nobodies into
whose family your brother has married."

" There you go, Polly ; you are always having a shy at
Lady Ann and her relations," says Mr. Newcome, good-
naturedly.

" A shy ! How can you use such vulgar words, Mr. New-
come? What have I to do with Sir Brian's titled relations?
I do not value nobility* I prefer people of science — people of
intellect — to all the rank in the world."

" So you do," says Hobson her spouse. " You have your
party — Lady Ann has her party. You take your line — Lady
Ann takes her line. You are a superior woman, my dear Polly ;
every one knows that. I'm a plain country farmer, I am. As
long as you are happ}', I am happy too. The people you get
to dine here may talk Greek or algebra for what I care. By
Jove, my dear, I think you can hold your own with the best
of them."

" I have endeavored by assiduity to make up for time lost,
and an early imperfect education," saj's Mrs. Newcome. " You
married a poor country lawyer's daughter. You did not seek
a partner in the Peerage, Mr. Newcome."

*' No, no. Not such a confounded flat as that," cries Mr.



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Te}ing nis plump partner Denina Her silver tea-
; of admiration.

1 imperfect education, but I knew its blessings,
'ust, endeavored to cultivate the humble talents
has given me, Mr. Newcome."

by Jove ! " exclaims the husband. " No gam-
ort, Polly. You know well enough that you are
nan. I ain't a superior man. I know that: one
El family. I leave the reading to 3'ou, my dear.
ly horses. I say, I wish youVI call on Lady Ann
;o and see her now, that's a good girl. I know
and that ; and Brian's back is up a little. But

fellow ; and I wish I could see you and bis wife

J to the City, Mr. Newcome rode to look at the
o. 120, Fitzroy Square, which his brother, the
Liken in conjunction with that Indian friend of his,
>hrewd old cock, Mr. Binnie. lias brought home
[loney from India. Is looking out for safe invest-
een introduced to Newcome Brothers. Mr. New-
ery well of the Colonel's friend,
is vast, but, it must be owned, melancholy. Not
^as a ladies'-school, in an unprosperous condition.
)y Madame Latour's brass plate may still be seen
ack door, cheerfully ornamented in the style of

last century, with a funereal urn in the centre of
[ garlands, and the skulls of rams at each comer,
ur, who at one time actually kept a large 3'ellow
3ve her parlor young ladies in the Regent's Park,
rom her native country, (Islington was her birth-
igson her paternal name,) and an outlaw at the
d Sherrick : that Mr. Sherrick whose wine-vaults
3y Whittlesea's Chapel where the eloquent Honey-
is Mr. Sherrick's house. Some say his name is
\ pretend to have known him as an orange-boy,

a chorus-singer in the theatres, afterwards as
great tragedian. I know nothing of these stories,
ay not be a partner of Mr. Campion, of '^ Shep-
he has a handsome villa, Abbey Road, St. John's
tins good company, rather loud, of the sporting

drives very showy horses, has boxes at the opera
kes, and free access behind the scenes ; is hand-
>right-eyed, with a quantity of jewellery, and a



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THE NEWCOMES. 171

tuft to his chin ; sings sweetly sentimental songs after dinner.
Who cares a fig what was the religion of Mr. Sherrick's ances-
try, or what the occupation of his youth ? Mr. Honeyman, a
most respectable man surely, introduced Sherrick to the Colonel
and Binnie.

Mr. Sherrick stocked their cellar with some of the wine over
which Honeyman preached such lovely sermons. It was not
dear; it was not bad when you dealt with Mr. Sherrick for
wine alone. Going into his market with ready money in your
hand, as our simple friends did, you were pretty fairly treated
by Mr. Sherrick.

The house being taken, we may be certain there was fine
amusement for Clive, Mr. Binnie, and the Colonel, in frequent-
ing the sales, in the inspection of upholsterers' shops, and •the
purchase of furniture for the new mansion. It was like nobody
else's house. There were three masters with four or five ser-
vants under them. Irons for the Colonel and his son ; a smart
boy with boots for Mr. Binnie ; Mrs. Irons to cook and keep
house, with a couple of maids under her. The Colonel, him-
self, was great at making hash mutton, hot-pot, currj*, and pillau.
What cosy pipes did we not smoke in the dining-room, in the
drawing-room, or where we would ! What pleasant evenings
did we not have with Mr. Binnie's books and Schiedam ! Then
there were tbe solemn state dinners, at most of which the writer
of this biography had a corner.

Clive had a tutor — Grindley of Corpus — whom we recom-
mended to him, and with whom the 3*oung gentleman did not
fetigue his brains very much ; but his great forte decidedly lay
in drawing. He sketched the horses, he sketched the dogs;
aU the servants, from the blear-eyed boot-boy to the rosy-
cheeked lass, Mrs. Kean's niece, whom that virtuous house-
keeper was always calling to come down stairs. He drew his
father in all postures — asleep, on foot, on hoi*seback ; and
jolly little Mr. Binnie, with his plump legs on a chair, or jump-
ing briskly on the back of the cob which he rode. He should
have drawn the pictures for this book, but that he no longer
condescends to make sketches. Young Ridley was his daily
friend now ; and after Grindley's classics and mathematics in
the morning, this pair of young men would constantly attend
Gandish's Drawing Academy, where, to be sure, Ridley passed
many hours at work on his art, before his young friend and
patron could be spared from his books to his pencil.

"Oh," says Clive, if you talk to him now about those early
days, " it was a jolly time I I do not believe there was any



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his painting-room now, a head, painted at one sitting, of a man
rather bald, with hair touched with gray, with a large mous-
tache, and a sweet mouth half smiling beneath it, and melan-
cholj' eyes ! and Clive shows that portrait of their grandfather



Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works → online text (page 18 of 85)