William Makepeace Thackeray.

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by assault, treason, or other mode of capture. Mrs. Casey
(his defunct wife) had overcome it by sheer pity and helpless-
ness. He found her so friendless, that he took her in to the
vacant place, and installed her there as he would have received
a traveller into his bungalow. He divided his meal with her,
and made her welcome to his best. " I believe Tom Newcome
married her," sly Mr. Binnie used to say, " in order that he
might have permission to pay her milliner's bills ; " and in this
way he was amply gratified until the daj^ of her death. A
feeble miniature of the lady, with yellow ringlets and a guitar,
hung over the mantel-piece of the Colonel's bed-chamber, where
I have often seen that work of art ; and subsequently, when he
and Mr. Binnie took a house, there was hung up in the spare
bedroom a companion portrait to the miniature — that of the
Colonel's predecessor. Jack Casey, who, in life, used to fling
plates at his Emma's head, and who perished from a fatal



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56 THE NEWCOMES.

attachment to the bottle. I am inclined to think that Colonel
Newcome was not much cast down by the loss of his wife, and
that they lived but indifferently together. Clive used to say in
his artless way that his father scarcely ever mentioned his
mother's name ; and no doubt the union was not happy, although
Newcome continued piously to acknowledge it, long after death
had brought it to a termination, bj' constant benefactions and
remembrances to the departed lady's kindred.

Those widows or virgins who endeavored to fill Emma's
place found the door of Newcome's h^art fast and barred, and
assailed it in vain. Miss Billing sat down before it with her
piano, and, as the Colonel was a practitioner on the flute, hoped
to make all life one harmonious duet with him ; but she played
her most brilliant sonatas and variations in vain ; and, as everj'-
body knows, subsequently carried her grand piano to Lieuten-
ant and Adjutant Hodgkin's house, whose name she now bears.
The lovely widow Wilkins, with two darling little children,
stopped at Newcome's hospitable house, on her way to Cal-
cutta ; and it was thought she might never leave it ; but her
kind host, as was his wont, crammed her children with presents
and good things, consoled and entertained the fair widow, and
one morning, after she had remained three months at the sta-
tion, the Colonel's palanquins and bearers made their appear-
ance, and Elvira Wilkins went away weeping as a widow should.
Why did she abuse Newcome ever after at Calcutta, Bath, Chel-
tenham, and wherever she went, calling him selfish, pompous,
Quixotic, and a Bahawder? I could mention half a dozen other
names of ladies of most respectable families connected with
Leadenhall Street, who, according to Colonel Newcome's chum
— that wicked Mr. Blnnie— ^had all conspired more or less
to give Clive Newcome a step-mother.

But he had had an unlucky experience in his own case ; and
thought within himself, " No, I won't give Clive a step-mother.
As Heaven has taken his own mother from him ; why, I must
trj' to be father and mother too to the lad." He kept the child as
long as ever the climate would allow of his remaining, and then
sent him home. Then his aim was to save money for the
youngster. He was of a nature so uncontrollably generous,
that to be sure he spent five rupees where another would save
them, and make a fine show besides ; but it is not a man's gifts
or hospitalities that generally injure his fortune. It is on them-
selves that prodigals spend most. And as Newcome had no
personal extravagances, and the smallest selfish wants ; could
live almost as frugally as a Hindoo ; kept his horses not to race



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THE NEWCOMES. 57

but to ride ; wore his old clotiies and uniforms until ttiey were
the laughter of his regiment ; did not care for show, and had
no longer an extravagant wife ; he managed to lay by consider-
ably out of his liberal allowances, and to find himself and Clive
growibg richer every year. "

"When Clive has had five or six years at school" — that
was his scheme — "he will be a fine scholar, and have at least
as much classical learning as a gentleman in the world need
possess. Then I will go to England, and we will pass three or
four years together, in which he will learn to be intimate with
me, and, I hope, to like me. I shall be his pupil for Latin and
Greek, and txy and make up for lost time. I know there is
nothing like a knowledge of the classics to give a man good
breeding — Ingenuas didicisse Jideliter artes emoUurU mores, nee
sinmssejeros. I shall be able to help him with my knowledge
of the world, and to keep hitn out of the way of sharpers and a
pack of rogues who commonly infest young men. I will make
myself his companion, and pretend to no superiority; for, in-
deed, isn't he my superior? Of course he is, with his advan-
tages. Jffe hasn't been an idle young scamp as I was. And
we will travel togfether, first through England, Scotland, and
Ireland, for every man should know his own country, and then
we will make the grand tour. Then, by the time he is eighteen,
he will be able to choose his profession. He can go into the
army, and emulate the glorious man after whom I named him ;
or if he prefers the church, or the law, they are open to him ;
and when he goes to the university, by which time I shall be,
in all probability, a major-general, I can come back to India
for a few years, and return by the time he has a wife and a
home for his old father ; or if I die, I shall have done the best
for him, and my boj' will be* left with the best education, a
tolerable small fortune, and the blessing of his old father."

Sudi were the plans of our kind schemer. How fondly he
dwelt on them, how affectionately he wrote of them to his bo}' !
How he read books of travels and looked over the maps of
Europe ! and said, " Rome, sir, glorious Rome ; it won't be
very long, major, before my boy and I see the Colosseum, and
kiss the Pope's toe. We shall go up the Rhine to Switzerland,
and over the Simplon, the work of the great Napoleon. By
Jove, sir, think of the Turks before Vienna, and Sobieski clear-
ing eighty thousand of 'em oflf the face of the earth ! How my
hoy will rejoice in the picture-galleries there, and in Prince
Eugene's prints I You know, I suppose, that Prince Eugene,
one of the greatest generals in the world, was also one of the



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58 THE NEWCOMES.

greatest lovers of the fine arts. Ingenuas didicisse, hey, Doctor ?
you know the rest, — emoUunt mores nee — "

^^ EmoUunt mores! Colonel," says Doctor McTs^gart, who,
perhaps, was too canny to correct the commanding officer's
Latin. " Don't ye noo that Prence Eugene was about as' sav-
age a Turk as iver was? Have ye niver rad the mimories of
the Prants de Leen?"

" Well, he was a great cavalry officer," answers the Colonel,
' ' and he left a great collection of prints — that you know. How
Clive will delight in them ! The boy's talent for drawing is
wonderful,' sir, wonderful. He sent me a picture of our old
school — the very actual thing, sir; the cloisters, the school,
the head gown-boy going in with the rods, and the doctor him-
self. It would make you die of laughing ! "

He regaled the ladies of the r^ment with Clive's letters,
and those of Miss Honeyman, which contained an account of
the boy. He even bored some of his bearers with this prattle ;
and sporting young men would give or take odds that the Colonel
would mention Clive's name, once before five minutes, three
times in ten minutes, twenty-five times in the course of dinner,
and so on. But they who laughed at the Colonel laughed very
kindly ; and everybody who knew him, loved him ; everybody
that is, who loved modesty, and generosity, and honor.

At last the happy time came for which the kind father had
been longing more passionately than any prisoner for liberty,
or schoolboy for holiday. Colonel Ne'wcome has taken leave
of his regiment, leaving Major Tomkinson, nothing loth, in
command. He has travelled to Calcutta ; and the C:)mmander-
in-Chief, in general orders, has announced that in giving to
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Newcome, C.B*, of the Bengal
Cavalry, leave for the first time, 'after no less than thirty-four
years' absence from home, " he (Sir George Hustler) cannot
refrain from expressing his sense of the great and meritorious
services of this most distinguished officer, who has left his
regiment in a state of the highest discipline and efficiency."
And now the ship has sailed, the voyage is over, and once more,
after so many long years, the honest soldier's foot is on his
native shore.



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A Letter fbom Clivb.



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"1



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THE NEWCOMES. 69

CHAPTER VI.

NEWCOHE BROTHERS.

Besides his own boy, whom he worshipped, this kind Colonel
had a score, at least, of adopted children, to whom he chose to
stand in the light of a father. He was forever whirling away
in post-chaises to this school and that, to see Jack Brown's boys,
of the Cavalrj' ; or Mrs. Smith's girls, of the Civil Service ; or
poor Tom Hicks's orphan, who had nobody to look after him
now that the cholera had carried off Tom, and his wife too.
On board the ship in which he returned from Calcutta were a
dozen of little children, of both sexes, some of whom he actually
escorted to their friends before he visited his own ; and though
his heart was longing for his boy at Grey Friars. The children
at the schools seen, and largely rewarded out of his bounty (his
loose white trousers had great pockets, alwaj^s heav}' with gold
and silver, which he jingled when he was not pulling his mus-
tachios — to see the way in which he tipped children made one
almost long to be a boy again) ; and when he had visited Miss
Pinkerton's establishment, or Doctor Ramshom's adjoining
academy at Chiswick, and seen little Tom Davis or little Fanny
Holmes, the honest fellow would come home and write off
straightway a long letter to Tom's or Fanny's parents, far
away in the Indian country, whose hearts he made happy by
his accounts of their children, as he had delighted the children
themselves by his affection and bounty. AH the apple and
orange-women (especially such as had babies as well as lollipops
at their stalls), all the street-sweepers on the road between
Nerot's and the Oriental, knew him, and were his pensioners.
His brothers in Thread needle Street cast up their eyes at the
cheques which he drew.

One of the little people of whom the kind Newcome had
taken charge luckily dwelt near Portsmouth ; and when the faith-
ful Colonel consigned Miss Fipps to her grandmother, Mrs.
Admiral Fipps, at Southampton, Miss Fipps clung to her guar-
dian, and with tears and howls was torn away from him. Not
until her maiden aunts had consoled her with strawbemes,
which she never before had tasted, was the little Indian com-
forted for the departure of her dear Colonel. Master Cox, Tom
Cox's bo3', of the Native Infantry, had to be carrfed asleep
from the ^^ George" to the mail that night Master Cox woke



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60 THE NEWCOMES.

up at ttie dawn wondering, as the coach passed through the
pleasant green roads of Bromley. The good gentleman con-
signed the little chap to his uncle, Dr. Cox, Bloomsbury Square,
before he went to his own quarters, and then on the errand on
which his fond heart was bent.

He had written to his brotliers fh>m Portsmouth, announcing
his arrival, and three words to Clive, conveying the sam^ in-
telligence. The letter was served to the boy along witii one
bowl of tea and one buttered roll, of eighty such which were
distributed to fourscore other boys, boarders of the same house
with our young friend. How the lad's face must have flushed,
and his eyes brightened, when he read the news ! When the
master of the house, the Rev. Mr. P<^kinson, came into the
lodging-room, with a good-natured face, and said, *' Newcome,
you're wanted," he knows who is come. He does not heed
that notorious bruiser^ old Hodge, who roars out, ^^ Confound
you, Newcome : I'll give it you for upsetting your tea over my
new trousers." He runs to the room where the stranger is
waiting for him. We will shut the door, if you please, upon
that scene.

If Clive had not been as fine and handsome a young lad as
any in that school or country, no doubt his fond father would
have been just as well pleased, and endowed him with a hundred
fanciful graces ; but, in truth, in looks and manners he was
everything which his parent could desire ; and I hope the artist
who illustrates Uiis work will take care to do justice to his por- .
trait.* Mr. Clive himself, let that painter be assured, will not
be too well pleased if his countenance and figure do not receive
proper attention. He is not yet endowed with those splendid
mustachios and whiskers which he has himself subsequently
depicted, but he is the picture of health, strength, activity,
and good-humor. He has a good forehead, shaded with a quan-
tity, of waving light hair; a complexion which ladies might
envy; a moutii which seems accustomed to laughing; and a
pair of blue eyes-that sparkle with intelligence and frank kind-
ness. No wonder the pleased father cannot refrain from looking
at him. He is, in a word, just such a youth as has a right to
be the hero of a novel.

The bell rings for second school, and Mr. Popkinson, arraj'ed
in cap and gown, comes in to shake Colonel Newcome by the
hand, and to say he supposes if s to be a holiday for Newcome
that day. He does not say a word about Clive's scrape of the
day before, and that awful row in the bedrooms, where the
* This refen to an illiutrated edition of this work.



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THE NEWCOMES. 61

lad and three others were discovered making a supper off a pork
pie and two bottles of prime old port from the Red Cow public-
hoQse in Grey Friars Lane. When the bell has done ringing,
and all these busy little bees have swarmed into their hive, there
is a solitude in the place. The Colonel and his son walk the
play-ground together, that gravelly flat, as destitute of herbage
as the Arabian desert, but, nevertheless, in the language of the
place, called the gi'een. They walk the green, and thej' pace
the doisters, and Clive shows his father his own name of
Thomas Newoome carved upon one of the arches forty years
ago. As they talk, the boy gives sidelong glances at his new
friend, and wonders at the Colonel's loose trousers, long mus-
tachios, and yellow face. He looks very odd, Clive thinks,
very odd and very kind, and he looks like a gentleman, every
inch of him : — not like Martin's father, who came to see Wb
son lately in highlows, and a shocking bad hat, and actually
flung coppers amongst the boj's for a scramble. He bursts out
a-lau^ing at the exquisitely ludicrous idea of a gentleman of
his fashion scrambling for coppers.

And now, enjoining the boy to be ready against his return
(and you may be sure Mr. CUve was on the look-out long be-
fore his sire appeared), the Colonel whirled away in his cab to
the City to shake hands with his brothers, whom he had not
seen since they were demure tittle men in blue jackets, under
charge of a serious tutor.

He rushed through the clerks and the banking-house, he
broke into the parlor where the lords of the establishment were
seated. He astonished those trim quiet gentlemen by the
warmth of his greeting, by the vigor of his hand-shake, and
the loud high tones of his voice, which penetrated the glass
walls of the parlor, and might actually be heard by the busy
clerks in the hall without. He knew Brian from Hobson at
once — that unluckj' little accident in the go-cart having left its
mark for ever on the nose of Sir Brian Newcome, the elder of
the twins. Sir Brian had a bald head and light hair, a short
whisker cut to his cheek, s. buff wafstooat, very neat boots and
hands. He looked like the ^' Portrait of a Cfentleman at the
Exhibition,'' as the worthy is represented : dignified in attitude,
bland, smiling, and statesmanlike, sitting at a table unsealing
letters, with a despatch-box and a silver inkstand before him, a
column and a scarlet curtain behind, and a park in the distance,
with agreat thunder-storm lowering in the sky. Such a portrait,
in fact, hangs over the great sideboard at Newcome to this
day, and above the three great silver waiters which the grati-



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62 THE NEWCOMES.

tude of as many Companies has presented to their respected
director and chairman.

In face Hobson Newcome, Esq., was like his elder brother,
but was more portly in pei*son. He allowed his red whiskers
to grow whei*ever nature had planted them, on his cheeks and
under his chin. He woi-e thick shoes with naib in them, or
nattj' round-toed boots, with tight trousera and a single strap.
He jiffected the countrj' gentleman in his appearance. His hat
had a broad brim, and the ample pockets of his cut-away coat
were never destitute of agricultural produce, samples of beans
or com, which he used to bite and chew even on 'Change, or
a whip-lash, or balls for horses: in fine, he was a good old
country gentleman. If it was fine in Threadneedle Street, he
would say it was good weather for the hay ; if it rained, the
country wanted rain; if it was frostjs "No bunting to-day,
Tomkins, my boy," and so forth. As he rode fix)m Bryan-
stone Square to the City you would take him — and he was
pleased to be so taken — for a jolly country squire. He was
a better man of business than his more solemn and stately
brother, at whom he laughed in his jocukr way ; and he said
rightly, that a gentleman must get up very early in the morn-
ing who wanted to take him in.

The Colonel breaks into the sanctum of these worthj' gentle-
men ; and each receives him in a manner consonant with his
peculiar nature. Sir Brian regretted that Lady Ann was away
from London, being at Brighton with the children, who were
all ill of the measles. Hobson said, "Maria can*t treat you
to such good company as my Lady could give you ; but when
will 30U take a day and come and dine with us ? Let's see,
to-day's Wednesday; to-morrow we've a party. No, we're
engaged." He meant that his table was full, and that he did
not care to crowd it ; but there was no use in imparting this
circumstance to the Colonel. "Frida}*, we dine at Judge
Budge's — queer name. Judge Budge, ain't it? Saturday, I'm
going down to Marble Head, to look after the hay. Come on
Monday, Tom, and I'll intix>duce you to the missus and the
young uns."

"I will bring Clive," says Colonel Newcome, rather dis-
turbed at this reception. " After his illness my sister-in-law
was very kind to him."

"No, hang it, don't bring boys; there's no good in boys;
they stop the talk down stairs, and the ladies don't want 'em in
the drawing-room. Send him to dine with the children oh
Sunday, if you like, and come along down with me to Marble



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THE NEWCOMES. 63

Head, and FU show yon snch a crop of hay as will moke your
C3'es open. Are 30U fond of fanning?"

** I have not seen my boy for 3'ears/* says the Colonel ; " I
had rather pass Saturday' and Sunday with him, if you please,
and some day we will go to Marble Head together."

"Well, an offer's an offer. I don't know any pleasanter
thing than getting out of this confounded City and smelling the
hedges, and looking at the crops coming up, and passing the
Sunday in quiet." And his own tastes being thus agricultural,
the worthy gentleman thought that everybody else must delight
in the same recreation.

" In the winter, I hope, we shall see you at Newcome," saj^s
the elder brother, blandly smiling. " I can't give 3'ou any
tiger-shooting, but I'll promise 3'ou that 3'ou shall find plenty
of plieasants in our jungle," and he laughed very gently at this
mild salh'.

The Colonel gave him a queer look. *' I shall be at New-
come before the winter. I shaU be there, please God, before
many da3'8 are over.*'

" Indeed ! " says tJie Baronet, with an air of great surprise.
" You are going down to look at the cradle of our race. I be-
lieve the Newcomes were there before the Conqueror. It was
but a village in our ^andfather's time, and it is an immense
flourishing town now, for which I hope to get — I expect to
get — a charter."

" Do 3'ou? " says the Colond. ** I am going down there to
see a relation."

** A relation! What relatives have we there?" cries the
Baronet. ' * My children, with the exception of Barnes. Barnes,
this is 3-our uncle Colonel Thomas Newcome. I have great
pleasure, brother, in introducing 3'ou to my eldest son."

A fair-haired 3'onng gentleman, languid and pale, and arrayed
in the veiy height of fishion, made his appearance at this junc-
ture in the parlor, and returned Colonel Newcome's greeting
with a smiling acknowledgment of his own. "Very happy to
see 3-ou, I'm sure," said the 3'oung man. "You find London
very much changed since you were here? Very good time to
come — the very full of the season.^'

Poor Thomas Newcome was quite abashed by this strange
reception. Here was a man, hungry for affection, and one re-
lation asked him to dinner next Monda3^ and another invited
him to shoot pheasants at Christmas. Here was a beardless
young sprig, who patronized him, and vouchsafed to ask him
whether he found London was changed.



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64 THE NEWCOMES.

" I don't know whether it's changed,'* says the Colonel, bit-
ing his nails ; " I know if s not what I expected to find it."

^' To-day it's really as hot as I should think it must be in
India," says young Mr. Barnes Newcome.

" Hot ! " says the Colonel, with a grin. '' It seems to me
you are all cool enough here."

" Just what Sir Thomas de Boots said, sir," says Barnes,
turning round to his father. " Don't you remember when he
came home from Bombay? I recollect his saying, at Lady
Featherstone's, one dooced hot night, as it seemed to us ; I
recklect his saying that he felt quite cold. Did you know him
in India, Colonel Newcome? He's liked at the Horse Guards,
but he's hated in his regiment."

Colonel Newcome here growled a wish regarding the ulti-
mate fate of Sir Thomas de Boots, which we trust may never
be realized by that distinguished cavalry officer.

" My brother says he's going to Newcome, Barnes, next
week," said the Baronet, wishing to make the' conversation
more interesting to the newly arrived Colonel. " He was
saying so just when you came in, and I was asking him what
took him there ? "

" Did you ever hear of Sarah Mason? " says the Colonel.

" Really, I never did," the Baronet answered.

" Sarah Mason? No, upon my word, I don't think I ever
did," said the young man.

" Well, that's a pity too," the Colonel said with a sneer.
'* Mrs. Mason is a relation of yours — at least by marriage.
She is my aunt or cousin — I used to call her aunt, and she
and my father and mother all worked in the same mill at New-
come together."

''I remember — God bless my soul — I remember now!"
cries the Baronet. '' We pay her forty pound a year on your
account — don't you know, brother? Lrook to Colonel New-
come's account — I recollect the name quite well. But I
thought she had been your nurse, and — and an old servant
of my father's."

'' So she was my nurse, and an old servant of my father's,"
answered the Colonel. " But she was my mother's cousin too ;
and very lucky was my mother to have such a sen'ant, or to
have a servant at all. There is not in the whole world a more
faithful creature or a better woman."

Mr. Hobson rather enjoyed his brother's perplexity, and to
see, when the Baronet rode the high horse, how he came down
sometimes. " I am sure it does you very great credit," gasped



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• THE NEWCOMES. 65

the courtly head of the firm, " to remember a — a humble friend
and connection of our father's so well."

" I think, brother, you might have recollected her too,'* the
Colonel growled out. His face was blushing; he was quite
angry and hurt at what seemed to him Sir Brian's hardness of
heart.

" Pardon me if I don't see the necessity," said Sir Brian.
** /have no relationship with Mrs. Mason, and do not remember
ever having seen her. Can I do anj-thing for you, brother?
Can I be useful to you in any i^ray? Pray command me and
Barnes here, who, aiter City hours, will be delighted if he can
be serviceable to you — 1 am nailed to this counter all the
morning, and to &e House of Commons all night ; — I will



Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works → online text (page 7 of 85)