William Makepeace Thackeray.

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Commons in my eye," he said; "but not for me. I wanted
my boy to go there* It would be a proud day for me if I coald
see him there."

" I can't si>eak," says Clive, from his end of the table. " I
don't understand about parties, like F. B. here."

"I believe I do know a thing or two," Mr. Bayham here
politel}' interposes.

" And politics do not interest me in the least," Clive sighs
out, drawing pictures with his fork on his napkin, and not
heeding the othei^'s interruption.

" I wish I knew what would interest him," his father whis-
pers to me, who happened to be at his side. " He never cares
to be out of his painting-room ; and he doesn't seem to be
very happy even in there. I wish to God, Pen, I knew what
had come over the boy." I thought I knew ; but what was the
use of telling, now there was no remedy.

*'A dissolution is expected every day," continued F. B.
" The papers are full of it. Ministers cannot go on witb this

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majority — cannot possibly go on, sir. I have it on the best
aatiiority; and men who are anxious about their seats are
writing to their constituents, or are subscribing at missionary
meetings, or are gone down to lecturing at Athenaeums, and
that sort of thing."

Here Warrington burst out into a laughter much louder than
the occasion of the speech of F. B. seemed to warrant ; and the
Colonel, turning round with isome dignity, asked the cause of
George's amusement.

"What do you think your darling. Sir Barnes Newcome
Newcome, has been doing during the recess?" cries Warring-
ton. *' I had a letter this morning from mj^ liberal and punctual
employer, Thomas Potts, Esquire, of the Newcome Independents
who states, in language scarcely respectful, that Sir Barnes
Newcome Newcome is trying to come the religious dodge, as
Mr. Potts calls it. He professes to be stricken down by grief
on account of late famil}' circumstances ; wears black, and puts
on the most piteous aspect, and asks ministers of various de-
nominations to tea with him ; and the last announcement is the
most stupendous of all. Stop, I have it in my great-coat."
And, ringing the bell, George orders a servant to bring him a
newspaper from his great-coat pocket. " Here it is, actuaUy
in print," Warrington continues, and reads to us : — " ' New-
come Athenseum. 1 . for the benefit of the Newcome Orphan
Children's Home, and 2. for the benefit of the Newcome Soup
Association, without distinction of denomination. Sir Barnes
Newcome Newcome, Bart., proposes to give two lectures, on
Friday the 23rd, and Friday the 30th, instant. No. 1, The
Poetry of Childhood: Doctor Watts, Mrs. Barbauld, Jane
Taylor. No. 2, The Poetry of Womanhood, and the Affec-
tions : Mrs. Hemans, L. E. L. Threepence will be charged at
the doors, which will go to the use of the above two admirable
societies.' Potts wants me to go down and hear him. He has
an eye to business. He has had a quarrel with Sir Barnes,
and want« me to go down and hear him, and smash him, he
kindly says. Let us go down, Clive. You shall draw 3our
cousin as you have drawn his villanous little mug a hundred
times before ; and I will do the smashing part, And we will have
some fun out of the transaction."

" Besides, Florae will be in the country ; going to Rosebury
is a journey worth the taking, I can tell you ; and we have old
Mrs. Mason to go and see, who sighs after you. Colonel. My
wife went to see her," remarks Mr. Pendennis, " and — "

" And Miss Newcome, I know," says the Colonel.

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'^ She is away at Brighton, with her iitUe dia^^ges, for sea
air. My wife heard from her to-day."

*' Oh, indeed. Mrs. Pendennis corresponds with her?"
says oar host, darkling nnder his eyebrows ; and, at this mo-
ment, my neighbor, F. B., is kind enough to scrunch my foot
under the table with the weight of his heel, as mudi as to warn
me, by an appeal to my own corns, to avoid treading on so
delicate a subject in that house. '^ Yes," said I, in spite,'
perhaps in consequence, of this interruption. '' My wife does
correspond with Miss Ethel, who is a noble creature, and whom
those who know her know how to love and admire. She is
very much changed since you knew her, Colonel Newcome;
since the misfortunes in Sir Barnes's family, and the differences
between you and him. Very much changed and very much
improved. Ask my wife about her, who knows her most in-
timately, and hears from her constantly."

''Ver}^ likely, very likely," cried the Colonel, hurriedly.
" I hope she is improved, with all my heart. I am sure thm
was room for it. Gentlemen, shall we go up to the ladies and
have some coffee?" And herewith the colloquy ended, and
the party ascended to the drawing-room.

The party ascended to the drawing-room, where no doubt
both the laches were pleased by the invasion which ended their
talk. My wife and the Colonel talked apart, and I saw the
latter looking gloomy, and the former pleading veiy eageriy,
and using a great deal of action, as the little hands are woot
to do, when the mistress's heart is very much moved. I was
sure she was pleading Ethel's cause with her uncle.

So indeed she was. And Mr. George, too, knew what her
thoughts were. " Look at her ! " he said to me. *' Don't yoa
see what she is doing? She believes in that girl whom you all
said Clive took a fancy to before he married his present little
placid wife ; a nice little simple creature, who is worth a dozen

" Simple certainly," says Mr. P., with a shrug of tlie shoulder.

*' A simpleton of twenty is better than a roue of twenty. It
is better not to have thought at all, than to have thought such
things as must go through a girl's mind whose life is passed in
jilting and being jilted ; whose eyes, as soon as they are opened,
are turned to the main chance, and are taught to leer at an
earl, to languish at a marquis, and to grow bUnd before a com-
moner. I don't know much about fashionable life. Heaven
help us ! (you young Brummell ! I see the reproach in yoor
face !) Why, sir, it absolute^v appears to me as if this little

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bopK>'-]ny-thainb of a creature has began to give herself airs
since her marriage and her carriage. Do jou know, I rather
thought she patronized me ? Are all women spoiled by their
contact with the world, and their bloom rubbed off in the
market ? I know one who seems to me to remain pure ! to be
sure I only know her, and thi^ little person, and Mrs. Flanagan
our laundress, and my sisters at home, who don't count. But
that Miss Newcome to whom once you introduced me? Oh,
the cockatrice! only that poison don't affect your wife, the
other would kill her. I hope the Colonel will not believe a
word which Laura says." And my wife's tete-a-tete with our
host coming to an end about this time, Mr. Warrington in high
spirits goes up to the ladies, recapitulates the news of Barnes's
lecture, recites " How doth the little busy bee," and gives a
quasi-satirical comment upon that well-known poem, which
bewilders Mrs. Olive, until, set on by the laughter of the rest
of the audience, she laughs very freely at that odd man, and
calls him "you droll satirical creature you!" and says "she
never was so much amused in her life. Were you, Mrs. Pen-

Meanwhile Olive, who has been sitting apart moodily biting
his nails, not listening to F. B.'s remarks, has broken into a
laugh once or twice, and gone to a writing-book, on which,
whUst George is still disserting, Olive is drawing.

At the end of the other's speech, F. B. goes up to the
draughtsman, looks over his shoulder, makes one or two vio-
lent efforts as of inward convulsion, and finlEdly explodes in an
enormous guffaw. " It's capital ! By Jove, it's capital ! Sir
Barnes would never dare to face his constituents with that
picture of him hung up in Newcome ! "

And F. B. holds up the drawing, at which we all laugh
except Laura. As for tiie Oolonel, he paces up and down the
room, holding the sketch close to his eyes, iiolding it away
from him, patting it, clapping his son delightedly on the shoul-
der. " Oapital ! capital ! We'll have the picture printed by
Jove, sir ; show vice its own image ; and shame the viper in
his own nest, sir. That's what we will."

Mrs. Pendennis came away with rather a heavy heart from
this party. She chose to interest herself about the right or
wrong of her friends; and her mind was disturbed by the
ColoneFs vindictive spirit. On the subsequent day we had
occasion to visit our friend J. J., (who was completing the
sweetest little picture, No. 263 in the Exhibition, "Portrait

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of a Lady and Child,") and we found that Clive had been with
the painter that morning likewise ; and that J. J. was acqaiunted
with his scheme. That he did not approve of it we oould read
in the artisfs grave countenance. " Nor does Clive approve of
it either ! " cried Ridley, with greater eagerness than he usually
displayed, and more openness than he was accustomed to ex-
hibit in judging unfavorably of his fiiends.

'' Among them they have taken him away from his art,"
Ridley said. '^ They don't understand him when he talks about
it ; they despise him for pursuing it. Why should I wonder at
that? my parents despised it too, and my father was not a grand
gentleman like the Colonel, Mrs, Pendennis. Ah ! wh^- did the
Colonel ever grow rich ? Why had not Clive to work for his
bread as I have? He would have done something that was
worthy of him then ; now his time must be spent in dancing
attendance at balls and operas, and yawning at City board-rooms.
They call that business ; they t^ink he is idling when he comes
here, poor fellow ! As if life was long enough for our art ; and
the best labor we can give, good enough for it ! He went away
groading this morning, and quite saddened in spirits. The
Colonel wants to set up himself for Parliament, or to set Clive
up ; but he says he won't. I hope he won't : do not you, Mrs.

The painter turned as he spoke ; and the bright northern
light which fell upon the sitter's head was intercepted, and
lighted up his own as he addressed us. Out of that bright light
looked his pale thoughtful face, and long locks and eager brown
eyes. The palette on his arm was a great shield painted of
many colors ; he carried his maul-stick and a sheaf of brushes
along with it, the weapons of his glorious but harmless war.
With these he achieves conquests, wherein none are wounded
save the envious : with that he shelters him against how much
idleness, ambition, temptation ! Occupied over that consoling
work, idle thoughts cannot gain the mastery over him ; selfish
wishes or desires are kept at bay. Art is truth : and truth is
religion ; and its study and practice a dailj' work of pious doty.
What are the world's struggles, brawls, successes, to that calm
recluse pursuing his calling? See, twinkling in the darkness
round his chamber, numberless beautiful trophies of the grace-
ful victories which he^has won — sweet flowers of fancy reared
by him — kind shapes of beauty which he has devised and
moulded. The world enters into the artist's studio, and soom-
fhlly bids him a price for his genius, or makes dull pretence to
adznire it. What know yon of his art? You cannot read

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Uie alphabet of that sacred book, good old Thomas Newcome I
What can you tell of its glories, joys, secrets, consolations ? Be-
tween his two best beloved mistresses, poor Clive's luckless
father somehow interposes ; and with sorrowful, even angrj- pro-
tests. In place of Art the Colonel brings him a ledger ; and
in lieu of first love, shows him Rosey.

No wonder that Clive hangs his head; rebels sometimes^
desponds always; he has positively determined to refuse to
stand for Newcome, Ridley says. Laura is glad of his refusal,
and begins to think of him once more as of the Clive of old



At breakfast with his family, on the morning after the little
entertainment to which we were bidden, in the last chapter,
Colonel Newcome was full of the projected invasion of Barnes's
territories, and delighted to think that there was an opportunity
of at last humiliating that rascal.

"Clive does not think he is a rascal at all, papa," cries
Rosey, from "behind her tea-urn ; " that is, you said you thought
papa judged him too harshly ; you know you did, this morning ! "
And fix)m her husband's angry glances, she flies to his father's
for protection. Those were even fiercer than Clive's. Revenge
flashed from beneath Thomas Newcome's grizzled ejebrows,
and glanced in the direction where Clive sat. Then the Colo-
nel's face flushed up, and he cast his eyes down towards his
teacup, which he lifted with a trembling hand. The father and
son loved each other so, that each was afraid of the other. A
war between two such men is dreadful ; pretty little pink-faced
Rosey, in a sweet little morning cap and ribbons, her prett}'
Httle fingers twinkling with a score of rings, sat simpering
before her silver tea-urn, which reflected her pretty little pink
^by face. Little artless creature ! what did she know of the
dreadful wounds which her little words inflicted in the one gen-
eious breast and the other?

" My boy's heart is gone from me," thinks poor Thomas
Newcome ; *' our family is insulted, our enterprises ruined, by
that traitor, and my son is not even angry I he does not care

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for the snccess of our plans — for the honor of onr name even ;
I make him a position of which any young man in England
might be proud, and Clive scarcely deigns to accept it."

'' My wife appeals to my father," thinks poor Clive ; 'Mt is
from him she asks counsel, and not from me. Be it about the
ribbon in her cap, or any other transaction in our lives, she
takes her color from his opinion, and goes to him for advice,
and I have to wait till it is given, and conform myself to it.
If I diflfer from the dear old father, I wound him ; if I yield up
my opinion, as I do always, it is with a bad grace, and I wound
him still. With the best intentions in the world, what a slave's
life it is that he has made for me ! "

"How interested you are in your papers," resumes the
sprightly Rosey. "What can you find in those horrid poli-
tics?" Both gentlemen are looking at their papers with all
tiieir might, and no doubt cannot see one single word which
those brilliant and witty leading articles contain.

"Clive is like you, Rosey," says the Colonel, laying his
paper down, " and does not care for politics."

" He only cares for pictures, papa," says Mrs. Clive. "He
would not drive with me yesteixiay in the Park, but spent hours
in his room while you were toiling in the City, poor papa ! —
spent hours painting a horrid beggar-man dressed up as a monk.
And this morning, he got up quite early, quite early, and has
been out ever so long, and only came in for breakfast just now I
just before the bell rung."

" I like a ride before breakfast," says Clive.

" A ride ! I know where you have been, sir ! He goes away,
morning after morning, to that little Mr. Ridley's — his chum,
papa, and he comes back with his hands all over horrid paint.
He did this morning : you know you did, Clive."

"I did not keep any one waiting, Rosey," says Clive. "I
like to have two or three hours at my painting when I can spare
them." Indeed, the poor fellow used so to run away of summer
mornings for Ridley's instructions, and gallop home again, so
as to be in time for the family meal.

" Yes," cries Rosey^ tossing up the cap and ribbons, " he
gets up so early in the morning, ^at at night he falls asleep
after dinner ; very pleasant and polite, isn't he, papa?"

" I am up betimes too, my dear," says the Colonel (many
and many a time he must have heard Clive as he left the house) ;
" I have a great many letters to write, aflGairs of the greatest
importance to examine and conduct. Mr. Betts from the City
is often with me for hours before I come down to your hietk'

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fast-table. A man who has the affairs of such a great bank as
ours to look to, must be up with the lark. We are all early
risers in India."

" You dear kind papa ! " says little Rosey, with unfeigned
admiration; and she puts out one of the plump white little
jewelled hands, and pats the lean brown paw of the Colonel which
is nearest to her.

'* Is Ridley's picture getting on well, Clive?" asks the Colo-
nel, trying to interest himself about Ridley and his picture.

'* Very well ; it is beautiful ; he has sold it for a great
price ; they must make him an academician next year," replies

*' A most industrious and meritorious young man ; he de-
serves every honor that may happen to him," says the old sol-
dier. '* Rosey my dear, it is time that you should ask Mr.
Ridley to dinner, and Mr. Smee, and some of those gentlemen.
We will drive this afternoon and see your portrait."

" Clive does not go to sleep after dinner when Mr. Ridley
comes here," cries Rosey.

'* No ; I think it is my turn then," says the Colonel, with a
glance of kindness. The anger has disappeared from under his
brows ; at that moment the menaced battie is postponed.

" And yet I know that it must come," says poor Clive, telling
me the story as he hangs on my arm, and we pace through the
Paik. "The Colonel and I are walking on a mine, and that
poor little wife of mine is perpetually flinging little shells to fire
it. I sometimes wish it were blown up, and I were done for,
Pen. I don't think my widow would break her heart about me.
No ; I have no right to say that ; it's a shame to say that ; she
tries her very best to please me, poor little dear. It's the fault
of mj' temper, perhaps, that she can't But they neither un-
derstand me, don't you see? the Colonel can't help thinking I
am a degraded being, because I am fond of painting. Still,
dear old boy, he patronizes Ridley ; a man of genius, whom
those sentries ought to salute b}^ Jove, sir, when he passes.
Ridley patronized by an old ofl3cer of Indian dragoons, a little bit
of a Rosey, and a fellow who is not fit to lay his palette for him !
I want sometimes to ask J. J.'s pardon, after the Colonel has
been talking to him in his confound^ condescending way,
uttering some awful bosh about the fine arts. Rosey follows
him, and trips round J. J.'s studio, and pretends to admire,
and says, ' How soft ; how sweet ! ' recalling some of mamma-
in-law*s dreadfUl expressions, which make me shudder when I
hear them. If my poor old father had a confidant into whoso

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arm he could hook his own, and whom he could pester with his
family griefs as I do you, the dear old boy would have his
dreary story to tell too. I hate banks, bankers, Bundlecund,
indigo, cotton, and the whole business. I go to that confounded
board, and never hear one syllable that the fellows are talking
about. I sit there because he wishes me to sit there ; don't yon
think he sees that my heart is out of the business ; that I would
rather be at home in my painting-room ? We don't understand
each other, but we feel each other as it were by instinct. Each
thinks in his own way, but knows what the other is thinking.
We fight mute battles, don't you see? and our thoughts, though
we don't express them, are perceptible to one another, and
come out from our eyes, or pass out fh>m us somehow, and
meet, and fight, and strike, and wound."

Of course Clive's confidant saw how sore and unhappy the
poor fellow was, and commiserated his fatal but natural condi-
tion. The little ills of life are the hardest to bear, as we all
very well know. What would the possession of a hundred
thousand a year, or fame, and the applause of one's country-
men, or the loveliest and best beloved woman, — of any glory,
and happiness, or good-fortune, avail to a gentleman, for in-
stance, who was allowed to enjoy them only with the condition
of wearing a shoe with a couple of nails or sharp pebbles inside
it? All fame and happiness would disappear, and plunge down
that shoe. All life would rankle round those little nails. I
strove, by such philosophic sedatives as confidants are won't to
apply on these occasions, to soothe my poor friend's anger and
pain ; and I dare say the little nails hurt the patient just as
much as before.

Clive pursued his lugubrious talk through the Park, and con-
tinued it as far as the modest-furnished house which we then
occupied in the Pimlico region. It so happened that the Colo-
nel and Mrs. Clive also called upon us that day, and found
this culprit in Laura's drawing-room, when they entered it,
descending out of that splendid barouche in which we have
already shown Mrs. Clive to the public.

" He has not been here for months before ; nor have you,
Rosey ; nor have you. Colonel ; though we have smothered our
indignation, and been to dine with you, and to call, evtr so
many times ! " cries Laura.

The Colonel pleaded his business engagements ; Rosa, that
little woman of the world, had a thousand calls to make, and
who knows how much to do, since she came out? She had
been to fetch papa at Bays's, and the porter had told the Colo-

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nel that Mr. Clive and Mr. PendeDois had just left the clab

*' Clive scarcely ever drives with me," says Rosa, ''papa
almost always does."

'' Rosey's is such a swell carriage, that I feel ashamed," says

" I don't understand you young men. I don't see why you
need be ashamed to go on the Course with your wife in her
carriage, Clive," remarks the Colonel.

"The Course! the Course is at Calcutta, papa?" cries
Rosey. " We drive in the Park."

'* We have a park at Barrackpore too, mj- dear," says papa.

'' And he calls his grooms saices ! He said he was going to
send away a saice for being tipsy, and I did not know in the
least what he could mean, Laura ! "

'* Mr. Newcome ! you must go and drive on the Course with
Rosa, now ; and the Colonel must sit and talk with me, whom
be has not been to see for such a long time." Clive presently
went off in state by Rosey's side, and then Laura showed Colonel
Newcome his beautiful white Cashmere shawl round a successor
of that little person who had first been wrapped in that web,
now a stout 3'oung gentleman whose noise could be clearly heard
in the upper regions.

** I wish 3'ou could come down with us, Arthur, upon our
electioneering visit."

" That of which you was talking last night? Are you bent
upon it?'*

*' Yes, I am determined on it."

Laura heard a child's cr}* at this moment, and left the room
with a parting glance at her husband, who in fact had talked
over the matter with Mrs. Pendennis, and agreed with her in

As the Colonel had opened the question, I ventured to make
a respectful remonstrance against the scheme. Vindictiveness
on the part of a man so simple and generous, so fair and noble
in all his dealings as Thomas Newcome, appeared in my mind
unworthy of him. Surely his kinsman had sorrow and humilia-
tion enough already at home. Barnes's further punishment,
we thought, might be left to time, to remorse, to the Judge of
right and wrong ; Who better understands than we can do, our
causes and temptations towaixis evil actions, Who reserves the
sentence for His own tribunal. But when angered, the best of
us mistake our own motives, as we do those of the enemy who
inflames us. What may be private revenge, we take to be in-


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dignant virtue, and just revolt against wrong. The Colonel
would not hear of counsels of moderation, such as I bore
him from a sweet Christian pleader. *' Remorse ! " he cried
out with a laugh, '^ that ylllfldn will never feel it until he is
tied up and whipped at the carfs tail! Time change that
rogue ! Unless he is wholesomely punished, he will grow a
greater scoundrel every year. I am inclined to tiiink, sir," says
he, his honest brows darkling as he looked towards me, " that
you too are spoiled b}' this wicked world, and these heartless,
fashionable, fine people. You wish to live well with the enemy,
and with us too, Pendennis. It can't be. He who is not with
us is against us. I very much fear, sir, that the women, the
women, you understand, have been talking you over. Do not
let us speak any more about this subject, for I don't wish that my

Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works → online text (page 72 of 85)