Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton.

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VOLUME III.

CHAPTER XXX.

It must be confessed, that flattery comes mighty
easily to one's mouth in the presence of royalty.
- Letters of Stephen Montague.

'Tis he. - How came he thence - what doth he here?
- Lara.

I had received for that evening (my last at Paris) an invitation from the
Duchesse de B - . I knew that the party was to be small, and that very few
besides the royal family would compose it. I had owed the honour of this
invitation to my intimacy with the _____s, the great friends of the
duchesse, and I promised myself some pleasure in the engagement.

There were but eight or nine persons present when I entered the royal
chamber. The most distingue of these I recognized immediately as the - .
He came forward with much grace as I approached, and expressed his
pleasure at seeing me.

"You were presented, I think, about a month ago," added the - , with a
smile of singular fascination; "I remember it well."

I bowed low to this compliment.

"Do you propose staying long at Paris?" continued the - .

"I protracted," I replied, "my departure solely for the honour this
evening affords me. In so doing, please your - , I have followed the wise
maxim of keeping the greatest pleasure to the last."

The royal chevalier bowed to my answer with a smile still sweeter than
before, and began a conversation with me which lasted for several
minutes. I was much struck with the - 's air and bearing. They possess
great dignity, without any affectation of its assumption. He speaks
peculiarly good English, and the compliment of addressing me in that
language was therefore as judicious as delicate. His observations owed
little to his rank; they would have struck you as appropriate, and the
air which accompanied them pleased you as graceful, even in a simple
individual. Judge, then, if they charmed me in the - . The upper part of
his countenance is prominent and handsome, and his eyes have much
softness of expression. His figure is slight and particularly well knit;
perhaps he is altogether more adapted to strike in private than in public
effect. Upon the whole, he is one of those very few persons of great rank
whom you would have had pride in knowing as an equal, and have pleasure
in acknowledging as a superior.

As the - paused, and turned with great courtesy to the Duc de - , I bowed
my way to the Duchesse de B - . That personage, whose liveliness and
piquancy of manner always make one wish for one's own sake that her rank
was less exalted, was speaking with great volubility to a tall, stupid
looking man, one of the ministers, and smiled most graciously upon me as
I drew near. She spoke to me of our national amusements. "You are not,"
said she, "so fond of dancing as we are."

"We have not the same exalted example to be at once our motive and our
model," said I, in allusion to the duchesse's well known attachment to
that accomplishment. The Duchesse D'A - came up as I said this, and the
conversation flowed on evenly enough till the - 's whist party was formed.
His partner was Madame de la R - , the heroine of La Vendee. She was a
tall and very stout woman, singularly lively and entertaining, and
appeared to possess both the moral and the physical energy to accomplish
feats still more noble than those she performed.

I soon saw that it would not do for me to stay very long. I had already
made a favourable impression, and, in such cases, it is my constant rule
immediately to retire. Stay, if it be whole hours, until you have
pleased, but leave the moment after your success. A great genius should
not linger too long either in the salon or the world. He must quit each
with eclat. In obedience to this rule, I no sooner found that my court
had been effectually made than I rose to withdraw.

"You will return soon to Paris," said the Duchesse de B - .

"I cannot resist it," I replied. "Mon corps reviendra pour chercher mon
coeur."

"We shall not forget you," said the duchesse.

"Your Highness has now given me my only inducement not to return," I
answered, as I bowed out of the room.

It was much too early to go home; at that time I was too young and
restless to sleep till long after midnight; and while I was deliberating
in what manner to pass the hours, I suddenly recollected the hotel in the
Rue St. Honore, to which Vincent and I had paid so unceremonious a visit
the night before. Impressed with the hope that I might be more successful
in meeting Warburton than I had then been, I ordered the coachman to
drive to the abode of the old Marquis - The salon was as crowded as usual.
I lost a few Napoleons at ecarte in order to pay my entree, and then
commenced a desultory flirtation with one of the fair decoys. In this
occupation my eye and my mind frequently wandered. I could not divest
myself of the hope of once more seeing Warburton before my departure from
Paris, and every reflection which confirmed my suspicions of his identity
redoubled my interest in his connection with Tyrrell and the vulgar
debauche of the Rue St. Dominique. I was making some languid reply to my
Cynthia of the minute, when my ear was suddenly greeted by an English
voice. I looked round, and saw Thornton in close conversation with a man
whose back was turned to me, but whom I rightly conjectured to be
Tyrrell.

"Oh! he'll be here soon," said the former, "and we'll bleed him regularly
to-night. It is very singular that you who play so much better should not
have floored him yesterday evening."

Tyrrell replied in a tone so low as to be inaudible, and a minute
afterwards the door opened, and Warburton entered. He came up instantly
to Thornton and his companion; and after a few words of ordinary
salutation, Warburton said, in one of those modulated tones so peculiar
to himself, "I am sure, Tyrrell, that you must be eager for your revenge.
To lose to such a mere Tyro as myself, is quite enough to double the pain
of defeat, and the desire of retaliation."

I did not hear Tyrrell's reply, but the trio presently moved towards the
door, which till then I had not noticed, and which was probably the
entrance to our hostess's boudoir. The soi-disant marquise opened it
herself, for which kind office Thornton gave her a leer and a wink,
characteristic of his claims to gallantry. When the door was again closed
upon them, I went up to the marquise, and after a few compliments, asked
whether the room Messieurs les Anglois had entered, was equally open to
all guests?

"Why," said she, with a slight hesitation, "those gentlemen play for
higher stakes than we usually do here, and one of them is apt to get
irritated by the advice and expostulations of the lookers on; and so
after they had played a short time in the salon last night, Monsieur
Thornton, a very old friend of mine," (here the lady looked down) "asked
me permission to occupy the inner room; and as I knew him so well, I
could have no scruple in obliging him."

"Then, I suppose," said I, "that, as a stranger, I have not permission to
intrude upon them?"

"Shall I inquire?" answered the marquise.

"No!" said I, "it is not worth while;" and accordingly I re-seated
myself, and appeared once more occupied in saying des belles choses to my
kind-hearted neighbour. I could not, however, with all my dissimulation,
sustain a conversation from which my present feelings were so estranged,
for more than a few minutes; and I was never more glad than when my
companion, displeased with my inattention, rose, and left me to my own
reflections.

What could Warburton (if he were the person I suspected) gain by the
disguise he had assumed? He was too rich to profit by any sums he could
win from Tyrrell, and too much removed from Thornton's station in life,
to derive any pleasure or benefit from his acquaintance with that person.
His dark threats of vengeance in the Jardin des Plantes, and his
reference to the two hundred pounds Tyrrell possessed, gave me, indeed,
some clue as to his real object; but then - why this disguise! Had he
known Tyrrell before, in his proper semblance, and had anything passed
between them, which rendered this concealment now expedient? - this,
indeed, seemed probable enough; but, was Thornton entrusted with the
secret? - and, if revenge was the object, was that low man a partaker in
its execution? - or was he not, more probably, playing the traitor to
both? As for Tyrrell himself, his own designs upon Warburton were
sufficient to prevent pity for any fall into the pit he had dug for
others.

Meanwhile, time passed on, the hour grew late, and the greater part of
the guests were gone; still I could not tear myself away; I looked from
time to time at the door, with an indescribable feeling of anxiety. I
longed, yet dreaded, for it to open; I felt as if my own fate were in
some degree implicated in what was then agitating within, and I could not
resolve to depart, until I had formed some conclusions on the result.

At length the door opened; Tyrrell came forth - his countenance was
perfectly hueless, his cheek was sunk and hollow, the excitement of two
hours had been sufficient to render it so. I observed that his teeth were
set, and his hand clenched, as they are when we idly seek, by the
strained and extreme tension of the nerves, to sustain the fever and the
agony of the mind. Warburton and Thornton followed him; the latter with
his usual air of reckless indifference - his quick rolling eye glanced
from the marquis to myself, and though his colour changed slightly, his
nod of recognition was made with its wonted impudence and ease; but
Warburton passed on, like Tyrrell, without noticing or heeding any thing
around. He fixed his large bright eye upon the figure which preceded him,
without once altering its direction, and the extreme beauty of his
features, which, not all the dishevelled length of his hair and whiskers
could disguise, was lighted up with a joyous but savage expression, which
made me turn away, almost with a sensation of fear.

Just as Tyrrell was leaving the room, Warburton put his hand upon his
shoulder - "Stay," said he, "I am going your way, and will accompany you."
He turned round to Thornton (who was already talking with the marquis) as
he said this, and waved his hand, as if to prevent his following; the
next moment, Tyrrell and himself had left the room.

I could not now remain longer. I felt a feverish restlessness, which
impelled me onwards. I quitted the salon, and was on the escalier before
the gamesters had descended. Warburton was, indeed, but a few steps
before me; the stairs were but very dimly lighted by one expiring lamp;
he did not turn round to see me, and was probably too much engrossed to
hear me.

"You may yet have a favourable reverse," said he to Tyrrell.

"Impossible!" replied the latter, in a tone of such deep anguish, that it
thrilled me to the very heart. "I am an utter beggar - I have nothing in
the world - I have no expectation but to starve!"

While he was saying this, I perceived by the faint and uncertain light,
that Warburton's hand was raised to his own countenance.

"Have you no hope - no spot wherein to look for comfort - is beggary your
absolute and only possible resource from famine?" he replied, in a low
and suppressed tone.

At that moment we were just descending into the court-yard. Warburton was
but one step behind Tyrrell: the latter made no answer; but as he passed
from the dark staircase into the clear moonlight of the court, I caught a
glimpse of the big tears which rolled heavily and silently down his
cheeks. Warburton laid his hand upon him.

"Turn," he cried, suddenly, "your cup is not yet full - look upon me - and
remember!"

I pressed forward - the light shone full upon the countenance of the
speaker - the dark hair was gone - my suspicions were true - I discovered at
one glance the bright locks and lofty brow of Reginald Glanville. Slowly
Tyrrell gazed, as if he were endeavouring to repel some terrible
remembrance, which gathered, with every instant, more fearfully upon him;
until, as the stern countenance of Glanville grew darker and darker in
its mingled scorn and defiance, he uttered one low cry, and sank
senseless upon the earth.




CHAPTER XXXI.

Well, he is gone, and with him go these thoughts.
- Shakspeare.

What ho! for England!
- Shakspeare.

I have always had an insuperable horror of being placed in what the
vulgar call a predicament. In a predicament I was most certainly placed
at the present moment. A man at my feet in a fit - the cause of it having
very wisely disappeared, devolving upon me the charge of watching,
recovering, and conducting home the afflicted person - made a
concatenation of disagreeable circumstances, as much unsuited to the
temper of Henry Pelham, as his evil fortune could possibly have
contrived.

After a short pause of deliberation, I knocked up the porter, procured
some cold water, and bathed Tyrrell's temples for several moments before
he recovered. He opened his eyes slowly, and looked carefully round with
a fearful and suspicious glance: "Gone - gone - (he muttered) - ay - what did
he here at such a moment? - vengeance - for what? - I could not tell - it
would have killed her - let him thank his own folly. I do not fear; I defy
his malice." And with these words, Tyrrell sprung to his feet.

"Can I assist you to your home?" said I; "you are still unwell - pray
suffer me to have that pleasure."

I spoke with some degree of warmth and sincerity; the unfortunate man
stared wildly at me for a moment, before he replied. "Who," said he, at
last, "who speaks to me - the lost - the guilty - the ruined, in the accents
of interest and kindness?"

I placed his arm in mine, and drew him out of the yard into the open
street. He looked at me with an eager and wistful survey, and then, by
degrees, appearing to recover his full consciousness of the present, and
recollection of the past, he pressed my hand warmly, and after a short
silence, during which we moved on slowly towards the Tuileries, he said,-
-"Pardon me, Sir, if I have not sufficiently thanked you for your
kindness and attention. I am now quite restored; the close room in which
I have been sitting for so many hours, and the feverish excitement of
play, acting upon a frame very debilitated by ill health, occasioned my
momentary indisposition. I am now, I repeat, quite recovered, and will no
longer trespass upon your good nature."

"Really," said I, "you had better not discard my services yet. Do suffer
me to accompany you home?"

"Home!" muttered Tyrrell, with a deep sigh; "no - no!" and then, as if
recollecting himself, he said, "I thank you, Sir, but - but - " I saw his
embarrassment, and interrupted him.

"Well, if I cannot assist you any further, I will take your dismissal. I
trust we shall meet again under auspices better calculated for improving
acquaintance."

Tyrrell bowed, once more pressed my hand, and we parted. I hurried on up
the long street towards my hotel.

When I had got several paces beyond Tyrrell, I turned back to look at
him. He was standing in the same place in which I had left him. I saw by
the moonlight that this face and hands were raised towards Heaven. It was
but for a moment: his attitude changed while I was yet looking, and he
slowly and calmly continued his way in the same direction as myself. When
I reached my chambers, I hastened immediately to bed, but not to sleep:
the extraordinary scene I had witnessed; the dark and ferocious
expression of Glanville's countenance, so strongly impressed with every
withering and deadly passion; the fearful and unaccountable remembrance
that had seemed to gather over the livid and varying face of the
gamester; the mystery of Glanville's disguise; the intensity of a revenge
so terribly expressed, together with the restless and burning anxiety I
felt - not from idle curiosity, but, from my early and intimate friendship
for Glanville, to fathom its cause - all crowded upon my mind with a
feverish confusion, that effectually banished repose.

It was with that singular sensation of pleasure which none but those who
have passed frequent nights in restless and painful agitation, can
recognize, that I saw the bright sun penetrate through my shutters, and
heard Bedos move across my room.

"What hour will Monsieur have the post horses?" said that praiseworthy
valet.

"At eleven," answered I, springing out of bed with joy at the change of
scene which the very mention of my journey brought before my mind.

I was a luxurious personage in those days. I had had a bath made from my
own design; across it were constructed two small frames - one for the
journal of the day, and another to hold my breakfast apparatus; in this
manner I was accustomed to lie for about an hour, engaging the triple
happiness of reading, feeding, and bathing. Owing to some unaccountable
delay, Galignani's Messenger did not arrive at the usual hour, on the
morning of my departure; to finish breakfast, or bathing, without
Galignani's Messenger, was perfectly impossible, so I remained, till I
was half boiled, in a state of the most indolent imbecility.

At last it came: the first paragraph that struck my eyes was the
following: - "It is rumoured among the circles of the Faubourg, that a
duel was fought on - , between a young Englishman and Monsieur D - ; the
cause of it is said to be the pretensions of both to the beautiful
Duchesse de P - , who, if report be true, cares for neither of the
gallants, but lavishes her favours upon a certain attache to the English
embassy."

"Such," thought I, "are the materials for all human histories. Every one
who reads, will eagerly swallow this account as true: if an author were
writing the memoirs of the court, he would compile his facts and scandal
from this very collection of records; and yet, though so near the truth,
how totally false it is! Thank Heaven, however, that, at least, I am not
suspected of the degradation of the duchesse's love: - to fight for her
may make me seem a fool - to be loved by her would constitute me a
villain."

The next passage in that collection of scandal which struck me was - "We
understand that E. W. Howard de Howard, Esq., Secretary, is shortly to
lead to the hymeneal altar the daughter of Timothy Tomkins, Esq., late
Consul of - ." I quite started out of my bath with delight. I scarcely
suffered myself to be dried and perfumed, before I sat down to write the
following congratulatory epistle to the thin man: -

"My dear Mr. Howard de Howard,

"Permit me, before I leave Paris, to compliment you upon that happiness
which I have just learnt is in store for you. Marriage to a man like you,
who has survived the vanities of the world - who has attained that prudent
age when the passions are calmed into reason, and the purer refinements
of friendship succeed to the turbulent delirium of the senses - marriage,
my dear Mr. Howard, to a man like you, must, indeed, be a most delicious
Utopia. After all the mortifications you may meet elsewhere, whether from
malicious females, or a misjudging world, what happiness to turn to one
being to whom your praise is an honour, and your indignation of
consequence!

"But if marriage itself be so desirable, what words shall I use
sufficiently expressive of my congratulation at the particular match you
have chosen, so suitable in birth and station? I can fancy you, my dear
Sir, in your dignified retirement, expatiating to your admiring bride
upon all the honours of your illustrious line, and receiving from her, in
return, a full detail of all the civic glories that have ever graced the
lineage of the Tomkins's. As the young lady is, I suppose, an heiress, I
conclude you will take her name, instead of changing it. Mr. Howard de
Howard de Tomkins, will sound peculiarly majestic; and when you come to
the titles and possessions of your ancestors, I am persuaded that you
will continue to consider your alliance with the honest citizens of
London among your proudest distinctions.

"Should you have any commands in England, a letter directed to me in
Grosvenor-square will be sure to find me; and you may rely upon my
immediately spreading among our mutual acquaintance in London, the happy
measure you are about to adopt, and my opinions on its propriety.

"Adieu, my dear Sir,
"With the greatest respect and truth,
"Yours,

"H. Pelham."

"There," said I, as I sealed my letter, "I have discharged some part of
that debt I owe to Mr. Howard de Howard, for an enmity towards me, which
he has never affected to conceal. He prides himself on his youth - my
allusions to his age will delight him! On the importance of his good or
evil opinion - I have flattered him to a wonder! Of a surety, Henry
Pelham, I could not have supposed you were such an adept in the art of
panegyric."

"The horses, Sir!" said Bedos; and "the bill, Sir?" said the garcon.
Alas! that those and that should be so coupled together; and that we can
never take our departure without such awful witnesses of our sojourn.
Well - to be brief - the bill for once was discharged - the horses snorted -
the carriage door was opened - I entered - Bedos mounted behind - crack went
the whips - off went the steeds, and so terminated my adventures at dear
Paris.




CHAPTER XXXII.

O, cousin, you know him - the fine gentleman they
talk of so much in town.
- Wycherly's Dancing Master.

By the bright days of my youth, there is something truly delightful in
the quick motion of four post-horses. In France, where one's steeds are
none of the swiftest, the pleasures of travelling are not quite so great
as in England; still, however, to a man who is tired of one scene -
panting for another - in love with excitement, and not yet wearied of its
pursuit - the turnpike road is more grateful than the easiest chair ever
invented, and the little prison we entitle a carriage, more cheerful than
the state-rooms of Devonshire House.

We reached Calais in safety, and in good time, the next day.

"Will Monsieur dine in his rooms, or at the table d'hote?"

"In his rooms, of course," said Bedos, indignantly deciding the question.
A French valet's dignity is always involved in his master's.

"You are too good, Bedos," said I, "I shall dine at the table d'hote - who
have you there in general?"

"Really," said the garcon, "we have such a swift succession of guests,
that we seldom see the same faces two days running. We have as many
changes as an English administration."

"You are facetious," said I.

"No," returned the garcon, who was a philosopher as well as a wit; "no,
my digestive organs are very weak, and par consequence, I am naturally
melancholy - Ah, ma fois tres triste!" and with these words the
sentimental plate-changer placed his hand - I can scarcely say, whether on
his heart, or his stomach, and sighed bitterly!

"How long," said I, "does it want to dinner?" My question restored the
garcon to himself.

"Two, hours, Monsieur, two hours," and twirling his serviette with an air
of exceeding importance, off went my melancholy acquaintance to
compliment new customers, and complain of his digestion.

After I had arranged myself and my whiskers - two very distinct affairs -
yawned three times, and drank two bottles of soda water, I strolled into
the town. As I was sauntering along leisurely enough, I heard my name
pronounced behind me. I turned, and saw Sir Willoughby Townshend, an old
baronet of an antediluvian age - a fossil witness of the wonders of
England, before the deluge of French manners swept away ancient customs,
and created, out of the wrecks of what had been, a new order of things,
and a new race of mankind.

"Ah! my dear Mr. Pelham, how are you? and the worthy Lady Frances, your
mother, and your excellent father, all well? - I'm delighted to hear it.
Russelton," continued Sir Willoughby, turning to a middle-aged man, whose
arm he held, "you remember Pelham - true Whig - great friend of
Sheridan's? - let me introduce his son to you. Mr. Russelton, Mr. Pelham;
Mr. Pelham, Mr. Russelton."

At the name of the person thus introduced to me, a thousand recollections
crowded upon my mind; the contemporary and rival of Napoleon - the
autocrat of the great world of fashion and cravats - the mighty genius
before whom aristocracy had been humbled and ton abashed - at whose nod


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Online LibraryEdward Bulwer Lytton LyttonPelham — Volume 03 → online text (page 1 of 6)