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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Boys and girls from Thackeray , by Kate Dickinson Sweetser

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Title: Boys and girls from Thackeray

Author: Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Release Date: November 17, 2003 [eBook #10111]

Language: English

Chatacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Mary Meehan, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Boys and Girls from Thackeray

By Kate Dickinson Sweetser




William Makepeace Thackeray--the name is dear to all lovers of classic fiction, who have wandered in enchanted lands, following the fortunes of Colonel Newcome, Becky Sharp, Henry Esmond, and a host of other familiar characters created by the great novelist.

To an unusual degree, Thackeray dwells on the childhood and youth of the characters he depicts, lingering fondly and in details over the pranks and pastimes, the school and college days of his heroes and heroines, as though he wished to call especial attention to the interest of that portion of their career.

That Thackeray has so emphasised his sketches of juvenile life, warrants the presentation of those sketches in this volume and as complete stories, without the adult intrigue and plot with which they are surrounded in the novels from which they are taken. The object in so presenting them is twofold: namely, to create an interest in Thackeray's work among young readers to whom he has heretofore been unknown, and to form a companion volume to those already given such a hearty welcome--Boys and Girls from Dickens and George Eliot.


NEW YORK, 1907.













When Francis, fourth Viscount Castlewood, came to his title, and, presently after, to take possession of his house of Castlewood, County Hants, in the year 1691, almost the only tenant of the place besides the domestics was a lad of twelve years of age, of whom no one seemed to take any note until my Lady Viscountess lighted upon him, going over the house with the housekeeper on the day of her arrival. The boy was in the room known as the book-room, or yellow gallery, where the portraits of the family used to hang.

The new and fair lady of Castlewood found the sad, lonely little occupant of this gallery busy over his great book, which he laid down when he was aware that a stranger was at hand. And, knowing who that person must be, the lad stood up and bowed before her, performing a shy obeisance to the mistress of his house.

She stretched out her hand--indeed, when was it that that hand would not stretch out to do an act of kindness, or to protect grief and ill-fortune? "And this is our kinsman, I believe," she said; "and what is your name, kinsman?"

"My name is Henry Esmond," said the lad, looking up at her in a sort of delight and wonder, for she appeared the most charming object he had ever looked on. Her golden hair was shining in the gold of the sun; her complexion was of a dazzling bloom; her lips smiling and her eyes beaming with a kindness which made Harry Esmond's heart to beat with surprise.

"His name is Henry Esmond, sure enough, my lady," says Mrs. Worksop, the housekeeper; and the new Viscountess, after walking down the gallery, came back to the lad, took his hand again, placing her other fair hand on his head, saying some words to him which were so kind, so sweet that the boy felt as if the touch of a superior being, or angel, smote him down to the ground, and he kissed the fair protecting hand as he knelt on one knee. To the very last hour of his life Esmond remembered the lady as she then spoke and looked: the rings on her fair hands, the very scent of her robe, the beam of her eyes lighting up with surprise and kindness, her lips blooming in a smile, the sun making a golden halo round her hair.

As the boy was yet in this attitude of humility, enters behind him a portly gentleman, with a little girl of four years old. The gentleman burst into a great laugh at the lady and her adorer, with his little, queer figure, his sallow face, and long black hair. The lady blushed and seemed to deprecate his ridicule by a look of appeal to her husband, for it was my Lord Viscount who now arrived, and whom the lad knew, having once before seen him in the late lord's lifetime.

"So this is the little priest!" says my lord, who knew for what calling the lad was intended, and adding: "Welcome, kinsman."

"He is saying his prayers to mamma," says the little girl, and my lord burst out into another great laugh at this, and kinsman Harry looked very silly. He invented a half-dozen of speeches in reply, but 'twas months afterwards when he thought of this adventure; as it was, he had never a word in answer.

"Le pauvre enfant, il n'a que nous," says the lady, looking to her lord; and the boy, who understood her, though doubtless she thought otherwise, thanked her with all his heart for her kind speech.

"And he shan't want for friends here," says my lord in a kind voice. "Shall he, little Trix?"

The little girl, whose name was Beatrix, and whom her papa called by this diminutive, looked at Henry Esmond solemnly with a pair of large eyes, and then a smile shone over her face, which was as beautiful as that of a cherub, and she came up and put out a little hand to him. A keen and delightful pang of gratitude, happiness, affection filled the orphan child's heart as he received these tokens of friendliness and kindness. But an hour since, he had felt quite alone in the world; when he heard the great peal of bells from Castlewood church ringing to welcome the arrival of the new lord and lady it had rung only terror and anxiety to him, for he knew not how the new owner would deal with him; and those to whom he formerly looked for protection were forgotten or dead. Pride and doubt, too, had kept him within doors, when the Vicar and the people of the village, and the servants of the house, had gone out to welcome my Lord Castlewood--for Henry Esmond was no servant, though a dependent; no relative, though he bore the name and inherited the blood of the house; and in the midst of the noise and acclamations attending the arrival of the new lord, for whom a feast was got ready, and guns were fired, and tenants and domestics huzzahed when his carriage rolled into the court-yard of the Hall, no one took any notice of young Henry Esmond, who sat alone in the book-room until his new friends found him.

When my lord and lady were going away from the book-room, the little girl, still holding him by the hand, bade him come too.

"Thou wilt always forsake an old friend for a new one, Trix," says her father good-naturedly, and went into the gallery, giving an arm to his lady. They passed thence through the music-gallery, long since dismantled, and Queen Elizabeth's rooms, in the clock-tower, and out into the terrace, where was a fine prospect of sunset and the great darkling woods with a cloud of rooks returning, and the plain and river with Castlewood village beyond, and purple hills beautiful to look at; and the little heir of Castlewood, a child of two years old, was already here on the terrace in his nurse's arms, from whom he ran across the grass instantly he perceived his mother, and came to her.

"If thou canst not be happy here," says my lord, looking round at the scene, "thou art hard to please, Rachel."

"I am happy where you are," she said, lovingly; and then my lord began to describe what was before them to his wife, and what indeed little Harry knew better than he--viz., the history of the house: how by yonder gate the page ran away with the heiress of Castlewood, by which the estate came into the present family; how the Roundheads attacked the clock-tower, which my lord's father was slain in defending. "I was but two years old then," says he, "but take forty-six from ninety, and how old shall I be, kinsman Harry?"

"Thirty," says his wife, with a laugh.

"A great deal too old for you, Rachel," answers my lord, looking fondly down at her. Indeed she seemed to be a girl, and was at that time scarce twenty years old.

"You know, Frank, I will do anything to please you," says she, "and I promise you I will grow older every day."

"You mustn't call papa Frank; you must call him 'my lord,' now," says Miss Beatrix, with a toss of her little head; at which the mother smiled, and the good-natured father laughed, and the little trotting boy laughed, not knowing why--but because he was happy, no doubt--as everyone seemed to be there.

Presently, however, as the sun was setting, the little heir was sent howling to bed, while the more fortunate little Trix was promised to sit up for supper that night--"and you will come too, kinsman, won't you?" she said.

Harry Esmond blushed: "I--I have supper with Mrs. Worksop," says he.

But the new Viscount Castlewood refused to hear of that, and said, "Thou shalt sup with us, Harry, to-night! Shan't refuse a lady, shall he, Trix?"--and Harry enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of an evening meal with the new lord of Castlewood and his gracious family.

Later, when Harry got to his little chamber, it was with a heart full of surprise and gratitude towards the new friends whom this happy day had brought him. The next morning he was up and watching long before the house was astir, longing to see that fair lady and her children again; and only fearful lest their welcome of the past night should in any way be withdrawn or altered. But presently little Beatrix came out into the garden, and her mother followed, who greeted Harry as kindly as before and listened while he told her the histories of the house, which he had been taught in the old lord's time, and to which she listened with great interest; and then he told her, with respect to the night before, that he understood French and thanked her for her protection.

"Do you?" says she, with a blush; "then, sir, you shall teach me and Beatrix."

And she asked him many more questions regarding himself, to which she received brief replies, the substance of which was afterward amplified into certain facts concerning the past of the orphan boy, which it is well to note here and now.

It seemed that in former days, in a little cottage in the village of Ealing, near to London, for some time had dwelt an old French refugee, by name Mr. Pastoureau, one of those whom the persecution of the Huguenots by the French king had brought over to England. With this old man lived a little lad, who went by the name of Henry Thomas, but who was no other than Henry Esmond. He remembered to have lived in another place a short time before, near to London, too, amongst looms and spinning wheels, and a great deal of psalm-singing and church-going, and a whole colony of Frenchmen.

There he had a dear, dear friend, who died, and whom he called Aunt. She used to visit him in his dreams sometimes; and her face, though it was homely, was a thousand times dearer to him than that of Mrs. Pastoureau, Bon Papa Pastoureau's new wife, who came to live with him after aunt went away. And there, at Spittlefields, as it used to be called, lived Uncle George, who was a weaver, too, but used to tell Harry that he was a little gentleman, and that his father was a captain, and his mother an angel.

When he said so, Bon Papa used to look up from the loom, where he was embroidering beautiful silk flowers, and shake his head. He had a little room where he always used to preach and sing hymns out of his great old nose. Little Harry did not like the preaching; he liked better the fine stories which aunt used to tell him. Bon Papa's new wife never told him pretty stories; she quarrelled with Uncle George, and he went away.

After this, Harry's Bon Papa, and his wife and two children of her own that she had brought with her, came to live at Ealing. The new wife gave her children the best of everything, and Harry many a whipping, he knew not why. So he was very glad when a gentleman dressed in black, on horseback, with a mounted servant behind him, came to fetch him away from Ealing. The unjust stepmother gave him plenty to eat before he went away, and did not beat him once, but told the children to keep their hands off him. One was a girl, and Harry never could bear to strike a girl; and the other was a boy, whom he could easily have beat, but he always cried out, when Mrs. Pastoureau came sailing to the rescue with arms like a flail. She only washed Harry's face the day he went away; nor ever so much as once boxed his ears. She whimpered rather when the gentleman in black came for the boy, and pretended to cry; but Harry thought it was only a sham, and sprung quite delighted upon the horse upon which the lackey helped him. This lackey was a Frenchman; his name was Blaise. The child could talk to him in his own language perfectly well. He knew it better than English, indeed, having lived hitherto among French people, and being called the Little Frenchman by other boys on Ealing Green.

The lackey was very talkative and informed the boy that the gentleman riding before him was my lord's chaplain, Father Holt; that he was now to be called Master Harry Esmond; that my Lord Viscount Castlewood was his patron; that he was to live at the great house of Castlewood, in the province of ----shire, where he would see Madame the Viscountess, who was a grand lady, and that he was to be educated for the priesthood. And so, seated on a cloth before Blaise's saddle, Harry Esmond was brought to London, and to a fine square called Covent Garden, near to which his patron lodged.

Mr. Holt, the priest, took the child by the hand and brought him to this grand languid nobleman, who sat in a great cap and flowered morning-gown, sucking oranges. He patted Harry on the head and gave him an orange, and directed Blaise to take him out for a holiday; and out for a holiday the boy and the valet went. Harry went jumping along; he was glad enough to go.

He remembered to his life's end the delights of those days. He was taken to see a play, in a house a thousand times greater and finer than the booth at Ealing Fair; and on the next happy day they took water on the river, and Harry saw London Bridge, with the houses and book: sellers' shops on it, looking like a street, and the tower of London, with the Armour, and the great lions and bears in the moat--all under company of Monsieur Blaise.

Presently, of an early morning, all the party set forth for the country, and all along the road the Frenchman told little Harry stories of brigands, which made the child's hair stand on end, and terrified him; so that at the great gloomy inn on the road where they lay, he besought to be allowed to sleep in a room with one of the servants, and Father Holt took pity on him and gave the child a little bed in his chamber.

His artless talk and answers very likely inclined this gentleman in his favour, for next day Mr. Holt said Harry should ride behind him, and not with the French lackey; and all along the journey put a thousand questions to the child--as to his foster-brother and relations at Ealing; what his old grandfather had taught him; what languages he knew; whether he could read and write, and sing, and so forth. And Mr. Holt found that Harry could read and write, and possessed the two languages of French and English very well. The lad so pleased the gentleman by his talk that they had him to dine with them at the inn, and encouraged him in his prattle; and Monsieur Blaise, with whom he rode and dined the day before, waited upon him now.

At length, on the third day, at evening, they came to a village on the green with elms around it, and the people there all took off their hats, and made curtsies to my Lord Viscount, who bowed to them all languidly; and there was one portly person that wore a cassock and a broad-leafed hat, who bowed lower than anyone, and with this one both my lord and Mr. Holt had a few words.

"This, Harry, is Castlewood church," says Mr. Holt, "and this is the pillar thereof, learned Dr. Tusher. Take off your hat, sirrah, and salute Dr. Tusher!"

"Come up to supper, Doctor," says my lord; at which the Doctor made another low bow, and the party moved on towards a grand house that was before them, with many grey towers, and vanes on them, and windows flaming in the sunshine, and they passed under an arch into a courtyard, with a fountain in the centre, where many men came and held my lord's stirrup as he descended, and paid great respect to Mr. Holt likewise.

Taking Harry by the hand as soon as they were both descended from their horses, Mr. Holt led him across the court, to rooms on a level with the ground, one of which Father Holt said was to be the boy's chamber, the other on the other side of the passage being the Father's own. As soon as the little man's face was washed, and the Father's own dress arranged, Harry's guide took him once more to the door by which my lord had entered the hall, and up a stair, and through an ante-room to my lady's drawing-room--an apartment than which Harry thought he had never seen anything more grand--no, not in the Tower of London, which he had just visited. Indeed, the chamber was richly ornamented in the manner of Queen Elizabeth's time, with great stained windows at either end, and hangings of tapestry, which the sun shining through the coloured glass painted of a thousand hues; and here in state, by the fire, sat a lady to whom the priest took up Harry, who was indeed amazed by her appearance.

My Lady Viscountess's face was daubed with white and red up to the eyes, to which the paint gave an unearthly glare. She had a tower of lace on her head, under which was a bush of black curls--borrowed curls--so that no wonder little Harry Esmond was scared when he was first presented to her, the kind priest acting as master of the ceremonies at that solemn introduction, and he stared at her with eyes almost as great as her own, as he had stared at the player woman who acted the wicked tragedy-queen, when the players came down to Ealing Fair. She sat in a great chair by the fire-corner; in her lap was a spaniel-dog that barked furiously; on a little table by her was her ladyship's snuff-box and her sugar-plum box. She wore a dress of black velvet, and a petticoat of flame-coloured brocade. She had as many rings on her fingers as the old woman of Banbury Cross; and pretty, small feet which she was fond of showing, with great gold clocks to her stockings, and white slippers with red heels; and an odour of musk was shaken out of her garments whenever she moved or quitted the room, leaning on her tortoise-shell stick, little Fury, the dog, barking at her heels, and Mrs. Tusher, the parson's wife, by her side.

"I present to your ladyship your kinsman and little page of honour, Master Henry Esmond," Mr. Holt said, bowing lowly, with a sort of comical humility. "Make a pretty bow to my lady, Monsieur; and then another little bow, not so low, to Madame Tusher."

Upon my lady the boy's whole attention was for a time directed. He could not keep his great eyes from her. Since the Empress of Ealing, he had seen nothing so awful.

"Does my appearance please you, little page?" asked the lady.

"He would be very hard to please if it didn't," cried Madame Tusher.

"Have done, you silly Maria," said Lady Castlewood, adding, "Come and kiss my hand, child"; and little Harry Esmond took and dutifully kissed the lean old hand, upon the gnarled knuckles of which there glittered a hundred rings.

"To kiss that hand would make many a pretty fellow happy!" cried Mrs. Tusher; on which my lady cried out, "Go, you foolish Tusher!" and tapping her with her great fan, Tusher ran forward to seize her hand and kiss it. Fury arose and barked furiously at Tusher; and Father Holt looked on at this queer scene, with arch, grave glances.

The awe exhibited by the little boy perhaps pleased the lady on whom this artless flattery was bestowed, for, having gone down on his knee (as Father Holt had directed him, and the fashion then was) and performed his obeisance, she asked, "Page Esmond, my groom of the chamber will inform you what your duties are, when you wait upon my lord and me; and good Father Holt will instruct you as becomes a gentleman of our name. You will pay him obedience in everything, and I pray you may grow to be as learned and as good as your tutor."

Harry then put his small hand into the Father's as he walked away from his first presentation to his mistress, and asked many questions in his artless, childish way. "Who is that other woman?" he asked. "She is fat and round; she is more pretty than my Lady Castlewood."

"She is Madame Tusher, the parson's wife of Castlewood. She has a son of your age, but bigger than you."

"Why does she like so to kiss my lady's hand? It is not good to kiss."

"Tastes are different, little man. Madame Tusher is attached to my lady, having been her waiting-woman before she was married, in the old lord's time. She married Dr. Tusher, the chaplain. The English household divines often marry the waiting-women."

"You will not marry the French woman, will you? I saw her laughing with Blaise in the buttery."

"I belong to a church that is older and better than the English church," Mr. Holt said (making a sign, whereof Esmond did not then understand the meaning, across his breast and forehead); "in our church the clergy do not marry. You will understand these things better soon."

"Was not Saint Peter the head of your church?--Dr. Rabbits of Ealing told us so."

The Father said, "Yes, he was."

"But Saint Peter was married, for we heard only last Sunday that his wife's mother lay sick of a fever." On which the Father again laughed, and said he would understand this too better soon, and talked of other things, and took away Harry Esmond, and showed him the great old house which he had come to inhabit.

It stood on a rising green hill, with woods behind it, in which were rooks' nests, where the birds at morning and returning home at evening made a great cawing. At the foot of a hill was a river, with a steep ancient bridge crossing it; and beyond that a large pleasant green flat, where the village of Castlewood stood, with the church in the midst, the parsonage hard by it, the inn with the blacksmith's forge beside it, and the sign of the "Three Castles" on the elm. The London road stretched away towards the rising sun, and to the west were swelling hills and peaks, behind which many a time Harry Esmond saw the same sun setting in after years.

The Hall of Castlewood was built with two courts, whereof one only, the fountain-court, was now inhabited, the other having been battered down in the Cromwellian wars. In the fountain-court, still in good repair, was the great hall, near to the kitchen and butteries. A dozen of living-rooms looked to the north, and communicated with the little chapel that faced eastwards, and the buildings stretching from that to the main gate, and with the hall (which looked to the west) into the court, now dismantled. This court had been the more magnificent of the two until the Protector's cannon tore down one side of it before the place was taken and stormed. The besiegers entered at the terrace under the clock-tower, slaying every man of the garrison, and at their head, my lord's brother, Francis Esmond.

The Restoration did not bring enough money to the Lord Castlewood to restore this ruined part of his house, where were the morning parlours, and above them the long music-gallery. Before this stretched the garden-terrace, where the flowers grew again which the boots of the Roundheads had trodden in their assault, and which was restored without much cost, and only a little care, by both ladies who succeeded the second viscount in the government of this mansion. Round the terrace-garden was a low wall with a wicket leading to a wooded height beyond, that is called Cromwell's Battery to this day.

Young Harry Esmond soon learned the domestic part of his duty, which was easy enough, from the groom of her ladyship's chamber: serving the Countess, as the custom commonly was in his boyhood, as page, waiting at her chair, bringing her scented water and the silver basin after dinner--sitting on her carriage-step on state occasions, or on public days introducing her company to her. This was chiefly of the Catholic gentry, of whom there were a pretty many in the country and neighbouring city, and who rode not seldom to Castlewood to partake of the hospitalities there. In the second year of their residence, the company seemed especially to increase. My lord and my lady were seldom without visitors.

Also there came in these times to Father Holt many private visitors, whom, after a little, Henry Esmond had no difficulty in recognising as priests of the Father's order, whatever their dresses (and they adopted all sorts) might be. They were closeted with the Father constantly, and often came and rode away without paying their respects to my lord and lady.

Father Holt began speedily to be so much occupied with these meetings as rather to neglect the education of the little lad who so gladly put himself under the kind priest's orders. At first they read much and regularly, both in Latin and French; the Father not neglecting in anything to impress his faith upon his pupil, but not forcing him violently, and treating him with a delicacy and kindness which surprised and attached the child, always more easily won by these methods than by any severe exercise of authority. And his delight in their walks was to tell Harry of the glories of his order, of the Jesuits, an order founded by Ignatius Loyola, whose members were intimately associated with intrigues of church and state. He told Harry of its martyrs and heroes, of its brethren converting the heathen by myriads, traversing the desert, facing the stake, ruling the courts and councils, or braving the tortures of kings; so that Henry Esmond thought that to belong to the Jesuits was the bravest end of ambition; the greatest career here, and in heaven the surest reward; and began to long for the day, not only when he should enter into the one church and receive his first communion, but when he might join that wonderful brotherhood, which numbered the wisest, the bravest, the highest born, the most eloquent of men among its members. Father Holt bade him keep his views secret, and to hide them as a great treasure which would escape him if it was revealed; and, proud of this confidence and secret vested in him, the lad became fondly attached to the master who initiated him into a mystery so wonderful and awful. And when little Tom Tusher, his neighbour, came from school for his holiday, and said how he, too; like Harry, was to be bred up for an English priest, and would get a college scholarship and fellowship from his school, and then a good living--it tasked young Harry Esmond's powers of reticence not to say to his young companion, "Church! priesthood! fat living! My dear Tommy, do you call yours a church and a priesthood? What is a fat living compared to converting a hundred thousand heathens by a single sermon? What is a scholarship at Trinity by the side of a crown of martyrdom, with angels awaiting you as your head is taken off? Could your master at school sail over the Thames on his gown? Have you statues in your church that can bleed, speak, walk, and cry? My good Tommy, in dear Father Holt's church these things take place every day. You know Saint Philip of the Willows appeared to Lord Castlewood, and caused him to turn to the one true church. No saints ever come to you." And Harry Esmond, because of his promise to Father Holt, hiding away these treasures of faith from T. Tusher, delivered himself of them nevertheless simply to Father Holt; who stroked his head, smiled at him with his inscrutable look, and told him that he did well to meditate on these great things, and not to talk of them except under direction.

Had time enough been given, and his childish inclinations been properly nurtured, Harry Esmond had been a Jesuit priest ere he was a dozen years older, and might have finished his days a martyr in China or a victim on Tower Hill; for, in the few months they spent together at Castlewood, Mr. Holt obtained an entire mastery over the boy's intellect and affections, and had brought him to think, as indeed Father Holt thought, with all his heart too, that no life was so noble, no death so desirable, as that which many brethren of his famous order were ready to undergo. By love, by a brightness of wit and good humour that charmed all, by an authority which he knew how to assume, by a mystery and silence about him which increased the child's reverence for him, he won Harry's absolute fealty, and would have kept it, doubtless, if schemes greater and more important than a poor little boy's admission into orders had not called him away.

After being at home for a few months in tranquillity, my Lord Castlewood and Lady Isabella left the country for London, taking Father Holt with them: and his little pupil scarce ever shed more bitter tears in his life than he did for nights after the first parting with his dear friend, as he lay in the lonely chamber next to that which the Father used to occupy. He and a few domestics were left as the only tenants of the great house: and, though Harry sedulously did all the tasks which the Father set him, he had many hours unoccupied, and read in the library, and bewildered his little brain with the great books he found there.

After a while, however, the little lad grew accustomed to the loneliness of the place; and in after days remembered this part of his life as a period not unhappy. When the family was at London the whole of the establishment travelled thither with the exception of the porter and his wife and children. These had their lodging in the gate-house hard by. with a door into the court. That with a window looking out on the green was the Chaplain's room; and next to this was a small chamber where Father Holt had his books, and Harry Esmond his sleeping-closet. The side of the house facing the east had escaped the guns of the Cromwellians, whose battery was on the height facing the western court; so that this eastern end bore few marks of demolition, save in the chapel, where the painted windows surviving Edward the Sixth had been broke by the Commonwealthmen. When Father Holt was at Castlewood little Harry Esmond acted as his familiar little servitor, beating his clothes, folding his vestments, fetching his water from the well long before daylight, ready to run anywhere for the service of his beloved priest. When the Father was away, he locked his private chamber; but the room where the books were was left to little Harry.

Great public events were happening at this time, of which the simple young page took little count. But one day, before the family went to London, riding into the neighbouring town on the step of my lady's coach, his lordship and she and Father Holt being inside, a great mob of people came hooting and jeering round the coach, bawling out, "The Bishops forever!" "Down with the Pope!" "No Popery! no Popery!" so that my lord began to laugh, my lady's eyes to roll with anger, for she was as bold as a lioness, and feared nobody; whilst Mr. Holt, as Esmond saw from his place on the step, sank back with rather an alarmed face, crying out to her ladyship, "For God's sake, madam, do not speak or look out of window; sit still." But she did not obey this prudent injunction of the Father; she thrust her head out of the coach window, and screamed out to the coachman, "Flog your way through them, the brutes, James, and use your whip!"

James the coachman was more afraid of his mistress than of the mob, probably, for he whipped on his horses as he was bidden, and the post-boy that rode with the first pair gave a cut of his thong over the shoulders of one fellow who put his hand out towards the leading horse's rein.

It was a market-day, and the country-people were all assembled with their baskets of poultry, eggs, and such things; the postilion had no sooner lashed the man who would have taken hold of his horse, but a great cabbage came whirling like a bombshell into the carriage, at which my lord laughed more, for it knocked my lady's fan out of her hand, and plumped into Father Holt's stomach. Then came a shower of carrots and potatoes.

The little page was outside the coach on the step, and a fellow in the crowd aimed a potato at him, and hit him in the eye, at which the poor little wretch set up a shout The man, a great big saddler's apprentice of the town, laughed, and stooped to pick up another potato. The crowd had gathered quite between the horses and the inn door by this time, and the coach was brought to a dead standstill. My lord jumped as briskly as a boy out of the door on his side of the coach, squeezing little Harry behind it; had hold of the potato-thrower's collar in an instant, and the next moment the brute's heels were in the air, and he fell on the stones with a thump.

"You hulking coward!" says he, "you pack of screaming blackguards! how dare you attack children, and insult women? Fling another shot at that carriage, you sneaking pigskin cobbler, and by the Lord I'll send my rapier through you!"

Some of the mob cried, "Huzzah, my Lord!" for they knew him, and the saddler's man was a known bruiser, near twice as big as my Lord Viscount.

"Make way there," says he (he spoke with a great air of authority). "Make way, and let her ladyship's carriage pass."

The men actually did make way, and the horses went on, my lord walking after them with his hat on his head.

This mob was one of many thousands that were going about the country at that time, huzzahing for the acquittal of seven bishops who had been tried just then, and about whom little Harry Esmond knew scarce anything. The party from Castlewood were on their way to Hexton, where there was a great meeting of the gentry. My lord's people had their new liveries on and Harry a little suit of blue and silver, which he wore upon occasions of state; and the gentlefolks came round and talked to my lord: and a judge in a red gown, who seemed a very great personage, especially complimented him and my lady, who was mighty grand. Harry remembers her train borne up by her gentlewoman. There was an assembly and ball at the great room at the inn, and other young gentlemen of the county families looked on as he did. One of them jeered him for his black eye, which was swelled by the potato, and another called him a cruel name, on which he and Harry fell to fisticuffs. My lord's cousin, Colonel Esmond of Walcote, was there, and separated the two lads--a great, tall gentleman, with a handsome, good-natured face.

Very soon after this my lord and lady went to London with Mr. Holt, leaving the page behind them. The little man had the great house of Castlewood to himself; or between him and the housekeeper, Mrs. Worksop, an old lady who was a kinswoman of the family in some distant way, and a Protestant, but a staunch Tory and kings-man, as all the Esmonds were. Harry used to go to school to Dr. Tusher when he was at home, though the Doctor was much occupied too. There was a great stir and commotion everywhere, even in the little quiet village of Castlewood, whither a party of people came from the town, who would have broken Castlewood Chapel windows, but the village people turned out, and even old Sievewright, the republican blacksmith, along with them; for my lady, though she was a Papist, and had many odd ways, was kind to the tenantry, and there was always plenty of protectors for Castlewood inmates in any sort of invasion.

One day at dawn, not having been able to sleep for thinking of some lines for eels which he had placed the night before, the lad was lying in his little bed waiting for the hour when he and John Lockwood, the porter's son, might go to the pond and see what fortune had brought them. It might have been four o'clock when he heard the door of Father Holt's chamber open. Harry jumped up, thinking for certain it was a robber, or hoping perhaps for a ghost, and, flinging open his own door, saw a light inside Father Holt's room, and a figure standing in the doorway, in the midst of a great smoke which issued from the room.

"Who's there?" cried out the boy.

"Silentium!" whispered the other; "'tis I, my boy!" holding his hand out, and Harry recognised Father Holt. A curtain was over the window that looked to the court, and he saw that the smoke came from a great flame of papers burning in a bowl when he entered the Chaplain's room. After giving a hasty greeting and blessing to the lad, who was charmed to see his tutor, the Father continued the burning of his papers, drawing them from a cupboard over the mantelpiece wall, which Harry had never seen before.

Father Holt laughed, seeing the lad's attention fixed at once on this hole. "That is right, Harry," he said; "see all and say nothing. You are faithful, I know."

"I know I would go to the stake for you," said Harry.

"I don't want your head," said the Father, patting it kindly; "all you have to do is to hold your tongue. Let us burn these papers, and say nothing to anybody. Should you like to read them?"

Harry Esmond blushed, and held down his head; he had looked, but without thinking, at the paper before him; but though he had seen it before, he could not understand a word of it. They burned the papers until scarce any traces of them remained.

Harry had been accustomed to seeing Father Holt in more dresses than one; it not being safe, or worth the danger, for Popish priests to wear their proper dress; so he was in no wise astonished that the priest should now appear before him in a riding-dress, with large buff leather boots, and a feather to his hat, plain, but such as gentlemen wore.

"You know the secret of the cupboard," said he, laughing, "and must be prepared for other mysteries"; and he opened a wardrobe, which he usually kept locked, but from which he now took out two or three dresses and wigs of different colours, and a couple of swords, a military coat and cloak, and a farmer's smock, and placed them in the large hole over the mantelpiece from which the papers had been taken.

"If they miss the cupboard," he said, "they will not find these; if they find them, they'll tell no tales, except that Father Holt wore more suits of clothes than one. All Jesuits do. You know what deceivers we are, Harry."

Harry was alarmed at the notion that his friend was about to leave him; but "No," the priest said, "I may very likely come back with my lord in a few days. We are to be tolerated; we are not to be persecuted. But they may take a fancy to pay a visit at Castlewood ere our return; and, as gentlemen of my cloth are suspected, they might choose to examine my papers, which concern nobody--at least not them." And to this day, whether the papers in cipher related to politics, or to the affairs of that mysterious society whereof Father Holt was a member, his pupil, Harry Esmond, remains in entire ignorance.

The rest of his goods Father Holt left untouched on his shelves and in his cupboard, taking down--with a laugh, however--and flinging into the brazier, where he only half burned them, some theological treatises which he had been writing. "And now," said he, "Henry, my son, you may testify, with a safe conscience, that you saw me burning Latin sermons the last time I was here before I went away to London; and it will be daybreak directly, and I must be away before Lockwood is stirring."

"Will not Lockwood let you out, sir?" Esmond asked. Holt laughed; he was never more gay or good-humoured than when in the midst of action or danger.

"Lockwood knows nothing of my being here, mind you," he said; "nor would you, you little wretch! had you slept better. You must forget that I have been here; and now farewell. Close the door, and go to your own room, and don't come out till--stay, why should you not know one secret more? I know you will never betray me."

In the Chaplain's room were two windows, the one looking into the court facing westwards to the fountain, the other a small casement strongly barred, and looking onto the green in front of the Hall. This window was too high to reach from the ground; but, mounting on a buffet which stood beneath it, Father Holt showed Harry how, by pressing on the base of the window, the whole framework descended into a cavity worked below, from which it could be restored to its usual place from without, a broken pane being purposely open to admit the hand which was to work upon the spring of the machine.

"When I am gone," Father Holt said, "you may push away the buffet, so that no one may fancy that an exit has been made that way; lock the door; place the key--where shall we put the key?--under 'Chrysostom' on the book shelf; and if any ask for it, say I keep it there, and told you where to find it, if you had need to go to my room. The descent is easy down the wall into the ditch; and so once more farewell, until I see thee again, my dear son."

And with this the intrepid Father mounted the buffet with great agility and briskness, stepped across the window, lifting up the bars and framework again from the other side, and only leaving room for Harry Esmond to stand on tiptoe and kiss his hand before the casement closed, the bars fixing as firmly as ever, seemingly, in the stone arch overhead.

Esmond, young as he was, would have died sooner than betray his friend and master, as Mr. Holt well knew; so, then, when Holt was gone, and told Harry not to see him, it was as if he had never been. And he had this answer pat when he came to be questioned a few days later.

The Prince of Orange was then at Salisbury, as young Esmond learned from seeing Dr. Tusher in his best cassock, with a great orange cockade in his broad-leafed hat, and Nahun, his clerk, ornamented with a like decoration. The Doctor was walking up and down in front of his parsonage when little Esmond saw him and heard him say he was going to Salisbury to pay his duty to his Highness the Prince. The village people had orange cockades too, and his friend, the blacksmith's laughing daughter, pinned one into Harry's old hat, which he tore out indignantly when they bade him to cry "God save the Prince of Orange and the Protestant religion!" But the people only laughed, for they liked the boy in the village, where his solitary condition moved the general pity, and where he found friendly welcomes and faces in many houses.

It was while Dr. Tusher was away at Salisbury that there came a troop of dragoons with orange scarfs, and quartered in Castlewood, and some of them came up to the Hall, where they took possession, robbing nothing, however, beyond the hen-house and the beer-cellar: and only insisting upon going through the house and looking for papers. The first room they asked to look at was Father Holt's room, where they opened the drawers and cupboards, and tossed over the papers and clothes, but found nothing except his books and clothes, and the vestments in a box by themselves, with which the dragoons made merry, to Harry Esmond's horror. To the questions which the gentlemen put to Harry, he replied that Father Holt was a very kind man to him, and a very learned man, and Harry supposed would tell him none of his secrets if he had any. He was about eleven years old at that time, and looked as innocent as boys of his age.

A kingdom was changing hands whilst my lord and lady were away. King James was flying; the Dutchmen were coming; awful stories about them and the Prince of Orange Mrs. Worksop used to tell to the idle little page, who enjoyed the exciting narratives. The family were away more than six months, and when they returned they were in the deepest state of dejection, for King James had been banished, the Prince of Orange was on the throne, and the direst persecutions of those of the Catholic faith were apprehended by my lady, who said that she did not believe there was a word of truth in the promises of toleration that Dutch monster made, or a single word the perjured wretch said. My lord and lady being loyal followers of the banished king, were in a manner prisoners in their own house, so her ladyship gave the little page to know, who was by this time growing of an age to understand what was passing about him, and something of the character of the people he lived with.

Father Holt came to the Hall constantly, but officiated no longer openly as chaplain. Strangers, military and ecclesiastic--Harry knew the latter, though they came in all sorts of disguises--were continually arriving and departing. My lord made long absences and sudden reappearances, using sometimes the secret window in Father Holt's room, though how often Harry could not tell. He stoutly kept his promise to the Father of not prying, and if at midnight from his little room he heard noises of persons stirring in the next chamber, he turned round to the wall, and hid his curiosity under his pillow until he fell asleep. Of course, he could not help remarking that the priest's journeys were constant, and understanding by a hundred signs that some active though secret business employed him. What this was may pretty well be guessed by what soon happened to my lord.

No garrison or watch was put into Castlewood when my lord came back, but a Guard was in the village; and one or other of them was always on the green keeping a lookout on the great gate, and those who went out and in. Lockwood said that at night especially every person who came in or went out was watched by the outlying sentries. It was lucky that there was a gate which their Worships knew nothing about. My lord and Father Holt must have made constant journeys at night: once or twice little Harry acted as their messenger and discreet aide-de-camp. He remembers he was bidden to go into the village with his fishing-rod, enter certain houses, ask for a drink of water, and tell the good man, "There would be a horse-market at Newbury next Thursday," and so carry the same message on to the next house on his list.

He did not know what the message meant at the time, nor what was happening, which may as well, however, for clearness' sake, be explained here. The Prince of Orange being gone to Ireland, where the King was ready to meet him with a great army, it was determined that a great rising of his Majesty's party should take place in this country; and my lord was to head the force in the Castlewood's county. Of late he had taken a greater lead in affairs than before, having the indefatigable Mr. Holt at his elbow, who was the most considerable person in that part of the county for the affairs of the King.

It was arranged that the regiment of Scots Greys and Dragoons, then quartered at Newbury, should declare for the King on a certain day, when likewise the gentry loyal to his Majesty's cause were to come in with their tenants and adherents to Newbury, march upon the Dutch troops at Reading under Ginckel; and, those overthrown, and their indomitable little master away in Ireland, it was thought that their side might move on London itself, and a confident victory was predicted for the King.

While these great matters were in agitation, one day, it must have been about the month of July, 1600, my lord, in a great horseman's coat, under which Harry could see the shining of a steel breastplate he had on, called the boy to him, and kissed him, and bade God bless him in such an affectionate way as he never had used before. Father Holt blessed him too, and then they took leave of my Lady Viscountess, who came weeping from her apartment.

"My lord, God speed you!" she said, stepping up and embracing my lord in a grand manner. "Mr. Holt, I ask your blessing," and she knelt down for that, whilst Mrs. Tusher tossed her head up.

Mr. Holt gave the same benediction to the little page, who went down and held my lord's stirrups for him to mount--there were two servants waiting there, too--and they rode out of Castlewood gate.

As they crossed the bridge, Harry could see an officer in scarlet ride up touching his hat, and address my lord.

The party stopped, and came to some discussion, which presently ended, my lord putting his horse into a canter after taking off his hat to the officer, who rode alongside him step for step, the trooper accompanying him falling back, and riding with my lord's two men. They cantered over the green, and behind the elms, and so they disappeared.

That evening those left behind had a great panic, the cow-boy coming at milking-time riding one of the Castlewood horses, which he had found grazing at the outer park-wall. It was quite in the grey of the morning when the porter's bell rang, and old Lockwood let him in. He had gone with him in the morning, and returned with a melancholy story. The officer who rode up to my lord had, it appeared, said to him that it was his duty to inform his lordship that he was not under arrest, but under watch, and to request him not to ride abroad that day.

My lord replied that riding was good for his health, that if the Captain chose to accompany him he was welcome; and it was then that he made a bow, and they cantered away together.

When he came on to Wansey Down, my lord all of a sudden pulled up, and the party came to a halt at the cross-way.

"Sir," says he to the officer, "we are four to two; will you be so kind as to take that road, and leave me go mine?"

"Your road is mine, my lord," says the officer.

"Then--" says my lord; but he had no time to say more, for the officer, drawing a pistol, snapped it at his lordship; and at the same moment Father Holt, drawing a pistol, shot the officer through the head. It was done, and the man dead in an instant of time. The orderly, gazing at the officer, looked scared for a moment, and galloped away for his life.

"Fire! Fire!" cries out Father Holt, sending another shot after the trooper, but the two servants were too much surprised to use their pieces, and my lord calling to them to hold their hands, the fellow got away. My lord's party rode on; shortly after midday heard firing, then met a horseman who told them that the regiments declared an hour too soon. General Ginckel was down upon them, and the whole thing was at an end. "We've shot an officer on duty, and let his orderly escape," says my lord. "Blaise," says Mr. Holt, writing two lines on his table-book, one for my lady and one for Harry, "you must go back to Castlewood and deliver these," and Blaise went back and gave Harry the two papers. He read that to himself, which only said, "Burn the papers in the cupboard; burn this. You know nothing about anything." Harry read this, ran upstairs to his mistress's apartment, where her gentlewoman slept near to the door, made her bring a light and wake my lady, into whose hands he gave the other paper.

As soon as she had the paper in her hand, Harry stepped back to the Chaplain's room, opened the secret cupboard over the fireplace, burned all the papers in it, and, as he had seen the priest do before, took down one of his reverence's manuscript sermons, and half burnt that in the brazier. By the time the papers were quite destroyed it was daylight. Harry ran back to his mistress again. Her gentlewoman ushered him again into her ladyship's chamber; she told him to bid the coach be got ready, and that she would ride away anon.

But the mysteries of her ladyship's toilet were as awfully long on this day as on any other, and, long after the coach was ready, my lady was still attiring herself. And just as the Viscountess stepped forth from her room, ready for her departure, young John Lockwood came running up from the village with news that a lawyer, three officers, and twenty or four-and-twenty soldiers were marching thence upon the house. John had but two minutes the start of them, and, ere he had well told his story, the troop rode into the court-yard.

Her gentlewoman, Victoire, persuaded her that her prudent course was, as she could not fly, to receive the troops as though she suspected nothing, and that her chamber was the best place wherein to await them. So her black Japan casket, which Harry was to carry to the coach, was taken back to her ladyship's chamber, whither the maid and mistress retired. Victoire came out presently, bidding the page to say her ladyship was ill, confined to her bed with the rheumatism.

By this time the soldiers had reached Castlewood, and, preceded by their commander and a lawyer, were conducted to the stair leading up to the part of the house which my lord and lady inhabited. The Captain and the lawyer came through the ante-room to the tapestry parlour, where now was nobody but young Harry Esmond, the page.

"Tell your mistress, little man," says the Captain kindly, "that we must speak to her."

"My mistress is ill a-bed," said the page.

"What complaint has she?" asked the Captain.

The boy said, "The rheumatism!"

"Rheumatism! that's a bad complaint," continues the good-natured Captain; "and the coach is in the yard to fetch the doctor, I suppose?"

"I don't know," says the boy.

"And how long has her ladyship been ill?"

"I don't know," says the boy.

"When did my lord go away?"

"Yesterday night."

"With Father Holt?"

"With Mr. Holt."

"And which way did they travel?" asks the lawyer.

"They travelled without me," says the page.

"We must see Lady Castlewood."

"I have orders that nobody goes in to her ladyship--she is sick," says the page; but at this moment her maid came out. "Hush!" says she; and, as if not knowing that any one was near, "What's this noise?" says she. "Is this gentleman the doctor?"

"Stuff! we must see Lady Castlewood," says the lawyer, pushing by.

The curtains of her ladyship's room were down, and the chamber dark, and she was in bed with a nightcap on her head, and propped up by her pillows.

"Is that the doctor?" she said.

"There is no use with this deception, madam," Captain Westbury said (for so he was named). "My duty is to arrest the person of Thomas, Viscount of Castlewood, of Robert Tusher, Vicar of Castlewood, and Henry Holt, known under various other names, a Jesuit priest, who officiated as chaplain here in the late king's time, and is now at the head of the conspiracy which was about to break out in this country against the authority of their Majesties King William and Queen Mary--and my orders are to search the house for such papers or traces of the conspiracy as may be found here. Your ladyship will please give me your keys, and it will be as well for yourself that you should help us, in every way, in our search."

"You see, sir, that I have the rheumatism, and cannot move," said the lady, looking uncommonly ghastly as she sat up in her bed.

"I shall take leave to place a sentinel in the chamber, so that your ladyship, in case you should wish to rise, may have an arm to lean on," Captain Westbury said. "Your woman will show me where I am to look;" and Madame Victoire, chatting in her half-French and half-English jargon, opened while the Captain examined one drawer after another; but, as Harry Esmond thought, rather carelessly, as if he was only conducting the examination for form's sake.

Before one of the cupboards Victoire flung herself down, and, with a piercing shriek, cried, "Non, jamais, monsieur l'officier! Jamais! I will rather die than let you see this wardrobe."

But Captain Westbury would open it, still with a smile on his face, which, when the box was opened, turned into a fair burst of laughter. It contained--not papers regarding the conspiracy--but my lady's wigs, washes, and rouge-pots, and Victoire said men were monsters, as the Captain went on with his search. He tapped the back to see whether or no it was hollow, and as he thrust his hands into the cupboard, my lady from her bed called out, with a voice that did not sound like that of a very sick woman:

"Is it your commission to insult ladies as well as to arrest gentlemen, Captain?"

"These articles are only dangerous when worn by your ladyship," the Captain said, with a low bow, and a mock grin of politeness. "I have found nothing which concerns the government as yet--only the weapons with which beauty is authorised to kill," says he, pointing to a wig with his sword-tip. "We must now proceed to search the rest of the house."

"You are not going to leave that wretch in the room with me," cried my lady, pointing to the soldier.

"What can I do, madam? Somebody you must have to smooth your pillow and bring your medicine--permit me--"

"Sir!" screamed out my lady.

"Madam, if you are too ill to leave the bed," the Captain then said, rather sternly, "I must have in four of my men to lift you off in the sheet. I must examine this bed, in a word; papers may be hidden in a bed as elsewhere; we know that very well, and--"

Here it was her ladyship's turn to shriek, for the Captain, with his fist shaking the pillows and bolsters, at last wrenching away one of the pillows, said, "Look! did not I tell you so? Here is a pillow stuffed with paper. And now your ladyship can move, I am sure; permit me to give you my hand to rise. You will have to travel for some distance, as far as Hexton Castle to-night. Will you have your coach? Your woman shall attend you if you like--and the japan-box?"

"Sir! you don't strike a man when he is down," said my lady, with some dignity; "can you not spare a woman?"

"Your ladyship must please to rise, and let me search the bed," said the Captain; "there is no more time to lose in bandying talk."

And, without more ado, the gaunt old woman got up. Harry Esmond recollected to the end of his life that figure, with the brocade dress under the white nightdress, and the gold-clocked red stockings, and white red-heeled shoes, sitting up in the bed, and stepping down from it. The trunks were ready packed for departure in her ante-room, and the horses ready harnessed in the stable: about all which the Captain seemed to know, by information got from some quarter or other; and whence Esmond could make a pretty shrewd guess in after-times, when Dr. Tusher complained that King William's government had basely treated him for services done in that cause.

And here we may relate, though he was then too young to know all that was happening, what the papers contained, of which Captain Westbury had made a seizure, and which papers had been transferred from the japan-box to the bed when the officers arrived.

There was a list of gentlemen of the county, in Father Holt's handwriting, who were King James's friends; also a patent conferring the title of Marquis of Esmond on my Lord Castlewood and the heirs-male of his body; his appointment as Lord-Lieutenant of the County, and Major-General. There were various letters from the nobility and gentry, some ardent and some doubtful, and all valuable to the men who found them, for reasons which the lad knew little about; only being aware that his patron and his mistress were in some trouble, which had caused the flight of the one and the apprehension of the other by the officers of King William.

The seizure of the papers effected, the gentlemen did not pursue their further search through Castlewood House very rigorously. They only examined Mr. Holt's room, being led thither by his pupil, who showed, as the Father had bidden him, the place where the key of his chamber lay, opened the door for the gentlemen, and conducted them into the room.

When the gentlemen came to the half-burned papers in the bowl, they examined them eagerly enough, and their young guide was a little amused at their perplexity.

"What are these?" says one.

"They're written in a foreign language," says the lawyer. "What are you laughing at, little whelp?" he added, turning round as he saw the boy smile.

"Mr. Holt said they were sermons," Harry said, "and bade me to burn them;" which indeed was true of those papers.

"Sermons, indeed--it's treason, I would lay a wager," cries the lawyer.

"Egad! it's Greek to me," says Captain Westbury. "Can you read it, little boy?"

"Yes, sir, a little," Harry said.

"Then read, and read in English, sir, on your peril," said the lawyer. And Harry began to translate:

"Hath not one of your own writers said, 'The children of Adam are now labouring as much as he himself ever did, about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, shaking the boughs thereof, and seeking the fruit, being for the most part unmindful of the tree of life.' O blind generation! 'tis this tree of knowledge to which the serpent has led you"--and here the boy was obliged to stop, the rest of the page being charred by the fire, and asked of the lawyer--"Shall I go on, sir?"

The lawyer said, "This boy is deeper than he seems: who knows that he is not laughing at us?"

"Let's have in Dick the Scholar," cried Captain Westbury, laughing, and he called to a trooper out of the window, "Ho, Dick, come in here and construe."

A soldier, with a good-humoured face, came in at the summons, saluting his officer.

"Tell us what is this, Dick Steele," says the lawyer.

"'Tis Latin," says Dick, glancing at it, and again saluting his officer, "and from a sermon of Mr. Cudworth's," and he translated the words pretty much as Henry Esmond had rendered them.

"What a young scholar you are," says the Captain to the boy.

"Depend on't, he knows more than he tells," says the lawyer. "I think we will pack him off in the coach with the old lady."

"For construing a bit of Latin?" said the Captain, very good-naturedly.

"I would as lief go there as anywhere," Harry Esmond said, simply, "for there is nobody to care for me."

There must have been something touching in the child's voice, or in this description of his solitude, for the Captain looked at him very good-naturedly, and the trooper called Steele put his hand kindly on the lad's head, and said some words in the Latin language.

"What does he say?" says the lawyer.

"I said I was not ignorant of misfortune myself, and had learned to succor the miserable, and that's not your trade, Mr. Sheepskin," said the trooper.

"You had better leave Dick the Scholar alone, Mr. Corbett!" the Captain said. And Harry Esmond, always touched by a kind face and a kind word, felt very grateful to this good-natured champion.

The horses were by this time harnessed to the coach; and my Lady Isabella was consigned to that vehicle and sent off to Hexton, with her woman and the man-of-law to bear her company, a couple of troopers riding on either side of the coach. And Harry was left behind at the Hall, belonging, as it were, to nobody, and quite alone in the world. The Captain and a guard of men remained in possession there; and the soldiers, who were very good-natured and kind, ate my lord's mutton and drank his wine, and made themselves comfortable, as they well might do in such pleasant quarters.

After the departure of the countess, Dick the Scholar took Harry Esmond under his special protection, and would talk to him both of French and Latin, in which tongues the lad found that he was even more proficient than Scholar Dick. Hearing that he had learned them from a Jesuit, in the praise of whom and whose goodness Harry was never tired of speaking, Dick, rather to the boy's surprise, showed a great deal of theological science, and knowledge of the points at issue between the Catholic and Protestant churches; so that he and Harry would have hours of controversy together, with which conversations the long days of the trooper's stay at Castlewood were whiled away. Though the other troopers were all gentlemen, they seemed ignorant and vulgar to Harry Esmond, with the exception of this good-natured Corporal Steele, Scholar, although Captain Westbury and Lieutenant Trant were always kind to the lad.

They remained for some months at Castlewood, and Harry learned from them, from time to time, how Lady Isabella was being treated at Hexton Castle, and the particulars of her confinement there. King William was disposed to deal very leniently with the gentry who remained faithful to the old king's cause; and no Prince usurping a crown as his enemies said he did, ever caused less blood to be shed. As for women-conspirators, he kept spies on the least dangerous, and locked up the others. Lady Castlewood had the best rooms in Hexton Castle, and the gaoler's garden to walk in; and though she repeatedly desired to be led out to execution like Mary Queen of Scots, there never was any thought of taking her painted old head off. She even found that some were friends in her misfortune, whom she had, in her prosperity, considered as her worst enemies. Colonel Francis Esmond, my lord's cousin and her ladyship's hearing of his kinswoman's scrape, came to visit her in prison, offering any friendly services which lay in his power. He brought, too, his lady and little daughter, Beatrix, the latter a child of great beauty and many winning ways, to whom the old viscountess took not a little liking, and who was permitted after that to go often and visit the prisoner.

And now there befell an event by which Lady Isabella recovered her liberty, and the house of Castlewood got a new owner, Colonel Francis Esmond, and fatherless little Harry Esmond, the new and most kind protector and friend, whom we met at the opening of this story. My Lord of Castlewood was wounded at the battle of the Boyne, flying from which field he lay for a while concealed in a marsh, and more from cold and fever caught in the bogs than from the steel of the enemy in the battle, died.

In those days letters were slow of travelling, and that of a priest announcing my lord's death took two months or more on its journey from Ireland to England. When it did arrive, Lady Isabella was still confined in Hexton Castle, but the letter was opened at Castlewood by Captain Westbury.

Harry Esmond well remembered the receipt of this letter, which was brought in as Captain Westbury and Lieutenant Trant were on the Green playing at Bowls, young Esmond looking on at the sport.

"Something has happened to Lord Castlewood," Captain Westbury said, in a very grave tone. "He is dead of a wound received at the Boyne, fighting for King James. I hope he has provided for thee somehow. Thou hast only him to depend on now."

Harry did not know, he said. He was in the hands of Heaven, as he had been all the rest of his life. That night as he lay in the darkness he thought with a pang how Father Holt and two or three soldiers, his acquaintances of the last six weeks, were the only friends he had in the great wide world. The soul of the boy was full of love, and he longed as he lay in the darkness there for someone upon whom he could bestow it. Lady Isabella was in prison, his patron was dead, Father Holt was gone,--he knew not where,--Tom Tusher was far away. To whom could he turn now for comradeship?

He remembered to his dying day the thoughts and tears of that long night--was there any child in the whole world so unprotected as he?

The next day the gentlemen of the guard, who had heard what had befallen him, were more than usually kind to the child, and upon talking the matter over with Dick they decided that Harry should stay where he was, and abide his fortune; so he stayed on at Castlewood after the garrison had been ordered away. He was sorry when the kind soldiers vacated Castlewood, and looked forward with no small anxiety to his fate when the new lord and lady of the house,--Colonel Francis Esmond and his wife,--should come to live there. He was now past twelve years old and had an affectionate heart, tender to weakness, that would gladly attach itself to somebody, and would not feel at rest until it had found a friend who would take charge of it.

Then came my lord and lady into their new domain, and my lady's introduction to the little lad, whom she found in the book-room, as we have seen.

The instinct which led Henry Esmond to admire and love the gracious person, the fair apparition, whose beauty and kindness so moved him when he first beheld her, became soon a passion of gratitude, which entirely filled his young heart. There seemed, as the boy thought, in her every look or gesture, an angelic softness and bright pity. In motion or repose she seemed gracious alike; the tone of her voice, though she spoke words ever so trivial, gave him a pleasure that amounted almost to pain. It could not be called love, that a lad of his age felt for his mistress: but it was worship. To catch her glance, to divine her errand and run on it before she had spoken it; to watch, follow, adore her, became the business of his life.

As for my Lord Castlewood, he was good-humoured, of a temper naturally easy, liking to joke, especially with his inferiors, and charmed to receive the tribute of their laughter. All exercises of the body he could perform to perfection--shooting at a mark, breaking horses, riding at the ring, pitching the quoit, playing at all games with great skill. He was fond of the parade of dress, and also fond of having his lady well dressed; who spared no pains in that matter to please him. Indeed, she would dress her head or cut it off if he had bidden her.

My Lord Viscount took young Esmond into his special favour, luckily for the lad. A very few months after my lord's coming to Castlewood in the winter time, little Frank being a child in petticoats, trotting about, it happened that little Frank was with his father after dinner, who fell asleep, heedless of the child, who crawled to the fire. As good fortune would have it, Esmond was sent by his mistress for the boy, just as the poor little screaming urchin's coat was set on fire by a log. Esmond, rushing forward, tore the dress off, so that his own hands were burned more than the little boy's, who was frightened rather than hurt by the accident. As my lord was sleeping heavily, it certainly was providential that a resolute person should have come in at that instant, or the child would have been burned to death.

Ever after this, the father was loud in his expressions of remorse, and of admiration for Harry Esmond, and had the tenderest regard for his son's preserver. His burns were tended with the greatest care by his kind mistress, who said that Heaven had sent him to be the guardian of her children, and that she would love him all her life.

And it was after this, and from the very great love and tenderness which grew up in this little household, that Harry came to be quite of the religion of his house, and his dear mistress, of which he has ever since been a professing member.

My lady had three idols: her lord, the good Viscount of Castlewood,--her little son, who had his father's looks and curly, brown hair,--and her daughter Beatrix, who had his eyes--were there ever such beautiful eyes in the world?

A pretty sight it was to see the fair mistress of Castlewood, her little daughter at her knee, and her domestics gathered around her, reading the Morning Prayer of the English Church. Esmond long remembered how she looked and spoke, kneeling reverently before the sacred book, the sun shining upon her golden hair until it made a halo round about her, a dozen of the servants of the house kneeling in a line opposite their mistress. For a while Harry Esmond as a good papist kept apart from these mysteries, but Dr. Tusher, showing him that the prayers read were those of the Church of all ages, he came presently to kneel down with the rest of the household in the parlour; and before a couple of years my lady had made a thorough convert. Indeed, the boy loved her so much that he would have subscribed to anything she bade him at that time, and the happiest period of all his life was this: when the young mother, with her daughter and son, and the orphan lad whom she protected, read and worked and played, and were children together.

But as Esmond grew, and observed for himself, he found much to read and think of outside that fond circle of kinsfolk. He read more books than they cared to study with him; was alone in the midst of them many a time, and passed nights over labours, useless perhaps, but in which they could not join him. His dear mistress divined his thoughts with her usual jealous watchfulness of affection; began to forebode a time when he would escape from his home nest; and at his eager protestations to the contrary, would only sigh and shake her head, knowing that some day her predictions would come true.

Meanwhile evil fortune came upon the inmates of Castlewood Hall; brought thither by no other than Harry himself. In those early days, before Lady Mary Wortley Montague brought home the custom of inoculation from Turkey, smallpox was considered, as indeed it was, the most dreadful scourge of the world. The pestilence would enter a village and destroy half its inhabitants. At its approach not only the beautiful, but the strongest were alarmed, and those fled who could.

One day in the year 1694 Dr. Tusher ran into Castlewood House with a face of consternation, saying that the malady had made its appearance in the village, that a child at the Inn was down with the smallpox.

Now there was a pretty girl at this Inn, Nancy Sievewright, the blacksmith's daughter, a bouncing, fresh-looking lass, with whom Harry Esmond in his walks and rambles often happened to fall in; or, failing to meet her, he would discover some errand to be done at the blacksmith's, or would go to the Inn to find her.

When Dr. Tusher brought the news that smallpox was at the Inn, Henry Esmond's first thought was of alarm for poor Nancy, and then of disquiet for the Castlewood family, lest he might have brought this infection to them; for the truth is, that Mr. Harry had been sitting that day for an hour with Nancy Sievewright, holding her little brother, who had complained of headache, on his knee; and had also since then been drawing pictures and telling stories to little Frank Castlewood, who had occupied his knee for an hour after dinner, and was never tired of Henry's tales of soldiers and horses. As luck would have it, Beatrix had not that evening taken her usual place, which generally she was glad enough to take, upon her tutor's lap. For Beatrix, from the earliest time, was jealous of every caress which was given to her little brother Frank. She would fling away even from her mother's arms if she saw Frank had been there before her; she would turn pale and red with rage if she caught signs of affection between Frank and his mother; would sit apart and not speak for a whole night, if she thought the boy had a better fruit or a larger cake than hers; would fling away a ribbon if he had one too; and from the earliest age, sitting up in her little chair by the great fireplace opposite to the corner where Lady Castlewood commonly sat at her embroidery, would utter childish sarcasm about the favour shown to her brother. These, if spoken in the presence of Lord Castlewood, tickled and amused his humour; he would pretend to love Frank best, and dandle and kiss him, and roar with laughter at Beatrix's jealousy.

So it chanced that upon this very day, when poor Harry Esmond had had the blacksmith's son, and the peer's son, alike upon his knee, little Beatrix had refused to take that place, seeing it had been occupied by her brother, and, luckily for her, had sat at the further end of the room away from him, playing with a spaniel dog which she had--for which by fits and starts she would take a great affection--and talking at Harry Esmond over her shoulder, as she pretended to caress the dog, saying that Fido would love her, and she would love Fido and no one but Fido all the rest of her life.

When, then, Dr. Tusher brought the news that the little boy at the Inn was ill with the smallpox, poor Harry Esmond felt a shock of alarm, not so much for himself as for little Frank, whom he might have brought into peril. Beatrix, who had by this time pouted sufficiently (and who, whenever a stranger appeared, began from infancy almost to play off little graces to catch his attention), her brother being now gone to bed, was for taking her place upon Esmond's knee: for though the Doctor was very attentive to her, she did not like him because he had thick boots and dirty hands (the pert young miss said), and because she hated learning the catechism.

But as she advanced toward Esmond, he started back, and placed the great chair on which he was sitting between him and her--saying in French to Lady Castlewood, "Madam, the child must not approach me; I must tell you that I was at the blacksmith's to-day, and had his little boy upon my lap."

"Where you took my son afterwards!" Lady Castlewood cried, very angry, and turning red. "I thank you, sir, for giving him such company. Beatrix," she continued in English, "I forbid you to touch Mr. Esmond. Come away, child--come to your room. Come to your room--I wish your reverence good-night"--this to Dr. Tusher--adding to Harry: "and you, sir, had not you better go back to your friends at the Inn?"

Her eyes, ordinarily so kind, darted flashes of anger as she spoke; and she tossed up her head with the mien of a Princess, adding such words of reproach and indignation that Harry Esmond, to whom she had never once before uttered a syllable of unkindness, stood for some moments bewildered with grief and rage at the injustice of her reproaches. He turned quite white from red, and answered her in a low voice, ending his little speech with these words, addressed to Lord Castlewood: "Heaven bless you and yours for your goodness to me. I have tired her ladyship's kindness out, and I will go;" and sinking down on his knee, took the rough hand of his benefactor and kissed it.

Here my lady burst into a flood of tears, and quitted the room, as my lord raised up Harry Esmond from his kneeling posture, put his broad hand on the lad's shoulder, and spoke kindly to him. Then, suddenly remembering that Harry might have brought the infection with him, he stepped back suddenly, saying, "Keep off, Harry, my boy; there is no good in running into the wolf's jaws, you know!"

My lady, who had now returned to the room, said: "There is no use, my lord. Frank was on his knee as he was making pictures, and was running constantly from Henry to me. The evil is done, if any."

"Not with me!" cried my lord. "I've been smoking, and it keeps off infection, and as the disease is in the village, plague take it, I would have you leave it. We'll go to-morrow to Wolcott."

"I have no fear, my lord," said my lady; "it broke out in our house when I was an infant, and when four of my sisters had it at home, two years before our marriage, I escaped it."

"I won't run the risk," said my lord; "I am as bold as any man, but I'll not bear that."

"Take Beatrix with you and go," said my lady. "For us the mischief is done."

Then my lord, calling away Tusher, bade him come to the oak parlour and have a pipe. When my lady and Harry Esmond were alone there was a silence of some moments, after which her ladyship spoke in a hard, dry voice of her objections to his intimacy with the blacksmith's daughter, and she added, "Under all the circumstances I shall beg my lord to despatch you from this house as quick as possible; and will go on with Frank's learning as well as I can. I owe my father thanks for a little grounding, and you, I am sure, for much that you have taught me. And--I wish you a good-night."

And with this she dropped a stately curtsy, and, taking her candle, went away through the tapestry door which led to her apartments. Esmond stood by the fireplace, blankly staring after her. Indeed, he scarce seemed to see until she was gone; and then her image was impressed upon him, and remained forever fixed upon his memory. He saw her retreating, the taper lighting up her marble face, her scarlet lip quivering, and her shining golden hair. He went to his own room, and to bed, where he tried to read, as his custom was; but he never knew what he was reading. And he could not get to sleep until daylight, and woke with a violent headache, and quite unrefreshed.

He had brought the contagion with him from the Inn, sure enough, and was presently laid up with the smallpox, which spared the Hall no more than it did the cottage.

When Harry Esmond passed through the crisis of that malady, and returned to health again, he found that little Frank Esmond had also suffered and rallied after the disease, and that Lady Castlewood was down with it, with a couple more of the household. "It was a Providence, for which we all ought to be thankful," Dr. Tusher said, "that my lady and her son were spared, while death carried off the poor domestics of the house;" and he rebuked Harry for asking in his simply way, for which we ought to be thankful; that the servants were killed or the gentlefolk were saved? Nor could young Esmond agree with the Doctor that the malady had not in the least impaired my lady's charms, for Harry thought that her ladyship's beauty was very much injured by the smallpox. When the marks of the disease cleared away, they did not, it is true, leave scars on her face, except one on her forehead, but the delicacy of her complexion was gone, her eyes had lost their brilliancy and her face looked older. When Tusher vowed and protested that this was not so, in the presence of my lady, the lad broke out impulsively, and said, "It is true; my mistress is not near so handsome as she was!" On which poor Lady Castlewood gave a rueful smile, and a look into a little glass she had, which showed her, I suppose, that what the stupid boy said was only too true, for she turned away from the glass, and her eyes filled with tears.

The sight of these on the face of the lady whom he loved best filled Esmond's heart with a soft of rage of pity, and the young blunderer sank down on his knees and besought her to pardon him, saying that he was a fool and an idiot, that he was a brute to make such a speech, he, who caused her malady; and Dr. Tusher told him that he was a bear indeed, and a bear he would remain, after which speech poor young Esmond was so dumb-stricken that he did not even growl.

"He is my bear, and I will not have him baited, Doctor," my lady said, patting her hand kindly on the boy's head, as he was still kneeling at her feet. "How your hair has come off!--and mine, too," she added, with another sigh.

"Madam, you have the dearest, and kindest, and sweetest face in the world, I think," the lad said.

"Will my lord think so when he comes back?" the lady asked with a sigh, and another look at her glass. Then turning to her young son she said, "Come, Frank, come, my child. You are well, praised be Heaven. Your locks are not thinned by this dreadful smallpox; nor your poor face scarred--is it, my angel?"

Frank began to shout and whimper at the idea of such a misfortune, for from the very earliest time the young lord had been taught by his mother to admire his own beauty; and esteemed it very highly.

At length, when the danger was quite over, it was announced that my lord and Beatrix would return. Esmond well remembered the day. My lady was in a flurry of fear. Before my lord came she went into her room, and returned from it with reddened cheeks. Her fate was about to be decided. Would my lord--who cared so much for physical perfection--find hers gone, too? A minute would say. She saw him come riding over the bridge, clad in scarlet, and mounted on his grey hackney, his little daughter beside him, in a bright riding dress of blue, on a shining chestnut horse. My lady put her handkerchief to her eyes, and withdrew it, laughing hysterically. She ran to her room again, and came back with pale cheeks and red eyes, her son beside her, just as my lord entered, accompanied by young Esmond, who had gone out to meet his protector, and to hold his stirrup as he descended from horseback.

"What, Harry boy!" he exclaimed good-naturedly, "you look as gaunt as a greyhound. The smallpox hasn't improved your beauty, and you never had too much of it--ho!"

And he laughed and sprang to the ground, looking handsome and red, with a jolly face and brown hair. Esmond, kneeling again, as soon as his patron had descended, performed his homage, and then went to help the little Beatrix from her horse.

"Fie! how yellow you look," she said; "and there are one, two red holes in your face;" which indeed was very true, Harry Esmond's harsh countenance bearing as long as he lived the marks of the disease.

My lord laughed again, in high good-humour, exclaiming with one of his usual oaths, "The little minx sees everything. She saw the dowager's paint t'other day, and asked her why she wore that red stuff--didn't you, Trix? And the Tower; and St. James's; and the play; and the Prince George; and the Princess Ann--didn't you, Trix?"

"They are both very fat, and smelt of brandy," the child said.

Papa roared with laughing.

"Brandy!" he said. "And how do you know, Miss Pert?"

"Because your lordship smells of it after supper, when I kiss you before I go to bed," said the young lady, who indeed was as pert as her father said, and looked as beautiful a little gipsy as eyes ever gazed on.

"And now for my lady," said my lord, going up the stairs, and passing alone under the tapestry curtain that hung before the drawing-room door. Esmond always remembered that noble figure, handsomely arrayed in scarlet. Within the last few months he himself had grown from a boy to be a man, and with his figure his thoughts had shot up, and grown manly.

After her lord's return, Harry Esmond watched my lady's countenance with solicitous affection, and noting its sad, depressed look realised that there was a marked change in her. In her eagerness to please her husband she practised a hundred arts which had formerly pleased him, charmed him, but in vain. Her songs did not amuse him, and she hushed them and the children when in his presence. Her silence annoyed him as much as her speech; and it seemed as if nothing she could do or say could please him. But for Harry Esmond his benefactress' sweet face had lost none of its charms. It had always the kindest of looks and smiles for him; not so gay and artless perhaps as those which Lady Castlewood had formerly worn, but out of her griefs and cares, as will happen when trials fall upon a kindly heart, grew up a number of thoughts and virtues which had never come into existence, had not her sorrow given birth to them.

When Lady Castlewood found that she had lost the freshness of her husband's admiration, she turned all her thoughts to the welfare of her children, learning that she might teach them, and improving her many natural gifts and accomplishments that she might impart them. She made herself a good scholar of French, Italian, and Latin. Young Esmond was house-tutor under her or over her, as it might happen, no more having been said of his leaving Castlewood since the night before he came down with the smallpox. During my lord's many absences these school days would go on uninterruptedly: the mother and daughter learning with surprising quickness, the latter by fits and starts only, as suited her wayward humour. As for the little lord, it must be owned that he took after his father in the matter of learning, liked marbles and play and sport best, and enjoyed marshalling the village boys, of whom he had a little court; already flogging them, and domineering over them with a fine imperious spirit that made his father laugh when he beheld it, and his mother fondly warn him. Dr. Tusher said he was a young nobleman of gallant spirit; and Harry Esmond, who was eight years his little lordship's senior, had hard work sometimes to keep his own temper, and hold his authority over his rebellious little chief.

Indeed, "Mr. Tutor," as my lady called Esmond, had now business enough on his hands in Castlewood house. He had his pupils, besides writing my lord's letters, and arranging his accounts for him, when these could be got from his indolent patron.

Of the pupils the two young people were but lazy scholars, and as my lady would admit no discipline such as was then in use, my lord's son only learned what he liked, which was but little, and never to his life's end could be got to construe more than six lines of Virgil. Mistress Beatrix chattered French prettily, from a very early age; and sang sweetly, but this was from her mother's teaching, not Harry Esmond's, who could scarce distinguish one air from another, although he had no greater delight in life than to hear the ladies sing. He never forgot them as they used to sit together of the summer evenings, the two golden heads over the page, the child's little hand, and the mother's, beating the time with their voices rising and falling in unison.

But these happy days were to end soon, and it was by Lady Castlewood's own decree that they were brought to a conclusion. It happened about Christmas time, Harry Esmond being now past sixteen years of age, that his old comrade, Tom Tusher, returned from school in London, a fair, well-grown and sturdy lad, who was about to enter college, with good marks from his school, and a prospect of after-promotion in the church. Tom Tusher's talk was of nothing but Cambridge now; and the boys examined each other eagerly about their progress in books. Tom had learned some Greek and Hebrew, besides Latin, in which he was pretty well skilled, and also had given himself to mathematical study under his father's guidance. Harry Esmond could not write Latin as well as Tom, though he could talk it better, having been taught by his dear friend the Jesuit Father, for whose memory the lad ever retained the warmest affection, reading his books, and keeping his swords clean. Often of a night sitting in the Chaplain's room, over his books, his verses, his rubbish, with which the lad occupied himself, he would look up at the window, wishing it might open and let in the good father. He had come and passed away like a dream; but for the swords and books Harry might almost think he was an imagination of his mind--and for two letters which had come from him, one from abroad, full of advice and affection, another soon after Harry had been confirmed by the Bishop of Hexton, in which Father Holt deplored his falling away from the true faith. But it would have taken greater persuasion than his to induce the boy to worship other than with his beloved mistress, and under her kind eyes he read many volumes of the works of the famous British divines of the last age. His mistress never tired of pursuing their texts with fond comments, or to urge those points which her fancy dwelt on most, or her reason deemed most important.

In later life, at the University, Esmond pursued the subject in a very different manner, as was suitable for one who was to become a clergyman. But his heart was never much inclined towards this calling. He made up his mind to wear the cassock and bands as another man does to wear a breastplate and jack-boots, or to mount a merchant's desk for a livelihood--from obedience and necessity, rather than from choice.

When Thomas Tusher was gone, a feeling of no small depression and disquiet fell upon young Esmond, of which, though he did not complain, his kind mistress must have guessed the cause: for, soon after, she showed not only that she understood the reason of Harry's melancholy, but could provide a remedy for it. All the notice, however, which she seemed to take of his melancholy, was by a gaiety unusual to her, attempting to dispel his gloom. She made his scholars more cheerful than ever they had been before, and more obedient, too, learning and reading much more than they had been accustomed to do. "For who knows," said the lady, "what may happen, and whether we may be able to keep such a learned tutor long?"

Frank Esmond said he for his part did not want to learn any more, and cousin Harry might shut up his book whenever he liked, if he would come out a-fishing; and little Beatrix declared she would send for Tom Tusher, and he would be glad enough to come to Castlewood, if Harry chose to go away.

At last came a messenger from Winchester one day, bearer of a letter with a great black seal, from the Dean there, to say that his sister was dead, and had left her fortune among her six nieces, of which Lady Castlewood was one.

When my lord heard of the news, he made no pretence of grieving.

"The money will come very handy to furnish the music-room and the cellar, which is getting low, and buy your ladyship a coat, and a couple of new horses. And, Beatrix, you shall have a spinnet; and, Frank, you shall have a little horse from Hexton Fair; and, Harry, you shall have five pounds to buy some books," said my lord, who was generous with his own, and indeed with other folk's money.

"I wish your aunt would die once a year, Rachel; we could spend your money, and all your sisters', too."

"I have but one aunt--and--and I have another use for the money, my lord," said my lady.

"Another use, my dear; and what do you know about money?" said my lord. "And what the devil is there that I don't give you which you want?"

"I intend this money for Harry Esmond to go to college," says my lady. "You mustn't stay longer in this dull place, but make a name for yourself, and for us, too, Harry."

"Is Harry going away? You don't mean to say you will go away?" cried out Frank and Beatrix in one breath.

"But he will come back; and this will always be his home," cried my lady, with blue eyes looking a celestial kindness. "And his scholars will always love him, won't they?"

"Rachel, you're a good woman!" exclaimed my lord, with an oath, seizing my lady's hand. "I wish you joy!" he continued, giving Harry Esmond a hearty slap on the shoulder. "I won't balk your luck. Go to Cambridge, boy, and when Tusher dies you shall have the living here, if you are not better provided by that time. We'll furnish the dining-room and buy the horses another year. I'll give thee a nag out of the stables; take any one except my hack and the bay gelding and the coach horses; and God speed thee, my boy!"

"Have the sorrel, Harry; 'tis a good one. Father says 'tis the best in the stable," said little Frank, clapping his hands and jumping up. "Let's come and see him in the stable." And Harry Esmond in his delight and eagerness was for leaving the room that instant to arrange about his journey.

The Lady Castlewood looked after him with sad penetrating glances.

"He wishes to be gone already, my lord," said she to her husband.

The young man hung back abashed. "Indeed, I would stay forever if your ladyship bade me," he said.

"And thou wouldst be a fool for thy pains," said my lord. "Tut, tut, man. Go and see the world. Sow thy wild oats; and take the best luck that fate sends thee. I wish I were a boy again, that I might go to college and taste the Thumpington ale."

"Indeed, you are best away," said my lady, laughing, as she put her hand on the boy's head for a moment. "You shall stay in no such dull place. You shall go to college and distinguish yourself as becomes your name. That is how you shall please me best; and--and if my children want you, or I want you, you shall come to us; and I know we may count on you."

"May Heaven forsake me if you may not!" Harry said, getting up from his knee.

"And my knight longs for a dragon this instant that he may fight," said my lady, laughing; which speech made Harry Esmond start, and turn red; for indeed the very thought was in his mind, that he would like that some chance should immediately happen whereby he might show his devotion. And it pleased him to think that his lady had called him "her knight," and often and often he recalled this to his mind, and prayed that he might be her true knight, too.

My lady's bed-chamber window looked out over the country, and you could see from it the purple hills beyond Castlewood village, the green common betwixt that and the Hall, and the old bridge which crossed over the river. When Harry Esmond went away to Cambridge, little Frank ran alongside his horse as far as the bridge, and there Harry stopped for a moment, and looked back at the house where the best part of his life had been passed.

It lay before him with its grey familiar towers, a pinnacle or two shining in the sun, the buttresses and terrace walls casting great blue shades on the grass. And Harry remembered all his life after how he saw his mistress at the window looking out on him in a white robe, the little Beatrix's chestnut curls resting at her mother's side. Both waved a farewell to him, and little Frank sobbed to leave him. Yes, he would be his lady's true knight, he vowed in his heart; he waved her an adieu with his hat. The village people had good-bye to say to him, too. All knew that Master Harry was going to college, and most of them had a kind word and a look of farewell. I do not stop to say what adventures he began to imagine, or what career to devise for himself before he had ridden three miles from home. He had not read the Arabian tales as yet; but be sure that there are other folks who build castles in the air, and have fine hopes, and kick them down, too, besides honest Alnaschar.

This change in his life was a very fine thing indeed for Harry, who rode away in company of my lord, who said he should like to revisit the old haunts of his youth, and so accompanied Harry to Cambridge. Their road lay through London, where my Lord Viscount would have Harry stay a few days to see the pleasures of the town before he entered upon his university studies, and whilst here Harry's patron conducted the young man to my lady dowager's house near London. Lady Isabella received them cordially, and asked Harry what his profession was to be. Upon hearing that the lad was to take orders, and to have the living of Castlewood when old Dr. Tusher vacated it, she seemed glad that the youth should be so provided for.

She bade Harry Esmond pay her a visit whenever he passed through London, and carried her graciousness so far as to send a purse with twenty guineas for him to the tavern where he and his lord were staying, and with this welcome gift sent also a little doll for Beatrix, who, however, was growing beyond the age of dolls by this time, and was almost as tall as Lady Isabella.

After seeing the town, and going to the plays, my Lord Castlewood and Esmond rode together to Cambridge, spending two pleasant days upon the journey. Those rapid new coaches that performed the journey in a single day were not yet established, but the road was pleasant and short enough to Harry Esmond, and he always gratefully remembered that happy holiday which his kind patron gave him.

Henry Esmond was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, to which famous college my lord had also in his youth belonged. My Lord Viscount was received with great politeness by the head master, as well as by Mr. Bridge, who was appointed to be Harry's tutor. Tom Tusher, who was by this time a junior Soph, came to take Harry under his protection; and comfortable rooms being provided for him, Harry's patron took leave of him with many kind words and blessings, and an admonition to have to behave better at the University than my lord himself had ever done.

Thus began Harry Esmond's college career, which was in no wise different from that of a hundred other young gentlemen of that day. Meanwhile, while he was becoming used to the manners and customs of his new life and enjoying it thoroughly in his quiet way; at Castlewood Hall life was not so cheerful as it had been when he was there to note his mistress' sorrow or joy and act according to her need.

Coming home to his dear Castlewood in the third year of his academic course, Harry was overjoyed to see again the kind blue eyes of his mistress, when she and the children came to greet him. He found Frank shooting up to be like his gallant father in looks and in tastes. He had his hawks, and his spaniel dog, his little horse, and his beagles; had learned to ride and to shoot flying, and had a small court made up of the sons of the huntsmen and woodsmen, over whom he ruled as imperiously as became the heir-apparent.

As for Beatrix, Esmond found her grown to be taller than her mother, a slim and lovely young girl, with cheeks mantling with health and roses; with eyes like stars shining out of azure, with waving bronze hair clustered about the fairest young forehead ever seen; and a mien and shape haughty and beautiful, such as that of the famous antique statue of the huntress Diana.

This bright creature was the darling and torment of father and mother. She intrigued with each secretly, and bestowed her fondness and withdrew it, plied them with tears, smiles, kisses, caresses; when the mother was angry, flew to the father; when both were displeased, transferred her caresses to the domestics, or watched until she could win back her parents' good graces, either by surprising them into laughter and good-humour, or appeasing them by submissive and an artful humility. She had been a coquette from her earliest days; had long learned the value of her bright eyes, and tried experiments in coquetry upon rustics and country 'squires until she should have opportunity to conquer a larger world in later years.

When, then, Harry Esmond came home to Castlewood for his last vacation he found his old pupil shot up into this capricious beauty; her brother, a handsome, high-spirited, brave lad, generous and frank and kind to everybody, save perhaps Beatrix, with whom he was perpetually at war, and not from his, but her, fault; adoring his mother, whose joy he was. And Lady Castlewood was no whit less gracious and attractive to Harry than in the old days when as a lad he had first kissed her fair, protecting hand.

Such was the group who welcomed Henry Esmond on his return from college.

Not anticipating the future, not looking ahead, let us leave beautiful Beatrix, imperious young Frank, sweet Lady Castlewood, giving a glad welcome to their old friend and tutor. Truly we carry away a pretty picture as we finish this chapter of Esmond's youth.



Henry Esmond, Esq., an officer who had served with the rank of Colonel during the wars of Queen Anne's reign, found himself at its close involved in certain complications, both political and private. For this reason Mr. Esmond thought best to establish himself in Virginia, where he took possession of a large estate conferred by King Charles I. upon his ancestor. Mr. Esmond previously to this had married Rachel, widow of the late Francis Castlewood, Baronet, by whom he had one daughter, afterwards Madame Warrington, whose twin sons, George and Henry Warrington, were known as the Virginians.

Mr. Esmond called his American house Castlewood, from the family estate in England. The whole customs of Virginia, indeed, were fondly modelled after the English customs. The Virginians boasted that King Charles II. had been king in Virginia before he had been king in England. The resident gentry were connected with good English families and lived on their great lands after a fashion almost patriarchal. For its rough cultivation, each estate had a multitude of hands, who were subject to the command of the master. The land yielded their food, live stock and game. The great rivers swarmed with fish for the taking. Their ships took the tobacco off their private wharves on the banks of the Potomac or the James River, and carried it to London or Bristol, bringing back English goods and articles of home manufacture in return for the only produce which the Virginian gentry chose to cultivate. Their hospitality was boundless. No stranger was ever sent away from their gates. The question of slavery was not born at the time of which we write. To be the proprietor of black servants shocked the feelings of no Virginian gentleman; nor, in truth, was the despotism exercised over the negro race generally a savage one. The food was plenty; the poor black people lazy and not unhappy. You might have preached negro-emancipation to Madame Esmond of Castlewood as you might have told her to let the horses run loose out of the stables; she had no doubt but that the whip and the corn-bag were good for both.

Having lost his wife, his daughter took the management of the Colonel and his estate, and managed both with the spirit and determination which governed her management of every person and thing which came within her jurisdiction.

After fifteen years' residence upon his great Virginian estate the Colonel agreed in his daughter's desire to replace the wooden house in which they lived, with a nobler mansion which would be more fitting for his heirs to inherit. His daughter had a very high opinion indeed of her ancestry, and her father, growing exquisitely calm and good-natured in his serene declining years, humoured his child's peculiarities and interests in an easy bantering way. Truth to tell, there were few families in England with nobler connections than the Esmonds. The Virginians, Madame Rachel Warrington's sons, inherited the finest blood and traditions, and the rightful king of England had not two more faithful little subjects than the young twins of Castlewood.

At Colonel Esmond's death, Madame Esmond, as she was thereafter called, proclaimed her eldest son, George, heir of the estate; and Harry, George's younger brother by half an hour, was instructed to respect his senior. All the household was also instructed to pay him honour, and in the whole family of servants there was only one rebel, Harry's foster-mother, a faithful negro woman who never could be made to understand why her child should not be first, who was handsomer and stronger and cleverer than his brother, as she vowed; though in truth, there was not much difference in the beauty, strength, or stature of the twins. In disposition, they were in many points exceedingly unlike; but in feature they resembled each other so closely that, but for the colour of their hair, it had been difficult to distinguish them. In their beds, and when their heads were covered with those vast ribboned nightcaps which our great and little ancestors wore, it was scarcely possible for any but a nurse or a mother to tell the one from the other child.

Howbeit, alike in form, we have said that they differed in temper. The elder was peaceful, studious and silent; the younger was warlike and noisy. He was quick at learning when he began, but very slow at beginning. No threats of the ferule would provoke Harry to learn in an idle fit, or would prevent George from helping his brother in his lesson. Harry was of a strong military turn, drilled the little negroes on the estate, and caned them like a corporal, having many good boxing-matches with them, and never bearing malice if he was worsted; whereas George was sparing of blows, and gentle with all about him. As the custom in all families was, each of the boys had a special little servant assigned him; and it was a known fact that George, finding his little wretch of a blackamoor asleep on his master's bed, sat down beside it and brushed the flies off the child with a feather-fan, to the horror of old Gumbo, the child's father, who found his young master so engaged, and to the indignation of Madame Esmond, who ordered the young negro off to the proper officer for a whipping. In vain George implored and entreated, burst into passionate tears and besought a remission of the sentence. His mother was inflexible regarding the young rebel's punishment, and the little negro went off beseeching his young master not to cry.

A fierce quarrel between mother and son ensued out of this event. Her son would not be pacified. He said the punishment was a shame--a shame; that he was the master of the boy, and no one--no, not his mother--had a right to touch him; that she might order him to be corrected, and that he would suffer the punishment, as he and Harry often had, but no one should lay a hand on his boy. Trembling with passionate rebellion against what he conceived the injustice of the procedure, he vowed that on the day he came of age he would set young Gumbo free; went to visit the child in the slaves' quarters, and gave him one of his own toys.

The black martyr was an impudent, lazy, saucy little personage, who would be none the worse for a whipping, as the Colonel, who was then living, no doubt thought; for he acquiesced in the child's punishment when Madame Esmond insisted upon it, and only laughed in his good-natured way when his indignant grandson called out:

"You let mamma rule you in everything, grandpapa."

"Why so I do," says grandpapa. "Rachel, my love, the way in which I am petticoat-ridden is so evident that even this baby has found it out."

"Then why don't you stand up like a man?" says little Harry, who always was ready to abet his brother.

Grandpapa looked queerly.

"Because I like sitting down best, my dear," he said. "I am an old gentleman, and standing fatigues me."

On account of a certain apish drollery and humour which exhibited itself in the lad, and a liking for some of the old man's pursuits, the first of the twins was the grandfather's favourite and companion, and would laugh and talk out all his infantine heart to the old gentleman, to whom the younger had seldom a word to say. George was a demure, studious boy, and his senses seemed to brighten up in the library, where his brother was so gloomy. He knew the books before he could well-nigh carry them, and read in them long before he could understand them. Harry, on the other hand, was all alive in the stables or in the wood, eager for all parties of hunting and fishing, and promised to be a good sportsman from a very early age. The grandfather's ship was sailing for Europe once when the boys were children, and they were asked what present Captain Franks would bring them back? George was divided between books and a fiddle; Harry instantly declared for a little gun; and Madame Warrington (as she then was called) was hurt that her elder boy should have low tastes, and applauded the younger's choice as more worthy of his name and lineage.

"Books, papa, I can fancy to be a good choice," she replied to her father, who tried to convince her that George had a right to his opinion, "though I am sure you must have pretty nigh all the books in the world already. But I never can desire--I may be wrong--but I never can desire, that my son, and the grandson of the Marquis of Esmond, should be a fiddler."

"Should be a fiddlestick, my dear," the old Colonel answered. "Remember that Heaven's ways are not ours, and that each creature born has a little kingdom of thought of his own, which it is a sin in us to invade. Suppose George loves music? You can no more stop him than you can order a rose not to smell sweet, or a bird not to sing."

"A bird! A bird sings from nature; George did not come into the world with a fiddle in his hand," says Mrs. Warrington, with a toss of her head. "I am sure I hated the harpsichord when a chit at Kensington school, and only learned it to please my mamma. Say what you will, I cannot believe that this fiddling is work for persons of fashion."

"And King David who played the harp, my dear?"

"I wish my papa would read him more, and not speak about him in that way," said Mrs. Warrington.

"Nay, my dear, it was but by way of illustration," the father replied gently. It was Colonel's Esmond's nature always to be led by a woman, and he spoiled his daughter; laughing at her caprices, but humouring them; making a joke of her prejudices, but letting them have their way; indulging, and perhaps increasing, her natural imperiousness of character, which asserted itself to an unusual degree after her father's death.

The Colonel's funeral was the most sumptuous one ever seen in the country. The little lads of Castlewood, almost smothered in black trains and hat bands, headed the procession, followed by Madame Esmond Warrington (as she called herself after her father's death), by my Lord Fairfax, by his Excellency the Governor of Virginia, by the Randolphs, the Careys, the Harrisons, the Washingtons, and many others, for the whole county esteemed the departed gentleman whose goodness, whose high talents, whose unobtrusive benevolence had earned for him the just respect of his neighbours.

The management of the house of Castlewood had been in the hands of his daughter long before the Colonel slept the sleep of the just, for the truth is little Madame Esmond never came near man or woman but she tried to domineer over them. If people obeyed, she was their very good friend; if they resisted, she fought and fought until she or they gave in, and without her father's influence to restrain her she was now more despotic than ever. She exercised a rigid supervision over the estate; dismissed Colonel Esmond's English factor and employed a new one; built, improved, planted, grew tobacco, appointed a new overseer, and imported a new tutor for her boys. The little queen domineered over her little dominion, and over the princes her sons as well, thereby falling out frequently with her neighbours, with her relatives, and with her sons also.

A very early difference which occurred between the queen and crown prince arose out of the dismissal of the lad's tutor, Mr. Dempster, who had also been the late Colonel's secretary. Upon his retirement George vowed he never would forsake his old tutor, and kept his promise. Another cause of dispute between George and his mother presently ensued.

By the death of an aunt, the heirs of Mr. George Warrington became entitled to a sum of six thousand pounds, of which their mother was one of the trustees. She never could be made to understand that she was not the proprietor, but merely the trustee of this money; and was furious with the London lawyer who refused to send it over at her order. "Is not all I have my sons'?" she cried, "and would I not cut myself into little pieces to serve them? With the six thousand pounds I would have bought Mr. Boulter's estate and negroes, which would have given us a good thousand pounds a year, and made a handsome provision for my Harry." Her young friend and neighbour, Mr. Washington of Mount Vernon, could not convince her that the London agent was right, and must not give up his trust except to those for whom he held it.

George Esmond, when this little matter was referred to him, and his mother vehemently insisted that he should declare himself, was of the opinion of Mr. Washington and Mr. Draper, the London lawyer. The boy said he could not help himself. He did not want the money; he would be very glad to give the money to his mother if he had the power. But Madame Esmond would not hear of these reasons. Here was a chance of making Harry's fortune--dear Harry, who was left with such a slender younger brother's pittance--and the wretches in London would not help him; his own brother, who inherited all his papa's estate, would not help him. To think of a child of hers being so mean at fourteen years of age!

Into this state of mind the incident plunged Madame Warrington, and no amount of reasoning could bring her out of it. On account of the occurrence she at once set to work saving for her younger son, for whom she was eager to make a fortune. The fine buildings were stopped as well as the fine fittings which had been ordered for the interior of the new home. No more books were bought; the agent had orders to discontinue sending wine. Madame Esmond deeply regretted the expense of a fine carriage which she had from England, and only rode in it to church, crying out to the sons sitting opposite to her, "Harry, Harry! I wish I had put by the money for thee, my poor portionless child; three hundred and eighty guineas of ready money to Messieurs Hatchett!"

"You will give me plenty while you live, and George will give me plenty when you die," says Harry gaily.

"Not until he changes in spirit, my dear," says the lady grimly, glancing at her elder boy. "Not unless Heaven softens his heart and teaches him charity, for which I pray day and night; as Mountain knows; do you not, Mountain?"

Mrs. Mountain, Ensign Mountain's widow, who had been a friend of Rachel Esmond in her school days, and since her widowhood had been Madame Esmond's companion in Castlewood house, serving to enliven many dull hours for that lady and enjoying thoroughly the home which Castlewood afforded her and her child. Mrs. Mountain, I say, who was occupying the fourth seat in the family coach, said, "Humph! humph! I know you are always disturbing yourself about this legacy, and I don't see that there is any need."

"Oh, no! no need!" cries the widow, rustling in her silks; "of course I have no need to be disturbed, because my eldest born is a disobedient son and an unkind brother; because he has an estate, and my poor Harry, bless him, but a mess of pottage."

George looked despairingly at his mother until he could see her no more for eyes welled up with tears. "I wish you would bless me, too, O my mother!" he said, and burst into a passionate fit of weeping. Harry's arms were in a moment round his brother's neck, and he kissed George a score of times.

"Never mind, George. I know whether you are a good brother or not. Don't mind what she says. She don't mean it."

"I do mean it, child," cries the mother. "Would to Heaven--"

"Hold your tongue, I say!" roars out Harry. "It's a shame to speak so to him, ma'am."

"And so it is, Harry," says Mrs. Mountain, shaking his hand. "You never said a truer word in your life."

"Mrs. Mountain, do you dare to set my children against me?" cries the widow. "From this very day, madam--"

"Turn me and my child into the street? Do," says Mrs. Mountain. "That will be a fine revenge because the English lawyer won't give you the boy's money. Find another companion who will tell you black is white, and flatter you; it is not my way, madam. When shall I go? I shan't be long a-packing. I did not bring much into Castlewood house, and I shall not take much out."

"Hush! the bells are ringing for church, Mountain. Let us try, if you please, and compose ourselves," said the widow, and she looked with eyes of extreme affection, certainly at one, perhaps at both, of her children. George kept his head down, and Harry, who was near, got quite close to him during the sermon, and sat with his arm round his brother's neck.

From these incidents it may be clearly seen that Madame Esmond besides being a brisk little woman at business and ruling like a little queen in Castlewood was also a victim of many freaks and oddities, among them one of the most prominent being a great desire for flattery. There was no amount of compliment which she could not graciously receive and take as her due, and it was her greatest delight to receive attention from suitors of every degree. Her elder boy saw this peculiarity of his mother's disposition and chafed privately under it. From a very early day he revolted when compliments were paid to the little lady, and strove to expose them with his youthful satire; so that his mother would say gravely, "the Esmonds were always of a jealous disposition, and my poor boy takes after my father and mother in this."

One winter after their first tutor had been dismissed Madame Esmond took them to Williamsburg for such education as the schools and colleges there afforded, and there they listened to the preaching and became acquainted with the famous Mr. Whitfield, who, at Madame Esmond's request, procured a tutor for the boys, by name Mr. Ward. For weeks Madame Esmond was never tired of hearing Mr. Ward's utterances of a religious character, and according to her wont she insisted that her neighbours should come and listen to him and ordered them to be converted to the faith which he represented. Her young favourite, Mr. George Washington, she was especially anxious to influence; and again and again pressed him to come and stay at Castlewood and benefit by the spiritual advantages there to be obtained. But that young gentleman found he had particular business which called him home or away from home, and always ordered his horse of evenings when the time was coming for Mr. Ward's exercises. And--what boys are just towards their pedagogue?--the twins grew speedily tired and even rebellious under their new teacher.

They found him a bad scholar, a dull fellow, and ill-bred to boot. George knew much more Latin and Greek than his master; Harry, who could take much greater liberties than were allowed to his elder brother, mimicked Ward's manner of eating and talking, so that Mrs. Mountain and even Madame Esmond were forced to laugh, and little Fanny Mountain would crow with delight. Madame Esmond would have found the fellow out for a vulgar quack but for her son's opposition, which she, on her part, opposed with her own indomitable will.

George now began to give way to a sarcastic method, took up Ward's pompous remarks and made jokes of them so that that young divine chafed and almost choked over his great meals. He made Madame Esmond angry, and doubly so when he sent off Harry into fits of laughter. Her authority was defied, her officer scorned and insulted, her youngest child perverted by the obstinate elder brother. She made a desperate and unhappy attempt to maintain her power.

The boys were fourteen years of age, Harry being now taller and more advanced than his brother, who was delicate and as yet almost childlike in stature and appearance. The flogging method was quite a common mode of argument in these days. Our little boys had been horsed many a day by Mr. Dempster, their Scotch tutor, in their grandfather's time; and Harry, especially, had got to be quite accustomed to the practice, and made very light of it. But since Colonel Esmond's death, the cane had been laid aside, and the young gentlemen at Castlewood had been allowed to have their own way. Her own and her lieutenant's authority being now spurned by the youthful rebels, the unfortunate mother thought of restoring it by means of coercion. She took counsel of Mr. Ward. That athletic young pedagogue could easily find chapter and verse to warrant the course he wished to pursue,--in fact, there was no doubt about the wholesomeness of the practice in those days. He had begun by flattering the boys, finding a good berth and snug quarters at Castlewood, and hoping to remain there. But they laughed at his flattery, they scorned his bad manners, they yawned soon at his sermons; the more their mother favoured him, the more they disliked him; and so the tutor and the pupils cordially hated each other.

Mrs. Mountain warned the lads to be prudent, and that some conspiracy was hatching against them; saying, "You must be on your guard, my poor boys. You must learn your lessons and not anger your tutor. Your mamma was talking about you to Mr. Washington the other day when I came into the room. I don't like that Major Washington, you know I don't. He is very handsome and tall, and he may be very good, but show me his wild oats I say--not a grain! Well, I happened to step in last Tuesday when he was here with your mamma, and I am sure they were talking about you, for he said, 'Discipline is discipline, and must be preserved. There can be but one command in a house, ma'am, and you must be the mistress of yours.'"

"The very words he used to me," cries Harry. "He told me that he did not like to meddle with other folks' affairs, but that our mother was very angry, and he begged me to obey Mr. Ward, and to press George to do so."

"Let him manage his own house, not mine," says George very haughtily. And the caution, far from benefiting him, only made the lad more scornful and rebellious.

On the next day the storm broke. Words were passed between George and Mr. Ward during the morning study. The boy was quite disobedient and unjust. Even his faithful brother cried out, and owned that he was in the wrong. Mr. Ward bottled up his temper until the family met at dinner, when he requested Madame Esmond to stay, and laid the subject of discussion before her.

He asked Master Harry to confirm what he had said; and poor Harry was obliged to admit all his statements.

George, standing under his grandfather's portrait by the chimney, said haughtily that what Mr. Ward had said was perfectly correct.

"To be a tutor to such a pupil is absurd," said Mr. Ward, making a long speech containing many scripture phrases, at each of which young George smiled scornfully; and at length Ward ended by asking her honour's leave to retire.

"Not before you have punished this wicked and disobedient child," said Madame Esmond.

"Punish!" exclaimed George.

"Yes, sir, punish! If means of love and entreaty fail, other means must be found to bring you to obedience. I punish you now, rebellious boy, to guard you from greater punishment hereafter. The discipline of this family must be maintained. There can be but one command in a house, and I must be the mistress of mine. You will punish this refractory boy, Mr. Ward, as we have agreed, and if there is the least resistance on his part my overseer and servants will lend you aid."

In the midst of his mother's speech George Esmond felt that he had been wronged. "There can be but one command in the house and you must be mistress. I know who said those words before you," George said slowly, and looking very white, "and--and I know, mother, that I have acted wrongly to Mr. Ward."

"He owns it! He asks pardon!" cries Harry. "That's right, George! That's enough, isn't it?"

"No, it is not enough! I know that he who spares the rod spoils the child, ungrateful boy!" says Madame Esmond, with more references of the same nature, which George heard, looking very pale and desperate.

Upon the mantelpiece stood a china cup, by which the widow set great store, as her father had always been accustomed to drink from it. George suddenly took it, and a strange smile passed over his pale face.

"Stay one minute. Don't go away yet," he cried to his mother, who was leaving the room. "You are very fond of this cup, mother?" and Harry looked at him wondering. "If I broke it, it could never be mended, could it? My dear old grandpapa's cup! I have been wrong. Mr. Ward, I ask pardon. I will try and amend."

The widow looked at her son indignantly. "I thought," she said, "I thought an Esmond had been more of a man than to be afraid, and--" Here she gave a little scream, as Harry uttered an exclamation and dashed forward with his hands stretched out towards his brother.

George, after looking at the cup, raised it, opened his hand and let it fall on the marble slab before him. Harry had tried in vain to catch it.

"It is too late, Hal," George said. "You will never mend that again--never. Now, mother, I am ready, as it is your wish. Will you come and see whether I am afraid? Mr. Ward, I am your servant. Your servant? Your slave! And the next time I meet Mr. Washington, Madame, I will thank him for the advice which he gave you."

"I say, do your duty, sir!" cried Mrs. Esmond, stamping her little foot. And George, making a low bow to Mr. Ward, begged him to go first out of the room to the study.

"Stop! For God's sake, mother, stop!" cried poor Hal. But passion was boiling in the little woman's heart, and she would not hear the boy's petition. "You only abet him, sir!" she cried. "If I had to do it myself, it should be done!" And Harry, with sadness and wrath in his countenance, left the room by the door through which Mr. Ward and his brother had just issued.

The widow sank down in a great chair near it, and sat a while vacantly looking at the fragments of the broken cup. Then she inclined her head towards the door. For a while there was silence; then a loud outcry, which made the poor mother start.

Mr. Ward came out bleeding from a great wound on his head, and behind him Harry, with flaring eyes, and brandishing a little ruler of his grandfather, which hung, with others of the Colonel's weapons, on the library wall.

"I don't care. I did it," says Harry. "I couldn't see this fellow strike my brother; and as he lifted his hand, I flung the great ruler at him. I couldn't help it. I won't bear it; and if one lifts a hand to me or my brother, I'll have his life," shouts Harry, brandishing the hanger.

The widow gave a great gasp and a sigh as she looked at the young champion and his victim. She must have suffered terribly during the few minutes of the boys' absence; and the stripes which she imagined had been inflicted on the elder had smitten her own heart. She longed to take both boys to it. She was not angry now. Very likely she was delighted with the thought of the younger's prowess and generosity. "You are a very naughty, disobedient child," she said in an exceedingly peaceable voice. "My poor Mr. Ward! What a rebel to strike you! Let me bathe your wound, my good Mr. Ward, and thank Heaven it was no worse. Mountain! Go fetch me some court-plaster. Here comes George. Put on your coat and waistcoat, child! You were going to take your punishment, sir, and that is sufficient. Ask pardon, Harry, of good Mr. Ward, for your wicked, rebellious spirit. I do, with all my heart, I am sure. And guard against your passionate nature, child, and pray to be forgiven. My son, oh my son!"

Here with a burst of tears which she could no longer control the little woman threw herself on the neck of her first born, whilst Harry went up very feebly to Mr. Ward, and said, "Indeed, I ask your pardon, sir. I couldn't help it; on my honour, I couldn't; nor bear to see my brother struck."

The widow was scared, as after her embrace she looked up at George's pale face. In reply to her eager caresses, he coldly kissed her on the forehead, and separated from her. "You meant for the best, mother," he said, "and I was in the wrong. But the cup is broken; and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot mend it. There--put the fair side outwards on the mantelpiece, and the wound will not show."

Then George went up to Mr. Ward, who was still piteously bathing his eye and forehead in the water. "I ask pardon for Hal's violence, sir," he said in great state. "You see, though we are very young, we are gentlemen, and cannot brook an insult from strangers. I should have submitted, as it was mamma's desire; but I am glad she no longer entertains it."

"And pray, sir, who is to compensate me?" says Mr. Ward; "who is to repair the insult done to me?"

"We are very young," says George, with another of his old-fashioned bows. "We shall be fifteen soon. Any compensation that is usual amongst gentlemen--"

"This, sir, to a minister of the Word!" bawls out Ward, starting up, and who knew perfectly well the lad's skill in fence, having a score of times been foiled by the pair of them.

"You are not a clergyman yet. We thought you might like to be considered as a gentleman. We did not know."

"A gentleman! I am a Christian, sir!" says Ward, glaring furiously, and clenching his great fists.

"Well, well, if you won't fight, why don't you forgive?" says Harry. "If you won't forgive, why don't you fight? That's what I call the horns of a dilemma." And he laughed his jolly laugh.

But this was nothing to the laugh a few days afterwards, when, the quarrel having been patched up along with poor Mr. Ward's eye, the unlucky tutor was holding forth according to his custom, but in vain. The widow wept no more at his harangues, was no longer excited by his eloquence. Nay, she pleaded headache, and would absent herself of an evening, on which occasions the remainder of the little congregation were very cold indeed. One day Ward, still making desperate efforts to get back his despised authority, was preaching on the necessity of obeying our spiritual and temporal rulers. "For why, my dear friends," he asked, "why are the governors appointed, but that we should be governed? Why are tutors engaged, but that children should be taught?" (Here a look at the boys.) "Why are rulers--" Here he paused, looking with a sad, puzzled face at the young gentlemen. He saw in their countenances the double meaning of the unlucky word he had uttered, and stammered and thumped the table with his fist. "Why, I say are rulers--rulers--"

"Rulers," says George, looking at Harry.

"Rulers!" says Hal, putting his hand to his eye, where the poor tutor still bore marks of the late scuffle. "Rulers, o-ho!" It was too much. The boys burst out in an explosion of laughter. Mrs. Mountain, who was full of fun, could not help joining in the chorus; and little Fanny Mountain, who had always behaved very demurely and silently at these ceremonies, crowed again, and clapped her little hands at the others laughing, not in the least knowing the reason why.

This could not be borne. Ward shut down the book before him; in a few angry but eloquent and manly words said he would speak no more in that place; and left Castlewood not in the least regretted by Madame Esmond, who had doted on him three months before.

After the departure of her unfortunate spiritual adviser and chaplain, Madame Esmond and her son seemed to be quite reconciled: but although George never spoke of the quarrel with his mother, it must have weighed upon the boy's mind very painfully, for he had a fever soon after the last recounted domestic occurrences, during which illness his brain once or twice wandered, when he shrieked out, "Broken! Broken! It never, never, can be mended!" to the silent terror of his mother, who sat watching the poor child as he tossed wakeful upon his midnight bed. That night, and for some days afterwards, it seemed very likely that poor Harry would become heir of Castlewood; but by Mr. Dempster's skilful treatment the fever was got over, the intermittent attacks diminished in intensity, and George was restored almost to health again. A change of air, a voyage even to England, was recommended, but the widow had quarrelled with her children's relatives there, which made that trip impossible. A journey to the north and east was determined upon, and the two young gentleman, with Mr. Dempster reinstated as their tutor, and a couple of servants to attend them, took a voyage to New York, and thence up the beautiful Hudson River to Albany, where they were received by the first gentry of the province; and thence into the French provinces, where they were hospitably entertained by the French gentry. Harry camped with the Indians and took furs and shot bears. George, who never cared for field sports, and whose health was still delicate, was a special favourite with the French ladies, who were accustomed to see very few young English gentlemen speaking the French language so readily as our young gentleman. He danced the minuet elegantly. He learned the latest imported French catches and songs and played them beautifully on his violin; and to the envy of poor Harry, who was absent on a bear-hunt, he even had an affair of honour with a young ensign, whom he pinked on the shoulder, and with whom he afterwards swore an eternal friendship.

When the lads returned home at the end of ten delightful months, their mother was surprised at their growth and improvement. George especially was so grown as to come up to his younger-born brother. The boys could hardly be distinguished one from another, especially when their hair was powdered; but that ceremony being too cumbrous for country-life, each of the lads commonly wore his own hair, George his raven black, and Harry his light locks, tied with a ribbon.

Now Mrs. Mountain had a great turn for match-making, and fancied that everybody had a design to marry everybody else. As a consequence of this weakness she was able to persuade George Warrington that Mr. Washington was laying siege to Madame Esmond's heart, which idea was anything but agreeable to George's jealous disposition.

"I beg you to keep this quiet, Mountain," said George, with great dignity. "Or you and I shall quarrel, too. Never to any one must you mention such an absurd suspicion."

"Absurd! Why absurd? Mr. Washington is constantly with the widow. She never tires of pointing out his virtues as an example to her sons. She consults him on every question respecting her estate and its management. There is a room at Castlewood regularly called Mr. Washington's room. He actually leaves his clothes here, and his portmanteau when he goes away. Ah, George, George! The day will come when he won't go away!" groaned Mrs. Mountain, and in consequence of the suspicions which her words aroused in him Mr. George adopted toward his mother's favourite a frigid courtesy, at which the honest gentleman chafed but did not care to remonstrate; or a stinging sarcasm which he would break through as he would burst through so many brambles on those hunting excursions in which he and Harry Warrington rode so constantly together; while George, retreating to his tents, read mathematics and French and Latin, or sulked in his book-room.

Harry was away from home with some other sporting friends when Mr. Washington came to pay a visit at Castlewood. He was so peculiarly tender and kind to the mistress there, and received by her with such special cordiality, that George Warrington's jealousy had well-nigh broken out into open rupture. But the visit was one of adieu, as it appeared. Major Washington was going on a long and dangerous journey, quite to the western Virginia frontier and beyond it. The French had been for some time past making inroads into our territory. The government at home, as well as those of Virginia and Pennsylvania, were alarmed at this aggressive spirit of the lords of Canada and Louisiana. Some of our settlers had already been driven from their holdings by Frenchmen in arms, and the governors of the British provinces were desirous of stopping their incursions, or at any rate to protest against their invasion.

We chose to hold our American colonies by a law that was at least convenient for its framers. The maxim was, that whoever possessed the coast had a right to all the territory in hand as far as the Pacific; so that the British charters only laid down the limits of the colonies from north to south, leaving them quite free from east to west. The French, meanwhile, had their colonies to the north and south, and aimed at connecting them by the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence, and the great intermediate lakes and waters lying to the westward of the British possessions. In the year 1748, though peace was signed between the two European kingdoms, the colonial question remained unsettled, to be opened again when either party should be strong enough to urge it. In the year 1753 it came to an issue on the Ohio River where the British and French settlers met.

A company called the Ohio Company, having grants from the Virginia government of lands along that river, found themselves invaded in their settlement's by French military detachments, who roughly ejected the Britons from their holdings. These latter applied for protection to Mr. Dinwiddie, lieutenant governor of Virginia, who determined upon sending an ambassador to the French commanding officer on the Ohio demanding that the French should desist from their inroads upon the territories of his Majesty King George.

Young Mr. Washington jumped eagerly at the chance of distinction which this service afforded him, and volunteered to leave his home and his rural and professional pursuits in Virginia, to carry the governor's message to the French officer. Taking a guide, an interpreter, and a few attendants, and following the Indian tracks, in the fall of the year 1753 the intrepid young envoy made his way from Williamsburg almost to the shores of Lake Erie, and found the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf. That officer's reply was brief; his orders were to hold the place and drive all the English from it. The French avowed their intention of taking possession of the Ohio. And with this rough answer the messenger from Virginia had to return through danger and difficulty, across lonely forest and frozen river, shaping his course by the compass, and camping at night in the snow by the forest fires.

On his return from this expedition, which he had conducted with an heroic energy and simplicity, Major Washington was a greater favourite than ever with the lady of Castlewood. She pointed him out as a model to both of her sons. "Ah, Harry!" she would say, "think of you, with your cock-fighting and your racing matches, and the Major away there in the wilderness, watching the French, and battling with the frozen rivers! Ah, George! learning may be a very good thing, but I wish my elder son were doing something in the service of his country!"

Mr. Washington on his return home began at once raising such a regiment as, with the scanty pay and patronage of the Virginian government, he could get together, and proposed with the help of these men-of-war to put a more peremptory veto upon the French invaders than the solitary ambassador had been enabled to lay. A small force under another officer, Colonel Trent, had already been despatched to the west, with orders to fortify themselves so as to be able to resist any attack of the enemy. The French troops greatly outnumbering ours, came up with the English outposts, who were fortifying themselves at a place on the confines of Pennsylvania where the great city of Pittsburg now stands. A Virginian officer with but forty men was in no condition to resist twenty times that number of Canadians who appeared before his incomplete works. He was suffered to draw back without molestation; and the French, taking possession of his fort, strengthened it and christened it by the name of the Canadian governor, Du Quesne. Up to this time no actual blow of war had been struck. It was strange that in a savage forest of Pennsylvania a young Virginian officer should fire a shot and waken up a war which was to last for sixty years, which was to cover his own country and pass into Europe, to cost France her American colonies, to sever ours from us, and create the great Western Republic; to rage over the old world when extinguished in the new; and of all the myriads engaged in the vast contest, to leave the prize of the greatest fame with him who struck the first blow!

He little knew of the fate in store for him. A simple gentleman, anxious to serve his king and do his duty, he volunteered for the first service, and executed it with admirable fidelity. In the ensuing year he took the command of the small body of provincial troops with which he marched to repel the Frenchmen. He came up with their advanced guard and fired upon them, killing their leader. After this he had himself to fall back with his troops, and was compelled to capitulate to the superior French force. On the 4th of July, 1754, the Colonel marched out with his troops from the little fort where he had hastily entrenched himself, and which they called Fort Necessity, gave up the place to the conqueror, and took his way home.

His command was over, his regiment disbanded after the fruitless, inglorious march and defeat. Saddened and humbled in spirit, the young officer presented himself after a while to his old friends at Castlewood.

But surely no man can have better claims to sympathy than bravery, youth, good looks, and misfortune. Mr. Washington's room at Castlewood was more than ever Mr. Washington's room now. Madame Esmond raved about him and praised him in all her companies. She more than ever pointed out his excellences to her sons, contrasting his sterling qualities with Harry's love of pleasure and George's listless musing over his books. George was not disposed to like Mr. Washington any better for his mother's extravagant praises. He coaxed the jealous demon within him until he must have become a perfect pest to himself and all his friends round about him. He uttered jokes so deep that his simple mother did not know their meaning, but sat bewildered at his sarcasms.

Meanwhile the quarrel between the French and English North Americans, from being a provincial, had grown to be a national quarrel. Reinforcements from France had already arrived in Canada, and English troops were expected in Virginia. It was resolved to wrest from the French all the conquests they had made upon British dominion. A couple of regiments were raised and paid by the king in America, and a fleet with a couple more was despatched from home under an experienced commander. In February, 1755, Commodore Keppel, in the famous ship "Centurion," anchored in Hampton Roads with two ships of war under his command, and having on board General Braddock, his staff, and a part of his troops. Mr. Braddock was appointed by the Duke. A fleet of transports speedily followed him bringing stores, and men and money in plenty.

The arrival of the General and his little army caused a mighty excitement all through the provinces, and nowhere greater than at Castlewood. Harry was off forthwith to see the troops under canvas at Alexandria. The sight of their lines delighted him, and the inspiring music of their fifes and drums. He speedily made acquaintance with the officers of both regiments; he longed to join in the expedition upon which they were bound, and was a welcome guest at their mess.

We may be sure that the arrival of the army and the approaching campaign formed the subject of continued conversation in the Castlewood family. To make the campaign was the dearest wish of Harry's life. He dreamed only of war and battle; he was forever with the officers at Williamsburg; he scoured and cleaned and polished all the guns and swords in the house; he renewed the amusements of his childhood and had the negroes under arms, but eager as he was to be a soldier, he scarcely dared touch on the subject with George, for he saw to his infinite terror how George, too, was occupied with military matters, and having a feudal attachment for his elder brother, and worshipping him with an extravagant regard, he gave way in all things to him as the chief, and felt that should George wish to make the campaign he would submit. He took note that George had all the military books of his grandfather brought down from his book-shelves, and that he and Dempster were practising with the foils again; and he soon found that his fears were true. Mr. Franklin of Philadelphia, having heard that Madame Esmond had beeves and horses and stores in plenty, which might be useful to General Braddock, recommended the General to conciliate her by inviting her sons to dinner, which he at once did. The General and the gentlemen of his family made much of them, and they returned home delighted with their entertainment; and so pleased was their mother at the civility shown them that she at once penned a billet thanking his Excellency for his politeness, and begging him to fix the time when she might have the honour of receiving him at Castlewood.

Madame Esmond made her boys bearers of the letter in reply to his Excellency's message, accompanying her note with handsome presents for the General's staff and officers, which they were delighted to accept.

"Would not one of the young gentlemen like to see the campaign?" the General asked. "A friend of theirs, who often spoke of them--Mr. Washington, who had been unlucky in the affair of last year--had already promised to join him as aide-de-camp, and his Excellency would gladly take another young Virginian gentleman into his family."

Harry's eyes brightened and his face flushed at this offer. He would like with all his heart to go, he cried out. George said, looking hard at his younger brother, that one of them would be proud to attend his Excellency, whilst it would be the other's duty to take care of their mother at home. Harry allowed his senior to speak. However much he desired to go, he would not pronounce until George had declared himself. He longed so for the campaign that the actual wish made him timid. He dared not speak on the matter as he went home with George. They rode for miles in silence, or strove to talk upon indifferent subjects, each knowing what was passing in the other's mind, and afraid to bring the awful question to an issue.

On their arrival at home the boys told their mother of General Braddock's offer.

"I know it must happen," she said; "at such a crisis in the country our family must come forward. Have you--have you settled yet which of you is to leave me?" and she looked anxiously from one to another, dreading to hear either name.

"The youngest ought to go, mother; of course I ought to go!" cries Harry, turning very red.

"Of course, he ought," said Mrs. Mountain, who was present at their talk.

"The head of the family ought to go, mother," says George, adding: "You would make the best soldier, I know that, dearest Hal. You and George Washington are great friends, and could travel well together, and he does not care for me, nor I for him, however much he is admired in the family. But, you see, 'tis the law of honour, my Harry. I must go. Had fate given you the benefit of that extra half hour of life which I have had before you, it would have been your lot, and you would have claimed your right to go first, you know you would."

"Yes, George," said poor Harry; "I own I should."

"You will stay at home, and take care of Castlewood and our mother. If anything happens to me, you are here to fill my place. I should like to give way, my dear, as you, I know, would lay down your life to serve me. But each of us must do his duty. What would our grandfather say if he were here?"

The mother looked proudly at her two sons. "My papa would say that his boys were gentlemen," faltered Madame Esmond, and left the young men, not choosing perhaps to show the emotion which was filling her heart. It was speedily known amongst the servants that Mr. George was going on the campaign. Dinah, George's foster-mother, was loud in her lamentations at losing him; Phillis, Harry's old nurse, was as noisy, because Master George, as usual, was preferred over Master Harry. Sady, George's servant, made preparations to follow his master, bragging incessantly of the deeds which he would do; while Gumbo, Harry's boy, pretended to whimper at being left behind, though at home Gumbo was anything but a fire-eater.

But of all in the house Mrs. Mountain was the most angry at George's determination to go on the campaign. She begged, implored, insisted that he should alter his determination; voted that nothing but mischief would come from his departure; and finally suggested that it was his duty to remain at home to protect his mother from the advances of Colonel Washington, whom she assured him she believed to desire a rich wife, and that if George would go away he would come back to find George Washington master of Castlewood. As a proof of what she said she produced part of a letter written by Colonel Washington to his brother, in which his words seemed to the romantic Mrs. Mountain to bear out her belief. This fragment, which she had found in the Colonel's room and with none too much honesty appropriated, she now showed to George, who after gazing at the document gave her a frightful look, saying, "I--I will return this paper to Mr. Washington." Mrs. Mountain was thoroughly scared then at what she had done and said, but it could not be taken back, so she was obliged to adjust herself to taking in good part whatever consequences might come of her dishonest act.

On the day set for Madame Esmond's entertainment to General Braddock the House of Castlewood was set out with the greatest splendour; and Madame Esmond arrayed herself in a much more magnificent dress than she was accustomed to wear, while the boys were dressed alike in gold-corded frocks, braided waistcoats, silver-hilted sword, and wore each a solitaire.

The General's new aide-de-camp was the first guest to arrive, and he and his hostess paced the gallery for some time. She had much to say to him, and also to hear from him a confirmation of his appointment as aide-de-camp to General Braddock, and to speak of her son's approaching departure. At length they descended the steps down to the rough lawn in front of the house, and presently the little lady re-entered her mansion, leaning upon Mr. Washington's arm. Here they were joined by George, who came to them accurately powdered and richly attired, saluting his parent and his friend alike with respectful bows, according to the fashion of that time.

But George, though he made the lowest possible bow to Mr. Washington and his mother, was by no means in good humour with either of them, and in all his further conversation that day with Colonel Washington showed a bitter sarcasm and a depth of innuendo which the Colonel was at a loss to understand. A short time after George's entrance into the Colonel's presence Harry answered back a remark of George's to the effect that he hated sporting by saying, "I say one thing, George."

"Say twenty things, Don Enrico," cries the other.

"If you are not fond of sporting and that, being cleverer than me, why shouldst thou not stop at home and be quiet, and let me go out with Colonel George and Mr. Braddock? That's what I say," says Harry, flushing with excitement.

"One of our family must go because honour obliges it, and my name being number one, number one must go first," says George, adding, "One must stay, or who is to look after mother at home? We cannot afford to be both scalped by Indians or fricasseed by French."

"Fricasseed by French," cries Harry; "the best troops of the world are Englishmen. I should like to see them fricasseed by the French! what a mortal thrashing you will give them!" and the brave lad sighed to think he should not be present at the combat.

George sat down to the harpsichord and was playing when the Colonel re-entered, saying that his Excellency's coach would be here almost immediately, and asking leave to retire to his apartment, to put himself in a fit condition to appear before her ladyship's company. As the widow was conducting Mr. Washington to his chamber, George gave way to a fit of wrath, ending in an explanation to his astonished brother of the reason of it, and telling him of Mrs. Mountain's suspicions concerning the Colonel's attitude towards their mother, which he confirmed by showing Harry the letter of Colonel Washington's which Mrs. Mountain had found and preserved.

But to go back to Madame Esmond's feast for his Excellency; all the birds of the Virginia air, and all the fish of the sea in season, and all the most famous dishes for which Madame Esmond was famous, and the best wine which her cellar boasted, were laid on the little widow's board to feed her distinguished guest and the other gentlemen who accompanied him. The kind mistress of Castlewood looked so gay and handsome and spoke with such cheerfulness and courage to all her company that the few ladies who were present could not but congratulate Madame Esmond upon the elegance of the feast and upon her manner of presiding at it. But they were scarcely in the drawing-room, when her artificial courage failed her, and she burst into tears, exclaiming, "Ah, it may be an honour to have Mr. Braddock in my house, but he comes to take one of my sons away from me. Who knows whether my boy will return, or how? I dreamed of him last night as wounded, with blood streaming from his side."

Meanwhile Mr. Washington was pondering deeply upon George's peculiar behaviour towards him. The tone of freedom and almost impertinence which young George had adopted of late towards Mr. Washington had very deeply vexed and annoyed that gentleman. There was scarce half a dozen years' difference of age between him and the Castlewood twins; but Mr. Washington had always been remarked for a discretion and sobriety much beyond his time of life, whilst the boys of Castlewood seemed younger than theirs. They had always been till now under their mother's anxious tutelage, and had looked up to their neighbour of Mount Vernon as their guide, director, friend, as, indeed, almost everybody seemed to do who came in contact with the simple and upright young man. Himself of the most scrupulous gravity and good-breeding, in his communication with other folks he appeared to exact, or, at any rate, to occasion, the same behaviour. His nature was above levity and jokes: they seemed out of place when addressed to him. He was slow of comprehending them: and they slunk as it were abashed out of his society. "He always seemed great to me," says Harry Warrington, in one of his letters many years after the date of which we are writing; "and I never thought of him otherwise than as a hero. When he came over to Castlewood and taught us boys surveying, to see him riding to hounds was as if he was charging an army. If he fired a shot, I thought the bird must come down, and if he flung a net, the largest fish in the river were sure to be in it. His words were always few, but they were always wise; they were not idle, as our words are; they were grave, sober and strong, and ready on occasion to do their duty. In spite of his antipathy to him, my brother respected and admired the General as much as I did--that is to say, more than any mortal man."

Mr. Washington was the first to leave the jovial party which were doing so much honour to Madame Esmond's hospitality. Young George Esmond, who had taken his mother's place when she left the dining-room, had been free with the glass and with the tongue. He had said a score of things to his guest which wounded and chafed the latter, and to which Mr. Washington could give no reply. Angry beyond all endurance, he left the table at length, and walked away through the open windows into the broad veranda or porch which belonged to Castlewood as to all Virginian houses.

Here Madame Esmond caught sight of her friend's tall frame as it strode up and down before the windows; and gave up her cards to one of the other ladies, and joined her good neighbour out of doors. He tried to compose his countenance as well as he could, but found it so difficult that presently she asked, "Why do you look so grave?"

"Indeed, to be frank with you, I do not know what has come over George," says Mr. Washington. "He has some grievance against me which I do not understand, and of which I don't care to ask the reason. He spoke to me before the gentlemen in a way which scarcely became him. We are going to the campaign together, and 'tis a pity we begin such ill friends."

"He has been ill. He is always wild and wayward and hard to understand, but he has the most affectionate heart in the world. You will bear with him, you will protect him. Promise you will."

"Dear lady, I will do so with my life," Mr. Washington said heartily. "You know I would lay it down cheerfully for you or any you love."

"And my father's blessing and mine go with you, dear friend!" cried the widow.

As they talked, they had quitted the porch and were pacing a walk before the house. Young George Warrington, from his place at the head of the table in the dining-room, could see them, and after listening in a very distracted manner for some time to the remarks of the gentlemen around him, he jumped up and pulled his brother Harry by the sleeve, turning him so that he, too, could see his mother and the Colonel.

Somewhat later, when General Braddock and the other guests had retired to their apartments, the boys went to their own room, and there poured out to one another their opinions respecting the great event of the day. They would not bear such a marriage--No. Was the representative of the Marquis of Esmond to marry the younger son of a colonial family, who had been bred up as a land surveyor--Castlewood and the boys at nineteen years of age handed over to the tender mercies of a step-father of three and twenty? Oh, it was monstrous! Harry was for going straightway to his mother, protesting against the odious match, and announcing that they would leave her forever if the marriage took place.

George had another plan for preventing it, which he explained to his admiring brother. "Our mother," he said, "can't marry a man with whom one or both of us has been out on the field, and who has wounded us or killed us, or whom we have wounded or killed. We must have him out, Harry."

Harry saw the profound truth conveyed in George's statement, and admired his brother's immense sagacity. "No, George," says he, "you are right. Mother can't marry our murderer; she won't be as bad as that. And if we pink him, he is done for. Shall I send my boy with a challenge to Colonel George now?"

"We can't insult a gentleman in our own house," said George with great majesty; "the laws of honour forbid such inhospitable treatment. But, sir, we can ride out with him, and, as soon as the park gates are closed, we can tell him our mind."

"That we can, by George!" cries Harry, grasping his brother's hand, "and that we will, too. I say, Georgie--" Here the lad's face became very red, and his brother asked him what he would say.

"This is my turn, brother," Harry pleaded. "If you go to the campaign, I ought to have the other affair. Indeed, indeed, I ought." And he prayed for this bit of promotion.

"Again the head of the house must take the lead, my dear," George said with a superb air. "If I fall, my Harry will avenge me. But I must fight George Washington, Hal; and 'tis best I should; for, indeed, I hate him the worst. Was it not he who counselled my mother to order that wretch, Ward, to lay hands on me?"

"Colonel Washington is my enemy especially. He has advised one wrong against me, and he meditates a greater. I tell you, brother, we must punish him."

The grandsire's old Bordeaux had set George's ordinarily pale countenance into a flame. Harry, his brother's fondest worshipper, could not but admire George's haughty bearing and rapid declamation, and prepared himself, with his usual docility, to follow his chief. So the boys went to their beds, the elder conveying special injunctions to his junior to be civil to all the guests so long as they remained under the maternal roof on the morrow.

The widow, occupied as she had been with the cares of a great dinner, followed by a great breakfast on the morning ensuing, had scarce leisure to remark the behaviour of her sons very closely, but at least saw that George was scrupulously polite to her favourite, Colonel Washington, as to all the other guests of the house.

Before Mr. Braddock took his leave he had a private audience with Madame Esmond, in which his Excellency formally arranged to take her son into his family; after which the jolly General good-naturedly shook hands with George, and bade George welcome and to be in attendance at Frederick three days hence; shortly after which time the expedition would set forth.

And now the great coach was again called into requisition, the General's escort pranced round it, the other guests and their servants went to horse.

As the boys went up the steps, there was the Colonel once more taking leave of their mother. No doubt she had been once more recommending George to his namesake's care; for Colonel Washington said: "With my life. You may depend on me," as the lads returned to their mother and the few guests still remained in the porch. The Colonel was booted and ready to depart. "Farewell, my dear Harry," he said. "With you, George, 'tis no adieu. We shall meet in three days at the camp."

George Warrington watched his mother's emotion, and interpreted it with a pang of malignant scorn. "Stay yet a moment, and console our mamma," he said with a steady countenance, "only the time to get ourselves booted, and my brother and I will ride with you a little way, George." George Warrington had already ordered his horses. The three young men were speedily under way, their negro grooms behind them, and Mrs. Mountain, who knew she had made mischief between them and trembled for the result, felt a vast relief that Mr. Washington was gone without a quarrel with the brothers, without, at any rate, an open declaration of love to their mother.

No man could be more courteous in demeanour than George Warrington to his neighbour and name-sake, the Colonel, who was pleased and surprised at his young friend's altered behaviour. The community of danger, the necessity of future fellowship, the softening influence of the long friendship which bound him to the Esmond family, the tender adieux which had just passed between him and the mistress of Castlewood, inclined the Colonel to forget the unpleasantness of the past days, and made him more than usually friendly with his young companion. George was quite gay and easy: it was Harry who was melancholy now; he rode silently and wistfully by his brother, keeping away from Colonel Washington, to whose side he used always to press eagerly before. If the honest Colonel remarked his young friend's conduct, no doubt he attributed it to Harry's known affection for his brother, and his natural anxiety to be with George now the day of their parting was so near.

They talked further about the war, and the probable end of the campaign; none of the three doubted its successful termination. Two thousand veteran British troops with their commander must get the better of any force the French could bring against them. The ardent young Virginian soldier had an immense respect for the experienced valour and tactics of the regular troops. King George II. had no more loyal subject than Mr. Braddock's new aide-de-camp.

So the party rode amicably together, until they reached a certain rude log-house, called Benson's, where they found a rough meal prepared for such as were disposed to partake.

A couple of Halkett's officers, whom our young gentlemen knew, were sitting under the porch, with the Virginian toddy bowl before them, and the boys joined them and sent for glasses and more toddy, in a very grown-up manner.

George called out to Colonel Washington, who was at the porch, to join his friends and drink, with the intention of drawing Mr. Washington into some kind of a disagreement.

The lad's tone was offensive, and resembled the manner lately adopted by him, which had so much chafed Mr. Washington. He bowed, and said he was not thirsty.

"Nay, the liquor is paid for," says George; "never fear, Colonel."

"I said I was not thirsty. I did not say the liquor was not paid for," said the young Colonel, drumming with his foot.

"When the King's health is proposed, an officer can hardly say no. I drink the health of his Majesty, gentlemen," cried George. "Colonel Washington can drink it or leave it. The King!"

This was a point of military honour. The two British officers of Halkett's, Captain Grace and Mr. Waring, both drank "The King." Harry Warrington drank "The King." Colonel Washington, with glaring eyes, gulped, too, a slight draught from the bowl.

Then Captain Grace proposed "The Duke and the Army," which toast there was likewise no gainsaying. Colonel Washington had to swallow "The Duke and the Army."

"You don't seem to stomach the toast, Colonel," said George.

"I tell you again, I don't want to drink," replied the Colonel. "It seems to me the Duke and the Army would be served all the better if their healths were not drunk so often."

"A British officer," said Captain Grace, with doubtful articulation," never neglects a toast of that sort, nor any other duty. A man who refuses to drink the health of the Duke--hang me, such a man should be tried by a court-martial!"

"What means this language to me? You are drunk, sir!" roared Colonel Washington, jumping up and striking the table with his first.

"A cursed provincial officer say I'm drunk!" shrieks out Captain Grace. "Waring, do you hear that?"

"I heard it, sir!" cried George Warrington. "We all heard it. We entered at my invitation--the liquor called for was mine; the table was mine--and I am shocked to hear such monstrous language used at it as Colonel Washington has just employed towards my esteemed guest, Captain Waring."

"Confound your impudence, you infernal young jackanapes!" bellowed out Colonel Washington. "You dare to insult me before British officers, and find fault with my language? For months past I have borne with such impudence from you, that if I had not loved your mother--yes, sir, and your good grandfather and your brother--I would--" Here his words failed him, and the irate Colonel, with glaring eyes and purple face, and every limb quivering with wrath, stood for a moment speechless before his young enemy.

"You would what, sir," says George, very quietly, "if you did not love my grandfather, and my brother, and my mother? You are making her petticoat a plea for some conduct of yours! You would do what, sir, may I ask again?"

"I would put you across my knee and whip you, you snarling little puppy! That's what I would do!" cried the Colonel, who had found breath by this time, and vented another explosion of fury.

"Because you have known us all our lives, and made our house your own, that is no reason why you should insult either of us!" here cried Harry, starting up. "What you have said, George Washington, is an insult to me and my brother alike. You will ask our pardon, sir!"


"Or give us the reparation that is due to gentlemen," continues Harry.

The stout Colonel's heart smote him to think that he should be at mortal quarrel, or called upon to shed the blood of one of the lads he loved. As Harry stood facing him, with his fair hair, flushing cheeks, and quivering voice, an immense tenderness and kindness filled the bosom of the elder man. "I--I am bewildered," he said. "My words, perhaps, were very hasty. What has been the meaning of George's behaviour to me for months back? Only tell me, and, perhaps--"

The evil spirit was awake and victorious in young George Warrington; his black eyes shot out scorn and hatred at the simple and guileless gentleman before him. "You are shirking from the question, sir, as you did from the toast just now," he said. "I am not a boy to suffer under your arrogance. You have publicly insulted me in a public place, and I demand a reparation."

"As you please, George Warrington--and God forgive you, George! God pardon you, Harry! for bringing me into this quarrel," said the Colonel, with a face full of sadness and gloom.

Harry hung his head, but George continued with perfect calmness: "I, sir? It was not I who called names, who talked of a cane, who insulted a gentleman in a public place before the gentlemen of the army. It is not the first time you have chosen to take me for a negro, and talked of the whip for me."

The Colonel started back, turning very red, and as if struck by a sudden remembrance.

"Great heavens, George! is it that boyish quarrel you are still recalling?"

"Who made you overseer of Castlewood?" said the boy, grinding his teeth. "I am not your slave, George Washington, and I never will be. I hated you then, and I hate you now. And you have insulted me, and I am a gentleman, and so are you. Is that not enough?"

"Too much, only too much," said the Colonel, with a genuine grief on his face, and at his heart "Do you bear malice, too, Harry? I had not thought this of thee!"

"I stand by my brother," said Harry, turning away from the Colonel's look, and grasping George's hand. The sadness on their adversary's face did not depart. "Heaven be good to us! 'Tis all clear now," he muttered to himself. "The time to write a few letters, and I am at your service, Mr. Warrington," he said.

"You have your own pistols at your saddle. I did not ride out with any; but will send Sady back for mine. That will give you time enough, Colonel Washington?"

"Plenty of time, sir." And each gentleman made the other a low bow, and, putting his arm in his brother's, George walked away. The Virginian officer looked towards Captain Benson, the master of the tavern, saying, "Captain Benson, you are an old frontier man, and an officer of ours, before you turned farmer and taverner. You will help me in this matter with yonder young gentleman?" said the Colonel.

"I'll stand by and see fair play, Colonel. I won't have any hand in it, beyond seeing fair play. You ain't a-goin' to be very hard with them poor boys? Though I seen 'em both shoot; the fair one hunts well, as you know, but the old one's a wonder at an ace of spades."

"Will you be pleased to send my man with my valise, Captain, into any private room which you can spare me? I must write a few letters before this business comes on. God grant it were well over!" And the Captain led the Colonel into a room of his house where he remained occupied with gloomy preparations for the ensuing meeting. His adversary in the other room also thought fit to make his testamentary dispositions, too, dictated by his own obedient brother and secretary, a grandiloquent letter to his mother, of whom, and by that writing, he took a solemn farewell. She would hardly, he supposed, pursue the scheme which she had in view, after the event of that morning, should he fall, as probably would be the case.

"My dear, dear George, don't say that!" cried the affrighted secretary.

"As probably will be the case," George persisted with great majesty. "You know what a good shot Colonel George is, Harry. I, myself, am pretty fair at a mark, and 'tis probable that one or both of us will drop--I scarcely suppose you will carry out the intentions you have at present in view." This was uttered in a tone of still greater bitterness than George had used even in the previous phrase, and he added in a tone of surprise: "Why, Harry, what have you been writing, and who taught thee to spell?" Harry had written the last words "in view," in vew, and a great blot of salt water from his honest, boyish eyes may have obliterated some other bad spelling.

"I can't think about the spelling now, Georgy," whimpered George's clerk. "I'm too miserable for that. I begin to think, perhaps, it's all nonsense; perhaps Colonel George never--"

"Never meant to take possession of Castlewood; never gave himself airs, and patronised us there; never advised my mother to have me flogged; never intended to marry her; never insulted me, and was insulted before the King's officers; never wrote to his brother to say that we should be the better for his parental authority? The paper is there," cried the young man, slapping his breast-pocket, "and if anything happens to me, Harry Warrington, you will find it on my corpse!"

"Write, yourself, Georgie, I can't write," says Harry, digging his fists into his eyes, and smearing over the whole composition, bad spelling and all, with his elbows.

On this, George, taking another sheet of paper, sat down at his brother's place, and produced a composition in which he introduced the longest words, the grandest Latin quotations, and the most profound satire of which the youthful scribe was master. He desired that his negro boy, Sady, should be set free; that his "Horace," a choice of his books, and, if possible, a suitable provision should be made for his affectionate tutor, Mr. Dempster; that his silver fruit-knife, his music-books, and harpischord should be given to little Fannie Mountain; and that his brother should take a lock of his hair, and wear it in memory of his ever fond and faithfully attached George. And he sealed the document with the seal of arms that his grandfather had worn.

"The watch, of course, will be yours," said George, taking out his grandfather's gold watch and looking at it. "Why, two hours and a half are gone! 'Tis time that Sady should be back with the pistols. Take the watch, Harry, dear."

"It's no good!" cried out Harry, flinging his arms round his brother. "If he fights you, I'll fight him, too. If he kills my Georgie, he shall have a shot at me!" cried the poor lad.

Meanwhile, Mr. Washington had written five letters in his large resolute hand, and sealed them with his seal. One was to his mother, at Mount Vernon; one to his brother; one was addressed M.C. only; and one to his Excellency, Major-General Braddock. "And one, young gentlemen, is for your mother, Madame Esmond," said the boys' informant.

It was the landlord of the tavern who communicated these facts to the young men. The Captain had put on his old militia uniform to do honour to the occasion, and informed the boys that the "Colonel was walking up and down the garden a-waiting for 'em, and that the Reg'lars was a'most sober, too, by this time."

A plot of ground near the Captain's log house had been enclosed with shingles, and cleared for a kitchen-garden; there indeed paced Colonel Washington, his hands behind his back, his head bowed down, a grave sorrow on his handsome face. The negro servants were crowded at the palings and looking over. The officers under the porch had wakened up also, as their host remarked.

There, then, stalked the tall young Colonel, plunged in dismal meditation. There was no way out of his scrape, but the usual cruel one, which the laws of honour and the practice of the country ordered. Goaded into fury by the impertinence of a boy, he had used insulting words. The young man had asked for reparation. He was shocked to think that George Warrington's jealousy and revenge should have rankled in the young fellow so long; but the wrong had been the Colonel's, and he was bound to pay the forfeit.

A great hallooing and shouting, such as negroes use, who love noise at all times, was now heard at a distance, and all heads were turned in the direction of this outcry. It came from the road over which our travellers had themselves passed three hours before, and presently the clattering of a horse's hoofs was heard, and now Mr. Sady made his appearance on his foaming horse. Presently he was in the court-yard, and was dismounting.

"Sady, sir, come here!" roars out Master Harry.

"Sady, come here, confound you!" shouts Master George.

"Come directly, Mas'r," says Sady. He grins. He takes the pistols out of the holster. He snaps the locks. He points them at a grunter, which plunges through the farm-yard. He points down the road, over which he has just galloped, and says again, "Comin', Mas'r. Everybody a-comin'." And now, the gallop of other horses is heard. And who is yonder? Little Mr. Dempster, spurring and digging into his pony; and that lady in a riding-habit on Madame Esmond's little horse--can it be Madame Esmond? No. It is too stout. As I live it is Mrs. Mountain on Madame's grey!"

"O Lor'! O Golly! Hoop! Here dey come! Hurray!"

Dr. Dempster and Mrs. Mountain having clattered into the yard, jumped from their horses, and ran to the garden where George and Harry were walking, their tall enemy stalking opposite to them; and almost ere George Warrington had time sternly to say, "What do you here, Madame?" Mrs. Mountain flung her arms round his neck and cried: "Oh, George, my darling! It's a mistake! It's a mistake, and is all my fault!"

"What's a mistake?" asks George, majestically separating himself from the embrace.

"What is it, Mounty?" cries Harry, all of a tremble.

"That paper I took out of his portfolio, that paper I picked up, children; where the Colonel says he is going to marry a widow with two children. Well, it's--it's not your mother. It's that little Widow Custis whom the Colonel is going to marry. It's not Mrs. Rachel Warrington. He told Madame so to-day, just before he was going away, and that the marriage was to come off after the campaign. And--and your mother is furious, boys. And when Sady came for the pistols, and told the whole house how you were going to fight, I told him to fire the pistols off; and I galloped after him, and I've nearly broken my poor old bones in coming to you."

"What will Mr. Washington and those gentlemen think of my servant telling my mother at home that I was going to fight a duel?" growled Mr. George in wrath.

"You should have shown your proofs before, George," says Harry, respectfully. "And, thank Heaven, you are not going to fight our old friend. For it was a mistake; and there is no quarrel now, dear, is there? You were unkind to him under a wrong impression."

"I certainly acted under a wrong impression," owns George, "but--"

"George! George Washington!" Harry here cries out, springing over the cabbage garden towards the bowling-green, where the Colonel was stalking, and though we cannot hear him, we see him, with both his hands out, and with the eagerness of youth, and with a hundred blunders, and with love and affection thrilling in his honest voice, we imagine the lad telling his tale to his friend.

There was a custom in those days which has disappeared from our manners now, but which then lingered.

When Harry had finished his artless story his friend the Colonel took him fairly to his arms, and held him to his heart; and his voice faltered as he said, "Thank God, thank God for this!"

"Oh, George," said Harry, who felt now he loved his friend with all his heart, "how I wish I was going with you on the campaign!" The other pressed both the boy's hands in a grasp of friendship, which, each knew, never would slacken.

Then the Colonel advanced, gravely holding out his hand to Harry's elder brother. But, though hands were joined, the salutation was only formal and stern on both sides.

"I find I have done you a wrong, Colonel Washington," George said, "and must apologise, not for the error, but for much of my late behaviour, which has resulted from it."

"The error was mine! It was I who found that paper in your room and showed it to George, and was jealous of you, Colonel. All women are jealous," cried Mrs. Mountain.

"'Tis a pity you could not have kept your eyes off my paper, Madame," said Mr. Washington. "You will permit me to say so. A great deal of mischief has come because I chose to keep a secret which concerned only myself and another person. For a long time George Warrington's heart has been black with anger against me, and my feeling towards him has, I own, scarce been more friendly. All this pain might have been spared to both of us had my private papers only been read by those for whom they were written. I shall say no more now, lest my feelings again should betray me into hasty words. Heaven bless thee, Harry! Farewell, George! And take a true friend's advice, and try to be less ready to think evil of your friends. We shall meet again at the camp, and will keep our weapons for the enemy. Gentlemen! if you remember this scene tomorrow, you will know where to find me." And with a very stately bow to the English officers, the Colonel left the abashed company, and speedily rode away.

We must fancy that the parting between the brothers is over, that George has taken his place in Mr. Braddock's family, and Harry has returned home to Castlewood and his duty. His heart is with the army, and his pursuits at home offer the boy no pleasure. He does not care to own how deep his disappointment is, at being obliged to stay under the homely, quiet roof, now more melancholy than ever since George is away. Harry passes his brother's empty chamber with an averted face; takes George's place at the head of the table, and sighs as he drinks from his silver tankard. Madame Warrington calls the toast of "The King" stoutly every day; and on Sundays when Harry reads the Service, and prays for all travellers by land and by water, she says, "We beseech Thee to hear us," with a peculiar solemnity.

Mrs. Mountain is constantly on the whimper when George's name is mentioned, and Harry's face frequently wears a look of the most ghastly alarm; but his mother's is invariably grave and sedate. She makes more blunders at piquet and backgammon than you would expect from her; and the servants find her awake and dressed, however early they may rise. She has prayed Mr. Dempster to come back into residence at Castlewood. She is not severe or haughty, as her wont certainly was, with any of the party, but quiet in her talk with them, and gentle in assertion and reply. She is forever talking of her father and his campaigns, who came out of them all with no very severe wounds to hurt him; and so she hopes and trusts will her eldest son.

George writes frequent letters home to his brother, and, now the army is on its march, compiles a rough journal, which he forwards as occasion serves. This document is read with great eagerness by Harry, and more than once read out in family councils on the long summer nights as Madame Esmond sits upright at her tea-table; as little Fanny Mountain is busy with her sewing, as Mr. Dempster and Mrs. Mountain sit over their cards, as the hushed old servants of the house move about silently in the gloaming and listen to the words of the young master. Hearken to Harry Warrington reading out his brother's letter!

"It must be owned that the provinces are acting scurvily by his Majesty King George, and his representative here is in a flame of fury. Virginia is bad enough, and poor Maryland not much better, but Pennsylvania is worst of all. We pray them to send us troops from home to fight the French; and we propose to maintain the troops when they come. We not only don't keep our promise, and make scarce any provision for our defenders, but our people insist upon the most exorbitant prices for their cattle and stores, and actually cheat the soldiers who are come to fight their battles. No wonder the General swears, and the troops are sulky. The delays have been endless. Owing to the failure of the several provinces to provide their promised stores and means of locomotion, weeks and months have elapsed, during which time no doubt the French have been strengthening themselves on our frontier and in the forts they have turned us out of. Though there never will be any love lost between me and Colonel Washington, it must be owned that your favourite (I am not jealous, Hal) is a brave man and a good officer. The family respect him very much, and the General is always asking his opinion. Indeed, he is almost the only man who has seen the Indians in their war-paint, and I own I think he was right in firing upon Mons. Jumonville last year."

Harry resumes
"We keep the strictest order here in camp, and the orders against drunkenness and ill behaviour on the part of the men are very severe. The roll of each company is called at morning, noon, and night, and a return of the absent and disorderly is given in by the officer to the commanding officer of the regiment, who has to see that they are properly punished. Each regiment has Divine Service performed at the head of its colours every Sunday. The General does everything in the power of mortal man to prevent plundering, and to encourage the people round about to bring in provisions. He has declared soldiers shall be shot who dare to interrupt or molest the market people. He has ordered the price of provisions to be raised a penny a pound, and has lent money out of his own pocket to provide the camp. Altogether he is a strange compound, this General, and shows many strange inconsistencies in his conduct.

"Colonel Washington has had the fever very smartly, and has hardly been well enough to keep up with the march. When either of us is ill, we are almost as good friends again as ever, and though I don't love him as you do, I know he is a good soldier, a good officer, and a brave, honest man; and, at any rate, shall love him none the worse for not wanting to be our step-father."

"'Tis a pretty sight," Harry continued, reading from his brother's journal, "to see a long line of red coats threading through the woods or taking their ground after the march. The care against surprise is so great and constant that we defy prowling Indians to come unawares upon us, and our advanced sentries and savages have on the contrary fallen in with the enemy and taken a scalp or two from them. They are such cruel villains, these French and their painted allies, that we do not think of showing them mercy. Only think, we found but yesterday a little boy scalped but yet alive in a lone house, where his parents had been attacked and murdered by the savage enemy, of whom--so great is his indignation at their cruelty--our General has offered a reward of £5 for all the Indian scalps brought in.

"When our march is over, you should see our camp, and all the care bestowed on it. Our baggage and our General's tents and guard are placed quite in the centre of the camp. We have outlying sentries by twos, by threes, by tens, by whole companies. At the least surprise, they are instructed to run in on the main body and rally round the tents and baggage, which are so arranged themselves as to be a strong fortification. Sady and I, you must know, are marching on foot now, and my horses are carrying baggage. The Pennsylvanians sent such rascally animals into camp that they speedily gave in. What good horses were left 'twas our duty to give up; and Roxana has a couple of packs upon her back instead of her young master. She knows me right well, and whinnies when she sees me, and I walk by her side, and we have many a talk together on the march.

"July 4. To guard against surprises, we are all warned to pay especial attention to the beat of the drum; always halting when we hear the long roll beat, and marching at the beat of the long march. We are more on the alert regarding the enemy now. We have our advanced pickets doubled, and two sentries at every post. The men on the advanced pickets are constantly under arms, with fixed bayonets, all through the night, and relieved every two hours. The half that are relieved lie down by their arms, but are not suffered to leave their pickets. 'Tis evident that we are drawing near to the enemy now. This packet goes out with the General's to Colonel Dunbar's camp, who is thirty miles behind us; and will be carried thence to Frederick, and thence to my honoured mother's house at Castlewood, to whom I send my duty, with kindest remembrances, as to all friends there, and how much love I need not say to my dearest brother from his affectionate George E. Warrington."

The whole land was now lying parched and scorching in the July heat. For ten days no news had come from the column advancing on the Ohio. Their march, though it toiled but slowly through the painful forest, must bring ere long up with the enemy; the troops, led by consummate captains, were accustomed now to the wilderness, and not afraid of surprise. Every precaution had been taken against ambush. It was the outlying enemy who were discovered, pursued, destroyed, by the vigilant scouts and skirmishers of the British force. The last news heard was that the army had advanced considerably beyond the ground of Mr. Washington's discomfiture in the previous year, and two days after must be within a day's march of the French fort. About taking it no fears were entertained; the amount of the French reinforcements from Montreal was known. Mr. Braddock, with his two veteran regiments from Britain, and their allies of Virginia and Pennsylvania, was more than a match for any troops that could be collected under the white flag.

Such continued to be the talk, in the sparse towns of our Virginian province, at the gentry's houses, and the rough road-side taverns, where people met and canvassed the war. The few messengers sent back by the General reported well of the main force. It was thought the enemy would not stand or defend himself at all. Had he intended to attack, he might have seized a dozen occasions for assaulting our troops at passes through which they had been allowed to go entirely free. So George had given up his favourite mare, like a hero as he was, and was marching a-foot with the line. Madame Esmond vowed that he should have the best horse in Virginia or Carolina in place of Roxana. There were horses enough to be had in the provinces, and for money. It was only for the King's service that they were not forthcoming.

Although at their family meetings and repasts the inmates of Castlewood always talked cheerfully, never anticipating any but a triumphant issue to the campaign, or acknowledging any feeling of disquiet, yet it must be owned they were mighty uneasy when at home, quitting it ceaselessly, and forever on the trot from one neighbour's house to another in quest of news. It was prodigious how quickly reports ran and spread. For three weeks after the army's departure, the reports regarding it were cheerful; and when our Castlewood friends met at their supper their tone was confident and their news pleasant.

But on the 10th of July a vast and sudden gloom spread over the province. A look of terror and doubt seemed to fall upon every face. Affrighted negroes wistfully eyed their masters and retired, to hum and whisper with one another. The fiddles ceased in the quarters; the song and laugh of those cheery black folk were hushed. Right and left everybody's servants were on the gallop for news. The country taverns were thronged with horsemen, who drank and cursed and brawled at the bars, each bringing his gloomy story. The army had been surprised. The troops had fallen into an ambuscade, and had been cut up almost to a man. All the officers were taken down by the French marksmen and the savages. The General had been wounded, and carried off the field in his sash. Four days afterwards the report was that the General was dead, and scalped by a French Indian.

Ah, what a scream poor Mrs. Mountain gave when Gumbo brought this news from across the James River, and little Fanny sprang crying to her mother's arms! "Lord God Almighty, watch over us, and defend my boy!" said Mrs. Esmond, sinking down on her knees and lifting her rigid hands to heaven. The gentlemen were not at home when the rumour arrived, but they came in an hour or two afterwards, each from his hunt for news. The Scotch tutor did not dare to meet the widow's agonising looks. Harry Warrington was as pale as his mother. It might not be true about the manner of the General's death--but he was dead. The army had been surprised by Indians, and had fled, and been killed without seeing the enemy. An express had arrived from Dunbar's camp. Fugitives were pouring in there. Should he go and see? He must go and see. He and stout little Dempster armed themselves and mounted, taking a couple of mounted servants with them.

They followed the northward track which the expeditionary army had hewed out for itself, and at every step which brought them nearer to the scene of action, the disaster of the fearful day seemed to magnify. The day after the defeat a number of the miserable fugitives from the fatal battle of the 9th of July had reached Dunbar's camp, fifty miles from the field. Thither poor Harry and his companions rode, stopping stragglers, asking news, giving money, getting from one and all the same gloomy tale. A thousand men were slain--two-thirds of the officers were down--all the General's aides-de-camp were hit. Were hit--but were they killed? Those who fell never rose again. The tomahawk did its work upon them. Oh, brother brother! All the fond memories of their youth, all the dear remembrances of their childhood, the love and the laughter, the tender romantic vows which they had pledged to each other as lads, were recalled by Harry with pangs inexpressibly keen. Wounded men looked up and were softened by his grief; rough men melted as they saw the woe written on the handsome young face; the hardy old tutor could scarcely look at him for tears, and grieved for him even more than for his dear pupil, who, he believed, lay dead under the savage Indian knife.

At every step which Harry Warrington took towards Pennsylvania the reports of the British disaster were magnified and confirmed. Those two famous regiments which had fought in the Scottish and Continental wars had fled from an enemy almost unseen, and their boasted discipline and valour had not enabled them to face a band of savages and a few French infantry. The unfortunate commander of the expedition had shown the utmost bravery and resolution.

Four times his horse had been shot under him. Twice he had been wounded, and the last time of the mortal hurt which ended his life three days after the battle. More than one of Harry's informants described the action to the poor lad,--the passage of the river, the long line of advance through the wilderness, the firing in front, the vain struggle of the men to advance, and the artillery to clear the way of the enemy; then the ambushed fire from behind every bush and tree, and the murderous fusillade, by which at least half of the expeditionary force had been shot down. But not all the General's suite were killed, Harry heard. One of his aides-de-camp, a Virginian gentleman, was ill of fever and exhaustion at Dunbar's camp.

One of them--but which? To the camp Harry hurried, and reached it at length. It was George Washington Harry found stretched in a tent there, and not his brother. A sharper pain than that of the fever Mr. Washington declared he felt, when he saw Harry Warrington, and could give him no news of George.

Mr. Washington did not dare to tell Harry all. For three days after the fight his duty had been to be near the General. On the fatal 9th of July he had seen George go to the front with orders from the chief, to whose side he never returned. After Braddock himself died, the aide-de-camp had found means to retrace his course to the field. The corpses which remained there were stripped and horribly mutilated. One body he buried which he thought to be George Warrington's. His own illness was increased, perhaps occasioned, by the anguish which he underwent in his search for the unhappy volunteer.

"Ah, George! If you had loved him you would have found him dead or alive," Harry cried out. Nothing would satisfy him but that he, too, should go to the ground and examine it. With money he procured a guide or two. He forded the river at the place where the army had passed over; he went from one end to the other of the dreadful field. The horrible spectacle of mutilation caused him to turn away with shudder and loathing. What news could the vacant woods, or those festering corpses lying under the trees, give the lad of his lost brother? He was for going, unarmed, with a white flag, to the French fort, whither, after their victory, the enemy had returned; but his guides refused to advance with him. The French might possibly respect them, but the Indians would not. "Keep your hair for your lady-mother, my young gentleman," said the guide. "Tis enough that she loses one son in this campaign."

When Harry returned to the English encampment at Dunbar's it was his turn to be down with the fever. Delirium set in upon him, and he lay some time in the tent and on the bed from which his friend had just risen convalescent. For some days he did not know who watched him; and poor Dempster, who had tended him in more than one of these maladies, thought the widow must lose both her children; but the fever was so far subdued that the boy was enabled to rally somewhat, and get on horseback. Mr. Washington and Dempster both escorted him home. It was with a heavy heart, no doubt, that all three beheld once more the gates of Castlewood.

A servant in advance had been sent to announce their coming. First came Mrs. Mountain and her little daughter, welcoming Harry with many tears and embraces; but she scarce gave a nod of recognition to Mr. Washington; and the little girl caused the young officer to start, and turn deadly pale, by coming up to him with her hands behind her, and asking, "Why have you not brought George back, too?"

Dempster was graciously received by the two ladies. "Whatever could be done, we know you would do, Mr. Dempster," says Mrs. Mountain, giving him her hand. "Make a curtsey to Mr. Dempster, Fanny, and remember, child, to be grateful to all who have been friendly to our benefactors. Will it please you to take any refreshment before you ride, Colonel Washington?"

Mr. Washington had had a sufficient ride already, and counted as certainly upon the hospitality of Castlewood as he would upon the shelter of his own house.

"The time to feed my horse, and a glass of water for myself, and I will trouble Castlewood hospitality no farther," Mr. Washington said.

"Sure, George, you have your room here, and my mother is above stairs getting it ready!" cries Harry. "That poor horse of yours stumbled with you, and can't go farther this evening."

"Hush! Your mother won't see him, child," whispered Mrs. Mountain.

"Not see George? Why, he is like a son of the house," cries Harry.

"She had best not see him. I don't meddle any more in family matters, child; but when the Colonel's servant rode in, and said you were coming, Madame Esmond left this room and said she felt she could not see Mr. Washington. Will you go to her?" Harry took Mrs. Mountain's arm, and excusing himself to the Colonel, to whom he said he would return in a few minutes, he left the parlour in which they had assembled, and went to the upper rooms, where Madame Esmond was.

He was hastening across the corridor, and, with an averted head, passing by one especial door, which he did not like to look at, for it was that of his brother's room; and as he came to it, Madame Esmond issued from it, and folded him to her heart, and led him in. A settee was by the bed, and a book of psalms lay on the coverlet. All the rest of the room was exactly as George had left it.

"My poor child! How thin thou art grown--how haggard you look! Never mind. A mother's care will make thee well again. 'Twas nobly done to go and brave sickness and danger in search of your brother. Had others been as faithful, he might be here now. Never mind, my Harry; our hero will come back to us. I know he is not dead. He will come back to us, I know he will come." And when Harry pressed her to give a reason for her belief, she said she had seen her father two nights running in a dream, and he had told her that her boy was a prisoner among the Indians.

Madame Esmond's grief had not prostrated her as Harry's had when first it fell upon him; it had rather stirred and animated her; her eyes were eager, her countenance angry and revengeful. The lad wondered almost at the condition in which he found his mother.

But when he besought her to go downstairs, and give her a hand of welcome to George Washington, who had accompanied him, the lady's excitement painfully increased. She said she should shudder at touching his hand. She declared Mr. Washington had taken her son from her; she could not sleep under the same roof with him.

"No gentleman," cried Harry, warmly, "was ever refused shelter under my grandfather's roof."

"Oh, no, gentlemen!" exclaims the little widow; "well let us go down, if you like, son, and pay our respects to this one. Will you please to give us your arm?" and taking an arm which was very little able to give her support, she walked down the broad stairs and into the apartment where the Colonel sat.

She made him a ceremonious curtsey, and extended one of the little hands, which she allowed for a moment to rest in his. "I wish that our meeting had been happier, Colonel Washington," she said.

"You do not grieve more than I do that it is otherwise, Madame," said the Colonel.

"I might have wished that the meeting had been spared, that I might not have kept you from friends whom you are naturally anxious to see, that my boy's indisposition had not detained you. Home and his good nurse Mountain, and his mother and our good Dr. Dempster will soon restore him. 'Twas scarce necessary, Colonel, that you who have so many affairs on your hands, military and domestic, should turn doctor too."

"Harry was ill and weak, and I thought it was my duty to ride by him," faltered the Colonel.

"You yourself, sir, have gone through the fatigues and dangers of the campaign in the most wonderful manner," said the widow, curtseying again, and looking at him with her impenetrable black eyes.

"I wish to Heaven, Madame, someone else had come back in my place!"

"Nay, sir, you have ties which must render your life more than ever valuable and dear to you, and duties to which, I know, you must be anxious to betake yourself. In our present deplorable state of doubt and distress Castlewood can be a welcome place to no stranger, much less to you, and so I know, sir, you will be for leaving us ere long. And you will pardon me if the state of my own spirits obliges me for the most part to keep my chamber. But my friends here will bear you company as long as you favour us, whilst I nurse my poor Harry upstairs. Mountain! you will have the cedar room on the ground floor ready for Mr. Washington and anything in the house is at his command. Farewell, sir. Will you be pleased to present my compliments to your mother, who will be thankful to have her son safe and sound out of the war?--as also to my young friend, Martha Custis, to whom and to whose children I wish every happiness. Come, my son!" and with these words, and another freezing curtsey, the pale little woman retreated, looking steadily at the Colonel, who stood dumb on the floor.

Strong as Madame Esmond's belief appeared to be respecting her son's safety, the house of Castlewood naturally remained sad and gloomy. To look for George was hoping against hope. No authentic account of his death had indeed arrived, and no one appeared who had seen him fall, but hundreds more had been so stricken on that fatal day, with no eyes to behold their last pangs, save those of the lurking enemy and the comrades dying by their side. A fortnight after the defeat, when Harry was absent on his quest, George's servant, Sady, reappeared, wounded and maimed, at Castlewood. But he could give no coherent account of the battle, only of his flight from the centre, where he was with the baggage. He had no news of his master since the morning of the action. For many days Sady lurked in the negro quarters away from the sight of Madame Esmond, whose anger he did not dare to face. That lady's few neighbours spoke of her as labouring under a delusion. So strong was it that there were times when Harry and the other members of the little Castlewood family were almost brought to share in it. No. George was not dead; George was a prisoner among the Indians; George would come back and rule over Castlewood; as sure, as sure as his Majesty would send a great force from home to recover the tarnished glory of the British arms, and to drive the French out of the Americas.

As for Mr. Washington, she would never, with her own good will, behold him again. He had promised to guard George's life with his own, and where was her boy.

So, if Harry wanted to meet his friend, he had to do so in secret. Madame Esmond was exceedingly excited when she heard that the Colonel and her son absolutely had met, and said to Harry, "How you can talk, sir, of loving George, and then go and meet your Mr. Washington, I can't understand."

So there was not only grief in the Castlewood House, but there was disunion. As a result of the gloom, and of his grief for the loss of his brother, Harry was again and again struck down by the fever, and all the Jesuits' bark in America could not cure him. They had a tobacco-house and some land about the new town of Richmond, and he went thither and there mended a little, but still did not get quite well, and the physicians strongly counselled a sea-voyage. Madame Esmond at one time had thoughts of going with him, but, as she and Harry did not agree very well, though they loved each other very heartily, 'twas determined that Harry should see the world for himself.

Accordingly he took passage on the "Young Rachel," Virginian ship, Edward Franks master. She proceeded to Bristol and moored as near as possible to Trail's wharf, to which she was consigned. Mr. Trail, who could survey his ship from his counting-house windows, straightway took boat and came up her side, and gave the hand of welcome to Captain Franks, congratulating the Captain upon the speedy and fortunate voyage which he had made.

Franks was a pleasant man, who loved a joke. "We have," says he, "but yonder ugly negro boy, who is fetching the trunks, and a passenger who has the state cabin to himself."

Mr. Trail looked as if he would have preferred more mercies from Heaven. "Confound you, Franks, and your luck! The 'Duke William,' which came in last week, brought fourteen, and she is not half of our tonnage."

"And this passenger, who has the whole cabin, don't pay nothin'," continued the Captain. "Swear now, it will do you good, Mr. Trail, indeed it will. I have tried the medicine."

"A passenger take the whole cabin and not pay? Gracious mercy, are you a fool, Captain Franks?"

"Ask the passenger himself, for here he comes." And as the master spoke, a young man of some nineteen years of age came up the hatchway. He had a cloak and a sword under his arm, and was dressed in deep mourning, and called out, "Gumbo, you idiot, why don't you fetch the baggage out of the cabin? Well, shipmate, our journey is ended. You will see all the little folks to-night whom you have been talking about. Give my love to Polly, and Betty, and little Tommy; not forgetting my duty to Mrs. Franks. I thought, yesterday, the voyage would never be done, and now I am almost sorry it is over. That little berth in my cabin looks very comfortable now I am going to leave it."

Mr. Trail scowled at the young passenger who had paid no money for his passage. He scarcely nodded his head to the stranger, when Captain Franks said: "This here gentleman is Mr. Trail, sir, whose name you have a-heerd of."

"It's pretty well known in Bristol, sir," says Mr. Trail, majestically.

"And this is Mr. Warrington, Madame Esmond Warrington's son, of Castlewood," continued the Captain.

The British merchant's hat was instantly off his head, and the owner of the beaver was making a prodigious number of bows, as if a crown-prince were before him.

"Gracious powers, Mr. Warrington! This is a delight, indeed! What a crowning mercy that your voyage should have been so prosperous! You have my boat to go on shore. Let me cordially and respectfully welcome you to England! Let me shake your hand as the son of my benefactress and patroness, Mrs. Esmond Warrington, whose name is known and honoured on Bristol 'Change, I warrant you. Isn't it, Franks?"

"There's no sweeter tobacco comes from Virginia," says Mr. Franks, drawing a great brass tobacco-box from his pocket, and thrusting a quid into his jolly mouth. "You don't know what a comfort it is, sir; you'll take to it, bless you, as you grow older. Won't he, Mr. Trail? I wish you had ten shiploads of it instead of one. You might have ten shiploads; I've told Madame Esmond so; I've rode over her plantation; she treats me like a lord when I go to the house. She is a real-born lady, she is; and might have a thousand hogsheads as easy as her hundreds, if there were but hands enough."

"I have lately engaged in the Guinea trade, and could supply her ladyship with any number of healthy young negroes before next fall," said Mr. Trail, obsequiously.

"We are averse to the purchase of negroes from Africa," said the young gentleman, coldly. "My grandfather and my mother have always objected to it, and I do not like to think of selling or buying the poor wretches."

"It is for their good, my dear young sir! We purchased the poor creatures only for their benefit; let me talk this matter over with you at my own house. I can introduce you to a happy home, a Christian family, and a British merchant's honest fare. Can't I, Captain Franks?"

"Can't say," growled the Captain. "Never asked me to take bite or sup at your table. Asked me to psalm-singing once, and to hear Mr. Ward preach: don't care for them sort of entertainments."

Not choosing to take any notice of this remark, Mr. Trail continued in his low tone: "Business is business, my dear young sir, and I know 'tis only my duty, the duty of all of us, to cultivate the fruits of the earth in their season. As the heir of Lady Esmond's estate--for I speak, I believe, to the heir of the great property?"

The young gentleman made a bow.

"I would urge upon you, at the very earliest moment, the duty of increasing the ample means with which Heaven has blessed you. As an honest factor, I could not do otherwise: as a prudent man, should I scruple to speak of what will tend to your profit and mine? No, my dear Mr. George."

"My name is not George; my name is Henry," said the young man as he turned his head away, and his eyes filled with tears.

"Gracious powers! what do you mean, sir? Did you not say you were my lady's heir, and is not George Esmond Warrington, Esq.--?"

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" cried Mr. Franks, striking the merchant a tough blow on his sleek sides, as the young lad turned away. "Don't you see the young gentleman a-swabbing his eyes, and note his black clothes?"

"What do you mean, Captain Franks, by laying your hand on your owners? Mr. George is the heir; I know the Colonel's will well enough."

"Mr. George is there," said the Captain, pointing with his thumb to the deck.

"Where?" cries the factor.

"Mr. George is there!" reiterated the Captain, again lifting up his finger towards the topmast, or the sky beyond. "He is dead a year, sir, come next 9th of July. He would go out with General Braddock on that dreadful business to the Belle Riviere. He and a thousand more never came back again. Every man of them was murdered as he fell. You know the Indian way, Mr. Trail?" And here the Captain passed his hand rapidly round his head.

"Horrible! ain't it, sir? Horrible! He was a fine young man, the very picture of this one; only his hair was black, which is now hanging in a bloody Indian wigwam. He was often and often on board of the 'Young Rachel,' and would have his chests of books broke open on deck before they landed. He was a shy and silent young gent, not like this one, which was the merriest, wildest young fellow, full of his songs and fun. He took on dreadful at the news; went to his bed, had that fever which lays so many of 'em by the heels along that swampy Potomac, but he's got better on the voyage: the voyage makes everyone better; and, in course, the young gentleman can't be forever a-crying after a brother who dies and leaves him a great fortune. Ever since we sighted Ireland he has been quite gay and happy, only he would go off at times when he was most merry, saying, 'I wish my dearest Georgie could enjoy this here sight along with me,' and when you mentioned t'other's name, you see, he couldn't stand it." And the honest Captain's own eyes filled with tears, as he turned and looked towards the object of his compassion.

Mr. Trail assumed a sad expression befitting the tragic compliment with which he prepared to greet the young Virginian; but the latter answered him very curtly, declining his offers of hospitality, and only stayed in Mr. Trail's house long enough to drink a glass of wine and to take up a sum of money of which he stood in need. But he and Captain Franks parted on the very warmest terms, and all the little crew of the "Young Rachel" cheered from the ship's side as their passenger left it.

Again and again Harry Warrington and his brother had pored over the English map, and determined upon the course which they should take upon arriving at Home. All Americans of English ancestry who love their mother country have rehearsed their English travels, and visited in fancy the spots with which their hopes, their parents' fond stories, their friends' descriptions, have rendered them familiar. There are few things to me more affecting in the history of the quarrel which divided the two great nations than the recurrence of that word Home, as used by the younger towards the elder country. Harry Warrington had his chart laid out. Before London, and its glorious temples of St. Paul's and St. Peter's; its grim Tower, where the brave and loyal had shed their blood, from Wallace down to Balmerino and Kilmarnock, pitied by gentle hearts; before the awful window at Whitehall, whence the martyr Charles had issued, to kneel once more, and then ascended to Heaven; before playhouses, parks, and palaces, wondrous resorts of wit, pleasure and splendour; before Shakespeare's resting-place under the tall spire which rises by Avon, amidst the sweet Warwickshire pastures; before Derby, and Falkirk, and Culloden, where the cause of honour and loyalty had fallen, it might be to rise no more: before all these points in their pilgrimage there was one which the young Virginian brothers held even more sacred, and that was the home of their family, that old Castlewood in Hampshire, about which their parents had talked so fondly. From Bristol to Bath, from Bath to Salisbury, to Winchester, to Hexton, to Home; they knew the way, and had mapped the journey many and many a time.

We must fancy our American traveller to be a handsome young fellow, whose suit of sables only makes him look the more interesting. The plump landlady looked kindly after the young gentleman as he passed through the inn-hall from his post-chaise, and the obsequious chamberlain bowed him upstairs to the "Rose" or the "Dolphin." The trim chambermaid dropped her best curtsey for his fee, and Gumbo, in the inn-kitchen, where the townsfolk drank their mug of ale by the great fire, bragged of his young master's splendid house in Virginia, and of the immense wealth to which he was heir. The post-chaise whirled the traveller through the most delightful home scenery his eyes had ever lighted on. If English landscape is pleasant to the American of the present day, who must needs contrast the rich woods and growing pastures and picturesque ancient villages of the old country with the rough aspect of his own, how much pleasanter must Harry Warrington's course have been, whose journeys had lain through swamps and forest solitudes from one Virginian ordinary to another log-house at the end of the day's route, and who now lighted suddenly upon the busy, happy, splendid scene of English summer? And the high-road, a hundred years ago, was not that grass-grown desert of the present time. It was alive with constant travel and traffic: the country towns and inns swarmed with life and gaiety. The ponderous waggon, with its bells and plodding team; the light post-coach that achieved the journey from the "White Hart," Salisbury, to the "Swan with Two Necks," London, in two days; the strings of pack-horses that had not yet left the road; my lord's gilt post-chaise and six, with the outriders galloping on ahead; the country squire's great coach and heavy Flanders mares; the farmers trotting to market, or the parson jolting to the cathedral town on Dumpling, his wife behind on the pillion--all these crowding sights and brisk people greeted the young traveller on his summer journey. Hodge, the farmer's boy, took off his hat, and Polly, the milk-maid, bobbed a curtsey, as the chaise whirled over the pleasant village-green, and the white-headed children lifted their chubby faces and cheered. The church-spires glistened with gold, the cottage-gables glared in sunshine, the great elms murmured in summer, or cast purple shadows over the grass. Young Warrington never had had such a glorious day, or witnessed a scene so delightful. To be nineteen years of age, with high health, high spirits, and a full purse, to be making your first journey, and rolling through the country in a post-chaise at nine miles an hour--Oh, happy youth! almost it makes one young to think of him!

And there let us leave him at Castlewood Inn, on ground hallowed by the footsteps of his ancestors. There he stands, with new scenes, new friends, new experiences ahead, rich in hope, in expectation, and in the enthusiasm of youth--youth that comes but once, and is so fleet of foot!

And still more glad would he have been had he known that the near future was to verify his mother's belief; to restore to him the twin-brother now mourned as dead. And glad are we, in looking beyond this story of boyhood days, to find that though in the Revolutionary War the subjects of this sketch fought on different sides in the quarrel, they came out peacefully at its conclusion, as brothers should, their love never having materially diminished, however angrily the contest divided them.

The colonel in scarlet and the general in blue and buff hang side by side in the wainscoted parlour of the Warringtons in England, and the portraits are known by the name of "The Virginians."



While the last century was in its teens, and on one sunshiny morning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton's Academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by a fat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of four miles an hour. A black servant, who reposed on the box beside the fat coachman, uncurled his bandy legs as soon as the equipage drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton's shining brass plate; and as he pulled the bell at least a score of young heads were seen peering out of the narrow windows of the stately old brick house. Nay, the acute observer might have recognised the little red nose of good-natured Miss Jemima Pinkerton herself, rising over some geranium-pots in the window of that lady's own drawing-room. "It is Mrs. Sedley's coach, sister," said Miss Jemima. "Sambo, the black servant, has just rung the bell; and the coachman has a new red waistcoat."

"Have you completed all the necessary preparations incident to Miss Sedley's departure, Miss Jemima?" asked Miss Pinkerton, that majestic lady, the friend of the famous literary man, Dr. Johnson, the author of the great Dixonary of the English language, called commonly the great Lexicographer.

"The girls were up at four this morning, packing her trunks, sister," replied Miss Jemima; "we have made her a bow-pot."

"Say a bouquet, sister Jemima, 'tis more genteel."

"Well, a booky as big almost as a hay-stack; I have put up two bottles of the gillyflower-water for Mrs. Sedley, and the receipt for making it, in Amelia's box."

"And I trust, Miss Jemima, you have made a copy of Miss Sedley's account. This is it, is it? Very good--ninety-three pounds, four shillings. Be kind enough to address it to John Sedley, Esquire, and to seal this billet which I have written to his lady."

In Miss Jemima's eyes an autograph letter of her sister, Miss Pinkerton, was an object of as deep veneration as would have been a letter from a sovereign. Only when her pupils quitted the establishment, or when they were about to be married, and once, when poor Miss Birch died of the scarlet fever, was Miss Pinkerton known to write personally to the parents of her pupils; and it was Jemima's opinion that if anything could have consoled Mrs. Birch for her daughter's loss, it would have been that pious and eloquent composition in which Miss Pinkerton announced the event.

In the present instance Miss Pinkerton's "billet" was to the following effect:

* * * * *

THE MALL, CHISWICK, June 15, 18--.

Madam: After her six years' residence at the Mall, I have the honour and happiness of presenting Miss Amelia Sedley to her parents, as a young lady not unworthy to occupy a fitting position in their polished and refined circle. Those virtues which characterise the young English gentlewoman; those accomplishments which become her birth and station, will not be found wanting in the amiable Miss Sedley, whose industry and obedience have endeared her to her instructors, and whose delightful sweetness of temper has charmed her aged and her youthful companions.

In music, dancing, in orthography, in every variety of embroidery and needle-work, she will be found to have realised her friends' fondest wishes. In geography there is still much to be desired; and a careful and undeviating use of the back-board, for four hours daily during the next three years is recommended as necessary to the acquirement of that dignified deportment and carriage so requisite for every young lady of fashion.

In the principles of religion and morality, Miss Sedley will be found worthy of an establishment which has been honoured by the presence of The Great Lexicographer, and the patronage of the admirable Mrs. Chapone. In leaving them all, Miss Amelia carries with her the hearts of her companions, and the affectionate regards of her mistress, who has the honour to subscribe herself, Madam, your most obliged humble servant,


P.S.--Miss Sharp accompanies Miss Sedley. It is particularly requested that Miss Sharp's stay in Russell Square may not exceed ten days. The family of distinction with whom she is engaged as governess desire to avail themselves of her services as soon as possible.

* * * * *

This letter completed, Miss Pinkerton proceeded to write her own name and Miss Sedley's in the fly-leaf of a Johnson's Dictionary, the interesting work which she invariably presented to her scholars on their departure from the Mall. On the cover was inserted a copy of "Lines addressed to a young lady on quitting Miss Pinkerton's school, at the Mall; by the late revered Dr. Samuel Johnson." In fact, the Lexicographer's name was always on the lips of this majestic woman, and a visit he had paid to her was the cause of her reputation and her fortune.

Being commanded by her elder sister to get The Dixonary from the cupboard, Miss Jemima had extracted two copies of the book from the receptacle in question. When Miss Pinkerton had finished the inscription in the first, Jemima, with rather a dubious and timid air handed her the second.

"For whom is this, Miss Jemima?" said Miss Pinkerton, with awful coldness.

"For Becky Sharp," answered Jemima, trembling very much, and blushing over her withered face and neck, as she turned her back on her sister. "For Becky Sharp. She's going, too."

"MISS JEMIMA!" exclaimed Miss Pinkerton, in the largest capitals. "Are you in your senses? Replace the Dixonary in the closet, and never venture to take such a liberty in future."

"Well, sister, it's only two and nine-pence, and poor Becky will be miserable if she don't get one."

"Send Miss Sedley instantly to me," was Miss Pinkerton's only answer. And, venturing not to say another word, poor Jemima trotted off, exceedingly flurried and nervous, while the two pupils, Miss Sedley and Miss Sharp, were making final preparation for their departure for Miss Sedley's home.

Now, Miss Sedley's papa was a merchant in London, and a man of some wealth, whereas Miss Sharp was only an articled pupil, for whom Miss Pinkerton had done, as she thought, quite enough, without conferring upon her at parting the high honour of the dixonary. Miss Sharp's father had been an artist, and in former years had given lessons in drawing at Miss Pinkerton's school. He was a clever man, a pleasant companion, a careless student, with a great propensity for running into debt, and a partiality for the tavern. As it was with the utmost difficulty that he could keep himself, and as he owed money for a mile round Soho, where he lived, he thought to better his circumstances by marrying a young woman of the French nation, who was by profession an opera-girl, who had had some education somewhere, and her daughter Rebecca spoke French with purity and a Parisian accent. It was in those days rather a rare accomplishment, and led to her engagement with the orthodox Miss Pinkerton. For, her mother being dead, her father, finding himself fatally ill, as a consequence of his bad habits, wrote a manly and pathetic letter to Miss Pinkerton, recommending the orphan child to her protection, and so descended to the grave, after two bailiffs had quarrelled over his corpse. Rebecca was seventeen when she came to Chiswick, and was bound over as an articled pupil; her duties being to talk French, as we have seen; and her privileges to live cost free, and with a few guineas a year, to gather scraps of knowledge from the professors who attended the school.

She was small, and slight in person; pale, sandy-haired, and with eyes almost habitually cast down. When they looked up, they were very large, odd, and attractive. By the side of many tall and bouncing young ladies in the establishment Rebecca Sharp looked like a child. But she had the dismal precocity of poverty. Many a dun had she talked to, and turned away from her father's door; many a tradesman had she coaxed and wheedled into good-humour, and into the granting of one meal more. She had sat commonly with her father, who was very proud of her wit, and heard the talk of many of his wild companions, often but ill-suited for a girl to hear; but she had never been a girl, she said; she had been a woman since she was eight years old.

Miss Jemima, however, believed her to be the most innocent creature in the world, so admirably did Rebecca play the part of a child on the occasions when her father brought her to Chiswick as a young girl, and only a year before her father's death, and when she was sixteen years old, Miss Pinkerton majestically and with a little speech made her a present of a doll, which was, by the way, the confiscated property of Miss Swindle, discovered surreptitiously nursing it in school-hours. How the father and daughter laughed as they trudged home together after the evening party, and how Miss Pinkerton would have raged had she seen the caricature of herself which the little mimic, Rebecca, managed to make out of the doll. Becky used to go through dialogues with it; it formed the delight of the circle of young painters who frequented the studio, who used regularly to ask Rebecca if Miss Pinkerton was at home. Once Rebecca had the honour to pass a few days at Chiswick, after which she brought back another doll which she called Miss Jemmy; for, though that honest creature had made and given her jelly and cake enough for three children, and a seven-shillings piece at parting, the girl's sense of ridicule was far stronger than her gratitude; and she sacrificed Miss Jemmy as pitilessly as her sister.

Then came the ending of Becky's studio days, and, an orphan, she was transplanted to the Mall as her home.

The rigid formality of the place suffocated her; the prayers and meals, the lessons and the walks, which were arranged with the regularity of a convent, oppressed her almost beyond endurance; and she looked back to the freedom and the beggary of her father's old studio with bitter regret. She had never mingled in the society of women: her father, reprobate as he was, was a man of talent; his conversation was a thousand times more agreeable to her than the silly chat and scandal of the schoolgirls, and the frigid correctness of the governesses equally annoyed her. She had no soft maternal heart, this unlucky girl. The prattle of the younger children, with whose care she was chiefly entrusted, might have soothed and interested her; but she lived among them two years, and not one was sorry that she went away. The gentle, tender-hearted Amelia Sedley was the only person to whom she could attach herself in the least; and who could help attaching herself to Amelia?

The happiness, the superior advantages of the young women round about her, gave Rebecca inexpressible pangs of envy. "What airs that girl gives herself, because she is an Earl's granddaughter," she said of one. "How they cringe and bow to the Creole, because of her hundred thousand pounds. I am a thousand times cleverer and more charming than that creature, for all her wealth. I am as well bred as the Earl's granddaughter, for all her fine pedigree; and yet everyone passes me by here."

She determined to get free from the prison in which she found herself, and now began to act for herself, and for the first time to make connected plans for the future.

She took advantage, therefore, of the means of study the place offered her; and as she was already a musician and a good linguist, she speedily went through the little course of study considered necessary for ladies in those days. Her music she practised incessantly; and one day, when the girls were out, and she remained at home, she was overheard to play a piece so well that Miss Minerva thought, wisely, she could spare herself the expense of a master for the juniors, and intimated to Miss Sharp that she was to instruct them in music for the future.

The girl refused; and for the first time, and to the astonishment of the majestic mistress of the school. "I am here to speak French with the children," Rebecca said abruptly, "not to teach them music, and save money for you. Give me money, and I will teach them."

Miss Minerva was obliged to yield, and of course disliked her from that day. "For five-and-thirty years," she said, and with great justice, "I never have seen the individual who has dared in my own house to question my authority. I have nourished a viper in my bosom."

"A viper--a fiddlestick!" said Miss Sharp to the old lady, who was almost fainting with astonishment. "You took me because I was useful. There is no question of gratitude between us. I hate this place, and want to leave it. I will do nothing here but what I am obliged to do."

It was in vain that the old lady asked her if she was aware she was speaking to Miss Pinkerton? Rebecca laughed in her face. "Give me a sum of money," said the girl, "and get rid of me. Or, if you like better, get me a good place as governess in a nobleman's family. You can do so if you please." And in their further disputes she always returned to this point: "Get me a situation--I am ready to go."

Worthy Miss Pinkerton, although she had a Roman nose and a turban, and was as tall as a grenadier, and had been up to this time an irresistible princess, had no will or strength like that of her little apprentice, and in vain did battle against her, and tried to overawe her. Attempting once to scold her in public, Rebecca hit upon the plan of answering her in French, which quite routed the old woman, who did not understand or speak that language. In order to maintain authority in her school, it became necessary to remove this rebel, this firebrand; and hearing about this time that Sir Pitt Crawley's family was in want of a governess, she actually recommended Miss Sharp for the situation, firebrand and serpent as she was. "I cannot certainly," she said, "find fault with Miss Sharp's conduct, except to myself; and must allow that her talents and accomplishments are of a high order. As far as the head goes, at least, she does credit to the educational system pursued at my establishment."

And so the schoolmistress reconciled the recommendation to her conscience, and the apprentice was free. And as Miss Sedley, being now in her seventeenth year, was about to leave school, and had a friendship for Miss Sharp ("'Tis the only point in Amelia's behaviour," said Miss Minerva, "which has not been satisfactory to her mistress"), Miss Sharp was invited by her friend to pass a week with her in London, before Becky entered upon her duties as governess in a private family; which thoughtfulness on the part of Amelia was only an additional proof of the girl's affectionate nature. In fact, Miss Amelia Sedley was a young lady who deserved not only all that Miss Pinkerton said in her praise, but had many charming qualities which that pompous old woman could not see, from the differences of rank and age between her pupil and herself. She could not only sing like a lark, and dance divinely, and embroider beautifully, and spell as well as a "Dixonary" itself, but she had such a kindly, smiling, tender, gentle, generous heart of her own as won the love of everybody who came near her, from Miss Minerva herself down to the poor girl in the scullery and the one-eyed tart woman's daughter, who was permitted to vend her wares once a week to the young ladies in the Mall. She had twelve intimate and bosom friends out of the twenty-four young ladies. Even envious Miss Briggs never spoke ill of her: high and mighty Miss Saltire allowed that her figure was genteel; and as for Miss Swartz, the rich woolly-haired mulatto from St. Kitts, on the day Amelia went away she was in such a passion of tears that they were obliged to send for Dr. Floss, and half-tipsify her with salvolatile. Miss Pinkerton's attachment was, as may be supposed, from the high position and eminent virtues of that lady, calm and dignified; but Miss Jemima had already whimpered several times at the idea of Amelia's departure; and but for fear of her sister would have gone off in downright hysterics, like the heiress of St. Kitts.

As Amelia is not a heroine, there is no need to describe her person; indeed I am afraid that her nose was rather short than otherwise, and her cheeks a great deal too round and red for a heroine; but her face blushed with rosy health, and her lips with the freshest of smiles, and she had a pair of eyes which sparkled with the brightest and honestest good-humour, except indeed when they filled with tears, and that was a great deal too often; for the silly thing would cry over a dead canary bird; or over a mouse that the cat haply had seized upon; or over the end of a novel, were it ever so stupid; and as for saying an unkind word to her, were any persons hard-hearted enough to do so--why so much the worse for them. Even Miss Pinkerton, that austere woman, ceased scolding her after the first time, and, though she no more comprehended sensibility than she did capital Algebra, gave all masters and teachers particular orders to treat Miss Sedley with the utmost gentleness, as harsh treatment was injurious to her.

So that when the day of departure came, between her two customs of laughing and crying, Miss Sedley was greatly puzzled how to act. She was glad to go home, and yet most woefully sad at leaving school. For three days before, little Laura Martin, the orphan, followed her about like a little dog. She had to make and receive at least fourteen presents, to make fourteen solemn promises of writing every week.

"Send my letters under cover to my grandpa, the Earl of Dexter," said Miss Saltire.

"Never mind the postage, but write every day, you dear darling," said the impetuous and woolly-headed, but generous and affectionate, Miss Schwartz; and little Laura Martin took her friend's hand and said, looking up in her face wistfully, "Amelia, when I write to you I shall call you mamma."

All of these details, foolish and sentimental as they may seem, go to show the extreme popularity and personal charm of Amelia.

Well then. The flowers, and the presents, and the trunks, and bonnet-boxes of Miss Sedley having been arranged by Mr. Sambo in the carriage, together with a very small and weather-beaten old cowskin trunk with Miss Sharp's card neatly nailed upon it, which was delivered by Sambo with a grin, and packed by the coachman with a corresponding sneer, the hour for parting came; and the grief of that moment was considerably lessened by the admirable discourse which Miss Pinkerton addressed to her pupil. Not that the parting speech caused Amelia to philosophise, or that it armed her in any way with a calmness, the result of argument; but it was intolerably dull, and having the fear of her schoolmistress greatly before her eyes, Miss Sedley did not venture, in her presence, to give way to any ablutions of private grief. A seed-cake and a bottle of wine were produced in the drawing-room, as on the solemn occasions of the visits of parents, and these refreshments being partaken of, Miss Sedley was at liberty to depart.

"You'll go in and say good-bye to Miss Pinkerton, Becky!" said Miss Jemima to that young lady, of whom nobody took any notice, and who was coming downstairs with her own bandbox.

"I suppose I must," said Miss Sharp calmly, and much to the wonder of Miss Jemima; and the latter, having knocked at the door, and receiving permission to come in, Miss Sharp advanced in a very unconcerned manner, and said in French, and with a perfect accent, _"Mademoiselle, je viens vous faire mes adieux."_

Miss Pinkerton did not understand French, as we know; she only directed those who did; but biting her lips and throwing up her venerable and Roman-nosed head, she said: "Miss Sharp, I wish you a good-morning." As she spoke, she waved one hand, both by way of adieu and to give Miss Sharp an opportunity of shaking one of the fingers of the hand, which was left out for that purpose.

Miss Sharp only folded her own hands with a very frigid smile and bow, and quite declined to accept the proffered honour; on which Miss Pinkerton tossed up her turban more indignantly than ever. In fact, it was a little battle between the young lady and the old one, and the latter was worsted. "Heaven bless you, my child," she exclaimed, embracing Amelia, and scowling the while over the girl's shoulder at Miss Sharp.

"Come away, Becky," said Miss Jemima, pulling the young woman away in great alarm, and the drawing-room door closed upon them forever.

Then came the struggle and parting below. Words refuse to tell it. All the servants were there in the hall--all the dear friends--all the young ladies--even the dancing master, who had just arrived; and there was such a scuffling, and hugging, and kissing, and crying, with the hysterical yoops of Miss Schwartz, the parlour boarder, from her room, as no pen can depict, and as the tender heart would feign pass over. The embracing was over; they parted--that is, Miss Sedley parted from her friends. Miss Sharp had demurely entered the carriage some minutes before. Nobody cried for leaving her.

Sambo of the bandy legs slammed the carriage door on his young weeping mistress. He sprang up behind the carriage.

"Stop!" cried Miss Jemima, rushing to the gate with a parcel.

"It's some sandwiches, my dear," she called to Amelia. "You may be hungry, you know; ... and Becky--Becky Sharp--here's a book for you, that my sister--that is, I--Johnson's Dixonary, you know; ... you mustn't leave us without that! Good-bye! Drive on, coachman!--God bless you!"

And the kind creature retreated into the garden, overcome with emotion.

But, lo! and just as the coach drove off, Miss Sharp suddenly put her pale face out of the window, and flung the book back into the garden--flung it far and fast--watching it fall at the feet of astonished Miss Jemima; then sank back in the carriage, exclaiming: "So much for the 'Dixonary'; and, thank God, I am out of Chiswick!"

The shock of such an act almost caused Jemima to faint with terror.

"Well, I never--" she began. "What an audacious--" she gasped. Emotion prevented her from completing either sentence.

The carriage rolled away; the great gates were closed; the bell rang for the dancing lesson. The world is before the two young ladies; and so, farewell to Chiswick Mall.


[Illustration: CUFF'S FIGHT WITH "FIGS."]

Cuff's fight with Figs, and the unexpected issue of that contest, will long be remembered by every man who was educated at Dr. Swishtail's famous school. The latter youth (who used to be called Heigh-ho Dobbin, Gee-ho Dobbin, Figs, and by many other names indicative of puerile contempt) was the quietest, the clumsiest, and, as it seemed, the dullest of all Dr. Swishtail's young gentlemen. His parent was a grocer in the city: and it was bruited abroad that he was admitted into Dr. Swishtails academy upon what are called "mutual principles"--that is to say, the expenses of his board and schooling were defrayed by his father in goods, not money; and he stood there--almost at the bottom of the school--in his scraggy corduroys and jacket, through the seams of which his great big bones were bursting, as the representative of so many pounds of tea, candles, sugar, mottled-soap, plums (of which a very mild proportion was supplied for the puddings of the establishment), and other commodities. A dreadful day it was for young Dobbin when one of the youngsters of the school, having run into the town upon a poaching excursion for hardbake and polonies, espied the cart of Dobbin & Rudge, Grocers and Oilmen, Thames Street, London, at the Doctor's door, discharging a cargo of the wares in which the firm dealt.

Young Dobbin had no peace after that. The jokes were frightful and merciless against him.

"Hullo, Dobbin," one wag would say, "here's good news in the paper. Sugar is ris', my boy."

Another would set a sum--"If a pound of mutton-candles cost sevenpence-halfpenny, how much must Dobbin cost?" and a roar would follow from all the circle of young knaves, usher and all, who rightly considered that the selling of goods by retail is a shameful and infamous practice, meriting the contempt and scorn of all real gentlemen.

"Your father's only a merchant, Osborne," Dobbin said in private to the little boy who had brought down the storm upon him. At which the latter replied haughtily, "My father's a gentleman, and keeps his carriage;" and Mr. William Dobbin retreated to a remote out-house in the playground, where he passed a half-holiday in the bitterest sadness and woe.

Now, William Dobbin, from an incapacity to acquire the rudiments of the Latin language, as they are propounded in that wonderful book, the Eton Latin Grammar, was compelled to remain among the very last of Dr. Swishtail's scholars, and was "taken down" continually by little fellows with pink faces and pinafores when he marched up with the lower form, a giant amongst them, with his downcast, stupefied look, his dog's-eared primer, and his tight corduroys. High and low, all made fun of him. They sewed up those corduroys, tight as they were. They cut his bed-springs. They upset buckets and benches, so that he might break his shins over them, which he never failed to do. They sent him parcels, which, when opened, were found to contain the paternal soap and candles. There was no little fellow but had his jeer and joke at Dobbin; and he bore everything quite patiently, and was entirely dumb and miserable.

Cuff, on the contrary, was the great chief and dandy of the Swishtail Seminary. He smuggled wine in. He fought the town-boys. Ponies used to come for him to ride home on Saturdays. He had his top-boots in his room in which he used to hunt in the holidays. He had a gold repeater, and took snuff like the Doctor. He had been to the Opera, and knew the merits of the principal actors, preferring Mr. Kean to Mr. Kemble. He could knock you off forty Latin verses in an hour. He could make French poetry. What else didn't he know, or couldn't he do? They said even the Doctor himself was afraid of him.

Cuff, the unquestioned king of the school, ruled over his subjects, and bullied them, with splendid superiority. This one blacked his shoes, that toasted his bread, others would fag out, and give him balls at cricket during whole summer afternoons. Figs was the fellow whom he despised most, and with whom, though always abusing him, and sneering at him, he scarcely ever condescended to hold personal communication.

One day in private the two young gentlemen had had a difference. Figs, alone in the school-room, was blundering over a home letter, when Cuff, entering, bade him go upon some message, of which tarts were probably the subject.

"I can't," says Dobbin; "I want to finish my letter."

"You can't?" says Mr. Cuff, laying hold of that document (in which many words were scratched out, many were misspelt, on which had been spent I don't know how much thought, and labour, and tears; for the poor fellow was writing to his mother, who was fond of him, although she was a grocer's wife, and lived in a back parlour in Thames Street). "You can't?" says Mr. Cuff. "I should like to know why, pray? Can't you write to old Mother Figs tomorrow?"

"Don't call names," Dobbin said, getting off the bench, very nervous.

"Well, sir, will you go?" crowed the cock of the school.

"Put down the letter," Dobbin replied; "no gentleman readth letterth."

"Well, now will you go?" says the other.

"No, I won't. Don't strike, or I'll thmash you," roars out Dobbin, springing to a leaden inkstand, and looking so wicked that Mr. Cuff paused, turned down his coat sleeves again, put his hands into his pockets, and walked away with a sneer. But he never meddled personally with the grocer's boy after that; though we must do him the justice to say he always spoke of Mr. Dobbin with contempt behind his back.

Some time after this interview it happened that Mr. Cuff, on a sunshiny afternoon, was in the neighbourhood of poor William Dobbin, who was lying under a tree in the playground, spelling over a favourite copy of the "Arabian Nights" which he had--apart from the rest of the school, who were pursuing their various sports--quite lonely, and almost happy.

Well, William Dobbin had for once forgotten the world, and was away with Sindbad the Sailor in the Valley of Diamonds, or with Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Peribanou in that delightful cavern where the Prince found her, and whither we should all like to make a tour, when shrill cries, as of a little fellow weeping, woke up his pleasant reverie, and, looking up, he saw Cuff before him, belabouring a little boy.

It was the lad who had peached upon him about the grocer's cart, but he bore little malice, not at least towards the young and small. "How dare you, sir, break the bottle?" says Cuff to the little urchin, swinging a yellow cricket-stump over him.

The boy had been instructed to get over the playground wall (at a selected spot where the broken glass had been removed from the top, and niches made convenient in the brick), to run a quarter of a mile, to purchase a pint of rum-shrub on credit, to brave all the Doctor's outlying spies, and to clamber back into the playground again; during the performance of which feat his foot had slipped, and the bottle broken, and the shrub had been spilt, and his pantaloons had been damaged, and he appeared before his employer a perfectly guilty and trembling, though harmless, wretch.

"How dare you, sir, break it?" says Cuff; "you blundering little thief. You drank the shrub, and now you pretend to have broken the bottle. Hold out your hand, sir."

Down came the stump with a great heavy thump on the child's hand. A moan followed. Dobbin looked up. The Fairy Peribanou had fled into the inmost cavern with Prince Ahmed; the Roc had whisked away Sindbad, the Sailor, out of the Valley of Diamonds, out of sight, far into the clouds; and there was every-day life before honest William; and a big boy beating a little one without cause.

"Hold out your other hand, sir," roars Cuff to his little school-fellow, whose face was distorted with pain. Dobbin quivered, and gathered himself up in his narrow old clothes.

"Take that, you little devil!" cried Mr. Cuff, and down came the wicket again on the child's hand. Down came the wicket again, and Dobbin started up.

I can't tell what his motive was. Perhaps his foolish soul revolted against that exercise of tyranny, or perhaps he had a hankering feeling of revenge in his mind, and longed to measure himself against that splendid bully and tyrant, who had all the glory, pride, pomp, circumstance, banners flying, drums beating, guards saluting, in the place. Whatever may have been his incentive, however, up he sprang, and screamed out, "Hold off, Cuff; don't bully that child any more, or I'll--"

"Or you'll what?" Cuff asked in amazement at this interruption. "Hold out your hand, you little beast."

"I'll give you the worst thrashing you ever had in your life," Dobbin said, in reply to the first part of Cuff's sentence; and the little lad, Osborne, gasping and in tears, looked up with wonder and incredulity at seeing this amazing champion put up suddenly to defend him, while Cuff's astonishment was scarcely less. Fancy our late monarch George III., when he heard of the revolt of the North American colonies; fancy brazen Goliath when little David stepped forward and claimed a meeting; and you have the feeling of Mr. Reginald Cuff when this encounter was proposed to him.

"After school," says he, "of course," after a pause and a look, as much as to say, "Make your will, and communicate your last wishes to your friends between this time and that."

"As you please," Dobbin said. "You must be my bottle-holder, Osborne."

"Well, if you like," little Osborne replied; for you see his papa kept a carriage, and he was rather ashamed of his champion.

Yes, when the hour of battle came he was almost ashamed to say, "Go it, Figs"; and not a single other boy in the place uttered that cry for the first two or three rounds of this famous combat; at the commencement of which the scientific Cuff, with a contemptuous smile on his face, and as light and as gay as if he was at a ball, planted his blows upon his adversary, and floored that unlucky champion three times running. At each fall there was a cheer, and everybody was anxious to have the honour of offering the conqueror a knee.

"What a licking I shall get when it's over," young Osborne thought, picking up his man. "You'd best give in," he said to Dobbin; "it's only a thrashing, Figs, and you know I'm used to it." But Figs, all whose limbs were in a quiver, and whose nostrils were breathing rage, put his little bottle-holder aside, and went in for a fourth time.

As he did not in the least know how to parry the blows that were aimed at himself, and Cuff had begun the attack on the three preceding occasions without ever allowing his enemy to strike, Figs now determined that he would commence the engagement by a charge on his own part; and, accordingly, being a left-handed man, brought that arm into action, and hit out a couple of times with all his might--once at Mr. Cuff's left eye, and once on his beautiful Roman nose.

Cuff went down this time, to the astonishment of the assembly. "Well hit, by Jove," says little Osborne, with the air of a connoisseur, clapping his man on the back. "Give it to him with the left, Figs, my boy."

Figs's left made terrific play during all the rest of the combat. Cuff went down every time. At the sixth round there were almost as many fellows shouting out, "Go it, Figs," as there were youths exclaiming, "Go it, Cuff." At the twelfth round the latter champion was all abroad, as the saying is, and had lost all presence of mind and power of attack or defence. Figs, on the contrary, was as calm as a Quaker. His face being quite pale, his eyes shining open, and a great cut on his under lip bleeding profusely, gave this young fellow a fierce and ghastly air, which perhaps struck terror into many spectators. Nevertheless, his intrepid adversary prepared to close for the thirteenth time.

If I had the pen of a Napier, or a Bell's Life, I should like to describe this combat properly. It was the last charge of the Guard--(that is, it would have been, only Waterloo had not yet taken place); it was Ney's column breasting the hill of La Haye Sainte, bristling with ten thousand bayonets, and crowned with twenty eagles; it was the shout of the beef-eating British, as, leaping down the hill, they rushed to hug the enemy in the savage arms of battle; in other words, Cuff, coming up full of pluck, but quite reeling and groggy, the Fig-merchant put in his left as usual on his adversary's nose, and sent him down for the last time.

"I think that will do for him," Figs said, as his opponent dropped as neatly on the green as I have seen Jack Spot's ball plump into the pocket at billiards; and the fact is, when time was called, Mr. Reginald Cuff was not able, or did not choose, to stand up again.

And now all the boys set up such a shout for Figs as would have made you think he had been their darling champion through the whole battle; and as absolutely brought Dr. Swishtail out of his study, curious to know the cause of the uproar. He threatened to flog Figs violently, of course; but Cuff, who had come to himself by this time, and was washing his wounds, stood up and said, "It's my fault, sir--not Figs's--not Dobbin's. I was bullying a little boy; and he served me right." By which magnanimous speech he not only saved his conqueror a whipping, but got back all his ascendancy over the boys which his defeat had nearly cost him.

Young Osborne wrote home to his parents an account of the transaction:

* * * * *


Dear Mamma: I hope you are quite well. I should be much obliged to you to send me a cake and five shillings. There has been a fight here between Cuff & Dobbin. Cuff, you know, was the Cock of the School. They fought thirteen rounds, and Dobbin Licked. So Cuff is now Only Second Cock. The fight was about me. Cuff was licking me for breaking a bottle of milk, and Figs wouldn't stand it. We call him Figs because his father is a Grocer--Figs & Rudge, Thames St., City. I think as he fought for me you ought to buy your Tea & Sugar at his father's. Cuff goes home every Saturday, but can't this, because he has 2 Black Eyes. He has a white Pony to come and fetch him, and a groom and livery on a bay mare. I wish my Papa would let me have a Pony, and I am

Your dutiful Son,


P.S.--Give my love to little Emmy. I am cutting her out a Coach in card-board. Please not a seed-cake, but a plum-cake.

* * * * *

In consequence of Dobbin's victory, his character rose prodigiously in the estimation of all his school fellows, and the name of Figs, which had been a byword of reproach, became as respectable and popular a nickname as any other in use in the school. "After all, it's not his fault that his father's a grocer," George Osborne said, who, though a little chap, had a very high popularity among the Swishtail youth; and his opinion was received with great applause. It was voted low to sneer at Dobbin about this accident of birth. "Old Figs" grew to be a name of kindness and endearment, and the sneak of an usher jeered at him no longer.

And Dobbin's spirit rose with his altered circumstances. He made wonderful advances in scholastic learning. The superb Cuff himself, at whose condenscension Dobbin could only blush and wonder, helped him on with his Latin verses, "coached" him in play-hours, carried him triumphantly out of the little-boy class into the middle-sized form, and even there got a fair place for him. It was discovered that, although dull at classical learning, at mathematics he was uncommonly quick. To the contentment of all he passed third in Algebra, and got a French prize-book at the public Midsummer examination. You should have seen his mother's face when Telemaque (that delicious romance) was presented to him by the Doctor in the face of the whole school and the parents and company, with an inscription to Guielmo Dobbin. All the boys clapped hands in token of applause and sympathy. His blushes, his stumbles, his awkwardness, and the number of feet which he crushed as he went back to his place, who shall describe or calculate? Old Dobbin, his father, who now respected him for the first time, gave him two guineas publicly; most of which he spent in a general tuck-out for the school: and he came back in a tail-coat after the holidays.

Dobbin was much too modest a young fellow to suppose that this happy change in all his circumstances arose from his own generous and manly disposition; he chose, from some perverseness, to attribute his good fortune to the sole agency and benevolence of little George Osborne, to whom henceforth he vowed such a love and affection as is only felt by children, an affection as we read of in the charming fairy-book, which uncouth Orson had for splendid young Valentine, his conqueror. He flung himself down at little Osborne's feet, and loved him. Even before they were acquainted, he had admired Osborne in secret. Now he was his valet, his dog, his man Friday. He believed Osborne to be the possessor of every perfection, to be the handsomest, the bravest, the most active, the cleverest, the most generous of boys. He shared his money with him, bought him uncountable presents of knives, pencil cases, gold seals, toffee, little warblers, and romantic books, with large coloured pictures of knights and robbers, in many of which latter you might read inscriptions to George Sedley Osborne, Esquire, from his attached friend William Dobbin--which tokens of homage George received very graciously, as became his superior merit, as often and as long as they were proffered him.

In after years Dobbin's father, the despised grocer, became Alderman, and Colonel of the City Light Horse, in which corps George Osborne's father was but an indifferent Corporal. Colonel Dobbin was knighted by his sovereign, which honour placed his son William in a social position above that of the old school friends who had once been so scornful of him at Swishtail Academy; even above the object of his deepest admiration, George Osborne.

But this did not in the least alter honest, simple-minded William Dobbin's feelings, and his adoration for young Osborne remained unchanged. The two entered the army in the same regiment, and served together, and Dobbin's attachment for George was as warm and loyal then as when they were school-boys together.

Honest William Dobbin,--I would that there were more such staunch comrades as you to answer to the name of friend!



Rebecca sharp, the teacher of French at Miss Pinkerton's Academy for young ladies, and intimate friend of Miss Amelia Sedley, the most popular scholar in Miss Pinkerton's select establishment, left the institution at the same time to become a governess in the family of Sir Pitt Crawley. Amelia was the only daughter of John Sedley, a wealthy London stock broker, and upon leaving school was to take her place in fashionable society. Being the sweetest, most kind-hearted girl in the world, Amelia invited Becky to visit her in London before taking up her new duties as governess; which invitation Becky was only too glad to accept.

Now, Miss Sharp was in no way like the gentle Amelia, but as keen, brilliant, and selfish a young person of eighteen as ever schemed to have events turn to her advantage. These characteristics she showed so plainly while visiting at the Sedleys' that she left anything but a good impression behind her. In fact, her visit was cut short because of some unpleasant circumstances connected with her behaviour.

From that time she and Amelia did not meet for many months, during which Amelia had become the wife of George Osborne, and Rebecca Sharp had married Rawdon Crawley, son of Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet.

The circumstances of Amelia's life during these months altered greatly, for shortly after she left school honest John Sedley met with such severe losses that his family were obliged to live in a much more modest way than formerly. Because of this misfortune, the course of Amelia's love affair with young Lieutenant Osborne did not run smoothly; for his father was far too ambitious to consent to his only son's marriage with the daughter of a ruined man, although John Sedley was his son's godfather, and George had been devoted to Amelia since early boyhood.

Lieutenant Osborne therefore went away with his regiment, and poor little Amelia was left behind, to pine and mourn until it seemed there was no hope of saving her life unless happiness should speedily come to her. Then it was that Major Dobbin, George Osborne's staunch friend of schooldays, and also an ardent admirer of Amelia's, saw how she was grieving and took upon himself to inform George Osborne of the state of affairs. The young lieutenant came hurrying home just in time to save a gentle little heart from wearing itself away with sorrowing, and married Amelia without his father's consent. This so enraged the old gentleman that he refused to have his name mentioned in the home where the boy had grown up; the veriest tyrant and idol of his sisters and father.

To Brighton George and Amelia went on their honeymoon, and there they met Becky Sharp and her husband. Though the circumstances of the two young women's career had altered, Amelia and Becky were unchanged in character, but that is of small concern to us, except as it affects their children, to whose lives we now turn with keen interest, noting how they reflect the dispositions, and are affected by the characters of their mothers.

As for little Rawdon Crawley, Becky's only child, he had few early happy recollections of his mother. She had not, to say the truth, seen much of the young gentleman since his birth. After the amiable fashion of French mothers, she had placed him out at nurse in a village in the neighbourhood of Paris, where little Rawdon lived, not unhappily, with a numerous family of foster brothers in wooden shoes. His father, who was devotedly attached to the little fellow, would ride over many a time to see him here, and the elder Rawdon's paternal heart glowed to see him rosy and dirty, shouting lustily, and happy in the making of mud-pies under the superintendence of the gardener's wife, his nurse.

Rebecca, however, did not care much to go and see her son and heir, who as a result preferred his nurse's caresses to his mamma's, and when finally he quitted that jolly nurse, he cried loudly for hours. He was only consoled by his mother's promise that he should return to his nurse the next day; which promise, it is needless to say, was not kept; instead the boy was consigned to the care of a French maid, Genevieve, while his mother was seldom with him, and the French woman was so neglectful of her young charge that at one time he very narrowly escaped drowning on Calais sands, where Genevieve had left and lost him.

So with little care and less love his childhood passed until presently he went with his father and mother, Colonel and Mrs. Crawley, to London, to their new home in Curzon Street, Mayfair. There little Rawdon's time was mostly spent hidden upstairs in a garret somewhere, or crawling below into the kitchen for companionship. His mother scarcely ever took notice of him. He passed the days with his French nurse as long as she remained in the family, and when she went away, a housemaid took compassion on the little fellow, who was howling in the loneliness of the night, and got him out of his solitary nursery into her bed in the garret and comforted him.

Rebecca, her friend, my Lord Steyne, and one or two more were in the drawing-room taking tea after the opera, when this shouting was heard overhead. "It's my cherub crying for his nurse," said his mother, who did not offer to move and go and see the child. "Don't agitate your feelings by going to look after him," said Lord Steyne sardonically. "Bah!" exclaimed Becky, with a sort of blush. "He'll cry himself to sleep"; and they fell to talking about the opera.

Mr. Rawdon Crawley had stolen off, however, to look after his son and heir; and came back to the company when he found that honest Dolly was consoling the child. The Colonel's dressing-room was in those upper regions. He used to see the boy there in private. They had interviews together every morning when he shaved; Rawdon minor sitting on a box by his father's side, and watching the operation with never-ceasing pleasure. He and the sire were great friends. The father would bring him sweet-meats from the dessert, and hide them in a certain old epaulet box where the child went to seek them, and laughed with joy on discovering the treasure; laughed, but not too loud; for mamma was asleep and must not be disturbed. She did not go to rest until very late, and seldom rose until afternoon.

His father bought the boy plenty of picture books, and crammed his nursery with toys. Its walls were covered with pictures pasted up by the father's own hand. He passed hours with the boy, who rode on his chest, pulled his great moustaches as if they were driving reins, and spent days with him in indefatigable gambols. The room was a low one, and once, when the child was not five years old, his father, who was tossing him wildly up in his arms, hit the poor little chap's scull so violently against the ceiling that he almost dropped him, so terrified was he at the disaster.

Rawdon minor had made up his face for a tremendous howl, but just as he was going to begin, the father interposed.

"For God's sake, Rawdy, don't wake mamma," he cried. And the child, looking in a very hard and piteous way at his father, bit his lips, clenched his hands, and didn't cry a bit. Rawdon told that story at the clubs, at the mess, to everybody in town. "By Gad, sir," he explained to the public in general, "what a good plucky one that boy of mine is. What a trump he is! I half sent his head through the ceiling, and he wouldn't cry for fear of disturbing mother!"

Sometimes, once or twice in a week, that lady visited the upper regions in which the child lived. She came like a vivified picture, blandly smiling in the most beautiful new clothes and little gloves and boots. Wonderful scarfs, laces, and jewels glittered about her. She had always a new bonnet on; and flowers bloomed perpetually in it, or else magnificent curling ostrich feathers, soft and snowy as camellias. She nodded twice or thrice patronisingly to the little boy, who looked up from his dinner or from the pictures of soldiers he was painting. When she left the room, an odour of rose, or some other magical fragrance, lingered about the nursery. She was an unearthly being in his eyes, superior to his father, to all the world, to be worshipped and admired at a distance. To drive with that lady in a carriage was an awful rite. He sat in the back seat, and did not dare to speak; he gazed with all his eyes at the beautifully dressed princess opposite to him. Gentlemen on splendid prancing horses came up, and smiled and talked with her. How her eyes beamed upon all of them! Her hand used to quiver and wave gracefully as they passed. When he went out with her he had his new red dress on. His old brown holland was good enough when he stayed at home. Sometimes, when she was away, and Dolly the maid was making his bed, he came into his mother's room. It was as the abode of a fairy to him--a mystic chamber of splendour and delight. There in the wardrobe hung those wonderful robes--pink and blue and many-tinted. There was the jewel case, silver clasped; and a hundred rings on the dressing table. There was a cheval glass, that miracle of art, in which he could just see his own wondering head, and the reflection of Dolly, plumping and patting the pillows of the bed. Poor lonely little benighted boy! Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children; and here was one who was worshipping a stone!

His father used to take him out of mornings, when they would go to the stables together and to the park. Little Lord Southdown, the best natured of men, who would make you a present of a hat from his head, and whose main occupation in life was to buy nicknacks that he might give them away afterwards, bought the little chap a pony, not much bigger than a large rat, and on this little black Shetland pony young Rawdon's great father would mount the boy, and walk by his side in the Park.

One Sunday morning as Rawdon Crawley, his little son, and the pony were taking their accustomed walk, they passed an old acquaintance of the Colonel's, Corporal Clink, who was in conversation with an old gentleman, who held a boy in his arms about the age of little Rawdon. The other youngster had seized hold of the Waterloo medal which the Corporal wore, and was examining it with delight.

"Good-morning, your honour," said Clink, in reply to the "How do, Clink?" of the Colonel. "This 'ere young gentleman is about the little Colonel's age, sir," continued the Corporal.

"His father was a Waterloo man, too," said the old gentleman who carried the boy. "Wasn't he, Georgie?"

"Yes, sir," said Georgie. He and the little chap on the pony were looking at each other with all their might, solemnly scanning each other as children do.

"His father was a captain in the--the regiment," said the old gentleman rather pompously. "Captain George Osborne, sir--perhaps you knew him. He died the death of a hero, sir, fighting against the Corsican tyrant"

"I knew him very well, sir," said Colonel Crawley, "and his wife, his dear little wife, sir--how is she?"

"She is my daughter, sir," said the old gentleman proudly, putting down the boy, and taking out his card, which he handed to the Colonel, while little Georgie went up and looked at the Shetland pony.

"Should you like to have a ride?" said Rawdon minor from the saddle.

"Yes," said Georgie. The Colonel, who had been looking at him with some interest, took up the child and put him on the pony behind Rawdon minor.

"Take hold of him, Georgie," he said; "take my little boy around the waist; his name is Rawdon." And both the children began to laugh.

"You won't see a prettier pair, I think, this summer's day, sir," said the good-natured Corporal; and the Colonel, the Corporal, and old Mr. Sedley, with his umbrella, walked by the side of the children, who enjoyed each other and the pony enormously. In later years they often talked of that first meeting.

But this is anticipating our story, for between the time of their first ride together, and the time when circumstances brought them together again, the little chaps saw nothing of one another for a number of years, during which the incidents of their lives differed as widely as did the lives of their parents.

About the time when the little boys first met, Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet, father of Pitt and Rawdon Crawley, died, and Rebecca and her husband hastened to Queen's Crawley, the old family home, where Rebecca had once been governess, to shed a last tear over the departed Baronet. Rebecca was not bowed down with grief, we must confess, but keenly alive to the benefits which might come to herself and Rawdon if she could please Sir Pitt Crawley, the new Baronet, and Lady Jane his wife, a simple-minded woman mostly absorbed in the affairs of her nursery. This interest aroused Becky's private scorn, but the first thing that clever little lady did was to attack Lady Jane at her vulnerable point. After being conducted to the apartments prepared for her, and having taken off her bonnet and cloak, Becky asked her sister-in-law in what more she could be useful.

"What I should like best," she added, "would be to see your dear little nursery," at which the two ladies looked very kindly at each other, and went to the nursery hand in hand.

Becky admired little Matilda, who was not quite four years old, as the most charming little love in the world; and the boy, Pitt Blinkie Southdown, a little fellow of two years, pale, heavy-eyed, and large-headed, she pronounced to be a perfect prodigy in size, intelligence and beauty.

The funeral over, Rebecca and her husband remained for a visit at Queen's Crawley, which assumed its wonted aspect. Rawdon senior received constant bulletins respecting little Rawdon, who was left behind in London, and sent messages of his own. "I am very well," he wrote. "I hope you are very well. I hope mamma is very well. The pony is very well. Grey takes me to ride in the Park. I can canter. I met the little boy who rode before. He cried when he cantered. I do not cry."

Rawdon read these letters to his brother, and Lady Jane, who was delighted with them, gave Rebecca a banknote, begging her to buy a present with it for her little nephew.

Like all other good things, the visit came to an end, and one night the London lamps flashed joyfully as the stage rolled into Piccadilly, and Briggs had made a beautiful fire on the hearth in Curzon Street, and little Rawdon was up to welcome back his papa and mamma.

At this time he was a fine open-faced boy, with blue eyes and waving flaxen hair, sturdy in limb, but generous and soft in heart, fondly attaching himself to all who were good to him: to the pony, to Lord Southdown, who gave him the horse; to the groom who had charge of the pony; to Molly the cook, who crammed him with ghost stories at night and with good things from the dinner; to Briggs, his meek, devoted attendant, whom he plagued and laughed at; and to his father especially. Here, as he grew to be about eight years old, his attachment may be said to have ended. The beautiful mother vision had faded away after a while. During nearly two years his mother had scarcely spoken to the child. She disliked him. He had the measles and the whooping cough. He bored her. One day when he was standing at the landing-place, having crept down from the upper regions, attracted by the sound of his mother's voice, who was singing to Lord Steyne, the drawing-room door opening suddenly discovered the little spy, who but a moment before had been rapt in delight and listening to the music.

His mother came out and struck him violently a couple of boxes on the ear. He heard a laugh from the Marquis in the inner room, and fled down below to his friends of the kitchen, bursting in an agony of grief.

"It is not because it hurts me," little Rawdon gasped out, "only--only--" sobs and tears wound up the sentence in a storm. It was the little boy's heart that was bleeding. "Why mayn't I hear her singing? Why don't she ever sing to me, as she does to that bald-headed man with the large teeth?" He gasped out at various intervals these exclamations of grief and rage. The cook looked at the housemaid; the housemaid looked knowingly at the footman, who all sat in judgment on Rebecca from that moment.

After this incident the mother's dislike increased to hatred; the consciousness that the child was in the house was a reproach and a pain to her. His very sight annoyed her. Fear, doubt, and resistance sprang up too, in the boy's own bosom.

He and his mother were separated from that day of the boxes on the ear.

Lord Steyne also disliked the boy. When they met he made sarcastic bows or remarks to the child, or glared at him with savage-looking eyes. Rawdon used to stare him in the face and double his little fists in return. Had it not been for his father, the child would have been desolate indeed, in his own home.

But an unexpected good time came to him a day or two before Christmas, when he was taken by his father and mother to pass the holidays at Queen's Crawley. Becky would have liked to leave him at home, but for Lady Jane's urgent invitation to the youngster; and the symptoms of revolt and discontent manifested by Rawdon at her neglect of her son. "He is the finest boy in England," the father said reproachfully, "and you don't seem to care for him as much as you do for your spaniel. He shan't bother you much; at home he will be away from you in the nursery, and he shall go outside on the coach with me."

So little Rawdon was wrapped up in shawls and comforters for the winter's journey, and hoisted respectfully onto the roof of the coach in the dark morning; with no small delight watched the dawn arise, and made his first journey to the place which his father still called home. It was a journey of infinite pleasure to the boy, to whom the incidents of the road afforded endless interest; his father answering all questions connected with it, and telling him who lived in the great white house to the right, and whom the park belonged to.

Presently the boy fell asleep, and it was dark when he was wakened up to enter his uncle's carriage at Mudbury, and he sat and looked out of it wondering as the great iron gates flew open, and at the white trunks of the limes as they swept by, until they stopped at length before the lighted windows of the Hall, which were blazing and comfortable with Christmas welcome. The hall-door was flung open; a big fire was burning in the great old fireplace, a carpet was down over the chequered black flags, and the next instant Becky was kissing Lady Jane.

She and Sir Pitt performed the same salute with great gravity, while Sir Pitt's two children came up to their cousin. Matilda held out her hand and kissed him. Pitt Blinkie Southdown, the son and heir, stood aloof, and examined him as a little dog does a big one.

Then the kind hostess conducted her guests to snug apartments blazing with cheerful fires, and after some conversation with the fine young ladies of the house, the great dinner bell having rung, the family assembled at dinner, at which meal Rawdon junior was placed by his aunt, and exhibited not only a fine appetite, but a gentlemanlike behaviour.

"I like to dine here," he said to his aunt when he had completed his meal, at the conclusion of which, and after a decent grace by Sir Pitt, the younger son and heir was introduced and was perched on a high chair by the Baronet's side, while the daughter took possession of the place prepared for her, near her mother. "I like to dine here," said Rawdon minor, looking up at his relation's kind face.

"Why?" said the good Lady Jane.

"I dine in the kitchen when I am at home," replied Rawdon minor, "or else with Briggs." This honest confession was fortunately not heard by Becky, who was deep in conversation with the Baronet, or it might have been worse for little Rawdon.

As a guest, and it being the first night of his arrival, he was allowed to sit up until the hour when, tea being over and a great gilt book being laid on the table before Sir Pitt, all the domestics of the family streamed in and Sir Pitt read prayers. It was the first time the poor little boy had ever witnessed or heard of such a ceremonial.

Queen's Crawley had been much improved since the young Baronet's brief reign, and was pronounced by Becky to be perfect, charming, delightful, when she surveyed it in his company. As for little Rawdon, who examined it with the children for his guides, it seemed to him a perfect palace of enchantment and wonder. There were long galleries, and ancient state bed-rooms; there were pictures and old china and armour which enchanted little Rawdon, who had never seen their like before, and who, poor child, had never before been in such an atmosphere of kindness and good cheer.

On Christmas day a great family gathering took place, and one and all agreed that little Rawdon was a fine boy. They respected a possible Baronet in the boy between whom and the title there was only the little sickly, pale Pitt Blinkie.

The children were very good friends. Pitt Blinkie was too little a dog for such a big dog as Rawdon to play with, and Matilda, being only a girl, of course not fit companion for a young gentleman who was near eight years old, and going into jackets very soon. He took the command of this small party at once, the little girl and the little boy following him about with great reverence at such times as he condescended to sport with them. His happiness and pleasure in the country were extreme. The kitchen-garden pleased him hugely, the flowers moderately; but the pigeons and the poultry, and the stables, when he was allowed to visit them, were delightful objects to him. He resisted being kissed by the Misses Crawley; but he allowed Lady Jane sometimes to embrace him, and it was by her side that he liked to sit rather than by his mother. Rebecca, seeing that tenderness was the fashion, called Rawdon to her one evening, and stooped down and kissed him in the presence of all the ladies.

He looked her full in the face after the operation, trembling and turning very red, as his wont was when moved. "You never kiss me at home, Mamma," he said; at which there was a general silence and consternation, and by no means a pleasant look in Becky's eyes; but she was obliged to allow the incident to pass in silence.

But the greatest day of all was that on which Sir Huddlestone Fuddlestone's hounds met upon the lawn at Queen's Crawley.

That was a famous sight for little Rawdon. At half-past ten Tom Moody, Sir Huddlestone Fuddlestone's huntsman, was seen trotting up the avenue, followed by the noble pack of hounds in a compact body, the rear being brought up by the two whips clad in stained scarlet frocks, light, hard-featured lads on well-bred lean horses, possessing marvellous dexterity in casting the points of their long, heavy whips at the thinnest part of any dog's skin who dared to straggle from the main body, or to take the slightest notice, or even so much as wink at the hares and rabbits starting under their noses.

Next came boy Jack, Tom Moody's son, who weighed five stone, measured eight and forty inches, and would never be any bigger. He was perched on a large raw-boned hunter, half covered by a capacious saddle. This animal was Sir Huddlestone Fuddlestone's favourite horse, the Nob. Other horses ridden by other small boys arrived from time to time, awaiting their masters, who came cantering on anon.

Tom Moody rode up presently, and he and his pack drew off into a sheltered corner of the lawn, where the dogs rolled on the grass, and played or growled angrily at one another, ever and anon breaking out into furious fights, speedily to be quelled by Tom's voice, unmatched at rating, or the snaky thongs of the whips.

Many young gentlemen cantered up on thoroughbred hacks, spatter-dashed to the knee, and entered the house to pay their respects to the ladies, or, more modest and sportsmanlike, divested themselves of their mud-boots, exchanged their hacks for their hunters, and warmed their blood by a preliminary gallop round the lawn. Then they collected round the pack in the corner, and talked with Tom Moody of past sport, and the merits of Sniveller and Diamond, and of the state of the country and of the wretched breed of foxes.

Sir Huddlestone presently appears mounted on a clever cob, and rides up to the Hall, where he enters and does the civil thing by the ladies, after which, being a man of few words, he proceeds to business. The hounds are drawn up to the hall-door, and little Rawdon descends among them, excited yet half alarmed by the caresses which they bestow upon him, at the thumps he receives from their waving tails, and at their canine bickerings, scarcely restrained by Tom Moody's tongue and lash.

Meanwhile, Sir Huddlestone has hoisted himself unwieldily on the Nob. "Let's try Sowster's Spinney, Tom," says the Baronet; "Farmer Mangle tells me there are two foxes in it." Tom blows his horn and trots off, followed by the pack, by the whips, by the young gents from Winchester, by the farmers of the neighbourhood, by the labourers of the parish on foot, with whom the day is a great holiday; Sir Huddlestone bringing up the rear with Colonel Crawley; and the whole train of hounds and horsemen disappears down the avenue, leaving little Rawdon alone on the doorsteps, wondering and happy.

During the progress of this memorable holiday little Rawdon, if he had got no special liking for his uncle, always awful and cold, and locked up in his study, plunged in justice business and surrounded by bailiffs and farmers, has gained the good graces of his married and maiden aunts, of the two little folks of the Hall, and of Jim of the Rectory, and he had become extremely fond of Lady Jane, who told such beautiful stories with the children clustered about her knees. Naturally, after having his first glimpse of happy home life and his first taste of genuine motherly affection, it was a sad day to little Rawdon when he was obliged to return to Curzon Street. But there was an unexpected pleasure awaiting him on his return. Lord Steyne, though he wasted no affection upon the boy, yet for reasons of his own concerning only himself and Mrs. Becky, extended his good will to little Rawdon. Wishing to have the boy out of his way, he pointed out to Rawdon's parents the necessity of sending him to a public school; that he was of an age now when emulation, the first principles of the Latin language, pugilistic exercises, and the society of his fellow boys would be of the greatest benefit to him. His father objected that he was not rich enough to send the child to a good school; his mother, that Briggs was a capital mistress for him, and had brought him on, as indeed was the fact, famously in English, Latin, and in general learning; but all these objections were overruled by the Marquis of Steyne. His lordship was one of the Governors of that famous old collegiate institution called the White Friars, where he desired that little Rawdon should be sent, and sent he was; for Rawdon Crawley, though the only book which he studied was the racing calendar, and though his chief recollections of learning were connected with the floggings which he received at Eton in his early youth, had that reverence for classical learning which all English gentlemen feel, and was glad to think that his son was to have the chance of becoming a scholar. And although his boy was his chief solace and companion, he agreed at once to part with him for the sake of the welfare of the little lad.

It was honest Briggs who made up the little kit for the boy which he was to take to school. Molly, the housemaid, blubbered in the passage when he went away. Mrs. Becky could not let her husband have the carriage to take the boy to school. Take the horses into the city! Such a thing was never heard of. Let a cab be brought. She did not offer to kiss him when he went, nor did the child propose to embrace her, but gave a kiss to old Briggs and consoled her by pointing out that he was to come home on Saturdays, when she would have the benefit of seeing him. As the cab rolled towards the city Becky's carriage rattled off to the park. She gave no thought to either of them when the father and son entered at the old gates of the school, where Rawdon left the child, then walked home very dismally, and dined alone with Briggs, to whom he was grateful for her love and watchfulness over the boy. They talked about little Rawdon a long time, and Mr. Crawley went off to drink tea with Lady Jane, who was very fond of Rawdon, as was her little girl, who cried bitterly when the time for her cousin's departure came. Rawdon senior now told Lady Jane how little Rawdon went off like a trump, and how he was to wear a gown and little knee breeches, and Jack Blackball's son of the old regiment had taken him in charge and promised to be kind to him.

The Colonel went to see his son a short time afterwards, and found the lad sufficiently well and happy, grinning and laughing in his little black gown and little breeches. As a protege of the great Lord Steyne, the nephew of a county member, and son of a Colonel and C.B. whose names appeared in some of the most fashionable parties in the Morning Post, perhaps the school authorities were disposed not to look unkindly on the child.

He had plenty of pocket-money, which he spent in treating his comrades royally to raspberry tarts, and he was often allowed to come home on Saturdays to his father, who always made a jubilee of that day. When free, Rawdon would take him to the play, or send him thither with the footman; and on Sundays he went to church with Briggs and Lady Jane and his cousins. Rawdon marvelled over his stories about school, and fights, and fagging. Before long he knew the names of all the masters and the principal boys as well as little Rawdon himself. He invited little Rawdon's crony from school and made both the children sick with pastry, and oysters, and porter after the play. He tried to look knowing over the Latin grammar when little Rawdon showed him what part of that work he was "in." "Stick to it, my boy," he said to him with much gravity, "there's nothing like a good classical education! Nothing!"

While little Rawdon was still one of the fifty gown-boys of White Friar school, the Colonel, his poor father, got into great trouble through no fault of his own, but as a result of which Mrs. Becky was obliged to make her exit from Curzon Street forever, and the Colonel in bitter dejection and humiliation accepted an appointment as Governor of Coventry Island. For some time he resisted the idea of taking this place, because it had been procured for him through the influence of Lord Steyne, whose patronage was odious to him, as he had been the means of ruining the Colonel's homelife. The Colonel's instinct also was for at once removing the boy from the school where Lord Steyne's interest had placed him. He was induced, however, not to do this, and little Rawden was allowed to round out his days in the school, where he was very happy. After his mother's departure from Curzon Street she disappeared entirely from her son's life, and never made any movement to see the child.

He went home to his aunt, Lady Jane, for Sundays and holidays; and soon knew every bird's-nest about Queen's Crawley, and rode out with Sir Huddlestone's hounds, which he had admired so on his first well-remembered visit to the home of his ancestor. In fact, Rawdon was consigned to the entire guardianship of his aunt and uncle, to whom he was fortunately deeply devoted; and although he received several letters at various times from his mother, they made little impression upon him, and indeed it was easy to see where his affections were placed. When Sir Pitt's only boy died of whooping-cough and measles--then Mrs. Becky wrote the most affectionate letter to her darling son, who was made heir of Queen's Crawley by this accident, and drawn more closely than ever by it to Lady Jane, whose tender heart had already adopted him. Rawdon Crawley, then grown a tall, fine lad, blushed when he got the letter.

"Oh, Aunt Jane, you are my mother!" he said; "and not--and not that one!" But he wrote a kind and respectful letter in response to Mrs. Becky, and the incident was closed. As for the Colonel, he wrote to the boy regularly every mail from his post on Coventry Island, and little Rawdon used to like to get the papers and read about his Excellency, his father, of whom he had been truly fond. But the image gradually faded as the images of childhood do fade, and each year he grew more tenderly attached to Lady Jane and her husband, who had become father and mother to him in his hour of need.

As for George Osborne, the little boy whom Rawdon Crawley had given a ride on his pony long years before, the fates had been much kinder to him than to Rawdon. He had had no lonely childhood, for although he had no recollection of his handsome young father, from baby days he was surrounded by the utmost adoration by a doting mother. Poor Amelia, deprived of the husband whom she adored, lavished all the pent-up love of her gentle bosom upon the little boy with the eyes of George who was gone--a little boy as beautiful as a cherub, and there was never a moment when the child missed any office which love or affection could give him. His grandfather Sedley also adored the child, and it was the old man's delight to take out his little grandson to the neighbouring parks of Kensington Gardens, to see the soldiers or to feed the ducks. Georgie loved the red coats, and his grandpapa told him how his father had been a famous soldier, and introduced him to many sergeants and others with Waterloo medals on their breasts, to whom the old grandfather pompously presented the child; as on the occasion of their meeting with Colonel Rawdon Crawley and his little son.

Old Sedley was disposed to spoil little Georgie, sadly gorging the boy with apples and peppermint to the detriment of his health, until Amelia declared that Georgie should never go out with his grandpapa again unless the latter solemnly promised on his honour not to give the child any cakes, lollipops, or stall produce whatever.

Amelia's days were full of active employment, for besides caring for Georgie, she devoted much time to her old father and mother, with whom she and the child lived, and who were much broken by their financial reverses. She also personally superintended her little son's education for several years. She taught him to read and to write, and a little to draw. She read books, in order that she might tell him stories. As his eyes opened, and his mind expanded, she taught him to the best of her humble power to acknowledge the Maker of All; and every night and every morning he and she--the mother and the little boy--prayed to our Father together, the mother pleading with all her gentle heart, the child lisping after her as she spoke. And each time they prayed to God to bless dear papa, as if he were alive and in the room with them.

Besides her pension of fifty pounds a year, as an army officer's widow, there had been five hundred pounds left with the agent of her estate for her, for which Amelia did not know that she was indebted to Major Dobbin, until years later. This same Major, by the way, was stationed at Madras, where twice or thrice in the year she wrote to him about herself and the boy, and he in turn sent over endless remembrances to his godson and to her. He sent a box of scarfs, and a grand ivory set of chess-men from China. The pawns were little green and white men, with real swords and shields; the knights were on horseback, the castles were on the backs of elephants. These chessmen were the delight of Georgie's life, who printed his first letter of acknowledgment of this gift of his godpapa. Major Dobbin also sent over preserves and pickles, which latter the young gentleman tried surreptitiously in the sideboard, and half killed himself with eating. He thought it was a judgment upon him for stealing, they were so hot. Amelia wrote a comical little account of this mishap to the Major; it pleased him to think that her spirits were rallying, and that she could be merry sometimes now. He sent over a pair of shawls, a white one for her, and a black one with palm-leaves for her mother, and a pair of red scarfs, as winter wrappers, for old Mr. Sedley and George. The shawls were worth fifty guineas apiece, at the very least, as Mrs. Sedley knew. She wore hers in state at church at Brompton, and was congratulated by her female friends upon the splendid acquisition. Amelia's, too, became prettily her modest black gown.

Amidst humble scenes and associates Georgie's early youth was passed, and the boy grew up delicate, sensitive, imperious, woman-bred--domineering over the gentle mother whom he loved with passionate affection. He ruled all the rest of the little world round about him. As he grew, the elders were amazed at his haughty manner and his constant likeness to his father. He asked questions about everything, as inquiring youth will do. The profundity of his remarks and questions astonished his old grandfather, who perfectly bored the club at the tavern with stories about the little lad's learning and genius. He suffered his grandmother with a good-humoured indifference. The small circle round about him believed that the equal of the boy did not exist upon the earth. Georgie inherited his father's pride, and perhaps thought they were not wrong.

When he grew to be about six years old, Dobbin began to write to him very much. The Major wanted to hear that Georgie was going to a school, and hoped he would acquit himself with credit there; or would he have a good tutor at home? It was time that he should begin to learn; and his godfather and guardian hinted that he hoped to be allowed to defray the charges of the boy's education, which would fall heavily upon his mother's straitened income. The Major, in a word, was always thinking about Amelia and her little boy, and by orders to his agents kept the latter provided with picture-books, paint-boxes, desks, and all conceivable implements of amusement and instruction. Three days before Georgie's sixth birthday a gentleman in a gig, accompanied by a servant, drove up to Mrs. Sedley's house and asked to be conducted to Master George Osborne. It was Woolsey, military tailor, who came at the Major's order, to measure George for a suit of clothes. He had had the honour of making for the Captain, the young gentleman's father.

Sometimes, too, the Major's sisters, the Misses Dobbin, would call in the family carriage to take Amelia and the little boy a drive. The patronage of these ladies was very uncomfortable to Amelia, but she bore it meekly enough, for her nature was to yield; and besides, the carriage and its splendours gave little Georgie immense pleasure. The ladies begged occasionally that the child might pass a day with them, and he was always glad to go to that fine villa on Denmark Hill, where there were such fine grapes in the hot-house and peaches on the walls.

Miss Osborne, Georgie's aunt, who, since old Osborne's quarrel with his son, had not been allowed to have any intercourse with Amelia or little Georgie, was kept acquainted with the state of Amelia's affairs by the Misses Dobbin, who told how she was living with her father and mother; how poor they were; but how the boy was really the noblest little boy ever seen; which praise raised a great desire to see the child in the heart of his maiden aunt, and one night when he came back from Denmark Hill in the pony carriage in which he rejoiced, he had round his neck a fine gold chain and watch. He said an old lady, not pretty, had been there and had given it to him, who cried and kissed him a great deal. But he didn't like her. He liked grapes very much and he only liked his mamma. Amelia shrunk and started; she felt a presentiment of terror, for she knew that Georgie's relations had seen him.

Miss Osborne,--for it was indeed she who had seen Georgie,--went home that night to give her father his dinner. He was in rather a good-humour, and chanced to remark her excitement "What's the matter, Miss Osborne?" he deigned to ask.

The woman burst into tears. "Oh, sir," she said, "I've seen little Georgie. He is as beautiful as an angel--and so like him!"

The old man opposite to her did not say a word, but flushed up, and began to tremble in every limb, and that night he bade his daughter good-night in rather a kindly voice. And he must have made some inquiries of the Misses Dobbin regarding her visit to them when she had seen Georgie, for a fortnight afterwards he asked her where was her little French watch and chain she used to wear.

"I bought it with my money, sir," she said in a great fright, not daring to tell what she had done with it.

"Go and order another like it, or a better, if you can get it," said the old gentleman, and lapsed again into silence.

After that time the Misses Dobbin frequently invited Georgie to visit them, and hinted to Amelia that his aunt had shown her inclination; perhaps his grandfather himself might be disposed to be reconciled to him in time. Surely, Amelia could not refuse such advantageous chances for the boy. Nor could she; but she acceded to their overtures with a very heavy and suspicious heart, was always uneasy during the child's absence from her, and welcomed him back as if he was rescued out of some danger. He brought back money and toys, at which the widow looked with alarm and jealousy; she asked him always if he had seen any gentleman. "Only old Sir William, who drove him about in the four-wheeled chaise, and Mr. Dobbin, who arrived on the beautiful bay horse in the afternoon, in the green coat and pink neckcloth, with the gold-headed whip, who promised to show him the Tower of London and take him out with the Surrey hounds." At last he said: "There was an old gentleman, with thick eyebrows and a brown hat and large chain and seals. He came one day as the coachman was leading Georgie around the lawn on the grey pony. He looked at me very much. He shook very much. I said, 'My name is Norval,' after dinner. My aunt began to cry. She is always crying." Such was George's report on that night.

Then Amelia knew that the boy had seen his grandfather; and looked out feverishly for a proposal which she was sure would follow, and which came, in fact, a few days afterwards. Mr. Osborne formally offered to take the boy, and make him heir to the fortune which he had intended that his father should inherit. He would make Mrs. George Osborne an allowance, such as to assure her a decent competency. But it must be understood that the child would live entirely with his grandfather and be only occasionally permitted to see Mrs. George Osborne at her own home. This message was brought to her in a letter one day. She had only been seen angry a few times in her life, but now Mr. Osborne's lawyer so beheld her. She rose up trembling and flushing very much after reading the letter, and she tore the paper into a hundred fragments, which she trod on. "I take money to part from my child! Who dares insult me proposing such a thing? Tell Mr. Osborne it is a cowardly letter, sir--a cowardly letter--I will not answer it! I wish you good-morning," and she bowed the lawyer out of the room like a tragedy queen.

Her parents did not remark her agitation on that day. They were absorbed in their own affairs, and the old gentleman, her father, was deep in speculation, in which he was sinking the remittances regularly sent from India by his son, Joseph, for the support of his aged parents; and also that portion of Amelia's slender income which she gave each month to her father. Of this dangerous pastime of her father's Amelia was kept in ignorance, until the day came when he was obliged to confess that he was penniless. At once Amelia handed over to him what little money she had retained for her own and Georgie's expenses. She did this without a word of regret, but returned to her room to cry her eyes out, for she had made plans which would now be impossible, to have a new suit made for Georgie. This she was obliged to countermand, and, hardest of all, she had to break the matter to Georgie, who made a loud outcry. Everybody had new clothes at Christmas. The other boys would laugh at him. He would have new clothes, she had promised them to him. The poor widow had only kisses to give him. She cast about among her little ornaments to see if she could sell anything to procure the desired novelties. She remembered her India shawl that Dobbin sent her, which might be of value to a merchant with whom ladies had all sorts of dealings and bargains in these articles. She smiled brightly as she kissed away Georgie to school in the morning, and the boy felt that there was good news in her look.

As soon as he had gone she hurried away to the merchant with her shawl hidden under her cloak. As she walked she calculated how, with the proceeds of her shawl, besides the clothes, she would buy the books that he wanted, and pay his half year's schooling at the little school to which he went; and how she would buy a new coat for her father. She was not mistaken as to the value of the shawl. It was a very fine one, for which the merchant gave her twenty guineas. She ran on, amazed and flurried with her riches, to a shop where she purchased the books Georgie longed for, and went home exulting. And she pleased herself by writing in the fly leaf in her neatest little hand, "George Osborne, A Christmas gift from his affectionate mother."

She was going to place the books on Georgie's table, when in the passage she and her mother met. The gilt bindings of the little volumes caught the old lady's eye.

"What are those?" she said.

"Some books for Georgie," Amelia replied. "I--I promised them to him at Christmas."

"Books!" cried the old lady indignantly; books! when the whole house wants bread! Oh, Amelia! You break my heart with your books, and that boy of yours, whom you are ruining, though part with him you will not! Oh, Amelia, may God send you a more dutiful child than I have had! There's Joseph deserts his father in his old age; and there's George, who might be rich, going to school like a lord, with a gold watch and chain round his neck, while my dear, dear, old man is without a sh-shilling." Hysterical sobs ended Mrs. Sedley's grief, which quite melted Amelia's tender heart.

"Oh, mother, mother!" she cried. "You told me nothing. I--I promised him the books. I--I only sold my shawl this morning. Take the money--take everything--" taking out her precious golden sovereigns, which she thrust into her mother's hands, and then went into her room, and sank down in despair and utter misery. She saw it all. Her selfishness was sacrificing the boy. But for her, he might have wealth, station, education, and his father's place, which the elder George had forfeited for her sake. She had but to speak the words, and her father was restored to comfort, and the boy raised to fortune. Oh, what a conviction it was to that tender and stricken heart!

The combat between inclination and duty lasted for many weeks in poor Amelia's heart. Meanwhile by every means in her power she attempted to earn money, but was always unsuccessful. Then, when matters had become tragic in the little family circle, she could bear the burden of pain no longer. Her decision was made. For the sake of others the child must go from her. She must give him up,--she must--she must.

She put on her bonnet, scarcely knowing what she did, and went out to walk in the lanes, where she was in the habit of going to meet Georgie on his return from school. It was May, a half-holiday. The leaves were all coming out, the weather was brilliant. The boy came running to her flushed with health, singing, his bundle of school-books hanging by a thong. There he was. Both her arms were round him. No, it was impossible. They could not be going to part. "What is the matter, mother?" said he. "You look very sad."

"Nothing, my child," she said, and stooped down and kissed him. That night Amelia made the boy read the story of Samuel to her, and how Hannah, his mother, having weaned him, brought him to Eli the High Priest to minister before the Lord. And he read the song of gratitude which Hannah sang; and which says: "Who is it who maketh poor and maketh rich, and bringeth low and exalteth, how the poor shall be raised up out of the dust, and how, in his own might, no man shall be strong." Then he read how Samuel's mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year when she came up to offer the yearly sacrifice. And then, in her sweet, simple way, George's mother made commentaries to the boy upon this affecting story. How Hannah, though she loved her son so much, yet gave him up because of her vow. And how she must always have thought of him as she sat at home, far away, making the little coat, and Samuel, she was sure, never forgot his mother; and how happy she must have been as the time came when she should see her boy, and how good and wise he had grown. This little sermon she spoke with a gentle, solemn voice, and dry eyes, until she came to the account of their meeting. Then the discourse broke off suddenly, the tender heart overflowed, and taking the boy to her breast, she rocked him in her arms, and wept silently over him.

Her mind being made up, the widow began at once to take such measures as seemed right to her for achieving her purpose. One day, Miss Osborne, in Russell Square, got a letter from Amelia, which made her blush very much, and look towards her father, sitting glooming in his place at the other end of the table.

In simple terms, Amelia told her the reasons which had induced her to change her mind respecting her boy. Her father had met with fresh misfortunes which had entirely ruined him. Her own pittance was so small that it would barely enable her to support her parents and would not suffice to give George the advantages which were his due. Great as her sufferings would be at parting with him, she would, by God's help, endure them for the boy's sake. She knew that those to whom he was going would do all in their power to make him happy. She described his disposition, such as she fancied it; quick and impatient of control or harshness, easily to be moved by love and kindness. In a postscript, she stipulated that she should have a written agreement that she should see the child as often as she wished; she could not part with him under any other terms.

"What? Mrs. Pride has come down, has she?" old Osborne said, when with a tremulous voice Miss Osborne read him the letter. "Reg'lar starved out, hey? Ha, ha! I knew she would!" He tried to keep his dignity and to read his paper as usual, but he could not follow it. At last he flung it down: and scowling at his daughter, as his wont was, went out of the room and presently returned with a key. He flung it to Miss Osborne.

"Get the room over mine--his room that was--ready," he said.

"Yes, sir," his daughter replied in a tremble.

It was George's room. It had not been opened for more than ten years. Some of his clothes, papers, handkerchiefs, whips and caps, fishing-rods and sporting gear, were still there. An army list of 1814, with his name written on the cover; a little dictionary he was wont to use in writing; and the Bible his mother had given him, were on the mantelpiece; with a pair of spurs, and a dried inkstand covered with the dust of ten years. Ah! since that ink was wet, what days and people had passed away! The writing-book still on the table was blotted with his hand.

Miss Osborne was much affected when she first entered this room. She sank quite pale on the little bed. "This is blessed news, ma'am--indeed, ma'am," the housekeeper said; "the good old times is returning! The dear little feller, to be sure, ma'am; how happy he will be! But some folks in Mayfair, ma'am, will owe him a grudge!" and she clicked back the bolt which held the window-sash, and let the air into the chamber.

"You had better send that woman some money," Mr. Osborne said, before he went out. "She shan't want for nothing. Send her a hundred pound."

"And I'll go and see her to-morrow?" Miss Osborne asked.

"That's your lookout. She don't come in here, mind. But she mustn't want now. So look out, and get things right." With which brief speeches Mr. Osborne took leave of his daughter, and went on his accustomed way.

That night, when Amelia kissed her father, she put a bill for a hundred pounds into his hands, adding, "And--and, mamma, don't be harsh with Georgie. He--he is not going to stop with us long." She could say nothing more, and walked away silently to her room.

Miss Osborne came the next day, according to the promise contained in her note, and saw Amelia. The meeting between them was friendly. A look and a few words from Miss Osborne showed the poor widow that there need be no fear lest she should take the first place in her son's affection. She was cold, sensible, not unkind. Miss Osborne, on the other hand, could not but be touched with the poor mother's situation, and their arrangements were made together with kindness on both sides.

Georgie was kept from school the next day, and saw his aunt. Days were passed in talks, visits, preparations. The widow broke the matter to him with great caution; and was saddened to find him rather elated than otherwise. He bragged about the news that day to the boys at school; told them how he was going to live with his grandpapa, his father's father, not the one who comes here sometimes; and that he would be very rich, and have a carriage, and a pony, and go to a much finer school, and when he was rich he would buy Leader's pencil-case, and pay the tart woman.

At last the day came, the carriage drove up, the little humble packets containing tokens of love and remembrance were ready and disposed in the hall long since. George was in his new suit, for which the tailor had come previously to measure him. He had sprung up with the sun and put on the new clothes. Days before Amelia had been making preparations for the end; purchasing little stores for the boy's use; marking his books and linen; talking with him and preparing him for the change, fondly fancying that he needed preparation.

So that he had change, what cared he? He was longing for it. By a thousand eager declarations as to what he would do when he went to live with his grandfather, he had shown the poor widow how little the idea of parting had cast him down. He would come and see his mamma often on the pony, he said; he would come and fetch her in the carriage; they would drive in the Park, and she would have everything she wanted.

George stood by his mother, watching her final arrangements without the least concern, then said a gay farewell, went away smiling, and the widow was quite alone.

The boy came to see her often, after that, to be sure. He rode on a pony with the coachman behind him, to the delight of his old grandfather, Sedley, who walked proudly down the lane by his side. Amelia saw him, but he was not her boy any more. Why, he rode to see the boys at the little school, too, and to show off before them his new wealth and splendour. In two days he had adopted a slightly imperious air and patronising manner, and once fairly established in his grandfather Osborne's mansion in Russell Square, won the grandsire's heart by his good looks, gallant bearing, and gentlemanlike appearance. Mr. Osborne was as proud of him as ever he had been of the elder George, and the child had many more luxuries and indulgences than had been awarded to his father. Osborne's wealth and importance in the city had very much increased of late years. He had been glad enough to put the elder George in a good private school, and a commission in the army for his son had been a source of no small pride to him; but for little George and his future prospects the old man looked much higher. He would make a gentleman of the little chap, a collegian, a parliament man--a baronet, perhaps. He would have none but a tip-top college man to educate him. He would mourn in a solemn manner that his own education had been neglected, and repeatedly point out the necessity of classical acquirements.

When they met at dinner the grandfather used to ask the lad what he had been reading during the day, and was greatly interested at the report the boy gave of his studies, pretending to understand little George when he spoke regarding them. He made a hundred blunders, and showed his ignorance many a time, which George was quick to see and which did not increase the respect which the child had for his senior.

In fact, as young George had lorded it over the tender, yielding nature of his mother, so the coarse pomposity of the dull old man with whom he next came in contact, made him lord over the latter, too. If he had been a prince royal, he could not have been better brought up to think well of himself, and while his mother was yearning after him at home, he was having a number of pleasures and consolations administered to him which made the separation from Amelia a very easy matter to him. In fact, Master George Osborne had every comfort and luxury that a wealthy and lavish old grandfather thought fit to provide. He had the handsomest pony which could be bought, and on this was taught to ride, first at a riding-school, then in state to Regent's Park, and then to Hyde Park with Martin the coachman behind him.

Though he was scarcely eleven years of age, Master George wore straps, and the most beautiful little boots, like a man. He had gilt spurs and a gold-headed whip and a fine pin in his neckerchief, and the neatest little kid gloves which could be bought. His mother had given him a couple of neckcloths, and carefully made some little shirts for him; but when her Samuel came to see the widow, they were replaced by much finer linen. He had little jewelled buttons in the lawn shirt fronts. Her humble presents had been put aside--I believe Miss Osborne had given them to the coachman's boy.

Amelia tried to think she was pleased at the change. Indeed, she was happy and charmed to see the boy looking so beautiful. She had a little black profile of him done for a shilling, which was hung over her bed. One day the boy came galloping down on his accustomed visit to her, and with great eagerness pulled a red morocco case out of his coat pocket.

"I bought it with my own money, mamma," he said. "I thought you'd like it."

Amelia opened the case, and giving a little cry of delighted affection, seized him and embraced him a hundred times. It was a miniature of himself, very prettily done by an artist who had just executed his portrait for his grandfather. Georgie, who had plenty of money, bethought him to ask the painter how much a copy of the portrait would cost, saying that he would pay for it out of his own money, and that he wanted to give it to his mother. The pleased painter executed it for a small price, and old Osborne himself, when he heard of the incident, growled out his satisfaction, and gave the boy twice as many sovereigns as he paid for the miniature.

At his new home Master George ruled like a lord, and charmed his old grandfather by his ways. "Look at him," the old man would say, nudging his neighbour with a delighted purple face, "did you ever see such a chap? Lord, Lord! he'll be ordering a dressing-case next, and razors to shave with; I'm blessed if he won't."

The antics of the lad did not, however, delight Mr. Osborne's friends so much as they pleased the old gentleman. It gave Mr. Justice Coffin no pleasure to hear Georgie cut into the conversation and spoil his stories. Mr. Sergeant Toffy's lady felt no particular gratitude when he tilted a glass of port wine over her yellow satin, and laughed at the disaster; nor was she better pleased, although old Osborne was highly delighted, when Georgie "whopped" her third boy, a young gentleman a year older than Georgie, and by chance home for the holidays. George's grandfather gave the boy a couple of sovereigns for that feat, and promised to reward him further for every boy above his own size and age whom he whopped in a similar manner. It is difficult to say what good the old man saw in these combats; he had a vague notion that quarrelling made boys hardy, and that tyranny was a useful accomplishment for them to learn. Flushed with praise and victory over Master Toffy, George wished naturally to pursue his conquests further, and one day as he was strutting about in new clothes, near St. Paneras, and a young baker's boy made sarcastic comments upon his appearance, the youthful patrician pulled off his dandy jacket with great spirit, and giving it in charge to the friend who accompanied him (Master Todd, of Great Coram Street, Russell Square, son of the junior partner of the house of Osborne & Co.), tried to whop the little baker. But the chances of war were unfavourable this time, and the little baker whopped Georgie, who came home with a rueful black eye and all his fine shirt frill dabbled with the claret drawn from his own little nose. He told his grandfather that he had been in combat with a giant; and frightened his poor mother at Brampton with long, and by no means authentic, accounts of the battle.

This young Todd, of Coram Street, Russell Square, was Master George's great friend and admirer. They both had a taste for painting theatrical characters; for hardbake and raspberry tarts; for sliding and skating in the Regent's Park and the Serpentine, when the weather permitted; for going to the play, whither they were often conducted, by Mr. Osborne's orders, by Rowson, Master George's appointed body-servant, with whom they sate in great comfort in the pit.

In the company of this gentleman they visited all the principal theatres of the metropolis--knew the names of all the actors from Drury Lane to Sadler's Wells; and performed, indeed, many of the plays to the Todd family and their youthful friends, with West's famous characters, on their pasteboard theatre.

A famous tailor from the West End of the town was summoned to ornament little Georgie's person, and was told to spare no expense in so doing. So, Mr. Woolsey, of Conduit Street, gave a loose rein to his imagination, and sent the child home fancy trowsers, fancy waistcoats, and fancy jackets enough to furnish a school of little dandies. George had little white waistcoats for evening parties, and little cut velvet waistcoats for evening parties, and little cut velvet waistcoats for dinners, and a dear little darling shawl dressing-gown, for all the world like a little man. He dressed for dinner every day, "like a regular West End swell," as his grandfather remarked; one of the domestics was affected to his special service, attended him at his toilette, answered his bell, and brought him his letters always on a silver tray.

Georgie, after breakfast, would sit in the arm-chair in the dining-room, and read the Morning Post, just like a grown-up man. Those who remembered the Captain, his father, declared Master George was his pa, every inch of him. He made the house lively by his activity, his imperiousness, his scolding, and his good-nature.

George's education was confided to the Reverend Lawrence Veal, a private pedagogue who "prepared young noblemen and gentlemen for the Universities, the Senate, and the learned professions; whose system did not embrace the degrading corporal severities still practised at the ancient places of education, and in whose family the pupils would find the elegances of refined society and the confidence and affection of a home," as his prospectus stated.

Georgie was only a day pupil; he arrived in the morning, and if it was fine would ride away in the afternoon, on his pony. The wealth of his grandfather was reported in the school to be prodigious. The Reverend Mr. Veal used to compliment Georgie upon it personally, warning him that he was destined for a high station; that it became him to prepare for the lofty duties to which he would be called later; that obedience in the child was the best preparation for command in the man; and that he therefore begged George would not bring toffee into the school and ruin the health of the other pupils, who had everything they wanted at the elegant and abundant table of Mrs. Veal.

Whenever Mr. Veal spoke he took care to produce the very finest and longest words of which the vocabulary gave him the use, and his manner was so pompous that little Georgie, who had considerable humour, used to mimic him to his face with great spirit and dexterity, without ever being discovered. Amelia was bewildered by Mr. Veal's phrases, but thought him a prodigy of learning, and made friends with his wife, that she might be asked to Mrs. Veal's receptions, which took place once a month, and where the professor welcomed his pupils and their friends to weak tea and scientific conversation. Poor little Amelia never missed one of these entertainments, and thought them delicious so long as she might have George sitting by her.

As for the learning which George imbibed under Mr. Veal, to judge from the weekly reports which the lad took home, his progress was remarkable. The name of a score or more of desirable branches of knowledge were printed in a table, and the pupil's progress in each was marked by the professor. In Greek Georgie was pronounced Aristos, in Latin Optimus, in French Très bien, etc.; and everybody had prizes for everything at the end of the year. Even that idle young scapegrace of a Master Todd, godson of Mr. Osborne, received a little eighteen-penny book, with Athene engraved on it, and a pompous Latin inscription from the professor to his young friend. An example of Georgie's facility in the art of composition is still treasured by his proud mother, and reads as follows:

Example: The selfishness of Achilles, as remarked by the poet Homer, occasioned a thousand woes to the Greeks (Hom. II A 2). The selfishness of the late Napoleon Bonaparte occasioned innumerable wars in Europe, and caused him to perish himself in a miserable island--that of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.

We see by these examples that we are not to consult our own interest and ambition, but that we are to consider the interests of others as well as our own.


ATHENE HOUSE, 24 April, 1827.

While Georgie's days were so full of new interests, Amelia's life was anything but one of pleasure, for it was passed almost entirely in the sickroom of her mother, with only the gleams of joy when little George visited her, or with an occasional walk to Russell Square. Then came the day when the invalid was buried in the churchyard at Brompton and Amelia's little boy sat by her side at the service in pompous new sables and quite angry that he could not go to a play upon which he had set his heart, while his mother's thoughts went back to just such another rainy, dark day, when she had married George Osborne in that very church.

After the funeral the widow went back to the bereaved old father, who was stunned and broken by the loss of his wife, his honour, his fortune, in fact, everything he loved best. There was only Amelia now to stand by the tottering, heart-broken old man. This she did, to the best of her ability, all unconscious that on life's ocean a bark was sailing headed towards her with those aboard who were to bring change and comfort to her life.

One day when the young gentlemen of Mr. Veal's select school were assembled in the study, a smart carriage drove up to the door and two gentlemen stepped out. Everybody was interested, from Mr. Veal himself, who hoped he saw the fathers of some future pupils arriving, down to Master George, glad of any pretext of laying his book down.

The boy who always opened the door came into the study, and said: "Two gentlemen want to see Master Osborne." The Professor had had a trifling dispute in the morning with that young gentleman, owing to a difference about the introduction of crackers in school-time; but his face resumed its habitual expression of bland courtesy, as he said, "Master Osborne, I give you full permission to go and see your carriage friends,--to whom I beg you to convey the respectful compliments of myself and Mrs. Veal."

George went into the reception room, and saw two strangers, whom he looked at with his head up, in his usual haughty manner. One was fat, with moustaches, and the other was lean and long in a blue frock coat, with a brown face, and a grizzled head.

"My God, how like he is!" said the long gentleman, with a start. "Can you guess who we are, George?"

The boy's face flushed up, and his eyes brightened. "I don't know the other," he said, "but I should think you must be Major Dobbin."

Indeed, it was Major Dobbin, who had come home on urgent private affairs, and who on board the Ramchunder, East Indiaman, had fallen in with no other than the Widow Osborne's stout brother, Joseph, who had passed the last ten years in Bengal. A voyage to Europe was pronounced necessary for him, and having served his full time in India, and having laid by a considerable sum of money, he was free to come home and stay with a good pension, or to return and resume that rank in the service to which he was entitled.

Many and many a night as the ship was cutting through the roaring dark sea, the moon and stars shining overhead, and the bell singing out the watch, Mr. Sedley and the Major would sit on the quarter deck of the vessel, talking about home as they smoked. In these conversations, with wonderful perseverance, Major Dobbin would always manage to bring the talk round to the subject of Amelia. Jos was a little testy about his father's misfortunes and application to him for money, but was soothed down by the Major, who pointed out the elder's ill fortunes in old age. He pointed out how advantageous it would be for Jos Sedley to have a house of his own in London, and how his sister Amelia would be the very person to preside over it; how elegant, how gentle she was, and of what refined good manners. He then hinted how becoming it would be for Jos to send Georgy to a good school and make a man of him. In a word, this artful Major made Jos promise to take charge of Amelia and her unprotected child before that pompous civilian made the discovery that he was binding himself.

Then came the arrival of the Ramchunder, the going ashore, and the entrance of the two men into the little home where Amelia was keeping her faithful watch over her feeble father. The excitement and surprise were a great shock to the old man, while to Amelia they were the greatest happiness that could have come to her. Of course the first thing she did was to show Georgie's miniature, and to tell of his great accomplishments, and then she secured the promise that the Major and her brother would visit the Reverend Mr. Veal's school at the earliest possible moment. This promise we have seen redeemed. Major Dobbin and Joseph Sedley, having become acquainted with the details of Amelia's lonely life, and of Georgie's happy one, lost no time in altering such circumstances as were within their power to change. Jos Sedley, notwithstanding his pompous selfishness and egoism, had a very tender heart, and shortly after his first appearance at Brompton, old Sedley and his daughter were carried away from the humble cottage in which they had passed the last ten years of their life to the handsome new home which Jos Sedley had provided for himself and them.

Good fortune now began to smile upon Amelia. Jos's friends were all from three presidencies, and his new house was in the centre of the comfortable Anglo-Indian district. Owing to Jos Sedley's position numbers of people came to see Mrs. Osborne who before had never noticed her. Lady Dobbin and her daughters were delighted at her change of fortune, and called upon her. Miss Osborne, herself, came in her grand chariot; Jos was reported to be immensely rich. Old Osborne had no objection that George should inherit his uncle's property as well as his own. "We will make a man of the fellow," he said; "and I will see him in parliament before I die. You may go and see his mother, Miss Osborne, though I'll never set eyes on her"; and Miss Osborne came. George was allowed to dine once or twice a week with his mother, and bullied the servants and his relations there, just as he did in Russell Square.

He was always respectful to Major Dobbin, however, and more modest in his demeanour when that gentleman was present. He was a clever lad, and afraid of the Major. George could not help admiring his friend's simplicity, his good-humour, his various learning quietly imparted, his general love of truth and justice. He had met no such man as yet in the course of his experience, and he had an instinctive liking for a gentleman. He hung fondly by his god-father's side; and it was his delight to walk in the Parks and hear Dobbin talk. William told George about his father, about India and Waterloo, about everything but himself. When George was more than usually pert and conceited, the Major joked at him, which Mrs. Osborne thought very cruel. One day taking him to the play, and the boy declining to go into the pit because it was vulgar, the Major took him to the boxes, left him there, and went down himself to the pit. He had not been seated there very long before he felt an arm thrust under his, and a dandy little hand in a kid-glove squeezing his arm. George had seen the absurdity of his ways, and come down from the upper region. A tender laugh of benevolence lighted up old Dobbin's face and eyes as he looked at the repentant little prodigal. He loved the boy very deeply.

If there was a sincere liking between George and the Major, it must be confessed that between the boy and his Uncle Joseph no great love existed. George had got a way of blowing out his cheeks, and putting his hands in his waistcoat pockets, and saying, "God bless my soul, you don't say so," so exactly after the fashion of old Jos, that it was impossible to refrain from laughter. The servants would explode at dinner if the lad, asking for something which wasn't at table, put on that countenance and used that favourite phrase. Even Dobbin would shoot out a sudden peal at the boy's mimicry. If George did not mimic his uncle to his face, it was only by Dobbin's rebukes and Amelia's terrified entreaties that the little scapegrace was induced to desist. And Joseph, having a dim consciousness that the lad thought him an ass, and was inclined to turn him into ridicule, used to be of course doubly pompous and dignified in the presence of Master George. When it was announced that the young gentleman was expected to dine with his mother, Mr. Jos commonly found that he had an engagement at the Club, and perhaps nobody was much grieved at his absence.

Before long Amelia had a visiting-book, and was driving about regularly in a carriage, from which a buttony boy sprang from the box with Amelia's and Jos's visiting cards. At stated hours Emmy and the carriage went to the Club, and took Jos for an airing; or, putting old Sedley into the vehicle, she drove the old man round the Regent's Park. We are not long in growing used to changes in life. Her lady's-maid and the chariot, her visiting book, and the buttony page became soon as familiar to Amelia as the humble routine of Brompton. She accommodated herself to one as to the other, and entertained Jos's friends with the same unselfish charm with which she cared for and amused old John Sedley.

Then came the day when that poor old man closed his eyes on the familiar scenes of earth, and Major Dobbin, Jos, and George followed his remains-to the grave in a black cloth coach. "You see," said old Osborne to George, when the burial was over, "what comes of merit and industry and good speculation, and that. Look at me and my bank account. Look at your poor Grandfather Sedley, and his failure. And yet he was a better man than I was, this day twenty years--a better man, I should say, by ten thousand pounds." And this worldly wisdom little George received in profound silence, taking it for what it was worth.

About this time old Osborne conceived much admiration for Major Dobbin, which he had acquired from the world's opinion of that gentleman. Also Major Dobbin's name appeared in the lists of one or two great parties of the nobility, which circumstance had a prodigious effect upon the old aristocrat of Russell Square. Also the Major's position as guardian to George, whose possession had been ceded to his grandfather, rendered some meetings between the two gentleman inevitable, and it was in one of these that old Osborne, from a chance hint supplied by the blushing Major, discovered that a part of the fund upon which the poor widow and her child had subsisted during their time of want, had been supplied out of William Dobbin's own pocket. This information gave old Osborne pain, but increased his admiration for the Major, who had been such a loyal friend to his son's wife. From that time it was evident that old Osborne's opinion was softening, and soon Jos and the Major were asked to dinner at Russell Square,--to a dinner the most splendid that perhaps ever Mr. Osborne gave; every inch of the family plate was exhibited and the best company was asked. More than once old Osborne asked Major Dobbin about Mrs. George Osborne,--a theme on which the Major could be very eloquent.

"You don't know what she endured, sir," said honest Dobbin; "and I hope and trust you will be reconciled to her. If she took your son away from you, she gave hers to you; and however much you loved your George, depend on it, she loved hers ten times more."

"You are a good fellow, sir!" was all Mr. Osborne said. But it was evident in later events that the conversation had had its effect upon the old man. He sent for his lawyers, and made some changes in his will, which was well, for one day shortly after that act he died suddenly.

When his will was read it was found that half the property was left to George. Also an annuity of five hundred pounds was left to his mother, "the widow of my beloved son, George Osborne," who was to resume the guardianship of the boy.

Major William Dobbin was appointed executor, "and as out of his kindness and bounty he maintained my grandson and my son's widow with his own private funds when they were otherwise without means of support" (the testator went on to say), "I hereby thank him heartily, and beseech him to accept such a sum as may be sufficient to purchase his commission as a Lieutenant Colonel, or to be disposed of in any way he may think fit." When Amelia heard that her father-in-law was reconciled to her, her heart melted, and she was grateful for the fortune left to her. But when she heard how George was restored to her, and that it had been William's bounty that supported her in poverty, that it was William who had reconciled old Osborne to her, then her gratitude and joy knew no bounds.

When the nature of Mr. Osborne's will became known to the world, once more Mrs. George Osborne rose in the estimation of the people forming her circle of acquaintance; even Jos himself paid her and her rich little boy, his nephew, the greatest respect, and began to show her much more attention than formerly.

As George's guardian, Amelia begged Miss Osborne to live in the Russell Square house, but Miss Osborne did not choose to do so. And Amelia also declined to occupy the gloomy old mansion. But one day, clad in deep sables, she went with George to visit the deserted house which she had not entered since she was a girl. They went into the great blank rooms, the walls of which bore the marks where pictures and mirrors had hung. Then they went up the great stone staircase into the upper rooms, into that where grandpapa died, as Georgie said in a whisper, and then higher still into George's own room. The boy was still clinging by her side, but she thought of another besides him. She knew that it had been his father's room before it was his.

"Look here, mother," said George, standing by the window, "here's G.O. scratched on the glass with a diamond; I never saw it before. I never did it."

"It was your father's room long before you were born, George," she said, and she blushed as she kissed the boy.

She was very silent as they drove back to Richmond, where they had taken a temporary house, but after that time practical matters occupied her mind. There were many directions to be given and much business to transact, and Amelia immediately found herself in the whirl of quite a new life, and experienced the extreme joy of having George continually with her, as he was at that time removed from Mr. Veal's on an unlimited holiday.

George's aunt, Mrs. Bullock, who had before her marriage been Miss Osborne, thought it wise now to become reconciled with Amelia and her boy. Consequently one day her chariot drove up to Amelia's house, and the Bullock family made an irruption into the garden, where Amelia was reading.

Jos was in an arbour, placidly dipping strawberries into wine, and the Major was giving a back to George, who chose to jump over him. He went over his head, and bounded into the little group of Bullocks, with immense black bows on their hats, and huge black sashes, accompanying their mourning mamma.

"He is just the age for Rosa," the fond parent thought, and glanced towards that dear child, a little miss of seven years. "Rosa, go and kiss your dear cousin," added Mrs. Bullock. "Don't you know me, George? I am your aunt."

"I know you well enough," George said; "but I don't like kissing, please," and he retreated from the obedient caresses of his cousin.

"Take me to your dear mamma, you droll child," Mrs. Bullock said; and those ladies met, after an absence of more than fifteen years. During Emmy's poverty Mrs. Bullock had never thought about coming to see her; but now that she was decently prosperous in the world, her sister-in-law came to her as a matter of course.

So did many others. In fact, before the period of grief for Mr. Osborne's death had subsided, Emmy, had she wished, could have become a leader in fashionable society. But that was not her desire: worn out with the long period of poverty, care, and separation from George, her one wish was a change of scene and thought.

Because of this wish, some time later, on a fine morning, when the Batavier steamboat was about to leave its dock, we see among the carriages being taken on, a very neat, handsome travelling carriage, from which a courier, Kirsch by name, got out and informed inquirers that the carriage belonged to an enormously rich Nabob from Calcutta and Jamaica, with whom he was engaged to travel. At this moment a young gentleman who had been warned off the bridge between the paddle-boxes, and who had dropped thence onto the roof of Lord Methusala's carriage, from which he made his way over other carriages until he had clambered onto his own, descended thence and through the window into the body of the carriage to the applause of the couriers looking on.

"Nous allons avoir une belle traversée, Monsieur George," said Kirsch with a grin, as he lifted his gold laced cap.

"Bother your French!" said the young gentleman.

"Where's the biscuits, ay?" Whereupon Kirsch answered him in such English as he could command and produced the desired repast.

The imperious young gentleman who gobbled the biscuits (and indeed it was time to refresh himself, for he had breakfasted at Richmond full three hours before) was our young friend George Osborne. Uncle Jos and his mamma were on the quarter-deck with Major Dobbin, and the four were about to make a summer tour. Amelia wore a straw bonnet with black ribbons, and otherwise dressed in mourning, but the little bustle and holiday of the journey pleased and excited her, and from that day throughout the entire journey she continued to be very happy and pleased. Wherever they stopped Dobbin used to carry about for her her stool and sketch book, and admired her drawings as they never had been admired before. She sat upon steamer decks and drew crags and castles, or she mounted upon donkeys and descended to ancient robber towers, attended by her two escorts, Georgie and Dobbin. Dobbin was interpreter for the party, having a good military knowledge of the German language, and he and the delighted George, who was having a wonderful trip, fought over again the campaigns of the Rhine and the Palatinate. In the course of a few weeks of constant conversation with Herr Kirsch on the box of the carriage, George made great advance in the knowledge of High Dutch, and could talk to hotel waiters and postilions in a way that charmed his mother and amused his guardian.

At the little ducal town of Pumpernickel our party settled down for a protracted stay. There each one of them found something especially pleasing or interesting them, and there it was that they encountered an acquaintance of other days,--no other than Mrs. Rawdon Crawley; and because of Becky's experiences since she had quitted her husband, her child, and the little house in Curzon Street, London, of which he knew the details, Major Dobbin was anything but pleased at the meeting.

But Becky told Amelia a pathetic little tale of misery, neglect, and estrangement from those she loved, and tenderhearted Amelia, who quivered with indignation at the recital, at once invited Becky to join their party. To this Major Dobbin made positive objections, but Amelia remained firm in her resolve to shelter the friend of her school-days, the mother who had been cruelly taken away from her boy by a misjudging sister-in-law. This decision brought about a crisis in Amelia's affairs: Major Dobbin, who had been so devotedly attached to Amelia for years, also remained firm, and insisted not only that Amelia have no more to do with Mrs. Crawley, but that if she did, he would leave the party. Amelia was firm and loyal, and honest Dobbin made preparations for his departure.

When the coach that was to carry old Dob away drew up before the door, Georgie gave an exclamation of surprise.

"Hello!" said he, "there's Dob's trap! There's Francis coming out with the portmanteau, and the postilion. Look at his boots and yellow jacket--why--they are putting the horses to Dob's carriage. Is he going anywhere?"

"Yes," said Amelia, "he is going on a journey."

"Going on a journey! And when is he coming back?"

"He is--not coming back," answered Amelia.

"Not coming back!" cried out Georgie, jumping up.

"Stay here," roared out Jos.

"Stay, Georgie," said his mother, with a very sad face.

The boy stopped, kicked about the room, jumped up and down from the window seat, and finally, when the Major's luggage had been carried out, gave way to his feelings again. "By Jove, I will go!" screamed out George, and rushed downstairs and flung across the street in a minute.

The yellow postilion was cracking his whip gently. William had got into the carriage, George bounded in after him, and flung his arms around the Major's neck, asking him multiplied questions. William kissed Georgie, spoke gently and sadly to him, and the boy got out, doubling his fists into his eyes. The yellow postilion cracked his whip again, up sprang Francis to the box, and away Dobbin was carried, never looking up as he passed under Amelia's window; and Georgie, left alone in the street, burst out crying in the face of all the crowd and continued his lamentations far into the night, when Amelia's maid, who heard him howling, brought him some preserved apricots to console him.

Thus honest Dobbin passed out of the life of Amelia and her boy, but not forever. Gentle Amelia was soon disillusioned in regard to the old schoolmate whom she had taken under her care, and found that in all the world there was no one who meant so much to her as faithful Dobbin. One morning she wrote and despatched a note, the inscription of which no one saw; but on account of which she looked very much flushed and agitated when Georgie met her coming from the Post; and she kissed him and hung over him a great deal that night. Two mornings later George, walking on the dyke with his mother, saw by the aid of his telescope an English steamer near the pier. George took the glass again and watched the vessel.

"How she does pitch! There goes a wave slap over her bows. There's a man
lying down, and a--chap--in a--cloak with a--Hurrah! It's Dob, by
jingo!" He clapped to the telescope and flung his arms round his mother,
then ran swiftly off; and Amelia was left to make her peace alone with
the faithful Major, who had returned at her request.

Some days later Becky Sharp felt it wise to leave for Bruges, and in the little church at Ostend there was a wedding, at which the only witnesses were Georgie and his Uncle Jos. Amelia Osborne had decided to accept the Major's protection for life, to the never-ending satisfaction of George, to whom the Major had always been comrade and father.

Immediately after his marriage Colonel Dobbin quitted the service and rented a pretty little country place in Hampshire, not far from Queen's Crawley, where Sir Pitt and his family constantly resided now, and where Rawdon Crawley was regarded as their son.

Lady Jane and Mrs. Dobbin became great friends, and there was a perpetual crossing of pony chaises between the two places. Lady Jane was godmother to Mrs. Dobbin's little girl, who bore her name, and the two lads, George Osborne and Rawdon Crawley, who had met so many years before as children when little Rawdon invited George to take a ride on his pony, and whose lives had been filled with such different experiences since that time, now became close friends. They were both entered at the same college at Cambridge, hunted and shot together in the vacations, confided in each other; and when we last see them, fast becoming young men, they are deep in a quarrel about Lady Jane's daughter, with whom they were both, of course, in love.

No further proof of approaching age is needed than a quarrel over a young lady, and the lads, George and Rawdon, now give place forever to men. Though the circumstances of their lives had been unlike, though George had had all the love that a devoted mother could give, and all the luxury which money could supply: and Rawdon had been without a mother's devotion; without the surroundings which had made George's life luxurious,--on the threshold of manhood we find them on an equal footing, entering life's arena, strong of limb, glad of heart, eager for what manhood was to bring them.



When one is about to write the biography of a certain person, it seems but fair to give as its background such facts concerning the hero's antecedents as place the details of his life in their proper setting. And so, having the honour to be the juvenile biographer of Mr. Clive Newcome, I deem it wise to preface the story of his life with a brief account of events and persons antecedent to his birth.

Thomas Newcome, Clive's grandfather, had been a weaver in his native village, and brought the very best character for honesty, thrift, and ingenuity with him to London, where he was taken into the house of Hobson Brothers, cloth-manufacturers; afterwards Hobson & Newcome. When Thomas Newcome had been some time in London, he quitted the house of Hobson, to begin business for himself. And no sooner did his business prosper than he married a pretty girl from his native village. What seemed an imprudent match, as his wife had no worldly goods to bring him, turned out a very lucky one for Newcome. The whole countryside was pleased to think of the marriage of the prosperous London tradesman with the penniless girl whom he had loved in the days of his own poverty; the great country clothiers, who knew his prudence and honesty, gave him much of their business, and Susan Newcome would have been the wife of a rich man had she not died a year after her marriage, at the birth of her son, Thomas.

Newcome had a nurse for the child, and a cottage at Clapham, hard by Mr. Hobson's house, and being held in good esteem by his former employers, was sometimes invited by them to tea. When his wife died, Miss Hobson, who since her father's death had become a partner in the firm, met Mr. Newcome with his little boy as she was coming out of meeting one Sunday, and the child looked so pretty, and Mr. Newcome so personable, that Miss Hobson invited him and little Tommy into the grounds; let the child frisk about in the hay on the lawn, and at the end of the visit gave him a large piece of pound-cake, a quantity of the finest hot-house grapes, and a tract in one syllable. Tommy was ill the next day; but on the next Sunday his father was at meeting, and not very long after that Miss Hobson became Mrs. Newcome.

After his father's second marriage, Tommy and Sarah, his nurse, who was also a cousin of Mr. Newcome's first wife, were transported from the cottage, where they had lived in great comfort, to the palace hard by, surrounded by lawns and gardens, graperies, aviaries, luxuries of all kinds. This paradise was separated from the outer world by a, thick hedge of tall trees and an ivy-covered porter's gate, through which they who travelled to London on the top of the Clapham coach could only get a glimpse of the bliss within. It was a serious paradise. As you entered at the gate, gravity fell on you; and decorum wrapped you in a garment of starch. The butcher boy who galloped his horse and cart madly about the adjoining lanes, on passing that lodge fell into an undertaker's pace, and delivered his joints and sweetbreads silently at the servant's entrance. The rooks in the elms cawed sermons at morning and evening; the peacocks walked demurely on the terraces; the guinea fowls looked more Quaker-like than those birds usually do. The lodge-keeper was serious, and a clerk at the neighbouring chapel. The pastor, who entered at that gate and greeted his comely wife and children, fed the little lambkins with tracts. The head gardener was a Scotch Calvinist, after the strictest order. On a Sunday the household marched away to sit under his or her favourite minister, the only man who went to church being Thomas Newcome, with Tommy, his little son. Tommy was taught hymns suited to his tender age, pointing out the inevitable fate of wicked children and giving him a description of the punishment of little sinners, which poems he repeated to his step-mother after dinner, before a great shining mahogany table, covered with grapes, pineapples, plum cake, port wine, and madeira, and surrounded by stout men in black, with baggy white neckcloths, who took the little man between their knees and questioned him as to his right understanding of the place whither naughty boys were bound. They patted his head if he said well, or rebuked him if he was bold, as he often was.

Then came the birth of Mrs. Newcome's twin boys, Hobson and Bryan, and now there was no reason why young Newcome, their step-brother, should not go to school, and to Grey Friars Thomas Newcome was accordingly sent, exchanging--O ye gods! with what delight--the splendour of Clapham for the rough, plentiful fare of the new place. The pleasures of school-life were such to him that he did not care to go home for a holiday; for by playing tricks and breaking windows, by taking the gardener's peaches and the housekeeper's jam, by upsetting his two little brothers in a go-cart (of which injury the Baronet's nose bore marks to his dying day), by going to sleep during the sermons, and treating reverend gentlemen with levity, he drew down on himself the merited anger of his step-mother; and many punishments. To please Mrs. Newcome, his father whipped Tommy for upsetting his little brothers in the go-cart; but, upon being pressed to repeat the whipping for some other prank, Mr. Newcome refused, saying that the boy got flogging enough at school, with which opinion Master Tommy fully agreed. His step-mother, however, determined to make the young culprit smart for his offences, and one day, when Mr. Newcome was absent, and Tommy refractory as usual, summoned the butler and footman to flog the young criminal. But he dashed so furiously against the butler's shins as to cause that menial to limp and suffer for many days after; and, seizing the decanter, he threatened to discharge it at Mrs. Newcome's head before he would submit to the punishment she desired administered. When Mr. Newcome returned, he was indignant at his wife's treatment of Tommy, and said so, to her great displeasure. This affair, indeed, almost caused a break in their relations, and friends and clergy were obliged to interfere to allay the domestic quarrel. At length Mrs. Newcome, who was not unkind, and could be brought to own that she was sometimes in fault, was induced to submit to the decrees of her husband, whom she had vowed to love and honour. When Tommy fell ill of scarlet fever she nursed him through his illness, and uttered no reproach to her husband when the twins took the disease. And even though Tommy in his delirium vowed that he would put on his clothes and run away to his old nurse Sarah, Mrs. Newcome's kindness to him never faltered. What the boy threatened in his delirium, a year later he actually achieved. He ran away from home, and appeared one morning, gaunt and hungry, at Sarah's cottage two hundred miles away from Clapham. She housed the poor prodigal with many tears and kisses, and put him to bed and to sleep; from which slumber he was aroused by the appearance of his father, whose instinct, backed by Mrs. Newcome's intelligence, had made him at once aware whither the young runaway had fled. Seeing a horsewhip in his parent's hand, Tommy, scared out of a sweet sleep and a delightful dream of cricket, knew his fate; and getting out of bed, received his punishment without a word. Very likely the father suffered more than the child; for, when the punishment was over, the little man yet quivering with the pain, held out his little bleeding hand, and said, "I can--I can take it from you, sir," saying which his face flushed, and his eyes filled, whereupon the father burst into a passion of tears, and embraced the boy, and kissed him, besought him to be rebellious no more, flung the whip away from him, and swore, come what would, he would never strike him again. The quarrel was the means of a great and happy reconciliation. But the truce was only a temporary one. War very soon broke out again between the impetuous lad and his rigid, domineering step-mother. It was not that he was very bad, nor she so very stern, but the two could not agree. The boy sulked and was miserable at home, and, after a number of more serious escapades than he had before indulged in, he was sent to a tutor for military instruction, where he was prepared for the army and received a fairly good professional education. He cultivated mathematics and fortification, and made rapid progress in his study of the French language. But again did our poor Tommy get into trouble, and serious trouble indeed this time, for it involved his French master's pretty young daughter as well as himself. Frantic with wrath and despair at the unfortunate climax of events, young Newcome embarked for India, and quitted the parents whom he was never more to see. His name was no more mentioned at Clapham, but he wrote constantly to his father, who sent Tom liberal private remittances to India, and was in turn made acquainted with the fact of his son's marriage, and later received news of the birth of his grandson, Clive.

Old Thomas Newcome would have liked to leave all his private fortune to his son Thomas, for the twins were only too well provided for, but he dared not, for fear of his wife, and he died, and poor Tom was only secretly forgiven.

So much for the history of Clive Newcome's father and grandfather. Having related it in full detail, we can now proceed to the narrative of Clive's life, he being the hero of this tale.

From the day of his birth until he was some seven years old, Clive's English relatives knew nothing about him. Then, Colonel Newcome's wife having died, and having kept the boy with him as long as the climate would allow, Thomas Newcome, now Lieutenant-Colonel, decided that it was wise to send Clive to England, to entrust him to the boy's maternal aunt, Miss Honeyman, who was living at Brighton, that Clive might have the superior advantages of school days in England.

Let us glance at a few extracts from letters received by Colonel Newcome after his boy had reached England. The aunt to whose care he was entrusted wrote as follows:

* * * * *

With the most heartfelt joy, my dear Major, I take up my pen to announce to you the happy arrival of the Ramchunder and the dearest and handsomest little boy who, I am sure, ever came from India. Little Clive is in perfect health. He speaks English wonderfully well. He cried when he parted from Mr. Sneid, the supercargo, who most kindly brought him from Southhampton in a postchaise, but these tears in childhood are of very brief duration!...

You may be sure that the most liberal sum which you have placed to my credit with the Messrs. Hobson & Co. shall be faithfully expended on my dear little charge. Of course, unless Mrs. Newcome,--who can scarcely be called his grandmamma, I suppose,--writes to invite dear Clive to Clapham, I shall not think of sending him there. My brother, who thanks you for your continuous bounty, will write next month, and report progress as to his dear pupil. Clive will add a postscript of his own, and I am, my dear Major,

Your grateful and affectionate,


In a round hand and on lines ruled with pencil:

Dearest Papa I am very well I hope you are Very Well. Mr. Sneed brought me in a postchaise I like Mr. Sneed very much. I like Aunt Martha I like Hannah. There are no ships here I am your affectionate son CLIVE NEWCOME.

* * * * *

There was also a note from Colonel Newcome's stepbrother, Bryan, as follows:

* * * * *

My Dear Thomas: Mr. Sneid, supercargo of the Ramchunder, East Indiaman, handed over to us yesterday your letter, and, to-day, I have purchased three thousand three hundred and twenty-three pounds 6 and 8, three per cent Consols, in our joint names (H. and B. Newcome), held for your little boy. Mr. S. gives a favourable account of the little man, and left him in perfect health two days since, at the house of his aunt, Miss Honeyman. We have placed £200 to that lady's credit, at your desire. I dare say my mother will ask your little boy to the Hermitage; and when we have a house of our own I am sure Ann and I shall be very happy to see him.

Yours affectionately,


And another from Miss Honeyman's brother, containing the following:


My Dear Colonel: ... Clive is everything that a father's and uncle's, a pastor's, a teacher's, affections could desire. He is not a premature genius; he is not, I frankly own, more advanced in his classical and mathematical studies than some children even younger than himself; but he has acquired the rudiments of health; he has laid in a store of honesty and good-humour which are not less likely to advance him in life than mere science and language ... etc., etc.,

Your affectionate brother-in-law,


Another letter from Miss Honeyman herself said:

My Dear Colonel: ... As my dearest little Clive was too small for a great school, I thought he could not do better than stay with his old aunt and have his uncle Charles for a tutor, who is one of the finest scholars in the world. Of late he has been too weak to take a curacy, so I thought he could not do better than become Clive's tutor, and agreed to pay him out of your handsome donation of £250 for Clive, a sum of one hundred pounds per year. But I find that Charles is too kind to be a schoolmaster, and Master Clive laughs at him. It was only the other day after his return from his grandmamma's that I found a picture of Mrs. Newcome and Charles, too, and of both their spectacles, quite like. He has done me and Hannah, too. Mr. Speck, the artist, says he is a wonder at drawing.

Our little Clive has been to London on a visit to his uncles and to Clapham, to pay his duty to his step-grandmother, the wealthy Mrs. Newcome. She was very gracious to him, and presented him with a five pound note, a copy of Kirk White's poems and a work called Little Henry and his Bearer, relating to India, and the excellent catechism of our Church. Clive is full of humour, and I enclose you a rude scrap representing the Bishopess of Clapham, as Mrs. Newcome is called.

Instead then of allowing Clive to be with Charles in London next month I shall send him to Doctor Timpany's school, Marine Parade, of which I hear the best account; but I hope you will think of soon sending him to a great school. My father always said it was the best place for boys, and I have a brother to whom my poor mother spared the rod, and who I fear has turned out but a spoiled child.

I am, dear Colonel, your most faithful servant,


* * * * *

Besides the news gleaned from these letters we gather the main facts concerning little Clive's departure from the Colonel's side. He had kept the child with him until he felt sure that the change would be of advantage to the pretty boy, then had parted from him with bitter pangs of heart, and thought constantly of him with longing and affection. With the boy, it was different. Half an hour after his father had left him and in grief and loneliness was rowing back to shore, Clive was at play with a dozen other children on the sunny deck of the ship. When two bells rang for their dinner, they were all hurrying to the table, busy over their meal, and forgetful of all but present happiness.

But with that fidelity which was an instinct of his nature, Colonel Newcome thought ever of his absent child and longed after him. He never forsook the native servants who had had charge of Clive, but endowed them with money sufficient to make all their future lives comfortable. No friends went to Europe, nor ship departed, but Newcome sent presents to the boy and costly tokens of his love and thanks to all who were kind to his son. His aim was to save money for the youngster, but he was of a nature so generous that he spent five rupees where another would save them. However, he managed to lay by considerable out of his liberal allowances, and to find himself and Clive growing 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 try and make up for lost time. I know there is nothing like a knowledge of the classics to give a man good breeding. I shall be able to help him with my knowledge of the world, and to keep him out of the way of sharpers and a pack of rogues who commonly infest young men. And we will travel together, 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, 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 boy will be left with the best education, a tolerable small fortune, and the blessing of his old father."

Such were the plans of the kind schemer. How fondly he dwelt on them, how affectionately he wrote of them to his boy! 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 clearing eighty thousand of 'em off the face of the earth! How my boy will rejoice in the picture galleries there, and in Prince Eugene's prints! 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 himself. It would make you die of laughing!"

He regaled the ladies of the regiment with dive's letters, and those of Miss Honeyman, which contained an account of the boy. He even bored some of his hearers 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, generosity and honour.

As to Clive himself, by this time he was thoroughly enjoying his new life in England. After remaining for a time at Doctor Timpany's school, where he was first placed by his aunt, Miss Honeyman, he was speedily removed to that classical institution in which Colonel Newcome had been a student in earlier days. My acquaintance with young Clive was at this school, Grey Friars, where our acquaintance was brief and casual. He had the advantage of being six years my junior, and such a difference of age between lads at a public school puts intimacy out of the question, even though we knew each other at home, as our school phrase was, and our families were somewhat acquainted. When Newcome's uncle, the Reverend Charles Honeyman, brought Newcome to the Grey Friars School, he recommended him to my superintendence and protection, and told me that his young nephew's father, Colonel Thomas Newcome, C.B., was a most gallant and distinguished officer in the Bengal establishment of the honourable East India Company; and that his uncles, the Colonel's half-brothers, were the eminent bankers, heads of the firm of Hobson Brothers & Newcome, Hobson Newcome, Esquire, Brianstone Square, and Marblehead, Sussex, and Sir Brian Newcome, of Newcome, and Park Lane, "whom to name," says Mr. Honeyman, with the fluent eloquence with which he decorated the commonest circumstances of life, "is to designate two of the merchant princes of the wealthiest city the world has ever known; and one, if not two, of the leaders of that aristocracy which rallies round the throne of the most elegant and refined of European sovereigns."

I promised Mr. Honeyman to do what I could for the boy; and he proceeded to take leave of his little nephew in my presence in terms equally eloquent, pulling out a long and very slender green purse, from which he extracted the sum of two and sixpence, which he presented to the child, who received the money with rather a queer twinkle in his blue eyes.

After that day's school I met my little protege in the neighbourhood of the pastry cook's, regaling himself with raspberry tarts. "You must not spend all the money, sir, which your uncle gave you," said I, "in tarts and ginger-beer."

The urchin rubbed the raspberry jam off his mouth, and said, "It don't matter, sir, for I've got lots more."

"How much?" says the Grand Inquisitor: for the formula of interrogation used to be, when a new boy came to the school, "What's your name? Who's your father? and how much money have you got?"

The little fellow pulled such a handful of sovereigns out of his pocket as might have made the tallest scholar feel a pang of envy. "Uncle Hobson," says he, "gave me two; Aunt Hobson gave me one--no, Aunt Hobson gave me thirty shillings; Uncle Newcome gave me three pound; and Aunt Ann gave me one pound five; and Aunt Honeyman sent me ten shillings in a letter. And Ethel wanted to give me a pound, only I wouldn't have it, you know; because Ethel's younger than me, and I have plenty."

"And who is Ethel?" I ask, smiling at the artless youth's confessions.

"Ethel is my cousin," replied little Newcome; "Aunt Ann's daughter. There's Ethel and Alice, and Aunt Ann wanted the baby to be called Boadicea, only uncle wouldn't; and there's Barnes and Egbert and little Alfred, only he don't count; he's quite a baby, you know. Egbert and me was at school at Timpany's; he's going to Eton next half. He's older than me, but I can lick him."

"And how old is Egbert?" asks the smiling senior.

"Egbert's ten, and I'm nine, and Ethel's seven," replied the little chubby-faced hero, digging his hands deep into his trousers, and jingling all the sovereigns there. I advised him to let me be his banker; and, keeping one out of his many gold pieces, he handed over the others, on which he drew with great liberality till his whole stock was expended. The school hours of the upper and under boys were different at that time; the little fellows coming out of their hall half an hour before the Fifth and Sixth Forms; and many a time I used to find my little blue-jacket in waiting, with his honest square face, and white hair, and bright blue eyes, and I knew that he was come to draw on his bank. Ere long one of the pretty blue eyes was shut up, and a fine black one substituted in its place. He had been engaged, it appeared, in a pugilistic encounter with a giant of his own form whom he had worsted in the combat. "Didn't I pitch into him, that's all?" says he in the elation of victory; and, when I asked whence the quarrel arose, he stoutly informed me that "Wolf Minor, his opponent, had been bullying a little boy, and that he, the gigantic Newcome, wouldn't stand it."

So, being called away from the school, I said "Farewell and God bless you," to the brave little man, who remained a while at the Grey Friars, where his career and troubles had only just begun, and lost sight of him for several years. Nor did we meet again until I was myself a young man occupying chambers in the Temple.

Meanwhile the years of Clive's absence had slowly worn away for Colonel Newcome, and at last the happy time came which he had been longing more passionately than any prisoner for liberty, or schoolboy for holiday. The Colonel had taken leave of his regiment. He had travelled to Calcutta; and the Commander-in-Chief announced that in giving to Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Newcome, of the Bengal Cavalry, leave for the first time, after no less than thirty-four years' absence from home, he could not refrain from expressing his sense of the great services of this most distinguished officer, who had left his regiment in a state of the highest discipline and efficiency.

This kind Colonel had also to take leave of 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 Cavalry; or Mrs. Smith's girls, of the Civil Service; or poor Tom Hick'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, some of whom he actually escorted to their friends before he visited his own, 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, always heavy with gold and silver, which he jingled when he was not pulling his moustaches, and 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 Ramshorn'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 country, whose hearts he made happy by his accounts of their children, as he had delighted the children themselves by his affection and bounty. All 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 Threadneedle Street cast up their eyes at the cheques which he drew.

The Colonel had written to his brothers from Portsmouth, announcing his arrival, and three words to Clive, conveying the same intelligence. The letter was served to the boy along with 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 Reverend Mister Popkinson, came into the lodging-room, with a good-natured face, and said, "Newcome, you're wanted," he knew who had come. He did not heed that notorious bruiser, old Hodge, who roared out, "Confound you, Newcome: I'll give it you for upsetting your tea over my new trousers." He ran to the room where the stranger was 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. He was the picture of health, strength, activity, and good-humour. He had a good forehead shaded with a quantity of waving light hair; a complexion which ladies might envy; a mouth which seemed accustomed to laughing; and a pair of blue eyes that sparkled with intelligence and frank kindness. No wonder the pleased father could not refrain from looking at him.

The bell rang for second school, and Mr. Popkinson, arrayed in cap and gown, came in to shake Colonel Newcome by the hand, and to say he supposes it was to be a holiday for Newcome that day. He said not a word about Clive's scrape of the day before, and that awful row in the bedrooms, where the 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-house in Grey Friars Lane.

When the bell was done ringing, and all these busy little bees swarmed into their hive, there was a solitude in the place. The Colonel and his son walked 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 green. They walked the green, and they paced the cloisters, and Clive showed his father his own name of Thomas Newcome carved upon one of the arches forty years ago. As they talked, the boy gave sidelong glances at his new friend, and wondered at the Colonel's loose trousers, long moustaches, and yellow face. He looked very odd, Clive thought, very odd and very kind, and like a gentleman, every inch of him:--not like Martin's father, who came to see his son lately in highlows, and a shocking bad hat, and actually flung coppers amongst the boys for a scramble. He burst out a-laughing 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, 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 little men in blue jackets under charge of a serious tutor.

He rushed into the banking house, broke into the parlour where the lords of the establishment were seated, and astonished these trim, quiet gentlemen by the warmth of his greeting, by the vigour of his handshake, and the loud tones of his voice, which might actually be heard by the busy clerks in the hall without. He knew Bryan from Hobson at once--that unlucky little accident in the go-cart having left its mark forever on the nose of Sir Bryan Newcome. He had a bald head and light hair, a short whisker cut to his cheek, a buff waistcoat, very neat boots and hands, and was altogether dignified, bland, smiling, and statesmanlike.

Hobson Newcome, Esquire, was more portly than his elder brother, and allowed his red whiskers to grow on his cheeks and under his chin. He wore thick shoes with nails in them, and affected the country gentleman in his appearance. His hat had a broad brim, and his ample pockets always contained agricultural produce, samples of bean or corn, or a whiplash or balls for horses. In fine, he was a good old country gentleman, and a better man of business than his more solemn brother, at whom he laughed in his jocular way; and said rightly that a gentleman must get up very early to get ahead of him.

These gentlemen each received the Colonel in a manner consistent with his peculiar nature. Sir Bryan 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 Lady Ann could give you; but when will you take a day and come and dine with us? Let's see, to-day is Wednesday; to-morrow we are engaged. Friday, we dine at Judge Budge's; Saturday I am going down to Marblehead to look after the hay. Come on Monday, Tom, and I'll introduce you to the missus and the young uns."

"I will bring Clive," says Colonel Newcome, rather disturbed 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 downstairs, and the ladies don't want 'em in the drawing-room. Send him to dine with the children on Sunday, if you like, and come along down with me to Marblehead, and I'll show you such a crop of hay as will make your eyes open. Are you fond of farming?"

"I have not seen my boy for years," says the Colonel; "I had rather pass Saturday and Sunday with him, if you please, and some day we will go to Marblehead 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," says the elder brother, blandly smiling. "I can't give you any tiger-shooting, but I'll promise you that you shall find plenty of pheasants in our jungle," and he laughed very gently at this mild sally.

At this moment a fair-haired young gentleman, languid and pale, and dressed in the height of fashion, made his appearance and was introduced as the Baronet's oldest son, Barnes Newcome. He returned Colonel Newcome's greeting with a smile, saying, "Very happy to see you, I am sure. 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 his strange reception. Here was a man, hungry for affection, and one relation asked him to dinner next Monday, and another invited him to shoot pheasants at Christmas. Here was a beardless young sprig, who patronised him and asked him whether he found London was changed. As soon as possible he ended the interview with his step-brothers, and drove back to Ludgate Hill, where he dismissed his cab and walked across the muddy pavements of Smithfield, on his way back to the old school where his son was, a way which he had trodden many a time in his own early days. There was Cistercian Street, and the Red Cow of his youth; there was the quaint old Grey Friars Square, with its blackened trees and garden, surrounded by ancient houses of the build of the last century, now slumbering like pensioners in the sunshine.

Under the great archway of the hospital he could look at the old Gothic building; and a black-gowned pensioner or two crawling over the quiet square, or passing from one dark arch to another. The boarding-houses of the school were situated in the square, hard by the more ancient buildings of the hospital. A great noise of shouting, crying, clapping forms and cupboards, treble voices, bass voices, poured out of the schoolboys' windows; their life, bustle, and gaiety contrasted strangely with the quiet of those old men, creeping along in their black gowns under the ancient arches yonder, whose struggle of life was over, whose hope and noise and bustle had sunk into that grey calm. There was Thomas Newcome arrived at the middle of life, standing between the shouting boys and the tottering seniors and in a situation to moralise upon both, had not his son Clive, who espied him, come jumping down the steps to greet his sire. Clive was dressed in his very best; not one of those four hundred young gentlemen had a better figure, a better tailor, or a neater boot. Schoolfellows, grinning through the bars, envied him as he walked away; senior boys made remarks on Colonel Newcome's loose clothes and long moustaches, his brown hands and unbrushed hat. The Colonel was smoking a cheroot as he walked; and the gigantic Smith, the cock of the school, who happened to be looking majestically out of the window, was pleased to say that he thought Newcome's governor was a fine manly-looking fellow.

"Tell me about your uncles, Clive," said the Colonel, as they walked on arm in arm.

"What about them, sir?" asks the boy. "I don't think I know much."

"You have been to stay with them. You wrote about them. Were they kind to you?"

"Oh, yes, I suppose they are very kind. They always tipped me: only you know when I go there I scarcely ever see them. Mr. Newcome asks me the oftenest--two or three times a quarter when he's in town, and gives me a sovereign regular."

"Well, he must see you to give you the sovereign," says Clive's father, laughing.

The boy blushed rather.

"Yes. When it's time to go back to Smithfield on a Saturday night, I go into the dining-room to shake hands, and he gives it to me; but he don't speak to me much, you know, and I don't care about going to Bryanstone Square, except for the tip (of course that's important), because I am made to dine with the children, and they are quite little ones; and a great cross French governess, who is always crying and shrieking after them, and finding fault with them. My uncle generally has his dinner parties on Saturday, or goes out; and aunt gives me ten shillings and sends me to the play; that's better fun than a dinner party." Here the lad blushed again. "I used," said he, "when I was younger, to stand on the stairs and prig things out of the dishes when they came out from dinner, but I'm past that now. Maria (that's my cousin) used to take the sweet things and give 'em to the governess. Fancy! she used to put lumps of sugar into her pocket and eat them in the schoolroom! Uncle Hobson don't live in such good society as Uncle Newcome. You see, Aunt Hobson, she's very kind, you know, and all that, but I don't think she's what you call comme il faut"

"Why, how are you to judge?" asks the father, amused at the lad's candid prattle, "and where does the difference lie?"

"I can't tell you what it is, or how it is," the boy answered, "only one can't help seeing the difference. It isn't rank and that: only somehow there are some men gentlemen and some not, and some women ladies and some not. There's Jones now, the fifth-form master, every man sees he's a gentleman, though he wears ever so old clothes; and there's Mr. Brown, who oils his hair, and wears rings, and white chokers--my eyes! such white chokers!--and yet we call him the handsome snob! And so about Aunt Maria, she's very handsome and she's very finely dressed, only somehow she's not the ticket, you see."

"Oh, she's not the ticket?" says the Colonel, much amused.

"Well, what I mean is--but never mind," says the boy. "I can't tell you what I mean. I don't like to make fun of her, you know, for after all she's very kind to me; but Aunt Ann is different, and it seems as if what she says is more natural; and though she has funny ways of her own, too, yet somehow she looks grander,"--and here the lad laughed again. "And do you know, I often think that as good a lady as Aunt Ann herself, is old Aunt Honeyman at Brighton--that is, in all essentials, you know? And she is not a bit ashamed of letting lodgings, or being poor herself, as sometimes I think some of our family--"

"I thought we were going to speak no ill of them," says the Colonel, smiling.

"Well, it only slipped out unawares," says Clive, laughing, "but at Newcome when they go on about the Newcomes, and that great ass, Barnes Newcome, gives himself his airs, it makes me die of laughing. That time I went down to Newcome I went to see old Aunt Sarah, and she told me everything, and do you know, I was a little hurt at first, for I thought we were swells till then? And when I came back to school, where perhaps I had been giving myself airs, and bragging about Newcome, why, you know, I thought it was right to tell the fellows."

"That's a man," said the Colonel, with delight; though had he said, "That's a boy," he had spoken more correctly. "That's a man," cried the Colonel; "never be ashamed of your father, Clive."

"Ashamed of my father!" says Clive, looking up to him, and walking on as proud as a peacock. "I say," the lad resumed, after a pause--

"Say what you say," said the father.

"Is that all true what's in the Peerage--in the Baronetage, about Uncle Newcome and Newcome; about the Newcome who was burned at Smithfield; about the one that was at the battle of Bosworth; and the old, old Newcome who was bar--that is, who was surgeon to Edward the Confessor, and was killed at Hastings? I am afraid it isn't; and yet I should like it to be true."

"I think every man would like to come of an ancient and honourable race," said the Colonel in his honest way. "As you like your father to be an honourable man, why not your grandfather, and his ancestors before him? But if we can't inherit a good name, at least we can do our best to leave one, my boy; and that is an ambition which, please God., you and I will both hold by."

With this simple talk the old and young gentleman beguiled their way, until they came into the western quarter of the town, where Hobson Newcome lived in a handsome and roomy mansion. Colonel Newcome was bent on paying a visit to his sister-in-law, although as they waited to be let in they could not but remark through the opened windows of the dining-room that a great table was laid and every preparation was made for a feast.

"My brother said he was engaged to dinner to-day," said the Colonel.

"Does Mrs. Newcome give parties when he is away?"

"She invites all the company," answered Clive. "My uncle never asks any one without aunt's leave."

The Colonel's countenance fell. "He has a great dinner, and does not ask his own brother!" Newcome thought. "Why, if he had come to India with all his family, he might have stayed for a year, and I should have been offended had he gone elsewhere."

A hot menial in a red waistcoat came and opened the door, and without waiting for preparatory queries said, "Not at home."

"It's my father, John," said Clive. "My aunt will see Colonel Newcome."

"Missis is not at home," said the man. "Missis is gone in carriage--Not at this door!--Take them things down the area steps, young man!"

This latter speech was addressed to a pastry cook's boy with a large sugar temple and many conical papers containing delicacies for dessert. "Mind the hice is here in time; or there'll be a blow-up with your governor,"--and John struggled back, closing the door on the astonished Colonel.

"Upon my life, they actually shut the door in our faces," said the poor gentleman.

"The man is very busy, sir. There's a great dinner. I'm sure my aunt would not refuse you," Clive interposed. "She is very kind. I suppose it's different here from what it is in India. There are the children in the Square,--those are the girls in blue,--that's the French governess, the one with the yellow parasol. How d'ye do, Mary? How d'ye do, Fanny? This is my father,--this is your uncle."

The Colonel surveyed his little nieces with that kind expression which his face always wore when it was turned toward children.

"Have you heard of your uncle in India?" he asked them.

"No," says Maria.

"Yes," says Fannie. "You know mademoiselle said that if we were naughty we should be sent to our uncle in India. I think I should like to go with you."

"Oh, you silly child!" cries Maria.

"Yes, I should, if Clive went, too," says little Fanny.

"Behold madame, who arrives from her promenade!" mademoiselle exclaimed, and, turning round, Colonel Newcome beheld, for the first time, his sister-in-law, a stout lady with fair hair and a fine bonnet and a pelisse, who was reclining in her barouche with the scarlet plush garments of her domestics blazing before and behind her.

Clive ran towards his aunt. She bent over the carriage languidly towards him. She liked him. "What, you, Clive!" she said, "How come you away from school of a Thursday, sir?"

"It is a holiday," said he. "My father is come; and he is come to see you."

She bowed her head with an expression of affable surprise and majestic satisfaction. "Indeed, Clive!" she exclaimed, and the Colonel stepped forward and took off his hat and bowed and stood bareheaded. She surveyed him blandly, and put forward a little hand, saying, "You have only arrived to-day, and you came to see me? That was very kind. Have you had a pleasant voyage? These are two of my girls. My boys are at school. I shall be so glad to introduce them to their uncle. This naughty boy might never have seen you, but that we took him home after the scarlet fever, and made him well, didn't we Clive? And we are all very fond of him, and you must not be jealous of his love for his aunt. We feel that we quite know you through him, and we know that you know us, and we hope you will like us. Do you think your papa will like us, Clive? Or, perhaps you will like Lady Ann best? Yes; you have been to her first, of course? Not been? Oh! because she is not in town." Leaning fondly on Clive's arm, mademoiselle standing with the children hard by, while John with his hat off stood at the opened door, Mrs. Newcome slowly uttered the above remarkable remarks to the Colonel, on the threshold of her house, which she never asked him to pass.

"If you will come in to us about ten this evening," she then said, "you will find some men not undistinguished, who honour me of an evening. Perhaps they will be interesting to you, Colonel Newcome, as you are newly arriven in Europe. A stranger coming to London could scarcely have a better opportunity of seeing some of our great illustrations of science and literature. We have a few friends at dinner, and now I must go in and consult with my housekeeper. Good-bye for the present. Mind, not later than ten, as Mr. Newcome must be up betimes in the morning, and our parties break up early. When Clive is a little older I dare say we shall see him, too. Goodbye!"

And again the Colonel was favoured with a shake of the hand, and the lady sailed up the stair, and passed in at the door, with not the faintest idea but that the hospitality which she was offering to her kinsman was of the most cordial and pleasant kind.

Having met Colonel Newcome on the steps of her house, she ordered him to come to her evening party; and though he had not been to an evening party for five and thirty years--though he had not been to bed the night before--he never once thought of disobeying Mrs. Newcome's order, but was actually at her door at five minutes past ten, having arrayed himself, to the wonderment of Clive, and left the boy to talk to Mr. Binnie, a friend and fellow-passenger, who had just arrived from Portsmouth, who had dined with him, and taken up his quarters at the same hotel.

Well, then, the Colonel is launched in English society of an intellectual order, and mighty dull he finds it. During two hours of desultory conversation and rather meagre refreshments, the only bright spot is his meeting with Charles Honeyman, his dead wife's brother, whom he was mighty glad to see. Except for this meeting there was little to entertain the Colonel, and as soon as possible he and Honeyman walked away together, the Colonel returning to his hotel, where he found his friend James Binnie installed in his room in the best arm-chair, sleeping-cosily, but he woke up briskly when the Colonel entered. "It is you, you gadabout, is it?" cried Binnie. "See what it is to have a real friend now, Colonel! I waited for you, because I knew you would want to talk about that scapegrace of yours."

"Isn't he a fine fellow, James?" says the Colonel, lighting a cheroot as he sits on the table. Was it joy, or the bedroom candle with which he lighted his cigar, which illuminated his honest features so, and made them so to shine?

"I have been occupied, sir, in taking the lad's moral measurement: and I have pumped him as successfully as ever I cross-examined a rogue in my court. I place his qualities thus:--Love of approbation, sixteen. Benevolence, fourteen. Combativeness, fourteen. Adhesiveness, two. Amativeness is not yet of course fully developed, but I expect will be prodigiously strong. The imaginative and reflective organs are very large; those of calculation weak. He may make a poet or a painter, or you may make a sojor of him, though worse men than him's good enough for that--but a bad merchant, a lazy lawyer, and a miserable mathematician. My opinion, Colonel, is that young scapegrace will give you a deal of trouble; or would, only you are so absurdly proud of him, and you think everything he does is perfection. He'll spend your money for you; he'll do as little work as need be. He'll get into scrapes with the sax. He's almost as simple as his father, and that is to say that any rogue will cheat him; and he seems to me to have your obstinate habit of telling the truth, Colonel, which may prevent his getting on in the world; but on the other hand will keep him from going very wrong. So that, though there is every fear for him, there's some hope and some consolation."

"What do you think of his Latin and Greek?" asked the Colonel. Before going out to his party Newcome had laid a deep scheme with Binnie, and it had been agreed that the latter should examine the young fellow in his humanities.

"Wall," cries the Scot, "I find that the lad knows as much about Greek and Latin as I knew myself when I was eighteen years of age."

"My dear Binnie, is it possible? You, the best scholar in all India!"

"And which amounted to exactly nothing. By the admirable seestem purshood at your public schools, just about as much knowledge as he could get by three months' application at home. Mind ye, I don't say he would apply; it is most probable he would do no such thing. But, at the cost of--how much? two hundred pounds annually--for five years--he has acquired about five and twenty guineas' worth of classical leeterature--enough, I dare say, to enable him to quote Horace respectably through life, and what more do you want from a young man of his expectations? I think I should send him into the army, that's the best place for him--there's the least to do and the handsomest clothes to wear," says the little wag, daintily taking up the tail of his friend's coat. "In earnest now, Tom Newcome, I think your boy is as fine a lad as I ever set eyes on. He seems to have intelligence and good temper. He carries his letter of recommendation in his countenance; and with the honesty--and the rupees, mind ye,--which he inherits from his father, the deuce is in it if he can't make his way. What time's the breakfast? Eh, but it was a comfort this morning not to hear the holystoning on the deck. We ought to go into lodgings, and not fling our money out of the window of this hotel. We must make the young chap take us about and show us the town in the morning, eh, Colonel?"

With this the jolly gentleman nodded over his candle to his friend, and trotted off to bed.

The Colonel and his friend were light sleepers and early risers. The next morning when Binnie entered the sitting-room he found the Colonel had preceded him. "Hush," says the Colonel, putting a long finger up to his mouth, and advancing towards him as noiselessly as a ghost.

"What's in the wind now?" asks the little Scot; "and what for have ye not got your shoes on?"

"Clive's asleep," says the Colonel, with a countenance full of extreme anxiety.

"The darling boy slumbers, does he?" said the wag. "Mayn't I just step in and look at his beautiful countenance whilst he's asleep, Colonel?"

"You may if you take off those confounded creaking, shoes," the other answered, quite gravely: and Binnie turned away to hide his jolly round face, which was screwed up with laughter.

"Have ye been breathing a prayer over your rosy infant's slumbers, Tom?" asks Mr. Binnie.

"And if I have, James Binnie," the Colonel said gravely, and his sallow face blushing somewhat, "if I have I hope I've done no harm. The last time I saw him asleep was nine years ago, a sickly little pale-faced boy, in his little cot, and now, sir, that I see him again, strong and handsome and all that a fond father can wish to see a boy, I should be an ungrateful villain, James, if I didn't do what you said just now, and thank God Almighty for restoring him to me."

Binnie did not laugh any more. "By George! Tom Newcome," said he, "you're just one of the saints of the earth. If all men were like you there'd be an end of both our trades; and there would be no fighting and no soldiering, no rogues, and no magistrates to catch them." The Colonel wondered at his friend's enthusiasm, who was not used to be complimentary; indeed what so usual with him as that simple act of gratitude and devotion about which his comrade spoke to him? To ask a blessing for his boy was as natural to him as to wake with the sunrise, or to go to rest when the day was over. His first and his last thought was always the child.

The two gentlemen were home in time enough to find Clive dressed, and his uncle arrived for breakfast. The Colonel said a grace over that meal; the life was begun which he had longed and prayed for, and the son smiling before his eyes who had been in his thoughts for so many fond years.

If my memory serves me right it was at about this time that I, the humble biographer of Mr. Clive Newcome's life, met him again for the first time since my school days at Grey Friars.

Going to the play one night with some fellows of my own age, and laughing enthusiastically at the farce, we became naturally hungry at midnight, and a desire for Welch Rabbits and good old glee-singing led us to the "Cave of Harmony," then kept by the celebrated Hoskins, with whom we enjoyed such intimacy that he never failed to greet us with a kind nod. We also knew the three admirable glee-singers. It happened that there was a very small attendance at the "Cave" that night, and we were all more sociable and friendly because the company was select. The songs were chiefly of the sentimental class; such ditties were much in vogue at the time of which I speak.

There came into the "Cave" a gentleman with a lean brown face and long black moustaches, dressed in very loose clothes, and evidently a stranger to the place. At least he had not visited it for a long time. He was pointing out changes to a lad who was in his company; and, calling for sherry and water, he listened to the music, and twirled his moustaches with great enthusiasm.

At the very first glimpse of me the boy jumped up from the table, bounded across the room, ran to me with his hands out, and, blushing, said, "Don't you know me?"

It was little Newcome, my school-fellow, whom I had not seen for six years, grown a fine tall young stripling now, with the same bright blue eyes which I remembered when he was quite a little boy.

"What the deuce brings you here?" said I.

He laughed and looked roguish. "My father--that's my father--would come. He's just come back from India. He says all the wits used to come here. I told him your name, and that you used to be very kind to me when I first went to Smithfield. I've left now: I'm to have a private tutor. I say, I've got such a jolly pony. It's better fun than old Smiffle."

Here the whiskered gentleman, Newcome's father, strode across the room twirling his moustaches, and came up to the table where we sat, making a salutation with his hat in a very stately and polite manner, so that Hoskins himself felt obliged to bow; the glee-singers murmured among themselves, and that mischievous little wag, little Nadab the Improvisatore, began to mimic him, feeling his imaginary whiskers, after the manner of the stranger, and flapping about his pocket-handkerchief in the most ludicrous manner. Hoskins checked this sternly, looking towards Nadab, and at the same time calling upon the gents to give their orders.

Newcome's father came up and held out his hand to me, and he spoke in a voice so soft and pleasant, and with a cordiality so simple and sincere, that my laughter shrank away ashamed; and gave place to a feeling much more respectful and friendly.

"I have heard of your kindness, sir," says he, "to my boy. And whoever is kind to him is kind to me. Will you allow me to sit down by you? And may I beg you to try my cheroots?" We were friends in a minute, young Newcome snuggling by my side, his father opposite, to whom, after a minute or two of conversation, I presented my three college friends.

"You have come here, gentlemen, to see the wits," says the Colonel. "Are there any celebrated persons in the room? I have been five and thirty years from home, and want to see all there is to be seen."

King of Corpus (who was an incorrigible wag) was about to point out a half dozen of people in the room, as the most celebrated wits of that day; but I cut King's shins under the table, and got the fellow to hold his tongue, while Jones wrote on his card to Hoskins, hinted to him that a boy was in the room, and a gentleman who was quite a greenhorn: hence that the songs had better be carefully selected.

And so they were. A lady's school might have come in, and have taken no harm by what happened. It was worth a guinea to see the simple Colonel and his delight at the music. He forgot all about the distinguished wits whom he had expected to see, in his pleasure over the glees, and joined in all the choruses with an exceedingly sweet voice.

And now young Nadab commenced one of those surprising feats of Improvisation with which he used to charm audiences. He took us all off and had rhymes pat about all the principal persons in the room; when he came to the Colonel himself, he burst out--

A military gent I see, and while his face I scan, I think you'll all agree with me he came from Hindostan. And by his side sits laughing free a youth with curly head, I think you'll all agree with me that he was best in bed. Ritolderol, etc., etc.

The Colonel laughed immensely at this sally, and clapped his son, young Clive, on the shoulder. "Hear what he says of you, sir? Clive, best be off to bed, my boy--ho, ho! No, no. We know a trick worth two of that. 'We won't go home till morning, till daylight does appear.' Why should we? Why shouldn't my boy have innocent pleasure? I was allowed none when I was a young chap, and the severity was nearly the ruin of me. I must go and speak with that young man--the most astonishing thing I ever heard in my life. What's his name? Mr. Nadab? Mr. Nadab; sir, you have delighted me. May I make so free as to ask you to come and dine with me to-morrow at six. I am always proud to make the acquaintance of men of genius, and you are one or my name is not Newcome!"

"Sir, you do me the Honour," says Mr. Nadab, "and perhaps the day will come when the world will do me justice,--may I put down your Honoured name for my book of poems?"

"Of course, my dear sir," says the enthusiastic Colonel, "I'll send them all over India. Put me down for six copies and do me the favour to bring them to-morrow when you come to dinner."

And now Mr. Hoskins, asking if any gentleman would volunteer a song, what was our amazement when the simple Colonel offered to sing himself, at which the room applauded vociferously; whilst methought poor Clive Newcome hung down his head, and blushed as red as a peony.

The Colonel selected the ditty of "Wapping Old Stairs," which charming old song he sang so pathetically that even the professional gentlemen buzzed a sincere applause, and some wags who were inclined to jeer at the beginning of the performance, clinked their glasses and rapped their sticks with quite a respectful enthusiasm. When the song was over, Clive held up his head too; looked round with surprise and pleasure in his eyes; and we, I need not say, backed our friend, delighted to see him come out of his queer scrape so triumphantly. The Colonel bowed and smiled with very pleasant good-nature at our plaudits. There was something touching in the naivetée and kindness of the placid and simple gentleman.

Whilst the Colonel had been singing his ballad there had come into the room a gentleman, by name Captain Costigan, who was in his usual condition at this hour of the night. Holding on by various tables, he had sidled up without accident to himself or any of the jugs and glasses round about him, to the table where we sat, and seated himself warbling the refrain of the Colonel's song. Then having procured a glass of whiskey and water he gave what he called one of his prime songs. The unlucky wretch, who scarcely knew what he was doing or saying, selected the most offensive song in his repertoire. At the end of the second verse the Colonel started up, clapping on his hat, seizing his stick, and looking ferocious. "Silence!" he roared out.

"Hear, hear!" cried certain wags at a farther table. "Go on, Costigan!" said others.

"Go on!" cries the Colonel in his high voice, trembling with anger. "Does any gentleman say go on? Does any man who has a wife and sisters or children at home, say go on? Do you dare, sir, to call yourself a gentleman, and to say that you hold the King's commission, and to sit amongst Christians and men of honour, and defile the ears of young boys with this wicked balderdash?"

"Why do you bring young boys here, old boy?" cries a voice of the malcontents.

"Why? Because I thought I was coming to a society of gentlemen," cried out the indignant Colonel. "Because I never could have believed that Englishmen could meet together and allow a man, and an old man, so to disgrace himself. For shame, you old wretch! Go home to your bed, you hoary old sinner! And for my part, I'm not sorry that my son should see, for once in his life, to what shame and degradation and dishonour, drunkenness and whiskey may bring a man. Never mind the change, sir!--Curse the change!" says the Colonel, facing the amazed waiter. "Keep it till you see me in this place again; which will be never--by George, never!" And shouldering his stick, and scowling round at the company of scared bacchanalians, the indignant gentleman stalked away, his boy after him.

Clive seemed rather shamedfaced, but I fear the rest of the company looked still more foolish. For if the truth be told that uplifted cane of the Colonel's had somehow fallen on the back of every man in the room.

While Clive and his father are becoming better acquainted let us pass on to Brighton, and glance at the household of that good, brisk old lady, Clive's Aunt Honeyman. Now Aunt Honeyman was a woman of spirit and resolution, and when she found her income sadly diminished by financial reverses she brought her furniture to Brighton, also a faithful maid servant who had learned her letters and worked her first sampler under Miss Honeyman's own eye, and whom she adored all through her life. With this outfit the brisk little lady took a house, and let the upper floors to lodgers, and because of her personal attractions and her good housekeeping her rooms were seldom empty.

On the morning when we first visit Miss Honeyman's a gentleman had just applied there for rooms. "Please to speak to mistress," says Hannah, the maid, opening the parlour door with a curtsey. "A gentleman about the apartments, mum."

"Fife bet-rooms," says the man entering. "Six bets, two or dree sitting-rooms? We gome from Dr. Good-enough."

"Are the apartments for you, sir?" says Miss Honeyman, looking up at the large gentleman.

"For my lady," answers the man.

"Had you not better take off your hat?" asks Miss Honeyman.

The man grins and takes off his hat. Whereupon Miss Honeyman, having heard also that a German's physician has especially recommended Miss Honeyman's as a place in which one of his patients can have a change of air and scene, informs the man that she can let his mistress have the desired number of apartments. The man reports to his mistress, who descends to inspect the apartments, and pronounces them exceedingly neat and pleasant and exactly what are wanted. The baggage is forthwith ordered to be brought from the carriages. The little invalid, wrapped in his shawl, is carried upstairs as gently as possible, while the young ladies, the governess, the maids, are shown to their apartments. The eldest young lady, a slim black-haired young lass of thirteen, frisks about the rooms, looks at all the pictures, runs in and out of the veranda, tries the piano, and bursts out laughing at its wheezy jingle. She also kisses her languid little brother laid on the sofa, and performs a hundred gay and agile motions suited to her age.

"Oh, what a piano! Why, it is as cracked as Miss Quigley's voice!"

"My dear!" says mamma. The little languid boy bursts out into a jolly laugh.

"What funny pictures, mamma! Action with Count de Grasse; the death of General Wolfe; a portrait of an officer, an old officer in blue, like grandpapa; Brasenose College, Oxford; what a funny name."

At the idea of Brasenose College, another laugh comes from the invalid. "I suppose they've all got brass noses there," he says; and he explodes at this joke. The poor little laugh ends in a cough, and mamma's travelling basket, which contains everything, produces a bottle of syrup, labelled "Master A. Newcome. A teaspoonful to be taken when the cough is troublesome."

"Oh, the delightful sea! the blue, the fresh, the ever free," sings the young lady, with a shake. "How much better is this than going home and seeing those horrid factories and chimneys! I love Dr. Goodenough for sending us here. What a sweet house it is. What nice rooms!"

Presently little Miss Honeyman makes her appearance in a large cap bristling with ribbons, with her best chestnut front and her best black silk gown, on which her gold watch shines very splendidly. She curtseys with dignity to her lodger, who vouchsafes a very slight inclination of the head, saying that the apartments will do very well.

"And they have such a beautiful view of the sea!" cries Ethel.

"As if all the houses hadn't a view of the sea, Ethel! The price has been arranged, I think? My servants will require a comfortable room to dine in--by themselves mam, if you please. My governess and the younger children will dine together. My daughter dines with me--and my little boy's dinner will be ready at two o'clock precisely if you please. It is now near one."

"Am I to understand--?" interposed Miss Honeyman.

"Oh! I have no doubt we shall understand each other, mam," cried Lady Ann Newcome, for it was no other than that noble person, with her children, who had invaded the precincts of Miss Honeyman's home. "Dr. Goodenough has given me a most satisfactory account of you--more satisfactory, perhaps, than you are aware of. Breakfast and tea, if you please, will be served in the same manner as dinner, and you will have the kindness to order fresh milk every morning for my little boy--ass's milk. Dr. Goodenough has ordered ass's milk. Anything further I want I will communicate through the man who first spoke to you--and that will do."

A heavy shower of rain was descending at this moment, and little Miss Honeyman, looking at her lodger, who had sat down and taken up her book, said, "Have your ladyship's servants unpacked your trunks?"

"What on earth, madam, have you--has that to do with the question?"

"They will be put to the trouble of packing again, I fear. I cannot provide--three times five are fifteen--fifteen separate meals for seven persons--besides those of my own family. If your servants cannot eat with mine, or in my kitchen, they and their mistress must go elsewhere. And the sooner the better, madam, the sooner the better!" says Miss Honeyman, trembling with indignation, and sitting down in a chair, spreading her silks.

"Do you know who I am?" asks Lady Ann, rising.

"Perfectly well, madam," says the other, "And had I known, you should never have come into my house, that's more."

"Madam!" cries the lady, on which the poor little invalid, scared and nervous, and hungry for his dinner, began to cry from his sofa.

"It will be a pity that the dear little boy should be disturbed. Dear little child, I have often heard of him, and of you, miss," says the little householder, rising. "I will get you some dinner, my dear, for Clive's sake. And meanwhile your ladyship will have the kindness to seek for some other apartments--for not a bit shall my fire cook for any one else of your company." And with this the indignant little landlady sailed out of the room.

"Gracious goodness! Who is the woman?" cries Lady Ann. "I never was so insulted in my life."

"Oh, mamma, it was you began!" says downright Ethel. "That is--Hush, Alfred dear,--Hush my darling!"

"Oh, it was mamma began! I'm so hungry! I'm so hungry!" howled the little man on the sofa, or off it rather, for he was now down on the ground kicking away the shawls which enveloped him.

"What is it, my boy? What is it, my blessed darling? You shall have your dinner! Give her all, Ethel. There are the keys of my desk, there's my watch, there are my rings. Let her take my all. The monster! The child must live! It can't go away in such a storm as this. Give me a cloak, a parasol, anything--I'll go forth and get a lodging. I'll beg my bread from house to house, if this fiend refuses me. Eat the biscuits, dear! A little of the syrup, Alfred darling; it's very nice, love, and come to your old mother--your poor old mother."

Alfred roared out, "No, it's not n--ice; it's n-a-a-sty! I won't have syrup. I will have dinner." The mother, whose embraces the child repelled with infantine kicks, plunged madly at the bells, rang them all four vehemently, and ran downstairs towards the parlour, whence Miss Honeyman was issuing.

The good lady had not at first known the names of her lodgers, until one of the nurses intrusted with the care of Master Alfred's dinner informed her that she was entertaining Lady Ann Newcome; and that the pretty girl was the fair Miss Ethel; the little sick boy, the little Alfred of whom his cousin spoke, and of whom Clive had made a hundred little drawings in his rude way, as he drew everybody. Then bidding Sally run off to St. James Street for a chicken, she saw it put on the spit, and prepared a bread sauce, and composed a batter-pudding, as she only knew how to make batter puddings. Then she went to array herself in her best clothes, as we have seen; then she came to wait upon Lady Ann, not a little flurried as to the result of that queer interview; then she whisked out of the drawing-room, as before has been shown; and, finding the chicken roasted to a turn, the napkin and tray ready spread by Hannah the neat-handed, she was bringing them up to the little patient when the frantic parent met her on the stair.

"Is it--is it for my child?" cried Lady Ann, reeling against the bannister.

"Yes, it's for the child," says Miss Honeyman, tossing up her head. "But nobody else has anything in the house."

"God bless you! God bless you! A mother's bl--l-ess-ings go with you," gurgled the lady, who was not, it must be confessed, a woman of strong moral character.

It was good to see the little man eating the fowl. Ethel, who had never cut anything in her young existence, except her fingers now and then with her brother's and her governess's penknives, bethought her of asking Miss Honeyman to carve the chicken. Lady Ann, with clasped hands and streaming eyes, sat looking on at the ravishing scene.

"Why did you not let us know you were Clive's aunt?" Ethel asked, putting out her hand. The old lady took hers very kindly, and said, "Because you didn't give me time,--and do you love Clive, my dear?"

The reconciliation between Miss Honeyman and her lodger was perfect, and for a brief season Lady Ann Newcome was in rapture with her new lodgings and every person and thing which they contained. The drawing-rooms were fitted with the greatest taste; the dinner was exquisite; were there ever such delicious veal cutlets, such fresh French beans?

"Indeed they were very good," said Miss Ethel, "I am so glad you like the house, and Clive, and Miss Honeyman."

Ethel's mother was constantly falling in love with new acquaintances; so these raptures were no novelty to her daughter. Ethel had had so many governesses, all darlings during the first week, and monsters afterwards, that the poor child possessed none of the accomplishments of her age. She could not play on the piano; she could not speak French well; she could not tell you when gunpowder was invented; she had not the faintest idea of the date of the Norman Conquest, or whether the earth went round the sun, or vice versa. She did not know the number of counties in England, Scotland and Wales, let alone Ireland; she did not know the difference between latitude and longitude. She had had so many governesses; their accounts differed; poor Ethel was bewildered by a multiplicity of teachers, and thought herself a monster of ignorance. They gave her a book at a Sunday school, and little girls of eight years old answered questions of which she knew nothing. The place swam before her. She could not see the sun shining on their fair flaxen heads and pretty faces. The rosy little children, holding up their eager hands and crying the answer to this question and that, seemed mocking her. She seemed to read in the book, "Oh, Ethel, you dunce, dunce, dunce!" She went home silent in the carriage, and burst into bitter tears on her bed. Naturally a haughty girl of the highest spirit, resolute and imperious, this little visit to the parish school taught Ethel lessons more valuable than ever so much arithmetic and geography.

When Ethel was thirteen years old she had grown to be such a tall girl that she overtopped her companions by a head or more, and morally perhaps, also, felt herself too tall for their society. "Fancy myself," she thought, "dressing a doll like Lily Putland, or wearing a pinafore like Lucy Tucker!" She did not care for their sports. She could not walk with them; it seemed as if everyone stared; nor dance with them at the academy; nor attend the Cours de Litterature Universelle et de Science Comprehensive of the professor then the mode. The smallest girls took her up in the class. She was bewildered by the multitude of things they bade her learn. At the youthful little assemblies of her sex, when, under the guide of their respected governesses, the girls came to tea at six o'clock, dancing, charades, and so forth, Ethel herded not with the children of her own age, nor yet with the teachers who sat apart at these assemblies, imparting to each other their little wrongs. But Ethel romped with the little children, the rosy little trots, and took them on her knees, and told them a thousand stories. By these she was adored, and loved like a mother almost, for as such the hearty, kindly girl showed herself to them; but at home she was alone, and intractable, and did battle with the governesses, and overcame them one after another.

While Lady Ann Newcome and her children were at Brighton, Lady Kew, mother of Lady Ann, was also staying there, but refused to visit the house in which her daughter was stopping for fear that she herself might contract the disease from which her grandchildren were recovering. She received news of them, however, through her grandson, Lord Kew, and his friend Jack Belsize, who enjoyed dining with the old lady whenever they were given the opportunity. Having met their cousins one day before dining with Lady Kew their news was most interesting and enthusiastic.

"That little chap who has just had the measles--he's a dear little brick," said Jack Belsize. "And as for Miss Ethel--"

"Ethel is a trump, mam," says Lord Kew, slapping his hand on his knee.

"Ethel is a brick, and Alfred is a trump, I think you say," remarks Lady Kew, "and Barnes is a snob. This is very satisfactory to know."

"We met the children out to-day," cries the enthusiastic Kew, "as I was driving Jack in the drag, and I got out and talked to 'em. The little fellow wanted a drive and I said I would drive him and Ethel, too, if she would come. Upon my word she's as pretty a girl as you can see on a summer's day. And the governess said, no, of course; governesses always do. But I said I was her uncle, and Jack paid her such a fine compliment that she finally let the children take their seats beside me, and Jack went behind. We drove on to the Downs; my horses are young, and when they get on the grass they are as if they were mad. They ran away, ever so far, and I thought the carriage must upset. The poor little boy, who has lost his pluck in the fever, began to cry; but that young girl, though she was as white as a sheet, never gave up for a moment, and sat in her place like a man. We met nothing, luckily; and I pulled the horses in after a mile or two, and I drove 'em into Brighton as quiet as if I had been driving a hearse. And that little trump of an Ethel, what do you think she said? She said: 'I was not frightened, but you must not tell mamma.' My aunt, it appears, was in a dreadful commotion. I ought to have thought of that."

There is a brother of Sir Brian Newcome's staying with them, Lord Kew perceives; an East India Colonel, a very fine-looking old boy. He was on the lookout for them, and when they came in sight he despatched a boy who was with him, running like a lamplighter, back to their aunt to say all was well. And he took little Alfred out of the carriage, and then helped out Ethel, and said, "My dear, you are too pretty to scold; but you have given us all a great fright." And then he made Kew and Jack a low bow, and stalked into the lodgings. Then they went up and made their peace and were presented in form to the Colonel and his youthful cub.

"As fine a fellow as I ever saw," cries Jack Belsize. "The young chap is a great hand at drawing--upon my life the best drawings I ever saw. And he was making a picture for little What-do-you-call-'im, and Miss Newcome was looking over them. And Lady Ann pointed out the group to me, and said how pretty it was."

In consequence of this conversation, which aroused her curiosity, Lady Kew sent a letter that night to Lady Ann Newcome, desiring that Ethel should be sent to see her grandmother; Ethel, who was no weakling in character despite her youth, and who always rebelled against her grandmother and always fought on her Aunt Julia's side when that amiable invalid lady, who lived with her mother, was oppressed by the dominating older woman.

From the foregoing facts we gather that Thomas Newcome had not been many weeks in England before he favoured good little Miss Honeyman with a visit, to her great delight. You may be sure that the visit was an event in her life. And she was especially pleased that it should occur at the time when the Colonel's kinsfolk were staying under her roof. On the day of the Colonel's arrival all the presents which Newcome had ever sent his sister-in-law from India had been taken out of the cotton and lavender in which the faithful creature kept them. It was a fine hot day in June, but I promise you Miss Honeyman wore her blazing scarlet Cashmere shawl; her great brooch, representing the Taj of Agra, was in her collar; and her bracelets decorated the sleeves round her lean old hands, which trembled with pleasure as they received the kind grasp of the Colonel of colonels. How busy those hands had been that morning! What custards they had whipped! What a triumph of pie-crusts they had achieved! Before Colonel Newcome had been ten minutes in the house the celebrated veal-cutlets made their appearance. Was not the whole house adorned in expectation of his coming? The good woman's eyes twinkled, the kind old hand and voice shook, as, holding up a bright glass of Madeira, Miss Honeyman drank the Colonel's health. "I promise you, my dear Colonel," says she, nodding her head, adorned with a bristling superstructure of lace and ribbons, "I promise you, that I can drink your health in good wine!" The wine was of his own sending, and so were the China firescreens, and the sandal-wood work-box, and the ivory card case, and those magnificent pink and white chessmen, carved like little sepoys and mandarins, with the castles on elephants' backs, George the Third and his queen in pink ivory against the Emperor of China and lady in white--the delight of Clive's childhood, the chief ornament of the old spinster's sitting-room.

Miss Honeyman's little feast was pronounced to be the perfection of cookery; and when the meal was over, came a noise of little feet at the parlour door, which being opened, there appeared: first, a tall nurse with a dancing baby; second and third, two little girls with little frocks, little trowsers, long ringlets, blue eyes, and blue ribbons to match; fourth, Master Alfred, now quite recovered from his illness and holding by the hand, fifth, Miss Ethel Newcome, blushing like a rose.

Hannah, grinning, acted as mistress of the ceremonies, calling out the names of "Miss Newcome, Master Newcome, to see the Colonel, if you please, ma'am," bobbing a curtsey, and giving a knowing nod to Master Clive, as she smoothed her new silk apron. Miss Ethel did not cease blushing as she advanced towards her uncle; and the honest campaigner started up, blushing too. Mr. Clive rose also, as little Alfred, of whom he was a great friend, ran towards him. Clive rose, laughed, nodded at Ethel, and ate ginger-bread nuts all at the same time. As for Colonel Thomas Newcome and his niece, they fell in love with each other instantaneously, like Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess of China.

"Mamma has sent us to bid you 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 was 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 moustache from his mouth, and stooping down he kissed the little white hand with a great deal of grace and dignity, after which he was forever the humble and devoted admirer of that bright young girl.

Raising himself from his salute, he heard a pretty little infantile chorus. "How do you do, uncle?" said girls number two and three, while the dancing baby in the arms of the bobbing nurse babbled a welcome. Alfred looked up for a while at his uncle in the white trousers, and then instantly proposed that Clive should make some drawings; and was on his knees at the next moment. He was always climbing on somebody or something, or winding over chairs, curling through bannisters, standing on somebody's head, or his own head; as his convalescence advanced, his breakages were fearful. Miss Honeyman and Hannah talked about his dilapidations for years after. When he was a jolly young officer in the Guards, and came to see them at Brighton, they showed him the blue dragon Chayny jar on which he would sit, and over which he cried so fearfully upon breaking it.

When this little party had gone out smiling to take its walk on the sea shore, the Colonel from his balcony watched the slim figure of pretty Ethel, looked fondly after her, and as the smoke of his cigar floated in the air, formed a fine castle in it, whereof Clive was Lord, and Ethel Lady. "What a frank, generous, bright young creature is yonder!" thought he. "How cheering and gay she is; how good to Miss Honeyman, to whom she behaved with just the respect that was the old lady's due. How affectionate with her brothers and sisters! What a sweet voice she had! What a pretty little white hand it is! When she gave it me, it looked like a little white bird lying in mine."

Thus mused the Colonel, upon the charms of the young girl who was henceforth to occupy the first place in his affection.

His admiration for her might have been still further heightened had he been at Lady Ann's breakfast table some four or five weeks later, when Lady Ann and her nursery had just returned to London, little Alfred being perfectly set up by a month of Brighton air. Barnes Newcome had just discovered an article in the Newcome Independent commenting warmly upon a visit which Colonel Newcome and Clive had recently paid to Newcome, the object of that visit having been the Colonel's desire to gladden the eyes of his old nurse Sarah with a sight of him. Inhabitants of Newcome, feeling that the same Sarah Mason, who was a much respected member of the community, was much neglected by her rich and influential relatives in London, took great delight in commenting upon the Colonel's attention to the aged woman. The article in the Independent on that subject was anything but pleasing to the family pride of Mr. Barnes, who remarked in a sneering tone, "My uncle the Colonel, and his amiable son, have been paying a visit to Newcome. That is the news which the paper announces triumphantly," said Mr. Barnes.

"You are always sneering about our uncle," broke in Ethel, impetuously, "and saying unkind things about Clive. Our uncle is a dear, good, kind man, and I love him. He came to Brighton to see us, and went out every day for hours and hours with Alfred; and Clive, too, drew pictures for him. And he is good, and kind, and generous, and honest as his father. Barnes is always speaking ill of him behind his back; and Miss Honeyman is a dear little old woman too. Was not she kind to Alfred, mamma, and did not she make him nice jelly?"

"Did you bring some of Miss Honeyman's lodging-house cards with you, Ethel?" sneered her brother, "and had we not better hang up one or two in Lombard Street; hers and our other relation's, Mrs. Mason?"

"My darling love, who is Mrs. Mason?" asks Lady Ann.

"Another member of the family, ma'am. She was cousin--"

"She was no such thing, sir," roars Sir Brian.

"She was relative and housemaid of my grandfather during his first marriage. She has retired into private life in her native town of Newcome. The Colonel and young Clive have been spending a few days with their elderly relative. It's all here in the paper, by Jove!" Mr. Barnes clenched his fist and stamped upon the newspaper with much energy.

"And so they should go down and see her, and so the Colonel should love his nurse and not forget his relations if they are old and poor!" cries Ethel, with a flush on her face, and tears starting in her eyes. "The Colonel went to her like a kind, dear, good brave uncle as he is. The very day I go to Newcome I'll go to see her." She caught a look of negation in her father's eye. "I will go--that is, if papa will give me leave," says Miss Ethel, adding simply, "if we had gone sooner there would not have been all this abuse of us in the papers." To which statement her worldly father and brother perforce agreeing, we may congratulate good old nurse Sarah upon adding to the list of her friends such a frank, open-hearted, high-spirited young woman as Miss Ethel Newcome.

In spite of the notoriety given him in the newspapers by his visit to Nurse Sarah, at his native place, he still remained in high favour with Sir Brian Newcome's family, where he paid almost daily visits, and was received with 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, the little girls, Sir Brian's daughters, holding each by a finger of his hands, young Masters Alfred and Edward clapping and hurrahing by his side; while Mr. Clive and Miss Ethel sat in the back of the box enjoying 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 young ones. How lavishly did he supply them with sweetmeats between the acts! There he sat in the midst of them, and ate an orange himself with perfect satisfaction, and was eager to supply any luxury longed for by his young companions.

The Colonel's organ of benevolence was so large that he would have liked to administer bounties to the young folks his nephews and nieces in Brianstone 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 sovereigns with which their uncle had thought to give them a treat. So the Colonel was obliged to confine his benevolence to that branch of the family where it was graciously accepted.

Meanwhile the Colonel had a new interest to absorb his attention. He had taken a new house at 120 Fitzroy Square in connection with that Indian friend of his, Mr. Binnie. The house being taken, there was fine amusement for Clive, Mr. Binnie, and the Colonel, in frequenting sales, in inspection of upholsterers' shops, and the purchase of furniture for the new mansion. There were three masters with four or five servants 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 himself was great at making hash mutton, hotpot, and curry. 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 together.

Clive had a tutor--Grindley of Corpus--with whom the young gentleman did not fatigue his brains very much, his great talent lying decidedly in drawing. He sketched the horses, he sketched the dogs, all the servants, from the bleer-eyed boot-boy to the rosy cheeked lass whom the housekeeper was always calling to come downstairs. He drew his father in all postures, and jolly little Mr. Binnie too. Young Ridley, known to his young companions as J.J., was his daily friend now, to the great joy of that young man, who considered Clive Newcome to be the most splendid, fortunate, beautiful, high-born and gifted youth in the world. What generous boy in his time has not worshipped somebody? Before the female enslaver makes her appearance, every lad has a friend of friends, a crony of cronies, to whom he writes immense letters in vacation, whom he cherishes in his hearts of hearts; whose sister he proposes to marry in after life; whose purse he shares; for whom he will take a thrashing if need be; who is his hero. Clive was John James's youthful divinity; when he wanted to draw Thaddeus of Warsaw, a Prince, Ivanhoe, or some one splendid and egregious, it was Clive he took for a model. His heart leapt when he saw the young fellow. He would walk cheerfully to Grey Friars with a letter or message for C. on the chance of seeing him and getting a kind word from him or a shake of the hand. The poor lad was known by the boys as Newcome's Punch. He was all but hunchback, long and lean in the arm; sallow, with a great forehead and waving black hair, and large melancholy eyes. But his genius for drawing was enormous, which fact Clive fully appreciated. Because of J. J.'s admiration for Clive it was his joy to be with Clive constantly; and after Grindley's classics and mathematics in the morning, the young men would attend Gandish's Drawing Academy, together.

"Oh," says Clive, if you talk to him now about those early days, "it was a jolly time! I do not believe there was any young fellow in London so happy."

Clive had many conversations with his father as to the profession which he should follow. As regarded mathematical and classical learning, the elder Newcome was forced to admit that out of every hundred boys there were fifty as clever as his own, and at least fifty more industrious; the army in time of peace Colonel Newcome thought a bad trade for a young fellow so fond of ease and pleasure as his son. His delight in the pencil was manifest to all. Were not his school books full of caricatures of the masters? While his tutor was lecturing him, did he not draw Grindley instinctively under his very nose? A painter Clive was determined to be, and nothing else; and Clive, being then some sixteen years of age, began to study art under the eminent Mr. Gandish of Soho.

It was that well-known portrait painter, Andrew Smee, Esq., R.A., who recommended Gandish to Colonel Newcome one day when the two gentleman met at dinner at Lady Ann Newcome's. Mr. Smee happened to examine some of Clive's drawings, which the young fellow had executed for his cousins. Clive found no better amusement than in making pictures for them and would cheerfully pass evening after evening in that direction. He had made a thousand sketches of Ethel before a year was over; a year every day of which seemed to increase the attractions of the fair young creature. Also, of course Clive drew Alfred and the nursery in general, Aunt Ann and the Blenheim spaniels, the majestic John bringing in the coal-scuttle, and all persons or objects in that establishment with which he was familiar.

"What a genius the lad has," the complimentary Mr. Smee averred; "what a force and individuality there is in all his drawings! Look at his horses! Capital, by Jove, capital! And Alfred on his pony, and Miss Ethel in her Spanish hat, with her hair flowing in the wind! I must take this sketch, I positively must now, and show it to Landseer."

And the courtly artist daintily enveloped the drawing in a sheet of paper, put it away in his hat, and vowed subsequently that the great painter had been delighted with the young man's performance. Smee was not only charmed with Clive's skill as an artist, but thought his head would be an admirable one to paint. Such a rich complexion, such fine turns in his hair! Such eyes! To see real blue eyes was so rare now-a-days! And the Colonel too, if the Colonel would but give him a few sittings, the grey uniform of the Bengal Cavalry, the silver lace, the little bit of red ribbon just to warm up the picture! It was seldom, Mr. Smee declared, that an artist could get such an opportunity for colour. But no cajoleries could induce the Colonel to sit to any artist save one. There hangs in Clive's room now, a head, painted at one sitting, of a man rather bald, with hair touched with grey, with a large moustache and a sweet mouth half smiling beneath it, and melancholy eyes. Clive shows that portrait of their grandfather to his children, and tells them that the whole world never saw a nobler gentleman.

Well, then; Clive having decided to become an artist, on a day marked with a white stone, Colonel Newcome with his son and Mr. Smee, R. A., walked to Gandish's and entered the would-be artist on the roll call of that famous academy, and of J. J. as well, for the Colonel had insisted upon paying his expenses as an art student together with his son.

Mr. Gandish was an excellent master and the two lads made great progress under his excellent training. Clive used to give droll accounts of the young disciples at Gandish's, who were of various ages and conditions, and in whose company the young fellow took his place with that good temper and gaiety which seldom deserted him and put him at ease wherever his fate led him. Not one of the Gandishites but liked Clive, and at that period of his existence he enjoyed himself in all kinds of ways, making himself popular with dancing folks and with drawing folks, and the jolly king of his company everywhere. He gave entertainments in the rooms in Fitzroy Square which were devoted to his use, inviting his father and Mr. Binnie now and then, but the good Colonel did not often attend those parties. He saw that his presence rather silenced the young men, and went away to play his rubber of whist at the club. And although time hung a bit heavily on the good Colonel's hands, now that Clive's interests were separate from his own, yet of nights as he heard Clive's companions tramping by his bedchamber door, where he lay wakeful within, he was happy to think his son was happy. As for Clive, those were glorious days for him. If he was successful in the Academy, he was doubly victorious out of it. His person was handsome, his courage high, his gaiety and frankness delightful and winning. His money was plenty and he spent it like a young king. He was not the most docile of Mr. Gandish's pupils, and if the truth must be told about him, though one of the most frank, generous and kind-hearted persons, was somewhat haughty and imperious. He had been known to lament since that he was taken from school too early where a further course of thrashings would, he believed, have done him good. He lamented that he was not sent to college, where if a young man receives no other discipline at least he meets his equals in society and assuredly finds his betters; whereas in Mr. Gandish's studio our young gentleman scarcely found a comrade that was not in one way or other his flatterer, his inferior, his honest or dishonest admirer. The influence of his family's rank and wealth acted more or less on all these simple folks, who would run on his errands and vied with each other winning his favour. His very goodness of heart rendered him a more easy prey to their flattery, and his kind and jovial disposition led him into company from which he had much better have been away. In fact, as the Colonel did not attempt in any way to check him in his youthful career of extravagance and experiences which were the result of an excessive high spirit, our young gentleman at this time brought down upon himself much adverse criticism for his behaviour, especially from his uncles. Because of this and other reasons there was not much friendliness exhibited by the several branches of the family for Clive and his father. Colonel Newcome, in spite of coldness, felt it his duty to make constant attempts to remain on friendly terms at least with the wives of his stepbrothers. But after he had called twice or thrice upon his sister-in-law in Brianstone Square, bringing as was his wont a present for this little niece or a book for that, Mrs. Newcome gave him to understand that the occupation of an English matron would not allow her to pass the mornings in idle gossip, and with curtseys and fine speeches actually bowed her brother out of doors; and the honest gentleman meekly left her, though with bewilderment as he thought of the different hospitality to which he had been accustomed in the East, where no friend's house was ever closed to him, where no neighbour was so busy but he had time to make Thomas Newcome welcome.

When Hobson Newcome's boys came home for the holidays, their kind uncle was for treating them to the sights of the town, but here Virtue again interposed, and laid his interdict upon pleasure. "Thank you, very much, my dear Colonel," says Virtue; "there never was surely such a kind, affectionate, unselfish creature as you are, and so indulgent for children, but my boys and yours are brought up on a very different plan. Excuse me for saying that I do not think it is advisable that they should even see too much of each other, Clive's company is not good for them."

"Great heavens, Maria!" cries the Colonel, starting up, "do you mean that my boy's society is not good enough for any boy alive?"

Maria turned very red; she had said not more than she meant, but more than she meant to say. "My dear Colonel, how hot we are! how angry you Indian gentlemen become with us poor women! Your boy is much older than mine. He lives with artists, with all sorts of eccentric people. Our children are bred on quite a different plan. Hobson will succeed his father in the bank, and dear Samuel, I trust, will go into the church. I told you before the views I had regarding the boys; but it was most kind of you to think of them--most generous and kind."

"That nabob of ours is a queer fish," Hobson Newcome remarked to his nephew Barnes. "He is as proud as Lucifer; he is always taking huff about one thing or the other. He went off in a fume the other night because your aunt objected to his taking the boys to the play. And then he flew out about his boy, and said that my wife insulted him! I used to like that boy. Before his father came he was a good lad enough--a jolly, brave little fellow. But since he has taken this madcap freak of turning painter there is no understanding the chap. I don't care what a fellow is, if he is a good fellow, but a painter is no trade at all! I don't like it, Barnes!"

To Lady Ann Newcome the Colonel's society was more welcome than to her sister-in-law, and the affectionate gentleman never tired of doing kindnesses for her children, and consoled himself as best he might for Clive's absences with his nephews and nieces, especially with Ethel, for whom his admiration conceived at first sight never diminished. He found a fine occupation in breaking a pretty little horse for her, of which he made her a present, and there was no horse in the Park that was so handsome, and surely no girl who looked more beautiful than Ethel Newcome with her broad hat and red ribbon, with her thick black locks waving round her bright face, galloping along the ride on "Bhurtpore." Occasionally Clive was at their riding-parties, but Ethel rallied him and treated him with such distance and dignity, at the same time looking fondly and archly at her uncle, that Clive set her down as a very haughty, spoiled, aristocratic young creature. In fact, the two young people were too much alike in disposition to agree perfectly, and Ethel's parents were glad that it was so.

It was pleasant to watch the kind old face of Clive's father, that sweet young blushing lady by his side, as the two rode homewards at sunset talking happily together. Ethel wanted to know about battles; about lover's lamps, which she had read of in "Lalla Rookh." "Have you ever seen them, uncle, floating down the Ganges of a night? About Indian widows, did you actually see one burning, and hear her scream as you rode up?"

She wonders whether he will tell her anything about Clive's mother; how she must have loved Uncle Newcome! Rambling happily from one subject to another Ethel commands: "Next year, when I am presented at Court, you must come, too, sir! I insist upon it, you must come, too!"

"I will order a new uniform, Ethel," says her uncle.

The girl laughs. "When little Egbert took hold of your sword, and asked you how many people you had killed, do you know I had the same question in my mind? I thought perhaps the King would knight you instead of that horrid little Sir Danby Jilks, and I won't have you knighted anymore!"

The Colonel, laughing, says he hopes Egbert won't ask Sir Danby Jilks how many men he has killed; then thinking the joke too severe upon Sir Danby, hastens to narrate some anecdotes about the courage of surgeons in general. Ethel declares that her uncle always will talk of other people's courage, and never say a word about his own. So the pair talked kindly on, riding homewards through the pleasant summer twilight. Mamma had gone out to dinner and there were cards for three parties afterward.

"Oh, how I wish it was next year!" says Miss Ethel.

Many a splendid assembly and many a brilliant next year will the young creature enjoy; but in the midst of her splendour and triumphs she will often think of that quiet happy season before the world began for her, and of that dear old friend on whose arm she leaned while she was yet a young girl.

On account of the ugly rumours spread abroad concerning young Clive's extravagant habits and gaiety of living, also on account of the profession he had chosen, Sir Bryan Newcome's family preferred to have young Clive see as little of his handsome Cousin Ethel as possible, and Ethel's brother, Barnes, whose hatred for Clive was not untinged by jealousy, was the most vigorous of the family in spreading disagreeable reports about his cousin, whom he spoke of as an impudent young puppy.

Even old Lady Kew was particularly rude to Colonel Newcome and Clive. On Ethel's birthday she had a small party chiefly of girls of her own age who came and played and sang together and enjoyed such mild refreshments as sponge cake, jellies, tea, and the like. The Colonel, who was invited to this little party, sent a fine present to his favourite Ethel; and Clive and his friend J. J. made a funny series of drawings, representing the life of a young lady as they imagined it, and drawing her progress from her cradle upwards: now engaged with her doll, then with her dancing master; now marching in her backboard; now crying over her German lessons; and dressed for her first ball finally, and bestowing her hand upon a dandy of preternatural ugliness, who was kneeling at her feet as the happy man. This picture was the delight of the laughing, happy girls; except, perhaps, the little cousins from Brianstone Square, who were invited to Ethel's party, but were so overpowered by the prodigious new dresses in which their mamma had attired them that they could admire nothing but their rustling pink frocks, their enormous sashes, their lovely new silk stockings.

Lady Kew, coming to London, attended on the party, and presented her granddaughter with a sixpenny pincushion. The Colonel had sent Ethel a beautiful little gold watch and chain. Her aunt had complimented her with that refreshing work, "Allison's History of Europe," richly bound. Lady Kew's pincushion made rather a poor figure among the gifts, whence probably arose her ladyship's ill-humour.

Ethel's grandmother became exceedingly testy, when, the Colonel arriving, Ethel ran up to him and thanked him for the beautiful watch, in return for which she gave him a kiss, which I daresay amply repaid Colonel Newcome; and shortly after him Mr. Clive arrived. As he entered, all the girls who had been admiring his pictures began to clap their hands. Mr. Clive Newcome blushed, and looked none the worse for that indication of modesty.

Lady Kew had met Colonel Newcome a half-dozen times at her daughter's house; but on this occasion she had quite forgotten him, for when the Colonel made a bow, her ladyship regarded him steadily, and beckoning her daughter to her, asked who the gentleman was who had just kissed Ethel.

With the clapping of hands that greeted Clive's arrival, the Countess was by no means more good-humoured. Not aware of her wrath, the young fellow, who had also previously been presented to her, came forward presently to make her his compliments. "Pray, who are you?" she said, looking at him very earnestly in the face. He told her his name.

"H'm," said Lady Kew, "I have heard of you, and I have heard very little good of you."

"Will your ladyship please to give me your informant?" cried out Colonel Newcome.

Barnes Newcome, who had condescended to attend his sister's little party, and had been languidly watching the frolics of the young people, looked very much alarmed, and hastened to soften the incident by a change of conversation.

But the attitude of Lady Kew and young Barnes was only a reflection of the attitude of Ethel's parents concerning Clive, and Ethel, who was really friendly towards him, found it difficult to deny the charges which were constantly brought against the boy. The truth was the young fellow enjoyed life, as one of his age and spirit might be expected to do; but he did very little harm and meant less; and was quite unconscious of the reputation which he was gaining.

There had been a long-standing promise that Clive and his father were to go to Newcome at Christmas; and I daresay Ethel proposed to reform the young prodigal, if prodigal he was, for she busied herself delightedly in preparing the apartments for their guests and putting off her visit to this pleasant neighbour, or that pretty scene in the vicinity, until her uncle should come and they might enjoy the excursion together. And before the arrival of her relatives, Ethel, with one of her young brothers, went to see Mrs. Mason and introduced herself as Colonel Newcome's niece, and came back charmed with the old lady and eager once more in defence of Clive, for had she not seen the kindest letter which Clive had written to old Mrs. Mason, and the beautiful drawing of his father on horseback, and in regimentals, waving his sword in front of the gallant Bengal Cavalry, which the lad had sent down to the good old woman? He could not be very bad, Ethel thought, who was so kind and thoughtful for the poor. And the young lady went home quite fired with enthusiasm for her cousin, but encountered Barnes, who was more than usually bitter and sarcastic on the subject. Ethel lost her temper, and then her firmness, while bursting into tears she taxed Barnes with cruelty for uttering stories to his cousin's disadvantage and for pursuing with constant slander one of the very best of men. But notwithstanding her defence of the Colonel and Clive, when they came to Newcome for the Christmas holidays, there was no Ethel there. She had gone on a visit to her sick aunt. Colonel Newcome passed the holidays sadly without her, and Clive consoled himself by knocking down pheasants with Sir Brian's keepers; and increased his cousin's attachment for him by breaking the knees of Barnes's favourite mare out hunting. It was a dreary holiday; father and son were glad enough to get away from it, and to return to their own humbler quarters in London.

Thomas Newcome had now been for three years in the possession of that joy which his soul longed after, and yet in spite of his happiness, his honest face grew more melancholy, his loose clothes hung only the looser on his lean limbs; he ate his meals without appetite; his nights were restless and he would sit for hours silent, and was constantly finding business which took him to distant quarters of England. Notwithstanding this change in him the Colonel insisted that he was perfectly happy and contented, but the truth was, his heart was aching with the knowledge that Clive had occupations, ideas, associates, in which the elder could take no interest. Sitting in his blank, cheerless bedroom, Newcome could hear the lad and his friends making merry and breaking out in roars of laughter from time to time. The Colonel longed to share in the merriment, but he knew that the party would be hushed if he joined it, that the younger men were happier and freer without him, and without laying any blame upon them for this natural state of affairs, it saddened the days and nights of our genial Colonel.

Clive, meanwhile, passed through the course of study prescribed by Mr. Gandish and drew every cast and statue in that gentleman's studio. Grindley, his tutor, getting a curacy, Clive did not replace him, but took a course of modern languages, which he learned with great rapidity. And now, being strong enough to paint without a master, Mr. Clive must needs have a studio, as there was no good light in the house in Fitzroy Square. If his kind father felt any pang even at this temporary parting, he was greatly soothed and pleased by a little mark of attention on Clive's part. He walked over with Colonel Newcome to see the new studio, with its tall centre window, and its curtains and hard wardrobes, china jars, pieces of armour, and other artistic properties, and with a very sweet smile of kindness and affection lighting up his honest face, took out a house-key and gave it to his father: "That's your key, sir," he said to the Colonel; "and you must be my first sitter, please, father; for, though I am to be a historical painter, I shall condescend to do a few portraits, you know." The Colonel grasped his son's hand as Clive fondly put the other hand on his father's shoulder. Then Colonel Newcome walked away for a minute or two, and came back wiping his moustache with his handkerchief, and still holding the key in the other hand. He spoke about some trivial subject when he returned; but his voice quite trembled, his face glowed with love and pleasure, and the little act of affection compensated him for many weary hours of solitude. It is certain that Clive worked much better after he had this apartment of his own, and meals at home were gayer; and the rides with his father more frequent and agreeable. The Colonel used his key not infrequently, and found Clive and his friend J. J. as a general thing absorbed in executing historical subjects on the largest possible canvases. Meanwhile Colonel Newcome was preparing his mind to leave his idol, who he knew would be happy without as with him. During the three years since he had come from India the Colonel had spent money lavishly and had also been obliged to pay dearly for some of Clive's boyish extravagances. At first, the Colonel had thought he might retire from the army altogether, but experience showed him that he could not live upon his income. He proposed now to return to India to get his promotion as full Colonel when the thousand a year to which that would entitle him, together with his other investments, would be ample for Clive and himself to live on. While the Colonel's thoughts were absorbed in this matter his favourite Ethel was constantly away with her grandmother. The Colonel went to see her at Brighton, and once, twice, thrice, Lady Kew's door was denied to him. Once when the Colonel encountered his pretty Ethel with her riding master she greeted him affectionately, but when he rode up to her she looked so constrained, when he talked about Clive she was so reserved, when he left her, so sad, he could only feel pain and regret. Back he went to London, having in a week only caught this single glance of his darling, but filled with determination to have a frank talk with his sister-in-law, Lady Ann, and if possible to mend the family disagreement and turn the tide of Lady Ann's affection again towards his son. This he attempted to do, and would have succeeded had not Barnes Newcome been the head of the house. As we know, his opinion of Clive was not to that young man's advantage. These opinions were imparted to his Uncle Hobson at the bank, and Uncle Hobson carried them home to his wife, who took an early opportunity of repeating them to the Colonel, and the Colonel was brought to see that Barnes was his boy's enemy, and words very likely passed between them, for Thomas Newcome took a new banker at this time, and was very angry because Hobson Brothers wrote to him to say that he had overdrawn his account. "I am sure there is some screw loose," remarked Clive to a friend, "and that my father and the people in Park Lane have disagreed, because he goes there very little now; and he promised to go to Court when Ethel was presented and he didn't go." This state of affairs between the members of the Newcome family continued for some months. Then, happily, a truce was declared, the quarrel between the Newcome brothers came to an end--for that time at least--and was followed by a rather showy reconciliation and a family dinner at Brianstone Square. Everybody was bent upon being happy and gracious. It was "My dear brother, how do you do?" from Sir Brian. "My dear Colonel, how glad we are to see you! How well you look!" from Lady Ann. Ethel Newcome ran to him with both hands out, an eager welcome on her beautiful face. And even Lady Kew held out her hand to Colonel Newcome, saying briskly: "Colonel, it is an age since we met," and turning to Clive with equal graciousness to say, "Mr. Clive, let me shake hands with you; I have heard all sorts of good of you, that you have been painting the most beautiful things, that you are going to be quite famous." There was no doubt about it,--it was an evening of reconciliation on every side.

Ethel was so happy to see her dear uncle that she had no eyes for any one else, until Clive advancing, those bright eyes became brighter still as she saw him; and as she looked she saw a very handsome fellow, for Clive at that time was of the ornamental class of mankind--a customer to tailors, a wearer of handsome rings, shirt studs, long hair, and the like; nor could he help, in his costume or his nature, being picturesque, generous, and splendid. Silver dressing cases and brocade morning gowns were in him a sort of propriety at this season of his youth. It was a pleasure to persons of colder temperament to sun themselves in the warmth of his bright looks and generous humour. His laughter cheered one like wine. I do not know that he was very witty; but he was pleasant. He was prone to blush; the history of a generous trait moistened his eyes instantly. He was instinctively fond of children and of the other sex from one year old to eighty. Coming from the Derby once and being stopped on the road in a lock of carriages during which the people in a carriage ahead saluted us with many insulting epithets, and seized the heads of our leaders, Clive in a twinkling jumped off the box, and the next minute we saw him engaged with a half dozen of the enemy: his hat gone, his fair hair falling off his face, his blue eyes flashing fire, his lips and nostrils quivering with wrath. His father sat back in the carriage looking on with delight and wonder while a policeman separated the warriors. Clive ascended the box again, with his coat gashed from waist to shoulder. I hardly ever saw the elder Newcome in such a state of triumph.

While we have been making this sketch of Clive, Ethel was standing looking at him, and the blushing youth cast down his eyes before hers while her face assumed a look of arch humour. And now let us have a likeness of Ethel. She was seventeen years old; rather taller than the majority of girls; her face somewhat grave and haughty, but on occasion brightening with humour or beaming with kindliness and affection. Too quick to detect affectation or insincerity in others, too impatient of dulness or pomposity, she was more sarcastic now than she became when after-years of suffering had softened her nature. Truth looked out of her bright eyes, and rose up armed and flashed scorn or denial when she encountered flattery or meanness or imposture.

But those who had no cause to fear her keenness or her coldness admired her beauty; nor could the famous Parisian model whom Clive said she resembled be more perfect in form than this young lady. Her hair and eyebrows were jet black, but her complexion was dazzlingly fair and her cheeks as red as those belonging by right to a blonde. In her black hair there was a slight natural ripple. Her eyes were grey; her mouth rather large; her teeth were regular and white, her voice was low and sweet; and her smile, when it lighted up her face and eyes, as beautiful as spring sunshine; also her eyes could lighten and flash often, and sometimes, though rarely, rain. As for her figure, the tall, slender form clad in a simple white muslin robe in which her fair arms were enveloped, and which was caught at her slim waist by a blue ribbon, let us make a respectful bow to that fair image of youth, health, and modesty, and fancy it as pretty as we will.

Not yet overshadowed by the cloud of Colonel Newcome's departure, light-hearted in the joy of reconciliation and meeting, once again full of high spirits and mindful of no moment beyond the present, the two cousins never looked brighter or happier, and as Colonel Newcome gazed upon them in the freshness of their youth and vigour his heart was filled with delight.

Not many days after the dinner the good Colonel found it necessary to break the news of his intended departure to Clive. His resolution to go being taken, and having been obliged to dip somewhat deeply into the little purse he had set aside for European expenses to help a kinsman in distress, the Colonel's departure came somewhat sooner than he had expected. But, as he said, "A year sooner or later, what does it matter? Clive will go away and work at his art, and see the great schools of painting while I am absent. I thought at one time how pleasant it would be to accompany him. I fancy now a lad is not the better for being always tied to his parents' apron-strings. You young fellows are too clever for me. I haven't learned your ideas or read your books. I feel myself very often an old damper in your company. I will go back, sir, where I have some friends, and where I am somebody still. I know an honest face or two, white and brown, that will lighten up in the old regiment when they see Tom Newcome again."

With this resolution taken, the Colonel began saying farewell to his friends. He and Clive made a pilgrimage to Grey Friars; and the Colonel ran down to Newcome to give Mrs. Mason a parting benediction; went to all the boys' and girls' schools where his little protégés were, so as to be able to take the very latest account of the young folks to their parents in India; and thence proceeded to Brighton to pass a little time with good Miss Honeyman. With Sir Brian's family he parted on very good terms. I believe Sir Brian even accompanied him downstairs from the drawing-room in Park Lane, and actually saw his brother into his cab, but as for Ethel, she was not going to be put off with this sort of parting; and the next morning a cab dashed up to Fitzroy Square and she was closeted with Colonel Newcome for five minutes, and when he led her back to the carriage there were tears in his eyes. Then came the day when Clive and his father travelled together to Southampton, where a group of the Colonel's faithful friends were assembled to say a "God bless you" to their dear old friend, and see the vessel sail. To the end Clive remained with his father and went below with him, and when the last bell was ringing, came from below looking very pale. The plank was drawn after him almost as soon as he stepped on land, and the vessel had sailed.

Although Thomas Newcome had gone back to India in search of more money, he was nevertheless rather a wealthy man and was able to leave a hundred a year in England to be transferred to his boy as soon as he came of age. He also left a considerable annual sum to be paid to the boy, and so as soon as the parting was over and his affairs were settled, Clive was free to start on his travels, to study art in new lands, accompanied by his faithful friend J.J. They went first to Antwerp; thence to Brussels, and next Clive's correspondents received a letter from Bonn: in which Master Clive said, "And whom should I find here but Aunt Ann, Ethel, Miss Quigley and the little ones. Uncle Brian is staying at Aix, and, upon my conscience, I think my pretty cousin looks prettier every day. J.J. and I were climbing a little hill which leads to a ruin, when I heard a little voice cry, 'Hello! it's Clive! Hooray, Clive,' and an ass came down the incline with a little pair of white trousers at an immensely wide angle over the donkey's back, and there was little Alfred grinning with all his might.

"He turned his beast and was for galloping up the hill again, I suppose to inform his relations; but the donkey refused with many kicks, one of which sent Alfred plunging amongst the stones, and we were rubbing him down just as the rest of the party came upon us. Miss Quigley looked very grim on an old white pony; my aunt was on a black horse that might have turned grey, he is so old. Then came two donkeys-full of children, with Kuhn as supercargo; then Ethel on donkey back, too, with a bunch of wild flowers in her hand, a great straw hat with a crimson ribbon, a white muslin jacket, you know, bound at the waist with a ribbon of the first, and a dark skirt, with a shawl round her feet, which Kuhn had arranged. As she stopped, the donkey fell to cropping greens in the hedge; the trees there chequered her white dress and face with shadow. Her eyes, hair, and forehead were in shadow, too, but the light was all upon her right cheek. Upon her shoulder down to her arm, which was of a warmer white, and on the bunch of flowers which she held, blue, yellow, and red poppies, and so forth.

"J. J. says, 'I think the birds began to sing louder when she came.' We have both agreed that she is the handsomest woman in England. It's not her form merely, which is certainly as yet too thin and a little angular; it is her colour. I do not care for women or pictures without colour. Oh, ye carnations! Oh, such black hair and solemn eyebrows. It seems to me the roses and carnations have bloomed again since we saw them last in London, when they were drooping from the exposure to night air, candle light, and heated ballrooms.

"Here I was in the midst of a regiment of donkeys bearing a crowd of relations; J. J. standing modestly in the background, beggars completing the group. Throw in the Rhine in the distance flashing by the Seven Mountains--but mind and make Ethel the principal figure: if you make her like she certainly will be, and other lights will be only minor fires. You may paint her form, but can't paint her colour."

Thus wrote Clive from Bonn, and now that the old Countess and Barnes were away, the barrier between Clive and this family was withdrawn. The young folks who loved him were free to see him as often as he would come. They were going to Baden: would he come, too? He was glad enough to go with them, and to travel in the orbit of such a lovely girl as Ethel Newcome, whose beauty made all the passengers on all the steamers look round and admire. The journey was all sunshine and pleasure and novelty; and I like to think of the pretty girl and the gallant young fellow enjoying this holiday. Few sights are more pleasant than to watch a happy, manly English youth, freehanded and generous-hearted, content and good-humour shining in his honest face, pleased and pleasing, eager, active, and thankful for services, and exercising bravely his noble youthful privilege to be happy and to enjoy. As for J. J., he, too, had his share of enjoyment. Clive was still his hero as ever, his patron, his splendid young prince and chieftain. Who was so brave, who was so handsome, generous, witty as Clive? To hear Clive sing, as the lad would whilst they were seated at their work, or driving along on this happy journey, through fair landscapes in the sunshine, gave J. J. the keenest pleasure; his wit was a little slow, but he would laugh with his eyes at Clive's sallies, or ponder over them and explode with laughter presently, giving a new source of amusement to these merry travellers, and little Alfred would laugh at J.J.'s laughing; and so, with a hundred harmless jokes to enliven, and the ever-changing, ever-charming smiles of Nature to cheer and accompany it, the happy day's journey would come to an end.

So they travelled by the accustomed route to the prettiest town of all places where Pleasure has set up her tents, and there enjoyed themselves to the fullest extent.

Among Colonel Newcome's papers to which the family biographer has had access, there are a couple of letters from Clive, dated Baden this time, and full of happiness, gaiety, and affection. Letter No. 1 says: "Ethel is the prettiest girl here. At the Assemblies all the princes, counts, dukes, etc., are dying to dance with her. She sends her dearest love to her uncle." By the side of the words "Prettiest girl" are written in a frank female hand the monosyllable "stuff"; and as a note to the expression "dearest love," with a star to mark the text and the note, are squeezed in the same feminine characters at the bottom of Clive's page the words "that I do. E. N."

In letter No. 2, Clive, after giving amusing details of life at Baden and the company whom he met there, concludes with this: "Ethel is looking over my shoulder. She thinks me such a delightful creature that she is never easy without me. She bids me to say that I am the best of sons and cousins, and am, in a word, a darling du--" The rest of this important word is not given, but "goose" is added in the female hand.

Ethel takes up the pen. "My dear uncle," she says, "while Clive is sketching out of the window, let me write to you a line or two on his paper, though I know you like to hear no one speak but him. I wish I could draw him for you as he stands yonder looking the picture of good health, good spirits, and good-humour. Everybody likes him. He is quite unaffected; always gay, always pleased, and he draws more beautifully every day."

When these letters were received by the good Colonel in India we can well imagine the joy that warmed his fond heart. He, himself, was comfortably settled in the only place which would ever be home to him,--his son, the idol of his heart, was with Ethel, his darling. The objects of his tenderest affection were gay, happy, together, and, best of all, thinking of him. That he was not with them gave him no regrets; his love was too great for that. That their youth was soon to give place to the soberer experiences of life, gave him no pang of fear for them. Reading their letters, the Colonel was filled with quiet contentment; their future he could trust to the care of that Guiding Hand to whom he had entrusted his boy in childhood's earliest days.



Early in the Regency of George the Magnificent there lived in a small town in the west of England, called Clavering, a gentleman whose name was Pendennis. At an earlier date Mr. Pendennis had exercised the profession of apothecary and surgeon, and had even condescended to sell a plaster across the counter of his humble shop, or to vend tooth-brushes, hair-powder, and London perfumery. And yet that little apothecary was a gentleman with good education, and of as old a family as any in the county of Somerset. He had a Cornish pedigree which carried the Pendennises back to the time of the Druids. He had had a piece of University education, and might have pursued that career with honour, but in his second year at Oxford his father died insolvent, and he was obliged to betake himself to the trade which he always detested. For some time he had a hard struggle with poverty, but his manners were so gentleman-like and soothing that he was called in to prescribe for some of the ladies in the best families of Bath. Then his humble little shop became a smart one; then he shut it up altogether; then he had a gig with a man to drive in; and before she died his poor old mother had the happiness of seeing her beloved son step into a close carriage of his own; with the arms of the family of Pendennis handsomely emblazoned on the panels. He married Miss Helen Thistlewood, a very distant relative of the noble family of Bareacres, having met that young lady under Lady Pentypool's roof.

The secret ambition of Mr. Pendennis had always been to be a gentleman. By prudence and economy, his income was largely increased, and finally he sold his business for a handsome sum, and retired forever from handling of the mortar and pestle, having purchased as a home the house of Fair-Oaks, nearly a mile out of Clavering.

The estate was a beautiful one, and Arthur Pendennis, his son, being then but eight years of age, dated his earliest recollections from that place.

Fair-Oaks lawn comes down to the little river Brawl, and on the other side were the plantations and woods of Clavering Park. The park was let out in pasture when the Pendennises came first to live at Fair-Oaks. Shutters were up in the house; a splendid free stone palace, with great stairs, statues and porticos. Sir Richard Clavering, Sir Francis's grandfather, had commenced the ruin of the family by the building of this palace: his successor had achieved the ruin by living in it. The present Sir Francis was abroad somewhere, and until now nobody could be found rich enough to rent that enormous mansion; through the deserted rooms, mouldy, clanking halls, and dismal galleries of which Arthur Pendennis many a time walked trembling when he was a boy. At sunset from the lawn of Fair-Oaks there was a pretty sight: it and the opposite park of Clavering were in the habit of putting on a rich golden tinge, which became them both wonderfully. The upper windows of the great house flamed so as to make your eyes wink; the little river ran off noisily westward and was lost in sombre wood, behind which the towers of the old abbey church of Clavering (whereby that town is called Clavering St. Mary's to the present day) rose up in purple splendour. Little Arthur's figure and his mother's cast long blue shadows over the grass: and he would repeat in a low voice (for a scene of great natural beauty always moved the boy, who inherited this sensibility from his mother) certain lines beginning, "These are thy glorious works. Parent of Good; Almighty! thine this universal frame," greatly to Mrs. Pendennis's delight. Such walks and conversation generally ended in a profusion of filial and maternal embraces; for to love and to pray were the main occupations of this dear woman's life; and I have often heard Pendennis say in his wild way, that he felt that he was sure of going to heaven, for his mother never could be happy there without him.

As for John Pendennis, as the father of the family, and that sort of thing, everybody had the greatest respect for him: and his orders were obeyed like those of the Medes and Persians. His hat was as well brushed perhaps as that of any man in this empire. His meals were served at the same minute every day, and woe to those who came late, as little Pen, a disorderly little rascal, sometimes did. Prayers were recited, his letters were read, his business despatched, his stables and garden inspected, his hen-houses and kennel, his barn and pig-sty visited, always at regular hours. After dinner he always had a nap with the Globe newspaper on his knee, and his yellow bandanna handkerchief on his face. And so, as his dinner took place at six o'clock to a minute, and the sunset business alluded to may be supposed to have occurred at half-past seven, it is probable that he did not much care for the view in front of his lawn windows, or take any share in the poetry and caresses which were taking place there.

They seldom occurred in his presence. However frisky they were before, mother and child were hushed and quiet when Mr. Pendennis walked into the drawing-room, his newspaper under his arm. And here, while little Pen, buried in a great chair, read all the books on which he could lay hold, the Squire perused his own articles in the Gardener's Gazette, or took a solemn hand at piquet with Mrs. Pendennis, or an occasional friend from the village.

As for Mrs. Pendennis, she was conspicuous for her tranquil beauty, her natural sweetness and kindness, and that simplicity and dignity which purity and innocence are sure to bestow upon a handsome woman, and during her son's childhood and youth the boy thought of her as little less than an angel, a supernatural being, all wisdom, love and beauty. But Mrs. Pendennis had one weakness,--pride of family. She spoke of Mr. Pendennis as if he had been the Pope of Rome on his throne, and she a cardinal kneeling at his feet, and giving him incense. Mr. Pendennis's brother, the Major, she held to be a sort of Bayard among Majors, and as for her son Arthur, she worshipped that youth with an ardour which the young scapegrace accepted almost as coolly as the statue of the saint in St. Peter's receives the rapturous kisses which the faithful deliver on his toe.

Notwithstanding his mother's worship of him, Arthur Pendennis's school-fellows at the Grey Friars School state that as a boy he was in no way remarkable either as a dunce or as a scholar. He never read to improve himself out of school-hours, but on the contrary devoured all the novels, plays and poetry he could get hold of. He never was flogged, but it was a wonder how he escaped the whippingpost. When he had money he spent it royally in tarts for himself and his friends, and had been known to disburse nine and sixpence out of ten shillings awarded to him in a single day. When he had no funds he went on tick. When he could get no credit he went without, and was almost as happy. He had been known to take a thrashing for a crony without saying a word; but a blow ever so slight from a friend would make him roar. To fighting he was averse from his earliest youth, and indeed to physic, the Greek Grammar, or any other exertion, and would engage in none of them, except at the last extremity. He seldom if ever told lies, and never bullied little boys. Those masters or seniors who were kind to him, he loved with boyish ardour. And though the Doctor, when he did not know his Horace, or could not construe his Greek play, said that that boy Pendennis was a disgrace to the school, a candidate for ruin in this world, and perdition in the next; a profligate who would most likely bring his venerable father to ruin and his mother to a dishonoured grave, and the like--yet as the Doctor made use of these compliments to most of the boys in the place, little Pen, at first uneasy and terrified by these charges, became gradually accustomed to hear them; and he has not, in fact, either murdered his parents or committed any act worthy of transportation or hanging up to the present day.

Thus with various diversions and occupations his school days passed until he was about sixteen years old, when he was suddenly called away from his academic studies.

It was at the close of the forenoon school, and Pen had been unnoticed all the previous part of the morning till now, when the Doctor put him on to construe in a Greek play. He did not know a word of it, though little Timmins, his form-fellow, was prompting him with all his might. Pen had made a sad blunder or two, when the awful chief broke out upon him.

"Pendennis, sir," he said, "your idleness is incorrigible and your stupidity beyond example. You are a disgrace to your school, and to your family, and I have no doubt will prove so in after-life to your country. If that vice, sir, which is described to us as the root of all evil, be really what moralists have represented, what a prodigious quantity of future crime and wickedness are you, unhappy boy, laying the seed! Miserable trifler! A boy, sir, who does not learn his Greek play cheats the parent who spends money for his education. A boy who cheats his parent is not very far from robbing or forging upon his neighbour. A man who forges on his neighbour pays the penalty of his crime at the gallows. And it is not such a one that I pity, for he will be deservedly cut off, but his maddened and heartbroken parents, who are driven to a premature grave by his crimes, or, if they live, drag on a wretched and dishonoured old age. Go on, sir, and I warn you that the very next mistake that you make shall subject you to the punishment of the rod. Who's that laughing? What ill-conditioned boy is there that dares to laugh?" shouted the Doctor.

Indeed, while the master was making this oration, there was a general titter behind him in the schoolroom. The orator had his back to the door of this ancient apartment, which was open, and a gentleman who was quite familiar with the place (for both Major Arthur, Pen's uncle, and Mr. John Pendennis had been at the school) was asking the fifth-form boy who sat by the door for Pendennis. The lad, grinning, pointed to the culprit against whom the Doctor was pouring out the thunders of his just wrath. Major Pendennis could not help laughing. He remembered having stood under that very pillar where Pen the younger now stood, and having been assaulted by the Doctor's predecessor years and years ago. The intelligence was "passed round" in an instant that it was Pendennis's uncle, and a hundred young faces, wondering and giggling, between terror and laughter, turned now to the newcomer and then to the awful Doctor.

The Major asked the fifth-form boy to carry his card up to the Doctor, which the lad did with an arch look. Major Pendennis had written on the card: "I must take A.P. home; his father is very ill."

As the Doctor received the card, and stopped his harangue with rather a scared look, the laughter of the boys, half constrained until then, burst out in a general shout. "Silence!" roared out the Doctor, stamping with his foot. Pen looked up and saw who was his deliverer; the Major beckoned to him gravely, and, tumbling down his books, Pen went across.

The Doctor took out his watch. It was two minutes to one. "We will take the Juvenal at afternoon school," he said, nodding to the Captain, and all the boys, understanding the signal, gathered up their books and poured out of the hall.

Young Pen saw by his uncle's face that something had happened at home. "Is there anything the matter with--my mother?" he said. He could hardly speak for emotion and the tears which were ready to start.

"No," said the Major, "but your father's very ill. Go and pack your trunk directly; I have got a post-chaise at the gate."

Pen went off quickly to his boarding-house to do as his uncle bade him; and the Doctor, now left alone in the schoolroom, came out to shake hands with the Major.

"There is nothing serious, I hope," said the Doctor. "It is a pity to take the boy otherwise. He is a good boy, rather idle and unenergetic, but an honest, gentleman-like little fellow, though I can't get him to construe as I wish. Won't you come in and have some luncheon? My wife will be very happy to see you."

But Major Pendennis declined the luncheon. He said his brother was very ill, and had had a fit the day before, and it was a great question if they should see him alive.

"There's no other son, is there?" said the Doctor. The Major answered "No."

"And there's a good eh--a good eh--property, I believe?" asked the other in an off-hand way.

"H'm--so-so," said the Major. Whereupon this colloquy came to an end. And Arthur Pendennis got into a post-chaise with his uncle, never to come back to school any more.

As the chaise drove through Clavering, the ostler standing whistling under the archway of the Clavering Arms winked to the postilion ominously, as much as to say all was over. The gardener's wife came and opened the lodge-gates and let the travellers through with a silent shake of the head. All the blinds were down at Fair-Oaks; and the face of the old footman was as blank when he let them in. Arthur's face was white, too, with terror more than with grief. Whatever of warmth and love the deceased man might have had, and he adored his wife, and loved and admired his son with all his heart, he had shut them up within himself; nor had the boy ever been able to penetrate that frigid outward barrier.

A little girl, who was Mrs. Pendennis's adopted daughter, the child of a dear old friend, peered for a moment under the blinds as the chaise came up, opened the door from the stairs into the hall, and there taking Arthur's hand silently as he stooped down to kiss her, led him upstairs to his mother. What passed between that lady and the boy is not of import; a veil should be thrown over those sacred emotions of love and grief.

As for Arthur Pendennis, after that awful shock which the sight of his dead father must have produced on him, and the pity and feeling which such an event no doubt occasioned, I am not sure that in the very moment of the grief, and as he embraced his mother and tenderly consoled her and promised to love her forever, there was not springing up in his breast a sort of secret triumph and exultation. He was the chief now and lord. He was Pendennis; and all round about him were his servants and handmaids.

"You'll never send me away," little Laura said, tripping by him and holding his hand. "You won't send me to school, will you, Arthur?"

Arthur kissed her and patted her head. No, she shouldn't go to school. As for going himself that was quite out of the question. He had determined that his life should be all holidays for the future; that he wouldn't get up till he liked, or stand the bullying of the Doctor any more; and made a hundred such day-dreams and resolves for the future. Then in due time they buried John Pendennis, Esquire, in the Abbey Church of Clavering St. Mary's, and Arthur Pendennis reigned in his stead.

Arthur was about sixteen years old when he began to reign; in person he had what his friends would call a dumpy, but his mamma styled, a neat little figure. His hair was of a healthy brown colour, which looked like gold in the sunshine. His face was round, rosy, freckled, and good-humoured. In fact, without being a beauty, he had such a frank, good-natured, kind face and laughed so merrily at you out of his honest blue eyes that no wonder Mrs. Pendennis thought him the pride of the whole country. You may be certain he never went back to school; the discipline of the establishment did not suit him, and he liked being at home much better. The question of his return was debated, and his uncle was for his going back. The Doctor wrote his opinion that it was most important for Arthur's success in after life that he should know a Greek play thoroughly, but Pen adroitly managed to hint to his mother what a dangerous place Grey Friars was, and what sad wild fellows some of the chaps there were, and the timid soul, taking alarm at once, acceded to his desire to stay at home.

Then Pen's uncle offered to use his influence with his Royal Highness, the Commander-in-Chief, to get Pen a commission in the Foot Guards. Pen's heart leaped at this: he had been to hear the band at St. James's play on a Sunday, when he went out to his uncle. He had seen Tom Ricketts, of the fourth form, who used to wear a jacket and trousers so ludicrously tight that the elder boys could not forbear using him in the quality of a butt or "cockshy"--he had seen this very Ricketts arrayed in crimson and gold, with an immense bearskin cap on his head, staggering under the colours of the regiment. Tom had recognised him and gave him a patronising nod--Tom, a little wretch whom he had cut over the back with a hockey-stick last quarter, and there he was in the centre of the square, rallying round the flag of his county, surrounded by bayonets, cross-belts, and scarlet, the band blowing trumpets and banging cymbals--talking familiarly to immense warriors with tufts to their chins and Waterloo medals. What would not Pen have given to enter such a service?

But Helen Pendennis, when this point was proposed to her by her son, put on a face full of terror and alarm, and confessed that she should be very unhappy if he thought of entering the army. Now Pen would as soon have cut off his nose and ears as deliberately and of malice aforethought have made his mother unhappy; and as he was of such a generous disposition that he would give away anything to any one, he instantly made a present of his visionary red coat and epaulettes to his mother.

She thought him the noblest creature in the world. But Major Pendennis, when the offer of the commission was acknowledged and refused, wrote back a curt and somewhat angry letter to the widow, and thought his nephew was rather a spooney.

He was contented, however, when he saw the boy's performances out hunting at Christmas, when the Major came down as usual to Fair-Oaks. Pen had a very good mare, and rode her with uncommon pluck and grace. He took his fences with great coolness and judgment. He wrote to the chaps at school about his topboots, and his feats across country. He began to think seriously of a scarlet coat: and his mother must own that she thought it would become him remarkably well; though, of course, she passed hours of anguish during his absence, and daily expected to see him brought home on a shutter.

With these amusements, in rather too great plenty, it must not be assumed that Pen neglected his studies altogether. He had a natural taste for reading every possible kind of book which did not fall into his school course. It was only when they forced his head into the waters of knowledge that he refused to drink. He devoured all the books at home and ransacked the neighbouring book-cases. He found at Clavering an old cargo of French novels which he read with all his might; and he would sit for hours perched on the topmost bar of Dr. Portman's library steps with an old folio on his knees.

Mr. Smirke, Dr. Portman's curate, was engaged at a liberal salary to pass several hours daily with the young gentleman. He was a decent scholar and mathematician, and taught Pen as much as the lad was ever disposed to learn, which was not much. Pen soon took the measure of his tutor, who, when he came riding into the court-yard at Fair-Oaks on his pony, turned out his toes so absurdly, and left such a gap between his knees and the saddle, that it was impossible for any lad endowed with a sense of humour to respect such a rider. He nearly killed Smirke with terror by putting him on his mare, and taking him a ride over a common where the county fox-hounds happened to meet.

Smirke and his pupil read the ancient poets together, and rattled through them at a pleasant rate, very different from that steady grubbing pace with which he was obliged to go over the classis ground at Grey Friars, scenting out each word and digging up every root in the way. Pen never liked to halt, but made his tutor construe when he was at fault, and thus galloped through the Iliad and the Odyssey and the charming, wicked Aristophanes. But he went so fast that though he certainly galloped through a considerable extent of the ancient country, he clean forgot it in after life. Besides the ancient poets, Pen read the English with great gusto. Smirke sighed and shook his head sadly both about Byron and Moore. But Pen was a sworn fire-worshipper and a corsair; he had them by heart, and used to take little Laura into the window and say, "Zuleika, I am not thy brother," in tones so tragic that they caused the solemn little maid to open her great eyes still wider. She sat sewing at Mrs. Pendennis's knee, listening to Pen reading to her without understanding one word of what he said.

He read Shakespeare to his mother, and Byron and Pope, and his favourite "Lalla Rookh" and Bishop Heber and Mrs. Hemans, and about this period of his existence began to write verses of his own. He broke out in the poet's corner of the County Chronicle with some verses with which he was perfectly well satisfied. His are the verses signed NEP addressed "To a Tear," "On the Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo," "On St. Bartholomew's Day," etc., etc., all of which masterpieces Mrs. Pendennis kept along with his first socks, the first cutting of his hair, his bottle and other interesting relics of his infancy. His genius at this time was of a decidedly gloomy cast. He brought his mother a tragedy in which, though he killed sixteen people before the second act, she laughed so that he thrust the masterpiece into the fire in a pet. He also projected an epic poem in blank verse, and several other classical pieces of a gloomy character, and was altogether of an intense and sentimental turn of mind quite in contrast with his practical and merry appearance. The sentimental side of his nature, fed by the productions of his favourite poets and fanned by the romantic temperament of his tutor, soon found an object to kindle the spark into a blaze, and a most unfortunate blaze for Pen.

While Mrs. Pendennis was planning her son's career and had not yet settled in her mind whether he was to be Senior Wrangler and Archbishop of Canterbury, or Double First Class at Oxford and Lord Chancellor, young Pen himself was starting out on quite a different career, which seemed destined to lead him in the opposite direction from that of his mother's day-dreams, who had made up her mind that in time he was to marry little Laura, settle in London and astonish that city by his learning and eloquence at the Bar; or, better still, in a sweet country parsonage surrounded by hollyhocks and roses close to a delightful, romantic, ivy-covered church, from the pulpit of which Pen would utter the most beautiful sermons ever preached.

While these plans and decisions were occupying his mother's thoughts, Pen was getting into mischief. One day he rode into Chatteris to carry to the County Chronicle a thrilling poem for the next week's paper; and while putting up his horse at the stables at the George hotel, he fell in with an old school-fellow, Mr. Foker, who after a desultory conversation with Pen strolled down High Street with him, and persuaded him not only to dine at the George with him, but to accompany him later to the theatre. Mr. Foker, who was something of a sport, was acquainted with the troupe who were then acting at that theatre, and the entire atmosphere was so new and exciting to Pen that his emotional nature, which had been waiting for many months for a sensational thrill, responded at once to the idea; and later on to the applause of pit and gallery, and to the personal magnetism of the heroine of the play, one Miss Fotheringay.

To Miss Fotheringay's attractions, natural and artificial, Pen responded at once, and sat in breathless enchanted silence through all the conversations and melodramatic situations of the mediocre performance. When the curtain went down he felt that he now had a subject to inspire his Muse forever. He quitted the theatre in a state of intense excitement, and rode homeward in a state of numb ecstasy. Notwithstanding his sentimental mood, Pen was so normal in mind and body that he slept as soundly as ever, but when he awoke he felt himself to be many years older than yesterday. He dressed himself in some of his finest clothes, and came down to breakfast, patronising his mother and little Laura, who wondered at his grand appearance, and asked him to tell her what the play was about.

Pen laughed and declined to tell her. Then she asked him why he had got on his fine pin and beautiful new waistcoat?

Pen blushed and said that Mr. Foker was reading with a tutor at Baymouth, a very learned man; and as he was himself to go to college he was anxious to ride over--and--just see what their course of reading was. The truth was Pen had resolved that he must see Foker that morning and find out all that was possible concerning the object of his last night's enthusiasm; and soon after breakfast he was on his horse galloping away towards Baymouth like a madman.

From that time the lad's chief object in life was visiting the theatre, or Miss Fotheringay herself, to whom he had speedily received an introduction; and although she was a young woman not at all conversant with the social side of life with which he was familiar, she was nevertheless fascinating to Pen, who saw her always in the glamour of lime lights and applause. It was not long before Mrs. Pendennis discovered the lad's new interest, which naturally disquieted her. Finally, however, for reasons of her own, she assented to Pen's suggestion that Miss Fotheringay was to appear as Ophelia in a benefit performance.

"Suppose we were to go--Shakespeare, you know, mother. We can get horses from the Clavering Arms," he said. Little Laura sprang up with delight; she longed for a play. The mother was delighted that Pen should suggest their going, and in her good-humour asked Mr. Smirke to be one of the party. They arrived at the theatre ahead of time, and were cordially saluted by Mr. Foker and a friend, who sat in a box near theirs. The young fellows saluted Pen cordially, and examined his party with approval; for little Laura was a pretty red-cheeked girl with a quantity of shining brown ringlets, and Mrs. Pendennis, dressed in black velvet, with a diamond cross which she wore on great occasions, looked uncommonly handsome and majestic.

"Who is that odd-looking person bowing to you, Arthur?" Mrs. Pendennis asked of her son, after a critical examination of the audience.

Pen blushed a great deal. "His name is Captain Costigan, ma'am," he said, "a Peninsular officer." Pen did not volunteer anything more; and how was Mrs. Pendennis to know that Mr. Costigan was the father of Miss Fotheringay?

We have nothing to do with the play except to say that Ophelia looked lovely, and performed with admirable wild pathos, laughing, weeping, gazing wildly, waving her beautiful white arms and flinging about her snatches of flowers and songs with the most charming madness. What an opportunity her splendid black hair had of tossing over her shoulders! She made the most charming corpse ever seen, and while Hamlet and Laertes were battling in her grave she was looking out from the back scenes with some curiosity towards Pen's box, and the family party assembled in it.

There was but one voice in her praise there. Mrs. Pendennis was in ecstasies with her beauty. Little Laura was bewildered by the piece and the Ghost, and the play within the play, but cried out great praises of that beautiful young creature, Ophelia. Pen was charmed with the effect which she produced on his mother, and the clergyman on his part was exceedingly enthusiastic.

When the curtain fell upon that group of slaughtered personages who are despatched so suddenly at the end of "Hamlet," and whose death astonished poor little Laura, there was an immense shouting and applause from all quarters of the house. There was a roar of bravoes rang through the house; Pen bellowing with the loudest. "Fotheringay! Fotheringay!" Even Mrs. Pendennis began to wave about her pocket-handkerchief, and little Laura danced, laughed, clapped, and looked up at Pen with wonder.

If Pen had been alone with his mother in the carriage as they drove home that night he would have told her the extent of his devotion for Miss Fotheringay, but he had no chance to do so, and it remained for that good lady to hear of her boy's intimacy with the actress from good Dr. Portman, who, on the following evening, happening to see Pen in Miss Fotheringay's company and much absorbed by her charms, lost no time in hurrying to Mrs. Pendennis with the news. Now, although Mrs. Pendennis had been wise enough to appreciate Pen's infatuation, she had looked upon it as the merest boyish fancy, induced by the glamour of the stage, and did not dream that there was a personal intimacy behind it. She heard Dr. Portman's statement in horrified silence, and before she slept that night had despatched letters to Major Pendennis demanding his immediate return from London to help her in the management of her son at this critical point in his youthful career.

Although loath to leave London, Major Pendennis straightway came to Fair-Oaks. He came; he saw the situation at a glance; and after a prolonged conversation with Mrs. Pendennis he summoned Pen himself. That young man having strung up his nerves, and prepared himself for the encounter, determined to face the awful uncle, with all the courage and dignity of the famous family which he represented. He marched into Major Pendennis's presence with a most severe and warlike expression, as if to say, "Come on, I am ready."

The old man of the world, as he surveyed the boy's demeanour, could hardly help a grin at his admirable pompous simplicity, and having a shrewd notion that threats and tragic exaltations would have no effect upon the boy, said with the most good-humoured smile in the world, as he shook Pen's passive fingers gaily: "Well, Pen, my boy, tell us all about it!"

Helen was delighted with the generosity of the Major's good-humour. On the contrary, it quite took aback and disappointed poor Pen, whose nerves were strung up for a tragedy, and who felt that his grand entrance was altogether balked and ludicrous. He blushed and winced with mortified vanity and bewilderment. He felt immensely inclined to begin to cry. "I--I didn't know you were come till just now," he said; "is--is--town very full, I suppose?"

If Pen could hardly gulp his tears down it was all the Major could do to keep from laughter. He turned round and shot a comical glance at Mrs. Pendennis, who, too, felt that the scene was at once ridiculous and sentimental. And so, having nothing to say, she went up and kissed Mr. Pen, while the Major said: "Come, come, Pen, my good fellow, tell us the whole story."

Pen got back at once to his tragic and heroical air while he told the story of his devotion to the charming Miss Fotheringay, to which the Major gave quiet attention, and then asked many practical questions, and made so many remarks of a worldly-wise nature that the boy was obliged to give in and acknowledge the sound wisdom of them, and also before the interview was over he gave his mother a promise that he would never do anything which would bring shame upon the family; which promise given, the Major could contain his gravity at the situation no longer, but burst into a fit of laughter so infectious that Pen was obliged to join in it. This sent them with great good-humour into Mrs. Pendennis's drawing-room, and she was pleased to hear the Major and Pen laughing together as they walked across the hall with the Major's arm laid gayly on Pen's shoulder. The pair came to the tea-table in the highest spirits. The Major's politeness was beyond expression. He was secretly delighted with himself that he had been able to win such a victory over the young fellow's feelings. He had never tasted such good tea, and such bread was only to be had in the country. He asked Mrs. Pendennis for one of her charming songs. He then made Pen sing, and was delighted at the beauty of the boy's voice; he made his nephew fetch his maps and drawings, and praised them as really remarkable works of talent in a young fellow; he complimented him on his French pronunciation. He flattered the simple boy to the extent of his ability, and when bedtime came mother and son went to their rooms perfectly enchanted with him.

Unwilling to leave his work half done, the Major remained at Fair-Oaks for some time that he might watch his nephew's actions. Pen never rode over to Chatteris but that the Major found out on what errand the boy had been. Faithful to his plan, he gave his nephew no hindrance. Yet somehow the constant feeling that his uncle's eye was upon him made Pen go less frequently to sigh away his soul at the feet of his charmer than he had done before his uncle's arrival. But even so, and despite Pen's promise to his mother, the Major felt that if he were to succeed in permanently curing the lad of his interest in the actress, it would be well to have more help in achieving it. In pursuance of this aim, the Major went to Chatteris himself privately, sought out the actress's father, and presented to him the practical facts of his nephew's extreme youth and lack of money, as hindrances to his devotion going further. After a rather heated argument with Captain Costigan, that gentleman was made to understand the situation, and finally gave his promise so to present the case to his daughter, that she should herself write a letter to Pen setting forth her firm determination to have no more intercourse with him.

Captain Costigan was as good as his word, and his letter to Pen was sent immediately. A few lines from Miss Costigan were enclosed. She agreed in the decision of her papa, pointed out several reasons why they should meet no more, and thanked him for his kindness and friendship.

Major Pendennis had won a complete victory, and his secret delight at having rescued Pen from an unwise attachment was only equalled by his regret at the real suffering he was obliged to allow the lad to go through.

After receiving the letter Pen rushed wildly off to Chatteris; but in vain attempted to see Miss Fotheringay, for whom he left a letter enclosed to her father. The enclosure was returned by Mr. Costigan, who begged that all correspondence might end; and after one or two further attempts of the lad's, Captain Costigan insisted that their acquaintance should cease. He cut Pen in the street. As Arthur and Foker were pacing the street one day they came upon the daughter on her father's arm. She passed without any nod of recognition. Foker felt poor Pen trembling on his arm.

His uncle wanted him to travel, and his mother urged him, too, for he was in a state of restless unhappiness. But he said point blank he would not go, and his mother was too fond, and his uncle too wise, to force him. Whenever Miss Fotheringay acted, he rode over to the Chatteris theatre and saw her; and between times found the life at Fair-Oaks extremely dreary and uninteresting. He sometimes played backgammon with his mother, or took dinner with Dr. Portman or some other neighbour; these were the chief of his pleasures; or he would listen to his mother's simple music of summer evenings. But he was very restless and wretched in spite of all. By the pond and under a tree, which was his favourite resort in moods of depression, Pen, at that time, composed a number of poems suitable to his misery--over which verses he blushed in after days, wondering how he could have ever invented such rubbish. He had his hot and cold fits, his days of sullenness and peevishness, and occasional mad paroxysms of rage and longing, in which fits his horse would be saddled and galloped fiercely about the country, bringing him back in such a state of despair as brought much worry to his mother and the Major. In fact, Pen's attitude towards life and his actions at that time were so unlike what they should have been at his age that his proceedings tortured his mother not a little, and her anxiety would have led her often to interfere with Pen's doings had not the Major constantly checked her; fancying that he saw a favourable turn in Pen's malady, which was shown by a violent attack of writing verses; also spouting them as he sat with the home party of evenings; and one day the Major found a great bookful of original verses in the lad's study. Also he discovered that the young gentleman had a very creditable appetite for his meals, and slept soundly at night. From these symptoms the Major argued that Pen was leaving behind him his infatuation.

Dr. Portman was of the opinion that Pen should go to college. He thought the time had come for the boy to leave his old surroundings, and, besides study, have a moderate amount of the best society, too. Pen, who was thoroughly out of harmony with his present surroundings, gloomily said he would go, and in consequence of this decision not many weeks later the widow and Laura nervously set about filling trunks with his books, and linen, and making all necessary preparation for his departure, writing cards with the name of Arthur Pendennis, Esquire, which were duly nailed on the boxes; at which both the widow and Laura looked with tearful eyes.

A night soon came when the coach, with echoing horn and blazing lamps, stopped at the lodge gate of Fair-Oaks, and Pen's trunks and his Uncle's were placed on the roof of the carriage, into which the pair presently afterwards entered. Mrs. Pendennis and Laura were standing by the evergreens of the shrubbery, their figures lighted up by the coach lamps. The guard cried "All right"; in another instant the carriage whirled onward; the lights disappeared, and his mother's heart and prayers went with them. Her sainted benedictions followed the departing boy. He had left the home-nest in which he had been chafing; eager to go forth and try his restless wings.

How lonely the house was without him! The corded trunks and book-boxes were there in his empty study. Laura asked leave to come and sleep in her aunt's room: and when she cried herself to sleep there, the mother went softly into Pen's vacant chamber, and knelt down by the bed on which the moon shone, and there prayed for her boy, as mothers only know how to plead.

Pen passed a few days at the Major's lodgings in London, of which he wrote a droll account to his dearest mother; and she and Laura read that letter, and those which followed, many, many times, and brooded over them, while Pen and the Major were arriving at Oxbridge; and Pen was becoming acquainted with his surroundings. The boxes that his mother had packed with so much care arrived in a few days. Pen was touched as he read the cards in the dear well-known hand, and as he arranged in their places all the books, and all the linen and table-cloths which Helen had selected for him from the family stock, and all the hundred simple gifts of home. Then came the Major's leave-taking, and truth to tell our friend Pen was not sorry when he was left alone to enter upon his new career, and we may be sure that the Major on his part was very glad to have done his duty by Pen, and to have finished that irksome work. Having left Pen in the company of Harry Foker, who would introduce him to the best set at the University, the Major rushed off to London and again took up his accustomed life.

We are not about to go through young Pen's academical career very minutely. During the first term of his university life he attended lectures with tolerable regularity, but soon discovering that he had little taste for pursuing the exact sciences, he gave up his attendance at that course and announced that he proposed to devote himself exclusively to Greek and Roman Literature.

Mrs. Pendennis was for her part quite satisfied that her darling boy should pursue that branch of learning for which he had the greatest inclination; and only besought him not to ruin his health by too much study, for she had heard the most melancholy stories of young students who by overfatigue had brought on brain-fevers, and perished untimely in the midst of their university career. Pen's health, which was always delicate, was to be regarded, as she justly said, beyond all considerations or vain honours. Pen, although not aware of any lurking disease which was likely to endanger his life, yet kindly promised his mamma not to sit up reading too late of nights, and stuck to his word in this respect with a great deal more tenacity of resolution than he exhibited upon some other occasions, when perhaps he was a little remiss.

Presently he began to find that he learned little good in the classical lecture. His fellow-students there were too dull, as in mathematics they were too learned for him. Pen grew weary of hearing the students and tutor blunder through a few lines of a play which he could read in a tenth part of the time which they gave to it. After all, private reading, he decided, was the only study which was really profitable, and he announced to his mamma that he should read by himself a great deal more and in public a great deal less. That excellent woman knew no more about Homer than she did about Algebra, but she was quite contented with Pen's arrangements regarding his course of study, and felt perfectly confident that her dear boy would get the place which he merited.

Pen did not come home until after Christmas, a little to the fond mother's disappointment, and Laura's, who was longing for him to make a fine snow fortification, such as he had made three winters before. But he was invited to Logwood, Lady Agnes Foker's, where there were private theatricals, and a gay Christmas party of very fine folks, some of whom Major Pendennis would on no account have his nephew neglect. However, he stayed at home for the last three weeks of the vacation, and Laura had the opportunity of remarking what a quantity of fine new clothes he brought with him, and his mother admired his improved appearance and manly and decided tone.

He had not come home at Easter; but when he arrived for the long vacation he brought more smart clothes; appearing in the morning in wonderful shooting-jackets, with remarkable buttons; and in the evening in gorgeous velvet waistcoats, with richly embroidered cravats, and curious linen. And as she pried about his room, she saw, oh, such a beautiful dressing-case, with silver mountings, and a quantity of lovely rings and jewellery. And he had a new French watch and gold chain, in place of the big old chronometer, with its bunch of jingling seals, which had hung from the fob of John Pendennis. It was but a few months back Pen had longed for this watch, which he thought the most splendid and august time-piece in the world; and just before he went to college, Helen had taken it out of her trinket box and given it to Pen with a solemn and appropriate little speech respecting his father's virtues and the proper use of time. This portly and valuable chronometer Pen now pronounced to be out of date, and indeed made some comparisons between it and a warming-pan, which Laura thought disrespectful; and he left it in a drawer in the company of soiled primrose gloves and cravats which had gone out of favour. His horse Pen pronounced no longer up to his weight, and swapped her for another for which he had to pay rather a heavy figure. Mrs. Pendennis gave the boy the money for the new horse, and Laura cried when the old one was fetched away.

Arthur's allowances were liberal at this time, and thus he, the only son of a country gentleman, and of a gentleman-like bearing and person, was looked up to as a lad of much more consequence than he really was. His manner was frank, brave and perhaps a little impertinent, as becomes a high-spirited youth. He was generous and freehanded with his money, loved joviality, and had a good voice for a song. He rode well to hounds, appeared in pink as became a young buck, and managed to run up fine bills in a number of quarters. In fact, he had almost every taste to a considerable degree. He was very fond of books of all sorts and had a very fair taste in matters of art; also a great partiality for fine clothes and expensive jewellery.

In the course of his second year he had become one of the men of fashion in the University, and a leader of the faithful band who hung around him and wondered at him and loved him and imitated him. Now, it is easy to calculate that with such tastes as Mr. Pen possessed he must in the course of two or three years spend or owe a very handsome sum of money. As he was not of a calculating turn he certainly found himself frequently in debt, but this did not affect his gaiety of spirit. He got a prodigious in the University and was hailed as a sort of Crichton: and as for the English verse prize, although Jones carried it that year, the undergraduates thought Pen's a much finer poem, and he had his verses printed at his own expense, and distributed in gilt morocco covers amongst his acquaintance.

Amidst his friends, and a host of them there were, Pen passed more than two brilliant and happy years. He had his fill of pleasure and popularity. No dinner or supper party was complete without him. He became the favourite and leader of young men who were his superiors in wealth and station, but also did not neglect the humblest man of his acquaintance in order to curry favour with the richest young grandee in the University. He became famous and popular: not that he did much, but there was a general idea that he could do a great deal if he chose. "Ah, if Pendennis would only try" the men said, "he might do anything." One by one the University honours were lost by him, until he ceased to compete. But he got a declamation prize and brought home to his mother and Laura a set of prize books begilt with the college arms, and so magnificent that the ladies thought that Pen had won the largest honour which Oxbridge was capable of awarding.

Vacation after vacation passed without the desired news that Pen had sat for any scholarship or won any honour, and Pen grew rebellious and unhappy, and there was a tacit feud between Dr. Portman, who was disappointed in Arthur, and the lad himself. Mrs. Pendennis, hearing Dr. Portman prophesy that Pen would come to ruin, trembled in her heart, and little Laura also--Laura who had grown to be a fine young stripling, graceful and fair, clinging to her adopted mother and worshipping her with a passionate affection. Both of these women felt that their boy was changed. He was no longer the artless Pen of old days, so brave, so impetuous, so tender. He spent little of his vacations at home, but went on visits, and scared the quiet pair at Fair-Oaks by stories of great houses to which he had been invited, and by talking of lords without their titles.

But even with all his weaknesses there was a kindness and frankness about Arthur Pendennis which won most people who came in contact with him, and made it impossible to resist his good-nature, or in his worst moments not to hope for his rescue from utter ruin. At the time of his career of university pleasure he would leave the gayest party to sit with a sick friend and was only too ready to share any money which he had with a poorer one.

In his third year at college the duns began to gather awfully round about him, and descended upon him in such a number that the tutors were scandalised, and even brave-hearted Pen was scared. Hearing of his nephew's extravagances, Major Pendennis interviewed that young man, and was thunderstruck at the extent of his liabilities after receiving Pen's dismal confession of the trouble in which he was involved.

Perhaps it was because she was so tender and good that Pen was terrified lest his mother should know of his sins. "I can't bear to break it to her," he said to the tutor, in an agony of grief. "Oh! sir, I've been a villain to her!"

--and he repented, and asked himself, Why, why, did his uncle insist upon the necessity of living with great people, and in how much did all his grand acquaintance profit him?

They were not shy of him, but Pen thought they were, and slunk from them during his last terms at college. He was as gloomy as a death's-head at parties, which he avoided of his own part, or to which his young friends soon ceased to invite him. Everybody knew that Pendennis was "hard up."

At last came the Degree Examinations. Many a young man of his year, whose hob-nailed shoes Pen had derided, and whose face or coat he had caricatured, many a man whom he had treated with scorn in the lecture-room or crushed with his eloquence in the debating club, many of his own set who had not half his brains, but a little regularity and constancy of occupation, took high places in the honours or passed within decent credit. And where in the list was Pen, the superb; Pen, the wit and dandy; Pen, the poet and orator? Ah, where was Pen, the widow's darling and sole pride? Let us hide our heads and shut up the page. The lists came out; and a dreadful rumour rushed through the University, that Pendennis of Boniface was plucked.

During the latter part of Pen's university career the Major had become very proud of Arthur on account of his high spirits, frank manners, and high, gentleman-like bearing. He made more than one visit to Oxbridge and had an almost paternal fondness for Pen, whom he bragged about at his clubs, and introduced with pleasure into his conversation. He boasted everywhere of the boy's great talents and of the brilliant degree he was going to take as he wrote over and over again to Pen's mother, who for her part was ready to believe anything that anybody chose to say in favour of her son.

And all this pride and affection of uncle and mother had been trampled down by Pen's wicked extravagance and idleness. I don't envy Pen's feelings as he thought of what he had done. He had marred at its outset what might have been a brilliant career. He had dipped ungenerously into a generous mother's purse, and basely and recklessly spent her little income. Poor Arthur Pendennis felt perfectly convinced that all England would remark the absence of his name from the examination lists and talk about his misfortune. His wounded tutor, his many duns, the undergraduates--how could he bear to look any of them in the face now? After receiving the news of his disgrace he rushed to his rooms and there penned a letter to his tutor full of thanks, regards, remorse and despair, requesting that his name might be taken off the college books, and intimating a wish that death might speedily end the woes of the disgraced Arthur Pendennis. Then he slunk out, scarcely knowing where he went, taking the unfrequented little lanes at the backs of the college buildings until he found himself some miles distant from Oxbridge. As he went up a hill, a drizzling January rain beating in his face and his ragged gown flying behind him, for he had not taken it off since the morning, a post-chaise came rattling up the road with a young gentleman in it who caught sight of poor Pen's pale face, jumped out of the carriage and ran towards him, exclaiming, "I say,--Hello, old boy, where are you going, and what's the row now?"

"I am going where I deserve to go," said Pen.

"This ain't the way," said his friend Spavin, smiling. "I say, Pen, don't take on because you are plucked. It is nothing when you are used to it. I've been plucked three times, old boy, and after the first time I didn't care. You'll have better luck next time."

Pen looked at his early acquaintance who had been plucked, who had been rusticated, who had only after repeated failures learned to read and write correctly, but who, in spite of all these drawbacks had attained the honour of a degree.

"This man has passed," he thought, "and I have failed." It was almost too much for him to bear.

"Good-bye," said he; "I am very glad you are through. Don't let me keep you. I am in a hurry--I am going to town to-night."

"Gammon!" said his friend, "this ain't the way to town; this is the Fenbury road, I tell you."

"I was just going to turn back," Pen said.

"All the coaches are full with the men going down," Spavin said. Pen winced. "You'd not get a place for a ten-pound note. Get in here. I'll drop you where you have a chance of the Fenbury mail. I'll lend you a hat and coat; I've got lots. Come along; jump in, old boy--go it, leathers!"

And in this way Pen found himself in Mr. Spavin's post-chaise and rode with that gentleman as far as the Ram Inn at Mudford, fifteen miles from Oxbridge, where the Fenbury mail changed horses, and where Pen got a place on to London.

The next day there was an immense excitement at Oxbridge, where, for some time, a rumour prevailed, to the terror of Pen's tutor and tradesmen, that Pendennis, maddened at losing his degree, had made away with himself. A battered cap, in which his name was almost discernible, together with a seal bearing his crest of an eagle looking at a now extinct sun, had been found three miles on the Fenbury road, near a mill stream; and for four-and-twenty hours it was supposed that poor Pen had flung himself into the stream, until letters arrived from him, bearing the London post-mark.

The coach reached London at the dreary hour of five; and he hastened to the inn at Covent Garden, where the ever-wakeful porter admitted him, and showed him to a bed. Pen looked hard at the man, and wondered whether Boots knew he was plucked? When in bed he could not sleep there. He tossed about restlessly until the appearance of daylight, when he sprang up desperately, and walked off to his uncle's lodgings in Bury Street.

"Good 'evens! Mr. Arthur, what 'as 'appened, sir?" asked the valet, who was just carrying in his wig to the Major.

"I want to see my uncle," Pen cried in a ghastly voice, and flung himself down on a chair.

The valet backed before the pale and desperate-looking young man, with terrified and wondering glances, and disappeared into his master's apartment, whence the Major put out his head as soon as he had his wig on.

"What? Examination over? Senior Wrangler, Double First Class, hey?" said the old gentleman. "I'll come directly," and the head disappeared.

Pen was standing with his back to the window, so that his uncle could not see the expression of gloomy despair on the young man's face. But when he held out his hand to Pen, and was about to address him in his cheery, high-toned voice, he caught sight of the boy's face; and dropping his hand said, "Why, Pen, what's the matter?"

"You'll see it in the papers at breakfast, sir," Pen said.

"See what?"

"My name isn't there, sir."

"Hang it, why should it be?" asked the Major, more perplexed.

"I have lost everything, sir," groaned out Pen; "my honour's gone; I'm ruined irretrievably; I can't go back to Oxbridge."

"Lost your honour?" screamed out the Major. "Heaven alive! You don't mean to say you have shown the white feather?"

Pen laughed bitterly at the word feather, and repeated it. "No, it isn't that, sir. I'm not afraid of being shot; I wish anybody would shoot me. I have not got my degree. I--I'm plucked, sir."

The Major had heard of plucking, but in a very vague and cursory way, and concluded that it was some ceremony performed corporally upon rebellious university youth. "I wonder you can look me in the face after such a disgrace, sir," he said; "I wonder you submitted to it as a gentleman."

"I couldn't help it, sir. I did my classical papers well enough: it was those infernal mathematics, which I have always neglected."

"Was it--was it done in public, sir?" the Major said.


"The--the plucking?" asked the guardian, looking Pen anxiously in the face.

Pen perceived the error under which his guardian was labouring, and in the midst of his misery the blunder caused the poor wretch a faint smile, and served to bring down the conversation from the tragedy-key in which Pen had been disposed to carry it on. He explained to his uncle that he had gone in to pass his examination, and failed. On which the Major said, that though he had expected far better things of his nephew, there was no great misfortune in this, and no dishonour as far as he saw, and that Pen must try again.

"Me again at Oxbridge!" Pen thought, "after such a humiliation as that?" He felt that, except he went down to burn the place, he could not enter it.

But it was when he came to tell his uncle of his debts that the other felt surprise and anger most keenly, and broke out into speeches most severe upon Pen, which the lad bore, as best he might, without flinching.

It appeared that his bills in all amounted to about £700; and furthermore it was calculated that he had had more than twice that sum during his stay at Oxbridge. This sum he had spent, and for it he had to show--what?

"You need not press a man who is down, sir," Pen said to his uncle, gloomily. "I know very well how wicked and idle I have been. My mother won't like to see me dishonoured, sir," he continued, with his voice failing; "and I know she will pay these accounts. But I shall ask her for no more money."

"As you like, sir," the Major said. "You are of age, and my hands are washed of your affairs. But you can't live without money, and have no means of making it that I see, though you have a fine talent in spending it, and it is my belief that you will proceed as you have begun, and ruin your mother before you are five years older. Good-morning; it is time for me to go to breakfast. My engagements won't permit me to see you much during the time that you stay in London. I presume that you will acquaint your mother with the news which you have just conveyed to me."

And pulling on his hat, and trembling in his limbs somewhat, Major Pendennis walked out of his lodgings before his nephew, and went ruefully off to take his accustomed corner at the club, where he saw the Oxbridge examination lists in the morning papers, and read over the names with mournful accuracy, thinking also with bitterness of the many plans he had formed to make a man of his nephew, of the sacrifices which he had made, and of the manner in which he was disappointed. And he wrote a letter to Dr. Portman telling him what had happened and begging the Doctor to break the sad news to Helen. Then the Major went out to dinner, one of the saddest men in any London dining-room that day.

On receipt of the Major's letter Dr. Portman went at once to Fair-Oaks to break the disagreeable news to Mrs. Pendennis. She had already received a letter from Pen, and to the Doctor's great indignation she seemed to feel no particular unhappiness except that her darling boy should be unhappy. What was this degree that they made such an outcry about, and what good would it do Pen? Why did Dr. Portman and his uncle insist upon sending the boy where there was so much temptation to be risked, and so little good to be won? Why didn't they leave him at home with his mother? Her boy was coming back to her repentant and tender-hearted,--why should she want more? As for his debts, of course they must be paid;--his debts.--Wasn't his father's money all his, and hadn't he a right to spend it? In this way the widow met the virtuous Doctor, and all his anger took no effect upon her gentle bosom.

As for Laura, Pen's little adopted sister, she was no longer the simple girl of Pen's college days, but a tall, slim, handsome young lady. At the age of sixteen she was a sweet young lady indeed, ordinarily pale, with a faint rose-tinge in her cheeks. Her eyes were very large and some critics said that she was in the habit of making play with those eyes, but the fact is that nature had made them so to shine and to look, that they could no more help so looking and shining than one star can help being brighter than another. It was doubtless to soften their brightness that Miss Laura's eyes were provided with two veils in the shape of the longest and finest black eyelashes. Her complexion was brilliant, her smile charming, while her voice was so low and sweet that to hear it was like listening to sweet music.

Now, this same charming Miss Laura had only been half pleased with Pen's general conduct and bearing during the past two years. His letters to his mother had been very rare and short. It was in vain that the fond widow urged how constant Arthur's occupations and studies were, and how many his engagements. "It is better that he should lose a prize," Laura said, "than forget his mother: and indeed, Mamma, I don't see that he gets many prizes. Why doesn't he come home and stay with you, instead of passing his vacations at his great friends' fine houses? There is nobody there that will love him half as much as you do." Thus Laura declared stoutly, nor would she be convinced by any of Helen's fond arguments that the boy must make his way in the world; that his uncle was most desirous that Pen should cultivate the acquaintance of persons who were likely to befriend him in life; that men had a thousand ties and calls which women could not understand, and so forth.

But as soon as Miss Laura heard that Pen was unfortunate and unhappy, all her anger straightway vanished, giving place to the most tender compassion. He was the Pen of old days, the frank and affectionate, the generous and tender-hearted. She at once took side with Helen against Dr. Portman when he cried out at the enormity of Pen's transgressions. Debts? What were his debts? They were a trifle; he had been thrown into expensive society by his uncle's order, and of course was obliged to live in the same manner as the young gentlemen whose company he frequented. Disgraced by not getting his degree? The poor boy was ill when he went for the examinations; he couldn't think of his mathematics and stuff on account of those very debts which oppressed him; very likely some of the odious tutors and masters were jealous of him, and had favourites of their own whom they wanted to put over his head. Other people disliked him and were cruel to him, and were unfair to him, she was very sure.

And so with flushing cheeks and eyes bright with anger this young creature reasoned, and went up and seized Helen's hand and kissed her in the Doctor's presence; and her looks braved the Doctor and seemed to ask how he dared to say a word against her darling mother's Pen?

Directly the Doctor was gone, Laura ordered fires to be lighted in Mr. Arthur's rooms, and his bedding to be aired; and by the time Helen had completed a tender and affectionate letter to Pen, Laura had her preparations completed, and, smiling fondly, went with her mamma into Pen's room, which was now ready for him to occupy. Laura also added a postscript to Helen's letter, in which she called him her dearest friend, and bade him come home instantly and be happy with his mother and his affectionate Laura.

That night when Mrs. Pendennis was lying sleepless, thinking of Pen, a voice at her side startled her, saying softly: "Mamma, are you awake?"

It was Laura. "You know, Mamma," this young lady said, "that I have been living with you for ten years, during which time you have never taken any of my money, and have been treating me just as if I were a charity girl. Now, this obligation has offended me very much, because I am proud and do not like to be beholden to people. And as, if I had gone to school, only I wouldn't, it must have cost me as least fifty pounds a year, it is clear that I owe you fifty times ten pounds, which I know you have put into the bank at Chatteris for me, and which doesn't belong to me a bit. Now, to-morrow we will go to Chatteris, and see that nice old Mr. Rowdy, with the bald head, and ask him for it,--not for his head, but for the five hundred pounds; and I daresay he will lend you two more, which we will save and pay back, and we will send the money to Pen, who can pay all his debts without hurting anybody, and then we will live happy ever after."

What Mrs. Pendennis replied to this speech need not be repeated, but we may be sure that its terms were those of the deepest gratitude, and that the widow lost no time in writing off to Pen an account of the noble, the magnificent offer of Laura, filling up her letter with a profusion of benedictions upon both her children.

As for Pen, after being deserted by the Major, and writing his letter to his mother, he skulked about London streets for the rest of the day, fancying that everybody was looking at him and whispering to his neighbour, "That is Pendennis of Boniface, who was plucked yesterday." His letter to his mother was full of tenderness and remorse: he wept the bitterest tears over it, and the repentance soothed him to some degree.

On the second day of his London wanderings there came a kind letter from his tutor, containing many grave and appropriate remarks upon what had befallen him, but strongly urging Pen not to take his name off the University books, and to retrieve a disaster which everybody knew was owing to his own carelessness alone, and which he might repair by a month of application.

On the third day there arrived the letter from home which Pen read in his bedroom, and the result of which was that he fell down on his knees, with his head in the bedclothes, and there prayed out his heart, and humbled himself; and having gone downstairs and eaten an immense breakfast, he sallied forth and took his place at the Bull and Mouth, Piccadilly, on the Chatteris coach for that evening.

And so the Prodigal came home, and the fatted calf was killed for him, and he was made as happy as two simple women could make him.

For some time he said no power on earth could induce him to go back to Oxbridge again after his failure there; but one day Laura said to him, with many blushes, that she thought, as some sort of reparation, or punishment on himself for his idleness, he ought to go back and get his degree if he could fetch it by doing so; and so back Mr. Pen went.

A plucked man is a dismal being in a university; belonging to no set of men there and owned by no one. Pen felt himself plucked indeed of all the fine feathers which he had won during his brilliant years, and rarely appeared out of his college; regularly going to morning chapel and shutting himself up in his rooms of nights, away from the noise and suppers of the undergraduates. The men of his years had taken their degrees and were gone. He went into a second examination, and passed with perfect ease. He was somewhat more easy in his mind when he appeared in his bachelor's gown, and could cast aside the hated badge of disgrace.

On his way back from Oxbridge he paid a visit to his uncle in London, hoping that gentleman would accept his present success in place of his past failure, but the old gentleman received him with very cold looks, and would scarcely give him his forefinger to shake. He called a second time, but the valet said his master was not at home.

So Pen went back to Fair-Oaks. True, he had retrieved his failure, had won his honours, but he came back to his home a very different fellow from the bright-faced youth who had gone out into college life some years before. He no longer laughed, sang, or rollicked about the house as of old; he had tasted of the fruit of the awful Tree of Life which from the beginning had tempted all mankind, and which had changed Arthur Pendennis the light-hearted boy into a man. Young, he is, of course, and still awaiting the development which life's deeper experiences are to bring, but nevertheless he is not again to taste the joy, the zest, or the enthusiasm which come to careless boyhood.

Arthur Pendennis is now a competitor among the ranks of men striving after life's prizes, and this narrative of his boyhood ends.


[Illustration: Miss CAROLINE AND BECKY.]

Since the time of Cinderella the First there have been many similar instances in real life of the persecution of youth by family injustice and cruelty, and no case more strikingly similar than that of Miss Caroline Brandenburg Gann, whose youthful career was one of monotonous hardship and injustice until the arrival of her fairy prince.

The story is a short one to relate, but to live through the days and months of sixteen unhappy years seemed an eternal process to the young heart beating high with hopes which must constantly be stifled, and give place to bitter disappointment.

But to go back for a moment to the time when Louis XVIII. was restored a second time to the throne of his father, and all the English who had money or leisure rushed over to the Continent. At that time there lived in a certain boarding-house at Brussels a lady who was called Mrs. Crabb; and her daughter, a genteel young widow, who bore the name of Mrs. Wellesley McCarty. Previous to this Mrs. McCarty, who was then Miss Crabb, had run off one day with a young Ensign, who possessed not a shilling, and who speedily died, leaving his widow without property, but with a remarkably fine pair of twins, named Rosalind Clancy and Isabella Finigan Wellesley McCarty.

The young widow being left penniless, her mother, who had disowned the runaway couple, was obliged to become reconciled to her daughter and to share her small income of one hundred and twenty pounds a year with her. Upon this at the boarding-house in Brussels the two managed to live. The twins were put out, after the foreign fashion, to nurse, and a village in the neighbourhood, and the widow and her mother maintained a very good appearance despite their small income; and it was not long before the Widow McCarty married a young Englishman, James Gann, Esq.--of the great oil-house of Gann, Blubbery, and Gann,--who was boarding in the same house with Mrs. Crabb and her daughter. These ladies, who had their full share of common sense, took care to keep the twins in the background until such time as the Widow McCarty had become Mrs. Gann. Then on the day after the wedding, in the presence of many friends who had come to offer their congratulations, a stout nurse, bearing the two chubby little ones, made her appearance; and these rosy urchins, springing forward, shouted affectionately, "Maman! Maman!" to the great astonishment and bewilderment of James Gann, who well-nigh fainted at this sudden paternity so put upon him. However, being a good-humoured, soft-hearted man, he kissed his lady hurriedly, and vowed that he would take care of the poor little things, whom he would also have kissed, but the darlings refused his caress with many roars.

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. James Gann returned to England and occupied a house in Thames Street, City, until the death of Gann, Sr., when his son, becoming head of the firm, mounted higher on the social ladder and went to live in the neighbourhood of Putney, where a neat box, a couple of spare bedrooms, a good cellar, and a smart gig made a real gentleman of him. About this period, a daughter was born to him, called Caroline Blandenburg Gann, so named after a large mansion near Hammersmith, and an injured queen who lived there at the time of the little girl's birth.

At this time Mrs. James Gann sent the twins, Rosalind Clancy and Isabella Finigan Wellesley McCarty, to a boarding-school for young ladies, and grumbled much at the amount of the bills which her husband was obliged to pay for them; for, although James discharged them with perfect good-humour, his lady began to entertain a mean opinion indeed of her pretty young children. They could expect no fortune, she said, from Mr. Gann, and she wondered that he should think of bringing them up expensively, when he had a darling child of his own for whom to save all the money that he could lay by.

Grandmamma, too, doted on the little Caroline Brandenburg, and vowed that she would leave her three thousand pounds to this dear infant; for in this way does the world show its respect for that most respectable thing, prosperity, and little Caroline was the daughter of prosperous James Gann.

Little Caroline, then, had her maid, her airy nursery, her little carriage to drive in, the promise of her grandmamma's money, and her mamma's undivided affection. Gann, too, loved her sincerely in his careless good-humoured way; but he determined, notwithstanding, that his step-daughters should have something handsome at his death, but--but for a great But.

Gann and Blubbery were in the oil line; their profits arose from contracts for lighting a great number of streets in London; and about this period gas came into use. The firm of Gann and Blubbery had been so badly managed, I am sorry to say, and so great had been the extravagance of both partners and their ladies, that they only paid their creditors fourteen-pence halfpenny in the pound.

When Mrs. Crabb heard of this dreadful accident she at once proclaimed James Gann to be a swindler, a villain, a disreputable, vulgar man, and made over her money to the Misses Rosalind Clancy and Isabella Finigan McCarty, leaving poor little Caroline without a cent of legacy. Half of one thousand five hundred pounds allotted to each twin was to be paid at marriage, the other half on the death of Mrs. James Gann, who was to enjoy the interest thereof. Thus did the fortunes of little Caroline alter in a single night! Thus did Cinderella enter upon the period of her loneliness!

After James Gann's failure his family lived in various uncomfortable ways, until at length Mrs. Gann opened a lodging-house in a certain back street in the town of Margate, on the door of which house might be read in gleaming brass the name of MR. GANN. It was the work of a single smutty servant-maid to clean this brass plate every morning, and to attend to the wants of Mr. Gann, his family, and lodgers. In this same house Mr. Gann had his office, though if truth be told he had nothing to do from morning until night. He was very much changed, poor fellow! He was now a fat, bald-headed man of fifty whose tastes were no longer aristocratic, and who loved public-house jokes and company.

As for Mrs. Gann, she had changed, too, under the pressure of misfortune. Her chief occupation was bragging of her former acquaintances, taking medicine, and mending and altering her gowns. She had a huge taste for cheap finery, loved raffles, tea-parties, and walks on the pier, where she flaunted herself and daughters as gay as butterflies. She stood upon her rank, did not fail to tell her lodgers that she was "a gentlewoman," and was mighty sharp with Becky, the maid, and Carrie, her youngest child.

For the tide of affection had turned now, and the Misses Wellesley McCarty were the darlings of their mother's heart, as Caroline had been in the early days of Putney prosperity. Mrs. Gann respected and loved her elder daughters, the stately heiresses of £1500, and scorned poor Caroline, who was likewise scorned, like Cinderella, by her brace of haughty, thoughtless sisters. These young women were tall, well-grown, black-browed girls, fond of fun, and having great health and spirits. They had pink cheeks, white shoulders, and many glossy curls about their shining foreheads. Such charms cannot fail of having their effect, and it was very lucky for Caroline that she did not possess them, or she might have been as vain, frivolous, and vulgar as these young ladies were. As it was, Caroline was pale and thin, with fair hair and neat grey eyes; nobody thought her a beauty in her moping cotton gown, and while her sisters enjoyed their pleasures and tea-parties abroad, it was Carrie's usual fate to remain at home and help the servant in the many duties which were required in Mrs. Gann's establishment. She dressed her mamma and her sisters, brought her papa his tea in bed, kept the lodgers' bills, bore their scoldings, and sometimes gave a hand in the kitchen if any extra cookery was required. At two she made a little toilette for dinner, and was employed on numberless household darnings and mendings in the long evenings while her sisters giggled over the jingling piano. Mamma lay on the sofa, and Gann was at the club. A weary lot, in sooth, was yours,--poor little Caroline. Since the days of your infancy, not one hour of sunshine, no friendship, no cheery playfellows, no mother's love! Only James Gann, of all the household, had a good-natured look for her, and a coarse word of kindness, but Caroline did not complain, nor shed any tears. Her misery was dumb and patient; she felt that she was ill-treated, and had no companion; but was not on that account envious, only humble and depressed, not desiring so much to resist as to bear injustice, and hardly venturing to think for herself. This tyranny and humility served her in place of education and formed her manners, which were wonderfully gentle and calm. It was strange to see such a person growing up in such a family, and the neighbours spoke of her with much scornful compassion. "A poor half-witted, thing," they said, "who could not say bo! to a goose." And I think it is one good test of gentility to be thus looked down on by vulgar people.

I have said that Miss Caroline had no friend in the world except her father, but one friend she most certainly had, and that was honest Becky, the smutty maid, whose name has been mentioned before. A great comfort it was for Caroline to descend to the calm kitchen from the stormy back-parlour, and there vent some of her little woes to the compassionate servant of all work.

When Mrs. Gann went out with her daughters Becky would take her work and come and keep Miss Caroline company; and, if the truth must be told, the greatest enjoyment the pair used to have was in these afternoons, when they read together out of the precious, greasy, marble-covered volumes that Mrs. Gann was in the habit of fetching from the library. Many and many a tale had the pair so gone through. I can see them over "Manfrone; or the One-handed Monk," the room dark, the street silent, the hour ten, the tall, red, lurid candlewick waggling down, the flame flickering pale upon Miss Caroline's pale face as she read out, and lighting up honest Becky's goggling eyes, who sat silent, her work in her lap; she had not done a stitch of it for an hour. As the trapdoor slowly opens, and the scowling Alonzo, bending over the sleeping Imoinda, draws his pistol, cocks it, looks well if the priming be right, places it then to the sleeper's ear, and--thunder under-under--down fall the snuffers! Becky has had them in her hand for ten minutes, afraid to use them. Up starts Caroline and flings the book back into mamma's basket. It is only that lady returned with her daughters from a tea-party, where they have been enjoying themselves.

For the sentimental, too, as well as the terrible, Miss Caroline and the cook had a strong predilection, and had wept their poor eyes out over "Thaddeus of Warsaw" and the "Scottish Chiefs." Fortified by the examples drawn from those instructive volumes, Becky was firmly convinced that her young mistress would meet with a great lord some day or other, or be carried off, like Cinderella, by a brilliant prince, to the mortification of her elder sisters, whom Becky hated.

When, therefore, a new lodger came, lonely, mysterious, melancholy, elegant, with the romantic name of George Brandon--when he actually wrote a letter directed to a lord, and Miss Caroline and Becky together examined the superscription, Becky's eyes were lighted up with a preternatural look of wondering wisdom; whereas, after an instant, Caroline dropped hers, and blushed and said, "Nonsense, Becky!"

"Is it nonsense?" said Becky, grinning, and snapping her fingers with a triumphant air; "the cards come true; I knew they would. Didn't you have a king and queen of hearts three deals running? What did you dream about last Tuesday, tell me that?"

But Miss Caroline never did tell, for just then her sisters came bouncing down the stairs, and examined the lodger's letter. Caroline, however, went away musing much upon these points; and she began to think Mr. Brandon more wonderful and beautiful every day, whereas he was remarkable for nothing except very black eyes, a sallow face, and a habit of smoking cigars in bed till noon. His name of George Brandon was only an assumed one. He was really the son of a half-pay Colonel, of good family, who had been sent to Eton to acquire an education. From Eton he went to Oxford, took honours there, but ran up bills amounting to two thousand pounds. Then there came fury on the part of his stern old "governor"; and final payment of the debt, but while this settlement was pending Master George had contracted many more debts and was glad to fly to the Continent as tutor to young Lord Cinqbars, and afterwards went into retirement at Margate until his father's wrath should be appeased. For that reason we find him a member of the Gann establishment, flirting when occasion seemed to demand it with mother and daughters, and taking occasional notice of little Caroline, who frequently broiled his cutlets.

Mrs. Gann's other lodger was a fantastic youth, Andrea Fitch, to whom his art, and his beard and whiskers, were the darlings of his heart. He was a youth of poetic temperament, whose long pale hair fell over a high polished brow, which looked wonderfully thoughtful; and yet no man was more guiltless of thinking. He was always putting himself into attitudes, and his stock-in-trade were various theatrical properties, which when arranged in his apartments on the second floor made a tremendous show.

The Misses Wellesley McCarty voted this Mr. Fitch an elegant young fellow, and before long the intimacy between the young people was considerable, for Mr. Fitch insisted upon drawing the portraits of the whole family.

"I suppose you will do my Carrie next?" said Mr. Gann, one day, expressing his approbation of a portrait just finished, wherein the Misses McCarty were represented embracing one another.

"Law, sir," exclaimed Miss Linda, "Carrie, with her red hair!--"

"Mr. Fitch might as well paint Becky, our maid!" cried Miss Bella.

"Carrie is quite impossible, Gann," said Mrs. Gann; "she hasn't a gown fit to be seen in. She's not been at church for thirteen Sundays in consequence."

"And more shame for you, ma'am," said Mr. Gann, who liked his child; "Carrie shall have a gown, and the best of gowns;" and jingling three and twenty shillings in his pocket, Mr. Gann determined to spend them all in the purchase of a robe for Carrie. But, alas, the gown never came; half the money was spent that very evening at the tavern.

"Is that--that young lady your daughter?" asked Mr. Fitch, surprised, for he fancied Carrie was a humble companion of the family.

"Yes, she is, and a very good daughter, too, sir," answered Mr. Gann. "Fetch and Carrie I call her, or else Carry-van; she is so useful. Ain't you, Carrie?"

"I'm very glad if I am, Papa," said the young lady, blushing violently.

"Hold your tongue, Miss!" said her mother; "you are, very expensive to us, that you are, and need not brag about the work you do, and if your sisters and me starve to keep you, and some other folks" (looking fiercely at Mr. Gann), "I presume you are bound to make some return."

Poor Caroline was obliged to listen to this harangue on her own ill-conduct in silence. As it was the first lecture Mr. Fitch had heard on the subject, he naturally set down Caroline for a monster. Was she not idle, sulky, scornful, and a sloven? For these and many more of her daughter's vices Mrs. Gann vouched, declaring that Caroline's behaviour was hastening her own death; and she finished by a fainting fit. In the presence of all these charges, there stood Miss Caroline, dumb, stupid and careless; nay, when the fainting-fit came on, and Mrs. Gann fell back on the sofa, the unfeeling girl took the opportunity to retire, and never offered to rub her mamma's hands, to give her the smelling bottle, or to restore her with a glass of water.

Mr. Fitch stood close at hand, for at the time he was painting Mrs. Gann's portrait--and he was hastily making towards her with his tumbler, when Miss Linda cried out, "Stop! the water is full of paint!" and straightway burst out laughing. Mrs. Gann jumped up at this, cured suddenly, and left the room, looking somewhat foolish.

"You don't know Ma," said Miss Linda, still giggling; "she's always fainting."

"Poor dear lady!" said the artist; "I pity her from my inmost soul. Doesn't the himmortal bard observe how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child? And is it true, ma'am, that that young woman has been the ruin of her family?"

"Ruin of her fiddlestick!" replied Miss Bella. "Law, Mr. Fitch, you don't know Ma yet; she is in one of her tantrums."

"What, then, it isn't true!" cried simple-minded Fitch. To which neither of the young ladies made any answer in words, nor could the little artist comprehend why they looked at each other and burst out laughing. But he retired pondering on what he had seen and heard, and being a very soft young fellow, most implicitly believed the accusations of poor dear Mrs. Gann for a time.

Presently, however, those opinions changed, and the change was brought about by watching closely the trend of domestic affairs in the Gann establishment. After a fortnight of close observation the artist, though by no means quick of comprehension, began to see that the nightly charges brought against poor Caroline could not be founded upon truth.

"Let's see," mused he to himself. "Tuesday the old lady said her daughter was bringing her grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, because the cook had not boiled the potatoes. Wednesday she said Caroline was an assassin, because she could not find her own thimble. Thursday she vowed Caroline had no religion, because that old pair of silk stockings were not darned; and this can't be," reasoned Fitch. "A gal ain't a murderess, because her ma can't find her thimble. A woman that goes to slap her grown-up daughter on the back, and before company too, for such a paltry thing as an old pair of stockings, can't be surely speaking the truth." And thus gradually his first impression against Caroline wore away, and pity took possession of his soul, pity for the meek little girl, who, though trampled upon, was now springing up to womanhood; and though pale, freckled, thin, meanly dressed, had a certain charm about her which some people preferred to the cheap splendours and rude red and white of the Misses McCarty, and which was calculated to touch the heart of anyone who watched her carefully.

On account of Mr. Brandon's correspondence with the aristocracy that young gentleman was highly esteemed by the family with whom he lodged for a time. Then, however, he bragged so much, and assumed such airs of superiority, that he perfectly disgusted Mrs. Gann and the Misses McCarty, who did not at all like his way of telling them that he was their better. But James Gann looked up to Mr. Brandon with deepest wonder as a superior being. And poor little Caroline followed her father's faith and in six weeks after Mr. Brandon's arrival had grown to believe him the most perfect, polished, agreeable of mankind. Indeed, the poor girl had never seen a gentleman before, and towards such her gentle heart turned instinctively. Brandon never offended her by hard words; or insulted her by cruel scorn such as she met with from her mother and sisters; and so Caroline felt that he was their superior, and as such admired and respected him.

Consequently one day when he condescended to dine with the family at three o'clock, there being another guest as well, one Mr. Swigby, Caroline felt it to be one of the greatest occasions of her life, and was fairly trembling with pleasure, when, dinner being half over, she stole gently into the room and took her ordinary place near her father. I do believe she would have been starved, but Gann was much too good-natured to allow any difference to be made between her and her sisters in the matter of food. An old rickety wooden stool was placed for her, instead of that elegant and comfortable Windsor chair which supported every other person at table; by the side of the plate stood a curious old battered tin mug bearing the inscription "Caroline." These, in truth, were poor Caroline's mug and stool, having been appropriated to her from childhood upwards; and here it was her custom meekly to sit and eat her daily meal.

Caroline's pale face was very red; for she had been in the kitchen helping Becky, and had been showing her respect for the great Mr. Brandon by cooking in her best manner a certain dish for which her papa had often praised her. She took her place, blushing violently when she saw him, and if Mr. Gann had not been making a violent clattering with his knife and fork, it is possible that he might have heard Miss Caroline's heart thump, which it did violently. Her dress was somehow a little smarter than usual, and Becky, who brought in the hashed mutton, looked at her young lady complacently, as, loaded with plates, she quitted the room. Indeed, the poor girl deserved to be looked at: there was an air of gentleness and innocence about her which was very touching, and which the two young men did not fail to remark.

"You are very late, miss!" cried Mrs. Gann, who affected not to know what had caused her daughter's delay. "You are always late!" and the elder girls stared and grinned at each other knowingly, as they always did when mamma made such attacks upon Caroline, who only kept her eyes down upon the table-cloth, and began to eat her dinner without saying a word.

"Come, come, my dear," cried honest Gann, "if she is late, you know why! Our Carrie has been downstairs making the pudding for her old pappy; and a good pudding she makes, I can tell you!"

Miss Caroline blushed more deeply than ever; Mr. Fitch stared her full in the face; Mrs. Gann said "Nonsense!" and "Stuff!" very majestically; Mr. Brandon alone interposed in Caroline's favour; and the words that he said were so kindly, so inspiring to Caroline that she cared not a straw whatever else might be said about her. "Mamma may say what she pleases to-day," thought Caroline. "I am too happy to be made angry by her."

But poor little mistaken Caroline did not know how soon her feelings were to be harassed again beyond endurance. The dinner had not advanced much further, when Miss Isabella, who had been examining Caroline curiously for some time, telegraphed across the table to Miss Linda, and nodded and winked, and pointed to her own neck, on which was a smart necklace of the lightest blue glass beads finishing in a neat tassel. Linda had a similar ornament of a vermilion colour, whereas Caroline wore a handsome new collar and a brooch, which looked all the smarter for the shabby frock over which they were placed. As soon as she saw her sister's signals the poor little thing blushed deeply again; down went her eyes once more, and her face and neck lighted up to the colour of Miss Linda's sham cornelian.

"What's the gals giggling and oggling about?" asked Mr. Gann innocently.

"What is it, my darling love?" asked stately Mrs. Gann.

"Why, don't you see, Ma?" said Linda. "Look at Miss Carrie! I'm blessed if she hasn't got on Becky's collar and brooch, that Sims the pilot gave her!"

The young ladies fell back in uproarious fits of laughter, and laughed all the time that their mamma was declaring her daughter's conduct unworthy a gentlewoman, and bidding her leave the room and take off those disgraceful ornaments.

There was no need to tell her; the poor little thing gave one piteous look at her father, who was whistling, and seemed indeed to think the matter a good joke; and after she had managed to open the door down she went to the kitchen, and when she reached that humble place of refuge first pulled off Becky's collar and brooch, and then flung herself into the arms of that honest maid, where she cried and cried till she brought on the first fit of hysterics that ever she had had.

This crying could not at first be heard in the parlour, where the company were roaring at the excellence of the joke, but presently the laughter died away, and the sound of weeping came from the kitchen below. This the young artist could not bear, but bounced up from his chair and rushed out of the room, exclaiming, "By Jove, it's too bad!"

From the scene of merriment he rushed forth and out of the house into the dark, wet streets, fired with one impulse, inspired by one purpose:--to resist the tyranny of Mrs. Gann towards poor Caroline; to protect the gentle girl from the injustice of which she was the victim. All his sympathies from that moment were awakened in Caroline's favour.

As for Mr. Brandon, whom Caroline in the depths of her little silly heart had set down for the wondrous fairy prince who was to deliver her from her present miserable condition, he was a man to whom opposition acted ever as a spur. Up to this time he had given little or no thought to the young girl with the pale face and quiet manner, but now he was amused, and his interest was awakened by the indignation of Mr. Fitch. He was piqued also by the system of indifference to his charms indulged in by Caroline's older sisters, and determined to revenge himself upon them for their hardness of heart by devotion to Caroline. As he wrote in a letter that very day: "I am determined through a third daughter, a family Cinderella, to make her sisters quiver with envy. I merely mean fun, for Cinderella is but a little child.... I wish I had paper enough to write you an account of a Gann dinner at which I have just assisted, and of a scene which there took place; and how Cinderella was dressed out, not by a fairy, but by a charitable kitchen maid, and was turned out of the room by her indignant mamma for appearing in the maid's finery...."

This, and much more, Mr. Brandon, who at once turned his attention to being excessively kind and polite to our humble Cinderella. Caroline, being a most romantic little girl, and having read many novels, depicted Brandon in a fancy costume such as her favourite hero wore, or fancied herself as the heroine, watching her knight go forth to battle. Silly fancies, no doubt; but consider the poor girl's age and education; the only instruction she had ever received was from these tender, kind-hearted, silly books; the only happiness which fate had allowed her was in this little silent world of fancy. It would be hard to grudge the poor thing her dreams; and many such did she have, and tell blushingly to honest Becky as they sat by the kitchen fire, while indignation was growing apace in the breasts of her mother and sisters at the sight of so much interest centred on so poor an object. And even so did the haughty sisters of Cinderella the First feel and act.

But Cinderella's kitchen days were fast drawing to an end, even as she, a pale slip of a girl, was budding into womanhood.

One evening Mrs. Gann and the Misses McCarty had the honour of entertaining Mr. Swigby at tea, and that gentleman, in return for the courtesy shown him by Mrs. Gann, invited the young ladies and their mamma to drive with him the next day into the country; for which excursion he had hired a very smart barouche. The invitation was not declined, and Mr. Fitch, too, was asked, and accepted with the utmost delight. "Me and Swigby will go on the box," said Gann. "You four ladies and Mr. Fitch shall go inside. Carrie must go between; but she ain't very big."

"Carrie, indeed, will stop at home!" said her mamma. At this poor Fitch's jaw fell; he had agreed to accompany the party only for the pleasure of being in the company of little Caroline, nor could he escape now, having just accepted so eagerly.

"Oh, don't let's have that proud Brandon!" exclaimed the young ladies, in consequence of which that gentleman was not invited to join the excursion.

The day was bright and sunshiny. Poor Caroline, watching the barouche and its load drive off, felt that it would have been pleasant to have been a lady for once, and to have driven along in a carriage with prancing horses. The girl's heart was heavy with disappointment and loneliness as she stood at the parlour window, watching the vehicle disappear from sight.

Oh, mighty Fate, that over us miserable mortals rulest supreme, with what small means are thy ends effected! With what scornful ease and mean instruments does it please thee to govern mankind! Mr. Fitch accompanied the Gann family on their drive to the country; Mr. Brandon remained behind.

Caroline, too, the Cinderella of this little tale, was left at home; and thereby were placed in the hand of Fate all necessary instruments of revenge to be used in the punishment of Mrs. Gann and the Misses McCarty for their ill-treatment of our little Cinderella.

The story of Caroline Brandenburg Gann's youth is told. The fairy prince is at hand, and the short chapter of girlhood and misery is finished.


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