The History of Pendennis: His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Greatest Enemy

By William Makepeace Thackeray | Go to book overview

have had the worst of it," the man added with a grin. "Have you carried up your master's 'ot water to shave with?" he added, in a very satirical manner, to Mr. Foker's domestic, who here came down the yard bearing his master's clothes, most beautifully brushed and arranged. "Show Mr. Pendennis up to 'un." And Pen followed the man at last to the apartment, where, in the midst of an immense bed, Mr. Harry Foker lay reposing.

The feather bed and bolsters swelled up all round Mr. Foker, so that you could hardly see his little sallow face and red silk nightcap.

"Hullo!" said Pen.

"Who goes there? brother, quickly tell!" sang out the voice from the bed.

"What! Pendennis again? Is your mamma acquainted with your absence? Did you sup with us last night? No -- stop -- who supped with us last night, Stoopid?"

"There was the three officers, sir, and Mr. Bingley, sir, and Mr. Costigan, sir," the man answered, who received all Mr. Foker's remarks with perfect gravity.

"Ah yes: the cup and merry jest went round. We chanted: and I remember I wanted to fight a post-boy. Did I thrash him, Stoopid?"

"No, sir. Fight didn't come off, sir," said Stoopid, still with perfect gravity. He was arranging Mr. Folker's dressing-case -- a trunk, the gift of a fond mother, without which the young fellow never travelled. It contained a prodigious apparatus in plate; a silver dish, a silver mug, silver boxes and bottles for all sort of essences, and a choice of razors ready against the time when Mr. Foker's beard should come.

"Do it some other day," said the young fellow, yawning and throwing up his little lean arms over his head. "No, there was no fight; but there was chanting. Bingley chanted, I chanted, the General chanted -- Costigan, I mean. -- Did you ever hear him sing 'The Little Pig under the Bed,' Pen?"

"The man we met yesterday?" said Pen, all in a tremor, "the father of ------"

"Of the Fotheringay, -- the very man. Ain't she a Venus, Pen?"

"Please, sir, Mr. Costigan's in the sittin-room, sir, and says, sir, you asked him to breakfast, sir. Called five times, sir; but wouldn't wake you on no account; and has been year since eleven o'clock, sir ------."

"How much is it now?"

"One, sir."

"What would the best of mothers say," cried the little sluggard, "if she saw me in bed at this hour? She sent me down here with a grinder. She wants me to cultivate my neglected genius -- He, he! I say, Pen, this isn't quite like seven o'clock school, -- is it, old boy?" -- and the young fellow burst out into a boyish laugh of enjoyment. Then he added -- "Go in and talk to the General whilst I dress. And I say, Pendennis, ask him to sing you 'The Little Pig under the Bed;' it's capital." Pen went off in great perturbation, to meet Mr. Costigan, and Mr. Foker commenced his toilet.

Of Mr. Foker's two grandfathers, the one from whom he inherited a fortune was a brewer; the other was an earl, who endowed him with the most doting mother in the world. The Fokers had been at the Cistercian school from father to son; at which place, our friend, whose name could be seen over the playground wall, on a public-house sign, under which "Foker's Entire" was painted, had been dreadfully bullied on account of his trade, his uncomely countenance, his inaptitude for learning and cleanliness, his gluttony, and other weak points. But those who know how a susceptible youth, under the tyranny of his schoolfellows, becomes silent and a sneak, may understand how, in a very few months after his liberation from bondage, he developed himself as he had done; and became the humorous, the sarcastic, the brilliant Foker, with whom we have made acquaintance. A

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