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

By William Makepeace Thackeray | Go to book overview

began to laugh again), had determined to bring forward a journal, of which the principles were so and so. "These men are proud of their order, and anxious to uphold it," cried out Captain Shandon, flourishing his paper with a grin. "They are loyal to their sovereign, by faithful conviction and ancestral allegiance; they love their Church, where they would have their children worship, and for which their forefathers bled; they love their country, and would keep it what the gentlemen of England -- yes, the gentlemen of England (we'll have that in large caps., Bungay, my boy) have made it -- the greatest and freest in the world: and as the names of some of them are appended to the deed which secured our liberties at Runnymede" ------

"What's that?" asked Mr. Bungay.

"An ancestor of mine sealed it with his sword-hilt," Pen said, with great gravity.

"It's the Habeas Corpus, Mr. Bungay," Warrington said, on which the publisher answered, "All right, I dare say," and yawned, though he said, "Go on, Capting."

"-- at Runnymede; they are ready to defend that freedom to-day with sword and pen, and now, as then, to rally round the old laws and liberties of England."

"Brayvo!" cried Warrington. The little child stood wondering; the lady was working silently, and looking with fond admiration. "Come here, little Mary," said Warrington, and patted the child's fair curls with his large hand. But she shrank back from his rough caress, and preferred to go and take refuge at Pen's knee, and play with his fine watch-chain: and Pen was very much pleased that she came to him; for he was very soft-hearted and simple, though he concealed his gentleness under a shy and pompous demeanour. So she clambered up on his lap whilst her father continued to read his programme.

"You were laughing," the Captain said to Warrington, "about 'the obvious reasons' which I mentioned. Now, I'll show ye what they are, ye unbelieving heathen. 'We have said,'" he went on, "'that we cannot give the names of the parties engaged in this undertaking, and that there were obvious reasons for that concealment. We number influential friends in both Houses of the Senate, and have secured allies in every diplomatic circle in Europe. Our sources of intelligence are such as cannot, by any possibility, be made public -- and, indeed, such as no other London or European journal could, by any chance, acquire. But this we are free to say, that the very earliest information connected with the movement of English and Continental politics, will be found ONLY in the columns of the Pall Mall Gazette. The Statesman and the Capitalist, the Country Gentleman and the Divine, will Åbe amongst our readers, because our writers are amongst them. We address ourselves to the higher circles of society: we care not to disown it -- the Pall Mall Gazette is written by gentlemen for gentlemen; its conductors speak to the classes in which they live and were born. The field-preacher has his journal, the radical freethinker has his journal: why should the Gentlemen of England be unrepresented in the Press?'"

Mr. Shandon then went on with much modesty to descant upon the literary and fashionable departments of the Pall Mall Gazette, which were to be conducted by gentlemen of acknowledged reputation; men famous at the Universities (at which Mr. Pendennis could scarcely help laughing and blushing), known at the Clubs and of the Society which they described. He pointed out delicately to advertisers that there would be no such medium as the Pall Mall Gazette for giving publicity to their sales; and he eloquently called upon the nobility of England, the baronetage of England, the revered clergy of England, the bar of England, the matrons, the daughters, the homes and hearths of England, to rally round the good old cause; and Bungay at the conclusion of the reading woke up from a second snooze in which he had indulged himself, and again said it was all right.

The reading of the prospectus concluded, the gentlemen present entered into

-218-

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