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

By William Makepeace Thackeray | Go to book overview

wounds heal, and the fever abates, and rest comes, and you can afford to look back on the past misery with feelings that are anything but bitter.

Two or three books for reference, fragments of torn-up manuscript, drawers open, pens and inkstand, lines half visible on the blotting-paper, a bit of sealing-wax twisted and bitten and broken into sundry pieces -- such relics as these were about the table, and Pen flung himself down in George's empty chair -- noting things accord. ing to his wont, or in spite of himself. There was a gap in the bookcase (next to the old College Plato, with the Boniface arms), where Helen's Bible used to be. He has taken that with him, thought Pen. He knew why his friend was gone. Dear dear old George!

Pen rubbed his hand over his eyes. Oh, how much wiser, how much better, how much nobler he is than I, he thought. Where was such a friend, or such a brave heart? Where shall I ever hear such a frank voice and kind laughter? Where shall I ever see such a true gentleman? No wonder she loved him. God bless him! What was I compared to him? What could she do else but love him? To the end of our days we will be her brothers, as fate wills that we can be no more. We'll be her knights, and wait on her; and when we're old, we'll say how we loved her. Dear dear old George!

When Pen descended to his own chambers, his eye fell on the letter-box of his outer door, which he had previously overlooked, and there was a little note to A. P., Esq., in George's well-known handwriting, George had put into Pen's box probably as he was going away.

" Dr Pen, -- I shall be half way home when you breakfast, and intend to stay over Christmas in Suffk, or elsewhere.

"I have my own opinion of the issue of matters about which we talked in J -- St. yesterday; and think my presence de trop.

"Vale. "G.W.

"Give my very best regards and adieux to your cousin."

And so George was gone, and Mrs. Flanagan, the laundress, ruled over his empty chambers.

Pen of course had to go and see his uncle on the day after their colloquy; and not being admitted, he naturally went to Lady Rockminster's apartments, where the old lady instantly asked for Bluebeard, and insisted that he should come to dinner.

"Bluebeard is gone," Pen said, and he took out poor George's scrap of paper, and handed it to Laura, who looked at it -- did not look at Pen in return, but passed the paper back to him, and walked away. Pen rushed into an eloquent eulogium upon his dear old George to Lady Rockminster, who was astonished at his enthusiasm. She had never heard him so warm in praise of anybody; and told him, with her usual frankness, that she didn't think it had been in his nature to care so much about any other person.

As Mr. Pendennis was passing through Waterloo Place in one of his many walks to the hotel where Laura lived, and whither duty to his uncle carried Arthur every day, he saw issuing from Messrs. Gimcrack's celebrated shop an old friend, who was followed to his brougham by an obsequious shopman bearing parcels. The gentleman was in the deepest mourning; the brougham, the driver, and the horse, were in mourning. Grief in easy circumstances, and supported by the comfortablest springs and cushions, was typified in the equipage and the little gentleman, its proprietor.

"What, Foker! Hail, Foker!" cried out Pen -- the reader, no doubt, has likewise recognised Arthur's old schoolfellow -- and he held out his hand to the heir of the late lamented John Henry Foker, Esq., the master of Logwood and other houses, the principal partner of the great brewery of Foker & Co.: the greater portion of Foker's Entire.

-471-

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