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PELHAM;

OR,

ADVENTURES OF A GENTLEMAN.

CHAPTER I.

Où peut-on être mieux qu'au sein de sa famille ?-French Song.

At

I AM an only child. My father of singular merit," whispered my mowas the younger son of one of our ther "but so shy!" Fortunately, the oldest earls, my mother the dower-bailiff was abashed, and by losing his less daughter of a Scotch peer. Mr. impudence he kept the secret. Pelham was a moderate whig, and the end of the week, the diamonds gave sumptuous dinners; Lady went to the jeweller's, and Lady Frances was a woman of taste, and Frances wore paste. particularly fond of diamonds and old china.

Vulgar people know nothing of the necessaries required in good society, and the credit they give is as short as their pedigree. Six years after my birth, there was an execution in our house. My mother was just setting off on a visit to the Duchess of D -; she declared it was impossible to go without her diamonds. The chief of the bailiffs declared it was impossible to trust them out of his sight. The matter was compromised-the bailiff went with my mother to C- and was introduced as my tutor. "A man

I think it was about a month afterwards that a sixteenth cousin left my mother twenty thousand pounds. "It will just pay off our most importunate creditors, and equip me for Melton," said Mr. Pelham.

"It will just redeem my diamonds, and refurnish the house," said Lady Frances.

The latter alternative was chosen. My father went down to run his last horse at Newmarket, and my mother received nine hundred people in a Turkish tent. Both were equally fortunate, the Greek and the Turk; my father's horse lost, in consequence of which he pocketed five thousand *Where can one be better than in the pounds; and my mother looked so bosom of one's family ? charming as a Sultana, that Seymour

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Conway fell desperately in love with her.

Mr. Conway had just caused two divorces; and of course all the women in London were dying for himjudge then of the pride which Lady Frances felt at his addresses. The end of the season was unusually dull, and my mother, after having looked over her list of engagements, and ascertained that she had none remaining worth staying for, agreed to elope with her new lover.

The carriage was at the end of the square. My mother, for the first time in her life, got up at six o'clock. Her foot was on the step, and her hand next to Mr. Conway's heart, when she remembered that her favourite china monster, and her French dog, were left behind. She insisted on returning -re-entered the house, and was coming down stairs with one under each arm, when she was met by my father and two servants. My father's valet had discovered the flight (I forget how), and awakened his master.

When my father was convinced of his loss, he called for his dressinggown-searched the garret and the kitchen-looked in the maid's drawers and the cellaret-and finally declared he was distracted. I have heard that the servants were quite melted by his grief, and I do not doubt it in the least, for he was always celebrated for his skill in private theatricals. He was just retiring to vent his grief in his dressing-room, when he met my mother. It must altogether have been an awkward encounter, and, indeed, for my father, a remarkably unfortunate occurrence; since Seymour Conway was immensely rich, and the damages would, no doubt, have been proportionably high. Had they met

each other alone, the affair might easily have been settled, and Lady Frances gone off in tranquillity ;— those confounded servants are always in the way!

I have observed that the distinguishing trait of people accustomed to good society, is a calm, imperturbable quiet, which pervades all their actions and habits, from the greatest to the least: they eat in quiet, move in quiet, live in quiet, and lose their wife, or even their money, in quiet; while low persons cannot take up either a spoon or an affront without making such an amazing noise about it. render this observation good, and to return to the intended elopement, nothing farther was said upon that event. My father introduced Conway to Brookes's and invited him to dinner twice a week for a whole twelve-month.

To

Not long after this occurrence, by the death of my grandfather, my uncle succeeded to the title and estates of the family. He was, as people rather justly observed, rather an odd man: built schools for peasants, forgave poachers, and diminished his farmers' rents; indeed, on account of these and similar eccentricities, he was thought a fool by some, and a madman by others. However, he was not quite destitute of natural feeling; for he paid my father's debts, and established us in the secure enjoyment of our former splendour. But this piece of generosity, or justice, was done in the most unhandsome manner: he obtained a promise from my father to retire from whist, and relinquish the turf; and he prevailed upon my mother to conceive an aversion to diamonds, and an indifference to china monsters.

CHAPTER II.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming ;

Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming.

If arts and schools reply,

Give arts and schools the lie.-The Soul's Errand.

and more ambition. She made her house one of the most attractive in London. Seldom seen at large assemblies, she was eagerly sought after in the well-winnowed soirées of the elect. Her wealth, great as it was, seemed the least prominent ingredient of her

Ar ten years old I went to Eton. I had been educated till that period by my mother, who, being distantly related to Lord (who had published "Hints upon the Culinary Art"), imagined she possessed an hereditary claim to literary distinction. History was her great forte; establishment. There was in it no for she had read all the historical romances of the day; and history accordingly I had been carefully taught. I think at this moment I see my mother before me, reclining on her sofa, and repeating to me some story about Queen Elizabeth and Lord Essex; then telling me, in a languid voice, as she sank back with the exertion, of the blessings of a literary taste, and admonishing me never to read above half an hour at a time for fear of losing my health.

Well, to Eton I went; and the second day I had been there, I was half killed for refusing, with all the pride of a Pelham, to wash tea-cups. I was rescued from the clutches of my tyrant by a boy not much bigger than myself, but reckoned the best fighter, for his size, in the whole school. His name was Reginald Glanville: from that period, we became inseparable, and our friendship lasted all the time he stayed at Eton, which was within a year of my own departure for Cambridge.

His father was a baronet, of a very ancient and wealthy family; and his mother was a woman of some talent

uncalled-for ostentation - -no purseproud vulgarity—no cringing to great, and no patronising condescension to little people; even the Sunday newspapers could not find fault with her, and the querulous wives of younger brothers could only sneer and be silent.

"It is an excellent connexion," said my mother, when I told her of my friendship with Reginald Glanville," and will be of more use to you than many of greater apparent consequence. Remember, my dear, that in all the friends you make at present, you look to the advantage you can derive from them hereafter; that is what we call knowledge of the world, and it is to get the knowledge of the world that you are sent to a public school."

I think, however, to my shame, that notwithstanding my mother's instructions, very few prudential considerations were mingled with my friendship for Reginald Glanville. I loved him with a warmth of attachment, which has since surprised even myself.

He was of a very singular character: he used to wander by the river in the

bright days of summer, when all else read Greek fluently, and even translate were at play, without any companion it through the medium of the Latin but his own thoughts; and these were version technically called a crib.* I tinged, even at that early age, with a was thought exceedingly clever, for I deep and impassioned melancholy. had been only eight years acquiring all He was so reserved in his manner, this fund of information, which, as that it was looked upon as coldness one need never recal it in the world, or pride, and was repaid as such by a you have every right to suppose that pretty general dislike. Yet to those I had entirely forgotten before I was he loved, no one could be more open five-and-twenty. As I was never and warm; more watchful to gratify taught a syllable of English during others, more indifferent to gratifica- this period; as, when I once attempted tion for himself; an utter absence of to read Pope's poems out of school all selfishness, and an eager and active hours, I was laughed at, and called benevolence, were indeed the distin-"a sap;" as my mother, when I went guishing traits of his character. I have seen him endure with a careless goodnature the most provoking affronts from boys much less than himself; but if I, or any other of his immediate friends, was injured or aggrieved, his anger was almost implacable. Although he was of a slight frame, yet early exercise had brought strength to his muscles, and activity to his limbs; while there was that in his courage and will which, despite his reserve and unpopularity, always marked him out as a leader in those enterprises, wherein we test as boys the qualities which chiefly contribute to secure hereafter our position amongst men.

Such, briefly and imperfectly sketched, was the character of Reginald Glanville-the one, who, of all my early companions differed the most from myself; yet the one whom I loved the most, and the one whose future destiny was the most intertwined with my own.

I was in the head class when I left Eton. As I was reckoned an uncommonly well-educated boy, it may not be ungratifying to the admirers of the present system of education to pause here for a moment, and recal what I then knew. I could make fifty Latin verses in half an hour; I could construe, without an English translation, all the easy Latin authors, and many of the difficult ones, with it: I could

to school, renounced her own instructions; and as, whatever schoolmasters may think to the contrary, one learns nothing now-a-days by inspiration : so of everything which relates to English literature, English laws, and English history (with the exception of the said story of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Essex), you have the same right to suppose that I was, at the age of eighteen, when I left Eton, in the profoundest ignorance.

At this age, I was transplanted to Cambridge, where I bloomed for two years in the blue and silver of a fellow commoner of Trinity. At the end of that time (being of royal descent) I became entitled to an honorary degree. I suppose the term is in contradistinction to an honourable degree, which is obtained by pale men in spectacles and cotton stockings, after thirty-six months of intense application.

I do not exactly remember how I spent my time at Cambridge. I had a piano-forte in my room, and a private

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billiard-room at a village two miles by the hand, "your conduct has been off; and, between these resources, I most exemplary; you have not walked managed to improve my mind more wantonly over the college grassplats, than could reasonably have been ex- nor set your dog at the proctor-nor pected. To say truth, the whole place driven tandems by day, nor broken reeked with vulgarity. The men lamps by night-nor entered the drank beer by the gallon, and ate chapel in order to display your intoxicheese by the hundred weight-wore | cation-nor the lecture-room, in order jockey-cut coats, and talked slang-to caricature the professors. This is rode for wagers, and swore when they the general behaviour of young men lost-smoked in your face, and ex- of family, and fortune; but it has not pectorated on the floor. Their proudest been your's. Sir, you have been an glory was to drive the mail-their honour to your college." mightiest exploit to box with the coachman-their most delicate amour to leer at the barmaid.*

It will be believed, that I felt little regret in quitting companions of this description. I went to take leave of our college tutor. "Mr. Pelham," said he, affectionately squeezing me

Thus closed my academical career. He who does not allow that it passed creditably to my teachers, profitably to myself, and beneficially to the world, is a narrow-minded and illiterate man, who knows nothing of the advantages of modern education.

CHAPTER III.

Thus does a false ambition rule us,

Thus pomp delude, and folly fool us.-SHENSTONE.

An open house, haunted with great resort.-BISHOP HALL'S Satires.

I LEFT Cambridge in a very weak | and his ancestors had for centuries state of health; and as nobody had resided on their estates in Norfolk. yet come to London, I accepted the invitation of Sir Lionel Garrett to pay him a visit at his country seat. Accordingly, one raw winter's day, full of the hopes of the reviving influence of air and exercise, I found myself carefully packed up in three great coats, and on the high road to Garrett Park.

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Sir Lionel, who came to his majority and his fortune at the same time, went up to London at the age of twenty-one, a raw, uncouth sort of young man, with a green coat and lank hair. His friends in town were of that set whose members are above ton, whenever they do not grasp at its possession, but who, whenever they do, lose at once their aim and their equilibrium, and fall immeasurably below it. I mean that set which I call "the respectable," consisting of old peers of an old school; country gentlemen, who still disdain not to love their wine and to hate the French; generals who have served in the army; elder brothers who succeed

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