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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPelham - Volume 3 - Chapter 31
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Pelham - Volume 3 - Chapter 31 Post by :donben2002 Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :437

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Pelham - Volume 3 - Chapter 31

VOLUME III CHAPTER XXXI

Well, he is gone, and with him go these thoughts.--Shakspeare.

What ho! for England!--Shakspeare.

I have always had an insuperable horror of being placed in what the vulgar call a predicament. In a predicament I was most certainly placed at the present moment. A man at my feet in a fit--the cause of it having very wisely disappeared, devolving upon me the charge of watching, recovering, and conducting home the afflicted person--made a concatenation of disagreeable circumstances, as much unsuited to the temper of Henry Pelham, as his evil fortune could possibly have contrived.

After a short pause of deliberation, I knocked up the porter, procured some cold water, and bathed Tyrrell's temples for several moments before he recovered. He opened his eyes slowly, and looked carefully round with a fearful and suspicious glance: "Gone--gone--(he muttered)--ay--what did he here at such a moment?--vengeance--for what?--I could not tell--it would have killed her--let him thank his own folly. I do not fear; I defy his malice." And with these words, Tyrrell sprung to his feet.

"Can I assist you to your home?" said I; "you are still unwell--pray suffer me to have that pleasure."

I spoke with some degree of warmth and sincerity; the unfortunate man stared wildly at me for a moment, before he replied. "Who," said he, at last, "who speaks to me--the lost--the guilty--the ruined, in the accents of interest and kindness?"

I placed his arm in mine, and drew him out of the yard into the open street. He looked at me with an eager and wistful survey, and then, by degrees, appearing to recover his full consciousness of the present, and recollection of the past, he pressed my hand warmly, and after a short silence, during which we moved on slowly towards the Tuileries, he said,--"Pardon me, Sir, if I have not sufficiently thanked you for your kindness and attention. I am now quite restored; the close room in which I have been sitting for so many hours, and the feverish excitement of play, acting upon a frame very debilitated by ill health, occasioned my momentary indisposition. I am now, I repeat, quite recovered, and will no longer trespass upon your good nature."

"Really," said I, "you had better not discard my services yet. Do suffer me to accompany you home?"

"Home!" muttered Tyrrell, with a deep sigh; "no--no!" and then, as if recollecting himself, he said, "I thank you, Sir, but--but--" I saw his embarrassment, and interrupted him.

"Well, if I cannot assist you any further, I will take your dismissal. I trust we shall meet again under auspices better calculated for improving acquaintance."

Tyrrell bowed, once more pressed my hand, and we parted. I hurried on up the long street towards my hotel.

When I had got several paces beyond Tyrrell, I turned back to look at him. He was standing in the same place in which I had left him. I saw by the moonlight that this face and hands were raised towards Heaven. It was but for a moment: his attitude changed while I was yet looking, and he slowly and calmly continued his way in the same direction as myself. When I reached my chambers, I hastened immediately to bed, but not to sleep: the extraordinary scene I had witnessed; the dark and ferocious expression of Glanville's countenance, so strongly impressed with every withering and deadly passion; the fearful and unaccountable remembrance that had seemed to gather over the livid and varying face of the gamester; the mystery of Glanville's disguise; the intensity of a revenge so terribly expressed, together with the restless and burning anxiety I felt--not from idle curiosity, but, from my early and intimate friendship for Glanville, to fathom its cause--all crowded upon my mind with a feverish confusion, that effectually banished repose.

It was with that singular sensation of pleasure which none but those who have passed frequent nights in restless and painful agitation, can recognize, that I saw the bright sun penetrate through my shutters, and heard Bedos move across my room.

"What hour will Monsieur have the post horses?" said that praiseworthy valet.

"At eleven," answered I, springing out of bed with joy at the change of scene which the very mention of my journey brought before my mind.

I was a luxurious personage in those days. I had had a bath made from my own design; across it were constructed two small frames--one for the journal of the day, and another to hold my breakfast apparatus; in this manner I was accustomed to lie for about an hour, engaging the triple happiness of reading, feeding, and bathing. Owing to some unaccountable delay, Galignani's Messenger did not arrive at the usual hour, on the morning of my departure; to finish breakfast, or bathing, without Galignani's Messenger, was perfectly impossible, so I remained, till I was half boiled, in a state of the most indolent imbecility.

At last it came: the first paragraph that struck my eyes was the following:--"It is rumoured among the circles of the Faubourg, that a duel was fought on--, between a young Englishman and Monsieur D--; the cause of it is said to be the pretensions of both to the beautiful Duchesse de P--, who, if report be true, cares for neither of the gallants, but lavishes her favours upon a certain attache to the English embassy."

"Such," thought I, "are the materials for all human histories. Every one who reads, will eagerly swallow this account as true: if an author were writing the memoirs of the court, he would compile his facts and scandal from this very collection of records; and yet, though so near the truth, how totally false it is! Thank Heaven, however, that, at least, I am not suspected of the degradation of the duchesse's love:--to fight for her may make me seem a fool--to be loved by her would constitute me a villain."

The next passage in that collection of scandal which struck me was--"We understand that E. W. Howard de Howard, Esq., Secretary, is shortly to lead to the hymeneal altar the daughter of Timothy Tomkins, Esq., late Consul of--." I quite started out of my bath with delight. I scarcely suffered myself to be dried and perfumed, before I sat down to write the following congratulatory epistle to the thin man:--

"My dear Mr. Howard de Howard,

"Permit me, before I leave Paris, to compliment you upon that happiness which I have just learnt is in store for you. Marriage to a man like you, who has survived the vanities of the world--who has attained that prudent age when the passions are calmed into reason, and the purer refinements of friendship succeed to the turbulent delirium of the senses--marriage, my dear Mr. Howard, to a man like you, must, indeed, be a most delicious Utopia. After all the mortifications you may meet elsewhere, whether from malicious females, or a misjudging world, what happiness to turn to one being to whom your praise is an honour, and your indignation of consequence!

"But if marriage itself be so desirable, what words shall I use sufficiently expressive of my congratulation at the particular match you have chosen, so suitable in birth and station? I can fancy you, my dear Sir, in your dignified retirement, expatiating to your admiring bride upon all the honours of your illustrious line, and receiving from her, in return, a full detail of all the civic glories that have ever graced the lineage of the Tomkins's. As the young lady is, I suppose, an heiress, I conclude you will take her name, instead of changing it. Mr. Howard de Howard de Tomkins, will sound peculiarly majestic; and when you come to the titles and possessions of your ancestors, I am persuaded that you will continue to consider your alliance with the honest citizens of London among your proudest distinctions.

"Should you have any commands in England, a letter directed to me in Grosvenor-square will be sure to find me; and you may rely upon my immediately spreading among our mutual acquaintance in London, the happy measure you are about to adopt, and my opinions on its propriety.

"Adieu, my dear Sir,

"With the greatest respect and truth,

"Yours,

"H. Pelham."


"There," said I, as I sealed my letter, "I have discharged some part of that debt I owe to Mr. Howard de Howard, for an enmity towards me, which he has never affected to conceal. He prides himself on his youth--my allusions to his age will delight him! On the importance of his good or evil opinion--I have flattered him to a wonder! Of a surety, Henry Pelham, I could not have supposed you were such an adept in the art of panegyric."

"The horses, Sir!" said Bedos; and "the bill, Sir?" said the garcon. Alas! that those and that should be so coupled together; and that we can never take our departure without such awful witnesses of our sojourn. Well--to be brief--the bill for once was discharged--the horses snorted--the carriage door was opened--I entered--Bedos mounted behind--crack went the whips--off went the steeds, and so terminated my adventures at dear Paris.

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