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Pendennis, who had of late absented him. self very much, called in the morning, as Miss O'Reilly said, assuredly to get invito ed. As usual, Geraldine was the first dressed ; and while the other ladies were attending to their toilets, went down, out of good-nature, to speak to the disconsolate beau.
“Now, my dear, you will see one of Miss Southwell's martyrs,” said Miss O'Reilly. “ Observe well, I beg of you, his humble look, his tremulous voice, and the hopeless roll of his large dark eyes, and remember Kean in the first scenes of Leon."
Thinking Cobham might like to have some news of his uncle Pendennis, from whom she had the day before received a letter, Geraldine proceeded on her benevolent errand, when her solicitude was quickly transformed into surprise, at the spectacle that presented itself in the drawing
Extended on a couch, from which he did not think it necessary, on her en
trance, to rise, and dressed in the extremity of the fashion, lay Mr. Cobham Pendennis. A yawn at her approach, and“ How do you do, Miss Southwell ?” was all the notice he condescended to take, till she good-humouredly inquired after his health, and made mention of his uncle Pendennis.
Oh, ay! uncle Pendennis-how is it with the old boy ? any more hares on foot ? coming up to town on a new spec-hey? wish he would send me a token of remem. brance”-another yawn. “Uncle Penden- . nis would have been surprised to find himself where I was yesterday. Dined with captain Vane and some more of the officers. Vane, sister Livy's old admirer, is one of the aide-de-camps at the Castle. After dinner we had a little play, and I lost, at one stroke, as much as old Red Roquelaure would get in a year by teaching mnemonics, and that sort of thing you take me, Miss Southwell ?” “ God forbid !" thought our heroine. C4
Here our aspirant of fashion again most unceremoniously yawned in her face, and raised himself a little, with the intent of falling back into an easy, elegant attitude; but the arm of the couch happening to be rather lower than he expected, he slipt down, and remained, for a moment, balancing himself in a manner so truly awkward and ridiculous, that even his newlyacquired assurance was not proof against the consciousness of being an object of laughter, and he appeared at a loss what new subject to start.
Geraldine, who had a very quick perception into character, immediately saw that Cobham had fallen into some company who had ridiculed his native bashfulness, and that he had thrown himself into the opposite extreme of impudence, without sufficiently attending to the nicer shades of gradation. She also observed, with a feeling of vexation, that his dress, air, and even manner of holding himself, bore a distant, though absurd and over
charged resemblance to that which was pleasing, because natural, in lord O'Melvyl.
The room now began to fill.—“ How do
you do, Miss Southwell ?” again snuffled Cobham Pendennis to the Southwell —to Matilda, the former guiding star of his affections_“I know I have been very remiss of late. The two Miss Ormsbys have engrossed my attentions. Extreme pretty girls, Caroline and Julia Ormsby. Presented only last week-my friend Vane and I intend to patronise them. Vane swears you don't go half often enough to the Castle, Miss Southwell-why don't you? an extreme good lounge-we are all expiring without you.” Here Cobham interposed another tremendous yawn, while Matilda was so astonished at this portentous transformation in her late sighing, dying adorer, that she could not command any portion of her native sarcastic haughtiness to reply to the volley of impertinence he had uttered. Miss O'Reilly was also thunderstruck, C 5
and Geraldine bad the malice to whisper hër---- Very like Kean in the first scenes of Leon !
Lord O'Melvyl now joined the company, and, after addressing a few words to his ill-favoured polygraph, advanced to the ladies, and said, in a whisper, from the Castle of Andalusia" If this be a faith ful copy, how much reason have I to blush for the original !"
The playful amenity of his manners, in a few moments, restored them to that goodhumour which the ill-bred intruder had almost banished. Indeed, if the word amenity had never been invented, it would have been now discovered to describe the manners of O’Melvyl; distinguished, as they werė, by that peculiarly-insinuating softness——that gentle fascination of address, which, by a strange contradiction, is never found in such perfection as in some few favoured individuals of the death-dealing profession, Cobham, having highly displeased the