The History of Pendennis by Thackeray William Makepeace

The History of Pendennis by Thackeray William Makepeace

Author:Thackeray, William Makepeace
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: (Privatkopie)
Published: 2010-02-03T05:00:00+00:00


As the dinner at which Pen and his uncle took their places was not one of our grand parties, it had been served at a considerably earlier hour than those ceremonial banquets of the London season, which custom has ordained shall scarcely take place before nine o'clock; and the company being small, and Miss Blanche anxious to betake herself to her piano in the drawing-room, giving constant hints to her mother to retreat, Lady Clavering made that signal very speedily, so that it was quite daylight yet when the ladies reached the upper apartments, from the flower-embroidered balconies of which they could command a view of the two Parks – of the poor couples and children still sauntering in the one, and of the equipages of ladies and the horses of dandies passing through the arch of the other. The sun, in a word, had not set behind the elms of Kensington Gardens, and was still gilding the statue erected by the ladies of England in honour of his Grace the Duke of Wellington, when Lady Clavering and her female friends left the gentlemen drinking wine.

The windows of the dining-room were opened to let in the fresh air, and afforded to the passers-by in the street a pleasant or, perhaps, tantalizing view of six gentlemen in white waistcoats, with a quantity of decanters and a variety of fruits before them. Little boys, as they passed and jumped up at the area railings, and took a peep, said to one another, »Mi hi, Jim, shouldn't you like to be there, and have a cut of that there pine-apple?« The horses and carriages of the nobility and gentry passed by, conveying them to Belgravian toilets; the policeman, with clamping feet, patrolled up and down before the mansion; the shades of evening began to fall; the gas-man came and lighted the lamps before Sir Francis's door; the butler entered the dining-room, and illuminated the antique Gothic chandelier over the antique carved oak dining-table – so that from outside the house you looked inwards upon a night scene of feasting and wax candles; and from within you beheld a vision of a calm summer evening, and the wall of St. James's Park, and the sky above, in which a star or two was just beginning to twinkle.

Jeames, with folded legs, leaning against the door pillar of his master's abode, looked forth musingly upon the latter tranquil sight; whilst a spectator, clinging to the railings, examined the former scene. Policeman X, passing, gave his attention to neither, but fixed it upon the individual holding by the railings, and gazing into Sir Francis Clavering's dining-room, where Strong was laughing and talking away, making the conversation for the party.

The man at the railings was very gorgeously attired with chains, jewellery, and waistcoats, which the illumination from the house lighted up to great advantage. His boots were shiny; he had brass buttons to his coat, and large white wristbands over his knuckles; and indeed looked so grand, that X imagined he beheld a Member of Parliament, or a person of consideration before him.



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