en-de  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - First Epoch - Chapter III. Hard
Kapitel 3
Pescas Miene und Benehmen an dem Abend, als wir am Tor meiner Mutter aufeinander stießen, waren mehr als ausreichend, um mich darüber zu informieren, dass etwas Außergewöhnliches passiert war. Es war allerdings ziemlich nutzlos, ihn um eine unmittelbare Erklärung zu bitten. Während er mich mit beiden Händen nach innen zog, konnte ich nur vermuten, dass er ( da er meine Gewohnheiten kannte) zum Landhaus gekommen war, um sicherzustellen, dass er mich an dem Abend treffen würde, und dass er einige Neuigkeiten von ungewöhnlich erfreulicher Art zu erzählen hatte.
Wir platzten beide auf höchst ungehobelte und würdelose Art in den Salon. Meine Mutter saß am offenen Fenster und lachte und fächelte sich Luft zu. Pesca war einer ihr speziellen Lieblinge und seine kühnsten Exzentrizitäten waren in ihren Augen immer verzeihlich. Arme, liebe Seele! Vom ersten Augenblick an, als sie herausfand, dass der kleine Professor ihrem Sohn innig und dankbar zugetan war, öffnete sie ihm vorbehaltlos ihr Herz und betrachtete all seine rätselhaften, fremden Eigentümlichkeiten als selbstverständlich, ohne auch nur irgendeine von ihnen zu verstehen.
Meine Schwester Sarah, mit all den Vorteilen der Jugend, war seltsamerweise weniger nachgiebig. Sie wurde Pescas großartiger Herzensgüte völlig gerecht; aber sie konnte ihn nicht bedingungslos akzeptieren, wie es meine Mutter um meinetwillen tat. Ihre engstirnigen Vorstellungen von Anständigkeit stiegen in beständiger Empörung gegen Pescas angeborene Missachtung für den äußeren Schein; und sie war immer mehr oder weniger unverhohlen über die Vertraulichkeit ihrer Mutter mit dem kleinen exzentrischen Ausländer erstaunt Ich habe beobachtet, nicht nur im Fall meiner Schwester, sondern wenn es andere betrifft, dass wir, die junge Generation, nicht so herzlich und impusiv sind, wie einige unsere Älteren. Ich sehe ständig, dass alte Leute von der Aussicht auf eine zu erwartetende Freude in Wallung gebracht und aufgeregt sind, die ihre lässigeren Enkel nicht aus der Ruhe bringt. Sind wir, frage ich mich, wirklich so echte Jungen und Mädchen wie unsere älteren Menschen zu ihrer Zeit? Hat der große Fortschritt in der Bildung all zu lange gedauert; und sind wir in der heutigen Zeit nur die geringste Kleinigkeit dieser Welt zu gut erzogen?
Ohne zu versuchen, diese Fragen entschieden zu beantworten, kann ich zumindest festhalten, dass ich meine Mutter und meine Schwester nie zuammen in Pecas Gesellschaft sah, ohne festzustellen, dass meine Mutter die Jüngere der beiden Frauen war. Bei dieser Gelegenheit zum Beispiel, während die alte Dame herzlich über die jungenhaften Manieren lachte, mit denen wir in den Salon fielen, sammelte Sarah aufgeregt die Scherben einer Teetasse auf, die der Professor in seinem überstürzten Vorstoß, mich an der Tür zu treffen, vom Tisch gestoßen hatte.
"Ich weiß nicht, was geschehen wäre, Walter," sagte meine Mutter, wenn du noch länger gewartet hättest. Pesca ist aus Ungeduld völlig durcheinander, und ich bin aus Neugier durcheinander. Der Professor hat wunderbare Neuigkeiten mitgebracht, die dich betreffen, sagt er; und er hat sich grausam geweigert, uns den kleinsten Hinweis darauf zugeben, bis sein Freund Walter erschien.
"Sehr unangenehm: es verdirbt das Service", murmelte Sarah zu sich, trauervoll von den Trümmern der zerbrochenen Tasse in Anspruch genommen.
Während diese Worte gesprochen wurden, zog Pesca, froh und seiner irreparablen Schuld, die das Geschirr durch seine Hand erlitten hatte, bedenklich unbewusst, einen großen Lehnstuhl zum anderen Ende des Raumes, um uns alle drei zu überschauen, in der Art, wie ein öffentlicher Redner das Wort an ein Publikum richtet. Er wendete den Stuhl mit dem Rücken zu uns, sprang mit seinen Knien darauf und sprach aufgeregt seine kleine Gemeinde von dreien von einer spontanen Kanzel aus an.
"Nun, meine guten Lieblinge," begann Pesco (der immer "guten Lieblinge" sagte, wann er "würdigen Freunde" meinte), "hört zu mir. Die Zeit ist gekommt—ich verkünde meine Neuigkeit—ich spreche endlich.
"Hört, hört!" sagte meine Mutter und ertrug den Scherz mit Geduld.
"Das nächste, was er kaputt machen wird, Mama", flüsterte Sarah," wird die Rückseite des besten Sessels sein."
"Ich gehe zurück in mein Leben und ich richte mich an die edelsten der geschaffenen Wesen", fuhr Pesca fort, meine Wenigkeit heftig über die obere Leiste des Stuhls anzureden. "Wer fand mich tot auf dem Grund des Sees (wegen eines Krampfes); und wer zog mich nach oben; und was sagte ich, als ich in mein eigenes Leben und meine eigenen Kleider zurückfand?"
"Viel mehr als überhaupt nötig war", antwortete ich so verbissen wie möglich; da die geringste Ermunterung in Zusammenhang mit diesem Thema bei den Gefühlen des Professors stets eine Flut von Tränen auslöste.
"Ich sagte", beharrte Pesca, "dass mein Leben für den Rest meiner Tage meinem lieben Freund Walter gehören würde - und so ist es. Ich habe gesagt, dass ich nie wieder froh sein würde, bis ich die Möglichkeit gefunden hätte, Walter etwas Gutes zu tun - und ich war bis zu diesem höchst gesegneten Tag überhaupt nicht zufrieden mit mir. Nun", rief der begeisterte kleine Mann mit sich überschlagender Stimme, "platzt mir die überströmende Freude aus jeder Pore meiner Haut heraus, wie Schweiß; weil bei meinem Glauben und meiner Seele und Ehre, das Gute ist endlich getan, und mir bleibt nun nur zu sagen - Völlig in Ordnung!"
Es mag nötig sein hier zu erklären, dass Pesca sich etwas darauf einbildete, sowohl in seiner Sprache, als auch in seiner Kleidung, seinen Umgangsformen und Vergnügungen ein perfekter Engländer zu sein. Er hatte ein paar unserer geläufigen, umgangssprachlichen Ausdrücke aufgeschnappt und streute die in seine Unterhaltung, wann immer es sich ergab, verdrehte sie in seiner großen Vorliebe für ihren Klang und seiner grundsätzlichen Ahnungslosigkeit ihrer Bedeutung zu zusammengesetzten Wörtern und eigenen Wiederholungen und ließ sie immer ineinanderfließen, als ob sie aus einer langen Silbe bestehen würden.
"Unter den feinen Londoner Häusern, wo ich die Sprache meines Vaterlandes lehre", sagte der Professor und hetzte ohne weitere Einleitung in seine langatmige Erklärung, " ist eins, äußerst fein, an dem großen Platz, Portland genannt. Ihr wisst alle, wo das ist? Ja, ja - klar-natürlich. Das schöne Haus, meine verehrten Lieben, hat innen eine gute Familie. Eine Mama, heiter und dick; drei junge Damen, heiter und dick; zwei junge Herren, heiter und dick; und einen Papa, der heiterste und dickste von allen, der ein mächtiger Kaufmann ist, das Gold steht ihm bis zum Hals - einst ein schöner Mann, aber da man sieht, dass er einen kahlen Kopf und zwei Kinne bekommen hat, gegenwärtig nicht mehr schön. Nun aufgepasst! Ich bringe den jungen Damen den grandiosen Dante bei, und ah! - du Güte-meine-Güte!- es ist nicht mit menschlicher Sprache zu sagen, wie der grandiose Dante allen dreien den hübschen Kopf zerbricht! Macht nichts - alles zu seiner Zeit - und je mehr Lektionen, um so besser für mich. Nun aufpassen! Stellt euch vor, dass ich die jungen Damen heute wie gewöhnlich unterrichte. Alle vier von uns sind zusammen unten in Dantes Hölle. Beim siebten Höllenkreis - aber das ist ganz egal: alle Kreise sind gleich für die drei jungen Damen, heiter und dick, - beim siebten Höllenkreis allerdings, bleiben meine Schüler stecken; und ich, um sie wieder in Fahrt zu bringen, trage vor, erkläre und blase mich mit nutzlosem Eifer heißrot auf, als - ein Knarren von Stiefeln im Korridor draußen, der goldene Papa hereinkommt, der mächtige Kaufmann mit dem Kahlkopf und dem Doppelkinn.- Ha! Meine guten Lieben, ich bin nun näher an der Eröffnung, als ihr denkt. Seid ihr bis jetzt geduldig gewesen? Oder habt ihr zu euch gesagt: "Teufel-was-zum-Teufel! Pesca ist heute Abend langatmig?"
Wir erklärten, dass wir höchst interessiert waren. Der Professor fuhr fort: "In seiner Hand hat der goldene Papa einen Brief; und nachdem er sich entschuldigt hat, uns in unserem höllischen Raum mit dem gewöhnlichen, sterblichen Geschäft des Hauses zu stören, spricht er zu den jungen Damen und fängt an, wie ihr Engländer alles in dieser gesegneten Welt, was ihr sagen müsst, anfangt, mit einem großen O. Oh, meine Lieben", sagt der mächtige Kaufmann," ich habe hier einen Brief von meinem Freund bekommen, Mr. ---"(der Name ist mir entfallen, aber kein Problem, wir werden darauf zurückkommen; ja, ja, Ordnung-in-Ordnung). Also sagt der Papa: "Ich habe einen Brief von meinem Freund, Herrn Sowieso, bekommen; und er möchte eine Empfehlung von mir für einen Zeichenlehrer haben, der zu ihm in sein Landhaus kommen soll." Meine - Seele, - segne - meine - Seele! Als ich den goldenen Papa diese Worte sagen hörte, hätte ich gerne meine Arme um seinen Hals geschlungen und ihn in einer langen, dankbaren Umarmung an meine Brust gedrückt, wenn ich groß genug gewesen wäre, um ihn zu erreichen! So wie die Dinge lagen, sprang ich nur vom Stuhl hoch. Mein Sitz war auf Dornen und meine Seele brannte lichterloh darauf zu sprechen, aber ich hielt den Mund und ließ Papa fortfahren. "Viellleicht kennt ihr", sagt dieser gute Mann des Geldes, den Brief seines Freundes zwischen seinen goldenen Fingern und Daumen hin- und herdrehend, " vielleicht kennt ihr, meine Lieben, einen Zeichenlehrer, den ich empfehlen kann?" Die drei jungen Damen gucken sich gegenseitig an und sagen dann (beginnend mit dem unverzichtbaren großen O) "Oh, nein, lieber Papa! Aber da ist Mr. Pesca." Bei der Erwähnung von mir selbst kann ich mich nicht länger beherrschen - der Gedanke an euch, meine guten Lieblinge, steigt wie Blut in meinen Kopf - ich fahre von meinem Sitz auf, als ob ein Stachel vom Boden durch den Boden meines Stuhls gewachsen wäre - ich richte das Wort an den mächtigen Kaufmann und ich sage (englische Redensart) " Sehr geehrter Herr, ich habe den Mann! Den ersten und herausragendsten Zeichenlehrer der Welt! Empfehlen Sie ihn heute Abend mit der Post und senden Sie ihn los, mit Kind und Kegel (wieder englische Redewendung - ha!), senden Sie in los, mit Kind und Kegel, mit dem Zug morgen!" "Halt, halt", sagt Papa, "ist er ein Ausländer oder ein Engländer?" "Englisch bis ins Mark", antworte ich. "Ehrenwert?" sagt Papa. 'Sir,' I say (for this last question of his outrages me, and I have done being familiar with him—) 'Sir! das unsterbliche Feuer des Genies brennt in der Brust dieses Engländers und, was noch mehr zählt, er hat es von seinem Vater!" 'Vergessen Sie es', sagt der goldene Barbar von einem Papa, 'vergessen Sie seine Genialität, Mr.Pesca. Wir wollen kein Genie in diesem Land, außer wenn es von Ehrbarkeit begleitet ist - und dann sind wir sehr froh, es zu haben, wahrhaftig sehr froh. Kann Ihr Freund Referenzen vorzeigen - Briefe, die etwas über seinen Charakter aussagen?' Ich winke, den Einwand nicht beachtend, mit der Hand. "Briefe?" Ach was. "Ha! Du meine Güte! Ich denke schon, doch! Bände von Briefen und Zeugnismappen, wenn Sie wollen!" "Eins oder zwei werden genügen," sagt dieser gleichmütige und reiche Mann. "Veranlassen Sie, dass er sie an mich schickt, mit seinem Namen und seiner Adresse. Und - halt, halt, Herr Pesca - bevor Sie zu Ihrem Freund gehen, sollten Sie sich besser eine Notiz machen." "Geldschein!" Also wirklich, (sagte er) ungehalten. "Keinen Geldschein, bitte, bis ihn mein braver Engländer zuerst verdient hat." "Geldschein!" sagt Papa sehr überrascht, "wer sprach von einem Geldschein? Ich meine eine Notiz über die Bedingungen - einen Vermerk darüber, was er tun soll. Machen Sie mit Ihrer Lektion weiter, Herr Pesca, und ich werde Ihnen den notwendigen Ausschnitt aus dem Brief meines Freundes geben." Der Mann der Handelswaren und des Gelds setzt sich an seine Feder, Tinte und Papier; und wieder gehe ich hinunter in Dantes Hölle und die drei jungen Grazien folgen mir. In zehn Minuten ist die Notiz geschrieben, und Papas Stiefel knarren draußen im Korridor von dannen. Von diesem Augenblick an, bei meinem Glauben, und Seele und Ehre, weiß ich nichts mehr! Der wunderbare Gedanke, dass ich endlich meine Chance ergriffen habe, und dass mein dankbarer Dienst an meinem liebsten Freund in der Welt schon so gut wie getan ist, steigt mir zu Kopf und macht mich trunken. Wie ich meine jungen Grazien und mich selbst wieder aus der Hölle heraushole, wie danach meine anderen Geschäfte weitergehen, wie mein kleines Dinner meine Kehle herunterrutscht, weiß ich nicht besser als der Mann im Mond. Für mich ist es genug,dass ich hier bin, mit der Notiz des mächtigen Kaufmanns in der Hand, so groß wie das Leben, so heiß wie Feuer, und so glücklich wie ein König! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sehr - sehr - sehr - sehr gut!" Hier wedelte der Professor das Memorandum der Bedingungen über seinem Kopf und beendete seine lange und wortgewaltige Erzählung mit seiner schrillen, italienischen Parodie auf einen englischen Hurraruf.
Meine Mutter erhob sich, als er geendet hatte, mit erröteten Wangen und strahlenden Augen. Sie fasste den kleinen Mann herzlich an beiden Händen.
"Mein lieber, guter Pesca", sagte sie," ich habe niemals an Ihrer treuen Zuneigung zu Walter gezweifelt - aber ich bin nun mehr als jemals zuvor davon überzeugt!"
"Ich bin sicher, wir sind Walter zuliebe Professor Pesca sehr zu Dank verpflichtet", ergänzte Sarah. Sie erhob sich halb, während sie sprach, als ob sie sich ihrerseits dem Lehnstuhl nähern wolle; aber, als sie beobachtete, dass Pesca begeistert die Hände meiner Mutter küsste, blickte sie ernst und nahm wieder Platz. "Wenn der ungezwungene, kleine Mann meine Mutter auf solche Art behandelt, wie wird er mich behandeln?" Gesichter sagen manchmal die Wahrheit; und das war zweifellos Sarahs Ansicht, als sie sich wieder setzte.
Although I myself was gratefully sensible of the kindness of Pesca's motives, my spirits were hardly so much elevated as they ought to have been by the prospect of future employment now placed before me. Als der Professor mit meiner Mutters Hand ziemlich fertig war, und als ich ihm herzlich für seine Einmischung zu meinen Gunsten gedankt hatte, bat ich ihn um Erlaubnis, die Notiz der Bedingungen anzusehen, welche sein achtbarer Klient für meine Überprüfung aufgesetzt hatte.
Pesca reichte mir das Papier, mit einer triumphierender Geste der Hand.
"Lesen Sie!" sagte der kleine Mann majestätisch. "I promise you my friend, the writing of the golden Papa speaks with a tongue of trumpets for itself.
The note of terms was plain, straightforward, and comprehensive, at any rate. Es informierte mich, erstens, dass Frederick Fairlie, Esquire, wohnhaft im Limmeridge House. Cumberland, die Dienste eines sehr qualifizierten Zeichenmeisters, fest für eine Zeit von vier Monaten in Anspruch nehmen wollte.
Zweitens, dass die Pflichten, die der Lehrer zu verrichten hatte, von doppelter Art sein würden. Er sollte die Unterweisung von zwei jungen Damen in der Kunst des Wasserfarbenmalens beaufsichtigen; er sollte danach seine Freizeit der Reparatur und dem Aufspannen einer wertvollen Sammlung von Zeichnungen, die in einen völlig verwahrlosten Zustand geraten waren, widmen.
Drittens, dass die Zahlungsbedingungen die demjenigen angeboten werden, der diese Pflichten übernehmen und ordnungsgemäß verrichten würde, vier Guineas pro Woche wären; dass er im Limmeridge Haus wohnen sollte; und dass er dort wie ein Gentleman behandelt werden sollte.
Viertens und letztens, dass niemand in Erwägung ziehen soll, sich um diese Stelle zu bewerben, es sei denn, er könne die einwandfreisten Zeugnisse über Charakter und Fähigkeiten liefern Die Auskünfte sollen zu Mr. Fairlies Freund nach London geschickt werden, der bevollmächtigt wäre, alle nötigen Regelungen zu entscheiden. Diesen Anweisungen folgten Name und Adresse von Pescas Arbeitgeber in Portland Place - und da endete die Mitteilung, oder das Merkblatt.
E war sicher eine attraktive Aussicht, welche dieses Angebot einer Anstellung in Aussicht stellte. Die Anstellung würde wahrscheinlich sowohl einfach als auch angenehm sein; es wurde mir für die Herbstzeit des Jahres vorgeschlagen, wo ich am wenigsten beschäftigt war; und die Bedingungen, nach meiner persönlichen Erfahrung in meinem Beruf zu urteilen, waren überraschend liberal. I knew this; I knew that I ought to consider myself very fortunate if I succeeded in securing the offered employment—and yet, no sooner had I read the memorandum than I felt an inexplicable unwillingness within me to stir in the matter. I had never in the whole of my previous experience found my duty and my inclination so painfully and so unaccountably at variance as I found them now.
"Oh Walter, dein Vater hatte niemals so eine Chance wie diese!" sagte meine Mutter, als sie den Zettel mit den Bedingungen gelesen hatte und gab ihn mir zurück.
"Such distinguished people to know," remarked Sarah, straightening herself in the chair; "and on such gratifying terms of equality too!"
"Yes, yes; the terms, in every sense, are tempting enough," I replied impatiently. "Aber bevor ich meine Zeugnisse schicke, würde ich gerne ein bisschen Zeit haben, um zu überlegen..."
"Überlegen!" rief meine Mutter aus. "Warum, Walter, was ist los mit dir?
"Überlegen!" echote meine Schwester. "Wie seltsam, so etwas zu sagen, unter diesen Umständen!"
"Überlegen!" stimmte der Professor ein. "Was gibt es da zu überlegen? Beantworte mir das! Hast du nicht über deine Gesundheit geklagt, und hast du dich nicht nach etwas gesehnt, was du Geruch einer ländlichen Brise nennst? Also! Da in deiner Hand befindet sich das Papier, das dir dauerhaft einen Mund voll mit Landbrise für die Zeit von vier Monaten anbietet. Ist es nicht so? Ha! Nochmal - du benötigst Geld. Gut! Sind vier Goldguineen nichts? Ach du meine Güte! Gib sie nur mir - und meine Stiefel werden knirschen wie die vom goldenen Papa, mit einem Gefühl von überwältigendem Reichtum des Mannes, der in ihnen geht! Vier Guineen in der Woche und mehr noch die charmante Gesellschaft zwei junger Damen! Und mehr als das, dein Bett, dein Frühstück, dein Abendessen, deine Englischen Tees, die du gierig verschlingst, und Mittagessen und schäumendes Bier, alles für nichts - ah, Walter, mein lieber guter Freund - Teufel, was zum Teufel! - zum ersten Mal in meinen Leben habe ich nicht genug Augen in meinem Kopf, um zu schauen und mich über dich zu wundern.
Weder das offenkundige Erstaunen meiner Mutter über mein Benehmen noch Pescas fieberhafte Aufzählung der Vorteile, die mir durch die neue Anstellung geboten wurden, hatten irgendeine Wirkung, meine uneinsichtige Unlust, nach Limmeridge House zu gehen, zu erschüttern. Nachdem ich mit all den belanglosen Einwänden, die mir dagegen einfielen, nach Cumberland zu gehen, begann und nachdem ich die Antworten eine nach der anderen zu meinem eigenen kompletten Umbehagen gehört hatte, versuchte ich, eine letzte Hürde zu arrangieren, indem ich fragte, was aus meinen Schülern in London würde, während ich Mr. Fairlies junge Damen im Zeichnen nach der Natur unterrichtete. Die einleuchtende Antwort darauf war, dass der größere Teil von ihnen auf seinen Herbstreisen weg sein würde, und dass die wenigen, die zu Hause blieben, der Sorge eines meiner Kollegen anvertraut werden könnten, dessen Schüler ich einmal aus seinen Händen unter ähnlichen Umständen genommen hatte. My sister reminded me that this gentleman had expressly placed his services at my disposal, during the present season, in case I wished to leave town; my mother seriously appealed to me not to let an idle caprice stand in the way of my own interests and my own health; and Pesca piteously entreated that I would not wound him to the heart by rejecting the first grateful offer of service that he had been able to make to the friend who had saved his life.
The evident sincerity and affection which inspired these remonstrances would have influenced any man with an atom of good feeling in his composition. Though I could not conquer my own unaccountable perversity, I had at least virtue enough to be heartily ashamed of it, and to end the discussion pleasantly by giving way, and promising to do all that was wanted of me.
Der Rest des Abends verging fröhlicherweise in humorvollen Erwartungen auf mein bevorstehendes Leben mit den beiden jungen Damen in Cumberland. Pesca, inspired by our national grog, which appeared to get into his head, in the most marvellous manner, five minutes after it had gone down his throat, asserted his claims to be considered a complete Englishman by making a series of speeches in rapid succession, proposing my mother's health, my sister's health, my health, and the healths, in mass, of Mr. Fairlie and the two young Misses, pathetically returning thanks himself, immediately afterwards, for the whole party. "Ein Geheimnis, Walter" , sagte mein kleiner Freund im Vertrauen, als wir zusammen nach Hause gingen. "Ich werde bei der Erinnerung an meine eigene Beredsamkeit rot. Meine Seele platzt vor Ehrgeiz. Eines Tages gehe ich in Euer nobles Parlament. Es ist der Traum meines Lebens, der Ehrenwerte Pesca, M.P. zu sein!
Am nächsten Morgen schickte ich meine Zeugnisse an den Arbeitgeber des Professors am Portland Place. Drei Tage vergingen und ich schloss daraus mit heimlicher Zufriedenheit, dass meine Papiere nicht für ausreichend detailliert befunden wurden. Am vierten Tag kam allerdings eine Antwort. Sie tat mir kund, dass Mr. Fairlie meine Dienste annahm und bat mich, sofort nach Cumberland aufzubrechen. Alle notwendigen Instruktionen für meine Reise waren sorgfältig und klar in einem Postscriptum aufgeführt.
Ich traf hinreichend unwillig meine Vorbereitungen, um am nächsten Tag London früh zu verlassen. Gegen Abend schaute Pesca auf dem Weg zu einer Dinnerparty herein, um mir auf Wiedersehen zu sagen.
"Ich werde meine Tränen in deiner Abwesenheit trocknen", sagte er Professor fröhlich, "bei dieser herrlichen Überlegung. Es ist meine glückliche Hand, die dir den ersten Anstoß für dein Glück in der Welt gegeben hat. Geh mein Freund! When your sun shines in Cumberland (English proverb), in the name of heaven make your hay. Marry one of the two young Misses; become Honourable Hartright, M.P. ; and when you are on the top of the ladder remember that Pesca, at the bottom, has done it all!
I tried to laugh with my little friend over his parting jest, but my spirits were not to be commanded. Something jarred in me almost painfully while he was speaking his light farewell words.
When I was left alone again nothing remained to be done but to walk to the Hampstead cottage and bid my mother and Sarah good-bye.
unit 1
Chapter III.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 3
It was quite useless, however, to ask him for an immediate explanation.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 5
We both bounced into the parlour in a highly abrupt and undignified manner.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 6
My mother sat by the open window laughing and fanning herself.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 8
Poor dear soul!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 10
My sister Sarah, with all the advantages of youth, was, strangely enough, less pliable.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 15
unit 20
Pesca has been half mad with impatience, and I have been half mad with curiosity.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 26
The time has come—I recite my good news—I speak at last.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 27
"Hear, hear!"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 28
said my mother, humouring the joke.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 39
You all know where that is?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 40
Yes, yes—course-of-course.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 41
The fine house, my good dears, has got inside it a fine family.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 43
Now mind!
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 45
No matter—all in good time—and the more lessons the better for me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 46
Now mind!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 47
Imagine to yourselves that I am teaching the young Misses to-day, as usual.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 48
We are all four of us down together in the Hell of Dante.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 50
my good dears, I am closer than you think for to the business, now.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 51
Have you been patient so far?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 52
or have you said to yourselves, 'Deuce-what-the-deuce!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 53
Pesca is long-winded to-night?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 54
We declared that we were deeply interested.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 58
My-soul-bless-my-soul!
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 60
As it was, I only bounced upon my chair.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 61
My seat was on thorns, and my soul was on fire to speak but I held my tongue, and let Papa go on.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 65
The first and foremost drawing-master of the world!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 66
Recommend him by the post to-night, and send him off, bag and baggage (English phrase again—ha!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 67
), send him off, bag and baggage, by the train to-morrow!'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 68
'Stop, stop,' says Papa; 'is he a foreigner, or an Englishman?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 69
'English to the bone of his back,' I answer.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 70
'Respectable?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 71
says Papa.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 74
'Never mind,' says the golden barbarian of a Papa, 'never mind about his genius, Mr. Pesca.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 76
Can your friend produce testimonials—letters that speak to his character?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 77
I wave my hand negligently.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 78
'Letters?'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 79
I say.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 80
'Ha!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 81
my-soul-bless-my-soul!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 82
I should think so, indeed!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 83
Volumes of letters and portfolios of testimonials, if you like!'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 84
'One or two will do,' says this man of phlegm and money.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 85
'Let him send them to me, with his name and address.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 86
unit 87
'Bank-note!'
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 88
I say, indignantly.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 89
'No bank-note, if you please, till my brave Englishman has earned it first.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 90
'Bank-note!'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 91
says Papa, in a great surprise, 'who talked of bank-note?
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 92
I mean a note of the terms—a memorandum of what he is expected to do.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 93
unit 96
From that moment, on my faith, and soul, and honour, I know nothing more!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 100
Ha!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 101
ha!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 102
ha!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 103
right-right-right-all-right!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 105
My mother rose the moment he had done, with flushed cheeks and brightened eyes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 106
She caught the little man warmly by both hands.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 108
"I am sure we are very much obliged to Professor Pesca, for Walter's sake," added Sarah.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 110
"If the familiar little man treats my mother in that way, how will he treat me?"
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 114
Pesca handed me the paper, with a triumphant flourish of the hand.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 115
"Read!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 116
said the little man majestically.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 118
unit 119
It informed me, First, That Frederick Fairlie, Esquire, of Limmeridge House.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 121
Secondly, That the duties which the master was expected to perform would be of a twofold kind.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 127
The prospect which this offer of an engagement held out was certainly an attractive one.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 131
"Oh, Walter, your father never had such a chance as this!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 132
said my mother, when she had read the note of terms and had handed it back to me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 135
"But before I send in my testimonials, I should like a little time to consider...
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 136
"Consider!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 137
exclaimed my mother.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 138
"Why, Walter, what is the matter with you?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 139
"Consider!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 140
echoed my sister.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 141
"What a very extraordinary thing to say, under the circumstances!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 142
"Consider!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 143
chimed in the Professor.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 144
"What is there to consider about?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 145
Answer me this!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 147
Well!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 149
Is it not so?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 150
Ha!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 151
Again—you want money.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 152
Well!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 153
Is four golden guineas a week nothing?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 154
My-soul-bless-my-soul!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 156
Four guineas a week, and, more than that, the charming society of two young misses!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 166
"A secret, Walter," said my little friend confidentially, as we walked home together.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 167
"I am flushed by the recollection of my own eloquence.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 168
My soul bursts itself with ambition.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 169
One of these days I go into your noble Parliament.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 170
It is the dream of my whole life to be Honourable Pesca, M.P.!
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 171
The next morning I sent my testimonials to the Professor's employer in Portland Place.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 173
On the fourth day, however, an answer came.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 174
unit 175
All the necessary instructions for my journey were carefully and clearly added in a postscript.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 176
I made my arrangements, unwillingly enough, for leaving London early the next day.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 177
Towards evening Pesca looked in, on his way to a dinner-party, to bid me good-bye.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 178
"I shall dry my tears in your absence," said the Professor gaily, "with this glorious thought.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 179
It is my auspicious hand that has given the first push to your fortune in the world.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 180
Go, my friend!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 1 week ago
unit 182
Marry one of the two young Misses; become Honourable Hartright, M.P.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
Omega-I • 5927  translated  unit 152  5 months, 1 week ago
Omega-I • 5927  translated  unit 150  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 147  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 102  5 months, 2 weeks ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 101  5 months, 2 weeks ago
Omega-I • 5927  commented on  unit 7  6 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 1  6 months, 1 week ago
lollo1a • 9503  commented on  unit 6  6 months, 1 week ago
lollo1a • 9503  commented on  unit 5  6 months, 1 week ago

Chapter III.
Pesca's face and manner, on the evening when we confronted each other at my mother's gate, were more than sufficient to inform me that something extraordinary had happened. It was quite useless, however, to ask him for an immediate explanation. I could only conjecture, while he was dragging me in by both hands, that (knowing my habits) he had come to the cottage to make sure of meeting me that night, and that he had some news to tell of an unusually agreeable kind.
We both bounced into the parlour in a highly abrupt and undignified manner. My mother sat by the open window laughing and fanning herself. Pesca was one of her especial favourites and his wildest eccentricities were always pardonable in her eyes. Poor dear soul! from the first moment when she found out that the little Professor was deeply and gratefully attached to her son, she opened her heart to him unreservedly, and took all his puzzling foreign peculiarities for granted, without so much as attempting to understand any one of them.
My sister Sarah, with all the advantages of youth, was, strangely enough, less pliable. She did full justice to Pesca's excellent qualities of heart; but she could not accept him implicitly, as my mother accepted him, for my sake. Her insular notions of propriety rose in perpetual revolt against Pesca's constitutional contempt for appearances; and she was always more or less undisguisedly astonished at her mother's familiarity with the eccentric little foreigner. I have observed, not only in my sister's case, but in the instances of others, that we of the young generation are nothing like so hearty and so impulsive as some of our elders. I constantly see old people flushed and excited by the prospect of some anticipated pleasure which altogether fails to ruffle the tranquillity of their serene grandchildren. Are we, I wonder, quite such genuine boys and girls now as our seniors were in their time? Has the great advance in education taken rather too long a stride; and are we in these modern days, just the least trifle in the world too well brought up?
Without attempting to answer those questions decisively, I may at least record that I never saw my mother and my sister together in Pesca's society, without finding my mother much the younger woman of the two. On this occasion, for example, while the old lady was laughing heartily over the boyish manner in which we tumbled into the parlour, Sarah was perturbedly picking up the broken pieces of a teacup, which the Professor had knocked off the table in his precipitate advance to meet me at the door.
"I don't know what would have happened, Walter," said my mother, "if you had delayed much longer. Pesca has been half mad with impatience, and I have been half mad with curiosity. The Professor has brought some wonderful news with him, in which he says you are concerned; and he has cruelly refused to give us the smallest hint of it till his friend Walter appeared.
"Very provoking: it spoils the Set," murmured Sarah to herself, mournfully absorbed over the ruins of the broken cup.
While these words were being spoken, Pesca, happily and fussily unconscious of the irreparable wrong which the crockery had suffered at his hands, was dragging a large arm-chair to the opposite end of the room, so as to command us all three, in the character of a public speaker addressing an audience. Having turned the chair with its back towards us, he jumped into it on his knees, and excitedly addressed his small congregation of three from an impromptu pulpit.
"Now, my good dears," began Pesca (who always said "good dears" when he meant "worthy friends"), "listen to me. The time has come—I recite my good news—I speak at last.
"Hear, hear!" said my mother, humouring the joke.
"The next thing he will break, mamma," whispered Sarah, "will be the back of the best arm-chair.
"I go back into my life, and I address myself to the noblest of created beings," continued Pesca, vehemently apostrophising my unworthy self over the top rail of the chair. "Who found me dead at the bottom of the sea (through Cramp); and who pulled me up to the top; and what did I say when I got into my own life and my own clothes again?
"Much more than was at all necessary," I answered as doggedly as possible; for the least encouragement in connection with this subject invariably let loose the Professor's emotions in a flood of tears.
"I said," persisted Pesca, "that my life belonged to my dear friend, Walter, for the rest of my days—and so it does. I said that I should never be happy again till I had found the opportunity of doing a good Something for Walter—and I have never been contented with myself till this most blessed day. Now," cried the enthusiastic little man at the top of his voice, "the overflowing happiness bursts out of me at every pore of my skin, like a perspiration; for on my faith, and soul, and honour, the something is done at last, and the only word to say now is—Right-all-right!
It may be necessary to explain here that Pesca prided himself on being a perfect Englishman in his language, as well as in his dress, manners, and amusements. Having picked up a few of our most familiar colloquial expressions, he scattered them about over his conversation whenever they happened to occur to him, turning them, in his high relish for their sound and his general ignorance of their sense, into compound words and repetitions of his own, and always running them into each other, as if they consisted of one long syllable.
"Among the fine London Houses where I teach the language of my native country," said the Professor, rushing into his long-deferred explanation without another word of preface, "there is one, mighty fine, in the big place called Portland. You all know where that is? Yes, yes—course-of-course. The fine house, my good dears, has got inside it a fine family. A Mamma, fair and fat; three young Misses, fair and fat; two young Misters, fair and fat; and a Papa, the fairest and the fattest of all, who is a mighty merchant, up to his eyes in gold—a fine man once, but seeing that he has got a naked head and two chins, fine no longer at the present time. Now mind! I teach the sublime Dante to the young Misses, and ah!—my-soul-bless-my-soul!—it is not in human language to say how the sublime Dante puzzles the pretty heads of all three! No matter—all in good time—and the more lessons the better for me. Now mind! Imagine to yourselves that I am teaching the young Misses to-day, as usual. We are all four of us down together in the Hell of Dante. At the Seventh Circle—but no matter for that: all the Circles are alike to the three young Misses, fair and fat,—at the Seventh Circle, nevertheless, my pupils are sticking fast; and I, to set them going again, recite, explain, and blow myself up red-hot with useless enthusiasm, when—a creak of boots in the passage outside, and in comes the golden Papa, the mighty merchant with the naked head and the two chins.—Ha! my good dears, I am closer than you think for to the business, now. Have you been patient so far? or have you said to yourselves, 'Deuce-what-the-deuce! Pesca is long-winded to-night?
We declared that we were deeply interested. The Professor went on:
"In his hand, the golden Papa has a letter; and after he has made his excuse for disturbing us in our Infernal Region with the common mortal Business of the house, he addresses himself to the three young Misses, and begins, as you English begin everything in this blessed world that you have to say, with a great O. 'O, my dears,' says the mighty merchant, 'I have got here a letter from my friend, Mr.——'(the name has slipped out of my mind; but no matter; we shall come back to that; yes, yes—right-all-right). So the Papa says, 'I have got a letter from my friend, the Mister; and he wants a recommend from me, of a drawing-master, to go down to his house in the country.' My-soul-bless-my-soul! when I heard the golden Papa say those words, if I had been big enough to reach up to him, I should have put my arms round his neck, and pressed him to my bosom in a long and grateful hug! As it was, I only bounced upon my chair. My seat was on thorns, and my soul was on fire to speak but I held my tongue, and let Papa go on. 'Perhaps you know,' says this good man of money, twiddling his friend's letter this way and that, in his golden fingers and thumbs, 'perhaps you know, my dears, of a drawing-master that I can recommend?' The three young Misses all look at each other, and then say (with the indispensable great O to begin) "O, dear no, Papa! But here is Mr. Pesca' At the mention of myself I can hold no longer—the thought of you, my good dears, mounts like blood to my head—I start from my seat, as if a spike had grown up from the ground through the bottom of my chair—I address myself to the mighty merchant, and I say (English phrase) 'Dear sir, I have the man! The first and foremost drawing-master of the world! Recommend him by the post to-night, and send him off, bag and baggage (English phrase again—ha!), send him off, bag and baggage, by the train to-morrow!' 'Stop, stop,' says Papa; 'is he a foreigner, or an Englishman?' 'English to the bone of his back,' I answer. 'Respectable?' says Papa. 'Sir,' I say (for this last question of his outrages me, and I have done being familiar with him—) 'Sir! the immortal fire of genius burns in this Englishman's bosom, and, what is more, his father had it before him!' 'Never mind,' says the golden barbarian of a Papa, 'never mind about his genius, Mr. Pesca. We don't want genius in this country, unless it is accompanied by respectability—and then we are very glad to have it, very glad indeed. Can your friend produce testimonials—letters that speak to his character?' I wave my hand negligently. 'Letters?' I say. 'Ha! my-soul-bless-my-soul! I should think so, indeed! Volumes of letters and portfolios of testimonials, if you like!' 'One or two will do,' says this man of phlegm and money. 'Let him send them to me, with his name and address. And—stop, stop, Mr. Pesca—before you go to your friend, you had better take a note.' 'Bank-note!' I say, indignantly. 'No bank-note, if you please, till my brave Englishman has earned it first.' 'Bank-note!' says Papa, in a great surprise, 'who talked of bank-note? I mean a note of the terms—a memorandum of what he is expected to do. Go on with your lesson, Mr. Pesca, and I will give you the necessary extract from my friend's letter.' Down sits the man of merchandise and money to his pen, ink, and paper; and down I go once again into the Hell of Dante, with my three young Misses after me. In ten minutes' time the note is written, and the boots of Papa are creaking themselves away in the passage outside. From that moment, on my faith, and soul, and honour, I know nothing more! The glorious thought that I have caught my opportunity at last, and that my grateful service for my dearest friend in the world is as good as done already, flies up into my head and makes me drunk. How I pull my young Misses and myself out of our Infernal Region again, how my other business is done afterwards, how my little bit of dinner slides itself down my throat, I know no more than a man in the moon. Enough for me, that here I am, with the mighty merchant's note in my hand, as large as life, as hot as fire, and as happy as a king! Ha! ha! ha! right-right-right-all-right!" Here the Professor waved the memorandum of terms over his head, and ended his long and voluble narrative with his shrill Italian parody on an English cheer.
My mother rose the moment he had done, with flushed cheeks and brightened eyes. She caught the little man warmly by both hands.
"My dear, good Pesca," she said, "I never doubted your true affection for Walter—but I am more than ever persuaded of it now!
"I am sure we are very much obliged to Professor Pesca, for Walter's sake," added Sarah. She half rose, while she spoke, as if to approach the arm-chair, in her turn; but, observing that Pesca was rapturously kissing my mother's hands, looked serious, and resumed her seat. "If the familiar little man treats my mother in that way, how will he treat me?" Faces sometimes tell truth; and that was unquestionably the thought in Sarah's mind, as she sat down again.
Although I myself was gratefully sensible of the kindness of Pesca's motives, my spirits were hardly so much elevated as they ought to have been by the prospect of future employment now placed before me. When the Professor had quite done with my mother's hand, and when I had warmly thanked him for his interference on my behalf, I asked to be allowed to look at the note of terms which his respectable patron had drawn up for my inspection.
Pesca handed me the paper, with a triumphant flourish of the hand.
"Read!" said the little man majestically. "I promise you my friend, the writing of the golden Papa speaks with a tongue of trumpets for itself.
The note of terms was plain, straightforward, and comprehensive, at any rate. It informed me,
First, That Frederick Fairlie, Esquire, of Limmeridge House. Cumberland, wanted to engage the services of a thoroughly competent drawing-master, for a period of four months certain.
Secondly, That the duties which the master was expected to perform would be of a twofold kind. He was to superintend the instruction of two young ladies in the art of painting in water-colours; and he was to devote his leisure time, afterwards, to the business of repairing and mounting a valuable collection of drawings, which had been suffered to fall into a condition of total neglect.
Thirdly, That the terms offered to the person who should undertake and properly perform these duties were four guineas a week; that he was to reside at Limmeridge House; and that he was to be treated there on the footing of a gentleman.
Fourthly, and lastly, That no person need think of applying for this situation unless he could furnish the most unexceptionable references to character and abilities. The references were to be sent to Mr. Fairlie's friend in London, who was empowered to conclude all necessary arrangements. These instructions were followed by the name and address of Pesca's employer in Portland Place—and there the note, or memorandum, ended.
The prospect which this offer of an engagement held out was certainly an attractive one. The employment was likely to be both easy and agreeable; it was proposed to me at the autumn time of the year when I was least occupied; and the terms, judging by my personal experience in my profession, were surprisingly liberal. I knew this; I knew that I ought to consider myself very fortunate if I succeeded in securing the offered employment—and yet, no sooner had I read the memorandum than I felt an inexplicable unwillingness within me to stir in the matter. I had never in the whole of my previous experience found my duty and my inclination so painfully and so unaccountably at variance as I found them now.
"Oh, Walter, your father never had such a chance as this!" said my mother, when she had read the note of terms and had handed it back to me.
"Such distinguished people to know," remarked Sarah, straightening herself in the chair; "and on such gratifying terms of equality too!"
"Yes, yes; the terms, in every sense, are tempting enough," I replied impatiently. "But before I send in my testimonials, I should like a little time to consider...
"Consider!" exclaimed my mother. "Why, Walter, what is the matter with you?
"Consider!" echoed my sister. "What a very extraordinary thing to say, under the circumstances!
"Consider!" chimed in the Professor. "What is there to consider about? Answer me this! Have you not been complaining of your health, and have you not been longing for what you call a smack of the country breeze? Well! there in your hand is the paper that offers you perpetual choking mouthfuls of country breeze for four months' time. Is it not so? Ha! Again—you want money. Well! Is four golden guineas a week nothing? My-soul-bless-my-soul! only give it to me—and my boots shall creak like the golden Papa's, with a sense of the overpowering richness of the man who walks in them! Four guineas a week, and, more than that, the charming society of two young misses! and, more than that, your bed, your breakfast, your dinner, your gorging English teas and lunches and drinks of foaming beer, all for nothing—why, Walter, my dear good friend—deuce-what-the-deuce!—for the first time in my life I have not eyes enough in my head to look, and wonder at you!
Neither my mother's evident astonishment at my behaviour, nor Pesca's fervid enumeration of the advantages offered to me by the new employment, had any effect in shaking my unreasonable disinclination to go to Limmeridge House. After starting all the petty objections that I could think of to going to Cumberland, and after hearing them answered, one after another, to my own complete discomfiture, I tried to set up a last obstacle by asking what was to become of my pupils in London while I was teaching Mr. Fairlie's young ladies to sketch from nature. The obvious answer to this was, that the greater part of them would be away on their autumn travels, and that the few who remained at home might be confided to the care of one of my brother drawing-masters, whose pupils I had once taken off his hands under similar circumstances. My sister reminded me that this gentleman had expressly placed his services at my disposal, during the present season, in case I wished to leave town; my mother seriously appealed to me not to let an idle caprice stand in the way of my own interests and my own health; and Pesca piteously entreated that I would not wound him to the heart by rejecting the first grateful offer of service that he had been able to make to the friend who had saved his life.
The evident sincerity and affection which inspired these remonstrances would have influenced any man with an atom of good feeling in his composition. Though I could not conquer my own unaccountable perversity, I had at least virtue enough to be heartily ashamed of it, and to end the discussion pleasantly by giving way, and promising to do all that was wanted of me.
The rest of the evening passed merrily enough in humorous anticipations of my coming life with the two young ladies in Cumberland. Pesca, inspired by our national grog, which appeared to get into his head, in the most marvellous manner, five minutes after it had gone down his throat, asserted his claims to be considered a complete Englishman by making a series of speeches in rapid succession, proposing my mother's health, my sister's health, my health, and the healths, in mass, of Mr. Fairlie and the two young Misses, pathetically returning thanks himself, immediately afterwards, for the whole party. "A secret, Walter," said my little friend confidentially, as we walked home together. "I am flushed by the recollection of my own eloquence. My soul bursts itself with ambition. One of these days I go into your noble Parliament. It is the dream of my whole life to be Honourable Pesca, M.P.!
The next morning I sent my testimonials to the Professor's employer in Portland Place. Three days passed, and I concluded, with secret satisfaction, that my papers had not been found sufficiently explicit. On the fourth day, however, an answer came. It announced that Mr. Fairlie accepted my services, and requested me to start for Cumberland immediately. All the necessary instructions for my journey were carefully and clearly added in a postscript.
I made my arrangements, unwillingly enough, for leaving London early the next day. Towards evening Pesca looked in, on his way to a dinner-party, to bid me good-bye.
"I shall dry my tears in your absence," said the Professor gaily, "with this glorious thought. It is my auspicious hand that has given the first push to your fortune in the world. Go, my friend! When your sun shines in Cumberland (English proverb), in the name of heaven make your hay. Marry one of the two young Misses; become Honourable Hartright, M.P.; and when you are on the top of the ladder remember that Pesca, at the bottom, has done it all!
I tried to laugh with my little friend over his parting jest, but my spirits were not to be commanded. Something jarred in me almost painfully while he was speaking his light farewell words.
When I was left alone again nothing remained to be done but to walk to the Hampstead cottage and bid my mother and Sarah good-bye.