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datatime: 2022-06-29 02:26:57 Author:Hohhot News Network

A good doctor? a good nurse The boy was delirious, and had a fancy to walk out of window, and would have done so, but for one of my nurses. You know her.

A very few weeks after my poor mother passed that judgment on Mrs. Firmin, she saw reason to regret and revoke it. Phil’s mother, who was afraid, or perhaps was forbidden, to attend her son in his illness at school, was taken ill herself, and the doctor sent for his boy.

Her picture was removed from the drawing-room presently into Phil’s own little study �?the room in which he sate and defied his father. What had passed between them? The young man was very much changed. The frank looks of old days were gone, and Phil’s face was haggard and bold. The doctor would not let me have a word more with his son after he had found us together, but, with dubious appealing looks, followed me to the door, and shut it upon me. I felt that it closed upon two unhappy men.

And it was she who nursed Phil through his fever, and saved his life? I drink her health. She is a good little soul.

So little Philip Firmin was brought to school by his mamma in her carriage, who entreated the housekeeper to have a special charge of that angelic child; and as soon as the poor lady’s back was turned, Mrs. Bunce emptied the contents of the little boy’s trunk into one of sixty or seventy little cupboards, wherein reposed other boys�?clothes and haberdashery: and then Mrs. Firmin requested to see the Rev. Mr. X., in whose house Philip was to board, and besought him, and explained many things to him, such as the exceeding delicacy of the child’s constitution, and Mr. X., who was very good-natured, patted the boy kindly on the head, and sent for the other Philip, Philip Ringwood, Phil’s cousin, who had arrived at Grey Friars an hour or two before; and Mr. X. told Ringwood to take care of the little fellow; and Mrs. Firmin, choking behind her pocket-handkerchief, gurgled out a blessing on the grinning youth, and at one time had an idea of giving Master Ringwood a sovereign, but paused, thinking he was too big a boy, and that she might not take such a liberty, and presently she was gone; and little Phil Firmin was introduced to the long-room and his schoolfellows of Mr. X.’s house; and having plenty of money, and naturally finding his way to the pastrycook’s , the next day after school, he was met by his cousin Ringwood and robbed of half the tarts which he had purchased. A fortnight afterwards, the hospitable doctor and his wife asked their young kinsman to Old Parr Street, Burlington Gardens, and the two boys went; but Phil never mentioned anything to his parents regarding the robbery of tarts, being deterred, perhaps, from speaking by awful threats of punishment which his cousin promised to administer when they got back to school, in case of the little boy’s confession. Subsequently, Master Ringwood was asked once in every term to Old Parr Street; but neither Mrs. Firmin, nor the doctor, nor Master Firmin liked the baronet’s son, and Mrs. Firmin pronounced him a violent, rude boy.

Everything in Dr. Firmin’s house was as handsome as might be, and yet somehow the place was not cheerful. One’s steps fell noiselessly on the faded Turkey carpet; the room was large, and all save the dining-table in a dingy twilight. The picture of Mrs. Firmin looked at us from the wall, and followed us about with wild violet eyes. Philip Firmin had the same violet odd bright eyes, and the same coloured hair of an auburn tinge; in the picture it fell in long wild masses over the lady’s back as she leaned with bare arms on a harp. Over the sideboard was the doctor, in a black velvet coat and a fur collar, his hand on a skull, like Hamlet. Skulls of oxen, horned, with wreaths, formed the cheerful ornaments of the cornice. On the side-table glittered a pair of cups, given by grateful patients, looking like receptacles rather for funereal ashes than for festive flowers or wine. Brice, the butler, wore the gravity and costume of an undertaker. The footman stealthily moved hither and thither, bearing the dinner to us; we always spoke under our breath whilst we were eating it. The room don’t look more cheerful of a morning when the patients are sitting here, I can tell you, Phil would say; indeed, we could well fancy that it was dismal. The drawing-room had a rhubarb-coloured flock paper (on account of the governor’s attachment to the shop, Master Phil said), a great piano, a harp smothered in a leather bag in the corner, which the languid owner now never touched; and everybody’s face seemed scared and pale in the great looking-glasses, which reflected you over and over again into the distance, so that you seemed to twinkle off right through the Albany into Piccadilly.

Why didn’t Dr. Firmin come to see him?

She was always fond of you, Pendennis, said Phil. God bless you for being so good to her. You know what it is to lose �?to lose what loves you best in the world. I didn’t know how �?how I loved her, till I had lost her. And many a sob broke his words as he spoke.

The personage designated by asterisks was Phil’s father, who was also a member of our club, and who entered the dining-room, tall, stately, and pale, with his stereotyped smile, and wave of his pretty hand. By the way, that smile of Firmin’s was a very queer contortion of the handsome features. As you came up to him, he would draw his lips over his teeth, causing his jaws to wrinkle (or dimple if you will) on either side. Meanwhile his eyes looked out from his face, quite melancholy and independent of the little transaction in which the mouth was engaged. Lips said, I am a gentleman of fine manners and fascinating address, and I am supposed to be happy to see you. How do you do? Dreary, sad, as into a great blank desert, looked the dark eyes. I do know one or two, but only one or two faces of men, when oppressed with care, which can yet smile all over.

Why didn’t Dr. Firmin come to see him?

What the Little Sister?

Why didn’t Dr. Firmin come to see him?

But a good doctor interposed between him and pallida mors.

And it was she who nursed Phil through his fever, and saved his life? I drink her health. She is a good little soul.

Yes, he said, the boy was very ill; he was nearly gone at that time �?at that time �?when his mother was in the Isle of Wight, and his father dangling after a prince. We thought one day it was all over with him; but �?

But a good doctor interposed between him and pallida mors.

Good Will you have some more of this duck? �?Do. You have had enough already, and it’s very unwholesome. Good, sir? But for women, fire and brimstone ought to come down and consume this world. Your dear mother was one of the good ones. I was attending you when you were ill, at those horrible chambers you had in the Temple, at the same time when young Firmin was ill at Grey Friars. And I suppose I must be answerable for keeping two scapegraces in the world.

A good doctor? a good nurse The boy was delirious, and had a fancy to walk out of window, and would have done so, but for one of my nurses. You know her.

Good Will you have some more of this duck? �?Do. You have had enough already, and it’s very unwholesome. Good, sir? But for women, fire and brimstone ought to come down and consume this world. Your dear mother was one of the good ones. I was attending you when you were ill, at those horrible chambers you had in the Temple, at the same time when young Firmin was ill at Grey Friars. And I suppose I must be answerable for keeping two scapegraces in the world.

Then, sir, there was a certain way, out of the study window, or though the kitchen, and over the leads, to a building, gloomy, indeed, but where I own to have spent delightful hours of the most flagitious and criminal enjoyment of some delicious little Havannahs, ten to the shilling. In that building there were stables once, doubtless occupied by great Flemish horses and rumbling gold coaches of Walpole’s time; but a celebrated surgeon, when he took possession of the house, made a lecture-room of the premises, �?And this door, says Phil, pointing to one leading into the mews, was very convenient for having the bodies in and out �?a cheerful reminiscence. Of this kind of furniture there was now very little in the apartment, except a dilapidated skeleton in a corner, a few dusty casts of heads, and bottles of preparations on the top of an old bureau, and some mildewed harness hanging on the walls. This apartment became Mr. Phil’s smoking-room when, as he grew taller, he felt himself too dignified to sit in the kitchen regions: the honest butler and housekeeper themselves pointing out to their young master that his place was elsewhere than among the servants. So there, privately and with great delectation, we smoked many an abominable cigar in this dreary back-room, the gaunt walls and twilight ceilings of which were by no means melancholy to us, who found forbidden pleasures the sweetest, after the absurd fashion of boys. Dr. Firmin was an enemy to smoking, and ever accustomed to speak of the practice with eloquent indignation. It was a low practice �?the habit of cabmen, pot-house frequenters, and Irish apple-women, the doctor would say, as Phil and his friend looked at each other with a stealthy joy. Phil’s father was ever scented and neat, the pattern of handsome propriety. Perhaps he had a clearer perception regarding manners than respecting morals; perhaps his conversation was full of platitudes, his talk (concerning people of fashion chiefly) mean and uninstructive, his behaviour to young Lord Egham rather fulsome and lacking of dignity. Perhaps, I say, the idea may have entered into young Mr. Pendennis’s mind that his hospitable entertainer and friend, Dr. Firmin, of Old Parr Street, was what at the present day might be denominated an old humbug; but modest young men do not come quickly to such unpleasant conclusions regarding their seniors. Dr. Firmin’s manners were so good, his forehead was so high, his frill so fresh, his hands so white and slim, that for some considerable time we ingenuously admired him; and it was not without a pang that we came to view him as he actually was �?no, not as he actually was �?no man whose early nurture was kindly can judge quite impartially the man who has been kind to him in boyhood.

Yes, he said, the boy was very ill; he was nearly gone at that time �?at that time �?when his mother was in the Isle of Wight, and his father dangling after a prince. We thought one day it was all over with him; but �?

Good Will you have some more of this duck? �?Do. You have had enough already, and it’s very unwholesome. Good, sir? But for women, fire and brimstone ought to come down and consume this world. Your dear mother was one of the good ones. I was attending you when you were ill, at those horrible chambers you had in the Temple, at the same time when young Firmin was ill at Grey Friars. And I suppose I must be answerable for keeping two scapegraces in the world.

When Philip Firmin and I met again, there was crape on both our hats. I don’t think either could see the other’s face very well. I went to see him in Parr Street, in the vacant, melancholy house, where the poor mother’s picture was yet hanging in her empty drawing-room.

Everything in Dr. Firmin’s house was as handsome as might be, and yet somehow the place was not cheerful. One’s steps fell noiselessly on the faded Turkey carpet; the room was large, and all save the dining-table in a dingy twilight. The picture of Mrs. Firmin looked at us from the wall, and followed us about with wild violet eyes. Philip Firmin had the same violet odd bright eyes, and the same coloured hair of an auburn tinge; in the picture it fell in long wild masses over the lady’s back as she leaned with bare arms on a harp. Over the sideboard was the doctor, in a black velvet coat and a fur collar, his hand on a skull, like Hamlet. Skulls of oxen, horned, with wreaths, formed the cheerful ornaments of the cornice. On the side-table glittered a pair of cups, given by grateful patients, looking like receptacles rather for funereal ashes than for festive flowers or wine. Brice, the butler, wore the gravity and costume of an undertaker. The footman stealthily moved hither and thither, bearing the dinner to us; we always spoke under our breath whilst we were eating it. The room don’t look more cheerful of a morning when the patients are sitting here, I can tell you, Phil would say; indeed, we could well fancy that it was dismal. The drawing-room had a rhubarb-coloured flock paper (on account of the governor’s attachment to the shop, Master Phil said), a great piano, a harp smothered in a leather bag in the corner, which the languid owner now never touched; and everybody’s face seemed scared and pale in the great looking-glasses, which reflected you over and over again into the distance, so that you seemed to twinkle off right through the Albany into Piccadilly.

Goodenough looked very grave.

Phil returned to Grey Friars in a deep suit of black; the servants on the carriage wore black too; and a certain tyrant of the place, beginning to laugh and jeer because Firmin’s eyes filled with tears at some ribald remark, was gruffly rebuked by Sampson major, the cock of the whole school; and with the question, Don’t you see the poor beggar’s in mourning, you great brute? was kicked about his business.

Goodenough looked very grave.

I, for my part, left school suddenly and early, and my little protégé behind me. His poor mother, who had promised herself to come for him every Saturday, did not keep her promise. Smithfield is a long way from Piccadilly; and an angry cow once scratched the panels of her carriage, causing her footman to spring from his board into a pig-pen, and herself to feel such a shock, that no wonder she was afraid of visiting the City afterwards. The circumstances of this accident she often narrated to us. Her anecdotes were not numerous, but she told them repeatedly. In imagination, sometimes, I can hear her ceaseless, simple cackle; see her faint eyes, as she prattles on unconsciously, and watch the dark looks of her handsome, silent husband, scowling from under his eyebrows and smiling behind his teeth. I daresay he ground those teeth with suppressed rage sometimes. I daresay to bear with her endless volubility must have tasked his endurance. He may have treated her ill, but she tried him. She, on her part, may have been a not very wise woman, but she was kind to me. Did not her housekeeper make me the best of tarts, and keep goodies from the company dinners for the young gentlemen when they came home? Did not her husband give me of his fees? I promise you, after I had seen Dr. Fell a few times, that first unpleasing impression produced by his darkling countenance and sinister good looks wore away. He was a gentleman. He had lived in the great world, of which he told anecdotes delightful to boys to hear; and he passed the bottle to me as if I was a man.

Yes, he said, the boy was very ill; he was nearly gone at that time �?at that time �?when his mother was in the Isle of Wight, and his father dangling after a prince. We thought one day it was all over with him; but �?

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