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HOME > Inspiring Novel > The Adventures of Philip on his way through the World > Part 2 Chapter 8 Nec Dulces Amores Sperne, Puer, Neque Tu Cho
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Part 2 Chapter 8 Nec Dulces Amores Sperne, Puer, Neque Tu Cho

“My dear,” Mrs. Baynes said to her daughter, “you are going out a great deal in the world now. You will go to a great number of places where poor Philip cannot hope to be admitted.”

“Not admit Philip, mamma! then I’m sure I don’t want to go,” cries the girl.

“Time enough to leave off going to parties when you can’t afford it, and marry him. When I was a lieutenant’s wife, I didn’t go to any parties out of the regiment, my dear!”

“Oh, then, I am sure I shall never want to go out!” Charlotte declares.

“You fancy he will always stop at home, I daresay. Men are not all so domestic as your papa. Very few love to stop at home like him. Indeed, I may say that I have made his home comfortable. But one thing is clear, my child. Philip can’t always expect to go where we go. He is not in the position in life. Recollect, your father is a general officer, C. B., and may be K.C.B. soon, and your mother is a general officer’s lady. We may go anywhere. I might have gone to the drawing-room at home if I chose. Lady Biggs would have been delighted to present me. Your aunt has been to the drawing-room, and she is only Mrs. Major Mac Whirter; and most absurd it was of Mac to let her go. But she rules him in everything, and they have no children. I have, goodness knows! I sacrifice myself for my children. You little know what I deny myself for my children. I said to Lady Biggs, ‘No, Lady Biggs; my husband may go. He should go. He has his uniform, and it will cost him nothing except a fly and a bouquet for the man who drives; but I will not spend money on myself for the hire of diamonds and feathers, and, though I yield in loyalty to no person, I daresay my Sovereign won’t miss me.’ And I don’t think her Majesty did. She has other things to think of besides Mrs. General Baynes, I suppose. She is a mother, and can appreciate a mother’s sacrifices for her children." — If I have not hitherto given you detailed reports of Mrs. General Baynes’ conversation, I don’t think, my esteemed reader, you will be very angry.

“Now, child,” the general’s lady continued, “let me warn you not to talk much to Philip about those places to which you go without him, and to which his position in life does not allow of his coming. Hide anything from him? Oh, dear, no! Only for his own good, you understand. I don’t tell everything to your papa. I should only worrit him and vex him. When anything will please him, and make him happy, then I tell him. And about Philip. Philip, I must say it, my dear — I must as a mother say it — has his faults. He is an envious man. Don’t look shocked. He thinks very well of himself; and having been a great deal spoiled, and made too much of in his unhappy father’s time, he is so proud and haughty that he forgets his position, and thinks he ought to live with the highest society. Had Lord Ringwood left him a fortune, as Philip led us to expect when we gave our consent to this most unlucky match — for that my dear child should marry a beggar is most unlucky and most deplorable; I can’t help saying so, Charlotte, — if I were on my deathbed I couldn’t help saying so; and I wish with all my heart we had never seen or heard of him. — There! Don’t go off in one of your tantrums! What was I saying, pray? I say that Philip is in no position, or rather in a very humble one, which — a mere newspaper-writer and a subaltern too — everybody acknowledges to be. And if he hears us talking about our parties, to which we have a right to go — to which you have a right to go with your mother, a general officer’s lady — why, he’ll be offended. He won’t like to hear about them and think he can’t be invited; and you had better not talk about them at all, or about the people you meet, you dance with. At Mrs. Hely’s you may dance with Lord Headbury, the ambassador’s son. And if you tell Philip he will be offended. He will say that you boast about it. When I was only a lieutenant’s wife at Barrackpore, Mrs. Captain Capers used to go to Calcutta to the Government House balls. I didn’t go. But I was offended, and I used to say that Flora Capers gave herself airs, and was always boasting of her intimacy with the Marchioness of Hastings. We don’t like our equals to be better off than ourselves. Mark my words. And if you talk to Philip about the people whom you meet in society, and whom he can’t from his unfortunate station expect to know, you will offend him. That was why I nudged you to-day when you were going on about Mr. Hely. Anything so absurd! I saw Philip getting angry at once, and biting his moustaches, as he always does when he is angry — and swears quite out loud — so vulgar! There! you are going to be angry again, my love; I never saw anything like you! Is this my Charly who never was angry? I know the world, dear, and you don’t. Look at me, how I manage your papa, and I tell you don’t talk to Philip about things which offend him! No, dearest, kiss your poor old mother who loves you. Go upstairs and bathe your eyes, and come down happy to dinner.” And at dinner Mrs. General Baynes was uncommonly gracious to Philip: and when gracious she was especially odious to Philip, whose magnanimous nature accommodated itself ill to the wheedling artifices of an ill-bred old woman.

Following this wretched mother’s advice, my poor Charlotte spoke scarcely at all to Philip of the parties to which she went, and the amusements which she enjoyed without him. I daresay Mrs. Baynes was quite happy in thinking that she was “guiding” her child rightly. As if a coarse woman, because she is mean, and greedy, and hypocritical, and fifty years old, has a right to lead a guileless nature into wrong! Ah! if some of us old folks were to go to school to our children, I am sure, madam, it would do us a great deal of good. There is a fund of good sense and honourable feeling about my great-grandson Tommy, which is more valuable than all his grandpapa’s experience and knowledge of the world. Knowledge of the world forsooth! Compromise, selfishness modified, and double dealing. Tom disdains a lie. When he wants a peach, he roars for it. If his mother wishes to go to a party, she coaxes, and wheedles, and manages, and smirks, and curtseys for months, in order to get her end; takes twenty rebuffs, and comes up to the scratch again smiling; — and this woman is for ever lecturing her daughters, and preaching to her sons upon virtue, honesty, and moral behaviour!

Mrs. Hely’s little party at the H?tel de la Terrasse was very pleasant and bright; and Miss Charlotte enjoyed it, although her swain was not present. But Philip was pleased that his little Charlotte should be happy. She beheld with wonderment Parisian duchesses, American millionnaires, dandies from the embassies, deputies and peers of France with large stars and wigs like papa. She gaily described her party to Philip; described, that is to say, everything but her own success, which was undoubted. There were many beauties at Mrs. Hely’s , but nobody fresher or prettier. The Miss Blacklocks retired very early and in the worst possible temper. Prince Slyboots did not in the least heed their going away. His thoughts were all fixed upon little Charlotte. Charlotte’s mamma saw the impression which the girl made, and was filled with a hungry joy. Good-natured Mrs. Hely complimented her on her daughter. “Thank God, she is as good as she is pretty,” said the mother, I am sure speaking seriously this time regarding her daughter. Prince Slyboots danced with scarce anybody else. He raised a perfect whirlwind of compliments round about Charlotte. She was quite a simple person, and did not understand one-tenth part of what he said to her. He strewed her path with roses of poesy: he scattered garlands of sentiment before her all the way from the ante-chamber downstairs, and so to the fly which was in waiting to take her and her parents home to the boarding-house. “By George, Charlotte, I think you have smitten that fellow,” cries the general, who was infinitely amused by young Hely — his raptures, his affectations, his long hair, and what Baynes called his low dress. A slight white tape and a ruby button confined Hely’s neck. His hair waved over his shoulders. Baynes had never seen such a specimen. At the mess of the stout 120th, the lads talked of their dogs, horses, and sport. A young civilian, smattering in poetry, chattering in a dozen languages, scented, smiling, perfectly at ease with himself and the world, was a novelty to the old officer.

And now the Queen’s birthday arrived — and that it may arrive for many scores of years yet to come is, I am sure, the prayer of all of us — and with the birthday his Excellency Lord Estridge’s grand annual fête in honour of his sovereign. A card for the ball was left at Madame Smolensk’s , for General, Mrs. and Miss Baynes; and no doubt Monsieur Slyboots Walsingham Hely was the artful agent by whom the invitation was forwarded. Once more the general’s veteran uniform came out from the tin-box, with its dingy epaulets and little cross and ribbon. His wife urged on him strongly the necessity of having a new wig, wigs being very cheap and good at Paris — but Baynes said a new wig would make his old coat look very shabby; and a new uniform would cost more money than he would like to afford. So shabby he went de cape à pied, with a moulting feather, a threadbare suit, a tarnished wig, and a worn-out lace, sibi constans. Boots, trousers, sash, coat, were all old and worse for wear, and “faith,” says he, “my face follows suit.” A brave, silent man was Baynes; with a twinkle of humour in his lean, wrinkled face.

And if General Baynes was shabbily attired at the Embassy ball, I think I know a friend of mine who was shabby too. In the days of his prosperity, Mr. Philip was parcus cultor et infrequens of balls, routes, and ladies’ company. Perhaps because his father was angered at Philip’s neglect of his social advantages and indifference as to success in the world, Philip was the more neglectful and indifferent. The elder’s comedy-smiles, and solemn hypocritical politeness, caused scorn and revolt on the part of the younger man. Philip despised the humbug, and the world to which such humbug could be welcome. He kept aloof from tea-parties then: his evening-dress clothes served him for a long time. I cannot say how old his dress-coat was at the time of which we are writing. But he had been in the habit of respecting that garment and considering it new and handsome for many years past. Meanwhile the coat had shrunk, or its wearer had grown stouter; and his grand embroidered, embossed, illuminated, carved and gilt velvet dress waistcoat, too, had narrowed, had become absurdly tight and short, and I daresay was the laughing-stock of many of Philip’s acquaintances, whilst he himself, poor simple fellow, was fancying that it was a most splendid article of apparel. You know in the Palais Royal they hang out the most splendid reach-me-down dressing-gowns, waistcoats, and so forth. “No,” thought Philip, coming out of his cheap dining-house, and swaggering along the arcades, and looking at the tailors’ shops, with his hands in his pockets. “My brown velvet dress waistcoat with the gold sprigs, which I had made at college, is a much more tasty thing than these gaudy ready-made articles. And my coat is old certainly, but the brass buttons are still very bright and handsome, and, in fact, it is a most becoming and gentlemanlike thing.” And under this delusion the honest fellow dressed himself in his old clothes, lighted a pair of candles, and looked at himself with satisfaction in the looking-glass, drew on a pair of cheap gloves which he had bought, walked by the Quays, and over the Deputies’ Bridge, across the Place Louis XV., and strutted up the Faubourg St. Honoré to the Hotel of the British Embassy. A half-mile queue of carriages was formed along the street, and of course the entrance to the hotel was magnificently illuminated.

A plague on those cheap gloves! Why had not Philip paid three francs for a pair of gloves, instead of twenty-nine sous? Mrs. Baynes had found a capital cheap glove shop, whither poor Phil had gone in the simplicity of his heart; and now as he went in under the grand illuminated porte-cochère, Philip saw that the gloves had given way at the thumbs, and that his hands appeared through the rents, as red as red as raw beefsteaks. It is wonderful how red hands will look through holes in white gloves. “And there’s that hole in my boot, too,” thought Phil; but he had put a little ink over the seam, and so the rent was imperceptible. The coat and waistcoat were tight, and of a past age. Never mind. The chest was broad, the arms were muscular and long, and Phil’s face, in the midst of a halo of fair hair and flaming whiskers, looked brave, honest, and handsome. For a while his eyes wandered fiercely and restlessly all about the room from group to group; but now — ah! now — they were settled. They had met another pair of eyes, which lighted up with glad welcome when they beheld ............

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