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in his way, and he had taken it. The widow would have liked to say all kinds of possible things against the new curate; but there was nothing to be said against him. He was stanchly recommended by college magnates. He was eminently learned. His poverty was notorious; but his moral character was without stain. Ernest Goldthorpe was glad to be able to do a service to so able and respectable a young man. So the Gryphon was finally discomfited,-she had got all the rector's money though, and all the Marrowfats and Chucklebuxes, with their lawyers to boot, failed in dispossessing her thereof,—and the Reverend Ruthyn Pendragon was curate to the Rector of Swordsley.
Stay,-learning, respectability, character, all granted,—there might have been one little thing to be alleged against the Reverend Ruthyn Pendragon. He was a very vulgar person. He had plenty of H's, and used them in the right place, but he was desperately vulgar. He looked like a vulgar person. He talked like one. He ate and drank like one. He dressed like one. There was a vague but uncertain vulgarity in his face, his smile, his deameanour. His bold, firm, defined handwriting was vulgar to every cross of a t, to every dot of an i. When he first entered the presence of Lady Talmash, that aristocratic churchwoman held up her hands, and whispered to Magdalen, “However comes that boor by the name of Pendragon ??!
By lineage Ruthyn was a gentleman of the most ancient descent. What were Normans, Saxons, Danes, to his old stock? He sprang from the genuine Phænician stock, as I suppose all the Tre, Pols, and Pens of Cornwall do. Ruthyn came from that famous although somewhat remote province. Unhappily there were no tin-mines in his family, nor, had Pendragon died, would there have been twenty thousand or ten underground in Cornwall anxious to know the reason why. He had no money. He was an orphan, and alone in the world.
An old grandmother at St. Mawes had brought this vulgar person up. She did what she could for him, and her small savings were laid out for his benefit. ' Ruthyn's father was a gentleman, who, about the year 1825, in company with other adventurous Cornish men, had gone in quest of some silver-mines in Peru, and found the vomito nero instead, of which, at Lima, he straightway died. The old grandmother did what she could for the orphan, which was not much. The father had, on the principle of conveying coals to Newcastle, taken most of the available ready money of the family with him to the silver-mines of Peru. In after years Ruthyn Pendragon did not mind confessing that in his boyhood he had made a voyage in a fishing-smack, with a view to see whether he would like to be apprenticed to the sea; and that he had served a short probation behind the shop-counter of a chemist, who likewise sold grocery and haberdashery, at Truro. These early associations may have been instrumental in planting the first seeds of that vulgarity for which Ruthyn Pendragon was always noted, and for which he eventually became famous. In process of time a Cornish gentleman
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of means, who had known the paternal Pendragon, advised Ruthyn's grandmother to send him to a certain ancient and well-known grammarschool in the West Country. He made great progress in his studies here, and was commended by his master as a very diligent and capable boy, while he was excepted to by his schoolfellows as being a pitiably vulgar one. He obtained an exhibition at last, and took that, and his vulgarity, and a huge stock (for a boy) of book-learning, and a vast fund of natural shrewdness, observation, and humour, with him to college. Any thing else? well, he had a slender wardrobe, and his grandmother's blessing. His successes at the university were solid, if not brilliant. It is said of him, that leaving school and entering the mail-coach which was to convey him to town, Ruthyn Pendragon flung his hat into the air, and cried, “Here goes for Archbishop of Canterbury ;” but at the university it was speedily decided that such a vulgar fellow would never obtain a fellowship, while doubts were expressed as to whether any gentlemanly bishop could ever be persuaded to ordain such a lout. He was not likely to go wrong at the university. His health was of the rudest, his frame of the strongest ; and excesses of dissipation would have hurt him no more than excess of study; but he was wise, and chose the latter. He read desperately and continuously. All that the gay youth of the university could say against him was that he was vulgar. They could not in their charmingly contemptuous manner call him a “cad.” There was no denying his gentle blood. There was no finding a blot on his scutcheon. His great-greatgrandfather was duly enshrined in Fuller's Worthies ; a great-granduncle was mentioned in Anthony à Wood. The university tradesmen refrained from soliciting his custom; they knew that he could do them no good, and that they could do him no harm. Of what use were well-cut coats and brilliant scarves to one who, winter and summer, wore a plain black coat, which he acknowledged to have bought second-hand, and to mend himself when it required repair; and beneath that a waistcoat and trousers of coarse gray serge, made by his old grandmother at St. Mawes? Where he first purchased his cap and gown was a mystery; the triflers declared that he had bought them at a London masquerade warehouse, on his way to college. They were certainly curiosities of faded shabbiness. His linen was dreadfully coarse, but scrupulously clean. He was in the habit of biting the nails to the quick, and no scissors were needed for his large healthy-looking hands. His hair was naturally dark and glossy, and he needed no Macassar. He looked like a man who washed with yellow soap. He never had a row with the bargemen on the river. They respected and feared him, not alone for his strength, which was palpably prodigious, but for his homely, kindly manners; for he was not above holding the poorest and roughest in discourse, and would talk to them by the half-hour together of common things and their daily avocations. He was not vulgar to them. Some called him a “true gentleman,” but more frequently working-men exclaimed: “We likes him, for he talks like one of us.” Clearly a very vulgar person this Ruthyn Pendragon.
There were young gentlemen of his college whose quarterly cigarbills came to ten, nay twenty, pounds. Viscount Racquetborough, indeed, owed his tobacconist two hundred and odd, but, then, most of that was discount. Ruthyn rarely smoked; but he casually mentioned that the use of a short pipe had been habitual to him before he was twelve years of age; and when from time to time some new man who thought him an original persuaded him to come to his rooms, he indulged in a calumet of that very strongest cavendish which young undergraduates buy, like Editions of the Fathers, more for show than use. Such strong meat is not fit for babes. He was by rule a water-drinker; but sometimes after rowing he would drink of the country beer that labourers drank. Somebody mentioned Allsopp's bitter ale to him, and he returned for answer, “What is that?” The Dons could not like him; he was too vulgar, and yet he was not offensive. He was innocent of any sins against collegiate discipline, but he neither invited nor seemed thankful for praise. The Dons were of course absolved from toadying him, and he seemed to be utterly ignorant of the fact that any thing was to be got from toadying the Dons. He was a great eater, although occasionally it was known that he passed the twenty-four hours without any sustenance more solid than bread and butter; yet those who watched him—and he was strange enough to have many observers—remarked that he could eat voraciously of cold meat, of suet-pudding, and of buttered toast. He was not taciturn, for he was always ready to speak when spoken to; but he seldom volunteered conversation. Those who most objected to his vulgarity could not help admiring his honest discourse, full of manly and sensible reflectior. He was one in whose presence young men were somehow ashamed to swear, to talk of loose and shameful things, or, indeed, to talk nonsense, if they could avoid it. The most brilliant conversationalists were on their mettle in the presence of Ruthyn Pendragon. And yet he could enjoy humour, and at a droll story, proper for a decorous man to hear, would open his large mouth and laugh sonorously. The only overt act against the usages of society which he had been known to commit was this. He had gone to a man's rooms to return some books he had borrowed-he was not above borrowing books. A dozen young fellows were present, and as Ruthyn Pendragon turned to depart, he saw a pack of cards which had been inadvertently left exposed on a table. Without any more ado he seized the cards, flung them into the fire, put his back before it, folded his arms, and said, “I am no censor of manners, Proctor, or Puritan, and you may think that this is no business of mine. But it is. Cards are the Devil's books. Wherever I find them, I burn them. Good morning. If any body thinks he has a right to complain, I will fight him, here or elsewhere.” But nobody cared to complain, or to fight Ruthyn Pendragon; so he went, and, indeed, the sound that accompanied his departure much more resembled a cheer than a murmur of discontent. The story was told about and gained him much esteem, although men were careful not to invite this rigid hater of graven images to their card-parties. It
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was known that he was not a hypocrite, and would not lie. Lord Racquetborough expressed himself much pleased when he heard of the story. “By Jove,” he said, “the Grisly Bear is a trump. I wish I could lend him fifty pounds. He looks so deuced hard up. I wish my father could put a living by for him.” Viscount Racquetborough's papa was the Earl of Tenniscourt (family name De la Paume), very noble, but impoverished. Viscount Racquetborough was always wishing good things to every body, but his lordship’s habits were expensive and his means were limited. He ended by owing the tobacconist many hundreds of pounds; and, going through the court, retired to Baden-Baden until such time as he should be called to the House of Lords to legislate for vulgar people.
In the second year of Ruthyn's residence the old grandmother at St. Mawes died. The few pounds that were left of her savings barely sufficed to bury her, and to pay the expenses of her grandson to Cornwall and back. He had no kindred now, no money, and no friends. The country gentleman who had advised his being sent to the grammarschool was dead. He was known at the university, and might have earned some money by reading with men; but he preferred to leave college for a while. He went away, and found a situation as usher in a school near London. The master was an ignorant brute, who had been bankrupt in the linen-drapery line, and who, when his certificate was definitely refused, had hesitated whether he should turn corn-cutter, low comedian, or schoolmaster. He had an aptitude for the two former vocations; for the latter his capacity was limited to the possession of a very strong arm and a cruel disposition. Broomback, of Clapham Rise (he is Dr. Broomback now, a German degree), was glad to secure the services of a good classical scholar, and a university man to boot, for forty pounds a year. So Ruthyn Pendragon taught the boys, and Broomback beat them, and his wife took tithe and toll on their clothes and linen; and thus the division of scholastic labour was complete. The boys used to laugh at the usher's odd, rough ways, as he read Greek Testament to them, with a great hole under the arm of his black coat; but he was kind and just, and I think that before he went away nine out of ten of those children loved the poor usher. By great good luck . there was a boy at Broomback's who was the son of a lady of some fortune. It having occurred to Broomback to beat this lad (who was frail and delicate) into a fever, he was removed from Clapham Rise; and when he got well, he begged so earnestly that his studies might be . directed by his dear old usher,—so he called Ruthyn,—that his mamma forthwith engaged the friendless Cornishman as domestic tutor to her darling. In time Pendragon saved enough money to take a small house of his own, and advertise for pupils; and one of those pupils was the Ripton Gryphon you have heard of. I don't know what Ruthyn Pendragon thought of the preposterous plan of turning a scamp into a clergyman, indulged in by the vain and self-willed housekeeper of the Reverend Mr. Marrowfat; but he did his duty by the prodigal, even to the extent
of having one or two up and down fights with him. In these combats it must be admitted that Rip, although for his youth a somewhat experienced bruiser, invariably got the worst of it. He was the last pupil that Ruthyn Pendragon took. He was rich enough to go back to the university and take his degree. He was ordained on the strength of a miserable cure offered him by the proprietor of a large bone-boiling manufactory in the Essex marshes, who had a chapel on his premises for the benefit of his work-people, and thought it rather a grand thing to entertain a chaplain at his own expense. The young curate—he was now five-and-twenty years of age-did not stay long in Essex. The people were willing enough to receive religious instruction ; but when they were not at work they straggled away to the adjacent beer-shops and got tipsy, and on Sundays they generally had the ague ; and finally the bone-boiler breaking, it was discovered that he had been robbing every body for the last fifteen years (he was the man who did eighty-seven thousand pounds worth of bills in one morning, assuring the firm who discounted them that every bill “had bones at the bottom of it," but it turned out rather that every bill was fundamentally fraudulent); and Ruthyn Pendragon lost his curacy. He was for a while unemployed; but, on the recommendation of a college-acquaintance, he became known to the Reverend Ernest Goldthorpe, whose views on Church matters, in the latter part of 1849, had not become so strongly pronounced, and who was happy to have a person so fitted by education and principles for the responsible position confided to him, and who, by family descent at least, was undeniably a gentleman.
Such was the curate of Swordsley, who had not been six months in the village before he was idolised by the inhabitants, and who, when Ernest began to lean towards High-Church doctrines, became, by tacit consent, and without the slightest manifestation of open opposition on his part, the leader of the Low-Church party. “Ah, if he was only our rector !" cried the men of Swordsley. The women, too, were unanimous in his praise,—all save the haughty maiden at The Casements, Miss Magdalen Hill.
This young lady took no pains to disguise her disdain and aversion for the curate. He was from the very first eminently distasteful to her. She shuddered at the contrast between the pale, thoughtful, refined Ernest, with his high white brow, his crisply curled chestnut locks,-he was a delicate copy of his brother Hugb,-his tiny hands and feet, his neat and well-fitting garments, and this brawny, swarthy, hirsute, round-shouldered, bull-necked, large-limbed, Ruthyn Pendragon. The man's head was capacious enough, but his black hair grew thick and tufted down to within a couple of inches of his bushy eye-brows. Had he let Nature have her way, he would have been bearded like a pioneer. His hands were uncouthly shaped, and corrugated with knotty veins. Although he had the arms and the torso of a Hercules, he was short and clumsy in stature, and his legs were slightly bowed. She raged within herself to think that this