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Boy said he would like to be a little gown-boy; and I make no doubt, when he is old enough, his father will get him that post, and put him under the tuition of my friend Dr. Senior.
4. So weeks passed away, during which our dear old friend still remained with us. His mind was gone at intervals, but would rally feebly; and with his consciousness returned his love, his simplicity, his sweetness. He would talk French with Madame de Florac, at which time his memory appeared to awaken with surprising vividness, his cheek flushed, and he was a youth again,-a youth all love and hope,—a stricken old man, with a beard as white as snow covering the noble, careworn face. At such times he called her by her Christian name of Léonore; he addressed courtly old words of regard and kindness to the aged lady ; anon he wandered in his talk, and spoke to her as if they still were young. Now, as in those early days, his heart was pure ; no anger remained in it; no guile tainted it; only peace and good-will dwelt in it.
5. The days went on, and our hopes, raised sometimes, began to flicker and fail. One evening the Colonel left his chair for his bed in pretty good spirits, but passed a disturbed night, and the next morning was too weak to rise. Then he remained in his bed, and his friends visited him there. One afternoon he asked for his little gown-boy, and the child was brought to him, and sat by the bed with a very awe-stricken face ; and then gathered courage, and tried to amuse him by telling him how it was a half-holiday, and they were having a cricket-match with the St. Peter's boys in the green, and Grey Friars was in and winning. The Colonel quite understood about it; he would like to see the game; he had played many a game on that green when he was a boy. He grew excited ; Clive dismissed
his father's little friend, and put a sovereign into his hand; and away he ran to say that Codd Colonel had come into a fortune, and to buy tarts, and to see the match out. I, Curre, little white-haired gown-boy! Heaven speed you, little friend!
6. After the child had gone, Thomas Newcome began to wander more and more.
He talked louder; he gave the word of command, spoke Hindustanee as if to his men. Then he spoke words in French rapidly, seizing a hand that was near him, and crying, “ Toujours, toujours !" But it was Ethel's hand which he took. Ethel and Clive and the nurse were in the room with him ; the nurse came to us, who were sitting in the adjoining apartment ; Madame de Florac was there, with my wife and Bayham.
7. At the look in the woman's countenance Madame de Florac started up. "He is very bad, he wanders a great deal," the nurse whispered. The French lady fell instantly on her knees, and remained rigid in prayer.
Some time afterward Ethel came in with a scared face to our pale group. “He is calling for you again, dear lady,” she said, going up to Madame de Florac, who was still kneeling, " and just now he said he wanted Pendennis to take care of his boy. He will not know you.” She hid her tears as she spoke.
8. She went into the room where Clive was at the bed's foot; the old man within it talked on rapidly for a while : then again he would sigh and be still : once more I heard him say hurriedly, “ Take care of him when I'm in India ; "and then, with a heart-rending voice, he called out, “ Léonore, Léonore !” She was kneeling by his side now. The patient's voice sank into faint murmurs; only a moan now and then announced that he was not asleep.
9. At the usual evening hour the chapel-bell began to
toll, and Thomas Newcome's hands outside the bed feebly beat time. And just as the last bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted up
his head a little, and quickly said “ Adsum !” and fell back. It was the word we used at school, when names were called ; and lo, he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his name, and stood in the presence of The Master.
The character of Colonel Newcome is one of the most beautiful in English fiction, and had Thackeray written nothing else he might rest his reputation on that. Madame de Florac, too, is charmingly drawn, and is a fine type of a noble-hearted Catholic woman.
I, Curre (5), is a Latin expression which, freely translated, means speed thee! Toujours (too zhūr) (6) is the French for always; adsum (9) is equivalent to our I am here ! or present! that is, not absent.
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