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Joost AVELINGH had spoken truly when he said that he was not much liked among the men of his own rank. Since his uncle's sudden death had made him possessor of one of the largest fortunes in the country, many things had happened to influence his development; still, his character had remained on the whole, as characters are wont to do, essentially the same. And Joost Avelingh's character was not one of those which obtain favor in the circle in which he found himself placed. It was not one either to attract particular dislike. His was one of those natures people let alone, because they have nothing in common with the crowd - for no worse reason, if that be not the worst and most unpardonable of all. He was not by any means a genius, claiming and obtaining adoration; he was just an ordinary mortal ; a trifle more reflective, and with a trifle more “Seelenleben,” as the Germans say, than the commonplace people around him — clever enough to appreciate cleverness in others; in many ways a most unhappy fate.

It has already been said that he neither swore nor drank nor gambled. It may be added that he led a strictly moral life; in short, he had no aristocratic tastes. Let it be stated still further that he lived in the country, was a very rich man, and yet cared neither for shooting nor horseflesh, and every one who knows anything about the matter will admit that the catalogue of his deficiencies is complete. He had a peculiar theory of his own that whosoever consciously occasions unnecessary suffering to any living creature stands lower in the rank of creation than any other brute beast whatsoever, with the exception, perhaps, of that monster, the cat; and, conscientiously sticking to this theory, he had once asserted at the club, to the general amusement, that he had never despised any human being till he met with a foreign nobleman who kept hunters and harriers. That nobleman was at the time the club's honored guest, and there ensued a great shrugging of shoulders, and tapping of foreheads all round. Many of the young men present regretted only too sincerely that fox-hunting was impossible in Holland, and hare-hunting forbidden, and that even an innocent little attempt to get up pigeon-shooting had recently been put down by public opinion. “ They manage these things better abroad," said Arthur Van Asveld.

VOL. XIV. - 8

On the other hand, Joost Avelingh, while he did not sympathize with the tastes most generally cultivated, had disagreeable little likings of his own which nobody appreciated. The early habit of reading, contracted in the dull days of his childhood, still held him in bondage, and that among a society which never read anything at all but the newspapers, the magazines, and the latest French novels. Full of some interesting book he had lately come across, he had once or twice innocently told others about it. Fool that he was, he had immediately contracted the fatal reputation of “pedantry,” a reputation which the utter fatuity of months of ordinary conversation would not suffice to efface. “ You are the clever man who reads Taine," old Beau Liederlen had said to him once, some time after he had last offended in this manner, “I will tell you what, sir: “les origines de la France contemporaine, ce sont les cocottes. Every one enjoyed that joke immensely; it was the best that had been heard in the club for


And Joost went by the name of “le petit Taine" for some few months accordingly; nobody could exactly have told why.

Joost, then, was neither liked nor exactly disliked by his associates. They endured him; he was “so peculiar, you know.” He could not be ignored; he was too rich for that. And perhaps a little envy crept in with regard to such a very wealthy personage, for twelve thousand pounds a year is an enormous fortune in Holland, where many have not enough and but few too much. Then there was the unwilling tribute of respect which ignorance always pays to knowledge, however loudly it may affect contempt, and, as has been already said, in Joost's circle the man who read other books than novels and pamphlets on public affairs was at once written down as “zeer knap.” It was no use talking to Avelingh ; "he had such ideas, you know.” Nobody else had ideas.

On the other hand, Joost had been unconsciously building up for himself a great reputation among the lower classes of his neighborhood. When the old notary first told him that by the terms of his uncle's will, “my nephew, Joost Avelingh, the only near relation I have, and the child of my dearly loved sister, Adelheid” was appointed sole heir of every rood of ground and every brass halfpenny the old baron possessed, the young man formed three rapid resolves in the twinkle of an eye ; to stop studying medicine; to marry Agatha immediately; to live on a fourth of his income and do what good he could

with the rest. His uncle had not left a single legacy, but he had recommended his servants to the heir's sense of justice. Joost could not endure to keep about him the witnesses of his daily degradation. He disbanded the whole staff, in-door and out-door, pensioning off, where he could, with what his uncle would have called not justice, but prodigality, and paying the younger servants their full wages till new places were got for them. All went, even the occasional helps, and the man who milked the cows. The lease of the home-farm was bought off at an exorbitant price and a new tenant found. Perhaps the whole measure was not a wise one; Joost had reason to repent it afterward, with regard to one man, at any rate. Despite its generosity, it caused a good deal of ill-feeling at the time in the neighborhood, ill-feeling as inexplicable as it was distressing to the new lord of the castle. However, he lived that down.


That same evening there was a large dinner-party at the Van Hessels' in honor of the governor of the province, come over on a visit of inspection. The burgomaster, beaming over his vast shirt-front, genial, smiling, full of little quips and quibbles, sat at the foot of a great table covered with plate and crystal, round which some twenty-four guests were grouped. Opposite him, half hidden behind fruit and flowers sat Mevrouw, with the governor at her right hand -- a little ferrety man with pepper-and-salt mustaches and keen eyes — a connection, , you know; at least, he had married Mevrouw's second cousin. They remembered the relationship, now he was governor.

Joost, gazing across at his mother-in-law, said to himself that she had recently grown much older in appearance.

There was an anxious, care-worn look about her eyes which did not match at all with her stately bearing. And now, when she ticked her finger against the back of her hand, there was quite as much nervousness as impatience in the movement.

“Yes,” she was saying to the governor, “I remember Leenebet perfectly well as a child. We used to go picking apples in my father's orchard, and Leenebet always brought me the biggest. She was such a dear, unselfish child."

“I dare say the small ones were riper," said the governor. “Not such a fool after all, that wife of mine.” He was tasting

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the wine on the tip of his tongue and telling himself that the burgomaster, whatever else he might mismanage, must certainly be a careful judge of wine.

“Bad for children,” he continued after a pause, reflectively. “Raw apples! Give them pain in their insides."

Mevrouw smiled acquiescence without hearing what he said. Her eyes were wandering anxiously over the servants. She could trust her butler, and she could trust the waiter from the village who had come up on these occasions for the last fifteen years. But she could not be certain that the young footman would not drop some dish or other - for had he not spilled the soup last year? — and, on the other hand, she could be certain — for her olfactory nerves had supplied her with proof positive — that the coachman had again tried the quality of his master's claret. She smiled sweetly, therefore, to the governor, and wondered whether Toon had already had too much, and, if not, whether he would last out the bill of fare. There was a buzz of conversation, and a mingled odor of flowers, perfumes, and hot gravy. The guests were thinking of themselves or of the governor. The governor was thinking of the wine.

“Yes,” Dr. Kern was saying — Dr. Kern was the village doctor, present in his capacity as influential member of the board — “yes, I very nearly missed the beginning of your speech, burgomaster, and I should have been very sorry for that. But we doctors are never masters of our time, you know."

“Practical slavery,” said a lazy-looking gentleman opposite.

“It would be slavery, sir,” replied the doctor, severely, “if it were not work for so divine a mistress. Now, it is honorable service."

“Oh, yes, of course,” said the lazy gentleman, who really did not care what kind of work it was as long as he had not to do it.

“Now only this morning,” continued the doctor, “just as my wife was fastening the bow of my white tie, Jan Smee's son came running in to say his father had had another of those attacks. So I had to rush down to the smithy with him. I couldn't very well let the old smith die, even for your speech, could I, burgomaster ?”

"Would it have mattered very much,” drawled Van Asveld


to his neighbor, “ if there had been one smith less in the world? They are surely a sufficiently numerous family." His neigh

a bor was a kind-hearted girl, and did not see the joke.

Van Asveld was there in virtue of his position as clerk in the burgomaster's office. Having painfully toiled through the university curriculum and taken his degree, he had recently obtained this post through the influence of friends. The duties were extremely light; the post was a genteel one, the salary - ten pounds a year - almost paid the Jonker's cigar bill in that land of cheap cigars. Our friend had grown still fatter, redder, already a little bald. He looked like one who has lived, not wisely, but too well. He was still unmarried, the fair sugarplanter's daughter having refused the honors of the Van Asveld coronet. He subsisted, as he himself said, “ on the interest of his debts,” and no one could see that he was obliged to deny himself anything. There was a suspicion — just a suspicion - that he drank now and then.

* You see, one has to be careful with these cases,” the doctor went on, prosing a little about his patients as he was apt to do. “It is impossible to foresee what turn they will take. I have told Smee's people a dozen times: he may live till eighty, and he may die to-night. Apoplectic, you know; complications about the heart. Rush of blood to the head. Fit. Off the man goes. Or he gets better, you know.”

“ And which is most liable to happen when the doctor comes?" asked the lazy gentleman. He asked it in all good faith, thinking he must say something, and not knowing what it was all about. His thoughts were merely talking in their sleep.

His question was answered in all seriousness none the less. “ It is most important that a physician should be there,” said the doctor, “ but it is not absolutely necessary. Any one with a grain of common sense knows what to do. Of course, you unloosen everything, give the patient repose and breathingroom, and all that sort of thing, and bring him to in the regular way. I needn't enter into particulars. Every student of medicine can tell you more than is necessary. As I say, common sense helps us a good deal in these matters.” “I thought,” said the burgomaster, “that the man who

, followed the promptings of his unaided intellect always did just the wrong thing in medicine."

“Oh, well,” replied the doctor, “ I don't belong to the

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