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quence was that I became somewhat occupy had been appropriated by a dissipated, ran into debt, and failed monster manufacturer, whose appein materially advancing the classi- tite for bacon was so enormous, that, cal reputation of my college. for several days previous to the
At length the time arrived when election, the price of a flitch was the grand question of a future ca- considerably above thirty guineas. reer had to be settled in a family So there was an end to my hopes divan. I was assured of a good of parliamentary distinction and living if I would agree to take or- office. ders; but I was far too conscien- “My brother Percy and I were tious to practise such base hypo- on tolerable fraternal terms, but we crisy. A commission in the Guards had not much community of sentiwould have suited me exactly; but ment. He was reserved, cautious, that arm of the service was deemed and calculating, with decided notoo expensive, and I recoiled from tions of thrift, bordering on the the prospect of country quarters verge of avarice; whereas I was an and long years of colonial expatria- outspoken, improvident fellow, partion. The advantages of the legal taking much more of the nature of profession were then elaborately dis- the butterfly than of the bee. Since cussed. I was desired to look for- then, time has wrought a mighty ward to the woolsack looming in the alteration.
now feelingly distance; but my eyesight was weak, alive to the charm of a large baand I failed to obtain even a glimpse lance at my banker's; and in a few of that very comfortable Pisgah. years I expect to attain to the repuHad I seen it ever so clearly, I do tation of a screw. not believe that I could have mus- “Percy, I make no doubt, would tered sufficient courage to force my have cheerfully presented me, now way through the intervening desert, and then, with a cheque for a hunand face the gorgons and chimeras dred pounds, if I had asked him for that haunt the Blackstonian Sahara. such a favour; for he set much Would I go into Parliament ? If store on his dignity as head of the so, in a year or two a seat would house, and was fond of delivering a probably be vacant, which family lecture, for which there can be no influence might secure for me; better opportunity than a proposal and it was not unreasonable to for a pecuniary advance. But I did expect that I might be able to ex- not choose to lay myself under any tract a plum from the public pud- such obligation; and he was not ding. With this latter proposal I generous enough, though he knew closed, the rather because it afford- my straitened circumstances, to ed me a temporary respite ; and I make a spontaneous offer of an resolved in the meanwhile to ob- annual allowance. So I had to live serve life and study diplomacy at as I best could upon a mere pitParis and Vienna.
tance, and practise economy, in “While I was abroad I received which I succeeded so far that I did the mournful intelligence of the not annually expend much more death of the best of fathers ; and than twice the amount of my inalso a communication from the family solicitors, apprising me that “If I had been prudent, I should eight thousand pounds was all I have gone into chambers and read; had to depend on.
Of that sum but I liked society, and detervery nearly a third was forestalled mined to enjoy it so long as that by debts I had contracted, so that was within my power. I possessed I had to solve the difficult problem the art of making myself agreeable, of maintaining myself like a gentle- and had the entrée to all the best man on an income of two hundred houses. I was patronised by dowa-year. I had also the
mortification agers who had ceased to be shepto learn that the seat I expected to herdesses of a flock ; but mammas,
who were anxiously watching the others. You are in love with Ida, matrimonial market with the view and for that I do not blame you, to disposal of their daughters, were because possibly you cannot help by no means so affable or kind. it; but I shall not allow you to ruin In me they recognised that most the prospects of my child. I shall equivocal of all characters, a detri- not go through the ceremony of mental— useful perhaps occasion- asking you what your intentions are, ally as a foil, but never to be en- for I do not suppose you have any. couraged beyond a certain point, Neither you nor Ida have any forand always to be regarded with sus- tune, and therefore matrimony is picion. Regular fortune-hunters, wholly out of the question. Under who are pretty well known by these circumstances I shall perform head-mark, were not so obnoxious a mother's duty, and request you to to those ladies as were young men discontinue your visits.' of sense and acquirements. They “ What could I say in reply? considered that their undowered A romantic tirade about love and daughters were safe from the ad- broken hearts would have been vances of the one class, but they utterly thrown away upon that dreaded lest their affections might Spartan lady, who was clearly misbe entangled by the assiduities of tress of the situation ; so there was the other.
nothing for it but to accept the “Of the existence and extent of rebuke, express contrition for my this prejudice I soon received a folly, and depart. So ended my palpable proof. Lady Letitia Castle- first serious love-affair. Lady Leton, a woman of high birth and titia Castleton vindicated her reun blemished character, but of very putation for diplomacy; for a few contracted fortune, had an only months afterwards Ida was decked daughter, Ida, who was acknow- with the orange wreath, and gave ledged to be the belle of the season. her hand to an Indian gentleman A more fairy-like creature never of enormous wealth and dingy comfitted through the dance; and she plexion, the reputed offspring of a was, I verily believe, as amiable as Begum she was charming. Be that as it “ It would be tedious to continue may, I fell desperately in love with the chronicle of my disappointIda, and made no concealment of ments. I had an unfortunate promy passion. Wherever she went, pensity for falling in love, but never there was I, constant as her shadow; made what the world would have and, of course, before long my atten- called a prudent or judicious selections became the subject of remark. tion; consequently I began to acquire
“ Lady Letitia, who was as clever notoriety as an adept in the art of a woman as ever brought an heir- flirting; and, to say the truth, I had apparent to book, was horribly an- worked rather hard for the characnoyed by my behaviour, but she ter. The affections are not to be was far too experienced to exhi- played with. If a man is forced to bit in presence of the public any transfer them frequently--and I symptom of chagrin. On the con- maintain that there may be such trary, her deportment towards me coercion without innate fickleness was ineffably seraphic, and you on his part—they lose their edge. would have thought that she was Constancy once abandoned, he subfully prepared to bestow on me her mits to change as a matter of imperimaternal benediction. But one day ous necessity, and ends by regardI was summoned to her boudoir, ing it as something scarcely short
“Mr Lumley,' said her ladyship, of a positive gratification. That is 'you are a very young man, and my theory of flirting, which I hold therefore privileged to be foolish; to be the inevitable product of a but you have no right to make highly artificial but unwholesome your folly the cause of misery to form of society. Wisdom is of
slow growth, but it will make its estate, and the numerous business way, like the ivy which spreads details that were constantly brought over even the barest wall; and I at under my notice. The desire for last began to feel thoroughly dis- action, which had taken possession gusted and ashamed at leading a of my mind, passed away with the life so absolutely useless and dis- motive; and it seemed to me a creditable. Modern wiseacres are very hard thing that the succession fond of sneering at the Crusades to some ten thousand a-year should upon my soul, I think that a new entail a vast deal of trouble withcrusade, if we could manage to get out materially enhancing my enjoyup a respectable one, would be of ment. It is my firm belief that a single infinite service, by clearing off some man, with no debts and an income thousands of younger sons who can of five or six hundred, may lead find no proper vent for their ener- a merrier life than the millionaire, gies in this overstocked country of and be ten times more independent. competition.
But a truce to such stale reflec"All sorts of wild schemes floated tions! Though true, they are pracacross my brain. I would go to tically useless ; for no one will reCanada and aid in the extermina- fuse to carry the pack-saddle that tion of the primeval forests—I Plutus places on his shoulders. would devote myself to the explora- My good-luck did not interfere tion of the sources of the Nile or with the friendships I had already the Niger-I would take service formed, nor did it lead to any large with some native Indian prince, addition to the circle ; for I was a and become the founder of a new great deal too proud to encourage dynasty-I would set sail for the advances of men whom I had Otaheite, and propose to Queen known during the days of my Pomarre! You laugh at this con- poverty, but who had then exfession! Very good; but please hibited hauteur. But it was astonremember that wiser fellows than ishing to observe how vastly I had I am have indulged in similar hal- risen in the estimation of the fair lucinations.
sex! Jewelled matrons who, but a “I was saved the trouble of carry- few months before, had bristled up ing into execution any of these de- at my approach, now greeted me lectable designs. My brother Percy, with their softest smiles, or assailed who was too timorous to hunt, and me with bewitching banter. All at who never trusted himself on the once it was discovered that I posback of a thoroughbred, was thrown sessed a vein of wit—some even from a stumbling cob, and died called it genius-quite unusual in of concussion of the brain. His an age of commonplace ; that my thoughts had, for some time pre- manner was singularly fascinating ; viously, been directed to the subject and that my judgment in matters of of matrimony ; but as he was a taste was infallible. All the former tempting object for maternal pur- precautions were abandoned, all the suit, he was exceeding wary, and barriers removed from my way; departed this life without having and I now had full license, nay enfound courage enough to throw the couragement, to make love to my handkerchief. I succeeded to the heart's content, without any dread family estates, and found myself a of interdiction. I hope I am not wealthy man.
a coxcomb, though what I am about Believe me when I say that I to say might justify such an impufelt no exultation at the change. I tation ; but I could not help thinkhad become so used to a listless and ing that several well-tutored young indolent way of living that I felt ladies who had once been rather it rather a nuisance than otherwise disdainful, would now have listened to be compelled to exert myself in to me with some attention, even if attending to the management of my I had passed the boundaries of or
dinary compliment, and meandered establishment corresponding to his into gallantry and courtship. But means ; but on the Continent he is in succeeding to my poor brother's entitled to enjoy his freedom ; and fortune, I had, somehow or other, even at the present time it is my acquired a share of his habitual habit to recreate myself, for å circumspection and restraint ; and, month or so, precisely as I used to my own astonishment, I did not to do when I was a younger brofeel myself inclined to indulge in ther, and found it necessary to calmy former practice of talking ama- culate my bills. Paris, in early tory nonsense. When a man be- spring, is truly delectable ; but comes fully aware that the words after that is over, give me the which he may utter in jest are likely sauntering kind of life that a man to be construed into solemn earnest, can lead on the Rhine, or in some he needs not the exhortation of of the funny minor capitals of GerSolomon to bridle and control his many. tongue.
“Well, I took up my residence ** There was no heartlessness in at Weimar; and there I made the this, for I really had no attach- acquaintance of an English lady, a ment. Men fall in love readily Mrs Lindsay, widow of a general enough when they have nothing officer, who was compelled for reaelse to think of, and when the act sons of economy to reside abroad. itself is one of gross imprudence : She had one daughter, a very charmbut when, by some unexpected ing girl, who had been brought up, turn of fortune, they find them- under her mother's eye, in the selves able to marry, and are actu- country, and whose mind was ally willing to do so, the chances purity itself. I am not about to are that they cannot get up an rhapsodise-indeed it is almost attachment. A poor fellow, who painful to me now to recall the earns no more than a couple of memory of the few happy weeks, pounds in the week, is as inflam- probably the happiest of my life, mable as tinder. Give him a few that I spent at Weimar. I became thousands, and he becomes insen- very intimate with the Lindsays ; sible as asbestos. You seem to read poetry and sketched with differ from that opinion-ah, well! Eleanor; and, in short, almost beI wish I could convince myself fore I knew it, fell seriously in that I am in the wrong. But both love. That girl exercised over me of you are fortunate, because you an influence different from any have loved well and truly, from im- that I had known before. I felt pulse and sympathy, without the subdued, if not timid, in her predreary necessity to which I then sence. I could not have addressed was reduced, of having to force her in the language of compliment love if I wished to partake of its or gallantry ; for, like Una, she was fruition. Happy rogues ! You are so divinely fair, and so spiritually exempted from attaining to the last simple, that artifice was abhorrent grand lesson of philosophy, which to her nature, and to deviate from is this—that the WILL of man has no truth in her presence was little power whatsoever over the affec- short of desecration. tions, but is a tyrant against whose “I shall cut my story short. authority they rebel !
Presumptuous fool that I was ! I “Wearied with a London life, thought I had gained Miss Lindand being thoroughly convinced say's affections--alas ! I had only that what I sought for was not to acquired her esteem ! That I be found in the whirl of ceaseless learned from her mother, whose gaiety, I went abroad, taking with sharper sight had detected my atme neither courier nor valet. Here, tachment, and whose kindly heart you know, it is incumbent upon prompted her to make the discloa man to maintain some sort of sure in order to spare me the pangs of disappointment. Eleanor was I have striven to conform to what already engaged to a young clergy- I believe to be my lot, and have man, a relative of her own, who almost made up my mind to be held a small curacy in the north of interred as the last of the Lumleys. England, and whose straightened But a pest upon this egotistical circumstances had hitherto delayed folly! Here have I, instead of the marriage. Thank heaven! that playing the part of a courteous and obstacle was soon afterwards re- entertaining host, been seduced moved.
into a long-winded confession of "That was my last serious matri- my failures and defeats, for which, monial attempt. It seemed as if your patience being exhausted, I fate had predestined that, whether have no title whatever to expect, poor or rich, I should be denied the as I certainly shall not crave, your blessings of domestic happiness ; so sympathy."
CHAPTER LVII.-A POLITICAL CRISIS.
The professional sagacity of Mr comfit the sharpest of the children Poins had led him to a just conclu- of the captivity. It would have sion. No sooner was Dobigging ap- been a foul blot upon his scutcheon prehended and safely lodged in jail, if the news of such a palpable “sell” than Speedwell intimated his readi- had reached the jobbers of the ness, on certain conditions, to bear Broadway. testimony against his quondam con- “It's up stakes with me now, federate; and, through his informa- Squire," said Ewins. “Next month tion, the person who had engraved sees me on the other side of the the plate which Flusher refused to Atlantic, and darn my old mocasexecute was traced out. This man sins if I'll be in a hurry to cross the at once acknowledged that he had salt water again! The spekilation received the commission from the ha'n't turned out just so good as I secretary, and produced a draught expected, but it might have been in his handwriting; so that the evi- worse; anyhow, it's a comfort to dence as to the forgery was com- walk off without a winkle-hawk in plete, and Ewins was absolved from one's character for 'cuteness. I guess the severe ordeal of undergoing an if I had been spotted here, they'd examination in court.
have thought me small potatoes in I never saw a man more elated the States. Wall—it's a true saying, than was my Yankee acquaintance that a man is never too old to learn; when I communicated the intelli- for, since I came to London, I've had gence of his escape. His dread of it punched into me that it's jest posexposure was less on account of the sible that the Columbian 'coon may injury to his character as a man be circumvented. So I'll steam back of probity and honour-qualities to the old location, make friends of which, to do him justice, he did the soft-shell hunkers, and mayhap not profess to claim in any remark- get put up for President.” able degree—than from a conscious- "Upon my word, Mr Ewins," ness that he could not escape the said I, “you quite awe me by the imputation of having been thorough- extent of your ambition.” ly outwitted by the Jew. I have heard “That's because you believe in it said that, in a trial of dexterity be- the bunkum of a rotten aristocracy,” tween Jew and Jesuit, the former in- replied Ewins. “What was Jetfervariably has the worse; but Ewins, son? what was Adams? I guess, in the plenitude of his conceit, had by your own rule, they hadn't the regarded himself as more than a blood of Macbeth within their veins; match for Ignatius Loyola, and, and though my father sold wooden therefore, a fortiori, able to dis- nutmegs, and my grandfather was a