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been often separated, and that for months together, from the girl friend whose affection was so dear to him ; but whether engaged in the arduous duty of a hospital walker,' or when sojourning in distant cities, with no dear sister to whisper words of encouragement in his ear, the belief that she thought sometimes of the absent one was the brightest ray that gleamed across the young surgeon's
Unfit for conflict, round beset with woes
• If on your fame, our sex a blot has thrown,
DR. LANGTON's house stood on the outskirts of the town, and though its front windows looked into what might be called a street, those at the back had a pleasant view over lawn and garden, where quiet reigned, and where (for aught that gave token of the proximity of a city) that “shady calm retreat' might have been many a mile away from the haunts of vice and the excitements of dissipation. On the lawn stood large trees, with spreading branches sweeping the soft turf; a scent of sweet and old-fashioned flowers filled the air, and shaded by a canopy of aromatic leaves, a young girl might have been seen one summer afternoon, seated beneath the aged walnut tree, whose rugged limbs bore promise of goodly fruit.
Of all the children whose merry voices had once disturbed the dearly loved quiet of the poor useless mother, that girl alone remained to grace the home they had abandoned. Death had not visited them, but they had dispersed, and gone their several ways in search of fortune. Millicent, guided by a keen matrimonial instinct, had accepted the offer of a rich acquaintance, whom she had accompanied to India in a sort of composite capacity, the duties of which were not clearly defined, and its pleasures extremely doubtful. Sarah, to the great relief of the rest of the family, had at last obtained the object of her wishes, and appropriated to herself the use and service of a young attorney, ' Brice' by name, who was henceforth to enjoy the privilege of supplying her wants by the hard taxing of his miniature
brain, and the indefatigable working of his stumpy fingers.
Of the sons, Robert, the eldest, appeared to have abjured the abode of his youth entirely. He had changed positions with his cousin, and now sat upon the office-stool vacated by that more promising member of the family: looking down from his pride of place' on the profession of his father, and concealing the mortifying fact of the surgery and physic bottles from the brother clerks whose pedigrees could bear investigation better than his own. Selfish, coarse-minded, and heartless, spoilt by indulgence, for (though the least worthy, the Doctor had ever loved the boy above the rest) a career of extravagance and vicious indulgence had been entered upon by Robert Langton, which threatened to end fatally.
His demands for money were incessant, and his debts accumulated daily, while his father, alarmed by the accounts which occasionally reached him, began to feel the qualms
of self-reproach which arise when the bitter fruits of experience bave yet to be digested. Once, and once only (for the errand did not prove pleasant enough to be repeated), did the Doctor undertake a journey to the metropolis, there to make personal inquiry into the goings-out and comings-in of his hopeful offspring.
It was a sacrifice that he made to duty and to parental affection; a sacrifice of time, that was money, and of habits which were daily becoming less mutable; but he found a sorry sight to reward him for the effort he had made. Hollow-eyed, cadaverous, and utterly disreputable (as in his father's eyes was the appearance of the dissipated Robert), the latter could not conceal from his parent his disgust to the inroad among his fashionable acquaintances of the elderly "Snob,' whose dress and demeanour, and (worst crime of all) whose professional "white tie' proclaimed the country apothecary at a glance.
There was clearly nothing to be done with