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A gentleman commoner at Christchurch, whose "governor❞ allowed him £300 a-year, kept a stud for which such a stipend would not pay the turnpikes-a proceeding treated "at home" as if university bills were discharged by the special interposition of Providence. A more honest or honourable-hearted man than he whom it was my fortune to call sire, never filled the office of justice of the peace, or a bumper to "church of state." He was a shrewd economist withal-canvassed every item of his stewards' bills, and knew to a pint how much buttermilk was sold, and how much set aside for the pigs; yet he saw that his only child spending more in a month than he had of annual income, without betraying any anxiety on the subject. That it was being done with impunity, he had not a pretext for appearing to believe; for one fine morning, as he was sauntering with me on the lawn, where I was waiting for my cover-hack to be brought round, a person approached, who, after whispering some cabalistic words in my ear, intimated to him that his son was arrested for £96. Without any observation, he took him into the house, and, after remaining there a few minutes, returned, accompanied by the stranger, who took his leave with a bow. He then joined me again, without allusion to what had occurred; and from that hour to the day of his death he never hinted at it. He might have supposed my resources came from my uncle, but he never made an attempt to assure himself of it. It was not the fashion of his time for the old

squire to intermeddle with the young squire's expenses. How unlike the wisdom of a modern father-a nobleman of whom it may be truly said that his habits do honour to his station, his heart to his country and his kind! His rank is the highest to which an English subject can attain, and his fortune suited to his condition. He has a large family; the eldest, his son and heir, being attached to one of the regiments of Horse Guards. Rumours having reached him that the young soldier had fallen into the hands of the Israelites, he sent for him, and spake to the following intent:" M—, I hear you are borrowing money at twenty per cent. I have your brothers' and sisters' fortunes to invest, which I should be glad to put out at a fourth of that interest; you can have the whole at five per cent., and be at no expense in shewing the security you propose, as I am satisfied as to your title to the estates on which the loan would be charged."

I recommend this style of doing business to all whom it may concern: it is "short, sharp, and decisive"-the way in which man's warfare should ever be carried on, whether with the species or the specie.

A week in London having enabled me to obtain, by means of my own reiterated promises to pay, a slight undertaking to the same effect of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, I once more turned towards home and its penates-more especially the fauns and dryads. Before Mr. Rowland Hill established his commonwealth of letters, the correspondence of a country house was regulated by Act of Parliament. If the host was a legislator, then his guests regularly took to pen and ink on the occasion of their visits to him; if not, neither he nor any of his household dreamt of perpetrating manuscripts, unless a member was available to procure for it the privilege of free entrée and exit at the post-office. Because this was the custom of the time, my father, with as much paternity about him as would go to a baker's

dozen of modern sires, wrote to me perhaps once in three months; and when he did write, his epistles were such as a man was likely to indite who had a score on the stocks at the same time. The "Wonder" -in those days the especial coach of the Salopians-made the journey from the Bull and Mouth to the Lion at Shrewsbury in sixteen hours and a half, to the fraction of a minute; and as it started at 6 A.M., reached its destination at half-past 10 P.M. As I had not advertised them at home of my proposed descent, there was a post-chaise to order, and three miles to execute before my destination was over, and it was hard upon midnight, as with cold fingers and the gastric of a wolf, I "summoned the portal," as they used to call ringing the door-bell. The mansion was "buried in sleep," as the genteel phrase for the fires and lightsbeing out was wont to run; but, after a second application to the bell-handle, of a more emphatic character than the first, the bolts were drawn, and the heavy door slowly moved inwards. The warder was enacted by the old butler, to whom the reader has been already introduced, with a lamp in his hand and a predominance of beer in his appearance. While the postboy was depositing my impedementa in the hall, my demand for refreshments was made with such a hearty intimation of the intention to be immediately supplied, that the buttery was presently sacked, and its contents laid in the small drawing-room, where the hearth, which still burnt cheerfully, offered its grateful accompaniment to good cheer.

Ön the following morning I met my father in the breakfast-room, which was the first intimation he had of my arrival. To one who knew him, or had studied human nature less, the feeling that struggled through his efforts to disguise the emotion he underwent at the moment would have seemed the working of strong natural affection. To me it told another tale; his character-to those who looked deeper than the surface-revealed far more of sternness and indifference than of tenderness-weakness it had none. In depth and comprehensiveness it was suited for the philosopher or the sage, but early habits of indulgence and ease had turned its energy aside; and that which circumstances might have fostered into public virtue, they had nurtured into something very nearly akin to private vice-not indeed the active offence of evil, but the passive indifference to good. That such a condition should have arisen out of a hale constitution and a handsome estate, to one surrounded with comforts and troops of friends, may seem a paradox to the many; he who, having relinquished the gay world in which he has fluttered away the summer of life, finds himself the tenant of his ancestral home, with all his household gods broken about his ears, will have no difficulty in understanding how it might come to pass. My mother's temporary absences had now grown into a constant residence at some place of fashionable resort. His home was a home no more-and he, whom Providence had shaped for better things, was already quite an ascetic and half a misanthropist. Our meeting, though a cordial one, was curtailed of its natural proportions. If, however, the instinctive love of a father for a son had cooled (so far as outward sign or token went) down to a most courtly philoprogenitiveness, there could be no doubt that my happiness-that is to say, my position—was the subject nearest his heart. A few months had wrought a great change

in his habits; his scrupulous neatness of person was evidently fast departing, and, instead of the usual appliances of a country gentleman's breakfast table, he flavoured his tea and dry toast with an ode of Horace. I had paid my respects to a game pie on the side table, and entered on the discussion of its materiel, when he took up the matter which evidently occupied him solely.

"We are dull here, Hyde: bad rumours, too, about the hunting. Sir Bellingham Graham is the new master, and they say the farmers wont fancy him, eh?"

"He is a good sportsman, sir, and that will tell in time: a little energetic to be sure; but it's something to be in earnest, even though the manner of our zeal be rude."

"Shall you spend the winter at home, or any part of it? Your mother's at Brighton, I believe-somebody told me so, I think; Longueville is at Cheltenham. He wrote me a letter the other day, stuffed with couplets from Suckling and Shenstone: should'nt be surprised to hear he had gone mad-the paper smelt most damnably of musk."

"I heard from him before I left town, and gathered from his autobiography that he was occupied with pleasant people. Cheltenham is the pet colony of the idle and rolicking Irish, whose jokes are more effectual purges for melancholy than its waters for the grosser humours. But Uncle Tom is not yet tired of life, and I have no idea of his committing suicide-or an Irish widow."

"That may be, but I have my suspicions-perhaps my premises. Will you accept a suggestion from me? I put no restraint on your inclination. Do what shooting you stand in need of. Your horses, too, would be the better of the master's eye, as also the eccentric dwarf that attends to them-or rather, is supposed to do so. run up to Gloucestershire; your uncle won't be the worse of a little looking after."


My father was not one who wasted words, and my resolution outran his hint. Pride forbade me to say how ill at ease his intimation had made me, but the determination I expressed after dinner to put his proposal into effect on the following morning, must have betrayed it. The few hours which intervened between our conversation of the morning and the announcement that I adopted his views, I had passed in no agreeable contemplations. In my rambles over the grounds, a too sure indication appeared of ruinous neglect; and in the farmstead and stables neither care nor economy existed. Slight attention as I had bestowed on my father's resources, it was manifest from the report of the steward, as well as the state of such portions of the property as I had time to visit, that they were fast becoming dilapidated. How vital then was the question of my uncle's inheritance! I was without a profession-without even a disposition to turn to any occupation, involving the necessity of toil or perseverance in it, within my reach. Yet did a quick and eager energy fill me, while this conviction was making its appeal. How is it that doubt or despondence ever make captive the human heart? We are the sculptors of our own fortunes; if, haply, our task be difficult and severe, is not the shape carved from marble more graceful and enduring than that which is moulded out of more pliable and plastic

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