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Title: Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 01
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 01" ***

                           KENELM CHILLINGLY

                      HIS ADVENTURES AND OPINIONS


                          EDWARD BULWER LYTTON

                              (LORD LYTTON)



SIR PETER CHILLINGLY, of Exmundham, Baronet, F.R.S. and F.A.S., was
the representative of an ancient family, and a landed proprietor of
some importance.  He had married young; not from any ardent
inclination for the connubial state, but in compliance with the
request of his parents.  They took the pains to select his bride; and
if they might have chosen better, they might have chosen worse, which
is more than can be said for many men who choose wives for themselves.
Miss Caroline Brotherton was in all respects a suitable connection.
She had a pretty fortune, which was of much use in buying a couple of
farms, long desiderated by the Chillinglys as necessary for the
rounding of their property into a ring-fence.  She was highly
connected, and brought into the county that experience of fashionable
life acquired by a young lady who has attended a course of balls for
three seasons, and gone out in matrimonial honours, with credit to
herself and her chaperon.  She was handsome enough to satisfy a
husband's pride, but not so handsome as to keep perpetually on the
/qui vive/ a husband's jealousy.  She was considered highly
accomplished; that is, she played upon the pianoforte so that any
musician would say she "was very well taught;" but no musician would
go out of his way to hear her a second time.  She painted in
water-colours--well enough to amuse herself.  She knew French and
Italian with an elegance so lady-like that, without having read more
than selected extracts from authors in those languages, she spoke them
both with an accent more correct than we have any reason to attribute
to Rousseau or Ariosto.  What else a young lady may acquire in order
to be styled highly accomplished I do not pretend to know; but I am
sure that the young lady in question fulfilled that requirement in the
opinion of the best masters.  It was not only an eligible match for
Sir Peter Chillingly,--it was a brilliant match.  It was also a very
unexceptionable match for Miss Caroline Brotherton.  This excellent
couple got on together as most excellent couples do.  A short time
after marriage, Sir Peter, by the death of his parents--who, having
married their heir, had nothing left in life worth the trouble of
living for--succeeded to the hereditary estates; he lived for nine
months of the year at Exmundham, going to town for the other three
months.  Lady Chillingly and himself were both very glad to go to
town, being bored at Exmundham; and very glad to go back to Exmundham,
being bored in town.  With one exception it was an exceedingly happy
marriage, as marriages go.  Lady Chillingly had her way in small
things; Sir Peter his way in great.  Small things happen every day;
great things once in three years.  Once in three years Lady Chillingly
gave way to Sir Peter; households so managed go on regularly.  The
exception to their connubial happiness was, after all, but of a
negative description.  Their affection was such that they sighed for a
pledge of it; fourteen years had he and Lady Chillingly remained
unvisited by the little stranger.

Now, in default of male issue, Sir Peter's estates passed to a distant
cousin as heir-at-law; and during the last four years this heir-at-law
had evinced his belief that practically speaking he was already
heir-apparent; and (though Sir Peter was a much younger man than
himself, and as healthy as any man well can be) had made his
expectations of a speedy succession unpleasantly conspicuous.  He had
refused his consent to a small exchange of lands with a neighbouring
squire, by which Sir Peter would have obtained some good arable land,
for an outlying unprofitable wood that produced nothing but fagots and
rabbits, with the blunt declaration that he, the heir-at-law, was fond
of rabbit-shooting, and that the wood would be convenient to him next
season if he came into the property by that time, which he very
possibly might.  He disputed Sir Peter's right to make his customary
fall of timber, and had even threatened him with a bill in Chancery on
that subject.  In short, this heir-at-law was exactly one of those
persons to spite whom a landed proprietor would, if single, marry at
the age of eighty in the hope of a family.

Nor was it only on account of his very natural wish to frustrate the
expectations of this unamiable relation that Sir Peter Chillingly
lamented the absence of the little stranger.  Although belonging to
that class of country gentlemen to whom certain political reasoners
deny the intelligence vouchsafed to other members of the community,
Sir Peter was not without a considerable degree of book-learning and a
great taste for speculative philosophy.  He sighed for a legitimate
inheritor to the stores of his erudition, and, being a very benevolent
man, for a more active and useful dispenser of those benefits to the
human race which philosophers confer by striking hard against each
other; just as, how full soever of sparks a flint may be, they might
lurk concealed in the flint till doomsday, if the flint were not hit
by the steel.  Sir Peter, in short, longed for a son amply endowed
with the combative quality, in which he himself was deficient, but
which is the first essential to all seekers after renown, and
especially to benevolent philosophers.

Under these circumstances one may well conceive the joy that filled
the household of Exmundham and extended to all the tenantry on that
venerable estate, by whom the present possessor was much beloved and
the prospect of an heir-at-law with a special eye to the preservation
of rabbits much detested, when the medical attendant of the
Chillinglys declared that 'her ladyship was in an interesting way;'
and to what height that joy culminated when, in due course of time, a
male baby was safely entbroned in his cradle.  To that cradle Sir
Peter was summoned.  He entered the room with a lively bound and a
radiant countenance: he quitted it with a musing step and an
overclouded brow.

Yet the baby was no monster.  It did not come into the world with two
heads, as some babies are said to have done; it was formed as babies
are in general; was on the whole a thriving baby, a fine baby.
Nevertheless, its aspect awed the father as already it had awed the
nurse.  The creature looked so unutterably solemn.  It fixed its eyes
upon Sir Peter with a melancholy reproachful stare; its lips were
compressed and drawn downward as if discontentedly meditating its
future destinies.  The nurse declared in a frightened whisper that it
had uttered no cry on facing the light.  It had taken possession of
its cradle in all the dignity of silent sorrow.  A more saddened and a
more thoughtful countenance a human being could not exhibit if he were
leaving the world instead of entering it.

"Hem!" said Sir Peter to himself on regaining the solitude of his
library; "a philosopher who contributes a new inhabitant to this vale
of tears takes upon himself very anxious responsibilities--"

At that moment the joy-bells rang out from the neighbouring church
tower, the summer sun shone into the windows, the bees hummed among
the flowers on the lawn.  Sir Peter roused himself and looked forth,
"After all," said he, cheerily, "the vale of tears is not without a


A FAMILY council was held at Exmundham Hall to deliberate on the name
by which this remarkable infant should be admitted into the Christian
community.  The junior branches of that ancient house consisted,
first, of the obnoxious heir-at-law--a Scotch branch named Chillingly
Gordon.  He was the widowed father of one son, now of the age of
three, and happily unconscious of the injury inflicted on his future
prospects by the advent of the new-born, which could not be truthfully
said of his Caledonian father.  Mr. Chillingly Gordon was one of those
men who get on in the world with out our being able to discover why.
His parents died in his infancy and left him nothing; but the family
interest procured him an admission into the Charterhouse School, at
which illustrious academy he obtained no remarkable distinction.
Nevertheless, as soon as he left it the State took him under its
special care, and appointed him to a clerkship in a public office.
From that moment he continued to get on in the world, and was now a
Commissioner of Customs, with a salary of L1500 a year.  As soon as he
had been thus enabled to maintain a wife, he selected a wife who
assisted to maintain himself.  She was an Irish peer's widow, with a
jointure of L2000 a year.

A few months after his marriage, Chillingly Gordon effected insurances
on his wife's life, so as to secure himself an annuity of L1000 a year
in case of her decease.  As she appeared to be a fine healthy woman,
some years younger than her husband, the deduction from his income
effected by the annual payments for the insurance seemed an
over-sacrifice of present enjoyment to future contingencies.  The
result bore witness to his reputation for sagacity, as the lady died
in the second year of their wedding, a few months after the birth of
her only child, and of a heart-disease which had been latent to the
doctors, but which, no doubt, Gordon had affectionately discovered
before he had insured a life too valuable not to need some
compensation for its loss.  He was now, then, in the possession of
L2500 a year, and was therefore very well off, in the pecuniary sense
of the phrase.  He had, moreover, acquired a reputation which gave him
a social rank beyond that accorded to him by a discerning State.  He
was considered a man of solid judgment, and his opinion upon all
matters, private and public, carried weight.  The opinion itself,
critically examined, was not worth much, but the way he announced it
was imposing.  Mr. Fox said that 'No one ever was so wise as Lord
Thurlow looked.'  Lord Thurlow could not have looked wiser than Mr.
Chillingly Gordon.  He had a square jaw and large red bushy eyebrows,
which he lowered down with great effect when he delivered judgment.
He had another advantage for acquiring grave reputation.  He was a
very unpleasant man.  He could be rude if you contradicted him; and as
few persons wish to provoke rudeness, so he was seldom contradicted.

Mr. Chillingly Mivers, another cadet of the house, was also
distinguished, but in a different way.  He was a bachelor, now about
the age of thirty-five.  He was eminent for a supreme well-bred
contempt for everybody and everything.  He was the originator and
chief proprietor of a public journal called "The Londoner," which had
lately been set up on that principle of contempt, and we need not say,
was exceedingly popular with those leading members of the community
who admire nobody and believe in nothing.  Mr. Chillingly Mivers was
regarded by himself and by others as a man who might have achieved the
highest success in any branch of literature, if he had deigned to
exhibit his talents therein.  But he did not so deign, and therefore
he had full right to imply that, if he had written an epic, a drama, a
novel, a history, a metaphysical treatise, Milton, Shakspeare,
Cervantes, Hume, Berkeley would have been nowhere.  He held greatly to
the dignity of the anonymous; and even in the journal which he
originated nobody could ever ascertain what he wrote.  But, at all
events, Mr. Chillingly Mivers was what Mr. Chillingly Gordon was not;
namely, a very clever man, and by no means an unpleasant one in
general society.

The Rev. John Stalworth Chillingly was a decided adherent to the creed
of what is called "muscular Christianity," and a very fine specimen of
it too.  A tall stout man with broad shoulders, and that division of
lower limb which intervenes between the knee and the ankle powerfully
developed.  He would have knocked down a deist as soon as looked at
him.  It is told by the Sieur de Joinville, in his Memoir of Louis,
the sainted king, that an assembly of divines and theologians convened
the Jews of an Oriental city for the purpose of arguing with them on
the truths of Christianity, and a certain knight, who was at that time
crippled, and supporting himself on crutches, asked and obtained
permission to be present at the debate.  The Jews flocked to the
summons, when a prelate, selecting a learned rabbi, mildly put to him
the leading question whether he owned the divine conception of our
Lord.  "Certainly not," replied the rabbi; whereon the pious knight,
shocked by such blasphemy, uplifted his crutch and felled the rabbi,
and then flung himself among the other misbelievers, whom he soon
dispersed in ignominious flight and in a very belaboured condition.
The conduct of the knight was reported to the sainted king, with a
request that it should be properly reprimanded; but the sainted king
delivered himself of this wise judgment:--

"If a pious knight is a very learned clerk, and can meet in fair
argument the doctrines of the misbeliever, by all means let him argue
fairly; but if a pious knight is not a learned clerk, and the argument
goes against him, then let the pious knight cut the discussion short
by the edge of his good sword."

The Rev. John Stalworth Chillingly was of the same opinion as Saint
Louis; otherwise, he was a mild and amiable man.  He encouraged
cricket and other manly sports among his rural parishioners.  He was a
skilful and bold rider, but he did not hunt; a convivial man--and took
his bottle freely.  But his tastes in literature were of a refined and
peaceful character, contrasting therein the tendencies some might have
expected from his muscular development of Christianity.  He was a
great reader of poetry, but he disliked Scott and Byron, whom he
considered flashy and noisy; he maintained that Pope was only a
versifier, and that the greatest poet in the language was Wordsworth;
he did not care much for the ancient classics; he refused all merit to
the French poets; he knew nothing of the Italian, but he dabbled in
German, and was inclined to bore one about the "Hermann and Dorothea"
of Goethe.  He was married to a homely little wife, who revered him in
silence, and thought there would be no schism in the Church if he were
in his right place as Archbishop of Canterbury; in this opinion he
entirely agreed with his wife.

Besides these three male specimens of the Chillingly race, the fairer
sex was represented, in the absence of her ladyship, who still kept
her room, by three female Chillinglys, sisters of Sir Peter, and all
three spinsters.  Perhaps one reason why they had remained single was,
that externally they were so like each other that a suitor must have
been puzzled which to choose, and may have been afraid that if he did
choose one, he should be caught next day kissing another one in
mistake.  They were all tall, all thin, with long throats--and beneath
the throats a fine development of bone.  They had all pale hair, pale
eyelids, pale eyes, and pale complexions.  They all dressed exactly
alike, and their favourite colour was a vivid green: they were so
dressed on this occasion.

As there was such similitude in their persons, so, to an ordinary
observer, they were exactly the same in character and mind.  Very well
behaved, with proper notions of female decorum: very distant and
reserved in manner to strangers; very affectionate to each other and
their relations or favourites; very good to the poor, whom they looked
upon as a different order of creation, and treated with that sort of
benevolence which humane people bestow upon dumb animals.  Their minds
had been nourished on the same books--what one read the others had
read.  The books were mainly divided into two classes,--novels, and
what they called "good books."  They had a habit of taking a specimen
of each alternately; one day a novel, then a good book, then a novel
again, and so on.  Thus if the imagination was overwarmed on Monday,
on Tuesday it was cooled down to a proper temperature; and if
frost-bitten on Tuesday, it took a tepid bath on Wednesday.  The
novels they chose were indeed rarely of a nature to raise the
intellectual thermometer into blood heat: the heroes and heroines were
models of correct conduct.  Mr. James's novels were then in vogue, and
they united in saying that those "were novels a father might allow his
daughters to read."  But though an ordinary observer might have failed
to recognize any distinction between these three ladies, and, finding
them habitually dressed in green, would have said they were as much
alike as one pea is to another, they had their idiosyncratic
differences, when duly examined.  Miss Margaret, the eldest, was the
commanding one of the three; it was she who regulated their household
(they all lived together), kept the joint purse, and decided every
doubtful point that arose: whether they should or should not ask Mrs.
So-and-so to tea; whether Mary should or should not be discharged;
whether or not they should go to Broadstairs or to Sandgate for the
month of October.  In fact, Miss Margaret was the WILL of the body

Miss Sibyl was of milder nature and more melancholy temperament; she
had a poetic turn of mind, and occasionally wrote verses.  Some of
these had been printed on satin paper, and sold for objects of
beneficence at charity bazaars.  The county newspapers said that the
verses "were characterized by all the elegance of a cultured and
feminine mind."  The other two sisters agreed that Sibyl was the
genius of the household, but, like all geniuses, not sufficiently
practical for the world.  Miss Sarah Chillingly, the youngest of the
three, and now just in her forty-fourth year, was looked upon by the
others as "a dear thing, inclined to be naughty, but such a darling
that nobody could have the heart to scold her."  Miss Margaret said
"she was a giddy creature."  Miss Sibyl wrote a poem on her, entitled,
"Warning to a young Lady against the Pleasures of the World."  They
all called her Sally; the other two sisters had no diminutive
synonyms.  Sally is a name indicative of fastness.  But this Sally
would not have been thought fast in another household, and she was now
little likely to sally out of the one she belonged to.  These sisters,
who were all many years older than Sir Peter, lived in a handsome,
old-fashioned, red-brick house, with a large garden at the back, in
the principal street of the capital of their native county.  They had
each L10,000 for portion; and if he could have married all three, the
heir-at-law would have married them, and settled the aggregate L30,000
on himself.  But we have not yet come to recognize Mormonism as legal,
though if our social progress continues to slide in the same grooves
as at present, Heaven only knows what triumphs over the prejudices of
our ancestors may not be achieved by the wisdom of our descendants!


SIR PETER stood on his hearthstone, surveyed the guests seated in
semicircle, and said: "Friends,--in Parliament, before anything
affecting the fate of a Bill is discussed, it is, I believe, necessary
to introduce the Bill."  He paused a moment, rang the bell, and said
to the servant who entered, "Tell Nurse to bring in the Baby."

Mr. CHILLINGLY GORDON.--"I don't see the necessity for that, Sir
Peter.  We may take the existence of the Baby for granted."

Mr. MIVERS.--"It is an advantage to the reputation of Sir Peter's work
to preserve the incognito. /Omne ignotum pro magnifico/."

THE REV. JOHN STALWORTH CHILLINGLY.--"I don't approve the cynical
levity of such remarks.  Of course we must all be anxious to see, in
the earliest stage of being, the future representative of our name and
race.  Who would not wish to contemplate the source, however small, of
the Tigris or the Nile!--"

MISS SALLY (tittering).--"He! he!"

MISS MARGARET.--"For shame, you giddy thing!"

The Baby enters in the nurse's arms.  All rise and gather round the
Baby with one exception,--Mr. Gordon, who has ceased to be

The Baby returned the gaze of its relations with the most contemptuous
indifference.  Miss Sibyl was the first to pronounce an opinion on the
Baby's attributes.  Said she, in a solemn whisper, "What a heavenly
mournful expression! it seems so grieved to have left the angels!"

THE REV. JOHN.--"That is prettily said, Cousin Sibyl; but the infant
must pluck up its courage and fight its way among mortals with a good
heart, if it wants to get back to the angels again.  And I think it
will; a fine child."  He took it from the nurse, and moving it
deliberately up and down, as if to weigh it, said cheerfully,
"Monstrous heavy! by the time it is twenty it will be a match for a
prize-fighter of fifteen stone!"

Therewith he strode to Gordon, who as if to show that he now
considered himself wholly apart from all interest in the affairs of a
family who had so ill-treated him in the birth of that Baby, had taken
up the "Times" newspaper and concealed his countenance beneath the
ample sheet.  The Parson abruptly snatched away the "Times" with one
hand, and, with the other substituting to the indignant eyes of the
/ci-devant/ heir-at-law the spectacle of the Baby, said, "Kiss it."

"Kiss it!" echoed Chillingly Gordon, pushing back his chair--"kiss it!
pooh, sir, stand off!  I never kissed my own baby: I shall not kiss
another man's.  Take the thing away, sir: it is ugly; it has black

Sir Peter, who was near-sighted, put on his spectacles and examined
the face of the new-born.  "True," said he, "it has black eyes,--very
extraordinary: portentous: the first Chillingly that ever had black

"Its mamma has black eyes," said Miss Margaret: "it takes after its
mamma; it has not the fair beauty of the Chillinglys, but it is not

"Sweet infant!"  sighed Sibyl; "and so good; does not cry."

"It has neither cried nor crowed since it was born," said the nurse;
"bless its little heart."

She took the Baby from the Parson's arms, and smoothed back the frill
of its cap, which had got ruffled.

"You may go now, Nurse," said Sir Peter.


"I AGREE with Mr. Shandy," said Sir Peter, resuming his stand on the
hearthstone, "that among the responsibilities of a parent the choice
of the name which his child is to bear for life is one of the gravest.
And this is especially so with those who belong to the order of
baronets.  In the case of a peer his Christian name, fused into his
titular designation, disappears.  In the case of a Mister, if his
baptismal be cacophonous or provocative of ridicule, he need not
ostentatiously parade it: he may drop it altogether on his visiting
cards, and may be imprinted as Mr. Jones instead of Mr. Ebenezer
Jones.  In his signature, save where the forms of the law demand
Ebenezer in full, he may only use an initial and be your obedient
servant E. Jones, leaving it to be conjectured that E. stands for
Edward or Ernest,--names inoffensive, and not suggestive of a
Dissenting Chapel, like Ebenezer.  If a man called Edward or Ernest be
detected in some youthful indiscretion, there is no indelible stain on
his moral character: but if an Ebenezer be so detected he is set down
as a hypocrite; it produces that shock on the public mind which is
felt when a professed saint is proved to be a bit of a sinner.  But a
baronet never can escape from his baptismal: it cannot lie /perdu/; it
cannot shrink into an initial, it stands forth glaringly in the light
of day; christen him Ebenezer, and he is Sir Ebenezer in full, with
all its perilous consequences if he ever succumb to those temptations
to which even baronets are exposed.  But, my friends, it is not only
the effect that the sound of a name has upon others which is to be
thoughtfully considered: the effect that his name produces on the man
himself is perhaps still more important.  Some names stimulate and
encourage the owner; others deject and paralyze him: I am a melancholy
instance of that truth.  Peter has been for many generations, as you
are aware, the baptismal to which the eldest-born of our family has
been devoted.  On the altar of that name I have been sacrificed.
Never has there been a Sir Peter Chillingly who has, in any way,
distinguished himself above his fellows.  That name has been a dead
weight on my intellectual energies.  In the catalogue of illustrious
Englishmen there is, I think, no immortal Sir Peter, except Sir Peter
Teazle, and he only exists on the comic stage."

MISS SIBYL.--"Sir Peter Lely?"

SIR PETER CHILLINGLY.--"That painter was not an Englishman.  He was
born in Westphalia, famous for hams.  I confine my remarks to the
children of our native land.  I am aware that in foreign countries the
name is not an extinguisher to the genius of its owner.  But why?  In
other countries its sound is modified.  Pierre Corneille was a great
man; but I put it to you whether, had he been an Englishman, he could
have been the father of European tragedy as Peter Crow?"

MISS SIBYL.--"Impossible!"

MISS SALLY.--"He! he!"

MISS MARGARET.--"There is nothing to laugh at, you giddy child!"

SIR PETER.--"My son shall not be petrified into Peter."

MR. CHILLINGLY GORDON.--"If a man is such a fool--and I don't say your
son will not be a fool, Cousin Peter--as to be influenced by the sound
of his own name, and you want the booby to turn the world topsy-turvy,
you had better call him Julius Caesar or Hannibal or Attila or

SIR PETER, (who excels mankind in imperturbability of temper).--"On
the contrary, if you inflict upon a man the burden of one of those
names, the glory of which he cannot reasonably expect to eclipse or
even to equal, you crush him beneath the weight.  If a poet were
called John Milton or William Shakspeare, he could not dare to publish
even a sonnet.  No: the choice of a name lies between the two extremes
of ludicrous insignificance and oppressive renown.  For this reason I
have ordered the family pedigree to be suspended on yonder wall.  Let
us examine it with care, and see whether, among the Chillinglys
themselves or their alliances, we can discover a name that can be
borne with becoming dignity by the destined head of our house--a name
neither too light nor too heavy."

Sir Peter here led the way to the family tree--a goodly roll of
parchment, with the arms of the family emblazoned at the top.  Those
arms were simple, as ancient heraldic coats are,--three fishes
/argent/ on a field /azure/; the crest a mermaid's head.  All flocked
to inspect the pedigree except Mr. Gordon, who resumed the "Times"

"I never could quite make out what kind of fishes these are," said the
Rev. John Stalworth.  "They are certainly not pike which formed the
emblematic blazon of the Hotofts, and are still grim enough to
frighten future Shakspeares on the scutcheon of the Warwickshire

"I believe they are tenches," said Mr. Mivers.  "The tench is a fish
that knows how to keep itself safe by a philosophical taste for an
obscure existence in deep holes and slush."

SIR PETER.--"No, Mivers; the fishes are dace, a fish that, once
introduced into any pond, never can be got out again.  You may drag
the water; you may let off the water; you may say, 'Those dace are
extirpated,'--vain thought!--the dace reappear as before; and in this
respect the arms are really emblematic of the family.  All the
disorders and revolutions that have occurred in England since the
Heptarchy have left the Chillinglys the same race in the same place.
Somehow or other the Norman Conquest did not despoil them; they held
fiefs under Eudo Dapifer as peacefully as they had held them under
King Harold; they took no part in the Crusades, nor the Wars of the
Roses, nor the Civil Wars between Charles the First and the
Parliament.  As the dace sticks to the water and the water sticks by
the dace, so the Chillinglys stuck to the land and the land stuck by
the Chillinglys.  Perhaps I am wrong to wish that the new Chillingly
may be a little less like a dace."

"Oh!" cried Miss Margaret, who, mounted on a chair, had been
inspecting the pedigree through an eye-glass, "I don't see a fine
Christian name from the beginning, except Oliver."

SIR PETER.--"That Chillingly was born in Oliver Cromwell's
Protectorate, and named Oliver in compliment to him, as his father,
born in the reign of James I., was christened James.  The three fishes
always swam with the stream.  Oliver!--Oliver not a bad name, but
significant of radical doctrines."

Mr. MIVERS.--"I don't think so.  Oliver Cromwell made short work of
radicals and their doctrines; but perhaps we can find a name less
awful and revolutionary."

"I have it!  I have it!" cried the Parson.  "Here is a descent from
Sir Kenelm Digby and Venetia Stanley.  Sir Kenelm Digby!  No finer
specimen of muscular Christianity.  He fought as well as he wrote;
eccentric, it is true, but always a gentleman.  Call the boy Kenelm!"

"A sweet name," said Miss Sibyl: "it breathes of romance."

"Sir Kenelm Chillingly!  It sounds well,--imposing!" said Miss

"And," remarked Mr. Mivers, "it has this advantage--that while it has
sufficient association with honourable distinction to affect the mind
of the namesake and rouse his emulation, it is not that of so
stupendous a personage as to defy rivalry.  Sir Kenelm Digby was
certainly an accomplished and gallant gentleman; but what with his
silly superstition about sympathetic powders, etc., any man nowadays
might be clever in comparison without being a prodigy.  Yes, let us
decide on Kenelm."

Sir Peter meditated.  "Certainly," said he, after a pause, "certainly
the name of Kenelm carries with it very crotchety associations; and I
am afraid that Sir Kenelm Digby did not make a prudent choice in
marriage.  The fair Venetia was no better than she should be; and I
should wish my heir not to be led away by beauty but wed a woman of
respectable character and decorous conduct."

Miss MARGARET.--"A British matron, of course!"

THREE SISTERS (in chorus).--"Of course! of course!"

"But," resumed Sir Peter, "I am crotchety myself, and crotchets are
innocent things enough; and as for marriage the Baby cannot marry
to-morrow, so that we have ample time to consider that matter.  Kenelm
Digby was a man any family might be proud of; and, as you say, sister
Margaret, Kenelm Chillingly does not sound amiss: Kenelm Chillingly it
shall be!"

The Baby was accordingly christened Kenelm, after which ceremony its
face grew longer than before.


BEFORE his relations dispersed, Sir Peter summoned Mr. Gordon into his

"Cousin," said he, kindly, "I do not blame you for the want of family
affection, or even of humane interest, which you exhibit towards the

"Blame me, Cousin Peter!  I should think not.  I exhibit as much
family affection and humane interest as could be expected from
me,--circumstances considered."

"I own," said Sir Peter, with all his wonted mildness, "that after
remaining childless for fourteen years of wedded life, the advent of
this little stranger must have occasioned you a disagreeable surprise.
But, after all, as I am many years younger than you, and in the course
of nature shall outlive you, the loss is less to yourself than to your
son, and upon that I wish to say a few words.  You know too well the
conditions on which I hold my estate not to be aware that I have not
legally the power to saddle it with any bequest to your boy.  The
New-born succeeds to the fee-simple as last in tail.  But I intend,
from this moment, to lay by something every year for your son out of
my income; and, fond as I am of London for a part of the year, I shall
now give up my town-house.  If I live to the years the Psalmist allots
to man, I shall thus accumulate something handsome for your son, which
may be taken in the way of compensation."

Mr. Gordon was by no means softened by this generous speech.  However,
he answered more politely than was his wont, "My son will be very much
obliged to you, should he ever need your intended bequest."  Pausing a
moment, he added with a cheerful smile, "A large percentage of infants
die before attaining the age of twenty-one."

"Nay, but I am told your son is an uncommonly fine healthy child."

"My son, Cousin Peter!  I was not thinking of my son, but of yours.
Yours has a big head.  I should not wonder if he had water in it.  I
don't wish to alarm you, but he may go off any day, and in that case
it is not likely that Lady Chillingly will condescend to replace him.
So you will excuse me if I still keep a watchful eye on my rights;
and, however painful to my feelings, I must still dispute your right
to cut a stick of the field timber."

"That is nonsense, Gordon.  I am tenant for life without impeachment
of waste, and can cut down all timber not ornamental."

"I advise you not, Cousin Peter.  I have told you before that I shall
try the question at law, should you provoke it, amicably, of course.
Rights are rights; and if I am driven to maintain mine, I trust that
you are of a mind too liberal to allow your family affection for me
and mine to be influenced by a decree of the Court of Chancery.  But
my fly is waiting.  I must not miss the train."

"Well, good-by, Gordon.  Shake hands."

"Shake hands!--of course, of course.  By the by, as I came through the
lodge, it seemed to me sadly out of repair. I believe you are liable
for dilapidations.  Good-by."

"The man is a hog in armour," soliloquized Sir Peter, when his cousin
was gone; "and if it be hard to drive a common pig in the way he don't
choose to go, a hog in armour is indeed undrivable.  But his boy ought
not to suffer for his father's hoggishness; and I shall begin at once
to see what I can lay by for him.  After all, it is hard upon Gordon.
Poor Gordon; poor fellow! poor fellow!  Still I hope he will not go to
law with me.  I hate law.  And a worm will turn, especially a worm
that is put into Chancery."


DESPITE the sinister semi-predictions of the /ci-devant/ heir-at-law,
the youthful Chillingly passed with safety, and indeed with dignity,
through the infant stages of existence.  He took his measles and
whooping-cough with philosophical equanimity.  He gradually acquired
the use of speech, but he did not too lavishly exercise that special
attribute of humanity.  During the earlier years of childhood he spoke
as little as if he had been prematurely trained in the school of
Pythagoras.  But he evidently spoke the less in order to reflect the
more.  He observed closely and pondered deeply over what he observed.
At the age of eight he began to converse more freely, and it was in
that year that he startled his mother with the question, "Mamma, are
you not sometimes overpowered by the sense of your own identity?"

Lady Chillingly,--I was about to say rushed, but Lady Chillingly never
rushed,--Lady Chillingly glided less sedately than her wont to Sir
Peter, and repeating her son's question, said, "The boy is growing
troublesome, too wise for any woman: he must go to school."

Sir Peter was of the same opinion.  But where on earth did the child
get hold of so long a word as "identity," and how did so extraordinary
and puzzling a metaphysical question come into his head?  Sir Peter
summoned Kenelm, and ascertained that the boy, having free access to
the library, had fastened upon Locke on the Human Understanding, and
was prepared to dispute with that philosopher upon the doctrine of
innate ideas.  Quoth Kenelm, gravely, "A want is an idea; and if, as
soon as I was born, I felt the want of food and knew at once where to
turn for it, without being taught, surely I came into the world with
an 'innate idea.'"

Sir Peter, though he dabbled in metaphysics, was posed, and scratched
his head without getting out a proper answer as to the distinction
between ideas and instincts.  "My child," he said at last, "you don't
know what you are talking about: go and take a good gallop on your
black pony; and I forbid you to read any books that are not given to
you by myself or your mamma.  Stick to 'Puss in Boots.'"


SIR PETER ordered his carriage and drove to the house of the stout
parson.  That doughty ecclesiastic held a family living a few miles
distant from the Hall, and was the only one of the cousins with whom
Sir Peter habitually communed on his domestic affairs.

He found the Parson in his study, which exhibited tastes other than
clerical.  Over the chimney-piece were ranged fencing-foils,
boxing-gloves, and staffs for the athletic exercise of single-stick;
cricket-bats and fishing-rods filled up the angles.  There were sundry
prints on the walls: one of Mr. Wordsworth, flanked by two of
distinguished race-horses; one of a Leicestershire short-horn, with
which the Parson, who farmed his own glebe and bred cattle in its rich
pastures, had won a prize at the county show; and on either side of
that animal were the portraits of Hooker and Jeremy Taylor.  There
were dwarf book-cases containing miscellaneous works very handsomely
bound; at the open window, a stand of flower-pots, the flowers in full
bloom.  The Parson's flowers were famous.

The appearance of the whole room was that of a man who is tidy and
neat in his habits.

"Cousin," said Sir Peter, "I have come to consult you."  And therewith
he related the marvellous precocity of Kenelm Chillingly.  "You see
the name begins to work on him rather too much.  He must go to school;
and now what school shall it be?  Private or public?"

THE REV. JOHN STALWORTH.--"There is a great deal to be said for or
against either.  At a public school the chances are that Kenelm will
no longer be overpowered by a sense of his own identity; he will more
probably lose identity altogether.  The worst of a public school is
that a sort of common character is substituted for individual
character.  The master, of course, can't attend to the separate
development of each boy's idiosyncrasy.  All minds are thrown into one
great mould, and come out of it more or less in the same form.  An
Etonian may be clever or stupid, but, as either, he remains
emphatically Etonian.  A public school ripens talent, but its tendency
is to stifle genius.  Then, too, a public school for an only son, heir
to a good estate, which will be entirely at his own disposal, is apt
to encourage reckless and extravagant habits; and your estate requires
careful management, and leaves no margin for an heir's notes-of-hand
and post-obits.  On the whole, I am against a public school for

"Well then, we will decide on a private one."

"Hold!"  said the Parson: "a private school has its drawbacks.  You
can seldom produce large fishes in small ponds.  In private schools
the competition is narrowed, the energies stinted.  The schoolmaster's
wife interferes, and generally coddles the boys.  There is not
manliness enough in those academies; no fagging, and very little
fighting.  A clever boy turns out a prig; a boy of feebler intellect
turns out a well-behaved young lady in trousers.  Nothing muscular in
the system.  Decidedly the namesake and descendant of Kenelm Digby
should not go to a private seminary."

"So far as I gather from your reasoning," said Sir Peter, with
characteristic placidity, "Kenelm Chillingly is not to go to school at

"It does look like it," said the Parson, candidly; "but, on
consideration, there is a medium.  There are schools which unite the
best qualities of public and private schools, large enough to
stimulate and develop energies mental and physical, yet not so framed
as to melt all character in one crucible.  For instance, there is a
school which has at this moment one of the first scholars in Europe
for head-master,--a school which has turned out some of the most
remarkable men of the rising generation.  The master sees at a glance
if a boy be clever, and takes pains with him accordingly.  He is not a
mere teacher of hexameters and sapphics.  His learning embraces all
literature, ancient and modern.  He is a good writer and a fine
critic; admires Wordsworth.  He winks at fighting: his boys know how
to use their fists; and they are not in the habit of signing
post-obits before they are fifteen.  Merton School is the place for

"Thank you," said Sir Peter.  "It is a great comfort in life to find
somebody who can decide for one.  I am an irresolute man myself, and
in ordinary matters willingly let Lady Chillingly govern me."

"I should like to see a wife govern /me/," said the stout Parson.

"But you are not married to Lady Chillingly.  And now let us go into
the garden and look at your dahlias."


THE youthful confuter of Locke was despatched to Merton School, and
ranked, according to his merits, as lag of the penultimate form.  When
he came home for the Christmas holidays he was more saturnine than
ever; in fact, his countenance bore the impression of some absorbing
grief.  He said, however, that he liked school very well, and eluded
all other questions.  But early the next morning he mounted his black
pony and rode to the Parson's rectory.  The reverend gentleman was in
his farmyard examining his bullocks when Kenelm accosted him thus

"Sir, I am disgraced, and I shall die of it if you cannot help to set
me right in my own eyes."

"My dear boy, don't talk in that way.  Come into my study."

As soon as they entered that room, and the Parson had carefully closed
the door, he took the boy's arm, turned him round to the light, and
saw at once that there was something very grave on his mind.  Chucking
him under the chin, the Parson said cheerily, "Hold up your head,
Kenelm.  I am sure you have done nothing unworthy of a gentleman."

"I don't know that.  I fought a boy very little bigger than myself,
and I have been licked.  I did not give in, though; but the other boys
picked me up, for I could not stand any longer; and the fellow is a
great bully; and his name is Butt; and he's the son of a lawyer; and
he got my head into chancery; and I have challenged him to fight again
next half; and unless you can help me to lick him, I shall never be
good for anything in the world,--never.  It will break my heart."

"I am very glad to hear you have had the pluck to challenge him.  Just
let me see how you double your fist.  Well, that's not amiss.  Now,
put yourself into a fighting attitude, and hit out at me,--hard!
harder!  Pooh! that will never do.  You should make your blows as
straight as an arrow. And that's not the way to stand.  Stop,--so:
well on your haunches; weight on the left leg; good!  Now, put on
these gloves, and I'll give you a lesson in boxing."

Five minutes afterwards Mrs. John Chillingly, entering the room to
summon her husband to breakfast, stood astounded to see him with his
coat off, and parrying the blows of Kenelm, who flew at him like a
young tiger.  The good pastor at that moment might certainly have
appeared a fine type of muscular Christianity, but not of that kind of
Christianity out of which one makes Archbishops of Canterbury.

"Good gracious me!" faltered Mrs. John Chillingly; and then,
wife-like, flying to the protection of her husband, she seized Kenelm
by the shoulders, and gave him a good shaking.  The Parson, who was
sadly out of breath, was not displeased at the interruption, but took
that opportunity to put on his coat, and said, "We'll begin again
to-morrow.  Now, come to breakfast."  But during breakfast Kenelm's
face still betrayed dejection, and he talked little and ate less.

As soon as the meal was over, he drew the Parson into the garden and
said, "I have been thinking, sir, that perhaps it is not fair to Butt
that I should be taking these lessons; and if it is not fair, I'd
rather not--"

"Give me your hand, my boy!" cried the Parson, transported.  "The name
of Kenelm is not thrown away upon you.  The natural desire of man in
his attribute of fighting animal (an attribute in which, I believe, he
excels all other animated beings, except a quail and a gamecock) is to
beat his adversary.  But the natural desire of that culmination of man
which we call gentleman is to beat his adversary fairly.  A gentleman
would rather be beaten fairly than beat unfairly.  Is not that your

"Yes," replied Kenelm, firmly; and then, beginning to philosophize, he
added, "And it stands to reason; because if I beat a fellow unfairly,
I don't really beat him at all."

"Excellent!  But suppose that you and another boy go into examination
upon Caesar's Commentaries or the multiplication table, and the other
boy is cleverer than you, but you have taken the trouble to learn the
subject and he has not: should you say you beat him unfairly?"

Kenelm meditated a moment, and then said decidedly, "No."

"That which applies to the use of your brains applies equally to the
use of your fists.  Do you comprehend me?"

"Yes, sir; I do now."

"In the time of your namesake, Sir Kenelm Digby, gentlemen wore
swords, and they learned how to use them, because, in case of quarrel,
they had to fight with them.  Nobody, at least in England, fights with
swords now.  It is a democratic age, and if you fight at all, you are
reduced to fists; and if Kenelm Digby learned to fence, so Kenelm
Chillingly must learn to box; and if a gentleman thrashes a drayman
twice his size, who has not learned to box, it is not unfair; it is
but an exemplification of the truth that knowledge is power.  Come and
take another lesson on boxing to-morrow."

Kenelm remounted his pony and returned home.  He found his father
sauntering in the garden with a book in his hand.  "Papa," said
Kenelm, "how does one gentleman write to another with whom he has a
quarrel, and he don't want to make it up, but he has something to say
about the quarrel which it is fair the other gentleman should know?"

"I don't understand what you mean."

"Well, just before I went to school I remember hearing you say that
you had a quarrel with Lord Hautfort, and that he was an ass, and you
would write and tell him so.  When you wrote did you say, 'You are an
ass'?  Is that the way one gentleman writes to another?"

"Upon my honour, Kenelm, you ask very odd questions.  But you cannot
learn too early this fact, that irony is to the high-bred what
Billingsgate is to the vulgar; and when one gentleman thinks another
gentleman an ass, he does not say it point-blank: he implies it in the
politest terms he can invent.  Lord Hautfort denies my right of free
warren over a trout-stream that runs through his lands.  I don't care
a rush about the trout-stream, but there is no doubt of my right to
fish in it.  He was an ass to raise the question; for, if he had not,
I should not have exercised the right.  As he did raise the question,
I was obliged to catch his trout."

"And you wrote a letter to him?"


"How did you write, Papa?  What did you say?"

"Something like this.  'Sir Peter Chillingly presents his compliments
to Lord Hautfort, and thinks it fair to his lordship to say that he
has taken the best legal advice with regard to his rights of free
warren; and trusts to be forgiven if he presumes to suggest that Lord
Hautfort might do well to consult his own lawyer before he decides on
disputing them.'"

"Thank you, Papa.  I see."

That evening Kenelm wrote the following letter:--

Mr. Chillingly presents his compliments to Mr. Butt, and thinks it
fair to Mr. Butt to say that he is taking lessons in boxing; and
trusts to be forgiven if he presumes to suggest that Mr. Butt might do
well to take lessons himself before fighting with Mr. Chillingly next

"Papa," said Kenelm the next morning, "I want to write to a
schoolfellow whose name is Butt; he is the son of a lawyer who is
called a serjeant.  I don't know where to direct to him."

"That is easily ascertained," said Sir Peter.  "Serjeant Butt is an
eminent man, and his address will be in the Court Guide."

The address was found,--Bloomsbury Square; and Kenelm directed his
letter accordingly.  In due course he received this answer,--

You are an insolent little fool, and I'll thrash you within an inch of
your life.


After the receipt of that polite epistle, Kenelm Chillingly's scruples
vanished, and he took daily lessons in muscular Christianity.

Kenelm returned to school with a brow cleared from care, and three
days after his return he wrote to the Reverend John,--

DEAR SIR,--I have licked Butt.  Knowledge is power.

Your affectionate     KENELM.

P. S.--Now that I have licked Butt, I have made it up with him.

From that time Kenelm prospered.  Eulogistic letters from the
illustrious head-master showered in upon Sir Peter.  At the age of
sixteen Kenelm Chillingly was the head of the school, and, quitting it
finally, brought home the following letter from his Orbilius to Sir
Peter, marked "confidential":--

DEAR SIR PETER CHILLINGLY,--I have never felt more anxious for the
future career of any of my pupils than I do for that of your son.  He
is so clever that, with ease to himself, he may become a great man.
He is so peculiar that it is quite as likely that he may only make
himself known to the world as a great oddity.  That distinguished
teacher Dr. Arnold said that the difference between one boy and
another was not so much talent as energy.  Your son has talent, has
energy: yet he wants something for success in life; he wants the
faculty of amalgamation.  He is of a melancholic and therefore
unsocial temperament.  He will not act in concert with others.  He is
lovable enough: the other boys like him, especially the smaller ones,
with whom he is a sort of hero; but he has not one intimate friend.
So far as school learning is concerned, he might go to college at
once, and with the certainty of distinction provided he chose to exert
himself.  But if I may venture to offer an advice, I should say employ
the next two years in letting him see a little more of real life and
acquire a due sense of its practical objects.  Send him to a private
tutor who is not a pedant, but a man of letters or a man of the world,
and if in the metropolis so much the better.  In a word, my young
friend is unlike other people; and, with qualities that might do
anything in life, I fear, unless you can get him to be like other
people, that he will do nothing.  Excuse the freedom with which I
write, and ascribe it to the singular interest with which your son has
inspired me.  I have the honour to be, dear Sir Peter,

Yours truly,     WILLIAM HORTON.

Upon the strength of this letter Sir Peter did not indeed summon
another family council; for he did not consider that his three maiden
sisters could offer any practical advice on the matter.  And as to Mr.
Gordon, that gentleman having gone to law on the great timber
question, and having been signally beaten thereon, had informed Sir
Peter that he disowned him as a cousin and despised him as a man; not
exactly in those words,--more covertly, and therefore more stingingly.
But Sir Peter invited Mr. Mivers for a week's shooting, and requested
the Reverend John to meet him.

Mr. Mivers arrived.  The sixteen years that had elapsed since he was
first introduced to the reader had made no perceptible change in his
appearance.  It was one of his maxims that in youth a man of the world
should appear older than he is; and in middle age, and thence to his
dying day, younger.  And he announced one secret for attaining that
art in these words: "Begin your wig early, thus you never become

Unlike most philosophers, Mivers made his practice conform to his
precepts; and while in the prime of youth inaugurated a wig in a
fashion that defied the flight of time, not curly and hyacinthine, but
straight-haired and unassuming.  He looked five-and-thirty from the
day he put on that wig at the age of twenty-five.  He looked
five-and-thirty now at the age of fifty-one.

"I mean," said he, "to remain thirty-five all my life.  No better age
to stick at.  People may choose to say I am more, but I shall not own
it.  No one is bound to criminate himself."

Mr. Mivers had some other aphorisms on this important subject.  One
was, "Refuse to be ill.  Never tell people you are ill; never own it
to yourself.  Illness is one of those things which a man should resist
on principle at the onset.  It should never be allowed to get in the
thin end of the wedge.  But take care of your constitution, and,
having ascertained the best habits for it, keep to them like
clockwork."  Mr. Mivers would not have missed his constitutional walk
in the Park before breakfast if, by going in a cab to St. Giles's, he
could have saved the city of London from conflagration.

Another aphorism of his was, "If you want to keep young, live in a
metropolis; never stay above a few weeks at a time in the country.
Take two men of similar constitution at the age of twenty-five; let
one live in London and enjoy a regular sort of club life; send the
other to some rural district, preposterously called 'salubrious.'
Look at these men when they have both reached the age of forty-five.
The London man has preserved his figure: the rural man has a paunch.
The London man has an interesting delicacy of complexion: the face of
the rural man is coarse-grained and perhaps jowly."

A third axiom was, "Don't be a family man; nothing ages one like
matrimonial felicity and paternal ties.  Never multiply cares, and
pack up your life in the briefest compass you can.  Why add to your
carpet-bag of troubles the contents of a lady's imperials and
bonnet-boxes, and the travelling /fourgon/ required by the nursery?
Shun ambition: it is so gouty.  It takes a great deal out of a man's
life, and gives him nothing worth having till he has ceased to enjoy
it."  Another of his aphorisms was this, "A fresh mind keeps the body
fresh.  Take in the ideas of the day, drain off those of yesterday.
As to the morrow, time enough to consider it when it becomes to-day."

Preserving himself by attention to these rules, Mr. Mivers appeared at
Exmundham /totus, teres/, but not /rotundus/,--a man of middle height,
slender, upright, with well-cut, small, slight features, thin lips,
enclosing an excellent set of teeth, even, white, and not indebted to
the dentist.  For the sake of those teeth he shunned acid wines,
especially hock in all its varieties, culinary sweets, and hot drinks.
He drank even his tea cold.

"There are," he said, "two things in life that a sage must preserve at
every sacrifice, the coats of his stomach and the enamel of his teeth.
Some evils admit of consolations: there are no comforters for
dyspepsia and toothache."  A man of letters, but a man of the world,
he had so cultivated his mind as both that he was feared as the one
and liked as the other.  As a man of letters he despised the world; as
a man of the world he despised letters.  As the representative of both
he revered himself.


ON the evening of the third day from the arrival of Mr. Mivers, he,
the Parson, and Sir Peter were seated in the host's parlour, the
Parson in an armchair by the ingle, smoking a short cutty-pipe; Mivers
at length on the couch, slowly inhaling the perfumes of one of his own
choice /trabucos/.  Sir Peter never smoked.  There were spirits and
hot water and lemons on the table.  The Parson was famed for skill in
the composition of toddy.  From time to time the Parson sipped his
glass, and Sir Peter less frequently did the same.  It is needless to
say that Mr. Mivers eschewed toddy; but beside him, on a chair, was a
tumbler and a large carafe of iced water.

SIR PETER.--"Cousin Mivers, you have now had time to study Kenelm, and
to compare his character with that assigned to him in the Doctor's

MIVERS (languidly).--"Ay."

SIR PETER.--"I ask you, as a man of the world, what you think I had
best do with the boy.  Shall I send him to such a tutor as the Doctor
suggests?  Cousin John is not of the same mind as the Doctor, and
thinks that Kenelm's oddities are fine things in their way, and should
not be prematurely ground out of him by contact with worldly tutors
and London pavements."

"Ay," repeated Mr. Mivers more languidly than before.  After a pause
he added, "Parson John, let us hear you."

The Parson laid aside his cutty-pipe and emptied his fourth tumbler of
toddy; then, throwing back his head in the dreamy fashion of the great
Coleridge when he indulged in a monologue, he thus began, speaking
somewhat through his nose,--

"At the morning of life--"

Here Mivers shrugged his shoulders, turned round on his couch, and
closed his eyes with the sigh of a man resigning himself to a homily.

"At the morning of life, when the dews--"

"I knew the dews were coming," said Mivers.  "Dry them, if you please;
nothing so unwholesome.  We anticipate what you mean to say, which is
plainly this, When a fellow is sixteen he is very fresh: so he is;
pass on; what then?"

"If you mean to interrupt me with your habitual cynicism," said the
Parson, "why did you ask to hear me?"

"That was a mistake I grant; but who on earth could conceive that you
were going to commence in that florid style?  Morning of life indeed!

"Cousin Mivers," said Sir Peter, "you are not reviewing John's style
in 'The Londoner;' and I will beg you to remember that my son's
morning of life is a serious thing to his father, and not to be nipped
in its bud by a cousin.  Proceed, John!"

Quoth the Parson, good-humouredly, "I will adapt my style to the taste
of my critic.  When a fellow is at the age of sixteen, and very fresh
to life, the question is whether he should begin thus prematurely to
exchange the ideas that belong to youth for the ideas that properly
belong to middle age,--whether he should begin to acquire that
knowledge of the world which middle-aged men have acquired and can
teach. I think not.  I would rather have him yet a while in the
company of the poets; in the indulgence of glorious hopes and
beautiful dreams, forming to himself some type of the Heroic, which he
will keep before his eyes as a standard when he goes into the world as
man.  There are two schools of thought for the formation of
character,--the Real and the Ideal.  I would form the character in the
Ideal school, in order to make it bolder and grander and lovelier when
it takes its place in that every-day life which is called Real.  And
therefore I am not for placing the descendant of Sir Kenelm Digby, in
the interval between school and college, with a man of the world,
probably as cynical as Cousin Mivers and living in the stony
thoroughfares of London."

MR. MIVERS (rousing himself).--"Before we plunge into that Serbonian
bog--the controversy between the Realistic and the Idealistic
academicians--I think the first thing to decide is what you want
Kenelm to be hereafter.  When I order a pair of shoes, I decide
beforehand what kind of shoes they are to be,--court pumps or strong
walking shoes; and I don't ask the shoemaker to give me a preliminary
lecture upon the different purposes of locomotion to which leather can
be applied.  If, Sir Peter, you want Kenelm to scribble lackadaisical
poems, listen to Parson John; if you want to fill his head with
pastoral rubbish about innocent love, which may end in marrying the
miller's daughter, listen to Parson John; if you want him to enter
life a soft-headed greenhorn, who will sign any bill carrying 50 per
cent to which a young scamp asks him to be security, listen to Parson
John; in fine, if you wish a clever lad to become either a pigeon or a
ring-dove, a credulous booby or a sentimental milksop, Parson John is
the best adviser you can have."

"But I don't want my son to ripen into either of those imbecile
developments of species."

"Then don't listen to Parson John; and there's an end of the

"No, there is not.  I have not heard your advice what to do if John's
advice is not to be taken."

Mr. Mivers hesitated.  He seemed puzzled.

"The fact is," said the Parson, "that Mivers got up 'The Londoner'
upon a principle that regulates his own mind,--find fault with the way
everything is done, but never commit yourself by saying how anything
can be done better."

"That is true," said Mivers, candidly.  "The destructive order of mind
is seldom allied to the constructive.  I and 'The Londoner' are
destructive by nature and by policy.  We can reduce a building into
rubbish, but we don't profess to turn rubbish into a building.  We are
critics, and, as you say, not such fools as to commit ourselves to the
proposition of amendments that can be criticised by others.
Nevertheless, for your sake, Cousin Peter, and on the condition that
if I give my advice you will never say that I gave it, and if you take
it that you will never reproach me if it turns out, as most advice
does, very ill,--I will depart from my custom and hazard my opinion."

"I accept the conditions."

"Well then, with every new generation there springs up a new order of
ideas.  The earlier the age at which a man seizes the ideas that will
influence his own generation, the more he has a start in the race with
his contemporaries.  If Kenelm comprehends at sixteen those
intellectual signs of the time which, when he goes up to college, he
will find young men of eighteen or twenty only just /prepared/ to
comprehend, he will produce a deep impression of his powers for
reasoning and their adaptation to actual life, which will be of great
service to him later.  Now the ideas that influence the mass of the
rising generation never have their well-head in the generation itself.
They have their source in the generation before them, generally in a
small minority, neglected or contemned by the great majority which
adopt them later.  Therefore a lad at the age of sixteen, if he wants
to get at such ideas, must come into close contact with some superior
mind in which they were conceived twenty or thirty years before.  I am
consequently for placing Kenelm with a person from whom the new ideas
can be learned.  I am also for his being placed in the metropolis
during the process of this initiation.  With such introductions as are
at our command, he may come in contact not only with new ideas, but
with eminent men in all vocations.  It is a great thing to mix betimes
with clever people.  One picks their brains unconsciously.  There is
another advantage, and not a small one, in this early entrance into
good society.  A youth learns manners, self-possession, readiness of
resource; and he is much less likely to get into scrapes and contract
tastes for low vices and mean dissipation, when he comes into life
wholly his own master, after having acquired a predilection for
refined companionship under the guidance of those competent to select
it.  There, I have talked myself out of breath.  And you had better
decide at once in favour of my advice; for as I am of a contradictory
temperament, myself of to-morrow may probably contradict myself of

Sir Peter was greatly impressed with his cousin's argumentative

The Parson smoked his cutty-pipe in silence until appealed to by Sir
Peter, and he then said, "In this programme of education for a
Christian gentleman, the part of Christian seems to me left out."

"The tendency of the age," observed Mr. Mivers, calmly, "is towards
that omission.  Secular education is the necessary reaction from the
special theological training which arose in the dislike of one set of
Christians to the teaching of another set; and as these antagonists
will not agree how religion is to be taught, either there must be no
teaching at all, or religion must be eliminated from the tuition."

"That may do very well for some huge system of national education,"
said Sir Peter, "but it does not apply to Kenelm, as one of a family
all of whose members belong to the Established Church.  He may be
taught the creed of his forefathers without offending a Dissenter."

"Which Established Church is he to belong to?" asked Mr.
Mivers,--"High Church, Low Church, Broad Church, Puseyite Church,
Ritualistic Church, or any other Established Church that may be coming
into fashion?"

"Pshaw!" said the Parson.  "That sneer is out of place.  You know very
well that one merit of our Church is the spirit of toleration, which
does not magnify every variety of opinion into a heresy or a schism.
But if Sir Peter sends his son at the age of sixteen to a tutor who
eliminates the religion of Christianity from his teaching, he deserves
to be thrashed within an inch of his life; and," continued the Parson,
eying Sir Peter sternly, and mechanically turning up his cuffs, "I
should /like/ to thrash him."

"Gently, John," said Sir Peter, recoiling; "gently, my dear kinsman.
My heir shall not be educated as a heathen, and Mivers is only
bantering us.  Come, Mivers, do you happen to know among your London
friends some man who, though a scholar and a man of the world, is
still a Christian?"

"A Christian as by law established?"


"And who will receive Kenelm as a pupil?"

"Of course I am not putting, such questions to you out of idle

"I know exactly the man.  He was originally intended for orders, and
is a very learned theologian.  He relinquished the thought of the
clerical profession on succeeding to a small landed estate by the
sudden death of an elder brother.  He then came to London and bought
experience: that is, he was naturally generous; he became easily taken
in; got into difficulties; the estate was transferred to trustees for
the benefit of creditors, and on the payment of L400 a year to
himself.  By this time he was married and had two children.  He found
the necessity of employing his pen in order to add to his income, and
is one of the ablest contributors to the periodical press.  He is an
elegant scholar, an effective writer, much courted by public men, a
thorough gentleman, has a pleasant house, and receives the best
society.  Having been once taken in, he defies any one to take him in
again.  His experience was not bought too dearly.  No more acute and
accomplished man of the world.  The three hundred a year or so that
you would pay for Kenelm would suit him very well.  His name is Welby,
and he lives in Chester Square."

"No doubt he is a contributor to 'The Londoner,'" said the Parson,

"True.  He writes our classical, theological, and metaphysical
articles.  Suppose I invite him to come here for a day or two, and you
can see him and judge for yourself, Sir Peter?"



MR. WELBY arrived, and pleased everybody.  A man of the happiest
manners, easy and courteous.  There was no pedantry in him, yet you
could soon see that his reading covered an extensive surface, and here
and there had dived deeply.  He enchanted the Parson by his comments
on Saint Chrysostom; he dazzled Sir Peter with his lore in the
antiquities of ancient Britain; he captivated Kenelm by his readiness
to enter into that most disputatious of sciences called metaphysics;
while for Lady Chillingly, and the three sisters who were invited to
meet him, he was more entertaining, but not less instructive.  Equally
at home in novels and in good books, he gave to the spinsters a list
of innocent works in either; while for Lady Chillingly he sparkled
with anecdotes of fashionable life, the newest /bons mots/, the latest
scandals.  In fact, Mr. Welby was one of those brilliant persons who
adorn any society amidst which they are thrown.  If at heart he was a
disappointed man, the disappointment was concealed by an even serenity
of spirits; he had entertained high and justifiable hopes of a
brilliant career and a lasting reputation as a theologian and a
preacher; the succession to his estate at the age of twenty-three had
changed the nature of his ambition.  The charm of his manner was such
that he sprang at once into the fashion, and became beguiled by his
own genial temperament into that lesser but pleasanter kind of
ambition which contents itself with social successes and enjoys the
present hour.  When his circumstances compelled him to eke out his
income by literary profits, he slid into the grooves of periodical
composition, and resigned all thoughts of the labour required for any
complete work, which might take much time and be attended with scanty
profits.  He still remained very popular in society, and perhaps his
general reputation for ability made him fearful to hazard it by any
great undertaking.  He was not, like Mivers, a despiser of all men and
all things; but he regarded men and things as an indifferent though
good-natured spectator regards the thronging streets from a
drawing-room window.  He could not be called /blase/, but he was
thoroughly /desillusionne/.  Once over-romantic, his character now was
so entirely imbued with the neutral tints of life that romance
offended his taste as an obtrusion of violent colour into a sober
woof.  He was become a thorough Realist in his code of criticism, and
in his worldly mode of action and thought.  But Parson John did not
perceive this, for Welby listened to that gentleman's eulogies on the
Ideal school without troubling himself to contradict them.  He had
grown too indolent to be combative in conversation, and only as a
critic betrayed such pugnacity as remained to him by the polished
cruelty of sarcasm.

He came off with flying colours through an examination into his Church
orthodoxy instituted by the Parson and Sir Peter.  Amid a cloud of
ecclesiastical erudition, his own opinions vanished in those of the
Fathers.  In truth, he was a Realist, in religion as in everything
else.  He regarded Christianity as a type of existent civilization,
which ought to be reverenced, as one might recognize the other types
of that civilization; such as the liberty of the press, the
representative system, white neckcloths and black coats of an evening,
etc.  He belonged, therefore, to what he himself called the school of
Eclectical Christiology; and accommodated the reasonings of Deism to
the doctrines of the Church, if not as a creed, at least as an
institution.  Finally, he united all the Chillingly votes in his
favour; and when he departed from the Hall carried off Kenelm for his
initiation into the new ideas that were to govern his generation.


KENELM remained a year and a half with this distinguished preceptor.
During that time he learned much in book-lore; he saw much, too, of
the eminent men of the day, in literature, the law, and the senate.
He saw, also, a good deal of the fashionable world.  Fine ladies, who
had been friends of his mother in her youth, took him up, counselled
and petted him,--one in especial, the Marchioness of Glenalvon, to
whom he was endeared by grateful association, for her youngest son had
been a fellow-pupil of Kenelm at Merton School, and Kenelm had saved
his life from drowning.  The poor boy died of consumption later, and
her grief for his loss made her affection for Kenelm yet more tender.
Lady Glenalvon was one of the queens of the London world.  Though in
the fiftieth year she was still very handsome: she was also very
accomplished, very clever, and very kind-hearted, as some of such
queens are; just one of those women invaluable in forming the manners
and elevating the character of young men destined to make a figure in
after-life.  But she was very angry with herself in thinking that she
failed to arouse any such ambition in the heir of the Chillinglys.

It may here be said that Kenelm was not without great advantages of
form and countenance.  He was tall, and the youthful grace of his
proportions concealed his physical strength, which was extraordinary
rather from the iron texture than the bulk of his thews and sinews.
His face, though it certainly lacked the roundness of youth, had a
grave, sombre, haunting sort of beauty, not artistically regular, but
picturesque, peculiar, with large dark expressive eyes, and a certain
indescribable combination of sweetness and melancholy in his quiet
smile.  He never laughed audibly, but he had a quick sense of the
comic, and his eye would laugh when his lips were silent.  He would
say queer, droll, unexpected things which passed for humour; but, save
for that gleam in the eye, he could not have said them with more
seeming innocence of intentional joke if he had been a monk of La
Trappe looking up from the grave he was digging in order to utter
"memento mori."

That face of his was a great "take in."  Women thought it full of
romantic sentiment; the face of one easily moved to love, and whose
love would be replete alike with poetry and passion.  But he remained
as proof as the youthful Hippolytus to all female attraction.  He
delighted the Parson by keeping up his practice in athletic pursuits;
and obtained a reputation at the pugilistic school, which he attended
regularly, as the best gentleman boxer about town.

He made many acquaintances, but still formed no friendships.  Yet
every one who saw him much conceived affection for him.  If he did not
return that affection, he did not repel it.  He was exceedingly gentle
in voice and manner, and had all his father's placidity of temper:
children and dogs took to him as by instinct.

On leaving Mr. Welby's, Kenelm carried to Cambridge a mind largely
stocked with the new ideas that were budding into leaf.  He certainly
astonished the other freshmen, and occasionally puzzled the mighty
Fellows of Trinity and St. John's.  But he gradually withdrew himself
much from general society.  In fact, he was too old in mind for his
years; and after having mixed in the choicest circles of a metropolis,
college suppers and wine parties had little charm for him.  He
maintained his pugilistic renown; and on certain occasions, when some
delicate undergraduate had been bullied by some gigantic bargeman, his
muscular Christianity nobly developed itself.  He did not do as much
as he might have done in the more intellectual ways of academical
distinction.  Still, he was always among the first in the college
examinations; he won two university prizes, and took a very creditable
degree, after which he returned home, more odd, more saturnine--in
short, less like other people--than when he had left Merton School.
He had woven a solitude round him out of his own heart, and in that
solitude he sat still and watchful as a spider sits in his web.

Whether from natural temperament or from his educational training
under such teachers as Mr. Mivers, who carried out the new ideas of
reform by revering nothing in the past, and Mr. Welby, who accepted
the routine of the present as realistic, and pooh-poohed all visions
of the future as idealistic, Kenelm's chief mental characteristic was
a kind of tranquil indifferentism.  It was difficult to detect in him
either of those ordinary incentives to action,--vanity or ambition,
the yearning for applause or the desire of power.  To all female
fascinations he had been hitherto star-proof.  He had never
experienced love, but he had read a good deal about it; and that
passion seemed to him an unaccountable aberration of human reason, and
an ignominious surrender of the equanimity of thought which it should
be the object of masculine natures to maintain undisturbed.  A very
eloquent book in praise of celibacy, and entitled "The Approach to the
Angels," written by that eminent Oxford scholar, Decimus Roach, had
produced so remarkable an effect upon his youthful mind that, had he
been a Roman Catholic, he might have become a monk.  Where he most
evinced ardour it was a logician's ardour for abstract truth; that is,
for what he considered truth: and, as what seems truth to one man is
sure to seem falsehood to some other man, this predilection of his was
not without its inconveniences and dangers, as may probably be seen in
the following chapter.

Meanwhile, rightly to appreciate his conduct therein, I entreat thee,
O candid reader (not that any reader ever is candid), to remember that
he is brimful of new ideas, which, met by a deep and hostile
undercurrent of old ideas, become more provocatively billowy and


THERE had been great festivities at Exmundham, in celebration of the
honour bestowed upon the world by the fact that Kenelm Chillingly had
lived twenty-one years in it.

The young heir had made a speech to the assembled tenants and other
admitted revellers, which had by no means added to the exhilaration of
the proceedings.  He spoke with a fluency and self-possession which
were surprising in a youth addressing a multitude for the first time.
But his speech was not cheerful.

The principal tenant on the estate, in proposing his health, had
naturally referred to the long line of his ancestors.  His father's
merits as man and landlord had been enthusiastically commemorated; and
many happy auguries for his own future career had been drawn, partly
from the excellences of his parentage, partly from his own youthful
promise in the honours achieved at the University.

Kenelm Chillingly in reply largely availed himself of those new ideas
which were to influence the rising generation, and with which he had
been rendered familiar by the journal of Mr. Mivers and the
conversation of Mr. Welby.

He briefly disposed of the ancestral part of the question.  He
observed that it was singular to note how long any given family or,
dynasty could continue to flourish in any given nook of matter in
creation, without any exhibition of intellectual powers beyond those
displayed by a succession of vegetable crops.  "It is certainly true,"
he said, "that the Chillinglys have lived in this place from father to
son for about a fourth part of the history of the world, since the
date which Sir Isaac Newton assigns to the Deluge.  But, so far as can
be judged by existent records, the world has not been in any way wiser
or better for their existence.  They were born to eat as long as they
could eat, and when they could eat no longer they died.  Not that in
this respect they were a whit less insignificant than the generality
of their fellow-creatures.  Most of us now present," continued the
youthful orator, "are only born in order to die; and the chief
consolation of our wounded pride in admitting this fact is in the
probability that our posterity will not be of more consequence to the
scheme of Nature than we ourselves are."  Passing from that
philosophical view of his own ancestors in particular, and of the
human race in general, Kenelm Chillingly then touched with serene
analysis on the eulogies lavished on his father as man and landlord.

"As man," he said, "my father no doubt deserves all that can be said
by man in favour of man.  But what, at the best, is man?  A crude,
struggling, undeveloped embryo, of whom it is the highest attribute
that he feels a vague consciousness that he is only an embryo, and
cannot complete himself till he ceases to be a man; that is, until he
becomes another being in another form of existence.  We can praise a
dog as a dog, because a dog is a completed /ens/, and not an embryo.
But to praise a man as man, forgetting that he is only a germ out of
which a form wholly different is ultimately to spring, is equally
opposed to Scriptural belief in his present crudity and imperfection,
and to psychological or metaphysical examination of a mental
construction evidently designed for purposes that he can never fulfil
as man.  That my father is an embryo not more incomplete than any
present is quite true; but that, you will see on reflection, is saying
very little on his behalf.  Even in the boasted physical formation of
us men, you are aware that the best-shaped amongst us, according to
the last scientific discoveries, is only a development of some hideous
hairy animal, such as a gorilla; and the ancestral gorilla itself had
its own aboriginal forefather in a small marine animal shaped like a
two-necked bottle.  The probability is that, some day or other, we
shall be exterminated by a new development of species.

"As for the merits assigned to my father as landlord, I must
respectfully dissent from the panegyrics so rashly bestowed on him.
For all sound reasoners must concur in this, that the first duty of an
owner of land is not to the occupiers to whom he leases it, but to the
nation at large.  It is his duty to see that the land yields to the
community the utmost it can yield.  In order to effect this object, a
landlord should put up his farms to competition, exacting the highest
rent he can possibly get from responsible competitors.  Competitive
examination is the enlightened order of the day, even in professions
in which the best men would have qualities that defy examination.  In
agriculture, happily, the principle of competitive examination is not
so hostile to the choice of the best man as it must be, for instance,
in diplomacy, where a Talleyrand would be excluded for knowing no
language but his own; and still more in the army, where promotion
would be denied to an officer who, like Marlborough, could not spell.
But in agriculture a landlord has only to inquire who can give the
highest rent, having the largest capital, subject by the strictest
penalties of law to the conditions of a lease dictated by the most
scientific agriculturists under penalties fixed by the most cautious
conveyancers.  By this mode of procedure, recommended by the most
liberal economists of our age,--barring those still more liberal who
deny that property in land is any property at all,--by this mode of
procedure, I say, a landlord does his duty to his country.  He secures
tenants who can produce the most to the community by their capital,
tested through competitive examination in their bankers' accounts and
the security they can give, and through the rigidity of covenants
suggested by a Liebig and reduced into law by a Chitty.  But on my
father's land I see a great many tenants with little skill and less
capital, ignorant of a Liebig and revolting from a Chitty, and no
filial enthusiasm can induce me honestly to say that my father is a
good landlord.  He has preferred his affection for individuals to his
duties to the community.  It is not, my friends, a question whether a
handful of farmers like yourselves go to the workhouse or not.  It is
a consumer's question.  Do you produce the maximum of corn to the

"With respect to myself," continued the orator, warming as the cold he
had engendered in his audience became more freezingly felt,--"with
respect to myself, I do not deny that, owing to the accident of
training for a very faulty and contracted course of education, I have
obtained what are called 'honours' at the University of Cambridge; but
you must not regard that fact as a promise of any worth in my future
passage through life.  Some of the most useless persons--especially
narrow-minded and bigoted--have acquired far higher honours at the
University than have fallen to my lot.

"I thank you no less for the civil things you have said of me and of
my family; but I shall endeavour to walk to that grave to which we are
all bound with a tranquil indifference as to what people may say of me
in so short a journey.  And the sooner, my friends, we get to our
journey's end, the better our chance of escaping a great many pains,
troubles, sins, and diseases.  So that when I drink to your good
healths, you must feel that in reality I wish you an early deliverance
from the ills to which flesh is exposed, and which so generally
increase with our years that good health is scarcely compatible with
the decaying faculties of old age.  Gentlemen, your good healths!"


THE morning after these birthday rejoicings, Sir Peter and Lady
Chillingly held a long consultation on the peculiarities of their
heir, and the best mode of instilling into his mind the expediency
either of entertaining more pleasing views, or at least of professing
less unpopular sentiments; compatibly of course, though they did not
say it, with the new ideas that were to govern his century.  Having
come to an agreement on this delicate subject, they went forth, arm in
arm, in search of their heir.  Kenelm seldom met them at breakfast.
He was an early riser, and accustomed to solitary rambles before his
parents were out of bed.

The worthy pair found Kenelm seated on the banks of a trout-stream
that meandered through Chillingly Park, dipping his line into the
water, and yawning, with apparent relief in that operation.

"Does fishing amuse you, my boy?" said Sir Peter, heartily.

"Not in the least, sir," answered Kenelm.

"Then why do you do it?" asked Lady Chillingly.

"Because I know nothing else that amuses me more."

"Ah! that is it," said Sir Peter: "the whole secret of Kenelm's
oddities is to be found in these words, my dear; he needs amusement.
Voltaire says truly, 'Amusement is one of the wants of man.' And if
Kenelm could be amused like other people, he would be like other

"In that case," said Kenelm, gravely, and extracting from the water a
small but lively trout, which settled itself in Lady Chillingly's
lap,--"in that case I would rather not be amused.  I have no interest
in the absurdities of other people.  The instinct of self-preservation
compels me to have some interest in my own."

"Kenelm, sir," exclaimed Lady Chillingly, with an animation into which
her tranquil ladyship was very rarely betrayed, "take away that horrid
damp thing! Put down your rod and attend to what your father says.
Your strange conduct gives us cause of serious anxiety."

Kenelm unhooked the trout, deposited the fish in his basket, and
raising his large eyes to his father's face, said, "What is there in
my conduct that occasions you displeasure?"

"Not displeasure, Kenelm," said Sir Peter, kindly, "but anxiety; your
mother has hit upon the right word.  You see, my dear son, that it is
my wish that you should distinguish yourself in the world.  You might
represent this county, as your ancestors have done before.  I have
looked forward to the proceedings of yesterday as an admirable
occasion for your introduction to your future constituents.  Oratory
is the talent most appreciated in a free country, and why should you
not be an orator?  Demosthenes says that delivery, delivery, delivery,
is the art of oratory; and your delivery is excellent, graceful,
self-possessed, classical."

"Pardon me, my dear father, Demosthenes does not say delivery, nor
action, as the word is commonly rendered; he says, 'acting, or
stage-play,'--the art by which a man delivers a speech in a feigned
character, whence we get the word hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy, hypocrisy,
hypocrisy! is, according to Demosthenes, the triple art of the orator.
Do you wish me to become triply a hypocrite?"

"Kenelm, I am ashamed of you.  You know as well as I do that it is
only by metaphor that you can twist the word ascribed to the great
Athenian into the sense of hypocrisy.  But assuming it, as you say, to
mean not delivery, but acting, I understand why your debut as an
orator was not successful.  Your delivery was excellent, your acting
defective.  An orator should please, conciliate, persuade, prepossess.
You did the reverse of all this; and though you produced a great
effect, the effect was so decidedly to your disadvantage that it would
have lost you an election on any hustings in England."

"Am I to understand, my dear father," said Kenelm, in the mournful and
compassionate tones with which a pious minister of the Church reproves
some abandoned and hoary sinner,--"am I to understand that you would
commend to your son the adoption of deliberate falsehood for the gain
of a selfish advantage?"

"Deliberate falsehood! you impertinent puppy!"

"Puppy!" repeated Kenelm, not indignantly but musingly,--"puppy! a
well-bred puppy takes after its parents."

Sir Peter burst out laughing.

Lady Chillingly rose with dignity, shook her gown, unfolded her
parasol, and stalked away speechless.

"Now, look you, Kenelm," said Sir Peter, as soon as he had composed
himself.  "These quips and humours of yours are amusing enough to an
eccentric man like myself, but they will not do for the world; and how
at your age, and with the rare advantages you have had in an early
introduction to the best intellectual society, under the guidance of a
tutor acquainted with the new ideas which are to influence the conduct
of statesmen, you could have made so silly a speech as you did
yesterday, I cannot understand."

"My dear father, allow me to assure you that the ideas I expressed are
the new ideas most in vogue,--ideas expressed in still plainer, or, if
you prefer the epithet, still sillier terms than I employed.  You will
find them instilled into the public mind by 'The Londoner' and by most
intellectual journals of a liberal character."

"Kenelm, Kenelm, such ideas would turn the world topsy-turvy."

"New ideas always do tend to turn old ideas topsy-turvy.  And the
world, after all, is only an idea, which is turned topsy-turvy with
every successive century."

"You make me sick of the word 'ideas.'  Leave off your metaphysics and
study real life."

"It is real life which I did study under Mr. Welby.  He is the
Archimandrite of Realism.  It is sham life which you wish me to study.
To oblige you I am willing to commence it.  I dare say it is very
pleasant.  Real life is not; on the contrary--dull," and Kenelm yawned

"Have you no young friends among your fellow-collegians?"

"Friends! certainly not, sir.  But I believe I have some enemies, who
answer the same purpose as friends, only they don't hurt one so much."

"Do you mean to say that you lived alone at Cambridge?"

"No, I lived a good deal with Aristophanes, and a little with Conic
Sections and Hydrostatics."

"Books.  Dry company."

"More innocent, at least, than moist company.  Did you ever get drunk,


"I tried to do so once with the young companions whom you would
commend to me as friends.  I don't think I succeeded, but I woke with
a headache.  Real life at college abounds with headache."

"Kenelm, my boy, one thing is clear: you must travel."

"As you please, sir.  Marcus Antoninus says that it is all one to a
stone whether it be thrown upwards or downwards.  When shall I start?"

"Very soon.  Of course there are preparations to make; you should have
a travelling companion.  I don't mean a tutor,--you are too clever and
too steady to need one,--but a pleasant, sensible, well-mannered young
person of your own age."

"My own age,--male or female?"

Sir Peter tried hard to frown.  The utmost he could do was to reply
gravely, "FEMALE!  If I said you were too steady to need a tutor, it
was because you have hitherto seemed little likely to be led out of
your way by female allurements.  Among your other studies may I
inquire if you have included that which no man has ever yet thoroughly
mastered,--the study of women?"

"Certainly.  Do you object to my catching another trout?"

"Trout be--blessed, or the reverse.  So you have studied woman.  I
should never have thought it.  Where and when did you commence that
department of science?"

"When? ever since I was ten years old.  Where? first in your own
house, then at college.  Hush!--a bite," and another trout left its
native element and alighted on Sir Peter's nose, whence it was
solemnly transferred to the basket.

"At ten years old, and in my own house!  That flaunting hussy Jane,
the under-housemaid--"

"Jane!  No, sir.  Pamela, Miss Byron, Clarissa,--females in
Richardson, who, according to Dr. Johnson, 'taught the passions to
move at the command of virtue.' I trust for your sake that Dr. Johnson
did not err in that assertion, for I found all these females at night
in your own private apartments."

"Oh!" said Sir Peter, "that's all?"

"All I remember at ten years old," replied Kenelm.

"And at Mr. Welby's or at college," proceeded Sir Peter, timorously,
"was your acquaintance with females of the same kind?"

Kenelm shook his head.  "Much worse: they were very naughty indeed at

"I should think so, with such a lot of young fellows running after

"Very few fellows run after the females.  I mean--rather avoid them."

"So much the better."

"No, my father, so much the worse; without an intimate knowledge of
those females there is little use going to college at all."

"Explain yourself."

"Every one who receives a classical education is introduced into their
society,--Pyrrha and Lydia, Glycera and Corinna, and many more of the
same sort; and then the females in Aristophanes, what do you say to
them, sir?"

"Is it only females who lived two thousand or three thousand years
ago, or more probably never lived at all, whose intimacy you have
cultivated?  Have you never admired any real women?"

"Real women!  I never met one.  Never met a woman who was not a sham,
a sham from the moment she is told to be pretty-behaved, conceal her
sentiments, and look fibs when she does not speak them.  But if I am
to learn sham life, I suppose I must put up with sham women."

"Have you been crossed in love that you speak so bitterly of the sex?"

"I don't speak bitterly of the sex.  Examine any woman on her oath,
and she'll own she is a sham, always has been, and always will be, and
is proud of it."

"I am glad your mother is not by to hear you.  You will think
differently one of these days.  Meanwhile, to turn to the other sex,
is there no young man of your own rank with whom you would like to

"Certainly not.  I hate quarrelling."

"As you please.  But you cannot go quite alone: I will find you a good
travelling-servant.  I must write to town to-day about your
preparations, and in another week or so I hope all will be ready.
Your allowance will be whatever you like to fix it at; you have never
been extravagant, and--boy--I love you.  Amuse yourself, enjoy
yourself, and come back cured of your oddities, but preserving your

Sir Peter bent down and kissed his son's brow.  Kenelm was moved; he
rose, put his arm round his father's shoulder, and lovingly said, in
an undertone, "If ever I am tempted to do a base thing, may I remember
whose son I am: I shall be safe then."  He withdrew his arm as he said
this, and took his solitary way along the banks of the stream,
forgetful of rod and line.


THE young man continued to skirt the side of the stream until he
reached the boundary pale of the park.  Here, placed on a rough grass
mound, some former proprietor, of a social temperament, had built a
kind of belvidere, so as to command a cheerful view of the high road
below.  Mechanically the heir of the Chillinglys ascended the mound,
seated himself within the belvidere, and leaned his chin on his hand
in a thoughtful attitude.  It was rarely that the building was
honoured by a human visitor: its habitual occupants were spiders.  Of
those industrious insects it was a well-populated colony.  Their webs,
darkened with dust and ornamented with the wings and legs and
skeletons of many an unfortunate traveller, clung thick to angle and
window-sill, festooned the rickety table on which the young man leaned
his elbow, and described geometrical circles and rhomboids between the
gaping rails that formed the backs of venerable chairs.  One large
black spider--who was probably the oldest inhabitant, and held
possession of the best place by the window, ready to offer perfidious
welcome to every winged itinerant who might be tempted to turn aside
from the high road for the sake of a little cool and repose--rushed
from its innermost penetralia at the entrance of Kenelm, and remained
motionless in the centre of its meshes, staring at him.  It did not
seem quite sure whether the stranger was too big or not.

"It is a wonderful proof of the wisdom of Providence," said Kenelm,
"that whenever any large number of its creatures forms a community or
class, a secret element of disunion enters into the hearts of the
individuals forming the congregation, and prevents their co-operating
heartily and effectually for their common interest.  'The fleas would
have dragged me out of bed if they had been unanimous,' said the great
Mr. Curran; and there can be no doubt that if all the spiders in this
commonwealth would unite to attack me in a body, I should fall a
victim to their combined nippers.  But spiders, though inhabiting the
same region, constituting the same race, animated by the same
instincts, do not combine even against a butterfly: each seeks his own
special advantage, and not that of the community at large.  And how
completely the life of each thing resembles a circle in this respect,
that it can never touch another circle at more than one point.  Nay, I
doubt if it quite touches it even there,--there is a space between
every atom; self is always selfish: and yet there are eminent masters
in the Academe of New Ideas who wish to make us believe that all the
working classes of a civilized world could merge every difference of
race, creed, intellect, individual propensities and interests into the
construction of a single web, stocked as a larder in common!" Here the
soliloquist came to a dead stop, and, leaning out of the window,
contemplated the high road.  It was a very fine high road, straight
and level, kept in excellent order by turn pikes at every eight miles.
A pleasant greensward bordered it on either side, and under the
belvidere the benevolence of some mediaeval Chillingly had placed a
little drinking-fountain for the refreshment of wayfarers.  Close to
the fountain stood a rude stone bench, overshadowed by a large willow,
and commanding from the high table-ground on which it was placed a
wide view of cornfields, meadows, and distant hills, suffused in the
mellow light of the summer sun.  Along that road there came
successively a wagon filled with passengers seated on straw,--an old
woman, a pretty girl, two children; then a stout farmer going to
market in his dog-cart; then three flies carrying fares to the nearest
railway station; then a handsome young man on horseback, a handsome
young lady by his side, a groom behind.  It was easy to see that the
young man and young lady were lovers.  See it in his ardent looks and
serious lips parted but for whispers only to be heard by her; see it
in her downcast eyes and heightened colour.  "'Alas! regardless of
their doom,'" muttered Kenelm, "what trouble those 'little victims'
are preparing for themselves and their progeny!  Would I could lend
them Decimus Roach's 'Approach to the Angels'!"  The road now for some
minutes became solitary and still, when there was heard to the right a
sprightly sort of carol, half sung, half recited, in musical voice,
with a singularly clear enunciation, so that the words reached
Kenelm's ear distinctly.  They ran thus:--

  "Black Karl looked forth from his cottage door,
     He looked on the forest green;
   And down the path, with his dogs before,
     Came the Ritter of Neirestein:
   Singing, singing, lustily singing,
     Down the path with his dogs before,
   Came the Ritter of Neirestein."

At a voice so English, attuned to a strain so Germanic, Kenelm pricked
up attentive ears, and, turning his eye down the road, beheld,
emerging from the shade of beeches that overhung the park pales, a
figure that did not altogether harmonize with the idea of a Ritter of
Neirestein.  It was, nevertheless, a picturesque figure enough.  The
man was attired in a somewhat threadbare suit of Lincoln green, with a
high-crowned Tyrolese hat; a knapsack was slung behind his shoulders,
and he was attended by a white Pomeranian dog, evidently foot-sore,
but doing his best to appear proficient in the chase by limping some
yards in advance of his master, and sniffing into the hedges for rats
and mice, and such small deer.

By the time the pedestrian had reached to the close of his refrain he
had gained the fountain, and greeted it with an exclamation of
pleasure.  Slipping the knapsack from his shoulder, he filled the iron
ladle attached to the basin.  He then called the dog by the name of
Max, and held the ladle for him to drink.  Not till the animal had
satisfied his thirst did the master assuage his own.  Then, lifting
his hat and bathing his temples and face, the pedestrian seated
himself on the bench, and the dog nestled on the turf at his feet.
After a little pause the wayfarer began again, though in a lower and
slower tone, to chant his refrain, and proceeded, with abrupt
snatches, to link the verse on to another stanza.  It was evident that
he was either endeavouring to remember or to invent, and it seemed
rather like the latter and more laborious operation of mind.

  "'Why on foot, why on foot, Ritter Karl,' quoth he,
     'And not on thy palfrey gray?'

Palfrey gray--hum--gray.

  "'The run of ill-luck was too strong for me,
     'And has galloped my steed away.'

That will do: good!"

"Good indeed!  He is easily satisfied," muttered Kenelm. "But such
pedestrians don't pass the road every day.  Let us talk to him."  So
saying he slipped quietly out of the window, descended the mound, and
letting himself into the road by a screened wicket-gate, took his
noiseless stand behind the wayfarer and beneath the bowery willow.

The man had now sunk into silence.  Perhaps he had tired himself of
rhymes; or perhaps the mechanism of verse-making had been replaced by
that kind of sentiment, or that kind of revery, which is common to the
temperaments of those who indulge in verse-making.  But the loveliness
of the scene before him had caught his eye, and fixed it into an
intent gaze upon wooded landscapes stretching farther and farther to
the range of hills on which the heaven seemed to rest.

"I should like to hear the rest of that German ballad," said a voice,

The wayfarer started, and, turning round, presented to Kenelm's view a
countenance in the ripest noon of manhood, with locks and beard of a
deep rich auburn, bright blue eyes, and a wonderful nameless charm
both of feature and expression, very cheerful, very frank, and not
without a certain nobleness of character which seemed to exact

"I beg your pardon for my interruption," said Kenelm, lifting his hat:
"but I overheard you reciting; and though I suppose your verses are a
translation from the German, I don't remember anything like them in
such popular German poets as I happen to have read."

"It is not a translation, sir," replied the itinerant.  "I was only
trying to string together some ideas that came into my head this fine

"You are a poet, then?" said Kenelm, seating himself on the bench.

"I dare not say poet.  I am a verse-maker."

"Sir, I know there is a distinction.  Many poets of the present day,
considered very good, are uncommonly bad verse-makers.  For my part, I
could more readily imagine them to be good poets if they did not make
verses at all.  But can I not hear the rest of the ballad?"

"Alas! the rest of the ballad is not yet made.  It is rather a long
subject, and my flights are very brief."

"That is much in their favour, and very unlike the poetry in fashion.
You do not belong, I think, to this neighbourhood.  Are you and your
dog travelling far?"

"It is my holiday time, and I ramble on through the summer.  I am
travelling far, for I travel till September.  Life amid summer fields
is a very joyous thing."

"Is it indeed?" said Kenelm, with much /naivete/. "I should have
thought that long before September you would have got very much bored
with the fields and the dog and yourself altogether.  But, to be sure,
you have the resource of verse-making, and that seems a very pleasant
and absorbing occupation to those who practise it,--from our old
friend Horace, kneading laboured Alcaics into honey in his summer
rambles among the watered woodlands of Tibur, to Cardinal Richelieu,
employing himself on French rhymes in the intervals between chopping
off noblemen's heads.  It does not seem to signify much whether the
verses be good or bad, so far as the pleasure of the verse-maker
himself is concerned; for Richelieu was as much charmed with his
occupation as Horace was, and his verses were certainly not Horatian."

"Surely at your age, sir, and with your evident education--"

"Say culture; that's the word in fashion nowadays."

"Well, your evident culture, you must have made verses."

"Latin verses, yes; and occasionally Greek.  I was obliged to do so at
school.  It did not amuse me."

"Try English."

Kenelm shook his head.  "Not I.  Every cobbler should stick to his

"Well, put aside the verse-making: don't you find a sensible enjoyment
in those solitary summer walks, when you have Nature all to
yourself,--enjoyment in marking all the mobile evanescent changes in
her face,--her laugh, her smile, her tears, her very frown!"

"Assuming that by Nature you mean a mechanical series of external
phenomena, I object to your speaking of a machinery as if it were a
person of the feminine gender,--/her/ laugh, /her/ smile, etc.  As
well talk of the laugh and smile of a steam-engine.  But to descend to
common-sense.  I grant there is some pleasure in solitary rambles in
fine weather and amid varying scenery.  You say that it is a holiday
excursion that you are enjoying.  I presume, therefore, that you have
some practical occupation which consumes the time that you do not
devote to a holiday?"

"Yes; I am not altogether an idler.  I work sometimes, though not so
hard as I ought.  'Life is earnest,' as the poet says.  But I and my
dog are rested now, and as I have still a long walk before me I must
wish you good-day."

"I fear," said Kenelm, with a grave and sweet politeness of tone and
manner, which he could command at times, and which, in its difference
from merely conventional urbanity, was not without fascination,--"I
fear that I have offended you by a question that must have seemed to
you inquisitive, perhaps impertinent; accept my excuse: it is very
rarely that I meet any one who interests me; and you do."  As he spoke
he offered his hand, which the wayfarer shook very cordially.

"I should be a churl indeed if your question could have given me
offence.  It is rather perhaps I who am guilty of impertinence, if I
take advantage of my seniority in years and tender you a counsel.  Do
not despise Nature or regard her as a steam-engine; you will find in
her a very agreeable and conversable friend if you will cultivate her
intimacy.  And I don't know a better mode of doing so at your age, and
with your strong limbs, than putting a knapsack on your shoulders and
turning foot-traveller like myself."

"Sir, I thank you for your counsel; and I trust we may meet again and
interchange ideas as to the thing you call Nature,--a thing which
science and art never appear to see with the same eyes.  If to an
artist Nature has a soul, why, so has a steam-engine.  Art gifts with
soul all matter that it contemplates: science turns all that is
already gifted with soul into matter.  Good-day, sir."

Here Kenelm turned back abruptly, and the traveller went his way,
silently and thoughtfully.


KENELM retraced his steps homeward under the shade of his "old
hereditary trees."  One might have thought his path along the
greenswards, and by the side of the babbling rivulet, was pleasanter
and more conducive to peaceful thoughts than the broad, dusty
thoroughfare along which plodded the wanderer he had quitted.  But the
man addicted to revery forms his own landscapes and colours his own

"It is," soliloquized Kenelm Chillingly, "a strange yearning I have
long felt,--to get out of myself, to get, as it were, into another
man's skin, and have a little variety of thought and emotion.  One's
self is always the same self; and that is why I yawn so often.  But if
I can't get into another man's skin, the next best thing is to get as
unlike myself as I possibly can do.  Let me see what is myself.
Myself is Kenelm Chillingly, son and heir to a rich gentleman.  But a
fellow with a knapsack on his back, sleeping at wayside inns, is not
at all like Kenelm Chillingly; especially if he is very short of money
and may come to want a dinner.  Perhaps that sort of fellow may take a
livelier view of things: he can't take a duller one.  Courage, Myself:
you and I can but try."

For the next two days Kenelm was observed to be unusually pleasant.
He yawned much less frequently, walked with his father, played piquet
with his mother, was more like other people.  Sir Peter was charmed:
he ascribed this happy change to the preparations he was making for
Kenelm's travelling in style.  The proud father was in active
correspondence with his great London friends, seeking letters of
introduction for Kenelm to all the courts of Europe.  Portmanteaus,
with every modern convenience, were ordered; an experienced courier,
who could talk all languages and cook French dishes if required, was
invited to name his terms.  In short, every arrangement worthy a young
patrician's entrance into the great world was in rapid progress, when
suddenly Kenelm Chillingly disappeared, leaving behind him on Sir
Peter's library table the following letter:--

MY VERY DEAR FATHER,--Obedient to your desire, I depart in search of
real life and real persons, or of the best imitations of them.
Forgive me, I beseech you, if I commence that search in my own way.  I
have seen enough of ladies and gentlemen for the present: they must be
all very much alike in every part of the world.  You desired me to be
amused.  I go to try if that be possible.  Ladies and gentlemen are
not amusing; the more ladylike or gentlemanlike they are, the more
insipid I find them.  My dear father, I go in quest of adventure like
Amadis of Gaul, like Don Quixote, like Gil Blas, like Roderick Random;
like, in short, the only people seeking real life, the people who
never existed except in books.  I go on foot; I go alone.  I have
provided myself with a larger amount of money than I ought to spend,
because every man must buy experience, and the first fees are heavy.
In fact, I have put fifty pounds into my pocket-book and into my purse
five sovereigns and seventeen shillings.  This sum ought to last me a
year; but I dare say inexperience will do me out of it in a month, so
we will count it as nothing.  Since you have asked me to fix my own
allowance, I will beg you kindly to commence it this day in advance,
by an order to your banker to cash my checks to the amount of five
pounds, and to the same amount monthly; namely, at the rate of sixty
pounds a year.  With that sum I can't starve, and if I want more it
may be amusing to work for it.  Pray don't send after me, or institute
inquiries, or disturb the household and set all the neighbourhood
talking, by any mention either of my project or of your surprise at
it.  I will not fail to write to you from time to time. You will judge
best what to say to my dear mother.  If you tell her the truth, which
of course I should do did I tell her anything, my request is virtually
frustrated, and I shall be the talk of the county.  You, I know, don't
think telling fibs is immoral when it happens to be convenient, as it
would be in this case.

I expect to be absent a year or eighteen months; if I prolong my
travels it shall be in the way you proposed.  I will then take my
place in polite society, call upon you to pay all expenses, and fib on
my own account to any extent required by that world of fiction which
is peopled by illusions and governed by shams.

Heaven bless you, my dear Father, and be quite sure that if I get into
any trouble requiring a friend, it is to you I shall turn.  As yet I
have no other friend on earth, and with prudence and good luck I may
escape the infliction of any other friend.

     Yours ever affectionately,


P. S.--Dear Father, I open my letter in your library to say again
"Bless you," and to tell you how fondly I kissed your old beaver
gloves, which I found on the table.

When Sir Peter came to that postscript he took off his spectacles and
wiped them: they were very moist.

Then he fell into a profound meditation.  Sir Peter was, as I have
said, a learned man; he was also in some things a sensible man, and he
had a strong sympathy with the humorous side of his son's crotchety
character.  What was to be said to Lady Chillingly?  That matron was
quite guiltless of any crime which should deprive her of a husband's
confidence in a matter relating to her only son.  She was a virtuous
matron; morals irreproachable, manners dignified, and /she-baronety/.
Any one seeing her for the first time would intuitively say, "Your
ladyship."  Was this a matron to be suppressed in any well-ordered
domestic circle?  Sir Peter's conscience loudly answered, "No;" but
when, putting conscience into his pocket, he regarded the question at
issue as a man of the world, Sir Peter felt that to communicate the
contents of his son's letter to Lady Chillingly would be the
foolishest thing he could possibly do.  Did she know that Kenelm had
absconded with the family dignity invested in his very name, no
marital authority short of such abuses of power as constitute the
offence of cruelty in a wife's action for divorce from social board
and nuptial bed could prevent Lady Chillingly from summoning all the
grooms, sending them in all directions with strict orders to bring
back the runaway dead or alive; the walls would be placarded with
hand-bills, "Strayed from his home," etc.; the police would be
telegraphing private instructions from town to town; the scandal would
stick to Kenelm Chillingly for life, accompanied with vague hints of
criminal propensities and insane hallucinations; he would be ever
afterwards pointed out as "THE MAN WHO HAD DISAPPEARED."  And to
disappear and to turn up again, instead of being murdered, is the most
hateful thing a man can do: all the newspapers bark at him, "Tray,
Blanche, Sweetheart, and all;" strict explanations of the unseemly
fact of his safe existence are demanded in the name of public decorum,
and no explanations are accepted; it is life saved, character lost.

Sir Peter seized his hat and walked forth, not to deliberate whether
to fib or not to fib to the wife of his bosom, but to consider what
kind of fib would the most quickly sink into the bosom of his wife.

A few turns to and fro on the terrace sufficed for the conception and
maturing of the fib selected; a proof that Sir Peter was a practised
fibber.  He re-entered the house, passed into her ladyship's habitual
sitting-room, and said with careless gayety, "My old friend the Duke
of Clareville is just setting off on a tour to Switzerland with his
family.  His youngest daughter, Lady Jane, is a pretty girl, and would
not be a bad match for Kenelm."

"Lady Jane, the youngest daughter with fair hair, whom I saw last as a
very charming child, nursing a lovely doll presented to her by the
Empress Eugenie,--a good match indeed for Kenelm."

"I am glad you agree with me.  Would it not be a favourable step
towards that alliance, and an excellent thing for Kenelm generally, if
he were to visit the Continent as one of the Duke's travelling party?"

"Of course it would."

"Then you approve what I have done; the Duke starts the day after
to-morrow, and I have packed Kenelm off to town, with a letter to my
old friend.  You will excuse all leave taking.  You know that though
the best of sons he is an odd fellow; and seeing that I had talked him
into it, I struck while the iron was hot, and sent him off by the
express at nine o'clock this morning, for fear that if I allowed any
delay he would talk himself out of it."

"Do you mean to say Kenelm is actually gone?  Good gracious."

Sir Peter stole softly from the room, and summoning his valet, said,
"I have sent Mr. Chillingly to London.  Pack up the clothes he is
likely to want, so that he can have them sent at once, whenever he
writes for them."

And thus, by a judicious violation of truth on the part of his father,
that exemplary truth-teller Kenelm Chillingly saved the honour of his
house and his own reputation from the breath of scandal and the
inquisition of the police.  He was not "THE MAN WHO HAD DISAPPEARED."

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 01" ***

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