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Title: The Caxtons: A Family Picture — Volume 17
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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PART XVII.



CHAPTER I.


The stage-scene has dropped.  Settle yourselves, my good audience; chat
each with his neighbor.  Dear madam in the boxes, take up your opera-
glass and look about you.  Treat Tom and pretty Sal to some of those
fine oranges, O thou happy-looking mother in the two-shilling gallery!
Yes, brave 'prentice-boys in the tier above, the cat-call by all means!
And you, "most potent, grave, and reverend signiors" in the front row of
the pit, practised critics and steady old playgoers, who shake your
heads at new actors and playwrights, and, true to the creed of your
youth (for the which all honor to you!), firmly believe that we are
shorter by the head than those giants our grandfathers,--laugh or scold
as you will, while the drop-scene still shuts out the stage.  It is just
that you should all amuse yourselves in your own way, O spectators! for
the interval is long.  All the actors have to change their dresses; all
the scene-shifters are at work sliding the "sides" of a new world into
their grooves; and in high disdain of all unity of time, as of place,
you will see in the play-bills that there is a great demand on your
belief.  You are called upon to suppose that we are older by five years
than when you last saw us "fret our hour upon the stage."  Five years!
the author tells us especially to humor the belief by letting the drop-
scene linger longer than usual between the lamps and the stage.

Play up, O ye fiddles and kettle-drums! the time is elapsed.  Stop that
cat-call, young gentleman; heads down in the pit there!  Now the
flourish is over, the scene draws up: look before.

A bright, clear, transparent atmosphere,--bright as that of the East,
but vigorous and bracing as the air of the North; a broad and fair
river, rolling through wide grassy plains; yonder, far in the distance,
stretch away vast forests of evergreen, and gentle slopes break the line
of the cloudless horizon.  See the pastures, Arcadian with sheep in
hundreds and thousands,--Thyrsis and Menalcas would have had hard labor
to count them, and small time, I fear, for singing songs about Daphne.
But, alas! Daphnes are rare; no nymphs with garlands and crooks trip
over those pastures.

Turn your eyes to the right, nearer the river; just parted by a low
fence from the thirty acres or so that are farmed for amusement or
convenience, not for profit,--that comes from the sheep,--you catch a
glimpse of a garden.  Look not so scornfully at the primitive
horticulture: such gardens are rare in the Bush.  I doubt if the stately
King of the Peak ever more rejoiced in the famous conservatory, through
which you may drive in your carriage, than do the sons of the Bush in
the herbs and blossoms which taste and breathe of the old fatherland.
Go on, and behold the palace of the patriarchs,--it is of wood, I grant
you; but the house we build with our own hands is always a palace.  Did
you ever build one when you were a boy?  And the lords of that palace
are lords of the land almost as far as you can see, and of those
numberless flocks; and, better still, of a health which an antediluvian
might have envied, and of nerves so seasoned with horse-breaking,
cattle-driving, fighting with wild blacks,--chases from them and after
them, for life and for death,--that if any passion vex the breast of
those kings of the Bushland, fear at least is erased from the list.

See here and there through the landscape rude huts like the masters':
wild spirits and fierce dwell within.  But they are tamed into order by
plenty and hope; by the hand open but firm, by the eye keen but just.

Now out from those woods, over those green rolling plains, harum-scarum,
helter-skelter, long hair flying wild, and all bearded as a Turk or a
pard, comes a rider you recognize.  The rider dismounts, and another old
acquaintance turns from a shepherd, with whom he has been conversing on
matters that never plagued Thyrsis and Menalcas,--whose sheep seem to
have been innocent of foot-rot and scab,--and accosts the horseman.

Pisistratus.--"My dear Guy, where on earth have you been?"

Guy (producing a book from his pocket, with great triumph).--"There!
Dr. Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets.'  I could not get the squatter to let
me have 'Kenilworth,' though I offered him three sheep for it.  Dull old
fellow, that Dr. Johnson, I suspect,--so much the better, the book will
last all the longer.  And here's a Sydney paper, too, only two months
old!"  (Guy takes a short pipe, or dudeen, from his hat, in the band of
which it had been stuck, fills and lights it.)

Pisistratus.--"You must have ridden thirty miles at the least.  To think
of your turning book-hunter, Guy!"

Guy Bolding (philosophically).--"Ay, one don't know the worth of a thing
till one has lost it.  No sneers at me, old fellow; you, too, declared
that you were bothered out of your life by those books till you found
how long the evenings were without them.  Then, the first new book we
got--an old volume of the  'Spectator!'--such fun!"

Pisistratus.--"Very true.  The brown cow has calved in your absence.  Do
you know, Guy, I think we shall have no scab in the fold this year.  If
so, there will be a rare sum to lay by!  Things look up with us now,
Guy."

Guy Bolding.--"Yes.  Very different from the first two years.  You drew
a long face then.  How wise you were, to insist on our learning
experience at another man's station before we hazarded our own capital!
But, by Jove! those sheep at first were enough to plague a man out his
wits.  What with the wild dogs, just as the sheep had been washed and
ready to shear; then that cursed scabby sheep of Joe Timmes's, that we
caught rubbing his sides so complacently against our unsuspecting poor
ewes.  I wonder we did not run away.  But Patientia fit,--what is that
line in Horace?  Never mind now.  'It is a long lane that has no
turning' does just as well as anything in Horace, and Virgil to boot.  I
say, has not Vivian been here?"

Pisistratus.--"No; but he will be sure to come to-day."

Guy Bolding.--"He has much the best berth of it.  Horse-breeding and
cattle-feeding: galloping after those wild devils; lost in a forest of
horns; beasts lowing, scampering, goring, tearing off like mad
buffaloes; horses galloping up hill, down hill, over rocks, stones, and
timber; whips cracking, men shouting, your neck all but broken; a great
bull making at you full rush.  Such fun!  Sheep are dull things to look
at after a bull-hunt and a cattle-feast."

Pisistratus.--"Every man to his taste in the Bush.  One may make one's
money more easily and safely, with more adventure and sport, in the
bucolic department; but one makes larger profit and quicker fortune,
with good luck and good care, in the pastoral,--and our object, I take
it, is to get back to England as soon as we can."

Guy Bolding.--"Humph! I should be content to live and die in the Bush,--
nothing like it, if women were not so scarce.  To think of the redundant
spinster population at home, and not a spinster here to be seen within
thirty miles,--save Bet Goggins, indeed, and she has only one eye!  But
to return to Vivian: why should it be our object, more than his, to get
back to England as soon as we can?"

Pisistratus.--"Not more, certainly.  But you saw that an excitement more
stirring than that we find in the sheep had become necessary to him.
You know he was growing dull and dejected; the cattle station was to be
sold a bargain.  And then the Durham bulls and the Yorkshire horses
which Mr. Trevanion sent you and me out as presents, were so tempting, I
thought we might fairly add one speculation to another; and since one of
us must superintend the bucolics, and two of us were required for the
pastorals, I think Vivian was the best of us three to entrust with the
first,--and certainly it has succeeded as yet."

Guy.--"Why, yes, Vivian is quite in his element,--always in action, and
always in command.  Let him be first in everything, and there is not a
finer fellow, nor a better tempered,--present company excepted.  Hark!
the dogs, the crack of the whip; there he is.  And now, I suppose, we
may go to dinner."

(Enter Vivian.)  His frame has grown more athletic; his eye, more
steadfast and less restless, looks you full in the face.  His smile is
more open, but there is a melancholy in his expression almost
approaching to gloom.  His dress is the same as that of Pisistratus and
Guy,--white vest and trousers; loose neckcloth, rather gay in color;
broad cabbage-leaf hat; his mustache and beard are trimmed with more
care than ours.  He has a large whip in his hand, and a gun slung across
his shoulders.  Greetings are exchanged; mutual inquiries as to cattle
and sheep, and the last horses despatched to the Indian market.  Guy
shows the "Lives of the Poets," Vivian asks if it is possible to get the
Life of Clive, or Napoleon, or a copy of Plutarch.  Guy shakes his head;
says if a Robinson Crusoe will do as well, he has seen one in a very
tattered state, but in too great request to be had a bargain.

The party turn into the hut.  Miserable animals are bachelors in all
countries, but most miserable in Bushland.  A man does not know what a
helpmate of the soft sex is in the Old World, where women seem a matter
of course.  But in the Bush a wife is literally bone of your bone, flesh
of your flesh,--your better half, your ministering angel, your Eve of
the Eden; in short, all that poets have sung, or young orators say at
public dinners when called upon to give the toast of "The Ladies."
Alas! we are three bachelors, but we are better off than bachelors often
are in the Bush; for the wife of the shepherd I took from Cumberland
does me and Bolding the honor to live in our but and make things tidy
and comfortable.  She has had a couple of children since we have been in
the Bush; a wing has been added to the but for that increase of family.
The children, I dare say, one might have thought a sad nuisance in
England; but I declare that, surrounded as one is by great bearded men
from sunrise to sunset, there is something humanizing, musical, and
Christian-like in the very squall of the baby.  There it goes, bless it!
As for my other companions from Cumberland, Miles Square, the most
aspiring of all, has long left me, and is superintendent to a great
sheep-owner some two hundred miles off.  The Will-o'-the-Wisp is
consigned to the cattle station, where he is Vivian's head man, finding
time now and then to indulge his old poaching propensities at the
expense of parrots, black cockatoos, pigeons, and kangaroos.  The
shepherd remains with us, and does not seem, honest fellow, to care to
better himself; he has a feeling of clanship which keeps down the
ambition common in Australia.  And his wife--such a treasure!  I assure
you, the sight of her smooth, smiling woman's face when we return home
at nightfall, and the very flow of her gown as she turns the "dampers"
(1) in the ashes and fills the teapot, have in them something holy and
angelical.  How lucky our Cumberland swain is not jealous!  Not that
there is any cause, enviable dog though he be; but where Desdemonas are
so scarce, if you could but guess how green-eyed their Othellos
generally are!  Excellent husbands, it is true,--none better; but you
had better think twice before you attempt to play the Cassio in
Bushland!  There, however, she is, dear creature!--rattling among knives
and forks, smoothing the table-cloth, setting on the salt beef, and that
rare luxury of pickles (the last pot in our store), and the produce of
our garden and poultry-yard, which few Bushmen can boast of, and the
dampers, and a pot of tea to each banqueter,--no wine, beer, nor
spirits; those are only for shearing-time.  We have just said grace (a
fashion retained from the holy mother-country), when, bless my soul!
what a clatter without, what a tramping of feet, what a barking of dogs!
Some guests have arrived.  They are always welcome in Bushland!  Perhaps
a cattle-buyer in search of Vivian; perhaps that cursed squatter whose
sheep are always migrating to ours.  Never mind,--a hearty welcome to
all, friend or foe.  The door opens; one, two, three strangers.  More
plates and knives; draw your stools: just in time.  First eat, then--
what news?

Just as the strangers sit down a voice is heard at the door,--

"You will take particular care of this horse, young man walk him about a
little; wash his back with salt and water.  Just unbuckle the saddle-
bags; give them to me.  Oh! safe enough, I dare say, but papers of
consequence.  The prosperity of the colony depends on these papers.
What would become of you all if any accident happened to them, I shudder
to think."

And here, attired in a twill shooting-jacket budding with gilt buttons
impressed with a well-remembered device; a cabbage-leaf hat shading a
face rarely seen in the Bush; a face smooth as razor could make it;
neat, trim, respectable-looking as ever; his arm full of saddle-bags,
and his nostrils gently distended, inhaling the steam of the banquet,--
walks in--Uncle Jack.

Pisistratus (leaping up).--"Is it possible?  You in Australia!--you in
the Bush!"

Uncle Jack, not recognizing Pisistratus in the tall bearded man who is
making a plunge at him, recedes in alarm, exclaiming: "Who are you?
Never saw you before, sir!  I suppose you'll say next that I owe you
something!"

Pisistratus.--"Uncle Jack!"

Uncle Jack. (dropping his saddle-bags).--"Nephew! Heaven be praised!
Come to my arms!"

They embrace; mutual introductions to the company,--Mr. Vivian, Mr.
Bolding, on the one side; Major MacBlarney, Mr. Bullion, Mr. Emanuel
Speck, on the other.  Major MacBlarney is a fine, portly man, with a
slight Dublin brogue, who squeezes your hand as he would a sponge.  Mr.
Bullion, reserved and haughty, wears green spectacles, and gives you a
forefinger.  Mr. Emanuel Speck--unusually smart for the Bush, with a
blue-satin stock and one of those blouses common in Germany, with
elaborate hems and pockets enough for Briareus to have put all hands
into at once; is, thin, civil, and stoops--bows, smiles, and sits down
to dinner again, with the air of a man accustomed to attend to the main
chance.

Uncle Jack (his mouth full of beef).--"Famous beef!--breed it yourself,
eh?  Slow work that cattle-feeding!  [Empties the rest of the pickle-jar
into his plate.]  Must learn to go ahead in the New World,--railway
times these!  We can put him up to a thing or to, eh, Bullion?
[Whispering me] Great capitalist that Bullion!  Look At Him!"

Mr. Bullion (gravely).--"A thing or two!  If he has capital,--you have
said it, Mr. Tibbets."  (Looks round for the pickles; the green
spectacles remain fixed upon Uncle Jack's plate.)

Uncle Jack.--"All that this colony wants is a few men like us, with
capital and spirit.  Instead of paying paupers to emigrate, they should
pay rich men to come, eh, Speck?"

While Uncle Jack turns to Mr. Speck, Mr. Bullion fixes his fork in a
pickled onion in Jack's plate and transfers it to his own, observing,
not as incidentally to the onion, but to truth in general: "A man,
gentlemen, in this country, has only to keep his eyes on the look-out
and seize on the first advantage!  Resources are incalculable!"

Uncle Jack, returning to the plate, and missing the onion, forestalls
Mr. Speck in seizing the last potato; observing also, and in the same
philosophical and generalizing spirit as Mr. Bullion: "The great thing
in this country is to be always beforehand.  Discovery and invention,
promptitude and decision,--that's your go!  'Pon my life, one picks up
sad vulgar sayings among the natives here! 'That's your go!'--shocking!
What would your poor father say?  How is he,--good Austin?  Well?
That's right; and my dear sister?  Ah, that damnable Peck!  Still
harping on the 'Anti-Capitalist,' eh?  But I'll make it up to you all
now.  Gentlemen, charge your glasses,--a bumper-toast."

Mr. Speck (in an affected tone).--"I respond to the sentiment in a
flowing cup.  Glasses are not forthcoming."

Uncle Jack.--"A bumper-toast to the health of the future millionnaire
whom I present to you in my nephew and sole heir,--Pisistratus Caxton,
Esq.  Yes, gentlemen, I here publicly announce to you that this
gentleman will be the inheritor of all my wealth,--freehold, leasehold,
agricultural, and mineral; and when I am in the cold grave [takes out
his pocket-handkerchief], and nothing remains of poor John Tibbets, look
upon that gentleman and say, 'John Tibbets lives again!'"

Mr. Speck (chantingly),--

          "'Let the bumper-toast go round.'"

Guy Bolding.--"Hip, hip, hurrah!--three times three!  What fun!"

Order is restored; dinner-things are cleared; each gentleman lights his
pipe.

Vivian.--"What news from England?"

Mr. Bullion.--"As to the Funds, sir?"

Mr. Speck.--"I suppose you mean rather as to the railways.  Great
fortunes will be made there, sir; but still I think that our
speculations here will--"

Vivian.--"I beg pardon for interrupting you, sir, but I thought, in the
last papers, that there seemed something hostile in the temper of the
French.  No chance of a war?"

Major MacBlarney.--"Is it the wars you'd be after, young gentleman?  If
me interest at the Horse Guards can avail you, bedad! you'd make a proud
man of Major MacBlarney."

Mr. Bullion (authoritatively).--"No, sir, we won't have a war; the
capitalists of Europe and Australia won't have it.  The Rothschilds and
a few others that shall be nameless have only got to do this, sir [Mr.
Bullion buttons up his pockets],--and we'll do it, too; and then what
becomes of your war, Sir?"  (Mr. Bullion snaps his pipe in the vehemence
with which he brings his hand on the table, turns round the green
spectacles, and takes up Mr. Speck's pipe, which that gentleman had laid
aside in an unguarded moment.)

Vivian.--"But the campaign in India?"

Major MacBlarney.--"Oh! and if it's the Ingees you'd--"

Mr. Bullion (refilling Speck's pipe from Guy Bolding's exclusive
tobacco-pouch, and interrupting the Major).--"India,--that's another
matter; I don't object to that.  War there,--rather good for the money
market than otherwise."

Vivian.--"What news there, then?"

Mr. Bullion.--"Don't know; have n't got India stock."

Mr. Speck.--"Nor I either.  The day for India is over, this is our India
now."  (Misses his tobacco-pipe; sees it in Bullion's mouth, and stares
aghast.  N. B.  The pipe is not a clay dudeen, but a small meerschaum.--
irreplaceable in Bushland.)

Pisistratus.--"Well, uncle, but I am at a loss to understand what new
scheme you have in hand.  Something benevolent, I am sure; something for
your fellow-creatures,--for philanthropy and mankind?"

Mr. Bullion (starting).--"Why, young man, are you as green as all that?"

Pisistratus.--"I, sir?  No; Heaven forbid!  But my--" (Uncle Jack holds
up his forefinger imploringly, and spills his tea over the pantaloons of
his nephew!)

Pisistratus, wroth at the effect of the tea, and therefore obdurate to
the sign of the forefinger, continues rapidly, "But my uncle is!  Some
Grand National-Imperial-Colonial-Anti-Monopoly--"

Uncle Jack.--"Pooh! pooh!  What a droll boy it is!"

Mr. Bullion (solemnly).--"With these notions, which not even in jest
should be fathered on my respectable and intelligent friend here [Uncle
Jack bows], I am afraid you will never get on in the world, Mr. Caxton.
I don't think our speculations will suit you!  It is growing late,
gentlemen; we must push on."

Uncle Jack (jumping up).--"And I have so much to say to the dear boy.
Excuse us,--you know the feelings of an uncle."  (Takes my arm and leads
me out of the hut.)

Uncle Jack (as soon as we are in the air).--"You'll ruin us--you, me,
and your father and mother.  Yes!  What do you think I work and slave
myself for but for you and yours?  Ruin us all.  I say, if you talk in
that way before Bullion!  His heart is as hard as the Bank of
England's,--and quite right he is too.  Fellow-creatures,--stuff!  I
have renounced that delusion,--the generous follies of my youth!  I
begin at last to live for myself,--that is, for self and relatives.  I
shall succeed this time, you'll see!"


Pisistratus.--"Indeed, uncle, I hope so sincerely; and, to do you
justice, there is always something very clever in your ideas, only they
don't--"

Uncle Jack (interrupting me with a groan).--"The fortunes that other men
have gained by my ideas,--shocking to think of!  What! and shall I be
reproached if I live no longer for such a set of thieving, greedy,
ungrateful knaves?  No, no!  Number One shall be my maxim; and I'll make
you a Croesus, my boy, I will."

Pisistratus, after grateful acknowledgments for all prospective
benefits, inquires how long Jack has been in Australia; what brought him
into the colony; and what are his present views.  Learns, to his
astonishment, that Uncle Jack has been four years in the colony; that he
sailed the year after Pisistratus,--induced, he says, by that
illustrious example and by some mysterious agency or commission, which
he will not explain, emanating either from the Colonial Office or an
Emigration Company.  Uncle Jack has been thriving wonderfully since he
abandoned his fellow-creatures.  His first speculation, on arriving at
the colony, was in buying some houses in Sydney, which (by those
fluctuations in prices common to the extremes of the colonial mind,
which is one while skipping up the rainbow with Hope, and at another
plunging into Acherontian abysses with Despair) he bought excessively
cheap, and sold excessively dear.  But his grand experiment has been in
connection with the infant settlement of Adelaide, of which he considers
himself one of the first founders; and as, in the rush of emigration
which poured to that favored establishment in the earlier years of its
existence,--rolling on its tide all manner of credulous and
inexperienced adventurers, vast sums were lost, so of those sums certain
fragments and pickings were easily gripped and gathered up by a man of
Uncle Jack's readiness and dexterity.  Uncle Jack had contrived to
procure excellent letters of introduction to the colonial grandees; he
got into close connection with some of the principal parties seeking to
establish a monopoly of land (which has since been in great measure
effected, by raising the price, and excluding the small fry of petty
capitalists); and effectually imposed on them as a man with a vast
knowledge of public business, in the confidence of great men at home,
considerable influence with the English press, etc.  And no discredit to
their discernment; for Jack, when he pleased, had a way with him that
was almost irresistible.  In this manner he contrived to associate
himself and his earnings with men really of large capital and long
practical experience in the best mode by which that capital might be
employed.  He was thus admitted into partnership (so far as his means
went) with Mr. Bullion, who was one of the largest sheep-owners and
land-holders in the colony,--though, having many other nests to feather,
that gentleman resided in state at Sydney, and left his runs and
stations to the care of overseers and superintendents.  But land-jobbing
was Jack's special delight; and an ingenious German having lately
declared that the neighborhood of Adelaide betrayed the existence of
those mineral treasures which have since been brought to day, Mr.
Tibbets had persuaded Bullion and the other gentlemen now accompanying
him to undertake the land journey from Sydney to Adelaide, privily and
quietly, to ascertain the truth of the German's report, which was at
present very little believed.  If the ground failed of mines, Uncle
Jack's account convinced his associates that mines quite as profitable
might be found in the pockets of the raw adventurers who were ready to
buy one year at the dearest market, and driven to sell the next at the
cheapest.

"But," concluded Uncle Jack, with a sly look, and giving me a poke in
the ribs, "I've had to do with mines before now, and know what they are.
I'll let nobody but you into my pet scheme; you shall go shares if you
like.  The scheme is as plain as a problem in Euclid: if the German is
right, and there are mines, why, the mines will be worked.  Then miners
must be employed; but miners must eat, drink, and spend their money.
The thing is to get that money.  Do you take?"

Pisistratus.--"Not at all!"

Uncle Jack (majestically).--"A Great Grog and Store Depot!  The miners
want grog and stores; come to your depot; you take their money; Q. E.
D.!  Shares,--eh, you dog?  Cribs, as we said at school.  Put in a
paltry thousand or two, and you shall go halves."

Pisistratus (vehemently).--"Not for all the mines of Potosi."

Uncle Jack (good-humoredly).--"Well, it sha'n't be the worse for you.  I
sha'n't alter my will, in spite of your want of confidence.  Your young
friend,--that Mr. Vivian, I think you call him: intelligent-looking
fellow; sharper than the other, I guess,--would he like a share?"

Pisistratus.--"In the grog depot?  You had better ask him!"

Uncle Jack.--"What! you pretend to be aristocratic in the Bush?  Too
good.  Ha, ha--they're calling to me; we must be off."

Pisistratus.--"I will ride with you a few miles.  What say you, Vivian?
and you, Guy?"  (As the whole party now joined us.)

Guy prefers basking in the sun and reading the "Lives of the Poets."
Vivian assents; we accompany the party till sunset.  Major MacBlarney
prodigalizes his offers of service in every conceivable department of
life, and winds up with an assurance that if we want anything in those
departments connected with engineering,--such as mining, mapping,
surveying, etc.,--he will serve us, bedad, for nothing, or next to it.
We suspect Major MacBlarney to be a civil engineer suffering under the
innocent hallucination that he has been in the army.

Mr. Speck lets out to me, in a confidential whisper, that Mr. Bullion is
monstrous rich, and has made his fortune from small beginnings, by never
letting a good thing go.  I think of Uncle Jack's pickled onion and Mr.
Speck's meerschaum, and perceive, with respectful admiration, that Mr.
Bullion acts uniformly on one grand system.  Ten minutes afterwards, Mr.
Bullion observes, in a tone equally confidential, that Mr. Speck, though
so smiling and civil, is as sharp as a needle, and that if I want any
shares in the new speculation, or indeed in any other, I had better come
at once to Bullion, who would not deceive me for my weight in gold.
"Not," added Bullion, "that I have anything to say against Speck.  He is
well enough to do in the world,--a warm man, sir; and when a man is
really warm, I am the last person to think of his little faults and turn
on him the cold shoulder."

"Adieu!" said Uncle Jack, pulling out once more his pocket-handkerchief;
"my love to all at home."  And sinking his voice into a whisper: "If
ever you think better of the Grog and Store Depot, nephew, you'll find
an uncle's heart in this bosom!"

(1) A damper is a cake of flour baked without yeast, in the ashes



CHAPTER II.


It was night as Vivian and myself rode slowly home.  Night in Australia!
How impossible to describe its beauty Heaven seems, in that new world,
so much nearer to earth!  Every star stands out so bright and particular
as if fresh from the time when the Maker willed it.  And the moon like a
large silvery sun,--the least object on which it shines so distinct and
so still. (1)  Now and then a sound breaks the silence, but a sound so
much in harmony with the solitude that it only deepens its charms.
Hark! the low cry of the night-bird from yonder glen amidst the small
gray gleaming rocks.  Hark! as night deepens, the bark of the distant
watch-dog, or the low, strange howl of his more savage species, from
which he de fends the fold.  Hark! the echo catches the sound, and
flings it sportively from hill to hill,--farther and farther and farther
down, till all again is hushed, and the flowers hang noiseless over your
head as you ride through a grove of the giant gum-trees.  Now the air is
literally charged with the odors, and the sense of fragrance grows
almost painful in its pleasure.  You quicken your pace, and escape again
into the open plains and the full moonlight, and through the slender
tea-trees catch the gleam of the river, and in the exquisite fineness of
the atmosphere hear the soothing sound of its murmur.

Pisistratus.--"And this land has become the heritage of our people!
Methinks I see, as I gaze around, the scheme of the All-beneficent
Father disentangling itself clear through the troubled history of
mankind.  How mysteriously, while Europe rears its populations and
fulfils its civilizing mission, these realms have been concealed from
its eyes,--divulged to us just as civilization needs the solution to its
problems; a vent for feverish energies, baffled in the crowd; offering
bread to the famished, hope to the desperate; in very truth enabling the
'New World to redress the balance of the Old.' Here, what a Latium for
the wandering spirits,--

          "'On various seas by various tempests tossed.'

"Here, the actual AEneid passes before our eyes.  From the huts of the
exiles scattered over this hardier Italy, who cannot see in the future

          "'A race from whence new Alban sires shall come,
            And the long glories of a future Rome'?"

Vivian (mournfully).--"Is it from the outcasts of the work-house, the
prison, and the transport-ship that a second Rome is to arise?"

Pisistratus.--"There is something in this new soil--in the labor it
calls forth, in the hope it inspires, in the sense of property, which I
take to be the core of social morals--that expedites the work of
redemption with marvellous rapidity.  Take them altogether, whatever
their origin, or whatever brought them hither, they are a fine, manly,
frank-hearted race, these colonists now!--rude, not mean, especially in
the Bush; and, I suspect, will ultimately become as gallant and honest a
population as that now springing up in South Australia, from which
convicts are excluded,--and happily excluded,--for the distinction will
sharpen emulation.  As to the rest, and in direct answer to your
question, I fancy even the emancipist part of our population every whit
as respectable as the mongrel robbers under Romulus."

Vivian.--"But were they not soldiers,--I mean the first Romans?"

Pisistratus.--"My dear cousin, we are in advance of those grim outcasts
if we can get lands, houses, and wives (though the last is difficult,
and it is well that we have no white Sabines in the neighborhood)
without that same soldiering which was the necessity of their
existence."

Vivian (after a pause).--"I have written to my father, and to yours more
fully,--stating in the one letter my wish, in the other trying to
explain the feelings from which it springs."

Pisistratus.--"Are the letters gone?"

Vivian.--"Yes."

Pisistratus.--"And you would not show them to me!"

Vivian.--"Do not speak so reproachfully.  I promised your father to pour
out my whole heart to him, whenever it was troubled and at strife.  I
promise you now that I will go by his advice."

Pisistratus (disconsolately).--"What is there in this military life for
which you yearn that can yield you more food for healthful excitement
and stirring adventure than your present pursuits afford?"

Vivian.--"Distinction!  You do not see the difference between us.  You
have but a fortune to make,--I have a name to redeem; you look calmly on
to the future,--I have a dark blot to erase from the past."

Pisistratus  (soothingly).--"It is erased.  Five years of no weak
bewailings, but of manly reform, steadfast industry, conduct so
blameless that even Guy (whom I look upon as the incarnation of blunt
English honesty) half doubts whether you are 'cute enough for 'a
station;' a character already so high that I long for the hour when you
will again take your father's spotless name, and give me the pride to
own our kinship to the world,--all this surely redeems the errors
arising from an uneducated childhood and a wandering youth."

Vivian (leaning over his horse, and putting his hand on my shoulder).--
"My dear friend, what do I owe you!"  Then recovering his emotion, and
pushing on at a quicker pace, while he continues to speak, "But can you
not see that, just in proportion as my comprehension of right would
become clear and strong, so my conscience would become also more
sensitive and reproachful; and the better I understand my gallant
father, the more I must desire to be as he would have had his son.  Do
you think it would content him, could he see me branding cattle and
bargaining with bullock drivers?  Was it not the strongest wish of his
heart that I should adopt his own career?  Have I not heard you say that
he would have had you too a soldier, but for your mother?  I have no
mother!  If I made thousands, and tens of thousands, by this ignoble
calling, would they give my father half the pleasure that he would feel
at seeing my name honorably mentioned in a despatch?  No, no!  You have
banished the gypsy blood, and now the soldier's breaks out!  Oh, for one
glorious day in which I may clear my way into fair repute, as our
fathers before us!--when tears of proud joy may flow from those eyes
that have wept such hot drops at my shame; when she, too, in her high
station beside that sleek lord, may say, 'His heart was not so vile,
after all!'  Don't argue with me,--it is in vain!  Pray, rather, that I
may have leave to work out my own way; for I tell you that if condemned
to stay here, I may not murmur aloud,--I may go through this round of
low duties as the brute turns the wheel of a mill; but my heart will
prey on itself, and you shall soon write on my gravestone the epitaph of
the poor poet you told us of whose true disease was the thirst of
glory,--'Here lies one whose name was writ in water."'

I had no answer; that contagious ambition made my own veins run more
warmly, and my own heart beat with a louder tumult.  Amidst the pastoral
scenes, and under the tranquil moonlight of the New, the Old World, even
in me, rude Bushman, claimed for a while its son.  But as we rode on,
the air, so inexpressibly buoyant, yet soothing as an anodyne, restored
me to peaceful Nature.  Now the flocks, in their snowy clusters, were
seen sleeping under the stars; hark! the welcome of the watch-dogs; see
the light gleaming far from the chink of the door!  And, pausing, I said
aloud: "No, there is more glory in laying these rough foundations of a
mighty state, though no trumpets resound with your victory, though no
laurels shall shadow your tomb, than in forcing the onward progress of
your race over burning cities and hecatombs of men!"  I looked round for
Vivian's answer; but ere I spoke he had spurred from my side, and I saw
the wild dogs slinking back from the hoofs of his horse as he rode at
speed on the sward through the moonlight.


(1) "I have frequently," says Mr. Wilkinson, in his invaluable work upon
South Australia, at once so graphic and so practical, "been out on a
journey in such a night, and whilst allowing the horse his own time to
walk along the road, have solaced myself by reading in the still
moonlight."



CHAPTER III.


The weeks and the months rolled on, and the replies to Vivian's letters
came at last; I foreboded too well their purport.  I knew that my father
could not set himself in opposition to the deliberate and cherished
desire of a man who had now arrived at the full strength of his
understanding, and must be left at liberty to make his own election of
the paths of life.  Long after that date I saw Vivian's letter to my
father; and even his conversation had scarcely prepared me for the
pathos of that confession of a mind remarkable alike for its strength
and its weakness.  If born in the age, or submitted to the influences,
of religious enthusiasm, here was a nature that, awaking from sin, could
not have been contented with the sober duties of mediocre goodness; that
would have plunged into the fiery depths of monkish fanaticism, wrestled
with the fiend in the hermitage, or marched barefoot on the infidel with
a sackcloth for armor,--the cross for a sword.  Now, the impatient
desire for redemption took a more mundane direction, but with something
that seemed almost spiritual in its fervor.  And this enthusiasm flowed
through strata of such profound melancholy!  Deny it a vent, and it
might sicken into lethargy or fret itself into madness,--give it the
vent, and it might vivify and fertilize as it swept along.

My father's reply to this letter was what might be expected.  It gently
reinforced the old lessons in the distinctions between aspirations
towards the perfecting ourselves,--aspirations that are never in vain,--
and the morbid passion for applause from others, which shifts conscience
from our own bosoms to the confused Babel of the crowd and calls it
"fame."  But my father in his counsels did not seek to oppose a mind so
obstinately bent upon a single course,--he sought rather to guide and
strengthen it in the way it should go.  The seas of human life are wide.
Wisdom may suggest the voyage, but it must first look to the condition
of the ship and the nature of the merchandise to exchange.  Not every
vessel that sails from Tarshish can bring back the gold of Ophir; but
shall it therefore rot in the harbor?  No; give its sails to the wind!
But I had expected that Roland's letter to his son would have been full
of joy and exultation,--joy there was none in it, yet exultation there
might be, though serious, grave, and subdued.  In the proud assent that
the old soldier gave to his son's wish, in his entire comprehension of
motives so akin to his own nature, there was yet a visible sorrow; it
seemed even as if he constrained himself to the assent he gave.  Not
till I had read it again and again could I divine Roland's feelings
while he wrote.  At this distance of time I comprehend them well.  Had
he sent from his side, into noble warfare, some boy fresh to life, new
to sin, with an enthusiasm pure and single-hearted as his own young
chivalrous ardor, then, with all a soldier's joy, he had yielded a
cheerful tribute to the hosts of England.  But here he recognized,
though perhaps dimly, not the frank, military fervor, but the stern
desire of expiation; and in that thought he admitted forebodings that
would have been otherwise rejected, so that at the close of the letter
it seemed, not the fiery, war-seasoned Roland that wrote, but rather
some timid, anxious mother.  Warnings and entreaties and cautions not to
be rash, and assurances that the best soldiers were ever the most
prudent,--were these the counsels of the fierce veteran who at the head
of the forlorn hope had mounted the wall at--, his sword between his
teeth?

But whatever his presentiments, Roland had yielded at once to his son's
prayer, hastened to London at the receipt of his letter, obtained a
commission in a regiment now in active service in India; and that
commission was made out in his son's name.  The commission, with an
order to join the regiment as soon as possible, accompanied the letter.

And Vivian, pointing to the name addressed to him, said, "Now indeed I
may resume this name, and next to Heaven will I hold it sacred!  It
shall guide me to glory in life, or my father shall read it, without
shame, on my tomb!"  I see him before me as he stood then,--his form
erect, his dark eyes solemn in their light, a serenity in his smile, a
grandeur on his brow, that I had never marked till then!  Was that the
same man I had recoiled from as the sneering cynic, shuddered at as the
audacious traitor, or wept over as the cowering outcast?  How little the
nobleness of aspect depends on symmetry of feature, or the mere
proportions of form!  What dignity robes the man who is filled with a
lofty thought!



CHAPTER IV.


He is gone; he has left a void in my existence.  I had grown to love him
so well; I had been so proud when men praised him.  My love was a sort
of self-love,--I had looked upon him in part as the work of my own
hands.  I am a long time ere I can settle back, with good heart, to my
pastoral life.  Before my cousin went, we cast up our gains and settled
our shares.  When he resigned the allowance which Roland had made him,
his father secretly gave to me, for his use, a sum equal to that which I
and Guy Bolding brought into the common stock.  Roland had raised a sum
upon mortgage; and while the interest was a trivial deduction from his
income, compared to the former allowance, the capital was much more
useful to his son than a mere yearly payment could have been.  Thus,
between us, we had a considerable sum for Australian settlers,--L4,500.
For the first two years we made nothing,--indeed, great part of the
first year was spent in learning our art, at the station of an old
settler.  But at the end of the third year, our flocks having then
become very considerable, we cleared a return beyond my most sanguine
expectations.  And when my cousin left, just in the sixth year of exile,
our shares amounted to L4,000 each, exclusive of the value of the two
stations.  My cousin had at first wished that I should forward his share
to his father; but he soon saw that Roland would never take it, and it
was finally agreed that it should rest in my hands, for me to manage for
him, send him out an interest at five per cent, and devote the surplus
profits to the increase of his capital.  I had now, therefore, the
control of L12,000, and we might consider ourselves very respectable
capitalists.  I kept on the cattle station, by the aid of the Will-o'-
the-Wisp, for about two years after Vivian's departure (we had then had
it altogether for five).  At the end of that time, I sold it and the
stock to great advantage.  And the sheep--for the "brand" of which I had
a high reputation--having wonderfully prospered in the mean while, I
thought we might safely extend our speculations into new ventures.
Glad, too, of a change of scene, I left Bolding in charge of the flocks
and bent my course to Adelaide, for the fame of that new settlement had
already disturbed the peace of the Bush.  I found Uncle Jack residing
near Adelaide in a very handsome villa, with all the signs and
appurtenances of colonial opulence; and report, perhaps, did not
exaggerate the gains he had made,--so many strings to his bow, and each
arrow, this time, seemed to have gone straight to the white of the
butts.  I now thought I had acquired knowledge and caution sufficient to
avail myself of Uncle Jack's ideas, without ruining myself by following
them out in his company; and I saw a kind of retributive justice in
making his brain minister to the fortunes which his ideality
and constructiveness, according to Squills, had served so notably to
impoverish.  I must here gratefully acknowledge that I owed much to this
irregular genius.  The investigation of the supposed mines had proved
unsatisfactory to Mr. Bullion, and they were not fairly discovered till
a few years after.  But Jack had convinced himself of their existence,
and purchased, on his own account, "for an old song," some barren land
which he was persuaded would prove to him a Golconda, one day or other,
under the euphonious title (which, indeed, it ultimately established) of
the "Tibbets' Wheal."  The suspension of the mines, however, fortunately
suspended the existence of the Grog and Store Depot, and Uncle Jack was
now assisting in the foundation of Port Philip.  Profiting by his
advice, I adventured in that new settlement some timid and wary
purchases, which I resold to considerable advantage.  Meanwhile I must
not omit to state briefly what, since my departure from England, had
been the ministerial career of Trevanion.

That refining fastidiousness, that scrupulosity of political conscience,
which had characterized him as an independent member, and often served,
in the opinion both of friend and of foe, to give the attribute of
general impracticability to a mind that, in all details, was so
essentially and laboriously practical, might perhaps have founded
Trevanion's reputation as a minister if he could have been a minister
without colleagues,--if, standing alone, and from the necessary height,
he could have placed, clear and single, before the--world, his exquisite
honesty of purpose and the width of a statesmanship marvellously
accomplished and comprehensive.  But Trevanion could not amalgamate with
others, nor subscribe to the discipline of a cabinet in which he was not
the chief, especially in a policy which must have been thoroughly
abhorrent to such a nature,--a policy that, of late years, has
distinguished not one faction alone, but has seemed so forced upon the
more eminent political leaders on either side that they who take the
more charitable view of things may perhaps hold it to arise from the
necessity of the age, fostered by the temper of the public: I mean the
policy of Expediency.  Certainly not in this book will I introduce the
angry elements of party politics; and how should I know much about them?
All that I have to say is that, right or wrong, such a policy must have
been at war, every moment, with each principle of Trevanion's
statesmanship, and fretted each fibre of his moral constitution.  The
aristocratic combinations which his alliance with the Castleton interest
had brought to his aid served perhaps to fortify his position in the
Cabinet; yet aristocratic combinations were of small avail against what
seemed the atmospherical epidemic of the age.  I could see how his
situation had preyed on his mind when I read a paragraph in the
newspapers, "that it was reported, on good authority, that Mr. Trevanion
had tendered his resignation, but had been prevailed upon to withdraw
it, as his retirement at that moment would break up the government."
Some months afterwards came another paragraph, to the effect "that Mr.
Trevanion was taken suddenly ill, and that it was feared his illness was
of a nature to preclude his resuming his official labors."  Then
Parliament broke up.  Before it met again, Mr. Trevanion was gazetted as
Earl of Ulverstone,--a title that had been once in his family,--and had
left the Administration, unable to encounter the fatigues of office.  To
an ordinary man the elevation to an earldom, passing over the lesser
honors in the peerage, would have seemed no mean close to a political
career; but I felt what profound despair of striving against
circumstance for utility--what entanglements with his colleagues, whom
he could neither conscientiously support, nor, according to his high
old-fashioned notions of party honor and etiquette, energetically
oppose--had driven him to abandon that stormy scene in which his
existence had been passed.  The House of Lords, to that active
intellect, was as the retirement of some warrior of old into the
cloisters of a convent.  The gazette that chronicled the earldom of
Ulverstone was the proclamation that Albert Trevanion lived no more for
the world of public men.  And, indeed, from that date his career
vanished out of sight.  Trevanion died,--the Earl of Ulverstone made no
sign.

I had hitherto written but twice to Lady Ellinor during my exile,--once
upon the marriage of Fanny with Lord Castleton, which took place about
six months after I sailed from England, and again when thanking her
husband for some rare animals, equine, pastoral, and bovine, which he
had sent as presents to Bolding and myself.  I wrote again after
Trevanion's elevation to the peerage, and received, in due time, a reply
confirming all my impressions; for it was full of bitterness and gall,
accusations of the world, fears for the country,--Richelieu himself
could not have taken a gloomier view of things when his levees were
deserted and his power seemed annihilated before the "Day of Dupes."
Only one gleam of comfort appeared to visit Lady Ulverstone's breast,
and thence to settle prospectively over the future of the world,--a
second son had been born to Lord Castleton; to that son would descend
the estates of Ulverstone and the representation of that line
distinguished by Trevanion and enriched by Trevanion's wife.  Never was
there a child of such promise!  Not Virgil himself, when he called on
the Sicilian Muses to celebrate the advent of a son to Pollio, ever
sounded a loftier strain.  Here was one, now, perchance, engaged on
words of two syllables, called:

          "By laboring Nature to sustain
           The nodding frame of heaven and earth and main,
           See to their base restored, earth, sea, and air,
           And joyful ages from behind in crowding ranks     appear!"

Happy dream which Heaven sends to grandparents,--rebaptism of Hope in
the font whose drops sprinkle the grandchild!

Time flies on; affairs continue to prosper.  I am just leaving the bank
at Adelaide with a satisfied air when I am stopped in the street by
bowing acquaintances who never shook me by the hand before.  They shake
me by the hand now, and cry, "I wish you joy, sir.  That brave fellow,
your namesake, is of course your near relation."

"What do you mean?"

"Have you not seen the papers?  Here they are."

     "Gallant Conduct of Ensign De Caxton!  Promoted to a   Lieutenancy
     on the Field!"

I wipe my eyes, and cry: "Thank Heaven,--it is my cousin!" Then new
hand-shakings, new groups gather round.  I feel taller by the head than
I was before!  We grumbling English, always quarrelling with each
other,--the world not wide enough to hold us; and yet, when in the far
land some bold deed is done by a countryman, how we feel that we are
brothers; how our hearts warm to each other!  What a letter I wrote
home, and how joyously I went back to the Bush!  The Will-o'-the-Wisp
has attained to a cattle station of his own.  I go fifty miles out of my
way to tell him the news and give him the newspaper; for he knows now
that his old master, Vivian, is a Cumberland man,--a Caxton.  Poor Will-
o'-the-Wisp!  The tea that night tasted uncommonly like whiskey-punch!
Father Mathew, forgive us; but if you had been a Cumberland man, and
heard the Will-o'-the-Wisp roaring out, "Blue Bonnets over the Borders,"
I think your tea, too, would not have come out of the--caddy!



CHAPTER V.


A great change has occurred in our household.  Guy's father is dead,--
his latter years cheered by the accounts of his son's steadiness and
prosperity, and by the touching proofs thereof which Guy has exhibited;
for he insisted on repaying to his father the old college debts and the
advance of the L1,500, begging that the money might go towards his
sister's portion.  Now, after the old gentleman's death, the sister
resolved to come out and live with her dear brother Guy.  Another wing
is built to the hut.  Ambitious plans for a new stone house, to be
commenced the following year, are entertained; and Guy has brought back
from Adelaide not only a sister, but, to my utter astonishment, a wife,
in the shape of a fair friend by whom the sister is accompanied.

The young lady did quite right to come to Australia if she wanted to be
married.  She was very pretty, and all the beaux in Adelaide were round
her in a moment.  Guy was in love the first day, in a rage with thirty
rivals the next, in despair the third, put the question the fourth, and
before the fifteenth was a married man, hastening back with a treasure,
of which he fancied all the world was conspiring to rob him.  His sister
was quite as pretty as her friend, and she, too, had offers enough the
moment she landed,--only she was romantic and fastidious; and I fancy
Guy told her that "I was just made for her."

However, charming though she be,--with pretty blue eyes and her
brother's frank smile,--I am not enchanted.  I fancy she lost all chance
of my heart by stepping across the yard in a pair of silk shoes.  If I
were to live in the Bush, give me a wife as a companion who can ride
well, leap over a ditch, walk beside me when I go forth, gun in hand,
for a shot at the kangaroos.  But I dare not go on with the list of a
Bush husband's requisites.  This change, however, serves, for various
reasons, to quicken my desire of return.  Ten years have now elapsed,
and I have already obtained a much larger fortune than I had calculated
to make.  Sorely to Guy's honest grief, I therefore wound up our affairs
and dissolved partnership; for he had decided to pass his life in the
colony,--and with his pretty wife, who has grown very fond of him, I
don't wonder at it.  Guy takes my share of the station and stock off my
hands; and, all accounts squared between us, I bid farewell to the Bush.
Despite all the motives that drew my heart homeward, it was not without
participation in the sorrow of my old companions that I took leave of
those I might never see again on this side the grave.  The meanest man
in my employ had grown a friend; and when those hard hands grasped mine,
and from many a breast that once had waged fierce war with the world
came the soft blessing to the Homeward-bound,--with a tender thought for
the Old England that had been but a harsh stepmother to them,--I felt a
choking sensation which I suspect is little known to the friendships of
Mayfair and St.  James's.  I was forced to get off with a few broken
words, when I had meant to part with a long speech,--perhaps the broken
words pleased the audience better.  Spurring away, I gained a little
eminence and looked back.  There were the poor faithful fellows gathered
in a ring, watching me, their hats off, their hands shading their eyes
from the sun.  And Guy had thrown himself on the ground, and I heard his
loud sobs distinctly.  His wife was leaning over his shoulder, trying to
soothe.  Forgive him, fair helpmate; you will be all the world to him--
to-morrow!  And the blue-eyed sister, where was she?  Had she no tears
for the rough friend who laughed at the silk shoes, and taught her how
to hold the reins and never fear that the old pony would run away with
her?  What matter?  If the tears were shed, they were hidden tears.  No
shame in them, fair Ellen!  Since then thou hast wept happy tears over
thy first-born,--those tears have long ago washed away all bitterness in
the innocent memories of a girl's first fancy.



CHAPTER VI.


Dated From Adelaide.


Imagine my wonder!  Uncle Jack has just been with me, and--But hear the
dialogue.

Uncle Jack.--"So you are positively going back to that smoky, fusty Old
England, just when you are on your high road to a plum,--a plum, sir, at
least!  They all say there is not a more rising young man in the colony.
I think Bullion would take you into partnership.  What are you in such a
hurry for?"

Pisistratus.--"To see my father and mother and Uncle Roland, and--" (was
about to name some one else, but stops). "You see, my dear uncle, I came
out solely with the idea of repairing my father's losses in that
unfortunate speculation of 'The Capitalist'!"

Uncle Jack (coughs and ejaculates).--"That villain Peck!"

Pisistratus.--"And to have a few thousands to invest in poor Roland's
acres.  The object is achieved: why should I stay?"

Uncle Jack.--"A few paltry thousands, when in twenty years more, at the
farthest, you would wallow in gold!"

Pisistratus.--"A man learns in the Bush how happy life can be with
plenty of employment and very little money.  I shall practise that
lesson in England."

Uncle Jack.--"Your mind's made up?"

Pisistratus.--"And my place in the ship taken."

Uncle Jack.--"Then there's no more to be said."  (Hums, haws, and
examines his nails,--filbert-nails, not a speck on them.  Then suddenly,
and jerking up his head) "That 'Capitalist'! it has been on my
conscience, nephew, ever since; and, somehow or other, since I have
abandoned the cause of my fellow-creatures, I think I have cared more
for my relations."

Pisistratus (smiling as he remembers his father's shrewd predictions
thereon).--"Naturally, my dear uncle; any child who has thrown a stone
into a pond knows that a circle disappears as it widens."

Uncle Jack.--"Very true,--I shall make a note of that, applicable to my
next speech in defence of what they call the 'land monopoly.'  Thank
you,--stone, circle!  [Jots down notes in his pocket-book.]  But to
return to the point: I am well off now, I have neither wife nor child,
and I feel that I ought to bear my share in your father's loss,--it was
our joint speculation.  And your father--good, dear Austin!--paid my
debts into the bargain.  And how cheering the punch was that night, when
your mother wanted to scold poor Jack!  And the L300 Austin lent me when
I left him: nephew, that was the remaking of me,--the acorn of the oak I
have planted.  So here they are [added Uncle Jack, with a heroical
effort, and he extracted from the pocket-book bills for a sum between
three and four thousand pounds].  There, it is done; and I shall sleep
better for it!"  With that Uncle Jack got up, and bolted out of the
room.

Ought I to take the money?  Why, I think yes,--it is but fair.  Jack
must be really rich, and can well spare the money; besides, if he wants
it again, I know my father will let him have it.  And, indeed, Jack
caused the loss of the whole sum lost on "The Capitalist," etc.: and
this is not quite the half of what my father paid away.  But is it not
fine in Uncle Jack?  Well, my father was quite right in his milder
estimate of Jack's scalene conformation, and it is hard to judge of a
man when he is needy and down in the world.  When one grafts one's ideas
on one's neighbor's money, they are certainly not so grand as when they
spring from one's own.

Uncle Jack (popping his head into the room).--"And, you see, you can
double that money if you will just leave it in my hands for a couple of
years,--you have no notion what I shall make of the Tibbets' Wheal!  Did
I tell you?  The German was quite right; I have been offered already
seven times the sum which I gave for the land.  But I am now looking out
for a company: let me put you down for shares to the amount at least of
those trumpery bills.  Cent per cent,--I guarantee cent per cent!"  And
Uncle Jack stretches out those famous smooth hands of his, with a
tremulous motion of the ten eloquent fingers.

Pisistratus.--"Ah! my dear uncle, if you repent--"

Uncle Jack.--"Repent, when I offer you cent per cent, on my personal
guarantee!"

Pisistratus (carefully putting the bills into his breast coat-pocket).--
"Then if you don't repent, my dear uncle, allow me to shake you by the
hand and say that I will not consent to lessen my esteem and admiration
for the high principle which prompts this restitution, by confounding it
with trading associations of loans, interests, and copper-mines.  And,
you see, since this sum is paid to my father, I have no right to invest
it without his permission."

Uncle Jack (with emotion). "'Esteem, admiration, high principle!'--these
are pleasant words from you, nephew.  [Then, shaking his head, and
smiling]  You sly dog! you are quite right; get the bills cashed at
once.  And hark ye, sir, just keep out of my way, will you?  And don't
let me coax from you a farthing."  Uncle Jack slams the door and rushes
out.  Pisistratus draws the bills warily from his pocket, half
suspecting they must already have turned into withered leaves, like
fairy money; slowly convinces himself that the bills are good bills; and
by lively gestures testifies his delight and astonishment.  Scene
changes.





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