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Title: Rank and Talent; A Novel, Vol. I (of 3)
Author: Scargill, William Pitt
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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                           RANK AND TALENT;
                               A NOVEL.

                                BY THE
                   AUTHOR OF “TRUCKLEBOROUGH-HALL.”

                  When once he’s made a Lord,
                Who’ll be so saucy as to think he can
                Be impotent in wisdom?

                                                 COOK.

    Why, Sir, ’tis neither satire nor moral, but the mere passage
    of an history; yet there are a sort of discontented creatures,
    that bear a stingless envy to great ones, and these will wrest
    the doings of any man to their base malicious appliment.

                                                           MARSTON.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES.

                               VOL. I.

                                LONDON:
                 HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
                                 1829.



RANK AND TALENT.



CHAPTER I.

    “Law is the world’s great light, a second sun
    To this terrestrial globe, by which all things
    Have life and being; and without which
    Confusion and disorder soon would seize
    The general state of men.”

                                             BARRY.


The Summer assizes for the county of ----, in the year 18--, excited
in the county-town where they were held rather more than the usual
sensation; but in the remote and smaller town of Brigland, they roused
a stirring interest. Long before the day of the trial, every vehicle
which could be hired was engaged to carry the curious to the assizes,
to hear the action brought by poor old Richard Smith against the Hon.
Philip Martindale, for an assault and false imprisonment. The defendant
was by no means popular at Brigland, and there were circumstances,
which rendered the injury done to the plaintiff peculiarly hard and
oppressive; and whenever the sympathy of the multitude is with the
poor oppressed against the rich oppressor, that sympathy is very
strong, and indignation is not choice in the terms of its expression,
nor does cool deliberation precede judgment. It was the common, and
almost universal wish, that the defendant might have to pay heavy
damages; and that he might hear from the lips of the plaintiff’s
counsel some home truths, which might mortify his pride, and abate his
arrogance.

In addition to the excitement which this action produced, there was
also another, though smaller stimulus to curiosity, in the first
appearance on the circuit of a young barrister, who was a native of
the town in which the assizes were held. These two circumstances,
therefore, filled the court at an early hour with anxious and curious
expectants.

The plaintiff’s attorney had put his brief into the hands of the young
barrister; the defendant had retained a more experienced advocate, one
well versed in the theory of the law, and, what is far more to the
purpose, deeply skilled in the ways of the world, and the practice of
courts--one who had the professionally desirable art of mystifying a
jury, and of persuading twelve men out of their senses--one who would
be sure of every cause he undertook, were it not for the summing up of
the judge--one who, by means of a loud voice and swaggering manner,
was a terror to nine-tenths of the simpletons who entered the witness’
box--one who never cross-examined a female witness without making her
blush, or terrifying her to tears--one who could talk very solemnly
about “our holy religion,” and could convert into a joke the clearest
principles of morality, or the deepest sufferings of humanity. It was
a great amusement to the country people and the county magistrates to
hear this very clever man; and poor old Richard Smith was very much
alarmed when he found what a dexterous and terrific adversary was
employed against him, and he expressed his fears to his own attorney,
who comforted him by saying, “Had your cause been a bad one, I would
have retained Mr. ----.”

After one or two causes had been disposed of, that of Smith _versus_
Martindale was called. Then, for the first time, and in his native
town, did Horatio Markham open his lips in a court of justice.
Notwithstanding the profound and anxious silence which prevailed in the
court, scarcely one-half of the persons there could hear distinctly the
commencement of his speech; but by degrees he gained confidence, and
his voice was more audible. The audience, however, was not very highly
pleased with what he said. Many thought that he stated the case much
too feebly. Some thought that he was afraid of the defendant’s counsel;
and others thought he was fearful of offending the defendant himself.
The Hon. Philip Martindale, who was on the bench, listened with but
slight attention to the speech; and when it was finished, honoured it
with a contemptuous sneer. This sneer was reflected in most courtly
style by the gentlemen who sat on either side of him; the high-sheriff
was one, and a clerical magistrate was the other.

Witnesses were then called to prove the case. From them it appeared
very clear that the Hon. Philip Martindale had, upon very defective
evidence, and against very credible evidence, committed Richard Smith
to jail as a poacher; and the said Hon. Philip Martindale had also with
great severity, not to say cruelty, struck the said Richard Smith,
in order, as the defendant had said, to punish the old man for his
insolence. What this insolence was, would not have appeared to the
court, had it not been for the dexterity of the defendant’s counsel, in
cross-examining one of the plaintiff’s witnesses.

This witness was a very pretty, modest-looking young woman, who seemed
to suffer quite enough from the publicity in which she was placed by
being brought to speak in open court. The temptation was too strong for
the defendant’s counsel to resist; and he therefore took abundant pains
to show his wit, by asking a long string of impertinent questions, and
repeating the answers to those questions in a loud insulting tone.
He and those who follow his example, are best able to say how far
such a mode of proceeding can answer the ends of justice--how far it
is consistent with the gravity and decorum of a court, and with the
character of a gentleman--how far it is calculated to impress the
multitude with a sentiment of reverence for the expounders of the
law--and how far it is likely to advance those who adopt it, in their
own esteem.

The cross-examination of this young woman, who was the plaintiff’s
niece, led to a re-examination, in which it was made manifest to the
court, as it had been previously known to most then present, that the
severity of the Hon. Philip Martindale towards poor old Richard Smith
arose from the vigilance with which the old man guarded his niece, and
preserved her from the artifices of the defendant. When this fact came
out in evidence, there was an involuntary and indescribable expression
of contempt in the court; and the honourable defendant endeavoured
to smile away his mortification, but did not succeed, though he was
countenanced by the high-sheriff on one side of him, and a clerical
magistrate on the other. The contrast between impertinence and decorum
was never so strongly manifested as in the cross-examination and
re-examination above alluded to; and it has been said that the witty
barrister himself was not quite at his ease, and that he broke down in
an attempted jest upon gravity.

The counsel for the defendant called no witnesses, but made a witty
speech; in which he proved by arguments which made the multitude laugh,
that it is a very slight inconvenience to be imprisoned for a few
months; that seduction is a very venial offence, and highly becoming
a gentleman; that it is a great condescension in a man of high rank
to knock down a poor cottager; that gray hairs are a very ludicrous
ornament; that it is very insolent in a poor man to interrupt a rich
man in his pursuit of vicious pleasure; that the game-laws are so very
excellent, that persons only suspected of violating them ought to be
punished. Then he gave the jury to understand, that if they should be
foolish enough to give a verdict for the plaintiff, they must award the
least possible damages. Then he sat down, and took a great quantity
of snuff, and winked at the high-sheriff. In spite of all the wit and
coxcomical impertinence of this redoubtable advocate, the jury found a
verdict for the plaintiff, giving him one hundred pounds damages.

This verdict, and the unpretending sobriety of the young barrister’s
mode of arguing his case, occasioned much conversation in the town, and
gave also ground for some observations among the gentlemen of the bar.
Some of these gentlemen had known Horatio Markham from the very first
day that he had entered his name in the Temple. They were acquainted
with his taste and the line of his reading, and they knew that the
oratorical writers of antiquity and of modern times occupied a place
on his shelves and a share of his attention; and they expected that
when he held such a brief as that of which we have made mention, he
would indulge a little in declamation. It was therefore a matter of
surprise to them when he confined himself so strictly to the record,
and suffered his case to rest so independently on its own strength.
The opposing counsel was completely at fault. He had calculated so
confidently on Markham’s eloquence, and was so familiar with the
common places of declamation, that he was quite prepared with a
copious supply of extemporaneous witticisms, with which he designed
to overwhelm the young gentleman, and throw ridicule on his cause.
It was therefore a disappointment to him when he found that all this
previous preparation was labour lost. But though most of the barristers
on the circuit joined with the witty counsel for the defendant in his
vituperation of those who had been instrumental in procuring such
a verdict, yet secretly they were not displeased that their tyrant
had been so fairly set down. Markham was absolutely beginning to
be a favourite on the circuit. The judge himself all but publicly
complimented him on the able and gentleman-like manner in which he had
managed his cause; and even the honourable defendant was mortified that
there was nothing in Markham’s language to which any exception could be
taken.

When the court had broken up, the young barrister most unblushingly
walked into a linen-draper’s shop, and passing on to a little back
parlour, took off his gown and wig, and sat down to dine with his
father and mother. The old people were proud of their son, and the
young man was not ashamed of his parents. But he had seen many
instances of young persons who had scarcely deigned to acknowledge
those to whom they were not only bound by the ties of nature, but to
whose self-denial they owed their distinction and station in life.
These little think how much substantial reputation they lose, and how
little shadowy honour they gain.

As the family of the young barrister was sitting at dinner, there
entered to them unannounced, and without apology, an elderly man, in
very singular attire, and of very singular appearance. Markham had
a recollection of having seen him in court. His countenance had an
expression of archness, and he seemed by his looks as though he were
on the eve of uttering some choice piece of wit; there were also
observable indications of impetuosity and strong self-will. His head
was nearly bald; his shoulders of ample breadth; his stature short;
his voice shrill; and his manner of speaking quick and dogmatical.
Without taking any notice of the father and mother of the barrister, he
addressed himself directly to Horatio.

“I suppose you don’t know me--my name is Martindale.”

“The Hon. Philip Martindale?” replied the young man with great
composure; for he was quite ignorant of the person of the defendant in
the recent action.

“The Hon. Philip Martindale!” echoed the stranger, with a tone and
with a look which answered the question very decidedly. “The Hon.
Philip rascal!--no, sir; my name is not made ridiculous by any such
lying adjunct. My name is John Martindale; and it is my misfortune to
be called cousin by that hopeful spark who was defendant in the action
this morning. I am come, sir, to tell you that I think you did yourself
honour by the manner in which you conducted the poor man’s cause.”

Horatio Markham perceived that, though the gentleman was somewhat of an
oddity, he was a man of some consequence, and apparently a man of good
feeling; he therefore replied:

“Sir, you are very polite; you.…”

“No such thing,” interrupted Mr. Martindale; “I am not polite, and hope
I never shall be polite. My cousin Philip is a very polite man.” Then
directing his conversation to Mr. Markham the elder, he continued: “I
congratulate you, sir, on having for a son a young man who can make a
speech without fine words and metaphors.”

This seemed to the father a singular ground of congratulation, and he
did not know how to reply to it: fortunately, the speaker did not wait
for a reply; but turning again to the young man, he said: “You must
come and spend a few weeks with me in my cottage at Brigland. I will
have no excuses, so tell me when you will come. Will you go home with
me tonight?”

Markham recollected that he had in his boyhood heard frequent talk and
many singular anecdotes of Mr. John Martindale of Brigland; but as his
general character was one of benevolence and shrewd sense, he was not
reluctant to accept the invitation, especially as it was given in such
terms as not to be refused without that degree of rudeness which did
not seem suitable from a young man of humble origin towards an elderly
person of high rank. He therefore professed his readiness to spend a
short time with his new friend, and fixed the following day for the
purpose. The stranger then took his leave.



CHAPTER II.

    “I may speak foolishly, ay, knavishly,
    Always carelessly, yet no one thinks it fashion
    To poise my breath; for he that laughs and strikes
    Is lightly felt, or seldom struck again.”

                                               MARSTON.


Brigland-Abbey was one of those desirable mansions which auctioneers
love to describe, but which are beyond all power of advertising
flattery. It stood on a gradually descending and very extensive sweep
of land; at the back of which rose a dense and ancient forest, and
in front flowed a stream which had been artificially widened into
the semblance of a fair and placid lake. The building was in harmony
with the scenery; graceful, stately, extensive. The architect had
successfully imitated the florid Gothic style of building; and over
the principal entrance was a window of enormous magnitude, and most
brilliant colouring. Through this window the beams of the declining
sun cast on the marble pavement of the great hall a luxuriant mass of
variegated light, forming one of the most magnificent specimens of
internal beauty which any mansion in this kingdom has to boast. This
beautiful estate was the property of Mr. John Martindale, but the
residence of the Hon. Philip Martindale. The elder Martindale had, for
the place of his abode, a fancifully constructed cottage, immediately
opposite to the great gates that opened into the park; and so well
placed was this residence, that it had a most beautiful and imposing
view of the great building. For when Mr. Martindale had finished the
erection of the splendid abbey, it was remarked to him, as it has been
remarked to many others who have built splendid mansions, “Now you
should have another house opposite to this, that you may enjoy the
pleasure of looking at this magnificent pile.”

On this principle the proprietor acted; residing in a dwelling called
the cottage, and giving up the great house to his hopeful cousin. He
found a peculiar pleasure in this whim; for thereby he became master
of the master of the great house; and nothing pleased him more than to
be mistaken for a person of no consequence, and then to be discovered
as the opulent and remarkable Mr. Martindale. Some of his neighbours
used to report that he had a right to a title, but that he would not
prosecute his claim, because he despised titles as mere foolery. These
good people were wrong in their conjecture; but the supposition was not
displeasing to Mr. Martindale.

As we are on the subject, we may as well state here that he was an
old bachelor, of extensive wealth; and that he was third, fourth, or
fifth cousin to a Mr. Martindale, who had recently been created Lord
Martindale, but whose income was not quite equal to his title. Now,
though Mr. Martindale professed a great contempt for titles, the
fact is, that on his remote relative’s obtaining this distinction,
he took more notice of him than ever he had before, and gave very
strong indications that it was his intention to make the Hon. Philip
Martindale his heir. He had established the young gentleman at the
Abbey, tempting his vanity by the offer of a residence far too
magnificent for his means, and too extensive for his establishment.

The young man’s vanity was pleased with this arrangement, for he very
sensibly felt that he was the occupier of the great house; but he
was not so deeply sensible of the fact, that he was quite under the
command of his opulent and humorous relative. He looked forward to the
possession of ample means at the decease of Mr. Martindale; but he
was desirous of supplying his deficiencies, if possible, before that
time. It might, indeed, be imagined that the heir-apparent to a barony,
and the expectant of most ample wealth, might have made his selection
among the daughters of opulence. There were, however, difficulties and
objections. The young gentleman himself was, especially, particular
as to rank and connexion. None of his family had ever been engaged in
or connected with trade, so far as he could ascertain; and most of the
large fortunes which appeared at all accessible, had been the obvious
result of commercial engagement of some kind or other. He might have
had rank; he might have had wealth; but he could not have both.

The occupant of the cottage observed his relative’s vanity, and was
in the habit of mortifying it, even though he was not quite free from
some tincture of the same in his own temperament. He also was not
insensible to the fact, that his honourable cousin was not overstrict
in his morals; but his mode of reproving irregularities did not much
tend to their correction. The old gentleman was not a magistrate, but
was, as far as he thought fit, the dictator of his cousin’s proceedings
in the office of magistrate: not that the transaction alluded to in the
first chapter was with the approbation or even knowledge of the elder
Martindale. Such, however, was the oddity of this gentleman’s humour,
that had Horatio Markham declaimed with what some would have considered
merited severity against the magistrate for his violation of the laws,
he would have been the first to take fire at the insult offered to his
relative. He was unprepared for so much temperance, so much good sense,
and so little common-place. This circumstance, together with the fact
that Markham was of plebeian origin, led Mr. Martindale to invite the
barrister to Brigland, that he might amuse himself with his cousin’s
annoyance and embarrassment.

As Markham was entering the village on the side of the park, he
naturally paused to admire the beauty of the Abbey; and while he was
thus engaged, Mr. Martindale rode up to him, and without any preface of
common-place salutation, called out--

“That is a fine house, Mr. Barrister. I dare say you would rather pay
a visit to an honourable in the Abbey, than to a plain mister in a
cottage.”

Horatio apologised that he had not observed Mr. Martindale; but as he
began to discern his peculiar humour, he replied: “I was certainly
admiring the taste of the architect, and his judgment in selecting so
fine and commanding a situation: the very ground, by its disposition,
seemed to ask for a mansion of no ordinary magnificence.”

“Oh, ho--you understand how to pay compliments. I suppose you did not
know that your humble servant, plain John Martindale, was the designer
and builder of this mansion. Did you never hear the proverb, that fools
build houses, and wise men live in them?”

“Is the occupier of that mansion a wise man, sir?” replied Horatio.

“I cannot say that he is. And so from that you would infer that it was
not a fool who built the house. Well, well, you shall see him soon,
and judge for yourself. I told my honourable relative that I should
insist upon bringing you to the Abbey.”

Horatio Markham bowed, and they entered the cottage. This building was,
in its construction and appearance, almost indescribable. There was no
semblance of arrangement or regularity about it. It was very large,
and at the same time thoroughly inconvenient. Its furniture was in
some points very elegant, and in others mean. While it was in course
of building, Mr. Martindale had changed his mind about the plan of it
fifty times, or more; and in the furnishing, there had been evidently
as much caprice. There was a room called the library; but which that
room was, a stranger would have been puzzled to guess; for not a single
apartment through the whole house was free from books, and in no one
room were the books arranged in any order. There were books upon the
tables, and books upon the chairs, and books on the floors. The very
staircases were not free from them; and whenever a visitor came to
the cottage to spend a day or two, it was an essential part of the
preparation to remove the books from the bed on which they were lying.

Now Mr. Martindale was very particular about his books, and would not
suffer any of his domestics to meddle with them. In his younger days
he had been a reader of books; and when he came to his property, he
began to purchase, and cease to read. It was indeed conjectured by some
that his large property, which came to him from a distant relative, and
in some measure unexpectedly, had, in a degree, disordered his mind.
There might, perhaps, be some foundation for this suspicion; but it is
a fact, that even before his acquisition of great wealth, he had been
remarked for many singularities.

“Now, Mr. Barrister,” said the occupier of the cottage, “what time
would you like to dine? You have villainous late hours in London, I
know. Some of the great folks there don’t dine till to-morrow morning.
If I should ever sport a house in town, and give dinners, I think I
shall send out my cards inviting my company to dinner on Tuesday next,
at one o’clock on Wednesday morning. Will five o’clock be too soon for
you, Mr.?”

“Not at all, sir.” So the business was settled; and then Mr. Martindale
proposed a walk into the town to call upon the clergyman, whom he
designated by the not much admired name of parson.

“Good morning to you, Mr. Denver; will you condescend to dine at the
cottage at five o’clock to-day? In the mean time, let me introduce to
you my friend Mr. Markham, a barrister; who has distinguished himself
by obtaining a very proper verdict against my hopeful young cousin, the
Hon. Philip Martindale.”

Mr. Denver accepted the invitation, politely bowed to Mr. Markham,
and expressed great sorrow at the event which was alluded to by Mr.
Martindale.

“He is a wild youth, Mr. Parson; why don’t you preach to him, and make
him better?” replied Mr. Martindale.--“If I were a parson, I would
take much better care of my parishioners than nine out of ten of you
black-coated gentry. You are afraid of offending great folks. Now,
you would not dare to go up to the Abbey this morning, and tell my
honourable cousin that he ought to be ashamed of himself.--Eh! what say
you, Mr.? Will you take my arm, and walk up to the great house, and set
about rebuking the wicked one?”

Mr. Denver gently smiled, and said: “I fear, sir, that we should not
find Mr. Philip at home this morning.”

“Not find him at home!” exclaimed Mr. Martindale; “why not? Where is he
gone?”

“He left Brigland early this morning in a post-chaise; and the lad who
drove him the first stage saw him take another chaise, and proceed
towards London.”

“What! go to London at this time of year!--Let me know nothing about
it!--What is he gone for?”

“I cannot conjecture,” replied the reverend divine, “what can be Mr.
Philip’s motive for visiting the metropolis at this unusual season.”

“Conjecture!” said Mr. Martindale; “no, I suppose not. But it is so
very odd that he should go in such a violent hurry, and not say a word
to me on the subject.”

In this, the old gentleman was wrong; for it was by no means unusual
for the Hon. Philip Martindale to make an excursion for a day or two
without saying any thing about the matter to his worthy relative. These
excursions were sometimes to Moulsey, and sometimes to Epsom, and
sometimes to Newmarket, and sometimes to St. Mary Axe; and as these
excursions were on a species of business with which the old gentleman
had no sympathy, the young gentleman thought it superfluous to announce
his departure and arrival. A present advantage arising from this
arrangement was, that he enjoyed a greater reputation for steadiness
than he really deserved, though without a knowledge of these matters
his indulgent and opulent relative thought the young man rather too
wild. A future disadvantage, however, was likely to compensate for the
present advantage; for it was next to impossible to carry on this game
without detection, and also very difficult to escape from the vortex.

The knowledge of Philip’s absence without leave discomposed the old
gentleman, and rendered him not very well disposed for the enjoyment of
company; he had, however, the consolation of anticipating the exercise
of a little extra tyranny over his dependent relative, in consequence
of this transgression. It is a truth, and a sad one too, that many
persons, situated as Mr. John Martindale, are not always really sorry
for an opportunity of showing their authority by means of the eloquence
or annoyance of rebuke. Had Philip, by any exertion of his own, or
by any spirit of pride, removed himself from a state of dependence,
it would have been a serious loss to his cousin; and even the very
appearance of an act of independence disturbed the old gentleman, and
rendered him for a considerable time silent and sulky.

Soon after dinner, however, Mr. Martindale recovered his spirits. He
became quite cheerful with the thought that he should make the young
man do penance for his transgression. He was, however, not altogether
at ease, because his curiosity was excited as to the object of the
young gentleman’s excursion. Mr. Denver was unable or unwilling to
satisfy his curiosity; and therefore, without making any apology to
his guests, the old gentleman withdrew from table, and walked up to
the Abbey, with a view of ascertaining, if possible, from some of the
servants, the cause of their master’s sudden absence from home.

When three persons have dined together, and have been talking about
nothing, or next to nothing, and when one of the three withdraws, it
is not very unusual or unnatural that he should form a topic for the
remaining two to discourse upon. This was the case when Mr. Martindale
left the clergyman and the barrister together.

“It is very singular,” said Markham to his companion, “that a man
of such large fortune as Mr. Martindale, should, after building so
splendid a mansion, content himself with residing in such a cottage as
this.”

“So it appears to us, who have no such choice,” replied Mr. Denver;
“but to Mr. Martindale, who is rolling in riches, some other stimulus
is necessary than the mere outward manifestation of wealth; and I dare
say that he enjoys more pleasure from the whim of having a dependent
relative in the great house, than you or I should from dwelling there
ourselves. This I can venture to say, that Philip Martindale has not
received any great addition to his happiness from being placed at the
Abbey. The old gentleman scarcely allows him a maintenance, and is
constantly dictating to him in the merest trifles imaginable.”

“What a miserable existence it must be to live dependent on another’s
caprice!” exclaimed Horatio.

“Not very pleasant, to be sure,” replied the clergyman; “but it is in
expectation of hereafter enjoying an independency; and what else can
the young man do? Lord Martindale, his father, has but very contracted
means, and a large family to provide for. Indeed, I believe that his
lordship himself is, in a great degree, dependent on Mr. Martindale to
keep up the dignity of his rank.”

“And does the old gentleman exercise such authority over Lord
Martindale and the rest of his family, as he does over the young
gentleman who resides at the Abbey?”

“Not quite so much, I believe: he was desirous that his lordship and
family should reside at the Abbey; but Lady Martindale so strongly
objected to the measure, that it was given up; and Mr. Philip, after a
little hesitation, assented to his relative’s proposal to take up his
abode here, though Lady Martindale strongly urged him not to relinquish
his profession.”

“Profession!--what profession? I think I remember that name in the
Temple.”

“Yes, he was at the bar; and I have heard that he was rather
successful, considering the short time that he had practised; but as
soon as his father became a peer, and his wealthy relative offered him
this magnificent seat, he gave up practising, and cut his old friends.”

“Then he has made a very foolish exchange; for the old gentleman, as
you call him, does not seem likely to gratify his heirs by a speedy
departure from this life, and in all probability his domineering habits
will rather increase than diminish as he grows older. But from the
brief which I held yesterday, it seems that Mr. Philip Martindale is a
man of very profligate habits. How does that suit his cousin?”

“Why, yes, the young man is rather gay; and so indeed was the old
gentleman formerly, or his old acquaintance very much belie him. Now,
however, he is occasionally very grave in his way, and frequently gives
his cousin very serious lectures, which are not of much avail; for Mr.
Martindale’s style of reproof is more jesting than rebuking: he says
whatever he thinks; and has the oddest mode of thinking of any man that
I know. He says any thing to any body, and where he is known nobody
heeds him.”

“It struck me yesterday, that there was something very peculiar in the
manner in which Mr. Martindale spoke of his cousin; for the charge
against the young man was of a very disgraceful nature, and I thought
it not very becoming to treat it with any degree of levity.”

“You must make some allowance for the exaggerations of briefs; though
I must acknowledge that Philip Martindale was very much to be blamed.
Old Richard Smith is a very respectable man for his station in life;
and the young woman whom he calls his niece, has always conducted
herself in a very proper and becoming manner. But they will not be
able to remain at Brigland after this event, unless the old gentleman
takes their part very decidedly. I understand that Mr. Philip is very
much mortified at the result of the trial; and you, I hear, sir, are in
very high favour at Brigland, on account of the success of the trial.
The old man says that he is very desirous of thanking you for your
exertions. Even Philip Martindale spoke handsomely of you, though you
were employed against him; and he was disgusted at his own counsel,
whose impertinence, he believes, provoked the jury to their verdict.”

To a much longer speech than this had Horatio Markham given his
attention, when he and the reverend divine were interrupted by the
return of Mr. Martindale in a downright passion. The cause of that
passion we shall narrate in the following chapter.



CHAPTER III.

                      “There was a time,--
    And pity ’tis so good a time had wings
    To fly away,--when reverence was paid
    To a grey head; ’twas held a sacrilege
    Not expiable, to deny respect
    To one, sir, of your years and gravity.”

                                  RANDOLPH.


Mr. Martindale, as we have said in the preceding chapter, left his
company, and walked up to the Abbey to ascertain, if possible, from
some of the servants the cause of their master’s sudden journey. The
old gentleman was not in the habit usually of entering the house
by the grand entrance; but on the present occasion, seeing the
great doors partly open, he directed his steps that way; and as he
approached, he heard voices with which he had not been familiar, and
when he opened the door, he saw two vulgar-looking fellows gaping
about in broad astonishment at the splendid decorations of the great
hall, interspersing their profound remarks with unseemly puffings of
tobacco-smoke from two pipes with which they were regaling themselves.
It was not on trifling occasions that Mr. Martindale was struck dumb
with astonishment; but at the sight which he then saw, he was so far
thunderstruck that he did not instantaneously commence the pouring
forth of his interrogatory eloquence. He gazed for a moment or more on
the two men, and they gazed as long at him; but their looks were not so
full of astonishment as his were: at length he spoke in very hurried
tones.

“Who are you? What do you want here? What do you mean by smoking your
filthy pipes in this place? Have the goodness to walk out directly.”

To this speech one of the men calmly replied, “We have as much right
here, sir, as you have, and perhaps more; for I guess you are only one
of the upper servants, and we are sheriffs’ officers.”

“Sheriffs’ devils!” foamed forth the old gentleman; “and who sent you
here, I pray? I will have no sheriffs’ officers here, I can tell you.”

This language was not respectful to the men of office, and therefore
it was more sharply taken up by the speaker, who, laying aside his
composure, very loudly answered:

“Come, old fellow, let us have none of your insolence, or I shall soon
let you know who is master.”

Furiously again Mr. Martindale was beginning to reply, by repeating
the word “Master! master! master!” when the noise brought the butler
to the scene of contention. This butler was more properly a spy over
the actions of the Hon. Philip Martindale than a servant of his: he was
the immediate pensioner of the old gentleman; but he was also somewhat
attached to his nominal master, and he therefore acted the part of a
traitor rather treacherously. He knew, but had not communicated to Mr.
Martindale, the intention of the young gentleman to make a journey
to London, and he knew also the business on which he had gone; and he
had also, on previous occasions, known more than he had thought fit
to communicate to his employer. When this trusty domestic made his
appearance, Mr. Martindale addressed him very impetuously:

“Oliver! what does all this mean? Here are two insolent dirty fellows
calling themselves sheriffs’ officers, and strutting about as if the
house was their own. Where do they come from? What do they want here?
And pray, where is your master? I must insist upon knowing the meaning
of all this.”

Mr. Oliver looked foolish and confused, and while he was beating his
brains for a plausible lie, one of the officers began to save him all
further trouble of invention by saying:

“Why, if you must know the meaning of all this, I will tell you. The
Hon. Philip Martindale is--”

“Is gone out shooting,” interrupted the trusty Oliver: “he went out
early this morning, sir.”

“Shooting with a long bow,” muttered the officer. “Shooting at this
time of year, you rascal!” exclaimed Mr. Martindale: “why, you puppy,
this is only the beginning of August.”

“I don’t mean shooting game, sir, but shooting with bow and arrow.
He--he--is gone to--an archery meeting.”

“What! is he gone to an archery meeting in London? But pray, Mr.
Oliver, can you tell me why he has been so careful of his own carriage
as to take a hired chaise?”

“He was afraid, sir, that the journey might be rather too long for his
own horses.”

“Yes,” interrupted the officer, “it would have been too far for his
own horses to travel.”

“Hold your tongue, you puppy!” was the only acknowledgment which the
speaker received for this corroboration of the trusty Oliver’s speech:
then turning again to Oliver, Mr. Martindale continued:

“So your master is grown mightily merciful to his horses all on a
sudden; and was he also afraid that his travelling chariot would be
tired of the long journey? Was it too far for the carriage to travel?”

“I guess it was rather too far for his carriage to go from home,”
replied the officer.

“Fellow!” cried Mr. Martindale, “I want none of your fool’s prate.”

“Perhaps not,” replied the man; “you seem to have enough of your own.”

“Silence, you puppy! do you know who you are speaking to? I will not
put up with this insolence in my own house. This is my own house; I
built it: every article in it is mine.”

“I beg your pardon, sir,” replied the officer, “I did not know you: but
I will immediately explain.…”

“If you will have the goodness, sir, to step this way,” interrupted
Oliver, “perhaps my master may be returned by this time. I will tell
you all the particulars.”

Mr. Martindale had kept this fellow a long while in his employment, and
had estimated his fidelity by his treachery, forgetting that they who
have a double game to play make a double profit upon it; for while the
old gentleman had been bribing him to betray the young one, the young
one had been paying him to deceive the old one: so that by this double
diplomacy Oliver had become, to use a phrase of Dr. Johnson’s, “a very
pretty rascal.” By deceiving both parties he had injured both; but they
had only themselves to thank for it. Had they been simple enough to
follow the old maxim, that honesty is the best policy, they would both
have gained their ends more effectually: the elder Martindale would
have experienced from the younger greater deference and confidence, and
the younger Martindale would have experienced from the elder a greater
degree of liberality.

On the present occasion, it never for a moment entered the mind of the
old gentleman that the sheriffs’ officers could be at Brigland Abbey
on any serious professional engagement. It may indeed be asked, if he
did not think that, what was he thinking of? What, indeed! That is a
question which he himself could not answer. Having however no suspicion
of what was really the case, he was the more easily drawn away by the
crafty Oliver from the impending explanation which was threatened by
the officer.

Having thus drawn Mr. Martindale away from the immediate explanation
which was just coming upon him, Oliver’s next concern was to construct
something of a plausible story to account not only for the presence
of the officers at the Abbey, but for their rude behaviour, which to
his mind appeared totally insoluble on any other theory than that of
their being in possession by virtue of their office. To acknowledge
this truth appeared to him as the most effectual means to bring ruin
on himself and his master. As soon, therefore, as he had conducted the
old gentleman into the library, he began to apologise for the presence
and rudeness of these men; and Mr. Martindale being removed from the
sight of those who had excited his anger, began to grow a little more
cool, and was better prepared to hear explanation. Fortunately for
Oliver and his master, the curiosity of the old gentleman was not so
strongly excited by the presence of the officers as by the absence of
the Hon. Philip Martindale. He therefore very easily believed the story
which the trusty butler invented, that these officers had been on a
visit to one of the servants, and that they were rather intoxicated;
but the difficulty to be solved was the absence of the master of the
house, and his travelling with post-horses and a hired chaise. Now Mr.
Oliver would have been utterly unworthy of his place and occupation
as a professional tell-tale and a hired spy, had he been unable to
invent, or unready to utter, a most wilful, deliberate, and glorious
lie. Having therefore disposed of the difficulty of the presence of the
officers, he went on very deliberately to say:

“Did not my master call at the cottage this morning? I am sure he
intended to do so; but perhaps he was too early. I think he must have
called, but perhaps you were not stirring, sir.”

“Not stirring, you dog; why I was at the mineral spring by five
o’clock, or very little after.”

“Oh! then that accounts for your not seeing my master before he went,
for he set out just after the turret-clock struck five; and very likely
he saw you walking across the meadow, and knew it would be useless to
call at the cottage.”

“But I wonder why he did not tell me of his engagement yesterday; for
he must have known it then, if he set out so early this morning.”

“I believe, sir,” replied the trusty one, “that I am to blame for
that; for a note was brought here yesterday morning, and I forgot to
deliver it till just as my master was going to bed. The note was from
Sir Andrew Featherstone, to say that the archery-meeting was fixed for
this day instead of next Wednesday, in order to accommodate the young
ladies from Hollywick Priory, because they must accompany their uncle
to Cheltenham on Monday at the latest; and so, sir, my master was
forced to go in a hurry; and as he had taken the carriage-horses to
the assizes yesterday, and as the other horses had not been much used
to the chariot, so he ordered me to go down to the Red Lion to bespeak
a pair of chaise-horses, and I by mistake ordered chaise and horses;
and as it was very late when I returned, my master would not make any
alteration, and he took them as I had ordered.”

“Well,” replied Mr. Martindale, “but Parson Denver told me that your
master was gone to London; now Sir Andrew Featherstone has not an
archery-meeting at his townhouse.”

“That must be a mistake of Mr. Denver’s; for I am sure that my master
is not gone to London. I can show you, sir, the very letter which my
master received from Sir Andrew Featherstone.”

Thereupon the trusty Oliver left the worthy old gentleman for a few
minutes to his own meditations; and as he knew that it would be in vain
to look for a letter which had no existence but in his own imagination,
he used this interval in properly tutoring the sheriffs’ officers in
case they should again meet Mr. Martindale.

“It is very unfortunate, sir,” exclaimed the butler, when he returned
to the library, “but I believe my master must have carried the letter
with him; for I saw it on his dressing-table this morning, and I read
it when his back was turned; but I think he went into the room again
before he left home, and he has, no doubt, taken the letter with him.”

“Ay, ay, never mind; I don’t want to see any of Sir Andrew
Featherstone’s foolish letters. Archery, forsooth! and for young women
to make such an exhibition of themselves! It is absolutely indecent.
I am sorry that Philip should lend himself to encourage any such
ridiculous foolery. What crotchet will seize the fashionable world
next, I wonder. I suppose we shall have the tread-mill converted into
a machine for the amusement of elegant females. It will be a pretty
species of gymnastic exercise. Now, Oliver, I beg you will not say a
word to your master of my having made inquiries after him, and see that
these drunken officers are sent away as soon as possible. It is quite
disreputable for the servants to keep such company.”

Mr. Oliver made all the professions and promises which were required
of him, and was not sorry to get so easily rid of his difficulties.
The old gentleman then recollecting that he had left his guests to
entertain each other at the cottage, prepared to return home, but in
his way he met old Richard Smith, whom indeed he did not personally
know; but as the poor man knew Mr. Martindale, he pulled off his hat,
and made a very humble obeisance to the rich man. There was something
very striking in the appearance of Richard Smith, especially when his
head was uncovered. His hair was of a silvery whiteness, and it hung
about his neck in full and graceful ringlets; his forehead was bold
and high, and almost without a wrinkle; and his fine eyes, but little
dimmed with age, presented the appearance of strength and vigour
contending with time. His figure was tall, and but just beginning
to bend under the weight of years. The manner in which he made his
obeisance was also impressive; there was dignity in his humility, and
his bow was neither slavishly obsequious nor vulgarly insolent. There
was in his whole appearance a manifestation of that indelible nobility
with which nature endows some individuals of the human species in every
rank and condition of life, and which all the drilling and tutoring of
artificial society can neither imitate nor improve. The venerable look
and the graceful demeanour of the old man induced Mr. Martindale to
take especial notice of him, and ask his name, and place of abode, and
employment.

“My name, sir,” replied the old man, “is Richard Smith; my abode is at
Brigland; and I am past labour.”

“Eh! what! Smith! Richard Smith!--Are you the person that my graceless
cub of a cousin had the insolence to knock down and send to jail as a
poacher? I hope he has paid you the amount of damages awarded to you.”

“It was only yesterday, sir, that the verdict was given, and I have
no desire to hurry the gentleman for payment: I wish him to make it
convenient to himself.”

“What are you talking about, my good man? Do you think it can make any
difference to my cousin when he pays such a sum as one hundred pounds.
You fancy you are talking about a shopkeeper.”

“I beg pardon, sir; I do not mean to speak disparagingly of the Hon.
Philip Martindale, but lawyer Flint told me this morning, that when he
applied to lawyer Price about the settlement of the damages and costs,
he was informed that they would be paid in a few days, but it was not
quite convenient at present.”

“Nonsense, the lawyers want to cheat you; Philip has money enough to
pay you, and I will take care that you shall be paid. I will see Price
to-morrow, and he shall settle the business at once. I am afraid the
young man is not quite so steady as he ought to be. I don’t at all
approve of his behaviour to you and your niece, and I shall tell him my
mind pretty plainly.”

The old man shook his head and sighed. Mr. Martindale observed his
emotion, and interrogated him more closely concerning the behaviour
of Philip, assuring him that, instead of being offended, he should
be thankful for any information concerning the conduct of his young
relative, in order that he might use his influence to correct it.

“I am not thinking, sir,” replied Richard Smith, with great solemnity
of tone, “only of your honourable relative, but of the numbers in his
rank of life who make the miseries of the poor their amusement and
sport. I am thinking, sir, that it is a sad mockery of the seriousness
of legislation, that profligate and ignorant lads should sit as
lawgivers.” Mr. Martindale frowned, for he had bought a borough for
his hopeful relative; but as he stood in the attitude of listening,
the old man went on: “I think it a sad disgrace to the country, that
ignominious and painful punishments are denounced against those
offences only which the legislators have no temptation to commit.”

“Well done, old gentleman,” replied Mr. Martindale, “you talk like a
philosopher. I am quite of your way of thinking. So you don’t think
that it is enough to make young gentlemen pay for their frolics; you
would have them sent to work at the tread-mill, or give them a public
whipping now and then by way of example.”

“And do not you think,” said the old man more sternly, “that such
inflictions as these would be more effectual in checking the vices of
the higher orders, than a mere fine which is paid and forgotten, or
which places vice in the same scale as a luxury?”

“Why, my good friend, you are a severe legislator; you seem to be angry
with my young spark. But now, if your system should be adopted, the
injured party would gain no redress; whereas now the wound is healed
by heavy damages; and surely it is much better to receive a pecuniary
compensation, than merely to have the satisfaction of knowing that the
offender is personally punished.”

“Excuse me, sir, but you are not speaking according to your own
judgment. You must know that the professed end of the law is security
from injury. Substitute a pecuniary compensation for the punishment now
denounced against murder, and whose life is safe?”

“You are angry, my friend, you are angry. You should not bear malice; I
will take care and see you righted; my cousin shall not have it said of
him that he oppresses the poor.”

“Then, perhaps, sir, you will so far befriend me as that I may not be
turned out of my cottage; for lawyer Price told me that I should be
sent off as soon as the damages were paid.”

At this request of the poor man, or rather at the occasion for the
request, Mr. Martindale was really vexed and angry. He had tolerated
many of his cousin’s vices under the name of youthful follies; but
when he found him guilty of the meanness of so despicable a species of
revenge, he was deeply mortified, and with great emotion replied: “The
very day that you are driven out of the cottage, Philip shall leave the
Abbey.”

Having said this, he hurried home to his guests in no enviable frame of
mind. Mr. Denver was accustomed to the old gentleman’s peculiarities;
but Horatio Markham, who had never known, and who scarcely apprehended
what it was to be dependent on another’s caprices, felt uneasy and
constrained, and was beginning to wish that he could, consistently with
common politeness, reduce his visit to a day, instead of a week or
ten days. He was however soon relieved from his temporary uneasiness,
by the return of good humour to the tone and countenance of his host,
who proposed that, before visiting the Abbey, they should call at old
Richard’s cottage, and inquire into his circumstances.



CHAPTER IV.

    “Exceeding fair she was not, and yet fair,
    In that she never studied to be fairer
    Than nature made her.”

                                      CHAPMAN.


In pursuance of the arrangement proposed the preceding evening, Mr.
Martindale and his guest, immediately after an early breakfast,
went out in search of Richard Smith’s cottage. They had some little
difficulty to find the place; for, though the old man had lived
several years at Brigland, he was of such retired habits that he was
comparatively unknown in the parish: some persons knew him by sight
who did not know his name, and others had heard his name, who were
unacquainted with his person.

The cottage in which he lived seemed to have been selected for its
very retired situation. It stood in a narrow lane, which, before the
building of the great house, had served as a thoroughfare from Brigland
Common to the meadows, which, since the erection of the Abbey, had been
included in the park. The cottage, though apparently so secluded and
almost embowered in wood, was by no means a gloomy abode; for through
a natural vista in the wood before it there was an extensive view of
highly-cultivated scenery, which showed between the over-arching trees
like a beautiful painting in a rustic frame. The light which shone
through this opening, drew the eyes of Markham and his companion to
notice the beauty of the landscape.

There is a peculiar and almost indescribable effect produced on the
mind by the sight of well-known scenery taken from a new point, or
viewed with some variety or novelty of accompaniment. The feeling
thus excited, has not all its interest from novelty alone, nor is
it indebted for its interest to association. In viewing this scene,
Mr. Martindale enjoyed this pleasure: he had lived for many years in
Brigland, and had long been in possession of this estate, but here was
a beauty he had never seen before.

While they were both admiring the scene before them, Horatio Markham
fancied that he could hear a distant sound of music, and stood for a
moment in a listening attitude. Presently the sound caught the ear of
Mr. Martindale; and the two companions looked at each other in mute
astonishment, when the faint tinkling of the unknown instrument was
accompanied with the human voice in notes of indescribable sweetness.
The voice was near enough to be distinctly audible; and Markham, who
had a more acute sense of hearing, and a more extensive knowledge of
music than his friend Mr. Martindale, soon perceived that neither the
words nor the melody were English. It was presently obvious that the
music was in the cottage of old Richard Smith. The two listeners waited
till the voice was silent, and then, without the ceremony of tapping at
the door, entered the poor man’s humble dwelling.

The interior of the cottage was perfectly neat and clean, as might
have been anticipated from the style and appearance of the old man;
but there was in it more than neatness--there were symptoms that its
present tenants had seen better days. There were several articles of
furniture and embellishment which cottagers have neither means nor
inclination to purchase. Symptoms indeed of better days are to be
continually met with in many humble, even in many miserable dwellings;
but such symptoms consist generally of those articles which cannot find
purchasers, or which are in daily use, or of indispensable utility, or
which have an imaginary value far beyond their real value. And the poor
people are sometimes proud of these mementos of their high descent.
They can perhaps show, in an old black frame, and drawn on durable
vellum, their family-arms:--they may have large unwieldy portraits of
ancestors who were distinguished somehow or other in former days, but
they know not when, and have perhaps forgotten their very names:--they
still retain pieces of fine needlework, which make it manifest that
some female ancestor had received a boarding-school education; and many
a poor old couple eat their daily scanty meal on the remains of the
fine porcelain which some of their progenitors used and exhibited only
on days of high festivity.

But the articles in Richard Smith’s cottage were of a different
character, and of much more recent date than such as those alluded
to above. There hung upon the walls some landscapes, which indeed a
person in poverty might have drawn, but which no poor man would keep or
would embellish with handsome modern frames. There were also several
engravings, which had not been published more than sixteen or seventeen
years. Instead of the usual cottage clock with clumsily painted figures
and elm-case, there stood on a bracket a neat time-piece, with the name
of a celebrated Parisian maker. Upon a set of hanging-shelves there lay
several volumes of fancifully and apparently foreign bound books. These
were for the most part Italian, but a few were French.

While Mr. Martindale was talking to the old man, Horatio Markham,
according to a very common, but not very decorous practice of young
men who affect literature, was amusing himself with taking down and
opening one after another of the books; and seeing the character of
them, and that in their selection they gave proof of a correct and
polished taste, he could not but look more attentively at the old man’s
niece, with an endeavour to trace in her countenance an expression
of a style above that of a simple rustic. The human countenance
is susceptible of great variety of expression, and owes much to
surrounding circumstances: the very same set of features which in
one garb and place would savour of rusticity, would bear a different
interpretation in another garb and with other adjuncts. In like manner,
the imagination of the spectator does much in giving an interpretation
to features, and ascertaining physiognomical indications. So when
Horatio Markham saw the young woman in the witness-box giving, with
downcast look and trembling accents, her testimony as to the injury
sustained by a poor old man, he could see nothing more, for he thought
nothing more was to be seen, than a modest, simple, and tolerably
pretty face, having no remarkable or peculiar expression. But when he
saw the same person, with the same features and the same expression
of retiring modesty, surrounded with the productions of art, and
apparently the only person in the cottage to whom those productions
could be interesting, and by whom those books should be read and
enjoyed, he soon fancied that he observed indications of a superior
mind and a cultivated understanding. Nay, so far did his imagination
influence him, that the impulse which he first felt to address some
inquiries to the old man’s niece concerning the books and drawings was
absolutely repelled by a feeling of awe. He now began to paint to his
imagination a person of superior rank, and to be astonished that he had
not before observed that her whole style and expression was far above
her professed situation.

As he was replacing on the shelf one of the books into which he had
been looking, a hard substance fell to the ground, and he stooped
immediately to pick it up; but the young woman was before him, and
Markham saw, or thought he saw, that the article which she had thus
hastily picked up, was neither more nor less than an ivory crucifix.
The object itself he would not have noticed, but he was very much
struck with the eagerness with which it was taken up and concealed.
Apologising for his awkwardness, and accepting an acknowledgment of
his apology, he turned from the books to look more minutely at the
pictures. The drawings were, without exception, scenes in Italy,
evidently executed by a practised hand, and bearing a date which
rendered it highly improbable that they should have been the production
of the old man’s niece.

The conversation which passed between Mr. Martindale and Richard
Smith was indeed heard, but not heeded by Horatio Markham. It had a
reference chiefly to the nature of the injury for which the old man had
recently sought legal redress; and the account which Mr. Martindale
received concerning the conduct of his honourable relative, was not
by any means calculated to soothe the already irritated mind of the
old gentleman. Turning the discourse from these unpleasant matters, he
suddenly asked:

“Did not I hear music just before I came in? Does this young woman play
or sing?”

This question excited the attention of Markham, who cast his eyes
round the apartment, but all in vain, to find what musical instrument
it was which he had heard while he was standing near the cottage. To
the question thus asked no answer was given, but the young woman held
down her head and blushed; exhibiting, as Markham thought, much more
confusion than such an inquiry in such circumstances seemed to demand.
Mr. Martindale did not repeat the question, but proceeded to say:

“Well, my good man, I have brought with me the young advocate who
pleaded your cause so effectually. I hope he will be as successful in
every cause that he undertakes, and that he will never undertake any
less honourable to himself.”

“The law is a dangerous profession, sir; but we must not measure a
man’s integrity by the brief which he holds. The barrister professes
himself an advocate, not a judge; and if he refuses a brief because
he thinks the cause a bad one, he acts with prejudice, seeing only
one side of the question. Besides, sir, there are few causes which
may bear altogether the name of bad. Sometimes a cause may be bad
in law, but good in morals; sometimes an action at law may be good
so far as the moral feeling is concerned, and bad as to the letter
of some statute; and it is possible that some persons may consider
any litigation whatever as being inconsistent with the strict letter
of Christianity. We must also make great allowances for diversity
of temper and disposition: what may appear just to one man appears
perhaps too rigidly strict to another. I think, sir, that the
barrister’s profession is unduly calumniated. If, indeed, a client
comes to an advocate and says, ‘I wish to take an unfair advantage of
my neighbour, and I will pay you to assist me,’ then the barrister
would act improperly to sell his conscience to his client; but every
litigant sees, or fancies he sees, something of right in his cause, and
the barrister merely gives him legal assistance. The law is a dangerous
profession indeed, because it may lead to a confusion of right and
wrong; but while it endangers a man’s integrity, it also gives him
abundant and honourable opportunity of displaying an upright mind and
good principle. You will excuse an old man,” said he, turning towards
Markham; “garrulity is the privilege of age; but I have had experience
of the world. I see but little of it now; the time has been that I have
seen more.”

Horatio Markham, though but five-and-twenty years of age--though he
had gained two causes in the Court of King’s Bench--though he had been
successful in his first brief in his native town--though he had at
other towns on the circuit held an extraordinary number of briefs for
a first journey--though he held those briefs by means of a reputation
going before him that he was a man of good talents--though he had more
than once received a marked compliment from his seniors both at the
bar and on the bench--and though he was of humble origin, and was
rationally expecting to rise in a profession which would place him in
a higher station than his parents or early acquaintance, yet, with
all this, he was not a coxcomb. Moralists and divines may speak as
contemptuously as they will of negative virtues; but in defiance of
their wisdom, we will contend that, humanly speaking, there was great
merit in Horatio, that he did not feel himself unduly elated by all his
honors. He attentively listened to the common-place harangue of old
Richard Smith, and replied to it with the respect due to old age.

“You are very candid to the profession, sir; few will concede so much:
but it would be difficult to find any profession or employment which
is not subject to the reproaches of those who are not engaged in it.
Indeed, I have known that even individuals in the profession have also
spoken disrespectfully of its moral character and tendency.”

“Then,” replied the old man, “they ought to leave it. A profession
cannot be indispensable that is essentially immoral. But, sir, I have
to thank you for the manner in which you conducted my cause. It was
well done of you that you spoke so temperately of the defendant, or
that you rather let facts speak for themselves. I have no spiteful
feeling against the gentleman, and for my own part could easily have
borne with what I received from him; but I have a serious charge here,”
pointing to his niece; “that poor child looks up to me for protection,
and I must not suffer any one to approach her disrespectfully. I love
her as if she were my own. She has, indeed, no other protector. I must
be almost fastidious and jealous in the care that I take of her: a life
dearer to me than my own depends upon her happiness.”

As the old man was speaking, his face was suffused with a glow of
strong feeling; the young woman’s lip quivered, her eye glistened, and
she left the room where they were sitting. As she opened the door by
which she made her retreat, Markham, whose curiosity had been strongly
excited by all the appearances in the cottage, caught a glimpse of
a second or inner apartment, apparently fitted up with very great
neatness. Of its extent he could form no idea, but its ornaments were
of the same nature as those in the room in which he was sitting. Old
Mr. Martindale now felt his curiosity roused; he said:

“I am quite curious to know the history of this young woman. Is she
really your niece?”

“She is really my niece,” said the old man, “so far as that her mother
was my sister’s child.”

“Are these drawings done by your niece too? You seem to have given her
a very good education.”

“These drawings,” replied the old man, “are not hers; and as for her
education, such as it is, she received it before she was placed under
my care.”

“Are her father and mother living?” continued Mr. Martindale; “but
I suppose not, by her being placed, as you say, under your sole
protection.”

This last part of the sentence was uttered at an interval after the
first; for no immediate answer was returned to the interrogation
concerning her father and mother. Indeed, the poor man did not seem
very willing to enter into any very particular explanation upon the
subject; and Mr. Martindale himself, though he had expressed a
curiosity to know the history of the young woman, was not so very
curious as to persevere in putting a multitude of questions.

There are some persons whose curiosity gains strength by opposition,
and others who will not condescend to be at the expense of any great
number of questions. Mr. Martindale was of this latter class. Indeed,
had he received ever so much intelligence, it would have been of little
use, for he would soon have forgotten it. There was another person
present whose curiosity had been much more strongly excited. Horatio
Markham felt himself fully convinced that the young woman was not a
daughter of a cottager: he could, as he fancied, see clearly enough,
by her manner and expression, that she was of much superior rank. It
was very ridiculous for a young barrister, who had scarcely seen any
society at all, who had been born and brought up in a country town, and
of a humble family, or, more properly speaking, of no family at all,
and who had spent most of his time in study;--it was very ridiculous
for him to affect to decide what manners designated or manifested
superior breeding. It is a species of vanity, however, in which Markham
is by no means singular.

Mr. Martindale having given the old man an assurance of his protection,
and having now no more questions to ask, rose and took his leave,
accompanied by his young friend.

“That was a pretty young woman at the cottage, Mr. Barrister; but you
must not fall in love with her. It will never do for professional men
to make love-matches. Love in a cottage is very pretty, very poetical,
very well to talk about.”

Markham protested that he had not the slightest notion of falling in
love with a person who was a total stranger to him; but seriously, he
could not but acknowledge that there was something very superior in the
look and manner of the young woman, and that it might not have been
impossible for him to have received an impression, had he met with a
similar person in a suitable rank in life. He felt himself not well
pleased that Mr. Martindale should have thought it within the verge
of possibility that a gentleman of the bar should condescend so low
as to fall in love with a young woman, the niece of a poor cottager.
He forgot, however, that during the time he was in the cottage, he
had his eyes very much fixed upon the old man’s niece; he forgot
how very completely his attention had been absorbed; and while he
was speculating as to the causes which operated in bringing so much
elegance and gracefulness into so humble an abode, Mr. Martindale
thought him occupied in admiring the young woman’s pretty face. There
was certainly a tolerable share of that species of beauty called
prettiness in the composition of her features; but as she rather
exceeded the middle stature, and wore a general look of thoughtfulness,
the word pretty was not comprehensive enough for a description of
her person. When she appeared in the court as a witness, her fine
glossy black ringlets were totally concealed, and her dark eyes were
so bent towards the ground that their life and expression were not
visible. Markham had observed her but little; thinking probably that
his behaviour could not be more becoming than when it was totally and
directly opposed to that of the defendant’s counsel. He was, therefore,
not a little surprised when he saw so much beauty and gracefulness in
one whom he had taken for a mere country girl; and his curiosity was
still more raised when he observed the nature of the decorations of
the poor man’s cottage. The charm which struck him most of all was,
the total absence of all affectation or artifice both in the old man
and in his niece. Richard Smith, indeed, used language superior in
ordinary correctness to that of the usual inhabitants of cottages,
but did not give himself airs, as some poor men who fancy themselves
conjurers, because they happen to be a little better informed than
their neighbours; and the young woman appeared quite as free from any
species of affectation, either of manner or of dress.



CHAPTER V.

    “And, madam, if it be a lie,
    You have the tale as cheap as I.”

                              SWIFT.


The Rev. Cornelius Denver, perpetual curate of Brigland, was one of the
best-tempered creatures in the world. He would not injure any one; he
had almost every one’s good word; he was full of smiles and courtesy;
he had nothing of the pomp or pride of priestly manners; he did not
keep his parishioners at an awful distance, or affect to exercise any
spiritual dominion over them by virtue of his calling; he was familiar
with all, and good-humoured to all; he had not the slightest tincture
of bigotry or party-spirit; in politics and religion he was most truly
liberal; he had, of course, his own opinions on these subjects, but
he called them into use so seldom, that he and his neighbours scarcely
knew what they were; he was equally obliging to all parties, and there
were many differing sects of religion in his parish; every possible
variety of sectarianism flourished at Brigland, and they all united in
praising the curate’s liberality.

There were also many members of the established church in the
parish; but though they all praised their curate, they did not all
very frequently attend his ministrations. Old Mr. Martindale used
facetiously to say, that he should go to church much oftener if Mr.
Denver would make longer sermons, but that it was so tantalising to
be woke before his nap was half finished. But Mr. Denver served two
other churches beside Brigland, and one of them was almost eight miles
distant, so he had not much time to spare on Sunday; for he had two
services at his own parish, and one every Sunday at the other two.

Our worthy curate was a married man, but he had no family; and that
circumstance gave him abundant opportunity to interest himself about
the affairs of all the town. Mrs. Denver assisted him greatly in this
public and universal sympathy. Mrs. Denver was said to be a very
intelligent woman, and had enjoyed that reputation for many years. Her
maiden name was Smith--no relation to old Richard Smith; and she had
borne that name so long, that she was tired of it, regarding it as
Archbishop Tillotson did the Athanasian Creed, wishing that she “was
well rid of it.” Many people thought that Mr. Denver married her from
a motive of pure good nature, because nobody else was likely to marry
her. She was of high family “originally,” as she used to say; being
descended from the Simsons of Devonshire, one of whom was knighted by
Richard the Third; and she was very particular in stating that her
ancestors did not spell the name with p, for that was an innovation,
and it was a very inferior family that was called Simpson.

All the gossip of the town and neighbourhood flowed to the parsonage as
a centre, and again flowed from it as from a perennial and exhaustless
fountain. In justice to the worthy curate it must be stated, that so
far as he was concerned, there was nothing of censoriousness blended
with his collecting and communicating disposition: he was happy to hear
intelligence, and pleased to spread it; but he never pronounced an
opinion as to the propriety or impropriety of the matters of which he
heard and of which he spoke. It was not exactly so with Mrs. Denver;
her candour was not equal to that of her husband: not that she was at
all censorious, very far from it; but she could not help, as she said,
feeling indignant at the vices and wickednesses which abounded in the
world; and she was certainly not to be blamed for what she could not
help. Sometimes she would even be angry with her husband on account of
the placidity of his temper; and she would even acknowledge that she
could have no patience with the abominations of the age. It must be
also added, that Mrs. Denver was not quite equal to her husband in the
virtue of liberality towards sectarians. She had been brought up as
a member of the church established by law, and she could not see how
it was possible that any other religion should be true; and for her
part, she was fully determined not to countenance any false religion.
It was rather unfortunate for the poor woman, that, with the exception
of the Martindales, the principal people at Brigland were dissenters;
and so there were two or three drawing-rooms from which her orthodoxy
would have excluded her, but to which her love of the good things of
life attracted her. Mrs. Denver was decidedly loyal: her reverence for
majesty was unbounded. She was so grateful to Richard the Third for
having knighted one of the Simsons, that she thought she could never
say enough in favour of royalty.

Now it came to pass in the progress of events, that while Mr.
Martindale and Horatio Markham were in Richard Smith’s cottage, Mrs.
Price, the wife of Philip Martindale’s attorney, had gained a piece of
intelligence which, as she received it, was imperfect and obscure, but
which she hoped and trusted that Mr. and Mrs. Denver might be able to
elucidate and complete. She therefore made a very early call at the
parsonage, and began by offering an apology for looking in so soon in
the day. The apology was most readily accepted: for the good people of
the parsonage knew that Mrs. Price would not have called so early had
there not been something important to communicate. As soon as she was
seated she began:--

“I suppose you have heard, Mrs. Denver, of the sheriffs’ officers being
in possession at the Abbey.”

“Sheriffs’ officers in possession at the Abbey! Why, Mrs. Price, what
do you mean?”

“Mean, Mrs. Denver! why I mean what I say; there are two sheriffs’
officers now at the Abbey. They were sent in yesterday morning; and
old Mr. Martindale saw them there, and asked them what business they
had there, and they told him that they were in possession; and the old
gentleman asked what was the amount of the claim, and it was such an
enormous sum that it was more than he could pay. I don’t know all the
particulars, but I heard Oliver talking the matter over to my husband;
and Mr. Philip is gone to London in a hired chaise, for they would not
let him have his own carriage; and he is gone to get some money of the
Jews. He intended to travel all night, that he might get home early
this morning, and send the officers away before the old gentleman could
know any thing of the matter.”

“Bless me, Mrs. Price, why you astonish me! Who would have thought it?
Well, that’s what I always said; I knew it must come to that. You know
it was not likely that he could ever support the expense of that great
house; and really between ourselves, I never thought that old Mr.
Martindale was so very rich as some people said.”

“I don’t know whether the old man is very rich,” replied Mrs. Price;
“I am sure the young one is very poor. My husband has advanced money
to him which has been owing a very long while; and I cannot see any
probability of his getting it again in any reasonable time; and then he
cannot even pay the damages in which he was cast in the action of old
Smith.”

“Oh, now you talk about old Smith,” interrupted Mrs. Denver, “do you
know any thing about that man’s history? for I scarcely ever heard of
him before this action took place. Pray where does he live?”

“He lives in the lone cottage in Old Field Lane, I understand. But
there is something very odd about that man. I thought perhaps you might
know something about him. As for his being a poor man, I don’t believe
any such thing. Every body says he has money; and my husband says that
he is very sure that Flint would never have undertaken that cause for a
poor superannuated labourer; and then Flint told my husband that there
was no hurry about the damages. I very much doubt whether the man’s
real name is Smith; for that is such a very convenient name for any one
to assume.”

“Well, I have never heard any thing of him before; but now you mention
it, I think I remember to have seen him one morning when I walked up to
the spring with Mr. Denver.”

At this moment the reverend gentleman entered the apartment where
the ladies were conversing, and he was immediately assailed with an
impetuous torrent of interrogations from both of them, as touching
the birth, parentage and education, life, character, and behaviour of
the above-named Richard Smith. To these inquiries he returned answers
not very satisfactory; and they all three began to blame themselves
and each other that they had suffered the old man to settle quietly
in the parish without making due previous inquiry concerning his
history and origin. He had been, as they all acknowledged, a very
quiet, inoffensive creature; but quietness was sometimes a symptom of
mischief: it was so with children, and why might it not be so with old
men too.

Though Mr. Denver had it not in his power to indulge Mrs. Price with
any information, the worthy lady was too generous to withhold from him
any information which it was in her power to convey; and she liberally
repeated the story of the bailiff being in possession at the Abbey, and
of the Hon. Philip Martindale having made a journey to London for the
purpose of borrowing money of such as accommodated their particular
friends on the most liberal terms and with the strictest secrecy. Mr.
Denver was as usual astonished, amazed, thunderstruck at all that was
told him. By the way, some of the perpetual curate’s good friends used
to think that the good man was not altogether judicious in the use of
the word “thunderstruck,” which he always employed when he received any
intelligence from any of the ladies of Brigland.

Mrs. Price went on to say, that old Mr. Martindale had expressed
his determination to disinherit Mr. Philip; but as that was a very
particular secret, she begged that it might not be mentioned. At
hearing this request, Mrs. Denver looked at her watch, for she thought
it high time that she should take her morning’s round, and endeavour to
ascertain whether this profound secret were known to any one else. Mrs.
Price took the hint, and departed.

It is by no means the best method to keep a secret to endeavour to
find out how many others are in possession of the same. Many a secret
has been thus revealed, which might otherwise have been inviolably
and safely kept. On the subject of keeping secrets, a great deal may
be said; and the matter is surrounded with more difficulties than
superficial observers are apt to imagine. For what is the use or
benefit of knowing any thing, if we cannot let that knowledge be known.
If a secret be confided to us, an honour is thereby conferred; but if
that secret be not by us again talked about, directly or indirectly,
how can the world know how much we are honoured? Who would give a fig
to receive the honour of knighthood, if he were under an obligation to
let no one know it? or who would give fifteen pence (pounds some say
it costs) for a doctor’s degree, if he could never blazon the honour
to the world? We check ourselves in the discussion with the consoling
consideration that our business is with facts not with philosophy.
Suffice it then to say, that before the day closed, every inhabitant of
Brigland who had any care for other’s business, knew that old Richard
Smith was mysteriously wealthy, that bailiffs were in possession at the
Abbey, that the Hon. Philip Martindale was gone to London to borrow
money, and that old Mr. Martindale would never speak to the young
gentleman again. Then every body began to think that the Hon. Philip
Martindale was the most profligate young man that ever lived; then
all his follies became vices, and his irregularities most horrible
enormities; then the talk was very loud concerning his pride and his
overbearing manners; then Mrs. Dickinson, the landlady of the Red Lion,
began to fear that she should not be paid for her chaise.

The good people of Brigland were unnecessarily alarmed for the result
of Philip Martindale’s indiscretions: it was not true that the old
gentleman knew for what purpose the bailiffs were in the house; nor
was it probable that, had he known it, he would therefore have cast
off his dependent relative. Power is not willingly or readily parted
with. So long as the honourable gentleman acknowledged by endeavours
to conceal his irregularities that he stood in awe of his opulent
relative, so long would he continue an interesting object of patronage
to the old gentleman. As, however, it may not be easy to gather from
the floating rumours of the gossips of Brigland what was the real truth
of the matter, it may be as well to state explicitly that the Hon.
Philip Martindale had paid certain debts of honour with that supply
which Mr. Martindale thought had been devoted to some other purpose,
and an impatient creditor had actually put into force a threat which
he had made of sending officers to the Abbey. The young gentleman
had recourse in this extremity to some good friends in the city, by
whose prompt assistance the supplies were raised, and the Abbey was
cleared of those birds of ill omen. Oliver’s story, as we have seen,
had satisfied the old gentleman; and he alone remained in ignorance of
a fact in his relative’s conduct, which certainly would have disturbed
him greatly, but which would not have provoked him to disinheriting.

By the same conveyance which brought the means of liberating the
Abbey, old Richard Smith received through the hands of his attorney
a satisfaction also of his claim; and as Mrs. Price was all the day
occupied in telling the same story as she had told in the morning, it
came to pass that she told more lies at the end of the day than she had
at the beginning. In the mean time, the day was passing rapidly away,
and Philip Martindale did not return. Oliver was a little puzzled to
account for this delay to himself, but he could easily account for it
to the old gentleman. What a pity it is that those ingenious gentlemen
who can invent lies for the satisfaction of others, cannot invent any
for the solution of their own difficulties. Mr. Oliver was in some
degree of alarm, lest his stories, by some movement of his master,
might not well hang together; and had it not been for some very natural
fear that he might altogether lose his character and his place, he
probably would have been provoked to tell the old gentleman the truth:
he considered, however, that as he had so long played a double part, it
would be now too late to affect honesty.



CHAPTER VI.

    “I joy to see you here, but should have thought
    It likelier to have heard of you at court,
    Pursuing there the recompenses due
    To your great merit.”

                                               TUKE.


It is now high time to introduce more particularly to our readers
the Hon. Philip Martindale. He has been glancing and flitting before
our eyes; but he has not stayed long enough to be fairly seen and
understood. He did not appear to great advantage at the assizes, where
he sat laughing or sneering at the progress of his own cause; nor
would he have made a very imposing figure, had we opened upon him on
the evening of the day of the trial, when, on his return home, the
trusty Oliver announced to him the arrival of two gentlemen, calling
themselves sheriffs’ officers. To delay any longer to introduce our
honorable acquaintance to our readers, would be intruding upon their
patience beyond reason.

The Hon. Philip Martindale finding that it would not be possible to get
rid of this encumbrance by any other means than by discharging the
debt, and knowing that the debt could not be discharged without money,
and knowing that money was not at that emergency to be obtained but by
the medium of the people of Israel, sent his trusty Oliver to the Red
Lion to provide a chaise to carry him on his way to London. It would be
more agreeable to us, if it were possible, to bring our readers to an
acquaintance with the honorable gentleman lolling in his own chariot,
for that would be more befitting his rank in society, than to see him
travelling in so plebeian a vehicle as a hired chaise, drawn by a pair
of hack horses. But though the Hon. Philip Martindale was a man of high
rank, and somewhat proud of the station which he held in society, he
was not altogether unable or unwilling to condescend; and though the
Denvers, the Flints, the Prices, and all the other gentry, thought
him a very proud and haughty man, yet there were many in Brigland,
many in Newmarket, and many in London and its vicinity, who could bear
testimony to his condescension.

To describe a journey to London in a post-chaise, along thirty or
forty miles of turnpike-road, bounded on the right hand by hedges
and ditches, and on the left by ditches and hedges, requires powers
of description and imagination to which we are too humble to make
pretension. As we are not presuming to descant on the history of the
journey, we may as well say a word or two concerning the person who
took the said journey. We are perfectly aware that it would be more
artist-like and effective, to let our characters speak for themselves,
and by their own acts or words develope their own peculiarities;
but this is not altogether possible to be done effectually; for the
same words from different lips have a different meaning; and there
is a peculiarity of tone and accent and look which does much towards
rendering the character intelligible. These matters may be imitated
in the drama on the stage, but they cannot be well transfused into
plainly-written dialogue.

Without farther apology, then, we proceed to speak of the Hon. Philip
Martindale somewhat more particularly. We speak of this person in
the first place, for that was a first consideration with himself. He
was tall, but not thin; rather clumsily formed about the shoulders;
his gait was rather swaggering than stately; his features were not
unhandsome, but they wanted expression; his manner of speaking was not
remarkable for its beauty, for he had a habit of drawling which seemed
to strangers a piece of affectation; his style of dress was plain,
somewhat approaching to that of the driver of a coach, but any one
might see in a moment that he was a man of some consequence. As to his
mind, he was by no means a blockhead or a simpleton; nor was he to be
considered as ill-humored. He was of an easy disposition; and had he
been placed in a situation which required the exercise of his mental
powers to gain a living, he would have passed for a man of very good
understanding.

But there is one kind of capacity required to gain a fortune, and
another to spend it. Philip Martindale possessed the former, but
he wanted the latter. Our readers are already aware that the young
gentleman had for a short time assayed a professional life, and had
given promise of fair success; but when he found that a title was
awaiting him, and that a dependence was offered him, he renounced his
profession, and gave up an independence for a dependence. Now ever
since he had changed his style of life, he had changed his habits
of social intercourse. While he had chambers in the Temple, he had
for companions men of literary acquirements and taste; and all he
knew of the prowess and powers of the celebrated dog Billy, or of the
no less celebrated heroes of the ring, was from the interesting and
beautiful reports which grace the columns of our newspapers: he was
then acquainted with no other coachman than the driver of his father’s
carriage, and he was not very intimate with him: at that time he was
as ignorant of the highest as he was of the lowest ranks; and if he
occasionally spent an evening at the Opera, he had nothing to do but to
attend to the performance.

But when his circumstances changed, all other things changed too; he
renounced the middle of society for the two extremes. It was new
for him to have expensive horses; and it was pleasant for him to
talk knowingly about what he knew imperfectly; and coachmen, grooms,
and stable-boys, could talk best upon a topic which was a favorite
with him; and as he had never before been so flattered by homage and
deference, he thought that coachmen, grooms, and stable-boys, were most
delightful companions; and his acquaintance with them extended and
increased accordingly. Then it was that he began to feel the pleasures
of high rank. Nobody can enjoy the pleasures of high station who
associates only with his equals; it is when he looks into the depths
below that he can feel his elevation. The ring and the cockpit are
most admirable contrivances to bring men of high rank to a full sense
of their dignity. The Hon. Philip Martindale used them abundantly,
and doubtless with great advantage. As he descended, so also did he
ascend; and from association with black legs, he became qualified to
claim acquaintance with the highest ranks in society. The cockpit and
the betting-table are very appropriate vestibules to Almack’s; and the
slang of the stable is a very suitable accomplishment for a legislator.
Farther particulars concerning the Hon. Philip Martindale may be
learned from his history, as herein recorded.

As soon as the honorable gentleman arrived in London, he proceeded
forthwith to his accommodating friends in the city, from whom he
procured the means of ridding the Abbey of its unwelcome guests; and
it was his intention to return immediately to dismiss the disagreeable
ones in person. But so full of accident and event is human life, that
this intention was not put into immediate effect. Just as our young
gentleman had left the door of a banking-house in Lombard Street,
close behind him, he saw on the opposite side of the way an old, or
more properly speaking a new acquaintance, who was as familiar as an
old one. The personage in question wore a scarlet coat, white hat,
yellow silk handkerchief, and crimson face mottled with purple. Without
bending his body, or moving a muscle, he touched his hat to the Hon.
Philip Martindale, who most graciously acknowledged the salute, and
made a movement to cross the way towards him; whereupon he of the
crimson face and scarlet coat hastened to anticipate his honorable
friend; and the parties met in the middle of the street, even as
Napoleon Bonaparte and the Emperor of Russia met in the middle of the
river.

When the high-contracting parties were thus met, the Hon. Philip
Martindale commenced the discourse by inquiring of his friend, who
was in the guards, that is, was guard to a mail-coach, and who was
addressed by the name of Stephen, if he had succeeded in the commission
with which he had been intrusted: this commission was the purchasing
of a dog for fighting. Stephen expressed his great concern that this
important affair had not been concluded; but he was happy to have it
in his power to say, that he had heard of a capital bull-terrier to be
disposed of at Finchley; and as price was no object, he hoped to bring
him up next journey. In the mean time, he was very glad to inform his
honour that he had that very morning brought up a couple of game-cocks
in very high condition; and if Mr. Martindale would condescend to go
as far as Tothill Street, he might see them that very afternoon.

This was too strong a temptation for the legislator to resist. Having
therefore made arrangements for remitting to Brigland the means of
discharging the claims upon him which were most urgent, he resolved
to remain in town for that night at least, and leave it to Oliver’s
ingenuity to account for his absence, if there should be any occasion
to account for it at all. He appointed, therefore, to meet his friend
Stephen in Tothill Street at five o’clock; and in the mean time, betook
himself to a coffee-house in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross to fill
up the interval.

This interval was exceedingly tedious. There were many newspapers in
the room, but there was nothing in them. There was a clock, but it did
not seem to go; at least so he thought, but after looking at it for a
very long time he found it did go, but it went very slowly. Then he
looked at his watch, and that went as slow as the clock. Then he took
up the newspapers again one after the other very deliberately. He read
the sporting intelligence and the fashionable news. But he did not
read very attentively, as he afterwards discovered. Then he looked at
the clock again, and was almost angry at the imperturbable monotony of
its face. Then he took out his pocket-book to amuse himself by reading
his memorandums, but they were very few and very unintelligible.
Then he rose up from his seat, and went to the window, and looked at
the people in the street; he thought they looked very stupid, and
wondered what they could all find to do with themselves. He looked
at the carriages, and saw none with coronets, except now and then a
hackney-coach. Then he began to pick his teeth, and that reminded him
of eating; and then he rang the bell, which presently brought a waiter;
and he took that opportunity of drawling out the word “waiter” in
such lengthened tone, as if resolved to make one word last as long as
possible.

While he was occupied bodily with his sandwich, he was also mentally
engaged in reflections on days that were gone; and he could not but
think that his hours were not so heavy when he was toiling at the study
of law, as now when his rank was higher, and when his residence was
one of the most splendid seats in the kingdom. He thought it was very
hard that he should stand in awe of an old humorist, and he had for a
moment thoughts of emancipating himself from trammels, and assuming to
himself the direction of his own actions; but then, on the other hand,
he also considered that without the assistance of the old gentleman,
he should not be able to clear off the encumbrances with which his own
hereditary estate had been burdened by his anticipations. His only
resource was an advantageous match; but the difficulty was how to
accomplish that object, and to preserve his dignity.

In the same street in which Lord Martindale, his father, lived, there
was an heiress, but not altogether unobjectionable. Her origin was
plebeian; her wealth was commercial; her connexions decidedly vulgar,
notwithstanding all her pains to keep them select, and to curtail the
number of her cousins; her manners awkward, and her taste in dress most
execrable. Whenever Philip Martindale felt impatient of controul, he
thought of Miss Celestina Sampson, and of the many thousands which her
industrious father had accumulated by the manufacturing of soap; and by
thinking much on the subject, he had been gradually led to consider the
match as not altogether intolerable. He thought of many other persons
of as high rank as himself, and even higher, who had not disdained to
gild their coronets with city gold. There was nothing glaringly or
hideously vulgar in Miss Sampson’s manners, though she was not the
most graceful of her sex. Then her person was rather agreeable than
otherwise, especially when she was not over-dressed; and as for her
cousins, they might be easily cut.

In truth, these meditations had so frequently occupied the young
gentleman’s mind, that there began to be actually some talk on the
subject among the friends of the parties. These thoughts were by some
fatality passing in his mind while he was waiting for the arrival of
the hour for which his engagement was made; and by a very singular
coincidence he was reminded of Miss Celestina: for while he was wishing
the time to move more rapidly, there entered into the coffee-room two
young gentlemen, who very noisily manifested their importance. They
lounged up to the table on which the papers were lying, and each helped
himself to one; then they sat down at separate and distant tables, each
spreading his paper before him, and lolling with his elbows on the
table, and his feet stretched out to the widest possible extent, as if
begging to have his toes trod on; and they ever and anon laughed aloud,
and called out the one to the other at any piece of intelligence which
excited their astonishment, or gave occasion to witty remark. Among
other announcements which they thus communicated to each other, was a
short paragraph in the fashionable intelligence which had altogether
escaped the notice of Philip Martindale; and as its announcement was
preceded by a very loud laugh, his attention was especially drawn to
it, and it was as follows:

“It is currently reported that the Hon. Philip Martindale of Brigland
Abbey, eldest son of Lord Martindale, is about to lead to the hymeneal
altar the accomplished and beautiful daughter and heiress of Sir
Gilbert Sampson.”

“There, Smart,” said the reader of the above paragraph, “you have lost
your chance for ever. What a pity it is you did not make a better use
of your time. By the way, do you know any thing of the Hon. Philip
Martindale?”

“I know nothing about him, except that I have been told he is one of
the proudest men that ever lived; and I can never suppose that he would
condescend to marry the daughter of a soap-boiler.”

“There is no answering for that,” responded the other; “necessity has
no law. Brigland Abbey cannot be kept up for a trifle; and if I am not
misinformed, this same Philip Martindale has been rather hard run on
settling-days.”

At hearing this conversation, the young gentleman was greatly annoyed;
and in order to avoid any farther intelligence concerning himself,
he took his departure, for the hour appointed for meeting his friend
Stephen was now very near at hand. He was in very ill-humour with
what he had heard, and was quite shocked at the liberties which common
people took with the names and affairs of persons of rank. He had
composed in his own mind, and was uttering with his mind’s voice,
a most eloquent philippic against the daring insolence of plebeian
animals, who presumed to canvass the conduct of their superiors; and he
was dwelling upon the enviable privacy of more humble life, which was
not so watched and advertised in all its movements, till it occurred
to him that this publicity was one of the distinctions of high life,
and that even calumnious reports concerning the great were but a
manifestation of the interest which the world took in their movements.
It also came into his mind that many of those actions which seem
otherwise unaccountable and ridiculous, owe their being to a love of
notoriety; and he thought it not unlikely that some of the great might
play fools’ tricks for the sake of being talked of by the little. So
his anger abated, and he more than forgave the impertinent one who had
made free with his name in a newspaper.

It has been said that we live in a strange world. We deny this position
altogether. Nothing is less strange than this world and its contents.
But if we will voluntarily and wilfully keep our eyes closed, and form
an imaginary world of our own, and only occasionally awake and take a
transient glance of reality, and then go back to our dreamings, the
world may well enough be strange to us.



CHAPTER VII.

    “How durst you come into this room and company without leave?”

                                                       KILLEGREW.


Philip Martindale proceeded, as we have stated, from the coffee-house
towards Tothill Street, with a view of keeping his engagement with
his friend of the scarlet coat and crimson countenance. He had entered
into his memorandum-book the number of the house to which he had
been directed, but he omitted as useful a notice, namely, to take
down the division or apartment in which the gentleman of the pit had
his residence. For the fact is, that the ingenious bird-feeder and
fancier resided in an upper apartment, nearer to the sky by one flight
of stairs than the Hon. Philip Martindale imagined. The house was a
miserable contrast to the splendid mansion which he had left. Whether
it had ever been cleansed either by paint or water, since the day it
was built, seemed a matter of doubt. The windows had been broken, and
had been mended partially but not with glass. The very window-frames
seemed to be in such a state of dilapidation that a breeze might blow
them from their position.

When the door was opened by a middle aged female, whose miserable
and dirty attire made her look twenty years older than she was, the
olfactory nerves of the young gentleman were assailed by a grievous
combination of various odours, among which onions, tobacco, and gin,
were the predominant. Asking of the miserable being who opened the door
whether Clarke was within, he was told to walk up stairs. Very slowly
and very cautiously did he mount the creaking staircase, setting his
foot gently and inquiringly upon each successive stair to ascertain
whether it would bear his weight: of one or two he had so much distrust
as to step completely over them.

When arrived at the first landing-place, he heard a multitude of
voices, which he naturally supposed to proceed from some gentlemen of
the fancy. Without knocking at the door, he immediately let himself
in, and found to his great astonishment that he had mistaken the
apartment. He found himself surrounded by a group of dark-complexioned,
sallow-looking, unshorn beings; some of whom were sitting on the floor,
others on crazy boxes and broken chairs, and all of whom were smoking
cigars. The dingy dress which they wore, and the faded decorations
which were suspended on their left breast, immediately proclaimed them
to be emigrants. As soon as he entered the room, their voices were
stilled, and they turned their inquiring and sickened looks towards him
as if to a harbinger of some intelligence of good. The moment that he
felt where and with whom he was thus accidentally placed, his spirit
sunk within him; and he did feel a deep compassion for the miserable
objects which surrounded him.

One of the party, by the freshness of his dress and the cleanliness of
his person, appeared to have arrived but recently among them. He was
a man of middle age, wearing a very respectable military dress; and
though of thoughtful look, he did not appear dejected or heartbroken.
To him Mr. Martindale addressed himself in the Italian language,
apologising for his accidental and unintentional intrusion. The
stranger replied in English, spoken with a foreign accent, but with
tolerable fluency, stating that he had just arrived in England, and
being directed to where he could find some of his fellow-countrymen,
he had but recently entered the house, and was grieved to see them so
situated. He also said that he himself was not much better provided
for, but that his wife and child were in England, though he could not
at present discover in what part of the country. He said that he had
received letters from them, but that those letters were lost, with part
of his own luggage. But he trusted, he continued, that he should find
out, by inquiry, where his family was; and he concluded a long harangue
by asking Philip Martindale, with great simplicity, if he knew where
Mr. Smith lived.

This is a question which wiser men than the Hon. Philip Martindale
would be puzzled to answer; and it is a question which weaker men than
he would have smiled at. He was not a man without feeling, though he
was a man of the world; and it excited in his mind other thoughts and
feelings than those of a ridiculous nature, when he saw a foreigner
in England, whose discovery of his wife and child depended on the
finding out of the residence of a person of so common a name as Smith.
Forgetting, therefore, his engagement with Stephen the guard, he set
himself seriously and closely to interrogate the poor man, in order to
find some better and more definite clue to the discovery of his family
than the name of Smith. Thereupon the countenance of the foreigner
brightened up, his eyes sparkled, and the tear was on his cheek, when
he said:

“Oh! sare, you are good. I thank you much for your great trouble: you
are all so good in England to the poor estranger when he is in misery.
It is sad to leave my own land; but what am I without my poor child?”

“Well, my good friend,” replied Philip, “I hope and trust you will find
your child. But surely you must have some other knowledge of the person
with whom your family is residing than merely the name of Smith. You
have had letters from them, you say; can you not recollect from what
place those letters were dated?”

“Oh, no! I could not recollect it once: it was no name in the
geography; it was in the province.”

“Then, of course, it was not London;” replied Mr. Martindale.

“No, no, no, it was not London; it was in the province: it was far away
from London thirty or forty mile.”

“But did not you sometimes send letters to your family, and can you not
tell how you addressed your letters to them? Perhaps if you were to
consider a little while, you might be able to call to mind something
that might assist in discovering the place of their abode. If you had
letters, most likely some account was given of the place where they
lived: or if it were a small village, they may have mentioned the name
of the nearest post-town.”

“Oh yes, it was very pretty place. It was thirty or forty mile from
London. It was very beautiful place. There was large, very fine palace
called Abbey. There was very fine lake.”

This description reminded Philip Martindale of the place of his own
residence, and he therefore asked if the name of the place was at all
like Brigland. The foreigner looked thoughtful, and attempted to repeat
the word, saying: “Breeklan! Breeklan!” Then, after a pause of a few
seconds, his features underwent a complete change, and with a kind of
hysteric laugh or screech of exultation, he cried out:

“Oh, that was it! that was it! Oh, good sare, it was Breeklan--oh, tell
me where is Breeklan, and I will see my child and my dear wife--oh, I
will see them once again--oh, you have save me from great misery.”

Then he seized Philip Martindale’s hand and pressed it with great
emotion, repeating his solicitations; and the tears rolled down his
cheeks, and he smiled with such an expression of delight, that the
young gentleman was moved; and after he had given some charitable
donations to the rest of the unhappy ones in the miserable apartment,
he proceeded to conduct the newly-arrived stranger where he might find
a conveyance to take him to Brigland.

Philip Martindale then returned to the house where the game-cocks were
to be seen, and there he met his friend Stephen the guard, and some
other friends of the fancy, by the fascinations of whose sweet society
he was detained in the metropolis somewhat longer than he designed,
and by whose winning ways he found himself poorer than was quite
convenient. The opinion he expressed concerning the fighting birds--the
particulars of the exhibition with which he was afterwards favoured
at the Westminster-pit--the brilliant conversation in which he there
engaged--the bets which there he laid and lost--the flattering homage
which he there received--the satisfaction which resulted from it--all
these and many other matters of a like nature we pass over unrecorded;
trusting that, where one reader blames the omission, fifty will commend
it.

But though we describe not these scenes, it does not follow that we
should pass them over without reflection. One very natural reflection
is, that gentlemen of high birth and estate are much to be envied
for the pleasure which they enjoy in those scenes. There must be a
peculiar delight in such pursuits, or the superfine part of our species
could not possibly condescend, for the sake of them, to associate on
most familiar terms with persons whose birth is most miserably low,
whose understandings are most grievously defective, whose manners
are abominably coarse. Take from the side of one of these honorables
the jockey, the boxer, the feeder, or the coachman, with whom he is
all courtesy and good humor and familiarity, and place there a man
of middle rank in society, respectable in every point of view, with
what cool contempt would the dignity of high birth regard him. One
other reflection is, that such pursuits ought to be calculated to
raise these said gentle and noble ones very high in their own esteem,
inasmuch as they are not thereby raised in the esteem of others. Their
disinterested generosity is also much to be applauded, seeing that by
thus lavishing their wealth on those whose only support is the gambling
propensity of men of wealth, they take away from the public a large
number of such as might otherwise have exercised their wits in picking
pockets or breaking into houses. They who would suppress gambling
deserve the thanks of the ninnies who would be thus preserved from
being plundered in an honorable and gentlemanly manner; but what would
become of the rogues and sharpers who live upon the folly of right
honorable and high-born simpletons? Politic morality is perhaps one
of the greatest difficulties which legislators have to contend with.
Begging pardon for these reflections, we proceed with our story.

We have stated that the Hon. Philip Martindale suffered in his purse
from his visit to the Westminster-pit. The following morning he
meditated much upon the subject; and he also applied the powers of
his mind to the ring, and recollected that he had there oftentimes
suffered as much in his purse as some of the pummeled heroes had
in their persons. Then while he was in the humor for thinking, he
endeavoured to calculate how much these amusements had cost him; and in
the course of that calculation it most unaccountably came into his mind
that many of the frequenters of these exhibitions had no ostensible
means of living, and that they yet lived well, and that of course they
must have lived upon him and others of high rank and birth. Following
that train of thought, and finding that several of the superfine ones
who had formerly patronised these sports had for some reason or other
gradually fallen off from them, he began to think that he would also
abstain from them, and confine himself to the more respectable and
gentleman-like avocations of the race-course and the hazard-table: for
there he should meet with a more numerous assemblage of persons of his
own rank; and as he had three horses entered to run at Newmarket, and
as one of these was an especial favorite, he had some expectation of
retrieving his losses, at least in part. He fully determined that he
would no longer associate with the vulgar ones of the ring and the pit.
Oh, what an excellent homily is an empty purse!

Now it happened very fortunately for the trusty Oliver, and for his
master too, that when the latter had finished his meditations, and was
entering the shop of his gunsmith, he should meet there his worthy
friend Sir Andrew Featherstone. The greeting was cordial; for the
meeting was agreeable on both sides. Sir Andrew Featherstone was a
baronet of very ancient family:--that rendered him acceptable to the
Hon. Philip Martindale. But he had other recommendations--he was the
best-tempered man in the world. There are myriads of this description.
He kept a most excellent table, had a capital pack of hounds, and
two very beautiful daughters, whom we shall have great pleasure in
introducing to our readers in due course of time. The families of
the Featherstones and the Martindales had been intimate time out of
mind; and it was the wish of Sir Andrew to marry one of his daughters
to the Hon. Philip Martindale. But the young gentleman himself had
never given the subject a single thought. By one of those remarkable
coincidences which are happening every day, Sir Andrew mentioned the
archery-meeting, and expressed a wish that Philip would honor it with
his presence. The young gentleman found this reality as great a relief
to his mind, as his trusty Oliver had found the invention a relief
to his mind; and he immediately dispatched a note to his venerable
relative, stating his engagement, and fixing the day of his return to
Brigland.



CHAPTER VIII.

    “A was an archer, and shot at a frog.”

                                    ANON.


The residence of Sir Andrew Featherstone was called Hovenden Lodge;
why it was called a lodge we cannot say. It was a large plain house,
situated in a small level park. The hand of improvement had been
very busy with it, but the genius of propriety had not presided over
the improvements. Several different styles of architecture had been
introduced, and to very ill effect; for the very square broad-sided
form of the building rendered it unsusceptible of decoration. But Sir
Andrew cared nothing about it--he left all those matters to the ladies,
who gave directions according to their own taste or lack of taste;
and all the return which he made for their architectural diligence
and their skilful improvements was to laugh at what he called their
absurdities. The usual order was quite reversed at Hovenden Lodge; for
while Lady Featherstone and her two daughters, Lucy and Isabella, were
drawing plans, or marching about the park, and pointing out to the
architect the improvements which they thought desirable, Sir Andrew was
standing by the kitchen fire and lecturing the cook, or translating
aloud recipes from his favorite French cookery-book, which was the
only book that he had ever purchased; and very highly did he value it,
fancying that few persons in this kingdom were aware of its existence.
He often however had, or we should more properly say, might have had,
the mortification of finding that he had been translating from French
into English that which had been previously translated from English
into French; for whenever his knowing lady reminded him that any recipe
was already in the English cookery-books, he would always contend
for or discover some delicate variation which gave the French the
advantage. He thought, too, that there was a peculiar piquancy in the
French terms, and that there was a particular relish in foreign names,
which he always took care to utter, but which his obstinately English
organs of speech rendered mightily amusing in their utterance.

The greatest evil of the archery-meeting in Sir Andrew’s opinion was,
that it must be attended only with a cold collation, and that must
be in a marquee. It had been discussed repeatedly, but as frequently
decided against him, that it was absolutely impossible to have a hot
dinner. He did not like it, but he bore it very good-temperedly; and
was brimful of jokes, ready to let fly with every arrow.

Lady Featherstone, who was never so happy as when she was patronising,
was delighted with the thought of the long table under the marquee,
and her own self smiling, nodding, and bowing most gracefully to every
body: she could undergo a cold dinner every day of her life, for the
happiness of thinking that every body said, “What a charming woman is
Lady Featherstone!”

The young ladies were in proud and confident expectation of winning
the prize; but in still more proud and more confident expectation
of exhibiting their elegant selves to an admiring multitude. This,
indeed, is the great beauty of archery; it is an _elegant_ exercise,
or in other words, it gives an opportunity to young ladies to exhibit
themselves in elegant or attractive attitudes; and many a young woman
who would have scarcely any chance of a display, hereby acquires a
right to be stared at most perseveringly and inveterately. She may be
as long as she pleases taking her aim; and if she fears that she shall
not hit the target, she may take an aim elsewhere.

And it is a very pretty thing too for young gentlemen in the last year
of being at school, or in the first of their undergraduateship. Dressed
in the archery uniform, they look so very much like Robin Hood: they go
back to old times in almost more than imagination; but more especially,
they have an opportunity of playing off the _polites_. At all events,
it is a very innocent amusement; and if properly managed by the
lady-patroness, it may rise into something of a matter of importance.
If any of the party be in possession of the powers of eloquence, they
may draw up a very pretty report of the meeting; and the editors of
country papers will feel much honored by inserting the said report; and
there will be a very pretty sprinkling of very pretty compliments to
the very pretty young ladies, who may be compared to Diana’s nymphs;
and there may be quotations from the old songs about Robin Hood and
Maid Marian; and very pretty talk about the greenwood shade and the
merry horn. Then the editor of the newspaper sells an extra number of
papers, which are sent in different directions to distant friends.

The display of beauty and fashion which was exhibited in Hovenden Park
on the above-named occasion, bids defiance by its brilliancy to our
powers of description. Sir Andrew himself, though his occupation was
gone for that day at least, endured with a very good grace his absence
from the kitchen; and was prepared to hear and say all that was polite,
together with a little that was satirical. Before the business of the
day began, he said in the hearing of the exhibitors: “Where shall I
stand to be most out of the way; I think I had better take my station
in front of the target.”

With many such sayings he entertained the young people; and some of
the young ladies laughed so heartily at his attempts at humor, that
they could hardly direct the arrows; and then, when any one shot very
wide of the mark, he smilingly said, “Well done, my good girl, that’s
right, take care you don’t spoil the target.” And notwithstanding all
the frowns and rebukes of Lady Featherstone, the facetious baronet
continued his interruptions much to the amusement and a little to the
annoyance of the party.

We should not have mentioned this crotchet of Sir Andrew’s, but that
we think it may be not amiss to take this opportunity of observing
that persevering witticisms, forced out in rapid succession on all
occasions, and a series of smart sayings, good, bad, and indifferent,
uttered without abatement, may often excite the outward and visible
sign of merriment long after they have ceased to be agreeable. For
laughter is not always the sign of satisfaction, any more than tears
are always a token of sorrow. There is no man, however stupid, who
cannot occasionally say a good thing; and very few, if any, can
utter real wit in every sentence; and miserable is the annoyance of
everlasting efforts at facetiousness. It is only tolerable in those who
are very young or very weak.

But as one great object of archery-meetings is display, we should be
guilty of injustice in omitting to notice a young lady of the party,
who came with the full intention of eclipsing every one there;--and she
succeeded. We refer to Miss Celestina Sampson. She came accompanied
by her father, Sir Gilbert Sampson; who, though a new man, was very
well received by Sir Andrew. Miss Sampson was not a beauty, but was
good-looking and rather pretty; of middle stature, light complexion,
and fine natural colour; good-humored and cheerful; ambitious of
elegance, but not well-informed as to the means; critical as to the
externals of behaviour, and much exposed herself to the same kind of
criticism; sadly afraid of vulgarity, though often sinning through
mere ignorance. Her appearance and dress attracted, as she designed,
universal attention; but not, as she hoped, universal admiration. She
had studied costume with more zeal than taste; and vibrating between
the costume of Diana and Maid Marian, she at last appeared, if like any
thing at all, a tawdry imitation of Fatima, in the play of Blue-beard.

As Sir Gilbert Sampson was also present, we may say a word or two
of him. He had been a soap-boiler. True; but what of that?--he had
retired from business, and had washed his hands of soap. He had been
a soap-boiler. True; but whose fault was that? Not his own: he had no
innate, natural, violent, irresistible, unextinguishable propensity
for boiling soap; for if he had, he would never have relinquished the
pursuit. The fault was his father’s; for had the father of Sir Gilbert
been a duke, Sir Gilbert would never have been a soap-boiler. As to the
rest, Sir Gilbert Sampson was a man of good understanding, of extensive
knowledge, possessing strong natural powers of mind, and altogether
free from every species of affectation.

Lady Sampson had, while she lived, governed by permission of her lord
and master. She had dictated concerning the petty details of life;
and after her death, her daughter reigned in her stead. Sir Gilbert
never troubled himself about trifles; but Miss Sampson took all that
care entirely off her father’s hands. The pleasure of his life was the
company of a few old acquaintances; but he tolerated parties when Miss
Sampson could manage to assemble them.

And this was not a difficulty, even though Sir Gilbert had been a
soap-boiler; for his cook was not a soap-boiler, and his fishmonger was
not a soap-boiler, and his wine merchant was not a soap-boiler. Sir
Gilbert’s dinners were very excellent; and those who partook of them
praised them much, and did not say a word about soap while they were at
dinner; and that was very kind, and exceedingly condescending: for it
is a piece of great presumption in a man who has acquired a property
by honest industry to give sumptuous entertainments to those who are
spending or who have spent what their ancestors earned for them.

Enough for the present of Sir Gilbert Sampson. Be it however
observed by the way, that our good and facetious friend, Sir Andrew
Featherstone, regarded Sir Gilbert without any feeling of aristocratic
pride, and so did many others of his acquaintance; and that even the
Hon. Philip Martindale behaved very politely to him, inasmuch as he was
occasionally under apprehension that it might be desirable for him
to disencumber and improve the Martindale estate by the means of Sir
Gilbert’s wealth. At this meeting, owing to previous matters already
recorded, the idea of the possibility of Miss Sampson becoming Mrs.,
and, in process of time, Lady Martindale, took very strong hold of the
young gentleman’s imagination. He therefore, without being aware of
any difference in his manner, paid very extraordinary attention to Sir
Gilbert; and as the young lady observed this, and was rather ambitious
of the honor of so high an alliance, and as she thought that the best
way to make a conquest, or to secure one already made, was to make
herself agreeable; and as she thought that the best way to make herself
agreeable was to put herself very much in the way of the person to
whom she wished to be agreeable, and to talk to him and listen to
his talk, and smile at what he said if he seemed to think it witty,
and to manifest that her attention was more taken up with him than
with any one else: Miss Sampson acted upon this principle, but in the
over-officiousness of her zeal carried her system so far as to make it
almost a persecution.

As to the effect thereby produced upon the Hon. Philip Martindale, very
little if any progress was made in his affections. He was accustomed
to homage and attention, and took it as a matter of course; he had
experienced quite as much attention from the friends of ladies of
higher rank than Miss Sampson; and the charms of the young lady’s
person or conversation were nothing to him in his matrimonial
speculations. If Mr. John Martindale had been a man of infirm health,
and likely soon to decide the question as to who should possess his
large property, Philip Martindale would not have had any thought
whatever of an alliance so much beneath the dignity of his rank and
the purity of his blood; or were the old gentleman a little less
capricious, or had the young gentleman been a little more prudent in
the management of his affairs, then Miss Sampson might have had the
beauty of a Venus, the wisdom of a Minerva, or the wealth of Crœsus,
and these qualities would have made no impression. On the other hand,
under the then present circumstances, Miss Sampson needed not to
take any pains to render herself agreeable; for had her person been
deformed, and her mind that of an idiot, yet her father, by the
accumulation of a large fortune, had done quite enough to make her
perfectly agreeable.

And yet, notwithstanding all this confession which we have made for
Mr. Philip, we would not have our readers to imagine that the young
gentleman was devoid of good qualities or good feelings altogether;
he might not have been so candid in his confession for himself as we
have been for him, but he was not altogether aware of the influence
of circumstances upon his mind. He was placed in a certain rank in
society, and must keep up the dignity of that rank; and it was his
misfortune if necessity put him upon using means for that purpose not
quite in unison with his better judgment. Royalty itself has not free
choice in matters of the heart; and nobility, as it approaches royalty
in its splendour, is sometimes assimilated to it in its restraints and
perplexities. Still, however, making every concession which candour
and human kindness prompt us to make in behalf of Philip Martindale;
and admitting all the extenuations which a merciful advocate could
suggest, we cannot help thinking, and it is our duty to say it, that
if he had abstained from the foolish and low pursuits of gaming in
all its varieties, and if he had cherished and preserved that spirit
of independence which his excellent mother, Lady Martindale, had
endeavoured to instil into his mind, he might have upheld the dignity
of his rank, if he had sacrificed a little of its splendour. But to our
history.

We have mentioned as the patroness of the archery-meeting, Lady
Featherstone; and we have said that this lady had two daughters, Lucy
and Isabella. It has also been observed that Sir Andrew Featherstone
felt a wish to unite one of these young ladies in marriage with Philip
Martindale. This was a very natural ambition. The two families had
been intimate for several generations. The Martindales had, by various
circumstances, gradually advanced in wealth; but the reverse had been
the lot of the Featherstones, though they were quite as old and good a
family as the Martindales. Singular indeed it was that the only person
in the Martindale family who showed any symptoms of alienation from
the Featherstones was old John Martindale: the singularity, however,
consisted in this, that he had not shown any coolness, or behaved with
any reserve, on the increase of his own property; but he had carried
himself proudly towards them only since his cousin had acquired a title
of nobility and had become a peer. Yet the old gentleman professed to
laugh at titles; but nobody thought that old John Martindale was a fool.

Sir Andrew Featherstone, being a good-humoured man, took little notice
of countless insults, affronts, slights, and disrespectfulnesses,
whereby myriads of the human species are most grievously tormented.
He did not, therefore, heed or observe the coldness of old Mr.
Martindale; nor was he at all angry with Philip that he gave much
of his attention to Sir Gilbert Sampson, and that he tolerated the
attentions of Miss Sampson. Lady Featherstone, however, was more
observant; and notwithstanding the incessant and manifold attention
which she paid to all the party, could not help noticing how very
gracious Philip Martindale was with Sir Gilbert. Various were the
stratagems by which her ladyship endeavoured and contrived to place
Philip in juxtaposition with her daughters when they adjourned to
the collation; and very agreeable was her surprise when, after the
strictest observation, she did not discern any wandering of the eyes of
the young gentleman towards that part of the table where Miss Sampson
was seated. Her fears were still farther diminished, when she found
that Miss Sampson was deeply, and to all appearance most agreeably,
engaged in conversation with a very elegant young gentleman, who seemed
almost as much pleased with Miss Sampson as he was with himself. We owe
it to our readers to introduce this young gentleman.

Henry Augustus Tippetson was a gentleman of good family, but being a
younger brother, and very indolent, was not likely to make any great
figure in the world. He was of middle stature; very slender, very fair,
very near-sighted when he happened to think of it; having flaxen hair
and blue eyes; suspected, but unjustly, of using rouge; very expensive
in his dress, and one of Delcroix’s best customers. He was not one of
the archers, though he had once attempted to use a bow. He found that
the exertion was too much for him, and he feared it might harden his
hands. He expressed to Miss Sampson the same fears for her; but the
young lady heeded not the apprehension.

Lady Featherstone was very happy to see Miss Sampson so employed;
but when her ladyship turned her attention to her own daughters
and the gentleman whom she had seated by them, not all her powers
of penetration could discover to which of the young ladies Philip
Martindale was paying the greatest attention; and most of all was her
mind disturbed by observing, that when he addressed himself either to
one or the other, though it was with perfect politeness, it was with
perfect indifference.

The sports of the day were concluded by a ball, which resembled in
every point every ball of the same character. There was the usual
allowance of dancing, negus, nonsense, tossing of heads, sneering,
quizzing, showing off, blundering, and all the rest of that kind of
amusement. It enters not into our plan to dwell any longer on this
festival. We must return to Brigland.



CHAPTER IX.

    “For fame, (whose journies are through ways unknown,
      Traceless and swift and changeful as the wind,)
    The morn and Hurgonil had much outgone,
      While Truth mov’d patiently within behind.”

                                               DAVENANT.


From Hovenden Lodge, Philip Martindale returned home; and after finding
every thing as it should be at the Abbey, and arranging with the
trusty Oliver concerning uniformity of narrative, he called upon the
old gentleman at the cottage. There he underwent a long harangue on
the folly of archery, and the silliness of Sir Andrew Featherstone,
together with a desultory dissertation on the frivolity of the age in
general. From which dissertation, it was to be inferred that old John
Martindale was the only man living who had the least idea of propriety
and wisdom of conduct.

With becoming deference and submission, the young gentleman gave his
assent to whatsoever the senior was pleased to assert. This is one
of the greatest pains of a state of dependence, that it robs a man
of the pleasure of contradicting; and it is also one of the greatest
evils of holding intercourse with dependants, that a man is thereby
deprived of the pleasure of being contradicted. These were evils which
the old and the young gentleman both felt, but the old gentleman felt
it most deeply. Contradiction was so much his element, that he could
hardly live without it; and rather than not enjoy the pleasure of it,
he would contradict himself. That must have been a man of uncommon and
high powers of mind, who could so have managed the old gentleman as to
stimulate without offending him. The Hon. Philip Martindale was not
equal to it, either from want of capacity or from lack of attention
and diligence.

When the old gentleman had finished a tolerably long harangue on fools
and follies of all descriptions, it almost occurred to him that if so
great was the number of follies, and so long was the list of fools,
there could be little else than folly in all human pursuits; and that
he himself, in his own singularity of wisdom, was something of a fool
for being so outrageously wise, when there was nobody left to keep him
in countenance. Paradoxical as it may sound, it is not far from truth
that excess of wisdom is excess of folly. The old gentleman thought so
when he said to his cousin:

“I dare say now that you think me an old fool for my pains, if you
would be honest enough to speak your mind.”

Not waiting for a reply to this very wise, though not very original
remark, Mr. Martindale continued his talk: “I am sorry, Master Philip,
you thought fit to take yourself off just at the very moment that you
were wanted. I have had a very pleasant and intelligent companion at
the cottage for the last two days, I particularly wished to introduce
him to you; I mean the young barrister, who pleaded old Richard Smith’s
cause so temperately and so successfully. I should have thought that
the company of an intelligent young man would be far more agreeable
than a set of idle gabbling chits, and an old simpleton of a baronet,
who has not an idea in the world beyond a cookery-book. But every man
to his taste.”

“I am sorry, sir,” replied Philip, “that I was not aware of your
friend’s being at Brigland. It would have given me great pleasure
to be introduced to him. He certainly conducted his cause with great
propriety, and did not take, as some persons might have done, an
opportunity of insulting me.”

“He did not conduct himself as your advocate did, Master Philip; he
did not attempt to convert a court of justice into a bear-garden, or
degrade the dignity of his profession by playing the buffoon to make
boobies laugh. Mr. Markham is a man of good sense, and I think his
conversation would have been of service to you: though he is a young
man, he is very extensively informed.”

“I have not the least doubt of it,” replied Philip; “I am only sorry
that I was so unfortunate as to be out of the way when he was here. I
shall be more fortunate I hope another time.”

That was a lie; but dependants must lie if they would not lose their
places. The Hon. Philip Martindale recollected the time when he was
under no necessity of saying the thing which was not, when he was
independent but of his profession; but then he was not called the
honourable, then he had no rank to support or dignity to keep up.
It was really mortifying and distressing to him that those very
circumstances to which he had looked with hope and pleasure, and
from which he had anticipated an accession to his happiness through
the gratification of his pride, should become the means of annoying
him so keenly where he was most susceptible. The dilemma in which
he was placed was grievously perplexing. Turn which way he would,
mortifications awaited him. There was the daughter of a retired
soap-boiler on one side; there was the son of a country shopkeeper
pestering him on the other. To go back to his profession was quite out
of the question. To marry rank and fortune too was not in the compass
of probability. Oh, how perplexing and troublesome it is that such
perpetual encroachments should be made upon persons of rank; so that
notwithstanding all the care and pains which they take to avoid it,
they are perpetually brought into contact with the commercial cast.
Most deeply did Philip Martindale feel this inconvenience, but he could
find no remedy for it. He had however one consolation, in the thought
that he was not alone in his sorrows. He was acquainted with others
who carried their heads much higher than himself, who yet suffered the
convenient degradation of commercial affinities.

“Well, well,” said the old gentleman, “I am sorry that Mr. Markham is
gone; and I fear we shall not see him again very soon.”

This was no subject of regret with the Hon. Philip Martindale; he
was glad to hear that he was not likely to be soon annoyed by an
introduction to a man of such equivocal rank as Horatio Markham.
But seeing that his opulent relative was very much pleased with
this stranger, he thought it might be agreeable if he made farther
inquiries; he therefore asked, how it happened that Mr. Markham had
made so short a visit. To his inquiries he received for answer, that
an express had arrived calling the young barrister to London, and
offering to his acceptance a highly respectable legal situation in
one of the colonies. For this information Philip was thankful; and
finding that there was no danger of being compelled to realise his
profession, he began to speak very highly of the young barrister’s
moral and intellectual qualities, and to express in still stronger
terms the sorrow he felt at not being able to have the pleasure of his
acquaintance. Cunning as old Mr. Martindale in general was, he was so
far deceived by these protestations, that he was put by them into high
good humour, both with himself and his relative; and then he went on
to talk about Richard Smith and his niece. This, however, was a topic
not altogether agreeable to Philip; but the young gentleman so far
succeeded in explaining that affair, that Mr. Martindale was ready to
accept the explanation. He then told Philip that Mr. Markham and he
had visited the cottage; and so communicative and good-humoured was the
elder Martindale, that he even repeated, as far as he could recollect,
what took place at that visit, and how he had cautioned the young
barrister not to lose his heart.

While this discourse was going on in the cottage, the town of Brigland
was agitated to its very centre by a tragical event which had occurred
at old Richard Smith’s cottage. Multitudes of idle people were running
from place to place, full of dreadful news of a murder that had been
committed in the course of the preceding night. Almost every one had
a different story to tell; and the affair lost nothing of its horror
and mystery by being transmitted from one to another. Mr. Denver,
as in duty or in habit bound, brought the tidings to Mr. Martindale
at the cottage. The story, as related by the good-humoured perpetual
curate, spoke of poor old Richard Smith as having been murdered by
the gipsies, and of his niece being carried away nobody knew where.
Upon cross-examination, however, it was elicited that Mr. Denver had
acquired his information by a very circuitous route; for he had heard
Mrs. Price and Mrs. Flint both at once telling a different version
of the same story to Mrs. Denver, who, while those two ladies were
speaking narratively, noisily, and contradictorily, was herself also
talking exclamatively and interrogatively. The ladies who communicated
the event to Mrs. Denver had received their information also from
compound sources, but both were satisfied that they had received their
intelligence from the best authority; and in order to prove that they
were both rightly informed, they both of them talked very loudly and
very rapidly.

Mr. Denver must have been a very clever man under such circumstances
to have made out any story at all; and he was a very clever man in
such matters, and very much experienced in carrying and collecting
intelligence: indeed, the mode above stated was that in which he
usually acquired his knowledge. Practice gives great facility. But it
must be acknowledged, notwithstanding all Mr. Denver’s accuracy and
dexterity, that there were in his narrative some errors. It was not
true that Richard Smith had been murdered; and it was not true that his
niece had been carried away by violence or otherwise. These were the
only two errors in the whole account. Much more however was reported,
which Mr. Denver did not relate; and that which he did not relate was
the part to which was most especially applicable that pathos of look
and exclamation with which he introduced his narrative. This part of
the story unfortunately was not true; we say unfortunately, because it
is really mortifying to the multitude when investigation and inquiry
deprive them of the richest part of a most horrible story. It was not
likely that Mr. Denver should mention this part of the report when he
saw Mr. Philip; for it was to that gentleman that it referred.

The report was, that Richard Smith had been murdered by some ruffians
who had been employed by the Hon. Philip Martindale to carry off the
niece of the poor old man. There was mention made of a fierce-looking
military man, who was to all appearance a foreigner, who had been seen
lurking about Brigland Common, and conversing with the gipsies that had
but recently made their appearance there; and one person actually saw
this foreigner enter the lane where old Smith’s cottage stood. All
this part of the tale was very properly and very considerately omitted
by Mr. Denver, who was a very candid man; and who thought that if it
were true, it would in proper time transpire; and that if Mr. Philip
had employed ruffians to carry off the young woman, he might have his
own reasons for it.

At the hearing of this very serious story, the two Martindales
expressed their horror and astonishment; and Philip immediately asked
Mr. Denver why he had not gone to the old man’s cottage, in order to
make some inquiry about the matter: to which interrogation Mr. Denver
gave no answer. The retailers of intelligence would indeed lose many
a choice and delightful story, if they were to take great pains to
investigate the matter before they talked about it.

Philip Martindale requested Mr. Denver immediately to accompany him to
the spot, that they might be assured whether or not any violence had
been used, and whether there was any necessity for the interference
of a magistrate. In their way they called on the constable, who was
frightened out of his wits at the thought of going into a house where
a man lay murdered. But the presence of Philip Martindale inspired
him with an extraordinary share of courage. As they proceeded, they
saw groups of people standing here and there, discussing with great
gravity, the mysterious affair of the old man’s cottage. They looked
with great earnestness on Mr. Martindale and his companions; and their
murmurings and whisperings grew thicker and deeper.

When at length they arrived at the cottage, they found it surrounded
by a crowd of women and children, and idle girls and boys. The women
were all talking, and the girls and boys were clambering up to the
cottage-windows, or were mounted on trees that were near, as if to
catch a glimpse of something within the cottage. At the approach of
Philip Martindale and his party, the boys and girls slunk down from
the windows; the women stayed their loud talking; the whole multitude
buzzed with low whisperings; and the faces of all were turned towards
the magistrate, who was hastily dragging the clergyman by his arm, and
was followed at a very respectful distance by the constable.

Not staying to make any inquiries, Philip Martindale hastily opened the
door of the cottage, and leading in Mr. Denver, he turned round and
urged the constable to make haste in. When he entered the apartment, he
saw presently that one part of the clergyman’s narrative was incorrect,
namely, that which referred to the murder of old Richard Smith; for
there sat the old man in life and health, but apparently in a state of
great agitation, unable to answer a word to the impatient and numerous
interrogatories of Philip Martindale and Mr. Denver. A very short
interval elapsed, before there appeared from an inner-room a person who
was likely to be able to give some rational account of the mystery.
This person was a surgeon. As soon as he heard Mr. Martindale’s voice,
he came forward to explain the affair.

“Pray, Mr. Davis,” exclaimed the magistrate, “what is the cause of all
this bustle and confusion? Mr. Denver has been informed that this poor
man was murdered. What has given rise to such a rumour?”

“I am happy to say, sir,” replied Mr. Davis, “that there has been
no life lost, though there was great danger of it; and I fear that
this poor man will suffer seriously from the agitation which he has
undergone. If you will give me leave, sir, I will tell you all the
particulars. A little better than an hour ago, just as I was preparing
to go my rounds, a boy came running almost breathless into my surgery,
imploring me to make all the haste I could up to old Richard Smith’s
cottage, for there was a man there who was so dreadfully wounded that
he was almost killed. Of course I made the best of my way here; and
when I arrived, I found the poor man sitting, as he is now, quite
speechless; and while I was endeavouring to learn from him what was
the matter, there came into the room a gentleman, who spoke like a
foreigner, and asked if I was a surgeon, and begged me to step into the
back room; there I found upon the bed one of the gipsies that have been
here for some days, just at the edge of the common. They are gone now,
all but this man. I found, sir, that this man had been severely wounded
with a pistol-ball, and that he had suffered much from loss of blood.
I immediately dressed the wound, which is by no means dangerous,
and then inquired of the foreign gentleman what was the cause of the
accident; for I could not get a single word from the man himself. It
appeared, sir, from the account which the stranger gave me, that the
gipsey had broke into the cottage in the night, or rather early in the
morning, and that he was threatening to murder this poor old man if he
would not tell where his money was. The stranger hearing a noise in the
apartment where Richard Smith slept, listened, and soon ascertained
the cause of it; fearing that the robber might have fire-arms in his
possession, he seized a pistol, and without farther thought entered the
room, and discharged it at the robber. The gentleman also informed me
that he heard the voices of persons outside the cottage, but that after
he had discharged the pistol, they retreated. He tells me that Richard
Smith, in consequence of the fright, has not been able to speak since.”

On hearing this account, Philip Martindale expressed a wish to see
the foreigner, of whom Mr. Davis had made mention; and upon his
introduction, he immediately recognised the Italian whom he had met in
London a day or two ago. The poor foreigner looked full of concern for
the hasty manner in which he had acted, and seemed to fear that he had
violated the law. He made many apologies to Philip Martindale, whom
he presently recognised as a person of some importance; but his mind
was soon set at ease, when he was informed that what he had done was
perfectly legal. He then repeated with great energy the obligations
under which he lay to his very good friend, who had so kindly assisted
him in finding his wife and child.

The next step was the committal of the wounded man for burglary; and
upon the assurance of Mr. Davis that he might be safely moved, the
commitment was accordingly made out; and the stranger, who gave his
name as Giulio Rivolta, was bound over to give evidence at the trial.

Matters being thus arranged, Philip and the clergyman returned to
give the old gentleman a more accurate version of the story than he
had before heard. Mr. Denver underwent, as was usual, a lecture from
the old gentleman, on the folly of telling stories just as he heard
them, without taking any trouble, to ascertain as he easily might in
most cases, whether those said stories were true or false. And when
the truth of the matter came to be generally known in Brigland, every
body laughed at every body for circulating, inventing, and believing
improbable tales; and all the idle, gossiping people in the town, went
about from house to house, complaining, bewailing, and lamenting, that
Brigland was the most idle, gossiping, censorious place in the world.
But still it was insinuated that there was something very mysterious in
the business, which was not yet brought to light. There was more talk
than ever concerning Richard Smith; and nobody could recollect when or
how he first came to take up his abode at Brigland.



CHAPTER X.

    “This fellow is wise enough to play the fool,
    And to do that well craves a kind of wit;
    He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
    The quality of persons and the time.”

                                      SHAKSPEARE.


The time was now arrived for Brigland Abbey to become the scene of
festivity and hospitality. Under the direction and with the permission
of old Mr. Martindale, the young tenant-at-will assembled at his
splendid residence a set of people called his friends; but why they
were called his friends is difficult to say, unless they were so
designated for want of some other comprehensive name. Two of the party
certainly were his friends; and well would it have been for him, had
he availed himself more of their friendship, and been ruled by their
advice. We allude to his father and mother, Lord and Lady Martindale.

It is with great pleasure that we introduce to our readers a pair so
truly respectable and honorable in every point of view. High rank
certainly displays to great advantage those qualities which it is
unable to give. Common-place minds do very well in common-place
situations. It is sad indeed if they whose time is fully occupied by
the duties of their station, and whose employments are marked out for
them, should widely or grossly deviate from propriety: they have,
comparatively speaking, but little room or time for folly. But they who
have the direction of all their time, the choice of all their pursuits,
need great steadiness of mind, and a strong sense of propriety to
avoid follies and extravagance. They who have nothing to do have much
to think of, and they need to be vigilant; and when their conduct is
indeed proper and good, then high rank and the leisure which wealth
bestows appear to great advantage.

Thus honorable and reputable was the conduct of Lord and Lady
Martindale. His lordship’s estate was not very large for his rank, yet
quite large enough for him to make a fool of himself had he been so
inclined:--he was wealthy enough to be his own coachman had he been
so disposed, or to benefit the country by playing at cards and dice
at Newmarket in order to improve the breed of horses:--he might have
immortalized himself on the canisters of a snuff-shop, or by the cut
of a coat:--he might have run away with his neighbour’s wife, or have
insulted and neglected his own:--he might have spent more money upon
his dogs than upon his children:--he might have sought for distinction
through the medium of cookery, and have become so excessively refined
as to ask if Captain Cook had not in one of his voyages seen a nation
of cannibals who ate roast beef and drank port wine: and by many other
fooleries, equally reputable, he might have tempted the multitude to
ask what lords were made for.

In like manner her ladyship might have done her part towards the
dilapidation of their property. She might have spent a year’s income
in a single entertainment:--she might have sent her jewels to the
pawnbroker’s to pay her gambling-debts:--she might have forgotten the
names and number of her children:--she might have been so superbly
ignorant as not to know whether the kitchen was at the top of the house
or at the bottom:--she might have played as many mad pranks as others
in high life have done; but she coveted not that species of notoriety
which arises from violating the principles of decorum and common sense.

The life of this truly respectable couple was not however indebted
for its respectability merely to the absence of vice and folly. They
cultivated positive as well as negative virtues. When they went into
the country, it was for some better purpose than to be stared at; and
when they resided in town, they did not convert their house into a
place of public amusement. The tenants in the country knew of their
landlord’s presence there because they saw him not only in the field,
but in their houses; and he saw that his steward neither oppressed the
tenants, nor defrauded his master; and the poor people in the cottages
saw him, and the labourers too could tell him their grievances, if they
had any. Lady Martindale was also actively benevolent,--not merely
giving away a periodical lot of advertised blankets, or a few bushels
of coals to such as would take the trouble to fetch them; but she
knew to whom her benevolence was directed, and considered rather what
the poor had need to receive than what might best suit her to bestow.
There was the same activity of benevolence when they were in town; and
it was regulated there also by the same principle of propriety, not of
convenience or fashion.

There was, however, in Lord Martindale one fault, and that in his son
was almost a virtue, in consequence of its accompaniments--he had a
great share of pride. He never spoke to or conversed with any of his
inferiors, but that his style always proclaimed him a man of rank
and consequence. We much doubt if, in the days when angels visited
the sons of men, these heavenly visitants behaved with much more
stately reserve than did Lord Martindale in his walks and visits of
benevolence; or whether they showed so great a sense of their superior
nature as he did of his superior rank. In this respect Lady Martindale
had the advantage of his lordship. Nobody could help noticing her very
graceful and dignified deportment; but the most humble never felt
humiliation in her presence.

It was a pity that so excellent a couple were not more fortunate in
their eldest son; but it was happy for them that they were not quite
so much aware of the contrast as some of their neighbours were. It is
not for us to propound theories of education, nor do we know of any one
system which has been infallible in its application and universal in
its success. We can only state the fact that Lord and Lady Martindale
did not neglect the moral education of their children, nor did they
carry discipline so far as to render re-action a necessary consequence.
They were not low in their tastes, or headstrong in will; but their
eldest son followed a line of action almost diametrically opposite
to theirs. We do not represent, or at least we have not designed to
represent, the character of Philip Martindale as being inveterately and
unexceptionably vicious: we do not regard him as a monster of iniquity,
but, according to the candid interpretation of Mr. Denver, he was
rather a gay young man; and being unfortunately acquainted with some
irregular companions, he had been occasionally led into follies. But,
to proceed in the candid strain, he had not a decidedly bad heart; for
he was not gratuitously vicious, and he was not altogether insensible
to the emotions and feelings of humanity. Yet notwithstanding all our
disposition to candour, we must acknowledge that the temper, tastes,
and conduct of the Hon. Philip Martindale did occasionally lead him
into mortifications and sorrows.

We are not expected to enter so minutely and copiously into the
description of the characters of the other guests at Brigland Abbey,
as we have into the characters of Lord and Lady Martindale. Of Sir
Andrew Featherstone and his lady and daughters we have already spoken.
Our readers too are not altogether unacquainted with Sir Gilbert
Sampson and his daughter Celestina. Sir Gilbert and Lord Martindale
were very good friends; and Sir Gilbert was astonished that Lord
Martindale should not be more sensible of his son’s follies, and Lord
Martindale could hardly think it possible that a man of Sir Gilbert’s
good understanding could tolerate such ridiculous affectations in his
daughter.

In addition to these guests at the Abbey, there were also present the
Dowager Lady Woodstock and her four daughters, Anne, Sarah, Jane, and
Mary. Lady Woodstock was the widow of a baronet, whose services in
the navy the country had repaid with little more than a title; but we
would not say a word in censure of such economical remunerations, nor,
on the other hand, would be very censorious, if the recompense had
assumed the more solid form of a noble pension. We have read, and have
in our political feelings profited by reading, the fable of the old
man, his son, and his ass, and we know how difficult it is to please
every body. We know that if the government does not reward its servants
liberally, they will be very angry; and we know that if it does reward
them liberally, others will be very angry. But let that pass. It is,
however, a fact, that Lady Woodstock and her four daughters lived at
Hollywick Priory in very good style, considering the limited means
which they possessed. They were also very highly respected, and very
much talked about as being persons of very superior minds and most
amiable dispositions. They had cultivated their understandings; and
indeed the pursuit and enjoyment of literature was the only occupation
in which they could engage. They had no house in town, nor had they
the means of splendid hospitality in the country. But what is most
to our present purpose, they were one and all great favorites with
old John Martindale. Lady Woodstock was a woman of great delicacy of
feeling, and was most scrupulously adverse to any thing like exhibiting
her daughters, or as it were carrying them to market. It was only in
consequence of the very earnest and almost angry importunity of the old
gentleman that she would consent to share the festivities of Brigland
Abbey. And when that paragraph appeared in a morning paper, announcing
the approaching nuptials of the Hon. Philip Martindale and Miss
Sampson; and when she knew that Sir Gilbert and his daughter were to be
of the party, her reluctance abated. For though Lady Woodstock would
have despised the use, and dreaded the repute, of stratagem to dispose
of her daughters, she would not have been sorry to have them or any of
them well settled.

As to the report that old Mr. Martindale himself had any design of
offering his hand to the widow, the lady herself had not the slightest
suspicion of the existence of such design, or even of the circulation
of any such report. Lady Woodstock was a person of good sense and
extensive information; but, happily, free from every species of
pedantry; totally unpretending and unartificial. She had pursued
knowledge as the means of an agreeable occupation, and not as a medium
of display or exhibition. She had read much, and had reflected more;
so that her conversation was not the idle echo of others’ thoughts,
but the result of her own mind’s movements and observation. Under such
direction and tuition, her daughters had grown up to womanhood.

The young ladies were not distinguished for any great share of personal
beauty, nor were they remarkable for any deficiency in that respect.
They were not romantic, nor were they deficient in sensibility. They
could talk well, but did not utter oracles or speak essays. They were
not merely acquainted with books but with what books taught. They were
also well aware that the knowledge which they possessed was in all
probability possessed by others; and that many with whom they might
converse were far better informed than themselves. They did not set up
for literary ladies on the strength of having read Locke’s Essay, or
being acquainted with a few Italian poets. In fact, they had read to
good purpose, and had thought to good purpose too. The worst of the
matter was, there were four of them; and they were so nearly alike
in moral and mental qualities, and so much together, and in such
perfect confidence with each other, that there was not opportunity and
distinctness enough for any one of the four to make an impression, and
preserve or strengthen it. For if, by chance, any susceptible youth,
who might be desirous of choosing a wife for her moral and mental
qualities, should be seated next to or opposite to Miss Woodstock, and
should by hearing very sensible and unaffected language fall from her
lips, or by observing in her smiles or more serious looks an indication
of excellent moral feeling, find that his heart was almost captivated;
probably on the following morning chance might place him near another
sister with whose taste he might be fascinated, and whose most
agreeable manners would make him almost regret that he had already lost
so much of his heart; and while he might be balancing in his mind on
which of the two his affection should rest, a farther acquaintance with
the family would still farther unsettle and embarrass his judgment;
and he would at length conclude that, as it was impossible to be in
love with four, he could not really be in love with any; and the result
would be general commendation and respect; and the four young ladies
would be left to enjoy their reputation of being the most agreeable,
unaffected young women living.

Visiting in the country is what must be done; but there is some
difficulty in managing it well, and making it perfectly agreeable.
The entertainer must be entertaining, or the entertained will not
be entertained; and the entertained must endeavour to entertain
themselves, or their entertainer cannot entertain them. The Hon. Philip
Martindale was not the most dexterous hand at this kind of employment.
In fact, he felt himself not altogether master of his own house; and
the good people who were there seemed rather to be visiting the house
than its occupier. They did very well at dinner-time. Then there was
amusement for all, adapted to the meanest capacities. There was also
in the mornings for the gentlemen the pleasure of shooting; or, more
properly and accurately speaking, the pleasure of looking for something
to shoot at: for as Philip Martindale was not very popular at Brigland,
the poachers made a merit of plundering him with peculiar diligence.
It also happened that the gentlemen who were at the Abbey were none
of them very keen sportsmen. Sir Gilbert Sampson carried a gun, and
occasionally discharged it; sometimes successfully, and sometimes
unsuccessfully; and, in the latter case, Sir Andrew Featherstone
laughed at him, and said it was a sad waste of shot, for powder alone
would make noise enough to frighten the birds: and then he would ask
Philip Martindale if small shot were not very useful to clean bottles
withal.

As for old John Martindale, he was so perverse and obstinate that he
would scarcely ever join the party at the Abbey till dinner-time; and
then he would complain of late hours, and sit till midnight or later
grumbling at the foolish fashion of turning night into day. Several
mornings were wet, very wet: there was no getting out of doors, and the
Abbey was very ill-furnished with playthings. The young ladies could
draw. The Miss Featherstones were adepts especially in architectural
drawing. They sketched the interior of the principal apartments in the
Abbey; and talked very learnedly of Palladio and Vitruvius, and Sir
Christopher Wren and Mr. Nash, and others. They thought that Waterloo
Place was not equal to the Parthenon, and St. Paul’s Cathedral was not
equal to St. Peter’s. They talked about the building in which they were
then sitting, demonstrated that it was the most beautiful and best
proportioned building in the world, and then proceeded to show how much
more beautiful it might be made. As the party had nothing else to do,
they were very happy in listening to the architectural lectures of the
Miss Featherstones.

There were more wet mornings than one; and as the Miss Featherstones
had succeeded so well once in lecturing on architecture, they repeated
the experiment. It was rather wearying, but it was better than nothing.
On the morning of which we speak, old John Martindale was present.
Contrary to his usual practice, the old gentleman made his appearance
soon after breakfast, to congratulate them, as he said, on a fine
wet morning. It appeared as if his object was to see what the party
would do to amuse themselves and one another. The Miss Featherstones
had recourse to their portfolio of plans and drawings, and sections,
and elevations; and these they spread out on the table, in order to
excite admiration, and to prompt discussion. Old Mr. Martindale was so
perverse that he would not take any notice of the display; and the rest
of the company had already, on a previous occasion, said all that they
had to say. Isabella, the youngest of the Miss Featherstones, prided
herself on her very superior wisdom, and therefore was very much
disconcerted that any one should slightingly regard her favorite study;
and especially was she disturbed that Mr. Martindale, who clearly had
so great a taste or fancy for that pursuit, should behold unmoved,
and without the least affectation of interest, a splendid display of
architectural drawings, and give no heed to the very philosophical
remarks which, in her wisdom, she was making on the various styles of
building. Determining, therefore, to compel the attention which she
could not attract, she addressed herself directly to the old gentleman,
asking his opinion of a design which she had drawn for the improvement
of Hovenden Lodge. The answer which the old gentleman gave was so
very uncourteous, that we almost blush to repeat it. Looking very
sarcastically at the inquirer, he said:

“Hovenden Lodge, madam, is not yet quite spoiled by the improvements;
but if you take a little more pains, I think you may make it one of the
most ridiculous buildings in the kingdom.”

In justice to Mr. Martindale, we are bound to state that he would not
have made such an observation to every one; but he knew Miss Isabella,
and was sure that no very serious effects would follow from any
severity of remark which he might make. And the result was as he had
anticipated: for the young lady was not a whit abashed, but the rather
encouraged to proceed, and to reply according to the spirit of the old
gentleman’s remark.

“I think I shall endeavour to persuade papa to build a gothic front
to Hovenden Lodge, in imitation of Brigland Abbey; and then, Mr.
Martindale, I suppose you will acknowledge that it is really improved.”

“And then, Miss Isabella, I will pull down the front of Brigland
Abbey, and supply its place by an exact imitation of the present front
of Hovenden Lodge; and then it will be a difficult matter to decide
which is the greatest blockhead, Sir Andrew Featherstone or old John
Martindale.”

“Upon my word, Mr. Martindale, you are very polite,” replied Isabella,
almost angry at being outdone in the way of banter.

“No such thing, madam, I am not polite. I am not fond of nonsense;”
and then, in order to soften in some degree the apparent ruggedness
of his manner, he added: “But if you have a taste for architecture, I
shall be very happy to show you some engravings and drawings which I
brought with me from Italy. You shall come down to my cottage to-morrow
morning, and you will find some pictures worth looking at.”

“When were you in Italy, sir? I never heard of it.”

“Perhaps not. I was there twenty years before you were born.” Mr.
Martindale then turned away from the table, and looking out at window,
declared that there was no occasion for any one to stay within on
account of the weather; and, by way of setting an example to the rest
of the party, he directly walked out alone. Isabella was pleased at the
promise of poring over some architectural drawings, and most especially
delighted with an opportunity which seemed to be promised of talking
about Italy. It was a place which she had never visited, but she was
proud of an acquaintance with its poetry and topography.

Since the peace of 1815, such myriads of people have visited France,
that Paris has become as vulgar as Margate. It is most earnestly to
be desired that the plebeian part of the community will not pollute
with their presence, or profane with their prate, the classic
plains, groves, temples, and cities of Italy. The establishment of
steam-packets threatens the encroachment; and then the resource of
the fashionable must be Constantinople; from whence, perhaps, they
ultimately may be driven onwards to Ispahan and Delhi. The East India
Company will not let them go to Canton.

The rest of the party gradually dispersed, most industriously and
diligently bent on seeking some amusement wherewith to while away the
weary hours which must be got rid of by some means or other before
dinner. Let not the reader lightly regard this fact; for it is one of
the greatest difficulties in the life of some persons at some periods
of the year. There are to be found in this world not a few who are
abundantly able and willing to reward with great liberality the genius
who should be fortunate enough to discover or invent an infallible
method of rendering it pleasant or tolerable to wait for dinner in the
country.



CHAPTER XI.

    “The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness,
    And time to speak it in; you rub the sore
    When you should find the plaster.”

                                        SHAKSPEARE.


Wandering in various directions, and engaged in divers pursuits, the
visitors at Brigland Abbey were dispersed, to fill up the dreary
morning hours. To follow them all is impossible; and to follow most
of them would be uninteresting and uninstructive. Leaving, therefore,
unobserved, all but Lady Woodstock and her eldest daughter, who
reluctantly suffered themselves to be accompanied in their walk by Sir
Andrew Featherstone, we will attend these three in their morning’s
ramble.

With the scenery of the Abbey itself, and its park, our readers are
partly acquainted. They know that the house stood on an open and
gracefully sloping lawn; and that behind it rose a dense plantation,
or rather wood. This wood was in one direction very extensive; but
its breadth rendered it little more than a belt, which divided a
tract of uncultivated land from one which was most highly embellished
by art as well as by nature. In front of the Abbey, as far as the
eye could reach, the land was highly cultivated, and thickly studded
with trees and human dwellings. At the back of the wood the land
was open and unenclosed; for the soil, if soil it might be called,
was but a very thin stratum of light earth; through which, at short
intervals, appeared the bare or moss-covered rock, which was the
basis of the whole district. One part of this open space bore the
name of the Common; and it was partly surrounded by a few miserable
cottages: beyond that it bore the name of Brigland Heath. There was
one advantage, however, in this barren scene; that the ground, being
very high, afforded extensive prospects, keen air, and dry footing.
There had been formerly a passage through the wood from the park to the
common; but since the erection of the Abbey, that path was no longer
used: there remained, however, a serpentine-road towards the heath; and
at the end of this road stood one of the park-lodges, on the borders of
the heath; and as the lodge was built to correspond with the style of
the Abbey, it formed a very beautiful object in that otherwise dreary
situation.

To this open and extensive heath the three above-named betook
themselves for the sake of enjoying the fine air and wide scenery.
Sir Andrew Featherstone, who was very ready with his quaint remarks
when any thing was said or done at all susceptible of ridiculous
construction or comment, was mute as fish, and awkward as a fish out
of water, when his company was decidedly serious. Though the facetious
baronet very promptly offered, or rather urged his services to
accompany Lady Woodstock to the heath, yet before the party had made
much progress, Sir Andrew felt himself almost weary of his charge.
He had made several attempts at talk, and had failed; and to the few
remarks uttered by the ladies, as he was not prepared with a lively or
witty reply, he returned none at all, or such a one as did not by any
means promise to be productive of further colloquy or discussion. Happy
to avail himself of any thing which afforded a prospect of a subject
for discourse, as soon as they had passed the lodge, the worthy baronet
most fortunately descried at a little distance a great concourse of
people issuing from that part of the wood which bordered on the common,
and apparently surrounding a funeral procession. The multitude took the
direction towards the town; and the curiosity of Sir Andrew and his
party being excited by the unusual number of people who surrounded the
procession, took the same direction, and arrived at the church-yard
almost as soon as the funeral. Curiosity is contagious; few can resist
the impulse to gaze upon a spectacle surrounded by many spectators. The
party from the Abbey were curious to know who and what it was which
excited so very general an interest. They approached as near as they
could, without forming part of the crowd. They waited till the coffin
was deposited in the earth; and as many of the crowd stayed to gaze
into the grave where the body was laid, the mourners in returning from
the church-yard were less encumbered by the curious multitude, so that
they were distinctly visible. The procession of the mourners was but
short, yet several of them were real mourners. There is something very
touching in the struggle which real sorrow makes to calm its agitation,
and to suppress its tears; and there sometimes is a strong and deep
feeling which tears or loud laments might relieve, but which, from a
sense of its own intensity, dares not indulge in those expressions
over which it might have no controul, or in yielding to which it might
be betrayed into extravagance. This was a feeling which manifestly had
possession of more than one of the mourners, who had attracted the
curiosity of Sir Andrew Featherstone and the ladies that were with
him. The keenness of their sorrow prevented Lady Woodstock and her
daughter from gazing upon them with an eye of too curious inquiry. To
gaze upon the afflicted without a look of sympathy is very cruel; and
to look with compassion upon the eye that is full of tears, which it
would fain suppress, does but still more unnerve the sorrowing heart.
Lady Woodstock observed that the principal mourners were two females,
who appeared, by their resemblance to each other, to be mother and
daughter; and the scene brought to her recollection the time when she
herself, accompanied by the daughter who was then leaning on her arm,
did, in violation of the practice of the world, follow to the grave
the remains of her beloved husband: nor were the recollections of her
sorrows painful when thus brought back to her mind, but the rather
was there a pure and holy pleasure in the tear which rose to her eye
at the thought of the past, so that she felt more than satisfied at
having in that instance dared to be singular. Fashion forms pleasant
leading-strings for those minds which are too weak to walk alone. The
mind of Lady Woodstock was not of that description.

Sir Andrew Featherstone inquired of one of the spectators what was the
name and character of the deceased, who seemed to have occupied so
large a share in the interest and sympathy of the people of Brigland.
He was informed that the name of the departed was Richard Smith;
that he was a poor man whom nobody knew much about; but that lately
a report was spread abroad that he was a rich man and a miser, and
that, instigated probably by that report, one of the gipsies that had
lately been in that neighbourhood, had broken into his cottage with
the intent of robbing him; but there happened to be in the house with
him at the time a foreign officer whose wife was related to Richard
Smith, and this stranger wounded the gipsey so severely, that he was
not able to effect his escape, and he was therefore sent off to the
county jail; and that the old man was so dreadfully alarmed, that he
soon after died in consequence of the fright. It appeared also from the
informant, that the unusual number of persons congregated to witness
the funeral was owing to the singularity of the circumstances of the
old man’s death, and also to the desire felt to see the foreigner and
his family; for the two females were, one of them the wife, and the
other the daughter of the foreigner. The youngest of the two was the
young woman of whom mention has before been made, as being the niece of
old Richard Smith. This narrative happened to be somewhat more correct
than many narratives which are thus picked up by an accidental inquiry.
The account, however, of the motive which prompted the attendance of
so many spectators of the funeral, in some degree disappointed the
expectation of Lady Woodstock and her daughter; for they had promised
themselves the pleasure of hearing an account of some specimen of
humble virtue and extensive benevolent influence in a comparatively low
sphere of life. They could not, therefore, but painfully smile at the
thought that accident and unessential circumstance should excite an
interest so strong and extensive.

At all events, serious feelings had been excited in the minds of the
ladies; and even Sir Andrew himself partook of them, and no longer
tasked his imagination for something remarkably witty or singular
wherewith to amuse his companions, but very suitably and decently
joined his companions in that species of talk which minds of their
description would naturally have recourse to on such an occasion. And
really, Sir Andrew could talk very well and very rationally when he
was once set in the right key; but generally he seemed to think it
necessary, in order to make himself agreeable, to be always uttering
some quaint saying that should make his hearers laugh. He too often
forgot that that which is very well as seasoning, is very unpalatable
as food. This is a simile drawn from Sir Andrew’s favorite pursuit,
which was the art of cookery, as we have above named.

When the party was assembled at dinner, it so happened that the old
gentleman, Mr. John Martindale, took his seat at the side of Lady
Woodstock, or to speak more definitely, caused Lady Woodstock to take
a seat at his side. Some elderly unmarried gentlemen are remarkable
for their love of monotony and exactness, always choosing the same
seat, and ever going through the same daily routine. It was quite the
reverse with John Martindale. In his own residence there was nothing of
uniformity, and in his own habits there was nothing like regularity.
He would sometimes rise at four or five, and sometimes not till eleven
or twelve; and more than once he has been known to breakfast one day
at the very same hour, at which he had dined the preceding day. He had
the same crotchet in other houses where he could take the liberty, and
in fact would rarely enter any house in which he was not so indulged.
When he was at the Abbey, it was his very frequent practice to take a
seat at table before any of the rest of the party, and to call some one
by name to sit by him; and on these occasions he was generally very
talkative; but if he were silently inclined, he would go creeping to
the lower end of the table like a humble tolerated guest, and never
speak but when spoken to; and that was not frequently when amongst
those who were acquainted with his habits. The present was not the
first time that he had so distinguished Lady Woodstock; indeed, so
frequently on other occasions, and at other tables, had he singled out
this lady, that it is not to be wondered at that a rumour should have
gone abroad of an intention on the old gentleman’s part to make her
ladyship an offer of his hand. To say the truth, even Philip himself
began to have some apprehensions, and rather to increase in his polite
attentions to Miss Sampson.

“Now pray, madam,” said Mr. Martindale, in a very loud voice, “how have
you been amusing yourself this morning? I suppose you would have stayed
within all the morning studying architecture, if I had not mercifully
driven you out to breathe a little wholesome air. You have not such
fine air at Hollywick as we have on the heath. You have been walking
that way I presume.”

Lady Woodstock gently replied: “Sir Andrew Featherstone was so polite
as to accompany me and one of my daughters in a ramble on the heath.”

“Sir Andrew was very polite, indeed,” replied Mr. Martindale; “and I
have no doubt you had a most delightful walk. Sir Andrew made himself
very agreeable, I hope; he is a witty man. But how is it, my good lady,
that you look so unusually grave? Have you been laughing so heartily at
Sir Andrew’s wit, that you have no more smiles left for us?”

Her ladyship then explained, and said that she really did feel rather
more serious than usual. She then related what she had seen and heard
that morning. Mr. Martindale listened with great attention to her
narration, and as soon as it was concluded, he abruptly turned round
and addressing himself to his relative exclaimed: “Philip, do you hear
that? The poor old man who brought the action against you the other
day is dead and buried. Lady Woodstock has been at his funeral this
morning; and I think you should have been there too, if you had a spark
of grace about you, young man.”

“You astonish me, sir,” replied Philip; “I had not heard that the poor
man was ill.”

“Ay, but you ought to have known it. Did not you tell me the other day
that he was so terrified at the gipsey breaking into his dwelling and
threatening his life, that he was quite speechless. You ought to have
made inquiries about him. If the poor man did bring an action against
you, you ought not to bear malice.”

The Hon. Philip Martindale was most deeply mortified at being thus
lectured at his own table, and schooled in the presence and hearing
of his guests. To be dependent is bad enough; but to be thus publicly
exposed as it were, is one of the severest parts of dependence. He had
never felt any thing so mortifying while he was in chambers in the
Temple; and he could not help thinking that those former acquaintances
towards whom he had carried himself with proud and haughty reserve,
would now look down on him with a much better grace than he could
ever have looked contemptuously on them. The feeling of littleness
is a very painful feeling, especially to one who has sacrificed his
independence for the sake of the semblance of greatness. This was the
case with Philip Martindale, whose dependent condition was entirely
on his part wilful and voluntary. He had been cautioned by his most
excellent mother, but he gave no heed to her admonitions. Lord and Lady
Martindale felt on this occasion almost as much mortified as the young
gentleman himself: indeed, there was at the table a general feeling
of awkwardness and constraint. Philip himself was so far moved, that
though he trusted not himself to the language of resentment, he could
not altogether suppress a look of indignation at being thus accused
of bearing malice against a poor old man. After a little interval of
embarrassment, he ventured to say something in vindication of himself;
but the very language and manner which he used, sufficiently manifested
that he was fearful of offending the old gentleman, and left a very
unpleasant impression on the mind of Lady Martindale.

In the evening of that day, Lady Martindale took occasion to converse
with her son on the subject of his dependent situation, and to urge
upon him the propriety of renouncing a patronage of such a mortifying
nature. Her reasoning was very good, and her arguments for the most
part unanswerable. It was very true that no confidence could be
placed in the whims and caprices of a wealthy old humorist. He might,
notwithstanding his advanced years, take it into his mind to marry. He
might find out some new favourite on whom he might bestow the greatest
part of his property. He would in all human probability live many
years; and his capriciousness might, and most likely would, rather
increase than diminish. Lady Martindale also reminded her son, that
the allowance which he received from the old gentleman was barely
sufficient to meet the increased expenses of so large an establishment;
so that although he had the honor of living in a splendid mansion, he
was rather poorer than richer by the change. To all this not a word
of objection could be made; but there was an argument unnamed which
had more weight with the young gentleman than all those which Lady
Martindale had used. He was aware that he had so far anticipated that
he must be indebted to other means than his own hereditary property,
or the result of his own professional diligence, to get rid of the
encumbrance. It was a truth, though a painful one, that he could never
keep up his dignity but by continuing his dependence. His answers,
therefore, to Lady Martindale’s persuasions, were such as gave her no
hopes of success. As for returning to his profession, his own pride
forbade that, and his “dread of shame among the spirits beneath.”



CHAPTER XII.

        “----Whilst I remember
    Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
    My blemishes in them.”

                              SHAKSPEARE.


In pursuance of the promise made by old Mr. Martindale, Miss Isabella
Featherstone, and others of the party who had no other amusement in
view, went the following morning to the cottage to look over the prints
and drawings. The old gentleman had no light task to find and set in
order his dispersed treasures: for his pictures were, as his books, in
every part of the house, not even excepting the kitchen. He had risen
early in order to find them; and it had been to him a task not without
labour, though accompanied also with some powerful and interesting
feelings. He had been looking back to past times and to years long
gone by. He had been conversing with his former self, and had revived
the forms of old acquaintances long since dead. He saw them again, and
heard them again: their faces gleamed upon him through the lines of
many an old engraving. He saw again, after dust had long covered, and
darkness had long concealed them, drawings of many a palace in Rome, in
Naples, in Venice, from the contemplation of which he had imbibed his
love of architecture; and he began, as he looked back into the past,
to entertain some feelings of regret. Almost every body looks back to
the past with regret, especially old bachelors. By this employment the
feelings of the old gentleman were greatly excited, and he began to be
almost sentimental; so that when his visitors arrived at his cottage,
he received them, not as usual with the odd manners of a humorist, but
with a most courteous and old-fashioned politeness.

Isabella Featherstone observed his altered manner, and supposed that
he was endeavouring to make amends for his abrupt and uncourteous
manner of the preceding day. All the party, indeed, thought that a
remarkable change had taken place in Mr. Martindale, but no one thought
of attributing the change to any thing else than a little caprice.
Isabella took great pains to show how ready she was to accept the
practical apology, which she conceived was thus offered by the old
gentleman. She talked therefore with more than her usual fluency, and
exclaimed with more than usual rapture at every thing which could
at all vindicate or allow of rapturous exclamation. The remains of
antiquity, the works of modern art, the heathen temple or Christian
church, were in their turns all complimented to the utmost of the young
lady’s power of eloquence. Unmeaning compliments are inexhaustible; and
well it is that they are so, or the great abundance and almost infinite
variety which was drawn forth from Mr. Martindale’s portfolios would
have puzzled and perplexed the flatterer. To all this commendatory
language the old gentleman was silent; and the party, who could not
but notice the fluency of Isabella’s compliments, began to tremble
for her, thinking that the old gentleman was silently meditating some
keen satirical retort; the usual coin in which such geniuses as he
repay the volubility of superabundant compliment. But their fears and
apprehensions were unfounded. The young lady continued unexhausted and
unreproved.

To examine a very large collection of prints and drawings, especially
when an interest is felt or affected, occupies no inconsiderable
portion of time. So the morning was rapidly passing away, and might
have been entirely consumed by this amusement, had it not been for an
interruption which put a stop to their employment.

A servant announced that the Rev. Mr. Denver and another gentleman
wished to speak with Mr. Martindale on particular business. The old
gentleman was not best pleased with the interruption. Impatiently
asking the servant into which room he had introduced the gentlemen, he
immediately followed the man out of the apartment; and such was his
haste, that he never thought to put out of his hand an engraving which
he was just about to show to his party, but carried the print with him.

Mr. Denver introduced to Mr. Martindale with great parade Colonel
Rivolta, whom he described as having recently made his escape from
the continent, where he was exposed to persecution, if not to death,
on account of his political opinions. The reverend gentleman then
proceeded to state, that the Colonel had previously to his own arrival
in England sent over his wife and daughter, whom he had committed to
the care of Richard Smith; that with them he had also transmitted some
property, which old Richard had invested for their use and benefit;
that unfortunately the very first night of the Colonel’s arrival at
Brigland, the cottage in which Richard Smith dwelt had been entered by
the gipsey, of whom mention has been already made; that in consequence
of that event the poor old man had been so seriously alarmed, that
he had been totally unable to attend to any thing, and that he had
died, leaving this poor foreigner in a strange land, not knowing how
to proceed as to the recovery of his little property. Under these
circumstances, Mr. Denver had taken the liberty of introducing the poor
man to Mr. Martindale; knowing from the general benevolence of his
disposition, and from his acquaintance with practical affairs, that he
would be best able to counsel and assist the foreigner in his present
difficulties.

This appeal to the vanity and virtues of the old gentleman compensated
for the interruption which had taken him from his company. And, indeed,
we must do Mr. Martindale the justice to acknowledge that there really
was a considerable share of benevolent feeling in the constitution of
his mind, though that benevolence was attended, as it not unfrequently
happens, by a very competent share of conceit. He was indeed very
happy in performing acts of kindness, and also very happy in enjoying
the reputation of those acts. This is a failing which moralists ought
to treat with much gentleness and consideration; for it does a great
deal for those countless and useful institutions which are supported
by voluntary contributions. Forgetting then the company which he had
left, the old gentleman began to enter very freely and fully into the
concerns of the foreigner, and to offer his best services to assist
him in his difficulties. He soon found, however, upon inquiry, that
there was not really so much difficulty as Mr. Denver had imagined or
represented; and he was not altogether displeased at the opportunity
thus afforded to him of ridiculing the clergyman for his ignorance of
matters of business. It is indeed a sad fact, that so many of this
order are quite ignorant of the affairs of common life in those points
where they might often be of essential service to their parishioners.
One should imagine that some little knowledge of this kind might be
advantageously acquired even by the sacrifice, were it necessary, of
some of that energy and time devoted to dactyls and spondees, or to
hares and partridges. But we must take the world as we find it, and be
thankful that it is no worse.

The information and direction which the stranger sought were soon
communicated to him, and most thankfully received by him. He then was
rising to take leave and repeat his grateful acknowledgments, when
his eye was arrested by the print which Mr. Martindale held in his
hand, and which he had unrolled while he was talking. As soon as the
Colonel saw the picture, he recognised the scene which it represented,
and uttered an ejaculation, indicative of surprise and pleasure. Mr.
Martindale then, for the first time, observed the print, and noticed
its subject: he also looked upon it with surprise, but not with
pleasure; and then he asked the stranger if that scene were familiar to
him. With very great emotion the Colonel replied:

“That scene brings to my recollection the happiest day of my life.”

For a few seconds the party were totally silent; for the clergyman
and the foreigner were struck dumb with astonishment at the altered
looks of the old gentleman, and were surprised to see him crushing
the picture in both his hands. He then, as if with an effort of great
resolution, exclaimed:

“And it brings to my recollection the most miserable day of my life.”

Mr. Denver was not used to emotions; he was quite perplexed what to do,
whether he should sympathise or retire. He very wisely and very calmly
begged Mr. Martindale not to be agitated. That was a very rational
request; but, unfortunately, when persons are in a state of agitation,
they are not in a condition to attend to rational requests. Colonel
Rivolta was more accustomed to the sight and expression of strong
emotions, and he did not make any rational request; but turning towards
the old gentleman, with a look of kindness and sympathy, he said:

“Ah, sir! I am sorry, very sorry, that I have caused you to think again
of your miseries. But your lot is now in prosperity. Ah, sir! we are
all liable to calamity: it is sad to think of the many pains of life;
but your sorrow, sir, is no doubt without reproach to yourself.”

The agitation of the old gentleman abated, and he replied: “I thank you
for your kindness, sir, but my sorrow arises from self-reproach. I have
inflicted injuries which can never be redressed.”

He hesitated, as if wishing, but dreading to say more. Then changing
the tone of his voice, as if he were about to speak on some totally
different subject, he continued addressing himself to Colonel Rivolta:

“I presume, sir, you are a native of Genoa, or you are very familiar
with that city.”

“I was born,” replied the foreigner, “at Naples; but very early in life
I was removed to Genoa, that I might be engaged in merchandise; for my
patrimony was very small, and my relations would have despised me, had
I endeavoured by any occupation to gain a livelihood in my native city.”

“Then you were not originally destined for the army.”

“I was not; but after I had been some few years in Genoa, I began to
grow weary of the pursuits of merchandise, and indeed to feel some
of that pride of which I had accused my relations, and I thought
that I should be satisfied with very little if I might be free from
the occupation of the merchant; and while I was so thinking, I met
by chance an old acquaintance who persuaded me to undertake the
profession of arms, to which I was indeed not reluctant. And so I left
my merchandise, and did not see Genoa again for nearly two years. It
was then that I was so much interested in that scene which the picture
portrays; for in a very small house which is in the same street, and
directly opposite to that palace, there lived an old woman, whose name
was.…”

The attention of the old gentleman had been powerfully arrested by the
commencement of the Italian’s narrative; and he listened very calmly
till the narrator arrived at the point when he was about to mention the
name of the old woman who lived opposite to the palace in question:
then was Mr. Martindale again excited, and without waiting for the
conclusion of the sentence, interrupted it by exclaiming:

“Ah! what! do you know that old woman? Is she living? Where is
she?--Stop--no--let me see--impossible!--Why I must be nearly
seventy--yes--Are you sure? Is not her name Bianchi?”

To this hurried and confused mass of interrogation, the Colonel replied
that her name was Bianchi; but that she had died nearly twenty years
ago, at a very advanced age, being at the time of her death nearly
ninety years of age. Hearing this, the old gentleman assumed a great
calmness and composure of manner, though he trembled as if in an ague;
and turning to the astonished clergyman, who was pleasing himself with
the anticipation of some catastrophe or anecdote which might form a
fine subject for town-talk, he very deliberately said:

“Mr. Denver, I beg I may not intrude any longer on your valuable time.
This gentleman, I find, can give me some account of an old acquaintance
of mine. The inquiries may not be interesting to you. Make my best
compliments to Mrs. Denver.”

Mr. Denver was so much in the habit of being dismissed at short
notice from his audiences with Mr. Martindale, that he did not think
any thing of this kind of language; but he was sadly disappointed at
being sent away just at the moment that some important discovery
seemed about to be made; for it was very obvious from the manner in
which Mr. Martindale had interrogated the foreigner, and from the
very great emotion which he had manifested, that the old gentleman
had something more to inquire about than merely an old acquaintance.
Mr. Denver, indeed, had little doubt, whatever might be the object of
the disclosure about to be made, that he should ultimately come into
possession of a knowledge of the fact; but it was painful to be put off
to a future period, it was a suffering to have his curiosity strongly
excited and not immediately gratified. In order, however, to insure as
early a relief as possible, he had no sooner taken his leave of Mr.
Martindale, than he dropped a hint to Colonel Rivolta, that he should
be happy to see him again at the parsonage as soon as possible.

When this good man was withdrawn, Mr. Martindale requested the stranger
to be seated; and unmindful of the guests whom he had left to amuse
themselves and each other, he commenced very deliberately to examine
the foreigner concerning those matters which had so strongly excited
his feelings.

“You tell me,” said Mr. Martindale, “that the old woman Bianchi has
been dead nearly twenty years. Now, my good friend, can you inform me
how long you were acquainted with this old woman before her death.”

“I knew her,” replied the Colonel, “only for about four years before
she died.”

“And had you much intimacy with her, so as to hear her talk about
former days.”

“Very often, indeed,” replied the foreigner, “did she talk about the
past; for as her age was very great, and her memory was very good, it
was great interest to hear her tell of ancient things; and she was
a woman of most excellent understanding, and very benevolent in her
disposition. Indeed, I can say that I loved the old woman much, very
much indeed. I was sorry at her death.”

“But tell me,” said Mr. Martindale impatiently, “did you ever hear her
say any thing of an infant--an orphan that was committed to her care
nearly forty years ago?”

At this question, the eyes of the stranger brightened, and his face
was overspread with a smile of delight, when he replied: “Oh yes, much
indeed, much indeed! that orphan is my wife.”

This rapidity of explanation was almost too much for the old
gentleman’s feelings. His limbs had been trembling with the agitation
arising from thus reverting to days and events long passed; and he
had entertained some hope from the language of the foreigner, that he
might gain some intelligence concerning one that had been forgotten,
but whose image was again revived in his memory. He had thought but
lightly in the days of his youth of that which he then called folly,
but more seriously in the days of his age of that same conduct which
then he called vice. It would have been happiness to his soul, could
an opportunity have been afforded him of making something like amends
to the representatives of the injured, even though the injured had
been long asleep in the grave. When all at once, therefore, the
intelligence burst upon him, that one was living in whom he possessed
an interest, and over whose destiny he should have watched, but whom
he had neglected and forgotten, he felt his soul melt within him; and
well it was for him that he found relief in tears. Surprised beyond
measure was Colonel Rivolta, when he observed the effect produced on
Mr. Martindale, and heard the old gentleman say with trembling voice:

“And that orphan, sir, is my daughter.” He paused for a minute or two,
and his companion was too much astonished and interested to interrupt
him: recovering himself, he continued: “For many years after that
child was born, I had not the means of making any other provision for
it than placing it under the care of the old woman of whom we have
been speaking. I gave her such compensation as my circumstances then
allowed; and as the mother of the child died soon after the birth of
the infant, I thought myself freed from all farther responsibility when
I had made provision for the infant. I endeavoured, indeed, to forget
the event altogether; and as I wished to form a respectable connexion
in marriage, I took especial care to conceal this transgression.
However, various circumstances prevented me from time to time from
entering into the married state; and having within the last twelve
years come into the possession of larger property than I had ever
anticipated, it occurred to me that there should be living at Genoa a
child of mine, then indeed long past childhood. I wrote to Genoa, and
had no answer; I went to Genoa, and could find no trace either of my
child or of the old woman to whose care I had entrusted her; and I was
grieved not so much for the loss of my child, as for the lack of an
opportunity of making some amends for my crime. I am delighted to hear
that she lives. To-morrow I will see her.”

Colonel Rivolta scarcely believed his senses. He was indeed very sure
that the person whom he had married was described as an orphan of
English parents, and he had no reason to imagine that Mr. Martindale
was attempting to deceive him. It was, indeed, a great discovery to
him that he had married the daughter of an English gentleman of great
fortune; and perhaps under all circumstances the foreigner was most
delighted of the two at the discovery: for thereby he had insured to
himself a friend and protector when he most needed one; and he was
happy at the thought that his own child would thus have a powerful
friend, and be preserved from the dangers and snares with which he
might think that she would be otherwise surrounded; and with whatever
sentiments Mr. Martindale might regard the discovery of his daughter,
it may be easily imagined that Colonel Rivolta’s child, over whom
he had constantly watched with the utmost care and anxiety, was far
more affectionately interesting to him than was the daughter of Mr.
Martindale to her parent, who had never seen her since her infancy,
and who had never paid her any attention, but had almost endeavoured
to forget her. It appeared indeed very singular to the Colonel, that
Mr. Martindale should so patiently wait till the following day before
he would see his newly-discovered daughter. But the old gentleman was
a great oddity, and a most unaccountable being; and so any one would
have thought who had seen him after this interview with the foreigner
calmly return to his company, and amuse himself with looking over his
portfolios of pictures. So however he did; and when this agitation was
over, he was more cheerful than before, and quite as full as ever of
whims and humours.



CHAPTER XIII.

                      “----reason, my son,
    Should choose himself a wife; but as good reason,
    The father (all whose joy is nothing else
    But fair posterity) should hold some counsel
    In such business.”

                                          SHAKSPEARE.


The interview between Mr. Martindale and his newly-discovered daughter
took place according to his own arrangement on the following day.
Inquiries were abundantly made, and explanations entered into, by which
the identity of the parties was ascertained. There was, however, little
or nothing of that outrageous and passionate exhibition which is so
frequently represented as attending such discoveries. Mr Martindale
himself had given way to strong emotions on the preceding day, the
ground of which emotions was rather remorse than affection: not that
he was incapable of affection, or insensible to its claims; but age
makes a difference in the mode of expressing affection; and the old
gentleman had never been in the way of that habitual intercourse which
gives to sentiments of love their strength and feeling. Mothers who
have watched over the dawnings of an infant mind, and assisted in the
development of the growing powers and expanding affections of their
offspring, can and do remember through a long long life, and after a
very long separation and absence, the endearing and delightful thoughts
and feelings which occupied their souls when attending their infant
charge, and they cannot see without strong emotion those features
ripened into maturity in which they had taken delight in infancy; and
even fathers who have watched a mother’s care, and participated in a
mother’s interests, do, after many years, ay, even through life, retain
the sentiments of love and deep affection which an infant interest has
excited; but that pure pleasure belongs not to him who has never taken
a pure paternal interest in his own offspring. Let this or any other
theory which the reader’s better judgment may suggest, account for the
fact that the meeting between Mr. Martindale and his daughter was not
productive of any thing like a scene. This, however, is true, that
the old gentleman was very much pleased, both with his daughter and
grand-daughter. With the latter, our readers are already acquainted.

As we have introduced Signora Rivolta to her father, it may not be
amiss to introduce her also to our readers.

Comparatively little interest can be felt in the personal description
of a lady who has passed the season of youth; but there are some
women who have ceased to be young, without ceasing to be personally
interesting. Of this number was Signora Rivolta. Her style and manner
was such as to inspire respect. There was about her a certain graceful
and becoming stateliness which only one of her cast of features and
mould of figure could with propriety assume. Her hair and eyes were
dark; her face oval; her eyebrows finely arched; her look rather
downcast. To speak classically, or heathenishly, there was in her
more of Minerva than of Venus; and more of Juno than of either. Her
voice was exquisitely sweet; its tones were full, and its modulation
graceful. Hers was the voice which Horatio Markham heard when he stood
with old Mr. Martindale near the door of old Richard Smith’s cottage;
and it was her hand which touched the lute that accompanied her voice;
and hers was the ivory crucifix which the young barrister carelessly
threw down, and which the young woman so hastily picked up.

At the discovery of his daughter, and her interesting appearance, Mr.
Martindale was much pleased; and though no dramatic raptures marked
their first interview, the old gentleman was relieved from a painful
mental burden which weighed heavily on his spirits, and which, while
it sometimes rendered him morose, sometimes goaded him also to the
opposite extreme of false levity and an artificial humour. It was this
circumstance, to which might be attributed those eccentricities of
manner, which led some observers to imagine that the old gentleman
was not sound in his intellects. Still, however, the essential oddity
of his character was not to be removed by any changes; and a very
curious manifestation of that oddity he gave at this interview with
his daughter and grand-daughter, when he abruptly asked the former if
she had been brought up in the religion of the Roman Catholic church;
to this question, she replied in the affirmative. Thereupon the old
gentleman was disturbed, and he said:

“And is your daughter also educated in the same persuasion?”

“She is,” replied Signora Rivolta; “for in what other religion could
or ought she to be educated? From the professors of that religion I
received my first impulses to devotion, and from their kindness I
experienced protection, and from their good counsel I had guidance. I
love that religion.”

“Well, well,” observed Mr. Martindale, “that is all very natural, to be
sure--I can say nothing against that; but it is a pity that, now you
are likely to remain in England, you should not become a Protestant. I
have no objection to your religion, only there is so much bigotry about
it.”

“We think it important truth, and we cannot be indifferent to it; and
we are desirous of bringing all to the knowledge of the truth, that all
may be saved.”

“Ay, ay, that is my objection to your religion; you think that nobody
can be saved but those who adopt your opinions--now I call that
bigotry.”

“Then, sir, I fear that your church lies under the same reproach, for
many of its formularies seem to indicate the same view of salvation.”

“Yes, yes, there may be some such language in the prayer-book
and articles, but they were drawn up in times when men were not
so enlightened as they are now; and it does not follow that all
Protestants should exactly follow every minute shade of opinion or
doctrine there laid down.”

Some men have been so ungallant as to say that they would never
condescend to reason with a woman: if Mr. Martindale had made the
same determination, it would have saved him some trouble; for in this
conversation, which was extended to a much greater length than we are
desirous of pursuing it, Mr. Martindale had much the worst of the
argument, though not the worst side of the question. His misfortune
was, that he was totally ignorant of the nature of the Roman Catholic
religion, and very little better informed concerning that faith which
he himself professed. It is a practice too common to be greatly
reprobated, for persons to argue with great earnestness and fluency
on those subjects of which they are almost totally ignorant. But,
on the other hand, if persons would never begin or pertinaciously
continue an argument till they had made themselves fully acquainted
with the subject, then there would be a great lack of discussion, and
the publication of controversial treatises would greatly fall off; and
there would perhaps be a mighty deficiency in the article of zeal. But
it is needless to anticipate ills which may never befall us; and we
may venture to bid defiance to the genius of pantology, however loudly
it may threaten to illuminate every mind.

Having stated that Mr. Martindale had the happiness of discovering
his daughter, it will be superfluous to say that he forthwith made
preparation for her establishment in the possession of such means as
might place her in a style of life more suitable to her condition than
a little lone cottage. But there was a change very naturally, though
very quietly, taking place in the old gentleman’s mind and in his
feelings towards the Hon. Philip Martindale. He could not now think of
making this gentleman his heir. In Signora Rivolta there was evidently
a prior claim. As yet, however, the young gentleman at the Abbey was
ignorant of the new discovery; and what is more, he was not even aware
of the existence of any such person as Signora Rivolta; nor did he
suspect that any such discovery was within the compass of probability.

By what the Rev. Mr. Denver had heard, and by what the wife of that
said gentleman had told to Mrs. Price and Mrs. Flint, and by what Mrs.
Denver and Mrs. Price and Mrs. Flint had told to every body within
the reach of their knowledge, the whole town of Brigland was full of
confused rumours and reports of some great calamity having befallen
Mr. John Martindale. Some said that he had lost all his property;
some said that he had only lost half; some had it that old Richard
Smith, who had lately died, had been discovered to be Mr. Martindale’s
elder brother, and that all his immense property must descend to the
young woman his niece. The reports at last found their way to the
housekeeper’s room at the Abbey; and the trusty Oliver trembled when he
was very credibly and circumstantially informed that, in consequence
of the death of old Richard Smith, some papers or parchments, or some
something, had been discovered, by which it appeared that old Mr.
Martindale had no right to the large property which he had so long
possessed. It is the peculiar privilege of rogues always to fear
the worst in doubtful matters. This privilege Oliver now abundantly
enjoyed. Not wishing to keep all his news to himself, he took the first
opportunity of speaking to his master; and in order to break the matter
gently to him, and not all at once to overwhelm him with the fatal
intelligence, he began by asking:

“Have you heard any bad news lately, sir?”

“Bad news,” hastily asked Mr. Philip, “no; what do you mean?--what kind
of bad news? Do you allude to the report that the old gentleman is
going to be married to Lady Woodstock?”

“Oh dear no, sir; it is a great deal worse than that: but I hope it is
not true; yet I am sure I had it from very good authority, and it is
not likely such a thing should be invented.”

“Well, well, don’t stand prating and prosing, but tell me at once what
it is.”

The trusty Oliver shook his head and sighed. “It is nothing more nor
less, sir, than that some deeds have been discovered at old Richard
Smith’s cottage since the poor man’s death, by which it appears that
Mr. Martindale has no right to the property he now possesses.”

“Nonsense,” replied the Hon. Philip Martindale, “who told you that
fool’s tale? Do you think that I should not have heard of it, if such
had been the fact?”

“Why, sir, I heard it from a gentleman who had it from Mrs. Denver;
and Mr. Denver himself was present when the discovery was made. It was
only yesterday that the matter came out; and Mr. Denver went down to
the cottage to Mr. Martindale to tell him all about it. The gentleman
who claims the property went with him; and Mr. Martindale has been at
Richard Smith’s this morning. The real owner of the property comes from
Italy.”

At this part of the information communicated by Oliver, the young
gentleman began to be in doubt whether there might not be something
serious in the report; for he recollected some talk of old Martindale’s
visit to Genoa, and of his anxiety to discover if some one was living
there or not. He also called to mind much that had been said to him
by Lady Martindale, dissuading him from taking up his abode at the
Abbey, and placing himself in a state of dependence. He remembered
distinctly and vividly the tone and expression with which his anxious
mother had said to him, “Now, my dear Philip, before you decide on
this step, think seriously how you shall be able to bear a reverse,
if by any change the wealth of your cousin Martindale should take a
different direction, either by his own caprice, or by changes over
which he has no controul.” He recollected that this caution was uttered
more than once or twice. He considered it therefore as in some measure
prophetic. He also recollected that the old gentleman had been very
silent and absent at dinner the day before; and from what Miss Isabella
Featherstone had said, it seemed very manifest that some serious
interruption had occurred when the party were looking over the pictures
at the cottage. There was also to be added to this, his own knowledge
of the fact that Mr. Martindale had that very morning paid a very long
visit to the cottage of the late Richard Smith. All these circumstances
put together did, to say the least of it, greatly perplex and puzzle
the mind of the young gentleman. He dismissed the trusty Oliver from
his presence; and when alone, he began to meditate, plan, arrange,
and conjecture, till he found himself in a complete wilderness of
perplexities, and a labyrinth of contending thoughts.

His meditations, however, availed him not. There was not the least
glimmering of light in any direction; and the longer he thought, the
more he was perplexed. The only bearable conclusion at which he could
arrive was one of very equivocal consolation; namely, it was possible
that things might not be quite so bad as they had been represented.

Not long had he been alone, before his solitude was invaded by Lord
Martindale. “Philip,” said his lordship, “you look grave this morning.
Has any thing occurred to disturb you?”

Philip made an abortive attempt to put on a look of cheerfulness, as he
replied to his question: “You would not wish, sir, that I should never
look grave. Perhaps, sir, I may have lost my heart.”

His lordship looked grave in his turn, and very solemnly said: “Ah! you
are not serious! To whom, I beg to know, have you lost your heart? This
is an affair on which I should have been consulted.”

“I do not say positively that I have lost my heart,” replied Philip, “I
was speaking hypothetically.”

“Hypothetically?” echoed his lordship; “well then let me know who it
is, or may be, that has had such power over your mind, or that may be
supposed capable of making so great a conquest.”

“Suppose it should be Isabella Featherstone,” replied Philip; but in
such a manner as abundantly proved that the supposition was perfectly
gratuitous.

His lordship shook his head; and then, with very great earnestness of
manner, said to his son: “Philip, let me speak to you seriously and as
a friend. I would not have you rely too confidently on the expectation
of inheriting your cousin’s estate. I have my reasons for what I say,
and it is for your welfare that I speak. The Featherstones are a
very respectable and an old family, but you must look for something
more than mere family; you cannot keep up the dignity of your rank
without an accession, and a very considerable accession of fortune,
which you cannot have from the Featherstones. I wish I could persuade
you to apply yourself to public business; I am sure you might make a
good figure in the house, and provide for yourself far better and more
honorably than by living in a state of dependence.”

Philip, for the first time in his life, heard patiently this
exhortation; and greatly to the surprise and satisfaction of his
lordship, went so far as to say, that he would take the matter into
serious consideration. So pleased was Lord Martindale even with this
faint promise, that he hasted immediately to communicate the same to
Lady Martindale. The first dinner-bell was ringing as Lord Martindale
left his son’s apartment; and at nearly the same instant, Mr. John
Martindale entered it.

There appeared to be a cloud on the old man’s brow; and there was a
manifest coolness in his manner as he entered the apartment, and said
to the young gentleman:

“Now, young man, I am going to pay you greater attention than you paid
to me the other day. I am going to London; and I come to let you know.
I have made some discoveries, of which you shall know more hereafter.
At present, all I can say is, I am going to London; and I must request
that you will make some apology to our guests for my sudden departure.”

“You are not going to-day, sir; it is near dinner-time,” replied Mr.
Philip.

“I can’t help that,” replied the old gentleman; “then you must dine
without me; and if any excuse is needed for my absence, you must invent
one; or if you are at a loss for a lie, peradventure Oliver can help
you to one. I have no time for any more prate, so farewell.”

Thus speaking, the queer old gentleman left the room; and poor Mr.
Philip found himself in a very sad and sorrowful perplexity at his
departure; especially, coupled as it was with such reports abroad, and
such language from the old gentleman himself. The last sentence of
all, in which allusion was made to Oliver’s inventive faculty, most
closely touched the honorable tenant of Brigland Abbey; though the fact
is, that Mr. John Martindale did not thereby design any particular or
express allusion to any one individual part of Oliver’s conduct, yet in
this light the young gentleman regarded it; and it therefore grieved
him, and gave him an additional impulse towards thoughts and efforts of
independence. But there were obstacles and impediments in the way which
he could not mention to Lord Martindale; and if they had been known,
his lordship would not have found it an easy task to remove them.
The considerations dwelt heavily on the mind of the young gentleman,
and made him regret that he had been so long acting the part of a
simpleton.



CHAPTER XIV.

    “Yea, this man’s brow, like to a title-leaf,
    Foretels the nature of a tragic volume.”

                                     SHAKSPEARE.


It is not to be supposed that Oliver should keep the secret which he
had heard without the assistance of some of his fellow-servants; and if
the servants of the house had kept the secret from the servants of the
visitors, they would have been guilty of a gross breach of hospitality;
and when a gentleman is in a stable, or a lady in a dressing-room, the
distance between them and their respective servants is not so great but
that the parties are within hearing of each other.

When, therefore, the party assembled at dinner, Mr. Philip found
himself under no necessity of tasking either his own or Oliver’s
inventive powers to account for the absence of Mr. John Martindale.
Not one made any inquiry. This universal silence was very ominous to
Philip; he very naturally supposed that the secret, whatever it was,
had been divulged. He laboured hard to seem at ease; but that was no
easy task. The party at table felt themselves also under some kind
of restraint, so that their talk was very abrupt and unconnected.
Could any one think it possible? but it really is a fact, that the
guests were almost dying for an opportunity of talking one to another
concerning the strange news which they had heard; and they were
prepared with some notable aphorism on pride and extravagance ready to
be shot forth as soon as the person should by his absence give them
leave to speak.

As for the Hon. Philip Martindale himself, a variety of thoughts,
hopes, fears, and conjectures, were passing through his mind; but
none of them remained long enough there to be soberly and seriously
considered, or to produce any composure or settled plan. There was,
indeed, one thought which was most frequently springing up amidst
the general agitation, and that was the thought of Miss Sampson; and
so little command had he over the movements of his own mind, that
he found himself paying a more than ordinary degree of attention to
that young lady. Lord and Lady Martindale could not fail to notice
this; and to the former it was not quite so unpleasant as might have
been supposed, from the well-known high and lofty notions which his
lordship entertained on the subject of the dignity of high rank. For
though Lord Martindale venerated nobility and high birth, he knew
that there also needed some other appurtenances to render greatness
really and permanently imposing. He also knew that the estate which
was destined to keep up the honour of the title was scarcely competent
to that great task. He also knew that there was not quite so much
destined for his successor as his successor imagined; and he was well
aware of the sad necessity which had frequently compelled persons of
higher rank than himself to condescend to ennoble plebeian blood “for a
consideration.” As to the present posture of affairs, his lordship was
not much surprised at the rumors which he had heard; he knew that the
property in question had descended rather unexpectedly on its present
possessor, and he was also prepared for any disappointment which his
own son might experience from the caprice of his relative. His fears,
indeed, of disappointment to his son arose from an expectation that
Mr. John Martindale might marry, and thus find a new set of connexions
that would have a powerful influence on his decisions and arrangements
concerning his property. Having then heard that another claimant had
started for that property, and observing that the old gentleman had
been more than usually attentive to Lady Woodstock, he thought it was
time that his son should make some provision for himself. With as good
a grace as might be, he therefore resigned himself to the thought that
Miss Sampson might be allowed the honor of becoming the Hon. Mrs. P.
Martindale.

We are not, indeed, prepared to say that all this was effected in
his lordship’s mind without a considerable effort and a powerful
conflict. Necessity, it is said, has no law. It would be more correct
to say, that necessity is the most arbitrary and powerful lawgiver.
Lord Martindale was very much to be pitied, and so was Mr. Philip.
But calamities of this kind will sometimes overtake nobility: by a
variety of circumstances, which need not be enumerated, there will be
often occurring a painful necessity of repairing dilapidated fortunes
by intermarriages with plebeians. It does not occur to us at present
how this dreadful calamity can be avoided. There are certainly public
stations with high salaries and easy duties; these help a little, but
comparatively very little; and there are some of those offices which
really require men of understanding and application to fill them; and
we fear that such is the seditious and discontented spirit of the
times, that the people would grumble at any very great multiplication
of places of no use but to those who fill them. Yet, upon second
thoughts, there are certain laws, such for instance as the game-laws,
which are made expressly and obviously for the amusement of the higher
classes; might not some legislative arrangement be contrived, which
should, on the same exclusive principle, prevent the nobility from
intermarrying with plebeians in order to repair the broken fortunes?
Seeing that the nobility, and its peculiar privileges, and its high
and mighty purity, is one of the great blessings of our constitution,
forming a grand reservoir of political wisdom, surely the people would
not be very reluctant to contribute liberally towards an arrangement
which should be the means of preventing the said nobility from
receiving contamination from intermarriages with plebeians. We only
suggest that some contrivance might be made; but what contrivance we
must leave to the sagacity of wiser heads than our own, and to those
who are more interested in it than we are.

It is enough for our present purpose that this arrangement is not yet
made; and that in consequence of the want of a suitable supply, poor
Philip Martindale was placed under the disagreeable necessity of paying
great attention to Miss Sampson; and poor Lord Martindale was also
under the same necessity of submitting to see and approve it.

We have already spoken of Miss Sampson, and have said or intimated
that she was not a fool. We have also spoken of Sir Gilbert Sampson,
and we have acknowledged that he was a man of good understanding.
Miss Sampson had been an indulged child; some called her a spoiled
child, but we do not admit that indulgence always spoils children.
There is a great deal depending on the manner in which indulgence is
administered. Indulgence or strictness in the hands of a simpleton
may be made equally injurious. Miss Sampson certainly had not been
snubbed, lectured, scolded at, talked to, and dragged about all her
life in leading-strings; and Miss Sampson was certainly a thoughtless,
good-tempered creature, not overburdened with taste, and not always
so very attentive to minuter observances as many others of her own
station; but whether she would have been any more thoughtful and
reserved by a continued course of sloppy, sleepy, prosy, common-place
lecturing, is very doubtful. Miss Sampson and her father were by no
means proud, resentful, or suspicious. For though they both had heard
the rumor touching the probable evanescence of Mr. John Martindale’s
property; and though they both might have had reason to suppose that
only property could induce Mr. Philip to make advances of a serious
nature, and though he had once before paid, and afterwards discontinued
his attentions, yet Sir Gilbert Sampson, who was a sensible man, and
Miss Sampson, who was not a fool, were pleased with the very particular
notice taken of the latter under present circumstances. The parties
were therefore quits; for if it was manifest to Miss Sampson that
Philip Martindale’s affection for her was only founded on her property,
it was as manifest to Philip Martindale that Miss Sampson’s regard for
him could only be on account of his title.

When the following day dawned upon the Abbey of Brigland, and the
guests there visiting had an opportunity, unconstrained by the presence
of the tenant of the great house, to discuss and discourse upon the
interesting topic of the discovery of the preceding day, various and
wise were the observations which they made; but one of the wisest of
all was, that it would be desirable for them to hasten their departure;
for it occurred to them that Mr. Philip might prefer being alone, now
he had so much to occupy his thoughts. Sir Andrew Featherstone and his
family recollected that it was absolutely necessary that they should be
at home in a day or two, for they were expecting company. The Misses
Woodstock also thought that it was very rude of Mr. John Martindale
to take his departure so suddenly, and leave them without an apology;
and Lady Woodstock thought that, though visiting at the Abbey, her
visit was rather to Mr. John Martindale than to Mr. Philip; and even
Sir Gilbert and Miss Sampson thought that they should be better able
to ascertain Mr. Philip’s intentions by taking their departure than by
prolonging their visit; and as the time was nearly arrived that they
should have taken their leave in the ordinary course of things, the
making a movement a day or two sooner might not be a matter of such
great moment. In fact, there was among the whole party an unpleasant
and awkward kind of restraint, which they could only get rid of by
separation; and they certainly had a right to be offended at Mr. John
Martindale for his rudeness in leaving so abruptly, and not giving any
explanation, or even saying when he should return. Lady Featherstone
was the first of the party who started the subject of departure; and
when it was mentioned, or rather hinted, to Mr. Philip, he did not
receive the intelligence with any affectation of concern; and thus
the matter was easily managed by the rest of the party, who soon took
leave, excepting, of course, Lord and Lady Martindale. The worthy
persons who took their departure rather hastily, made up their minds to
forgive old Mr. Martindale for his rudeness, provided that it should
turn out that he had not lost any very considerable part of his fortune.

Being now left to his own meditations, and the good counsel of
his father and mother, the Hon. Philip Martindale began to employ
himself in deliberating on what steps it would be prudent for him to
take in the present conjuncture of affairs. As yet, he knew nothing
for certainty. It was still possible that the story circulating in
Brigland, and brought to his ears by the trusty and honest Oliver,
might not be altogether correct, and he might yet be able to keep
himself pure from the degradation of marrying below his rank, provided
he took care not to give offence to the old gentleman; and yet when
he thought of the very cool and abrupt manner in which his cousin had
announced his design of going hastily to London, and of his allusion
to the capacity of Oliver for invention, he feared that some of his
own proceedings were not unknown to his relative, and that they
had effected an alienation of his regards. He knew well enough the
eagerness with which all idle reports are received and circulated,
without any regard to their truth or even probability, and therefore he
considered that it would be a fruitless toil to interrogate Mr. Denver,
or any of the people in the town upon the subject; and indeed, he did
not think such proceeding very consistent with his dignity.

It occurred to his mind, however, that it might not be very unsuitable
just to look in at the cottage where old Richard Smith used to live;
for Mr. John Martindale had rebuked his relative for neglect in this
matter. He took, therefore, an early opportunity of walking round by
the heath, to avoid passing through the town; and he called at the
cottage. The door was fastened, and he was under the necessity of
making a long loud knocking before he could obtain admittance; at
length, the door was opened from within by a little old woman who was
as deaf as a post, or who affected to be so. Very little information
indeed could he extract from her. He learned, however, that his cousin
had not gone alone, but that there were three persons with him from
the cottage; and that of these three, one was the young woman who was
called the niece of Richard Smith, and the other two were the father
and mother of the young woman. He also ascertained that the cottage was
no longer to be occupied by these persons, and that it was not expected
that any one of them should return to Brigland. Whether in this
party was the claimant to the old gentleman’s property was not to be
ascertained; and indeed that question was not directly asked, and the
old woman did not seem at all inclined to answer any questions which
were not loudly, decidedly, and frequently repeated. Philip amused
himself with looking at the drawings which decorated the cottage-walls,
and he was surprised to see such decorations in such a place; but he
soon found an interpretation of that difficulty when he observed the
scenes which they represented, and when he recollected the Italian
officer whom he had met in London. Now, though he had, as we have
observed above, some faint recollection of having heard something of
old Mr. Martindale’s voyage to Genoa in search of some individual or
other, who, for aught he knew to the contrary, might be a claimant, but
he could not see how property in England should be claimed by a native
Italian, as Colonel Rivolta clearly was. Very little information,
therefore, did he acquire, and no satisfaction could he gain by this
visit to the cottage.

In spite, however, of all his feeling of dignity and propriety, he felt
an irresistible propensity to call on Mr. Denver, who, as a public
intelligencer, was certainly one of the most able men in the town of
Brigland. The very polite and exquisitely courteous manner in which the
reverend perpetual curate received the tenant of the Abbey, was not at
all indicative of falling fortunes or painful change of circumstance.
Low as usual did he bow, graciously as ever did he smile. Courtesy
and politeness, however, were essential and component parts of Mr.
Denver’s constitution. We cannot say quite so much of the Hon. Philip
Martindale; for his style of address was abrupt, and his manners very
unceremonious; and so far was he from endeavouring to correct this
habit, that he was in a measure absolutely proud of it. Receiving Mr.
Denver’s homage as due to his own exalted rank and dignified character,
he began his inquiries by lamenting the death of poor Richard Smith,
and expressing a hope that the poor man had had proper medical
assistance in his illness. To all this a satisfactory answer was given,
accompanied, as was very suitable and regular, with a compliment to
Mr. Philip’s very great kindness and condescension. The inquirer then
proceeded to throw out an intimation, that it would be very agreeable
to him to be informed as to who and what the stranger was, who had
recently taken up his abode at the old man’s cottage. As far as Mr.
Denver knew, he informed Mr. Philip; telling him also the particulars
of the interview at Mr. John Martindale’s residence, as we have already
narrated it. For we will do Mr. Denver the justice to say of him, that
although he was now and then unconsciously guilty of circulating an
incorrect narrative, he was never deliberately and wilfully guilty
of fabricating one. Whatever he himself had seen and heard, he told,
according to the best of his ability, as he saw and heard it. But if,
as it sometimes happened, he heard Mrs. Denver, Mrs. Price, and Mrs.
Flint, all talking together, and telling in one voice him and one
another the same story, but with diversified embellishment and frequent
mutual contradiction, many interruptions, and various repetitions and
emendations; then, poor man, he was certainly to be forgiven, if his
second-hand repetition of such story should not be altogether coherent
in its parts, lucid in its arrangement, or exquisitely veracious in
every particular. Nor should we severely condemn him, if, with a
laudable eagerness to administer early intelligence, he should now and
then run away with an ill-understood tale only heard by halves. Thus
it often happens, that those newspapers which are proud of their early
intelligence, are occasionally exposed to the temptation of inserting
that which needs contradiction.

When Philip Martindale had thus fairly committed himself as an
inquirer, he went into the subject very fully; and from all that he
could learn from Mr. Denver, there did not appear to be any very
powerful evidence of the existence of any claimant of the Martindale
property; but it was at the same time very clear that Mr. John
Martindale was gone to London, and that these three people had gone
with him, and that they had all gone in his own carriage. Now it was
not likely that the old gentleman should carry the oddity of his humor
so far as to accommodate a claimant of his property with the use of
his own carriage. There was a mystery in all this not to be solved.
Philip’s inquiries were fruitless, therefore, at Mr. Denver’s; and all
that he had ascertained was, that nobody knew what was the cause of the
extraordinary movements of his extraordinary relative.



CHAPTER XV.

      “Such is the weakness of all mortal hope,
    So fickle is the state of earthly things,
      That ere they come into their aimed scope,
    They fall so short of our fraile reckonings,
      And bring us bale and bitter sorrowings.”

                                        SPENSER.


When any extraordinary event occurs in which one is deeply interested,
the person concerned need not take much pains in his endeavours to
find it out--it will soon reveal itself. So did it happen to Philip
Martindale. But the information did not come upon him all at once--it
was gradually developed like the catastrophe of a well-told tale.

One of the first indications that all was not right towards him in
the matter of the Martindale property was, that a few days after the
departure of the old gentleman, some letters arrived, which required
an answer not convenient for him to give. These letters came all
together by a very remarkable coincidence; and indeed it was very
remarkable that so many of the Hon. Philip Martindale’s creditors
should be all at once most unaccountably pressed for money to make
up a heavy payment. But there is no accounting for coincidences. By
this unpleasant indication of unpleasant news, the young gentleman was
mightily disturbed. We do not however mean to insinuate that it was
not in Mr. Philip’s power to stop the importunities of the above-named
creditors by satisfying their claims; but as the October meeting at
Newmarket was so very near at hand, and as he had horses to run at
that meeting, it was absolutely and indispensably necessary for him to
make a reserve to meet the exigences of that important concern. Still,
however, it was disagreeable to his feelings to have the annoyance
of such applications, and it occurred to him that he would once more
have recourse to the children of Israel previously to the meeting at
Newmarket; and with this intention he again visited the metropolis. On
this excursion he could very conscientiously set out without informing
his cousin, as the old gentleman was in London himself. Mr. Philip,
indeed, had no wish to meet his worthy relative in town, and he had not
much fear of such an accident.

He lost no time when he arrived in town, but made the best of his way
to his well-known resort, and found his kind accommodating friend at
home, but wearing an altered countenance. Heavy complaints were heard,
and gloomy looks were seen, and it was altogether impossible just at
that unfortunate crisis to afford any accommodation.--“That was the
unkindest cut of all.”

Very properly resenting this insult, he speedily left the house; and
being guided by his own knowledge as well as by the reports of others,
he hastened to bestow his patronage on another of the same profession.
But the Hon. Philip Martindale of Brigland Abbey was not, it appeared,
at that time a name in high repute with that class of gentry who
observe the strictest honor and secrecy in their transactions; and he
had the mortification to find that his journey to London had been of
no avail, and was not likely to be productive of any thing beneficial.
Some people would, under these circumstances, have been disgusted with
the world, and have retired to a hermitage, thinking that all their
fellow-creatures were so worthless and unprincipled as not to be worth
noticing or fit to live with. But happily in this instance for the Hon.
Philip Martindale, he was not so easily disgusted with the world; he
was under great obligations to it, and hoped to be under more. It is
certainly a very pleasant thing to have a good opinion of oneself, but
it is pleasanter to have that opinion positively than comparatively;
and to quarrel with all the world at once is no great proof either of
wisdom or virtue. Besides, Mr. Philip knew that half a dozen tradesmen,
and half as many money-lenders, were not all the world.

The old proverb concerning misfortunes not coming singly, seemed to
be about to be verified in the case of Philip Martindale; for as he
was thoughtfully pacing the streets of the great city, and thinking
of the various ills of life, and wondering how it should come to pass
that a gentleman called the honorable, and residing in a magnificent
mansion, and being heir-apparent to a title, and being nearly related
to and a great favorite of a person of enormous wealth, should not be
comfortable and satisfied in his own feelings as one residing in an
inn of court, and giving much of his days to the dry study of the law.
As he was thus meditating with himself, and communing with his own
thoughts, he was roused from his reverie by the sound of the well-known
voice of old John Martindale; for the old gentleman had just left
the Bank at the moment that his cousin was passing it. With no very
pleasant feeling did Philip return the old gentleman’s greeting.

“So you have come to town to look after me, Master Philip. But who
would have thought of meeting you in this part of the world? What, have
you any sly money transactions, or are you come to look after some rich
citizen’s daughter. Or, perhaps, you have been at my hotel, and you
were directed here to find me. But is your company all gone? Is it not
rather rude to leave them? Well, but I hope you will not stay long in
town; for there are sad doings at the Abbey when you are out. The other
day, when you went to the archery nonsense at Hovenden, I actually
found a couple of fellows smoking their filthy pipes in the great hall
at the Abbey, and I had much ado to send them out of the house. Oliver
told me they were drunk. They had the impudence to call themselves
sheriffs’ officers. Now, I do not like this.”

The old gentleman had talked himself almost out of breath, and it was
well for the young gentleman that the old one did not like the sound
of any one’s voice so well as that of his own. Philip was one of
those conscientious people who endeavour as much as possible to avoid
all unnecessary lies; and when he wished to deceive, he preferred
the circuitous shuffling mode of equivocation to a plain downright
honest lie. In some cases he found a difficulty in escaping by this
contrivance; and this difficulty he would have found in the instance
in question, had not old Mr. Martindale been too much taken up with
other thoughts and other interests than those of Philip Martindale
and Brigland Abbey. But in truth he had been so much delighted with
his newly-discovered daughter, that he took no very lively interest
in any thing else. At their first meeting there were, as we said, no
very extraordinary raptures or dramatic exhibition; but as they grew
better acquainted, the old gentleman was charmed with the mild good
sense and amiable manners of Signora Rivolta, and was greatly pleased
with the intelligence and meekness of his grand-daughter Clara. Even
Colonel Rivolta, though he had commenced life in a mercantile line,
and had spent his best days in the army, yet was not destitute of
information and literary taste. But the Hon. Philip Martindale, though
born a gentleman, educated at an English university, and destined
for the legal profession, was, notwithstanding all these advantages,
by no means attached to literature, or endowed with any great share
of taste. The old gentleman therefore had not been much delighted
with his society, inasmuch as his conversation was either grievously
common-place, or concerning those sports in which Mr. John Martindale
took no interest. Serious rivals therefore had started up to engross
the notice of the opulent relative. This fact was known very quickly to
those whom it concerned; viz. the gentlemen of the strictest honor and
secrecy. Theirs, indeed, would be but a bad business, if they could not
now and then get possession of early intelligence and important secrets.

Very briefly did Mr. John Martindale inform his cousin of the discovery
which he had recently made; and requesting, or rather commanding
the young gentleman to enter the carriage, they proceeded westward,
towards Mr. Martindale’s hotel. In the middle of the day the streets
of the city of London, though very unfavorable for conversation, so
far as foot-passengers are concerned, afford peculiar advantages and
opportunities for this purpose to those who ride in carriages; for
the multitude of vehicles, and their frequent misarrangement, very
conveniently retards progress. Philip Martindale wished himself at home
in Brigland Abbey, or quietly perusing briefs in his chambers at the
Temple, or any where rather than where he was. But there was no escape
for him.

“Now, Philip,” said the old gentleman, “I am going to introduce you to
your new relations, or at least to mine, for I suppose you will hardly
condescend to acknowledge them.”

“I shall be very happy, sir, to see, and very proud to own, any
relations of yours.” So said the Hon. Philip Martindale; but his heart
and lips were sadly at variance. He was not very well pleased that such
relations existed; and it would not be very agreeable to him to be on
terms of acquaintance, as he certainly must if his cousin commanded
him, with persons of low and vulgar minds as he supposed these new
relatives must be. The old gentleman suspecting that his high-minded
relative was fancying that the persons in question were of low caste,
in consequence of their having been discovered in a cottage with a poor
man, replied:

“And I will tell you what, young man, they are not persons of whom you
need to be ashamed. Colonel Rivolta held a very respectable station
in the army, though he did fight for that fellow Bonaparte; and his
wife, who is my daughter, is as well informed and well behaved a woman
as ever I saw in my life. The young woman, I believe, you have seen
before.”

Philip did not like the tone in which the latter part of this sentence
was uttered, and perhaps there was not a possibility of uttering it in
any tone that should be agreeable. Many other topics of conversation
were introduced, none of which were very agreeable; and even that
which the old gentleman uttered with great glee, as being a matter
of great interest and good tidings to his cousin, was by no means
agreeable to the young gentleman. After having talked some little time
on the subject of his discovered daughter, and as if fearing that his
honorable cousin might apprehend from this discovery some ill fortune
to himself, with the kind purpose of banishing such fear, he observed:

“But you need not be jealous, Philip; I shall not forget you: so make
your mind easy.”

There is a wonderful difference, thought Philip, between making a man
his heir and not forgetting him. Now, this not forgetting appeared
to him more cruel and tormenting than entirely discarding him. It is
very true that Mr. John Martindale had made no absolute promise that
Philip should be his heir; and even if he had made the promise, and
had violated it, there was no such thing as prosecuting him for breach
of promise. He had merely given strong indications that such was his
intention. Persons who are very rich, and have no legal heirs, may
entertain themselves very much at the expense of hungry expectants and
lean legacy-hunters. Who has not seen a poor dog standing on his hind
legs, and bobbing up and down after a bone scarcely worth picking, with
which some mischief-loving varlet has tantalised the poor animal till
all its limbs have ached? That poor dog shadows out the legacy-hunter
or possible heir. Every body has a right to do as he pleases with his
own property, so far as concerns the disposition of unentailed estates;
and every body has a right to do a great number of actions which may
render his fellow-creatures miserable and uncomfortable. Very few of
the annoyances to which man is exposed from his fellow-men have a
remedy from law. To be sure, it may be said that the legacy-hunter is
a simpleton for giving another power over him; but, alas! how could a
young man, situated as the Hon. Philip Martindale, help himself. As he
himself observed to his mother, “if I refuse the offer of the Abbey,
I may so far offend the old gentleman, as to induce him to leave his
property elsewhere.” But the young gentleman forgot that accepting the
offer might, and very naturally would, lead him into many difficulties,
and fix him as a dependent. He afterwards discovered this, when it
was too late to find a remedy for the evil. But to proceed with our
narrative.

After Mr. Martindale the elder had addressed what he thought an
encouraging speech to his cousin, he called out to the coachman
to stop when they were near to Temple Bar. The old gentleman then
alighted, saying, he would return in a few minutes; and in a very few
minutes did he return, bringing with him a gentleman whom Philip had
seen before. This was no other than Horatio Markham. Now here was
another mortification. Thus the poor man was annoyed with one trouble
after another; and thus his mortifications increased upon him, and
all because he must support the dignity of his rank. He could not be
uncivil to Markham, nor indeed did he wish to be so. He had said, and
that very sincerely, that there was nothing at all objectionable in
Markham’s speech at the trial. He had been rather pleased with it than
otherwise; he thought it far better than that of his own counsellor;
and he had observed to several persons that there were some spouting
prigs at the bar, that in a cause like that would have represented
the defendant as a demon of incomparable malignity, and would have
smothered him with a countless accumulation of awkward metaphors.
He had said that Markham had shown much good sense in stating his
case clearly and strongly, and without any of that school-boy slang,
and those theme-like declamations by which some ill-judging ranters
seem rather to seek the applauses of a tasteless mob than to apply
themselves to that which may benefit a client. All this he had said,
and all this he had really and truly thought; but he had no wish for
all that to be brought into immediately close contact and intimacy with
the person of whom he had said it. He respected Markham as a young man
of good understanding and sound judgment; but he had no particular
desire to be acquainted with all young men of good understanding and
sound judgment. Still, however, he behaved civilly to Markham; and
recollecting what his cousin had told him, that the young barrister
was about to carry his legal talents to another part of the world, he
on this account behaved to him with the less reserve, because there
was not much danger of soon meeting him again, or being much troubled
with his acquaintance. On the other hand, Horatio Markham, knowing or
shrewdly suspecting the character and disposition of the gentleman
to whom he was introduced, did not give himself any pedantic or
professional airs, but with a very becoming and gentleman-like distance
quietly entered into common-place talk, directing himself more to the
elder of the two with whom he had been previously acquainted, than
with the younger to whom he had been but recently introduced. Philip
Martindale, therefore, began actually to like his new acquaintance,
who was agreeable because he did not take any especial pains to make
himself so, and who appeared to be well-informed because he did not
studiously make a display of his knowledge. Now Philip, who could not
tolerate any pedantry but the pedantry of rank, and that pedantry only
in himself, was pleased with Markham for the absence of pedantry and
affectation.

After a long and tedious rumbling, the carriage deposited the party
at a hotel in the neighbourhood of St. James’s Square. Most agreeably
disappointed was Philip when he was introduced to Signora Rivolta.
There was no appearance of vulgarity or plebeianism about her. There
was nothing in her style which indicated a disposition or tendency to
impertinent encroachment; but, on the contrary, her most excellent and
graceful carriage seemed as that of one conferring, not receiving a
patronage. In Clara Rivolta, the daughter, he recognised that sweet
prettiness which had first attracted his disrespectful attention; but
there was added to this, a kind of mild dignity, a steady and calm
self-possession, which appeared much more obviously and impressively
under change of circumstances. In Signora Rivolta there was much
more stateliness than in Clara; but there was a charm in the general
expression of the features, gait, and manner of the latter, not easily
described. There was nothing of pertness in her self-possession, and
there was not the slightest appearance of or the remotest approach
towards artificialness in any one part of her carriage and demeanour.
Philip was not much in the habit of falling in love, nor was he
frequently thrown into raptures by intellectual and moral charms; yet
in the present instance he was very much struck both with the mother
and daughter. Irresistibly was he led to behave to both with most
respectful deference, and he for a moment forgot that these charming
women would in all probability deprive him of the inheritance which
otherwise seemed destined for him. Why could he not make an offer of
his hand to Clara? What obstacle could there be to interfere with his
success? Would his cousin object to it? Not likely. It would be a very
convenient match, so far as pecuniary arrangements were concerned, and
might save the old gentleman some trouble in disposing of his property.
As for Miss Sampson, there might be a disappointment to her in such a
step; but her fortune would not suffer her to wear the willow long.

Thoughts of this kind occupied the mind of the heir of Lord Martindale,
and this seemed the most agreeable plan which he could possibly adopt
to get rid of his difficulties. Before the day closed, he had made up
his mind it should be so. In contemplating this new arrangement, he
forgot to take one thing into consideration, that is, the probable
consent of the young lady; and he also forgot or neglected to observe
one thing, that is, the very particular attention paid to the young
lady by Horatio Markham. It is pleasant to be deceived, and so we
sometimes deceive ourselves, if nobody else will take the pains to
do it for us. Very completely did Mr. Philip deceive himself in the
idea that scarcely any thing was wanting to effect an union between
Clara Rivolta and himself, save his own consent. He considered not
that a young woman under twenty years of age, of secluded habits and
of reflecting turn of mind, of calm good sense and of a feeling and
sensible soul, unused to the fashions and flurries and formalities
and flatteries of the great world, would entertain a very different
idea of love from that entertained by a young gentleman between twenty
and thirty, whose expectations were mortgaged to money-lenders--whose
pleasures were the turf and the ring--whose spirit was agitated with
gambling--whose motive for marrying was the means to keep up the
dignity of his rank. He might have thought it possible that Clara
Rivolta could not love the Hon. Philip Martindale, and he might also
have thought it as possible that she would not marry him if she did not
love him.



CHAPTER XVI.

    “Oh, for a horse with wings!”

                     SHAKSPEARE.

                      “We must find
    An evident calamity, though we had
    Our wish, which side should win.”

                            SHAKSPEARE.


Philip Martindale was very glad that his cousin had not asked any
importunate questions concerning the motive of his journey to London,
but he was very sorry that the journey had been fruitless. He was
desirous of returning as soon as possible to Brigland, that he might
there discuss with Lord and Lady Martindale, whom he had left at
the Abbey, the important matter which had occupied his thoughts, as
described at the close of the last chapter. For as yet they knew
nothing of the discovery of Mr. John Martindale’s daughter; and their
impression concerning the young gentleman’s journey to town was, that
he had been there with a view of endeavouring to ascertain the real
meaning and origin of the rumours which were afloat as touching their
opulent relative. Philip, on his return to Brigland, explained the
whole affair.

Thereupon serious looks were assumed by Lord and Lady Martindale, and
those serious looks reflected by their honorable son. They were all
three greatly perplexed--they all three uttered many wise sayings--they
all three talked the matter over with great deliberation--they all
three resolved and concluded that something must be done; but they were
all three at a loss to know what must be done. Looking at one another
was not the best way to get over their perplexities, and yet it is
what people often do in perplexities; nor was there any progress made
by the simultaneous and harmonious expression of wishing that matters
had been otherwise. The past will not return, and that which is done
cannot be undone. There is no great wisdom in this discovery; the
merit is in applying it to practical purposes. A great deal of time is
lost, and a great deal of trouble and pains incurred, for want of the
wisdom which the above truism would teach. Lady Martindale repeated
what she had said before, as to the impolicy of Philip’s accepting
the old gentleman’s offer of the Abbey. Philip repeated what he had
said before, namely, that he might have offended and alienated the old
gentleman by a refusal. Lord Martindale repeated, that there was some
truth and propriety in what they both said. Still they were no nearer
to a conclusion promising any satisfaction.

In the midst of this perplexity, Philip thought it would be a good
time to propose his own scheme for getting rid of all the difficulty
by offering his hand to Clara Rivolta. He was not, however, without
his fears that the proposal would not be acceptable to Lord and
Lady Martindale: he therefore approached the subject cautiously
and circuitously. After a little pause, and with a change of tone
and altered look, as if the question of what must be done had been
adjourned and a new topic called, he began to talk of the meeting with
these newly-discovered relatives in such a manner as to lead Lady
Martindale to ask particularly as to their appearance and manner. To
this inquiry he gave such an answer as impressed her ladyship with
a higher opinion of them all three than he had actually expressed
in his description of them. He uttered his compliments in the tone
and with the air of concession, and his language was circuitous, so
that it did not appear purposely directed to the object of exciting
a high opinion of the party. When he spoke of Signora Rivolta, he
did not say that her style was truly noble and commanding, but he
said that her style and address reminded him of the Hon. Mrs. B----,
or of Lady Charlotte D----. Then he added some little qualification
of the comparison; but the qualification was rather in favor of the
daughter of John Martindale, so far as the taste of Lady Martindale was
concerned; for it is a notorious fact that all sensible people think
differently from the rest of the world. Therefore, if there be in any
character or individual a little more or a little less than what the
world in general is supposed to consider the medium of excellence,
sensible people rather admire such excess or defect. Sensible people,
for instance, may admire that eccentricity which is not according to
the popular standard. Some may admire rather more than the standard
allowance of pride, or prefer a little deficiency in the article of
meekness. Philip was well acquainted with his mother’s taste in all
these matters, and therefore he extolled the ladies to his mother’s
mind, though he did not loudly praise them to her ear; for he spoke of
the daughter after the same manner as he had spoken of the mother.

Another pause following this part of the conversation, gave an
opportunity to Lord Martindale to suggest that it might perhaps be
advisable for Philip to marry the young foreigner, and thus to have
a double hold on Mr. John Martindale’s affections. This proposal was
very artfully insinuated into his lordship’s mind by the manner in
which Philip had spoken of the high esteem in which Mr. John Martindale
appeared to hold his new family. When his lordship had spoken, Philip
did not reply, waiting for Lady Martindale’s opinion, which was
generally of more weight in the family than that of his lordship. No
answer being given, the question was repeated.

Philip then replied, that what his lordship had said was perfectly
true; the property of Mr. John Martindale would be clearly secured
by this arrangement, and so far as the young lady was concerned,
there could be no objection on the ground of style and manner, or of
education.

This was said hesitatingly, so that his lordship was under the
necessity of asking what other objection there could be; to which Mr.
Philip ventured to mention the circumstance of her mother’s birth. Now
this on Philip’s part was a very affected refinement; but it was said
for Lady Martindale’s ear, who then replied, that such objection was
fastidious indeed, if the ladies were such as they had been described.
The greatest objection to such a step was, in her opinion, that it was
not quite so sure of answering the purpose in point of property as they
imagined. There was no answering for caprice; and it was possible that
the property might be so left, as that Philip might have no power over
it.

This objection staggered the young gentleman’s resolution, and rendered
his scheme not so totally unexceptionable as he had imagined it to be.
He looked thoughtful; and Lady Martindale continued, saying, that after
all this plan would but increase and perpetuate her son’s dependence:
that so long as he was unmarried, an opportunity might occur for him
to marry a fortune, and place himself out of the power of Mr. John
Martindale’s caprice. But again Philip replied, that if he should marry
a fortune, and not please his cousin by his marriage, he should then
lose all expectation from him, and that there were very few fortunes
accessible that would compensate for the loss of Mr. John Martindale’s
friendship. The whole deliberation at last concluded without coming to
any definite conclusion.

Lady Martindale repeated, and Lord Martindale coincided with her in the
opinion, that the wisest scheme of all would be, that Philip should
give himself to public business, and that then he might be independent
without forfeiting the friendship of his cousin. But Philip could not
get the Jews out of his head, and the Jews could not get Philip out of
their books.

In this unpleasant state of mind the honorable gentleman continued
for several days; during which time Mr. John Martindale remained
still in London, highly delighted with his Italian relatives, and
exhibiting them wherever he could, though at that time of year there
was comparatively little opportunity of displaying them. Philip made
inquiries at his cousin’s cottage every morning, but no intelligence
concerning the old gentleman could be procured. Lord and Lady
Martindale took their leave of the Abbey, and Philip promised to join
them in London before the end of January, by which time, perhaps,
something might occur which would decide him as to what steps he should
take.

The day at length arrived for the Newmarket meeting. Much business was
expected to be transacted, and some very fine races were anticipated.
The town was delightfully full, and Philip was in all his glory. He
thought not of the Jews, or any of his other creditors. The charms of
Clara Rivolta were forgotten; and the lively Celestina would have been
forgotten too, but she was present on the ground.

The barouche of Sir Gilbert Sampson was most conveniently placed; and
on the box thereof sat Celestina Sampson at her father’s side, and
within were two other young ladies attended by the fragrant Henry
Augustus Tippetson. The morning was fine, and the ground was brilliant.
Rank, beauty, and fashion were there; the cream of English nobility;
the stars of English beauty; souls of the first order; the pride of
that nation which is the pride of the world. Glorious was the object
for which they were assembled, and deep was the feeling with which
their minds were animated. Who could look without emotion, or think
without interest, on a scene like this? Where should our hereditary
legislators, our modern Solons and Lycurguses, so well learn the
science of government as in converse with black-legs and stable-boys?
What occupation so befitting the most noble, the right honorable of
the land--the superfine part of the species--the arbiters of the
world’s destiny--the brightest lights of the collective wisdom of the
nation--as the spending of princely fortunes to see how much faster
one horse can run than another? And when the horses start, and while
they are straining all their sinews, and while one rogue or another is
trying how much he can make of the simpletons there, how intense is the
interest! Every eye is strained, every neck is stretched, breathing
is almost suspended, and the heart is almost afraid to beat; and
when the great event is decided, then how many purses change hands,
and how many blockheads go home again repenting their folly. But let
that pass. It is enough for us here to state that the Hon. Philip
Martindale was the winner, and that to a very considerable amount.
He received the congratulations of his friends. Sir Gilbert and Miss
Sampson congratulated him. Henry Augustus Tippetson congratulated
him. Philip, however, had many accounts to settle; some on one side,
and some on the other. There was not one to whom he lost a bet who
found any inconvenience in receiving it--there were a few of whom he
won who found it inconvenient to pay. Some of those to whom he paid
were so very desirous that he should win again what he had lost, that
they politely and considerately invited him to the hazard-table;
and when he left the hazard-table, he was not so much an object of
congratulation as he had been at the conclusion of the race. He was
very much fatigued; quite worn out by the day’s toil and the night’s
play. Legislation must be quite rest and refreshment to the honorable,
right honorable, and most noble frequenters of the race-course and the
hazard-table.

The honorable dependent on the bounty of John Martindale retired to his
lodgings, and looked over his betting-book and into his pocket-book,
and considering that he was a winner at the race, he found himself much
poorer than he expected. He felt no inclination to lay violent hands on
himself; he did not clench his fists and strike his knuckles upon the
table, nor did he beat his own forehead, nor did he think of hanging
himself when he took off his garters, or entertain the slightest idea
of cutting his throat when he looked at his razors. From what we have
seen in plays and read in story-books about gambling, one should
imagine that pistol-making and rope-twisting would be the best trades
going at Newmarket; we are not sure that it may not be so, but we have
never heard that it is. At all events, we do know that when Philip
Martindale found that he was a considerable loser in the long run,
though he had been a winner on the turf, he was very deeply mortified,
and looked very foolish. He wished himself back in his chambers at
the Temple; but he did not use any violent gesticulations, or groan
aloud so as to alarm the people of the house. We think it especially
necessary to mention these facts, in order to let our readers know what
a very curious character Philip Martindale was. His conduct deserves
to be particularly mentioned in the present case, because it seems to
be the general practice, judging from books, for all gamblers when
they lose their money to look very pale, to get very drunk, to clench
their fists, and to stamp so as to split the very boards of the floor,
and finally to hang, drown, poison, or shoot themselves. The last
is the most common. Such is the usual description, and real life no
doubt has exhibited some such cases; but powerfully as these may have
been painted, we much question if that extreme delineation has been
serviceable to the cause of morals. Nor are we afraid that, because we
have here stated a very ordinary case of a silly young gentleman losing
his money, and not going distracted and blowing out his brains, we
shall therefore give encouragement to others to throw away their time
and money in the same foolish way.

The poor young man however found it very difficult to sleep after his
losses; for though he was not distracted, he was grievously troubled
in spirit, and much bewildered in his thoughts. He wished, over and
over again, that he had not sat down to hazard; but his wishing did not
bring back what he had lost. He almost wished that he had not been born
an hereditary legislator, for then he might have applied himself to
some useful pursuit, and not have been under the necessity of going to
Newmarket and losing his money in a right honorable way to keep up his
dignity. But it is very hard if a man of rank and fortune cannot have
his amusements, and what else can a man of rank and fortune do with his
time and property than waste them among sharpers?

It became now more and more imperative upon the young gentleman that
he should seriously set himself to repair his broken fortunes, and
his various meditations on the plans which suggested themselves for
that purpose very naturally prevented him from sleeping. His habits
had not much accustomed him to that application which business might
require, and his recent patrician contempt of study had put him into
possession of so large a stock of ignorance as to be rather in the
way of his promotion. It is not indeed much to be wondered at that,
considering how widely and deeply education has lately been diffused,
the higher sort of people should now and then court the singularity of
not knowing, and preserve their separation from the inferior orders by
an ignorance of that which every body knows; for it is very clear that
whatever becomes universal, must of necessity cease to be fashionable:
therefore the education bestowed upon the multitude must compel the
higher ranks in their own defence to cultivate ignorance, unless they
would give themselves the trouble of toiling more laboriously in
pursuit of knowledge than the lower orders. That is not very likely.



CHAPTER XVII.

    “Good shepherd, tell this youth, what ’tis to love.”

                                            SHAKSPEARE.


It is now necessary for us to revert to old Mr. Martindale and his new
pets. So delighted was he with the general character of the minds of
this family, that he was reluctant to make any arrangement which should
remove them from continual intercourse with himself. Very soon did they
become essential to him; for they seemed to open his mind to a new
consciousness of being. The discovery of their existence was the means
of removing a burden from his soul; and not only was there a negative
satisfaction derived from having thus providentially met with them, but
the very lively and unexpected interest which he took in their being
and well being, gave to his own existence a positive satisfaction, and
a feeling hitherto unknown; so that in the intervals of reflection and
thought, he was under a frequent necessity of saying to himself, “But I
must not forget Philip.”

There was also another, though an unintentional and unconscious rival
of Philip Martindale, in the person of Horatio Markham. But we will
do Philip the justice to say, that he entertained no mean jealousy of
this gentleman; inasmuch as he did not apprehend the probability of
Markham’s occupying a very important station in the old gentleman’s
last will and testament. Markham, indeed, did not seem to be acting
the part of a legacy-hunter; and Philip felt very well satisfied with
the thought, that many rich old men had in their life-time had many
friends for whom they appeared to have a greater regard than for their
own family, but to whom they have seldom made bequests of a nature so
serious as deeply to injure their own relatives. There was, however,
a danger in Markham’s intimacy with the old gentleman under present
circumstances, of which danger Mr. Philip was not sufficiently aware.
Our allusion is to the growing acquaintance between the young barrister
and Clara Rivolta. The young lady had a grateful recollection of the
considerate and respectful manner in which Markham had conducted
himself at the trial, contrasted especially as that manner was with
the boisterous and vulgar rudeness of the defendant’s counsel. So
completely indeed was the young lady disgusted with the rudeness and
coarseness manifested by the latter, that though she was tolerably well
acquainted with English customs, so far as books could inform her,
she could with difficulty be brought to believe that barristers were
uniformly gentlemen of education; she could not help thinking that they
must be of no higher rank or more polished manners than bailiffs and
constables. What ludicrous mistakes foreigners do sometimes fall into;
and if the English were not a very polite nation, they would laugh at
these blunders.

We have noticed already that Markham was very much struck with the
personal appearance of Clara Rivolta when he saw her in the cottage
of poor old Richard Smith; he was not less pleased with her when he
saw her in those circumstances which he had in the first instance
thought most appropriate to her. When he became more acquainted with
her, and by conversation had traced the existence of as much mind and
of as good feelings as her features and their expression had already
intimated to his imagination, it is no wonder that he should be more
interested in her than ever. When also he learned, as he did from the
sociable communicativeness of old Mr. Martindale, how nearly she was
related to a wealthy man; and when he saw how much of a favorite she
was with the old gentleman, it was not likely that his regard for her
should be diminished. Markham was by no means a selfish man, nor was he
insensible to the desirableness of a fair fortune. He was not quite so
romantic as to despise wealth; and if he had been originally addicted
to that propensity, the frequent receiving of fees would have had no
small tendency to cure it. However, it should be said that the motive
for his attachment to the young lady had not, in the first instance,
any thing to do with pecuniary expectations. Mr. Martindale himself
contributed to cherish the attachment, for he was constantly soliciting
the young man to favor them with his company; for as the old gentleman
lived almost entirely at Brigland, he knew comparatively nothing about
London, and the season of the year was not that at which any of his
friends were in town.

The time now was very near when Markham should take his departure from
his native land, and enter upon his professional duties in another
region. Pleasant as preferment may be, there is always a degree of
pain felt at parting from familiar faces and familiar scenes. This
unpleasant feeling was by anticipation coming upon the young barrister.
He thought that he should very much miss the society to which he had
been accustomed; he thought there was a peculiar, indescribable charm
in the very streets of London and Westminster; he thought, with a
shudder of repugnance, of a long, tedious, and as it were solitary
voyage; he thought that nobody would think about him when he was gone;
he thought that Clara Rivolta would be married before he came back. He
wondered whether she knew that he was going abroad; he wondered whether
she would care where or when he might go; he wondered whether she had
ever been in love. These thoughts and these wonderings grew thicker
and stronger as the time moved on, and he said to himself that Clara
was a most interesting creature, but that he was not decidedly in love
with her, as was very manifest by his being perfectly at ease when he
was absent from her. He did not take into consideration, as perhaps he
should have done, that the absence which he bore with so much fortitude
was an absence likely to be soon succeeded by the pleasure of seeing
her again. There was also another thought which he overlooked, and that
was, why did he take pains to persuade himself that he was not in love?
Who said he was?

It is not fair, however, to lay open to our readers the heart of one
of the parties, and totally to veil that of the other. Clara Rivolta
had scarcely had any other society than that of her father and mother;
and indeed, for the last four years, a very important part of her
life, her mother and old Richard Smith had been her only companions.
The very little which she had seen of English people had not made a
favorable impression of their character upon her mind. While residing
with her mother at Brigland, she had seen but few of the inhabitants
of that place, and those not of the better sort. The only individual
of the better sort, so called, that she had seen, was the Hon. Philip
Martindale; and him she thought the worst sort of man she had ever
seen. She at first mistook him for a gamekeeper; then she thought that
he must be the coachman or groom to the great man at the Abbey; and
nothing could exceed her astonishment when old Richard Smith informed
her that it was the great man himself; then, like all young people,
hastily formed and readily expressed her opinion, that the highest
class of people in England were the lowest people in the world. She
was very wrong, but she had not much knowledge of the subject. The
English people have so much originality and individuality, that it
is not easy to find an individual who is a complete specimen of any
class. To satirise or to compliment any class as a class, is absurd.
It may do very well for a particular purpose, at a tavern-dinner,
or in a dedication, to use highly complimentary language, which may
be uttered with all the plausibility of truth and sincerity. It may
also tell well in a farce or a comedy to satirise a whole class or
profession; but to use such language in sad or sober earnest, is
grievously unphilosophical and inaccurate. There are minds of every
variety, intellects of every rank, hearts of every complexion in all
classes. The virtues and the vices show differently under different
circumstances. It was however pardonable in a young woman who knew
scarcely any thing of human society, to form a wrong judgment; but, by
degrees, her mind was enlarged and judgment corrected. Had she taken
her notion of barristers solely from the clever, witty advocate of the
Hon. Philip Martindale, she would have thought no better of barristers
than she did of the sons of nobility. But Horatio Markham tended to
correct her judgment in this particular. He was not a coxcomb; he was
not a rude, blustering, self-sufficient and pert blockhead, fancying
himself the depositary of all wisdom and the oracle of all ages; he
did not aim at a display of his own wisdom, by insinuations that all
the rest of mankind were simpletons. It must however be confessed that
he was rather pedantic; he talked a little too professionally; and
he had, in his ordinary mode of speaking and conversing, too much of
the peculiar manner of the bar; he told many anecdotes, and they were
mostly of the luminaries of his own profession; his conversation was
much about books; he spoke of books critically, and as he had a good
memory, he repeated many passages, especially of some of the more
modern poets; and in reading or quoting, he had a very peculiar and
prosy mode of utterance. In his expressions of admiration he was very
enthusiastic; but his only censure was silence. Being, as it should
seem, much pleased with his own peculiar eloquence of encomium, he
was most pleased with praising; and so ingenious was his praise, that
he not unfrequently found in his favorite writers beauties which the
authors themselves were not aware of. Many others have been accused of
doing the same; but we will vindicate them and him by observing, that
it is quite as possible for an author to strike out beauties of which
himself is unconscious and undesigning, as it is for an artist, by an
accidental touch of his pencil, to “snatch a grace beyond the reach
of art.” The mind is not always conscious of the gracefulness of its
transient and unstudied attitudes.

We could say much more of Markham, but we must postpone it. Our present
concern is with the mind of Clara Rivolta, and her sentiments of and
towards this young man. He was to all intents the most agreeable man
she had seen since her arrival in England; and his slight tincture
of pedantry, and his love of quotation and recitation, tedious and
stupid as they might have been to many others, were to her peculiarly
agreeable. Men’s hearts are stolen through the eye--women’s through the
ear. Clara was pleased with Markham’s voice because she liked poetry;
and as the poetry first rendered his company delightful, and his voice
to her ear musical, so in process of time his company and his voice
rendered the poetical extracts more pleasing. Markham also understood
Italian; but to a native of Italy he would not read or recite her own
poetry; but he often brought to her Italian poetry, and her bright
eyes sparkled at the sight, and she began to like the English people
better, because they had paid reverence to the poets of her native
land by printing their works beautifully. Markham wished to hear the
poetry of Italy read by a native; Clara could not refuse him, because
he had been so obliging as to read much English poetry to her; but she
was almost afraid to read to him, because she could not read so well
as he could. That is a pretty and pardonable piece of vanity. But the
fact is, Markham did not read so remarkably well: he had a singing kind
of a tone; he read in a kind of recitative; some used to say he read
very ill. We should wish these people to be sentenced to hear reading
without a tone. At all events, Markham’s reading was very pleasant to
Clara; and to Markham’s ear there was no music so sweet as Clara’s
voice. She had read to him two or three of the sonnets of Petrarch;
and Markham thought that he should recollect the melody of that voice
when he should be afar off sailing on the mighty deep. How sweetly can
the closed eye, by its own internal light, call up bright scenes which
time and space have put far from us! and as sweetly in night’s silence
and its wakeful repose rings in our ear again the voice of the absent
and the beloved. When Clara read to Markham, there was a tremulousness
in her voice, and there was a tear in her eye; the tear was hardly
visible, and not large enough to fall; but she felt it there, and her
tremulousness increased. Scenes of this nature frequently occurred,
and they produced their very natural effect. Clara felt herself very
happy in Markham’s company, always asked his opinion on matters
of taste and literature, was continually finding out new poetical
beauties in Markham’s favorite authors, and perpetually discovering
some philological difficulties in the English language, of which no
one but Markham could give her a solution. It was not till she knew
him that her mind was powerfully impressed with the absolute necessity
of learning with very strict and minute attention the niceties of the
English language.

There was another circumstance which contributed to increase Clara’s
partiality to Horatio Markham; namely, his affectionate attention to
his parents, and his respectful deference to their wishes. This she
had no opportunity of observing, but she had heard Mr. John Martindale
speak of it in highly complimentary terms. She was very well pleased
to hear Markham praised. She did not say to herself that she was not
in love, nor indeed did she know or suspect that she was. But she was
very much pleased with Horatio Markham, and never spoke of him to any
one, though she listened with great pleasure to any one who spoke of
him favorably. This was certainly symptomatic, but the young woman was
not aware of the nature of the symptoms, or of what they portended.
When she learned the vocabulary, she did not find that admiration meant
love; she did not find that gratitude meant love; she did not find that
habit meant love; she did not find that approbation meant love; but
in process of time she began to suspect that all these put together
produced a feeling very much like love.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    “If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;
    If not, why then this parting was well made.”

                                     SHAKSPEARE.


A week is soon gone. This is not mentioned to our readers by way of
information, as if any of them should be ignorant of the fact; but by
way of directing their minds to a sympathy with Horatio Markham, who
found that the last days of his remaining in England were shorter in
their duration than any which had preceded them. In spite of all he
had said to himself concerning his not being in love, he could not but
experience a very painful feeling at the thought that he must soon
leave the pleasant party with whom he was so agreeably spending so
many of his hours. He could not persuade himself that he was not in
love; and the more he said so, the less he believed it. He had taken
his leave of his parents and his early friends. He thought it becoming
to take a formal leave also of his new friend, Mr. John Martindale; he
hesitated whether he should also make a business of taking leave of
Colonel Rivolta and his family. He bethought himself that he had in his
possession a book belonging to Clara, and that he ought to return it.
He might send it, or he might leave it with Mr. Martindale, requesting
him to present a message of thanks; and that plan would obviate the
inconvenience of personally returning it, in doing which he feared that
he might betray some emotion which he would fain conceal. For the truth
is, he was of opinion that it would not be a prudent step to declare an
attachment at a moment when he was just about to leave England. That
would be to involve himself and Clara too in a painful perplexity.
There were many changes to be feared during the time of his absence
from England. There was a considerate thought that it would be scarcely
advisable that he should form an engagement so long before it could
be fulfilled; and amidst other ideas which occupied his mind on the
subject, was the consideration of theological differences between the
parties.

All these things had their weight; but it does not follow that because
a young man considers, that he is therefore considerate. Powerful
as consideration may be, feeling is much more powerful; and it has
also an efficacy in overruling and influencing the decisions of
the understanding, and cheating the judgment by a speciousness of
reasoning. Thus it was that Markham, with all his sagacity, allowed
himself to be imposed on. He reasoned thus:--Perhaps, if I leave
England without announcing it to Clara, it may occur to her that I had
some very powerful reason for such neglect of common politeness, and
there may arise in her mind a suspicion of that which really exists,
and then there may be in her mind a corresponding sentiment, which, if
not cherished, may die away and be forgotten; and it would not be right
for me to arouse such sentiments at such a time. It will be best then
if I personally return the book, and very coolly and politely take my
leave; yet, upon second thoughts, why should or need there be any thing
of coolness in my manner. It will be most suitable to be perfectly
uniform, and to take my leave in a friendly, cordial manner, as I have
hitherto behaved towards her.

With this resolution he made his last visit, with a view of taking
leave of Colonel and Signora Rivolta and of Clara, and of returning
with thanks a book which he had borrowed from the latter. Books are
very convenient for lovers; they are a species of Cupid’s go-cart;
they are the gentle and gradual introduction of sentiment; they speak
without blushing; they are fluent in the utterance, and they can tell
many a tender tale by a doubled leaf, or a pencil mark; or a rose-leaf
may mark an interesting page. When Markham talked to himself about
a cool and quiet leave-taking and a friendly farewell, he did not
recollect or deeply think of books interchanged, and of beautiful
passages marked for their sentiment and pathos, and most peculiarly
applicable to peculiar circumstances: he forgot how many striking
passages and elegant extracts he had read aloud, and how much force
and energy he gave, or attempted to give, to these expressive and
select beauties: he forgot how many associations were connected with
books. There was also another circumstance which of course did not
occur to him. Clara Rivolta was not situated as any young woman of
English family and extensive acquaintance; she had not seen much of
society; Markham was the only young gentleman with whom she was at
all acquainted; and those few other persons whom she had seen did not
make any favourable impression on her mind. By comparison therefore
with them, Markham was highly agreeable to her, and positively also
was he not unacceptable, inasmuch as Clara herself had no slight
tincture of what may be called pedantry. Confined intercourse with
human society produces, almost of necessity, some degree of pedantry,
which is nothing more than an undue estimate of the importance of some
one object of human interest or pursuit. Clara had lived secluded, had
been much alone, was of a poetical and almost romantic temperament,
had contemplated humanity and its interests through the medium of
imagination and poetry; she had lived in a world of her own, and the
world of reality was to her thought harsh, rough, and ungracious. When
therefore she met with Markham, who had also an imagination somewhat
poetical, and a decided taste for the lighter and more graceful
productions of genius; and when she saw this young gentleman brought
into immediate contrast with an uncourteous and rude coxcomb, as he
was at the trial, her opinion of him was flattering; and when, after
farther acquaintance, she observed that his mind was well-cultivated,
his manners gentle, his deportment essentially and decidedly courteous,
and when he had taken great pains to render her well pleased with
scenes about her, and to communicate information to her on such topics
as she felt interested in, she became more and more pleased with his
society, always happy to see him, always happy to hear him, disposed
to acquiesce in his judgment, and to be guided by his opinion; and
above all, as there was not in her heart any previous attachment, very
naturally her affections rested more tenderly on Markham than she was
well aware.

If, therefore, Markham had need of management and direction, that he
might take his leave of Clara without betraying any undue emotion,
so had the young lady also as great need to exercise a commanding
discretion on her part. But in this matter the lady was not so well
prepared as the gentleman; for the latter was somewhat aware of the
state of his own mind, but the former knew not aright the nature of the
interest she felt in the company of her kind and intelligent friend.
Markham had told Mr. Martindale of the day fixed for his departure, and
the old gentleman insisted that he should spend his last day in their
company.

It is very remarkable, but not less true than strange, that though Mr.
Martindale had cautioned the young gentleman against losing his heart
when he saw Clara in old Richard Smith’s cottage, and regarded her
merely as a country girl, yet it never occurred to the old gentleman,
now the real circumstances of the young lady were known, and Markham
was in the daily habit of seeing and conversing with her, that there
was any danger of an attachment springing up between them. Mr.
Martindale, if he thought at all upon the subject, thought that all
Markham’s visits and attentions were to himself, and for his sake; and
he was pleased with the young gentleman for devoting so much of his
time to the party. Signora Rivolta, however, thought and saw otherwise.
It was clear to her observing eye and her discerning mind, that
Markham’s visits, if not attracted by Clara, were at least rendered
agreeable by her company. It was also very obvious to her that the
barrister’s visits were agreeable to Clara, and that an attachment to
the young gentleman had been gradually and insensibly forming in her
heart. It might be supposed that the faith in which Signora Rivolta
had been educated, would have influenced and determined her to oppose
every obstacle in her power to the growth of such an attachment; but
the truth is, that she had understanding enough to discern that the
dangers and difficulties of opposition were as great and as serious
as the danger threatened by this young attachment: for she knew that
such had ever been the imaginative and ardent complexion of Clara’s
mind, that if love should ever take possession of her heart, it would
have a strong hold there, beyond the power of ordinary arguments and
every-day principles to expel. She was not quite satisfied, for she had
never had an opportunity of ascertaining how deeply the principles of
her religion were infixed in her mind, nor could she conjecture what
power these principles might have over her affections. She thought it
safer, therefore, to avoid bringing these principles into danger by
any premature experiment of their strength. There was also to be added
to these considerations another thought; it was possible that Markham
might be brought over to the true faith; and it may also be remarked
that Signora Rivolta herself was not so very decided, as some persons
of her faith are supposed to be, in the conviction that there could
be no salvation out of the pale of that church to which she belonged.
That there could be many virtues out of the pale of that church, she
had learned from the amiable and excellent character of her maternal
uncle, poor old Richard Smith; and that a religion which she had been
taught to esteem heretical, could afford a calm and placid support in
the hour of death, had been also manifested by her uncle’s dying-bed.
These considerations rendered Signora Rivolta less decidedly hostile to
the supposed intentions of Markham than otherwise she might have been.

The day appointed for Markham to pay his farewell visit to his good
friends, Mr. Martindale and family, being arrived, the young gentleman
went with not quite so heavy a heart as he had expected. He felt
himself perfectly composed, and began to fancy that his attachment to
Clara was not so decided and powerful as to render it at all necessary
to use any peculiar caution in his tones or language of leave-taking.
He even smiled at the idea, that though it was the gloomy month of
November, proverbial for its power of depressing the spirits, he was
yet in a tolerably cheerful and composed state of mind.

Mr. Martindale had removed from the hotel in which he resided for the
first week of his stay in town, and had established his daughter and
family in a ready-furnished house. Markham was not beyond the time
appointed for his visit, but rather before it. He was shown into the
drawing-room, which at his entrance was empty. He was glad of that;
for it gave him time to prepare himself, to study looks and speeches.
There is more ostensible than real advantage in a circumstance of
this nature. Empty rooms, especially such as are usually occupied by
very interesting persons, always make one shiver, let the weather in
summer be ever so warm, or the fires in winter ever so good. The most
confident and self-satisfied derive no benefit from such opportunity of
preparation. So Markham presently found, though we do not say that he
was a very confident man. He experienced after the first minute or two
an indefinable sensation, as though the very air of the room was not
in the best and fittest state for respiration. He had no power to sit
still, and but little to walk about the apartment. The house, being a
ready-furnished house, was not replete with much that was ornamental.
There were some few pictures, but of such very inferior value, that no
one who had any thing else to do or think of would trouble himself to
rise from his seat to look at them. There was a table in the middle
of the room, on which lay in disorder some books, which looked as if
they were made on purpose to be scattered on drawing-room tables. There
was also a portfolio of drawings partly open, or so carelessly closed,
that its contents were visible and ascertainable without being moved.
Markham looked at the drawings as they lay; then he ventured to draw
them out one after another: they were the same that he had seen before
repeatedly, and he thought that he should see them no more. Then his
spirits began to sink and his cheerfulness abated, and he felt very
November-like. Arranging the drawings as nearly as possible in the same
disorder as he had found them, he perceived under the portfolio an open
atlas. The map of that country which was destined to be his residence
for some few years to come lay open before him. He was looking at it
with the pleasing thought that some of his friends had been thinking of
him, when the drawing-room door opened, and Clara entered alone.

It is very provoking after taking an infinity of trouble to prepare
for a meeting, and after composing the countenance, and arranging the
very words and tone of greeting and salutation, to be suddenly taken
by surprise, just at that very moment when all this composure has been
disarranged and unsettled. So was Markham taken. He very abruptly and
awkwardly drew from his pocket the book which he had borrowed from the
young lady, and was commencing a set speech, being about to say that
he must soon leave his native land and change the aspect of his being,
when Mr. Martindale most unfortunately entered the room and abruptly
dispersed his eloquence. The book was laid upon the table; Markham
muttered polite acknowledgments for the use of it; and Mr. Martindale
very unceremoniously hurried the young lady out of the room, urging her
to make all possible haste to dress for dinner. Now it was very clear
that there could be no farther opportunity for Markham to see Clara
alone, or to ascertain the state of her feelings towards him; and had
there been any sincerity in the many wise and prudent remarks he had
made to himself on that subject, he would not have been sorry for the
interruption, but would have consoled himself with the reflection that
there had been a happy avoidance of that which might have produced a
painful and perplexing explanation. The plain truth however was, that
notwithstanding all his considerate thoughts, he was so far in love,
that he would have been most happy in the assurance that the feeling
was mutual, and that he might, when away from England, live cheerfully
on the bright hopes of the happiness awaiting his return. Being
disappointed in his expectations of approaching an explanation, and
feeling the manifest impropriety and indelicacy of making a regular and
formal proposal on the very eve of his departure, he felt almost angry;
he was decidedly low-spirited and out of humour.

At dinner the conversation turned almost solely on Markham’s departure.
Mr. Martindale congratulated him on his peculiar good fortune in
meeting with such valuable patronage, and expressed very cordially his
confident hopes that so auspicious a commencement would be followed by
corresponding success through life. The old gentleman then administered
a very copious supply of most valuable advice, to all of which Markham
listened with very respectful attention. The old gentleman had indeed
all the talk to himself. Colonel Rivolta was a very brave man and a
very good patriot, but ordinarily he was not much addicted to talking.
Signora Rivolta could talk if she would, and could be silent if she
would. This seems no great praise, but it is a compliment which
cannot fairly be paid to great multitudes of either sex. Many are the
simpletons that have not wit enough to talk, or not wisdom enough to
hold their peace. The mother of Clara had reason to suppose it not
improbable that Horatio Markham might one day make an offer of his hand
to her daughter, and under this impression was especially desirous to
understand and rightly apprehend the young man’s character; she was
also desirous of knowing what Mr. Martindale also thought of him; and
by paying attention to the topics on which the old gentleman thought
it necessary to dwell in giving advice, inferences might be drawn
as to the opinion which he entertained of the young man’s moral and
intellectual character. That Clara was silent is not to be wondered at.
Young people should always be silent when old people are giving advice.
For supposing that the young people like good advice, they can the
better hear it if they be silent; and supposing that they do not like
it, it will be the sooner over if they do not interrupt it.

It requires not a very lively imagination to picture to itself how much
and how deeply Markham was disappointed at being compelled to undergo
at his farewell visit a long story of good advice, instead of enjoying
the luxury of a pathetic parting. And as if from the pure desire to
prevent any display of the pathetic, the old gentleman, soon after
the ladies had retired from the dining-room, desired to have coffee
sent in; and when it arrived, he most provokingly said to the young
gentleman:

“Now, young man, it is growing late, and so I will not detain you. You
must be stirring early to-morrow morning. I will make your apology to
the ladies. I shall be very happy to hear from you, when you arrive at
your station; and if I live till you come back, I shall be glad to see
you.”

There was in Mr. Martindale’s manner of speaking an indescribable
kind of positiveness and decision, which prevented all reply or
contradiction. Poor Horatio was under an absolute necessity of
complying, and after delaying as long as he decently could, he rose to
take his leave, and to make a long speech in good set terms, thanking
his kind friend for the notice which he had taken of a young and
obscure stranger. But the old gentleman did not like long speeches that
were not made by himself. Nature designs the aged to be talkers, not
listeners; as the faculty of hearing perishes before that of speaking.
Markham was compelled to condense his farewell acknowledgments into
very few words: there was certainly great sincerity in his repetition
of the great regret which he felt in leaving such agreeable friends.
Dismal is a November night in London; and especially dismal was it to
Markham to walk through a drizzling rain, by the mockery of lamp-light,
all the way from Piccadilly to the Inner Temple, and there to find his
little luggage all carefully packed up ready to start; and to find
a gloomy looking fire that seemed to grudge the little warmth and
cheerfulness that it communicated to the apartment, and to see his
book-cases empty, and to see two candles dimly burning on the table;
but to see no human face, no look of home, of family, of friends.
True, he was a successful man, was in the road to preferment, had made
himself many and good friends, but he was very dull, very low-spirited.
He had been grievously disappointed, nay, worse than disappointed; for
had he found an opportunity to speak or even look a thought of love to
Clara, and had it been met by the coldness of distaste, he would have
had then only to divert his thoughts, and to fill his mind with other
subjects. He then would have known what it was that he had to trust to.
But now, poor man, all was uncertainty, perplexity, and suspense. He
knew not whether Clara was totally indifferent or not, and he had no
means left to ascertain the fact. It was clearly his own fault that he
had not sooner made up his own mind, and ascertained his own feelings;
for that he reproached himself, but his reproaches availed nothing.

Still farther meditating on the perplexing affair, he came to the
unpleasant conclusion, that, if there had been on the part of Clara any
feeling of regard and attachment towards him, she must now necessarily
conclude that he had no especial regard for her, or he would not have
left England without declaring himself, or at least without giving some
intimation of the state of his mind. But no sooner had he arrived at
this conclusion, which ought at once to have put him out of suspense,
than he flew back from it again; and instead of sorrowing only for
himself, he began to feel great compassion for Clara, on the gratuitous
supposition that her heart was partly if not entirely lost to him, and
lost in vain; and, thereupon, he reproached himself for having behaved
unkindly towards her.

Thus ingeniously did the young gentleman torment himself till past
midnight, till his fire was extinct for want of stirring, and his
candles were like torches for want of snuffing. Cold and cheerless he
retired to rest, and there remains on record no memorial of his dreams.



CHAPTER XIX.

    “And if thou ever happen that same way
    To traveill, go to see that dreadful place.”

                                       SPENSER.


The following day dawned brighter. Though it was November, the sun had
strength to struggle through the clouds; and much of the heavy weight
that lay on Markham’s mind the preceding day was alleviated by brighter
hopes and better thoughts. There was a pleasant re-action in his
spirits, and he wondered how it was that he had been so depressed on
the previous evening. He was cheerful and light-hearted in giving his
orders concerning the removal of his luggage, and when he went aboard
the vessel which was destined to convey him from England, he met with
so flattering and complimentary a reception from the captain, that all
the world seemed bright about him, and he trusted that he should not
lack friends in a distant land. His thoughts rushed impetuously forward
to the new scene which was about to open upon him, and he was pleased
to think how many valuable introductory letters he possessed, and he
hoped that acquaintances would, many of them, become valuable friends
and agreeable companions. But we have no intention of accompanying
our young friend on his voyage. Suffice it to say, that he sailed in
good spirits, that the wind blew variously as it often does on a long
voyage, and that he reached his port in safety.

We must return now to old Mr. Martindale and his family. His attachment
to his family was continually increasing. He was more than pleased
with his daughter, he was absolutely proud of her. He always spoke of
her emphatically as _my daughter_. He consulted her wishes in every
thing, and was always guided by her opinion, the least intimation of
which was law to him. With all his oddities, and he had not a few,
he had discernment enough to see that Signora Rivolta was really a
person of solid understanding and of clear judgment. He only wondered
how it was that a woman of such good sense should adopt the Roman
Catholic religion; but on this subject he seldom touched, for he
found that he could make no impression. With the Colonel, however,
he would occasionally enter into an argument, and not unfrequently
did he fancy that in these discussions he had the advantage. Colonel
Rivolta was not a very zealous believer in the infallibility of His
Holiness. He had never paid much attention to theology as a matter of
argument or reflection; he did not know enough of his native religion
to be converted to any other, though the side which he had taken in
politics rendered him not very bigoted to the religion established in
Italy. In religion he was a liberal, not a sceptic or an unbeliever;
he had no doubts, for he scarcely ever thought of the subject. He had
no wish to make converts, he was willing to let every one enjoy his
own opinions; and he would never have taken the trouble to defend
the Catholic religion against Mr. Martindale, but that he thought
the old gentleman was fond of an argument, and he liked to indulge
him. As for the religion of Clara, which is of the most importance
to our purpose, it is rather difficult to define or describe it. Her
education had been miscellaneous; she had been in early life initiated
into the religion of Italy, but in after-years the conversation of
Richard Smith, her great uncle, had somewhat disturbed and unsettled
her mind as to the exclusive safety of the Catholic religion. Her
strongest ground of attachment to that faith was, that it was the
religion of her mother. There was, however, in her mind that degree of
imaginativeness, that needed not so much external and visible aid to
devotion as that religion presented her with, therefore she did not
feel herself dependent on its forms. Truth compels us to add, which
we do with a considerable degree of reluctance, that Clara Rivolta,
during her residence at Brigland, had more than once said to her great
uncle, that her principal objection to the Protestant religion was the
indifference of its priests. This remark had reference, we ought to
say, almost solely to Mr. Denver, the perpetual curate of Brigland;
and every allowance ought to be made for him. It is no easy matter to
serve three churches with a very lively and ardent feeling, especially
when to the fatigue of the duty there is also added the toil of
riding several miles on a tall, old, raw-boned, shuffling, stumbling,
jumbling, broken-winded, and ill-saddled, iron-grey mare. Clara had
never seen any other clergyman, except one or two who had occasionally
been visiting the Hon. Philip Martindale during the shooting season. Of
these gentlemen she knew nothing, except that whenever they met her,
they stared very rudely at her. She formed her judgment of the English
clergy from a very few and very so-so samples. Blending a respectable
share of discrimination and reflection with an imaginative soul and a
feeling heart, her religion was in the most comprehensive sense of the
word purely Catholic. Outwardly her conformity was to the religion of
her birth-place; and perhaps had she never been acquainted with any
other mode, her devotion to that in which she had been educated would
have been much stronger. But when she was instructed that religion
was the medium by which virtue was impressed on the mind, and man
made acceptable to his Maker, and when she was told that there was no
salvation out of the pale of the Roman Catholic Church, and when she
saw what real excellences and what solid virtues adorned the character
of her maternal great uncle, then she thought it absolutely impossible
that the religion of such a man could be otherwise than acceptable to
his Maker; and thereupon, without the elaborateness of argument or the
undetectable wiliness of sophistry, there entered irresistibly into her
mind a spirit of liberality and pure Catholicism.

It may then be easily supposed that Mr. Martindale was not much
disturbed or annoyed by the difference between his own faith and
that of his family. Whatever disturbance the subject gave him was
entirely of his own making, and arose purely from his own fidgetty
disposition. Such however was the very high estimation in which he
held his daughter, that notwithstanding his zeal for Protestantism, he
would occasionally attend the worship of her church, and occasionally
the compliment was returned. This compliance on the part of the old
gentleman, together with the satisfaction that he expressed at the
occasional conformity of his newly-found family, gave pretty strong
indication to Philip Martindale that his wealthy cousin destined a
larger share of his fortune for Signora Rivolta than ordinarily falls
to the lot of a natural daughter. His difficulties and perplexities
therefore increased, and his choice vibrated with great rapidity
between Clara Rivolta and Celestina Sampson. He exercised much
caution and deliberation in considerations of various eligibilities
and ineligibilities. Had he used as much thought before he gave his
honorable countenance to the ring, the course, and the cockpit, before
he laid bets on rat-catchers’ dogs, and borrowed money of the Jews to
pay those bets withal, he would not have needed now to have recourse
to the meanness of attempting a heartless marriage to mend his broken
fortunes. Sadly and seriously did he lay to heart his past follies;
and he grieved the more because he grieved in vain. He knew very well
that there was no remedy for the past, and that it would require
some ingenuity to prevent affairs from becoming worse. He grew quite
dejected, and even demure; and he occasionally would lecture some of
his honorable and right honorable friends on the folly and absurdity
of gaming. But his repentance, though he was not aware of the fact,
consisted rather of uneasiness under the consequences of transgression,
than of any feeling of regret for the transgression as considered in
itself.

There was in his mind also another thought which was very natural
under present circumstances, and that was, that it would be desirable
that he should leave the Abbey, and thankfully resign it to his worthy
relative, who on the unexpected discovery of a new family might be
willing to increase his establishment, though he might feel some little
delicacy and hesitation about the removal of his relative. With this
idea Philip went again to London, where the old gentleman continued to
reside with his family; for by taking this step, the young gentleman
hoped that he should be able to ascertain what were the intentions of
his relative towards him.

Philip was very cordially received by Mr. John Martindale, who did not
interrogate him as usual on the object of his visit to London. This
omission was a symptom of indifference; but a still stronger symptom
was manifested when Philip announced to his relative the business on
which he had come to town. As soon as he had done speaking, the old
gentleman in his usual abrupt manner replied: “Well, do as you like.
I think a smaller house may be better for you. But as for my going to
reside there, I should not think of such a thing. I shall sell the
Abbey, if I can have a price for it.”

“Sell it, sir!” replied Philip in the utmost astonishment; “you surely
are not serious.”

“But I am decidedly serious,” said the old gentleman; “I have had the
amusement of building the house, and so far it has answered my purpose.
It is of no farther use to me. Will you buy it?”

Philip smiled at the question; but the smile cost him a great effort.
He saw that he was destined to be the sport of circumstances, and he
inwardly groaned at his very unfortunate lot; that the line which
he had pursued in hopes of coming into possession of a valuable
inheritance, had brought him into painful and mortifying perplexities.
He thought within himself how foolish he should look at being compelled
to leave his splendid mansion; but he had never thought before how much
more foolish he looked, when he was only nominal master of a mansion
which was far too large for him, and too magnificent for his actual
or possible means. It was, indeed, by the more knowing ones shrewdly
suspected that Mr. John Martindale had, in building so splendid a
concern, seriously transgressed the limits of prudence, and that he
had not the ability, supposing him to have the inclination, suitably
and consistently to occupy so large and splendid a building. There
had need be very great pleasure in building, for there are often very
great pains and mortifications resulting from efforts at architectural
magnificence. Blessings, however, rest on the heads of those ingenious
architects who let us have splendour so cheap, and who convert plaister
into stone, and splinters into timber!

To return to our subject. The old gentleman seriously and coolly
persisted in his determination to sell the house, and as coolly did he
accept Philip’s resignation of his possession. Mr. Martindale the elder
merely said:

“But where do you intend to reside? At home with his lordship? Or,
suppose you look out for a place in the country. What say you to living
among your constituents? There is a very good house at Trimmerstone; it
has not been occupied lately, but the last who resided there was a man
of rank. If you like to reside there, I will put it in order for you.
But it is high time you should think of marrying.”

The house at Trimmerstone had indeed been occupied by a man of rank,
or, more properly speaking, by the housekeeper and a few old servants
of a man of rank. Many summers had passed over its roof, and many
storms had spent their fury on its weather-beaten sides, since any
thing had been done to it in the way of repair. At the time that Mr.
Martindale was speaking of it as a suitable residence for his honorable
cousin, it was almost in a state of dilapidation. Philip had seen the
house, and had some recollection of it; and our readers may easily
judge of the young gentleman’s state of mind when the proposal was made
to settle him there, and to exchange a splendid modern mansion for an
out-of-the-way, ill-contrived, lumbering old mansion-house.

Trimmerstone Hall was a long and almost indescribable building, which
seemed as if it had stood till it half sunk into the earth. It was
approached by a long, superannuated, everlasting avenue of trees, which
had stood growing, no mortal could tell how long. There was such a
density of foliage, that the middle part of the building was almost
in total darkness; and whether the path between the trees was gravel,
grass, or withered vegetation, it was not easy to ascertain. Two broad,
dislocated stone steps sinking downwards between two stunted black
brick walls, and surmounted by a grotesque wooden portico, admitted
those who could stoop low enough to avoid hitting their heads, into
a wide, broad, cold hall paved with marble, which nature had made
black and white, but which time and other accidents had converted into
brown and yellow. Immediately opposite to the front door, and not many
yards from it, opened the back door, which in architectural beauty and
convenience of arrangement was a fac-simile of its opposite neighbour.
There were windows also in the entrance-hall, one on each side the two
doors; and the windows were constructed upon that ingenious principle
which admits any thing but light. On one side of this hall was a
mighty fire-place, which looked as if it had never had a fire in it;
and on the other was a broad staircase, with banisters strong enough
to build a dozen Regent Street houses withal. There were rooms of
divers dimensions and various degrees of deformity. To describe their
arrangement is impossible, inasmuch as they had no arrangement.

The state-apartments were hung with damask or with tapestry. Time had
played sad tricks with these decorations, as it had also with the old
oak floors, which had lost their shape and colour. No four-legged
article of furniture could by any arguments be induced to stand steady
on its legitimate supporters; and if a four-post bedstead had been
placed on the higher side of a room, it must inevitably have rolled on
its castors to the opposite side. The windows throughout the mansion
were villainous; and the whole building seemed fit for nothing but to
make a pencil-drawing, or an etching from it.

Though the great mass of the house appeared to have sunk into the
ground, the fine old chimneys looked as if they had grown taller, or
left the house to sink without them. They almost rivalled in altitude
the old trees of the avenue. They were visible from a great distance,
but the house was not, for it stood in a hollow; and the ground about
was finely watered by divers rivulets, which did not seem at all
particular as to the course they took, but with a noble and liberal
impartiality spontaneously or promiscuously irrigated, that is to say,
sopped the meadows, grounds, and gardens, which surrounded the house.

Such was the habitation which the wealthy cousin of the Hon. Philip
Martindale proposed for the residence of a young gentleman born to be
legislator, and proud of the antiquity of his family and the dignity of
his high rank. Philip knew the house, and what is more, he knew that
his cousin knew it.

It was a keen and bitter mortification to have such a proposal made;
but though he fully determined not to stoop so low as to accept it, he
was too dependent to reject it point-blank. He merely said:--

“I am inclined to think, sir, from what I recollect of Trimmerstone
Hall, that it will require more to put it into good repair than the
present building is worth; and the situation being so very low and
swampy, I am afraid that I should not enjoy my health there. But, sir,
there is no absolute necessity for my having a distinct residence at
present, while I remain single. I can reside with my family; and as I
think of paying a closer attention to my parliamentary duties, I shall
of course spend more of my time in London.”

“Ay, ay, so you will; right, I forgot that. Yes, yes, you ought clearly
to be more attentive to your parliamentary duties. Well, I am not
sorry you think of leaving the Abbey. I shall certainly dispose of it.
It was very amusing to build the house; and so the proverb will be
verified--Fools build houses, and wise men live in them.”

When a man calls himself a fool in the hearing of another, that other
is in duty bound to contradict him: for it is not in the nature of
things that any man really thinking himself a fool should avow that
conviction. To speak paradoxically, if a man sincerely avows himself
a fool, he thinks himself a wise man in having found out that he is
a fool, and requires a compliment as a matter of course. It is the
expected duty of every one therefore, hearing another call himself a
fool, to contradict him. To do that well is difficult, and requires
great address. It must not be contradicted point-blank and flatly, but
it must be circuitously done. Every man who calls himself a fool is
offended if he fancies that he is believed, is offended if he be not
contradicted, and is also offended if he be contradicted, so as to give
proof that he is suspected of expecting contradiction.

Now, though Philip Martindale was a gentleman of very fashionable
manners, and perfectly informed and well instructed as to all the forms
and modes of fashionable address, yet his knowledge was simply that of
forms and modes; he had no natural intuition; no native and unbought
perception of abstract propriety and unchangeable good manners. Of
mind and its movements he was totally ignorant; he knew what was
fashionable as well as any man; even at the cockpit or the ring, though
dressed like a groom, he was known to be a gentleman. Thus it is that
those who belong to a certain class are always known and recognised by
their inimitable and untranscribable manners, having only to do with
externals, they are perfect in them. The less intellect they have, the
more skilful are they in the art; even as parrots most faithfully utter
the words which they are taught, because reflection supplies them with
none other. But such parrot-like politeness would not answer with such
a man as old John Martindale. Any thing common-place was his aversion
and abomination. It required peculiar tact and skill to manage him; and
this skill the Hon. Philip Martindale did not possess in a very eminent
degree. When therefore the young gentleman began to mutter forth some
affected contradiction to what Mr. John Martindale had been pleased to
say of himself, the latter hastily interrupted him.

“Pish, nonsense; none of your foolish complimenting. I was a fool to
build the house, and I should be a greater fool to live in it. I shall
find some simpleton with more money than wit, who may be glad to buy
it at half the money which it cost me to build it. Well, now you are
in town, you may as well stay with us, if you are not too proud to
patronise my relations. You will find them very sensible, well-informed
people, though they have no title.”

To this invitation Philip felt no repugnance, and consequently made no
objection: for he was very desirous of seeing more of Clara Rivolta,
and of ingratiating himself into her favour, should such a measure
be found necessary or desirable in a financial point of view. As the
London winter was now approaching, he also hoped that he should have
an opportunity of observing how Mr. Martindale’s relatives would be
received in the world, determining to be chiefly governed as to his
decision respecting Clara by the manner in which her family should be
noticed. He had sense enough to see that Signora Rivolta was a superior
woman in mind and manners; but he was doubtful whether the rank of
his cousin was high enough, or wealth extensive enough, to command
respect for a natural daughter. There is a jealousy of superior minds;
and artificial nobility feels indignant at being eclipsed by natural
nobility. As for Clara, her mild and gentle spirit would create for
her affection and patronage every where. The sweetness of her temper,
the unobtrusive soundness of her judgment, her strong natural sense
of propriety, would command universal regard; but there was also to
be considered the reception with which the mother might meet: for the
mother and the daughter were clearly inseparable. The one would receive
no smiles or courtesy which should be denied to or withheld from the
other. A severe trial now awaited the half-captived heart of Clara
Rivolta.

END OF VOL. I.

                                LONDON:
         PRINTED BY A.J. VALPY, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.





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