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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 17 - Chapter 6
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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 17 - Chapter 6 Post by :Jredling Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2233

Click below to download : The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 17 - Chapter 6 (Format : PDF)

The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 17 - Chapter 6

PART XVII CHAPTER VI

Dated From Adelaide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PART XVII CHAPTER VA great change has occurred in our household. Guy's father is dead,--his latter years cheered by the accounts of his son's steadiness and prosperity, and by the touching proofs thereof which Guy has exhibited; for he insisted on repaying to his father the old college debts and the advance of the L1,500, begging that the money might go towards his sister's portion. Now, after the old gentleman's death, the sister resolved to come out and live with her dear brother Guy. Another wing is built to the hut. Ambitious plans for a new stone house, to be commenced
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