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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWhat Will He Do With It - Book 2 - Chapter 6
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What Will He Do With It - Book 2 - Chapter 6 Post by :dziadzia Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :930

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What Will He Do With It - Book 2 - Chapter 6

BOOK II CHAPTER VI

Showing how sinful it is in a man who does not care for his honour to beget children.

When Lionel saw Mr. Fairthorn devoting his intellectual being to the contents of a cold chicken-pie, he silently stepped out of the room and slunk away into a thick copse at the farthest end of the paddock. He longed to be alone. The rain descended, not heavily, but in penetrating drizzle; he did not feel it, or rather he felt glad that there was no gaudy mocking sunlight. He sat down forlorn in the hollows of a glen which the copse covered, and buried his face in his clasped hands.

Lionel Haughton, as the reader may have noticed, was no premature man,--a manly boy, but still a habitant of the twilight, dreamy, shadow-land of boyhood. Noble elements were stirring fitfully within him, but their agencies were crude and undeveloped. Sometimes, through the native acuteness of his intellect, he apprehended truths quickly and truly as a man; then, again, through the warm haze of undisciplined tenderness, or the raw mists of that sensitive pride in which objects, small in themselves, loom large with undetected outlines, he fell back into the passionate dimness of a child's reasoning. He was intensely ambitious; Quixotic in the point of honour; dauntless in peril: but morbidly trembling at the very shadow of disgrace, as a foal, destined to be the war-horse and trample down levelled steel, starts in its tranquil pastures at the rustling of a leaf. Glowingly romantic, but not inclined to vent romance in literary creations, his feelings were the more high-wrought and enthusiastic because they had no outlet in poetic channels. Most boys of great ability and strong passion write verses--it is Nature's relief to brain and heart at the critical turning age. Most boys thus gifted do so; a few do not, and out of those few Fate selects the great men of action,--those large luminous characters that stamp poetry on the world's prosaic surface. Lionel had in him the pith and substance of Fortune's grand nobodies, who become Fame's abrupt somebodies when the chances of life throw suddenly in their way a noble something, to be ardently coveted and boldly won. But I repeat, as yet he was a boy; so he sat there, his hands before his face, an unreasoning self-torturer. He knew now why this haughty Darrell had written with so little tenderness and respect to his beloved mother. Darrell looked on her as the cause of his ignoble kinsman's "sale of name;" nay, most probably ascribed to her not the fond girlish love which levels all disparities of rank, but the vulgar cold-blooded design to exchange her father's bank-notes for a marriage beyond her station. And he was the debtor to this supercilious creditor, as his father had been before him. His father! till then he had been so proud of that relationship! Mrs. Haughton had not been happy with her captain; his confirmed habits of wild dissipation had embittered her union, and at last worn away her wifely affections. But she had tended and nursed him in his last illness as the lover of her youth; and though occasionally she hinted at his faults, she ever spoke of him as the ornament of all society,--poor, it is true, harassed by unfeeling creditors, but the finest of fine gentlemen. Lionel had never heard from her of the ancestral estates sold for a gambling debt; never from her of the county jail nor the mercenary misalliance. In boyhood, before we have any cause to be proud of ourselves, we are so proud of our fathers, if we have a decent excuse for it. Of his father could Lionel Haughton be proud now? And Darrell was cognizant of his paternal disgrace, had taunted his father in yonder old hall--for what?--the marriage from which Lionel sprang! The hands grew tighter and tighter before that burning face. He did not weep, as he had done in Vance's presence at a thought much less galling. Not that tears would have misbecome him. Shallow judges of human nature are they who think that tears in themselves ever misbecome boy or even man. Well did the sternest of Roman writers place the arch distinction of humanity aloft from all meaner of Heaven's creatures, in the prerogative of tears! Sooner mayst thou trust thy purse to a professional pickpocket than give loyal friendship to the man who boasts of eyes to which the heart never mounts in dew! Only, when man weeps he should be alone,--not because tears are weak, but because they should be sacred. Tears are akin to prayers. Pharisees parade prayer! impostors parade tears. O Pegasus, Pegasus,--softly, softly,--thou hast hurried me off amidst the clouds: drop me gently down--there, by the side of the motionless boy in the shadowy glen.

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BOOK II CHAPTER VIILionel Haughton, having hitherto much improved his chance of fortune, decides the question, "What will he do with it?" "I have been seeking you everywhere," said a well-known voice; and a hand rested lightly on Lionel's shoulder. The boy looked up, startled, but yet heavily, and saw Guy Darrell, the last man on earth he could have desired to see. "Will you come in for a few minutes? you are wanted." "What for? I would rather stay here. Who can want me?" Darrell, struck by the words and the sullen tone in which they were uttered, surveyed Lionel's
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BOOK II CHAPTER VThe annals of empire are briefly chronicled in family records brought down to the present day, showing that the race of men is indeed "like leaves on trees, now green in youth, now withering on the ground." Yet to the branch the most bare will green leaves return, so long as the sap can remount to the branch from the root; but the branch which has ceased to take life from the root--hang it high, hang it low--is a prey to the wind and the woodman. It was mid-day. The boy and his new friend were standing apart,
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