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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 41. Commencement Of The Splendours And Perplexities Of My Father's Grand Parade
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The Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 41. Commencement Of The Splendours And Perplexities Of My Father's Grand Parade Post by :tessaru Category :Long Stories Author :George Meredith Date :May 2012 Read :2931

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The Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 41. Commencement Of The Splendours And Perplexities Of My Father's Grand Parade


Janet, in reply to our inquiries as to the condition of the squire's temper, pointed out in the newspaper a notification of a grand public Ball to be given by my father, the first of a series of three, and said that the squire had seen it and shrugged. She thought there was no positive cause for alarm, even though my father should fail of his word; but expressed her view decidedly, that it was an unfortunate move to bring him between the squire and me, and so she blamed Captain Bulsted. This was partly for the reason that the captain and his wife, charmed by my father, were for advocating his merits at the squire's table: our ingenuity was ludicrously taxed to mystify him on the subject of their extravagant eulogies. They told him they had been invited, and were going to the great London Balls.

'Subscription Balls?' asked the squire.

'No, sir,' rejoined the captain.

'Tradesmen's Balls, d' ye call 'em, then?'

'No, sir; they are Balls given by a distinguished gentleman.'

'Take care it's not another name for tradesmen's Balls, William.'

'I do not attend tradesmen's Balls, sir.'

'Take care o' that, William.'

The captain was very angry. 'What,' said he, turning to us, 'what does the squire mean by telling an officer of the Royal Navy that he is conducting his wife to a tradesmen's Ball?'

Julia threatened malicious doings for the insult. She and the squire had a controversy upon the explication of the word gentleman, she describing my father's appearance and manners to the life. 'Now listen to me, squire. A gentleman, I say, is one you'd say, if he wasn't born a duke, he ought to have been, and more shame to the title! He turns the key of a lady's heart with a twinkle of his eye. He 's never mean--what he has is yours. He's a true friend; and if he doesn't keep his word, you know in a jiffy it's the fault of affairs; and stands about five feet eleven: he's a full-blown man': and so forth.

The squire listened, and perspired at finding the object of his abhorrence crowned thus in the unassailable realms of the abstract. Julia might have done it more elegantly; but her husband was rapturous over her skill in portraiture, and he added: 'That's a gentleman, squire; and that 's a man pretty sure to be abused by half the world.'

'Three-quarters, William,' said the squire; 'there's about the computation for your gentleman's creditors, I suspect.'

'Ay, sir; well,' returned the captain, to whom this kind of fencing in the dark was an affliction, 'we make it up in quality--in quality.'

'I 'll be bound you do,' said the squire; 'and so you will so long as you 're only asked to dance to the other poor devils' fiddling.'

Captain Bulsted bowed. 'The last word to you, squire.'

The squire nodded. 'I 'll hand it to your wife, William.'

Julia took it graciously. 'A perfect gentleman! perfect! confound his enemies!'

'Why, ma'am, you might keep from swearing,' the squire bawled.

'La! squire,' said she, 'why, don't you know the National Anthem?'

'National Anthem, ma'am! and a fellow, a velvet-tongued--confound him, if you like.'

'And where's my last word, if you please?' Julia jumped up, and dropped a provoking curtsey.

'You silly old grandada!' said Janet, going round to him; 'don't you see the cunning woman wants to dress you in our garments, and means to boast of it to us while you're finishing your wine?'

The old man fondled her. I could have done the same, she bent over him with such homely sweetness. 'One comfort, you won't go to these gingerbread Balls,' he said.

'I'm not invited,' she moaned comically.

'No; nor shan't be, while I can keep you out of bad company.'

'But, grandada, I do like dancing.

'Dance away, my dear; I've no objection.'

'But where's the music?'

'Oh, you can always have music.'

'But where are my partners?'

The squire pointed at me.

'You don't want more than one at a time, eh?' He corrected his error: 'No, the fellow's engaged in another quadrille. Mind you, Miss Janet, he shall dance to your tune yet. D' ye hear, sir?' The irritation excited by Captain Bulsted and Julia broke out in fury. 'Who's that fellow danced when Rome was burning?'

'The Emperor Nero,' said Janet. 'He killed Harry's friend Seneca in the eighty-somethingth year of his age; an old man, and--hush, grandada!' She could not check him.

'Hark you, Mr. Harry; dance your hardest up in town with your rips and reps, and the lot of ye; all very fine while the burning goes on: you won't see the fun of dancing on the ashes. A nice king of Rome Nero was next morning! By the Lord, if I couldn't swear you'll be down on your knees to an innocent fresh-hearted girl 's worth five hundred of the crew you're for partnering now while you've a penny for the piper.'

Janet shut his mouth, kissed him, and held his wine up. He drank, and thumped the table. 'We 'll have parties here, too. The girl shall have her choice of partners: she shan't be kept in the background by a young donkey. Take any six of your own age, and six sensible men, to try you by your chances. By George, the whole dozen 'd bring you in non-compos. You've only got the women on your side because of a smart face and figure.'

Janet exclaimed indignantly, 'Grandada, I'm offended with you'; and walked out on a high step.

'Come, if he has the women on his side,' said Captain Bulsted, mildly.

'He'll be able to go partnering and gallopading as long as his banker 'll let him, William--like your gentleman! That's true. We shall soon see.'

'I leave my character in your hands, sir,' said I, rising. 'If you would scold me in private, I should prefer it, on behalf of your guests; but I am bound to submit to your pleasure, and under any circumstances I remember, what you appear to forget, that you are my grandfather.'

So saying, I followed the ladies. It was not the wisest of speeches, and happened, Captain Bulsted informed me, to be delivered in my father's manner, for the squire pronounced emphatically that he saw very little Beltham in me. The right course would have been for me to ask him then and there whether I had his consent to start for Germany. But I was the sport of resentments and apprehensions; and, indeed, I should not have gone. I could not go without some title beyond that of the heir of great riches.

Janet kept out of my sight. I found myself strangely anxious to console her: less sympathetic, perhaps, than desirous to pour out my sympathy in her ear, which was of a very pretty shape, with a soft unpierced lobe. We danced together at the Riversley Ball, given by the squire on the night of my father's Ball in London. Janet complimented me upon having attained wisdom. 'Now we get on well,' she said. 'Grandada only wants to see us friendly, and feel that I am not neglected.'

The old man, a martyr to what he considered due to his favourite, endured the horror of the Ball until suppertime, and kept his eyes on us two. He forgot, or pretended to forget, my foreign engagement altogether, though the announcement in the newspapers was spoken of by Sir Roderick and Lady Echester and others.

'How do you like that?' he remarked to me, seeing her twirled away by one of the young Rubreys.

'She seems to like it, sir,' I replied.

'Like it!' said he. 'In my day you wouldn't have caught me letting the bloom be taken off the girl I cared for by a parcel o' scampish young dogs. Right in their arms! Look at her build. She's strong; she's healthy; she goes round like a tower. If you want a girl to look like a princess!'

His eulogies were not undeserved. But she danced as lightly and happily with Mr. Fred Rubrey as with Harry Richmond. I congratulated myself on her lack of sentiment. Later, when in London, where Mlle. Jenny Chassediane challenged me to perilous sarabandes, I wished that Janet had ever so small a grain of sentiment, for a preservative to me. Ottilia glowed high and distant; she sent me no message; her image did not step between me and disorder. The whole structure of my idea of my superior nature seemed to be crumbling to fragments; and beginning to feel in despair that I was wretchedly like other men, I lost by degrees the sense of my hold on her. It struck me that my worst fears of the effect produced on the princess's mind by that last scene in the lake-palace must be true, and I abandoned hope. Temple thought she tried me too cruelly. Under these circumstances I became less and less resolutely disposed to renew the forlorn conflict with my father concerning his prodigal way of living. 'Let it last as long as I have a penny to support him!' I exclaimed. He said that Dettermain and Newson were now urging on his case with the utmost despatch in order to keep pace with him, but that the case relied for its life on his preserving a great appearance. He handed me his division of our twin cheque-books, telling me he preferred to depend on his son for supplies, and I was in the mood to think this a partial security.

'But you can take what there is,' I said.

'On the contrary, I will accept nothing but minor sums--so to speak, the fractional shillings; though I confess I am always bewildered by silver,' said he.

I questioned him upon his means of carrying on his expenditure. His answer was to refer to the pavement of the city of London. By paving here and there he had, he informed me, made a concrete for the wheels to roll on. He calculated that he now had credit for the space of three new years--ample time for him to fight his fight and win his victory.

'My tradesmen are not like the tradesmen of other persons,' he broke out with a curious neigh of supreme satisfaction in that retinue. 'They believe in me. I have de facto harnessed them to my fortunes; and if you doubt me on the point of success, I refer you to Dettermain and Newson. All I stipulate for is to maintain my position in society to throw a lustre on my Case. So much I must do. My failures hitherto have been entirely owing to the fact that I had not my son to stand by me.'

'Then you must have money, sir.'

'Yes, money.'

'Then what can you mean by refusing mine?'

'I admit the necessity for it, my son. Say you hand me a cheque for a temporary thousand. Your credit and mine in conjunction can replace it before the expiration of the two months. Or,' he meditated, 'it might be better to give a bond or so to a professional lender, and preserve the account at your bankers intact. The truth is, I have, in my interview with the squire, drawn in advance upon the material success I have a perfect justification to anticipate, and I cannot allow the old gentleman to suppose that I retrench for the purpose of giving a large array of figures to your bankers' book. It would be sheer madness. I cannot do it. I cannot afford to do it. When you are on a runaway horse, I prefer to say a racehorse,--Richie, you must ride him. You dare not throw up the reins. Only last night Wedderburn, appealing to Loftus, a practical sailor, was approved when he offered--I forget the subject-matter--the illustration of a ship on a lee-shore; you are lost if you do not spread every inch of canvas to the gale. Retrenchment at this particular moment is perdition. Count our gains, Richie. We have won a princess...'

I called to him not to name her.

He persisted: 'Half a minute. She is won; she is ours. And let me, in passing,--bear with me one second--counsel you to write to Prince Ernest instanter, proposing formally for his daughter, and, in your grandfather's name, state her dowry at fifty thousand per annum.'

'Oh, you forget!' I interjected.

'No, Richie, I do not forget that you are off a leeshore; you are mounted on a skittish racehorse, with, if you like, a New Forest fly operating within an inch of his belly-girths. Our situation is so far ticklish, and prompts invention and audacity.'

'You must forget, sir, that in the present state of the squire's mind, I should be simply lying in writing to the prince that he offers a dowry.'

'No, for your grandfather has yielded consent.'

'By implication, you know he withdraws it.'

'But if I satisfy him that you have not been extravagant?'

'I must wait till he is satisfied.'

'The thing is done, Richie, done. I see it in advance--it is done! Whatever befalls me, you, my dear boy, in the space of two months, may grasp--your fortune. Besides, here is my hand. I swear by it, my son, that I shall satisfy the squire. I go farther; I say I shall have the means to refund to you--the means, the money. The marriage is announced in our prints for the Summer--say early June. And I undertake that you, the husband of the princess, shall be the first gentleman in England--that is, Europe. Oh! not ruling a coterie: not dazzling the world with entertainments.' He thought himself in earnest when he said, 'I attach no mighty importance to these things, though there is no harm I can perceive in leading the fashion--none that I see in having a consummate style. I know your taste, and hers, Richie, the noble lady's. She shall govern the intellectual world--your poets, your painters, your men of science. They reflect a beautiful sovereign mistress more exquisitely than almost aristocracy does. But you head our aristocracy also. You are a centre of the political world. So I scheme it. Between you, I defy the Court to rival you. This I call distinction. It is no mean aim, by heaven! I protest, it is an aim with the mark in sight, and not out of range.'

He whipped himself up to one of his oratorical frenzies, of which a cheque was the common fruit. The power of his persuasiveness in speech, backed by the spectacle of his social accomplishments, continued to subdue me, and I protested only inwardly even when I knew that he was gambling with fortune. I wrote out many cheques, and still it appeared to me that they were barely sufficient to meet the current expenses of his household. Temple and I calculated that his Grand Parade would try the income of a duke, and could but be a matter of months. Mention of it reached Riversley from various quarters, from Lady Maria Higginson, from Captain Bulsted and his wife, and from Sir Roderick Ilchester, who said to me, with fine accentuation, 'I have met your father.' Sir Roderick, an Englishman reputed of good breeding, informed the son that he had actually met the father in lofty society, at Viscountess Sedley's, at Lady Dolchester's, at Bramham DeWitt's, and heard of him as a frequenter of the Prussian and Austrian Embassy entertainments; and also that he was admitted to the exclusive dinner-parties of the Countess de Strode, 'which are,' he observed, in the moderated tone of an astonishment devoting itself to propagation, 'the cream of society.' Indubitably, then, my father was an impostor: more Society proved it. The squire listened like one pelted by a storm, sure of his day to come at the close of the two months. I gained his commendation by shunning the metropolitan Balls, nor did my father press me to appear at them. It was tacitly understood between us that I should now and then support him at his dinner-table, and pass bowing among the most select of his great ladies. And this I did, and I felt at home with them, though I had to bear with roughnesses from one or two of the more venerable dames, which were not quite proper to good breeding. Old Lady Kane, great-aunt of the Marquis of Edbury, was particularly my tormentor, through her plain-spoken comments on my father's legal suit; for I had to listen to her without wincing, and agree in her general contempt of the Georges, and foil her queries coolly, when I should have liked to perform Jorian DeWitt's expressed wish to 'squeeze the acid out of her in one grip, and toss her to the Gods that collect exhausted lemons.' She took extraordinary liberties with me.

'Why not marry an Englishwoman? Rich young men ought to choose wives from their own people, out of their own sets. Foreign women never get on well in this country, unless they join the hounds to hunt the husband.'

She cited naturalized ladies famous for the pastime. Her world and its outskirts she knew thoroughly, even to the fact of my grandfather's desire that I should marry Janet Ilchester. She named a duke's daughter, an earl's. Of course I should have to stop the scandal: otherwise the choice I had was unrestricted. My father she evidently disliked, but she just as much disliked an encounter with his invincible bonhomie and dexterous tongue. She hinted at family reasons for being shy of him, assuring me that I was not implicated in them.

'The Guelph pattern was never much to my taste,' she said, and it consoled me with the thought that he was not ranked as an adventurer in the houses he entered. I learned that he was supposed to depend chiefly on my vast resources. Edbury acted the part of informant to the inquisitive harridan: 'Her poor dear good-for-nothing Edbury! whose only cure would be a nice, well-conducted girl, an heiress.' She had cast her eye on Anna Penrhys, but considered her antecedents doubtful. Spotless innocence was the sole receipt for Edbury's malady. My father, in a fit of bold irony, proposed Lady Kane for President of his Tattle and Scandal Club,--a club of ladies dotted with select gentlemen, the idea of which Jorian DeWitt claimed the merit of starting, and my father surrendered it to him, with the reservation, that Jorian intended an association of backbiters pledged to reveal all they knew, whereas the Club, in its present form, was an engine of morality and decency, and a social safeguard, as well as an amusement. It comprised a Committee of Investigation, and a Court of Appeal; its object was to arraign slander. Lady Kane declined the honour. 'I am not a washerwoman,' she said to me, and spoke of where dirty linen should be washed, and was distressingly broad in her innuendoes concerning Edbury's stepmother. This Club sat and became a terror for a month, adding something to my father's reputation. His inexhaustible conversational art and humour gave it such vitality as it had. Ladies of any age might apply for admission when well seconded: gentlemen under forty-five years were rigidly excluded, and the seniors must also have passed through the marriage ceremony.

Outside tattle and scandal declared, that the Club was originated to serve as a club for Lady Edbury, but I chose to have no opinion upon what I knew nothing of.

These matters were all ephemeral, and freaks; they produced, however, somewhat of the same effect on me as on my father, in persuading me that he was born for the sphere he occupied, and rendering me rather callous as to the sources of ways and means. I put my name to a bond for several thousand pounds, in conjunction with Lord Edbury, thinking my father right in wishing to keep my cheque-book unworried, lest the squire should be seized with a spasm of curiosity before the two months were over. 'I promise you I surprise him,' my father said repeatedly. He did not say how: I had the suspicion that he did not know. His confidence and my growing recklessness acted in unison.

Happily the newspapers were quiet. I hoped consequently to find peace at Riversley; but there the rumours of the Grand Parade were fabulous, thanks to Captain Bulsted and Julia, among others. These two again provoked an outbreak of rage from the squire, and I, after hearing them, was almost disposed to side with him; they suggested an inexplicable magnificence, and created an image of a man portentously endowed with the capacity to throw dust in the eyes. No description of the Balls could have furnished me with such an insight of their brilliancy as the consuming ardour they awakened in the captain and his wife. He reviewed them: 'Princely entertainments! Arabian Nights!'

She built them up piecemeal: 'The company! the dresses! the band! the supper!' The host was a personage supernatural. 'Aladdin's magician, if you like,' said Julia, 'only-good! A perfect gentleman! and I'll say again, confound his enemies.' She presumed, as she was aware she might do, upon the squire's prepossession in her favour, without reckoning that I was always the victim.

'Heard o' that new story 'bout a Dauphin?' he asked.

'A Dauphin?' quoth Captain Bulsted. 'I don't know the fish.'

'You've been in a pretty kettle of 'em lately, William. I heard of it yesterday on the Bench. Lord Shale, our new Lord-Lieutenant, brought it down. A trick they played the fellow 'bout a Dauphin. Serve him right. You heard anything 'bout it, Harry?'

I had not.

'But I tell ye there is a Dauphin mixed up with him. A Dauphin and Mr. Ik Dine!'

'Mr. Ik Dine!' exclaimed the captain, perplexed.

'Ay, that's German lingo, William, and you ought to know it if you're a loyal sailor--means "I serve."'

'Mr. Beltham,' said the captain, seriously, 'I give you my word of honour as a man and a British officer, I don't understand one syllable of what you're saying; but if it means any insinuation against the gentleman who condescends to extend his hospitalities to my wife and me, I must, with regret, quit the place where I have had the misfortune to hear it.'

'You stop where you are, William,' the squire motioned to him. 'Gad, I shall have to padlock my mouth, or I shan't have a friend left soon... confounded fellow... I tell you they call him Mr. Ik Dine in town. Ik Dine and a Dauphin! They made a regular clown and pantaloon o' the pair, I'm told. Couple o' pretenders to Thrones invited to dine together and talk over their chances and show their private marks. Oho! by-and-by, William! You and I! Never a man made such a fool of in his life!'

The ladies retired. The squire continued, in a furious whisper:

'They got the two together, William. Who are you? I'm a Dauphin; who are you? I'm Ik Dine, bar sinister. Oh! says the other, then I take precedence of you! Devil a bit, says the other; I've got more spots than you. Proof, says one. You first, t' other. Count, one cries. T' other sings out, Measles. Better than a dying Dauphin, roars t' other; and swore both of 'm 'twas nothing but Port-wine stains and pimples. Ha! ha! And, William, will you believe it?--the couple went round begging the company to count spots--ha! ha! to prove their big birth! Oh, Lord, I'd ha' paid a penny to be there! A Jack o' Bedlam Ik Dine damned idiot!--makes name o' Richmond stink.' (Captain Bulsted shot a wild stare round the room to make sure that the ladies had gone.) 'I tell ye, William, I had it from Lord Shale himself only yesterday on the Bench. He brought it to us hot from town--didn't know I knew the fellow; says the fellow's charging and firing himself off all day and all night too-can't make him out. Says London's mad about him: lots o' women, the fools! Ha, ha! a Dauphin!'

'Ah, well, sir,' Captain Bulsted supplicated feverishly, rubbing his brows and whiskers.

'It 's true, William. Fellow ought to be taken up and committed as a common vagabond, and would be anywhere but in London. I'd jail him 'fore you cocked your eye twice. Fellow came here and talked me over to grant him a couple o' months to prove he hasn't swindled his son of every scrap of his money. We shall soon see. Not many weeks to run! And pretends--fellow swears to me--can get him into Parliament; swears he'll get him in 'fore the two months are over! An infernal--'

'Please to recollect, sir; the old hereditary shall excuse you----'

'Gout, you mean, William? By----'

'You are speaking in the presence of his son, sir, and you are trying the young gentleman's affection for you hard.'

'Eh? 'Cause I'm his friend? Harry,' my grandfather faced round on me, 'don't you know I 'm the friend you can trust? Hal, did I ever borrow a farthing of you? Didn't I, the day of your majority, hand you the whole of your inheritance from your poor broken-hearted mother, with interest, and treat you like a man? And never played spy, never made an inquiry, till I heard the scamp had been fastening on you like a blood-sucker, and singing hymns into the ears of that squeamish dolt of a pipe-smoking parson, Peterborough--never thought of doing it! Am I the man that dragged your grandmother's name through the streets and soiled yours?'

I remarked that I was sensible of the debt of gratitude I owed to him, but would rather submit to the scourge, or to destitution, than listen to these attacks on my father.

'Cut yourself loose, Harry,' he cried, a trifle mollified. 'Don't season his stew--d' ye hear? Stick to decent people. Why, you don't expect he'll be locked up in the Tower for a finish, eh? It'll be Newgate, or the Bench. He and his Dauphin--ha! ha! A rascal crow and a Jack Dauphin!'

Captain Bulsted reached me his hand. 'You have a great deal to bear, Harry. I commend you, my boy, for taking it manfully.'

'I say no more,' quoth the squire. 'But what I said was true. The fellow gives his little dinners and suppers to his marchionesses, countesses, duchesses, and plays clown and pantaloon among the men. He thinks a parcel o' broidered petticoats 'll float him. So they may till a tradesman sent stark mad pops a pin into him. Harry, I'd as lief hang on to a fire-ship. Here's Ilchester tells me... and Ilchester speaks of him under his breath now as if he were sitting in a pew funking the parson. Confound the fellow! I say he's guilty of treason. Pooh! who cares! He cuts out the dandies of his day, does he? He's past sixty, if he's a month. It's all damned harlequinade. Let him twirl off one columbine or another, or a dozen, and then--the last of him! Fellow makes the world look like a farce. He 's got about eight feet by five to caper on, and all London gaping at him--geese! Are you a gentleman and a man of sense, Harry Richmond, to let yourself be lugged about in public--by the Lord! like a pair of street-tumblers in spangled haunch-bags, father and boy, on a patch of carpet, and a drum banging, and tossed and turned inside out, and my God! the ass of a fellow strutting the ring with you on his shoulder! That's the spectacle. And you, Harry, now I 'll ask you, do you mean your wife--egad, it'd be a pretty scene, with your princess in hip-up petticoats, stiff as bottle-funnel top down'ards, airing a whole leg, and knuckling a tambourine!'

'Not crying, my dear lad?' Captain Bulsted put his arm round me kindly, and tried to catch a glimpse of my face. I let him see I was not going through that process. 'Whew!' said he, 'and enough to make any Christian sweat! You're in a bath, Harry. I wouldn't expect the man who murdered his godmother for one shilling and fivepence three-farthings the other day, to take such a slinging, and think he deserved it.'

My power of endurance had reached its limit.

'You tell me, sir, you had this brutal story from the Lord-Lieutenant of the county?'

'Ay, from Lord Shale. But I won't have you going to him and betraying our connection with a--'

'Halloo!' Captain Bulsted sang out to his wife on the lawn. 'And now, squire, I have had my dose. And you will permit me to observe, that I find it emphatically what we used to call at school black-jack.'

'And you were all the better for it afterwards, William.'

'We did not arrive at that opinion, sir. Harry, your arm. An hour with the ladies will do us both good. The squire,' he murmured, wiping his forehead as he went out, 'has a knack of bringing us into close proximity with hell-fire when he pleases.'

Julia screamed on beholding us, 'Aren't you two men as pale as death!'

Janet came and looked. 'Merely a dose,' said the captain. 'We are anxious to play battledore and shuttlecock madly.'

'So he shall, the dear!' Julia caressed him. 'We'll all have a tournament in the wet-weather shed.'

Janet whispered to me, 'Was it--the Returning Thanks?'

'The what?' said I, with the dread at my heart of something worse than I had heard.

She hailed Julia to run and fetch the battledores, and then told me she had been obliged to confiscate the newspapers that morning and cast the burden on post-office negligence. 'They reach grandada's hands by afternoon post, Harry, and he finds objectionable passages blotted or cut out; and as long as the scissors don't touch the business columns and the debates, he never asks me what I have been doing. He thinks I keep a scrap-book. I haven't often time in the morning to run an eye all over the paper. This morning it was the first thing I saw.'

What had she seen? She led me out of view of the windows and showed me.

My father was accused of having stood up at a public dinner and returned thanks on behalf of an Estate of the Realm: it read monstrously. I ceased to think of the suffering inflicted on me by my grandfather.

Janet and I, side by side with the captain and Julia, carried on the game of battledore and shuttlecock, in a match to see whether the unmarried could keep the shuttle flying as long as the married, with varying fortunes. She gazed on me, to give me the comfort of her sympathy, too much, and I was too intent on the vision of my father either persecuted by lies or guilty of hideous follies, to allow the match to be a fair one. So Julia could inform the squire that she and William had given the unmarried pair a handsome beating, when he appeared peeping round one of the shed-pillars.

'Of course you beat 'em,' said the squire. 'It 's not my girl's fault.' He said more, to the old tune, which drove Janet away.

I remembered, when back in the London vortex, the curious soft beauty she won from casting up her eyes to watch the descending feathers, and the brilliant direct beam of those thick-browed, firm, clear eyes, with her frown, and her set lips and brave figure, when she was in the act of striking to keep up a regular quick fusilade. I had need of calm memories. The town was astir, and humming with one name.

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The Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 40. My Father's Meeting With My Grandfather The Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 40. My Father's Meeting With My Grandfather

The Adventures Of Harry Richmond - Book 6 - Chapter 40. My Father's Meeting With My Grandfather
BOOK VI CHAPTER XL. MY FATHER'S MEETING WITH MY GRANDFATHERMy father's pleasure on the day of our journey to Bulsted was to drive me out of London on a lofty open chariot, with which he made the circuit of the fashionable districts, and caused innumerable heads to turn. I would have preferred to go the way of other men, to be unnoticed, but I was subject to an occasional glowing of undefined satisfaction in the observance of the universally acknowledged harmony existing between his pretensions, his tastes and habits, and his person. He contrived by I know not what persuasiveness and