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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Bertrams - Volume 1 - Chapter 12. George Bertram Decides In Favour Of The Bar
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The Bertrams - Volume 1 - Chapter 12. George Bertram Decides In Favour Of The Bar Post by :Maxprofits Category :Long Stories Author :Anthony Trollope Date :May 2012 Read :3559

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The Bertrams - Volume 1 - Chapter 12. George Bertram Decides In Favour Of The Bar

CHAPTER XII. GEORGE BERTRAM DECIDES IN FAVOUR OF THE BAR

George Bertram did not return directly to England. Since he had been in Turkey, he had made arrangement by letter with his friend Harcourt to meet him in the Tyrol, and to travel home with him through Switzerland. It was about the middle of June when he left Constantinople, and Harcourt was to be at Innspruck on the 5th August. George might therefore well have remained a week or two longer with his father had either of them so wished; but neither of them did wish it. The living at Constantinople was dear, and George's funds would not stand much more of it; and Sir Lionel, free and easy as he was, still felt his son's presence as some impediment--perhaps in the way of his business, perhaps in that of his pleasures.

From Constantinople Bertram went up across the Balkan to the Danube, and thence through Bucharest into Transylvania, travelling, as in those days was necessary, somewhat by permission of the Russian authorities. He then again struck the Danube at Pesth; remained some little time there; again a week or so at Vienna; from thence he visited Saltzburg, and exactly on the appointed day shook hands with his friend in the hall of the old "Golden Sun" at Innspruck.

At first, on leaving his father, George was very glad to be once more alone. Men delighted him not; nor women either at that moment--seeing that his thoughts were running on Caroline Waddington, and that her presence was not to be had. But by the time that he found himself in the Tyrol, he was delighted once more to have a companion. He had of course picked up Englishmen, and been picked up by them at every town he had passed; one always does; some ladies also he had casually encountered--but he had met with no second Caroline. While wandering about the mountains of Transylvania, he had been quite contented to be alone: at Pesth he had not ceased to congratulate himself on his solitude, though sometimes he found the day a little too long for his purpose in doing so; at Vienna he was glad enough to find an old Oxonian; though, even while enjoying the treat, he would occasionally say to himself that, after all, society was only a bore. But by the time he had done the Saltzburg country, he was heartily sick of himself, somewhat sick also of thinking of his love, and fully able to re-echo all that Harcourt had to say in praise of some very fine old wine which that fastidious gentleman caused to be produced for them from the cellars of the "Golden Sun."

Innspruck is a beautiful little town. Perhaps no town in Europe can boast a site more exquisitely picturesque. Edinburgh would be equal to it, if it had a river instead of a railroad running through its valley and under its Castle-hill. But we sojourned too long in the Holy Land to permit of our dwelling even for half a chapter in the Tyrol. George, however, and his friend remained there for a fortnight. They went over the Brenner and looked down into Italy; made an excursion to those singular golden-tinted mountains, the Dolomites, among which live a race of men who speak neither German nor Italian, nor other language known among the hundred dialects of Europe, but a patois left to them from the ancient Latins; they wandered through the valleys of the Inn and its tributaries and wondered at the odd way of living which still prevails in their picturesque castellated mansions.

For awhile Bertram thought that Harcourt was the best companion in the world. He was as agreeable and easy tempered as his father; and was at the same time an educated man, which his father certainly was not. Harcourt, though he put his happiness in material things perhaps quite as much as did Sir Lionel, required that his material things should be of a high flavour. He was a reading man, addicted, in a certain cynical, carping sort of way, even to poetry, was a critic almost by profession, loved pictures, professed to love scenery, certainly loved to watch and scrutinize the different classes of his brother-men. He was gifted pre-eminently with a lawyer's mind, but it was not a lawyer's mind of a vulgar quality. He, too, loved riches, and looked on success in the world as a man's chief, nay, perhaps his only aim; but for him it was necessary that success should be polished. Sir Lionel wanted money that he might swallow it and consume it, as a shark does its prey; but, like sharks in general, he had always been hungry,--had never had his bellyful of money. Harcourt's desire for money was of a different class. It would not suit him to be in debt to any one. A good balance at his banker's was a thing dear to his soul. He aimed at perfect respectability, and also at perfect independence.

For awhile, therefore, Harcourt's teaching was a great improvement on Sir Lionel's, and was felt to be so. He preached a love of good things; but the good things were to be corollaries only to good work. Sir Lionel's summum bonum would have been an unexpected pocketful of money, three months of idleness in which to spend it, and pleasant companions for the time, who should be at any rate as well provided in pocket as himself. Harcourt would have required something more. The world's respect and esteem were as necessary to him as the world's pleasures.

But nevertheless, after a time, Harcourt's morality offended Bertram, as Bertram's transcendentalism offended Harcourt. They admired the same view, but they could not look at it through the same coloured glass.

"And so on the whole you liked your governor?" said Harcourt to him one day as they were walking across a mountain range from one valley to another.

"Yes, indeed."

"One is apt to be prejudiced in one's father's favour, of course," said Harcourt. "That is to say, when one hasn't seen him for twenty years or so. A more common, constant knowledge, perhaps, puts the prejudice the other way."

"Sir Lionel is undoubtedly a very pleasant man; no one, I fancy, could help liking his society."

"I understand it all as well as though you had written a book about him. You have none of that great art, Bertram, which teaches a man to use his speech to conceal his thoughts."

"Why should I wish to conceal my thoughts from you?"

"I know exactly what you mean about your father: he is no martinet in society, even with his son. He assumes to himself no mysterious unintelligible dignity. He has none of the military Grimgruffenuff about him. He takes things easily, and allows other people to do the same."

"Exactly."

"But this was not exactly what you wanted. If he had treated you as though a father and son were necessarily of a different order of beings, had he been a little less familiar, a little colder, perhaps a thought more stern and forbidding in his parental way of pushing the bottle to you, you would have liked him better?"

"No, not have liked him better; I might perhaps have thought it more natural."

"Just so; you went to look for a papa with a boy's feelings, and the papa, who had not been looking for you at all, took you for a man as you are when he found you."

"I am sure of this at any rate, that he was delighted to see me."

"I am sure he was, and proud of you when he did see you. I never supposed but that the gallant colonel had some feelings in his bowels. Have you made any arrangements with him about money?"

"No--none."

"Said not a word about so mundane a subject?"

"I don't say that; it is only natural that we should have said something. But as to income, he fights his battle, and I fight mine."

"He should now have a large income from his profession."

"And large expenses. I suppose there is no dearer place in Europe than Constantinople."

"All places are dear to an Englishman exactly in comparison as he knows, or does not know, the ways of the place. A Turk, I have no doubt, could live there in a very genteel sort of manner on what you would consider a moderate pittance."

"I suppose he could."

"And Sir Lionel by this time should be a Turk in Turkey, a Greek in Greece, or a Persian in Bagdad."

"Perhaps he is. But I was not. I know I shall be very fairly cleared out by the time I get to London; and yet I had expected to have three hundred pounds untouched there."

"Such expectations always fall to the ground--always. Every quarter I allow myself exactly what I shall want, and then I double it for emergencies."

"You are a lucky fellow to have the power to do so."

"Yes, but then I put my quarterly wants at a _very low figure; a figure that would be quite unsuitable--quite unintelligible to the nephew of a Croesus."

"The nephew of a Croesus will have to put his quarterly wants at something about fifty pounds, as far as I can see."

"My dear fellow, when I observe that water bubbles up from a certain spot every winter and every spring, and occasionally in the warm weather too, I never think that it has run altogether dry because it may for a while cease to bubble up under the blazing sun of August. Nature, of whose laws I know so much, tells me that the water will come again."

"Yes, water will run in its natural course. But when you have been supplied by an artificial pipe, and have cut that off, it is probable that you may run short."

"In such case I would say, that having a due regard to prudence, I would not cut off that very convenient artificial pipe."

"One may pay too dear, Harcourt, even for one's water."

"As far as I am able to judge, you have had yours without paying for it at all; and if you lose it, it will only be by your own obstinacy. I would I had such an uncle to deal with."

"I would you had; as for me, I tell you fairly, I do not mean to deal with him at all."

"I would I had; I should know then that everything was open to me. Now I have everything to do for myself. I do not despair, however. As for you, the ball is at your foot."

They talked very freely with each other as to their future hopes and future destinies. Harcourt seemed to take it as a settled matter that Bertram should enter himself at the bar, and Bertram did not any longer contradict him. Since he had learnt Miss Waddington's ideas on the subject, he expressed no further desire to go into the church, and had, in fact, nothing serious to say in favour of any of those other professions of which he had sometimes been accustomed to speak. There was nothing but the bar left for him; and therefore when Harcourt at last asked him the question plainly, he said that he supposed that such would be his fate.

But on one subject Bertram did not speak openly to his friend. He said not a word to him about Caroline. Harcourt was in many respects an excellent friend; but he had hardly that softness of heart, or that softness of expression which tempts one man to make another a confidant in an affair of love. If Harcourt had any such affairs himself, he said nothing of them to Bertram, and at the present time Bertram said nothing on the subject to him. He kept that care deep in his own bosom. He had as yet neither spoken a word nor written a word concerning it to any one; and even when his friend had once casually asked him whether he had met much in the way of beauty in Jerusalem, he had felt himself to wince as though the subject were too painful to be spoken of.

They reached London about the middle of October, and Harcourt declared that he must immediately put himself again into harness. "Ten weeks of idleness," said he, "is more than a man can well afford who has to look to himself for everything; and I have now given myself eleven."

"And what are you going to do?"

"Do! work all day and read all night. Take notice of all the dullest cases I can come across, and read the most ponderous volumes that have been written on the delightful subject of law. A sucking barrister who means to earn his bread has something to do--as you will soon know."

Bertram soon learnt--now for the first time, for Harcourt himself had said nothing on the subject--that his friend's name was already favourably known, and that he had begun that career to which he so steadily looked forward. His ice was already broken: he had been employed as junior counsel in the great case of Pike _v Perch; and had distinguished himself not a little by his success in turning white into black.

"Then you had decidedly the worst of it?" said Bertram to him, when the matter was talked over between them.

"Oh, decidedly; but, nevertheless, we pulled through. My opinion all along was that none of the Pikes had a leg to stand upon. There were three of them. But I won't bore you with the case. You'll hear more of it some day, for it will be on again before the lords-justices in the spring."

"You were Pike's counsel?"

"One of them--the junior. I had most of the fag and none of the honour. That's of course."

"And you think that Perch ought to have succeeded?"

"Well, talking to you, I really think he ought; but I would not admit that to any one else. Sir Ricketty Giggs led for us, and I know he thought so too at first; though he got so carried away by his own eloquence at last that I believe he changed his mind."

"Well, if I'd thought that, I wouldn't have held the brief for all the Pikes that ever swam."

"If a man's case be weak, then, he is to have no advocate? That's your idea of justice."

"If it be so weak that no one can be got to think it right, of course he should have no advocate."

"And how are you to know till you have taken the matter up and sifted it? But what you propose is Quixotic in every way. It will not hold water for a moment. You know as well as I do that no barrister would keep a wig on his head who pretended to such a code of morals in his profession. Such a doctrine is a doctrine of puritanism--or purism, which is worse. All this moonshine was very well for you when you talked of being a clergyman, or an author, or a painter. One allows outsiders any amount of nonsense in their criticism, as a matter of course. But it won't do now, Bertram. If you mean to put your shoulders to the wheel in the only profession which, to my mind, is worthy of an educated man's energies, you must get rid of those cobwebs."

"Upon my word, Harcourt, when you hit on a subject you like, your eloquence is wonderful. Sir Ricketty Giggs himself could hardly say more to defend his sins of forty years' endurance."

Harcourt had spoken in earnest. Such milk-and-water, unpractical scruples were disgusting to his very soul. In thinking of them to himself, he would call them unmanly. What! was such a fellow as Bertram, a boy just fresh from college, to animadvert upon and condemn the practice of the whole bar of England? He had, too, a conviction, clearly fixed in his own mind, though he could hardly explain the grounds of it in words, that in the long run the cause of justice would be better served by the present practice of allowing wrong and right to fight on equal terms; by giving to wrong the same privilege that is given to right; by giving to wrong even a wider privilege, seeing that, being in itself necessarily weak, it needs the more protection. He would declare that you were trampling on the fallen if you told him that wrong could be entitled to no privilege, no protection whatever--to no protection, till it was admitted by itself, admitted by all, to be wrong.

Bertram had now to establish himself in London; and he was also, as he thought, under the necessity of seeing two persons, his uncle and Miss Waddington. He could not settle himself well to work before he had done both. One preliminary business he did settle for himself, in order that his uncle, when he saw him, might know that his choice for the bar was made up and past recalling. He selected that great and enduring Chancery barrister, Mr. Neversaye Die, as the Gamaliel at whose feet he would sit; as the fountain from whence he would draw the coming waters of his own eloquence; as the instructor of his legal infancy and guide of his legal youth. Harcourt was at the Common Law bar, and therefore he recommended the other branch of the profession to his friend. "The Common Law," said he, "may have the most dash about it; but Chancery has the substance." George, after thinking over the matter for some days, gave it as his opinion that Chancery barristers were rogues of a dye somewhat less black than the others, and that he would select to be a rogue of that colour. The matter was therefore so settled.

His first step, then, was to see his uncle. He told himself--and as he thought, truly--that his doing so was a duty, disagreeable in all respects, to be attended with no pecuniary results, but necessary to be performed. In truth, however, the teaching of Sir Lionel and Harcourt had not been altogether without effect: at this present moment, having just paid to Mr. Neversaye Die his first yearly contribution, he was well-nigh penniless; and, after all, if a rich uncle have money to bestow, why should he not bestow it on a nephew? Money, at any rate, was not in itself deleterious. So much George was already prepared to allow.

He therefore called on his uncle in the City. "Ha! George--what; you're back, are you? Well, come and dine at Hadley to-morrow. I must be at the Bank before three. Good-bye, my boy."

This was all his uncle said to him at their first meeting. Then he saw Mr. Pritchett for a moment.

"Oh, Mr. George, I am glad to see you back, sir; very glad indeed, sir. I hear you have been to very foreign parts. I hope you have always found the money right, Mr. George?"

Mr. George, shaking hands with him, warmly assured him that the money had always been quite right--as long as it lasted.

"A little does not go a long way, I'm sure, in those very foreign parts," said Mr. Pritchett, oracularly. "But, Mr. George, why didn't you write, eh, Mr. George?"

"You don't mean to say that my uncle expected to hear from me?"

"He asked very often whether I had any tidings. Ah! Mr. George, you don't know an old man's ways yet. It would have been better for you to have been led by me. And so you have seen Mr. Lionel--Sir Lionel, I should say now. I hope Sir Lionel is quite well."

George told him that he had found his father in excellent health, and was going away, when Mr. Pritchett asked another question, or rather made another observation. "And so you saw Miss Waddington, did you, Mr. George?"

Bertram felt that there was that in his countenance which might again betray him; but he managed to turn away his face as he said, "Yes, I did meet her, quite by chance, at Jerusalem."

"At Jerusalem!" said Mr. Pritchett, with such a look of surprise, with such an awe-struck tone, as might have suited some acquaintance of Aeneas's, on hearing that gentleman tell how he had travelled beyond the Styx. Mr. Pritchett was rather fat and wheezy, and the effort made him sigh gently for the next two minutes.

Bertram had put on his hat and was going, when Mr. Pritchett, recovering himself, asked yet a further question. "And what did you think of Miss Waddington, sir?"

"Think of her!" said George.

"A very beautiful young lady; isn't she? and clever, too. I knew her father well, Mr. George--very well. Isn't she a very handsome young lady? Ah, well! she hasn't money enough, Mr. George; that's the fact; that's the fact. But"--and Mr. Pritchett whispered as he continued--"the old gentleman might make it more, Mr. George."

Mr. Pritchett had a somewhat melancholy way of speaking of everything. It was more in his tone than in his words. And this tone, which was all but sepulchral, was perhaps owing rather to a short neck and an asthmatic tendency than to any real sorrow or natural lowness of spirits.

Those who saw Mr. Pritchett often probably remembered this, and counted on it; but with George there was always a graveyard touch about these little interviews. He could not, therefore, but have some melancholy presentiment when he heard Miss Waddington spoken of in such a tone.

On the following day he went down to Hadley, and, as was customary there, found that he was to spend the evening _tete-a-tete with his uncle. Nothing seemed changed since he had left it: his uncle came in just before dinner, and poked the fire exactly as he had done on the last visit George had paid him after a long absence. "Come, John, we're three minutes late! why don't we have dinner?" He asked no question--at least, not at first--either about Sir Lionel or about Jerusalem, and seemed resolute to give the traveller none of that _eclat_, to pay to his adventures none of that deferential awe which had been so well expressed by Mr. Pritchett in two words.

But Mr. Bertram, though he always began so coldly, did usually improve after a few hours. His tone would gradually become less cynical and harsh; his words would come out more freely; and he would appear somewhat less anxious to wound the _amour propre of his companion.

"Are you much wiser for your travels, George?" he said at last, when John had taken away the dinner, and they were left alone with a bottle of port wine between them. This, too, was asked in a very cynical tone, but still there was some improvement in the very fact of his deigning to allude to the journey.

"Yes, I think I am rather wiser."

"Well, I'm glad of that. As you have lost a year in your profession, it is well that you should have gained something. Has your accession of wisdom been very extensive?"

"Somewhat short of Solomon's, sir; but probably quite as much as I should have picked up had I remained in London."

"That is very probable. I suppose you have not the slightest idea how much it cost you. Indeed, that would be a very vulgar way of looking at it."

"Thanks to your unexpected kindness, I have not been driven to any very close economy."

"Ah! that was Pritchett's doing. He seemed afraid that the land would not flow with milk and honey unless your pocket was fairly provided. But of course it's your own affair, George. It is money borrowed; that's all."

George did not quite understand what this meant, and remained silent; but at one moment it was almost on his tongue to say that it ought at least to be admitted that the borrower had not been very pressing in his application.

"And I suppose you have come back empty?" continued his uncle.

George then explained exactly how he stood with regard to money, saying how he had put himself into the hands of Mr. Neversaye Die, how he had taken chambers in the Middle Temple, and how a volume of Blackstone was already lying open in his dingy sitting-room.

"Very well, very well. I have no objection whatever. You will perhaps make nothing at the bar, and certainly never the half what you would have done with Messrs. Dry and Stickatit. But that's your affair. The bar is thoroughly respectable. By-the-by, is your father satisfied with it as a profession?" This was the first allusion that Mr. Bertram had made to his brother.

"Perfectly so," said George.

"Because of course you were bound to consult him." If this was intended for irony, it was so well masked that George was not able to be sure of it.

"I did consult him, sir," said George, turning red in accordance with that inveterate and stupid habit of his.

"That was right. And did you consult him about another thing? did you ask him what you were to live on till such time as you could earn your own bread?"

In answer to this, George was obliged to own that he did not. "There was no necessity," said he, "for he knows that I have my fellowship."

"Oh! ah! yes; and that of course relieves him of any further cause for anxiety in the matter. I forgot that."

"Uncle George, you are always very hard on my father; much too hard."

"Am I?"

"I think you are. As regards his duty to me, if I do not complain, you need not."

"Oh! that is it, is it? I did think that up to this, his remissness in doing his duty as a father had fallen rather on my shoulders than on yours. But I suppose I have been mistaken; eh?"

"At any rate, if you have to complain, your complaint should be made to him, not to me."

"But you see I have not time to run across the world to Jerusalem; and were I to do so, the chances are ten to one I should not catch him. If you will ask Pritchett too, you will find that your father is not the best correspondent in the world. Perhaps he has sent back by you some answer to Pritchett's half-yearly letters?"

"He has sent nothing by me."

"I'll warrant he has not. But come, George, own the truth. Did he borrow money from you when he saw you? If he did not, he showed a very low opinion of your finances and my liberality."

George might have declared, without any absolute falseness, that his father had borrowed no money of him. But he had not patience at the present moment to distinguish between what would be false and what not false in defending his father's character. He could not but feel that his father had behaved very shabbily to him, and that Sir Lionel's conduct could not be defended in detail. But he also felt that his uncle was quite unjustifiable in wounding him by such attacks. It was not to him that Mr. Bertram should have complained of Sir Lionel's remissness in money matters. He resolved that he would not sit by and hear his father so spoken of; and, therefore, utterly disregardful of what might be the terribly ill effects of his uncle's anger, he thus spoke out in a tone not of the meekest:--

"I will neither defend my father, Mr. Bertram; nor will I sit still and hear him so spoken of. How far you may have just ground of complaint against him, I do not know, nor will I inquire. He is my father, and that should protect his name in my presence."

"Hoity, toity!"

"I will ask you to hear me if you please, sir. I have received very many good offices from you, for which I heartily thank you. I am aware that I owe to you all my education and support up to this time. This debt I fear I can never pay."

"And therefore, like some other people, you are inclined to resent it."

"No, by heaven! I would resent nothing said by you to myself; but I will not sit by and hear my father ill spoken of. I will not--no; not for all the money which you could give or leave me. It seems to me that what I spend of your money is added up as a debt against my father--"

"Pray don't imagine, my boy, that that is any burden to him."

"It is a burden to me, and I will endure it no longer. While at school, I knew nothing of these things, and not much while I was at college. Now I do know something, and feel something. If you please, sir, I will renounce any further assistance from you whatever; and beg, in return, that you will say nothing further to me as to any quarrel there may be between you and Sir Lionel."

"Quarrel!" said his uncle, getting up and standing with his back to the fire. "He has not spirit enough to quarrel with me."

"Well, I have," said George, who was now walking about the room; and from the fire in his eyes, it certainly appeared that he spoke the truth in this respect.

"I know the bitterness of your spirit against your brother," continued George; "but your feelings should teach you not to show it before his son."

Mr. Bertram was still standing with his hands in his pockets, leaning against the mantel-piece, with his coat-tails over his arms. He said nothing further at once, but continued to fix his eyes on his nephew, who was now walking backwards and forwards from one end of the room to the other with great vehemence. "I think," at last said George, "that it will be better that I should go back to town. Good-night, sir."

"You are an ass," said his uncle.

"Very likely," said George. "But asses will kick sometimes."

"And bray too," said his uncle.

There was a certain spirit about them both which made it difficult for either altogether to get the better of the other.

"That I may bray no more in your hearing, I will wish you good-night." And again he held out his hand to the old man.

His uncle took hold of his hand, but he did not go through the process of shaking it, nor did he at once let it go again. He held it there for a time, looking stedfastly into his nephew's face, and then he dropped it. "You had better sit down and drink your wine," he said at last.

"I had rather return to town," said George, stoutly.

"And I had rather you stayed here," said his uncle, in a tone of voice that for him was good-humoured. "Come, you need not be in a pet, like a child. Stay where you are now, and if you don't like to come again, why you can stay away."

As this was said in the manner of a request, George did again sit down. "It will be foolish to make a fuss about it," said he to himself; "and what he says is true. I need not come again, and I will not." So he sat down and again sipped his wine.

"So you saw Caroline at Jerusalem?" said the old man, after a pause of about twenty minutes.

"Yes, I met her with Miss Baker. But who told you?"

"Who told me? Why, Miss Baker, of course. They were both here for a week after their return."

"Here in this house?"

"Why shouldn't they be here in this house? Miss Baker is usually here three or four times every year."

"Is she?" said George, quite startled by the information. Why on earth had Miss Baker not told him of this?

"And what did you think of Caroline?" asked Mr. Bertram.

"Think of her?" said George.

"Perhaps you did not think anything about her at all. If so, I shall be delighted to punish her vanity by telling her so. She had thought a great deal about you; or, at any rate, she talked as though she had."

This surprised George a great deal, and almost made him forgive his uncle the inquiry he had received. "Oh, yes, I did think of her," said he. "I thought of her a little at least."

"Oh, a little!"

"Well, I mean as much as one does generally think of people one meets--perhaps rather more than of others. She is very handsome and clever, and what I saw of her I liked."

"She is a favourite of mine--very much so. Only that you are too young, and have not as yet a shilling to depend on, she might have done for a wife for you."

And so saying, he drew the candles to him, took up his newspaper, and was very soon fast asleep.

George said nothing further that night to his uncle about Caroline, but he sat longing that the old man might again broach the subject. He was almost angry with himself for not having told his uncle the whole truth; but then he reflected that Caroline had not yet acknowledged that she felt anything like affection for him; and he said to himself, over and over again, that he was sure she would not marry him without loving him for all the rich uncles in Christendom; and yet it was a singular coincidence that he and his uncle should have thought of the same marriage.

The next morning he was again more surprised. On coming down to the breakfast-parlour, he found his uncle there before him, walking up and down the room with his hands behind his back. As soon as George had entered, his uncle stopped his walk, and bade him shut the door.

"George," said he, "perhaps you are not very often right, either in what you do or what you say; but last night you were right."

"Sir!"

"Yes, last night you were right. Whatever may have been your father's conduct, you were right to defend it; and, bad as it has been, I was wrong to speak of it as it deserved before you. I will not do so again."

"Thank you, sir," said George, his eyes almost full of tears.

"That is what I suppose the people in the army call an ample apology. Perhaps, however, it may be made a little more ample."

"Sir, sir," said George, not quite understanding him; "pray do not say anything more."

"No, I won't, for I have got nothing more to say; only this: Pritchett wants to see you. Be with him at three o'clock to-day."

At three o'clock Bertram was with Pritchett, and learned from that gentleman, in the most frozen tone of which he was capable, and with sundry little, good-humoured, asthmatic chuckles, that he had been desired to make arrangements for paying to Mr. George regularly an income of two hundred a year, to be paid in the way of annuity till Mr. Bertram's death, and to be represented by an adequate sum in the funds whenever that much-to-be-lamented event should take place.

"To be sure, sir," said Pritchett, "two hundred a year is nothing for you, Mr. George; but--"

But two hundred a year was a great deal to George. That morning he had been very much puzzled to think how he was to keep himself going till he might be able to open the small end of the law's golden eggs.

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