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ever to drown the sentiment which sounded so hard and selfish, and which he was displeased with himself for uttering.
"I am afraid it cost a great deal of money, Hugh?" said his mother, timidly, when next their eyes met. In the poor little life she had led Show pitiable are the petty economies of penniless women!) this consideration had come to be always the first
"Money? Of course it did. But I can afford it, thanks to that grand fellow Lancelot. Ah, won't I pay him back with interest? I am determined that the loan shall be a regular investment, not merely a sum at five per cent ," he added, in his anticipative Hush of returns. •' Why, I expect the venture will double itself before we've done."
"Don't bo too sanguine, my dear boy," Mrs. Lake-thought it necessary to say; her face had been saying it all along. She could have reminded him of certain castles built in the air when he had been invited to occupy a stool in Mr. Etough's office, and all he had purposed to achieve in that limited situation. The waxen winsjs of Icarus had melted, and he had found himself quickly in the mire. He saw that she remembered, and he felt vexatiously humbled under those land patient eyes.
But in truth his very sanguinencss was a most important factor towards his success. The cautious and timid seldom effect anything worth while in this world; they creep in grooves which the bolder have made. They are not original nor enterprising, but safe. It is your sanguine-hearted man who strikes out a fresh path, and marches in it confidently through mists towards the rising sun. Thus have great results been wrought by enthusiasts, because they have believed so utterly in themselves and their purposes, that others caught the contagion, and became their willing instruments. Shall Hugh be able to make the solid Mr. Brown, prosperous draper, believe in him and his project so as to risk somewhat in the speculation'.'
Not at first. Heavily substantial people are not easily moved from their accustomed beat. Mr. Brown believed firmly in the old sleepy slow-coach business habits of Narraghmorc, which was natural enough, seeing that thus he had made his money; and he could not see that a great awakener was approaching, in the shape of the railway, which would certainly communicate a new pulse to the place, and necessitate more vigorous action. Slowly, (after the manner of Hibernian contractors,) slowly over the level east country, was building the embankment which should bear the locomotive of the future. Already you could travel within l>venty-five miles of Narraghmoro by train, and unsophisticated people actually made trips on purpose to look at our common marvel—the unspurrcd steamhorse come in fresh from its hundred or thousand miles; huge as leviathan, tractable as a pony-chaise. It was an exhibition to the simple country-folk, who had not yet got rid of an inclination to cross themselves ("Holy St. Munchin betune us an' all harm !") when they heard the rush and saw the flash of dropping cinders and llame-tinged smoke of nights along the line. And every little town which it touched began to stir and seethe with fresh emotions, as do stagnant rockpools when the first throbs of the rising tide wash over the edges, as earnest of full ocean by-and-by.
Perhaps Hugh Lake's new machine was a waif from the coming tide. It fell to work in Mr. Brown's back-shop, and certainly turned out marvellous seams in all sorts of materials. People came to look at it curiously, and the draper, who at first would scarcely deign to employ its services, was well-pleased to have his premises a centre of attraction. For the Mordecai of Brown's success was the opposition shop at the corner of the High Street, kept by White; and a humbling of this rival by the influx of sight-seers and piossible customers was delicious. The culminating point of which enjoyment was obtained one day that an infirm baronet, mighty in the county, entered, walking with two sticks as was his wont, and gave a large order for liveries—a defection from the opposite camp.
"But I like to encourage native enterprise," said the patron, alluding to this fact. "We have far too little of it in Ireland, eh? And the man who pushes forward, —eh?— pushes forward to meet the times, I say,—the man who is spirited enough to risk capital in improvements— just the phrase I use to my tenants, Mr. Brown, eh?" And the old baronet chuckled, and rattled his sticks after a manner that he had; while the draper stood bowing to the ground with a very red face, caused partly by the posture, and partly by the consciousness that he ought in justice to admit the listener, Hugh Bake, to Ids share of the commendation.
"Eh, eh, what?" said the old gentleman, putting his hand to his ear to catch some faint disclaimer. "It wasn't you, eh'.' and I find it on your premises, setting a good example to the tradesmen of the town, eh'.' Then who was it who made the discovery, eh?"
Then Hugh, who indeed had been the working exhibitor of the machine, was named and exhibited himself. The old gentleman ran his cool and well-bred eyes over him as though he were a yard-wand.
"Does you infinite credit, young man." He laid one infirm leg across another as he sat, preparatory to the fulfilment of his public duty by encouraging this son of the soil. "When I see a member of the lower classes of society, so to speak, cultivating the interests of his country, as for instance, by the introduction of machinery, eh'.' or the risking of capital, which is, in point of fact, the spending of money, eh? Do you follow me, sir?"
"Very well, Sir. In short, by a patriotic attention to the weak points of our national system, as for instance, our absence of a manufacturing population. I say that man deserves patronage, and he will find it in Sir Nevil Firebrace!"
There was well-meant encourage
ment here, however distastefully doled out to Hugh Bake's proud spirit; and he forthwith eagerly sought to interest the old baronet in the details of his machine and its capabilities. But Sir N evil's understanding, never large enough to look far beyond himself, had not been improved by the youth of reckless dissipation, which left Ids ace on two sticks; he only knew that machinery was necessarily connected with manufactures, and that manufactures would be a good thing for the county, if they could be by any means set afoot, and would raise the rental of Ids estates.
Hugh laid up the interview in his memory, seeing therein a chance of much more than the immediate order for liveries which so elated his principal. Mr. Brown's was an establishment of the species called "monster" —though the name was due in his case, not to the shop's abnormal size, but to the incongruous junction of its contents. It could furnish any article, from a knittingneedle to a dress-coat; and after this public appreciation of the sewing-machine by a magnate of such unexceptionable revenues as Sir Nevil Firebrace, tho proprietor began to contemplate clothing contracts. Hugh Bake rose a hundred per cent in his opinion, for nothing succeeds like even a little success. As for him, daring youth! he had fixed his eyes upon partnership, without other capital than his brains; and he meant to attain farther than partnership, also.
It was not now, nor recently, that rising in the world became the engrossing object of his thought and care ; he had been used to devour&U that literature of "getting on." which makes success the creditor of life, and would I apparently! have every man push out of the place in which he was born into some place imagined higher. For really it would seem as if the writer of many such books considered that being satisfied with "the state of life to which it has pleased God to call us," is a mean and pitiful weakness, whence true manhood will deliver itself by toil and struggle, and torment if need be. Anything for John Smith rather than that he should (according to our forefathers' old-fashioned ideas), "learn and labour truly to get Ids own living and do his dut}-," as shoemaker's apprentice, or journeyman hairdresser, or in whatever other humble capacity his bread is obtained; he must strive to bo something else, or forfeit all claim to nobleness. We must agree with the thoughtful essayist who remarks, "If there were less struggles to rise into the higher grades of society, and less attempts to keep up the fictitious appearances which accompany such struggles, it is clear that one great taint and misery of modern life would be absent,'' Not but we must honour the self-made man, when force of character and ability have been God's means to raise him ; we only wish to indicate the danger on the other side of what seems so fair.
Hugh Lake, at all events, was thoroughly imbued with carte-dejHirvenir, from the above and other sources; and now believed he had discovered a ladder to opulence, and even set his foot on its lowest stair. Climb it he would, cost what it will! He studied such books as he deemed would help him, and his special period for this purpose was Sunday. His mother remonstrated after her timid fashion; but he declared that after once attending church, he considered the rest of the day his own: "and to what better use," quoth he, " can I devote it, than to self-improvement?"
"Ah, Hugh!" she said, "it is Christ's day. You know it should be spent to please Him, and show our thankfulness for His death and resurrection."
"Dear mother," he said, taking the hand on his shoulder tenderly in his own, for though (after the manner of many sons), he was so wise in his own conceit that he never thought her arguments worth listening to, he Was yet very fond of her: "Dear mother, women are too strait-laced. Don't you know that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath? It is impos
sible I could spend it in a round of religious duties."
•' Hugh," she rejoined, " it is God's Day of Rest; and you are making it your own day of hard work. I don't think God can bless that."
But he silenced her with an embrace, and went on studying and drawing diagrams. A foolish feminine scruple I While sealing his mighty molehill of earthly eminences he had no time for scruples. "I must strain every nerve, and fill every moment with hard work," he thought. Aye, but stolen property seldom prospers, and a surely indurating process for the heart, and deadening for the soul, in such devotion to the concerns of this life as absorbs the time which ought to be given to the concerns of the higher life.
And Hugh Lake was calculating on the basis of his seventy mortal years; not on the basis of his ten thousand years, or half a million years of life surely coming. Yet if his immortality meant anything, it meant more than that, and was consequently rather important as an item in the estimate. Said Wilberforce to a young friend who had consulted him on the choice of a profession: "Think particularly whether you are choosing for time only or for eternity. For of course a sensible man will wish to choose that which will be best in the long run. And then it is as much part of the consideration what will be best for me between my thousandth and two thousandth year, as between my twentieth and thirtieth!"
DKCL1NE TOWARDS FALL.
Some things are beautiful in decay, like the foliage of a forest when touched into colour by the first frosts; some things are grand, like a hoary ruin which Time binds up with loving arms of ivy, and whose rents are salved with soft moss and w ild blossoms; some things are merely pitiful, like a fallen family. The money foundation at Kyle had given way, and the once imposing
edifice was sinking visibly. Mr. Latymer shut his evc.5 firmly to the fact, but there was one person who showed lately an alarming disposition to open them.
This was his attorney-agent, Mr. Etough. He seemed to be tightening the bands of pecuniary supplies, quarter by quarter. The estate did not yield, or the incumbrances swallowed up the income: the cattle died, or the crops failed, or the tenants ran away; there was always some excuse of extraordinary validity for the narrow grudging cheques to Mr. Latymor's account. And that unreasonable son in the Hundredth Hmsars (a Latymer could bear commission in none but a crack regiment, which is well known to mean one in which expenses hold an incalculable proportion on the wrong side of the pay), wrote home for remittances in terms that would not be denied—could not be denied, for the honour of the family. A Latymer must show himself just as moneyed a man as my Lord Rattle. oash, heir to half a million acres ; or Cornet Doubloon, whose father was a usurer in the city. Miserable pride, say you? Jiut look at the respectable people that indulge in it every day. Look at the households that suffer for the extravagance of a representative outside, who does not understand that he is acting a daily falsehood, i.e., pretending to be what he is not. And no humiliation could be in his eyes so deep, as the manly avowal of poor circumstances.
They scarcely acknowledged it even to each other at the mansion of Kyle. There was a fiction of pecuniosity kept up. Beresford was the only one who looked matters straight in the face, and threw herself into the breach with her puny magazine papers. Oh, the sweetness of earning money! She did not at all wonder that Lancelot had gone to the other end of the world with that hope. But for girls—there was nothing except to sit still at home, and endure whatever came. It may be guessed that these thoughts visited her tenfold after the Editor of " The Single-women's Serial" would have
none of the poor little contributions signed double B. That calamity almost made Beresford misanthropical; but it also, disgusting her with plans beyond her reach, made her practical with reference to what lay under her hand.
The household sadly wanted reformation.. The species of promiscuous entertainment called "open house" had been given up in the diningroom, offer it had helped considerably through more than one generation, in producing the present deranged finances; but it continued in the kitchen. Beresford proposed to cut off this source of expense, and to curtail the number of servants.
To her mother she spoke; her father was so grand, so self-contained, she was so certain of the wave of his majestic hand with which he would dismiss the subject as a petty domestic detail, not to he compared in importance with the date of a battered coin found in the neighbouring bog, that she would not say anything to him about it. Now her mother had as much capacity for ennui as any fine lady in the land, and could not bear a useful subject long. She was afraid that any movement towards thinning the number of "followers," would detract from the prestige of the establishment. "Ah, if you had seen Kyle in your grandfather's time!"
"But, mother, he had a fine income, and it is useless to conceal (at least from ourselves; that papa has not. I cannot bear to see his study-coat so threadbare—though, to be sure, he looks splendid in anything." Beresford was very fond and proud of her father. "And I hate getting those Italian lessons, while I know he can so badly afford to pay the Signor."
"I should like to see the bank that dishonoured your father's cheque!" exclaimed Mrs. Latymer, with a momentary Hash. "My love, yon are disposed to exaggerate. There are, indeed, some temporary difficulties,—and the Signor is such a perfect gentleman, so dittinguf, such a nice companion for your father, who cannot associate with any low and questionable person."
Don't like him !" said Beresford, bluntly. "His eyes are not straightforward."
"My love, young ladies should not have such pronounced opinions on the characters of gentlemen."
■• But, mamma! will you give me carte-blanche as to the housekeeping '.' It will save you so much trouble."
This appeal touched Mrs. Latymers weak point, for her bete noire was exertion, with her a synonym for trouble. So presently Beresford went off, triumphant, and held a chamber consultation with her fast ally, Lancelot's nurse O'Leary; one who knew as well as she did the necessity of retrenchment, though she would not have expressed it in so many words for a ten-pound note, in her fealty to the family.
"Why then, it's I that'll clear the kitchens and offices in the twinkling of a bed-post; ating the masther out of house an' home, indeed! Often they scalded my heart wid their presumption—you'd think the back-yard was a colony. An' what does Mary Bonfill do, the night before last, but brings in her brother's family, body an' bones, an' lias 'em sleeping' in the hayloft, an' fed out of the pratie-bouse, and the dear masther is as lofty in himself, h e only smile when I up an' tould him. 'Sure, Mr. Ktough turned him out for not payin' yer' honour's rent,' says I. But that didn't make him a bit crosser. Miss Berry. Oh, but he have the heart of the world. An' if they go round complainin' to him, all our pains will be gone for iiotliin'."
So there had to be stratagem used in the clearance. "Me an' Devlin will manage it, Miss Berry, don't be afeard; Devlin is as mad as mcself agin them devourers."
"But the poor, nurse—the really poor must not be let to suffer," said Beresford, relenting even at this righteous eviction. "there must be always something in the kitchen for them."
"Bless yer good heart, musthore! but sure 'tis kind father for you [descends to you from your father) to have it. Ov course, Miss Berry,
God forbid that ever a poor desolate crathur wud come an' ax a bit an' a sup for the love of the Lord, an' not to get it. But there's a differ between thhn an' the reglar idlers."
Thus Beresford essayed to remove some barnacles from the wreck; but a wreck she was conscious it remained.
An Irish village always shares sympathetically the fortunes of its big house. Not even the imposing baronial entrance could interpose an exception to this rule at Kyle. It looked as though it were in Chancery—looked what it was, the village of an unprosperous lord, who had no money to spend on improvements, who could not even afford to encourage enterprising tenants. A huge new Roman Catholic chapel, ugly as a barn, was the chief building; Mr. Latymer had given the ground and a handsome subscription. He could do no otherwise, for the sake of the family. According to his false reading of "noblesse oblige," he must act en grand seiyneur to the very last.
More and more he withdrew himself from public sight,—rarely sat even on the magistrate's bench now. He would be thought eccentric, studious, singular,— anything but poor. The ostrich hides its head in the sand quite as effectually. His oftenest companion was the Italian gentleman, whose residence in the village was an object of much popular curiosity and speculation. Great offence was taken because it was his pleasure to conceal his features beneath a slouched crush hat, and his figure in a large cloak, wherein, commonly, he folded his arms. The neighbours could not conceive what objection an honest man could have to an open publication of his face; and they soon suspected that the cloak was for no other purpose than to conceal pistols and a dagger. The report procured him a wide berth and considerable respect, especially from the juveniles. His landlady, pressed on this and other subjects by the gossips of her acquaintance, declared in favour of the pistols, for she "seen" them more than once; also