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a treat, and George is planning all sorts of things in the garden ; and you will let some of the servants come, and Emma and I will sing to them, and teach them all sorts of games; and you will come too, my own dear aunt;' and she coaxingly threw her arms round Lady Brandon's neck, while Lady Brandon kindly turned her eyes
towards her husband, who was looking as coldly objective as heart could not wish. Your father allows George too much licence,' said he ; “servants ought to be kept at a proper distance.'
· Yes, uncle, but I never think of George as a servant; and he is not, he is our friend; I am sure all that he does is because he is happy to do it for us; and how well he talks, and how much he knows; and how intelligent his face is, and how it lights up when he listens to the conversations and tales at table! I do like to see his quiet laugh when anything is said that he enjoys.'
Sir James, more shocked than ever, looked colder than ever, while Flora, who knew well each change of a thermometer that never rose above temperate, continued : I shall put you out, uncle, so rather than you, let it be myself-good bye !' and she hurried hastily away, brushing her aunt with another kiss as she passed. Much conversation followed her exit; Sir James's usual cold, dry objections, and Lady Brandon's tearful palliations; we prefer to omit both, choosing rather, while Flora makes her way to the stile, to give a slight outline of the character and history of the two families.
Walter Brandon and his sister had been early left orphans to the care of a bachelor uncle, a country gentleman of great wealth but small learning: His leading passion was to make his name great, to distinguish himself and everything belonging to him
lawful that came within his reach. He had made many fruitless attempts to connect himself with some family of rank; and now, despairing of any further advancement through his own person, he determined that his nephew and niece should be the achievers of this long-coveted exaltation. He saw how much the want of a complete education had impeded his own fortunes, and accordingly he determined to give the little Walter all the advantages himself had lacked. As for the girl, it was of less consequence; she could pick up the crumbs that fell from the ample provision which he determined to furnish for her brother's mental table. He neither was, nor pretended to be, a judge of character, was ignorant of the different means necessary to effect a desired end; he acted solely as the thought of the moment prompted, and in nine cases out of ten worked hard to produce the exact contrary result to that which he desired. He was a sufficient judge to detect a spirit in Walter that, if properly managed, might, as he emphatically termed it, ‘make a noise in the world;' and, accordingly, he began to look out for means by which he combustible matter might be concentrated, and go off with a loud report, to the glory, honour, praise, and power, of the family of the Brandons, and to him, Humphrey, who had been the first mover in what seemed to him a mighty plan, in particular. Accordingly, he looked about in his neighbourhood, and in every newspaper where advertisements could be found, for a tutor likely to suit his purpose. At last, one appeared which seemed to promise all the requisites. “A middle-aged man, who had had an university education, &c. &c.,'' earnest desire for the advancement of his pupils,' acquisition of true power,”“strength,”“ progression,'
elevation.'—*That's it!' and he read over and over again the catchwords, each time imbuing them more strongly than before with his own especial meaning.
The advertisement was answered, the references exchanged, and in a few days the new tutor was installed in his office. And a blessed one it was. The sanguine high-hearted spirit of his pupil
, which was already running to an extravagant and ill-directed luxuriance, was timely placed under judicious training. Channels were daily made for the noble torrent of enthusiasm, which, for want of guidance like his, would else have rushed headlong in mad impulse, have wasted itself in overleaping its banks, have brought desolation where it should have ministered to beauty and happiness. Mean. time the bachelor contented himself in the choice he had made of deputy guardian to his nephew, and renewed his old habits of visiting amongst the adjacent families, frequenting all places of public resort within reach, races, county balls, &c., to see what new scions were growing up who it might be advisable to graft on the Brandon stock. A husband for Emma was the first thing to be looked after, as she was two years Walter's senior. Many and many a regret did the old man waste over her want of beauty; for the sweet, quiet, gentle expression, which dwelt in features that would have approached to insignificance but for that added charm, was too unobtrusive to flatter the hopes of her ambitious uncle. He would have had the girl heir to a face that would have been of itself a fortune, and then have left Walter all the concentrated wealth of the family. As it was, he feared lest he should be obliged to serve her as I do you,' and he looked at his
he spoke, - load her, to make her GO OFF.' Meantime, all unconscious of the plots and maneuvres that were making the brain of their uncle so busy, nephew and niece were progressing according to their different natures. Though totally unlike in character, they possessed for each other a strong and undeviating attachment. Walter's noble spirit of romantic enthusiasm, noble because it was wholly untinged by self-interest, led him to look upon Emma's gentleness as something to be sheltered and protected by him, a treasure to be so carefully tended that no rude influence might come in contact with her to shock the sensitiveness of her nature; and, though his tutor would frequently remonstrate with him on his excessive indulgence, his unconscious ministering to a morbid sensibility, which prevented
her acquiring a strength so necessary to her character, yet the pleasure of seeking her present ease, made Walter blind to future consequences; and he still continued in the same course, often at the
expense of his own comfort, and—what he was so anxious to promote - Emma's future happiness.
Time was while working a thorough change in their circumstances. The bachelor was beginning to be tired of waiting for the result of all his plans for the future greatness of the family. Walter was now in his eighteenth year ; quite time that he should be looking out.' He had been looking for a long while, but it had been in to the depths of things, sounding the shallows, discovering the quicksands, diving deep into the ocean of truth, bringing up treasures which he placed within the storehouse of his mind, there to remain till time and circumstance should call them from their recesses. Yet he was unconscious of all this. His tutor was the directing spirit; he it was who had harmonized the noble elements, which he had found a chaos, into a world of beauty and order.
And now Bachelor Humphrey came to another period, when he determined to bestir himself; and accordingly, as five years before he had consulted his oracle, the newspaper, and it had seemed to answer so well that it had given him what he wanted with little trouble, again he applied for help to the source which had found him in tutor, to find him in profession. At the time of which we are writing, the public prints teemed with an account of promotions in the India service. India had always been a sort of El Dorado to him; and now that his imagination was in a newly excited state, it seemed so more than ever. All consideration of his nephew's fitness, (of the necessity of a previous* military education,) all consciousness of the lapse of time that must take place before his hope could receive fruition, (of course, affection never having had any part in his feeling towards him, the personal separation was as nothing ;) all was lost in the distant vision of coming glory, at first dimly seen, but now advancing with phantasmagoric fleetness and increase of dimension; and, to pursue the metaphor, it finally ended in his being. Walter Brandon, Lord Brandon, Governor General,' close to his nose, and there was no longer doubt upon the subject. Accordingly, one morning, Master Walter was summoned to attend his uncle in the library. He was not a man of many words,—a good thing for those who were compelled to listen to him.
• Sit down, nephew, sit down ;-hem! I have been thinking, nephew, that it is high time you should be seeking your future profession.' • My future profession, sir ?'
Yes; is there anything so very extraordinary in that, that you start as if you had been shot ?'
• No, uncle; only profession is a word I hate, and hope never to have anything to do with.'
The bachelor looked up and stared in utter astonishment. I don't quite understand you, nephew, and I think you have misunderstood me; I mean that you should be thinking what will be the best thing to help you to make your way in the world; or, perhaps, it is better to say at once that I have thought for you, and saved you the trouble of deciding; and that, as I see by the papers that many young men have gone to India and risen in the world, (he did not dare hint at the whole glory of his anticipations,) and as you are as likely a young man to do this, if you choose to try, as any one I know, with your own attainments, and the property I possess, and the interest I can make, I have settled to purchase a cadetship for you at the earliest opportunity; and will give you a capital outfit and everything needful. And as I have no doubt that your tutor has instructed you in good staunch principles, that you will be prevented from getting into any extravagances which might otherwise hinder your doing all you can to add to your own honour and wealth, I have also no doubt that eventually I shall look upon you with pride, as one who has added fresh lustre to the name of Brandon.'
For a moment the bachelor forgot everything else in wonder at his own eloquence; it was for him a momentary gleam of inspiration. The next instant he paused for answer, or rather approbation, from his nephew. Walter, during the harangue, had had time to recover from his first astonishment, had gathered enough to understand his uncle's meaning, and had determined to answer coolly and courageously.
• I am sorry, my dear sir, to disappoint you; I have long made up my mind that it would be impossible for me to go into the army. I never will voluntarily enter into a service that stamps a man a slave; that obliges him to wear a livery, and that in a service that at times appears to me little better than murder; that compels him to draw his sword and sheathe his conscience; and all at the command of another whose order he dares not disobey.'
What folly is this, sir ?' « Truth, uncle, simple truth.'
What, I suppose your tutor's been making you pious, and you want to go into the church?' and the bachelor thought of a prospective bishopric, but with such visible discontent that it almost amounted to actual dislike.
• My tutor has taught me a better lesson, uncle; he left the university without taking an honour, though his high talent might, with ease, have earned it for him, because he would not lay the guilt of perjury upon his soul by subscribing to articles which he did not believe.'
• The law! so it is to be the law, eh ?' and then a splendid vision of future greatness uprose to the eyes of Humphrey's excited imagination — Walter Lord Brandon, Lord High Chancellor of England, Defender of the Faith. No, faith ; that's not
it—" Keeper of the King's Conscience;"-ay, now we have it ! and a match for any earl's daughter. Well, my boy,' he added aloud, · let it be the law, if you like; but you will have to work hard—very hard, and —
* Dear uncle, may I interrupt you? The same notion that prevented my entering the army or the church, applies, with almost equal force, to the law. My tutor and my conscience together have long ago settled the question for me. The latter pleaded hard not to be outraged, and I gave her a promise, and that promise I mean to keep, that I never will voluntarily place myself in circumstances which will render me deaf to her voice. Some there may be who can stand the trial; but the temptation is hard to bide, and I for one will not run the risk.'
The bachelor was stunned, and it was some time before he recovered speech; at last it came.
‘And pray what is to become of you? I suppose you would like to live a quiet lazy country life all your days ? Never, sir, never, if I can prevent it!
Or I either, uncle; I mean to devote myself to literary pursuits, and
· Literary fiddlesticks; what will that do for you? do not all poets starve, or deserve to be starved ? Who ever heard of an author's rising to distinction? Who ever heard of an author's being anything but poor? And do you think I shall be brought to consent to such a thing? never, sir, never !' and he walked up and down the room, boiling with rage, uttering a torrent of words, which, from the excess of his passion, could hardly be distinguished, except the expressions which, every now and then, coming with peculiar emphasis, arose like a beacon of warning, never, sir, never. At last he stopped to take breath, waited a few seconds, and then made a final gathering up. Fixing his eyes strongly on Walter, he said, I tell you what, sir, I will give you your choice of the army or the law, which is as much as you can expect, and more than you deserve. I give you till to-morrow to consider of it, and if you do not then think proper to come to your senses, I shall '-here he paused, for he had not quite made up his mind as to what he should do ;-take measures accordingly,' uttered in what was meant to be a tone of threatening solemnity, concluded the sentence and the conversation as he turned hastily out of the room.
Though startled by the suddenness of the crisis, Walter was in no way dismayed, and he repaired to his best friend, his tutor, to advise with him as to his future course. He found his sister in the study, and, as she had ever shared his entire confidence, he proceeded as gently as he could to tell her all that had happened. Counsel he knew she could offer none; tears were all she could give, and entreaties that he would not leave her. Walter well knew that here would be his trial. He consoled her as well as he