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the House, speaking seldom, not at great | party that he should accept one of the length nor with much preparation, but highest offices in the new Cabinet. He with power and fire, originality and acquitted himself well as an administragenius ; so that he was not only effective tor, but declared, no doubt honestly, that as an orator, but combining with elo he felt like Sinbad released from the old quence, advantages of birth, person, sta- man on his back, when, a year or two tion, the reputation of patriotic indepen- afterwards, he went out of office with his dence, and genial attributes of character, party. No persuasions could induce him he was an authority of weight in the to come in again ; nor did he ever again scales of party.
take a very active part in debate. “ No," This gentleman, at the age of forty, said he, “I was born to the freedom of a married the dowerless daughter of a poor private gentleman - intolerable to me is but distinguished naval officer, of noble the thraldom of a public servant. But I family, first cousin to the Duke of Alton. will bring up my son so that he may ac
He settled on her a suitable jointure, quit the debt which I decline to pay to but declined to tie up any portion of his my country." There he kept his word. property for the benefit of children by Graham had been carefully educated for the marriage. He declared that so much public life, the ambition for it dinned into of his fortune was invested either in his ear from childhood. In his schoolmines, the produce of which was ex-vacations his father made him learn and tremely fluctuating, or in various funds, declaim chosen specimens of masculine over rapid transfers in which it was his oratory ; engaged an eminent actor to amusement and his interest to have con- give him lessons in elocution ; bade him trol, unchecked by reference to trustees, frequent theatres, and study there the that entails and settlements on children effect which words derive from looks and were an inconvenience he declined to gesture ; encouraged him to take part incur.
himself in private theatricals. To all this Besides, he held notions of his own the boy lent his mind with delight. He as to the wisdom of keeping children had the orator's inborn temperament; dependent on their father. “What num- quick, yet imaginative, and loving the bers of young men,” said he, “are ruined sport of rivalry and contest. Being also, in character and in fortune by knowing in his boyish years, good-humoured and that when their father dies they are cer- joyous, he was not more a favourite with tain of the same provision, no matter the masters in the schoolroom than with how they displease him; and in the the boys in the play-ground. Leaving meanwhile forestalling that provision by Eton at seventeen, hs entered at Camrecourse to usurers." These arguments bridge, and became, in his first term, the might not have prevailed over the bride's most popular speaker at the Union. father a year or two later, when, by the But his father cut short his academical death of intervening kinsmen, he became career, and decided, for reasons of his Duke of Alton ; but in his then circum- own, to place him at once in Diplomacy. stances the marriage itself was so much | He was attached to the Embassy at Paris, beyond the expectations which the por- and partook of the pleasures and dissipationless daughter of a sea-captain has the tions of that metropolis too keenly to reright to form, that Mr. Vane had it all his tain much of the sterner ambition to own way, and he remained absolute mas- which he had before devoted himself. ter of his whole fortune, save of that | Becoming one of the spoiled darlings of part of his landed estate on which his fashion, there was great danger that his wife's jointure was settled ; and even character would relax into the easy grace from this encumbrance he was very soon of the Epicurean, when all such loiterings freed. His wife died in the second year in the Rose Garden were brought to abof marriage, leaving an only son — Gra- rupt close by a rude and terrible change ham. He grieved for her loss with all in his fortunes. the passion of an impressionable, ardent, His father was killed by a fall from his and powerful nature. Then for a while horse in hunting ; and when his affairs he sought distraction to his sorrow by were investigated, they were found to be throwing himself into public life with a hopelessly involved - apparently the asdevoted energy he had not previously sets would not suffice for the debts. The displayed.
elder Vane himself was probably not His speeches served to bring his party aware of the extent of his liabilities. He into power, and he yielded, though reluc- had never wanted ready-money to the last. tantly, to the unanimous demand of that He could always obtain that from a money-lender, or from the sale of his guished member of Parliament, of irrefunded investments. But it became ob- proachable character, and ample fortune vious, on examining his papers, that he inherited from a distant kinsman, who knew at least how impaired would be the had enriched himself as a merchant. It heritage he should bequeath to a son was on both sides a marriage of love. whom he idolized. For that reason he It is popularly said that a man uplifts a had given Graham a profession in diplom- wife to his own rank; it as often happens acy, and for that reason he had privately that a woman uplifts her husband to the applied to the Ministry for the Viceroyal- dignity of her own character. Richard ty of India, in the event of its speedy va- King rose greatly in public estimation cancy. He was eminent enough not to after his marriage with Lady Janet. anticipate refusal, and with economy in She united to a sincere piety a very acthat lucrative post much of his pecuniary tive and a very enlightened benevolence. difficulties might have been redeemed, She guided his ambition aside from mere and at least an independent provision se- party politics into subjects of social and cured for his son.
religious interest, and in devoting himself Graham, like Alain de Rochebriant, to these he achieved a position more popallowed no reproach on his father's mem- ular and more respected than he could ory — indeed, with more reason than ever have won in the strife of party. Alain, for the elder Vane's fortune had at When the Government of which the least gone on no mean and frivolous dis- elder Vane became a leading Minister sipation.
was formed, it was considered a great It had lavished inself on encourage-object to secure a name so high in the ment to art — on great objects of public religious world, so beloved by the workbeneficence - on public-spirited aid of ing classes, as that of Richard King; and political objects; and even in mere selfish be accepted one of those places which, enjoyments there was a certain grandeur though not in the Cabinet, confers the in his princely hospitalities, in his munif- rank of Privy Councillor. icent generosity, in a warm-hearted care-l When the brief-lived Administration lessness for money. No indulgence in ceased, he felt the same sensation of repetty follies or degrading vices aggravated lief that Vane had felt, and came to the the offence of the magnificent squan- same resolution never again to accept derer.
office, but from different reasons, all of “ Let me look on my loss of fortune as which need not now be detailed. Amongst a gain to myself," said Graham, manfully. them, however, certainly this : — He was “ Had I been a rich man, my experience exceedingly sensitive to opinion, thinof Paris tells me that I should most likely skinned as to abuse, and very tenacious have been a very idle one. Now that I of the respect due to his peculiar charhave no gold, I must dig in myself for acter of sanctity and philanthropy. He iron."
writhed under every newspaper article The man to whom he said this was an that had made “the blameless King" reuncle-in-law - if I may use that phrase sponsible for the iniquities of the Gov- the Right Hon. Richard King, popu-ernment to which he belonged. In the larly styled “the blameless King.”
loss of office he seemed to recover his This gentleman had married the sister former throne. of Graham's mother, whose loss in his Mr. King heard Graham's resolution infancy and boyhood she had tenderly with a grave approving smile, and his and anxiously sought to supply. It is interest in the young man became greatly impossible to conceive a woman more increased. He devoted himself strenfitted to invite love and reverence than uously to the object of saving to Graham was Lady Janet King, her manners were some wrecks of his paternal fortunes, and so sweet and gentle, her whole nature so having a clear head and great experience elevated and pure.
in the transaction of business, he sucHer father had succeeded to the duke ceeded beyond the most sanguine expecdom when she married Mr. King, and the tations formed by the family solicitor. alliance was not deemed quite suitable. A rich manufacturer was found to purStill it was not one to which the Duke chase at a fancy price the bulk of the would have been fairly justified in refus- estate with the palatial mansion, which ing his assent.
the estate alone could never have sufficed Mr. King could, not, indeed, boast of to maintain with suitable establishments. noble ancestry, nor was he even a landed So that when all debts were paid, Graproprietor; but he was a not undistin- | ham found himself in possession of a
clear income of about £500 a-year, in- pen. Curbing all his old extravagant vested in a mortgage secured on a part of tastes, £500 a-year amply supplied his the hereditary lands, on which was wants. But he had by his pen gained disseated an old hunting-lodge bought by a tinction, and created great belief in his brewer.
abilities for a public career. He had With this portion of the property written critical articles, read with much Graham parted very reluctantly. It was praise, in periodicals of authority, and had situated amid the most picturesque published one or two essays on political sceners on the estate, and the lodge itself questions, which had created yet more was a remnant of the original residence sensation. It was only the graver literaof his ancestors before it had been aban- ture connected more or less with his ultidoned for that which, built in the reign mate object of a public career, in which of Elizabeth, had been expanded into a he had thus evinced his talents of compoTrentham-like palace by the last owner. sition. Such writings were not of a na
But Mr. King's argument reconciled ture to bring him much money, but they him to the sacrifice. “I can manage," gave him a definite and solid station. In said the prudent adviser, “if you insist the old time, before the first Reform Bill, on it, to retain that remnant of the his reputation would have secured him at hereditary estate which you are so loath once a seat in Parliament; but the anto part with. But how? by mortgaging cient nurseries of statesmen are gone, it to an extent that will scarcely leave you and their place is not supplied. $50 a-year net from the rents. This is He had been invited, however, to stand not all. Your mind will then be dis- for more than one large and populous tracted from the large object of a career borough, with very fair prospects of sucto the small object of retaining a few cess; and whatever the expense, Mr. family acres ; you will be constantly ham- King had offered to defray it. But pered by private anxieties and fears : you Graham would not have incurred the could do nothing for the benefit of those | latter obligation ; and when he learned around you - could not repair a farm- the pledges which his supporters would house for a better class of tenant -- could have exacted, he would not have stood if not rebuild a labourer's dilapidated cot-success had been certain and the cost tage. Give up an idea that might be very nothing. “I cannot," he said to his well for a man whose sole ambition was friends, “ go into the consideration of to remain a squire, however beggarly. what is best for the country with my Launch yourself into the larger world of thoughts manacled ; and I cannot be metropolitan life with energies wholly un- both representative and slave of the shackled, a mind wholly undisturbed, and greatest ignorance of the greatest numsecure of an income which, however | ber. I bide my time, and meanwhile I modest, is equal to that of most young I prefer to write as I please, rather than men who enter that world as your vote as I don't please.” equals."
Three years went by, passed chiefly in Graham was convinced, and yielded, England, parly in travel; and at the age though with a bitter pang. It is hard for of thirty Graham Vane was still one of a man whose fathers have lived on the those of whom admirers say, “He will be soil to give up all trace of their where- a great man some day;" and detractors abouts. But none saw in him any morbid reply, “Some day seems a long way consciousness of change of fortune, off.''' when, a year after his father's death, he T he same fastidiousness which had reassumed his place in society. If be- operated against that entrance into Parfore courted for his expectations, he was liament to which his ambition not the less still courted for himself; by many of the steadily adapted itself, had kept him free great who had loved his father, perhaps from the perils of wedlock. In his heart even courted more.
he yearned for love and domestic life, but He resigned the diplomatic career, not he had hitherto met with no one who merely because the rise in that profession realized the ideal he had formed. With is slow, and in the intermediate stops the his person, his accomplishments, his conchances of distinction are slight and few, nections, and his repute, he might have but more because he desired to cast his made many an advantageous marriage. lot in the home country, and regarded the But somehow or other the charm vancourts of other lands as exile.
ished from a fair face, if the shadow of a It was not true, however, as Lemercier | money-bag fell on it; on the other hand, had stated on report, that he lived on his his ambition occupied so large a share in
his thoughts that he would have fled in legacies to servants, and donations to time from the temptation of a marriage public charities, the sum thus bequeathed that would have overweighted him beyond to his lost wife's nephew was two hunthe chance of rising. Added to all, he dred and twenty thousand pounds. desired in a wife an intellect that, if not With such a fortune, opening indeed equal to his own, could become so by was made for an ambition so long obsympathy-a union of high culture and structed. But Graham affected no change noble aspiration, and yet of loving wo- in his mode of life ; he still retained his inanly sweetness which a man seldom modest bachelor's apartments --engaged finds out of books ; and when he does / no servants — bought no horses - in no find it, perhaps it does not wear the sort way exceeded the income he had posof face that he fancies. Be that as it may, sessed before. He seemed, indeed, deGraham was still unmarried and heart-pressed rather than elated by the succeswhole.
sion to a wealth which he had never anAnd now a new change in his life be- ticipated. fell him. Lady Janet died of a fever Two children had been born from the contracted in her habitual rounds of marriage of Richard King; they had charity among the houses of the poor. died young, it is true, but Lady Janet at She had been to him as the most tender the time of her own decease was not too mother, and a lovelier soul than hers advanced in years for the reasonable exnever alighted on the earth. His grief pectation of other offspring; and even was intense; but what was her hus- after Richard King became a widower, band's ? - one of those griefs that kill. he had given to Graham no hint of his
To the side of Richard King his Janet testamentary dispositions. The young had been as the guardian angel. His man was no blood-relation to him, and love for her was almost worship — with naturally supposed that such relations her, every object in a life hitherto so ac- would become the heirs. But in truth tive and useful seemed gone. He evinced the deceased seemed to have no near reno noisy passion of sorrow. He shut lations - none had ever been known to himself up, and refused to see even visit him — none raised a voice to quesGraham. But after some weeks had tion the justice of his will. passed, he admitted the clergyman in Lady Janet had been buried at Kensal whom, on spiritual matters, he habitually Green ; her husband's remains were confided, and seemed consoled by the placed in the same vault. visits; then he sent for his lawyer, and For days and days Graham went his made his will; after which he allowed way lonelily to the cemetery. He might Graham to call on him daily, on the con- be seen standing motionless by that dition that there should be no reference tomb, with tears rolling down his cheeks; to his loss. He spoke to the young man yet his was not a weak nature – not one on other subjects, rather drawing him out of those that love indulgence of irremeabout himself, sounding his opinion on diable grief. On the contrary, people various grave matters, watching his face who did not know him well said “that he while he questioned, as if seeking to dive had more head than heart," and the charinto his heart, and sometimes pathetically acter of his pursuits, as of his writings, sinking into silence, broken but by sighs. was certainly not that of a sentimentalSo it went on for a few more weeks ; ist. He had not thus visited the tomb then he took the advice of his physician till Richard King had been placed within to seek change of air and scene. He it. Yet his love for his aunt was unwent away alone, without even a servant, speakably greater than that which he not leaving word where he had gone. could have felt for her husband. Was After a little while he returned, more ail-it then, the husband that he so much ing, more broken than before. One more acutely mourned; or was there morning he was found insensible — something that, since the husband's stricken by paralysis. He regained con- death, had deepened his reverence for sciousness, and even for some days rallied the memory of her whom he had not strength. He might have recovered, but only loved as a mother, but honoured as he seemed as if he tacitly refused to live. a saint? He expired at last, peacefully, in Graham's! These visits to the cemetery did not arms.
cease till Graham was confined to his At the opening of his will it was found bed by a very grave illness — the only that he had left Graham his sole heir and one he had ever known. His physician executor. Deducting Government duties, said it was nervous fever, and occasioned by moral shock or excitement; it was at- / Radical. He is left to the enviable freetended with delirium. His recovery was dom, to which you say you aspire, of conslow, and when it was sufficiently com- sidering what is best for the country as a pleted he quitted England ; and we find / whole. him now, with his mind composed, his Do not lose so rare an opportunity, strength restored, and his spirits braced, There is but one drawback to your triin that gay city of Paris, hiding perhaps, umphant candidature. It will be said some earnest purpose amidst his partici- that you have no longer an acre in the pation in its holiday enjoyments.
county in which the Vanes have been He is now, as I have said, seated be- settled so long. That drawback can be fore his writing-table in deep thought. removed. It is true that you can never He takes up a letter which he had al- hope to buy back the estates which you ready glanced over hastily, and reperuses were compelled to sell at your father's it with more care.
death — the old manufacturer gripes The letter is from his cousin, the Duke them too firmly to. loosen his hold; and of Alton, who had succeeded a few years after all, even were your income double since to the family honours — an able what it is, you would be overhoused in min, with no small degree of information, the vast pile in which your father buried an ardent politician, but of very rational so large a share of his fortune. But that and temperate opinions; too much occu- beautiful old hunting-lodge, the Stamm pied by the cares of a princely estate to Schloss of your family, with the adjacent covet office for himself; too sincere. a farms, can be now repurchased very reapatriot not to desire office for those to sonably. The brewer who bought them whose hands he thought the country is afflicted with an extravagant son, whom might be most safely intrusted — an inti- | he placed in the Hussars, and will mite friend of Graham's. The contents gladly sell the property for £5000 more of the letter are these:
than he gave : well worth the difference,
as he has improved the farin-buildings MY DEAR GRAHAM,- I trust that you and raised the rental. I think, in adwill welcome the brilliant opening into dition to the sum you have on mortgage, public life which these lines are intended £23,000 will be accepted, and as a mere to announce to you. Vavasour has just investment pay you nearly three per cent. been with me to say that he intends to But to you it is worth more than double resign his seat for the county when Par- the money ; it once more identifies your liament meets, and agreeing with me that ancient name with the county. You there is no one so fit to succeed him as would be a greater personage with that yourself, he suggests the keeping his moderate holding in the district in which intention secret until you have arranged your race took root, and on which your your committee and are prepared to take father's genius threw such a lustre, than the field. You cannot hope to escape a you would be if you invested all your contest; but I have examined the Regis- wealth in a county in which every squire ter, and the party has gained rather than and farmer would call you “the new lost since the last election, when Vava- man.” Pray think over this most serisour was so triumphantly returned. ously, and instruct your solicitor to open
The expenses for this county, where negotiations with the brewer at once. there are so many out-voters to bring up, But rather put yourself into the train, and and so many agents to retain, are always come back to England straight to me. I large in comparison with some other will ask Vavasour to meet you. What counties ; but that consideration is all in news from Paris ? Is the Emperor as ill your favour, for it deters Squire Hunston, as the papers insinuate ? And is the rev-' the only man who could beat you, from olutionary party gaining ground ? — Your starting; and to your resources a thou- affectionate cousin,
ALTON. sand pounds more or less are a trifle not worth discussing. You know how diffi- As he put down this letter, Graham cult it is nowadays to find a seat for a heaved a short impatient sigh. man of moderate opinions like yours and “The old Stamm Schloss," he mutmine. Our county would exactly suittered — “a foot on the old soil once you. The constituency is so evenly di- more! and an entrance into the great vided between the urban and rural popu- arena with hands unfettered. Is it possilations, that its representative must fair- ble ! - is it — is it?" ly consult the interests of both. He canAt this moment the door-bell of the be neither an ultra-Tory nor a violent | apartment rang, and a servant whom Gra