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BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY,
AND STASSIN ET XAVIER, 9, RUE DU COQ.
AND BY ALL THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS ON THE CONTINENT.
THE LOTTERY OF LIFE.
BORN of humble but honest parents, I was so fortunate as to attract the notice of Abraham Mortimer, a retired banker, who had purchased a large estate, on which was the small farm occupied by my father, Richard Wallingford. Mr. Mortimer had married late in life, and lost the object of his affections, who died soon after giving birth to an only son. The child was little less than idolized by his doting parent; and, when old enough to have a preceptor, it was suggested that a play-fellow, to share his lessons, might excite emulation, while a companion in his exercise would tend to give him more pleasure in them. I, then in my twelfth year, was selected to fill this post. I had often attracted the notice of Mr. Mortimer as he rode by the door of my father, who was his tenant, and who having three other children, and not being in affluent circumstances, was not unwilling to accept the kind offer of his landlord, to undertake the education of his son, and afterwards to place him in some reputable profession.
Percy Mortimer, unlike the generality of only sons, was wholly unspoilt by the indulgence of his father. Good-tempered, kindhearted, and generous, he hailed the acquisition of a companion of his own age with delight, and soon became fondly attached to me, who regarded "the young master," as the child was styled, with the warmest affection.
The emulation excited between us never engendered an Lenvious feeling in the breasts of either. The commendations avished on Percy by his doting father, were even more gratisying to me than to the object of them; and often would Percy interrupt the eulogiums, by reminding his parent that I merited them quite as well as he did. The only interruptions to the happiness I enjoyed, originated in the contemptuous treatment I not unfrequently experienced from the servants of my benefactor.
“Marry come up!” would Mrs. Turnbull, the fat housekeeper, say, often loud enough to be heard by me, as she beheld us mount our ponies together," if it isn't queer to see a trumpery farmer's son treated for all the world like the young squire, and not the least difference made between them."
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"Set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the--,"chimed the butler. “Well, I hope master won't have no cause to repent his generosity, or to remember the old saying about pulling a rod to whip himself.";
“Some people have the luck of it,” resumed Mrs. Turnbull. “Now, if master had taken your little boy, Mr. Manningtree, I'd have thought it quite natral like, seeing as how you've served in the family so long; and I'm sure he's a nice spirited little fellow, and so I have thought ever since he broke the gardener's windows for forbidding him to touch the fruit, and set his dog at the beggars' children.”
" Why, yes, Mrs. Turnbull, I must say as how Billy is as sharp a chap as a man can see in a ride of twenty miles. Why, he knocked out a tooth of widow Browning's son t'other day, and has boxed half the boys in the school, as their black eyes bear witness. Though I say it, as shouldn't say it, Billy is as cute
I a boy as any in the parish; ay, and would be as good-looking a boy, too, only for his bandy legs, that little cast he has in his eyes, and his hair being so red."
“As for a cast in the heyes, Mr. Manningtree,” observed Mrs. Turnbull,“ there's many a one as thinks it a beauty; and às for red hair, doesn't it bring white skin with it?"
Now, be it known that Mrs. Turnbull, squinted, and had very red hair, which the butler had totally forgotten, when he referred to their being detrimental to comeliness. :
“Oh! in a woman, Mrs. Turnbull, they certainly are a beauty, of that there can't be a doubt; for only look at the picturs of Teeshin, 'I mean of them there pretty creturs, who have not so much clothes on as might be wished, owing, I suppose, to chintz, muslin, and cotton not being so cheap when he painted as these articles are now.”
Fye, Mr. Manningtree! don't mention such things. I'm sure I never go into the breakfast room, to take orders of a morning, without being ashamed to meet master's eye, on account of that there Wenus, who is lolloping, half dressed, ... and them other plump creturs as is bathing in a river.”
a “Faith! Mrs. Turnbull, I never look at'em without thinking of you."
“For shame! for shame! Mr. Manningtree; don't go for to mention such a thing; what would people say if they heard you! I've been a married woman, Mr. Manningtree, a matter of twenty-five years, and poor Thomas Turnbull, peace be to his soul, never said no such thing in his life.”