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The boy whom you deemed worthy of your affection when upon a footing with you in the desert, is no longer so in the peopled world, where you may chuse your companions. But though this
But though this may be true, injustice should never be done, and that boy, because honoured by your family as their visitor, should not be represented to those companions as your "hanger
Having made this effort, I seized my hat, and motioned as if to leave the room; but astonished, and almost confounded, he advanced towards the door, declaring in a less loud tone, that he knew not what I meant, and that I should not go till I had explained.
Angered at what I supposed to be an evasion, though it perhaps might be real forgetfulness—“Do not,” said I, “ add affectation of ignorance to the injustice I complain of. The condescension of your family I shall ever acknowledge; my friendship with you has been the delight of my life; but ask yourself if I ever was theirs or your hanger on,' and add to the question whether you have not so represented me to Lord Albany ?".
I then left the room, and was upon the stairs, when he followed me and cried, “Stay! return! this must not be.”
Not so resentful as to be unwilling to listen to a man whom I felt I still loved, and who might have repented of his fault, I instantly obeyed, and once more found myself with him in private. He began immediately.
“ Though I might slight much of what you have said to me, evidently most unwarrantably, yet your last surmise is too derogatory to my honour to pass unheeded. I told you I did not understand you, and I told you true. How you got at any thing from
Lord Albany respecting any supposed conversation of mine, is to me extraordinary, as there is not and cannot be the least intercourse between you and him ; but you have mentioned a particular expression, as coming from me in regard to you, which, if correct, you have a right to resent, but which, denying it to be true, I have also a right to have explained. Relate, if you please, the authority upon which it is founded."
“ Allowing,” returned I, with some spleen, "allowing to the full, your intimation, that there is not and cannot be any intercourse between so great a person as Lord Albany and myself—a hint not necessary,
I assure you, to remind me of my inferiority—(he reddened much at this)-I reply to your question, that the authority was his own.”
“ Impossible! I desire particulars."
“ You shall have them;" and I related what I had heard, and what any body else might have heard, in the walk in Merton Gardens ; adding, my reasoning upon it, that I could have been the only person meant,
He admitted the inference, but denied the correctness of the representation.
“ Clifford,” said he, “ I declare before heaven, that as you never deserved the appellation, so it never was applied to you by me. It must have been Albany's own incorrect construction of what I may have related of our acquaintance, and your visit to Foljambe Park.”
“ Hastings," I said, " I believe you ; because, however I may lament the change there evidently has been made in you already by the world, I believe that you are too proud to assert a falsehood.”
“ I am satisfied," said he," and as to the changes
you glance at, I am perhaps also too proud to enter upon a defence. In my present position, indeed, with the despot I am embroiled with, you will excuse me if I feel obliged to decline the subject, and direct all my attention to the conduct it demands of me. I lament that it cannot be what you have advised; and
“ Farewell, you would say,” observed I, re-opening the dour, " and I say so too."
With this, and a bow not over cordial on either side, I left him.
A DISSERTATION ON UNEQUAL FRIENDSHIP.
And so farewell to the little good you hear me.
SHAKSPEARE, Henry VIII. Such was my soliloquy, repeated many times on niy way home. For, though I seemed in a wilderness of thought, in which Sedbergh, Foljambe Park, Hastings, and Bertha, all had their turns, this sentiment seemed uppermost, and I felt that Hastings and I were separated for ever. The only consolation I had was the entire disavowal that I had been called by that degrading name fixed upon me by Albany; for Albany's own misconstructions I did not care a rush. And now for Fothergill, who I found had sent for me while I was away.
That rough, probing, keenly observing, but goodnatured man, and true friend, who, full of shrewd Cumberland sense, and “ wrapt in his virtue and a good surtout,” beheld from his watch-tower at Queen's all the turmoils and struggles of the world, without partaking them himself, had now repented of the rough handling he had given me, for the romance I had confessed in my love for Bertha. He had parted from me, as he himself allowed, in one of his pets, and thinking I had gone out in one of mine, followed me to see what might come of it. “ No good, I fear," added he, “ for I followed you to Christ Church, where, I mistake, if, from your looks, you have not
past through a fiery ordeal, hot, perhaps, as the burning ploughshares of old.”
In answer to this, I immediately related to him all that had passed with Hastings.
“ Well,” said he, as sooner or later this must have happened, perhaps you are to be felicitated that it has happened so soon. You are mournful, I see, and I should be sorry if you were not. The time will come when your mourning may be turned into joy; for what has happened will deliver you from the fear of that character, the very suspicion of which caused you so much and such just resentment. You may not sleep better for it to night, but you will to-morrow; you will tread lighter during the next day, and you will become more like your favourite emblem there (and he pointed to Maudlin Tower), seemingly rejoicing, as you said, in its own simplicity."
Moody as I was, I was alive to this poetry of my tutor, for such I thought it; and yet I could not help thinking, too, that something like a noble mind was overthrown in Hastings.
“ There was honour, I allow," said Fothergill,“ in his seeking to exculpate himself as he did, from the charge of having slandered you to Lord Albany; but he has changed towards you, nevertheless, changed for no cause but being corrupted by the tinselled prosperity he enjoys. Whatever he did, he does not now, I was going to say, love you as he does Lord Albany; but I will not profane the term. For it is not Albany that he loves, but his gay position in the world ; his title, his fortune, already his own, crowning him in his youth ; add to this the éclat of his fashion, so dazzling to old as well as young, in this place; and last, though not least, perhaps his sister."
6. His sister ?”