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not compare with you,—forgive me if I endeavour to combat your resolution.”
“ Well, Sir," he replied, “to shew you that my conduct proceeds from rational determination, and not capricious disgust, I am ready to hear
“ It is only what I expected, as well as hoped," returned I. “Your lordship mentioned characters in history ungratefully treated by their country. Do not resemble them only in that. Recollect how they stifled their resentments when their country. wanted them. You have yourself shewn me an important volume of examples in this respect (and I opened the Plutarch he had pointed at). Do not refuse to be the Aristides, and, above all, the Camillus of that book. Their banishment did not prevent them from listening to the voice of their rivals, when they wanted their aid; or from delivering their native land from the evils that threatened it."
“Excellent," said he, with a sarcastic air. “You have not, I see, been at Oxford, any more than at Castleton's right hand, for nothing. Know then, were the Gaul or the Persian at the gates, I would, like Camillus or Aristides, arm to repel them : but to help a set of ordinary pretenders (you know I mean not Castleton), merely to keep offices with which they have no business—too jealous to act with me, too weak to do without me-would
be little resembling the patriots you so much wish me to follow.”
“ And yet your lordship,” returned I, “ resembles Camillus in more than one respect, which has perhaps escaped you."
“I understand not your meaning,” said he, with some curiosity, as I turned over Plutarch.
“ Permit me," I replied, having found the passage I wanted,“ to read the following account. As he (Camillus) departed from the city, he turned to the Capitol, and, stretching forth his hands, prayed the gods that if, without any fault of his own, but merely through the malice and violence of the
people, he was driven into banishment, the Romans might quickly have cause to repent of it, and that all mankind might visibly perceive that they needed his assistance, and longed for his return.
With all his resentments, I saw this did not displease Lord Rochfort, for, laughing at the comparison I had discovered,
“Upon my word,” said he, “ I cannot but compliment Lord Castleton upon his ambassador. I should only be glad if our foreign diplomacy were as well filled as our domestic. It would be hard now if such adroitness should fail, and I not think myself Camillus after all. But no; as the Gaul is not at the gate, I will not be drawn out of this retreat, which seems now as strong a fortress against English envy, hatred and malice, lying and slandering, treachery and ingratitude, as it formerly was against Scotch rapine and mosstrooping insolence. It was this that made me prefer it to the silk and down of Beaulieu, which attracted many a rascal. In truth, I believe I was born two, perhaps three centuries too late; for when I first arrived here, and traversed my vast and empty hall, and beheld my ancestors' helmets, crowned with pennons waving in the wind, and read under them how many had been sheriffs of the county, how many had led their vassals to Scotland or Wales, how many to Acquitaine, I felt my heart dilate, and fear I despised myself for having been born in so changed a time. For, instead of belonging to a band of warriors (robbers though they might be), I felt I was now making one of a nation of pedlars, governed by a clique of men only fit
be gentlemen ushers; and I paced the cold floor of the apartment which contained these monuments of former importance, with my disgust at the world increased a hundred-fold. I shivered, it is true, in a place where once whole trees flamed to illumine and warm its master and his men; but shivering one's self was better than warming crowds of the ungrateful, the designing, and the envious. Here,
* Feel I but the penalty of Adam,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
He said this with an animation which shewed that, for the moment, at least, he was no counterfeit, adding, in the same tone, “Why should I leave it? My poor ancestor, Lord Northumberland, paid a severe penalty for doing so; but though one's head is safer in these times, we are blessed with the same struggles among statesmen, the same intrigues, and the same treachery. Look here,” concluded he, pointing to Apemantus's inscription
Rich men sin, and I eat root.'” In this humour, I found it in vain to oppose him; for I had already discovered, in my commerce with the world, that opposition to a favourite, though perhaps but a temporary opinion, only gives it strength, and so I held my peace.
After a pause of some minutes, he resumed the talk.
“ It was amusing,” said he, “after my first arrival here, to observe the speculations which were hazarded as the cause of my retreat, by a set of blockheads, who knew nothing about me, or knaves, who were paid for abusing me. One said I had run out my fortune, and had come here to retrench; and there may be a worse cause assigned than that. (Here Lord Rochfort red
dened a little, as if not liking to glance at such a thing.) Another did me the honour, at my years, to say that I was éperduement épris with a beautiful country girl, whom, from fear of rivals, I had immured with myself in this old castle, and never allowed her air or exercise, except upon the battlements. A third asserted that I had offended the king, by turning my back upon him in the closet, because he would not make me prime minister ; and the writer called upon all loyal subjects to support his Sacred Majesty in resenting this affront. This was in the Duke of E.'s paper; but I had ample revenge in his miserable mismanagement of his department, for which he is deservedly censured.”
“Your lordship,” observed I, “ at least notes, and is interested with what is passing in the world, although so far retreated from it. May we not hope, then, that the time will come, when you may be willing to return to it?"
“ Never,” returned he, “ while that world is what it is. My intention, as my wish, is to live and die here.”
“.Without companions ! without interests ! no pursuits ! no amusements ! How can that be, with your lordship's mind ?” 66 That very mind is your answer.
As to companions, to one who has taken a true measure of the world, Belford, mean and inconsiderable as it