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of himself, that he was forced to dismiss him in his own defence. Do you know, it has already struck me, once or twice, in the course of ou tions, that you would just suit him. You are well born, which he likes; well-looking, which he likes; and ingenui vultûs puer, which he very much likes. Your romance and your sentiment would be no drawback, for he once had them himself; and your apparent scholarship would be an additional recommendation, for he not only had, but retains, a considerable portion of literature to this day.”
I was absolutely bewildered during this speech. I could not believe my new-found kinsman in earnest: my colour came and went; and Fothergill's suggestions to the same effect rushing into my mind, I became dizzy with the thousand notions which, thus repeated, they engendered.
Mr. Manners seeing me agitated, asked the cause of it; and having recovered myself, I fairly told him my surprise at the extraordinary coincidence between him and Fothergill upon this point.
Surprising, but not displeasing, I trust,” said he.
Very far from it,” replied I, “ if I were only worthy of it. But obscure, ignorant of the world, particularly of the high world, its manners, maxims, and conventions; what would become of me? and even if your unaccountable sudden feeling of
favour towards me, which I know not how I can have acquired
“O!” interrupted he; “ truce with your modesty here, at least, though it might become you in the presence of a perhaps jealous patron. As to your obscurity, a demy of Maudlin, with the prospect of a fellowship, belongs absolutely to noblesse ; and such obscurity as Addison set out with cannot be
detrimental. Then you are a De Clifford and a Bardolfe :
“A noble young fellow three ages ago." Last and not least, you will please to observe, you are my first cousin, only three or four times removed. The devil's in it, should Castleton have a vacancy in his bureau, if he would fill it obscurely in choosing you. I must only lay my wits together with Fothergill's, to see how to bring it about.”
Then, seeing that I was still agitated, and that the evening was fast closing in, he said, “ There, I have spoiled your contemplative walk home tonight, notwithstanding that rising moon, which will make me envy you the chequered shade she will cause in Asher's Wood. But go, and enjoy it if you can, notwithstanding the dream of the world I have raised in you. I suppose you will feel a little like Gil Blas, after hearing the momentous words - You now belong to the king !' But love the moon, notwithstanding: think of what I have
pray dine with me again tomorrow.”
At these words he playfully almost pushed me out of the room, and, as I passed the open window,
, called out, “ If you hear any bells, though only a sheep-bell, in your way home, think of one Whittington, and that they cry,
• Turn again, Whittington,
Lord Mayor of London town.'"
With this prophetic distich in my ears, I certainly, at first, thought much of London town; but the dream did not last long. For though, for the first two or three hundred yards, my fancy conjured up many visions of the interesting novelties of public life, it was scarcely possible for them to continue in the pastoral village of Binfield.
The bean-flowers, that richest and sweetest of scents, which here flourished in profusion, and perhaps gave its name to the village, again perfumed the air, and filled all the senses with a soothing voluptuousness wholly incompatible with dreams of ambition. It was impossible to think of courts inh suc a garden.
The day, too, had for some time sunk, and given place to what has well been called, " a universal gravity.” Twilight herself seemed departing, and the gleams of her silver tints, after having lingered a minute on the higher objects, as if to claim a last farewell, dropt suddenly from the sight, and were gone almost
as soon as seen.
There was a moral in this which effectually banished worldly desires ; for it made me reflect how uncertain is our hold on all we may most love.
I gave way therefore to holier aspirations; and forgot Lord Castleton and his bureau in far different and higher speculations. And now the moon had begun to array
herself in melting softness. Was it possible for the mind to dwell upon artificial grandeur, or any power belonging to man, under such surpassing proofs of creative splendour in the Omnipotent ? No heart could resist its influence; and mine forgot this lower world, in thinking of His power and beneficence who dwelt above.
What made the scene more rich and seductive, was the gradual majestic advance of this all-diffusing orb, from faint beginnings to the widespreading influence of universal brightness. For at first, scarce seen in the horizon, the effect upon surrounding objects was not so great, and the hemisphere remained for a while only just visible. But soon rising higher and higher, she shot forth all her glories,
Firing the proud tops of the eastern pines.”
This made me, her worshipper, bow down, senseless to any
influence but her own; for while the whole vault of heaven was cloudless, every ray told upon the surrounding landscape, and I never so
much felt the exact as well as sublime description of him who excelled in sublimity and exactness :
Now Heav'n in all her glory shone, and rollid
No; I could not think of Lord Castleton, fearing, if I did so, heaven and earth would rebuke me for my selfishness.
And yet with all this rapture (for it was no less) in regard to this lovely planet, I somehow or another felt a want for her. She seemed too dependent upon another, whose deputy only she was, when I would have had her a queen, with power self-derived. She seemed also alone, and to feel that she was so. Peerless, as she rode through the boundless ether, I wished to give her a companion. She appeared a widow, or an orphan, or both. The happiness she diffused to others seemed wanting to herself.
These thoughts possessed me so much, that I invoked the Muse upon them, and before I got to Oakingham, they had arranged themselves in some stanzas, which perhaps I might venture to record, but that long-long since they were composed, the same thought was embodied by a superior genius, whose premature and most affecting death has enhanced the interest of all her productions. *
* L. E. L.