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THE CONSTANT MAN.
AUTHOR OF "TREMAINE,” “DE VERE,” &c.
Cum magnis vixi, cum plebeiis, cum omnibus ;
DR. KING's Epitaph upon Himself.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER,
GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
THE CONSTANT MAN.
OF A VERY INTERESTING SUGGESTION MADE BY
MR. MANNERS TO CLIFFORD-HOW GLADLY HE
RECEIVED, AND HOW SOON HE FORGOT IT, IN CONTEMPLATING THE MOON.
“ How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank."
In such a night Medea gathered the enchanted herbs that did recover old Æson.-SHAKSPEARE.—Merchant of Venice.
At the close of our conversation in the last chapter, a servant announced tea in the library, and I suppose I looked surprised, as there were no ladies in the house and Manners had not ordered it; so he thought it necessary to explain.
“ I see,” said he, “ your wonder at this : but it
is only one other accompaniment of the solitary life. For where we are not bound to take note of time by any superior demand upon it, unless we make one for ourselves, the machine would run down of itself. The terms soon and late would be lost, and the hours of the house would run wild. This I found after I finally settled myself here, in the sort of robe de chambre life I lead. The robe would never be off my back, if there was not a regular order of things, and times for doing them. At first, the cook, the butler, the groom, never knew where to have me, nor I them ; so I drew up a code of laws for our common government; the time of all meals, for all persons, was enacted, and exactly kept to; and since that we have done pretty well. I am quizzed for this, too, among other things, by my charitable neighbours, who sneer at me' as a bore of an old man, who moves by clockwork. I answer, I wish their lives were half as regular as my clock. So now you see why we have been summoned to tea, and why I dare not disobey ; all which, whether you approve or disapprove, you may put down to the account of Solitude.”
“ I shall be an adept, I have no doubt, at last," said I.
“ An adept as to theory, if you will, but not in practice. You must put off that to this time forty years.
This not unnaturally led to inquiries as to my professional views; “ for, undoubtedly,” said he, “you must have some; though I suppose, from your Sedbergh exhibition at Queen's, and
election afterwards to Maudlin, they are clerical; a college tutor and a country parson, like your master, Fothergill; but, heavens ! how that man thrown away."
“ He does not think so himself," observed I; nor do I believe he would have been half so happy in the actual world, much as he knows of its theory. He failed, you know, in endeavouring to become a politician under Lord Castleton.”
“ He did so; though Castleton both loved and respected him ; but he had not the esprit liant. I
will not imitate him in that." “ You know Lord Castleton, then ?”
“ Yes, full well; for not only am I his near relation through the Badlesmeres, but when I was in the world we were great political friends. He was one of the few whom I really believed honest in his ambition; and he used to say I was one of the few who was sincere in my love of privacy. He sometimes writes to me, and more than once has unbent for four-and-twenty hours at a time at the Grange. By the way, I wish you knew him. He has often complained to me that he never could attach a young man of parts to his service, for his own sake ; or who did not acquire such a vast opinion