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charms for me. I passed it without being conscious of its existence, far less of its beauty.
What made me almost angry was, the happy air of content, inspired by peace and leisure, which the town and colleges seemed to wear, although it was night. All the buildings appeared illuminated, yet there was no noise or bustle; for the lights proceeded—or seemed with a little imagination to do so—from the quiet lamps of study. Their inmates, thought I, have very different mistresses from mine; the Muses seldom refuse the worship of those who court them. I have played them truant, but perhaps they will receive me again.
Such meditation had employed me from the time I reached what Pope calls “the gloomy verdure of Stonour;" for I recollected his picturesque journey to Oxford, which, like myself, he approached,“ overtaken by the solemn light of the moon, without company, or any interruption to the range of his own thoughts.” I experienced, also, the same surprise that he did, when, about half a mile from the city, all the bells tolled in different notes, the clocks of every college answering one another, and sounding (some in a deeper, some in a softer tone) that it was eleven at night.
Having put up my horse, I proceeded with a heavy heart to Queen's, and gave but a sullen knock at the ponderous gate. The porter seemed in a state of happy drowsiness, which I almost, or quite, envied. He had no care but to open and shut. He knew nothing of refinement, and least of all of a refined and
misplaced passion. He was low and alone in the world, and content to be so. He seemed, however, glad, as well as surprised, to see me, and told me “ Muster Fothergill would be main glad too."
What fears did not this name inspire! I expected to be severely catechised, and almost wished for a tutor who was content with Greek lectures, without troubling himself with those on the heart. However, I had leisure enough to think all these things over during the night. My friend, the porter, had furnished me with a lanthorn, and I let myself into my room; but bed never looked so little inviting, and in the recess of an armed-chair I lost myself in no very comfortable state for several hours. He must, however, be a wretch indeed, who frightens away his soft nurse during a whole night. Accordingly, when I waked in the morning, I found myself in my bed, after something like refreshment and wiser thoughts had taken possession of me. The pang at leaving Foljambe Park had done its worst. I had formed stern resolutions, not the less deeply fixed because I had given way to natural feeling in the first moments of parting ; and I began to have less fear of the meeting with Fothergill.
As I had acquainted him with my accident, he very kindly waived the ceremony of my waiting upon him, and, on learning my arrival, came to see me in my rooms; then, having ascertained that there was scarcely any inconvenience remaining from my wounds, he proceeded at once to the subject which he supposed was uppermost with me. I concealed nothing; but
told him all I had observed that had raised my ideas of Bertha's character; but, at the same time, all that had fixed my conviction from herself, that to continue to love her would be vain.
“ How do you feel towards her ?” asked he. “ Are you angry?”
« No." “ Is she in danger of losing the character she has gained with you ?”
“Oh, no. Though she has been more distant to me than I thought she could be, I shall ever look upon her as unequalled among women, in every charm and every virtue.”
“I have hopes of you,” said Fothergill, “ but I shall watch you. I will have no lone walks, much less at midnight; though I think the lesson you received upon that sort of romance will save a repetition of it for some time to come.”
We then conferred on our plan of operations as to academical pursuits, and he opened to me a view he had kindly fostered for my benefit: this was, to stand at the next election for a Demy at Maudlin.
“ If you are once cured of your love of any females but the Muses,” said he, “ the disposition you have shewn for literature, and a little interest, may, I think, insure your success, and you may then literally pursue the early footsteps of your favourite Addison.”
The thought gave me a pleasure that I could notindeed did not try to conceal. It lighted up my
countenance, and, in fact, was the first sensible excitement to ambition which I had hitherto felt.
66 You do not seem averse to my scheme,” said Fothergill, “ and I hail it for more causes than one. Addison, you know, was not only distinguished as the most polite of our scholars, but became secretary of state. With such an example before you, how soon will not the love of a boy sink before the ambition of a man ?”
“ Is then ambition incompatible with love ?"
" It should seem that at least it should be made of sterner stuff. Recollect De la Rochefocault:- On passe souvent de l'amour à l'ambition ; mais on ne revient guère de l'ambition à l'amour:' and if, as ambition did with Addison, it lead you into politics and party, instead of sinking you into a country parson (which is only another word for a lover), you will soon be independent of the whole house of Hastings.”
“ I should not wish to forget them,” said I.
“ I should not like you if you did," replied he; “ but if you succeed in the career I have proposedif, as is in your power, you become eminent as a scholar, and through scholarship, an eminent public manyou may force the family to respect you, as if you were their equal; and Bertha herself, though she may not return your love, may feel a pride and a pleasure in the thought that you have been her lover.”
How well did this observing man understand the springs of human action. He knew that he was taking me by my weak side. He saw that the bait had succeeded. I shewed it in the smile that played
round my lips. For the first time, I began to think that the church was not the only career open to a decayed gentleman, and that there were other parties than those of Athens and Rome. In short, the precedent of Addison, who had thrown off at Queen's, proceeded to Maudlin, and thence into the first ranks of society, had all the weight with me which my tutor intended.
I told him I was impatient to begin. He smiled at my haste, but thought it augured well. “ Enthusiasm in love,” he observed, “ too often makes a man a fool : in ambition, no one can be a hero without it."
To be sure, the superstructure which Fothergill was thus endeavouring to raise seemed to have but slight foundations; nevertheless, he was not without his reasons, which may hereafter be developed.
This conversation put me in spirits. I braced myself up to exertion ; I strove for college honours, and succeeded; and, on the strength of it, was introduced to the influential people at Maudlin, where Fothergill's universal reputation did much for me. In short, within a twelvemonth after the eventful visit to Foljambe Park, my first ambition was crowned, and the “ decayed gentleman,” with a fair proportion of éclat, became a Demy of Maudlin.