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trouble and care of bringing up little Jack, who but you should reap the
reward?"

"I shall expect, Mr. Goldencalf, that you will furnish the means to
provide for the child's wants."

"Of that, sir, it is unnecessary to speak," interrupted my ancestor,
both promptly and proudly. "I am a wary man, and a prudent man, and am
one who knows the value of money, I trust; but I am no miser, to stint
my own flesh and blood. Jack shall never want for anything, while it
is in my power to give it. I am by no means as rich, sir, as the
neighborhood supposes; but then I am no beggar. I dare say, if all my
assets were fairly counted, it might be found that I am worth a plum."

"You are said to have received a much larger sum than that with the late
Mrs. Goldencalf," the divine observed, not without reproof in his voice.

"Ah, dear sir, I need not tell you what vulgar rumor is - but I shall not
undermine my own credit; and we will change the subject. My object,
Dr. Etherington, was merely to do justice. Poor Betsey desired that ten
thousand pounds might be given to found a scholarship or two: now, what
have these scholars done, or what are they likely to do, for me or
mine? The case is different with you, sir; you will have trouble - much
trouble, I make no doubt; and it is proper that you should have a
sufficient compensation. I was about to propose, therefore, that you
should consent to receive my check for three, or four, or even for five
thousand pounds," continued my ancestor, raising the offer as he saw the
frown on the brow of the Doctor deepen. "Yes, sir, I will even say the
latter sum, which possibly will not be too much for your trouble and
care; and we will forget the womanish plan of poor Betsey in relation to
the two scholarships and the charity. Five thousand pounds down, Doctor,
for yourself, and the subject of the charity forgotten forever."

When my father had thus distinctly put his proposition, he awaited its
effect with the confidence of a man who had long dealt with cupidity.
For a novelty, his calculation failed. The face of Dr. Etherington
flushed, then paled, and finally settled into a look of melancholy
reprehension. He arose and paced the room for several minutes in
silence; during which time his companion believed he was debating with
himself on the chances of obtaining a higher bid for his consent, when
he suddenly stopped and addressed my ancestor in a mild but steady tone.

"I feel it to be a duty, Mr. Goldencalf," he said, "to admonish you of
the precipice over which you hang. The love of money, which is the root
of all evil, which caused Judas to betray even his Saviour and God,
has taken deep root in your soul. You are no longer young, and although
still proud in your strength and prosperity, are much nearer to your
great account than you may be willing to believe. It is not an hour
since you witnessed the departure of a penitent soul for the presence of
her God; since you heard the dying request from her lips; and since, in
such a presence and in such a scene, you gave a pledge to respect her
wishes, and, now, with the accursed spirit of gain upper-most, you would
trifle with these most sacred obligations, in order to keep a little
worthless gold in a hand that is already full to overflowing. Fancy that
the pure spirit of thy confiding and single-minded wife were present
at this conversation; fancy it mourning over thy weakness and violated
faith - nay, I know not that such is not the fact; for there is no reason
to believe that the happy spirits are not permitted to watch near, and
mourn over us, until we are released from this mass of sin and depravity
in which we dwell - and, then, reflect what must be her sorrow at hearing
how soon her parting request is forgotten, how useless has been
the example of her holy end, how rooted and fearful are thine own
infirmities!"

My father was more rebuked by the manner than by the words of the
divine. He passed his hand across his brow, as if to shut out the view
of his wife's spirit; turned, drew his writing materials nearer, wrote a
check for the ten thousand pounds, and handed it to the Doctor with the
subdued air of a corrected boy.

"Jack shall be at your disposal, good sir," he said, as the paper was
delivered, "whenever it may be your pleasure to send for him."

They parted in silence; the divine too much displeased, and my ancestor
too much grieved, to indulge in words of ceremony.

When my father found himself alone, he gazed furtively about the room,
to assure himself that the rebuking spirit of his wife had not taken
a shape less questionable than air, and then, he mused for at least an
hour, very painfully, on all the principal occurrences of the night. It
is said that occupation is a certain solace for grief, and so it proved
to be in the present case; for luckily my father had made up that very
day his private account of the sum total of his fortune. Sitting down,
therefore, to the agreeable task, he went through the simple process of
subtracting from it the amount for which he had just drawn, and, finding
that he was still master of seven hundred and eighty-two thousand three
hundred and eleven pounds odd shillings and even pence, he found a very
natural consolation for the magnitude of the sum he had just given away,
by comparing it with the magnitude of that which was left.




CHAPTER III. OPINIONS OF OUR AUTHOR'S ANCESTOR, TOGETHER WITH SOME OF
HIS OWN, AND SOME OF OTHER PEOPLE'S.


Dr. Etherington was both a pious man and a gentleman. The second son
of a baronet of ancient lineage, he had been educated in most of the
opinions of his caste, and possibly he was not entirely above its
prejudices; but, this much admitted, few divines were more willing
to defer to the ethics and principles of the Bible than himself. His
humility had, of course, a decent regard to station; his charity was
judiciously regulated by the articles of faith; and his philanthropy was
of the discriminating character that became a warm supporter of church
and state.

In accepting the trust which he was now obliged to assume, he had
yielded purely to a benevolent wish to smooth the dying pillow of my
mother. Acquainted with the character of her husband, he had committed a
sort of pious fraud, in attaching the condition of the endowment to his
consent; for, notwithstanding the becoming language of his own rebuke,
the promise, and all the other little attendant circumstances of the
night, it might be questioned which felt the most surprise after
the draft was presented and duly honored, he who found himself in
possession, or he who found himself deprived, of the sum of ten thousand
pounds sterling. Still Dr. Etherington acted with the most scrupulous
integrity in the whole affair; and although I am aware that a writer who
has so many wonders to relate, as must of necessity adorn the succeeding
pages of this manuscript, should observe a guarded discretion in drawing
on the credulity of his readers, truth compels me to add, that every
farthing of the money was duly invested with a single eye to the wishes
of the dying Christian, who, under Providence, had been the means of
bestowing so much gold on the poor and unlettered. As to the manner in
which the charity was finally improved, I shall say nothing, since no
inquiry on my part has ever enabled me to obtain such information as
would justify my speaking with authority.

As for myself, I shall have little more to add touching the events of
the succeeding twenty years. I was baptized, nursed, breeched, schooled,
horsed, confirmed, sent to the university, and graduated, much as
befalls all gentlemen of the established church in the united kingdoms
of Great Britain and Ireland, or, in other words, of the land of my
ancestor. During these pregnant years, Dr. Etherington acquitted himself
of a duty that, judging by a very predominant feeling of human nature
(which, singularly enough, renders us uniformly averse to being troubled
with other people's affairs), I think he must have found sufficiently
vexatious, quite as well as my good mother had any right to expect. Most
of my vacations were spent at his rectory; for he had first married,
then become a father, next a widower, and had exchanged his town living
for one in the country, between the periods of my mother's death and
that on my going to Eton; and, after I quitted Oxford, much more of my
time was passed beneath his friendly roof than beneath that of my own
parent. Indeed, I saw little of the latter. He paid my bills, furnished
me with pocket-money, and professed an intention to let me travel after
I should reach my majority. But, satisfied with these proofs of paternal
care, he appeared willing to let me pursue my own course very much in my
own way.

My ancestor was an eloquent example of the truth of that political dogma
which teaches the efficacy of the division of labor. No manufacturer of
the head of a pin ever attained greater dexterity in his single-minded
vocation than was reached by my father in the one pursuit to which he
devoted, as far as human ken could reach, both soul and body. As any
sense is known to increase in acuteness by constant exercise, or any
passion by indulgence, so did his ardor in favor of the great object
of his affections grow with its growth, and become more manifest as an
ordinary observer would be apt to think the motive of its existence at
all had nearly ceased. This is a moral phenomenon that I have often had
occasion to observe, and which, there is some reason to think, depends
on a principle of attraction that has hitherto escaped the sagacity of
the philosophers, but which is as active in the immaterial, as is that
of gravitation in the material world. Talents like his, so incessantly
and unweariedly employed, produced the usual fruits. He grew richer
hourly, and at the time of which I speak he was pretty generally known
to the initiated to be the warmest man who had anything to do with the
stock exchange.

I do not think that the opinions of my ancestor underwent as many
material changes between the ages of fifty and seventy as they had
undergone between the ages of ten and forty. During the latter period
the tree of life usually gets deep root, its inclination is fixed,
whether obtained by bending to the storms, or by drawing toward the
light; and it probably yields more in fruits of its own, than it gains
by tillage and manuring. Still my ancestor was not exactly the same man
the day he kept his seventieth birthday as he had been the day he kept
his fiftieth. In the first place, he was worth thrice the money at the
former period that he had been worth at the latter. Of course his moral
system had undergone all the mutations that are known to be dependent on
a change of this important character. Beyond a question, during the last
five-and-twenty years of the life of my ancestor, his political bias,
too, was in favor of exclusive privileges and exclusive benefits. I do
not mean that he was an aristocrat in the vulgar acceptation. To
him, feudality was a blank; he had probably never heard the word.
Portcullises rose and fell, flanking towers lifted their heads, and
embattled walls swept around their fabrics in vain, so far as his
imagination was concerned. He cared not for the days of courts leet and
courts baron; nor for the barons themselves; nor for the honors of a
pedigree (why should he? - no prince in the land could more clearly
trace his family into obscurity than himself), nor for the vanities of
a court, nor for those of society; nor for aught else of the same nature
that is apt to have charms for the weak-minded, the imaginative, or
the conceited. His political prepossessions showed themselves in a very
different manner. Throughout the whole of the five lustres I have named,
he was never heard to whisper a censure against government, let its
measures, or the character of its administration, be what it would.
It was enough for him that it was government. Even taxation no longer
excited his ire, nor aroused his eloquence. He conceived it to be
necessary to order, and especially to the protection of property, a
branch of political science that he had so studied as to succeed in
protecting his own estate, in a measure, against even this great ally
itself. After he became worth a million, it was observed that all his
opinions grew less favorable to mankind in general, and that he was much
disposed to exaggerate the amount and quality of the few boons which
Providence has bestowed on the poor. The report of a meeting of the
Whigs generally had an effect on his appetite; a resolution that was
suspected of emanating from Brookes's commonly robbed him of a dinner,
and the Radicals never seriously moved that he did not spend a sleepless
night, and pass a large portion of the next day in uttering words that
it would be hardly moral to repeat. I may without impropriety add,
however, that on such occasions he did not spare allusions to the
gallows; Sir Francis Burdett, in particular, was a target for a good
deal of billingsgate; and men as upright and as respectable even as my
lords Grey, Landsdowne, and Holland, were treated as if they were
no better than they should be. But on these little details it is
unnecessary to dwell, for it must be a subject of common remark, that
the more elevated and refined men become in their political ethics, the
more they are accustomed to throw dirt upon their neighbors. I will
just state, however, that most of what I have here related has been
transmitted to me by direct oral traditions, for I seldom saw my
ancestor, and when we did meet, it was only to settle accounts, to eat a
leg of mutton together, and to part like those who, at least, have never
quarrelled.

Not so with Dr. Etherington. Habit (to say nothing of my own merits)
had attached him to one who owed so much to his care, and his doors were
always as open to me as if I had been his own son.

It has been said that most of my idle time (omitting the part misspent
in the schools) was passed at the rectory.

The excellent divine had married a lovely woman, a year or two after
the death of my mother, who had left him a widower, and the father of a
little image of herself, before the expiration of a twelvemonth. Owing
to the strength of his affections for the deceased, or for his daughter,
or because he could not please himself in a second marriage as well as
it had been his good fortune to do in the first, Dr. Etherington had
never spoken of forming another connection. He appeared content to
discharge his duties, as a Christian and a gentleman, without increasing
them by creating any new relations with society.

Anna Etherington was of course my constant companion during many
long and delightful visits at the rectory. Three years my junior,
the friendship on my part had commenced by a hundred acts of boyish
kindness. Between the ages of seven and twelve, I dragged her about in
a garden-chair, pushed her on the swing, and wiped her eyes and uttered
words of friendly consolation when any transient cloud obscured the
sunny brightness of her childhood. From twelve to fourteen, I told her
stories; astonished her with narratives of my own exploits at Eton,
and caused her serene blue eyes to open in admiration at the marvels of
London. At fourteen, I began to pick up her pocket-handkerchief, hunt
for her thimble, accompany her in duets, and to read poetry to her,
as she occupied herself with the little lady-like employments of the
needle. About the age of seventeen I began to compare cousin Anna, as
I was permitted to call her, with the other young girls of my
acquaintance, and the comparison was generally much in her favor. It was
also about this time that, as my admiration grew more warm and manifest,
she became less confiding and less frank; I perceived too that, for a
novelty, she now had some secrets that she did not choose to communicate
to me, that she was more with her governess, and less in my society
than formerly, and on one occasion (bitterly did I feel the slight)
she actually recounted to her father the amusing incidents of a little
birthday fete at which she had been present, and which was given by
a gentleman of the vicinity, before she even dropped a hint to me,
touching the delight she had experienced on the occasion. I was,
however, a good deal compensated for the slight by her saying, kindly,
as she ended her playful and humorous account of the affair:

"It would have made you laugh heartily, Jack, to see the droll manner
in which the servants acted their parts" (there had been a sort of
mystified masque), "more particularly the fat old butler, of whom they
had made a Cupid, as Dick Griffin said, in order to show that love
becomes drowsy and dull by good eating and drinking - I DO wish you COULD
have been there, Jack."

Anna was a gentle feminine girl, with a most lovely and winning
countenance, and I did inherently like to hear her pronounce the word
"Jack" - it was so different from the boisterous screech of the Eton
boys, or the swaggering call of my boon companions at Oxford!

"I should have liked it excessively myself, Anna," I answered; "more
particularly as you seem to have so much enjoyed the fun."

"Yes, but that COULD NOT BE" interrupted Miss-Mrs. Norton, the
governess. "For Sir Harry Griffin is very difficult about his
associates, and you know, my dear, that Mr. Goldencalf, though a very
respectable young man himself, could not expect one of the oldest
baronets of the county to go out of his way to invite the son of a
stock-jobber to be present at a fete given to his own heir."

Luckily for Miss-Mrs. Norton, Dr. Etherington had walked away the
moment his daughter ended her recital, or she might have met with
a disagreeable commentary on her notions concerning the fitness of
associations. Anna herself looked earnestly at her governess, and I saw
a flush mantle over her sweet face that reminded me of the ruddiness of
morn. Her soft eyes then fell to the floor, and it was some time before
she spoke.

The next day I was arranging some fishing-tackle under a window of the
library, where my person was concealed by the shrubbery, when I heard
the melodious voice of Anna wishing the rector good morning. My heart
beat quicker as she approached the casement, tenderly inquiring of her
parent how he had passed the night. The answers were as affectionate as
the questions, and then there was a little pause.

"What is a stock-jobber, father?" suddenly resumed Anna, whom I heard
rustling the leaves above my head.

"A stock-jobber, my dear, is one who buys and sells in the public funds,
with a view to profit."

"And is it thought a PARTICULARLY disgraceful employment?"

"Why, that depends on circumstances. On 'Change it seems to be well
enough - among merchants and bankers there is some odium attached to it,
I believe."

"And can you say why, father?"

"I believe," said Dr. Etherington, laughing, "for no other reason
than that it is an uncertain calling - one that is liable to sudden
reverses - what is termed gambling - and whatever renders property
insecure is sure to obtain odium among those whose principal concern
is its accumulation; those who consider the responsibility of others of
essential importance to themselves."

"But is it a dishonest pursuit, father?"

"As the times go, not necessarily, my dear; though it may readily become
so."

"And is it disreputable, generally, with the world?"

"That depends on circumstances, Anna. When the stock-jobber loses, he
is very apt to be condemned; but I rather think his character rises in
proportion to his gains. But why do you ask these singular questions,
love?"

I thought I heard Anna breathe harder than usual, and it is certain that
she leaned far out of the window to pluck a rose.

"Why, Mrs. Norton said Jack was not invited to Sir Harry Griffin's
because his father was a stock-jobber. Do you think she was right, sir?"

"Very likely, my dear," returned the divine, who I fancied was smiling
at the question. "Sir Harry has the advantages of birth, and he probably
did not forget that our friend Jack was not so fortunate - and, moreover,
Sir Harry, while he values himself on his wealth, is not as rich as
Jack's father by a million or two - in other words, as they say on
'Change, Jack's father could buy ten of him. This motive was perhaps
more likely to influence him than the first. In addition, Sir Harry is
suspected of gambling himself in the funds through the aid of agents;
and a gentleman who resorts to such means to increase his fortune is a
little apt to exaggerate his social advantages by way of a set-off to
the humiliation."

"And GENTLEMEN do really become stock-jobbers, father?"

"Anna, the world has undergone great changes in my time. Ancient
opinions have been shaken, and governments themselves are getting to
be little better than political establishments to add facilities to the
accumulation of money. This is a subject, however, you cannot very well
understand, nor do I pretend to be very profound in it myself."

"But is Jack's father really so very, very rich?" asked Anna, whose
thoughts had been wandering from the thread of those pursued by her
father.

"He is believed to be so."

"And Jack is his heir."

"Certainly - he has no other child; though it is not easy to say what so
singular a being may do with his money."

"I hope he will disinherit Jack!"

"You surprise me, Anna! You, who are so mild and reasonable, to wish
such a misfortune to befall our young friend John Goldencalf!" I gazed
upward in astonishment at this extraordinary speech of Anna, and at the
moment I would have given all my interest in the fortune in question to
have seen her face (most of her body was out of the window, for I heard
her again rustling the bush above my head), in order to judge of her
motive by its expression; but an envious rose grew exactly in the only
spot where it was possible to get a glimpse.

"Why do you wish so cruel a thing?" resumed Dr. Etherington, a little
earnestly.

"Because I hate stock-jobbing and its riches, father. Were Jack poorer,
it seems to me he would be better esteemed."

As this was uttered the dear girl drew back, and I then perceived that
I had mistaken her cheek for one of the largest and most blooming of the
flowers. Dr. Etherington laughed, and I distinctly heard him kiss the
blushing face of his daughter. I think I would have given up my hopes in
another million to have been the rector at Tenthpig at that instant.

"If that be all, child," he answered, "set thy heart at rest. Jack's
money will never bring him into contempt unless through the use he may
make of it. Alas! Anna, we live in an age of corruption and cupidity!
Generous motives appear to be lost sight of in the general desire
of gain; and he who would manifest a disposition to a pure and
disinterested philanthropy is either distrusted as a hypocrite or
derided as a fool. The accursed revolution among our neighbors the
French has quite unsettled opinions, and religion itself has tottered
in the wild anarchy of theories to which it has given rise. There is no
worldly advantage that has been more austerely denounced by the divine
writers than riches, and yet it is fast rising to be the god of the
ascendant. To say nothing of an hereafter, society is getting to be
corrupted by it to the core, and even respect for birth is yielding to
the mercenary feeling."

"And do you not think pride of birth, father, a mistaken prejudice as
well as pride of riches?"

"Pride of any sort, my love, cannot exactly be defended on evangelical
principles; but surely some distinctions among men are necessary, even
for quiet. Were the levelling principle acknowledged, the lettered
and the accomplished must descend to an equality with the ignorant
and vulgar, since all men cannot rise to the attainments of the former
class, and the world would retrograde to barbarism. The character of
a Christian gentleman is much too precious to trifle with in order to
carry out an impracticable theory."

Anna was silent. Probably she was confused between the opinions which
she most liked to cherish and the faint glimmerings of truth to which
we are reduced by the ordinary relations of life. As for the good rector
himself, I had no difficulty in understanding his bias, though neither
his premises nor his conclusions possessed the logical clearness that
used to render his sermons so delightful, more especially when he
preached about the higher qualities of the Saviour's dispensation, such
as charity, love of our fellows, and, in particular, the imperative duty



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