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harm than good of it. I always learned Latin at school so quickly, through being a grammatical example of descent. According to our
. pedigree, Caius Calpurnius Mordax Naso was the Governor of Britain, under Pertinax. My name means “ biting ;” and bite I can, whether my dinner is before me, or my enemy. In the present case, I shall not bite yet ; but prepare myself for doing so. I watch the proceedings of the Government; who are sure to be slow, as well as blundering. There has been no appointment to this command as yet, because of so many people wanting it. This patched-up peace, which may last about six months (even if it is ever signed) is producing confusion everywhere. You have an old fool put in charge of this station, till a proper successor is appointed.'
“He is not like Captain Carroway, sir. But that concerns me little now.
But I do wish, for my children's sake, that they would send a little money.
"On no account; think twice of that. That question is in my hands; and affords me one of the few pleasures I derive from business. You are under no sort of obligation about it. I am acting under authority. A man of exalted position, and high office—but never mind that, till the proper time comes; only keep your mind in perfect rest, and attend to your children, and yourself. I am obliged to proceed very warily; but you shall not be annoyed by that scoundrel. I will provide for that, before I leave; also I will see the guns still in store, without letting anybody guess my motive. I have picked up a very sharp fellow here, whose heart is in the business thoroughly; for one of the prisoners is his twin-brother, and he lost his poor sweetheart through Cadman's villany, a young lass, who used to pick mussels, or something. He will see that the rogue does not give us
. the slip; and I have looked out for that, in other ways as well. I am greatly afraid of tiring you, my dear madam ; but have you any other thing to tell me of this Cadman?'
No, Mr. Mordacks ; except a whole quantity of little things, that tell a great deal to me; but to anybody else would have no
For instance, of his looks, and turns, and habits, and tricks of seeming neither the one thing nor the other, and jumping all the morning, when the last man was hanged
Did he do that, madam? Are you quite sure ?'
• I had it on the authority of his own wife. He beats her ; but still she cannot understand him. You may remember, that the man to be suspended was brought to the place, where—where
Where he earned his doom. It is quite right. Things of that sort should be done upon a far more liberal scale. Example is better than a thousand precepts. Let us be thankful that we live in such a country. I have brought some medicine for brave Tommy, from our Dr. Stirbacks. Be sure that you stroke his throat, when he takes it. Boys are such rogues
"Well, Mr. Mordacks, I really hope that I know how to make my little boy take medicine !'
SHORT SIGHS, AND LONG ONES.
Now it came to pass that, for several months, this neighbourhood, which had begun to regard Mr. Mordacks as its tutelary genins—so great is the power of bold energy-lost him altogether; and with brief lamentation, began to do very well without him. So fugitive is vivacious stir; and so well content is the general world to jog along, in its old ruts. The Flamborough butcher once more subsided into a piscitarian; the postman, who had been driven off his legs, had time to nurse his grain again; Widow Tapsy relapsed into the very worst of taps, having none to demand good beverage; and a new rat, seven fold worse than the mighty net-devourer (whom Mordacks slew; but the chronicle has been cut out, for the sake of brevity), took possession of his galleries, and made them pay. All Flamborough yearned for the .gentleman as did things,' itself being rather of the contemplative vein, which flows from immemorial converse with the sea. But the man of dry hand-and-heel activity came not; and the lanes forgot the echo of his Roman march.
The postman (with a wicked endeavour of hope to beget faith from sweet laziness) propagated a loose report, that death had claimed the general factor, through fear of any rival in activity. The postman did not put it so; because his education was too good for long words to enter into it; but he put his meaning in a shorter form than a smattering of distant tongues leaves to us. The butcher (having doubt of death, unless by man administered) kicked the postman out of his expiring shop, where large hooks now had no sheep for bait; and Widow Tapsy, filled with softer liquid form of memory, was so upset by the letter-man's tale, that she let off a man, who owed four gallons, for beating him as flat as his own bag. To tell of these things may take time; but time is thoroughly well spent, if it contributes a trifle towards some tendency, on anybody's part, to hope that there used to be, even in this century, such a thing as gratitude.
But why did Mr. Mordacks thus desert his favourite quest, and quarters, and the folk in whom he took most delight-because so long inaccessible? The reason was as sound as need be—important business of his own had called him away into Derbyshire. Like every true son of stone and crag, he required an annual scratch against them, and hoped to rest among them, when the itch of life was over. But now he bad hopes of even more than that; of owning a good house and fair estate, and henceforth exerting his remarkable powers of agency on his own behalf. For his cousin, Calpurnius Mordacks, the head of the family, was badly ailing, and having lost his only son in the West Indies, had sent for this kinsman, to settle matters with him. His offer was generous and noble; to wit, that Geoffrey should take, not the property alone, but also his second cousin, fair Calpurnia; though not without her full consent. Without the lady, he was not to have the land ; and the lady's consent must be secured, before her father ceased to be a sound testator.
Now, if Calpurnia had been kept in ignorance of this arrangement, a man possessing the figure, decision, stature, self-confidence, and other high attributes of our Mordacks, must have triumphed in a week at latest. But with that candour, which appears to have been so strictly entailed in the family, Colonel Calpurnius called them in; and there (in the presence of the testator, and of each other) they were fully apprised of this rather urgent call upon their best and most delicate emotions. And the worst of it was (from the gentleman's point of view), that the contest was unequal. The golden apples were not his to cast, but Atalanta's. The lady was to have the land, even without accepting love. Moreover he was fifty per cent. beyond her in age; and Hymen would make her a mamma, without invocation of Lucina. But highest and deepest woe of all, most mountainous of obstacles, was the lofty sky-line of his nose, inherited from the Roman. If the lady's corresponding feature had not corresponded—in other words, if her nose had been chubby, snub, or even Greek-his bold bridge must have served him well, and even shortened access to rosy lips, and tender heart. But, alas! the fair one's nose was also of the fine imperial type, truly admirable in itself, but (under one of nature's strictest laws) coy of contact with its own male expression. Love-whose joy, and fierce prank, is to buckle to the plated pole ill-matched forms and incongruous spirits—did not fail of her impartial freaks. Mr. Mordacks had to cope with his own kin; and found the conflict so severe, that not a breath of time was left him for anybody's business but his own.
If luck was against him in that quarter (although he would not own it yet), at York and Flamborough, it was not so. No crisis arose to demand his presence; no business went amiss, because of his having to work so hard at love. There came, as there sometimes does in matters pressing, tangled, and exasperating, a quiet period, a gentle lull, a halcyon time when the jaded brain reposes, and the heart may hatch her own mares'-nests. Underneath that tranquil spell lay fond Joe and Bob (with their cash to spend), Widow Precious (with her beer laid in), and Widow Carroway, with a dole at last extorted from the Government; while Anerley Farm was content to hearken: the creak of waggon, and the ring of fail ; and the rector of Flamborough once more rejoiced in the bloodless war that breeds good will.
For Sir Duncan Yordas was a fine chess-player, as many Indian officers of that time were; and now that he was coming to his proper temperature (after three months of barbed stab of cold, and the breach of the seal of the seventy-seventh phial of Dr. Stirbacks), in gratitude for that miraculous escape, he did his very best to please everybody. To Dr. U pround he was an agreeable and penetrative
companion; to Mrs. Upround, a gallant guest, with a story for every slice of bread and butter; to Janetta, a deity combining the perfections of Jupiter, Phœbus, Mars, and Neptune (because of his yacht), without any of their drawbacks; and to Flamborough, more largely speaking, a downright good sort of gentleman, combining a smoke with a chaw-so they understood cigars-and not above standing still sometimes, for a man to say some sense to him.
But before Mr. Mordacks left his client under Dr. Upround's care, he had done his best to provide that mischief should not come of gossip; and the only way to prevent that issue is to preclude the gossip. Sir Duncan Yordas, having lived so long in a large commanding way, among people who might say what they pleased of him, desired no concealment here, and accepted it unwillingly. But his agent was better skilled in English life, and rightly foresaw a mighty buzz of nuisance-without any honey to be brought home-from the knowledge of the public that the Indian hero had begotten the better-known apostle of free trade. Yet it might have been hard to persuade Sir Duncan to keep that great fact to himself, if his son had been only a smuggler, or only a fugitive from a false charge of murder. But that which struck him in the face, as soon as he was able to consider things, was the fact that his son had fled and vanished, leaving his underlings to meet their fate. The smuggling is a trifle,' exclaimed the sick man; our family never was law-abiding, and used to be large cattle-lifters; even the slaying of a man, in hot combat, is no more than I myself have done, and never felt the worse for it. But to run away, and leave men to be hanged, after bringing them into the scrape himself, is not the right sort of dishonour for a Yordas. If the boy surrenders, I shall be proud to own him. But until he does that, I agree with you, Mordacks, that he does not deserve to know who he is.'
This view of the case was harsh perhaps, and showed some ignorance of free-trade questions, and of English justice. If Robin Lyth had been driven, by the heroic view of circumstances, to rush into embrace constabular, would that have restored the other six men to family sinuosities? Not a chance of it. Rather would it treble the pangs of jail-where they enjoyed themselves-to feel that anxiety about their pledges to fortune, from which the free Robin relieved them. Money was lodged, and paid, as punctual as the Bank, for the benefit of all their belongings. There were times when the sailors grumbled a little, because they had no ropes to climb; but of any unfriendly rope impending they were too wise to have much fear. They knew that they had not done the deed; and they felt assured that twelve good men would never turn round in their box to believe it. Their captain took the same view of the case. He had very little doubt of their acquittal, if they were defended properly; and of that, a far wealthier man than himself, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of free-trade, Master Rideout, of Malton, would take good care, if the money left with Dr. Upround failed. The surrender of
Robin would simply hurt them, unless they were convicted; and in that case he would yield himself. Sir Duncan did not understand these points; and condemned his son unjustly. And Mordacks was no longer there to explain such questions, in his sharp clear way.
Being in this sadly disappointed state, and not thoroughly delivered from that renal chill (which the north-east wind, coming over the leather of his valise, had inflicted) this gentleman, like a long-pendulous grape, with the ventilators open, was exposed to the delicate insidious billing of little birds, that love something good. It might be wrong, indeed it must be wrong,
and a foul slur
upon fair sweet love, to insinuate that Indian gold, or rank, or renown, or vague romance, contributed towards what came to pass.
Miss Janetta Upround, up to this time of her life, had laughed at all the wanton tricks of Cupid ; and whenever the married women told her that her time would be safe to come, and then she might understand their behaviour,—they had always been ordered to go home, and do their washing. And this made it harder for her to be mangled by the very tribulation she had laughed at. Short little sighs were her first symptom, and a quiet way
of going up the stairs—which used to be a noisy process with her—and then a desire to know something of history, and a sudden turn of mind towards soup. Sir Duncan had a basin every day, at twelve o'clock; and Janetta had orders to see him do it, by strict institution of Stirbacks. Those orders she carried out with such zeal, that she even went so far as to blow upon the spoon; and she did look nice, while doing it. In a word—as there is no time for manybeing stricken, she did her best to strike; as the manner of sweet women is.
Sir Duncan Yordas received it well. Being far on towards her futurity in years, and beyond her whole existence, in experience and size, he smiled at her ardour, and short vehemence to please him, and liked to see her go about; because she turned so lightly. Then the pleasant agility of thought began to make him turn to answer it ; and whenever she had the best of him in words, her bright eyes fell, as if she had the worst. She doesn't even know that she is clever!' said the patient to bimself, and she is the first person I have met with yet, who knows which side of the line Calcutta is!'
The manner of those benighted times was to keep from young ladies important secrets, which seemed to be no concern of theirs. Miss Upround had never been told what brought this visitor to Flamborough, and although she had plenty of proper curiosity, she never got any reward for it. Only four Flamburians knew that Sir Duncan was Robin Lyth's papa-or, as they would put it (having faster hold of the end of the stick next to them) that Robin Lyth was the son of Sir Duncan. And those four were, by force of circumstance, Robin Cockscroft, and Joan his wife, the rector, and the rectoress.
Even Dr. Stirbacks (organically inquisitive as he was, and ill-content to sniff at any bottle with the cork tied down), by mastery of Mordacks,