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sequence too often trust, to the chapter of accidents, to provide for those who owed it to him that they were thrust into this world of debits and credits, to struggle and buffet with its necessities; and was consequently more at liberty to enjoy his hunting half the year, and his rubber the other. The annual cost of his kennel, had it been laid by for William, Jack, Harry, and Orlando, would of course have placed their future fortunes beyond all solicitude. But it is a hard thing for a Duke with so fine a rentroll to deny himself the innocent recreation of a pack of hounds, or the ruinous hospitalities which form an inevitable appendix to the onerous item of aristocratic life ; and thus, when his Grace descended in his Spanish mahogany shell and crimson velvet coffin to the society of his ancestors, the wide world became encumbered with a Lord William, a Lord Henry, a Lord Orlando, and a Lord John, of no mortal use to the community, or credit to their order.

The Reform Bill, meanwhile, had provided for the Crawley borough, which was to have provided for Lord William ; Lord Henry was in a hussar regiment, the inevitable expenses of which exactly doubled his income ; Lord Orlando was in the guards, on the quick march for the Bench; and Lord John, my neighbour, (who had been sent into the navy with his milk-of-roses habits so strong upon him, that it was next to impossible he should cling to it as a profession,) was what is called on the pavé.

Impossible to see a finer young man ;-tall, active, intelligent, yet refined and gentle in his manners, unless when roused by altercations with single knocks. Having quitted Eton for the Mediterranean at thirteen, he had more pretext than his brothers for deficiency of scholarship; and, in lieu of Latin and Greek, had at least picked up enough French, Italian, and Spanish, to make him talk the abominable English in vogue amongst the gabblers of the day. He was an accomplished musician too, -as the sound of a guitar and rich tenor, which reached me on summer mornings from his open windows, sufficed to attest ; and, if I might trust to the record of his partnership accounts in the Morning Post, Almacks did not boast of more favoured waltzer than Lord John Devereux.

Here was a pretty fellow to attain at twenty-one, the absolute command of five thousand pounds, and not a grain of discretion to turn it to account !--He regarded it as a year's income !--Compared with the measure of his enjoyments at Belmont Castle, it was scarcely so much. However, he was good enough to content himself with it; and as Lord John liad nearly attained his twenty-second year when he first attracted my notice, he was at that time hardly worth five hundred pounds in the world. Fortune sometimes favours the reckless; and the chances of Crockford's are said to have quadrupled that modest modicum before the close of the season. Though what is popularly called “done up, and melodramatically called "undone,' he was able to keep up the ball a little longer. He lived at free quarters the autumn and winter months, with his brother the Duke's hunters and hounds, at Belmont Castle ; and early in the spring I had the delight of welcoming him back to his old lodgings, rejuvenized by country sports, and almost as brilliant as ever.

My heart was glad within me. My interest in him was as warm as it was unjustifiable; and heartily did I long to whisper in his ear with the still small voice of experience, “Be warned !—be wise !—beware! Take into your hands the light burthen of your fortunes, and weigh them warily, ere again you risk them against the bitterness of penury,--the shame

of obligation. Youth, with health and a hundred a-year, may appear despicable in your eyes; but youth without them is a far more sorry heritage. Take courage. Fall back upon your profession. The party in which your family is enrolled may resume its authority. Government patronage, if it find you in the path of honour, might do much for you; but if it must seek you out sinking under a load of debt and obloquy, not even the strongest prop it has to offer can restore to strength and comeliness the deformity of a broken character.'

But how from the aërial eminence of my Blue Chamber was I to whisper this into the ear of the joyous young man ?-I soon saw how matters were going with him !-Every day, knowing cabs called to take him out to dinner; and anything but knowing family coaches stopped at his door four hours afterwards, for the same purpose, on their way to different balls. Next morning, footmen with letters

, and pages with notes, before he had been more than three hours in bed; while tailors and jewellers, hatters and bootmakers, bowed at his levee with a degree of assiduity that sufficed to prove the punctuality of his payments during the year for which his fortune had served as income. Everybody was not so well versed as I in the amount of his mother's marriage settlements and his own fortune. The tailors and jewellers knew nothing of the sum total of his losses at play, or the diminution of his property; the fair proprietors of the footmen and pages had no reason to imagine that their little perfumed billets were addressed to a ruined man; and as to the family coaches, they would not have stopped within three streets of his lodgings, had they entertained the most distant suspicion of the real state of the

case.

It could not be expected that, when the truth began to be surmised, tailors, jewellers, and family coaches should be sufficiently philosophical to compassionate Lord John as the victim of an erroneous system, - a martyr to the grim ghost of extinct feodality, which, so far from contemplating the greatest happiness of the greatest number, seems bent upon making fools of the elder-born of the aristocracy, and knaves of the rest.

I had noticed so many traits of humanity and courtesy in this fine young man, that I shuddered at finding him about to be included in this grievous majority. I noticed his popularity among his young acquaintances, both lords and commons; nay, I have seen the sweeper of an adjacent crossing stand and look after him with a benediction as long as he remained in sight; while the blind beggar stationed on a neighbouring door-step, abstained from striking up her monotonous plaint whenever his well-known step approached, as she did for less familiar passengers; for of his liberality she was pre-assured. Other excellences had reached my knowledge connected with the three-cornered billets and their pages (I mean the pages in dark green liveries), which, combined with the almost poetical grace of his manners and appearance, excited my sympathy to the utmost. If I had not known myself to be such a wretched old quiz, I swear I would have got put up at Crockford's, for the sole purpose of watching over the proceedings of Lord John.

It almost enraged me to think that his four sisters were married to wealthy peers, hereditary lawgivers, supporters of Church and State, and men of weight and consequence in the country; and that not one of them was at the trouble of extending an arm to preserve this luck.

less boy from destruction. There was his brother, Lord Edward, with three thousand a-year Church preferment and high ecclesiastical honours; but he had a wife and children, and therefore he could not come to the succour of the falling man. Lord Orlando was with his regiment in India ; Lord William making his court to a city widow; and Lord Henry compromising with his creditors. Not a soul among them with a thought or a guinea to waste upon their frail brother! I had even thoughts of inditing a private word or two to the proprietresses of the pages, to implore their intervention. But by rash interference I might embroil the affairs of my young neighbour a million fold.

So passed the second year; and, now that we are entering the third, the result of my evil prognostications is fatally corroborative of their wisdom. The morning single knocks are now repeated with damnable iteration. Not a family coach for the last eight months; the cabs of opulent friends or kinsmen few and far between ;-but, as infallible as the rising of the sun, the return of the prodigal at daylight, with sallow cheeks and seared eyes,-a gambler,-a losing gambler,-a gambler playing on parole, and knowing that his word of honour was once sacred!

I see how it is—I see plainly how it is.—I shall lose him.-The lad will come to a bad end. While his brother the Duke is paying thousands per annum to keep up his hunting establishment, and hundreds to his chaplain and maître d'hôtel, besides devoting a prodigious waste of prose to the harassment of government and its administrators; while Lord Edward is keeping residence at his deanery, and his noble brothers-in-law preaching in Parliament, not a word either of exhortation or reproval is addressed to the goodly creature thus gratuitously wrecked among the rocks and shoals of fashion, by a bad education, bad example, and the bad influences of conventional life.

There is a pretty little damsel leaning at this moment against the French windows of an opposite drawing-room, and apt to be on the watch there at this hour of the day, -actuated, I suspect, by the same anxieties as my. self. It is Dora Colvile, only daughter of the stiff-necked, pig-tailed old General to whom the house belongs. Sir Felix is a widower, and on the committee of the United Service Club; for were there a Lady Colvile in the case, she would instruct poor Dora that it is an unbecoming thing for a pretty little face to be seen so often at the window, especially when living opposite to a handsome young man who, to speak it kindly, is a bit of a roué. But Dora would perhaps answer that she did not care. Dora is getting reckless on more subjects than one. In reply to such expostulations, she is apt to exclaim, with such an air of pettishness, ‘Do let me have one agreeable moment in the course of the day!—that it is plain she takes little pleasure in the company of young Rodenton (the only son of one of the richest landed proprietors of Yorkshire), whom Sir Felix picks up in St. James's Street, and brings home with him, at least three days in the week. Two years ago, she bore patiently enough with Rodenton and his paltry self-conceit; but Dora is now eighteen instead of sixteen ; and has acquired such mighty knowledge of the world as to be aware that a Duke's younger son, if unportioned, is worse off than a commoner's younger son, from having a social position to maintain ; and that her father has an especial motive for inviting Jemmy Rodenton so often to his house. For the estates of Sir Felix are entailed; the rest of his in.

come is derived from his pay and pensions; and his gout, by taking a wrong direction, may at any moment leave Dora an orphan with a pittance of ten thousand pounds, the product of his savings. According to the code of fashionable morality, who can blame him, under such circumstances, for recalling frequently to mind the beauties and prosperities contained within a certain ring-fence at Rodenton Hall ? Besides, it is no fault of the old General's that his opposite neighbour has seen fit to let lodgings, and a handsome young spendthrift thought proper to engage them season after season.

Dora is evidently getting almost as uneasy as myself; nay, she may perhaps entertain other cares on the subject than I do. Miss Colvile recognizes the livery of those morning pages, just as two years ago she knew the armorial bearings of the family coaches; and is consequently better versed in the histoire galante of the young scapegrace.

She is getting almost as thin as Lord John. What can be the matter with her ? —She has no pecuniary anxieties. She is distracted by no single knocks. The eight thousand a-year's worth of pleasure and prosperity she is annually enjoying, seems likely to last for ever; and, as Mrs. Lumley Rodenton, her enjoyments would be still more lavishly provided. Yet I doubt whether that charming girl enjoys a happy moment! I doubt whetherbut, after all, what business is it of mine? Is it not a hard thing for a respectable old bachelor like myself to be disturbed in my Blue Chamber by the vagaries of two young people, no more connected with my sympathies than Shem, Ham, or Japhet!

It used to delight my old eyes, two seasons ago, to see Dora Colvile start up from her work-table encumbered with silks and Berlin patterns, or her drawing-desk scattered with pencils, when some itinerant band came through the streets, and, by its barbarous murder of one of Strauss's or Labitzky's popular waltzes, tempt the light-hearted creature into spinning round the room, threading the maze of fancy chairs and littered tables, with a grace and agility that Ellsler might have envied! And now, I verily believe Collinet himself might pipe the Kosenden under her window by the hour together, without attracting her attention! I scarcely ever see her at her piano. The harp has not been out of its case this fortnight past. There she sits poring hour after hour over the embroidery frame; and I verily believe stitching blue roses and pea-green lilies. Sometimes I see her raise her pretty little slender white hand to her eyes, as if dashing away some obstacle that prevented her seeing very clearly, more particularly whenever she happens to hear the General's well. known knock. At that signal, indeed, I have known her suddenly place both hands for a moment over her eyes, or press them upon her bosom, without rising from her chair. She seems on such occasions to entertain an intuitive dread that her father is not alone, -that young Rodenton is with him, in all the wearing monotony of his everlasting smiles, -his curls parted to a hair at the same spot for the last three years, -and his conversation diluted down to the same standard of wishy-washy insipidity. I am certain, too, that the silly fellow torments her with idle reports concerning the follies and vices of her opposite neighbour. Rodenton has a certain manner of standing at the window and surveying the modest two-windowed lodgings of Lord John Devereux with all the insolent prosperity of the son and heir of thirty thousand a-year, a park in Yorkshire, and a mansion in St. James's Square. I can detect the

smile that curls his lip as he pursues his conversation with the General's daughter, while reporting progress of the General's opposite neighbour —the shrug, the grimace, the sneer of contempt, while Dora raises her blue

eyes from her work and utters a word or two, doubtless in extenuation; for I have observed Sir Felix break out thereupon into a rage, and saw the air with his hand, in attestation of every ill-natured word uttered by his intended son-in-law.

Yet surely it is only natural that Dora should do her utmost in vindication of her opposite neighbour ; for I remember that scarcely a day passed, two years ago, but the Morning Post coupled together, in describing the balls of the season, the names of Miss Colvile and Lord John Devereux, as all but one and indivisible. She was then a timid butante; and Sir Felix seemed to think that a fashionable young man—a Lord John—a capital valseur-might be available as a sort of pedestal to bring her into notice; and though he has lately issued his word of command that she is to be as cool to the ruined spendthrift as can be effected without absolute rudeness—that is, rudeness so marked as to provoke in return the imperiousness of his four fine-lady sisters, who, in spite of their deuce of a brother, are still court-cards in the pack of society-it is not so easy for a warm-hearted natural girl like Dora Colvile to Hing aside her early predilections, and become as stiff and heartless as one of the heroines of Madame Tussaud.

It would be a much easier thing, and a much kinder, on the part of the old General, to exert his interest with the Admiralty—where one of his Scotch cousins rules the lady with the tin helmet and shield, who swears she rules the waves—and get the poor lad an appointment. He would be much better in the Mediterranean again, or at Fernando Po, or Bogota—no matter where-to be out of the range of Crockford's, and the blue eyes of Dora Colvile. But the General is a man of very limited perceptions. He only hears with one ear; the sight of one eye was destroyed at Waterloo ; and I shrewdly suspect that he perceives only with a single organ of discernment. His one idea is to

marry

Dora to Rodenton Park. He does not consider the means—he contemplates the end. Sir Felix Colvile spends half his life in reading the newspapers, and the other half in talking about them; far more intent upon his duties as a committeeman at the United Service than the business of his domestic life; and evidently thinks that, having introduced James Lumley Rodenton to his daughter in the light of a suitor, the young gentleman will gradually progress into her husband : just as, having planted his saplings at Colvile Lodge, they are sure to progress into trees. He cannot be always on the spot watching whether the rain rains; any more than whether pretty little Dora smiles and blushes in due season upon the promising prig with the well-parted curls, who laughs so exultingly upon occasion of a reduplication of single knocks at the door of Lord John. With all his pretended apathy, however, the General is in general pretty well up to snuff—and his snuff, moreover, is of the right Irish quality. The dexterity with which he continues to keep out of sight a certain Reverend Olinthus Colvile, who is to succeed to his family estates, is beyond belief. Though only two years the junior of Sir Felix, this country parson is as weak in health as intellect; and Sir Felix, in his alarm lest the old gentleman should be tempted to drivel in the coffee. room of Slaughter's or the Bedford (where, lodging at the Hummums, he

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