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despite of his better will, to be entertained against the daughter. Clincher, he averted, might be rich, might vaunt of his glittering heaps, yet there was in every man's breast the consciousness of some good, which others possessed not, and he would not himself have exchanged the historic name of Moreton De Bohun for that which toil in others who set by, had acquired. He said within himself that if he had not wealth, he was a patrician by birth—had a strong arm and a bold heart—and these would win the plaudits of renown ! Happiness was not, by such contemplations, wholly banished from his heart.
Happiness! is it said ?—that phantom which lures us from the present to the future, is but a shadow which haunts the earth, and men pursue to the end of their livesa goddess like Juno in perspective, a vapour when neared! There may be glimpses"sunbeams amid renewing storms” but no continuance, no entirety of such wished-for good. Ambition, avarice, glory, power, love, are her votaries; they contend for her smiles by a thousand pursuits; they seek her through the world with an insane assiduity, and are delusions which have deluded in every age. Happiness has been a tempter as fascinating as Armida—as onward-cheering as the mirage from the beginning of time. Aristippus sought it in pleasureSocrates in wisdom-Alexander in conquest -Cæsar in dominion—Brutus in gloryAnthony in love.—They sought it in vain !
As the sire and son returned, the former felt desirous of ascertaining what kind of an impression the rich heiress had made in the mind of the latter. With every carefulness he essayed to elicit his opinion, but the brief and heedless replies of the soldier intimated that he had no views of the ten thousand down, and the forty to follow. A reference to Clincher's wealth was answered by a cutting piece of sarcasm.
It was indeed provoking, thought the squire of Elleringay, for a man of crumbling fortune to have only one son, and that son to be so sadly insensible to the necessity of selecting a support to a declining house. It was lunacy to be so averse to a right mode of procedure !
After the Elleringaytonians had taken their departure, the other two guests felt more at ease. The reserve and decorous bearing of the De Bohuns had forbid that freeand-easy joviality which was more in keeping with the innate desires of Mr. Abel Greenham, and also of Mr. James Jingles. The front door had scarcely closed on the De Bohuns, ere Jingles commenced a somewhat caustic conversation on the military profession in general; and, to tell the truth, the presence of the young officer had very considerably disturbed Mr. James Jingle's repose of mind. He was acutely aware of the forcible impression made upon a woman's heart by scarlet and gold-lace, and from what his furtive glances had observed, it was evident that Letitia deemed Moreton De Bohun a comely specimen of the sterner sex. After having railed at soldiers en masse, and given two or three sly cuts at the departed visitor, he became exceedingly agreeable, and essayed again and again to make Miss Clincher titter; nor were his witticisms lost on Gideon, nor yet on his huge friend Abel. Ere long, grilled bones and decanters came on to the table, and in process of time, the three friends grew merrier still!
On the following morning the De Bohun's called on Miss Clincher, and from that visit Moreton for ever forgot all about silk dresses, flowing sashes, preserved plums, and green gherkins. Miss Clincher not unfrequently afterwards made some kindly allusion to the handsome officer, and from the tone and manner of these references, Gideon was aware of the favourable impression which Moreton had made on his daughter. The more Gideon reflected on this fact, the more he was wounded and disappointed. He had wished for the alliance, and sought in him the blazon of an ancient line; he was corvinced the father had tacitly opposed it. The owner of Elleringay had descanted again on his Plantagenet descent, and the solicitor fancied he saw through a familiar and an urbane deportment much bitter irony and hidden contempt. The one was mortified in the contemplation of a distinction which no wealth could purchase, the other galled that he had to succumb to an inferior. The solicitor was a man who ever carried a javelin beneath his jerkin, and he “nursed his wrath to keep it warm.” Godfrey, he thought, had played a double part. From that hour he determined to be avenged, and he swore that Elleringay Manor should never be the inheritance of Moreton De Bohun!