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favourite child. Years might elapse before he again visited Harrals. He might, perhaps, never set foot there again, till his father was laid in the grave. His heart grew sore at the thought. Already, he repented his precipitation.
On reaching the shrubbery gate, of which he had a pass-key, he turned to take a last look of the grim old mansion, the home of his childhood. And, ugly and dreary as it looked now that the sun was no longer shining on its dingy brick walls and narrow stone-coped windows, (which much resembled those of a Hammersmith boarding-school that had lost its way in the fields), his affections yearned towards the old place from which his own wilfulness had driven him forth into banishment.
At that moment, under the influence of a thousand tender family associations, the cottage in the environs of London to which he had been looking forward as the Eden of which his dear Maria was to be the Eve, appeared
far less of a Paradise than the gloomy barrack which intitled his family to be styled in the county and the records of the Landed Gentry, as the Woolstons of Harrals
In the course of the following month, the County Chronicle duly announced to Sir Harry Woolston, that his son had accomplished his act of rebellion. Among the marriages recorded in its pages, appeared, “ John Woolston, Esq., to Maria, daughter of Richard Pennington, Esq., of Denny Cross." —No allusion to Harrals, no mention of his own parentage; and this omission, suggested by motives of delicacy, was resented as an insult.
In after-years, when the matter came to be discussed in the family circle, John Woolston
admitted that he had been wrong, in his whole management of the affair.-Had he dispatched one of his brothers-in-law to negociate with his father a cessation of hostilities, the old man, on finding the marriage inevitable, would probably have made the best of it. But in this, as in all other affairs of life, John Woolston had acted more scrupulously than wisely. He had persisted in fulfilling his engagements to Maria Pennington, because conscious that he had sought and won her affections. And he forbore to involve the husbands of his sisters in his father's displeasure, because it was clear that something more than the five-and-twenty thousand pounds already decreed to them, must have been saved out of the eight thousand per annum enjoyed for a period of seven-and-thirty years, by a man who scarcely expended three ; and who grudged the outlay of a few pounds on brick and mortar to keep his roof weather-tight over his head. It was expected, in short, that the more than thrifty baronet would die rich; and John
Woolston felt that the interests of his sisters, and their families, ought not to be compromised.
And thus, a permanent feud was established between the father and son. Even those who disliked Sir Harry Woolston, and they were already numerous, with ample “ power to add to their number," blamed the contumacious John. Filial impiety has few partizans; and without entering into the cause of the quarrel, the neighbours who found Harrals becoming more dreary and inhospitable every year, saw strong grounds for deploring the act which had transferred the matrimonial establishment of its heir-apparent to a weedy villa at Hendon.
The young ménage, however, spent its cheerful Christmas at Denny Cross, and its first summer at Hastings; while Harrals proceeded to shut up two sides of its heavy old quadrangle, from which the bricks were gradually disengaging themselves, for want of new pointing; and lay encumbering the flag-stones beneath, like the unripe fruit under a plum-tree.