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He catechised James for his follies, exacted a promise for the future, and then offered him a clerkship in his own establishment. James attended to his duties, and matters went smoothly on. In the process of time Mr. Greenham became so convinced of his clerk's new life and usefulness, that he gave him a third of the business, and he himself lived at his tusculum out by Clapham Rise, going once or twice during the week to his warehouses, as inclination prompted. Inglis's past life had been to him a severe but instructive lesson. He now looked with wonder and with contrition on his own previous infatuation, and the empty-minded vanities in which he had indulged. His days now,
not idled away in the pursuit of vain phantoms, and foolish pleasures, but in laudable occupation, in honest industry. His share of the profits was abundant for the maintenance of his wife, his child, and the decayed solicitor, and when his income had for some time anually increased, he still preferred conjoint residence with one who had been tried
but not found wanting—with the faithful Gabriel.
Poor Letitia had gone through fiery ordeals, but better days had come. Her husband was a reformed man, was kind, contented, industrious, and happy. He came home regularly on the Saturday from London, and punctually returned on the Monday—she had no dread now of seduction of great friends, of gambling and dissipation. He had employed his talents, which were certainly not beneath mediocrity, so successfully in mercantile matters, that he had every reason to hope that the day would come when he might, like his benefactor, the good old Abel, retire to his little tusculum. Letitia's housewife's capabilities rendered the rural home a home of cozy comfort; she sighed not now for any Dashover kind of acquaintance, but her simple-minded pride in having better pickles and preserves than any one else, as a cognate principle of her spiritual nature, shone through, after heartrending reverses, and innumerable changes. Her husband never referred to clubs and West End loungers, and the assumed orthographies of Clynchiere and Inglis were renounced for the plainer, but more correct, patronymics of Clincher and Jingles, and the Salopian ancestry were utterly forgotten.
Mr. Gabriel Gubbins inly acknowledged that the scales had fallen from his own eyes also, and he was ready to ask with Jack Falstaff if ambition would fill a man's stomach ? His little aviary, his cauliflowers and brocoli, geraniums and hydrangias, were the great realities of his mundane care, and when he ruminated on the manifold events of his life, smoked his pipe, and sat beneath his own fig tree in peace, he declared that for him to feel otherwise than comfortable and happy, would be a reductio ad absurdum. Gideon
- poor, once worldly-minded, scheming, Gideon, was a moral and physical wreck, a drivelling idiot in his age!
An interval of years.
Urgent professional business called me to Edinburgh. When the
When the "castled crags,' many a lofty object, many a towering dome,
loomed on the sight, what associations awakened ! Nearer and nearer advancing, things inanimate, like those of old companionship, became better recollected—more distinct. The streets, the squares, the crescents, the terraces and palatial homes; the “lion on the hill,” the winding Frith hurrying to the ocean, the blue Pentlands and the Ochill mountains in the distance-all were the same, but amongst the busy crowds circling along the great thoroughfares, every face that passed was the face of a stranger. I visited the places with which my previous duties had made me most conversant. I entered the lofty portal of the College, walked along the balustrades, and sauntered in that noble quadrangle once trod by troops of friends. The horal bell chimed the hour as of yore, its sound had not died away ere numbers of the studious throng jostled along the dull stone corridors and crowded each pathway; for a few moments the laugh, the voice, the quickened step broke the solitude. A multitude swept past me, bent on the same pursuits, emulous of the same distinctions,
as my own compeers in days gone by—they swept past, but they were strangers. They entered other vestibules, again the vast area was still. Curiosity led me into that unforgotten hall, “the arena of intellectual combat”-there were the remembered busts of the great departed, the benches occupied by argumentative opponents, and that envied rostrum which I had twice ascended to the office of honour amidst the plaudits of my compeers—but strangers met there, a stranger
, presided over them, my disputants were gone! I proceeded to those vast and lofty chambers where Disease and Death unremittingly held court, and where through live long days, unthoughtful of the pestilence which destroyeth by night or by noon, I had watched the distemper's ravages, and studied symptoms in the heaving chest and drooping lid. I passed along to that more ghastly apartment where daily, through weeks and months, and years, I had held companionship with the Spoiler's spoils, and pondered over the decomposing forms of my fellows, in order, by my acquisitions, to benefit the living. Strangers were there!