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neither boys spoke, but Hector felt he had a friend, and Rhody that he had done right; and that evening, in a sort of school conclave, that was discussing the merits, or rather demerits, of the proud and selfish subject of my story, Rhody stood forth his champion.
“ It's all very well for us," he said, “who have been properly brought up,—watched by papas, who not being of very great consequence in the state, were able to stay at home and attend to us; watched by mammas with tender care, and yet, if the truth must be told, with sufficient strength of mind and body to keep us in healthful subjection; our tempers alternately teased and pleased by juvenile brothers and sisters, whom we are forced to give way to, by the double motive of love and interest; first, you know, we love them; and, if we did not, we should have no peace unless we yielded. It's all very well for us to be the dear, delightful, amiable fellows we are. But think how poor Hector has been brought up; you have heard Lycet's stories of his home, dozens of times, and my only astonishment is that he is as good as he is, and I'd lay ten to-but I forgot, the Doctor will not suffer us to bet-only—I 'll—I 'll eat my hand! if Hector Howard is not as fine a fellow as—”.
“As yourself,” shouted some of the lads.
When Hector got home, his papa met him with a cheerful countenance; wished him joy, and took him immediately to his mother's room, His mamma kissed him as tenderly as ever, and then he was told to kiss his “lovely little brother and sister.”
“I declare," said the nurse (not his nurse, however),
“Miss Caroline has her brother's nose, and Master Leopold his eyes.
Hector thought them hideous both, and turned away his head. “I cant kiss babies,” he said.
“Well, my dear,” observed his father, "you'll get used to them in time; they quite enliven the house.
“ Where is Nurse ?” inquired Hector.
“ Gone back to her native county, my dear,” answered Mr. Howard; “I could not suffer her to spoil all my children, you know; but do not cry, Hector, she is provided for and happy, for, much as she spoilt you, I am sure she only meant to do what was right.”
Hector went to the stable to see his pony; but, to his great disappointment, though the pony was there, looking sleek, and fat, and happy, there was no one to saddle him: one groom had been sent to fetch the doctor, because little Miss Caroline had sneezed very much, and they feared she had taken cold, and the other was helping to put the horses to the carriage, that the boy-baby (who had not sneezed), might have an airing round the Park; the helpers were out of the way. Hector stormed, as he used to do, but there was no one to mind him, and his dignity felt sorely insulted by the tittețing of two of the maids, whom he overheard declare, that “ Master Howard was as good as a play-actor.” The sun was shining, and the birds were singing, and the green sward looked so firm and so fresh, that when his temper cooled a little, he thought it barely possible that he could saddle the pony himself; at first he hoped nobody would see him, and he accomplished his task admirably; in a few minutes he was up and away, forgetful of all his annoyances, and, for the first time in his life, enjoying that noble feeling of independence which proceeds from self-exertion. He galloped up the hill in the Deer Park, and then drew up to peer through the thickets beneath at the deer, and the pretty does with their young fawns; he then looked into the valley beyond, where the stately stags, dappled and shining in the sunbeams, were enjoying their existence. An old man was seated half way down the other side of the hill on a bundle of sticks. Hector rode down to him.
“What are you waiting for?” he inquired.
“For my brother, young master, for my brother, who will be here presently to carry my sticks,” was the reply.
“ Your brother! do you love your brother ?”.
“ To be sure I do, my gay young master; he is a very good lad.”
“A lad! old man,” exclaimed Hector.
“Ay, young gentleman, a matter of twenty-five years younger than me. Mother and father died soon after he was born, and I nursed him up, and took care of him, and now he is both son and brother to my old age; I did my duty to him, and, according to the course of nature, he does his duty to me now."
“And were you an only son before he was born ?" inquired Hector eagerly.
“ Indeed was I, and thought it funny enough to have a babybrother; but he was a pretty boy, a very pretty boy--and a good boy, which was better.”
Hector rode more soberly home, thinking, perhaps, of what he had heard.
Master Howard had now spent a week at home, and was fully convinced, that though his papa and mamma were as affectionate as ever to him, his position was totally changed; he was a dear and cherished object, but he was not the only one. He had made up his mind, I am sorry to say, to dislike the babies; but you must remember that Hector was by no means a hard or bad-hearted boy, he was only a mismanaged one,-his faults had not only been increased, but frequently, in a great degree, created by over indulgence; and though he said, very wickedly, that he hated the poor little helpless things who engrossed all the attention of the servants and visiters, yet he could not hear them cry without pain, and was once detected stuffing a piece of barley-sugar into the girl-baby's mouth.
Still he was not so happy at home as he used to be, and returned to school far more willingly than his father expected. The boys had been commanded by their good master, not to revert to the past, but to receive Hector kindly; and the warm shake he gave Rhody's hand, made that youth declare that he was “all right!” It was a great credit to those young gentlemen, that they neither teazed nor taunted him, whom they quizzed a little sometimes among themselves as the late 'Number One;' and though there were occasional outbreaks of temper, and particularly of selfishness, it is due to Hector to record, that he had begun to combat both; and when he left the good Doctor for Eton, he left with a much higher character than that with which he came. He was still too unyielding to have been beloved; but those who observed the bitter struggle he frequently made to overcome past habits, said he would be sure to conquer in the end.
At Eton he was frequently reminded of his father's words, that “kindness and forbearance are of more real value than gold.” Rhody had gone to sea as a midshipman; Lycet was at Rugby: he had therefore no friends at Eton, but constantly came in contact with selfish fellows, who entertained no kindness or forbearance towards him. His home indulgences were not increased by the addition, in a couple of years, of another girl, and, in another year, a boy; so that, instead of being “ Number One,” in a short time Hector was an unit of “Number Five;" still he felt that his home was better regulated than in the old times; his mamma's health was reestablished; and his brothers and sisters were not permitted the indulgences or extravagances, which, however pleasant at the time, caused him so much after pain.
As he grew to be a man, his father sometimes consulted him on matters of business; and, if he could have loved his brothers and sisters, he might have been happy. His unfortunate jealousy of the love their parents shewed them (and jealousy is one of the first fruits of selfishness) always disturbed him; and at College he was frequently reminded, by the sinful homage paid to wealth and rank, that, if he had not had four brothers and sisters, he should not have been contradicted and overlooked, as he sometimes either felt or fancied he was.
Time passed on, he left Oxford, and had been some time abroad; and yet returned sooner than he wished, and with bitter feelings towards the younger members of his family, because his father said he could not in justice to his family) permit him to remain longer. On his voyage home he was seized with rheumatic fever, and, while suffering its agonies, landed at Plymouth amongst strangers; when he began gradually to recover, he directed his foreign servant where to write. “But they do not care for me,” he thought; "they would