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CHAPTER IV.

“Gideon's actions, as they shined
Bright in the chambers of his mind!”

*

Glorious prospects all around lie !
On Gideon's pages are
Surprising pictures rising."

DYER.

“ I was unable to pay.

Appraised and sold for less than half their value."

VICAR OF WAKEFIELD.

" Hall of my sires a long-farewell!"

BYRON.

NOTWITHSTANDING a long and wearying journey in the country, and the lateness of the hour when he reached the metropolis, Gabriel was on the following morning punc

VOL. II.

E

tually at his office. He was one of those hard, active little men, almost incapable of fatigue; and the changeless round of his unvarying occupation had, in the long lapse of years, created in him a kind of mechanical regularity. As surely as the neighbouring church clock chimed half-past nine, so surely was Mr. Gabriel Gubbins pacing the broad pathway of Lincoln's-Inn Fields, and as certainly as the same clock notified five, was he descending from the scenes of his labours, in happy forgetfulness of vellum and folios, and wending his way towards his attic home. When Mr. Clincher arrived, of course there was much to communicate, much to consider; the confidental clerk had been sent on an important mission, and weighty transactions pended on the business.

“Well, Gabriel,” said Mr. Clincher, the moment he entered, “you've found your way home again ?"

“Oh, yes ! no fears on that question," returned Mr. Gubbins, with a self-complacent smile.

“You have been expeditious, however, I must confess," replied Mr. Clincher.

After this preliminary conversation, Gabriel detailed all particulars, spoke of his adroitness in turning up several questions of import over punch at the Plough, and recounted the pausing rejoinders which he had made to the puerile arguments of the client. He gave a very graphic description of the mansion, and spoke in raptures of the neighbourhood; indeed, he very eagerly offered it as his private opinion, that if Mr. Clincher allowed such a chance of possessing a snug, ring-fence estate slip through his fingers, it was ten to one he would ever meet with such another opportunity. Gabriel advocated the method of instanter instituting proceedings, and, in default of payment, declaring a bill of sale. This would bring Godfrey to a bearing, and as there was very little probability of the client raising the money, the property might be taken at a fair valuation. If it were not worth the amount of loan and other claims, why then the alternative was obvious enough without any valuing or anything of the kind; an amicable arrangement might be come to; the entail had years be

fore been debarred, and the transfer could with facility be effected. Mr. Clincher commended the very business view which Gabriel took of the matter, and really concurred with him in thinking such would be the most advisable mode of procedure. He resolved to take a brief time for deliberation, and then determined to speedily act according to his conclusions.

Jingles having now entered the family, and that gentleman having the repute of being one of the most acute men on 'Change, was by the father-in-law, consulted on this momentous question. Now Jingles owed Godfrey an old grudge—he never took wine with him when they had met, and scarcely ever noticed him at dinner-table, doubtless, as Jingles thought, through a spirit of jealousy, lest he should bear

away

the accomplished Letitia from his conceited son. Jingles was consulted—and Jingles urged the immediate institution of legal proceedings.

“Father,” said Jingles, very filially and very affectionately, “ you have passed a life of unremitting industry in the causes of others; it is time you should desist from toil. You have acquired what industry and high character are sure, ultimately, to attain, an ample competence; why go on moiling and working when you might now take life so pleasantly and comfortably? That estate would be the very thing for you : it would give you an importance in the neighbourhood, and as you have often told me, you have sighed for a country life, and a freedom from city smoke, and city din ever since you can remember; where could you settle in retirement more desirably ? Gardening and farming would be pleasing occupations; nay, more, they would append ten years to your life!"

The father-in-law really considered this advice very reasonable, and very well wishing. Letitia gave her most urgent vote for her papa turning country squire, and she descanted on the luxury of a kitchen garden, the cucumbers for pickling, and the lots of fruit for preserving! Really she went into rapturous excitement at the thoughts of her papa living in such a genteel place, and in the very heart and centre of so many good

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