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A FAMILY HISTORY.
THE AUTHOR OF “JOHN DRAYTON.”
"JAQUES. It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples,
“ROSALIND. A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be sad :
“ JAQUES. Yes, I have gained my experience."--AS YOU LIKE IT.
249. w. 1657
EVERY man has his own report to make of this wonderful human life which we live day by day unconsciously, forming history unawares. I do not expect that my experience contains anything more remarkable than the experience of other men—still it is individual. I have reached to an unusual quietness now, and more rest and leisure than I quite know what to do with ; and if one
cannot work one may talk—it is the privilege of an old man.
The house in which I am now living was once a farm-house; when, I cannot remember, but all its arrangements corroborate its history. A two-story house, with a rounded projection in its centre to contain the staircase, a low door opening into the little brickfloored kitchen, and a collection of low smallwindowed rooms within. Outside, the. garden is in but indifferent order, noted for little more than the great white rose-tree looking in at the staircase window, and the hedge of lilacs round the enclosure, which has much more wealth in potatoes and cabbages than in flowers; and some jargonel peartrees, wonderful in their generation, and berrybushes, famous and well-remembered, keeping a corner in many an old world-hardened memory, of greyheaded men like me who were young when I was young.
For I was born here, and in this very
room my mother had her parlour. We were three of us, boys; and had for our father a man, not blameless by any means, but whose faults were institutions with us, parts of himself which it never occurred to us to speculate upon. Our income, I suppose, might be about a hundred pounds a-yearcertainly not more; and upon this, the family of us in the parlour, and Marget, strong and ruddy, in the kitchen, lived with singular comfort. I recollect no appearance of pinching or penury about our domestic life, and we were moulds of fashion' in respect to bonnets and jackets for half the school. True my mother came to a dead stop sometimes, opposite a small account, and pondered with painful calculations over the means of paying it; but it always was paidand we boys had the most perfect trust in the immense capabilities of the family income. We went to school at Moulisburgh, a