2021-04-17 02:09:46

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ENGLISH Bergan turned round for his glass, which he had left standing on the window-sill, and, the sooner to be done with the distasteful business, swallowed at a gulp what, it seemed to him, the next moment, must have been liquid fire. A loud laugh from his uncle told him to whom he was indebted for the substitution of raw spirit for weak punch. The passion which he had so promptly smothered, doubly inflamed by the consciousness of being betrayed and the instantaneous action of the potent draught, blazed up with sudden, ungovernable fury. Feeling that he was losing control of temper and reason together, he rushed toward the door. At a sign from the Major, two or three of the bystanders threw themselves in his way. They were instantly sent reeling right and left by two powerful blows. Dick Causton, catching hold of him with the friendly design of preventing him from doing more mischief and provoking more enmity, was shaken off with a violence that threw him in a disordered heap on the floor; over which Bergan strode wrathfully towards his uncle, who had planted himself in the doorway. The spectators held their breath to witness the expected encounter between uncle and nephew,Bergan against Bergan, the blood of both up, the hereditary frenzy blazing in each pair of dark eyes."I am really sorry, for your sake, Harry, that things are just as they are," said he. "Of course, it is not agreeable to you to run thus unexpectedly against a family feud;I really ought to have written Eleanor about it, but I thought to spare her the knowledge of her half-brother's disgrace. Besides, as Godfrey is our nearest neighbor, it might be pleasant to be on visiting terms, if he and his were only the right sort of company to keep."

He saw before him a man of medium height and compactly built figure. His locks had been touched by thought or care to a premature grayness, for he had scarcely yet entered upon middle age. His features were regular, and would have been handsome had they been less keenly and coldly intellectual,the physical mould was forgotten in the mental one that made itself so much more manifest. Their expression was one of active intelligence and calm force, embittered, at the mouth, by a touch of scorn. Yet the face did not absolutely repel; for many minds, it would possess an inscrutable fascination. It provoked study; it challenged the imagination and the understanding."Proverbs," continued the old man, treating his three last sentences as mere parentheses, "have been the study of my life. I know Lord Chesterfield bans them as vulgar, but is he wiser than Solomon? or better authority than Cicero and Scaliger and Erasmus and Bacon and Bentley? Bah! the whole gist of his writings might be compressed into two or three of the maxims that he affects to despise. 'Fair-and-Softly goes far in a day,' will live when his 'Letters' are forgotten. And a good reason why. Proverbs are the royal road to wisdom. They're the crystallized experience of the ages. They epitomize the minds and manners of the people that brought them forth. Who but a 'smooth, fause' Lowland Scot, for instance, would have said 'Rot him awa' wi' butter an' eggs?' Who but a marauding Hielander would have declared, 'It's a bare moor that ane goes o'er and gets na a coo?' Who but poor priest-ridden, king-ridden Spain would have said, Fraile que pide par Dios, pide por dos, 'The friar that begs for God, begs for two;' Quien la vaca del rey come flaca, gorda la paga, 'He who eats the king's cow lean, pays for it fat;'but I ought to beg your pardon, perhaps you know Spanish?"Other pictured faces there were, however, which time, still faithful to its work of bringing out the essential truth, had only touched into softer beauty. Such was the face of Eleanor, wife of Sir Harry; a woman of fair and noble presence, in the rich prime of her life, with a wise, strong, beautiful soul, shining out through her deep, soft eyes. Before this picture Bergan lingered long. Even in babyhood, his mother had resembled it strongly enough to make it seem most fitting that she should receive its name; and the likeness had so strengthened with years, that now, it might easily have passed for her portrait, painted from life.

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"Do not speak so disrespectfully of our common ancestors, uncle! As if they had not the use of their hands!"Loss of time was one of the losses Frederick could least stand. In visits, even from his brothers and sisters, which were always by his own express invitation, he would say some morning (call it Tuesday morning), You are going on Wednesday, I am sorry to hear (what you never heard before). Alas! your majesty, we must. Well, I am sorry; but I will lay no constraint on you. Pleasant moments can not last forever. This trait is in the anecdote-books; but its authenticity does not rest on that uncertain basis. Singularly enough, it comes to me individually, by two clear stages, from Fredericks sister, the Duchess of Brunswick, who, if any body, would know it well.

THE EMPRESS CATHARINE.

563 The king seemed to think it effeminate and a disgrace to him as a soldier ever to appear in a carriage. He never drove, but constantly rode from Berlin to Potsdam. In the winter of 1785, when he was quite feeble, he wished to go from Sans Souci, which was exposed to bleak winds, and where they had only hearth fires, to more comfortable winter quarters in the new palace. The weather was stormy. After waiting a few days for such a change as would enable him to go on horseback, and the cold and wind increasing, he was taken over in a sedan-chair in the night, when no one could see him.Madam,I am much obliged by the wishes you deign to form; but a heavy fever I have taken hinders me from answering you.

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Moreover, he felt that his own resolution was wavering. Bergan Hall had grown strangely dear to him during his solitary occupation of its silent, but suggestive precincts. He might have been proof against every temptation that it could have offered in its grandeur and its prosperity; but in its loneliness and decay there was a pathetic appeal to much that was best and noblest in his nature. To this influence, a stronger one, even, was now added. Seeing the strength of his uncle's new-born affection, and its softening effect upon his face and manner, Bergan began to question within himself whether a still better and nobler work than the restoration of the ancestral home, might not here call for his handeven the restoration of a human life. Those woful habits of intoxication and profanity, far worse than the dry-rot that gnawed at the timbers of the old Hall; that roughness and sordidness which had gathered over the once promising character, far sadder to behold than the mould and the dust that dimmed the ancestral grandeur;were there not moral instruments available for the cure of the one, as there were artisan's tools able to remove all traces of the other.

"I am afraid she did," answered Bergan, laughing, yet coloring, too; "and many a scrape it has gotten me into, before now. But I hope that I am learning to control it a little."

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Apr-17 02:09:46