him in case of necessity, and to clear a five-barred gate, and fire a gun without winking, and all other of those masculine accomplishments that my brute cousins run mad after, I wanted, like my rational cousin, to read Greek and Latin within doors, and make my complete approach to the tree of knowledge, which you men-scholars would engross to yourselves, in revenge, I suppose, for our common mother’s share in the great original transgression.”

“And Rashleigh readily indulged your propensity to learning?”

“Why, he wished to have me for his scholar, and he could but teach me that which he knew himself—he was not likely to instruct me in the mysteries of washing lace-ruffles, or hemming cambric-handkerchiefs, I suppose.”

“I admit the temptation of getting such a scholar, and have no doubt that it made a weighty consideration on the tutor’s part.”

“Oh, if you begin to investigate Rashleigh’s motives, my finger touches my chin once more. I can only be frank where my own are inquired into. But to resume—he has resigned the library in my favour, and never enters without leave had and obtained; and so I have taken the liberty to make it the place of deposit for some of my own goods and chattels, as you may see by looking round you.”

“I beg pardon, Miss Vernon, but I really see nothing around these walls which I can distinguish as likely to claim you as mistress.”

“That is, I suppose, because you neither see a shepherd or shepherdess wrought in worsted, and handsomely framed in black ebony,—or a stuffed parrot,—or a breeding-cage, full of canary-birds,—or a housewife- case, broidered with tarnished silver,—or a toilet-table, with a nest of japanned boxes, with as many angles as Christmas minced-pies,—or a broken-backed spinet,—or a lute with three strings,—or rock- work,—or shell-work,—or needle-work, or work of any kind,—or a lap-dog, with a litter of blind puppies—None of these treasures do I possess,” she continued, after a pause, in order to recover the breath she had lost in enumerating them—“But there stands the sword of my ancestor Sir Richard Vernon, slain at Shrewsbury, and sorely slandered by a sad fellow called Will Shakspeare, whose Lancastrian partialities, and a certain knack at embodying them, has turned history upside down, or rather inside out;—and by that redoubted weapon hangs the mail of the still older Vernon, squire to the Black Prince, whose fate is the reverse of his descendant’s, since he is more indebted to the bard, who took the trouble to celebrate him, for goodwill, than for talents,—

‘Amiddes the route you might descern one
Brave knight, with pipes on shield, ycleped Vernon;
Like a borne fiend along the plain he thundered,
Prest to be carving throtes, while others plundered.’

Then there is a model of a new martingale which I invented myself—a great improvement on the Duke of Newcastle’s; and there are the hood and bells of my falcon Cheviot, who spitted himself on a heron’s bill at Horsely Moss—poor Cheviot, there is not a bird on the perches below, but are kites and riflers compared to him; and there is my own light fowling-piece, with an improved firelock; with twenty other treasures, each more valuable than another—And there, that speaks for itself.”

She pointed to the carved oak-frame of a full-length portrait by Vandyke, on which were inscribed, in Gothic letters, the words Vernon semper viret. I looked at her for explanation—“Do you not know,” said she, with some surprise, “our motto—the Vernon motto, where,

‘Like the solemn vice, Iniquity,
We moralise two meanings in one word?’

And do you not know our cognisance, the pipes?” pointing to the armorial bearings sculptured on the oaken scutcheon, around which the legend was displayed.

“Pipes!—they look more like penny-whistles—But, pray, do not be angry with my ignorance,” I continued, observing the colour mount to her cheeks, “I can mean no affront to your armorial bearings, for I do not even know my own.”

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