better of the weeds which I cannot eradicate, by cutting them over as often as they appear, until at length they die away of themselves. There is neither wisdom nor profit in disputing with such a mind as Sir Hildebrand’s, which hardens itself against conviction, and believes in its own inspirations as firmly as we good Catholics do in those of the Holy Father of Rome.”

“It is very hard, though, that I should live in the house of a man, and he a near relation too, who will persist in believing me guilty of a highway robbery.”

“My father’s foolish opinion, if one may give that epithet to any opinion of a father’s, does not affect your real innocence; and as to the disgrace of the fact, depend on it, that, considered in all its bearings, political as well as moral, Sir Hildebrand regards it as a meritorious action—a weakening of the enemy—a spoiling of the Amalekites—and you will stand the higher in his regard for your supposed accession to it.”

“I desire no man’s regard, Mr. Rashleigh, on such terms as must sink me in my own; and I think these injurious suspicions will afford a very good reason for quitting Osbaldistone Hall, which I shall do whenever I can communicate on the subject with my father.”

The dark countenance of Rashleigh, though little accustomed to betray its master’s feelings, exhibited a suppressed smile, which he instantly chastened by a sigh.

“You are a happy man, Frank—you go and come, as the wind bloweth where it listeth. With your address, taste, and talents, you will soon find circles where they will be more valued, than amid the dull inmates of this mansion; while I—”he paused.

“And what is there in your lot that can make you or any one envy mine,—an outcast, as I may almost term myself, from my father’s house and favour?”

“Ay, but,” answered Rashleigh, “consider the gratified sense of independence which you must have attained by a very temporary sacrifice, for such I am sure yours will prove to be—consider the power of acting as a free agent, of cultivating your own talents in the way to which your taste determines you, and in which you are well qualified to distinguish yourself—Fame and freedom are cheaply purchased by a few weeks’ residence in the North, even though your place of exile be Osbaldistone Hall.—A second Ovid in Thrace, you have not his reasons for writing Tristia.”

“I do not know,” said I, blushing as became a young scribbler, “how you should be so well acquainted with my truant studies.”

“There was an emissary of your father’s here some time since, a young coxcomb, one Twineall, who informed me concerning your secret sacrifices to the muses, and added, that some of your verses had been greatly admired by the best judges.”

Tresham, I believe you are guiltless of having ever essayed to build the lofty rhyme; but you must have known in your day many an apprentice and fellow-craft, if not some of the master-masons, in the temple of Apollo. Vanity is their universal foible, from him who decorated the shades of Twickenham, to the veriest scribbler whom he has lashed in his Dunciad. I had my own share of this common failing, and without considering how little likely this young fellow Twineall was, by taste and habits, either to be acquainted with one or two little pieces of poetry, which I had at times insinuated into Button’s coffee-house, or to report the opinion of the critics who frequented that resort of wit and literature, I almost instantly gorged the bait; which Rashleigh perceiving, improved his opportunity by a diffident, yet apparently very anxious request, to be permitted to see some of my manuscript productions.

“You shall give me an evening in my own apartment,” he continued; “for I must soon lose the charms of literary society for the drudgery of commerce, and the coarse everyday avocations of the world. I repeat it, that my compliance with my father’s wishes for the advantage of my family, is indeed a sacrifice, especially considering the calm and peaceful profession to which my education destined me.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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