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AUTHOR OF

THE BRITISH GRENADIER, THE RAILWAYS
ENGLAND AND WALES," ETC., ETC.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

LONDON:

THOMAS CAUTLEY NEWBY, PUBLISHER,

30, WELBECK STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE.

1851.

249. e. 356,

CONTICTION.

CHAPTER I.

Well, 'tis pleasant by the fire to sit
In russet autumn, when the thought unfit
For bye-gone days, and the long, perhaps, weary past
Is flitting by to hold a mental fast
Of present comforts, and to dream
Of that truth and goodness which on the future

gleam.

The year had far advanced, when one day, as the sun had made within two hours of noon, a young man clad in the garb of an Oxford collegian, was busily engaged in arranging a set of books which he had just taken down from the shelf of a gentleman's library, near Reading. All round the spacious room, and high up to the

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ceiling which was very lofty, the sides were well stored with most of the valuable works that had appeared up to that time. Over the shelves there was a tier of windows which afforded a sufficient but a shadowy light to the apartment. No stream of sunshine had ever shone with prismatic radiance across the void, and the whole place wore the air of being intended for what it had become—a receptacle for learning and nothing else.

At intervals, there were advanced partitions which served to give more room for the stowage of those precious volumes. The front of the shelves were of a fine grained oak, and richly carved along the architrave. The design consisted of festoons of fruit, alternated with groups of figures, most of them exhibiting both skill and taste in their execution. A huge fireplace, skirted with maple wood, was provided for the warmth of the apartment, over the middle of which the arms of the house were largely and boldly sculptured, showing by the mitre that surmounted them, and the lamb and crook in the quartering, that the place had once been the residence of a bishop of the Romish Church, in the hands of whose descendent it now remained.

The place altogether wore the air of having been formed and inhabited by a man rich in knowledge, and of ability to turn his knowledge to the best account; but whose austerity of character prevented intercourse with his kind, to such an extent as to render his knowledge of little use except for his personal gratification.

The books were at length disposed to the young man's satisfaction, and as he looked round to see if there were any

other deficiency that he could rectify, his fine countenance was lit up with a varying intelligence which evinced his agreeable intimacy with the contents of many of the tomes which he surveyed.

His age might be some four or five and twenty ;. but the earnestness of his expressive features indicated an experience

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