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Ä certain clearness of judgment is apt to be the blessed handmaid of uncommon truth of character; the mind that knows not what it is to play tricks upon its neighbours is rewarded by a comparative freedom from self-deception. Guy could not sit down upon his estates and lead an insect life like that recommended by Rossitur. His energies wanted room to expend themselves. But the world offered no sphere that would satisfy him; even had his circumstances and position laid all equally open. It was a busy world, but to him people seemed to be busy upon trifles, or working in a circle, or working mischief; and his nice notions of what ought to be were shocked by what he saw was, in every direction around him. He was disgusted with what he called the drivelling of some unhappy specimens of the Church which had come in his way; he disbelieved the truth of what such men professed. If there had been truth in it, he thought, they would deserve to be drummed out of the profession. He detested the crooked involvments and double-dealing of the law. He despised the butterfly life of a soldier; and as to the other side of a soldier's life, again he thought, what is it for?-to humour the arrogance of the proud, -to pamper the appetite of the full, -to tighten the grip of the iron hand of power;—and though it be sometimes for better ends, yet the soldier cannot choose what letters of the alphabet of obedience he will learn. Politics was the very shaking of the government sieve, where if there were any solid result it was accompanied with a very great flying about of chaff indeed. Society was nothing but whip syllabub,--a mere conglomeration of bubbles,-as hollow and as unsatisfying. And in lower departments of human life, as far as he knew, he saw evils yet more deplorable. The Church played at shuttlecock with men's credu. lousness, the law with their purses, the medical profession with their lives, the military with their liberties and hopes. He acknowledged that in all these lines of action there was much talent, much good intention, much admirable diligence and acuteness brought out—but to what great general end ? He saw in short that the machinery of the human mind, both at large and in particular, was out of order. He did not know what was the broken wheel the want of which set all the rest to running wrong.
This was a strange train of thought for a very young man; but Guy had lived much alone, and in solitude one is like a person who has climbed a high mountain; the air is purer about hirn, his vision is freer; the eye goes straight and clear to the distant view which below on the plain a thousand things would come between to intercept. But there was some morbidness about it too. Disappointment in two or three instances where he had given his full confidence and been obliged to take it back had quickened him to generalize unfavourably upon human character, both in the mass and in individuals. And a restless dissatisfaction with himself and the world did not tend to a healthy view of things. Yet truth was at the bottom; truth rarely arrived at without the help of revelation. He discerned a want he did not know how to supply. His fine perceptions felt the jar of the machinery which other men are too busy or too deaf to hear. It seemed to him hopelessly disordered.
This habit of thinking wrought a change very unlike what his mother had looked for. He mingled more in society, but Mrs. Carleton saw that the eye with which he looked upon it was yet colder than it wont to be. A cloud came over the light gay spirited manner he had used to
The charm of his address was as great as ever where he pleased to shew it, but much more generally now he contented himself with a cool reserve, as impossible to disturb as to find fault with. His temper suffered the same eclipse. It was naturally excellent. His passions were not hastily moved. He had never been easy to offend;
his careless good-humour and an unbounded proud self-respect made him look rather with contempt than anger upon the things that fire most men; though when once moved to displeasure it was stern and abiding in proportion to the depth of his character. The same good-humour and cool self-respect forbade him even then to be eager in shewing resentment; the offender fell off from his esteem and apparently from the sphere of his notice as easily as a drop of water from a duck's wing, and could with as much ease regain his lost lodgment; but unless there were wrong to be righted or truth to be vindicated he was in general safe from any further tokens of displeasure. In those cases Mr. Carleton was an
adversary to be dreaded. As cool, as unwavering, as per. severing there as in other things, he there as in other things no more failed of his end. And at bottom these characteristics remained the same; it was rather his humour than his temper that suffered a change. That grew more gloomy and less gentle. He was more easily irritated and would shew it more freely than in the old happy times had ever been.
Mrs. Carleton would have been glad to have those times back again. It could not be. Guy could not be content any longer in the Happy Valley of Amhara. Life had something for him to do beyond his park palings. He had carried manly exercises and personal accomplishments to an uncommon point of perfection; he knew his library well and his grounds thoroughly, and had made excellent improvement of both; it was in vain to try to persuade him that seed-time and harvest were the same thing, and that he had nothing to do but to rest in what he had done; shew his bright colours and flutter like a moth in the sunshine, or sit down like a degenerate bee in the summer time and eat his own honey. The power of action which he knew in himself could not rest without something to act upon. It longed to be doing.
Conscience is often morbidly far-sighted. Mr. Carleton had a very large tenantry around him and depending upon him, in bettering whose condition, if he had but known it, all those energies might have found full play. It never entered into his head. He abhorred business,--the detail of business; and his fastidious tastes especially shrank from having anything to do among those whose business was literally their life. The eye sensitively fond of elegance, the extreme of elegance, in everything, and permitting no other around or about him, could not bear the tokens of mental and bodily wretchedness among the ignorant poor; he escaped from them as soon as possible; thought that poverty was one of the irregularities of this wrong-working machine of a world, and something utterly beyond his power to do away or alleviate; and left to his steward all the responsibility that of right rested on his own shoul. ders.
And at last unable to content himself in the old routine of things he quitted home and England, even before he was of age, and roved from place to place, trying, and trying in vain, to soothe the vague restlessness that called for a very different remedy.
"On change de ciel,—l'on ne change point de soi."
Faire Christabelle, that ladye bright,
Was had forth of the towre:
Fleda was thought well enough to take her tea in company. So Mr. Carleton carried her down, though she could have walked, and placed her on the sofa in the parlour.
Whatever disposition the young officers might have felt to renew their pleasantry on the occasion, it was shamed into silence. There was a pure dignity about that little pale face which protected itself. They were quite struck, and Fleda had no reason to complain of want of attention from any of the party. Mr. Evelyn kissed her. Mr. Thorn brought a little table to the side of the sofa for her cup of tea to stand on, and handed her the toast most dutifully; and her cousin Rossitur went back and forth between her and the tea-urn. All of the ladies seemed to take immense satisfaction in looking at her, they did it so much; standing about the hearth-rug with their cups in their hands, sipping their tea. Fleda was quite touched with everybody's kindness, but somebody at the back of the sofa whom she did not see was the greatest comfort of all.
“ You must let me carry you up stairs wnen you go, Fleda," said her cousin. I shall grow quite jealous of your friend Mr. Carleton."
No," said Fleda smiling a little. --" I shall not let any one but him carry me up,--if he will."
“We shall all grow jealous of Mr. Carleton," said Thorn.