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only in the way of duty; and though we may find some dark and weary steps in this path, yet grant us grace to pursue our journey till light shall break upon our steps, and
peace be shed upon our hearts. “And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen.”
CHAPTER X X.
Eighth Commandment.-Thou shalt not steal.
I AM now prepared, my dear young friends," said the lady of the manor, on occasion of the next meeting at the manor-house, “ with a narrative on the eighth commandment which will probably introduce you to higher life than the subject seems to promise.”
The young ladies smiled, and Miss Emmeline remarked, that, a short time since, she should not have expected to be introduced into high life by a disquisition on the subject of stealing, but that she could not now feel much astonishment, even if such a subject were to bring persons of elevated rank under her notice.
The lady of the manor then ordered tea, which was no sooner dispatched, than she commenced her little narrative.
The History of Frederick Falconer. The Earl of Phad two daughters; the eldest of whom, Lady Charlotte, was very handsome; while the younger, Lady Anne, was as remarkable for her ordinary appearance, her person being clumsy, and her face spoiled by the small-pox: in consequence of which accidental circumstances, Lady Charlotte, soon after her presentation, was married to the Earl of V-, and Lady Anne was ob ged to take up with Mr. Lambert, who had not only the misfortune to be a commoner, but was also so unhappy as to owe his immense fortune to the lucky speculations of an uncle who had been in trade.
The seat of the Earl of V -, called Clifton Castle, was situated in one of the finest counties in the west of
England; and Mr. Lambert's beautiful villa and flourishing estates lay so near to those of the earl, that the families attended the same parish-church, and the sisters, who were very fond of each other, were enabled to meet almost every day—the countess being reconciled to the inferiority of Lady Anne's marriage in point of rank, on consideration of Mr. Lambert's immense riches, and the magnificence of his establishment.
Mr. Lambert was, also, an inoffensive character, when considered merely in the light of a neighbour, and as far as concerned those persons to whom he thought he ought to look up. To those whom he regarded as superiors no man could be more servile and submissive: whether he was equally accommodating to his inferiors will appear in the course of this narrative. He had himself been brought up to trade, and, some persons pretended to say, behind the counter of a linen-draper. But, be this as it may, he was extremely ignorant with respect to every branch of gentlemanly knowledge, excepting, indeed, such as may be acquired in high society by the most superficial observation; and to these minutiæ he paid such close and unremitting attention, that, before he had been many
months in his new situation, he was a perfect oracle in all matters of ordinary etiquette. He knew the precise place which each person ought to take at a large dinner-table, who ought to walk out of a room first, who should lead the dance at the county balls, how many dishes and how many removes it was necessary to put on a table on such and such occasions; with a thousand other impertinences, on which a real gentleman would never bestow a single serious thought.
At the same time, his private studies consisted of books of heraldry, court calendars, treatises on ornamental gardening, and such parts of the daily newspapers as treated of the anecdotes of fashionable life. His highest ambition was to have a fine place, an elegant equipage, to be thought intimate with the great, and to be particularly well dressed; and he would have deemed it a more serious evil to be detected in a breach of etiquette, than to be found guilty of the most grievous offence against morality: at the same time, it must, however, be understood that he was by no means what the world calls an immoral man. He neither drank to excess, nor
gambled, nor kept bad company: but this was not because he had any horror of vice, but simply because he happened not to feel any inclinations that prompted him to the commission of gross offences of this nature. He was, moreover, excessively timid, and retained his original character of a man-milliner even when at the head of an immense establishment, and connected in marriage with a lady of noble family.
It happened, however, that the wife which Mr. Lambert had chosen was a truly respectable woman.
happened,” because Mr. Lambert had by no means selected her on account of any good qualities he had observed in her, but because she was the only single lady of title with whom he was acquainted, and it had entered into his head that Lady Anne would have a very agreeable sound in connexion with Lambert.
Lady Anne was very young when she married Mr. Lambert; she soon, however, discerned his foibles, and managed them so well, (her rank giving her an influence over him which the most charming woman, without a title, never could have acquired,) that, during her life, he acquired a respectability in society which he never totally lost, although she was spared to him only a short time.
Mr. Lambert earnestly desired a son, and it was, therefore, felt to be some disappointment that he had no prospect of a family for more than a year after their marriage. At length, however, the hope of an heir was given: but on the very day that Mr. Lambert saw the fulfilment of this hope in the birth of a son, he was deprived of his valuable wife, and the countess of a sister whom she dearly loved.
On this occasion, Lady V-- acted like a true friend. She took the infant (who was called Robert after his uncle) to Clifton Castle ; and, having provided him with a nurse, kept him under her care till he was seven years of age: at which time he was restored to his father, who had procured a tutor for him, a gentleman who, as it proved, was in every respect calculated for the important office :-a circumstance which, speaking after the manner of the world, I should call very lucky: for Mr. Lambert had required nothing in the preceptor of his son but good manners and a thorough knowledge of the classics, and
had found in him, in addition to these qualifications, a truly pious and amiable companion.
In the mean time, Lady V had presented her husband with two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter, Lady Augusta, was three years younger than Robert Lambert, and, from her earliest infancy, promised to possess more than her mother's beauty.
Mr. Lambert no sooner heard of the birth of this little girl, than he fixed upon her as the future wife of Robert; and so much was his mind filled with this idea, that he failed not to impart it to his sister-in-law the countess, who admitted the proposal with a degree of alacrity which was perfectly ridiculous, when we consider that the bride-elect was still in her cradle.
Lord Clifton, the son of the Earl of V was not born till two years after his sister: and, as he advanced in years, nothing remarkable appeared in his character, neither was there any thing particularly attractive in his exterior, but an elegance of manner and general politeness in his carriage, which marked the young nobleman.
Thus, in as concise a manner as possible, bave I stated the situations and circumstances of the several persons who are to act some of the most conspicuous parts in the following history; and I shall now at once proceed to that part of the narrative in which my history may properly be said to commence, which was at the time when Robert Lambert was brought from Clifton Castle, and placed under the care of his appointed tutor, Mr. Day.
As many of the events which I am about to relate seemed, humanly speaking, to depend upon the character of Robert, I think it right to give my reader a very particular description of his character, and also of the general appearance of the boy; appearances being circumstances of no small moment in the circle in which he was destined to move.
Robert Lambert was one of those coarse, dark complexioned boys who sometimes turn out much better looking than could possibly have been expected of them when mere children. His features were strongly marked, his eyes large, and his lips prominent. His person was strong made and thick set, his temper hasty, and his manners were incurably rough; though he wanted neither understanding nor feeling, and was sensible of kind