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very man I
had Admiral Greenwood been a man with square and erect upon his cob, a tall, handwhom it was at all possible to quarrel. He some, aristocratic-looking personage, with recognised the fact that he could not pre- hook nose, grey moustache twirled upwards, vent other people from doing as they pleased and a pair of blue eyes which looked out with their own, but he considered that his condescendingly, but not unkindly, upon wishes had not been sufficiently consulted in men and things. The tradesmen and the the matter; and as he was not only a country lounging fishermen touched their hats to squire but an ex-military man, he was him, for he was popular, in spite of his little naturally disposed to resent such lack of peculiarities, and he acknowledged their deference.
salutes with a smile and an uplifted foreOne fine autumn morning this arbitrary, finger. Just as he was emerging from the irascible, but thoroughly upright and honest town, which terminates somewhat abruptly old gentleman was riding through Kingscliff on its eastern side, a stout, vulgar-looking on his way homewards from the railway- individual, who wore a frock-coat, thrown station, where he had been making a fine open, an enormous gold watch-chain, and a fuss about the non-arrival of some parcels tall white hat, accosted him, waddling out
the local line, and was in the habit of declaring looking out for you ; you're the that everybody had been much better off want to see." when their goods had reached them by Sir Brian drew rein, threw one quick carrier. There had certainly been some glance of intense disgust at the speaker, and irregularity of delivery in those days, but then gazed vacantly over his head. « Oh, then the carrier had never professed to be Mr. Buswell, I believe ?” said he in chilling regular, so that you knew where you were accents (though he knew Buswell's face as with him. The railway company, on the well as he knew his work, and hated the one other hand, as he had just pointed out to as much as the other). “ What can I do for the station-master, guaranteed punctuality, you, Mr. Buswell ?” yet were never punctual. The station-master The successful contractor was not in the respectfully begged pardon, but thought least abashed. He was rich, a great deal otherwise. He believed there was no richer than Sir Brian Segrave; he was in a guarantee. Every effort was made to insure certain sense powerful; he had a sincere prompt delivery, but at that season of the admiration for himself and a contempt year, when the traffic was so heavy, it was equally sincere for the survivors of a wornnext to impossible for the trains to keep out feudal system. their time. Sir Brian rejoined that that “Well," he replied, with a sort of laugh, excuse was tantamount to an admission that you can do something for me, and somethe railway officials couldn't or wouldn't thing for yourself too at the same time, which keep faith with the public. They all de- is more to the purpose, maybe.” He produced served penal servitude, and, for his part, he a roll of paper from the tail-pocket of his sincerely hoped that, when they had killed coat and began flattening it upon his knee and maimed a few more of their fellow with his great red hand. “Now just run creatures, they would get it.
your eye over that, Sir Brian,” said he ; "it's He himself was in danger of being a little a little plan I've had drawn out of Kingscliff unpunctual at luncheon that day, for after as it ought to be, and as it will be in due he had ridden some distance it occurred to course o'time.” him that he had spoken somewhat too “Thank you—no," returned Sir Brian harshly, and he felt bound to return and hastily. “I feel no curiosity to inspect mention that his words had not been in these fancy sketches. The subject is one in tended to apply to the station-master per- which I am not interested, andsonally.
“Not interested ! ain't you though! Wait "I didn't mean you, Simpkins; I meant till you've seen my plan. Now just look at your rascally, catchpenny employers. I don't this. 'Ere's the new 'arbour works, prosuppose you are to blame.”
menade pier, aquarium and winter garden. Simpkins having expressed himself abun- Further back you come to proposed row of dantly satisfied with this explanation, Sir 'igh class dwelling-ouses, with southerly Brian wished him good-day, and headed once aspect, to be called Segrave Crescent; and more for home. Strangers turned to look at up on the right, where the Manor 'Ouse him as he rode slowly down the street, sitting | now stands—the finest sitiwation in the 'ole
place—we think of erecting as many as Kingscliff together in my opinion, including twenty really elegant detached villas, with what's been bought of Admiral Greenwood. from one to three acres of land apiece, You see, I'm quite candid with you. Now, stabling, and every modern convenience. I you take my advice, Sir Brian Segrave, and look upon that property, sir, as destined to let that land out on building leases. In a be the Belgraviar of Kingscliff.”
very few years' time you'll find your ground“Where the Manor House now stands ! rents bringing you in quite a nice little inechoed Sir Brian, with a stare of astonish- come, and your son or your grandson will ment. Then he could not resist glancing for be a wealthy man." a moment at the audacious design which was Sir Brian had by this time swallowed being held up before his eyes. “Why, Mr. down a desperate inclination to use language Buswell,” he exclaimed, "are you aware that unbecoming his age and position. the land upon which these—these fantastic “I imagine, Mr. Buswell," said he, with arrangements figure happens to belong to laborious calmness, “that my views with
regard to Kingscliff are no secret to you. I “Of course I am aware that it belongs to do not wish the town to become a fashionyou, Sir Brian, and I only wish it belonged able watering-place, and if, as you say, I can to me-ha! ha! For the matter of that, I check its development by declining to sell a dessay it will belong to me some fine day; single rood of my land for building purposes, but in the meantime
I shall be sincerely rejoiced." “Mr. Buswell !” Lightning flashes shot “Well, Sir Brian, your ideas are sing'lar; from Sir Brian's blue eyes, his moustache but I suppose you've a right to 'em, same as twitched, his nostrils expanded, but he I have to mine. Only I shouldn't be suruttered no more than those two words, prised if you was to change your mind when because, although to keep his temper under you come to think it over and consult your provocation was what he had never been family. Take that little sketch 'ome with able to accomplish in his life, yet by strenuous you, it'll 'elp you to see things more clearly.” exertion of the will and clenching of the “Thank you, Mr. Buswell, I will not deteeth he could sometimes retain control over prive you of it." it, and he was very sensible of the loss of “Don't mention it, sir, it ain't of no value dignity which must ensue from any bandy- to me; I can get as many as I like of it ing of words with this low-bred man of lithographed off in no time." And Mr. Busbricks and mortar.
well thrust his plan into the other's relucMr. Buswell stuck his hands in his pockets, tant hand. “I don't doubt but what you'll laughed, and said soothingly, "There, there, change your mind,” he repeated cheerfully. Sir Brian, don't get angry about it. Over- At this Sir Brian's patience suddenly gave tures have been made already to you upon way. He tore the obnoxious paper into this subject and they haven't been successful. fragments, scattered them to the winds, and You don't want to sell and you won't sell - hitting his cob smartly with the huntingwe all know that. You make a mistake; crop which he carried, galloped away withbut
out another word. “Kindly allow me to be the best judge of “What an extryordinary old creecher!" my own affairs, sir," interrupted the old soliloquised Mr. Buswell aloud, as he gazed gentleman in a choking voice.
after the old gentleman's retreating form. "Oh, no—dash it all, Sir Brian, that's “ 'Ere's a man about as 'ard up as he can be asking too much! I can't allow it, I can't —'ad to pinch and scrape ever since he come really! I allow that you're free to manage into the property to keep his 'ead above your own affairs in your own way, but as water, they tell me—and now when a windfor your being the best judge of 'em, why, fall comes in his way that 'd make many a common reason and common sense prove the lord or dook skip for joy, he stands with his contrary, you know. But never mind that, ears laid back like an old jackass, and won't I ain't putting myself forward as an intend touch it ! And for no other reason under ing purchaser. What I want to p’int out to the sun than because he is a jackass ! Howyou is that you're the owner of land which ever, he won't live much longer, I dessay— is absolutely essential to Kingscliff, if it's go off in an apoplexy in one of his fits of ever to develop into the place it oughter temper, very likely—and then we shall be be. These 'ere slopes, back of the town, able to do business with his son. It's time and the bit of level by the Manor 'Ouse are there was an alteration made in the land worth more money than all the rest of laws of this country all the same.”
Sir Brian sighed a second time, then sud
denly straightened himself up, with a short SIR BRIAN SEGRAVE sent his cob at a exclamation of impatience, gave a shake to hand-gallop up the steep hill which leads out his reins and cantered on. of Kingsclif in the Beckton direction, to the Admiral Greenwood used to say that there surprise and indignation of that placid animal, never lived a man more determined to do who was not accustomed to being so ridden. his duty than Segrave, but that unfortuBut when he reached the summit of the nately Segrave could never distinguish beridge whence Beckton on the one side and tween his duty and his inclination. This Kingscliff on the other may be surveyed he was a little hard upon Sir Brian, who had pulled up, a little more heated in body and always done what he believed to be his duty a little less so in spirit.
and had by no means always felt inclined to “What an ass I am !” he muttered, arriv- do it; but perhaps what Admiral Greening at Mr. Buswell's conclusion from different wood meant was that his notions of duty premisses. The chances are that that im- were thoroughly proof against outside argupudent vagabond only wanted to annoy me, ment or persuasion. Somewhat late in life and I allowed him to succeed. Let
my land he had succeeded to Beckton, on the death on building-leases indeed! He must have of his brother, who had been a gambler and known perfectly well that I am just about a spendthrift, and who left the property as likely to do that as to make him a present heavily encumbered. Sir Brian instantly of it. No, Mr. Buswell, you will have to set to work to put things straight, and found find a site elsewhere for your aquarium and the task neither a light nor an agreeable your winter-garden and your other gimcrack one. He thought it his duty to keep up a advertisements; Kingscliff, I can assure you, large establishment, he thought it his duty will develop itself no further on this side so to send his two sons to Eton and Oxford, long as I live !"
and he was quite sure that it was his duty He half turned in his saddle and flung to economise. That he managed to make this defiance back at his distant tormentor retrenchment compatible with these and with a certain air of triumph; but then he other important items of expenditure was sighed and became pensive, remembering not a little to his credit. His method enthat he would not live for ever, and that he tailed considerable self-sacrifice and continual was already nearer seventy than sixty years mortification, for he was by nature a geneof age.
rous man and hated to keep a strict account “There ought to have been an entail,” he of half-crowns; yet he had adhered to it murmured; “ and yet I don't know; perhaps resolutely and, by denying himself all perit is best as it is.”
sonal luxuries, was able now in his old age He had his reasons for deeming it pos- to see daylight. He had not yet, it is true, sible that there might be some advantage in paid off all the mortgages, still less had it the absence of an entail-reasons with which been in his power to lay by anything out of many landed proprietors can sympathise. income ; but he hoped that, if he should be A man may have no wish or intention to cut spared for another ten years or so, he might off his eldest son ; yet to possess the power bequeath to his heir an estate entirely free of so doing is not disagreeable and adds a of charges. To a man so situated the opporfirm bulwark to paternal authority. Sir tunity afforded by the sudden rise of KingsBrian's authority over his heir-apparent was cliff into notoriety ought, one would think, not quite what he could have desired it to to have been a godsend, and it would be be, and as he recalled some of Mr. Buswell's difficult to assign any cause for Sir Brian's remarks he felt one of those cold shivers run refusal to profit by it, save the uncompliup his back which are apt to precede a fit mentary one suggested by Mr. Buswell. of gout.
His privacy would not have been invaded “Who knows ?” he mused. “Brian may by the proposed extension of the town, for part with the land after I am gone. I don't the quarter in question was invisible from think Gilbert would, but Brian is an uncer- his residence and even from his park-gates. tain fellow. He's flighty, he's opinionated, To pull down the fine old Manor House and I do believe he's something near a would have been a pity, no doubt; but in Radical at heart. It would be just like him the Manor House and the few acres of land to say that he had no right to hinder the which surrounded it Sir Brian, as it happrosperity of Kingscliff, or some such non- pened, had only a life-interest, nor was it in sense.”
the least on ästhetic grounds that he had set his face against the whole scheme. Had whatever that might imply. Music, his he been taken in the right way at the outset, father thought, was all very well in its way, he might not improbably have acquiesced in but there was something slightly incongruous what he now considered so objectionable ; and absurd in the idea of a musical squire. but he had not been taken in the right way. Moreover, there was one respect, and rather His dignity had been ruffled, his opinion an important one, in which Brian differed had not been asked, his protests had been from Ĝilbert: he had not the faintest notion smiled at; and as he was both touchy and of the value of money. He could not exactly obstinate, it did not take him very long to be called extravagant, but he had a habit of persuade himself that Kingscliff as a water- giving and lending whenever he was asked, ing-place was an abomination with which no also of buying whatever chanced to take his man who had any sense of self-respect could fancy and paying for it or letting payment consent to soil his fingers.
stand over according as he happened to have The worst of it was that he was afraid his money in his pocket or not at the time. eldest son didn't agree with him. The lad Then, when bills were sent in to his father, had never said this in so many words, but he would say that he was very sorry, but he had hinted at it, and Sir Brian hated really he had forgotten all about them. He hints. He did not hate his elder son ; on the was always exceeding his allowance, without contrary, he had an affection for him which having anything to show for his expenditure, was deep and steady, as all his feelings were. whereas Gilbert, who had never been in debt But then, as he often said to himself im- in his life, was both better dressed and better patiently, he didn't understand him. Now provided with all the small necessaries and Gilbert he did understand, or thought he luxuries of existence than he. did. Gilbert was a sensible, practical fel- These things often made Sir Brian thoughtlow, a sound Conservative, a great favourite ful, and it was in a thoughtful mood that he in society, a lover of sport, without being so now reached home and sat down to his soligiven up to it as to waste his time over what tary luncheon. The young gentlemen had ought to be only a relaxation, and an excel- gone out shooting, the butler told him, and lent judge of live stock, besides being had said they should not be back before thoroughly well up in all branches of agri- dusk. culture. Without undue disparagement of Sir Brian did not linger long in the spacious Brian, there could be no question but that and rather gloomy dining-room, which had Gilbert would have filled the position of been the scene of many revels in years gone Squire of Beckton more satisfactorily than by, and where, in these latter times, the his elder brother was likely to do. But Gil- neighbours were entertained at a solemn bert, poor fellow, had made his entry into dinner-party about once a month. The the world a year and a half too late, so he was Turkey carpet was very old and faded, as reading for the Bar, and might perhaps even- were also the curtains; the massive mahogany tually make a fortune at that trade, since his chairs, purchased probably in the beginning talents were so great. Other fortune, how- of the century, looked as if their framework ever, he would have none; nor, although he might hold out for another hundred years, never made any complaint, was it to be sup- but were woefully in want of re-stuffing ; the posed that the occupation of a lawyer was tablecloth had evidently done duty for several congenial to his tastes.
days. Perhaps one of the most painful deBrian was an individual of a totally dif- privations imposed by poverty upon the ferent stamp. He took no interest in farm- frugal is that of a daily supply of clean tableing, and indeed knew next to nothing about linen. Sir Brian, who was refined and fasit; he did not trouble himself much to be tidious by nature, had felt it to be so once, civil to the neighbours ; his great passion but he had grown accustomed to such things was his love of music. Sometimes his father now and hardly noticed them. When he was afraid that he had got no good out of had disposed of the not very abundant fare Oxford. Oxford was a terrible place for set before him, he betook himself to his study picking up fads, if a man had a leaning that where he wrote letters for an hour, after way-political fads, religious fads, educa- which, the-nfternoon being so fine, he thought tional fads, and what not. There were he would stroll out and try to find his sons. signs that Brian had assimilated some of So he put on his hat and, knowing well these; certainly he did not appear to have which direction to take, mounted the grassy assimilated anything else worth speaking of. hill behind the house until he reached an To be sure, he was a Bachelor of Music, 1 expanse of heathery moor, beyond which money!”
many undulating fields of stubble and roots was only just beginning to display signs of stretched away to meet the sky. Far beneath an approaching moustache.
. « what sort of a smoke from the town rising straight into the bag have you made ?” still air. The calm sea, with broad bands of 1 Pretty fair; nine brace and a half besilver where the sun fell upon it from between tween us. the clouds, was lost in mists towards the “Does that mean that Gilbert killed eight horizon. The red cliffs, the yellow woods, brace ?” the soft melancholy of the western autumn, “No,"
,” answered the young man laughing, all these had a certain influence upon Sir “it isn't Gilbert's day. He was missing Brian as he paused to take breath and survey everything before lunch, so he said it was no the prospect. A verse from the Psalms came use going on, and I believe he has strolled into his mind : “ The lot is fallen unto me in over to Morden.” a fair ground : yea, I have a goodly heritage.” “Gilbert is a better shot than you are,”
"Ah, well ! ” he murmured, resuming his remarked Sir Brian a little aggressively. walk," I suppose so; I suppose one must say “I know he is; but sometimes I manage to so. All things considered, I ought to give hit them. You must admit that that last thanks-only I wish I had rather more ready wasn't such a bad shot.”
“I don't call it good to bring down a brace After he had proceeded some little way he with one cartridge. You must have fired was brought to a standstill by the sound of into the brown of them.” a couple of shots in the distance.
“The second bird crossed.” “Ah,” he said, “I thought they would try Humph ! that's the usual excuse. What this beat. I shall find them in John Shapley's did Gilbert go to Morden for ?” mangolds most likelyat least I shall find “ He wanted to see the Greenwoods, I Gilbert; as for Brian, he is pretty sure to suppose. have had enough of it an hour or two ago "Well, I suppose so; one doesn't generally and gone off to play the organ or something." go to a house unless one wants to see the
However, Sir Brian was less accurate in inhabitants. At least, most people don't. this forecast than he had been as to locality, You do, I dare say." for when he had scrambled rather stiffly The young man laid his gun down on the down a bank, had made his way up a deep bank, seated himself on the gate, over which lane, and had dropped his elbows on a five- his father was still leaning, and looked down barted gate, the figure that he saw slowly into the old gentleman's face. tramping through the field of mangolds on “What has been putting you out ?” he the other side of it was that of his elder, not asked good-humouredly. of his younger son. At the same moment “I'm not put out at all," answered Sir the old red setter by whom the sportsman Brian. “Don't talk nonsense. was accompanied became suddenly rigid, and “You are, though,” persisted the other; immediately afterwards a large covey of “you wouldn't have snapped at me like that partridges rose. The young man fired both if you hadn't been annoyed about something. barrels and brought down three birds ; after Come, what is it ?” which he left the keeper, who was carrying “I didn't snap at you; what do you mean?” the game-bag, to pick up the slain and came returned Sir Brian, trying to look angry, but striding towards his father with a pleasant in reality he was pleased, because he liked smile upon his face.
to talk over his griefs and grievances, and His face was pleasant as well as his smile. since his wife's death nobody but Brian had It was not handsome, because both the nose ever taken the trouble to notice his moods. and the mouth were too large for beauty and Gilbert was less observant; it was the one the cheekbones were somewhat too high, but defect in an otherwise admirable character. the eyes, which were of a soft iron-grey “It's enough to put anybody out," he tinge and which were surmounted by well resumed after a short pause, “ to be accosted marked black eyebrows, might almost be and insulted by Mr. Buswell.” called beautiful. Indeed, Brian was gene- “Oh, Buswell. Yes ; he is rather a cad, rally accounted a good-looking fellow, for he certainly. Not a bad sort of a fellow, though, stood six-foot-two in his stockings, his figures in his own way.” was well-proportioned and he had the appear- “It would be interesting,” observed Sir ance of great physical strength. He wore Brian, with studied calmness, " to hear what, his dark hair very short, and his upper lip in your opinion, constitutes a bad sort of