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Ability, indeed, he had the fact was undeniable-but it was ability of a kind of which no honourable man could envy him the possession. If he entertained any scruple as to openly avowing that he thought the maxim good—the end sanctifies the meanshe had certainly none in adopting it in practice. The object aimed at was ever his paramount consideration ; and that object once attained, no troublesome remembrance of the method pursued to effect it ever after obtruded itself. By skilfully suppressing whatever was unfavourable to a cause or design he had in view, enlarging with all the fluency of a naturally-eloquent tongue whatever could be said in its favour, he continued, in most cases, to bend circumstances and wills alike to his wishes, and to gather fresh laurels in honour of his own adroitness and skill.
There was a seeming fairness and plausibility, however, in his manner-an apparent sincerity in his motives—that generally succeeded either in throwing others off their guard, or entirely misleading their judgment; but though vanity was a prominent feature of his character, and no one could exult in success more than he, he was never betrayed into any indiscreet disclosure of the means or the art he had used to insure it. But it was not so in his domestic circle: the caution he so strictly observed in public was entirely laid aside in private; in his own family he made no secret of his manœuvres, nor failed exultingly to repeat them; so that his children, almost with their daily instruction, received a lesson from their father's example, which was aptly acquired and lastingly retained.
His eldest son, Manvers, was, in many respects, the counterpart of his father, with the exception only that his talents were greatly superior – an advantage of which Mr. Weston was fully sensible, and which he acknowledged with delight. He built the most extravagant hopes on the circumstance; and always lamenting the loss of a first-rate education in himself, to which he ascribed his not having gained that position in society to which he conceived himself entitled, he spared no expense in the cultivation of the mind of this his favourite son, though to the injury of every other member of his family. It was true Manvers' attainments seemed to warrant this partiality; but when at length he was sent to college, there were not wanting many to regard the step with astonishment, and to condemn it severely.
As at school, so at the university, Manvers made himself conspicuous by his talents. He was at this time standing for honours. It was a time of intense anxiety to his father ; and communication
by the post, as managed at Normanton, was by no means suited to his impatience. A bag was despatched from P—, the post town, five miles distant, by a pensioner who returned in the evening. By sending a man expressly to P-, a letter could be obtained some hours before the usual time. This plan was attended with expense, but the avoidance of expense was never a thought with him, and the necessary arrangement was made. How often that morning did he start from his seat in expectation that the lookedfor messenger
had arrived! How often had he darted to the window—to the street-door-mistaking every stranger for the person he wished to see! At length he perceived the man whom he had sent to P— He rushed out to receive the letter he perceived in his hand, and, as he did so, nearly threw down his neighbour, Mr. Welsh, who was passing by at the moment.
“Why! what is the matter ?" demanded Mr. Welsh.
No answer was returned. Mr. Weston had not even heard the question; he was intently devouring the words inscribed on the paper that trembled in his hand. “Senior wrangler !" exclaimed he, “is it possible? There, what do you think of that?"
“Of what?" asked Mr. Welsh, for agitation had made Mr. Weston's words inarticulate.
“Look here !” returned he, “Manvers has sent me word that he stands at the head of the list of wranglers, the number of competitors being most extraordinary, if not unprecedented.”
“I sincerely congratulate you,” said Mr. Welsh, shaking hands with him, “may his career through life be as brilliant as it has begun."
" There is no fear of that,” replied Mr. Weston ; “Manvers was born for distinction, he can't help it. But this is beyond my - utmost hopes; something out of the common way, I own, I thought probable—fourth or fifth on the list would have been a great thing. Your son-"
“Was no wrangler at all,” said Mr. Welsh, quietly ; "he took a very respectable degree, and the character he brought away with him left me nothing to desire on his account, though it afforded no very great ground for pride on my own.”
“Certainly not,” replied Mr. Weston, scarcely considering what he was saying; and then giving greater point to his words, by an attempt to soften them—“ Henry is a good fellow, though-a very good fellow. No one will have cause to be ashamed of him.”
Mr. Weston smiled. Many words might have conveyed his meaning less significantly, but this was no point just now to Mr. Weston.
“ But good-bye--good-bye,” said the latter, “I must run to Mrs. Weston ; she is as anxious as myself to know what has been done."
“No doubt,” returned Mr. Welsh ; “I am sorry to have been the means of depriving her for a moment of the pleasure that awaits her,” and he instantly walked onwards, leaving Mr. Weston to hurry into the house.
Mr. Welsh was right, when he said there was no doubt that Mrs. Weston's anxiety was equal to her husband's; but that anxiety proceeded from a different cause. She was a sensible and an amiable woman, but to a mother's tenderness she joined a mother's prudence and foresight; and in this instance triumph was not, in her estimation, the safest and most desirable event that could have befallen her son. She dreaded the effect it might have on his mind. She had beheld on former occasions how much success had elated him, and, unlike his father, she would gladly have seen less talent in him, and more steadiness of principle.
“Nonsense," would Mr. Weston say; "you make such marvels of trifles. If the boy has more quickness than others, and can turn to his own advantage what others overlook, what is there to condemn in this, or to take alarm at? Nothing that I see. Let who will contend with him, he will outstrip all; gain every prize before him ; and, as to our looking into every means he may use in the contest, it's what neither you nor I need trouble ourselves about. Whenever did a boy, or a man either, for that matter, own himself fairly beaten, when he had made up his mind he should be successful ? Who blames another for making good use of his elbows, and jostling through a crowd safely, whilst others look on in despair, or step by step creep on as the throng permits? I am satisfied, and so may you be; they who are left behind in any race never will.”
Manvers was certainly no favourite at school ; nor, from some cause or other, did his present success give pleasure at the university. There were no warm congratulations tendered to him, as was usually the case, though no one for a moment disputed his intellectual superiority or acquirements. He was in no degree affected by this, nor would it have annoyed his father had the fact been known to him. He would only have attributed such coolness to envy, and thereby have food for fresh self-satisfaction.
Manvers returned home flushed with the triumph he had gained. To his mother's anxious inquiry as to his future views, he replied circumstances would decide him in his choice of a profession; he preferred the law, and had studied for it, but if anything occurred to make such a step eligible, he should raise no objection against taking holy orders. The answer was heard by Mrs. Weston with a sigh, by Mr. Weston with a ready acquiescence in the delay : “There was no need to hurry in such a matter,” he said ; “as things turned
it would be better to decide on the course to be pursued.” A short time, however, settled the point, and fixed the destiny of Manvers.
Henry Welsh had been now nearly two years in the family of Lord Elsdale, in the capacity of private tutor to his sons. He had been strongly recommended to him as a young man in whom the most implicit confidence might be placed, and as such he had entered his household under the most favourable auspices. But it is not to the testimony of friends that we must look for a claim to permanent esteem. We owe them much, indeed, for the introduction they may give us to the influential or to the estimable, and for the kind sentiments and opinions they may express in our behalf. They thus lay the foundation, probably, of our future success, and our liveliest gratitude is due to them ; but success itself depends on our own conduct-on the realization of the qualifications ascribed
If our prospect at the outset of life is the work of others, that which we become is essentially our own. Daily intercourse soon proved to Lord Elsdale that the worth of his young tutor had not been overrated ; while he therefore conceived a sincere respect for his general abilities, his pupils attached themselves warmly to
As Henry was in orders, and Lord Elsdale had several livings in his gift, his father encouraged a hope that his son would not be overlooked, should opportunity serve for his preferment, a hope that even Henry himself to a certain degree shared. He never, however, allowed expectation to disturb his mind, or to influence his conduct. 6 Some little cove of rest” he owned he did eventually aspire to, but only as a reward to follow the performance of this duty, not to anticipate or insure his exertions. No sooner, however, had Lord Elsdale the power to mark his approbation, than he availed himself of it by presenting Henry to a small benefice that had become vacant : “ Not,” said he, “as the discharge of an obligation for the care you have taken of my sons, but as it is the first time I have been enabled to mark my sense of it."
Henry expressed himself, as he felt, with the deepest gratitude ; for the means was now in his power of assisting his father, whose circumstances were far from affluent. His own education, he was aware, had been a heavy charge to him, and after some deliberation within himself as to the more delicate, as well as acceptable way of reimbursing him, he declared his intention of providing his sisters with a private governess ; for as his mother had been dead some time, he was the more desirous of retaining their society at home.
It was not long after this that Manvers distinguished himself at Cambridge, as related. Henry was reading a letter from his sister Emma, of which the former was the chief subject. Lord Elsdale entered the study in which he was sitting alone, his pupils having just left him.
“Mr. Welsh,” said he, “I am anxious to know what is your opinion of Mr. Manvers Weston. I understand that you and he are natives of the same town, and that your families have always been intimate with each other. He has been recommended to me as a very fitting person to accompany my ward and nephew, Sir George Willoughby, on his travels. Sir George, who has formed some degree of intimacy with him at Cambridge, is very anxious that I should engage him. Tell me candidly what you think of him.”
“Manvers Weston,” replied Henry, without hesitation, “is incomparably one of the most gifted men I know. He and I did not draw very well together as boys, though I am quite willing to believe that the fault lay more with me than with him.”
“How so?" asked Lord Elsdale.
“I was the elder,” replied Henry," he was by far the more clever. I was plodding, he was quick. He knew this, and he made me know it too. However, I have a good deal to thank him for. The dread of his getting over my head caused me never to waste a moment, while he could afford to throw
hours." “ But his temper-general character ?” said Lord Elsdale.
“ The first is unexceptionable,” replied Henry ; " and he is remarkably agreeable. With the exception of a little disagreement that once occurred between us, I know nothing to his disad
Lord Elsdale made no further inquiry. He had heard nothing to make him doubt the report that had been given him, and by that evening's post he wrote to Sir George, conveying his consent to his wishes. The offer was immediately made to Manvers, and accepted with equal promptitude and pleasure.
Mr. Weston was delighted beyond measure at the arrangement.
“Manvers,” said he, “ your fortune is made; only mind what you are are about. Let Sir George be what he may, abilities like yours will give you the mastership. It's only the way of doing