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OPINIONS OF THE ENGLISH PRESS.

PLEBEIANS AND PATRICIANS. “A clever work, contrasting the aristocracy of wealth with the aristocracy of birth. The grotesque exhibitions of ignorance, vulgarity, and absurdity among the early cotton manufacturers are exceedingly entertaining. It is a most correct picture of manners."-Spectator.

“Bulwer, Marryat, Hook, and the author of • Plebeians and Patricians,' are contesting the palm of literary popularity. Rienzi,' and Plebeians and Patricians,' will be the leading works of fiction of the season. The author has taken up a new field of action, and has treated it in the most masterly manner."-Cambridge Press.

6. The tale of Plebeians and Patricians is one of much interest."---Satirist.

“ A very clever and amusing novel.”--- Suffolk Herald.

" A novel which will establish the author as one of the best writers of his day.”---Cambridge Press.

“ The author of Plebeians and Patricians, is justly entitled to rank with Bulwer, Marryat, Hood, and one or two others. His novel is superior to every novel of the season, with the exception of Rienzi,' with which it will run a race for popular favour.”-.-Chronicle.

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PUBLIC LIBRARY

58371

DIOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN NOALCMA
P

1913

PLEBEIANS AND PATRICIANS.

CHAPTER I.

FAMILY CHANGES—THE MANFORDS.

"'Tis a world of changes, -
And whether up or down—the change is irksome.”

Anonymous

FORTY-EIGHT years ago, the parish of Shawton, forming one of the north eastern extremities of Cheshire, was as beautiful and picturesque in its appearance, as the most enthusiastic lover of nature could desire. The summer sun shone down upon it, and upon its quiet cottages and comfortable farmhouses, undimmed, save by a few silvery clouds; and the birds, the streams, and the trees waved and sung in the bright sky, with nothing near them to mar their beauty.

In one of these farm-houses the family to which our story refers were, on the 2d of July, 1784, assembled in deep and anxious consultation. They had just returned from attending the last rites of their protector and father, John Manford, or, as he was more generally called • Honest John.” He had died full of years, and at a right time for his own comfort, though at a very wrong one for that of his family; which consisted of a wife, three sons, and two daughters.

Hitherto the Manfords had been looked upon as the chief people of their immediate neighbourhood. The old man was the descendant and representative of a line of highly respectable yeomen; a class which had sprung into notice and wealth by the breaking up of the feudal tenures, and the confiscation of property in the reign of the Tudors. This had been farther helped forwards by the dissolution of the monasteries, and by the wars of the Reformtion. In his sphere of life he had been wealthy, possessing several small freehold estates, besides the Shawes, on which he lived.

But John Manford had outlived his means, and this too without being at all aware of it. Like others of his class, his style of house-keeping had been profusely liberal. Hospitality was not then considered as a virtue, but as a thing of course; and the open house, and the well-furnished table welcomed the wayfarer, come from what quarter he might.

This, however, would not have signified much, as his means were ample, had there been any thing like domestic thrift; but there was not and Manford, never having felt the want of money, knew nothing of its value, and had not troubled himself about annual balances, or profit or loss in any shape. Thus it happened that his income was never stored up, there was enough for to-day, and why should there not be enough for to-morrow, and so the old man died full of years--and full of honour.

Still this would not have led to harm; it was Manford's reputation for honesty that had ruined his family. At that time provincial and national banks were not to be found in every town and village. These conveniences were but little known, and still less esteemed by our bold yeomanry, and hence “Honest John," had become banker-general for the district. Whoever had money to spare, it

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