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be supposed that My Uncle lent too little on
the pledges he received; but he can have no
motive for so doing, as he speculates on the
receipt of interest: and the more principal he
can safely lend, the more interest he hopes to
gain. Moreover, there is individual
competition in his business, as in all other

There is only one Quaker in My Uncle's
family. With this last scrap of the history
of his race, I present My Uncle to your


THE Chambellans were an old Yorkshire
family, which once had held a high place
amongst the landed gentry of the county.
A knight of that family had been a Crusader
in the army of Richard Cœur de Lion; and
now he lay, with all his insignia about him, in
the parish church, whilst others of his race
reposed in the same chancel, under
monuments and brasses, which spoke of their name
and fame during their generation. In the
lapse of time the family had become
impoverished, and gradually merged into the class
of yeomen, retaining only a remnant of the
broad lands which had once belonged to them.
In 1744-5, the elder branch of the family,
consisting of the father, two sons, and a
daughter, resided at what had once been the
mansion-house. It had been built originally
in the reign of Stephen, and was a curious
specimen of different kinds of architecture,
bearing traces of its gradual transformation
from the stronghold of the days when it was
no metaphor to say that every man's house
was his castle, down to the more peaceful
dwelling of lawful and orderly times. It had
now become little more than a better sort of
farm-house. What had been the tilt-yard was
filled with a row of comfortable barns, cart-
sheds, and hay-stacks: a low wall of rough
grey stones enclosed a small garden: a narrow
gravel walk, edged on each side with currant-
trees and gooseberry-bushes, led up to the fine
old porch, embowered in the ivy and creepers
which covered nearly the whole of the building
with its luxuriant growth. The old gateway
at the entrance of the yard was still
surmounted with the " coat armour " of the
family, carved in stone; but the gates
themselves had long ago disappeared, and been
replaced by a common wooden farm-yard gate.
The " coat armour " itself was covered with
moss, and a fine crop of grass and house-leek
grew among the stones of the walls, to which
it would have communicated a desolate
appearance, if the farm-yard arrangements had
been less orderly.

Halsted Hall, as it was called, was six miles
from the city of York, and stood about a mile
from the main road. The only approach to
it was by a long rough lane, so much cut
up by the carts and cattle that it was almost
impassable to foot-passengers, except in the
height of summer or depth of winter, when
the mud had been dried up by the sun or the

The father and brothers attended the
different fairs and markets in the ordinary
course of business; their sister, Mary
Chambellan, managed the affairs of the house
and dairy. She led a very secluded life, for
they had no neighbours, and of general
society there was none nearer than the city
itself. Mary, however, had plenty of occupation,
and was quite contented with her lot.
She was nearly seventeen, tall, well-formed,
and with an air of composed dignity which
suited well with her position, which was of
great responsibility for so young a person. Her
mother, who had been dead rather more than
a year, had been a woman of superior education
and strong character. To her, Mary
owed all the instruction she had ever received,
and the tinge of refinement which made her
manners very superior to those of either her
father or brothers. She, however, was quite
unconscious of this, and they all lived very
happily together in the old out-of-the-way

It happened that, in the spring of 1745, an
uncle of her mother's, who resided at York,
was about to celebrate the marriage of one of
his daughters; Mary Chambellan, with her
father and brothers, were invited to the
festivities. The father would have sent an
excuse for himself and Mary; he was getting
old, and did not like to be put out of his
usual ways. The brothers, however, pleaded
earnestly that their sister might have a little
recreation. Finally consent was obtained, and
she went with her brothers.

It was a very fine wedding, and a ball and
supper finished the rejoicings. Some of the
officers, quartered with their regiments in
York, were invited to this ball. Amongst
others was a certain Captain Henry Pollexfen.
He was a young man of good family in the
south of England, heir to a large fortune; and
extremely handsome and attractive on his own
account, independent of these advantages.

He was, by all accounts, a type of the fine
high-spirited young fellow of those days;
good-tempered, generous, and overflowing
with wild animal life and spirits, which he
threw off in a thousand impetuous extravagances.
He could dance all night at a ball,
ride a dozen miles to meet the hounds the
following morning, and, after a hard day's
sport, sit down to a deep carouse, and be
as fresh and gay after it as if he had been
following the precepts of Lewis Cornaro.
The women contended with each other to
attract his attentions; but although he was
devoted to every woman he came near, and
responded to their universal good-will by
flirting indefatigably, his attentions were so
indiscriminate, that there was not one belle
who could flatter herself that she had secured
him for her " humble servant,"—as lovers

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