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distinguished himself at the University, and
was recommended by Robert himself, who
was then at college. Whether this man was
sent by him maliciously to harm me in my
father's eyes, I cannot tell, but he was entirely
unfitted for his post; being a drunken and
immoral person, whose character could hardly
have concealed itself from one so astute as his

He took me out to fairs and village feasts,
and gave me such a taste for beer and skittles
that I took them to be the meat and drink of
life. I became extremely fond of tossing for
sixpences, also, and conceived an absorbing
passion for playing put; indulging in it to
such an extent hardly credible in so young a
gentleman. Mr. Laurence was much too
cunning to let any of this come to my parents'
ears while he was with me; but, in the
vacations, I used to revisit the haunts he had
introduced me to, alone. On one occasion I
had come home very tipsy, and could not open
the back garden-gate. Robert came out and
conversed with me across it, while I divided
his name into infinite syllables; and, having
satisfied himself of my condition, he went
back under pretence of fetching the key.
Then he took me sharply by the arm, and led
me into the house, and up the stairs into my
sick father's room.

"Here is your son Charles, sir," said he.
''You wished to see him; but I am afraid
he is not quite in a fit state to be talked to."

I muttered a few broken sentences, and
stared in a drunken manner from one to the

"Robert," said my father, "leave the

After a little pause, and when his command
had been obeyed, he said,

"My poor boy, can you answer me one
question ?"

The tears ran down my cheeks for shame
(and perhaps a little accelerated by the liquor
I had imbibed), and I murmured that I could.

"Have you ever been in this state before,
Charles ?"

"Yes, sir, I have."

"And who went with you to the public-
house to-day?"

"Nobody, sir; nobody, indeed, sir," I

I had thought to please him by declaring
no one else to be in fault; but he groaned
aloud, and, without looking towards me again,
he bade me go away and get to bed.

Fondness for low society, and drunkenness,
were just those vices most abhorrent to my
father,— and that I had indulged in them
both at such an early age, and of my own
natural inclination, shocked him beyond
measure. My mother came in from his
room to mine an hour afterwards, and fell
into a passion of tears at my bedside: I was
miserable and penitent enough, and she forgave
me; but I felt something rise had distressed
her beside my own delinquencies; I
was now become, openly, the bone of contention
between my mother and her step-children.

Susan, who was a fine-looking dark lady,
with wicked eyes, tall and straight, with an
insolent carriage and manners, and a temper
not hard to be provoked,— did not any longer
take pains to conceal her contempt for us two
interlopers. My mother had little or no
money, and her family were of a slightly
lower grade than that of my father,—and
poor people and low people were equally
Susan's aversion. Susan had also a natural
hatred of a woman as young and pretty as
herself, and was especially jealous of her
influence with my father. She had given up
the seat at the head of the table with a bad
grace, and never let slip an opportunity of
annoying her rival; which she easily enough
effected by striking at her through me. She
remarked, the next day after my escapade,
that I was a spoilt boy, and apparently a
vicious boy, and that I must be sent to school.
Robert also followed on the same side, although
in a less obnoxious style. An assent to this
plan was obtained from the sick-room, despite
my mother's opposition, and to school I went.

Susan wanted me to be sent to Christ's
Hospital, as being cheap and good enough, and
because its discipline was at that time very
severe; but I was despatched to Eton. What
a pleasant place was that! The only school,
as it seems to me, which the amenities of
civilised life have really reached; where, not
only amongst the upper boys (who at many
other places behave creditably enough) but
in the lower forms, the ferocity of the English
schoolboy is abated by the knowledge that he
is an English gentleman. What healthy
lives they led! Scores of them swimming
the river at all times, and scores of them
learning to swim it, by help of an amphibious
being with a pole, and a girth at the end of
it, or by the more summary fashion of being
chucked in by their friends. What riders
were there, too! although riding was prohibited
under the form of a severe enactment
against wearing straps to their trousers
such an enormity as an Etonian riding
without straps not being then contemplated,
just as the judge of old thought no particular
law necessary against parricide.
What leapers of brooks, what runners in
paper chases! All these things pleased me
hugely, and would have made me happy,
if I could have forgotten my mother, and what
she suffered for my sake. For myself, I quite
dreaded the vacation times, especially as I
was getting into worse rather than better
favour; I had got tipsywhat Etonian has
not?— at Surley, on the fourth of June, and
had been swished accordingly, and this had
been reported in proof of my evil disposition.
I knew who told these tales well enough; and,
not being deficient in spirit, I waged an open
war against my enemies. When sister Susan
predicted my future ruin one day amidst
the family assembled, adding, " Don't come

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