Tales for Young and Old eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Tales for Young and Old.

The Italians were condemned to the galleys; whilst Monsieur Louison and his wife discharged their debt of gratitude to Karl, by first educating him, and then furnishing him with the means of earning his living with respectability and comfort.

De Monge was degraded from his situation, and the universal execration that pursued him drove him ultimately to America, where, under a feigned name, he ended his days in obscurity.

THE HOME-WRECK.

A few years since I visited Devonshire, to make the acquaintance of some distant relations, whom circumstances had prevented me from before seeing.  Amongst others, there was one who lived in a decayed family mansion about six miles east of the pretty town of Dartmouth.  Before calling on her, I was prepared, by report, to behold a very aged and a very eccentric lady.  Her age no one knew, but she seemed much older than her only servant—­a hardy old dame, who, during the very month of my visit, had completed her ninety-ninth year.

The mistress never allowed any one to see her, save a young and interesting cousin of mine.  She seldom went out except on Sundays, and then was carried to church in an old sedan-chair by a couple of labourers, who did odd jobs of gardening about the house.  She had such an insuperable objection to be seen by anybody, whether at home or abroad, that she concealed her face by a thick veil.

These, with other particulars, were narrated to me by my cousin as we rode towards Coote-down Hall, in which the old lady resided, and which, with the surrounding estate, was her own property.  On approaching it, signs of past grandeur and present decay presented themselves.  The avenue leading to the house had evidently been thickly planted; but now only a few stumps remained to mark where noble and spreading elms once had been.  Having arrived at the house, my cousin reined up at the steps of the hall, upon which she, in a low cautious voice, desired me to alight.  Having assisted her out of her saddle, I was about to utter some exclamation of surprise at the extreme dilapidation of the place, when she whispered me to be silent; adding, that I must not stir until she had returned from within, to announce whether my visit would be accepted or not.

During her absence, I had full leisure to look around and note the desolate condition of Coote-down.  The lawn—­thickly overspread with rank grass—­could scarcely be distinguished from the fishpond, which was completely covered with water-weeds.  The shrubbery was choked and tangled, whilst a very wide rent in the wall laid open to view an enclosure which had once been a garden, but was now a wilderness.  For a time the sorrowful effect which all this decay produced on my mind was increased by the extreme solitude which reigned around.  This, however, was presently relieved by a cackling sign of life which issued from a brood-hen as it flew from the sill of a side-parlour window.  On casting my eyes further into the landscape, I also perceived a very fat cow lazily browsing on the rich pasture of a paddock.

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Tales for Young and Old from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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