The Egoist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 555 pages of information about The Egoist.
strangely impressed by the report, and the printing of his name in the newspapers.  He thought over it for several months, when, coming to his title and heritage, he sent Lieutenant Crossjay Patterne a cheque for a sum of money amounting to the gallant fellow’s pay per annum, at the same time showing his acquaintance with the first, or chemical, principles of generosity, in the remark to friends at home, that “blood is thicker than water”.  The man is a Marine, but he is a Patterne.  How any Patterne should have drifted into the Marines, is of the order of questions which are senselessly asked of the great dispensary.  In the complimentary letter accompanying his cheque, the lieutenant was invited to present himself at the ancestral Hall, when convenient to him, and he was assured that he had given his relative and friend a taste for a soldier’s life.  Young Sir Willoughby was fond of talking of his “military namesake and distant cousin, young Patterne—­the Marine”.  It was funny; and not less laughable was the description of his namesake’s deed of valour:  with the rescued British sailor inebriate, and the hauling off to captivity of the three braves of the black dragon on a yellow ground, and the tying of them together back to back by their pigtails, and driving of them into our lines upon a newly devised dying-top style of march that inclined to the oblique, like the astonished six eyes of the celestial prisoners, for straight they could not go.  The humour of gentlemen at home is always highly excited by such cool feats.  We are a small island, but you see what we do.  The ladies at the Hall, Sir Willoughby’s mother, and his aunts Eleanor and Isabel, were more affected than he by the circumstance of their having a Patterne in the Marines.  But how then!  We English have ducal blood in business:  we have, genealogists tell us, royal blood in common trades.  For all our pride we are a queer people; and you may be ordering butcher’s meat of a Tudor, sitting on the cane-bottom chairs of a Plantagenet.  By and by you may . . . but cherish your reverence.  Young Willoughby made a kind of shock-head or football hero of his gallant distant cousin, and wondered occasionally that the fellow had been content to dispatch a letter of effusive thanks without availing himself of the invitation to partake of the hospitalities of Patterne.

He was one afternoon parading between showers on the stately garden terrace of the Hall, in company with his affianced, the beautiful and dashing Constantia Durham, followed by knots of ladies and gentlemen vowed to fresh air before dinner, while it was to be had.  Chancing with his usual happy fortune (we call these things dealt to us out of the great hidden dispensary, chance) to glance up the avenue of limes, as he was in the act of turning on his heel at the end of the terrace, and it should be added, discoursing with passion’s privilege of the passion of love to Miss Durham, Sir Willoughby, who was anything but

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The Egoist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.