The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 8 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 8.

He and Julia fancied me cold to my father’s merits.  Fond as they were of the squire, they declared war against him in private, they criticized Janet, they thought my aunt Dorothy slightly wrong in making a secret of her good deed:  my father was the victim.  Their unabated warmth consoled me in the bitterest of seasons.  He found a home with them at a time when there would have been a battle at every step.  The world soon knew that my grandfather had cast me off, and with this foundation destroyed, the entire fabric of the Grand Parade fell to the ground at once.  The crash was heavy.  Jorian DeWitt said truly that what a man hates in adversity is to see ‘faces’; meaning that the humanity has gone out of them in their curious observation of you under misfortune.  You see neither friends nor enemies.  You are too sensitive for friends, and are blunted against enemies.  You see but the mask of faces:  my father was sheltered from that.  Julia consulted his wishes in everything; she set traps to catch his whims, and treated them as birds of paradise; she could submit to have the toppling crumpled figure of a man, Bagenhope, his pensioner and singular comforter, in her house.  The little creature was fetched out of his haunts in London purposely to soothe my father with performances on his ancient clarionet, a most querulous plaintive instrument in his discoursing, almost the length of himself; and she endured the nightly sound of it in the guest’s blue bedroom, heroically patient, a model to me.  Bagenhope drank drams:  she allowanced him.  He had known my father’s mother, and could talk of her in his cups:  his playing, and his aged tunes, my father said, were a certification to him that he was at the bottom of the ladder.  Why that should afford him peculiar comfort, none of us could comprehend.  ’He was the humble lover of my mother, Richie,’ I heard with some confusion, and that he adored her memory.  The statement was part of an entreaty to me to provide liberally for Bagenhope’s pension before we quitted England.  ’I am not seriously anxious for much else,’ said my father.  Yet was he fully conscious of the defeat he had sustained and the catastrophe he had brought down upon me:  his touch of my hand told me that, and his desire for darkness and sleep.  He had nothing to look to, nothing to see twinkling its radiance for him in the dim distance now; no propitiating Government, no special Providence.  But he never once put on a sorrowful air to press for pathos, and I thanked him.  He was a man endowed to excite it in the most effective manner, to a degree fearful enough to win English sympathies despite his un-English faults.  He could have drawn tears in floods, infinite pathetic commiseration, from our grangousier public, whose taste is to have it as it may be had to the mixture of one-third of nature in two-thirds of artifice.  I believe he was expected to go about with this beggar’s petition for compassion, and it was a disappointment to the generous, for which they punished him, that he should have abstained.  And moreover his simple quietude was really touching to true-hearted people.  The elements of pathos do not permit of their being dispensed from a stout smoking bowl.  I have to record no pathetic field-day.  My father was never insincere in emotion.

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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 8 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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