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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 638 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond Complete.

’I was laying the foundation of your fortune here, my boy.  Heavens! when I was in that bronze shell I was astonished only at my continence in not bursting.  You have grown,—­you have shot up and filled out.  I register my thanks to your grandfather Beltham; the same, in a minor degree, to Captain Jasper Welsh.  Between that man Rippenger and me there shall be dealings.  He flogged you:  let that pass.  He exposed you to the contempt of your school-fellows because of a breach in my correspondence with a base-born ferule-swinger.  What are we coming to?  Richie, my son, I was building a future for you here.  And Colonel Goodwin-Colonel Goodwin, you encountered him too, and his marriageable daughter—­I owe it to them that I have you here!  Well, in the event of my sitting out the period this morning as the presentment of Prince Albrecht, I was to have won something would have astonished that unimpressionable countryman of ours.  Goodness gracious, my boy! when I heard your English shout, it went to my marrow.  Could they expect me to look down on my own flesh and blood, on my son—­my son Richmond—­after a separation of years, and continue a statue?  Nay, I followed my paternal impulse.  Grant that the show was spoilt, does the Markgrafin insist on my having a bronze heart to carry on her pastime?  Why, naturally, I deplore a failure, let the cause be what it will.  Whose regrets can eclipse those of the principal actor?  Quotha! as our old Plays have it.  Regrets?  Did I not for fifteen minutes and more of mortal time sit in view of a multitude, motionless, I ask you, like a chiselled block of stone,—­and the compact was one quarter of an hour, and no farther?  That was my stipulation.  I told her—­I can hold out one quarter of an hour:  I pledged myself to it.  Who, then, is to blame?  I was exposed to view twenty-three minutes, odd seconds.  Is there not some ancient story of a monstrous wretch baked in his own bull?  My situation was as bad.  If I recollect aright, he could roar; no such relief was allowed to me.  And I give you my word, Richie, lads both, that while that most infernal Count Fretzel was pouring forth his execrable humdrum, I positively envied the privilege of an old palsied fellow, chief boatman of the forest lake, for, thinks I, hang him! he can nod his head and I can not.  Let me assure you, twenty minutes of an ordeal like that,—­one posture, mind you, no raising of your eyelids, taking your breath mechanically, and your heart beating—­jumping like an enraged balletdancer boxed in your bosom—­a literal description, upon my honour; and not only jumping, jumping every now and then, I may say, with a toe in your throat:  I was half-choked:—­well, I say, twenty minutes, twenty-seven minutes and a half of that, getting on, in fact, to half-an-hour, it is superhuman!—­by heavens, it is heroical!

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