The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 809 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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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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