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.

‘For, Richie,’ said he, ’you may not know—­and it is not to win your thanks I inform you of it—­that I labour unremittingly in my son’s interests.  I have established him, on his majority, in Germany, at a Court.  My object now is to establish him in England.  Promise me that it shall be the decided endeavour of your energies and talents to rise to the height I point out to you?  You promise, I perceive,’ he added, sharp in detecting the unpleasant predicament of a boy who is asked to speak priggishly.  So then I could easily promise with a firm voice.  He dropped certain explosive hints, which reminded me of the funny ideas of my state and greatness I had when a child.  I shrugged at them; I cared nothing for revelations to come by-and-by.  My object was to unite my father and grandfather on terms of friendship.

This was the view that now absorbed and fixed my mind.  To have him a frequent visitor at Riversley, if not a resident in the house, enlivening them all, while I, perhaps, trifled a cavalry sabre, became one of my settled dreams.  The difficult part of the scheme appeared to me the obtaining of my father’s consent.  I mentioned it, and he said immediately that he must have his freedom.  ‘Now, for instance,’ said he, ’what is my desire at this moment?  I have always a big one perched on a rock in the distance; but I speak of my present desire.  And let it be supposed that the squire is one of us:  we are returning to England.  Well, I want to show you a stork’s nest.  We are not far enough South for the stork to build here.  It is a fact, Richie, that I do want to show you the bird for luck, and as a feature of the country.  And in me, a desire to do a thing partakes of the impetus of steam.

Well, you see we are jogging home to England.  I resist myself for duty’s sake:  that I can do.  But if the squire were here with his yea and his nay, by heavens!  I should be off to the top of the Rhine like a tornado.  I submit to circumstances:  I cannot, and I will not, be dictated to by men.’

‘That seems to me rather unreasonable,’ I remonstrated.

‘It is; I am ashamed of it,’ he answered.  ’Do as you will, Richie; set me down at Riversley, but under no slight, mark you.  I keep my honour intact, like a bottled cordial; my unfailing comfort in adversity!  I hand it to you, my son, on my death-bed, and say, “You have there the essence of my life.  Never has it been known of me that I swallowed an insult."’

‘Then, papa, I shall have a talk with the squire.’

‘Make good your ground in the castle,’ said he.  ’I string a guitar outside.  You toss me a key from the walls.  If there is room, and I have leisure, I enter.  If not, you know I am paving your way in other quarters.  Riversley, my boy, is an excellent foothold and fortress:  Riversley is not the world.  At Riversley I should have to wear a double face, and, egad! a double stomach-bag, like young Jack feeding with the giant—­one full of ambition, the other of provender.  That place is our touchstone to discover whether we have prudence.  We have, I hope.  And we will have, Mr. Temple, a pleasant day or two in Paris.’

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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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