JANET RENOUNCES ME
An illness of old Sewis, the butler,—amazingly resembling a sick monkey in his bed,—kept me from paying a visit to Temple and seeing my father for several weeks, during which time Janet loyally accustomed the squire to hear of the German princess, and she did it with a decent and agreeable cheerfulness that I quite approved of. I should have been enraged at a martyr-like appearance on her part, for I demanded a sprightly devotion to my interests, considering love so holy a thing, that where it existed, all surrounding persons were bound to do it homage and service. We were thrown together a great deal in attending on poor old Sewis, who would lie on his pillows recounting for hours my father’s midnight summons of the inhabitants of Riversley, and his little Harry’s infant expedition into the world. Temple and Heriot came to stay at the Grange, and assisted in some rough scene-painting—torrid colours representing the island of Jamaica. We hung it at the foot of old Sewis’s bed. He awoke and contemplated it, and went downstairs the same day, cured, he declared: the fact being that the unfortunate picture testified too strongly to the reversal of all he was used to in life, in having those he served to wait on him. The squire celebrated his recovery by giving a servants’ ball. Sewis danced with the handsomest lass, swung her to supper, and delivered an extraordinary speech, entirely concerning me, and rather to my discomposure, particularly so when it was my fate to hear that the old man had made me the heir of his savings. Such was his announcement, in a very excited voice, but incidentally upon a solemn adjuration to the squire to beware of his temper—govern his temper and not be a turncoat.
We were present at the head of the supper-table to hear our healths drunk. Sewis spoke like a half-caste oblivious of his training, and of the subjects he was at liberty to touch on as well. Evidently there was a weight of foreboding on his mind. He knew his master well. The squire excused him under the ejaculation, ‘Drunk, by the Lord!’ Sewis went so far as to mention my father ’He no disgrace, sar, he no disgrace, I say! but he pull one way, old house pull other way, and ’tween ’em my little Harry torn apieces, squire. He set out in the night “You not enter it any more!” Very well. I go my lawyer next day. You see my Will, squire. Years ago, and little Harry so high. Old Sewis not the man to change. He no turncoat, squire. God bless you, my master; you recollect, and ladies tell you if you forget, old Sewis no turncoat. You hate turncoat. You taught old Sewis, and God bless you, and Mr. Harry, and British Constitution, all Amen!’
With that he bounded to bed. He was dead next morning.