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old house as you drove from Roddington to
Rayham: that's Sir Bickham Bickham's. His father
was a queer old fish, married late, and never
would allow his two boys to go to school or see
any other lads of their own age. At fourteen
and fifteen they wore pinafores, and stood before
him sucking their thumbsregular softies
couldn't have a fish, or a shoot, or anything. Well,
of course, one day the old one died, and the
eldestthe late Sir Bickhamtumbled into a fine
income. He went crazy-like, ran into a sort of
low stupidness, got drunk with his grooms at
little public-houses, had the soldiers and their
wives to dance at the Hall, within twelve months
was regularly used up, and cut his throat
in a fit of delirium trem. And his brother, the
present Rufus Bickham, would not have been
much better, only that he had the good luck to
fall in love and marry a poor parson's pretty
daughter, and she has kept him straight and
polished him a bit. But he's only a molly-coddle
after all.

"Now these stories beat me. Lord
Battlethorpe, and Mr. George Rance, and Mr.
Harrybrow, were brought up exactly the samesame
tutors, same books. The young lordfor he
was young onceturns out an honour and a
credit to his family and his county. George
Rance, the most delightful man to man, woman,
and child, spends his money, and is little better
than a poor outside leg, not even got a square
place among the blacks of the betting-ring;
while Harrybrow brings his noble to ninepence,
and crawls about the wreck of a man, with just
enough to keep a house over his head. Because
Harrybrow's father was a grazier, they say 'he
was bad bred,' but then that won't do, for
beside Mr. Rance, there's young Lord
Rosemount, the great statesman, Lord Uppercrust's
stepson, and Lord Cantliver, the nephew of the
Duke of Cheviot, both brought up with
everything that books and tutoring and parsons could
do, and both went to the turf and the dogs
before they were five-and-twenty. These young-
bloods are like their favourite race-horses no
matter how they are bred, or fed, or trained,
they may cost thousands, and after all not be
worth twopence."

Here my friend paused, and puffed away
steadily at his cigar for a minute or so while we
whirled through a tunnel, but on my asking if
we were not in Lord Wichwode's country, he
started with, " Know Lord Wichwode, eh? What
a fine man he used to be five-and-twenty years
ago! he and his brother, the Honourable William,
like twins, always together, and so fond of each
other, always hunting and shooting and larking
together. I mind my lord sending me to fetch
a Dutch pug-dog he'd bought, a nasty, ugly
brute, good for nought, he gave ten pounds for.
Mr. William, he was a nice-tempered young
fellow; my lord was always rather hot. But,
then, again, by the rule of contraries, it was
marrying that parted these brothers. My lord
married Lord Flytington's sister, poor as Job,
and proud as Lucifer, as all the Flytingtons are,
except the young captain that wouldn't go to
the Crimea because he'd such a good book on
the Leger. Mr. William, he married the rich
Miss Lozena, with half a million they say, and
a beauty, too. Well, Mr. William has a family
and sons; Lord Wichwode has no children, and
the beauty with blood turns up her nose at the
beauty with money and no blood, and there are
these two fond brothers at each other like bull-
terriers. My lord's a ConservativeMr. William
turned Radical to vex him. My lord wants to
sell a few miles of streets, and buy land close
to WichwodeMr. William goes to the Lord
Chancellor and stops him; and then my lord is
in such a fury that the next day, when his hounds
lost the fox, he laid his malacca crop across his
huntsman, and the huntsman takes his coat off and
offers to fight him, and my lord has to give in
there, too, and swears awful. So, whether a lot
of money and land is a curse or a blessing, it's
difficult to say. There's young Earl of
Cranberry and old Sir Peter Rawley as happy as the
day is long, both of them; and there's the
Earl of Swansea and Lord Wichwode, what
our parson calls in his joking way, 'miserable

"I tell you what, sir, every man to his taste,
but give me a snug farm-house, with about five
hundred acres of good land, in Greenshire
none of your nasty cold clay counties, with little
fields you can hop acrossunder such a landlord
as poor dear Lord Battlethorpe, with a good
nag in my stable, and about half a pipe of old port
in my cellar, and I wouldn't envy any parson, or
lord, or duke either.

'' Believe me, I called last year on Squire
Jobshim that was a banker and was worth
millions and millions, and bought up every bit
of land that was for sale in the countyand
if he was not busy mending an old gig
harness with a bit of string, and blowing up
the butcher for not sending 'his chop good
weight!' And his servants were on board
wages! What was the use of money to him,
poor old creature?"

Here the whirr of the breaks, and the cry of
"Tickets! tickets!" finally stopped the county
gossip, and as soon as we had collected our
impedimenta, he went off in a Hansom with her
ladyship's pet.

    Now ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in cloth.
                     THE FIRST VOLUME
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