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a-head. Younger sons, it is true, served in
army and in navy, and filled the family pulpit,
but they produced no generals, no admirals
no archbishops. The Rockvilles of Rockville
were very conservative, very exclusive, and
very stereotype. Other families grew poor,
and enriched themselves again by marrying
plebeian heiresses. New families grew up out
of plebeian blood into greatness, and
intermingled the vigour of their fresh earth with
the attenuated aristocratic soil. Men of family
became great lawyers, great statesmen, great
prelates, and even great poets and philosophers
The Rockvilles remained high, proud, bigotted,
and borné.

The Rockvilles married Rockvilles, or their
first cousins, the Cragvilles, simply to prevent
property going out ot the family. They kept
the property together. They did not lose an
acre, and they were a fine, tall, solemn race
and nothing more. What ailed them?

If you saw Sir Roger Rockville,—for there
was an eternal Sir Rogerfilling his office of
high sheriff,—he had a very fine carriage, and
a very fine retinue in the most approved and
splendid of antique costumes;—if you saw him
sitting on the bench at quarter sessions, he
was a tall, stately, and solemn man. If you
saw Lady Rockville shopping, in her handsome
carriage, with very handsomely attired
servants; saw her at the county ball, or on
the race-stand, she was a tall, aristocratic,
and stately lady. That was in the last
generationthe present could boast of no Lady

Great outward respect was shown to the
Rockvilles on account of the length of their
descent, and the breadth of their acres. They
were always, when any stranger asked about
them, declared, with a serious and important
air, to be a very ancient, honourable, and
substantial family. "Oh! a great family are
the Rockvilles, a very great family."

But if you came to close quarters with the
members of this great and highly
distinguished family, you soon found yourself
fundamentally astonished: you had a sensation
come over you, as if you were trying,
like Moses, to draw water from a rock, without
his delegated power. There was a goodly
outside of things before you, but nothing
came of it. You talked, hoping to get talk-
ing in return, but you got little more than
"noes" and "yeses," and "oh! indeeds!"
and "reallys," and sometimes not even that,
but a certain look of aristocratic dignity or
dignification, that was meant to serve for all
answers. There was a sort of resting on
aristocratic oars or "sculls," that were not to be
too vulgarly handled. There was a feeling
impressed on you, that eight hundred years of
descent and ten thousand a-year in landed
income did not trouble themselves with the
trifling things that gave distinction to lesser
peoplesuch as literature, fine arts, politics,
and general knowledge. These were very
well for those who had nothing else to pride
themselves on, but for the Rockvillesoh!
certainly they were by no means requisite.

In fact, if you found yourself, with a little
variation, in the predicaments of Cowper's

                      ———who spent their lives
    in dropping buckets into empty wells,
    and growing tired of drawing nothing up.

Who hasn't often come across these "dry
wells" of society; solemn gulphs out of
which you can pump nothing up? You
know them; they are at your elbow every day
in large and brilliant companies, and defy the
best sucking-buckets ever invented to extract
anything from them. But the Rockvilles
were each and all of this adust description.
It was a family feature, and they seemed, if
either, rather proud of it. They must be so; for
proud they were, amazingly proud; and they
had nothing besides to be proud of, except
their acres, and their ancestors.

But the fact was, they could not help it.
It was become organic. They had acted the
justice of peace, maintained the constitution
against upstarts and manufacturers, signed
warrants, supported the church and the
house of correction, committed poachers, and
then rested on the dignity of their ancestors
for so many generations, that their skulls,
brains, constitutions, and nervous systems,
were all so completely moulded into that
shape and baked into that mould, that a
Rockville would be a Rockville to the end of
time, if God and Nature would have allowed
it. But such things wear out. The American
Indians and the Australian nations wear
out; they are not progressive, and as Nature
abhors a vacuum, she does not forget the
vacuum wherever it may be, whether in a hot
desert, or in a cold and stately Rockville; a
very ancient, honourable, and substantial
family that lies fallow till the thinking faculty
literally dies out.

For several generations there had been
symptoms of decay about the Rockville family.
Not in its property, that was as large as ever;
not in their personal stature and physical
aspect. The Rockvilles continued, as they
always had been, a tall and not bad-looking
family. But they grew gradually less prolific.
For a hundred and fifty years past there had
seldom been more than two, or at most three,
children. There had generally been an heir
to the estate, and another to the family pulpit,
and sometimes a daughter married to some
neighbouring squire. But Sir Roger's father
had been an only child, and Sir Roger
himself was an only child. The danger of extinction
to the family, apparent as it was, had
never induced Sir Roger to marry. At the
time that we are turning our attention upon
him, he had reached the mature age of sixty.
Nobody believed that Sir Roger now would
marry; he was the last, and likely to be, or
his line.

It is worth while here to take a glance at