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idly reclining in an easy chair, looking around with an air of abstraction.

66

"How now, Lord Hewiston," he exclaimed,

are you tired, or thinking, that you sit here during the dances?"

"Neither, an it please your worship," replied the other. "I am just indulging the dolce far niente. A man can't be always in action."

"Then I have done you great injustice," observed an older gentleman, advancing. "I have been watching you for some time, and gave you credit for being in a reflecting mood."

Plague on reflecting moods," returned the young Lord; "I despise such things-I never think."

"I know better," exclaimed Sir Stephen. "Do not be misled, Mr. Hannington. My young friend is giving himself a bad character; he not only thinks, but thinks well."

Perhaps there was something in the patronising tones of Sir Stephen not very pleasing to his young guest; his manner slightly changed, yet he answered gaily, "Ah, I know I am a very important person; I only tore myself with difficulty from my friends at home, to come here to-day. So consider yourself highly honoured, Sir Stephen. I assure you the Earl was quite angry; but I thought if I passed the old year

with him, I might begin the new one as I pleased. So here I am. Nothing like change, you know. What have you been doing here to-day?"

"This has been an important, a most important day," replied Sir Stephen. "We have been employed in giving alms to the poor."

What, to-day? Are you not late? My mother always likes that done before Christmas."

"I am well aware of the liberality of the Countess of Relton. We also celebrated Christmas; but this was something extra to-day, in consequence of Lady Alsinger being here."

"Well, I wish I had arrived yesterday. There's nothing in life I like so much as to see the happy faces of the poor folks. A walk round our village always does my heart good."

"Then your village must be an exception to the general rule," said Mr. Hannington. “A close inspection of the poor is far from a pleasant thing."

"That depends a great deal on different dispositions," observed Sir Stephen. "Lord Hewiston is one of the humane and kind-hearted, and is glad to mix with his inferiors."

"Ah, indeed! I wish him joy."

“Why, Mr. Hannington, you surprise me. I

thought you a very benevolent man. Why your writings are all for the poor."

Very likely, my Lord; but I never speak of mixing with inferiors, or the pleasure of walking round poor villages; for I consider an examination of the dwellings of the poor, one of the most heart-rending and distressing things in the world. And when I hear of the great condescension of mixing with inferiors, I am apt to ask, Are not all men equal?"

"Oh, stop," cried Sir Stephen; "we are all good Tories here. None of your radical, republican notions."

66

Nay, by your leave, Sir Stephen," exclaimed Lord Hewiston, "I should be glad to hear more from Mr. Hannington. I am a Tory, a staunch Tory, it's true; but I hope that is not incompatible with a wish to learn, and to do good. Besides," he added, smiling, "I have no fear of being converted by any radical doctrines; my principles are quite firm and immoveable."

"You need fear no conversion from me," said Mr. Hannington. "I don't care whether you are Whig or Tory, I am neither, myself; I only speak as one man may speak to another of what both should feel, regarding their fellow-men. We boast of our freedom, and riches, and glory; why the

Helots themselves were not greater slaves than our poor; at least, they did not know their degradation. This country is at once the richest and the poorest in the world; the most powerful and the most helpless. Our government can dictate to foreign kings, yet cannot assist its own starving people."

"Strong language," exclaimed Sir Stephen.

cause.

"It would be stronger if I expressed all I felt. It would be far stronger could I do justice to the You look surprised, my Lord; but think on it yourself. There are you, now, an hereditary legislator, born to make laws and to rule. Can you condescend to think on the thousands who are to obey those laws-who are to toil for thankless masters, or die of starvation and neglect ? And in what are they inferior to your Lordship? They were created by God in his own image, like yourself."

"I should think you greatly exaggerate the distress. For my own part, I can only answer for the poor I have seen around us; they are not so very ill off. Still, I admit, there is ample room for improvement, and shall be glad to do all I can. As for your doctrines of equality, I don't follow you at all. Order is Heaven's first law,' you Some are, and must be, greater than the We are all descended from Adam, of

know.

rest.'

course; but it's as useless to think of restoring primitive equality as primitive innocence. No, no, as I said before, I am a regular Tory."

"Will your Lordship have the goodness to define that term," said Mr. Hannington, with a quiet smile; "for in these days it's not very easy to know what any name really means."

"Ah! let him know what a good Tory is," said Sir Stephen. "I must be off, but I leave our radical friend in good hands," and he turned away to entertain his other guests.

Mr. Hannington looked after him with a smile. "I have driven our host away. I suspect he would find it difficult to define his principles, good Tory though he be. No offence, my Lord; it's no uncommon case, now-a-days."

"Why, Mr. Hannington, you have a very poor opinion of the world. You must learn to be less severe."

I

"It was the world taught me severity. once thought every thing good and beautiful; but now-"

"Now you look on all things with an evil eye. Both extremes are faulty."

"You are right. I shall be glad to learn wisdom from your Lordship. To begin, now, let me have a lesson in politics. You are a good Tory, you say; that is a loyal subject, who will support

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