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features of the proud maiden, as she thus expressed her indignation of conduct so derogatory to the dignity of her family.
“ Hoity toity, Bets au vach!" * exclaimed Mistress Margery" What is the matter now? And why should not Janet Meredith be a proper person for Reginald to notice? Her father is a man of substance, and his family is old and well connected.”
“Hugh Meredith is, I doubt not,” replied Elizabeth—"a worthy and well-descended man: but you forgot one thing, auntwhich is, that he got his riches by dealing in flannel, at Shrews. bury." “I beg, sister," said the Baronet, proudly and with emphasis that you
will say no more on the subject. You ought to know, that the Owens of Maengwyn have, by far, too great
a regard for the honour of their ancestors, to mingle their blood with that of any plebian in the land, however wealthy he may be. Let me hear no more of this nonsense about these Merediths. I have heard too much of it of late."
“I tell you what, brother," said the spinster, not much intimidated at the Baronet's wrath, “ you will drive this lad to do some mischief, if you do not turn over a new leaf with him. He is never happy at home, now, and if he goes out, he is found fault, with and railed at.” (Here Elizabeth left the room to avoid the storm, which she saw was rising.)
Sir Reginald not only respected his sister, but, to a certain extent, he feared her. She was so necessary to his comfort, as well as to the maintenance of the dignity of the family, that his proud spirit was compelled to submit to many things, as connected with her, which sadly galled it. On the present occasion, however, he was not so submissive.
“ Permit me to inform you, Mistress Margery Owen,” said he, as he drew himself up in his chair, and exhibited no bad personification of stiflly starched haughtiness-"that, as regards my son, I will be the master-the uncontrolled master of my own actions. His conduct of late-whether encouraged by you or not, I cannot say—has not been such as to create in my breast any very violent feelings of parental affection. On the contrary, it has been such as no parent could submit to, and such as I, most assuredly, will not put up with.”
“ You have certainly a right, Sir Reginald, to act as you please towards your son—provided you act justly and fairly : but, I think, you go too far in considering his youthful follies so seriously. He is somewhat thoughtless, but you must remember, brother, that he is not the only one of the family who has merited that distinction.”'
Mistress Margery, although as amiable an old lady as ever lived, was nevertheless somewhat imbued on slight occasions, with that
* Vach, literally "little," figuratively, and in common parlance “ dear:” in the masculine it is “ back."
VOL. II. NO, X
blessed spirit of provocation, which too many of the fair sex, at a certain age, delight to indulge in; and, having always deprecated the Baronet's behaviour to his son, any discussion on that subject never failed to excite her anger, and rouse all her wrathful energies in behalf of her darling nephew. She made the allusion, therefore, to her own father, with which she concluded her extenuation of Reginald's conduct, more with a view to annoy her brother, than to serve her absent client. Of course it produced the desired effect.
“Wild or not, madam, by G!" exclaimed the Baronet" he shall never enter these doors again, if he does not altogether reform, and that speedily! I will not have the dignity of my family sullied, nor my own comfort and happiness trifled with no, not even if it cost me a son to prevent it.'
“ Forshame, Sir Reginald—forshame!” said Mistress Margery. It is neither christian-like, nor manly, to rave in this manner; and Reginald absent too! Indeed, if he is not better used, he shall go and live with me at Bôdalan.” This was Mistress Margery's own property in Caernarvonshire; and this threat had hitherto never failed to quell the rage even of Sir Reginald Owen. On the present occasion, however, it only added fuel to the fire.
“You may go to the world's end, both of you,” said the Baronet, but let me tell you, once for all, Mistress Owen, I will be master in my own house; and, what is more, I will not any longer be interfered with in any thing I say or do in it. So-Sir!” to his son, who now entered the room"you still persist in keeping these late hours ?''
“My dear Sir,” said Reginald, “it is barely eight o'clock; and I should have been here much sooner, had I not been
“Now, I want no excuse,” interrupted the pettish father,-“I dare say your time has passed away very pleasantly at Glan
“Indeed, Sir, I do not understand you," said Reginald mildly, now beginning to surmise that some disturbance had taken place in his absence.
“No-nor any body else, Reinalt," said Mistress Margery, now interposing between the father and son.
“ Your father, my dear, has been in one of his tantarums, about the Merediths of Glanwern, so, say nothing to him; but come with me into the parlour, and I will give you some supper.".
“ You will dare to do no such thing, Sir!" shouted the father. “ Heaven and earth! am I to be bearded thus in my own house ? Things have come to a pretty pass, truly, when my very will is set at defiance before my face! Tell me this instant,” turning fiercely to his son, “ Tell me, Sir, where you have been, and what you have been doing ?"
“ I would have explained matters to you, when I first came in, Sir, had you condescended to have heard me," said the young man, firmly, but respectfully, “but as you are now in a state of mind,
calculated to misconceive every thing that I might say, I must beg leave to decline any explanation until you become more reasonable.”
“ Hell and fury,” shouted Sir Reginald, now transported beyond all bounds by his rage. “ Leave the room, Sir,—leave it this instant! and never let me see your face again, until you can learn to pay me that respect and duty which are my right as a father.”
“ Indeed, I will do no such thing," said the young man, seating himself in the chair, which his sister had occupied, and now chafed into rage by his father's unmerited treatment. “ I neither deserve this harsh treatment, nor will I endure it. What have I done to be always railed at thus? There is not a single being of my family or kindred, who cares for me, but aunt Margaret.”
“ Ungrateful boy!" returned the father, pale with anger, and rising in his chair. “Is it thus that you requite me for years of care and affection ? Go, Sir! retire to your chamber, and dare not seek my presence again, until you can bring with you a contrite and humble spirit, do you hear me, Sir?” This he spoke louder, for Reginald had turned his back to him, and was leaning over his chair, with his head upon his arm.
Reginald heeded him not, for his thoughts were dark and bewildering, and he continued leaning over his
chair. “Do you hear me, Sir?” again shouted the father, in a still louder and more angry tone.
“Sir! I do!" exclaimed the youth, as rising suddenly from his seat, he stood before his parent, with a throbbing brow and a flashing eye. “ And now, Sir, hear you me!
Since I can remember, I have never received from you a tithe of the common love, that the meanest peasant bestows upon his child. What you were pleased to bestow upon me, before that time, you best know, and I thank you for it-perhaps for the first, certainly for the last time. I have endeavoured to love you, and have succeeded in obeying you, in more than was just and reasonable. For all this, I am used like a dog why, you best can tell; and now that I am of an age to enable me to gain my own subsistence, I will no longer be beholden to you, even for the scanty pittance of a beggar—so farewell, Sir!" " Aunt!” turning to Mistress Margery, who stood almost petrified with amazement. “ God bless you! think sometimes of poor Renialt!" He pressed a kiss upon the old lady's brow, snatched up his bonnet, which he had placed upon the table, and rushed out of the house.
This took place so swiftly and so suddenly, that Sir Reginald and his sister, had they both been inclined, could not well have prevented it : and they stood gazing upon each other, in unfeigned astonishment. The lady was the first to find her speech; and to “ This came of harsh usage, brother,” said she,
you taken my advice, such a misfortune as this never could have happened.”
“ Misfortune! it is no misfortune, Madam. If this hot-brained boy chooses to add this open rebellion to his undutiful conduct,
the misfortune is his—not mine." And so saying, Sir Reginald Owen marched proudly out of the apartment to his own chamber, there to seek that rest, which, under all the circumstances of the evening's adventures, he was not, it would seem, very likely to find. In him, however, whose proud and cold spirit esteemed nothing so dear as the honor and dignity of the family, this event was not calculated to produce any very violent feelings of grief, much less of remorse. He had never loved-never even regarded his son with the feelings of common affection; on the contrary, from his very
cradle Reginald was an object of even more than indifference to his proud and austere father. It was difficult to account for this estrangement of parental love and fondness from the boy—the only son, with which Sir Reginald's union with Lady Owen had been crowned: but so it was, and while the care of Reginald was left to menials and domestics, for his mother died while he was yet an infant, the young Elizabeth was fostered with all the fondness which so proud a parent could bestow upon her.
Reginald grew up a strong and an athletic boy, well versed, as may be imagined, in all the hardy sports and pastimes of the hillside. But, although so decidedly neglected by his father, he had enough of manly pride about him to keep himself entirely aloof from the horse-jockies, cock-fighters, and bullies of the district, notwithstanding sundry cogent temptations, which these worthies failed not, on every possible occasion, to throw in the way of the embryo Baronet. He evinced, even when a boy, considerable fastidiousness into the choice of his associates; and had it not been for two or three families in the vicinity of Maengwyn, he might have been at some loss for society.
Amongst the most favoured of these neighbours were the Merediths of Glanwern, the head of which, old Hugh Meredith, was, as Elizabeth truly asserted, a retired wool-factor, from Shrewsbury. But this aristocratic young lady ought to have remembered, that Hugh Meredith was as well descended as herself; and that, being the
younger son of a younger branch of the family, he had industriously applied himself to the manufactures, and had realized, by his integrity, fair-dealing, and perseverance, a fortune which might perhaps, bear some comparison with that of her haughty father. She should have remembered, also, what all the world that is all that world of which she constituted so conspicuous a memberwell knew, that Hugh Meredith was a good landlord, an active and an upright magistrate, and the idol, almost, of the numerous peasantry with which that district was populated qualities, to which, Sir Reginald Owen, with all his pomposity and pride, could lay but little claim. But then the wool--there was the rub! Hugh Meredith had been in business-had been engaged in the filthy and abominable occupation of buying and selling--and what made the matter worse, it was he who always bought Sir Reginald's vool, a derogation, which could not be overlooked or compromised by that diguified gentleman.
Notwithstanding these tremendous draw-backs, the young Reginald became a constant visitor at Glanwern, to the great indignation of his father ; who, although he did not consider it incumbent upon him to contribute to his son's comfort and happiness, felt himself, nevertheless, exceedingly aggrieved if that son committed (even unwillingly, as in the present instance,) any assumed offence against the dignity of the family. But Reginald, even in his own defence, was glad to become the associate of such a family as that of Glanwern. Old Hugh was as kind as a father to him; Mrs. Meredith loved him as much, almost, as she loved her own children. He and the two boys were seldom separated ; and the daughter, Janet, was the mistress of his
affections. It was in the company of the sons, Hugh and David, that Reginald was a participator in those sports and pastimes, in which I have already intimated, he was an adept: and if an indulgence in these did occasionally lead him and his companions beyond the bounds of strict prudence and propriety, it never induced them to sin against virtue, or offend against morality. So that Sir Regi. nald's complaint of his son's wildness was intended merely to give colour and extenuation to his own tyrannical and unjust conduct.
It was not likely that Reginald's spirit, which was as fiery and untameable as a young Eagle's, should always crouch under the indignities, which were heaped upon him by his father and sister ; for the latter, being some years his senior, never failed to second Sir Reginald's sedulous endeavours to oppress the boy and make him miserable. Indeed, as he himself told his father, no one individual of the clan, if we may so call it, cared a single jot about him, except " Aunt Margaret," and she did love him, with all the sincerity of her kind and amiable heart. Long before the event, which we have just narrated, Reginald had resisted to embrace the first opportunity of leaving his father's house, and seeking some means of subsistence elsewhere. He could not bear the continued neglect and contumely which were heaped upon him by those, whose duty it was to love and cherish him ; indeed the only circumstance which induced him to endure all this so long was his affection for aunt Margaret, and her solicitude for him. The event, however, of this evening destroyed even this consideration, and Reginald Owen, at the age of twenty-two, found himself a wanderer on the mountains, and an exile from his father's house.
That trembles on the tree;
In its first infancy;
Like unseen silk it flows,
And rocks it to repose.