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we may well feel persuaded that man has capacities for improvement which will eventually exalt his earthly destiny in a degree of which our barbarian ancestors could not even have formed a conception.”


How sanguine must you be, if you can review the past, contemplate the present condition of man, and yet indulge the dream of a future golden age, destined, I fear, to prove not less fabulous than that which the poets have already assigned to some past and unknown era."

"It is the past as well as the present, that gives me such confident hope of the future. No race of animals are more sagacious now than they were in the remotest ages; they remain unaltered, and we may therefore conclude them to be unalterable. Man is the only improvable creature, the faculty must have been given to him for the purpose of its gradual development; from which fact alone I should infer his constant melioration in this world, as well as his ultimate destination to a higher and holier state of existence."

"So far I may agree with you, but when you adduce a philosopher as a specimen of man in the nineteenth century, you are surely arguing from the exception rather than the rule."

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"Not comparatively. The most ignorant peasant is a philosopher compared to his remote ancestors. Savages have driven back or exterminated the wild beasts; civilized man is every where doing the same by the savage, who may be termed the human wild beast. Over the whole earth, once the property of barbarians, and animals equally ferocious, civilization is extending itself, and as this advances and improves, the world will gradually be peopled with a higher and more intelligent order of beings. The comforts, luxuries, and intellectual enjoyments which no king could command a few centuries ago, are now brought within the reach of the lowest labourer, and I would infer what civilization may accomplish hereafter by what it has done already. If the present be as a millennium to the past, I would ask you once more, why may not the future be as a millennium to the present."

"You have furnished me with such food for reflection," said Middleton, "and have so shaken some of my preconceived notions, that you will perhaps allow me to defer my reply till I have the pleasure of seeing you again."

"Nay," said Chritty, smiling, "do not suppose that I wish



to entrap you into any admissions. You shall make your rejoinder whenever you think it worth while to claim the right of being heard. Here we are at the gate, and it is well that we have concluded our walk as well as our argument, for the present at least, for yonder is my father beckoning me into the house."


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INDEPENDENTLY of the pleasure Sir Matthew Middleton anticipated from meeting his son, and contributing to the renovation of Cecilia's health, though she laboured under no other ailment than a slight depression of spirits, he was not sorry on his own account to obtain a short respite from the labours and anxieties of business. Arrangements were soon made, and the family arrived at Brighton, where a house had been engaged next door, as it chanced, to that in which Hargrave and his bride were lodging. This bathing-place had been selected because it was nearer than any other to Brookshaw Lodge, and no sooner was the baronet installed in his new abode, than he wrote to his son, summoning him to join them without delay. Not having received any previous intimation of their intention to leave London, Gale was surprised by this unexpected notice; but as he was solicitous to see his father, as well as to embrace and congratulate Cecilia, he gladly prepared to obey the mandate.

Hargrave having been induced to prolong his stay beyond the expiration of the honey-moon, was still at Brighton; and his society, of which Middleton severely felt the loss, presented an additional inducement, had any been




wanting, for betaking himself to the sea. But there was one deterring consideration which more than counterbalanced all these motives to compliance. He was now in frequent epistolary communication with Chritty Norberry, ever striking out some new subject of controversy, rather with the view of lengthening the discussion than of arriving at any definite result. His fair communicant strove hard to eradicate certain notions which she considered erroneous and hostile to his happiness; and although upon some points she had succeeded in converting him, he hesitated to acknowledge his conviction, lest she should find in that admission an excuse for dropping the correspondence. Since the renewal of their personal communication at Hargrave's wedding, he had, moreover, ventured to resume his occasional visits to Maple Hatch, not reflecting that by thus feeding his hopeless passion, he was only incurring the risk of fresh struggles for his already lacerated heart. A friendship between young persons of different sexes may be easily warmed into love; but to refrigerate love into friendship is a process of very rare and difficult accomplish


Notwithstanding the pain of tearing himself away from his mistress, whose gentle manners and ingratiating cheerfulness had unintentionally given fresh encouragement to his hopes, Middleton would not delay his departure, but proceeded forthwith to Brighton.

"Ha! my dear boy!" cried Sir Matthew on his arrival, grasping, and almost crushing his hand in the cordiality of his embrace," glad to take 'ee by the fist again, with all my heart and soul! Ah, lad! know 'ee again now the black bandage is gone. Thought the pitcher that went so often to the well would get broken at last. How's head? not cracked, is it? I mean not worse than it was; had 'ee there-hey, what?-hick! hick! hick! Ha! ha! ha! The delighted father, who had not laughed so heartily for some time past, seemed to enjoy his own crowing cachination; for he victoriously re-echoed it, continuing all the time to shake the imprisoned hand."

"Thank you, dear sir," replied the son, returning the embrace, "my head is sound, even if it be not sane, and I have now pretty well recovered the effects of my unfortunate cold bath."

“Ah, what, in the mill-dam, hey? brave boy, brave boy! born to be drowned never be hung, hey? had 'ee again there-hick, hick, hick!" Sir Matthew buried his knuckle



in his son's side in token of his triumph, and then continued: -“Well, dear boy, sad doings since 'ee left us, out of the frying-pan into the fire-bad ending, worse beginning-misfortunes ever come single-nothing but bad luck. First you get knocked o' the head-there's not much in thatha! ha! good!-then I get too much in my head, half seas over, scattered the grand supper-party right and left, capsized the tables, offered to buss the platter-faced duchessmust have been drunk to do that-rather kiss a halibut, or a batter-pudding, wouldn't you, hey? Then Mounseer stole off with all the plate; rascal! wish I had him here-give him something to run for, but what can 'ee expect from a Frenchman? Then came that affair of the Brummagem Sir Dennis-caught a Tartar there-ought to have had my eyes open-sleeping poultry catch no fox-such a conceited jackadandy, and talked so much nonsense, thought he must ha' been a man of fashion-had 'em there! Scoundrel! go to Botany Bay-but hush! here comes leg and Ciss."

Cecilia embraced her brother cordially, and yet with a feeling of awkwardness, for the humiliating events since their last interview recurred to her mind, and brought a blush to her cheeks. Lady Middleton received him with undiminished courtesy, her smile being even more bland and benignant than usual, because she had not yet forgiven him for the letter he had written, on the subject of the counterfeit Sir Dennis. Gale, however, who had been latterly in a mood of rare quietude, owing to the state of affairs at Maple Hatch, and who was now exhilarated at meeting his family after a separation of some time, suspected not the hollowness of her ladyship's inquiries, and seeing nothing around him but smiles of welcome, gave such cheerful vent to the gratification he felt, that Sir Matthew exclaimed, “Fegs, Gale! think that polt o' the head and souse in the water ha' done 'ee good; used to be as down in the mouth as the root o' my tongue, and now you can cheer up a bit. Give 'ee joy, dear lad! long lane got no turning; laugh and grow fat; lost your long face, and I 'spose I found it; quite in the suds lately, nothing but mischief and bad debts. Never mind-turn and turn aboutheads I win, tails you lose, fair play's a jewel-hey! what! hick!"

"I am sorry to hear of your losses, sir, but we are come to Brighton, I hope, to forget all our troubles, and to enjoy ourselves; for the purpose of assisting you in which good

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