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In like manner, if a man has accustomed himself to sceptical considerations on the uncertainty and narrow limits of reason, he will not entirely forget them when he turns his reflection on other subjects; but in all his philosophical principles and reasoning, I dare not say in his common conduct, he will be found different from those, who either never formed any opinions in the case, or have entertained sentiments more favourable to human reason.
While I was in Egypt, I finished Doctor Thorne, and on the following day began The Bertrams. I was moved now by a determination to excel, if not in quality, at any rate in quantity. An ignoble ambition for an author, my readers will no doubt say. But not, I think, altogether ignoble, if an author can bring himself to look at his work as does any other workman. This had become my task, this was the furrow in which my plough was set, this was the thing the doing of which had fallen into my hands, and I was minded to work at it with a will. It is not on my conscience that I have ever scamped my work. My novels, whether good or bad, have been as good as I could make them. Had I taken three months of idleness between each they would have been no better. Feeling convinced of that, I finished Doctor Thorne on one day, and began The Bertrams on the next.
At writing he was good enough, and yet as he telleth me, He was more than ten years old ere he knew his A B C.
The sergeant, with a queer look at Mr. Black, who returned it with interest, went for a glass, and when he had used it, the stare he gave the heavily veiled woman drove Mr. Black to reach out his own hand for the glass.
“Only yesterday,” said Percy Beaumont.
For at least three days relations were strained between the two officers. Bones was a man who admitted at regular intervals that he was unduly sensitive. He had explained this disadvantage to Hamilton at various times, but the Houssa stolidly refused to remember the fact.
We left the pretty village of Sydney behind us, and were not long in gaining the margin of the Bras d'Or. This great lake, or rather arm of the sea, is, as I have said, about one hundred miles in length by its shore road; but so wide is it, and so indented by broad bays and deep coves, that a coasting journey around it is equal in extent to a voyage across the Atlantic. Besides the distant mountains that rise proudly from the remote shores, there are many noble islands in its expanse, and forest-covered penin[Pg 199]sulas, bordered with beaches of glittering white pebbles. But over all this wide landscape there broods a spirit of primeval solitude; not a sail broke the loneliness of the lake until we had advanced far upon our day's journey. For strange as it may seem, the Golden Arm is a very useless piece of water in this part of the world; highly favored as it is by nature, land-locked, deep enough for vessels of all burden, easy of access on the gulf side, free from fogs, and only separated from the ocean at its western end by a narrow strip of land, about three quarters of a mile wide; abounding in timber, coal, and gypsum, and valuable for its fisheries, especially in winter, yet the Bras d'Or is undeveloped for want of that element which scorns to be alien to the Colonies, namely, enterprise.
1.“Dead folk useful in a household!” he exclaimed. “Why, what could you do with them? Set them up on poles to frighten away the sparrows from your garden?”
2.Sutherlandtown was a seaport. The village, which was a small one, consisted of one long street and numerous cross streets running down from the hillside and ending on the wharves. On one of the corners thus made, stood the Webb house, with its front door on the main street and its side door on one of the hillside lanes. As the group of men and boys who had been in search of Mr. Sutherland entered this last-mentioned lane, they could pick out this house from all the others, as it was the only one in which a light was still burning. Mr. Sutherland lost no time in entering upon the scene of tragedy. As his imposing figure emerged from the darkness and paused on the outskirts of the crowd that was blocking up every entrance to the house, a murmur of welcome went up, after which a way was made for him to the front door.>
The second object of interest was a claim which he entertained against the French Government for salary due him while in command of the Bon Homme Richard and the squadron. The United States had paid him his salary as an officer during that period, but he felt that since his services had been asked by France, and the squadron had been at the charge of the French Government, a further amount was due him from the French, and he wrote to de Bertrand, Minister of Marine, demanding the balance due. The claim was the subject of acrid correspondence, and the matter was pending when he died. From the letters written during the last years of his life I quote portions of three--the first two to his sister, Mrs. Taylor, and the last one to Lafayette:
“You’re doing mighty kind by him, I’m sure, and he thinks so, too. You’ve given him a home and clothes and plenty to eat, and all he has to do is to wait on your ladyship and take charge of the pony. I shouldn’t call that work, nor Flutters doesn’t, either. He says it is all just fun, and if there’s a finer family anywhere than the Bonifaces he’d like to see’em, only he knows he never shall see’em, because there isn’t such a family.”