My Novel — Volume 05

My Novel — Volume 05


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The Project Gutenberg EBook My Novel, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Vol. 5 #133 in our series by Edward Bulwer-LyttonCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: My Novel, Volume 5.Author: Edward Bulwer-LyttonRelease Date: March 2005 [EBook #7706] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on April 29, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY NOVEL, BY LYTTON, V5 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger, widger@cecomet.netBOOK FIFTH.INITIAL CHAPTER.CONTAINING MR. CAXTON's UNAVAILING CAUTION NOT TO BE DULL."I hope, Pisistratus," said my father, "that you do not intend to ...



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The Project Gutenberg EBook My Novel, byEdward Bulwer-Lytton, Vol. 5 #133 in our series byEdward Bulwer-LyttonCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****Title: My Novel, Volume 5.
Author: Edward Bulwer-LyttonRelease Date: March 2005 [EBook #7706] [Yes,we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on April 29, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK MY NOVEL, BY LYTTON, V5 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger,widger@cecomet.netBOOK FIFTH.INITIAL CHAPTER.CONTAINING MR. CAXTON's UNAVAILINGCAUTION NOT TO BE DULL.
"I hope, Pisistratus," said my father, "that you donot intend to be dull?""Heaven forbid, sir! What could make you ask sucha question? Intend!No! if I am dull it is from innocence.""A very long discourse upon knowledge!" said myfather; "very long!I should cut it out."I looked upon my father as a Byzantian sage mighthave looked on aVandal. "Cut it out!""Stops the action, sir!" said my father,dogmatically."Action! But a novel is not a drama.""No; it is a great deal longer,—twenty times aslong, I dare say," replied Mr. Caxton, with a sigh."Well, sir, well! I think my Discourse uponKnowledge has much to do with the subject, isvitally essential to the subject; does not stop theaction,—only explains and elucidates the action.And I am astonished, sir, that you, a scholar, and acultivator of knowledge—""There, there!" cried my father, deprecatingly. "Iyield, I yield! What better could I expect when I setup for a critic? What author ever lived that did notfly into a passion, even with his own father, if hisfather presumed to say, 'Cut out'!"
MRS. CAXTON.—"My dear Austin, I am surePisistratus did not mean to offend you, and I haveno doubt he will take your—"PISISTRATUS (hastily).—"Advice for the future,certainly. I will quicken the action, and—""Go on with the Novel," whispered Roland, lookingup from his eternal account-book. "We have lostL200 by our barley!"Therewith I plunged my pen into the ink, and mythoughts into the "FairShadowland."
CHAPTER II."HALT, cried a voice; and not a little surprised wasLeonard when the stranger who had accosted himthe preceding evening got into the chaise."Well," said Richard, "I am not the sort of man youexpected, eh? Take time to recover yourself." Andwith these words Richard drew forth a book fromhis pocket, threw himself back, and began to read.Leonard stole many a glance at the acute, hardy,handsome face of his companion, and graduallyrecognized a family likeness to poor John, inwhom, despite age and infirmity, the traces of nocommon share of physical beauty were stillevident. And, with that quick link in ideas whichmathematical aptitude bestows, the young studentat once conjectured that he saw before him hisuncle Richard. He had the discretion, however, toleave that gentleman free to choose his own timefor introducing himself, and silently revolved thenew thoughts produced by the novelty of hissituation. Mr. Richard read with notable quickness,—sometimes cutting the leaves of the book withhis penknife, sometimes tearing them open with hisforefinger, sometimes skipping whole pagesaltogether. Thus he galloped to the end of thevolume, flung it aside, lighted his cigar, and beganto talk. He put many questions to Leonard relativeto his rearing, and especially to the mode by whichhe had acquired his education; and Leonard,confirmed in the idea that he was replying to a
kinsman, answered frankly.Richard did not think it strange that Leonard shouldhave acquired so much instruction with so littledirect tuition. Richard Avenel himself had beentutor to himself. He had lived too long with our go-ahead brethren who stride the world on the otherside the Atlantic with the seven-leagued boots ofthe Giant-killer, not to have caught their gloriousfever for reading. But it was for a reading whollydifferent from that which was familiar to Leonard.The books he read must be new; to read old bookswould have seemed to him going back in the world.He fancied that new books necessarily containednew ideas,—a common mistake,—and our luckyadventurer was the man of his day.Tired with talking, he at length chucked the bookhe had run through to Leonard, and taking out apocket-book and pencil, amused himself withcalculations on some detail of his business, afterwhich he fell into an absorbed train of thought, partpecuniary, part ambitious.Leonard found the book interesting: it was one ofthe numerous works, half-statistic, half-declamatory, relating to the condition of theworking classes, which peculiarly distinguish ourcentury, and ought to bind together rich and poor,by proving the grave attention which modernsociety bestows upon all that can affect the welfareof the last."Dull stuff! theory! claptrap!" said Richard, rousing
himself from his revery at last; "it can't interestyou.""All books interest me, I think," said Leonard, "andthis especially; for it relates to the working class,and I am one of them.""You were yesterday, but you mayn't be to-morrow," answered Richard, good-humouredly,and patting him on the shoulder. "You see, my lad,that it is the middle class which ought to govern thecountry. What the book says about the ignoranceof country magistrates is very good; but the manwrites pretty considerable trash when he wants toregulate the number of hours a free-born boyshould work at a factory,—only ten hours a day—pooh! and so lose two hours to the nation! Labouris wealth; and if we could get men to work twenty-four hours a day, we should be just twice as rich. Ifthe march of civilization is to proceed," continuedRichard, loftily, "men, and boys too, must not lie abed doing nothing, all night, sir." Then, with acomplacent tone, "We shall get to the twenty-fourhours at last; and, by gad, we must, or we sha'n'tflog the Europeans as we do now."On arriving at the inn at which Richard had firstmade acquaintance with Mr. Dale, the coach bywhich he had intended to perform the rest of thejourney was found to be full. Richard continued toperform the journey in postchaises, not withoutsome grumbling at the expense, and incessantorders to the post-boys to make the best of theway. "Slow country this in spite of all its brag," said
he,—"very slow. Time is money—they know that inthe States; for why? they are all men of businessthere. Always slow in a country where a parcel oflazy, idle lords and dukes and baronets seem tothink 'time is pleasure.'"Towards evening the chaise approached theconfines of a very large town, and Richard beganto grow fidgety. His easy, cavalier air wasabandoned. He withdrew his legs from the window,out of which they had been luxuriously dangling,pulled down his waistcoat, buckled more tightly hisstock; it was clear that he was resuming thedecorous dignity that belongs to state. He was likea monarch who, after travelling happy andincognito, returns to his capital. Leonard divined atonce that they were nearing their journey's end.Humble foot-passengers now looked at the chaise,and touched their hats. Richard returned thesalutation with a nod,—a nod less gracious thancondescending. The chaise turned rapidly to theleft, and stopped before a small lodge, very new,very white, adorned with two Doric columns instucco, and flanked by a large pair of gates."Hollo!" cried the post- boy, and cracked his whip.Two children were playing before the lodge, andsome clothes were hanging out to dry on theshrubs and pales round the neat little building."Hang those brats! they are actually playing,"growled Dick. "As I live, the jade has been washingagain! Stop, boy!" During this soliloquy, a good-
looking young woman had rushed from the door,slapped the children as, catching sight of thechaise, they ran towards the house, opened thegates, and dropping a courtesy to the ground,seemed to wish that she could drop into italtogether; so frightened and so trembling seemedshe to shrink from the wrathful face which themaster now put out of the window."Did I tell you, or did I not," said Dick, "that I wouldnot have those horrid, disreputable cubs of yoursplaying just before my lodge gates?""Please, sir—""Don't answer me. And did I tell you, or did I not,that the next time I saw you making a drying-ground of my lilacs, you should go out, neck andcrop—""Oh, please, sir—""You leave my lodge next Saturday! drive on, boy.The ingratitude and insolence of those commonpeople are disgraceful to human nature," mutteredRichard, with an accent of the bitterestmisanthropy.The chaise wheeled along the smoothest andfreshest of gravel roads, and through fields of thefinest land, in the highest state of cultivation. Rapidas was Leonard's survey, his rural eye detectedthe signs of a master in the art agronomial.Hitherto he had considered the squire's model farmas the nearest approach to good husbandry he had
seen; for Jackeymo's finer skill was developedrather on the minute scale of market-gardeningthan what can fairly be called husbandry. But thesquire's farm was degraded by many old-fashionednotions, and concessions to the whim of the eye,which would not be found in model farmsnowadays,—large tangled hedgerows, which,though they constitute one of the beauties mostpicturesque in old England, make sad deductionsfrom produce; great trees, overshadowing the cornand harbouring the birds; little patches of roughsward left to waste; and angles of woodlandrunning into fields, exposing them to rabbits andblocking out the sun. These and such like blots ona gentleman-farmer's agriculture, common- senseand Giacomo had made clear to the acutecomprehension of Leonard. No such faults wereperceptible in Richard Avenel's domain. The fieldslay in broad divisions, the hedges were clipped andnarrowed into their proper destination of mereboundaries. Not a blade of wheat withered underthe cold shade of a tree; not a yard of land laywaste; not a weed was to be seen, not a thistle towaft its baleful seed through the air: some youngplantations were placed, not where the artist wouldput them, but just where the farmer wanted afence from the wind. Was there no beauty in this?Yes, there was beauty of its kind,—beauty at oncerecognizable to the initiated, beauty of use andprofit, beauty that could bear a monstrous highrent. And Leonard uttered a cry of admirationwhich thrilled through the heart of Richard Avenel."This IS farming!" said the villager.