Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

several years. Their friendship was, if possible, strengthened by John Horne assuming the surname of his patron, and attaching it to his own ; so that from henceforward he was known as, and signed his name, “ John Horne Tooke.” During this intercourse, Mr. Horne Tooke, having no professional means of earning money, was obliged, on several occasions, to borrow from old Mr. Tooke ; and the latter willingly accommodated him, at the rate of five hundred pounds at a time ; but, in accordance with his mercantile habits, the old man always took care to have his bond, bearing interest, for whatever sum he advanced; although he had frequently told his protégé that he should be the sole heir to his immense property.

At length Horne Tooke discovered that his patron had a nephew, who had at some time offended him, and whom the old gentleman had refused to see for several years. This was a Colonel Harwood, to whom Horne contrived to be introduced, and whom he found to be a gentleman of refined manners and great intelligence. Resolved to effect a reconciliation between the relatives, he said one day, “ I understand, my dear sir, that you have a nephew."

" And how dare you, Sir, mention that circumstance to me,” returned the old man, reddening

with anger.

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Tooke,” replied Horne ; " but I thought the intelligence of Colonel Harwood being in London might be agreeable to you."

Quite the reverse, Sir,” responded Mr. Tooke ; " and if you regard my favour, you will never mention his name in my hearing.”

" Upon my word, Sir," rejoined Horne, “I don't understand this. It is very possible that you may have cause—just cause of complaint ; nay, sufficient to warrant you in discarding this newly found relative of yours ; but, by G-d! I must and shall know the reason. friendship and kindness towards myself, I trust that I have not been--nay, I defy you to say that I have ever been—ungrateful; but, as I have enjoyed your confidence so long, I consider that

For your

for you;

can

mind you

I have a right to know why you treat your own sister's son as a stranger.”

“ Mind your own business, Master Horne," returned the old man, highly chafed, but suppressing his rage, “or perhaps it may be worse I alter my

know. This is my business, Master Tooke,retorted Horne, " and I demand an explanation ; if your nephew deserves your unkindness, so; I shall take upon me to judge between you.”

Will you ?" interrupted the old man, with a sneer : "Upon my word, you are a meddling jackanapes ; and, if you say another word, I 'll not leave you a shilling.”

"I care little about that,” replied the dutiful protége; “ and now that we are upon equal terms, I will, with all due deference, tell you a little more of my

and that is, that if you will give me a good reason for your unnatural behaviour to Colonel Harwood, I shall remain with you on the same terms as hitherto; but if you will not do that, or if, being unable to do so, you persist in rejecting the friendly advances of your affectionate nephew, I shall have done with

mind;

[blocks in formation]

you for ever; and I shall neither eat nor sleep in your

house after this night; so, for the present, I will leave you to your reflections."

Stop! stop!” exclaimed the old man, softening; "upon my word, Master Horne Tooke, you give yourself airs that neither become you, nor

However, saucy varlet, as you are, you have justice on your side, and I suppose I must submit to your dictation as usual, and be d-d to

suit me.

you."

رو

"Oh! don't let it be said, Sir," exclaimed Horne," that my dictation”

" Hold your tongue, Sir," interrupted the querulous old man : “ sit down, and you shall hear what a disobedient villain that Harwood is. In the first place—but, pray Sir, may I beg to be informed, as to what interest, or motive, you can have in thus diving into family affairs?"

No interest, Sir, whatever," replied Horne; and the only motive that I have, is a love of justice; for I could not bear that your nephew should be estranged from you, whilst I ate your bread, and drank of your cup. Besides, what must the world think of you; and indeed of me, too, did I countenance this banishment of your near relative ?"

The old man was satisfied with this explanation, and recounted to Mr. Tooke several petty circumstances of supposed offence on the part of Colonel Harwood; but his auditor soon explained, or rather argued, away all differences; and he had the satisfaction of carrying an invitation to the Colonel, to dine with his uncle the next day.

The old gentleman was so pleased with his nephew, that he gave him a general invitation to his house; and, at length, he became so attached, that he would have him become an inmate. This arrangement was soon acceded to; and John Horne Tooke took advantage of it, for the more convenient pursuance of his studies in philology ; for which purpose he took the house in Purley Bottom, where he composed the principal portion of his famous work, entitled “Diversions.”

But, as it was impossible for old Mr. Tooke to be totally deprived of his company, John Horne arranged his plans so as to live in the house in Westminster one month, and in his own the

« AnteriorContinuar »