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that, as I have set them down here, they may appear hard and sententious in the mouth of so youthful a speaker: they did not appear so to me. I thought that in my whole life I had never heard any thing so naturally eloquent.
Everard spoke rather playfully than otherwise: there was nothing of solemnity in his enunciation. Early developed as was his intellect, and unusual as was the wisdom of what he said, there was nothing whatever in his external behaviour which indicated an affectation of manhood, or the slightest shadow of a self-consequential deportment. He had all the ease,-the openness,-the unconscious
able to the lowness of his condition." Is this Mr. Godwin's feeling, or merely the outpouring of the proud and chivalrous St. Leon? If it contain the opinions of the author, is Mr. Godwin right?
He is at all events supported by Dr. Johnson. "Never fear," said that great literary behemoth to Crabbe, the poet, one day, "putting the strongest and best things you can think of into the mouth of your speaker, whatever may be his condition." Was Johnson right? Goldsmith thought otherwise, and he who wrote the Vicar of Wakefield, must be admitted as an authority in these matters.
Goldsmith was talking to Sir Joshua Reynolds about writing a fable, wherein little fishes were to be introduced. Johnson overheard him, and laughed. "Why do you laugh" said Goldsmith; "if you were to write a fable for little fishes, you would make them all speak like big whales." Mr. Godwin makes his little fishes speak like big whales.
grace of boyhood. There was no straining after effect, no ambition to appear wise, no assumption of intellectual superiority. He uttered what was uppermost in his thoughts, entirely regardless of opinion. It had never entered into his heart to conceive that he was in any way better than his fellows; he had never made any comparisons; he was altogether destitute of vanity. But this is anticipating a subject upon which I shall enter more fully anon.
"Shall we walk," said Sinclair, "in the playground, I think they call it? For my part, I cannot help thinking that it is more like the courtyard of a prison. What walls! it is really quite a pity; we shall never see the sun set in this place."
"I think," he continued, "that we shall become friends. I like you already, I do indeed. It was so kind of you to come and speak to me, when I was sitting so drearily in that corner. Nobody has thought of addressing a word to me but yourself."
We strolled into the play-ground arm-in-arm. The first thing that we saw was a big boy beating a little one. "Look there," said Sinclair, "tyranny even in boyhood! This is a sort of rehearsal of what will be in years to come. Homo homini lupus. The strong man persecutes the weak. There is no justice in the world,"-and Everard Sinclair sighed.
The tall tyrant thumped, and the little victim screamed. What was to be done? Everard Sinclair looked sorrowful. "We must not suffer this," he said.
"What can we do?"
"Interfere," said Everard.
I was appalled. Not that I was a coward, but that I was a stranger; and to meddle with the proceedings of an old scholar, seemed to me a most unheard-of impertinence. A newly-elected M. P., upon the first night of taking his seat, scarcely feels himself equal to the task of arraying himself against a practised debater. He likes, first of all, to see how things are carried on in the house. But with Everard, justice was justice; and duty was based upon a firmer foundation than the conventional distinctions of society present to the searcher after truth.
"We must not suffer this ; we must not, indeed. See how the little creature writhes under the blows of his brutal oppressor." And Everard Sinclair hurried me towards the place where this martyrdom was acting.
"May I ask," he said, in a voice equally mild and resolute, "what fault this little boy has committed, to merit such severe chastisement?"
"What's that to you?" cried the chastiser; but his arm was stayed: though it had been lifted up, it fell not upon his diminutive victim.
"Every thing in the world," replied Everard. "When you strike him you strike me. An injury to an individual is an injury to the community. Besides, my heart bleeds when I look upon the sufferings of another. Let me intreat you to spare this poor, little, helpless wretch."
"And who, the devil, are you?" asked the tyrant; and he lifted up his hand to strike.
Everard seized hold of his arm, and the descent of the blow was impeded.
"Ho, ho!" cried the baffled smiter, gnashing his teeth with choler; "you are a precious impertinent fellow. I should like to know who you are. Hands off, sir; hands off, directly. I think that I could thrash you." And the boy clenched his fist with a look of angry derision.
"Do you think that you could thrash us both?" said I; for our enemy was older and stronger than either Sinclair or myself.
Perhaps not," answered the boy; "but I will call those who can. Here, Evans, be so good as to help me to thrash these green-horns.”
There was a fight, in the middle of which the little victim escaped; but Everard Sinclair and I were well thrashed for our trouble. But it mattered not; for, on the evening of that day, we made a covenant which endured for ever.
-And ere his twentieth year,
My father was very willing to be rid of me; for I could not work, drive the plough, or endure any country labour. My father oft would say I was good for nothing. LILLY'S History of his Life and Times.
EVERARD SINCLAIR was the second son of a wealthy country gentleman inshire. He was the youngest, also, and his mother was dead. He was just fourteen years of age. He had been hitherto educated at home, or, rather, he had educated himself; for Mr. Sinclair was one of those people and there are many such-who despise in others all those qualities which they have not in themselves. He was an egotist, disgustingly inflated with all that hard-featured intolerance which is peculiar, not to the wise, but to the ignorant.