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place they could not dispossess him of it*), and as this seat was near the top of the table, and because the hall was long, I did not discern much of those who sat below the dais; but I knew most of those who sat in the places of honour. At the head of these was Mr. FitzAdam, with Madame Le Monde at his right hand; then came the doctor, Father Peter, the housekeeper's daughters, and the librarian, and some others, of whom it is not necessary to speak; for it seems that this was a particular day, and that many were present that day in the hall, who were absent at other times : the doctor having expressed a wish that the servants might be thus assembled in order that he might have an opportunity of inviting them to a meeting which was to be held the next morning. There was one person, however, who sat above the salt, whom I had not seen before; neither did I know her station in the house at that time, though I have known her well since, and she is one of the most worthy of the household, that is, speaking as men speak, for we are all unprofitable servants, if we speak with reference to the Master. This female, however, of whom I was speaking, I thought, looked as if she had been brought where she was by compulsion, or as if led there rather by a sense of duty than by her own free will; and accordingly, she had an uneasy mannner, and appeared as if she felt that she was not looked upon with an eye of favour by those at the head of the table. They called her Grace, giving her the title of mistress, but she, as I observed, sat uneasy, nor did she speak until called upon so to do. But I had alınost forgotten to remark, that independent of those persons at the table who might be actually said to be servants of the family,t though noninally, servants of the Lord, there were several persons who were there by the favour of Mr. Fitz-Adam and the housekeeper,-friends and relations of theirs, and for the most part inconsiderate, light sort of looking gentry, who did little else than applaud those who gave them their loaves and fishes; the places of these were between the superior and inferior servants :--but to return to myself, such was the company
* “The Lord lifteth up the meek": he casteth the wicked down to the ground.” Psalm cxlvii. 6.
tā And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for 'man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” Micah v. 7.
which I saw around me when I had gathered courage to look up. And if the company were large and various, I surely had never seen more excellent dishes than those which were set upon the board, all smoking hot, and emitting each a most savoury odour; there was some sort of huge joint set before the steward, who, as he sharpened his knife on a steel placed before him for the purpose, sucked in his lips, and asked the doctor where he would please to have a slice, calling upon him at the same time to agree with him in saying, that a finer haunch had seldom invited a hungry appetite.
" True,” replied the doctor, “and we must not forget our remembrance of that indulgent Master, at whose expense we are to enjoy this feast.”
i Very good, Mr. Chaplain," said the librarian, "every man for his own trade; the shoemaker praises his leather-the blacksmith his iron—the cook his good dishes -the author his books—and the chaplain his patron: all is as it should be ; is not it so, Mr. Fitz-Adam?" and he gave a nod, or rather a knowing wink at the steward, who, having returned the wink on that side of his face not seen by the doctor, said, “ Very true—all very right, Mr. Librarian, to be sure, the doctor should not forget his patron; but I have some notion, nevertheless, that some of you would sing somewhat small, if our good things depended wholly on the person to whom the worthy chaplain has alluded; and if I had left the noble animal from whom this limb has been lopped, to range the forest unprovided with fodder, our venison to-day would, I suppose, have been less juicy and savoury than it now promises to be; therefore, I venture to hint, now that thanks and commendations are afloat, that some of them ought justly to rest upon the shoulders of Adam Fitz-Adam, my Lord's steward.” So saying, he drew his knife across the haunch with a practised hand, and laid open several inches of delicate, fat. The doctor looked aghast at the steward's speech, but recollecting, perhaps, that the present was a sort of feast of charity, and fearing to destroy the work already so far advanced, and one from which he anticipated much good to the family, he seemed at a loss what to say: but looking around him with an expression of real distress, he was reproved by the female mentioned above, who in a low, though decided tone, said, “ And ought we to sit here enjoying the good things which the Lord has provided, and suffer our fellow-servants to deduct in the smallest degree from the honour due to the giver of all our good things? What have we, which we have not received ? and what merit of any kind can we call our own ?* Does it become us to take credit to ourselves, as if we are, or ever could be any thing ?”'t
- What is that you are saying there, Mistress Grace ?" said the steward, “ let it be spoken aloud for the good of the company."
Surely, thought I, she will not have the courage to do as was requested of her; but I was mistaken, for being thus called upon, she spoke aloud that which she had before said, as it were, aside to the doctor. On hearing this, the steward's colour rose from its usual ruddy hue almost to purple, and setting his teeth, he was about to issue his commands, that the offender should leave the hall, when Madame Le Monde interfered ; and, laying her hand on his arm, she whispered to him something which I did not hear; on which he turned to the doctor, and, with a laugh which I thought sounded hollow and unnatural, as all laughter must do which does not proceed from a merry heart, he said something about women's tongues as being licensed, and hence incapable of giving serious offence, and begged the worthy chaplain to pledge him in a glass of wine, adding these words, “There are indeed some things, doctor, in which you and I do not think exactly alike, and yet I verily believe that our opinions are more in unison than may at first appear; at any rate, there is one thing in which we entirely coincide, and that is, in our wish to see every member of this household united in one bond of fellowship.”
Many persons present echoed this sentiment, and the doctor himself was not behind in so doing ; yet he seemed to sit uneasy, and wriggled in his seat as if his velvet cushion were set with thorns. However, had he been so inclined, he had no leisure given him to speak, for the librarian was addressing Mrs. Grace, and because no person at the table ever ventured to speak so freely as he did on certain subjects, Mr. Fitz-Adam
* “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Psalm 1. 10.
+“For who maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it.” 1 Cor. iv. 7.
seemed to be mighty well pleased to see his enemy in such hands.
Now I had often heard my uncle speak with horror of the librarian, as being a man who entertained the most false and mischievous opinions of any person in the house, with the exception of Mr. Fitz-Adam himself, and one who even went beyond the steward in his open avowal of these sentiments; being a character which could not blush, and could not be moved, or be put out of countenance, and whose delight it was to do mischief for mischief's sake, without other fee or reward, or the hope of either ; but it had never as yet happened to me to see this man in his true colours, and verily I was shocked and amazed at the questions he put to Mistress Grace.
“And do you really believe, madam,” said he, “ that the person you call Master takes any account of what is going on here? how is he to know what we say or do? or what power would he have to revenge himself, if he were offended, seeing that he is gone from hence, and is to us as one dead? I know," added he, raising his voice at the same time, “ what you would answer to all this, I have heard the arguments you would use a thousand times before, but I would ask you this simple question-If this man you call Master is such as you say he is, why does he not come, and take the power into his own hands, and set down all those who presume to question his authority, placing you wise ones at the head of affairs? We should then see how nicely every thing would be managed: but let me beg of you to answer me one question, -Have not things gone on just in the same way as long as any of us can remember, and what reason have we to think that they will not continue to go on in the same train, that is, without any other changes than may be produced by superior light and knowledge, until the end of the chapter ?"*
Here the librarian seemed to have run himself out of breath, for he had said much, much more than I have put down, and Mistress Grace had just opened her mouth to answer him when Mr. Fitz-Adam struck the table with a force which made every thing to dance on the
*“ And saying, Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter iii. 4.
board, and thundering his commands, he insisted that the harmony of the company should be disturbed no more by these vain disputes and unprofitable arguments; and thus the poor woman was silenced; but I saw that her honest and loyal feelings towards her rightful Master worked within her so violently, that she could neither eat nor drink, while she had some difficulty to prevent the tears from gushing from her eyes; neither did I think that the doctor was much more easy than she was, though he had to put a good face upon it, having his object in his head, namely, the bringing all the persons in authority in the house to assist him in the work he had projected for the benefit of the household.
I do not remember any thing else worthy of note during the dinner, excepting that Madame le Monde and her daughters, after the discussion above spoken of had been put an end to, took pains to make themselves agreeable; and as the cheer was uncommonly good, as I remarked before, so we presently became very merry, * that is, at our end of the table, for the bottle went freely round even before the cloth was drawn. However, just before the repast was finished, the doctor, in a general address to the company, requested the presence of every person in the hall, in his own apartments the next day at noon, in order that every one might hear a proposal which he had to make, which he trusted might tend very greatly to the benefit of the family. The housekeeper, in the name of all the females, and Mr. FitzAdam in that of all the men, accepted the invitation, and immediately afterward all the women, together with the young people and inferior servants, left the hall. But while I was preparing to accompany them, Mr. Fitz-Adam very politely insisted on my remaining where I was, adding, that he was so much pleased to see my, uncle's chair so well filled, that he wished I would not suddenly deprive him of the satisfaction. I felt it im. possible to make any other reply to this flattering speech, Than by remaining where I was, for I had not yet received strength to say No, when duty required that I should. I therefore sat where I was, though knowing
*“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: and put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties : for they are deceitful meat.” Prov. xxiii. 1-3.