The Man of Feeling


* * The card he received was in the politest style in which disappointment could be communicated. The baronet “was under a necessity of giving up his application for Mr. Harley, as he was informed that the lease was engaged for a gentleman who had long served His Majesty in another capacity, and whose merit had entitled him to the first lucrative thing that should be vacant.” Even Harley could not murmur at such a disposal. “Perhaps,” said he to himself, “some war-worn officer, who, like poor Atkins, had been neglected from reasons which merited the highest advancement; whose honour could not stoop to solicit the preferment he deserved; perhaps, with a family, taught the principles of delicacy, without the means of supporting it; a wife and children - gracious heaven! whom my wishes would have deprived of bread - ”

He was interrupted in his reverie by some one tapping him on the shoulder, and, on turning round, he discovered it to be the very man who had explained to him the condition of his gay companion at Hyde Park Corner. “I am glad to see you, sir,” said he; “I believe we are fellows in disappointment.” Harley started, and said that he was at a loss to understand him. “Pooh! you need not be so shy,” answered the other; “every one for himself is but fair, and I had much rather you had got it than the rascally gauger.” Harley still protested his ignorance of what he meant. “Why, the lease of Bancroft Manor; had not you been applying for it?” “I confess I was,” replied Harley; “but I cannot conceive how you should be interested in the matter.” “Why, I was making interest for it myself,” said he, “and I think I had some title. I voted for this same baronet at the last election, and made some of my friends do so too; though I would not have you imagine that I sold my vote. No, I scorn it, let me tell you I scorn it; but I thought as how this man was staunch and true, and I find he’s but a double-faced fellow after all, and speechifies in the House for any side he hopes to make most by. Oh, how many fine speeches and squeezings by the hand we had of him on the canvas! ‘And if ever I shall be so happy as to have an opportunity of serving you.’ A murrain on the smooth-tongued knave, and after all to get it for this pimp of a gauger.” “The gauger! there must be some mistake,” said Harley. “He writes me, that it was engaged for one whose long services - ” “Services!” interrupted the other; “you shall hear. Services! Yes, his sister arrived in town a few days ago, and is now sempstress to the baronet. A plague on all rogues, says honest Sam Wrightson. I shall but just drink damnation to them to-night, in a crown’s worth of Ashley’s, and leave London to-morrow by sun-rise.” “I shall leave it too,” said Harley; and so he accordingly did.

In passing through Piccadilly, he had observed, on the window of an inn, a notification of the departure of a stage-coach for a place in his road homewards; in the way back to his lodgings, he took a seat in it for his return.