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The Dodd Family Abroad, Vol. II   By: (1806-1872)

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By Charles James Lever

Volume II.



My dear Tom, I got the papers all safe. I am sure the account is perfectly correct. I only wish the balance was bigger. I waited here to receive these things, and now I discover that I can't sign the warrant of attorney except before a consul, and there is none in this place, so that I must keep it over till I can find one of those pleasant functionaries, a class that between ourselves I detest heartily. They are a presumptuous, under bred, consequential race, a cross between a small skipper and smaller Secretary of Legation, with a mixture of official pedantry and maritime off handedness that is perfectly disgusting. Why our reforming economists don't root them all out I cannot conceive. Nobody wants, nobody benefits by them; and save that you are now and then called on for a "consular fee," you might never hear of their existence.

I don't rightly understand what you say about the loan from that Land Improvement Society. Do you mean that the money lent must be laid out on the land as a necessary condition? Is it possible that this is what I am to infer? If so, I never heard anything half so preposterous! Sure, if I raise five hundred pounds from a Jew, he has no right to stipulate that I must spend the cash on copper coal scuttles or potted meats! I want it for my own convenience; enough for him that I comply with his demands for interest and repayment. Anything else would be downright tyranny and oppression, Tom, as a mere momentary consideration of the matter will show you. At all events, let us get the money, for I 'd like to contest the point with these fellows; and if ever there was a man heart and soul determined to break down any antiquated barrier of cruelty or domination, it is your friend Kenny Dodd! As to that printed paper, with its twenty seven queries, it is positive balderdash from beginning to end. What right have they to conclude that I approve of subsoil draining? When did I tell them that I believed in Smith of Deanstown? Where is it on record that I gave in my adhesion to model cottages, Berkshire pigs, green crops, and guano manure? In what document do these appear? Maybe I have my own notions on these matters, maybe I keep them for my own guidance too!

You say that the gentry is all changing throughout the whole land, and I believe you well, Tom Purcell. Changed indeed must they be if they subscribe to such preposterous humbug as this! At all events, I repeat we want the money, so fill up the blanks as you think best, and remit me the amount at your earliest, for I have barely enough to get to the end of the present month. I don't dislike this place at all. It is quiet, peaceful, humdrum, if you will; but we've had more than our share of racket and row lately, and the reclusion is very grateful. One day is exactly like another with us. Lord George for he is back again and James go a fishing as soon as breakfast is over, and only return for supper. Mary Anne reads, writes, sews, and sings. Mrs. D. fills up the time discharging Betty, settling with her, searching her trunks for missing articles, and being reconciled to her again, which, with occasional crying fits and her usual devotions, don't leave her a single moment unoccupied! As for me, I'm trying to learn German, whenever I'm not asleep. I've got a master, he is a Swiss, and maybe his accent is not of the purest; but he is an amusing old vagabond, an umbrella maker, but in his youth a travelling servant. His time is not very valuable to him, so that he sits with me sometimes for half a day; but still I make little progress. My notion is, Tom, that there's no use in either making love or trying a new language after you're five or six and twenty. It's all up hill work after that, believe me. Neither your declensions nor declarations come natural to you, and it's a bungling performance at the best... Continue reading book >>

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