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A Girl of the Commune   By: (1832-1902)

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A GIRL OF THE COMMUNE

BY

G. A. HENTY AUTHOR OF "IN FREEDOM'S CAUSE," "WITH LEE IN VIRGINIA," ETC.

NEW YORK R. F. FENNO & COMPANY 9 AND 11 EAST 16TH STREET

COPYRIGHT, 1895

BY G. A. HENTY

A GIRL OF THE COMMUNE.

CHAPTER I.

Jeremiah Brander was one of the most prominent personages in the Cathedral town of Abchester. He inhabited an old fashioned, red brick house near the end of the High Street. On either side was a high wall facing the street, and from this a garden, enclosing the house, stretched away to a little stream some two hundred yards in the rear; so that the house combined the advantage of a business residence in front, with those of seclusion, an excellent garden, and an uninterrupted view behind.

Jeremiah Brander enjoyed, in a very large degree, the confidence and respect of his fellow townsmen. His father and his grandfather had been, like himself, solicitors, and he numbered among his clients most of the county families round. Smaller business he left to the three younger men who divided between them the minor legal business of the place. He in no way regarded them as rivals, and always spoke of them benevolently as worthy men to whom all such business as the collection of debts, criminal prosecutions, and such matters as the buying and selling of houses in the town, could be safely entrusted. As for himself he preferred to attend only to business in his own line, and he seldom accepted fresh clients, never, indeed, until a new comer had taken his place among the accepted society of the county.

In the public business of the city, however, he played a very important part. He was Town Clerk, treasurer of several societies, solicitor to the Abchester County and City Bank, legal adviser of the Cathedral Authorities, deacon of the principal Church, City Alderman, president of the Musical Society, treasurer of the Hospital, a director of the Gas Company, and was in fact ready at all times to take a prominent part in any movement in the place.

He was a man of some fifty years of age, inclined to be stout, somewhat florid in complexion, and always dressed with scrupulous care. There was nothing about him to indicate that he belonged to the legal profession. His talk as a rule was genial and almost cheery, but his manner varied according to the circumstances. In his capacity as treasurer he was concise and business like; in matters connected with the Church he was a little given to be dogmatic, which, considering the liberality of his subscriptions to all the Church objects and charities was but natural.

As president of the Musical Society he was full of tact, and acted the part of general conciliator in all the numerous squabbles, jealousies, and heart burnings incidental to such associations. In every one of the numerous offices he filled he gave unbounded satisfaction, and the only regret among his fellow townsmen was that he had on three occasions refused to accept the honor of the Mayoralty, alleging, and with a fair show of reason, that although ready at all times to aid to the utmost in any movement set afoot for the advantage of the city, it was impossible for him to spare the time required to perform properly the duties of Mayor.

Jeremiah Brander had married the daughter of a gentleman of an old county family which had fallen somewhat in circumstances. It was rumored at the time that he had lent some assistance to the head of the family, and that the match was scarcely a willing one on the lady's part. However that might be, no whisper had ever been heard that the marriage was an unhappy one. It was regarded as rather a come down for her, but if so she never showed that she felt it as a fall. The marriage had certainly improved his standing in the county. His wife formed a sort of link between him and his clients, and he occupied a considerably better position among them than his father had done, being generally accepted as a friend as well as a legal adviser.

It is not to be supposed that so successful a man had no detractors... Continue reading book >>




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