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Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I.   By: (1806-1872)

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SIR BROOK FOSSBROOKE

Volume I.

By Charles James Lever,

With Illustrations By E. J. Wheeler

Boston:

Little, Brown, And Company.

1917.

To PHILIP ROSE, Esq.

My dear Rose, You have often stopped me when endeavouring to express all the gratitude I felt towards you. You cannot do so now, nor prevent my telling aloud how much I owe how much I esteem you. These volumes were not without interest for me as I wrote them, but they yielded me no such pleasure as I now feel in dedicating them to you; and, with this assurance, believe me,

Your affectionate Friend,

CHARLES LEVER.

Spezia, October 20. 1866.

SIR BROOK FOSSBROOKE.

CHAPTER I. AFTER MESS

The mess was over, and the officers of H. M.'s th were grouped in little knots and parties, sipping their coffee, and discussing the arrangements for the evening. Their quarter was that pleasant city of Dublin, which, bating certain exorbitant demands in the matter of field day and guard mounting, stands pre eminently first in military favor.

"Are you going to that great ball in Merrion Square?" asked one., "Not so lucky; not invited."

"I got a card," cried a third; "but I 've just heard it's not to come off. It seems that the lady's husband is a judge. He's Chief something or other; and he has been called away."

"Nothing of the kind, Tomkins; unless you call a summons to the next world being called away. The man is dangerously ill. He was seized with paralysis on the Bench yesterday, and, they say, can't recover."

There now ensued an animated conversation as to whether, on death vacancies, the men went up by seniority at the bar, or whether a subaltern could at once spring up to the top of the regiment.

"Suppose," said one, "we were to ask the Colonel's guest his opinion. The old cove has talked pretty nigh of everything in this world during dinner; what if we were to ask him about Barons of the Exchequer?"

"Who is he? what is he?" asked another.

"The Colonel called him Sir Brook Fossbrooke; that's all I know."

"Colonel Cave told me," whispered the Major, "that he was the fastest man on town some forty years ago."

"I think he must have kept over the wardrobe of that brilliant period," said another. "I never saw a really swallow tailed coat before."

"His ring amused me . It is a small smoothing iron, with a coat of arms on it. Hush! here he comes."

The man who now joined the group was a tall, gaunt figure, with a high narrow head, from which the hair was brushed rigidly back to fall behind in something like an old fashioned queue. His eyes were black, and surmounted with massive and much arched eyebrows; a strongly marked mouth, stern, determined, and, except in speaking, almost cruel in expression, and a thin pointed projecting chin, gave an air of severity and strong will to features which, when he conversed, displayed a look of courteous deference, and that peculiar desire to please that we associate with a bygone school of breeding. He was one of those men, and very distinctive are they, with whom even the least cautious take no liberties, nor venture upon any familiarity. The eccentricities of determined men are very often indications of some deep spirit beneath, and not, as in weaker natures, mere emanations of vanity or offsprings of self indulgence.

If he was, beyond question, a gentleman, there were also signs about him of narrow fortune: his scrupulously white shirt was not fine, and the seams of his well brushed coat showed both care and wear.

He had joined the group, who were talking of the coming Derby when the Colonel came up. "I have sent for the man we want, Fossbrooke. I'm not a fisherman myself; but they tell me he knows every lake, river, and rivulet in the island. He has sat down to whist, but we 'll have him here presently."

"On no account; don't disturb his game for me."

"Here he comes. Trafford, I want to present you to a very old friend of mine, Sir Brook Fossbrooke, as enthusiastic an angler as yourself... Continue reading book >>




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