Theodore Buckley: The History of a Certain Grammar-School

Отправлено 17 мая 2014 г., 04:34 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 17 мая 2014 г., 04:34 ]

 GOOD many hun­dred years ago, a knight, named Sir Bad­lot de Seampiers, ate, drank, and slept, in a cas­tle which bore the fam­i­ly name. He was the ad­mi­ra­tion of the Court, whose mem­bers gen­er­al­ly were, like him­self, the ter­ror of vas­sals with wives or daugh­ters. He would have been ex­com­mu­ni­cat­ed, had his pri­vate con­fes­sor been less fond of good liv­ing.

Sir Bad­lot lived a mighty pleas­ant life of its kind. Be­tween mak­ing love in a very free fash­ion, hawk­ing, hunt­ing, danc­ing, get­ting drunk every night or morn­ing, as the case might be, oc­ca­sion­al­ly say­ing his prayers, and now and then wit­ness­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of one of his ten­ants for steal­ing some ar­ti­cle above the value of ten­pence half­pen­ny, his time was al­ways toler­ably oc­cu­pied. His virtues were much the same as his vices. He was very hos­pitable, be­cause he couldn't bear drink­ing alone. He was ex­treme­ly lib­er­al to peo­ple who pleased him, but scan­dal said that his lib­er­al­i­ty came out of the pock­ets of peo­ple who didn't please him. He was thor­oughly brave, be­cause he was al­ways ei­ther in a cruel or a drunk­en hu­mour — two states which per­haps re­sem­ble each other, more close­ly than is com­mon­ly sup­posed.

But there is an end to all things, and, as Voltaire some­where says, "if peo­ple don't leave off their vices, their vices leave them in the lurch," The time came when Sir Bad­lot was no longer a young man. As his life had al­ways been spent in the prof­itable way we have de­scribed, his con­sti­tu­tion began to ap­peal most pathet­ically to his feel­ings. In fact, the knight was "break­ing fast," and peo­ple said so — be­hind his back.

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