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RICHARD BENTLEY

NEW BURLINGTON STREE?"
CUMMING, DUBLIN: BFITEBRADITI'I, EDINBURGH

THE

Ι Ν Η Ε RIT Α Ν C Ε.

BY

THE AUTHOR OF “MARRIAGE.”

Si la noblesse est vertu, elle se perd par tout ce qui n'est pas vertueux ;
et si elle n'est pas vertu, c'est peu de chose.

LA BRUYERE.

REVISED BY THE AUTHOR.

LONDON:
ICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET;

BELL AND BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH;
J. CUMMING, DUBLIN.

P

5 SEP 1956

GÉRARY

THE

INHERITANCE.

CHAPTER I.

Strange is it, that our bloods
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty.

All's Well that Ends Well.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that there is no passion so deeply rooted in human nature as that of pride. Whether of self or of family, of deeds done in our own bodies, or deeds done in the bodies of those who lived hundreds of years before us — all find some foundation on which to build their Tower of Babel. Even the dark uncertain future becomes a bright field of promise to the eye of pride, which, like Banquo's bloody ghost, can smile even upon the dim perspective of posthumous greatness.

As the noblest attribute of man, family pride had been cherished time immemorial by the noble race of Rossville. Deep and incurable, therefore, was the wound inflicted on all its members by the marriage of the Honourable Thomas St. Clair, youngest son of the Earl of Rossville, with the humble Miss Sarah Black, a beautiful girl of obscure origin and no fortune. In such an union there was every thing to exasperate, nothing to mollify the outraged feelings of the Rossville family; for youth and beauty were all that Mrs. St. Clair had to oppose to pride and ambition. The usual consequences, therefore, were such as always have, and probably always will accompany unequal alliances,- viz. the displeasure of friends, the want of fortune, the world's dread laugh, and, in short, all the thousand natural ills that flesh is heir to when it fails in its allegiance to blood. Yet there are minds fitted to encounter and to overcome even these — minds possessed of that inherent nobility which regard honour as something more than a mere hereditary name, and which seek the nobler distinction, open to all, in the career of some honourable profession. But Mr. St. Clair's mind was endowed with no such powers; for he was a man of weak intellects and indolent habits, with just enough of feeling to wish to screen himself from the poverty and contempt his marriage had brought upon him. After hanging on for some time in hopes of a reconciliation with his family, and finding all attempts vain, he at

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