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It was a magnificent room, everything magnificent about it, as it was fitting the library of Chedevix House should be. Do you know Chenevix House, reader? Not by that appellation, you will say, and it is not intended that you shouid : but you may see it any day in its aristocratic locality at the west end of London. What good is there to be imagined worldly good—that fortune, so capricious in her favours, had not showered down upon the owner of this house, the Earl of Qakton? None. With his majority he had come into a princely income, for his father, the late earl, had died years before, and the estates had been well nursed. Better, though, had it been for the young Earl of Oakton that he had been born a younger son or in an inferior class of life. With that spur to exertion, necessity, he would have pushed on and exercised the talents which had been liberally bestowed on him, but gliding as he did into a fortune that seemed unlimited, he plunged into every extravagant folly of the day, and did his best to dissipate it. He was twenty-one then, he is walking about his library now--you may see him if you choose to enter it—with three or four-and-thirty years added to his life : pacing up and down in perplexity, and possessing scarcely a shilling that he can call his own. His five-and-fifty years have rendered his figure a portly oue, and an expression of annoyance is casting its shade on his clear brow and handsome features, but no deeper lines of sorrow are marked there. Not upon these reckless natures does the hand of care leave its sign.
But the earl is to make the best of it--in a brown study, and he scowls his eyebrows, and purses his lips, and motions with his hands, as he paces there, communing with himself. Not that he is pondering so much how to escape his already great embarrassments, as how he shall raise more money, and so rush into greater. The gratification of the present moment — little else ever troubled the Earl of Oakton.
A noise of a cab in the street as it whirls along and pulls up before the steps and the stately pillars of Chenevix House; a knock and ring that send their echoes through the mansion; and the earl strides forward and looks cautiously from the window, enabling himself to catch a glimpse of the horse and vehicle. It was but a glimpse, for the window was high from the ground, its embrasures deep, and the cab close to the pavement; and, for a moment he could not decide whether it belonged to friend or foe, but soon he drew away with an ugly oath, and sprang across the room, and unlatched the door, and stood with his ear at the opening. What! a peer of the realm condescend to play eavesdropper, in an attitude that looks very like a mean one? Yes: and a prince of the realm has done the same, when in bodily fear of duns.
A few minutes elapse. The indistinct sound of contention approas his lordship's ear, in conjunction with a very uncomfortable stre wind, and then the house door closes with a bang, the cab whirls off and the earl rings the library bell.