Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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116               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
political. It showed itself in quotations from Milton's "Areopagitica" and Addison's "Cato," and, above all, from Shakspeare's "Julius Caesar." Men did quote in those days— they seldom venture on it now, and, when they do, generally contrive to mis-quote. And we youngsters were made parties to the plot against Royalty. I was elevated to the rank of Brutus; my brother (being older and "leaner") was dubbed Cassius, and " so we played our parts." But, in the midst of all our honours, I never lost the impression that Clio himself was a Caesar ! If, in theory, a Republican, in practice he was a despot. He ruled us, or would have ruled us, with a rod of iron. He had been brought up in the old school, under a despotic regime, when boys were scourged up their " Gradus ad Parnassum," and girls were kept strictly to their samplers and spinets, and when they grew up into men and women they carried out the same iron discipline. Day, the author of " Sandford and Merton," was a dreadful old tyrant to his children, and we all know how old Sir Timothy Shelley treated his son Bysshe. I don't know but that we go too much the other way now: it is the children who tyrannise now, and the parents have to " knock under." All Spartan and Roman discipline has been thrown to the winds, and boys and girls " rule the roost."
Clio resisted thisjnnovation; he always turned Brutus and Cassius out of the warmest seats by the fire and took possession himself—unless a milder authority interposed in the maternal form, and then Clio retreated and discipline went to the wall. For Clio, under his rough exterior, and with much love of self, had the true spirit of gallantry. The old Radicals, or Republicans—the terms were almost synony­mous—were preux chevaliers to woman; they treated her with a degree of deference that is now almost unknown. They had no notion, indeed, of giving her the franchise, nor had she of asking for it; but the influence of woman was great with them, and they loved to bow themselves before her. My mother's word or look—and yet there was nothing terrible
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