Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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122                  Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Toryism. It was profuse expenditure, without discrimination, and which often did as much harm as good. It was to gratify his own feelings, without reference to consequences: a kind of Timon of Athens bounty, in which pride went hand-in-hand with generosity. " What a liberal, free-handed man Mr. Mason is!" That was a bit of flattery he could not resist, and so, in his little way, he scattered a shower of silver on his path, and was an inexhaustible mine of wealth to beggars, impostors, flymen, railway porters, chambermaids, and all the fry who feed on the little weaknesses of humanity.
But this profuseness was a growth of his latter days, when he moved more freely about the county in an official capacity. In the earlier period of his career he was, like nearly all English tradesmen ioo years ago, a fixture in his shop. This fixity of tenure by the shopkeeping class was a characteristic —I might almost say a principle—of Toryism. When the middle-classes began to move about—that is, when fast-going coaches and railways came in—Toryism went out. Locomotion was its death-blow. The true old Tory shopkeeper never thought of stirring from his city—scarcely of going over the sill of his door. One shopkeeper kept watch over another, and if a truant were found out—and he was sure to be found out if he only went over to the other side of the street—the astounding fact was proclaimed to the community, and suspicions flew abroad as to the state of the truant's affairs. No man—that is, no man of the shopkeeping class—dared to leave his counter for an hour, much less a day, except on causes of paramount necessity, duly set forth, without danger of being thought mad or insolvent! This was a rule of the " good old Tory days," and need I say that my Uncle strictly adhered to it? In his house—his castle—he was supreme— his wife permitting, despotic: workmen and shopboys were slaves, who had no will of their own. Out of his own house he was a slave: a slave to public opinion—that opinion being Tory.
Such restraint in the present day, when the middle-classes,
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