Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

130               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
daughters'—all, by whatever title they sat down at his table, certain to become, before they rose from it, admirers of " the Doctor."
Such households as these are now things of the past, and the men who formed the centre of them seem to have passed away. A vigour of body and an elasticity of mind—above all, a variety of gifts—were demanded of them, which few possess now-a-days. More is given to the hard work and routine duties of life; the line is stumped out, the rails laid down, and in the grooves of this the head of the family revolves —round and round—until he has completed his day's work, and then he goes home to oil the machinery—to eat and drink and sleep—perhaps to be amused, but certainly not to amuse. He is too " used up," or, more likely still, he has never acquired the art of amusing. It is " not in the bond." He can talk about his profession or business, or, if he has read his newspaper, on the news of the day, if there happen to be any. But as to heading a table, or leading the conversation, he is unequal to it, and, aware of his deficiencies, either declines " society" altogether, or calls in the professional singer and player — above all, he relies on the " professed cook " to cover all home defects.
Where and whence such men as Dr. Verral (and they were once a class in country towns) obtained the stock of health and spirits to fit them equally for business and for pleasure, I cannot say. But they did it. They made long rounds of calls on their patients—talked, read, wrote, aye, and studied too, and, when all was done, took the head of their table as fresh and as genial as though they had been getting themselves up specially for the occasion. Was it the lighter spirit in which they went to their work, with a happy unconsciousness of that rivalry that now propels a man along his narrow path, forbidding him to diverge to the right or the left lest another should seize the opportunity and rush past him in the race for life? Was it this? or was it the hardier constitutions of the men, often fresh from the farmhouse or the country
Previous Contents Next