Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Last of his Kind.
CCORDING to physiologists, the sense for which there is no need—no field of exercise—soon grows feeble, and eventually dies out. There is an analogy to this in society. Classes which have lost their uses die out and disappear. Even within my limited experience, I can recall individuals belonging to a class—formerly, I have no doubt, a numerous one, but which has entirely disappeared in this part of the world—as much as the great bustards on our Downs. They have not been destroyed like these; but they have ceased to exist because there is no longer a place or a demand for them.
I do not know but that the last representatives of these extinct social classes are as much to be pitied as the last Red Man or Black Man of America or Australia—perhaps more, for their susceptibilities, as belonging to a higher and more cultivated race, must be keener; and their fate is quite as inevitable: there is no escaping from it. They must die out and leave no trace behind them, or only such a trace as survives in the memory of some old friend or acquaintance.
To such a doomed, and now, I believe, extinct class, did Edmund Osmond belong. It would be impossible to find a substitute for him in the present day; and yet he had no place—no defined, fixed place—in society. He could fill up an immense number of little gaps in the social life of his day, but could supply no positive social want; and so Society
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