156 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
gradually found that it could do without him, and did do without him, and he pined and withered away like a disused faculty.
And yet there are few men at the present day who can do all the things that Osmond did. He belonged to an age, or, rather, he ought to have belonged to an age—for when he was born it had gone by—in which the division of labour had not become a law of society—in which it was not a necessity of existence that a man should be proficient in at least one thing—useful or amusing, as the case may be, to his neighbours—no matter how simple or humble or even how humiliating. Osmond was one of the most handy men in the world, but it was in a way that was not positively wanted. He could draw and paint—he could handle the plane and the saw, the axe and the hammer; he could fish and shoot and skate; he could put a horse into a gig, and drive it when it was in, or groom it when it was out; he could dance and take a part in a glee—even play a little on the flute; was a first-rate ally of mothers in getting up a pic-nic, and could do a little flirting with the daughters, when the mothers were away, or nobody better was at hand. If a gala was to be planned or an anniversary to be celebrated, or honour done or pleasure given to somebody—Osmond was sure to be called in. He could "put his hand to anything," and was ever willing to do so; and when all was over there was no unpleasant reminder of his work in the shape of a bill! It was all done for the love and pleasure of the thing.
It is quite certain that there was a day in England when such a man as Osmond was a valuable member of society, and there are still, doubtless, societies in which his various gifts would come into play. He would have been able to "shift for himself" in a new country, or in a half-civilised country, much better than men more highly trained and developed, but only on one side. He would also have been invaluable as an appendage to a great family who could have afforded to support such a man—let him be called the Master