Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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158               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
wind listed or the fancy took him or his friends. He could not "settle down;" it was not in him. He was like a child in this respect, but, unlike a child, he could not be taught and he did not grow older. In face and form he might age; but his nature remained the same—youthful, volatile, anti-utilitarian. As different generations sprang up they seemed to take him up, use him in their joy and flush of youth, and then leave him—where they had found him. They went on— to work, in thought or action—to make money, perhaps achieve fame. He remained behind—in the play-ground which they had left—a boy-man. I never met with any of his friends, whatever difference there might be in their years, whose memories did not recall him in the self-same light and form—as the best of play-fellows—the quickest to turn his hand to all unprofitable kinds of labour. Who could organise a gipsy-party like Osmond? Who could " get up" a cricket-match or a boating-party, or an angling or shooting excursion like him? Who could paint transparencies for general illuminations (it was then the day of general illuminations), or design pretty devices for coloured lamps, or light them when they were up, or turn carpenter, or blacksmith, or groom, or anything else, " for the nonce," if he were required to do so? His presence was the signal that people were enjoying, or going to enjoy, themselves—that they were taking a holiday—a " red letter day " for themselves in life's almanac, to which, in all probability, they would look back in future years with a certain melancholy pleasure. " Ah, yes, I remember him well. How we did enjoy ourselves that day ! What fun we had! Poor Osmond (people got to call him so after a time), poor Osmond was there. What a famous fellow for a party! how handy he was! how clever, how good-tempered! how ready to help everybody and do everything; W7hat's become of him?"
And then, without waiting for a reply, with a half-smile, half-sigh, they put themselves into their groove again, and " moved on " in the great daily journey of life.
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