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Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/The silver cord - Part 4

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With most of the facts mentioned in the preceding pages Mr. Berry was well acquainted, and at such of the minor details in the history of Archibald Vernon and his children as had never come formally before the solicitor, he could have made a shrewd guess. He could have added, had it been necessary for him to enter into matters on which Arthur Lygon was as well informed as himself, that Mr. Vernon's period of residence at Lipthwaite had been about the most creditable portion of his life. Called upon for no active and regular exertion to maintain a household around him, but supplied, at dates which were never anticipated or over-passed, with the means of living respectably, and being, moreover, as he well knew, under the surveillance of more than one friend of the ladies of Clapham, Vernon gradually subsided into habits of order and exactness, and even found comfort to the indolence of his nature in departing as little as possible from the clockwork régime of life in a small country town. He still preserved his energetic delivery, which rather frightened some of his Lipthwaite acquaintances, and deluded others into the conviction—thoroughly shared by himself—that he was a great man, thrown away; but his only energy was in his speech, and he would postpone, for the most fragile reasons, the writing the commonest letter of business or courtesy. But he read a good deal, indited many yards of the severest poetical denunciations of society, and perhaps secretly cherished an idea that some day the desired convulsion of that society would take place, when, like Lamartine's, his pen would be found sword and sceptre in the new era. His life was perfectly harmless, and its real poetry, although he knew not that it was so, lay in the admiring affection which he felt for his three pretty daughters, and in their earnest love for their fond and unhelpful father.

He was not living at Lipthwaite at the time at which our narrative begins. A cottage, on the Bolk's Hill road, which had been taken for him by the Misses Judson, was within a short walk of the school at which the girls were placed, and during the time of their undergoing the educational process, as understood by Mrs. Spagley and her assistants, Hermit Hut, as he had been pleased to name it, answered the purpose for which it was designed, that of an unpretentious home for a family of very Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/626 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/627 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/628 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/629 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/630 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/631