The Old Manor House/Part 3

War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings should not play at. Nations would do well
T'extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief, and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their toy the world.

Chapter IEdit

ORLANDO could not, though he attempted it, conceal the anguish of his heart during the day: for though he had arranged with his new confident the means of seeing Monimia, it was far from certain these plans would succeed; or, could he be content with the means which he had used, however desirable the end. Monimia, who while she yielded to his earnest entreaties had always felt, from the natural rectitude of her understanding, the impropriety of their clandestine correspondence, would, he feared, be more than ever sensible of her indiscretion, when she found that a servant was entrusted with it – and on thinking over what had passed between him and the under keeper, he found more reason to entertain a good opinion of his acuteness than of his integrity. – When to these reflections were added the certainty of his immediate departure, and the uncertainty of his return; the mournful looks of his mother, who could not behold him without tears; the deep, but more silent sorrow marked on the countenance of his father, and the pensive expression of regret on those of his sisters; he could with difficulty go through the forms of a melancholy dinner, at which the General in vain attempted to call off the attention of his hosts to topics of common conversation, and to divert them from private misery by those public topics which then interested none of them. The expulsion of the Americans from the province of Canada, which had happened the preceding August; and the victory gained by the British fleet near Crown Point against a small number of their gondolas and galleys, in the course of the following October, successes of which exaggerated official accounts were just received, were matters whereon the General triumphantly descanted, and on which he obtained more attention from his audience, because he asserted very positively that, in consequence of these amazing advantages, the whole continent of America would submit, and the troops of course return as soon as they had chastised the insolent colonists sufficiently for their rebellion. – Orlando then, he assured his family, was not at all likely to join his regiment, which would almost immediately be ordered home; but would be the safe soldier of peace, and perhaps return to them in a few weeks, no otherwise altered than by his military air and a cockade. The only smile that was seen the whole day on the faces of any of the family was visible on that of Mrs Somerive, on the General's description of an American flight, though none had a more tender heart or a more liberal mind: but having heard only one side of the question, and having no time or inclination to investigate political matters, she now believed that the Americans were a set of rebellious exiles, who refused on false pretences 'the tribute to Caesar,' which she had been taught by scriptural authority ought to be paid. Thus considering them, she rejoiced in their new defeat, and was insensible of their misery; though, had not the new profession of Orlando called forth her fears for him, she would probably never have thought upon the subject at all – a subject with which, at that time, men not in parliament and their families supposed they had nothing to do. They saw not the impossibility of enforcing in another country the very imposts to which, unrepresented, they would not themselves have submitted. Elate with national pride, they had learned by the success of the preceding war to look with contempt on the inhabitants of every other part of the globe; and even on their colonists, men of their own country – little imagining that from their spirited resistance

'The child would rue that was unborn