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Mr. Pettibone's Lineage

Mr. Pettibone's Lineage image
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My name ia Esek Pettiboue, and I , wish t fiffirm in ihu outset that it is a good thing to be well-born. In thus oonnectiog the mention of my namo with a positive statement, I am not unaware that a oatastrophe lies coiled up in the juxtapositiou. But I cannot help writing plainly that I am still in favor of a distiDguished famiiy-treo. Esto perpetua I To have had somebody for a great-grandfather that was somebody is exciting. To be able to look back on long liuee of ancestry that were rich, but respeotable, seems deuorous and all right. The present Earl of Warwiok, I thiuk, muat havo an idea that strict justice bas been done Tiim in the way of being launched properly into the world. I saw the Duke of Newcastle once, and as the farmer in Conway described Mount Washington, I thoughtthe Duke feit a propensity to " huuoh up sonie." Snmehow it is pleasant to look down on the órowd and have a conscious right to do so. Leít an orphan at the tender age o] four years, having no brothers or sisters to prop me round with young affections and sympathies, I feil into three pairs ol íiands, excellent In their way, but pecuiar. Patience, Eunice, and Mary Ann Pettibono, were rny aunts oa my father's side. All my mother'e relations kept shady when the lonely orphan looked about for proteotion ; bat Patisnce Petibone, in her stately way, said : " The )oy beloDgs to a good fatuily, and he hall oever want while his three auuts can support him." So I went to live with my plain, but benignant protectors, ü the State of New Harapshire. During rny boyhood, the beet-drilled esson that fell tu my keeping was this : - " Respect yourself. VVe come of more thnn ordinary parentage. Supeior blood was probably concerned in retting up tbe Pettibones. Hold your iead erect, and some dny you shall lave proif of your high lineage." I reínember onoo, on being told that ! must not share my juvenila sports with the tutcher's three little beings, begged to know why not. Auut Eunice looked at Patience, and Mary Aun ncw what she taeant. " ííy child," slowly niurmureU the eider iieter, "our fumily no doubt oame of a very oíd stock ; perbaps vve belong to the nobüity. Our ancestors, it is thought, carne over laden with honors, and no doubt were embarrassd with riches, though the latter irnpoitatiou has dwindled in the lapse of years. Respect yourself, aud when you, grow up you will uot regret thut your old and caref-il aunt di'i not wish you to play with butchers' offspriug." I feit niortiöed thal I had ever had a desire to " knuckle up" with any but kiDgs' eono, or sultans' little boys. I loDged to be arnong my equals iu the urchin-line, and fly my kite with only high-born youugsters. Thus I liTd in a constant scène of self-encbantment on the part of the sisterE, who assumed ali the port and feel ing that properly belong to ludies of qualily. Patrimonial tplendor to come danced before their dim eyes ; and handsoine settlemeuts. gay equipages, and a genrrul grandeur of eome sort looined up in tha luture for the Amen eau branch of the House of Pettiböne. It was a life of opulent self-delusion, which my auüts were never tired of nursing; and I was to young to doubt the nality of it. All the members of our liitle household hold up their headsj ag if each said, in bo mány words, " There is no original sin in our conapoeition, whutever of that commodity there may be niixed up with the commoa clay of Snon borough." Aunt Patience was a star, and dwelt aparl. AuDt Eunice looked at her through a detertnined pair of spectacle?, and wurshipped while ahe gazed. The youngest Bister Hved in a dreamy state of honora to come, and had constant zoological visionB of lions, griffins, and unicorns, drawn and qurtered in every poseibie style known to the Heraldw' Collego. The Koverend Hebrew Bullet, who U6e to drop in quite often and drink several compulsory glasses of home-raada wine, eneouraged his three parishioners in their aristocratie notions, and oxtoüed them for what he called their "stooping down to every-day life." lie differed wilh the ladies of onr house only on one point. He contended that the unicorn ol the Bible, and the rhinoceros of today, were one and the hatne animal. My auntB held a different opinión. In the sleeping room of my Aunt Patience, reposed a tiunk. Ofteu during tny cbildish years, I longed to lift the lid acd spy among its contenta the treas ures my young fancy cc tijured up as lying there in state. I dared not ask to have the cover raised for my gatiücation, as I had ofteu been told I was "too little" to estímate aright what thnt armorial box contained. "When you grow up, you shall see the inride of it," Aunt Mary Ann used to Bay to me; and so I wondered, and wished, but all in vain. I must have tbe virtue of vear before I could fiew the treasures of past magnificence so long eutombed in that wooden sarcophagus. Oqog I saw tbe faded sisters bending over the ti'unk togetber, and, a I thought, embalmiug something in camphor. Curiosity im pelled me to linger, but under some pretext, I was nodded out oí the room. Altbough my kinswomeu's meaiis were far íroin ampie, they determined that Swiftmoutb College sbould have the distinction of calling me one of her bodb, and accordiugly 1 was in due time sent for preparation to a neighboring academy. Years sf study and bard fare in Country boarding-houses told upoo my faelf importanoe as the deBcend ant of a ereat Englishman, notwilhgtanding all iny letters froin tbe honored three oame freighted witb oounsel to "respect myself and keep up the diguity of the farhily." Growirlg-uj) man forgets good couusel. Tho Aroudia of respecta bility s apt to give place to tho levity of foot-bull and other lowtontd acoornplisbments. The book of life, at that period, opens readily at fun and fiulic, and the insigiu of' greatness give the aohool-boy na invious pangs. I was niueteea when I enterod the hoary halls of Swiftmoulh. I cali them hoary beoause they had been built more than fifty years. To me they seemed unoommonly honry, aud I snuffed á'ntiquitj in the dusty purlieus. I uow bogau to study, in good earnest, the wisdom of the past. I aaw clearly the value of dead men and mouldy precepts, especially if the former had beeu en tombed a thousand years, and if the hitter were well done in eouuding Greek and Latin. I began to reverence royal line of deceased monarchs, dnd louged to connect my own narne, nor grovving into college popularity, with some far-off inighty one who had ruled n pomp and luxury h3 obsequious people. The truok ia Snowborough troubied my dreams. Ia that receptacle still slept the proof of our fsmily distinotion. "I vfill go," quoth I, "to the homeofiny aunts' next vacation, aud thero learn hoto we beoame mighty, and discover preeisely why wo don't practisa to-day our inherited claims to glory." I went to Snowborough. Auat Patience was now anxious to lay before her inapatieut nephevv the proof he burned to bthold. But first she must explain. All the oíd family documenta and letters were no doubt, destroyed in the fire of '98, aa nothing in the shape of parchment or paper irnpiying nobility had ever been discovered in Snowborough, or elsowhere. But - there had been preserved, for many yeare, a suit of imperial clothes, tbat had been worn by their great-grandfattier in England, and no doubt, in the New World aiso. These garaienta had been oarefully watched and guarded ; for were they uot the proof that their owner belonged to a station in life, second, if second at all, to the royal court of King George itself? Preoious oasket, into which I wassooQ to have tbe privilege ol gazing I Through how mauy long year8 these fond, foolish virgins had lighted their unfliokeriog lamps of expectatioo and hope at this oherished oíd shrine ! I was now on tny way to the family repositury of all our greatness. I went up stairs ''ou tho jump." We all knelt down before the wellpreserred box ; and my proud Aunt Patience, n a 8omewhat reveient manner, turued tha key. My beart - I am uot ashamed to uonfess it now, although it is forty years since the cjuartette, iu seare.h of family houors, were on their koees that imniaer ufternoon in Snowborough- -my lieart beat Liigh, I was about to look on that whioh inight be a duke's or an oarl'a regalia. Aud I was descended frono the owner in a diröct liue I I had hitely ben re&dïng Sbakspeare's "Titus Ándronieus" ; and I remembered, tbero beiore tbe ;runk, the lines, - "O sacred receptada of my joya, Sweet cell of virtue and uobility !" 1 ne lid went up, ana the sisters begau to unroll the preeious garments wliich ieemed all enshrined n aromatic gnms and gpioes. The odor of that interior ives with me to thia day ; and I grow "aint with the naemory of that hour. With pioüs precisión the olothes were uncovered, and at last the wbole suit was laid down beforemv expectant eyes, Reader ! I am an old man now, and aave uot long to walk this planet. But, whatever droudful shock uoay be in reserve for my decliuing years, I am oertuiu I oan bear it ; for I went through ;hat seeue at Suowborough, and still .ivo ! When the garments were fully dis)layoJ, all the aunts lookad at me. I lad been to college ; l had ïtudied Burke'a "Peerage"; I had been onoe to New York. Perhaps I could immediately name the exact station in noble British life, to which that guit of olothes )elonged. I could ; I saw it all at a (lauoe. I grew flustered and pulu I dared not look my poor deluded female relatives in the face. " What rank in the peerage do these jold laced garments and big buitons bekken ï" oried all three. "ft ú a tuit of servantes livtry .'" gasped I, aud feil haok with a Buudder. ïhat evening, after tho fun had gone down, we buried those hateful gartnents n a ditch at the bottom of tho gurden. Rest there, perturbed body-coat, yellow trousers, brown gaiters, and all 1 Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!"


Old News
Michigan Argus