Page:What will he do with it.djvu/436
426 WHAT WILL LIE DO WITH IT?
and reforms — especially when marriage and reform are accom- panied with increased income, and settled respectably in Alham- bra Villa — relations, before estranged, tender kindly overtures ; the world, before austere, becomes indulgent. It was so with Poole — no longer Dolly. Grant that in earlier life he had fallen into bad ways, and, among equivocal associates, he had been led on by that taste for sporting which is manly though a perilous characteristic of the true-born Englishman. He who loves horses is liable to come in contact with blacklegs. The racer is a noble animal ; but it is his misfortune that the better his breeding the worse his company. Grant that in the stables Adolphus Samuel Poole had picked up some wild oats — he had sown them now. By-gones were by-gones. He had made a very prudent marriage. Mrs. Poole was a sensible woman — had rendered him domestic, and would keep him straight ! His Uncle Samuel, a most worthy man, had found him that sensible woman, and, having found her, had paid his nephew's debts, and, adding a round sum to the lady's fortune, had seen that the whole was so tightly settled on wife and children that Poole had the tender satisfaction of knowing that happen what might to himself, those dear ones were safe ; nay, that if, in the reverses of fortune, he should be compelled by persecuting creditors to fly his native shores, law could not impair the competence it had settled upon Mrs. Poole, nor de- stroy her blessed privilege to share that competence with a be- loved spouse. Insolvency itself thus protected by a marriage- settlement realizes the sublime security of virtue immortalized by the Roman Muse :
" Repulsje nescia sordidae,
lutaminatis fulget honoribus,
Nee sumit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio populaiis auiae."
Mr. Poole was an active man in the parish vestry — he was a sound politician — he subscribed to public charities — he attended public dinners — he had votes in half a dozen public institutions — he talked of the public interests, and called himself a public man. He chose his associates among gentlemen in business — speculative, it is true, but steady. A joint-stock company was set up ; he obtained an official station at its board, coupled with a salary — not large, indeed, but still a salary.
"The money," said Adolphus Samuel Poole, "is not my ob- ject ; but I like to. have something to do." I cannot say how he did something, but no doubt somebody was done.
Mr. Poole was in his parlor, reading letters and sorting papers,