A Blighted Life/Section 10

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And now, sir, I ought to, and would make you many apologies for inflicting upon you such a long, and to you--necessarily unintersting history--but that I read and believed the "Notice" appended to your last (every one says) "masterly work," and have done you the honour of taking you for an honest man. And hence this otherwise unwarrantable infliction. As I told you at the commencement of this letter, I want you to do nothing for me; for nothing can now be done; and yet for three things in your power to do, without in any way compromising yourself, I should be very grateful to you:--

Firstly. To tell the facts herein contained as far, and as wide as you can.

Secondly. In telling them, to say nothing of, or nothing against my truly unfortunate son, who, God knows, is well punished! for the fearful weakness in which he has been purposely trained, by his relentless and unscrupulous father, that he might effectually crush by moulding him resistlessly to his will.

Thirdly. As a man of real genius, as you are, you must be in the habit of analysing human nature, by a sort of psychological vivisection, or you never could produce the photographs of characters you do. Can you then conjecture, or suggest any clue, to my unhappy son's contradictory conduct? Emanating as it were from two distinctly opposite natures; the one almost angelic, the other almost the reverse. But putting his weakness, and more than Hamletish dreamy irresolution out of the analysis; you must not seek a solution of his unworthy conduct in the equally unworthy and mundane fear of being disinherited. No doubt his vile father! would leave him a beggar, if he could, but that he might not immolate all to his own Juggernaut selfishness, Knebworth is not only strictly entailed upon his son, but luckily, stringently 12 deep after him, or Sir L. might have got his poor weak victim to cut off the entail. If you can solve this enigma, I should be so grateful.

I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servent,

Wednesday, February 10th, 1864.

P.S.--One thing I forgot to mention to you, which was, that the last time I saw that double-dealing sneak, Dr. R_____, which was the day that upon leaving town I asked him to write to Mr. Ironside about the swindle of my book; he said suddenly, apropos de bottes1, "The fact is we have been completely sold!" which solitary truth from him was, as you may suppose, a great consolation to me, seeing how indefatigable he had assisted in sellimg me. He then added, clenching his hand, and muttering to himself "Well, I think I'd have begged my bread before I could have used my mother so!" It is he that would! But it is so easy always to say the right and do the wrong thing, which is the compromise most men make with the Devil.--R.B.L.


  1. apropos de bottes: suddenly, out of the blue