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bringing out her book, and of advertising up her name ', &c., &c., &c., will be very great,—so great, indeed, that you cannot undertake' it, unless', indeed', she agrees to let you have the first offer of everything she writes for five years to come, at somewhere about' a fourth of the usual rate of a successful author's pay-thōu(gh), of côurse, you don't tell her that. You take advantage of her inexperience to bind her by this iniquitous contract, knowing that the end of it will be that you will advance her a little money and get her into your power, and then will send her down there to the Hutches, where all the spirit and originality and genius will be crushed out of her work, and she will become a hat-writer 2 like the rest of them-for Meeson's is a strictly commercial undertaking, you know, and Meeson's public don't like genius, they like their literature dull and hōly!—and it's an infernal shame! that's what it is, uncle!" and the young man, whose blue eyes were by this time flashing fire, for he had worked himself up 3 as he went along, brought his fist down with a bang upon the writing-table by way of emphasising his words. "Have you done?" said his uncle.

"Yes, I've done; and I hope that I have put it plain 4." "Very well; and now might I ask you, suppōsing that you should ever come to manage this business, if your sentiments accurately represent the system upon which you would proceed'?"

"Of course they do. I am not going to turn dishonest for anybody." "Thank you. They seem to have taught you the art of plain speaking up at Oxford-thōugh, it appears'," with a sneer, “they taught you very little else. Well, now it is my turn to speak; and

1) The author being unknown, M. had to advertise her book on a large scale and for a considerable time, so as to bring her name well before the public, to raise it from obscurity.

2) See p. 2, note 2.

3) He worked himself up into a passion, he became more and more pas'sionate while he was talking on.

4) I have expressed myself quite clearly.

5) M.'s nephew had been educated at Oxford, where he seemed to have acquired the habit of saying exactly what he meant. Up at is more emphatic than at.

6) A sneer is an ugly grin, produced by some contortion of the face, and indicating derision or contempt.

I tell you what it is, young man: you will either instantly beg my pardon for what you have said, or you will leave Meeson's for good and all."

"I won't beg your pardon for speaking the truth," said Eustace hotly; "the fact is, that here you never hear the truth: all these poor děvils creep and crawl about you, and daren't call their souls their ōwn. I shall be devilish glad to get out of this place, I can tell you. I hate it. The place reeks of sharp practice and money-making— money-making by fair means or foul."


The elder man had, up till now, at all events' to outward appearance, kept his temper; but this last flower of vigorous English was altogether too much for one whom the possession of so much money had for many years shielded from hearing unpleasant truths put roughly. His face grew like a devil's, his thick eyebrows contract'ed themselves, and his pale lips quivered with fury. For a few seconds he could not speak, so great was his emotion. When, at length, he did, his voice was as thick and laden with rage as a dense mist is with rain. "You impudent young räscal!" he began, "you ungrateful foundling! Do you suppose that when my brother left you to starve― which was all that you were fit for-I picked you out of the gutter for this: that you should have the in'solence to come and tell me how to conduct my business? Now, young man, I'll just tell you what it is. You can be off and conduct a business of your ōwn on whatever principles you choose. Get out of Meeson's, sir; and never dare to show your nose here again', or I'll give the porters orders to hus(t)le you off the premises! And, now, that isn't all. I've done with you; never you look to me for another sixpence! I'm not going to support you any longer, I can tell you. And,

1) A place reeks of (with) vapour, steam, smoke; it is entirely filled with it and smells of it. Everything in the place indicated cunning, driving hard bargains, and sweating the subordinates.


2) A gutter is a small chănnel along the side of a road to carry off dirty water. To pick one out of the gutter means to raise one from a miserable condition and keep him from starvation.

3) I'll tell you what or what it is means what my plan, my intention is, what I am going to do.

4) He would be pushed rudely from the premises, i. e. the house and the immediate surround'ings belong'ing to it.

what's more, do you know what I am going to do just now 1? I'm going off to old Todd-that's my lawyer-and I'm going to tell him to make another will and to leave every farthing I have—and that isn't much short of two millions, one way and another 2—to Addison and Roscoe. They don't want it, but that dōn't matter. You shä'n't have it—no, not a farthing of it; and I wōn't have a pile3 like that frittered away in chărities and mismănagement. There now, my fine young gentleman, just be off and see if your new business principles will get you a living."

"All right, uncle; I'm going," said the young man quietly. "I quite understand what our quarrel means for me, and, to tell you the truth, I am not sorry. I have never wished to be dependent on you, or to have anything to do with a business carried on as Meeson's is. I have a hundred a year my mother left me, and, with the help of that and my education, I hope to make a living. Still, I don't want to part from you in anger, because you have been very kind to me at times, and, as you remind' me, you picked me out of the gutter when I was orphaned or not far from it. So I hope you will shake hands before I go."


"Ah!" snarled his uncle; "you want to pipe down now, do you? But that won't do. Off you go! and mind you don't set foot in Pompadour Hall" 6—Mr, Meeson's seat-"unless it is to get your clothes (pron. clōthz). Come, cut 7!"

1) Just now here means at this very moment.

2) Taking everything together.

3) See p. 3, note 2.

4) His mother was dead and his father left him to starve, did not provide for him, so that he was not quite, but as good as a norphan. The name orphan is sometimes applied to children who have only one pârent living.

5) To pipe is to produce a shrill sound with a pipe or whis(t)le. The fig. expression to pipe down means to speak less boldly, to submit' (Dutch: een toontje lager zingen).

6) This name may have been su(g)gested by the grand style in which the well-known March(i)oness of Pompadoür at the côurt of Lewis XIV. lived and the splendour with which she surround'ed herself. (See the description of M.'s place at the end of this chapter.)

1) Cut (your stick) is slangy for run away' quickly, get you gone immediately.

"You misunderstand me," said Eustace, with a touch of native dignity which became him very well. "Probably we shall not meet again', and I did not wish to part in anger, that was all. Good morning." And he bowed and left the office.


"Confound' him!" muttered his uncle as the dôor closed, "he's a good plucked 2 one-showed spirit. But I'll show spirit, too. Meeson is a man of his word. Cut him off with a shilling 3? not I; cut him off with nothing at all! And yet, curse it, I like the lad. Well, I've done with him, thanks to that minx of a Smithers girl 4. Perhaps he's sweet on her? then they can go and starve together, and be hanged to them! She had better keep out of my way, for she shall smart for this, so sure as my name is Jonathan Meeson. I'll keep her up to the letter of that agreement, and, if she tries to publish a book inside of this country or out of it, I'll crush her—yes, I'll crush her, if it costs me five thousand to do it!" and, with a snarl, he dropped his fist heavily upon the table before him.

Then he rose, put poor Augusta's agree'ment carefully back into the safe, which he shut with a săvage snap, and proceeded to visit the various departments of his vast establishment, and to make such

1) Another word for damn, but less rude.

2) Pluck means courage, spirit. A plucked one is courageous, stands his ground. The usual form of the adjective is plucky.

3) To cut one off with a shilling means to disinherit the rightful heir. The idea prevails in England, that a father cannot entirely disinherit his son; therefore he leaves him a shilling pro forma. This practice may have been introduced to show that the testator was of sound mind when he made his will and meant to disinherit the offen'der. M. intended to leave his nephew nothing.

4) A minx is a pert insolent girl. (Comp. vixen p. 11, note 1.) Expressions like, that angel of a Mary, that tyrant of a father, that rog(ue) of a merchant correspond to the Dutch die engel van een Marie, etc. 5) To be sweet on one means to be very fond of one, to be as good as in love with one. Comp.: Sweetheart.

6) I wish that they may be hanged; let them go to the devil. Comp.: Good luck to them I wish them good luck; Good day to you, etc.

7) A person is kept up to a thing if he is not allowed to neglect it or deviate from it. M. would compel' her to act up literally to what was stipulated in the agreement. If she did not, he would crush her, ru'in her, prosecute her to the last.


hay therein as had never before' been dreamt of in the classic halls 2 of Meeson's.

To this hour the clèrks of the great house talk of that dreadful day with bated breath-for as bloody Hector raged through the Greeks, so did the mighty Meeson rage through his hundred departments. In the very first office he caught a wretch'ed clerk eating sardine sand'wiches 4. Without a moment's hesitation he took the sandwiches and threw them through the window.

"Do you suppose I pay you to come and eat your filthy sandwiches here?" he asked săvagely. "There, now you can go and look for them; and see you here 5, don't trouble to come back, you idle, wòrthless fellow. Off you go! and remember you need not send to me for a character. Now then-double quick 8!"

The unfortunate depart'ed, feebly remonstrating, and Meeson, having glared round at the other clèrks and warned them that unless' they were careful-very careful-they would soon follow in his tracks 9, proceeded on his päth of devastation.

Presently he met an editor, No. 7 it was, who was bringing him an agreement to sign. He snatched it from him and glanced through it. "What do you mean by bringing me a thing like this?" he said; "it's all wrong."

1) To make hay is to turn the hay while it is being dried in the sun. Fig. it means to put things into great disor'der, to disturb the usual arrangements, the quiet, etc.

2) The adj. classic, first applied to famous authors of antiquity, is now also used of any author or work of the first rank, and of places connected with them. Classic halls is ironically used to denote' M's solid, famous, time-honoured business, where everything is conducted quietly and in accordance with established rules.

3) To bate is short for to abate to lessen, diminish, lower.

4) Two thin slices of bread with a sar'dine between.

5) Look here, listen to me, I'll tell you what.

6) You need not take the trouble.

7) A character is a written statement concern'ing the ability and the con'duct of a discharged' servant.

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8) Military command' Dutch: Voorwaarts, marsch!

9) Unusual for track.

Mr. Meeson's Will.

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