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THE OLD TIMES AND THE NEW.

CHAPTER I.

EARLY DAYS.

Pray do not mock me.
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Four score and upwards.

SHORTLY before my birth the whole continent of Europe was in a blaze. Frederic the Great, jealous of the alliance between France and Austria, and eager for the further aggrandizement of the house of Hohenzollern, had precipitated the Seven Years' War; and although the heroic Maria Theresa reckoned among her allies the Emperor of Russia, the Kings of France and Sweden, the Queen of Poland, and the rulers of Saxony and Bavaria, she found herself unequal to contend successfully with the armies of Prussia, whose ally was the King of England.

When I was born, Clive, by the brilliancy of his military operations, and the sagacity which marked his civil administration, was consolidating our vast

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Indian empire, and our cousins on the great American continent were still faithful to the sovereignty of the British crown.

The circumstances of our own rebellion had not been effaced from the recollection of my family and its retainers; and although in public such things might not be confessed, I suspect there were not a few of our people who, in their heart of hearts, gave more allegiance to the memory of the Prince than to the throne of the Georges: some of them, I daresay, still squeezed the orange with significant gesture, and could intimate a dangerous toast so dexterously as to escape the ban of penal statutes.

My own life has not been free from excitement, produced little indeed by its ordinary concerns, but often intensely stirred by striking events in the great world around. There I have seen old dynasties tottering to their base, and the occupants of thrones proud in the records of their antiquity give way to the parvenus of yesterday.

I occupy the old house that for centuries my family have been happy to call their home. Its thick and ivied walls and unadorned exterior look with disdain on the architectural efforts of modern days, and its interior arrangements remain unaffected by the changes and caprices of fashion ; but for all that it has attractions for me that compensate for

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