Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

PAGE 2

Squire Toby’s Will
by [?]

These brothers differed in some points; but in one material characteristic they resembled one another, and also their departed father. They never went into a quarrel by halves, and once in, they did not stick at trifles.

The elder, Scroope Marston, the more dangerous man of the two, had never been a favorite of the old squire. He had no taste for the sports of the field and the pleasures of a rustic life. He was no athlete, and he certainly was not handsome. All this the squire resented. The young man, who had no respect for him, and outgrew his fear of his violence as he came to manhood, retorted. This aversion, therefore, in the ill-conditioned old man grew into positive hatred. He used to wish that d   d pippin-squeezing, humpbacked rascal Scroope out of the way of better men  meaning his younger son Charles; and in his cups would talk in a way which even the old and young fellows who followed his hounds, and drank his port, and could stand a reasonable amount of brutality, did not like.

Scroope Marston was slightly deformed, and he had the lean sallow face, piercing black eyes and black lank hair, which sometimes accompany deformity.

"I’m no feyther o’ that hog-backed creature. I’m no sire of hisn, d   n him! I’d as soon call that tongs son o’ mine," the old man used to bawl, in allusion to his son’s long, lank limbs: "Charlie’s a man, but that’s a jack-an-ape. He has no good nature; there’s nothing handy, nor manly, nor no one turn of a Marston in him. "

And when he was pretty drunk, the old squire used to swear he should never "sit at the head o’ that board; nor frighten away folk from Gylingden Hall wi’ his d   d hatchet face  the black loon!"

Handsome Charlie was the man for his money. He knew what a horse was, and could sit to his bottle; and the lasses were all clean mad about him. He was a Marston every inch of his six foot two.

Handsome Charlie and he, however, had also had a row or two. The old squire was free with horsewhip as with his tongue, and on occasion when neither weapon was quite practicable, had been known to give a fellow "a tap o’ his knuckles. " Handsome Charlie, however, thought there was a period at which personal chastisement should cease; and one night, when the port was fiowing, there was some allusion to Marion Hayward, the miller’s daughter, which for some reason the old gentleman did not like. Being "in liquor," and having clearer ideas about pugilism than self-government, he struck out, to the surprise of all present, at handsome Charlie. The youth threw back his head scientifically, and nothing followed but the crash of a decanter on the floor. But the old squire’s blood was up, and he bounced from his chair. Up jumped handsome Charlie, resolved to stand no nonsense. Drunken Squire Lilbourne, intending to mediate, fell fiat on the floor, and cut his ear among the glasses. Handsome Charlie caught the thump which the old squire discharged at him upon his open hand, and catching him by the cravat, swung him with his back to the wall. They said the old man never looked so purple, nor his eyes so goggle before; and then handsome Charlie pinioned him tight to the wall by both arms.

"Well, I say  come, don’t you talk no more nonsense o’ that sort, and I won’t lick you," croaked the old squire. "You stopped that un clever, you did. Didn’t he? Come, Charlie, man, gie us your hand, I say, and sit down again, lad. " And so the battle ended; and I believe it was the last time the squire raised his hand to handsome Charlie.