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Squire Petrick’s Lady
by [?]

His manner towards his son grew colder and colder from that day forward; and it was with bitterness of heart that he discerned the characteristic features of the Petricks unfolding themselves by degrees. Instead of the elegant knife-edged nose, so typical of the Dukes of Southwesterland, there began to appear on his face the broad nostril and hollow bridge of his grandfather Timothy. No illustrious line of politicians was promised a continuator in that graying blue eye, for it was acquiring the expression of the orb of a particularly objectionable cousin of his own; and, instead of the mouth-curves which had thrilled Parliamentary audiences in speeches now bound in calf in every well-ordered library, there was the bull- lip of that very uncle of his who had had the misfortune with the signature of a gentleman’s will, and had been transported for life in consequence.

To think how he himself, too, had sinned in this same matter of a will for this mere fleshly reproduction of a wretched old uncle whose very name he wished to forget! The boy’s Christian name, even, was an imposture and an irony, for it implied hereditary force and brilliancy to which he plainly would never attain! The consolation of real sonship was always left him certainly; but he could not help groaning to himself, “Why cannot a son be one’s own and somebody else’s likewise?”

The Marquis was shortly afterwards in the neighborhood of Stapleford, and Timothy Petrick met him, and eyed his noble countenance admiringly. The next day, when Petrick was in his study, somebody knocked at the door.

“Who’s there?”

“Rupert. ”

“I’ll Rupert thee, you young impostor! Say, only a poor common-place Petrick!” his father grunted. “Why didn’t you have a voice like the Marquis I saw yesterday?” he continued, as the lad came in. “Why haven’t you his looks, and a way of commanding as if you’d done it for centuries—hey?”

“Why? How can you expect it, father, when I’m not related to him?”

“Ugh! Then you ought to be!” growled his father.