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by which others have been overwhelmed, and guide to safety and success. The object of the present exhibition is to furnish such a beacon: it will therefore be necessary, that for awhile the attention of my readers should be directed to other persons than those to whom they have already been introduced.
The part of the country in which Mr. Harmer resided was, during the summer season, a fashionable resort. To it invalids repaired, in the pursuit of health, ladies of a certain age, to seek husbands, and broker-down spendthrifts to retrieve, in any way that might offer, their fortunes. Among others with whom Mr. Harmer formed some slight acquaintance, during one of these seasons of hilarity, was a Mr. Charles Overreach; a person, whose address and habits, as far as they were seen, were of the most agreeable kind; but whose principles, like those of his namesake, were such as to dispose him to have recourse to any and every means, so that he might execute the purposes which he had planned. He carried himself with the ease and gracefulness of a gentleman, mixed with the best society, and passed for what he seemed to be. Whether he derived the qualifications, with which he was so eminently endowed, from hereditary descent, to play the consummate sharper and perfect villain, or whether the circumstances in which his family was found, arose out of uncontrolable misfortune, I am not prepared positively to assert; circumstances however pointed to the former.
The hero of this part of my tale, was the son of a farmer of some respectability, who resided in a small village in one of the Northern counties of our island. The property of which the family were the possessors, was not large, although their ancestors had been substantial yeomen in the county, and had enjoyed considerable landed property. The little of it that descended to the present remnant of the family of that title, was soon exhausted, by the prosecution of a protracted lawsuit with a late noble lord, relative to a disputed purchase of some land by his lordship, from the grandfather of our hero. Their failure in the court of law was, as with thousands of others it has been,-the ruin of the family.. Still the sons were, in their own judgments,-gentlemen, and gentlemen they determined to continue, whoever might bear their expenses. Sometime after the failure referred to, took place, the father made a virtue of necessity, and made a hasty passage, with what he could conveniently get together, to Nova Scotia.
Some men are said to live by their wits, rather than by honest industry; and it is a painful fact, that thousands in the metropolis of our land, like hungry vultures, feast and fatten upon the vitals of others' cares and anxieties. Here, for awhile, they run down and destroy their unsuspecting prey, and then shape their slimy course to other towns of magnitude or importance. In person, they are perfect-hommes qui, suit la mode: their equipage and establishments are highly attractive; in spirit
they are unmercenary and noble; in conversation, courtesy and kindness itself; while a breath of doubt escaping the teeth, concerning their connexions and honour, would be immediately followed by the presentation of a card, and a request that your own time, place, &c. &c., may be fixed,although themselves never intend to regard either.
This hasty outline of a modern gentleman of 1831, is sketched from life: it was sat for by the original, and that original-who by the by is only a fac-simile of multitudes swarming around us-is Charles Overreach. On the departure of his father for the shores of America, himself and an elder brother, equally a M. A. in the projected course, left the little village which gave them birth, and emerging like a pair of hawkmoths from their parent grub, they alighted, after a speedy flight, in the sunny regions of the metropolis.
Byron has observed, “truth is more strange than fiction," and in the romance of every-day life, the sentiment is frequently proved to be correct to the very letter. Incidents not unfrequently occur, of such astounding character, that were the writers of fiction to report them, they would, by not a few, be denounced as outragers of possibility, and libellers of nature. The records of many a man's life, less hackneyed in the way of adventures and rascality than either of the Overreaches, would prove the noble bard's statement to be correct.
Charles and his brother had not long settled as adventurers in London, before it seemed proper
and necessary that Charles should take an excursion to Liverpool, and thither he went. Every shade of rusticity, which attached to him on his first appearance in the city, was now completely removed, and he appeared in this modern Tyre,
"A very pink of elegance and fashion,
With little more than impudence to dash on."
At the morning lounges, and evening haunts, he was a constant visitor. Sometimes he sauntered round the Exchange, and at others repaired to the library and philosophical institutions. The Lyceam, or the Athenæum he favoured by day, and the Wellington rooms, or Theatre, at night. Who he was, no one knew; and as each had his own peculiar concerns to attend to-no one cared.
During one of his rambles on the outskirts of the town, a circumstance occurred which he had well nigh turned to no ordinary account. A young lady, who resided in the neighbourhood, the daughter of a West Indian planter, was particularly fond of riding in the saddle; and hence it was an exercise which she frequently took, and in which she had become a considerable proficient. On the day in question, Miss Granby had mounted a mettlesome palfrey, and in a gentle canter left her father's house. She had thus proceeded some distance, when the sudden yelping of a cur, startled the animal,—suddenly he pricked his ears, plunged wildly, and bounded forwards at a furious speed. Miss Granby endeavoured to pull it in, but in vain ;
her utmost strength was insufficient to check its course it appeared as if the attempt rather provoked its speed than slackened its career. Charles Overreach beheld the affrighted animal advancing towards him, bearing upon his back the shrieking lady, whose danger every moment became increasingly imminent. He was strong and athletic, and without reasoning on consequences, he snatched at the bridle, and fortunately caught it. In a moment his task was accomplished,-the horse was stopped, and the rider, half fainting through fear, was received into his arms.
So singular and romantic an introduction for two persons to experience, who had just arrived at such a period of life as was most likely to improve upon the circumstance, was for Overreach especially, most fortunate;-at least, he considered it to be so.
The beautiful burden which he still retained, by degrees revived, and in a tone and manner which bespoke the accomplished lady, she acknowledged her obligations to her preserver, and in a few minutes remounted the now quiet animal, and, escorted by Overreach, who as a true knighterrant, walked by her side, returned home. Here the acknowledgments of the fair one, were again tendered, together with an introduction to her parents, from whom likewise having heard the tale of imminent danger their daughter had to tell -he received the warmest expressions of thankfulness. Whether any feeling beyond the mercenary one of pecuniary advantage possessed him, is hard