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Paul Preston gives some account of himself and his Parents. Warwick and Kenilworth
Castles. Hazardous Enterprise. Frank Berkeley. Rowton Well. An Accident Adventure with two Highwaymen. Ragged Roland. Frank Berkeley goes to Newfoundland. Comes back again, and visits Ireland. Returns home. Paul and Frank set sail for Newfoundland together.
Twould be strange indeed if a man with threescore years on his brow, who has lived a life of peril and adventure, had not much to relate. Time was, when you would have thought at a glance that I had spirit enough to go
through any undertaking ; but toil, and peril, and years, take the fire out of a man's eye.
You are looking at my weather-beaten face ;, it has lost the colour it once had. The world is wide, and Paul Pres
PAUL PRESTON'S PARENTS.
ton has been buffeted about in alınost every part of it. He has been where the mountains of ice never thaw; and he has been, too, where the sunbeam can hardly be borne.
You are looking at the scar on my forehead; it was given me by the cutlass of a pirate : but that is too long a tale to tell now-you shall have it by and by.
There are few young people who have not in their hearts a desire to cross the seas, to visit foreign lands, to see the wonders of creation, and to meet with strange adventures. This desire at an early age took possession of my mind. I thought but little of the folly, and altogether underrated the danger of leaving the land of my birth, and the friends who were dear to me, to wander in unknown climes among people who were strangers.
My parents were sober-minded, pious, and indulgent ; and, being in easy circumstances, they gave me a tolerable education. It would have saved me many a sorrow if I had profited by the example they set me; often have I repented of my error. I was taught to fear God, and to live in charity with all mankind ; and reason enough have I had to be thankful that these things were taught me, though I never valued the knowledge of them as I ought to have done. I was taught, too, to look on my native land as the best land the sun ever shone upon, and an acquaintance PAUL VISITS WARWICK CASTLE. 13 with other countries has only deepened this conviction in my mind.
We lived in Warwickshire, and, as we were on terms of intimacy with the steward's family of Warwick Castle, I had frequent opportunities of visiting that princely pile. To gaze on the famous porridge pot in the porter's lodge, to mount the stone steps of Cæsar's tower, and to linger in the armoury was my delight. I roamed around the castle amid the stately cedars, whose broad, flaky foliage spread far and wide, sweeping even the ground. I saw in the spacious apartments the portraits of renowned men. I handled the buff jackets and coats of mail worn by warriors of other days; and gazed on the costly curiosities from distant lands, spread in profusion before me.
Then again, at times, I strolled to Kenilworth to loiter amid the dreary ruins, and to wonder at the thickness of its desolated walls. I mention these things to show how, at an early period of my life, a love of adventure, and a desire to rove abroad, were called forth in my mind.
One day, when at Kenilworth, 1 observed two or three persons clambering up different parts of the building; a foolish desire to outdo them led me to mount a perilous place. After climbing a great while, I found myself near a wall close by one of the towers. Making a spring, I 14
caught hold of the edge of the stones with my finger ends, and scrambled up to the top of the wall. It led from one tower to an
other, and I walked along it to the terror and amazement of those below me. The mouldering earth along the wall caine up nearly to a point, with here and there a wild flower growing upon it; one of these 1 gathered, sticking it in the band of my hat. Had I fallen on one side, it must have been a fearful depth even to the ground-floor, wliereon, in the thirteenth century, the round table stood, around which a hundred knights and as many ladies are said to have banqueted. Had I fallen on the other, it would have been a depth much greater, being without the walls of the castle.
Already had I nearly reached the opposite tower, when a broken and impassable part of the wall stopped me in my course ; it became necessary to turn and retrace my
path. At every step the earth bad crumbled beneath my feet, and in turning round I displaced a loose stone, which fell with a dull, heavy sound on the green grass below. My eye followed the stone in its descent, and the great depth of the ground below me so affected my brain, that, to keep from falling, I crouched down on my hands and knees. In this humiliating attitude with difficulty I contrived to crawl back to the place where I mounted the wall. Mortified as my pride was, it was a luxury to find my feet once more on the firm ground in the court-yard of the castle. This youthful enterprise was only one among many instances of the foolish and reckless daring which marked my early days. Well do I remember giving the wallflower that I had gathered at Kenilworth to a play-fellow of mine, the daughter of a neighbour, with the words on paper attached to it,
In danger I grew—I was gathered for you.' Child as she was, Emily Stanhope never forgot this little attention.
• I had a schoolfellow of the naine of Frank Berkeley, and we seemed born to go through the world together. Not that our dispositions were exactly alike, for that was not the case ; but we suited each other all the better for that very reason. In daring enterprise he outdid me, but in cool de