Crotchet Castle HTML version

language of German romance, is described as "scathed by the ineradicable
traces of the thunderbolts of Heaven;" so that, contemplating their relative
geological positions, the poor deserted damsel was flourishing on slate, while her
rich and false young knight was pining on chalk.
Squire Crotchet had also one daughter, whom he had christened Lemma, and
who, as likely to be endowed with a very ample fortune was, of course, an object
very tempting to many young soldiers of fortune, who were marching with the
march of mind, in a good condition for taking castles, as far as not having a groat
is a qualification for such exploits. She was also a glittering bait to divers young
squires expectant (whose fathers were too well acquainted with the occult
signification of mortgage), and even to one or two sprigs of nobility, who thought
that the lining of a civic purse would superinduce a very passable factitious nap
upon a thread-bare title. The young lady had received an expensive and
complicated education, complete in all the elements of superficial display. She
was thus eminently qualified to be the companion of any masculine luminary who
had kept due pace with the "astounding progress" of intelligence. It must be
confessed, that a man who has not kept due pace with it, is not very easily found:
this march being one of that "astounding" character in which it seems impossible
that the rear can be behind the van. The young lady was also tolerably good
looking: north of Tweed, or in Palestine, she would probable have been a beauty;
but for the valleys of the Thames she was perhaps a little too much to the taste of
Solomon, and had a nose which rather too prominently suggested the idea of the
tower of Lebanon, which looked towards Damascus.
In a village in the vicinity of the Castle was the vicarage of the Reverend Doctor
Folliott, a gentleman endowed with a tolerable stock of learning, an interminable
swallow, and an indefatigable pair of lungs. His pre-eminence in the latter faculty
gave occasion to some etymologists to ring changes on his name, and to decide
that it was derived from Follis Optimus, softened through an Italian medium into
Folle Ottimo, contracted poetically into Folleotto, and elided Anglice into Folliott,
signifying a first-rate pair of bellows. He claimed to be descended lineally from
the illustrious Gilbert Folliott, the eminent theologian, who was a Bishop of
London in the twelfth century, whose studies were interrupted in the dead of night
by the Devil, when a couple of epigrams passed between them, and the Devil, of
course, proved the smaller wit of the two.
This reverend gentleman, being both learned and jolly, became by degrees an
indispensable ornament to the new squire's table. Mr. Crotchet himself was
eminently jolly, though by no means eminently learned. In the latter respect he
took after the great majority of the sons of his father's land; had a smattering of
many things, and a knowledge of none; but possessed the true northern art of
making the most of his intellectual harlequin's jacket, by keeping the best patches
always bright and prominent.