Proofed and corrected from the scanned original edition.
An excerpt from the beginning of:
PRIDE OF PATRIMONY.
The inhabitants of the town of A— were divided in opinion as to whether they ought to be thankful or not for the new road having been brought within a quarter of a mile of their market-place. There were traditions, in the memories of the old people, of their town having once been a place of considerable importance; and a few vestiges of such importance remained to gratify the pride, and fill up the spare hours of two or three antiquarians within its bounds. The old people and these antiquarians agreed in trembling for the fate of their beloved carved gateways and projecting fronts of houses, amidst the brick edifices which were springing up in the neighbourhood, and the new incentives to improvement which had arisen; but they granted that every townsman ought to wish for the increase of his native place in consequence and wealth. There were some who already began to look contemptuously on the streets of low, rambling houses, amidst which their days had been passed, and to expend all their love and admiration on the new inn which flared upon the scarce-finished road, and the sets of red “lodges,” “villas,” and “cottages,” which stood in patches on the western outskirts of the town. The builders of the place, of course, spoke much in praise of improvement, and those whose house-property stood in the half empty streets on the eastern side of A— had no less to say against innovation. There was little dispute, meanwhile, on one point: that the town had always suffered from its being in the centre of a fine sporting country. The dwellings of the gentry were, almost without exception, situated at some distance among the moors or the fells. Even the physicians’ and lawyers’ houses stood by themselves—in gardens or surrounded by walls—in emulation of the mansions and shooting-boxes which might be seen from the church tower; so that this church tower, and the blue slates of a few meeting-houses rose from amidst a congregation of tradesmen’s dwellings. The large old inn, the Turk’s Head, was almost the only handsome house of any respectable age. The town was thought to suffer much in the estimation of strangers from this deficiency; and the inhabitants became the more sensible of it, the more strangers were brought to cast a passing glance upon the place from the new road, or to make a note of what they saw from the balcony of the modern inn, the Navarino, while waiting for horses.
A party of strangers arrived one day, whose opinion of the town was of some consequence, as it might determine or prevent their residence in the neighbourhood. They did not stop either at the Turk’s Head or at the Navarino, but only for two minutes to inquire for the steward of Fellbrow Park, who was found to have preceded the party to their destination. News had circulated for some days past of the arrival of a letter from young Mr. Cranston, declaring his intention of coming to throw open the house, and to examine the estate which had been deserted by his father for many years before his death. The steward was desired not to draw a nail from the gates; and to make no further preparation for the arrival of the heir than having workmen ready to open a way for him into his own court-yard.