The Little Ball O' Fire; or the Life and ures of John Marston Hall
My father was a gentleman of small estate in Lincolnshire, whose family possessions, under a race of generous ancestors, had dwindled from splendid lordships to bare competence. His blood, which was derived from as noble a source as that of any in the land, had come down to him pure through a number of knights and nobles, who, though they were little scrupulous as to the means of spending their riches, were very careful not to augment them by cultivating any but the somewhat barren field of war. He made a love match with a daughter of the second Lord Wilmerton; and, in order that his wife might not draw unpleasant comparisons between the station of her husband and that of her father, he frequented the court, and lived beyond his means. He was already in difficulties when I was born; but, like a brave man, he resolved to meet them boldly, and, after some solicitation, obtained a small military appointment, which increased his revenue without adding to his expenses. Loyalty with him was a passion, which, like love in other men, prevented him from seeing any faults in its object; and, of course, as the court well knew that no benefits could make him more loyal than he already was, it showered its favours upon persons whose affection was to be gained, leaving him to struggle on without further notice...