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Chapter 11

Mrs. Trunnion erects a Tyranny in the Garrison, while her Husband conceives an affection for his Nephew Perry, who manifests a peculiarity of disposition even in his tender years.

Having exercised herself three months in such pious amusements, she appeared again in the world; but her misfortune had made such an impression on her mind, that she could not bear the sight of a child, and trembled whenever conversation happened to turn upon a christening. Her temper, which was naturally none of the sweetest, seemed to have imbibed a double proportion of souring from her disappointment; of consequence, her company was not much coveted, and she found very few people disposed to treat her with those marks of consideration which she looked upon as her due. This neglect detached her from the society of an unmannerly world; she concentrated the energy of all her talents in the government of her own house, which groaned accordingly under her arbitrary sway; and in the brandy-bottle found ample consolation for all the affliction she had undergone.

As for the commodore, he in a little time weathered his disgrace, after having sustained many severe jokes from the lieutenant, and now his chief aim being to be absent from his own house as much as possible, he frequented the public-house more than ever, more assiduously cultivated the friendship of his brother-in-law, Mr. Pickle, and in the course of their intimacy conceived an affection for his nephew Perry, which did not end but with his life. Indeed it must be owned that Trunnion was not naturally deficient in the social passions of the soul, which though they were strangely warped, disguised, and overborne by the circumstance of his boisterous life and education, did not fail to manifest themselves occasionally through the whole course of his behaviour.

As all the hopes of propagating his own name had perished, and his relations lay under the interdiction of his hate, it is no wonder that through the familiarity and friendly intercourse subsisting between him and Mr. Gamaliel, he contracted a liking for the boy, who by this time entered the third year of his age, and was indeed a very handsome, healthy, and promising child; and what seemed to ingratiate him still more with his uncle, was a certain oddity of disposition, for which he had been remarkable even from his cradle. It is reported of him, that before the first year of his infancy was elapsed, he used very often, immediately after being dressed, in the midst of the caresses which were bestowed upon him by his mother, while she indulged herself in the contemplation of her own happiness, all of a sudden to alarm her with a fit of shrieks and cries, which continued with great violence till he was stripped to the skin with the utmost expedition by order of his affrighted parent, who thought his tender body was tortured by the misapplication of some unlucky pill; and when he had given them all this disturbance and unnecessary trouble, he would he sprawling and laughing in their faces, as if he ridiculed the impertinence of their concern. Nay, it is affirmed, that one day, when an old woman who attended in the nursery had by stealth conveyed a bottle of cordial waters to her mouth, he pulled his nurse by the sleeve, by a slight glance detected the theft, and tipped her the wink with a particular slyness of countenance, as if he had said, with a sneer, “Ay, ay, that is what you must all come to.” But these instances of reflection in a babe nine months old are so incredible, that I look upon them as observations, founded upon imaginary recollection, when he was in a more advanced age, and his peculiarities of temper became much more remarkable; of a piece with the ingenious discoveries of those sagacious observers, who can discern something evidently characteristic in the features of any noted personage whose character they have previously heard explained. Yet without pretending to specify at what period of his childhood this singularity first appeared, I can with great truth declare, that when he first attracted the notice and affection of his uncle, it was plainly perceivable.

One would imagine he had marked out t............

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