They learn to regard the community not as better than themselves, but as more successful pensioners of fortune; they fear them because the advantage of numbers is on their side, but they hate them because they feel, either justly or unjustly, that they have suffered injustice at their hands, and they will prey upon them when opportunity serves not only from the original motive of physical need, but from the additional and more sinister one, bred in prison, of retaliation for the wrong done them.
You can name whatever sum you choose for your board, and I will give it to you in quarterly instalments for your pensioners." I was silent for a few moments, perplexed to know what answer to give. If he were to take from my own income the sum I might mention if I accepted his terms, would I not still be a debtor to his hospitality? I spoke at last, knowing that his eyes were reading my face.
Princely families, once the rulers of India, are now either houseless wanderers in the land they once called their own, or are pensioners on the bounty of those strangers by whom their fortunes have been overthrown. They who were noble and gentle for ages are now merged in the common mass of the people.
No; it was one of the not least subtle and delicious refinements of her revenge. To know him who had rejected her, the rival who had supplanted, the miserable pensioners of her bounty, was dear to her haughty and disdainful hate. The lust of power, ever stronger in her than avarice, more than reconciled her to the sacrifice of gold.
It was a sad meeting, though so long anxiously desired, and it was followed on 10th June, 1799, by an equally sad wedding, exiles, pensioners on the bounty of the Russian monarch, fulfilling an engagement founded, not on personal preference, but on family policy and reverence for the wishes of the dead, the bride and bridegroom had small cause for rejoicing.
Sailors and their wives crowded around Wilkie's "Chelsea Pensioners," when first exhibited; French soldiers enjoy the minutiae of Vernet's battle-pieces; a lover can judge of his betrothed's miniature; and the most unrefined sportsman will point out the niceties of breed in one of Landseer's dogs.
Did fifty thousand persons, whose mental and whose bodily labour you might direct, and so many hundred thousand a year of a revenue, which was neither lazy nor superstitious, appear too big for your abilities to wield? Had you no way of using the men but by converting monks into pensioners? Had you no way of turning the revenue to account but through the improvident resource of a spendthrift sale?
The frequency with which Governments have been changed during the last forty years has had a contrary effect, producing such a strong bevy of lawyers who are pensioners as well as peers that financial reformers are loudly asking if some scheme cannot be devised for lessening the number of these costly and comparatively useless personages.
That Barneveld and his friend Uytenbogaert were regular pensioners of Spain admitted of no dispute whatever. "It was as true as the Holy Evangel." The ludicrous chatter had been passed over with absolute disdain by the persons attacked, but calumny is often a stronger and more lasting power than disdain. It proved to be in these cases.
Desmond flushed crimson at her words, and he turned in repressed fury on her. "Mind your own business," he said. "Reform your old age pensioners, and kindly allow me to look after myself." Therewith he went on his way, leaving her to look after him with tears in her eyes. "Wouldn't I give my life for Desmond!" she thought, as she watched him until he turned a corner.