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LORD CLIVE. 9

spirits. His duties were of a kind ill suited to his ardent and
daring character. He pined for his home, and in his letters to
his relations expressed his feelings in language softer and more
pensive than we should have expected either from the way-
wardness of his boyhood, or from the inflexible sternness of his
later years. “I have not enjoyed,” says he, “one happy day
since I left my native country;” and again, “I must confess,
at intervals, when I think of my dear native England, it affects
me in a very particular manner. . . . . If I should be so far
blest as to revisit again my own country, but more especially
Manchester, the centre of all my wishes, all that I could hope
or desire for would be presented before me in one view.”

One solace he found of the most respectable kind. The
Governor possessed a good library, and permitted Clive to
have access to it. The young man devoted much of his
leisure to reading, and acquired at this time almost all the
knowledge of books that he ever possessed. As a boy he had
been too idle, as a man he soon became too busy, for literary
pursuits.

But neither climate nor poverty, neither study nor the
sorrows of a home-sick exile, could tame the desperate audacity
of his spirit. He behaved to his official superiors as he had

behaved to his schoolmasters, and was several times in danger '

of losing his situation. Twice, while residing in the Writers’
Buildings, he attempted to destroy himself; and twice the
pistol which he snapped at his own head failed to go off. This
circumstance, it is said, affected him as a similar escape affected
Wallenstein. After satisfying himself that the pistol was really
Well loaded, he burst forth into an exclamation that ‘surely he
was reserved for something great.

About this time an event which at first seemed likely to
destroy all his hopes in life suddenly opened before him a new
path to eminence. Europe had been, during some years,
distracted by the war of the Austrian succession. George the

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