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82 LORD CLIVE.

ourselves heard old men, who knew nothing of his history, but
who still retained the prejudices conceived in their youth, talk
of him as an incarnate fiend. Johnson always held this lan-
guage. Brown, whom Clive employed to lay out his pleasure
grounds, was amazed to’ see in the house of his noble employer
a chest which had once been filled with gold from the treasury
of Moorshedabad, and could not understand how the conscience
of the criminal could suffer him to sleep with such an object so
near to his bedchamber. The peasantry of Surrey looked with
mysterious horror on the stately house which was rising at
Claremont, and whispered that the great wicked lord had
ordered the walls to be made so thick in order to keep out the
devil, who would one day carry him away bodily. Among the
gaping clowns who drank in this frightful story was a worthless
ugly lad of the name of Hunt, since widely known as VVil1iam
Huntington, S. S.; and the superstition which was strangely
mingled with the knavery of that remarkable impostor seems
to have derived no small nutriment from the tales which he
heard of the life and character of Clive.
In the mean time, the impulse which Clive had given to
the administration of Bengal was constantly becoming fainter
and fainter. His policy was to a great extent abandoned ; the
abuses which he had suppressed began to revive; and at
length the evils which a bad government had engendered were
aggravated by one of those fearful visitations which the best
government cannot avert. In the summer of 1770, the rains
failed ; the earth was parched up ; the tanks were empty ; the
rivers shrank within their beds; and a famine, such as is
known only in countries where every household depends for
support on its own little patch of cultivation, filled the whole
valley of the Ganges with misery and death. Tender and
delicate women, whose veils had never been lifted before the
public gaze, came forth from the inner chambers in which
Eastern jealousy had kept watch over their beauty, threw

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