Mr Matthew Penicuik
They knew that Great-uncle Matthew, who had made a fortune in the large enterprise of draining the
Fen-country, was one of the warmest men in England, and suffered merely from a rooted dislike of
spending money on anything that did not administer directly to his own comfort.
Mr. Penicuik, who had retired to his bedchamber after dinner for the purpose of having all the bandages
which were bound round a gouty foot removed and replaced, made an impressive entrance. His butler
preceded him, bearing upon a silver salver a box of pills, and a glass half-filled with an evil-looking mixture; Mr. Penicuik himself hobbled in supported on one side by a stalwart footman, and upon the other by his valet; and a maid-servant brought up the rear, carrying a heavy walking-stick, several cushions, and a shawl. Both Lord Biddenden and his brother started helpfully towards their infirm relative, and were cursed for their pains.
Mr. Penicuik was not, in fact, so laden with years as his wizened appearance and his conversation might have led the uninitiated to suppose. He was, indeed, the last representative of his generation, as he was fond of informing his visitors; but as four sisters had preceded him ino the world and out of it this was not such an impressive circumstance as he would have wished it to appear. "I'm the last of my name," he said, sadly shaking his head. "Outlived my generation! Never married; never had a brother!"