It would not concern my readers much were I to describe the precise locality of the renowned Dr. Wilkinson’s establishment for young gentlemen—suffice it to say, that somewhere near Durdham Down, within a short walk of Clifton, stood Ashfield House, a large rambling building, part of which looked gray and timeworn when compared with the modern school-room, and sundry dormitories, that had been added at different periods as the school grew out of its original domains. Attached to the house was a considerable extent of park land, which was constituted the general play-ground.
At the time of which I am writing, Dr. Wilkinson’s school consisted of nearly eighty pupils, all of whom were boarders, and who were sent from different parts of the kingdom; for the doctor’s fame, as an excellent man, and what, in the eyes of some was even a greater recommendation, as a first-rate classical scholar, was spread far and wide. At the door of this house, one fine April day, Louis presented himself; and, after descending from the vehicle which brought him from Bristol, followed the servant into the doctor’s dining-room, where we will leave him in solitary grandeur, or, more correctly speaking, in agitating expectation, while we take a peep at the room on the opposite side of the hall. In this, Dr. Wilkinson was giving audience to a gentleman who had brought back his little boy a few minutes before Louis arrived. Having some private business to transact, the child was sent to the school-room, and then Mr. Percy entered into a discussion respecting the capabilities of his son, and many other particulars, which, however interesting to himself, would fail of being so to us.