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“How well you ought to be!' said Mr. Audley one day at the reiteration, better erery day!'
“Yes, and best of all at last!' was the reply, with a sweet smile,
For he was very happy. The partial provision for the four eldest children, two by their own exertions, two through friends, had evidently been received by him as an earnest of protection and aid for the rest, even to the babe whom he scarcely expected ever to see in this world. He said it would be ungrateful not to trust, and he did trust with all his heart, cheered as it was by the tardy cordiality of his cousin, and the indefinable love of kindred that was thus gratified. Thomas Underwood poured in good things of all kinds on the invalid and his house, fulfilled his promise of calling in further advice, and would have franked balf the family to Torquay-Nice-Madeira—if the doctors had given the slightest encouragement. It could be of little ultimate avail ; but the wine and soup did give support and refreshment bodily, and produced much gratitude and thankfulness mentally, besides lightening some of Mrs. Underwood's present cares.
No one was more anxious to help than Mr. Ryder ; he was assiduous in his inquiries and offers of service, ever since the attack at Michaelmas; and it was evident that he really venerated the Curate, while he was a severe and contemptuous judge of the Rector. But when after a brilliant examination, he became aware that he was to lose both the elder Underwoods at once, his mortification was great; he came to call, and Mr. Underwood had again to undergo an expostulation on Felix's prospects, and an offer of keeping him free of expense.
The school-fee was a mere trifle, but Mr. Ryder would willingly have boarded and lodged the boy himself-for the benefit of his authority, as he said, over younger boarders.
'I am afraid,' said Mr. Underwood, kind and grateful as usual, that there are too many younger boarders here for Felix to be spared. No, thank you, I am sincerely obliged to you; but the hard cash is a necessary consideration.'
* And you can sacrifice such a boy's prospects—'
• Bread and cheese must be earned, even at the cost of prospects. He cannot afford to wait to make his labour skilled.'
'Forgive me, Mr. Underwood, but I cannot think it is right to throw away his abilities.'
'You can allow that it is a less wrong than to leave the rest to debt or starvation,'
"You should trust
'I do trust; but I can do so better when I humble what is nothing but pride and vanity in me after all. I was foolish enough about it at first, but I am quite content now that my boy should do his duty, without being curious as to where it is done.'
. You will tell me a school-master's vanity is concerned; and I allow it is, for I looked to your sons to raise the reputation of the school ; but
perhaps it is only put off a little longer. Will you let me have Clement or Fulbert, on the terms I proposed for Felix ?'
“No, Ryder ; with many many thanks, much feeling of your generous kindness-it cannot be.'
•You do not trust me.' This was said with as much indignation as could be shewn to a man in Mr. Underwood's condition.
• No. Your very kindness would make the tone I regret in you more perilous. Do not think Felix ungrateful, Ryder; the desire is mine—and remember, it is that of a man who is dying, and who really loves and values you greatly. It is that the younger boys should, as soon as may be, go to schools where older systems prevail.'
Mr. Ryder was exceedingly mortified, and though he tried hard to conceal the full extent of his annoyance, he could not help saying, 'You know how I respect your motives ; but let me say that I doubt your finding any place where the ideas you deprecate are not to be found. And-pardon me—may not the finding their progress obstructed by your scruples, the more indispose your sons to them ?'
I hope not,' said Mr. Underwood calmly. I hope it may shew them how strong the approach of death makes that faith—nay rather assurance —with which your party are tampering.'
“You are not doing me justice, Mr. Underwood. You know that my faith and hope are at the core the same as your own. All our question is what outworks are untenable.' Again he spoke hotly, but Mr. Underwood's gentleness seemed to silence him.
And that there should be any such question proves—alas !—the utter difference between our belief. Ryder, you are a young man, and as I believe and trust, verily in earnest; and some day, I think, you will understand what faith is. Meantime, your uncertainties are doing more mischief than you understand-they pervade all your teaching more than you know. I dread what they may do to such as have not your moral sense to restrain them, and bring them back, as I pray-I hope ever to pray—it may be with you. Thank you for all your kindness, actual and intended, to my boys.'
Then rising from his chair, while Mr. Ryder remained uncertain how to speak, he signed to him to remain still while he sought in his book-case and returned with a small old copy of Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying. Sat down again, and wrote the school-master's name in it, above his own 'Under-wode, Under-rode' stamp. Keep it, Ryder;
that you will care for it now, but some day, I think you and if I am allowed to know of it, it will be joy.'
Mr. Ryder could only wring the hand that held it out to him, and with a great effort say, “Thank you.' He saw that Mr. Underwood was too much tired to prolong the conversation ; but he wrote a note of warm thanks that evening, promising to do whatever lay in his power for the boys, that their father would not think dangerous for them; and he added, that whatever he should for the future think or say, such an VOL. 9,
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example as he had now seen was a strong weight on its own side. It was warmly and tenderly put, and like everything that befell him, gratified Mr. Underwood.
A very happy man he had been, as he sincerely told those who would have grieved over him, and not without some remorse. 'Yes,' as he said to Mr. Audley, who watched him like a son, 'it is indeed the LORD Who hath led me all my life through. I never had a want or a care unfulfilled till nine years ago. Then just as I had become sluggish and mechanical in fixed habits of easy country work, came this thorough change, break, and rousing. I tell you, I can never be thankful enough for the mercy. Not to leave them all provided for, as the saying is, would I go back to be such a priest as I was becoming. Happy-yes, I have been much happier here, since no choice was left me but working up to my strength.
And beyond it,' said Mr. Audley sadly.
'If so—well; so much the better!' he said. “It is a blessing to be allowed to be spent in that service. And for the children ; I wish only for work and goodness for them and for that I may well trust my good Master.'
(To be continued.)
THE CHILD'S CRUSADE.
BY EVELYN TOD.
NEWS FROM THE EAST.
RAOUL stood by, struggling with an undefinable sense of injustice. He was to be treated as the delinquent, while Aloys, who had really played the part of tempter, was to be caressed and almost overwhelmed with affection. It was true, it always had been so, ever since that winter when the two boys had half-drowned themselves in trying whether the ice on the castle moat would bear; when Aloys had received all the tending and petting and restoring with spiced wine that Blanche and her women could give him, while Raoul only got a kick from Messire Geoffroi, and was told to go to the fire and dry himself. And he had accepted this state of things uncomplainingly; but when Gualtier seemed to address himself to Françoise rather than to Raoul, it was almost too much to bear. Had he not watched over Aloys with all possible care and love, and was he now to be set aside as if in too deep disgrace to be spoken to ?
Gualtier had sat down on the bed, with his arm round Aloys' neck; and though he hardly uttered a word, he kept gazing at the child with a long wistful look as if he feared he might vanishi away. Once or twice he drew him closer, and kissed his forehead, or murmured a few epithets of affection ; and this seemed to be pleasure enough for both of them, for neither asked a question. The Crusader's eyes were beginning to glisten, perhaps with thoughts of the fair young wife he had left when he set out, high in hope, for Palestine, and who now lay cold in her grave, and could give him no greeting home.
Presently the Sire de Cervoles strode in—-Gualtier!'
De la Ferté started, and rose to his feet with a readiness that was painful to see, while a sort of scared look came over his face, telling only too plainly how often for him a word had been followed by a blow. Then as if remembering that he was among friends, he smiled—a melancholy smile, that had hardly anything of mirth in it.
There, sit thee down, Gualtier,' said the old Sire, almost pushing him back again ; 'I meant not to disturb thee. How hast thou found thy
De la Ferté stroked Aloys' raven hair back from his forehead, and took a long tender look at him. He is not like his mother,' he said at last, with a disappointed air.
He is a great deal too much like thyself, Gualtier,' said the Sire kindly. "Too pale and thin. Why, my friend, I hardly knew thee when first I saw thee at the harbour, doing galley-slave's work among tho common sailors.
‘Do you think anything of that?' said Gualtier, with the same smile, which seemed to be liis nearest approach to a laugh. It is play to what I have had to do- been made to do,' he went on, with more animation. * Fourteen hours a day, under a task-master's lash, is enough to tame the loftiest spirit. There I toiled on, weary and faint, thinking of poor Marguerite all the while, and keeping up my heart with the hope that I might one day escape and come back to her. And now I have come too late!'
“Where hast thou been then in this Egyptian bondage?' asked De Cervoles after a pause, wishing to lead his friend away from thoughts of the dead.
Gualtier answered more cheerfully. 'You know, Messire de Cervoles, how I sailed with the Compte de Dampierre for the Holy Land. Well, for our deeds there, I can tell you but little; I was a simple knight, knowing nothing of our leader's plans; and I think this long captivity has confused my brain. But men said that Reginald de Dampierre broke the truce the King of Jerusalem had made with the Infidels; and if so, we were heavily punished for that sin; for after some hard fighting about Antioch, our small host was all slain or taken by the Armenians. I fell to the share of a chieftain among them, who gave me kind usage for the time; but there came a Saracen slave-merchant that way-worse luck for me and I was sold to him. It would take long to tell you, Messire, of all my wanderings; but the end was, that I was bought by a rich
noble at Cairo, who had many slaves, both Christian and heathen. He paid high for me, I was stronger then than I am now—and he had his money's worth out of me with a vengeance. Ask me no more; a man loves not to remember how he has been starved and fettered and beaten into a patient thrall—faugh! it makes me ill to think on't.'
He drew a long breath, and continued, 'Not so patient, though, that I did not watch for a chance of escape. I ran away at last-fled to the desert—then made my way to Alexandria, where I found a trading vessel bound to Marseilles.'
'If you had been brought back-'said Aloys, shuddering, as he looked up in his father's face.
*They never should have brought me back alive,' answered Gualtier calmly; 'I had seen deserters brought back often enough to know what that would be.'
So thou wast taken on board ?' said the Sire. 'Ay; and the mariners were good to me after their rough fashion, though they made me work my passage home, whereat you were so indignant, Messire. Then, by God's good grace, I met you here, and you told me .... Well, I will not murmur at my lot; God has given me back this one'-he drew Loy towards him, whom you thought lost also.'
'I did think so,' said De Cervoles ; 'I made sure of it, till a lad who had been on this wild Crusade I told thee of, brought me word he had seen Saint-André at Marseilles, and I straightway came in quest myself ; a happy quest it has been in that I have found thee, my poor Gualtier.'
"And this is the son of my old friend Saint-André, then ?' said De la Ferté, glancing towards Raoul, who had stood in silence all this time.
“Ha! that young scape-grace-I had forgotten him,' exclaimed De Cervoles ; and turning sharply upon the culprit, he demanded, "What mischief took thee here?'
Raoul had consented to sign that submissive letter which had, of course, missed the Sire; but as for saying anything in the same penitent strain, that was quite another matter, so he answered briefly, 'The Crusade.'
"The foul fiend, I think,' quoth De Cervoles, snapping his riding-whip against his boot with an ominous frown. "Tell me the whole storyhow didst thou leave the Castle ?'
Raoul gave the history of the escape and the march at full length, neither defending himself, nor unduly criminating Loy, but recounting it all in the most matter-of-fact way, without a word of apology. His heart throbbed, and his sun-burnt face turned white; but the more frightened and ashamed he grew, the more he hardened himself into an appearance of unabashed stubbornness, and a passionate man like De Cervoles might well be irritated by the boy's manner.
“Why didst thou not ask my leave before setting out on this mad expedition ?' said the Sire, when he had heard all.
'Because,' answered Raoul steadily, 'we knew that it would not be given.'