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CHAPTER IV.

A RETURN.

JOSEPH continued at school from month to month, and when his vacations came he made engagements to go home with some of his schoolfellows, till nearly two years had glided away, and in all that time he had not once seen his mother or his sisters.

During this time he had made large demands upon his mother for money. He had got into many disgraceful scrapes, which he was careful should not reach his mother's ears, who continued her kindness and her good advice. The former he received when it came in a substantial form, the latter he neither valued nor heeded.

Yet the kind family at home had practised constant self-denial ; - they seemed to have concentrated

every

effort into that one, to educate Joseph.

manners.

It was a cool evening in autumn. The hearth in Mrs. Brandon's little parlour was swept with the most scrupulous neatness. A bright fire glowed in the chimney. By it sat Fanny, at a little table covered with worsteds and patterns, and a piece of embroidery in her hand. She was now thirteen, and tall of her age,-a lovely blue-eyed girl, with a modest, sweet expression, and gentle, graceful

The door suddenly opened and a young man entered. He was whistling a lively opera air, but stopped at the sight of the lovely Fanny. She had never before seen so fashionably-dressed or so gay a gentleman; startled and blushing, she arose, and without waiting for him to inquire, said, “My mother and sister have gone out for a short walk; they will soon return."

Joe, for it was he, burst into a loud laugh, and exclaimed, “Who would thought you would not have known me, and that I should not have known little Tow-head?”

“Brother, dear brother," said Fanny springing into his arms.

Joe kissed his sweet young sister, and then, releasing himself from her arms, said, “Where 's mother and Pug ?”

“ Joseph, do not call us by those old, ugly

names; mother and Susan will soon be home. We did not expect you."

“ No; of course you did not. I did not expect to come so soon myself. The old rum ’un must explain.”

“ And who is he?" said Fanny, surprised.

“Old Plym, alias Dr. Plympton, the master of the school.”

Mrs. Brandon and Susan now returned, and cordially greeted the unexpected visiter. The mother carefully scrutinized the countenance of her only boy. Alas! the expression was not improved. It was more proud, bold, and bad, than

Her heart sank within her, but she made no inquiries that night. She hastened to get tea, and called Susan to her assistance.

“I must put the tea-kettle on in the parlour tonight,” said Mrs. Brandon, as cheerfully as possible.

“But why do you put it on yourself mother," said Joseph ; " where are your servants ?

“ We are our own servants, Joseph; it is long since we have had any other," calmly replied his mother.

“ Is it possible ? 'I cannot bear to see you employed in such menial offices. I shall insist that you have at least one servant.”

ever.

Mrs. Brandon sighed, but did not say how, for her son's sake, she had thus taken up employments to which she had never before been accustomed.

Susan, who had not as much delicacy as her mother and sister, said, “It is of no consequence whether we are ladies or not, so long as you are such an exquisite gentleman."

“ Well, Pug, you are just the same as you used to was ; your nose has even a more celestial tendency than ever,” said Joe, with a mocking laugh.

“Stay, my children, do not reproach each other. It is time for our evening prayers.

And she brought out the great family Bible. Fanny read the evening lesson, and then they all knelt, while the widow prayed fervently to the widow's God and Judge.

CHAPTER V.

JOSEPH AT HOME.

The next morning Mrs. Brandon received a letter from Dr. Plympton, the Principal of Seminary. Its contents were far from pleasing.

To MRS. BRANDON.

My dear Madam:- I regret exceedingly the circumstances that render it necessary for me to say, that I can no longer consider your son Joseph a member of my institution. On your account I have borne with much provocation from him, but it would be injustice to other parents to retain among their sons one whose example is so corrupting.

Joseph, I am sorry to say, is idle, extravagant, and viciously inclined. He has borrowed money from every boy in the school. He has even art

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