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At this point he managed to bring to make you any amends in my power. 1 himself up sharp again more than once. If ever I can be of any service to you, "No thanks to me, at any rate, that she I do hope that nothing which has isn't ruined. Had I any pity, any passed will hinder you from applying scruples? My God, what a mean, selfish

to me.

You will not believe how it rascal I have been !” and then he sat pains me to write this ; how should you? down again, and wrote, and scratched I don't deserve that you should believe out what he had written, till the other anything I say. I must seem heartless fit came on, and something of the same to you; I have been, I am heartless. process had to be gone through again. I hardly know what I am writing.

I am sure all readers must recognise I shall long all my life to hear good the process, and will remember many news of you. I don't ask you to pardon occasions on which they have had to put me, but if you can prevail on yourself bridle and bit on, and ride themselves not to send back the enclosed, and will as if they had been horses or mules keep it as a small remembrance of one without understanding ; and what a who is deeply sorry for the wrong he trying business it was—as bad as getting has done you, but who cannot and will a young colt past a gipsy encampment not say he is sorry that he ever met you, in a narrow lane.

you will be adding another to the many At last, after many trials, Tom got kindnesses which I have to thank you himself well in hand, and produced for, and which I shall never forget.' something which seemed to satisfy him ; Hardy read it over several times, as for

, after reading it three or four times, Tom watched impatiently, unable to he put it in a cover, with a small case, make out anything from his face. which he produced from his desk, sealed “What do you think? You don't it, directed it, and then went to bed. think there's anything wrong in it, Next morning, after chapel, he joined I hope ?” Hardy, and walked to his rooms with “No, indeed, my dear fellow. I really him, and after a few words on indif- think it does you credit. I don't know ferent matters, said

what else you could have said very “Well, I wrote my letter last night.” well, only” "Did you satisfy yourself?”

“Only what ?" “Yes, I think so. I don't know, Couldn't you have made it a little though, on second thoughts : it was shorter ?very tough work."

“No, I couldn't; but

you

don't mean "I was afraid you would find it so. that. What did you mean by that "But wouldn't

you

like to see it?” 'only'?" "No, thank you. I suppose my father Why, I don't think this letter will will be here directly.”

end the business ; at least, I'm afraid “But I wish you would read it not." through,” said Tom, producing a copy.

“ But what more could I have said ?" “Well, if you wish it, I suppose I “Nothing more, certainly; but couldn't must; but I don't see how I can do any you have been a little quieter-it's difgood,"

ficult to get the right word—a little Hardy took the letter, and sat down, cooler, perhaps. Couldn't, you have and Tom drew a chair close to him, made the part about not seeing her and watched his face while he read :- again a little more decided ?"

“It is best for us both that I should “But you said I needn't pretend I not see you any more, at least, at pre- didn't care for her." sent. I feel that I have done you a

“Did I?" I dare not say much to “Yes. Besides, it would have been you, for fear of making that wrong greater. I cannot, I need not tell you “I don't want you to tell a lie, cerhow I despise myself now-how I long tainly. But how about this sman re

great wrong

a lie."

your letter

membrance' that you speak of? What's wisdom within the precincts of the that?"

University. On one or two occasions “Oh, nothing ! only a little locket I his faith was tried sorely by the sight bought for her.

of young gentlemen gracefully apparelled, “With some of your hair in it ?" dawdling along two together in low easy

“Well, of course! Come, now, there's pony carriages, or lying on their backs no harm in that."

in punts for hours smoking, with not “No; no harm. Do you think she even a Bell's Life by them to pass the will wear it?"

time. Dawdling and doing nothing “ How can I tell ?

were the objects of his special abhor“It may make her think it isn't all rence; but with this trifling exception at an end, I'm afraid. If she always the Captain continued steadily to behold wears your hair"

towers and quadrangles, and chapels, “By Jove, you're too bad, Hardy. and the inhabitants of the colleges, I wish you had had to write it yourself. through rose-coloured spectacles. His It's all very easy to pull my letter to respect for a "regular education," and pieces, I dare say, but”

for the seat of learning at which it was “I didn't want to read it, remember.” dispensed, was so strong, that he invested

“No more you did. I forgot. But not only the tutors, doctors, and proctors I wish you would just write down now (of whom he saw little except at a diswhat you would have said.”

tance) but even the most empty-headed Yes, I think I see myself at it. undergraduate whose acquaintance he By the way, of course you have sent made, with a sort of fancy halo of scien

tific knowledge, and often talked to “Yes, I sent it off before chapel.” those youths in a way which was Curi

“I thought so. In that case I don't ously bewildering and embarrassing to think we need trouble ourselves further them. Drysdale was particularly hit by with the form of the document."

it. He had humour and honesty enough “Oh, that's only shirking. How do himself to appreciate the Captain, but you know I may not want it for the

it was a constant puzzle to him to know next occasion ?"

what to make of it all. “No, no! Don't let us begin laugh- “He's a regular old brick, is the Caping about it. A man never ought to tain," he said to Tom, on the last evenhave to write such letters twice in his ing of the old gentleman's visit; “but, life. If he has, why he may get a by Jove, I can't help thinking he must good enough precedent for the second be poking fun at us half his time. It out of the Complete Letter Writer.'" is rather too rich to hear him talking on “So you won't correct my copy ?”

as if we were all as fond of Greek as he “No, not I."

seems to be, and as if no man ever got At this point in their dialogue, Cap- drunk up here." tain Hardy appeared on the scene, and “ I declare I think he believes it," the party went off to Drysdale's to said Tom. “ You see we're all careful breakfast.

enough before him.” Captain Hardy's visit to St. Ambrose “That son of his too must be a good was a great success. He stayed some fellow. Don't you see he can never four or five days, and saw everything have peached. His father was telling that was to be seen, and enjoyed it all me last night what comfort it was to in a sort of reverent way which was him to see that Jack's poverty had been almost comic. Tom devoted himself to no drawback to him. He had always the work of cicerone, and did his best told him it would be so amongst English to do the work thoroughly. Oxford gentlemen, and now he found him living was a sort of Utopia to the Captain, quietly and independently, and yet on who was resolutely bent on seeing equal terms, and friends with men far nothing but beauty and learning and above him in rank and fortune, 'like you, sir,' the old boy said. By Jove, me very much if you don't take Brown, I felt devilish foolish. I believe them." I blushed, and it isn't often I indulge So the son took the notes at last, in that sort of luxury. If I weren't looking as most men of his age would ashamed of doing it now, I should try if they had just lost them, while the to make friends with Hardy. But I father's face was radiant as he replaced don't know how to face him, and I his pocket-book in the breast-pocket doubt whether he wouldn't think me inside his coat. His eye caught Tom's too much of a rip to be intimate with.” in the midst of the operation, and the

Tom at his own special request at- latter could not help looking a little tended the Captain's departure, and took confused, as if he had been unintentionhis seat opposite to him and his son at ally obtruding on their privacy. But the back of the Southampton coach, to the Captain at once laid his hand on his accompany him a few miles out of knee and said Oxford. For the first mile the Captain “A young fellow is never the worse was full of the pleasures of his visit, for having a ten-pound note to veer and and of invitations to Tom to come and haul on; eh, Mr. Brown ?see them in the vacation. If he did not “No, indeed, sir. A great deal better mind homely quarters he would find a I think,” said Tom, and was quite comhearty welcome, and there was no finer fortable again. The Captain had no bathing and boating place on the coast. new coat that summer, but he always If he liked to bring his gun, there were looked like a gentleman. plenty of blue rock-pigeons and sea- Soon the coach stopped to take up a otters in the caves at the point. Tom parcel at a cross-road, and the young protested with the greatest sincerity that men got down. They stood watching there was nothing he should enjoy so it until it disappeared round a corner of much. Then the young men got down the road, and then turned back towards to walk up Bagley Hill, and when they Oxford and struck into Bagley Wood, mounted again found the Captain with Hardy listening with evident pleasure a large leather case in his hand, out of to his friend's enthusiastic praise of his which he took two five-pound notes, father. But he was not in a talking and began pressing them on his son, humour, and they were soon walking while Tom tried to look as if he did not along together in silence. know what was going on.

For some This was the first time they had been time Hardy steadily refused, and the alone together since the morning after contention became animated, and it was their reconciliation; so presently Tom useless to pretend any longer not to hear. seized the occasion to recur to the sub

“Why, Jack, you're not too proud, I ject which was uppermost in his hope, to take a present from your own thoughts. father," the Captain said at last.

“She has never answered my letter," “But, my dear father, I don't want he began abruptly. the money. You make me a very good “ I'm very glad of it,” said Hardy. allowance already."

“But why?" “Now, Jack, just listen to me and be “Because you know you want it all reasonable. You know a great many broken off completely.” of your friends have been very hospit- “Yes; but still she might have just able to me: I could not return their acknowledged it. You don't know how hospitality myself, but I wish you to do hard it is to me to keep away from the so for me."

place.” “Well, father, I can do that without “My dear fellow, I know it must be this money."

hard work, but you are doing the right “Now, Jack," said the Captain, push- thing." ing forward the notes again, “ I insist “ Yes, I hope so," said Tom, with a on your taking them. You will pain sigh. “I haven't been within a hun

« Don't you

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dred yards of The Choughs' this five “I do, my dear fellow. But you'll days. The old lady must think it so be all right again in a few days." odd."

believe it. It isn't only Hardy made no reply. What could what you seem to think, Hardy. You he say, but that no doubt she did ? don't know me so well as I do you, “Would you mind doing me a great

after all. No, I'm not just love-sick, favour ?” said Tom, after a minute. and hipped because I can't go and see

Anything I can do. What is it ?” her. That has something to do with it,

Why, just to step round on our way I dare say, but it's the sort of shut-up, back,— I will stay as far off as you like, selfish life we lead here that I can't --and see how things are going on ;

stand. A man isn't meant to live only how she is."

with fellows like himself, with good “Very well. Don't you like this allowances paid quarterly, and no care view of Oxford? I always think it is but how to amuse themselves. One is the best of them all."

old enough for something better than “No. You don't see anything of half that, I'm sure.” the colleges,” said Tom, who was very “No doubt," said Hardy, with provokloth to leave the other subject for the ing taciturnity, picturesque.

“And the moment one tries to break “But you get all the spires and tow- through it, one only gets into trouble." ers so well, and the river in the fore- “Yes, there's a good deal of danger of ground. Look at that shadow of a cloud that certainly,” said Hardy. skimming over Christ Church Meadow. “Don't you often long to be in contact It's a splendid old place after all.” with some of the realities of life, with

“It may be from a distance, to an men and women who haven't their bread outsider," said Tom; “but I don't and butter all ready cut for them ? How know-it's an awfully chilly, deadening can a place be a University where no one kind of place to live in. There's some- can come up who hasn't two hundred a thing in the life of the place that sits

year or so to live on?on me like a weight, and makes me feel “You ought to have been at Oxford dreary."

four hundred years ago, when there “ How long have you felt that? were more thousands here than we have You're coming out in a new line." hundreds."

“I wish I were. I want a new line. “I don't see that. It must have been I don't care a straw for cricket; I hardly ten times as bad then." like pulling; and as for those wine par- “Not at all. But it must have been a ties day after day, and suppers night very different state of things from ours ; after night, they turn me sick to they must have been almost all poor think of.

scholars, who worked for their living, or “You have the remedy in your own lived on next to nothing." hands, at any rate,” said Hardy, smiling. “ How do you really suppose they “How do you mean ?”

lived though, ?” “Why, you needn't go to them.”

“Oh, I don't know. But how should “Oh, one can't help going to them. you like it now, if we had fifty poor What else is there to do ?”

scholars at St. Ambrose, besides us serTom waited for an answer, but his vitors—say ten tailors, ten shoemakers, companion only nodded to show that he and so on, who came up from love of was listening, as he strolled on down the learning, and attended all the lectures path, looking at the view.

with us, and worked for the present “I can say what I feel to you, Hardy. undergraduates while they were hunting, I always have been able, and it's such a and cricketing, and boating?” comfort to me now. It was you who “Well, I think it would be a very put these sort of thoughts into my head good thing—At any rate, we should save too, so you ought to sympathize with me." in tailors' bills.”

"Even if we didn't get our coats so by the rector's premises. Now honest well built," said Hardy, laughing. David loved gossip well, and considered “Well, Brown, you have a most catho- it a part of his duty as constable to be well lic taste, and a capacity for taking in up in all events and rumours which hapnew truths,' all the elements of a good pened or arose within his liberties. But Radical in you."

he loved his bees better than gossip, “I tell you I hate Radicals," said Tom and, as he was now in hourly expectaindignantly.

tion that they would be swarming, was “Well, here we are in the town. I'll working, as has been said, in his summergo round by The Choughs' and catch house, that he might be at hand at the you up before you get to High Street.” critical moment. The rough table on

Tom, left to himself, walked slowly on which he was seated commanded a view for a little way, and then quickly back of the hives; his big scissors and some again in an impatient, restless manner, shreds of velveteen lay near him on the and was within a few yards of the cor- table, also the street-door key and an old ner where they had parted when Hardy shovel, of which the uses will appear appeared again. He saw at a glance presently. that something had happened.

On his knees lay the black velveteen “What is it—she is not ill ?” he said coat, the Sunday garment of Harry quickly.

Winburn, to which he was fitting new “No; quite well, her aunt says.sleeves. In his exertions at the top of “ You didn't see her then?"

the chimney in putting out the fire “No. The fact is she has gone home.” Harry had grievously damaged the gar

ment in question. The farmer had pre

sented him with five shillings on the CHAPTER XXIII.

occasion, which sum was quite inade

quate to the purchase of a new coat, and THE ENGLEBOURN CONSTABLE.

Harry, being too proud to call the farOn the afternoon of a splendid day in mer's attention to the special damage the early part of June, some four or five which he had suffered in his service, days after the Sunday on which the had contented himself with bringing his morning service at Englebourn was in- old coat to be new-sleeved. terrupted by the fire at Farmer Grove's, Harry was a favourite with the conDavid Johnson, tailor and constable of stable on account of his intelligence and the parish, was sitting at his work, in a independence, and because of his relasmall erection, half shed, half summer- tions with the farmers of Englebourn on: house, which leaned against the back of the allotment question. Although by his cottage. Not that David had not

his office the representative of law and a regular workshop with a window look- order in the parish, David was a man ing into the village street, and a regular of the people, and sympathized with the counter close under it, on which passers- peasantry more than with the farmers. by might see him stitching, and from He had passed some years of his apprenwhence he could gossip with them easily, ticeship at Reading, where he had picked as was his wont. But although the up notions on political and social quesconstable kept the king's peace and tions much ahead of the Englebourn made garments of all kinds for his live- worthies. When he returned to his lihood from the curate's frock down native village, being a wise man, he had to the ploughboy's fustians--he was ad- kept his new lights in the back-ground, dicted for his pleasure and solace to the and consequently had succeeded in the keeping of bees. The constable's bees object of his ambition, and had been inhabited a row of hives in the narrow appointed constable. His reason for strip of garden which ran away at the seeking the post was a desire to prove back of the cottage. This strip of garden that the old joke as to the manliness of was bordered along the whole of one side tailors had no application to his case,

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