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quietly, taking her hand, "remember how much it costs a boy to make such an avowal at all."
His father's forbearance did what nothing had yet done, made Hargrave see his conduct in something of its true light.
“I-I am very sorry, mother-not that I did not give Mason up, but that I ever let you think I meant to do so."
“ You have deceived us three whole months,” said his mother, withdrawing her hand, “and even now make nothing of the disobedience."
“Not nothing, mother, only," he added, turning to his father, “it was rather hard to tell me to give up a friend of ten years' standing at a moment's warning--and just when all the world was turning against
“ You should have said all this then, Harvey,” said his father, more severely, " instead of appearing to acquiesce so readily as to make us think that you were too ready to forget old ties,"
“I-I know I ought to have done so. It-it is not in me to be open, 1-mother, say a kind word for me."
“Not one of our sons has ever so lowered himself before," she answered, suffering his hand to rest on hers, but not taking it in her own, "if your father can forgive you, it is not for me to bear resentment.”
“ Be open now, Hargrave, tell us to what the deception amounts," said
Mr. Wynne. Which Hargrave did repeat, and then after a few minutes' silence he added, “I can offer no other proof of my sorrow for this deception, than the promise not to see him again before leaving home, except to say good-bye, I must do that,” he concluded, with sudden spirit.
“ You might have trusted us to offer what is but reasonable," returned his father, a little sadly, “but do so;-and-Harvey, your mother is right, you indeed do not repent this disobedience and deception as
you ought to do,-it is no light matter to have ever thought of leaving home with such a sin lying between yourself and your parents. I should be more happy in forgiving you if I could hope that this deceit were last as well as first."
“First ?” said poor Hargrave, his lip quivering, “I wish it were !-you do not know how often I have deceived
you, all my life, ---oh, I would give everything to be leaving you as Will would have done, will do!"
“Poor boy !” said Mr. Wynne, with infinite compassion, “but I cannot say one word to make you think more lightly of any such offence. Only may it please God that the bitterness of this humiliation may teach you uprightness for the future.”
There was a most awkward and trying silence, then his father said, "My love, you must not be kept up, you were late last night, but you must forgive
your son first."
“ He-he does not seem to think he needs forgiveness."
“Oh, mother, indeed I do-you don't mean that you cannot forgive me, only despise me?”
“No, oh no! not if your father wishes otherwise, good-night, and she went out, leaving her husband as much pained as her son; to whom, however, it did infinite good, to see how women loathed the sins of which he had made so light.
She went to the schoolroom, where was Paul; she answered his exclamation at her ill looks rather sharply, then turned back to take his hands and say, “Forgive me, you have never deceived us."
“Dear mother !"
“Oh, Paul, Paul, it is just what I cannot bear ! anything else—but I need not trouble you."
« I should like to be troubled with your troubles, mother, -only he may not wish it."
“He ? you know something, Paul, could not you have spared us this, this
“Dear mother, I would give anything to comfort you, but as I don't know what the matter is, please don't tell me.
“To spare Harvey shame P” she asked, bitterly, “ he does not know what shame is, your father thinks differently; to me such deception is what I may be obliged to forgive but never can forget."
The utter wretchedness of her tone moved Paul as much as its sharpness pained him, but he could only be silent.
“I am interrupting you. I was going to bed. Good-night.”
Good-night, precious mother,” said Paul, simply, but with inexpressible tenderness of tone and gesture.
This son's affection melted the poor mother's heart. She burst into tears; Hargrave might well have envied Paul the blessed office of consoler.
The first sounds that roused them were the opening of the dining-room door, Hargrave's subdued goodnight, and Mr. Wynne's answer, kindly in its gravity. Alone, no longer obliged to be the pleader for mercy, he had spoken most clearly and faithfully: and Hargrave ceasing to defend himself, had acknowledged the depth of his transgression more fully and humbly than any one who knew the self-sufficiency of his natural temperament could have believed possible: yet he parted from his father feeling that notwithstanding his offence, he had been treated as a reasonable being, not merely ordered, as at Christmas, like a schoolboy. In fact Mr. Wynne recognised the grace of Hargrave's confession, which Mrs. Wynne as yet did not, that it had been entirely voluntary and spontaneous.
“I must not keep papa, my boy,” she said now, the first speech she had spoken like herself since Har. vey’s confession had been made, “thank you, my dear boy, and as to this-I hope I have not wronged Harvey by showing you that my trouble was caused by him, if 80 I must ask his forgiveness in my turn.”
She even smiled a little, Paul kissed her, lighted
her candle, and watched her up stairs, than sat down again, not to read, but to pity - poor Harvey."
Passing Elizabeth's room reminded Mrs. Wynne that another needed comforting beside herself. She opened the door for the chance of her daughter's being still awake, not doubting that she had been long ago in bed; but she found her up, at least on her knees, and the face raised to her mother's was not only blushing but tearful.
“Ah, my poor child," said Mrs. Wynne, putting her arms round her, “this has wounded
almost as deeply as ourselves; but at least it is all known, and that he has been open at length seems due entirely to
“He has told, then ?” asked Elizabeth eagerly.
“ Yes, everything. You are glad, so ought I to be, shall be,” she added, with a resolute smile, "to-morrow, I daresay. But to think how he kissed me this morning, fetched my shawl this—"
« Oh, mamma, he has loved you all through it.”
“ He has ?" asked the mother with a sad smile, “ love little worth the having, then," old bitter resentment rising as strongly as ever again, till she saw Elizabeth's look of perplexity and grief, and then added, “my love, I cannot speak about it as I ought to-night, even thank you as I ought to do for the purity of the example which gave such effect to your “Oh, mamma!”
Good-night, my love."
with him. He was always so fond of Mason."
“ Yes, I once liked him myself," and, hearing Mr. Wynne's step, she hurried down.
She met Hargrave on his way to fetch up a forgotten book, passing him without a word, but the sight of that tear-stained, grief-stricken face baunted him all night. And when her husband said, “My dear love, why are you not in bed ?” the impatience of her
answer as, without heeding his remonstrance, she turned up the attic-stairs, saying she must look out something for which Gordon had asked before joining him,—was a fresh punishment.
Passing to Gordon's room she saw a light under David's door. Now this was so contrary to all precedent or custom, it was such an understood thing that when the boys went up to bed they did go to bed, that irritated as she then was, she felt as if all her sons were against her, and turning back, knocked at his door with a kind of hard despair.
" Who is it?"
It was opened by David fully dressed.
“Why, David, how is this ?" she asked, softened by thinking that he must be ill.
“I am only doing my work."
David stood reserved and cold, and short as ever ; suddenly be burst out,
They've put me into a new form, I can't do the work. Will's generally belped me, but he wanted to play at cricket to-night. I did mean quite last night to come in at eight, but I couldn't, I hadn't near done."
His indignant injured tone at the end was quite piteous.
You should have told me so then, David, when I blamed
you this morning, -of course I never wish you to come into the drawing-room at the expense of sitting up at night. But I am grieved you should be so hard worked, my boy; how much longer will it keep
“I don't know," he answered most hopelessly.
“ Then I shall ask Paul to be up at seven to-morrow, to help you, and send you to bed now.”
“Oh, I can never do it in an hour."
you up now ?"