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“ Yes, with a fresh brain, and with Paul's help. Now pray don't perplex your poor head any more tonight."
“ But I shall never wake."
“I will undertake you shall be wakened. Now, good-night, and let's see which can be in bed the sooner. I am sure you want rest as much as I do."
The next day was Saturday—a half holiday-and also David's birthday. As he passed in from school, Mrs. Wynne met him in the hall.
“ Well, David," she said brightly, "I wonder what you would like to do with your half-holiday ?”
“ I don't know."
“ Well, I'm sure I don't; so, there, take this towards spending it as you like," and she slipped five shillings into his hands.
David's eyes sparkled. “Do you mean I may go where I like ?" “ Yes, where you like, and when
like." “ When? May I go now ?” your
dinner“Oh, I don't want any dinner, I want to catch the 12.45 train."
“ But you can have some dinner first. Run up and make yourself ready, and Hannah shall take some cold meat for you into the schoolroom.”
-“ Now that he can
be eager I don't despair of him one minute. Poor fellow, he should have had five shillings and full liberty five years ago if I could have guessed they would have wrought such a change. I wonder where he will go ?”
Her utter inability to guess where saddened her again, but nought the less briskly did she see that as good a birthday dinner as cook could provide upon five minutes' notice, awaited him when he came down.
It was rather sad and laughable, too, to eat the birthday plum-pudding, and drink the health of the voluntary absentee little more than half-an-hour later ; however“ chacun à son goût.” The home party made
an expedition to the Forest, nominally in search of primroses and violets, and managed to be very happy over such old-fashioned sport; Will's remark, as he handed his mother out of the carriage, being, “ Well, I only hope David's enjoying his afternoon as much as we have ours."
Hargrave had not joined this expedition, but though out elsewhere most of the afternoon, he was in the schoolroom when the party returned; he envied Will's helping arm and blithe face, but far more than either the unbounding trust and affection which pervaded, or seemed to him to pervade, his mother's simple answer to Will's simple words, “A merry heart goes all the day, Will; your sad one tires in a mile-a,' as she said with a smile.
She did not look sad just then. No; lip and eye were bright; there were no traces of disappointment or tears on her sweet pale face now; nor of the disfiguring bitterness of last night.
“I cannot even sadden her for long," thought poor Hargrave. “Well, 'tis but fair," he added with a sigh.
But Mrs. Wynne, looking in to say some kind word to David if returned, caught that sigh. She stood in doubt a moment, then closing the door went up to the son whom though she had always seemed to favour, she had never loved as she had loved Paul or Will, and said, her heart warming towards him as to either of these, “Harvey, I was very wrong last night. I believe you do repent, and if so, I assure you I do for. give, and now willingly."
Indeed, mother, I repent,” he said despondingly. “ Then I forgive," she answered, kissing him ; " forget'I am afraid, my poor boy, is not in me. shall both be the happier for this confession, I think now; we have both felt for a long time that there was something between us.”
“That is it, mother, for so long! How often Will has borne all the brunt of my blame ! and one thing
above all, mother, perhaps you hardly know what a wretched day we all had the Sunday after Barbara came home from Liverpool: first Gordon, then Will sent up stairs, -one row after another."
“Yes, I know something; Will told me how unkind he had been to Gordon, only the other day, poor
'He! it was my fault; I was the elder. He tried to clear Gordon to papa, I never! but destroyed my share in it. He did not tell you that ?”
" Will ?" she asked with a smile : “ would he tell ill of any one but himself ?"
“No, not he;" and Hargrave with most painful effort told all his own cruelty and caution.
think as Will did, 'I must hate you.' No, no, Harvey; I see now too clearly how far wrong my partiality for Gordon led myself, to blame others for the unkindness it awakened in them. Harvey, I am very glad you have told me this; I shall never forget this confession,” she added with a kindling smile, “ but I begin to think I may
another if—if you will but be open with us for the future,” she ended most entreatingly.
“ Mother, I will try."
“ That is all we can require; and we must be just, and remember that, as you said last night, 'it is not in you to be open,' that to Will openness is as it were a part of his nature, whilst God has not given you this grace: but, my boy, you can, you will attain it by prayer and striving."
“Mother, I will try.
“God bless and help you! Harvey, forgive my hardness last night. Alas ! it is not . in me' to be merciful, and I fear my children often suffer. Thirty years ago nurse Taylor told me I was a little vixen.' Strive harder for uprightness than your mother has for mercy, Harvey !"
" I shall be satisfied if it be half as successfully, mother."
“But I shall not,” she answered fondly if sadly. A minute's silence. Why there's papa, and I not ready for dinner! But there is time for one kiss, my boy. Thank you," as with the courtesy that had not even in this interview forsaken him he picked up her boa and collected her scattered violets and primroses; and repeating “thank you,” Mrs. Wynne went to meet her husband in the hall.
Just at a quarter past eight, as Hannah was carry: ing out the tea-tray, came in David quite neat and spruce, and took his usual place at the table as if he bad been home hours; as indeed he might have been, for no one had seen him come in.
All, in honour of the birthday, stayed up till after prayers; and when they went up to bed David followed his mother into her room.
“I only spent 38. 3d., mother, thank you,” and he put the remaining 18. 9d. on the dressing-table.
“Oh, but I meant you to have all; keep it to help towards another day. Have you enjoyed yourself?”
“Oh, yes !” as if he wondered that there could be a doubt upon the subject.
Mrs. Wynne was silent a minute. She had resolved never to ask him where he had been, to see if he could really go and come back and have enjoyed himself without even his mother knowing the source of his enjoyment. But she could not act the part out; she took his hand, and trying to speak playfully, whilst in reality it was very sadly, said,
Well, and won't you tell me what it is you so enjoy ?
David coloured, tried to withdraw his hand, and murmured something very like “ Oh, that would spoil it all.”
“Then I won't ask again. Some day, my boy, I hope you will find that sharing a pleasure doubles it." Then added in her usual kind, bright tones, “ Well, good night !”
“Good night!" and he put his arm round her as she
bent down to kiss him. “Mother," he whispered hurriedly, "it was to the docks, the East India docks, only please never tell.”'
“Not till you freely give me leave to do so; but stop one minute, tell me something of what you saw.'
And suddenly out was poured a flood of information about keels and cargoes, mates and mainsails, that bewildered her; whilst it was evident that David was at last upon a subject the whole details of which he had mastered.
Still she listened with great interest, and understood enough to lead him on whenever he stopped for want of breath. In the midst it struck eleven. “ Eleven! then I must send you away;
you must tell me more to-morrow; or stay, the next half holiday you shall drive me over to show me all these wonderful things yourself.”
“Oh, mother, will you really come ?” he asked eagerly. “ Indeed I shall enjoy it very much." you
where we are going ?” No, not if you do not wish it," answered his mother, too glad that this had not been his first thought to be disappointed at its being bis second.
“I'm only so afraid that splendid . Columbus' will be gone, but the Lady Anne' won't; and, mother, you must go all over her: do you know the mate took me everywhere, and said,"
He stopped short. “ Good night, mother!"
“Good-night, my boy!" and Mr. Wynne coming in at one door just as David went out at the other, tried to be very angry at five minutes past eleven finding his wife no nearer bed than five minutes past ten itself had done.