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had come to save her from herself! And as for making presents to any of them, the coastguards or the old women or any man-Jack alive, not he, not a farthing! They had made a pretty penny out of the old Captain when he was alive, no fear! and now he, Mr. Hamley, as the orphan's guardian-with a flourish--would save her little in. heritance in every way he could, and do the best for her he was able under the circumstances.
So, in spite of all she could say, the sale was arranged and took place; and everything was sold, save one or two intrinsically valuable
curios” which Mr. Hamley selected as "agreeable memorials for your aunt of her
brother." All told, it was not a weighty matter. When the last account was settled, and just as the fly was preparing to take them away, Mr. Hamley handed Patricia the net balance-nineteen pounds odd-as her sole independent fortune.
“Keep it, my dear,” he said, when Patricia, fall of youthful honour, also full of youthful distaste to its source, wanted him to take that sum as part payment of her prospective expenses.
“ Make it go as far as you can, but keep it. Remember it is all of your own that you possess. When it is spent you will have to come to me to replenish your purse. I wish to impress this on your mind. I am well off-I may indeed say, very well off—but I do not encourage extravagance. I know what it is to earn sixpence a day and live on it; but I climbed up, you see, and got pretty well ahead by my own exertions ; and I always advise other people to do the same.
“ Indeed Mr. Hamley, I am willing and ready to do anything that I can,” said Patricia, with a sudden hesitancy that explained everything
“No doubt"- he stuck his thumbs into his waistcoat armholes. “But that is just where the hitch is what can you do?”.
She turned pale. “Nothing!” she said, looking down.
“Of course not! I knew that; only you need not have confessed it. Such an education as yours, scrambling and rambling about the country like a tinker's daughter, getting wrecked here and tossed like a bale of cotton there, and knowing no better than to have a cold breast of mutton for a gentleman's dinner after a long journey—how could you have learnt anything? Why you have not learnt even your own trade of lady! But never mind. I confess I should not like to see dear Dora obliged to work for her living-ladies ought to be worked for," —he put this in gallantly, standing there on his six feet one and ponderous breadth of shoulders; "and your aunt may have the same feeling for you. If she has, Abbey Holme is large enough for you, and,” jingling the money in his pocket, “the Hamley funds can bear your additional burden I daresay. Now here comes the fly. Are all your things ready? Say good-bye, my dear, to the -old and make your courtesy to the new. No! no tears if you please. I can't abide a crying lady-it makes one damp!” To himself he said, almost aloud—“ Lord! that the fool should cry to exchange this horrid hole for Abbey Holme!”
THE HOME-COMING. "THE journey from Barsands to Milltown was a cross-country one; consequently full of delays, and tedious. There had not been much either in the scenery or the circumstances to amuse Mr. Hamley or interest Patricia. When he had pulled up both the windows, tucked himself and his charge well round in heavy railway rugs, bought the day's papers for himself and a trashy novel for her, he had done all that politeness and the circumstances of the case demanded of him; and Patricia had borne the feeling of oppression and suffocation consequent on his care as the sacrifice of self due to him for gratitude. But not even gratitude could make her read the book he gave her. Her education had been lamentably neglected with regard to modern fiction; and, save Sir Walter Scott and one or two of Dickens's earlier works, she had never read a novel in her life, and had no desire to begin. They seemed such wretched make-believes to her—much as an opera seems to a young person of ordinary common-sense perceptions and a keen idea of fitness, who sees and hears for the first time the hero die in an aria and the heroine go mad in a recitative. All she did, therefore, was to look out of the window; watching while she could; feeling, as every station with its well-known name was passed and left behind, that she was lengthening her chain of sorrow, cutting off so much from her life; and, when she could no longer watch, dreaming. Meanwhile Mr. Hamley slept; and when he slept he snored.
It was a drear, dull day; one of those late autumn days which seem to have suddenly leapt into winter since yesterday. Here and there a tree, bright with gold and brown, had kept its foliage in a loose and feathery way still about its branches ; but for the most part only a few deep red or russet-purple leaves fluttered in the chilly air, like the last good-byes of a friend. Clumps of square-headed tag-wort, a few late hawkweeds, and some shabby tufts of milfoil were the sole representatives of the gracious flowers of spring and summer. The day was raw and damp. Not a bird twittered in the hedges ; and the leaden sky looked as if it would never shine -again. All this dreary dullness, all this melancholy of earth and sky, seemed quite natural to Patricia. She would have been surprised if the sun had shone, and the birds had sung, and the earth had been gay and sweet with flowers. It was not a conscious thought, but it was there all the same
—the thought that nature was in mourning as well as herself; and that her uncle's death was known to more than the world at Barsands.
It was evening when they reached the station which served Milltown for its point of contact with the outer world. In old days when railroads were considered vulgar by some and immoral by others, Milltown had resolutely refused to be polluted by iron and steam. The clergyman had preached on the dangers to be dreaded by the influx of navvies ; speaking of them-poor honest fellows !—as if they had been brigands or burglars; the ladies were afraid that their horses would be frightened by the engine, and foresaw the most frightful catastrophes; and the gentlemen objected to the "strange blood” which the line would introduce among them. Social influence—always strong in such a place as Milltown-had therefore managed to secure intact the exclusiveness which had been one of the characteristics of this little aristocratic south-coast queen
of the sea.
A station nine miles off was quite near enough for the conservative respectabilities which ruled in Milltown; and, though some now rather regretted this exclusiveness —they were the people who did not keep carriages—most stood by their colours, and thought they and their fathers had decided well in the past. These were the people with carriages and horses, who were able to leave home as often as they liked, and to get abroad all the variety that home denied them. To them it was shocking to contemplate the invasion of their cared-for, well-trimmed, garden-like valley by hordes of excursionists from the neighbouring towns; and the idea of retired tradesmen, aping gentility, being enabled to rent houses, or maybe buy land and build amongst their own sacred seats, was one not to be borne for an instant. Whether by opening up markets and thus causing a brisker trade, a railway would do the farmers and smaller shopkeepers good, was not an item in their calculations. It would bring strange residents, London visitors, and cheap-trip excursionists ; and the Milltown gentry wanted none of them.
When the train deposited Patricia and her companion they found the Hamley carriages and the Hamley servants waiting for them. Their arrival caused that excitement which the coming of the rich men of the neighbourhood always causes in such places; and the station-master and the two porters bustled about and ran hither and thither to serve the owner of Abbey Holme with alacrity and zeal. Flies round the honey-pot they buzzed with expectant emphasis ; and to do him justice the great man paid for their buzzing liberally. Though by no means generous by nature, pride disposed Mr. Hamley to public acts of ostentatious liberality; and he understood that a character must be paid for as well as other things more material. He was thus quoted by some as the freest-hearted gentleman of the district; while others, with whom he had graver business transactions,
spoke of him between their teeth as-well! one who would skin a flint and make broth of the remainder. Besides, small as the triumph was, he was pleased that Patricia should see the estimation in which he was held when at home. He was aware that he had failed to impress her very profoundly so far as he had gone yet, and he thought that these evidences of his local dignity would do her good.
All she noticed however was, that the men seemed sickeningly servile; and she wished they had not bowed so low or said “sir” so often. He, not knowing this, was wonderfully affable to-day, with the affability of a superior person condescending to his brethren of low estate ; and the honey ran over at all sides, to the satisfaction of the limp-backed flies that gathered it.
Handed ostentatiously to the carriage, Patricia stepped it with the wrong foot first; by which she entangled herself in her dress and had to untwist herself before she sat down. The result was not unlike the action of a dog turning round on the hearth-rug while making his imaginary bed.
“We must have you instructed how to step into a carriage, my dear,” said Mr. Hamley blandly, when they had fairly rolled away.
“Yes ?" she answered. “Is there a right and a wrong way?”
“ Is there a right and a wrong way?" He gave a scornful kind of sport. “ Ask Dora," he added, in the tone of one who propounds something that is indisputable.
" I suppose Dora understands all these little things perfectly?” Patricia said, by way of courteous question.
“ Little! Not so very little, let me tell you,” Mr. Hamley answered hastily. She was touching his gods and profaning his sacred shrines. He had not been Mrs. Hamley's husband for fifteen years not to have learnt the full value of the minor graces. “ These are things which all ladies should understand; and of which, if you'll excuse me for saying so, you are as ignorant as a cat. You will have to be dearnt them without delay; and you will never progress if you commence by regarding them as little.”
“I call them little only in comparison with the really great things. I daresay they are quite good and right in themselves, only not so important as some others," said Patricia, with the steady look which Mr. Hamley disliked so much visible under the carriage-lamp shining full upon them. “Uncle always used to say that if we got the main things right the rest would come when they were wanted.”
“ I do not exactly see how the main things as you call them-and I do not know what you mean either-will assist you to step into a carriage with the right foot foremost. And more than this, I cannot allow you to argue with me,” said Mr. Hamley in a firm, heavy voice. “There is nothing more offensive to my mind than an argufying lady. You will remember this in future, I am sure.”
“But is expressing an opinion arguing ?” asked Patricia.
“There you are! at it again! My dear young lady, you are posi-tively dreadful! I say dreadful, and I mean it. What will Mrs. Hamley say to you? or dear Dora, the gentlest of her sex ? Dora never argues, never objects. When Dora hears these pert remarks of yours she will be shocked; I know she will. A very little shocks both Dora and Mrs. Hamley."
“I will try not to shock them,” said Patricia, patient but astounded. Truly life was having its new readings printed heavily for her benefit.
“ You must not; which is more than trying. And for one thing you must really be less radical than you are now. You are out-andout the most independent radical for a lady I have ever seen Posi tively astonishing! And wherever you can have picked it all up, and your uncle the son of a K.C.B. and the brother of such a woman as. Mrs. Hamley, I don't know.”
“But I am not a radical at all, Mr. Hamley,” said Patricia, opening her eyes and speaking very earnestly. “I understand nothing about politics, and am neither radical nor tory-scarcely indeed know the difference between them ! ”
“And I say you are,” repeated Mr. Hamley, who had used the word in a provincial and not a political sense ; “so let us have no more discussion. Your duty is to be humble-minded and obedient; to order yourself lowly and reverently to all your pastors and masters and those who are put in authority over you,” he added, with a happy reminiscence of the catechism as the sling and stone he thought would have most effect on this odd young person.
Patricia was silent. She wondered why, when her dear uncle's lessons had always awakened such a full response in her conscience, such a fervent desire and resolve to live up to all he said, and had seemed to lift her over every little moral difficulty in which she might have been at the time, Mr. Hamley's only pained and irritated her. What he said was of course the right thing so far as words went, but a certain something in her heart seemed to rebel rather than to acquiesce.
5. You do not agree with me?" then said Mr. Hamley with an unpleasant smile. He had been watching her face with its large eyes fixed on the darkening line of hedge and bank, and her lips closed tighter than her lips were wont to close. “You do not perceive the truth of what I say about humble-mindedness and obedience?"
“Yes I do,” said Patricia, still looking out of the window. “But you are annoyed that I have said it ?”
For a minute she was silent. Then she turned to him frankly; “No, I am not,” she said, and put both her hands into his.
* Very right,” said Mr. Hamley with an indescribable assumption of