Page images

"Well, what then?"

"I don't know what I shall like best, sir," said Winthrop.

[ocr errors]

No, not yet; perhaps not yet. You'll be a happy man if

ever you do, sir. I never knew what I liked best, till I couldn't

have it. Well sir-what do you calculate to begin upon?—a little arithmetic, I suppose, won't be out of the way.'

"I should like-Latin, if you please, sir."

"Latin! Then you're following your brother's steps? I am glad of it! It does me good to see boys studying Latin. That's right. Latin. And Algebra, perhaps."

"Yes sir."

"I'll put you into Algebra, as soon as you like."

"I shall want books, I suppose, sir. Can I get them here?" "No; you can't get 'em, I'm afraid, this side of Deerford." "Deerford? ""

"That's six miles off, or so."

"I can't walk there to-night," said Winthrop; "but I'll go to-morrow."

"Walk there to-night! no,-but we'll see. I think you've got the stuff in you. To-night-Maybe we can find some old books that will do to begin with; and you can walk over there some waste afternoon. How far have you come to-day?"

"About thirteen miles, sir, from home."

"On foot?" "Yes sir."

"And you want half a dozen more to-night?

[ocr errors]

"No sir," said Winthrop, smiling,-"not if I might choose." “You'll find a day. Your father spoke to me about your lodgings. You can lodge here, where I do; only twelve shillings a week. I'll speak to Mrs. Nelson about it; and you can just make yourself at home. I'm very glad to see you."

'Make himself at home'! Winthrop's heart gave an emphatic answer, as he drew up a chair the opposite side of the fireplace. Make himself at home. That might only be done by a swift transport of thirteen miles. He could not do it, if he would. Would he, if he could? Nay; he had set his face up the mountain of learning, and not all the luring voices that might sound behind and beside him could tempt him to turn back. He must have the Golden Water that was at the top.

It was necessary to stuff cotton into his ears. Fancy had obstinately a mind to bring his mother's gentle tread about him, and to ring the sweet tones of home, and to shew him pictures of the summer light on the hills, and of the little snow-spread valley

of winter. Nay, by the side of that cold fireplace, with Mr. Glan bally at one corner and himself at the other, she set the bright hearth of home, girdled with warm hearts and hands; a sad break in them now for his being away. Mr. Glanbally had returned to his book and was turning over the leaves of it with his nose; and Winthrop was left alone to his contemplations. How alone

the turning over of those leaves did make him feel. If Mr. Glanbally would have held up his head and used his fingers, like a Christian man, it would not have been so dreary; but that nose said emphatically, "You never saw me before."


It was a help to him when somebody came in to spread that bare table with supper. Fried pork, and cheese; and bread that was not his mother's sweet baking, and tea that was very "herbaceous." It was the fare he must expect up the mountain. He did not mind that. He would have lived on bread and water. The company were not fellow-travellers either, to judge by their looks. No matter for that; he did not want company. would sing, "My mind to me a kingdom is;" but the kingdom had to be conquered first; enough to do. He was thinking all supper-time what waste ground it was. And after supper he was taken to his very spare room. It was doubtful how the epithet could possibly have been better deserved. That mattered not; the temple of Learning should cover his head by and by; it signified little what shelter it took in the mean while. But though he cared nothing for each of these things separately, they all together told him he was a traveller; and Winthrop's heart owned itself overcome, whatever his head said to it.

His was not a head to be ashamed of his heart; and it was with no self-reproach that he let tears come, and then wiped them away. He slept at last; and the sleep of a tired man should be sweet. But " as he slept he dreamed." He fell to his journeyings again. He thought himself back on the wearisome road he had come that day, and it seemed that night and darkness overtook him; such night that his way was lost. And he was sitting by the roadside, with his little bundle, stayed that he could not go on, when his mother suddenly came, with a light, and offered to lead him forward. But the way by which she would lead him was not one he had ever travelled, for the dream ended there. He awoke and knew it was a dream; yet somewhat in the sweet image, or in the thoughts and associations it brought back, touched him strangely; and he wept upon his pillow with the convulsive weeping of a little child. And prayed, that night,

for the first time in his life, that in the journey before him his mother's God might be his God. He slept at last.

He awoke to new thoughts and to fresh exertion. Action, action, was the business of the day; to get up the hill of learning, the present aim of life; and to that he bent himself. Whether or not Winthrop fancied this opportunity might be a short one, it is certain he made the most of it. Mr. Glanbally had for once his heart's desire of a pupil.

It was a week or two before the walk was taken to Deerford and the books bought. At the end of those weeks the waste afternoon fell out, and Mr. Glanbally got Winthrop a ride in a wagon for one half the way. Deerford was quite a place; but to Winthrop its great attraction was-a Latin dictionary! He found the right bookstore, and his dollar was duly exchanged for a second-hand Virgil, a good deal worn, and a dictionary, which had likewise seen its best days; and that was not saying much; for it was of very bad paper and in most miserable little type. But it was a precious treasure to Winthrop. His heart yearned after some Greek books, but his hand was stayed; there was nothing more in it. He had only got the Virgil and dictionary by favour eking out his eight shillings, for the books were declared to be worth ten. So he trudged off home again with his purchases under his arm, well content. That Virgil and dictionary were a guide of the way for a good piece of the mountain. Now to get up it.

He had got home and was turning the books over with Mr. Glanbally, just in the edge of the evening, when the door opened quick and a little female figure came in. She came close up to the table with the air of one quite at home.

"Good evening, Mr. Glanbally-father told me to give you this letter."

Winthrop looked at her, and Mr. Glanbally looked at the letter. She was a slight little figure, a child, not more than thirteen or fourteen at the outside, perhaps not so much, but tall of her age. A face not like those of the Asphodel children. She did not once look towards him.

"Why I thought you were in Mannahatta, Miss Elizabeth." "Just going there-we have just come from Little River on our way."

"This letter is for you, Winthrop," said Mr. Glanbally, handing it over. "And Mr. Haye was kind enough to bring it from Little River?"

"Yes sir-he said it was for somebody here."

"And now you are going to Mannahatta ?"

"Yes sir-to-morrow. Good bye, Mr. Glanbally." "Are you alone, Miss Elizabeth?"

"Yes sir."

"Where is Miss Cadwallader?"

"She's at home.

I've just been down to see nurse. "But it's too late for you," said Mr. Glanbally, getting up,"it's too dark-it's too late for you to go home alone.”

"O no sir, I'm not afraid."

"Stop, I'll go with you," said Mr. Glanbally," but I've been riding till I'm as stiff as the tongs-Winthrop, are you too tired to walk home with this young lady?- -as her father has brought you a letter you might do so much." "Certainly, sir,-I am not tired.” "I don't want anybody.

I'm not in the least afraid, Mr.

Glanbally," said the little lady rather impatiently, and still not glancing at her promised escort.

"But it's better, Miss Elizabeth "

"No sir, it isn't."

"Your father will like it better, I know. This is Mr. Land holm-the brother of the Mr. Landholm you used to see last summer,—you remember."

Elizabeth looked at her guard, as if she had no mind to remember anybody of the name, and without more ado left the room. Winthrop understanding that he was to follow, did so, and with some difficulty brought himself up alongside of the little lady, for she had not tarried for him and was moving on at a smart pace. Her way led them presently out of the village and along a lonely country road. Winthrop thought he was not a needless convenience at that hour; but it was doubtful what his little charge thought. She took no manner of notice of him. Winthrop thought he would try to bring her out, for he was playing the part of a shadow too literally.

"You are a good walker, Miss Elizabeth." A slight glance at him, and no answer.

"Do you often go out alone so late?"

"Whenever I want to."

"How do you like living in the city?"

"I?—I don't know. I have never lived there."

"Have you lived here?"


The tone was perfectly self-possessed and equally dry. H. tried her again.

"My brother says you have a very pleasant place." There was no answer at all this time. Winthrop gave it up as a bad business.

It had grown nearly dark. She hurried on, as much as was consistent with a pace perfectly steady. About half a mile from the village she came to a full stop, and looked towards him, almost for the first time.

"You can leave me now. I can see the light in the windows." "Not yet," said Winthrop smiling" Mr. Glanbally would hardly think I had done my duty."

"Mr. Glanbally needn't trouble himself about me! He has nothing to do with it. This is far enough."

"I must go a little further."

She started forward again, and a moment after hardly made her own words good. They encountered a large drove of cattle, that spread all over the road. Little independence plainly fal tered here and was glad to walk behind her guard, till they had passed quite through. They came then to the iron gate of her grounds.

"You needn't come any further," she said.

"Thank you."

And as she spoke she opened and shut the gate in his face. Winthrop turned about and retraced his steps homeward, to read his brother's letter. It was read by his little end of candle after he went up to bed at night.


"LITTLE RIVER, Nov. 1807.

"For I expect you will be all that, one of these days, (a literal governor, I mean,) or in some other way assert your supremacy over nineteen twentieths of the rest of the human race. Methinks even now from afar I see Joseph's dream enacting, in your favour, only you will perforce lack something of his baker's dozen of homages in your own family. Unlessbut nobody can tell what may happen. For my part I am sincerely willing to be surpassed, so it be only by you; and will. swing my cap and hurrah for you louder than anybody, the first time you are elected. Do not think I am more than half mad. In truth I expect great things from you, and I expect without any fear of disappointment. You have an obstinacy of perseverance, under that calm face of yours, that will be more than a match for all obstacles in your way; indeed obstacles only make the rush of the stream the greater, if once it get by them; the very things which this minute threatened to check it, the next

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »