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The broad highway


TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheBroadHighway,byJefferyFarnol
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Title:TheBroadHighway
Author:JefferyFarnol
PostingDate:June1,2013[EBook#5257]ReleaseDate:March,2004First
Posted:June16,2002LastUpdated:September18,2019
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEBROAD
HIGHWAY***

ProducedbyPollyStrattonandAndrewSly

TheBroadHighway
byJefferyFarnol


To

ShirleyByronJevons
Thefriendofmyboyishambitions
Thisbookisdedicated
Asamarkofmygratitude,affectionandesteem
J.F.


ANTESCRIPTUM
AsIsatofanearlysummermorningintheshadeofatree,eatingfriedbacon
withatinker,thethoughtcametomethatImightsomedaywriteabookofmy
own:abookthatshouldtreatoftheroadsandby-roads,oftrees,andwindin
lonelyplaces,ofrapidbrooksandlazystreams,ofthegloryofdawn,theglowof
evening,andthepurplesolitudeofnight;abookofwaysideinnsand
sequesteredtaverns;abookofcountrythingsandwaysandpeople.Andthe
thoughtpleasedmemuch.
"But,"objectedtheTinker,forIhadspokenmythoughtaloud,"treesand
suchlikedon'tsoundveryinterestin'—leastways—notinabook,forafteralla
tree'sonlyatreeandaninn,aninn;no,youmusttellofotherthingsaswell."
"Yes,"saidI,alittledamped,"tobesurethereisahighwayman—"
"Come,that'sbetter!"saidtheTinkerencouragingly.
"Then,"Iwenton,tickingoffeachitemonmyfingers,"comeTom
Cragg,thepugilist—"
"Betterandbetter!"noddedtheTinker.
"—aone-leggedsoldierofthePeninsula,anadventureatalonelytavern,aflight
throughwoodsatmidnightpursuedbydesperatevillains,and—amost
extraordinarytinker.Sofarsogood,Ithink,anditallsoundsadventurous
enough."
"What!"criedtheTinker."Wouldyouputmeinyourbookthen?"


"Assuredly."
"Whythen,"saidtheTinker,"it'strueImendskettles,sharpensscissorsand
such,butIlikewisepeddlesbooksan'nov-els,an'what'smoreIreads'em—so,
ifyoumustputmeinyourbook,youmightcallmealiterarycove."
"Aliterarycove?"saidI.
"Ah!"saidtheTinker,"itsoundsbetter—asightbetter—besides,Ineverreada
nov-elwithatinkerinitasIremember;they'regenerallydooks,orearls,or
barronites—nobodywantstoreadaboutatinker."
"Thatalldepends,"saidI;"atinkermaybemuchmoreinterestingthananearlor
evenaduke."


TheTinkerexaminedthepieceofbaconuponhisknifepointwithacoldand
disparagingeye.
"I'vereadagoodmanynov-elsinmytime,"saidhe,shakinghishead,"andI
knowswhatI'mtalkingof;"hereheboltedthemorselofbaconwithmuch
apparentrelish."I'vemadelovetoduchesses,runoffwithheiresses,andfought
dooels—ah!bythehundred—allbetweenthecoversofsomebookorotherand
enjoyedituncommonlywell—especiallythedooels.Ifyoucangetalittleblood
intoyourbook,somuchthebetter;there'snothinglikealittlebloodinabook—
notagreatdeal,butjustenoughtogiveita'tang,'sotospeak;ifyoucouldkill
yourhighwaymantostartwithitwouldbeaverygoodbeginningtoyourstory."
"Icoulddothat,certainly,"saidI,"butitwouldnotbeaccordingtofact."
"Somuchthebetter,"saidtheTinker;"whowantsfactsinanov-el?"
"Hum!"saidI.
"Andthenagain—"
"Whatmore?"Iinquired.
"Love!"saidtheTinker,wipinghisknife-bladeonthelegofhisbreeches.
"Love?"Irepeated.


"Andplentyofit,"saidtheTinker.
"I'mafraidthatisimpossible,"saidI,afteramoment'sthought.
"Howimpossible?"
"BecauseIknownothingaboutlove."
"That'sapity,"saidtheTinker.
"Underthecircumstances,itis,"saidI.
"Notadoubtofit,"saidtheTinker,beginningtoscruboutthefrying-panwitha
handfulofgrass,"thoughtobesureyoumightlearn;you'reyoungenough."
"Yes,Imightlearn,"saidI;"whoknows?"
"Ah!whoknows?"saidtheTinker.Andafterhehadcleansedthepantohis
satisfaction,heturnedtomewithdexterfingerupraisedandbrowofheavy
portent."Youngfellow,"saidhe,"nomancanwriteagoodnov-elwithouthe
knowssummataboutlove;itaren'ttobeexpected—sothesooneryoudolearn,
thebetter."
"Hum!"saidI.
"Andthen,asIsaidaforeandIsayitagain,theywantsloveinabook
nowadays,andwot'smoretheywillhaveit."
"They?"saidI.
"Thefolkaswillreadyourbook—afteritiswritten."
"Ah!tobesure,"saidI,somewhattakenaback;"Ihadforgottenthem."
"Forgottenthem?"repeatedtheTinker,staring.
"Forgottenthatpeoplemightwenttoreadit—afteritiswritten."
"But,"saidtheTinker,rubbinghisnosehard,"booksarewrittenforpeopleto
read,aren'tthey?"


"Notalways,"saidI.
HereupontheTinkerrubbedhisnoseharderthanever.
"Manyoftheworld'sgreatestbooks,thosemasterpieceswhichhavelivedand
shallliveonforever,werewritten(asIbelieve)forthepureloveofwriting
them."
"Oh!"saidtheTinker.
"Yes,"saidI,warmingtomytheme,"andwithlittleornoideaoftheeyesof
thoseunborngenerationswhichweretoreadandmarvelatthem;henceitiswe
getthosesublimethoughtsuntrammelledbypassingtastesandfashions,
unboundedbynarrowcreedorpopularprejudice."
"Ah?"saidtheTinker.
"Manyagreatwriterhasbeenspoiledbyfashionandsuccess,for,sosoonashe
beginstothinkuponhispublic,howbesttopleaseandholdtheirfancy(whichis
everthemostfickleofmundanethings)straightwayGeniusspreadsabroadhis
pinionsandleaveshiminthemire."
"Poorcove!"saidtheTinker."Youngman,yousmile,Ithink?"
"No,"saidI.
"Well,supposingawriterneverhadnogen'us—howthen?"
"Whythen,"saidI,"heshouldneverdaretowriteatall."
"Youngfellow,"saidtheTinker,glancingatmefromthecornersofhiseyes,"are
yousureyouareagen'usthen?"
NowwhenmycompanionsaidthisIfellsilent,fortheverysufficientreasonthat
Ifoundnothingtosay.
"Lordloveyou!"saidheatlast,seeingmethus"hipped"—"don'tbe
downhearted—don'tbedashedaforeyoubegin;wecan'tallbegen'uses—it
aren'ttobeexpected,butsomeonusisagooddealbetterthanmostandthat's
somethingarterall.Asforyourbook,wotyouhavetodoistogive'emalittle


bloodnowandthenwithplentyofloveandyoucan'tgofarwrong!"
NowwhethertheTinker'stheoryforthewritingofagoodnovelberightor
wrong,Iwillnotpresumetosay.Butinthisbookthatliesbeforeyou,though
youshallread,ifyouchoose,ofcountrythingsandwaysandpeople,yet,
becausethatpartofmylifehereinrecordedwasasomethinghard,roughlife,
youshallreadalsoofblood;and,becauseIcame,intheend,tolovevery
greatly,soshallyoureadoflove.
Wherefore,then,Iamemboldenedtohopethatwhenyoushallhaveturnedthe
lastpageandclosedthisbook,youshalldosowithasigh.
P.V.
LONDON.


BOOKONE


CHAPTERI
CHIEFLYCONCERNINGMYUNCLE'SLASTWILLANDTESTAMENT

"'Andtomynephew,MauriceVibart,Ibequeaththesumoftwentythousand
poundsintheferventhopethatitmayhelphimtothedevilwithintheyear,oras
soonafterasmaybe.'"
HereMr.Graingerpausedinhisreadingtoglanceupovertherimofhis
spectacles,whileSirRichardlaybackinhischairandlaughedloudly."Gad!"he
exclaimed,stillchuckling,"I'dgiveahundredpoundsifhecouldhavebeen
presenttohearthat,"andthebaronetwentoffintoanotherroarofmerriment.
Mr.Grainger,ontheotherhand,dignifiedandsolemn,coughedashort,dry
coughbehindhishand.
"Helphimtothedevilwithintheyear,"repeatedSirRichard,stillchuckling.
"Prayproceed,sir,"saidI,motioningtowardsthewill….Butinsteadof
complying,Mr.Graingerlaiddowntheparchment,andremovinghisspectacles,
begantopolishthemwithalargesilkhandkerchief.
"Youare,Ibelieve,unacquaintedwithyourcousin,SirMaurice
Vibart?"heinquired.
"Ihaveneverseenhim,"saidI;"allmylifehasbeenpassedeitheratschoolor
theuniversity,butIhavefrequentlyheardmentionofhim,nevertheless."
"Egad!"criedSirRichard,"whohasn'theardofBuckVibart—beatTedJarraway
ofSwanseainfiverounds—drovecoachandfourdownWhitehall—onsidewalk
—ranawaywithaFrenchmarquisewhilebutaboyoftwenty,andshother
husbandintothebargain.Devilishcelebratedfigurein'sportingcircles,'friendof


thePrinceRegent—"
"SoIunderstand,"saidI.
"AltogetherascompleteayoungblackguardaseverswaggereddownSt.
James's."Havingsaidwhich,SirRichardcrossedhislegsandinhaledapinchof
snuff.
"Twentythousandpoundsisaveryhandsomesum,"remarkedMr.Grainger
ponderouslyandasthoughmorewiththeintentionofsayingsomethingrather
thanremainsilentjustthen.
"Indeeditis,"saidI,"andmighthelpamantothedevilascomfortablyasneed
be,but—"
"Though,"pursuedMr.Grainger,"muchbelowhisexpectationsandsadly
inadequatetohispresentneeds,Ifear."
"Thatismostunfortunate,"saidI,"but—"
"Hisdebts,"saidMr.Grainger,busyathisspectaclesagain,"hisdebtsarevery
heavy,Ibelieve."
"Thendoubtlesssomearrangementcanbemadeto—butcontinueyourreading,I
beg,"saidI.
Mr.Graingerrepeatedhisshort,drycoughandtakingupthewill,slowlyand
almostasthoughunwillingly,clearedhisthroatandbeganasfollows:
"'Furthermore,tomynephew,PeterVibart,cousintotheabove,Iwilland
bequeathmyblessingandthesumoftenguineasincash,wherewithtopurchase
acopyofZenooranyotherofthestoicphilosophershemayprefer.'"
AgainMr.Graingerlaiddownthewill,andagainheregardedmeovertherimof
hisspectacles.
"GoodGod!"criedSirRichard,leapingtohisfeet,"themanmusthavebeen
mad.Tenguineas—why,it'saninsult—damme!—it'saninsult—you'llnever
takeitofcourse,Peter."


"Onthecontrary,sir,"saidI.
"But—tenguineas!"bellowedthebaronet;"onmysoulnow,Georgewasacoldbloodedfish,butIdidn'tthinkevenhewascapableofsuchadespicabletrick—
no—cursemeifIdid!Why,itwouldhavebeenkindertohaveleftyounothing
atall—butitwaslikeGeorge—bittertotheend—tenguineas!"
"Istenguineas,"saidI,"andwhenonecomestothinkofit,muchmaybedone
withtenguineas."
SirRichardgrewpurpleintheface,butbeforehecouldspeak,Mr.
Graingerbegantoreadagain:
"'Moreover,thesumoffivehundredthousandpounds,nowvestedinthefunds,
shallbepaidtoeitherMauriceorPeterVibartaforesaid,ifeithershall,within
onecalendaryear,becomethehusbandoftheLadySophiaSeftonof
Cambourne.'"
"GoodGod!"exclaimedSirRichard.
"'Failingwhich,'"readMr.Grainger,"'thesaidsum,namely,fivehundred
thousandpounds,shallbebestoweduponsuchcharityorcharitiesasthetrustees
shallselect.Signedbyme,thistenthdayofApril,eighteenhundredand—,
GEORGEVIBART.DulywitnessedbyADAMPENFLEET,MARTHA
TRENT."'
HereMr.Grainger'svoicestopped,andIremember,inthesilencethatfollowed,
theparchmentcrackledveryloudlyashefoldeditpreciselyandlaiditonthe
tablebeforehim.IrememberalsothatSirRichardwasswearingvehemently
underhisbreathashepacedtoandfrobetweenmeandthewindow.
"Andthatisall?"Iinquiredatlast.
"That,"saidMr.Grainger,notlookingatmenow,"isall."
"TheLadySophia,"murmuredSirRichardasiftohimself,"theLady
Sophia!"Andthen,stoppingsuddenlybeforemeinhiswalk,"Oh,
Peter!"saidhe,clappinghishanddownuponmyshoulder,"oh,Peter,
thatsettlesit;you'redonefor,boy—acruellerwillwasnevermade."


"Marriage!"saidItomyself."Hum!"
"Adamnableiniquity,"exclaimedSirRichard,stridingupanddowntheroom
again.
"TheLadySophiaSeftonofCambourne!"saidI,rubbingmychin.
"Why,that'sjustit,"roaredthebaronet;"she'sareigningtoast—mostfamous
beautyinthecountry,London'smadoverher—shecanpickandchoosefromall
thefinestgentlemeninEngland.Oh,it's'good-by'toallyourhopesofthe
inheritance,Peter,andthat'sthedevilofit."
"Sir,Ifailtoseeyourargument,"saidI.
"What?"criedSirRichard,facingroundonme,"d'youthinkyou'dhaveachance
withherthen?"
"Whynot?"
"Withoutfriends,position,ormoney?Pish,boy!don'tItellyouthateverybuck
anddandy—everymincingmacaroniinthethreekingdomswouldgivehisvery
legstomarryher—eitherforherbeautyorherfortune?"splutteredthebaronet.
"Andletmeinformyoufurtherthatshe'sdevilishhighandhaughtywithitall—
theydosaysheevenrebuffedthePrinceRegenthimself."
"Butthen,sir,IconsidermyselfabettermanthanthePrinceRegent,"saidI.
SirRichardsankintothenearestchairandstaredatmeopenmouthed.
"Sir,"Icontinued,"youdoubtlesssetmedownasanegoistofegoists.Ifreely
confessit;soareyou,soisMr.Graingeryonder,soareweallofusegoistsin
thinkingourselvesasgoodassomefewofourneighborsandbetterthanagreat
many."
"Deucetakeme!"saidSirRichard.
"ReferringtotheLadySophia,Ihaveheardthatsheoncegallopedherhorseup
thestepsofSt.Paul'sCathedral—"
"Anddownagain,Peter,"addedSirRichard.


"Alsosheissaidtobepossessedofatemper,"Icontinued,"andisabovethe
averageheight,Ibelieve,andIhaveanaturalantipathytotermagants,more
especiallytallones."
"Termagant!"criedSirRichard."Why,she'sthehandsomestwomaninLondon,
boy.She'snoneofyourmilk-and-watery,meek-mouthedmisses—curseme,no!
She'sallfireandbloodandhighmettle—awoman,sir—glorious—divine—
damme,sir,ablack-browedgoddess—apositiveplum!"
"SirRichard,"saidI,"shouldIevercontemplatemarriage,whichismost
improbable,mywifemustbesweetandshy,gentle-eyedandsoftofvoice,
insteadofyourbold,strong-armed,horse-gallopingcreature;aboveall,shemust
besweetandclinging—"
"Sweetandsticky,oh,thedevil!Harktotheboy,Grainger,"criedSirRichard,
"harktohim—andoneglanceofthegloriousSefton'sbrighteyes—oneglance
only,Grainger,andhe'dbeatherfeet—onhisknees—onhisconfoundedknees,
sir!"
"Thequestionis,howdoyouproposetomaintainyourselfinthefuture?"said
Mr.Graingeratthispoint;"lifeunderyouralteredfortunesmustprove
necessarilyhard,Mr.Peter."
"Andyet,sir,"Ianswered,"afortunewithawifetaggedontoitmustprovea
verymixedblessingafterall;andthenagain,theremaybeacertainamountof
satisfactioninsteppingintoadeadman'sshoes,butI,veryfoolishly,perhaps,
haveahankeringforshoesofmyown.Surelytheremustbesomepositioninlife
thatIamcompetenttofill,somepositionthatwouldmaintainmehonorablyand
well;IflattermyselfthatmyyearsatOxfordwerenotaltogetherbarrenofresult
—"
"Bynomeans,"putinSirRichard;"youwontheHighJump,Ibelieve?"
"Sir,Idid,"saidI;"also'ThrowingtheHammer.'"
"Andspenttwothousandpoundsperannum?"saidSirRichard.
"Sir,Idid,butbetweenwhilesmanagedtodofairlywellintheTripos,tofinisha
newandoriginaltranslationofQuintilian,anotherofPetroniusArbiterandalso
aliteralrenderingintotheEnglishoftheMemoirsoftheSieurdeBrantome."


"Fornoneofwhichyouhavehithertofoundapublisher?"inquiredMr.
Grainger.
"Notasyet,"saidI,"butIhavegreathopesofmyBrantome,asyouareprobably
awarethisisthefirsttimehehaseverbeentranslatedintotheEnglish."
"Hum!"saidSirRichard,"ha!—andinthemeantimewhatdoyouintendtodo?"
"OnthatheadIhaveasyetcometonodefiniteconclusion,sir,"Ianswered.
"Ihavebeenwondering,"beganMr.Grainger,somewhatdiffidently,"ifyou
wouldcaretoacceptapositioninmyoffice.Tobesuretheremunerationwould
besmallatfirstandquiteinsignificantincomparisontotheincomeyouhave
beeninthereceiptof."
"Butitwouldhavebeenmoneyearned,"saidI,"whichisinfinitelypreferableto
thatforwhichweneverturnahand—atleast,Ithinkso."
"Thenyouaccept?"
"No,sir,"saidI,"thoughIamgratefultoyou,andthankyoumostsincerelyfor
youroffer,yetIhaveneverfelttheleastinclinationtothepracticeoflaw;where
thereisnointerestone'sworkmustnecessarilysuffer,andIhavenodesirethat
yourbusinessshouldbeinjuredbyanycarelessnessofmine."
"Whatdoyouthinkofaprivatetutorship?"
"Itwouldsuitmeaboveallthingswereitnotforthefactthatthegenus'Boy'is
themostaggravatingofallanimals,andthatIamconsciousofacertain
shortnessoftemperattimes,whichmightresultinpaintomypupil,lossof
dignitytomyself,andgeneralunpleasantnesstoallconcerned—otherwisea
privatetutorshipwouldsuitmostadmirably."
HereSirRichardtookanotherpinchofsnuffandsatfrowningupattheceiling,
whileMr.Graingerbegantyingupthatdocumentwhichhadsoalteredmy
prospects.Asforme,Icrossedtothewindowandstoodstaringoutatthe
evening.Everywhereweretreestintedbytherosyglowofsunset,treesthat
stirredsleepilyinthegentlewind,andfarawayIcouldseethatfamoushighway,
builtandpavedforthemarchofRomanLegions,windingawaytowhereit
vanishedoverdistantShooter'sHill.


"Andpray,"saidSirRichard,stillfrowningattheceiling,"whatdoyoupropose
todowithyourself?"
Now,asIlookedoutuponthisfairevening,Ibecame,ofasudden,possessedof
anovermasteringdesire,agreatlongingforfieldandmeadowandhedgerow,for
woodandcoppiceandshadystream,forsequesteredinnsandwide,wind-swept
heaths,andeverthebroadhighwayinfront.ThusIansweredSirRichard's
questionunhesitatingly,andwithoutturningfromthewindow:
"Ishallgo,sir,onawalkingtourthroughKentandSurreyinto
Devonshire,andthenceprobablytoCornwall."
"Andwithamiserabletenguineasinyourpocket?
Preposterous—absurd!"retortedSirRichard.
"Onthecontrary,sir,"saidI,"themoreIpondertheproject,themoreenamored
ofitIbecome."
"Andwhenyourmoneyisallgone—howthen?"
"Ishallturnmyhandtosomeusefulemployment,"saidI;"digging,for
instance."
"Digging!"ejaculatedSirRichard,"andyouascholar—andwhatismore,a
gentleman!"
"MydearSirRichard,"saidI,"thatalldependsuponhowyouwoulddefinea
gentleman.Tomehewouldappear,oflateyears,tohavedegeneratedintoa
creaturewhosechiefendinlifeistospendmoneyhehasneverearned,to
reproducehisspecieswithadeplorablefrequencyandpromiscuity,habituallyto
drinkmorethanisgoodforhim,and,betweenwhiles,tofillinhistimehunting,
cock-fighting,orwatchingentrancedwhiletwomenpoundeachother
unrecognizableintheprizering.Occasionallyhehasthegoodtastetobreakhis
neckinthehuntingfield,orgethimselfgloriouslyshotinaduel,butthe
generalityliveontoagoodoldage,turntheirattentiontomatterspoliticaland,
followingthedictatesoftheirclass,damnreformwithawhole-heartedfervor
equalledonlybytheirrancor."
"Deucetakeme!"ejaculatedSirRichardfeebly,whileMr.Graingerburiedhis
faceinhispocket-handkerchief.


"Tomymind,"Iended,"themanwhosweatsoveraspadeorfollowsthetailofa
ploughisfarnoblerandhigherintheSchemeofThingsthananyofyouryoung
'bloods'drivinghiscoachandfourtoBrightontothedangerofallandsundry."
SirRichardslowlygotupoutofhischair,staringatmeopen-mouthed.
"GoodGod!"heexclaimedatlast,"theboy'saRevolutionary."
Ismiledandshruggedmyshoulders,but,beforeIcouldspeak,Mr.
Graingerinterposed,sedateandsolemnasusual:
"Referringtoyourproposedtour,Mr.Peter,whendoyouexpecttostart?"
"Earlyto-morrowmorning,sir."
"Iwillnotattempttodissuadeyou,wellknowingthedifficulty,"saidhe,witha
faintsmile,"butaletteraddressedtomeatLincoln'sInnwillalwaysfindmeand
receivemymostearnestattention."Sosaying,herose,bowed,andhaving
shakenmyhand,lefttheroom,closingthedoorbehindhim.
"Peter,"exclaimedthebaronet,stridingupanddown,"Peter,youareafool,sir,a
hot-headed,self-sufficient,pragmaticalyoungfool,sir,curseme!"
"Iamsorryyoushouldthinkso,"Ianswered.
"And,"hecontinued,regardingmewithadefianteye,"Ishallexpectyouto
drawuponmeforanysumthat—thatyoumayrequireforthepresent—
friendship'ssake—boyhoodand—andallthatsortofthing,and—er—oh,
damme,youunderstand,Peter?"
"SirRichard,"saidI,graspinghisunwillinghand,"I—Ithankyoufromthe
bottomofmyheart."
"Pooh,Peter,dammit!"saidhe,snatchinghishandawayandthrustingit
hurriedlyintohispocket,outoffartherreach.
"Thankyou,sir,"Ireiterated;"besurethatshouldIfallilloranyunforeseen
calamityhappentome,Iwillmostgladly,mostgratefullyacceptyourgenerous
aidinthespiritinwhichitisoffered,but—"
"But?"exclaimedSirRichard.


"Untilthen—"
"Oh,thedevil!"saidSirRichard,andringingthebellorderedhishorsetobe
broughttothedoor,andthereafterstoodwithhisbacktotheemptyfireplace,his
fiststhrustdownintohispockets,frowningheavilyandwithafixedintentnessat
thenearestarmchair.
SirRichardAnstrutheristallandbroad,ruddyofface,withaprominentnose
andgreatsquarechinwhosegrimnessisoffsetbyamouthsingularlysweetand
tender,andthekindlylightofblueeyes;heisinverytruthagentleman.Indeed,
ashestoodthereinhisplainbluecoatwithitshighrollcollarandshiningsilver
buttons,hisspotlessmoleskinsandheavy,square-toedridingboots,hewasas
fairatypeasmightbeoftheEnglishcountrygentleman.Itissuchmenashe,
who,fearlessuponthelitteredquarterdecksofreelingbattleships,undismayed
amidthesmokeanddeathofstrickenfields,theirdutywellandnoblydone,
haveturnedtheirfeethomewardstopasstheirlatterdaysamidtheirturnipsand
cabbages,beatingtheirswordsintopruning-hooks,andgladenoughtodoit.
"Peter,"saidhesuddenly.
"Sir?"saidI.
"Youneversawyourfathertoremember,didyou?"
"No,SirRichard."
"Noryourmother?"
"Normymother."
"Poorboy—poorboy!"
"Youknewmymother?"
"Yes,Peter,Iknewyourmother,"saidSirRichard,staringveryhardatthechair
again,andIsawthathismouthhadgrownwonderfullytender."Yourshasbeena
verysecludedlifehitherto,Peter,"hewentonafteramoment.
"Entirelyso,"saidI,"withtheexceptionofmynever-to-be-forgottenvisitstothe
Hall."


"Ah,yes,Itaughtyoutoride,remember."
"YouareassociatedwitheveryboyishpleasureIeverknew,"saidI,layingmy
handuponhisarm.SirRichardcoughedandgrewsuddenlyredintheface.
"Why—ah—yousee,Peter,"hebegan,pickinguphisridingwhipandstaringat
it,"youseeyourunclewasneververyfondofcompanyatanytime,whereasI
—"
"Whereasyoucouldalwaysfindtimetorememberthelonelyboyleftwhenall
hiscompanionsweregoneontheirholidays—lefttohisbooksandthedreary
desolationoftheemptyschoolhouse,andechoingcloisters—"
"Pooh!"exclaimedSirRichard,redderthanever."Bosh!"
"DoyouthinkIcaneverforgetthegloriousdaywhenyoudroveoverinyour
coachandfour,andcarriedmeoffintriumph,andhowweracedthewhitehattedfellowinthetilbury—?"
"Andbeathim!"addedSirRichard.
"Tookoffhisnearwheelontheturn,"saidI.
"Thefool'sownfault,"saidSirRichard.
"Andlefthimintheditch,cursingus!"saidI.
"Egad,yes,Peter!Oh,butthosewerefinehorsesandthoughIsayit,nobetter
teaminthesouthcountry.You'llrememberthe'offwheeler'brokehislegshortly
afterandhadtobeshot,poordevil."
"Andlater,atOxford,"Ibegan.
"Whatnow,Peter?"saidSirRichard,frowningdarkly.
"Doyourememberthebronzevasethatusedtostandonthemantelpieceinmy
study?"
"Bronzevase?"repeatedSirRichard,intentuponhiswhipagain.
"Iusedtofindbank-notesinitafteryouhadvisitedme,andwhenIhidthevase


theyturnedupjustthesameinmostunexpectedplaces."
"Youngfellow—musthavemoney—necessary—nowandthen,"mutteredSir
Richard.
Atthisjuncture,withadiscreetknock,thebutlerappearedtoannouncethatSir
Richard'shorsewaswaiting.Hereuponthebaronet,somewhathastily,caughtup
hishatandgloves,andIfollowedhimoutofthehouseanddownthesteps.
SirRicharddrewonhisgloves,thrusthistoeintothestirrup,andthenturnedto
lookatmeoverhisarm.
"Peter,"saidhe.
"SirRichard?"saidI.
"Regardingyourwalkingtour—"
"Yes?"
"Ithinkit'salldamnedtomfoolery!"saidSirRichard.Aftersayingwhichhe
swunghimselfintothesaddlewithalightnessandeasethatmanyyoungermight
haveenvied.
"I'msorryforthat,sir,becausemymindissetuponit."
"Withtenguineasinyourpocket!"
"That,withdueeconomy,shouldbeampleuntilIcanfindsomemeanstoearn
more."
"Afiddlestick,sir—anaccursedfiddlestick!"snortedSirRichard."Howisaboy,
anunsophisticated,hot-headedyoungfoolofaboytoearnhisownliving?"
"Othershavedoneit,"Ibegan.
"Pish!"saidthebaronet.
"Andbeenthebetterforitintheend."
"Tush!"saidthebaronet.


"AndIhaveagreatdesiretoseetheworldfromtheviewpointofthemultitude."
"Bah!"saidthebaronet,soforciblythathismarestarted;"thiscomesofyour
damnableRevolutionarytendencies.Letmetellyou,Wantisahardmaster,and
theworldabadplaceforonewhoismoneylessandwithoutfriends."
"Youforget,sir,Ishallneverbewithoutafriend."
"Godknowsit,boy,"answeredSirRichard,andhishandfellandrestedfora
momentuponmyshoulder."Peter,"saidhe,veryslowlyandheavily,"I'm
growingold—andIshallnevermarry—andsometimes,Peter,ofaneveningI
getverylonelyand—lonely,Peter."Hestoppedforawhile,gazingaway
towardsthegreenslopesofdistantShooter'sHill."Oh,boy!"saidheatlast,
"won'tyoucometotheHallandhelpmetospendmymoney?"
WithoutansweringIreachedupandclaspedhishand;itwasthehandwhich
heldhiswhip,andInoticedhowtightlyhegrippedthehandle,andwondered.
"SirRichard,"saidIatlast,"whereverIgoIshalltreasuretherecollectionof
thismoment,but—"
"But,Peter?"
"But,sir—"
"Oh,dammit!"heexclaimed,andsetspurstohismare.Yetonceheturnedinhis
saddletoflourishhiswhiptomeerehegallopedoutofsight.


CHAPTERII
ISETOUT

Theclockofthesquare-toweredNormanchurch,amileaway,wasstrikingthe
houroffourasIletmyselfoutintothemorning.Itwasdarkasyet,andchilly,
butintheeastwasalreadyafaintglimmerofdawn.Reachingthestables,I
pausedwithmyhandonthedoor-hasp,listeningtothehiss,hissingthattoldme
Adam,thegroom,wasalreadyatworkwithin.AsIenteredhelookedupfrom
thesaddlehewaspolishingandtouchedhisforeheadwithagrimyforefinger.
"Youbeearlyabroad,Mr.Peter."
"Yes,"saidI."IwishtobeonShooter'sHillatsunrise;butfirstIcametosay
'good-by'to'Wings.'"
"Tobesure,sir,"noddedAdam,pickinguphislanthorn.
UpontheensuinginterviewIwillnotdwell;itwasaffectingbothtoherandto
myself,forweweremutuallyattached.
"Sir,"saidAdam,whenatlastthestabledoorhadclosedbehindus,"thatthere
mareknowsasyou'rea-leavingher."
"Ithinkshedoes,Adam."
"'Ossesbewonderfulwise,sir!"
"Yes,Adam."
"ThisisabaddayforWings,sir—andallofus,forthatmatter."
"Ihopenot,Adam."


"Youbea-goingaway,theytellme,sir?"
"Yes,goingaway,"Inodded.
"Wonderwhat'llbecomeo'themare,sir?"
"Ah,yes,Iwonder,"saidI.
"Everythingtobesoldunderthewill,Ithink,sir?"
"Everything,Adam."
"Excuseme,sir,"saidhe,knucklinghisforehead,"youwon'tbewantingevera
groom,willyou?"
"No,Adam,"Ianswered,shakingmyhead,"Isha'n'tbewantingagroom."
"Noryetabodyservant,sir?"
"No,Adam,noryetabodyservant."
HerethereensuedasilenceduringwhichAdamknuckledhisrighttempleagain
andItightenedthebuckleofmyknapsack.
"Ithink,Adam,"saidI,"Ithinkitisgoingtobeafineday."
"Yes,sir."
"Good-by,Adam!"saidI,andheldoutmyhand.
"Good-by,sir."And,havingshakenmyhand,heturnedandwentbackintothe
stable.
SoIsetoff,walkingbeneathanavenueoftreesloomingupgiganticoneither
hand.Attheendwasthelodgeand,ereIopenedthegates—forJohn,the
lodgekeeper,wasnotyetastir—ereIopenedthegates,Isay,Ipausedforone
lastlookatthehousethathadbeenallthehomeIhadeverknownsinceIcould
remember.AsIstoodthus,withmyeyesupontheindistinctmass,Ipresently
distinguishedafigurerunningtowardsmeand,ashecameup,recognized
Adam.


"Itain'tmuch,sir,butit'sallI'ave,"saidhe,andthrustashort,thick,wellsmokedclaypipeintomyhand—apipethatwasfashionedtotheshapeofa
negro'shead."It'sagoodpipe,sir,"hewenton,"amortalgoodpipe,andas
sweetasanut!"sayingwhich,heturnedaboutandranoff,leavingmestanding
therewithhispartinggiftinmyhand.
Andhavingputthepipeintoaninnerpocket,Iopenedthegateandstartedoffat
agoodpacealongthebroadhighway.
Itwasableak,desolateworldthatlayaboutme,aworldofshadowsandawhite,
low-lyingmistthatfilledeveryhollowandswathedhedgeandtree;alowering
earthandafrowningheaveninfinitelydepressing.Buttheeasternskywasclear
withanever-growingbrightness;hopelaythere,so,asIwalked,Ikeptmyeyes
towardstheeast.
BeingcomeatlasttothateminencewhichiscalledShooter'sHill,Isatdown
uponabankbesidethewayandturnedtolookbackuponthewonderfulcity.
AndasIwatched,thepearlyeastchangedlittlebylittle,toavaryingpink,which
inturnslowlygaveplacetoredsandyellows,untilupcamethesuninallhis
majesty,gildingvaneandweathercockuponahundredspiresandsteeples,and
makingagloryoftheriver.Farawayuponthewhiteribandofroadthatled
acrossBlackheath,achaisewascrawling,butsaveforthattheworldseemed
deserted.
Isatthusagreatwhilegazinguponthecityandmarvellingatthegreatnessofit.
"Truly,"saidItomyself,"nowhereinthewholeworldistheresuchanothercity
asLondon!"AndpresentlyIsighedand,rising,setmybacktothecityandwent
ondownthehill.
Yes—thesunwasupatlast,andathisadventthemistsrolledupandvanished,
thebirdsawokeinbrakeandthicketand,liftingtheirvoices,sangtogether,a
songofuniversalpraise.Bushesrustled,treeswhispered,whilefromeveryleaf
andtwig,fromeverybladeofgrass,therehungaflashingjewel.
Withthemistsmydoubtsofthefuturevanishedtoo,andIstrodeuponmyway,
averygod,kingofmydestiny,walkingthroughatributeworldwherefeathered
songsterscarolledformeandblossomingflowerswaftedsweetperfumeupon
mypath.SoIwentongaylydownthehill,rejoicingthatIwasalive.


IntheknapsackatmybackIhadstowedafewclothes,thestrongestandplainest
Ipossessed,togetherwithashirt,somehalf-dozenfavoritebooks,andmy
translationofBrantome;QuintilianandPetroniusIhadleftwithMr.Grainger,
whohadpromisedtosendthemtoapublisher,afriendofhis,andinmypocket
wasmyuncleGeorge'slegacy,—namely,tenguineasingold.And,asIwalked,I
begantocomputehowlongsuchasummightbemadetolastaman.By
practisingthestrictesteconomy,IthoughtImightmanagewellenoughontwo
shillingsaday,andthisleftmesomehundredodddaysinwhichtofindsome
meansoflivelihood,andifamancouldnotsuithimselfinsuchtime,then
(thoughtI)hemustbeafoolindeed.
Thus,mythoughtscaughtsomethingofthegloryofthebrightskyaboveandthe
smilingearthaboutme,asIstrodealongthat"BroadHighway"whichwasto
leadmeIknewnotwhither,yetwheredisasterwasalreadylyinginwaitforme
—asyoushallhear.


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