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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about The Last of the Foresters.

The visitor went away, wondering at “Judge Rushton” being sick; such a thing had never before occurred in the recollection of the “oldest inhabitant.”  Just as he had disappeared, the door re-opened, and Verty made his appearance.

“I’m very sorry, Mr. Roundjacket,” said the boy, “for having run off so this morning, but you see I was after that pigeon.  I’ll stay till night, though, and work harder, and then it will be right again.”

Instead of a very solemn and severe rebuke, Verty was surprised to hear Mr. Roundjacket say, in a low and thoughtful voice:—­

“You need not work any to-day, Verty—­you can go home if you like.  Mr. Rushton is unwell, and wishes to be quiet.”

“Unwell?” said the boy, “you don’t mean sick?”

“Not precisely, but indisposed.”

“I will go and see him,” said the boy, moving towards the door.  Mr. Roundjacket interposed with his ruler, managing that instrument pretty much as a marshal does his baton.

“No,” he said, “that is impossible, young man.  But you need give yourself no uneasiness—­Mr. Rushton is only a little out of sorts.  You will find him quite well to-morrow.  Return home now.  There is your rifle.”

These words were uttered with so much decision, that Verty made no further objection.

“Well,” he said, with his thoughtful smile, “I’m very sorry Mr. Rushton is sick, but I’m glad I can go and hunt some for ma mere.  Must I go now, sir?”

“Yes, and come early to-morrow, there’s some work; and besides, your measure for the clothes must be taken.”

Verty nodded indifferently, and taking up his rifle, went out, followed by Longears.

CHAPTER XV.

THE PEDLAR AND THE NECKLACE.

Verty mounted Cloud again, and set forward toward Apple Orchard.  That place very soon rose upon his sight, and riding up to the house Verty encountered the good-humored Squire, who was just coming in from the fields.

“Good morning, Squire,” said the boy, smiling, “may I go and see Redbud, if you please?”

The Squire laughed.

“Redbud?  What, at school, yonder?”

“Yes, sir.”

The good-natured old gentleman looked at the boy’s frank face, and admired its honest, ingenuous expression.

“I don’t see why you should’nt, Verty,” he replied, “if you don’t go too often, and keep my little ’Bud from her lessons.”

“Oh! no, sir.”

“Go, go by all means—­it will be of service to her to see home faces, and you are something like home to her.  Short as the distance is, I can’t leave my farm, and we can’t have ’Bud with us every week, as I should wish.”

“I’ve just come from there,” said Verty, “and Redbud is very well, and seems to like the place.  There is a man who comes there to see Miss Sallianna, and Redbud most dies laughing at him—­I mean, I suppose she does.  His name is Mr. Jinks.”

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