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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 276 pages of information about Eric.
The neighboring gentry, most of whom had begun their education there, were drawn into closer and kindlier union with their neighbors and dependents, from the fact of having been their associates in the days of their boyhood.  Many a time afterwards, when Eric, as he passed down the streets, interchanged friendly greetings with some young glazier or tradesman whom he remembered at school, he felt glad that thus early he had learnt practically to despise the accidental and nominal differences which separate man from man.

CHAPTER II

A NEW HOME

     “Life hath its May, and all is joyous then;
     The woods are vocal and the flowers breathe odour,
     The very breeze hath, mirth in’t.”—­Old play.

At last the longed-for yet dreaded day approached, and a letter informed the Trevors that Mr. and Mrs. Williams would arrive at Southampton on July 5th, and would probably reach Ayrton the evening after.  They particularly requested that no one should come to meet them on their landing.  “We shall reach Southampton,” wrote Mrs. Trevor, “tired, pale, and travel-stained, and had much rather see you first at dear Fairholm, where we shall be spared the painful constraint of a meeting in public.  So please expect our arrival at about seven in the evening.”

Poor Eric! although he had been longing for the time ever since the news came, yet now he was too agitated to enjoy.  Exertion and expectation made him restless, and he could settle down to nothing all day, every hour of which hung most heavily on his hands.

At last the afternoon wore away, and a soft summer evening filled the sky with its gorgeous calm.  Far off they caught the sound of wheels; a carriage dashed up to the door, and the next moment Eric sprang into his mother’s arms.

“O mother, mother!”

“My own darling, darling boy!”

And as the pale sweet face of the mother met the bright and rosy child-face, each of them was wet with a rush of ineffable tears.  In another moment Eric had been folded to his father’s heart, and locked in the arms of “little brother Vernon.”  Who shall describe the emotions of those few moments? they did not seem like earthly moments; they seemed to belong not to time, but to eternity.

The first evening of such a scene is too excited to be happy.  The little party at Fairholm retired early, and Eric was soon fast asleep with his arm round his newfound brother’s neck.

Quiet steps entered the little room, and noiselessly the father and mother sat down by the bedside of their children.  Earth could have shown no scene more perfect in its beauty than that which met their eyes.  The pure moonlight flooded the little room, and showed distinctly the forms and countenances of the sleepers, whose soft regular breathing was the only sound that broke the stillness of the July night.  The small shining flower-like faces, with their fair hair—­the trustful loving arms folded round each brother’s neck—­the closed lids and parted lips made an exquisite picture, and one never to be forgotten.  Side by side, without a word, the parents knelt down, and with eyes wet with tears of joyfulness, poured out their hearts in passionate prayer for their young and beloved boys.

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