Ranney then asked him what books he had read; and Bart named several. “What others?” and he named as many more. “Is that all?” laughing.
“Oh!” said Bart, “I remember what you and Henry said about my reading, and really I have dipped into a good many besides.”
“Well, Ranney,” said Wade, “what can we do for this young man? I think he will pass now, better than one in a hundred.”
“I think so too; still, I think we can help him, or help him to help himself.” And he finally named a work on commercial law, a book on medical jurisprudence, and a review of Kent. At leisure moments, he would have him practise in drawing bills in Chancery, declarations, pleas, etc.
Bart certainly might be pleased with this result, and it evidently advanced him very much in the estimation of all who had listened to his examination, although he felt that the work imposed upon him was rather slender, and just what he should do with the spare time this labor would leave him he would not then determine.
He liked his new position with these ambitious young men, engaged in intellectual pursuits, with whom he was to associate and live, and upon whom he felt that he had made a favorable impression. It did not occur to him that there might be society, save with these and his books; nor would it have occurred to him to enquire, or to seek entrance into it, if it existed; with a sort of intellectual hunger he rushed upon his books with a feeling that he had recently been dissipated, and misapplied his time and energies.
Tuesday evening’s mail brought him two letters, post-marked Newbury. The sight of them came with a sort of a heart-blow. They were not wholly expected, and he felt that there might still be a little struggle for him, although he was certain that this must be the last.
The well-known hand of Judge Markham addressed one of them. The writing of the other he did not recognize; only after he had lost its envelope, he remembered that it very much resembled the hand that wrote the Greer warning. He put the letters into an inside pocket, and tried to go on with his book; like a very young man he fancied that he was observed. So he took his hat and went to the room he occupied with Case. He pulled open the unknown, knew the hand, ran down and turned over to the second page, and found “Julia” at the bottom, and below, the words “with the profoundest gratitude.” It ran:
“NEWBURY, April 8, 1838.