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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Father Payne.
like the hem on a handkerchief.
But you may have a try, if you wish; and in any case, I think you will have a pleasant three months here, and make us all sorry to lose you if you do not return.  I have told your friend Vincent he can come, and I think he is more likely to stay than you are, because he is more himself.  I don’t suppose that he took in the whole place and the idea of it as quickly as you did.  I expect you could write a very interesting description of it, and I don’t expect he could.
Still, I will say that I shall be truly sorry if, after this letter, you decide not to come to us.  I like your company; and I shall not get tired of it.  But to be more frank still, I think you are one of those charming and sympathetic people who is tough inside, with a toughness which is based on the determination to find things amusing and interesting—­and that is not the sort of toughness I can do anything with.  People like yourself are incapable as a rule of suffering, whatever happens to them.  It’s a very happy disposition, but it does not grow.  You are sensitive enough, but I don’t want sensitiveness, I want men who are not sensitive, and who yet can suffer at not getting nearer and more quickly than they can to the purpose ahead of them, whatever that may be.  It is a stiff sort of thing that I want.  I can help to make a stiff nature pliable; I’m not very good at making a pliable nature stiff.  That’s the truth.

    So I shall be delighted—­more than you think—­if you say
    “Yes.” but in a way more hopeful about you if you say “No."

    Come with Vincent, if you come; and as soon as you like.—­Ever
    yours truly,

    C. PAYNE.

“Does he want me to go, or does he not?” I said.  “Is he letting me down with a compliment?”

“Oh no,” said Vincent, “it’s all right.  He only thinks that you are a butterfly which will flutter by, and he would rather like you to do a little fluttering down there.”

“But I’m not going to go there,” I said, “to wear a cap and bells for a bit, and then to be spun when I have left my golden store, like the radiant morn; he puts me on my mettle.  I will go, and he shall keep me!  I don’t want to fool about any more.”

“All right!” said Vincent.  “It’s a bargain, then!  Will you be ready to go the day after to-morrow?  There are some things I want to buy, now that I’m going to school again.  But I’m awfully relieved—­it’s just what I want.  I was getting into a mess with all my work, and becoming a muddled loafer.”

“And I an elegant trifler, it appears,” I said.

V

THE SYSTEM

We went off together on the Saturday, and I think we were both decidedly nervous.  What were we in for?  I had a feeling that I had plunged headlong into rather a foolish adventure.

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