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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 465 pages of information about Deadham Hard.

“Damn bad taste, I call it, in a newcomer like Cripps,” the sailor had remarked later to the soldier.  “But if a man isn’t a gentleman what can you expect?”—­And with that, as among local persons of quality, the matter finally dropped.

Mrs. Doubleday and Butcher Cleave, to give an example from a lower social level, agreed, across the former’s counter in the village shop, that—­

“It is the duty of every true Christian to let bygones be bygones—­and a downright flying in the face of Providence, as you may say, to do otherwise, when good customers, whose money you’re sure of, are so scarce.  For without The Hard and—­to give everyone their due—­without the Island also, where would trade have been in Deadham these ten years and more past?  Mum’s the word, take it from me,”—­and each did take it from the other, with rich conviction of successfully making the best of both worlds, securing eternal treasure in Heaven while cornering excellent profits on earth.

William Jennifer had many comments to make in the matter, and with praiseworthy reticence concluded to make them mainly to himself.  The majority of them, it is to be feared, were humorous to the point of being unsuited to print, but the refrain may pass—­

“And to think if I hadn’t happened to choose that particular day to take the little dorgs and the ferrets ratting, the ’ole bleesed howd’ye do might never have come to pass!  Tidy sum, young master Darcy’s in my debt, Lord succour him, for the rest of his nat’ral life!”

BOOK III

THE WORLD BEYOND THE FOREST

CHAPTER I

AN EPISODE IN THE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE MAN WITH THE BLUE EYES

Thus far, for the surer basing of our argument, it has appeared advisable to proceed step by step.  But the foundations being now well and truly laid, the pace of our narrative may, with advantage, quicken; a twelve month be rounded up in a page, a decade, should convenience so dictate, in a chapter.

To the furthering of which advance, let it be stated that the close of the year still in question marked the date, for Damaris, of two matters of cardinal importance.  For it was then Sir Charles Verity commenced writing his history of the reign of Shere Ali, covering the eleven years following the latter’s accession to the very turbulent throne of Afghanistan in 1863.—­Colonel Carteret may be held mainly responsible for the inception of this literary enterprise, now generally acclaimed a classic.  Had not Sir William Napier, so he argued, made the soldier, as historian, for ever famous?  And why should not Charles Verity, with his unique knowledge of court intrigues, of the people and the country, do for the campaigns of the semi-barbarous Eastern ruler, that which Sir William had done for Wellington’s campaign in the Spanish Peninsular?

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