It will be seen, therefore, that if Mr. Ambrose’s life had not been very brilliant, his efforts had on the whole been attended with success. His children were both happy and independent and no longer needed his assistance or support; his wife, the excellent Mrs. Ambrose, enjoyed unfailing health and good spirits; he himself was still vigorous and active, and as yet found no difficulty in obtaining a couple of pupils at two hundred pounds a year each, for he had early got a reputation for successfully preparing young gentlemen with whom no other private tutor could do anything, and he had established the scale of his prices accordingly. It is true that he had sacrificed other things for the sake of imparting tuition, and more than once he had hesitated and asked himself whether he should go on. Indeed, when he graduated, it was thought that he would soon make himself remarkable by the publication of some scholarly work; it was foretold that he might become a famous preacher; it was asserted that he was a general favourite with the Fellows of Trinity and would get a proportionately fat living—but he had committed the unpardonable sin of allowing his chances of fortune to slip from him. He had given up his fellowship, had married and had accepted an insignificant country living. He asked nothing, and he got nothing. He never attracted the notice of his bishop by doing anything extraordinary, nor the notice of the public by appearing in print. He baptized, married and buried the people of Billingsfield, Essex, and he took private pupils. He wrote a sermon once a fortnight, and revised old ones for the other three occasions out of four. His sermons were good in their way, but were intended for simple folk and did no justice to the powers he had certainly possessed in his youth. Indeed, as years went on, the dry routine of his life produced its inevitable effect upon his mind, and the productions of Mr. Ambrose grew to be exceedingly commonplace; and the more commonplace he became, the more he regretted having done so little with the faculties he enjoyed, and the more weary he became of the daily task of galvanising the dull minds of his pupils into a spasmodic activity, just sufficient to leap the ditch that separates the schoolboy from the undergraduate. He had not only educated his children and seen them provided for in the world; he had also saved a little money, and he had insured his life for five hundred pounds. There was no longer any positive necessity for continuing to teach, as there had been thirty years ago, when he first married.