Meantime there was very little intercourse between Hugh and Euphra, whose surname, somehow or other, Hugh had never inquired after. He disliked asking questions about people to an uncommon degree, and so preferred waiting for a natural revelation. Her later behaviour had repelled him, impressing him with the notion that she was proud, and that she had made up her mind, notwithstanding her apparent frankness at first, to keep him at a distance. That she was fitful, too, and incapable of showing much tenderness even to poor Harry, he had already concluded in his private judgment-hall. Nor could he doubt that, whether from wrong theories, incapacity, or culpable indifference, she must have taken very bad measures indeed with her young pupil.
The next day resembled the two former; with this difference, that the rain fell in torrents. Seated in their strawy bower, they cared for no rain. They were safe from the whole world, and all the tempers of nature.
Then Hugh told Harry about the slow beginnings and the mighty birth of the great Roman people. He told him tales of their battles and conquests; their strifes at home, and their wars abroad. He told him stories of their grand men, great with the individuality of their nation and their own. He told him their characters, their peculiar opinions and grounds of action, and the results of their various schemes for their various ends. He told him about their love to their country, about their poetry and their religion; their courage, and their hardihood; their architecture, their clothes, and their armour; their customs and their laws; but all in such language, or mostly in such language, as one boy might use in telling another of the same age; for Hugh possessed the gift of a general simplicity of thought, one of the most valuable a man can have. It cost him a good deal of labour (well-repaid in itself, not to speak of the evident delight of Harry), to make himself perfectly competent for this; but he had a good foundation of knowledge to work upon.
This went on for a long time after the period to which I am now more immediately confined. Every time they stopped to rest from their rambles or games—as often, in fact, as they sat down alone, Harry’s constant request was:
“Now, Mr. Sutherland, mightn’t we have something more about the Romans?”
And Mr. Sutherland gave him something more. But all this time he never uttered the word—Latin.
Larch and other hunting.
For there is neither buske nor hay
In May, that it n’ill shrouded bene,
And it with newe leaves wrene;
These woodes eke recoveren grene,
That drie in winter ben to sene,
And the erth waxeth proud withall,
For swote dewes that on it fall,
And the poore estate forget,
In which that winter had it set:
And than becomes the ground so proude,
That it wol have a newe shroude,
And maketh so queint his robe and faire,
That it hath hewes an hundred paire,
Of grasse and floures, of Ind and Pers,
And many hewes full divers:
That is the robe I mean, ywis,
Through which the ground to praisen is.