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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 796 pages of information about Wives and Daughters.
how I’m to pay his debts.  I wish I’d told him to earn his living as a dancing-master,’ said the squire, with a sad smile at his own wit.  ’He’s dressed for all the world like one.  And how he’s spent the money no one knows!  Perhaps Roger will turn up some day with a heap of creditors at his heels.  No, he won’t—­not Roger; he may be slow, but he’s steady, is old Roger.  I wish he was here.  He’s not the eldest son, but he’d take an interest in the estate; and he’d do up these weary accounts for me.  I wish Roger was here!’

CHAPTER XXIII

OSBORNE HAMLEY REVIEWS HIS POSITION

Osborne had his solitary cup of coffee in the drawing-room.  He was very unhappy too, after his fashion.  He stood on the hearth-rug pondering over his situation.  He was not exactly aware how hardly his father was pressed for ready-money; the squire had never spoken to him on the subject without being angry; and many of his loose contradictory statements—­all of which, however contradictory they might appear, had their basis in truth—­were set down by his son to the exaggeration of passion.  But it was uncomfortable enough to a young man of Osborne’s age to feel himself continually hampered for want of a five-pound note.  The principal supplies for the liberal—­almost luxurious table at the Hall, came off the estate; so that there was no appearance of poverty as far as the household went; and as long as Osborne was content at home, he had everything he could wish for; but he had a wife elsewhere—­he wanted to see her continually—­and that necessitated journeys.  She, poor thing! had to be supported:  where was the money for the journeys and for Aimee’s modest wants to come from?  That was the puzzle in Osborne’s mind just now.  While he had been at college his allowance—­ heir of the Hamleys—­had been three hundred, while Roger had to be content with a hundred less.  The payment of these annual sums had given the squire a good deal of trouble; but he thought of it as a merely temporary inconvenience, perhaps unreasonably thought so.  Osborne was to do great things; take high honours, get a fellowship, marry a long-descended heiress, live in some of the many uninhabited rooms at the Hall, and help the squire in the management of the estate that would some time be his.  Roger was to be a clergyman; steady, slow Roger was just fitted for that, and when he declined entering the Church, preferring a life of more activity and adventure, Roger was to be—­ anything; he was useful and practical, and fit for all the employments from which Osborne was shut out by his fastidiousness, and his (pseudo) genius; so it was well he was an eldest son, for he would never have done to struggle through the world; and as for his settling down to a profession, it would be like cutting blocks with a razor!  And now here was Osborne, living at home, but longing to be elsewhere; his allowance stopped in reality; indeed the punctual payment of it during the last

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