Sewis, in reply, counselled me to direct a great deal of my attention to the stables, and drink claret with the squire in the evening, things so little difficult to do that I moralized reflectively, ’Here ’s a way of gaining a relative’s affection!’ The squire’s punctilious regard for payments impressed me, it is true. He had saved me from the disgrace of owing money to my detested schoolmaster; and, besides, I was under his roof, eating of his bread. My late adventurous life taught me that I incurred an obligation by it. Kiomi was the sole victim of my anger that really seemed to lie down to be trampled on, as she deserved for her unpardonable treachery.
By degrees my grandfather got used to me, and commenced saying in approval of certain of my performances, ’There’s Beltham in that—Beltham in that!’ Once out hunting, I took a nasty hedge and ditch in front of him; he bawled proudly, ‘Beltham all over!’ and praised me. At night, drinking claret, he said on a sudden, ’And, egad, Harry, you must jump your head across hedges and ditches, my little fellow. It won’t do, in these confounded days, to have you clever all at the wrong end. In my time, good in the saddle was good for everything; but now you must get your brains where you can—pick here, pick there—and sell ’em like a huckster; some do. Nature’s gone—it’s damned artifice rules, I tell ye; and a squire of our country must be three parts lawyer to keep his own. You must learn; by God, sir, you must cogitate; you must stew at books and maps, or you’ll have some infernal upstart taking the lead of you, and leaving you nothing but the whiff of his tail.’ He concluded, ’I’m glad to see you toss down your claret, my boy.’
Thus I grew in his favour, till I heard from him that I was to be the heir of Riversley and his estates, but on one condition, which he did not then mention. If I might have spoken to him of my father, I should have loved him. As it was, I liked old Sewis better, for he would talk to me of the night when my father carried me away, and though he never uttered the flattering words I longed to hear, he repeated the story often, and made the red hall glow with beams of my father’s image. My walks and rides were divided between the road he must have followed toward London, bearing me in his arms, and the vacant place of Kiomi’s camp. Kiomi stood for freedom, pointing into the darkness I wished to penetrate that I might find him. If I spoke of him to my aunt she trembled. She said, ’Yes, Harry, tell me all you are thinking about, whatever you want to know’; but her excessive trembling checked me, and I kept my feelings to myself—a boy with a puzzle in his head and hunger in his heart. At times I rode out to the utmost limit of the hour giving me the proper number of minutes to race back and dress for dinner at the squire’s table, and a great wrestling I had with myself to turn my little horse’s head from hills and valleys lying