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Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.

‘Yes, father; there is one about whom I would fain question you.’

‘Who is it? shall I tell you about Elliot?’

’No, father, not about Elliot; but pray don’t be angry; I should like to know something about Big Ben.’

‘You are a strange lad,’ said my father; ’and, though of late I have begun to entertain a more favourable opinion than heretofore, there is still much about you that I do not understand.  Why do you bring up that name?  Don’t you know that it is one of my temptations:  you wish to know something about him.  Well!  I will oblige you this once, and then farewell to such vanities—­something about him.  I will tell you—­his—­skin when he flung off his clothes—­and he had a particular knack in doing so—­his skin, when he bared his mighty chest and back for combat; and when he fought he stood, so . . . . if I remember right—­his skin, I say, was brown and dusky as that of a toad.  Oh me!  I wish my elder son was here.’

CHAPTER XXVIII

My brother’s arrival—­The interview—­Night—­A dying father—­Christ.

At last my brother arrived; he looked pale and unwell; I met him at the door.  ‘You have been long absent,’ said I.

‘Yes,’ said he, ‘perhaps too long; but how is my father?’

‘Very poorly,’ said I, ’he has had a fresh attack; but where have you been of late?’

‘Far and wide,’ said my brother; ’but I can’t tell you anything now, I must go to my father.  It was only by chance that I heard of his illness.’

‘Stay a moment,’ said I.  ’Is the world such a fine place as you supposed it to be before you went away?’

‘Not quite,’ said my brother, ’not quite; indeed I wish—­but ask me no questions now, I must hasten to my father.’  There was another question on my tongue, but I forbore; for the eyes of the young man were full of tears.  I pointed with my finger, and the young man hastened past me to the arms of his father.

I forbore to ask my brother whether he had been to old Rome.

What passed between my father and brother I do not know; the interview, no doubt, was tender enough, for they tenderly loved each other; but my brother’s arrival did not produce the beneficial effect upon my father which I at first hoped it would; it did not even appear to have raised his spirits.  He was composed enough, however:  ‘I ought to be grateful,’ said he; ’I wished to see my son, and God has granted me my wish; what more have I to do now than to bless my little family and go?’

My father’s end was evidently at hand.

And did I shed no tears? did I breathe no sighs? did I never wring my hands at this period? the reader will perhaps be asking.  Whatever I did and thought is best known to God and myself; but it will be as well to observe, that it is possible to feel deeply, and yet make no outward sign.

And now for the closing scene.

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