“But I’m growing a man now. I can’t always go on so.”
“No, you can’t. You shall be treated as a man while you are with me. But I do very seriously advise you-nay, I entreat of you, not to begin taking any kind of liquor, for it would incite the taste to grow upon you, till it might become uncontrollable, and be your tyrant. If you have reason to think the pledge would be a protection to you, come to me, or to Uncle Bill.”
He was interrupted by Sibby coming in with his cup of tea, and-
“Now, Mr. Clement, whatever have you been after now? Up to your antics the minute Miss Cherry is out of the way. Aye, ye needn’t go to palavering me. I hear it in your breath,” and she darted at the stimulant.
“I’ve had some, Sibby, since I came in.”
“More reason you should have it now. Get off with you, Sir Adrian, don’t be worriting him. Now, drink that, sir, and don’t speak another word.”
He was glad to obey. He wanted to think, in much thankfulness for the present, and in faith and love which brought hope for the future.
CHAPTER XV. A POOR FOREIGN WIDOW
Art thou a magistrate? Then be severe.-George Herbert.
Early in the day General Mohun received a note from Clement Underwood, begging him to look in at St. Andrew’s Rock as soon as might be convenient.
“Ah,” said his sister, “I strongly suspect something wrong about the boys. Fergus was very odd and silent last night when I asked him about Jem Horner’s picnic, and he said something about that Harewood cousin being an unmitigated brute.”
“I hope Fergus was not in a scrape.”
“Oh no, it is not his way. His geology is a great safeguard. If it had been Wilfred I might have been afraid.”
“His head is full-at least as much room as the lost aralia leaves- of the examination for the Winchester College election.”
“Yes, you know Jasper has actually promised Gillian that if either of her brothers gets a scholarship, she may be allowed a year at Lady Margaret Hall.”
“Yes, it incited her to worry Wilfred beyond sufferance in his holidays. I know if you or Lily had been always at me I should have kicked as hard as he does.”
“Lily herself can hardly cram him with his holiday task; but Fergus is a good little fellow.”
“You have kept him at it in a more judgmatical way. But won’t Armytage come in between the damsel and her college?”
“Poor Mr. Armytage-Captain, I believe, for he has got his commandership. Gill snubs him desperately. I believe she is afraid of herself and her heart.”
“I hope she won’t be a goose. Jasper told me that he is an excellent fellow, and it will be an absolute misfortune if the girl is besotted enough to refuse him.”
“Girls have set up a foolish prejudice against matrimony.”