Doubtless Theobald saw these looks and knew how to interpret them, but it was his profession to know how to shut his eyes to things that were inconvenient - no clergyman could keep his benefice for a month if he could not do this; besides, he had allowed himself for so many years to say things he ought not to have said, and not to say the things he ought to have said, that he was little likely to see anything that he thought it more convenient not to see unless he was made to do so.

It was not much that was wanted. To make no mysteries where Nature has made none, to bring his conscience under something like reasonable control, to give Ernest his head a little more, to ask fewer questions, and to give him pocket-money with a desire that it should be spent upon menus plaisirs. . . .

`Call that not much indeed,' laughed Ernest, as I read him what I have just written. `Why it is the whole duty of a father, but it is the mystery-making which is the worst evil. If people would dare to speak to one another unreservedly, there would be a good deal less sorrow in the world a hundred years hence.'

To return, however, to Roughborough. On the day of his leaving, when he was sent for into the library to be shaken hands with, he was surprised to feel that, though assuredly glad to leave, he did not do so with any especial grudge against the Doctor rankling in his breast. He had come to the end of it all, and was still alive, nor, take it all round, more seriously amiss than other people. Dr Skinner recived him graciously, and was even frolicsome after his own heavy fashion. Young people are almost always placable, and Ernest felt as he went away that another such interview would not only have wiped off all old scores, but have brought him round into the ranks of the Doctor's admirers and supporters - among whom it is only fair to say that the greater number of the more promising boys were found.

Just before saying good-bye the Doctor actually took down a volume from those shelves which had seemed so awful six years previously, and gave it to him after having written his name in it, and the words which I believe means `with all kinds wishes from the donor.' The book was one written in Latin by a German - Schömann: De comitiis Atheniensium - not exactly light and cheerful reading, but Ernest felt it was high time he got to understand the Athenian constitution and manner of voting; he had got them up a great many times already, but had forgotten them as fast as he had learned them; now, however, that the Doctor had given him this book, he would master the subject once for all. How strange it was! He wanted to remember these things very badly; he knew he did, but he could never retain them; in spite of himself they no sooner fell upon his mind than they fell off it again, he had such a dreadful memory; whereas, if anyone played him a piece of music and told him where it came from, he never forgot that, though he made no effort to retain it, and was not even conscious of trying to remember it at all. His mind must be badly formed and he was no good.

Having still a short time to spare, he got the keys of St Michael's Church and went to have a farewell practice upon the organ which he could now play fairly well. He walked up and down the aisle for a while in a meditative mood, and then, settling down to the organ, played `They loathed to drink of the river' about six times over, after which he felt more composed and happier; then, tearing himself away from the instrument he loved so well, he hurried to the station.

As the train drew out he looked down from a high embankment on to the little house his aunt had taken, and where it might be said she had died through her desire to do him a kindness. There were the two well-known bow windows, out of which he had often stepped to run across the lawn into the workshop. He reproached himself with the little gratitude he had shown towards this kind lady - the only one of his relations whom he had ever felt as though he could have taken into his confidence. Dearly as he loved her memory, he was glad she had not known the scrapes he had got into since she died; perhaps she might not have forgiven them - and how awful that would have been! But then, if she had lived, perhaps many of his ills would have been spared him. As he mused thus he grew sad again. Where, where, he asked himself, was it all to end? Was it to be always sin, shame and sorrow in the future, as it had been in the past, and the ever-watchful eye and protecting hand of his father laying burdens on him

  By PanEris using Melati.

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