I can enter into your feelings and have no wish to quarrel with your expression of them. It is quite right and natural that you should feel as you do except as regards one passage, the impropriety of which you will yourself doubtless feel upon reflection, and to which I will not further allude than to say that it has wounded me. You should not have said `in spite of my scholarships.' It was only proper that if you could do anything to assist me in bearing the heavy burden of your education, the money should be, as it was, made over to myself. Every line in your letter convinces me that you are under the influence of a morbid sensitiveness which is one of the devil's favourite devices for luring people to their destruction. I have, as you say, been at great expense with your education. Nothing has been spared by me to give you the advantages which, as an English gentleman, I was anxious to afford my son, but I am not prepared to see that expense thrown away and to have to begin again from the beginning, merely because you have taken some foolish scruples into your head, which you should resist as no less unjust to yourself than to me.

Don't give way to that restless desire for change which is the bane of so many persons of both sexes at the present day.

Of course you needn't be ordained: nobody will compel you; you are perfectly free; you are twenty-three years of age, and should know your own mind; but why not have known it sooner, instead of never so much as breathing a hint of opposition until I have had all the expense of sending you to the University, which I should never have done unless I had believed you to have made up your mind about taking orders? I have letters from you in which you express the most perfect willingness to be ordained, and your brother and sisters will bear me out in saying that no pressure of any sort has been put upon you. You mistake your own mind, and are suffering from a nervous timidity which may be very natural but may not be less be pregnant with serious consequences to yourself. I am not at all well, and the anxiety occasioned by your letter is naturally preying upon me. May God guide you to a better judgment.

Your affectionate father,


On the receipt of this letter Theobald plucked up his spirits, `My father,' he said to himself, `tells me I need not be ordained if I do not like. I do not like, and therefore I will not be ordained. But what was the meaning of the words "pregnant with serious consequences to yourself"? Did there lurk a threat under these words-though it was impossible to lay hold of it or of them? Were they not intended to produce all the effect of a threat without being actually threatening?'

Theobald knew his father well enough to be little likely to misapprehend his meaning, but having ventured so far on the path of opposition, and being really anxious to get out of being ordained if he could, he determined to venture farther. He accordingly wrote the following:


You tell me-and I heartily thank you-that no one will compel me to be ordained. I knew you would not press ordination upon me if my conscience was seriously opposed to it: I have therefore resolved on giving up the idea, and believe that if you will continue to allow me what you do at present, until I get my fellowship, which should not be long, I will then cease putting you to further expense. I will make up my mind as soon as possible what profession I will adopt, and will let you know at once.

Your affectionate son,

The remaining letter, written by return of post, must now be given. It has the merit of brevity.


I have received yours. I am at a loss to conceive its motive, but am very clear as to its effect. You shall not receive a single sixpence from me till you come to your senses. Should you persist in your folly and

  By PanEris using Melati.

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