“Let me look at the paper,” said he.

“Nothing else in it,” answered the other, handing it up to him listlessly. “Hullo, Brown! what’s the matter, old fellow—ain’t you well?”

“Where is it?” said Tom, turning over the leaves, his hands trembling, and his eyes swimming, so that he could not read.

“What? What are you looking for?” said his friend, jumping up and looking over his shoulder.

“That—about Arnold,” said Tom.

“Oh, here,” said the other, putting his finger on the paragraph. Tom read it over and over again; there could be no mistake of identity, though the account was short enough.

“Thank you,” said he at last, dropping the paper. “I shall go for a walk: don’t you and Herbert wait supper for me.” And away he strode, up over the moor at the back of the house, to be alone, and master his grief if possible.

His friend looked after him, sympathizing and wondering, and, knocking the ashes out of his pipe, walked over to Herbert. After a short parley, they walked together up to the house.

“I’m afraid that confounded newspaper has spoiled Brown’s fun for this trip.”

“How odd that he should be so fond of his old master,” said Herbert. Yet they also were both public- school men.

The two, however, notwithstanding Tom’s prohibition, waited supper for him, and had everything ready when he came back some half an hour afterwards. But he could not join in their cheerful talk, and the party was soon silent, notwithstanding the efforts of all three. One thing only had Tom resolved, and that was, that he couldn’t stay in Scotland any longer; he felt an irresistible longing to get to Rugby, and then home, and soon broke it to the others, who had too much tact to oppose.

So by daylight the next morning he was marching through Ross-shire, and in the evening hit the Caledonian canal, took the next steamer, and travelled as fast as boat and railway could carry him to the Rugby station.

As he walked up to the town, he felt shy and afraid of being seen, and took the back streets; why, he didn’t know, but he followed his instinct. At the School-gates he made a dead pause; there was not a soul in the quadrangle—all was lonely, and silent, and sad. So with another effort he strode through the quadrangle, and into the School-house offices.

He found the little matron in her room in deep mourning; shook her hand, tried to talk, and moved nervously about: she was evidently thinking of the same subject as he, but he couldn’t begin talking.

“Where shall I find Thomas?” said he at last, getting desperate.

“In the servants’ hall, I think, sir. But won’t you take anything?” said the matron, looking rather disappointed.

“No, thank you,” said he, and strode off again to find the old Verger, who was sitting in his little den as of old puzzling over hieroglyphics.

He looked up through his spectacles, as Tom seized his hand and wrung it.

“Ah! you’ve heard all about it, sir, I see,” said he.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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