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general it was dark, for it was situated in a narrow “I have no particular wish–I don't want to street, opening off one of the principal city-thorough- make money,” said Thomas. fares.
“But I do,” rejoined Mr. Boxall, good-naturedly; As the young men entered, they were greeted “and you are my servant, and must do your part.” with a low growl from the principal clerk, a black. Thereat Thomas bridled visibly. browed, long-nosed man. This was the sole re- “Ah! I see,” resumed the merchant; "you don't cognition he gave them. Two other clerks looked like the word. I will change it. There's no masters up with a good morning and a queer expression in or servants nowadays; they are all governors and their eyes. Some remarks had been made about employees. What they gain by the alteration, I am them before they entered. And now a voice came sure I don't know." from the penetralia.
I spell the italicized word thus, because Mr. Boxall "Tom, I want you."
pronounced employés exactly as if it were an English Tom was disposing of his hat and gloves with word ending in ees. some care.
Mr. Worboise's lip curled. He could afford to be “You hear the governor, Mr. Worhoise, I contemptuous. He had been to Boulogne, and besuppose?” said Mr. Stopper, the head-clerk, in lieved he could make a Frenchman understand him. the same growling voice, only articulated now. He certainly did know two of the conjugations out
“Yes, I hear him," answered Thomas, with some of—I really don't know how many. His master real and some assumed nonchalance. “I do hear did not see what the curl indicated, but possibly him, Mr. Stopper.”
his look made Thomas feel that he had been rude. Through a glass partition, which crossed the whole He sought to cover it by saying, of the room, Mr. Boxall, “the governor,” might be “Mr. Wither was as late as I was, sir. I think seen at a writing-table, with his face towards the it's very hard I should be always pulled up, and exoteric department. All that a spectator from nobody else." without could see, as he went on writing, was a “Mr. Wither is very seldom late, and you are high forehead, occupying more than its due share often late, my boy. Besides, your father is a friend of a countenance which, foreshortened of course, of mine, and I want to do my duty by him. I want from his position at the table, appeared otherwise you to get on." commonplace and rather insignificant, and a head “My father is very much obliged to you, sir.” which had been as finely tonsured by the scythe of "So he tells me," returned Mr. Boxall, with reTime as if the highest ecclesiastical dignity had markable good humour. — “We expect you to dine depended upon the breadth and perfection of the with us to-morrow, mind." vacancy. The corona which resulted was iron-grey. " Thank you, I have another engagement,"
When Thomas was quite ready, he walked into answered Thomas, with digvity, as he thought. the inper room.
Now at length Mr. Boxall's brow fell. But he “ Tom, my boy, you are late," said Mr. Boxall, looked more disappointed than angry. lifting a face whose full view considerably modified "I am sorry for that, Tom. I wish you could the impression I have just given. There was great have dined with us. I won't detain you longer. brilliance in the deep-set eyes, and a certain some. Mind you don't ink your trowsers." thing, almost merriment, about the mouth, hovering Was Thomas never to hear the last of those trow| lightly over a strong upper lip, which overhung and sers? He began to win he had not put them on. almost hid a disproportionately small under one. He made his bow, and withdrew in chagrin, conHis chin was large, and between it and the forehead sidering himself disgraced before his fellows, to there was little space left for any further develop whom he would gladly have been a model, if he ment of countenance.
could have occupied that position without too much “Not very late, I believe, sir,"answered Thomas. trouble. But his heart smote him-gently, it must “My watch must have misled me."
be confessed--for having refused the kindness of “Pull out your watch, my boy, and let us see.” Mr. Boxall, and shown so much resentment in a Thomas obeyed.
matter wherein the governor was quite right. " By your own watch, it is a quarter past,” said Mr. Boxall was a man who had made his money Mr. Boxall.
without losing his money's worth. Nobody could “I have been here five miputes."
accuse him of having ever done a mean, not to say "I will not do you the discredit of granting you a dishonest thing. This would not have been have spent that time in taking off your hat and remarkable, had he not been so well recognized as gloves. Your watch is five minutes slower than a sharp man of business. The more knowing any mite," continued Mr. Boxall, pulling out a sauce jobber about the Exchange, the better he knew that pan of silver, "and mine is five minutes slower than it was useless to dream of getting an advantage over the Exchange. You are nearly half an hour late. Mr. Boxall. But it was indeed remarkable that You will never get on if you are not punctual. It's he should be able to steer so exactly in the middle an old-fashioned virtue, I know. But first at the course that, while he was keen as an eagle on his office is first at the winning-post, I can tell you. own side, he should yet be thoroughly just on the You'll never make money if you're late."
other. And, seeing both sides of a question with such marvellous clearness, in order to keep his | merely still—they looked immobile, and her constant own hands clean he was not driven from uncer pain was indicated only by the absence of all curve tainty to give the other man anything more than in her upper lip. When her son entered, a gentle his right. Yet Mr. Boxall knew how to be gene shimmer of love shone out of her eyes of troubled rous upon occasion, both in time and money : the blue, but the words in which she addressed him did ordinary sharp man of business is stingy of both. not correspond to this shine. She was one of those The chief fault he bad, was a too great respect for who think the Deity jealous of the amount of success. He had risen himself by honest diligence, | love bestowed upon other human beings, even by and he thought when a map could not rise it must their own parents, and therefore struggle to keep be either from a want of diligence or of honesty. | down their deepest and holiest emotions, regarding Hence he was à priori ready to trust the successful them not merely as weakness but as positive sin, man, and in some instances to trust him too much. and likely to be most hurtful to the object on which That he had a family of three daughters only they are permitted to expend themselves. -one of them quite a child—who had never as “Well, Thomas,” said his mother, “what has yet come into collision with any project or favourite kept you so late?” opinion of his, might probably be one negative cause "Oh! I don't know, mother," answered Tom, in of the continuance of his open-heartedness and whose attempted carelessness there yet appeared a justice of regard.
touch of anxiety, which caught her eye. Thomas Worboise's father had been a friend of “You do know, Tom; and I want to know.” his for many years—at least so far as that relation “I waited and walked home with Charles could be called friendship which consisted in playing Wither.” as much into each other's hands in the way of He did not say, "I waited to walk home." business as they could, diving together two or three “How was he so late? You must have left the times in the course of the year, and keeping an open office hours ago." door to each other's family. Thomas was an only “He had some extra business to finish." Bon, with one sister. His father would gladly have It was business of his own, not office business ; brought him up to his own profession, that of the and Tom, finding out that he would be walking law, but Thomas showing considerable disinclination home a couple of hours later, had arranged to join to the necessary studies, he had placed him in bis him that he might have this account to give of friend's counting-house with the hope that that might himself. suit him better. Without a word having been said “You know I do not like you to be too much with on the subject, both the fathers would have gladly that young man. He is not religious. In fact, I seen the son of the one engaged to any daughter of believe him to be quite worldly. Does he ever go the other. They were both men of considerable to church?” property, and thought that this would be a pleasant! “I don't know, mother. He's not a bad sort of way of determining the future of part of their fellow." possessions. At the same time Mr. Boxall was not | “He is a bad sort of fellow, and the less you are quite satisfied with what he had as yet seen of with him the better.” Tom's business-character. However, there had “I can't help being with him in the office, you been no signs of approximation between him and know, mother." either of the girls, and therefore there was no cause “You need not be with him after office hours." to be particularly anxious about the matter.
“Well, no; perhaps not. But it would look
| strange to avoid him.” CHAPTER II.-THE INVALID MOTHER.
“I thought you had more strength of character, To account in some measure for the condition Thomas." in which we find Tom at the commencement of my "I-I-I spoke very seriously to him this mornstory, it will be better to say a word here about his ing, mother.” mother. She was a woman of weak health and “Ah! That alters the case, if you have courage intellect, but strong character; was very religious, to speak the truth to him." and had a great influence over her son, who was At that moment the door opened, and the curate far more attached to her than he was to his of St. Solomon's was announced. Mrs. Worboise father. The daughter, on the other hand, leaned was always at home to him, and he called freto her father, an arrangement not uncommon in quently, both because she was too great an invalid fainilies.
to go to church, and because they supposed, on the On the evening of the day on which my story ground of their employing the same religious commences, office hours were long over before Tom phrases in their conversation, that they understood appeared at home. He went into his mother's room, each other. He was a gentle, abstracted youth, and found her, as usual, reclining on a couch, sup with a face that looked as if its informing idea had ported by pillows. She was a woman who never com- been for a considerable period sat upou by someplained of her sufferings, and her face, perhaps in thing ungenial. With him the profession had consequence of her never desiring sympathy, was become everything, and humanity never had been hard and unnaturally still. Nor were her features anything, if not something bad. He walked through
the crowded streets in the neighbourhood with “I try to do my best,” said Thomas, in a tone hurried step and eyes fixed on the ground, his of apology, and with a lingering doubt in his mind pale face rarely brightening with recognition, for whether he was really speaking the absolute truth. he seldom saw any passing acquaintance. When But he comforted himself with saying to himself, he did, he greeted him with a voice that seemed “I only said “I try to do my best :' I did not say, to some from far-off shores, but came really from 'I try my best to do my best."" å bloolless, perveless chest, that had nothing to “I have no reason to doubt it, my young friend,” do with life, save to yield up the ghost in eternal returned the curate, who was not ten years older security, and send it safe out of it. He seemed to than his young friend. “I only fancied-no doubt recognize none of those human relations which it was but the foolish fancy of my own anxietymake the blood mount to the face at meeting, and that you did not respond quite so heartily as usual give strength to the grasp of the hand. He would to my remark.” Dot bare hurt a fly; he would have died to save a The mother's eyes were anxiously fixed on her malefactor from the gallows, that he might give son during the conversation, for her instincts told him another chance of repentance. But mere her that he was not quite at his ease. She had human aid he bad none to bestow; no warmth, no never given him any scope, never trusted him, or heartening, no bope.
trained him to freedom; but, herself a prisoner to Mr. Simon bowed solemnly, and shook hands her drawing-room and bed-room, sought, with all with Mrs. Worboise.
her energy and contrivance, for which she had "How are you to-night, Mrs. Worboise ?” he plenty of leisure, to keep, strengthen, and repair the said, glancing round the room, however. For the invisible cable by which she seemed to herself to i only sign of humanity about him was a certain hold, and in fact did hold him, even when he was
weak admiration of Amy Worboise, who, if tried out of her sight, and himself least aware of the fact.
by his own tests, was dreadfully unworthy even As yet again Thomas made no reply, Mr. Simon 1 of that. For she was a merry girl, who made changed the subject.
great sport of the little church-mouse, as she called “Have you much pain to-night, Mrs. Worboise?” him.
he asked. Mrs. Worboise did not reply to this question, “I can bear it,” she answered. “It will not last which she always treated as irrelevant. Mr. Simon for ever." then shook hands with Thomas, who looked on him “You find comfort in looking to the rest that with a respect inherited from his mother.
remaineth,” responded Mr. Simon. “It is the "Any signs of good in your class, Mr. Thomas ?" truest comfort. Still, your friends would gladly see he asked.
you enjoy a little more of the present-—.” world, The question half irritated Tom. Why, he Mr. Simon was going to say, but the word was could not have explained even to himself. The fact unsuitable ; so he changed it—" of the presentwas that he had begun to enter upon another phase ah ! dispensation,” he said. of experience since he saw the curate last, and the “The love of this world bringeth a snare," sugSunday School was just a little distasteful to him gested Mrs. Worboise, believing that she quoted at the moment,
Scripture. "No," he answered, with a certain slightest Thomas rose and left the room. He did not motion of the head that might have been interpreted return till the curate had taken his leave. It was either as of weariness or of indifference.
then almost time for his mother to retire. As soon The clergyman interpreted it as of the latter, and as he entered he felt her anxious pale-blue eyes proceeded to justify his question, addressing his fixed upon bim. words to the mother.
“Why did you go, Thomas ?” she asked, moving "Your son thinks me too anxious about the fruits on her couch, and revealing by her face a twinge of his labour, Mrs. Worboise. But when we think of sharper pain than ordinary. “You used to of the briefness of life, and how soon the night comes listen with interest to the conversation of Mr. when no man can work, I do not think we can be Simon. He is a man whose conversation is in too earnest to win souls for our crown of rejoicing Heaven.” when He comes with the holy angels. First our | “I thought you would like to have a little souls, Mr. Thomas, and then the souls of private talk with him, mamma. You generally do
have a talk with him alone.” Thomas, believing every word that the curate “Don't call it talk, Thomas. That is not the said, made notwithstanding no reply, and the curate proper word to use.” Fent on.
“ Communion, then, mother," answered Thomas, “There are so many souls that might be saved, with the feeling of aversion a little stronger and 1Ghe were only in earnest, and so few years to do more recognizable than before, but at the same
it in. We do not strive with God in prayer, Mrs. time annoyed with himself that he thus felt. And, Worboise. We faint and cease from our prayers afraid that he had shown the feeling which he did aud our endeavours together.”
recognize, he hastened to change the subject and ** That is too true," responded the lady.
| speak of one which he had at heart.
“But, mother, dear, I wanted to speak to you laughing down at everything; his chin nowise re. about something. You mustn't mind my being late markable. And there, reader, I hope you have ouce or twice a-week now, for I am going in for him. I ought to have mentioned that no one ever German. There is a very good master lives a few saw his teeth, though to judge from his performdvors from the counting-house ; and if you take ances at the table they were in serviceable conlessons in the evening at his own lodgings, he dition. He was considerably above the middle charges so much less for it. And, you know, it is height, shapeless rather than stout, and wore black such an advantage now-a-days for any one who clothes. wants to get on in business to know German!” I “You're going to dine at the Boxalls' to-night,
“Does Mr. Wither join you, Thomas ? " asked I believe, Tom? Mr. Boxall asked me, but I can't lis mother, in a tone of knowing reproof.
go. I am so busy with that case of Spender and “No, indeed, mother," answered Thomas; and Spoon." a gleam of satisfaction shot through his brain as “No, father. I don't mean to go,” said Tom. his mother seemed satisfied. Either, however, he “Why not?” asked Mr. Worboise, with some managed to keep it off his face, or his mother did surprise, and more than a hint of dissatisfaction. not perceive or understand it, for the satisfaction “Your mother hasn't been objecting, has she?” remained on her countenance.
“I am not aware that my mother knows of the “I will speak to your father about it,” she invitation," answered Tom, trying to hide bis disanswered.
comfort in formality of speech. This was quite as much as Thomas could have “Well, I said nothing about it, I believe. But I hoped for : he had no fear of his father making any accepted for you at the same time that I declined objection. He kissed his mother on the cheek-it for myself. You saw the letter-I left it for you.” was a part of her system of mortifying the flesh | “Yes, sir, I did.” with its affections and lusts that she never kissed “Well, in the name of Heaven, what do you him with any fervour, and rarely allowed those mean? You answer as if you were in the witnessstraight lips to meet his-and they parted for the box. I am not going to take any advantage of you. night.
Speak out, man. Why won't you go to Boxalls'?"
“Well, sir, to tell the truth, I didn't think he CHAPTER III. --EXPOSTULATION.
behaved quite well to me yesterday. I happened THOMAS descended to breakfast, feeling fresh and to be a few minutes late, and --" hopeful. The weather had changed during the “And Boxall blew you up; and that's the way night, and it was a clear frosty morning, cold blue you take to show your dignified resentment! Bah!” cloudless sky and cold gray leafless earth reflecting “He ought to behave to me like a gentleman." each other's winter attributes. The sun was there, “But how is he, if he isu't a gentleman ? He watching from afar how they could get on without hasn't had the bringing up you've had. But he's a him ; but, as if they knew he had not forsaken good, honest fellow, and says what he means." them, they were both merry. Thomas stood up “That is just what I did, sir. And you have with his back to the blazing fire, and through the always told me that honesty is the best policy." window saw his father walking bare-headed in the “ Yes, I confess. But that is not exactly the garden. He had not returned home till late the kind of honesty I mean," returned Mr. Worboise, night before, and Thomas had gone to bed without with a fishy smile, for his mouth was exactly of seeing him. Still he had been up the first in the the fish-type. “The law scarcely refers to the conhouse, and had been at work for a couple of duct of a gentleman as a gentleman." hours upon the papers he had brought home in his This was obscure to his son, as it may be to the blue bag. Thomas walked to the window to show
Widow' to show reader. himself, as a hint to his father that breakfast was “Then you don't want me to behave like a gentleready. Mr. Worboise saw him, and came in. man?" said Tom. Father and son did not shake hands or wish each “Keep your diploma in your pocket till it's asked other a good morning, but they nodded and for," answered his father. “If you are constantly smiled, and took their seats at the table. As Mr. obtruding it on other people, they will say you Worboise sat down, he smoothed, first with one bought it and paid for it. A gentleman can afford hand, then with the other, two long side-tresses to put an affront in beside it, when he knows it's of thin hair, trained like creepers over the top of there. But the idea of good old Boxall insulting a his head, which was perfectly bald. Their arrange- son of mine is too absurd, Tom. You must remember ment added to the resemblance his forehead natu- you are his servant." rally possessed to the bottom of a flat iron, set up “So he told me," said Tom, with reviving indig. on the base of its triangle. His eyebrows were nation. very dark, straight, and bushy; his eyes a keen “And that, I suppose, is what you call an insult, hazel ; his nose straight on the ridge, but forming eh?” an obtuse angle at the point; his mouth curved “Well, to say the least, it is not a pleasant word upwards, and drawn upwards by the corners when to use." he smiled, which gave him the appearance of “Especially as it expresses a disagreeable fact.