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   Chapter 29 THE LONG VACATION LETTER-BAG.

Tom Brown at Oxford By Thomas Hughes Characters: 34345

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:05


"June 24, 184-.

"My Dear Tom,-Your letter came to hand this morning, and it has, of course, given your mother and me much pain. It is not the money that we care about, but that our son should have deliberately undertaken, or pretended to undertake, what he must have known at the time he could not perform himself.

"I have written to my bankers to pay 100L. at once to your account at the Oxford Bank. I have also requested my solicitor to go over to Oxford, and he will probably call on you the day after you receive this. You say that this person who holds your note of hand is now in Oxford. You will see him in the presence of my solicitor, to whom you will hand the note when you have recovered it. I shall consider afterwards what further steps will have to be taken in the matter.

"You will not be of age for a year. It will be time enough then to determine whether you will repay the balance of this money out of the legacy to which you will be entitled under your grandfather's will. In the meantime, I shall deduct at the rate of 50L. a year from your allowance and I shall hold your bond in honor to reduce your expenditure by this amount. You are no longer a boy, and one of the first duties which a man owes to his friends and to society is to live within his income.

"I make this advance to you on two conditions. First, that you will never again put your hand to a note or bill in a transaction of this kind. If you have money, lend it or spend it. You may lend or spend foolishly, but that is not the point here; at any rate you are dealing with what is your own. But in transactions of this kind you are dealing with what is not your own. A gentleman should shrink from the possibility of having to come on others, even on his own father, for the fulfillment of his obligations, as he would from a lie. I would sooner see a son of mine in his grave than crawling on through life a slave to wants and habits which he must gratify at other people's expense.

"My second condition is, that you put an end to your acquaintance with these two gentlemen who have led you into this scrape, and have divided the proceeds of your joint note between them. They are both your seniors in standing, you say, and they appear to be familiar with this plan of raising money at the expense of other people. The plain English word for such doings is, swindling. What pains me most is, that you have become intimate with young men of this kind. I am not sure that it will not be my duty to lay the whole matter before the authorities of the college. You do not mention their names, and I respect the feeling which has led you not to mention them. I shall know them quite soon enough through my solicitor, who will forward me a copy of the note of hand and signatures in due course.

"Your letter makes general allusion to other matters; and I gather from it that you are dissatisfied with the manner in which you have spent your first year at Oxford. I do not ask for specific confessions, which you seem inclined to offer me; in fact, I would sooner not have them, unless there is any other matter in which you want assistance or advice from me. I know from experience that Oxford is a place full of temptation of all kinds, offered to young men at the most critical time of their lives. Knowing this, I have deliberately accepted the responsibility of sending you there, and I do not repent it. I am glad that you are dissatisfied with your first year. If you had not been I should have felt much more anxious about your second. Let bygones be bygones between you and me. You know where to go for strength, and to make confessions which no human ear should hear, for no human judgment can weigh the cause. The secret places of a man's heart are for himself and God. Your mother sends her love.

"I am, ever your affectionate father,-JOHN BROWN."

June 26th, 184-.

"MY DEAR BOY,-I am not sorry that you have taken my last letter as you have done. It is quite right to be sensitive on these points, and it will have done you no harm to have fancied for forty-eight hours that you had in my judgment lost caste as a gentleman. But now I am very glad to be able to ease your mind on this point. You have done a very foolish thing; but it is only the habit, and the getting others to bind themselves, and not the doing it oneself for others, which is disgraceful. You are going to pay honourably for your folly, and will owe me neither thanks nor money in the transaction. I have chosen my own terms for repayment, which you have accepted, and so the financial question is disposed of.

"I have considered what you say as to your companions-friends I will not call them-and will promise you not to take any further steps, or to mention the subject to anyone. But I must insist on my second condition, that you avoid all further intimacy with them. I do not mean that you are to cut them, or do anything that will attract attention. But, no more intimacy.

"And now, my dear boy, as to the rest of your letter. Mine must indeed have failed to express my meaning. God forbid that there should not be the most perfect confidence between us. There is nothing which I desire or value more. I only question whether special confessions will conduce to it. My experience is against them. I almost doubt whether they can be perfectly honest between man and man; and, taking into account the difference of our ages, it seems to be much more likely that we should misunderstand one another. But having said this, I leave it to you to follow your own conscience in the matter. If there is any burthen which I can help you to bear, it will be my greatest pleasure, as it is my duty, to do it. So now, say what you please, or say no more. If you speak, it will be to one who has felt and remembers a young man's trials.

"We hope you will be able to come home to-morrow, or the next day, at latest. Your mother is longing to see you, and I should be glad to have you here a day or two before the assizes, which are held next week. I should rather like you to accompany me to them, as it will give me the opportunity of introducing you to my brother magistrates from other parts of the county, whom you are not likely to meet elsewhere, and it is a good thing for a young man to know his own county well.

"The cricket club is very flourishing, you will be glad to hear, and they have put off their best matches till your return; so you are in great request, you see. I am told that the fishing is very good this year, and am promised several days for you in the club water.

"September is a long way off, but there is nothing like being before hand; I have put your name down for a license; and it is time you should have a good gun of your own; so I have ordered one for you from a man who has lately settled in the county. He was Purdy's foreman, with whom I used to build, and, I can see, understands his business thoroughly. His locks are as good as any I have ever seen. I have told him to make the stock rather longer, and not quite so straight as that of my old double with which you shot last year. I think I remember you criticized my weapon on these points; but there will be time for you to alter the details after you get home, if you disapprove of my orders. It will be more satisfactory if it is built under your own eye.

"If you continue in the mind for a month's reading with your friend Mr. Hardy, we will arrange it towards the end of the vacation; but would he not come here? From what you say we should very much like to know him. Pray ask him from me whether he will pass the last month of the vacation here, reading with you. I should like you to be his first regular pupil. Of course this will be my affair. And now, God bless you, and come home as soon as you can. Your mother sends her best love.

"Ever your most affectionate,

"JOHN BROWN."

"ENGLEBOURN RECTORY,

"June 28th, 184-'

"DEAREST MARY;-How good of you to write to me so soon! Your letter has come like a gleam of sunshine. I am in the midst of worries already. Indeed, as you know, I could never quite throw off the fear of what might be happening here, while we were enjoying ourselves at Oxford, and it has all turned out even worse than I expected. I shall never be able to go away again in comfort, I think. And yet, if I had been here, I don't know that I could have done any good. It is so very sad that poor papa is unable to attend to his magistrate's business, and he has been worse than usual, quite laid up in fact, since our return. There is no other magistrate-not even a gentleman in the place, as you know, except the curate; and they will not listen to him, even if he would interfere in their quarrels. But he says he will not meddle with secular matters; and, poor man, I cannot blame him, for it is very easy and sad and wearing to be mixed up in it all.

"But now I must tell you all my troubles. You remember the men whom we saw mowing together just before we went to Oxford. Betty Winburn's son was one of them, and I am afraid the rest are not at all good company for him. When they had finished papa's hay, they went to mow for Farmer Tester. You must remember him, dear, I am sure; the tall, gaunt man, with heavy, thick lips and a broken nose, and the top of his head quite flat, as if it had been cut off a little above his eyebrows. He is a very miserly man, and a hard master; at least all the poor people tell me so, and he looks cruel. I have always been afraid of him, and disliked him, for I remember as a child hearing papa complain how troublesome he was in the vestry; and except old Simon, who, I believe, only does it from perverseness, I have never heard anybody speak well of him.

"The first day that the men went to mow for Farmer Tester, he gave them sour beer to drink. You see, dear, they bargained to mow for so much money and their beer. They were very discontented at this, and they lost a good deal of time going to complain to him about it, and they had high words with him.

"The men said the beer wasn't fit for pigs, and the farmer said it was quite good enough 'for such as they,' and if they didn't like his beer they might buy their own. In the evening, too, he came down and complained that the mowing was bad, and then there were more high words, for the men are very jealous about their work. However they went to work as usual the next morning, and all might have gone off quietly, but in the day Farmer Tester found two pigs in his turnip field which adjoins the common, and had them put in the pound. One of these pigs belonged to Betty Winburn's son, and the other to one of the men who was mowing with him; so, when they came home at night, they found what had happened.

"The constable is our pound-keeper, the little man who amused you so much; he plays the bass-viol in church. When he puts any beasts into the pound he cuts a stick in two, and gives one piece to the person who brings the beasts, and keeps the other himself, and the owner of the beasts has to bring the other end of the stick to him before he can let them out. Therefore, the owner, you see, must go to the person who has pounded his beasts, and make a bargain with him for payment of the damage which has been done, and so get back the other end of the stick, which they call the 'tally,' to produce to the pound-keeper.

"Well, the men went off to the constable's when they heard their pigs were pounded, to find who had the 'tally,' and, when they found it was Farmer Tester, they went in a body to his house to remonstrate with him, and learn what he set the damages at. The farmer used dreadful language to them, I hear, and said they weren't fit to have pigs, and must pay half a crown for each pig, before they could have the 'tally;' and the men irritated him by telling him that his fences were a shame to the parish, because he was too stingy to have them mended, and that the pigs couldn't have found half a crown's worth of turnips in the whole field, for he never put any manure on it except what he could get off the road, which ought to belong to the poor. At last the farmer drove them away saying he should stop the money out of the price he was to pay for their mowing.

"Then there was very near being a riot in the parish; for some of the men are very reckless people, and they went in the evening and blew horns and beat kettles before his house, till the constable, who has behaved very well, persuaded them to go away.

"In the morning one of the pigs had been taken out of the pound; not Betty's son's, I am glad to say-for no doubt it was very wrong of the men to take it out. The farmer was furious, and went with the constable in the morning to find the pig, but they could hear nothing of it anywhere. James Pope, the man to whom it belonged, only laughed at them, and said he never could keep his pig in himself, because it was grandson to one of the acting pigs that went about to the fairs, and all the pigs of that family took to climbing naturally; so his pig must have climbed out of the pound. This of course was all a story; the men had lifted the pig out of the pound, and then killed it, so that the farmer might not find it, and sold the meat cheap all over the parish. Betty went to the farmer that morning and paid the half crown, and got her son's pig out before he came home; but Farmer Tester stopped the other half crown out of the men's wages, which made matters worse then ever.

"The day that we were in the Theatre at Oxford, Farmer Tester was away at one of the markets. He turns his big cattle out to graze on the common, which the poor people say he has no right to do, and in the afternoon a pony of his got into the allotments, and Betty's son caught it, and took it to the constable, and had it put in the pound. The constable tried to persuade him not to do it, but it was of no use; and so, when Farmer Tester came home, he found that his turn had come. I am afraid that he was not sober, for I hear that he behaved dreadfully both to the constable and to Betty's son, and, when he found that he could not frighten them, he declared he would have the law of them if it cost him twenty pounds. So in the morning he went to fetch his lawyer, and when we got home you can fancy what a scene it was.

"You remember how poorly papa was when you left us at Lambourn. By the time we got home he was quite knocked up, and so nervous that he was fit for nothing except to have a quiet cup of tea in his own room. I was sure as we drove up the street, there was something the matter. The ostler was watching outside the Red Lion, and ran in as soon as we came in sight; and, as we passed the door, out came Farmer Tester, looking very flushed in the face, and carrying his great iron-handled whip, and a person with him, who I found was his lawyer, and they marched after the carriage. Then the constable was standing at his door too, and he came after us, and there was a group of men outside the rectory gate. We had not been in the house five minutes before a servant came in to say that Farmer Tester and a gentlemen wanted to see papa on particular business. Papa sent out word that he was very unwell, and that it was not the proper time to come on business; he would see them the next day at twelve o'clock. But they would not go away, and then papa asked me to go out and see them. You can fancy how disagreeable it was; and I was so angry with them for coming, when they knew how nervous papa is after a journey, that I could not have patience to persuade them to leave; and so at last they made poor papa see them after all.

"He was lying on a sofa, and quite unfit to cope with a hard bad man like Farmer Tester, and a fluent plausible lawyer. They told their story all their own way, and the farmer declared that the man had tempted the pony into the allotment with corn. And the lawyer said that the constable had no right to keep the pony in the pound, that he was liable to all sorts of punishments. They wanted papa to make an order at once for the pound to be opened, and I think he would have done so, but I asked him in a whisper to send for the constable, and hear what he had to say. The constable was waiting in the kitchen, so he came in in a minute. You can't think how well he behaved; I have quite forgiven him all his obstinacy about the singing. He told the whole story about the pigs, and how Farmer Tester had stopped money out of the men's wages. And when the lawyer tried to frighten him, he answered him quite boldly, that he mightn't know so much about the law, but he knew what was always the custom long before his time at Englebourn about the pound, and if Farmer Tester wanted his beast out, he must bring the 'tally' like another man. Then the lawyer appealed to papa about the law, and said how absurd it was, and that if such a custom were to be upheld, the man who had the 'tally' might charge 100L. for the damage. And poor papa looked through his law books, and could find nothing about it at all; and while he was doing it Farmer Tester began to abuse the constable, and said he sided with all the good-for-

nothing fellows in the parish, and that bad blood would come of it. But the constable quite fired up at that, and told him that it was such as he who made bad blood in the parish, and that poor folks had their rights as well as their betters, and should have them as long as he was constable. If he got papa's order to open the pound, he supposed he must do it, and 'twas not for him to say what was law, but Henry Winburn had had to get the 'tally' for his pig from Farmer Tester, and what was fair for one was fair for all.

"I was afraid papa would have made the order, but the lawyer said something at last which made him take the other side. So he settled that the farmer should pay five shillings for the 'tally,' which was what he had taken from Betty, and had stopped out of the wages, and that was the only order he would make, and the lawyer might do what he pleased about it. The constable seemed satisfied with this, and undertook to take the money down to Harry Winburn, for Farmer Tester declared he would sooner let the pony starve than go himself. And so papa got rid of them after an hour and more of this talk. The lawyer and Farmer Tester went away grumbling and very angry to the Red Lion. I was very anxious to hear how the matter ended; so I went after the constable to ask him to come back and see me when he had settled it all, and about nine o'clock he came. He had had a very hard job to get Harry Winburn to take the money, and give up the 'tally.' The men said that, if Farmer Tester could make them pay half-a-crown for a pig in his turnips, which were no bigger than radishes, he ought to pay ten shillings at least for his pony trampling down their corn, which was half grown, and I couldn't help thinking this seemed very reasonable. In the end, however, the constable had persuaded them to take the money, and so the pony was let out.

"I told him how pleased I was at the way he had behaved, but the little man didn't seem quite satisfied himself. He should have liked to have given the lawyer a piece of his mind, he said, only he was no scholar, 'but I've a got all the feelin's of a man, miss, though I medn't have the ways o' bringin' on 'em out.' You see I'm quite coming round to your opinion about him. But when I said that I hoped all the trouble was over, he shook his head, and he seems to think that the men will not forget it, and that some of the wild ones will be trying to pay Farmer Tester out in the winter nights, and I could see he was very anxious about Harry Winburn; so I promised him to go and see Betty.

"I went down to her cottage yesterday, and found her very low, poor old soul, about her son. She has had a bad attack again, and I am afraid her heart is not right. She will not live long if she has much to make her anxious, and how is that to be avoided? For her son's courting is all going wrong, she can see, though he will not tell her anything about it; but he gets more moody and restless, she says, and don't take a pride in anything, not even in his flowers or his allotment; and he takes to going about, more and more every day, with these men, who will be sure to lead him into trouble.

"After I left her, I walked up to the Hawk's Lynch, to see whether the view and the air would not do me good. And it did do me a great deal of good, dear, and I thought of you, and when I should see your bright face and hear your happy laugh again. The village looked so pretty and peaceful. I could hardly believe, while I was up there, that there were all these miserable quarrels and heartburnings going on in it. I suppose they go on everywhere, but one can't help feeling as if there was something specially hard in those which come under one's own eyes, and touch one's self. And then they are so frivolous, and everything might go on so comfortably if people would only be reasonable. I ought to have been a man, I am sure, and then I might, perhaps, be able to do more, and should have more influence. If poor papa were only well and strong!

"But, dear, I shall tire you with all these long histories and complainings. I have run on till I have no room left for anything else; but you can't think what a comfort it is to me to write it all to you, for I have no one to tell it to. I feel so much better, and more cheerful, since I sat down to write this. You must give my dear love to uncle and aunt, and let me hear from you again whenever you have time. If you could come over again and stay for a few days, it would be very kind; but I must not press it, as there is nothing to attract you here, only we might talk over all that we did and saw at Oxford.-Ever, dearest Mary, your affectionate cousin,

"Katie"

"P. S.-I should like to have the pattern of the jacket you wore the last day at Oxford. Could you cut it out in thin paper and send it in your next?"

"July-,184-.

"MY DEAR BROWN,-I was very glad to see your hand, and to hear such flourishing accounts of your vacation doings. You won't get any like announcement of me, for cricket has not yet come so far west as this, at least not to settle. We have a few pioneers and squatters in the villages; but, I am sorry to say, nothing yet like matches between the elevens of districts. Neighbors we have none, except the rector; so I have plenty of spare time, some of which I feel greatly disposed to devote to you; and I hope you won't find me too tedious to read.

"It is very kind of your father to wish that you should be my first pupil, and to propose that I should spend the last month of this vacation with you in Berkshire. But I do not like to give up a whole month. My father is getting old and infirm, and I can see that it would be a great trial to him, although he urges it, and is always telling me not to let him keep me at home. What do you say to meeting me half way? I mean, that you should come here for half of the time, and then that I should return with you for the last fortnight of the vacation. This I could manage perfectly.

"But you cannot in any case be my first pupil; for not to mention that I have been, as you know, teaching for some years, I have a pupil here, at this minute. You are not likely to guess who it is, though you know him well enough-perhaps I should say too well-so, in a word, it is Blake. I had not been at home three days before I got a letter from him, asking me to take him, and putting it in such a way that I couldn't refuse. I would sooner not have had him, as I had already got out of taking a reading party with some trouble, and felt inclined to enjoy myself here in dignified idleness till next term. But what can you do when a man puts it to you as a great personal favor, &c. &c.? So I wrote to accept. You may imagine my disgust a day or two afterwards, at getting a letter from an uncle of his, some official person in London apparently, treating the whole matter in a business point of view, and me as if I were a training groom. He is good enough to suggest a stimulant to me in the shape of extra pay and his future patronage in the event of his nephew's taking a first in Michaelmas term. If I had received this letter before, I think it would have turned the scale, and I should have refused. But the thing was done, and Blake isn't fairly responsible for his relative's views.

"So here he has been for a fortnight. He took a lodging in the village at first; but of course my dear old father's ideas of hospitality were shocked at this, and here he is, our inmate.

"He reads fiercely by fits and starts. A feeling of personal hatred against the examiners seems to urge him on more than any other motive; but this will not be strong enough to keep him to regular work, and without regular work he won't do, notwithstanding all his cleverness, and he is a marvellously clever fellow. So the first thing I have to do is to get him steadily to the collar, and how to do it is a pretty particular puzzle. For he hasn't a grain of enthusiasm in his composition, nor any power, as far as I can see, of throwing himself into the times and scenes of which he is reading. The philosophy of Greece and the history of Rome are matters of perfect indifference to him-to be got up by catch-words and dates for examination and nothing more. I don't think he would care a straw if Socrates had never lived, or Hannibal had destroyed Rome. The greatest names and deeds of the old world are just so many dead counters to him-the Jewish just as much as the rest. I tried him with the story of the attempt of Antiochus Epiphanes to conquer the Jews, and the glorious rising of all that was living in the Holy Land under the Maccabees. Not it bit of it; I couldn't get a spark out of him. He wouldn't even read the story because it is in the Apocrypha, and so, as he said, the d--d examiners couldn't ask him anything about it in the schools.

"Then his sense of duty is quiet undeveloped. He has no notion of going on doing anything disagreeable because he ought. So here I am at fault again. Ambition he has in abundance; in fact so strongly, that very likely it may in the end pull him through, and make him work hard enough for his Oxford purposes at any rate. But it wants repressing rather than encouragement, and I certainly shan't appeal to it.

"You will begin to think I dislike him and want to get rid of him, but it isn't the case. You know what a good temper he has, and how remarkably well he talks; so he makes himself very pleasant, and my father evidently enjoys his company; and then to be in constant intercourse with a subtle intellect like his, is pleasantly exciting, and keeps one alive and at high pressure, though one can't help always wishing that it had a little heat in it. You would be immensely amused if you could drop in on us.

"I think I have told you or you must have seen it for yourself, that my father's principles are true blue, as becomes a sailor of the time of the great war, while his instincts and practice are liberal in the extreme. Our rector, on the contrary, is liberal in principles, but an aristocrat of the aristocrats in instinct and practice. They are always ready enough therefore to do battle, and Blake delights in the war, and fans it and takes part in it as a sort of free lance, laying little logical pitfalls for the combatants alternately, with that deferential manner of his. He gets some sort of intellectual pleasure, I suppose, out of seeing where they ought to tumble in; for tumble in they don't, but clear his pit-falls in their stride-at least my father does-quite innocent of having neglected to distribute his middle term; and the rector, if he has some inkling of these traps, brushes them aside, and disdains to spend powder on anyone but his old adversary and friend. I employ myself in trying to come down ruthlessly on Blake himself; and so we spend our evenings after dinner, which comes off at the primitive hour of five. We used to dine at three, but my father has comformed now to college hours. If the rector does not come, instead of argumentative talk, we get stories out of my father. In the morning we bathe, and boat, and read. So, you see, he and I have plenty of one another's company; and it is certainly odd that we get on so well with so very few points of sympathy. But, luckily, besides his good temper and cleverness, he has plenty of humor. On the whole, I think we shall rub through the two months which he is to spend here without getting to hate one another, though there is little chance of our becoming friends. Besides putting some history and science into him (scholarship he does not need), I shall be satisfied if I can make him give up his use of the pronoun 'you' before he goes. In talking of the corn laws, or foreign policy, or India, or any other political subject, however interesting, he never will identify himself as an Englishman; and 'you do this,' or 'you expect that' is for ever in his mouth, speaking of his own countrymen. I believe if the French were to land to-morrow on Portland, he would comment on our attempts to dislodge them as if he had no concern with the business except as a looker-on.

"You will think all this rather a slow return for your jolly gossiping letter, full of cricket, archery, fishing, and I know not what pleasant goings-on. But what is one to do? one can only write about what is one's subject of interest for the time being, and Blake stands in that relation to me just now. I should prefer it otherwise, but si on n'a pas ce qu'on aime il faut aimer ce qu'on a. I have no incident to relate; these parts get on without incidents somehow, and without society. I wish there were some, particularly ladies' society. I break the tenth commandment constantly, thinking of Commemoration, and that you are within a ride of Miss Winter and her cousin. When you see them next, pray present my respectful compliments. It is a sort of consolation to think that one may cross their fancy for a moment and be remembered as part of a picture which gives them pleasure. With such piece of sentiment I may as well shut up. Don't you forget my message now, and-

"Believe me, ever yours most truly,

"JOHN HARDY.

"P.S.-I mean to speak to Blake, when I get a chance, of that wretched debt which you have paid, unless you object. I should think better of him if he seemed more uncomfortable about his affairs. After all he may be more so than I think, for he is very reserved on such subjects."

"ENGLEBOURN RECTORY,

"July, 184-'

"DEAREST MARY.-I send the coachman with this note in order that you may not be anxious about me. I have just returned from poor Betty Winburn's cottage to write it. She is very very ill, and I do not think can last out more than a day or two; and she seems to cling to me so that I cannot have the heart to leave her. Indeed, if I could make up my mind to do it, I should never get her poor white eager face out of my head all day, so that I should be very bad company, and quite out of place at your party, making everybody melancholy and uncomfortable who came near me. So, dear, I am not coming. Of course it is a great disappointment. I had set my heart on being with you, and enjoying it all thoroughly; and even at breakfast this morning knew of nothing to hinder me. My dress is actually lying on the bed at this minute, and it looks very pretty, especially the jacket like yours, which I and Hopkins have managed to make up from the pattern you sent, though you forgot the sleeves, which made it rather hard to do. Ah, well; it is no use to think of how pleasant things would have been which one cannot have. You must write me an account of how it all went off, dear; or perhaps you can manage to get over here before long to tell me.

"I must now go back to poor Betty. She is such a faithful, patient old thing, and has been such a good woman all her life that there is nothing painful in being by her now, and one feels sure that it will be much happier and better for her to be at rest. If she could only feel comfortable about her son, I am sure she would think so herself. Oh, I forgot to say that her attack was brought on by the shock of hearing that he had been summoned for an assault. Farmer Tester's son, a young man about his own age, has, it seems, been of late waylaying Simon's daughter and making love to her. It is so very hard to make out the truth in matters of this kind. Hopkins says she is a dressed-up little minx who runs after all the young men in the parish; but really, from what I see and hear from other persons, I think she is a good girl enough. Even Betty, who looks on her as the cause of most of her own trouble, has never said a word to make me think that she is at all a light person, or more fond of admiration than any other good-looking girl in the parish.

"But those Testers are a very wicked set. You cannot think what a misfortune it is in a place like this to have these rich families with estates of their own, in which the young men begin to think themselves above the common farmers. They ape the gentlemen, and give themselves great airs, but of course no gentleman will associate with them, as they are quite uneducated; and the consequence is that they live a great deal at home, and give themselves up to all kinds of wickedness. This young Tester is one of these. His father is a very bad old man, and does a great deal of harm here; and the son is following in his steps, and is quite as bad, or worse. So you see that I shall not easily believe that Harry Winburn has been much in the wrong. However, all I know of it at present is that young Tester was beaten by Harry yesterday evening in the village street, and that they came to papa at once for a summons.

"Oh, here is the coachman ready to start; so I must conclude, dear, and go back to my patient. I shall often think of you during the day. I am sure you will have a charming party. With best love to all, believe me, ever dearest,

"Your most affectionate,

"KATIE.

"P. S.-I am very glad that uncle and aunt take to Tom, and that he is staying with you for some days. You will find him very useful in making the party go off well, I am sure."

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