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prepared, and left to pass the night there, where the first thing he saw was Carrie's New Year's gift, the Bible.
As for Carrie, she could not sleep that night, partly for joy and partly for anxiety.
Harry had come back, but why? Had he seen the error of his ways and resolved to live differently? Or would he bring trouble upon them all once more ?
Carrie spent most of the night in prayer, and again she renewed the vow she bad made on New Year's eve. She felt that already part of the resolution had been kept, but would she be able to accomplish it all ? She longed for the morning to come that she might be able to talk to Harry, and find out the truth.
(To be continued.)
ONLY A MONTH AGO.
Only a month ago my life was bare
As wintry landscapes; sleepy were its flowers,
And now a sudden summer wreathes the bowers
The streamlets quiver 'neath her smile, and flash
Through bloomy meadows white with daisy-stars, And gold with cowslip bells ; and the gay plash
Of the glad waters through the mute air jars
And wakes it into voiceful melody.
One day a waste, the next a smiling lea;
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CHAPTER XII.—“ DO YOU LIKE JAM-TARTS ? Now I had not expected to find myself in quite so lowly a position. I was prepared for the lowest form, but scarcely for the lowest place thereon. I was the youngest boy in the headmaster's house, but by no means the youngest in the school. I had nearly a dozen companions, who were all my juniors, and some of them were actually in the form above me. Oh, what would Martin say? And I was not even asked whether I knew the Church catechism, nor was I questioned concerning Old Testament history. It seemed to me that my examiner, who was no other than the awful headmaster himself, interrogated me solely on those subjects of which I was ignorant; while as to the stores of information which I actually possessed I was never able to avail myself of them, being examined, as I afterwards told Martin, in everything I did not know, and in nothing that I did know. It was rather aggravating, and I really thought I knew a good deal, considering. And I was so unfor. tunately tall too, and looked so much like a big dunce, standing below a lot of little lads, some of them a full head shorter than myself.
I underwent my examination before breakfast in Dr. Richardson's private study, and when it was ended, and my place in the school assigned to me, he said, kindly, "I don't quite understand this, Travis; I heard that you had been two years under a private tutor; you ought to have been farther on than I find you. I quite expected, from Mr. Drew's letter, that I should have to place you in the fifth form. I hope you are not idle ?”
“Oh, no, indeed!" I replied, eagerly; “but, sir, I think your way and Mr. Gibson's way are different rather."
The doctor smiled as he answered, “I have no doubt that Mr. Gibson is a very estimable person and a scholar, but he has allowed you to flounder about in all sorts of uncertainties; you have been taught loosely. Well, I can call it nothing else ; and your quantities are appalling."
“I will try to do better, sir. Mr. Gibson complained of my quantities, but I sometimes thought he was not very sure about them himself.”
“ Who is Mr. Gibson?”
“The clergyman of the place where I lived—a very lonely place among the mountains; I went to him when Martin could not teach me any more.'
"May I ask who Martin is ?"
I deliberated a moment. I was ashamed to confess that he was the parish clerk and my guardian ; but very quickly I felt ashame, of myself for being ashamed of my good, kind, considerate protector. So, not without colouring, rather confusedly, I told the doctor who Martin really was, adding, “I ought to have called him Mr. Wray, but it was not considered bad manners to call people by their Christian names in our dale. I think the vicar was the only person of whom we did not speak familiarly."
“A very primitive sort of place truly. I daresay Mr. Gibson is a St. Bees man?”
"Indeed, no," I replied. “He is Oxford; he was of Caius College, I know."
“But that was many years ago, and the Oxford of Mr. Gibson's youth was not the Oxford of to-day, not even of my own time. Besides, leading the secluded life he led among the hills, and without associates of his own class, I can easily imagine that he let many things slip. Scholarship, like other things, gets rusty and decays if it is not continually scoured. How old is Mr. Gibson?"
“I do not know, sir; but he has been Vicar of Eaglesmere fiveand-thirty years, and before that he was curate in another country place. He is younger than Martin-I mean Mr. Wray—but I cannot tell how much ; he looks nearly as old. He is very little, and thin, and stoops, and his hair is quite grey. He always stayed in Eaglesmere, except, now and then, when he went to visitations at Carlisle or to Kendal for a day. He was a very kind man, sir, and in some things I am sure he is clever."
"I do not doubt it. Do not imagine that I wish to depreciato your old tutor; I merely wish you to understand that his method
is by no means the method we follow here, and that you will have to begin again at the beginning, and to be very sure of your ground as you proceed. You will have to be accurate; it will not serve you to know things in a general sort of way. If you begin life among the shallows, you will probably never learn to swim in deep waters. Take my advice, Travis—it is the advice I give to every new pupil.
Do all that you do thoroughly, and with all your heart; never pass by anything you do not fully understand ; because, being quick, as I perceive you are, you readily seize upon the general meaning of a passage, do not fancy that your work is done! I do not care about boys beginning with spirited translations; they must keep as nearly to the original as possible. An easy, flowing style will come presently, all in good time; but for the present be accurate! be accurate! be accurate!”
And, as I afterwards discovered, accuracy was the mainspring of the doctor's teaching, and consequently of that of the entire staff of Stoketon masters. We were never allowed to slur a difficulty ; we had to give a reason for every statement. In the old time, when parsing with Mr. Gibson, I used to say a substantive was in the ablative case. I could not tell exactly why, but somehow I knew it was, and my tutor was contented. But now I was required to prove my assertion, to quote the proper rule with its exceptions, and to show, to the last point of agreement, how, it came to act upon my ablative. I could have construed half a page or more of Eutropeus or Cæsar with Mr. Gibson while I was hammering away at a single line of the Delectus with the doctor, or with the sixthform master, Mr. Thornaway.
But before I left the doctor's study that morning he asked me what I had learned from Mr. Wray. I told him as nearly as I could, and though he heard me with courteous gravity I could see his dark eyes twinkling as with suppressed amusement. very well,” he replied ; "all very good in its way, and after its kind; but too diffusive—too loose, in fact. And it seems to me that, for a boy of your age, you have read a great many novels!”
“Yes," I replied, with some pride ; "there is nothing I like so well as reading."
“Very well! very well! Books, like religion, will preserve you from a thousand snares if you take to them while you are young. The love of learning, the passion for literature, can never be acquired when youth is past. The mind is nourished by reading and thinking just as the body is sustained by eating, drinking, and digesting. Do you like jam-tarts ? "
"Yes, sir,” I replied promptly, but very much amazed at the unexpected and seemingly irrelevant question.
“Should you like them for breakfast, and dinner, and supperin short, whenever you were hungry, or wished to eat ? ”
« Oh, no, sir; I should be tired of them, and I think I should be ill.”
“I think you would fall into a very unhealthy condition : your body would not properly develope; its functions would be impaired ; you would become heavy, dull, languid. Your blood would become vitiated, corrupt humours would appear, and presently your medical adviser would inform you that you must change your diet, or become a miserable, weak dyspeptic. Do you not think it would be so ?”
“Yes, sir," I replied, 'greatly puzzled, for he spoke so earnestly that I could not suppose him to be jesting. But, sir, I assure you I very seldom eat jam-tarts, and not too much of them at any time.”
“I am rejoiced to hear it, because I feel assured you will be equally reasonable as regards your mental repasts. You are eating,--no devouring-too many, by far too many intellectual jamtarts !”
I began to perceive his drift.
“That is precisely what I do mean. It seems to me that you have fed your mind so exclusively on fiction that it has fallen into an unhealthy state. It cannot even properly digest and assimilate the food upon which it must chiefly depend for its full growth and prosperity, -you are doing yourself an injustice, Travis.”
“Mr. Gibson liked good novels, sir; he lent me all that he had, -no, not quite all. Once I took down a book called the 'Decameron,' and he refused to let me have it. And after that I never saw it again."
“I am glad he made some exceptions; that was not a jam-tart, Travis, that was poison !-poison disguised as sweetmeat. As you grow older such poison will fall in your way; wicked or foolish associates will even press it upon you ; but as you value your soul's health, put it from you. Never, till you are at least twenty-five years old, read a book in solitude which you would hesitate to read aloud to your elders. Never read it at all, unless you have a purpose in view, such as mature manhood, Christian manhood need not disavow. But in your youth shun it, dread it, as you would a nest of deadly serpents. But tell me, if you do not object, what are the books you have chiefly read ?”
“ All Sir Walter Scott's novels," I replied, promptly," and nearly all his poems.
Miøs Edgeworth’s tales, and the Castle of Otranto,' and the Castle of Udolpho,' and the Romance of