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Ashurst would have been excessively delighted
at this announcement. As it was,
she merely said, "The young ladies are at
Woolgreaves, I think."

"The young ladies!" repeated Marian,
bitterly—"the young ladies! The young
dollsdoltsdummies to try dresses on!
What are Maude and Gertrude Creswell
to us, mother? What kindness, courtesy
even, have they ever shown us? To get
their uncle's purse is what we most
need——"

"Oh, Marian, Marian!" interrupted Mrs.
Ashurst, "what are you saying?"

"Saying?" replied Marian, calmly
"saying? The truth! What should I
say, when I know that if we had the command
of Mr. Creswell's purse, father's life
mightfrom what I gather from Dr.
Osborne most probably wouldbe saved!
Are these circumstances under which one
should be meek and mild and thankful for
one's lot in life! Is this a time to talk
of gratitude and——He's moving! Yes,
darling father, Marian is here!"

Two hours afterwards, Marian and Dr.
Osborne stood in the porch. There were
tears in the eyes of the garrulous but
kindly old man; but the girl's eyes were
dry, and her face was set harder and more
rigid than ever. The doctor was the first
to speak.

"Good night, my dear child," said he;
"and may God comfort you in your affliction!
I have given your poor mother a
composing draught, and trust to find her
better in the morning. Fortunately, you
require nothing of that kind. God bless
you, my dear! It will be a consolation to
you, as it is to me, to know that your
father, my dear old friend, went off perfectly
placid and peacefully."

"It is a consolation, doctormore especially
as I believe such an ending is rare
with people suffering under his disease."

"His disease, child? Why, what do you
think your father died of?"

"Think, doctor? I know! Of the want
of a hundred and thirty guineas!"

CHAPTER II. RETROSPECTIVE.

THE Reverend James Ashurst had been
head master of the Helmingham Grammar
School for nearly a quarter of a century.
Many old people in the village had a vivid
recollection of him as a young man, with his
bright brown hair curling over his coat collar,
his frank fearless glances, his rapid jerky
walk. They recollected how he was by no
means particularly well received by the
powers that then were, how he was spoken
of as "one of the new school"—a term in
itself supposed to convey the highest degree
of opprobriumand how the elders had
shaken their heads and prophesied that no
good would come of the change, and that it
would have been better to have held on to
old Dr. Munch, after all. Old Dr. Munch,
who had been Mr. Ashurst's immediate
predecessor, was as bad a specimen of the old-
fashioned, nothing-doing, sinecure-seeking
pedagogue as could well be imagined; a rotund,
red-faced, gouty-footed divine, with a
thick layer of limp white cravat loosely tied
round his short neck, and his suit of clerical
sables splashed with a culinary spray; a
man whose originally small stock of classical
learning had gradually faded away,
and whose originally large stock of idleness
and self-gratification had simultaneously
increased. Forty male children, born in
lawful wedlock in the parish of Helmingham,
and properly presented on the foundation,
might have enjoyed the advantages
of a free classical and mathematical education
at the Grammar School under the will
of old Sir Ranulph Clinton, the founder;
but, under the lax rule of Dr. Munch, the
forty gradually dwindled to twenty, and of
these twenty but few attended school in
the afternoon, knowing perfectly that for
the first few minutes after coming in from
dinner the Doctor paid but little attention
as to which members of the class might be
present, and that in a very few minutes he
fell into a state of pleasant and unbroken
slumber.

This state of affairs was terrible, and,
worst of all, it was getting buzzed abroad.
The two or three conscientious boys who
really wanted to learn shook their heads in
despair, and appealed to their parents to
"let them leave;" the score of lads who
enjoyed the existing state of affairs were,
lad-like, unable to keep it to themselves,
and went about calling on their neighbours
to rejoice with them; so, speedily, every one
knew the state of affairs in Helmingham
Grammar School. The trustees of the
charity, or "governors," as they were
called, had not the least notion how to proceed.
They were, for the most part, respectable
tradesmen of the place, who had
vague ideas about "college" as of a sequestered
spot where young men walked
about in stuff gowns and trencher caps, and
were, by some unexplained circumstance,
rendered fit and ready for the bishop to
convert into clergymen. There must, they

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