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This mortification only added fuel to the steward's wrath, and he determined to carry on, with all the vigour of soul and purse, an action which he had already commenced against his enemy.
"I knew a young man," he continued, "who entered the Naval Academy, and graduated. When he was appointed to service on board a ship, he found himself perpetually sick on the water; after an experience of two years, and finding no improvement, he resigned. Such occurrences are by no means rare. I once travelled with a gentleman who was a splendid sailor in fine weather; but when it became rough, he was all wrong, and went to bed."
CHAPTER V."Well met, then," said Wells; "for the true commons are upno time is to be lostthe prophet is in prison. Let each man steer his own course, muster all the hands he can, and meet on Tower-hill. Hark! that stroke tells oneremember we meet at two, and we will see if the Londoners and men of Kent cannot shake hands before the clock has tolled three."
Of course, he had been rashhe saw now that he had been a fool to speculate with the future. But who could have foretold that heir of Lardner's?no one had ever heard of him in Peasmarsh, and most people were as astonished as Reuben though not so disgusted. Sometimes he had an uneasy feeling that Lardner himself had not thought much about his distant son till a year or two ago. He remembered how the old man had disapproved of the way Rose's settlements were spent, and horrible conjectures would assail him that some earlier will had been revoked, and Rose disinherited because her[Pg 278] uncle did not wish to put more money into her husband's pocket.
So Albert stayed in Pete's room, almost entirely ignored by his father. After some consideration, Reuben had come to the conclusion that this was the most dignified attitude to adopt. Now and then, when he was better, he sent him up some accounts to do, as it hurt him to think of his son lying idle week after week; but he never went near him, and Albert would never have willingly crossed his path. Those were not the days of open windows and fresh-air cures, so there was no especial reason why he should ever leave the low-raftered stuffy room, where he would lie by the hour in a frowsty dream of sickness, broken only by fits of coughing and h?morrhage.About thirty paces in the rear of her father's house, was an old far-spreading oak, beneath whose branches stood Lucy awaiting him, who was even now, in her mind, to all intents and purposes a lover. As the dusty-foot looked around in the darkness, a whispered hist! decided his course, he sprung to the tree, and stooped to clasp the little form in his arms, and to imprint on the glowing cheek his first kiss; but Lucy drew back, and, with the dignity of a maiden, repelled the freedom.