Julian Home, by Dean Frederick Farrar.
In this book Farrar, who for the first part of his career was a British Public School master and headmaster, writes of the lives of a group of clever young men during their three years studies at Camford University, (transparently Cambridge). Some of them work hard and do well, gaining College scholarships and fellowships, while others do little work and become enmeshed in gambling, drinking, and other still worse vices.
Some miserable tricks are played by the bad and idle men in attempts to bring down the good and hard working ones, most of which nearly end in disaster, but by various tricks of fortune a balance is in the end restored, and the book comes to a satisfactory conclusion.
You will enjoy this book if you do not let yourself be put off by Farrar's habit of inserting Greek, Latin, French and German tags just to show how very sap he is.
JULIAN HOME, BY DEAN FREDERICK FARRAR.
SPEECH-DAY AT HARTON.
"A little bench of heedless bishops there, And here a chancellor in embryo." Shenstone.
It was Speech-day at Harton. From an early hour handsome equipages had been dashing down the street, and depositing their occupants at the masters' houses. The perpetual rolling of wheels distracted the attention every moment, and curiosity was keenly on the alert to catch a glimpse of the various magnates whose arrival was expected. At the Queen's Head stood a large array of carriages, and the streets were thronged with gay groups of pedestrians, and full of bustle and liveliness.
The visitors—chiefly parents and relatives of the Harton boys—occupied the morning in seeing the school and village, and it was a pretty sight to observe mothers and sisters as they wandered with delighted interest through the scenes so proudly pointed out to them by their young escort. Some of them were strolling over the cricket-field, or through the pleasant path down to the bathing-place. Many lingered in the beautiful chapel, on whose painted windows the sunlight streamed, making them flame like jewellery, and flinging their fair shadows of blue, and scarlet, and crimson, on the delicate carving of the pillars on either side. But, on the whole, the boys were most proud of showing their friends the old school-room, on whose rude panels many a name may be deciphered, carved there by the boyish hand of poets, orators, and statesmen, who in the zenith of their fame still looked back with fond remembrance on the home of their earlier days, and some of whom were then testifying by their presence the undying interest which they took in their old school.
The pleasant morning wore away, and the time for the Speeches drew on. The room was thronged with a distinguished company, and presented a brilliant and animated appearance. In the centre was a table loaded with prize-books, and all round it sat the secular and episcopal dignitaries for whom seats had been reserved, while the chair was occupied by a young Prince of the royal house. On the other side was a slightly elevated platform, on which were seated the monitors who were to take part in the day's proceedings, and behind it, under the gallery set apart for old Hartonians, crowded a number of gentlemen and boys who could find no room elsewhere.
"Now, papa," said a young lady sitting opposite the monitors, "I've been asking Walter here which is the cleverest of those boys."
"Ahem! young men you mean," interrupted her elder sister.
"No, no," said Walter positively, "call them boys; to call them young men is all bosh; we shall have 'young gentlemen' next, which is awful twaddle."
"Well, which of those boys on the platform is the cleverest—the greatest swell he calls it? Now you profess to be a physiognomist, papa, so just see if you can guess."
"I'm to look out for some future Byron or Peel among them; eh, Walter?"
The old gentleman put on his spectacles, and deliberately looked round the row of monitors, who were awaiting the Headmaster's signal to begin the speeches.
"Well, haven't you done yet, papa? What an age you are. Walter says you ought to tell at a glance."
"Patience, my dear, patience. I'll tell you in a minute."
"There," he said, after a moment's pause, "that boy seated last but one on the bench nearest us has more genius than any of them, I should say." He pointed to one of the youngest-looking of the monitors, who would also have been the most striking in personal appearance had not the almost hectic rose-colour of his cheeks, and the quiet shining of his blue eyes, under the soft hair that hung over his forehead, given a look of greater delicacy than was desirable in a boyish face.
"Wrong, wrong, wrong," chuckled Walter and his sister. "Try again."
"I'm very rarely wrong, you little rogue, in spite of you; but I'll look again. No, there can be no doubt about it. Several of those faces show talent, but one only has a look of genius, and that is the face of the boy I pointed out before. What is his name?"
"Oh, that's Home. He's clever enough in his way, but the fellow you ought to have picked out is the monitor I fag for—Bruce, the head of the school."
"Well, show me your hero."
"There he sits, right in the middle of them, opposite us. There, that's he just going to speak now."
He pointed to a tall, handsome fellow, with a look of infinite self-confidence, who at that moment made a low bow to the assembly, and then began to recite with much force a splendid burst of oratory from one of Burke's great speeches; which he did with the air of one who had no doubt that Burke himself might have studied with benefit the scorn which he flung into his invective and the Olympian grace with which he waved his arm. A burst of applause followed the conclusion of his recitation, during which Bruce took his seat with a look of unconcealed delight and triumph.
"There, papa—what do you think of that? Wasn't I right now?" said the young Hartonian, whose name was Walter Thornley.
But the old gentleman's only answer was a quiet smile, and he had not joined in the general clapping. "Is Home to take any part in the speeches?" he inquired.
"Oh, yes! He's got some part or other in one of the Shakespeare scenes; but he won't do it half as well as Bruce."
"I observe he's got several of the prizes."
"Yes, that's true. He's a fellow that grinds, you know, and so he can't help getting some. But Bruce, now, never opens a book, and yet he's swept off no end of a lot, as you'll see."
"Humph! Walter, I don't much believe in your boys that 'never open a book,' and, as far as I can observe, the phrase must be taken with very considerable latitude; I still believe that the boy who 'grinds,' as you call it, is the abler boy of the two."
"Yes, Walter," said his brother, an old Hartonian, "whenever a fellow, who has got a prize, tells you he won it without opening a book, set him down as a shallow puppy, and don't believe him."
By this time four of the monitors were standing up to recite a scene from the Merchant of Venice, and Home among them; his part was a very slight one, and although there was nothing remarkable in his way of acting, yet he had evidently studied with intelligence his author's meaning, and his modest self-possession attracted favourable regards. But, a few minutes after, he had to recite alone a passage of Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur, and then he appeared to greater advantage. Standing in a perfectly natural attitude, he began in low clear tones, enunciating every line with a distinctness that instantly won attention, and at last warming with his theme he modulated his voice with the requirements of the verse, and used gestures so graceful, yet so unaffected, that when with musical emphasis he spoke the last lines,—
"Long stood Sir Bedivere Resolving many memories, till the hull Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn, And on the mere the wailing died away,—"
he seemed entirely absorbed in the subject, and for half a minute stood as if unconscious, until the deep murmur of applause startled his meditations, and he sat down as naturally as he had risen.
"Well done, old Home," said Walter; while Mr Thornley nodded rapidly two or three times, and murmured after him,—
"And on the mere the wailing died away."
"Really, I think Julian did that admirably, did he not?" said a young and lovely girl to her mother, as Home sat down.
"By jingo," whispered Walter, "I believe these people just by us are Home's people."
"People!" said his sister; "what do you mean by his people?"
"Oh, you know, Mary; you girls are always shamming you don't understand plain English. I mean his people."
Mary smiled, and looked at the strangers. "Yes, no doubt of it," she said, "that young lady has just the same features as Mr Home, only softened a little; more refined they could not be. And they've been hearing all your rude remarks, Walter, no doubt."
The boy was right, for when the speeches were over, they saw Home offer his arm to the two ladies and lead them out into the courtyard, where everybody was waiting, under the large awning, to hear the lions of the day cheered as they came down the school steps. Bruce was leading the cheers; he seemed to know everybody and everybody to know him, and as group after group passed him, he was bowing and smiling repeatedly while he listened to the congratulations which were lavished upon him from all sides. Among the last his own family came out, and when he gave his arm to his mother and descended the school steps, one of the other monitors suddenly cried—
"Three cheers for the Head of the school."
The boys cordially echoed the cheers, and taking off his hat, Bruce stood still with a flush of exultation on his handsome face, in an attitude peculiar to him whenever he was undergoing an ovation.
"Pose plastique; King Bruce snuffing up the incense of flattery!" muttered a school Thersites, standing by.
"Green-minded scoundrel," was the reply; "that's because he beat you to fits in the Latin verse."
"How very popular he seems to be, Julian," said Miss Home to her brother, as they stood rather apart from the fashionable crowd.
"Very popular, and, on the whole, he deserves his popularity; how capitally he recited to-day," and Julian looked at him and sighed.
"And now, mother, will you come to lunch?" he said; "you're invited to my tutor's, you know."
They went and took a hasty lunch, heartily enjoying the simple and general good-humour which was the order of the day; and finding that there was still an hour before the train started which was to convey them home, Julian took them up to the old churchyard, and while they enjoyed the only breath of air which made the tall elms murmur in the burning day, he showed them the beautiful scene spread out at their feet, and the distant towers of Elton and Saint George. Field after field, filled with yellowing harvests or grazing herds, stretched away to the horizon, and nothing on earth could be fairer than that soft sleep of the golden sunshine on the green and flowery meadowland, while overhead only a few silvery cloudlets variegated with their fleecy lustre the expanse of blue, rippling down to the horizon like curves of white foam at the edges of a summer sea.
"No wonder a poet loved this view," said Mrs Home. "By the bye, Julian, which is the tomb he used to lie upon?"
"There, just behind us; that one with the fragments broken off by stupid picturesque tourists, with the name of Peachey on it."
"And so Byron really used, as a boy, to rest under these elms, and look at this lovely view!" said his sister.
"Yes, Violet. I wonder how much he'd have given, in after-life, to be a boy again," said Julian thoughtfully; "and have a fresh start—a rejuvenescence, beginning after a summer hour spent on Peachey's tomb;" and Julian sighed again.
"My dear Julian," said Violet, gaily rallying him, "what a boy you are! What business have you to sigh here of all places, and now of all times? That's the second time in the course of an hour that I've heard you. Imagine a Harton monitor sighing twice on Speech-day! You must be tired of us."
"Did I sigh? Abominably rude of me. I really didn't mean it," said Julian; and shaking off the influences which had slightly depressed him for the moment, he began to laugh and joke with the utmost mirth until it became time to meet the train. He accompanied his mother and sister to the station, bade them an affectionate farewell, and then walked slowly back, for the beauty of the summer evening made him loiter on the way.
"Poor Julian!" said Violet to her mother when the train started; "he lets the sense of responsibility weigh on him too much, I'm afraid."
But Julian was thinking that the next time he came to the station would probably be at the end of term, when his schoolboy days would be over. He leaned against a gate, and looked long at the green quiet hill, with its tall spire and embosoming trees, till he fell into a reverie.
A slap on the back awoke him, and turning round, he saw the genial, good-humoured face of one of his fellow-monitors, Hugh Lillyston.
"Well, Julian, dreaming as usual—castle-building, and all that sort of thing, eh?"
"No; I was thinking how soon one will have to bid good-bye to dear old Harton. How well the chapel looks from here, doesn't it?—and the church towering above it."
"The chapel being like a fair daughter seated at her mother's feet, as your poetical tutor remarked the other day. Well, Julian, I'm glad we shall leave together, anyhow. Come and have some tea."
Julian went to his friend's room. The fag brought the tea and toast, and they spent a merry evening, chatting over the speeches, and the way in which the day had gone off. At lock-up, Julian went to write some letters, and then feeling the melancholy thought of future days stealing over him, he plunged into a book of poems till it was bed-time, being disturbed a good deal, however, by the noisy mirth which resounded long after forbidden hours from Bruce's study overhead. Bruce was also to leave Harton in a month, and they were going up together to Saint Werner's College, Camford. But the difference was, that Bruce went up wealthy and popular; Julian, whose retiring disposition and refined tastes won him far fewer though truer friends, was going up as a sizar, with no prospect of remaining at the University unless he won himself the means of doing so by his own success. It was this thought that had made him sigh.
"O thou goddess, Thou divine Nature, how thyself thou blazon'st In these two princely boys; they are as gentle As zephyrs blowing beneath the violet, Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as fierce, Their royal blood enchafed, as the rud'st wind That by the top doth take the mountain pine, And makes him bow to the vale." Cymbeline, Act 4, scene 2.
It was but recently, (as will be explained hereafter), that the circumstances had arisen which had rendered it necessary for Julian Home to enter Saint Werner's as a sizar and since that necessity had arisen, he had been far from happy. A peculiar sensitiveness had been from childhood the distinctive feature of his character. It rendered him doubly amenable to every emotion of pleasure and pain, and gave birth to a self-conscious spirit, which made his nature appear weaker, when a boy, than it really was. While he was at Harton, this self-consciousness made him keenly, almost tremblingly, alive to the opinions of others about himself. His self-depreciation arose from real humility, and there was in his heart so deep a fountain of love towards all his fellows, and so sympathising an admiration of all their good or brilliant qualities, that he was far too apt to suffer himself to be tormented by the indifference or dislike of those who were far his inferiors.
It was strange that such a boy should have had enemies, but he was sadly aware that in that light some regarded him. Had it been possible to conciliate them without any compromise in his line of action, he would have done so at any cost; but as their enmity arose from that vehement moral indignation which Julian both felt and expressed against the iniquities which he despised and disapproved, he knew that all union with them was out of his power. As a general rule, the best boys are by no means the most popular.
It was the great delight of Julian's detractors to compare him unfavourably with their hero, Bruce. Bruce, as a fair scholar and a good cricketer, with no very marked line of his own—as a fine-looking fellow, anxious to keep on good terms with everybody, and with an apparently hearty "well met" for all the world—cut against the grain of no one's predilections, and had the voice of popular favour always on his side. While ambition made him work tolerably hard, as far as he could do so without attracting observation, the line he took was to disparage industry, and ally himself with the merely cricketing set, with some of whom he might be seen strolling arm-in-arm, in loud conversation, at every possible opportunity. Julian, on the other hand, though a fair cricketer, soon grew weary of the "shop" about that game, which for three months formed the main staple of conversation among the boys; and while his countenance was too expressive to conceal this fact, he in his turn found himself unable to enlist more than a few in any interest for those intellectual pursuits which were the chief joy of his own life.
"Home, I've been watching you for the last half-hour," said Bruce, one day at dinner, "and you haven't opened your lips."
"I've had nothing to say."
"Because, since we came in, not one word has been said about any human subject but cricket, cricket, cricket; it's been the same for the last two months; and as I haven't been playing this morning—"
"Well, no one wants you to talk," interrupted Brogten, one of the eleven, Julian's especial foe. "I say, Bruce, did you see—"
"I was only going to add," said Julian, with perfect good-humour, heedless of the interruption, "that I couldn't discuss a game I didn't see."
"Nobody asked you, sir, she said," retorted Brogten rudely; "if it had been some sentimental humbug, I dare say you'd have mooned about it long enough."
"Better, at any rate, than some of your low stories, Brogten," said Lillyston, firing up on his friend's behalf.
"I don't know. I like something manly."
"Vice and manliness being identical, then, according to your notions?" said Lillyston.
Brogten muttered an angry reply, in which the only audible words were "confound" and "milksops."
"Well spoken, advocate of sin and shame; Known by thy bleating, Ignorance thy name,"
thought Julian; but he did not condescend to make any further answer.
"I hate that kind of fellow," said Brogten, loud enough for the friends to hear, as they rose from the table; "fellows who think themselves everybody's superiors, and walk with their noses in the air."
"I wonder that you will still be talking, Brogten; nobody marks you," said Lillyston, treating with the profoundest indifference a stupid calumny. But poisoned arrows like these quivered long and rankled painfully in Julian's heart.
Yet no sensible boy would have given Julian's reputation in exchange for that of Bruce; for in all except the mean and coarse minority, Julian excited either affection or esteem, and he had the rare inestimable treasure of some real and noble-hearted friends; while Bruce was too vain, too shallow, and too fickle to inspire any higher feeling than a mere transient admiration.
Latterly it had become known to the boys that Julian was going up to Saint Werner's as a sizar, and being ignorant of the reasons which decided him, they had been much surprised. But the little clique of his enemies made this an additional subject of annoyance, and there were not wanting those who had the amazing bad taste to repeat to him some of their speeches. There are some who seem to think that a man must rather enjoy hearing all the low tittle-tattle of envious backbiters.
"I knew he must be some tailor's son or other," remarked Brogten.
"I say, Bruce, we shall have to cut him at Saint Werner's," observed an exquisite young exclusive.
Such things—the mere lispings of malicious folly—Julian could not help hearing; and they galled him so much that he determined to have a talk on the subject with his tutor, who was a Saint Werner's man. It was his tutor's custom to devote the hour before lock-up on every half-holiday to seeing any of his pupils who cared to come and visit him; but as on the rich summer evenings few were to be tempted from the joyous sounds of the cricket-field, Julian found him sitting alone in his study, reading.
"Ha, Julian!" he exclaimed, rising at once, with a frank and cordial greeting. "Here's a triumph! A boy actually enticed from bats and balls to pay me a visit!"
Julian smiled. "The fact is, sir," he said, "I've come to ask you about something. But am I disturbing you? If so, I'll go and 'pursue vagrant pieces of leather again,' as Mr Stokes says when he wants to dismiss us to cricket."
"Not in the least. I rather enjoy being disturbed during this hour. But what do you say to a turn in the open air? One can talk so much better walking than sitting down on opposite sides of a fireplace with no fire in it."
Julian readily assented, and Mr Carden took his arm as they bent their way down to the cricket-field. There they stopped involuntarily for a time, to gaze at the house match which was going on, and the master entered with the utmost vivacity into the keen yet harmless "chaff" which was being interchanged between the partisans of the rival houses.
"What a charming place this field is," he said, "on a summer evening, while the sunset lets fall upon it the last innocuous arrows of its golden sheaf. When I am wearied to death with work or vexation—which, alas! is too often—I always run down here, and it gives me a fresh lease of life."
Julian smiled at his tutor's metaphorical style of speech, which he knew was in him the natural expressions of a glowing and poetic heart, that saw no reason to be ashamed of its own warm feelings and changeful fancies; and Mr Carden, wrapped in the scene before him, and the sensations it excited, murmured to himself some of his favourite lines—
"Alas that one Should use the days of summer but to live, And breathe but as the needful element The strange superfluous glory of the air Nor rather stand in awe apart, beside The untouched time, and murmuring o'er and o'er In awe and wonder, 'These are summer days!'"
"Shall we stroll across the fields, sir, before lock-up?" said Julian, as a triumphant shout proclaimed that the game was over, and the Parkites had defeated the Grovians.
"Yes, do. By the bye, what was it that you had to ask me about?"
"Oh, sir, I don't think I've told you before; but I'm going up to Saint Werner's as a sub-sizar."
Mr Carden looked surprised. "Indeed! Is that necessary?"
"Yes, sir; it's a choice between that and not going at all. And what I wanted to ask you was, whether it will subject me to much annoyance or contempt; because, if so—"
"Contempt, my dear fellow!" said Mr Carden quickly. "Yes," he added, after a pause, "the contempt of the contemptible—certainly of no one else."
"But do you think that any Harton fellows will cut me?"
"Unquestionably not; at least, if any of them do, it will be such a proof of their own absolute worthlessness, that you will be well rid of such acquaintances."
Julian seemed but little reassured by this summary way of viewing the matter.
"But I hope," he said, "that no one, (even if they don't cut me), will regard my society as a matter of mere tolerance, or try an air of condescension."
"Look here, Julian," said the master; "a sub-sizar means merely a poor scholar, for whom the college has set apart certain means of assistance. From this body have come some of the most distinguished men whom Saint Werner's has ever produced; and many of the Fellows, (indeed quite a disproportionate number), began their college career in this manner. Now tell me—should you care the snap of a finger for the opinion or the acquaintance of a man who could be such an ineffable fool as to drop intercourse with you because you are merely less rich than he? Don't you remember those grand old words, Julian—
"Lives there for honest poverty, Who hangs his head and a' that? The coward slave we pass him by, And dare be poor for a' that."
"And yet, sir, half the distinctions of modern society rest upon accidents of this kind."
"True, true! quite true; but what is the use of education if it does not teach us to look on man as man, and judge by a nobler and more real standard than the superficial distinctions of society? But answer my question."
"Well, sir, I confess that I should think very lightly of the man who treated me in that way; still I should be annoyed very much by his conduct."
"I really think, Julian," replied Mr Carden, "that the necessity which compels you to go up as a sizar will be good for you in many ways. Poverty, self-denial, the bearing of the yoke in youth, are the highest forms of discipline for a brave and godly manhood. The hero and the prophet are rarely found in soft clothing or kingly houses; they are never chosen from the palaces of Mammon or the gardens of Belial."
They talked a little longer on the subject, and Mr Carden pointed out how, at the universities more than anywhere, the aristocracy of intellect and character are almost solely recognised, and those patents of nobility honoured which come direct from God. "After a single term, Julian, depend upon it you will smile at the sensitiveness which now makes you shrink from entering on this position. At least, I assume that even by that time your name will be honourably known, as it will be if you work hard. You must never forget that 'Virtus vera nobilitas' is the noble motto of your own college."
"Well, I will work at any rate," said Julian; "indeed I must."
"But may I ask why you have determined on going up as sizar?"
"Oh yes, sir. I am far too grateful for all your many kindnesses to me, not to tell you freely of my circumstances."
And so, as they walked on that beautiful summer evening over the green fields, Julian, happy in the quiet sympathising attention of one who was not only a master, but a true, earnest, and affectionate friend, told him some of the facts to which we shall allude in the retrospect of the next chapter.
"Give me the man that is not Passion's slave, And I will wear him in my own heart's core, Yea, in my heart of hearts." Shakespeare.
Julian's father was Rector of Ildown, a beautiful village on the Devonshire coast. As younger son, his private means were very small, and the more so as his family had lost in various unfortunate speculations a large portion of the wealth which had once been the inheritance of his ancient and honourable house. Mr Home regretted this but little; contentment of mind and simplicity of tastes were to him a far deeper source of happiness than the advantages of fortune. Immediately after his university career he had taken holy orders, and devoted to the genial duties of his profession all the energies of a vigorous intellect and a generous heart.
During his first curacy he was happy enough to be placed in the diocese of a bishop, whose least merit was the rare conscientiousness with which he distributed the patronage at his disposal. Whenever a living was vacant, the Bishop of Elford used deliberately to pass in mental review all the clergy under his jurisdiction, and single out from amongst them the ablest and the best. He was never influenced by the spirit of nepotism; he was never deceived by shallow declaimers, or ignorant bigots, who had thrust themselves into the notoriety of a noisy and orthodox reputation. The ordinary Honourable and Reverend, whose only distinction was his title or his wealth, had to look for preferment elsewhere; but often would some curate, haply sighing at the thought that obscurity and poverty were his lot for this life, and meekly bearing both for the honour of his Master's work, be made deservedly happy by at last attaining the rewards he had never sought. Few, indeed, were the dioceses in which the clergy worked in a more hopeful spirit, in the certainty that the good bishop never suffered merit to pass unrecognised; and for talent and industry, no body of rectors could be compared to those whom Bishop Morris had chosen from the most deserving of the curates who were under his pastoral care.
Mr Home, after five years' hard work, had been promoted by the bishop to a small living, where he soon succeeded in winning the warmest affection of all his parishioners, and among others, of his squire and church-warden, the Earl of Raynes, who, from a feeling of sincere gratitude, procured for him, on the first opportunity, the rectory of Ildown.
Here, at the age of thirty, he settled down, with every intention of making it his home for life; and here he shortly after wooed and won the daughter of a neighbouring clergyman, whose only dower was the beauty of a countenance which but dimly reflected the inner beauty of her heart.
Very tranquil was their wedded life; very perfect was the peacefulness of their home. Under her hands the rectory garden became a many-coloured Eden, and the eye could rest delightedly on its lawns and flower-beds, even amid that glorious environment of woods and cliffs, free moors and open sea, which gave to the vicinity of Ildown such a nameless charm. But the beauty without was surpassed by the rarer sunshine of the life within and when children were born to them—when little steps began to patter along the hall, and young faces to shine beside the fire, and little strains of silvery laughter to ring through every room—there was a happiness in that bright family, for the sake of which an emperor might have been content to abdicate his throne. Oh that the river of human life could flow on for ever with such sparkling waters, and its margin be embroidered for ever with flowers like these.
Julian was their eldest son, and it added to the intensity of each parent's love for him to find that he seemed to have inherited the best qualities of them both. Their next child was Violet, and then, after two years' interval, came Cyril and Frank. The four children were educated at home, without even the assistance of tutor or governess, until Julian was thirteen years old; and during all that time scarcely one domestic sorrow occurred to chequer the unclouded serenity of their peace. Even without the esteem and respect of all their neighbours, rich and poor, the love of parents and children, brothers and sister, was enough for each heart there.
But the day of separation must come at last, however long we may delay it, and after Julian's thirteenth birthday it was decided that he must go to school. In making this determination, his father knew what he was about. He knew that in sending his son among a multitude of boys he was exposing him to a world of temptation, and placing him amid many dangers. Yet he never hesitated about it, and when his wife spoke with trembling anxiety of the things which she had heard and read about school-life, he calmly replied that without danger there can be no courage, and without temptation no real virtue or tried strength.
"Poor Julian," said Mrs Home, "but won't he be bullied dreadfully?"
"No, dear; the days of those atrocities about which you read in books are gone by for ever. At no respectable school, except under very rare and peculiar circumstances, are boys exposed to any worse difficulties in the way of cruelty than they can very easily prevent or overcome."
"But then those dreadful moral temptations," pleaded the mother.
"They are very serious, love. But is it not better that our boy should learn, by their means, (as thousands do), to substitute the manliness of self-restraint for the innocence of ignorance—even on the very false supposition that such an innocence can be preserved? And remember that he does not escape these temptations by avoiding them; from the little I have seen, it is my sincere conviction that for after-life, (even in this aspect alone, without alluding to the innumerable other arguments which must be considered), the education of a public school is a far sounder preparation than the shelter of home. I cannot persuade our neighbour Mrs Hazlet of this, but I should tremble to bring up Julian with no wider experience than she allows to her boy."
So Julian went to Harton, and, after a time, thoroughly enjoyed his life there, and was unharmed by the trials which must come to every schoolboy; so that when he came back for his first holidays, the mother saw with joy and pride that her jewel was not flawed, and remained undimmed in lustre. Who knows how much had been contributed to that glad result by the daily and nightly prayer which ever ascended for him from his parents' lips, "Lead him not into temptation, but deliver him from evil."
For when he first went to school, Julian was all the more dangerously circumstanced, from the fact that he was an attractive and engaging boy. With his bright eyes, beaming with innocence and trustfulness, the healthy glow of his clear and ingenuous countenance, and the noble look and manners which were the fruit of a noble mind, he could never be one of those who pass unknown and unnoticed in the common throng. And since to these advantages of personal appearance he superadded a quick intelligence, and no little activity and liveliness, he was sure to meet with flattery and observation. But there was something in Julian's nature which, by God's grace, seemed to secure him from evil, as though he were surrounded by an atmosphere impermeable to base and wicked hearts. He passed through school-life not only unscathed by, but almost ignorant of, the sins into which others fell; and the account which his contemporaries might have given of their schoolboy days was widely different from his own. He was one of those of whom the grace of God took early hold, and in whom "reason and religion ran together like warp and woof," to form the web of a wise and holy life. Such happy natures—such excellent hearts there are; though they are few and far between.
To Hugh Lillyston Julian owed no little of his happiness. They had been in the same forms together since Julian came, and the friendship between them was never broken. When Lillyston first saw the new boy, he longed to speak to him at once, but respected him too much to thrust himself rudely into his acquaintance. During the first day or two they exchanged only a few shy words; for Julian, too, was pleased and taken with Lillyston's manly, honest look. But both had wisely determined to let their knowledge of each other grow up naturally and gradually, without any first-sight vows of eternal friendship, generally destined to be broken in the following week.
Lillyston had observed, not without disgust, that two thoroughly bad fellows were beginning to notice the newcomer, and determined at all hazards to tell Julian his opinion of them. So one day as they left the school-room together, he said—
"Do you know Brant and Jeffrey?"
"Yes; a little," answered Julian.
"Did you know them before you came, or anything?"
"No; but they will wait for me every now and then at the door of the fourth-form room when I'm coming out and I'm sure I don't want them, but one doesn't wish to seem uncivil, and I don't know how to get rid of them."
"H'm! well, I wouldn't see too much of them if I were you."
"No? but why?"
"Well, never mind—only I thought I'd tell you;" and Lillyston, half-ashamed at having taken this step, and half-afraid that Julian might misconstrue it, ran away. Julian, who was little pleased with the coarse adulation of Brant and Jeffrey, took his friend's advice, and from that time he and Lillyston became more and more closely united. They were constantly together, and never tired of each other's society; and at last, when their tutor, observing and thoroughly approving of the friendship, put them both in the same room, the school began in fun to call them Achilles and Patroclus, Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, David and Jonathan, Theseus and Pirithous, and as many other names of paria amicorum as they could remember.
Yet there was many a Harton boy who would have said, "Utinam in tali amicitia tertius ascriberer!" for each friend communicated to the other something at least of his own excellences. Lillyston instructed Julian in the mysteries of fives, racquets, football, and cricket, until he became an adept at them all; and Julian, in return, gave Lillyston very efficient help in work, and inspired him with intellectual tastes for which he felt no little gratitude in after days. The desire of getting his remove with Julian worked so much with him that he began to rise many places in the examinations; and while Julian was generally among the first few, Lillyston managed to be placed, at any rate, far above the ranks of the undistinguished herd.
So, form by form, Lillyston and Julian Home mounted up the school side by side, and illustrated the noblest and holiest uses of friendship by adding to each other's happiness and advantage in every way. I am glad to dwell on such a picture, knowing, O holy Friendship, how awfully a schoolboy can sometimes desecrate thy name!
Three years had passed, and they were now no longer little boys, but in the upper fifth form together, and Julian was in his sixteenth year. It was one March morning, when, shortly after they entered the school-room, the school "Custos" came in and handed to the master a letter—
"It's for Mister Home, sir, by telegraph."
The master called Julian, (whose heart beat quick when he heard his name), and said to him—
"Perhaps you had better take it out of the room, Home, before you read it, as it may contain something important."
With a grateful look for this considerate kindness, Julian took the hint, and leaving the room, tore open the message, which was from his mother—
"Dear Julian—Come home instantly; your father is most dangerously ill. I cannot add more."
The boys heard a cry, and the master made a sign to Lillyston, who had already started to his feet. Springing out of the unclosed door, he found Julian half-fainting; for his home affections were the very mainsprings of his life. He read the message, helped Julian down-stairs, flung a little cold water over his face, and then led him to their own study, where he immediately began, without a word, to pack up for him such things as he thought he would require.
Lillyston made all the necessary arrangements, and did not leave his friend until he had seen him into the railway carriage, and pressed his hand with a silent farewell. He watched the train till it was out of sight.
Then first did Julian's anguish find vent in tears. Passionately he longed at least to know the worst, and would have given anything to speed the progress of the train, far too slow for his impatient misery. He was tormented by remembering the unusually solemn look and tone with which his father had parted from him a month before, and by the presentiment which at that moment had flashed across him with uncontrollable vividness, that they should never meet again. At last, at last they reached Ildown late in the evening, just as the flushed glare of crimson told the death-struggle of an angry sunset with the dull and heavy clouds. The station was a mile from the town, and it was a raw, gusty, foggy evening. There was no conveyance at the station, but leaving with the porter a hasty direction about his luggage, Julian flew along the road heedless of observation, reached the cliff, and at length stood before the rectory door. He was wet, hungry, and exhausted, for since morning he had tasted nothing, and his run had spattered him with mud from head to heel. It was too dark to judge what had happened from the appearance of the house, and half-frantic as he was with fear and eagerness, he had yet not dared to give a loud summons at the door, lest he should disturb his father's slumber or excite his nerves.
Ah! Julian, you need not restrain your impetuous dread from that cause now—
The door opened very quietly, and in reply to Julian's incoherent question, the good old servant only shook her head, and turned away to brush off with her apron the tears which she vainly struggled to repress. But the boy burst into the study where he knew that the rest would be, and in another moment his arm was round his mother's neck, while Cyril and Violet and little Frank drew close and wept silently beside them both. But still Julian knew not or would not know the full truth, and at last he drew up courage to ask the question which had been so long trembling on his lips—
"Is there no hope, mother, no hope?"
"Don't you know then, my boy? Your father is—"
"Not dead," said Julian, in a hollow voice. "Oh, mother, mother, mother."
His head drooped on her shoulder the news fell on him like a horrible blow, and, stunned as he was with weariness and anxiety, all sense and life flowed from him for a time.
The necessity for action and the consolation of others are God's blessed remedies to lull, during the first intolerable moments, the poignancy of bereavement. Mrs Home had to soothe her children, and to see that they took needful food and rest; and she watched by the bedside of her younger boys till the silken swathe of a soft boyish sleep fell on their eyes, red and swollen with many tears. Then she saw Violet to bed, and at last sat down alone with her eldest son, who by a great prayerful effort aroused himself at last to a sense of his position.
He took her hand in his, and said in a low whisper, "Mother, let me see him?"
"Not now, dearest Julian; wait till to-morrow, for our sakes."
"What was the cause of death, mother?"
"Disease of the heart;" and once more the widow's strength seemed likely to give way. But this time it was Julian's turn to whisper, "God's will be done."
Next morning Mrs Home, with Julian and Violet, entered the room of death. Flowers were scattered on the bed, and on that face, calm as marble yet soft as life, the happy wondering smile had not yet even died away. And there Julian received from his mother a slip of paper, on which his father's dying hand had traced the last messages of undying love and when they had left him there alone, he opened and read these words, written with weak and wavering pen—
"My own dearest boy, in this world we shall never meet again. But I die happy, Julian, for my trust is in God, who cares for the widow and the fatherless. And you, Julian, will take my place with Violet, Cyril, and dear Frankie—I need say nothing of a mother to such a son. God bless you, my own boy. Be brave, and honest, and pure, and God will be with you. Your dying father,
The last part was almost illegible, but Julian bent reverently over his father's corpse, and it seemed that the smile brightened on those dead lips as he bowed his young head in prayer.
Reader, for many reasons we must not linger there. But I had to tell you of that death and of those dying words which Julian knew by heart through life, and which he kept always with him as the amulet against temptation. He never forgot them; and oh! how often in the hours of trial did it seem as if that dying message was whispered in his ear, "Be brave, and honest, and pure, and God will be with you."
The concluding arrangements were soon made. The family left the rectory, but continued to reside at Ildown, a spot which they loved, and where they were known and loved. Mr Home had insured his life for a sum, not large indeed, but sufficient to save them from absolute penury, and had besides laid by sufficient to continue Julian's education. It was determined that he should return to Harton, and there try for the Newry scholarship in time. If he should be successful in getting this, there would be no further difficulty in his going to college, for it was expected that a wealthy aunt of his would assist him. His guardians, however, were kind enough to determine that, even in case of his failing to obtain the Newry, they would provide for his university expenses, although they did not conceal from him the great importance of his earnestly studying with a view to gain this pecuniary aid. Cyril was sent to Marlby, and Frank, who was but ten years old, remained for the present at Ildown grammar school.
After the funeral Julian returned to Harton with a sadder and wiser heart. Though never an idle boy, he had not as yet realised the necessity of throwing himself fully into the studies of the place, but had rather given the reins to his fancy, and luxuriated in the gorgeous day-dreams of poetry and romance. Henceforward, he became a most earnest and diligent student, and day by day felt that his intellectual powers grew stronger and more developed by this healthier nourishment. At the end of that quarter he gained his first head-remove, and Mr Carden rejoiced heartily in the success of his favourite pupil.
"Why, Julian, you will beat us all if you go on at this rate," said he, after reading over the trial verses which Julian asked him to criticise after the examination. "You always showed taste, but here we have vigour too; and for a wonder, you haven't made any mistakes."
"I'm afraid I shall be 'stumped' in the Greek 'Iambi,' sir, as Mr Clarke calls them."
"Ah! well, you must take pains. You've improved, though, since you had to translate Milton's—
"Smoothing the raven down Of darkness, till it smiled;
"when, you remember, I gave you a literal version of your 'Iambi,' which meant 'pounding a pea-green fog.' Eh?"
"Oh, yes," said Julian, "I remember too that I rendered 'the moon-beams' by 'the moon's rafters.'"
"Never mind," said Mr Carden, laughing, "improve in them as much as you have in Latin verse, and we shall see you Newry scholar yet."
A thrill of joy went through the boy's heart as he heard these words.
HOW JULIAN LOST A FORTUNE.
"Most like a step-dame or a dowager Long withering out a young man's revenue." Shakespeare.
I must not chronicle Julian's school-life, much as I should have to tell about him, and strong as the temptation is, but another event happened during his stay at Harton which affected so materially his future years that I must proceed to narrate it now.
Julian's father had a sister much older than himself, who many years before had married a baronet-farmer, Sir Thomas Vinsear of Lonstead Abbey. It was certainly not a love match on the lady's side, for the baronet was twenty years her senior, and his tastes in no respect resembled hers. But she was already of "a certain age," and despairing of a lover, accepted the good old country squire, and was located for the rest of her life as mistress of Lonstead Abbey.
As long as he lived all was well; Lady Vinsear, like a sensible wife, conformed herself to all his wishes and peculiarities, and won in no slight degree his gratitude and affection. But he did not long survive his marriage, and after a few years the lady found herself alone and childless in the solitary grandeur of her husband's home.
Her brother Henry, the Rector of Ildown, had always been her special favourite, and she looked to his frequent visits to enliven her loneliness. But she was piqued by his having married without consulting her, and behaved so uncourteously to Mrs Home, that for a long time the intercourse between them was broken.
One day, however, shortly before his death, she had written to announce an intended visit, and in due time her carriage stood before the rectory door. It so happened that it was Julian's holiday-time, and he was at home. Changed as the old lady had become by years and disappointment, and the ennui of an aimless widowhood, little relieved by the unceasing attendance of a confidante, yet Lady Vinsear's childless and withered heart seemed to be touched to life again when she gazed on her brother's beautiful and modest boy. Courteous without subservience, and attentive without servility, Julian, by his graceful and unselfish demeanour, won her complete affection, and she dropped to the family no ambiguous hints, that, for Julian's sake, she should renew her intercourse with them, and make him her heir. Circumstanced as he was, Mr Home could not but rejoice in this determination, and the more so from his proud consciousness that not even the vilest detractor could charge him with having courted his rich sister's favour by open or secret arts. From Julian he would have concealed Lady Vinsear's intention, but she had herself made him tolerably aware of it, after a fit of violent spleen against Miss Sprong, her confidante, who, seeing how the wind lay, had tried to drop little malicious hints against the favourite nephew, until the old lady had cut them short, by a peremptory order that Miss Sprong should leave the room. That little rebuff the lady never forgot and never forgave, and, under the guise of admiration, she nursed her enmity against the unconscious Julian until due opportunity should have occurred to give it vent.
Every now and then, Julian, when wearied with study, would be tempted to think in his secret heart, "What does it matter my working so hard, when I shall be master of Lonstead Abbey some day?" And then perhaps would follow a rather inconsistent fit of idleness, till Mr Carden, or some other master, applied the spur again.
"I can't make you out, Julian," said Lillyston; "sometimes you grind away for a month like—like beans, and then you're as idle again for a week as the dog that laid his head against a wall to bark."
"Well, shall I tell you, Hugh?" answered Julian, who had often felt that it would be a relief to put his friend in possession of the secret. And he told Lillyston that he was the acknowledged heir of his aunt's property.
"Oh, well then," said Lillyston, "I don't see why I should work either, seeing as how Lillyston Court will probably come to me some day. I say, Julian, I vote we both try for lag next trials. It'd save lots of grind."
All this was brought out very archly, and instantly recalled to Julian's mind the many arguments which he had used to his friend, especially since his father's death, to prove that, under any circumstances, diligence was a duty which secured its own reward; indeed, he used to maintain that, even on selfish grounds it was best, for in the long run the idlest boys, with their punishments and extras, got far the most work to do—to say nothing of the lassitude that usurps the realm of neglected duty, and that disgraceful ignorance which is the nemesis of wasted time.
He burst out laughing. "You have me on the hip, Hugh, and I give in. In proof whereof, here goes the novel I'm reading; and I'll at once set to work on my next set of verses;" whereon Julian pitched his green novel to the top of an inaccessible cupboard, got down his Elegiacs for the next day, and had no immediate recurrence of what Lillyston christened the "pudding theory of work."
It was during his last year at Harton that Lady Vinsear, in consequence of one of her sudden whims, wrote to invite him to Lonstead, with both his brothers; for she never took any notice of either Violet or Mrs Home. The time she mentioned was ten days before the Harton holidays began. So that Frank and Cyril, (who came back from Marlby just in time), had to go alone, rather to their disgust; Julian, however, promising to join them directly after he returned from school. The wilful old lady, urged on by the confidante, took considerable umbrage at this, and wrote that "she was quite sure the Doctor would not have put any obstacles in the way of Julian's coming had he been informed of her wishes. And as for trials, (the Harton word for examination), which Julian had pleaded in excuse, he had better take care that, in attending to the imaginary trials of Harton, he didn't increase his own real trials."
This sentence made Julian laugh immoderately, both from his aunt's notion of the universal autocracy of her will, and from her obvious bewilderment at the technical word "Trials," which had betrayed her unconsciously into a pun, which, of all things, she abhorred. However, he wrote back politely—explained what he meant by "Trials"—begged to be excused for a neglect of her wishes, which was inevitable—and reiterated his promise of joining his brothers, as early as was feasible, under her hospitable roof.
It was not without inward misgiving that Cyril and Frank found themselves deposited in the hall of their glum old aunt's large and lonely house, the very size and emptiness of which had tended not a little to increase the poor lady's vapours. However, they were naturally graceful and well-bred, so that, in spite of the patronising empire assumed over them by the vulgar and half-educated Miss Sprong— which Cyril especially was very much inclined to resent—the first day or two passed by with tolerable equanimity.
But this dull routine soon proved unendurable to the two lively boys. They found it impossible to sit still the whole evening, looking over sacred prints; and this was the only amusement which Miss Sprong suggested to Lady Vinsear for them. Of late the dowager had taken what she considered to be a religious turn; but unhappily the supposed religion was as different from real piety as light from darkness, and consisted mainly in making herself and all around her miserable by a semi-ascetic puritanism of observances, and a style of conversation fit to drive her little nephews into a lunatic asylum.
Though they both felt a species of terror at their ungracious aunt, and the ever-detonating Miss Sprong, the long-pent spirit of fun at times grew too strong in them, and they would call down sharp rebukes by romping in the drawing-room, so as to disturb the two ladies while they read to each other, for hours together, the charming treatises of their favourite moderate divine.
The boys were seated on two stools, in the silence of despair, and at last Cyril, who had been twirling his thumbs for half an hour, and listening to a dissertation on Armageddon, gave a yawn so portentous and prolonged that Frank suddenly exploded in a little burst of laughter, which was at once checked, when Miss Sprong observed—
"I think it would be profitable if your ladyship,"—Miss Sprong never omitted the title—"would set your nephews some of Watts' hymns to learn."
The nephews protested with one voice and much rebellion, but at last their irate aunt quenched the unseemly levity, and they were fairly set to work at Dr Watts—Frank getting for his share "The little busy bee." But instead of learning it, they got together, and Cyril began drawing pictures of cruet-stands and other impieties, whereby Frank was kept in fits of laughter, and when called up to say his hymn, knew nothing at all about it. Cyril sat by him, and when Frank had exhausted his stock of acquirements by saying, in a tone of disgust—
"How doth the little busy bee—"
"Delight to bark and bite."
"How doth the little busy bee Delight to bark and bite—
"How does it go on, Cyril?" said Frank.
"To gather honey all the day, And eat it all the night,"
whispered the audacious brother, conjuring into memory the schoolboy version of that celebrated poem.
Frank, who was far too much engrossed in his own difficulties to think of what he was saying, artlessly repeated the words, and opened his large eyes in amazement, when he was greeted by a shout of laughter from Cyril, and a little shriek of indignation from Miss Sprong, which combined sounds started Lady Vinsear from the doze into which she had fallen, and ended in the summary ejectment of the young offenders.
The next day, to their own great relief and delight, they were sent home in disgrace; and knowing that their mother would not be angry with them for a piece of childish gaiety under such trying circumstances, they were surprised and pained to see how grave she and Violet looked when they told their story. But Mrs Home's thoughts had reverted to Julian, and she knew Miss Sprong too well not to be aware that she had designs on Lady Vinsear's property, and would excite against Julian any ill-will she could.
That her fears were not unfounded was proved by the fact that, in the middle of trial-week, Julian received an altogether intolerable epistle from Miss Sprong, written, she said, "at the express request and dictation of his esteemed aunt," calling him to account for this little incident in a way that, (to use Lillyston's expression), instantly "put him on his hind legs." He read a part of this letter to Lillyston, and, with his own comments, it ran thus:—
"Lady Vinsear desires me to say," (Hem! I doubt that very much), "that the rudeness of those two little boys, to say nothing of their great immorality and impiety," (I say, that's coming it too strong, or rather too Sprong), "is such as to reflect great discredit on the influences to which they have been lately—"
"By Jove! this is too bad," said Julian, passionately; "when she adds innuendoes against my mother to her other malice—I won't stand it," and, without reading farther, he tossed the letter into the fire, watching with vindictive eyes its complete consumption—
"There goes the squire—revered, illustrious spark! And there—no less illustrious—goes the clerk!"
he said, as he watched the little red streams flickering out of the black paper ashes. "And now for the answer! Bother the woman for plaguing me, (for I know it's none of my aunt's handiwork), in the middle of trial-week."
"I say, Julian, don't be too fiery in your answer, you know, for you really ought to appease the poor old lady. Only think of that impudent little brother of yours! I must make the young rogue's acquaintance some day."
But Julian had seized a sheet of note-paper, and wrote to his aunt, not condescending to notice even by a message her obnoxious amanuensis:—
"My Dear Aunt—I cannot believe that the letter I received to-day really emanated from you, at least not in the language in which it was couched.
"I have neither time nor inclination," ('Hoity, toity, how grand we are!') "to attend to the foolish trifle to which your amanuensis," ('Meaning me!' screamed the irrepressible Sprong), "alludes; but I am quite sure that, on reflection, you will not be inclined to judge too hardly a mere piece of fun and thoughtless liveliness; for that Frankie meant to be rude, I don't for a moment believe. I shall only add, that if I were not convinced that you can never have sanctioned the expressions which the lady," (Julian had first written 'person,' but altered it afterwards), "who wrote for you presumed to apply to my brothers, and above all, to my mother, I should have good reason to be offended; but feeling sure that they are not attributable to you, I pass them over with indifference. I am obliged to write in great haste, so here I must conclude.
"Believe me, my dear Aunt, your affectionate nephew,
Lady Vinsear was secretly pleased with the spirit which this letter showed, and was not sorry for the snubbing which it gave to her lady-companion; but she determined to exercise a little tyranny, and fancied that Julian would be too much frightened to resent it. Accustomed to the legacy-hunting spirit of many parasites, the old lady thought that Julian would be like the rest, and hoped to enjoy the sight of him reduced to submission and obedience, in the hopes of future advantage; not that she would exult in his humiliation, but she was glad of any pretext to bring the noble boy before her as a suppliant for her favour. Accordingly, setting aside her first and better impulses, she wrote back a sharp reply, abusing Cyril and Frank in round and severe terms, and adding some bitter innuendoes about the poverty of the family, and their supposed expectations at her decease. Miss Sprong lent all the venom of her malicious ingenuity to this precious performance, which fortunately did not reach Julian until trials were nearly over. Tired with excitement and hard work, the boy could ill endure these galling allusions, and wrote back a short and fiery reply:—
"My Dear Aunt—If any one has persuaded you that I am eager to purchase your good-will at any sacrifice, and that in consideration of 'supposed advantages' hereafter to be derived from you—I shall be willing to endure unkindly language or groundless insinuations about my other relatives—then they have very seriously misled you as to my real character. This is really the only reply of which your letter admits. I shall always be ready, as in duty bound, to bestow on you such respect and affection as our relationship demands and your own kindness may elicit, but I would scorn to win your favour at the expense of a subservience at once ungenerous and unjust.
"Believe me to remain, your affectionate nephew,
This letter decided the matter. Lady Vinsear wrote back, that as he obviously cared nothing about her, and did not even treat her with ordinary deference, she had that day altered her will. Poor old lady! Julian's angry letter cost her many a pang; and that night, as she sat in her bedroom by her lonely hearth, and thought over her dead brother and this gallant high-souled boy of his, the tears coursed each other down her furrowed cheeks, and she could get no rest. At last she had taken her desk, and, with trembling hands, written:—
"Dearest Julian—Forgive an old woman's whim, and come to me and comfort my old age. All I have is yours, Julian; and I love you, though I wrote to you so bitterly.—Your loving aunt,
But when morning came, Sprong resumed her ascendency, and by raking up and blowing the cooled embers of her patroness' wrath, succeeded once more in fanning them to the old red heat, after which she poured vinegar upon them, and they exploded in the pungent fumes of the note which told our hero that he was not to hope, for the future, to be one day owner of a handsome fortune.
Of course, at first he was a little downcast; and in talking to Lillyston, compared himself to Gautier sans avoir, and "Wilfred the disinherited."
"Never mind, Julian; it matters very little to you," said Lillyston proudly.
"Anyhow I must have no more fits of idleness," answered Julian.
And indeed the only pain it caused him arose from the now necessary decision that he must go to Saint Werner's College as a sizar, or not at all. But for all that he went home with a light heart, and had once more gained the proud distinction of head-remove—one for which, at that time, I very much doubt whether he would have exchanged the prospect of a rich inheritance.
And the misfortune proved an advantage to Cyril too, as we shall see.
"So here's the little rogue who has lost me a thousand a year," said Julian laughingly, when he got home, and took Cyril on his knee by the fireside after dinner. The next moment he was very sorry he had said it, for Cyril hung his head, and seemed quite disconcerted; but his brother laughed away his sorrow, as he thought, and no further allusion to the subject was made.
But that night, as Julian looked into his brother's bedroom before he went to bed, he found Cyril crying, and his pillow wet with tears.
"Cyril, what's the matter, my boy?—you're not ill, are you?"
Cyril sat up, his eyes still swimming, and threw his arms round his brother's neck. "I've ruined you, Julian," he said.
"My dear child, what nonsense! Nay, my foolish little fellow," answered Julian, "this is really a mistake of yours. Aunt Vinsear was angry with me for my letters,—not with you. Don't cry so, Cyril, for I really don't care a rush about it; but I shall care if it vexes you. But shall I tell you why you ought to know of it, Cyril?"
"Because, my boy, it affects you too. You know, Cyril, that we are very poor now. Well, you see we shall have to support ourselves hereafter, and mother and Violet depend on us so you must work hard, Cyril, will you? and don't be idle at Marlby, as I'm afraid you have been. Eh, my boy?"
The boy promised faithfully, and performed the promise well in after days; but that night Julian did not leave him until he was fast asleep.
We shall tell only one more scene of Julian's Harton life, and that very briefly.
It is a glorious summer afternoon; four o'clock bell is just over, and it is expected that in a few minutes the examiner, (an old Hartonian and senior classic), will read out the list which shall give the result of many weeks' hard work. The Newry scholarship is to be announced at the same time: Bruce and Home are the favourite names.
A crowd of boys throng round the steps, but Julian is not among them; he is leaning over the rails of the churchyard, under the elm-trees by Peachey's tomb, filled with a trembling and almost sickening anxiety. Bruce, confident of victory, is playing racquets, just below the schoolyard.
The Examiner suddenly appears from the speech-room door. There is a breathless silence while he reads the list, and then announces, in an emphatic voice—
"The Newry scholarship is adjudged to Julian Home!"
Off darts Lillyston, bounds up the hill into the churchyard, and has informed the happy Julian of his good fortune long before the "three cheers for Mr Burton," and "three cheers for Home," have died away.
"So soon the boy a youth, the youth a man, Eager to run the race his fathers ran." Rogers' Human Life.
The last day at Harton came; the last chapel-service in that fair school fabric; the last sermon, "Arise, let us go hence;" the last look at the churchyard and the fourth-form room; the last "Speecher," and delivering up of the monitor's keys; the last farewells to Mr Carden and the other masters, and the Doctor, and their schoolfellows and fags; and then with swelling hearts Julian and Lillyston got into the special train, thronged with its laughing and noisy passengers, and during the twenty minutes which were occupied by their transit to London, were filled with the melancholy thought that the days of boyhood were over for ever.
"Good-bye, Frank," said Julian—"To-morrow, to fresh fields and pastures new."
"Good-bye, Julian. We must meet next at Saint Werner's."
"Mind you write meanwhile."
"All right. You shall hear in a week. Good-bye." And Lillyston nodded from the cab window his last farewell to Julian Home, the Harton boy.
But if there were partings, what glorious meetings there were too, during those twenty-four hours. Ah! they must be felt, not written of: but I am sure that no family felt a keener joy that day, than Julian's mother, and sister, and brothers, when they saw him again, and learnt with pride that he had won a scholarship of 100 pounds a year; even Will and Mary, the faithful servants, seemed, when they heard it, to look up to their young master with even more honour than before.
Bruce spent the first part of his holidays in shooting, and the latter weeks in all the gaieties of a wealthy London family. He was naturally self-indulgent, and as no one urged him to make good use of his time, he devoted it to every possible amusement which riches could procure. Both he and his parents had a boundless belief in his natural abilities, and these, he thought, would be quite sufficient to gain him such honours as should be a graceful addition to the public reputation which he intended to win. A week or two before the Camford term commenced, he engaged some splendid lodgings, the most expensive which he heard of, and, turning out the furniture which was usually let with them, gave an almost unlimited order to a fashionable upholsterer to see them fitted out with due luxury and taste. When he came up as a freshman, which he deferred doing until the last possible moment, he was himself amazed to see how literally his orders had been obeyed. The rooms were refulgent with splendour: glossy tables, velvet-cushioned chairs, Turkey carpets, rich curtains, and an abundance of mirrors, made them, as the tradesman remarked "fit for a lord;" and Bruce took possession, with no little pride and self-satisfaction at finding himself his own master in so brilliant an abode.
Meanwhile, the holidays had passed by with Julian very differently, but very happily. Without tiring himself, or harassing his attention by study, he made a rule of devoting to work some portion, at least, of every day. Long strolls with his mother and sister in the bright summer evenings, bathes and boating excursions with Cyril and Frank, and happy, lonely rambles on the beach, kept him in health and spirits, and he looked forward with eager ambition to the arena which he was so soon to enter.
"The Harton boys have gone back by this time, haven't they?" asked Violet, as she sat with her mother and brother on the lawn one afternoon. "Don't you wish you were there again with them, Julian?"
"No," said Julian, "I wouldn't exchange Saint Werner's man even for Harton boy."
"How soon shall you have to go up to Saint Werner's?" said Mrs Home.
"On October 15th; in about a fortnight's time. I mean to go up a day or two beforehand to get settled. You and Violet must come with me, mother."
"But is that usual? Won't you get laughed at as though you were coming up under female escort?" asked Violet.
"Pooh! you don't suppose I care for that," said Julian, "even supposing it were likely to be true; besides—" He said no more, but his proud look at his sister's face seemed to imply that he expected rather to be envied than laughed at.
Accordingly, they went up together, and, as the train drew nearer and nearer to Camford, all three grew silent and thoughtful. They were rightly conscious that on the years to be spent in college life depended no small part of Julian's future happiness and prosperity. Three years at least would be spent there; years wealthy with all blessing, or prolific of evil and regret.
It was night when they arrived, and in the dimly-lighted streets there was not enough visible to gratify Julian's eager curiosity. The omnibus was crowded with undergraduates, who were chiefly freshmen, but apparently anxious to seem very much at home. At the station, the piles of luggage seemed interminable, and Mrs Home and Violet were not sorry to escape from the unusual confusion to the quiet of their hotel.
Next morning, directly after an impatient breakfast, Julian started to call on his tutor.
"Which is the way to Saint Werner's College?" he asked of the waiter.
"Straight along, sir," was the reply, and off he started down King's Parade. In his hurry to make the first acquaintance with his new college, Julian hardly stopped to admire the smooth green quadrangle and lofty turrets of King Henry's College, or Saint Mary's, or the Senate House and Library, but strode on to the gate of Saint Werner's. Entering, he gazed eagerly at the famous great court, with its chapel, hall, fountain, and Master's lodge; and then made his way through the cloisters of Warwick's Court to his tutor's rooms.
On entering, he found himself in a room, luxuriously furnished, and full of books. In a large armchair before the fire sat a clergyman, whom Julian at once conjectured to be Mr Grayson, the tutor on whose "side" he was entered. He was a tall, grave-looking man, of about forty, and rose to greet his pupil with a formal bow.
"How do you do, Mr —? I did not quite catch the name."
"Home, sir," said Julian, advancing to shake hands in a cordial and confiding manner; but the tutor contented himself with a very cold shake, and seemed at a loss how to proceed.
Julian was burning with curiosity and eagerness. He longed to ask a hundred questions; at such a moment—a moment when he first felt how completely he had passed over the boundary which divides boyhood from manhood, he yearned for a word of advice, of encouragement, of sympathy. He expected, at least, something which should resemble a welcome, or a direction what to do. Nothing of the kind, however, came. While Julian was awaiting some remark, the tutor shuffled, hemmed, and looked ill at ease, as though at a loss how to begin the conversation.
At last Julian, in despair, asked, "Whereabouts are my rooms, sir?"
"Oh, the porter will show you; you'll find no difficulty about them," said the tutor.
"Have you anything further to ask me, Mr Home?" he inquired, after another little pause.
"Nothing whatever, sir," said Julian, a little indignantly, for he began to feel much like what a volcano may be supposed to do when its crater is filled with snow. "Have you anything to tell me, sir?"
"No, Mr Home. I hope you'll—that is—I hope—good morning," he said, as Julian, to relieve him from an unprofitable commonplace, backed towards the door, and made a formal bow.
"Humph," thought Julian. "What an icicle; not much good to be got out of that quarter. An intolerably cold reception. It's odd, too, for the man must have heard all about me from Mr Carden."
As we shall have very little to do with Mr Grayson, we may here allow him a cordial word of apology. What was to Julian the commencement of an epoch, was, be it remembered, to the tutor a commonplace and almost everyday event. The whole of that week he had been occupied in receiving visits from "the early fathers," who came up in charge of their sons, and all of whom seemed to expect that he would show the liveliest and tenderest interest in their respective prodigies. Other freshmen had visited him unaccompanied, and some of them seemed rather inclined to patronise him than otherwise. He was a shy man, and always had a painful suspicion at heart that people were laughing at him. Having lived the life of a student, he had never acquired the polished ease of a man of the world, and had a nervous dread of strangers. His manners were but an icy shield of self-defence against ridicule, and they suited his somewhat sensitive dignity. He persuaded himself, too, that the "men" on his side were "men" in years and discretion as well as name, and that they must stand or fall unaided, since the years of boyish discipline and school constraint were gone by. It never occurred to him that a word spoken in due season might be of incalculable benefit to many of his charge. Being a man of slow sensibilities, he could not sympathise with the enthusiastic temperament of youths like Julian, nor did he ever single out one of his pupils either for partiality or dislike. Yet he was thoroughly kind-hearted, and many remembered his good deeds with generous gratitude. Nor was he wholly wrong in his theory that a tutor often does as much harm by meddling interference as he does by distance and neglect.
When a boy goes to college, eager, quick, impetuous, rejoicing as a giant to run his course, he is generally filled with noble resolutions and elevating thoughts. There is a touch of flame and of romance in his disposition; he feels himself to be the member of a brotherhood, and longs to be a distinguished and worthy one; he is anxious for all that is grand and right, and yearns for a little sympathy to support his determination and enliven his hopes. Some there may be so dull and sensual, so swallowed up in selfishness and conceit, so chill to every generous sentiment, and callous to every stirring impulse, that they experience none of this; their sole aim is, on the one hand to succeed, or on the other, to amuse and gratify themselves, to cultivate all their animal propensities, and drown in the mud-honey of premature independence the last relics of their childish aspirations. With men like this, to dress showily, to drive tandem and give champagne breakfasts, comes as a matter of course; while their supremest delight is to wander back to their old school, in fawn-coloured dittos, and with a cigar in their mouths, to show their superiority to all sense of decency and good taste. But these are the rare exceptions. However much they may conceal their own emotions, however dead and cynical, and contemptible they may grow in after days, there are few men of ordinary uprightness who do not feel a thrill of genuine enthusiasm when they first enter the walls of their college, and who will not own it without a blush.
Now Julian was an enthusiast by nature and temperament; all the sentiments which we have been describing he felt with more than ordinary intensity. It gave a grandeur to his hopes, and a distinct sense of ennobling pleasure to remember that he was treading the courts which generations of the good and wise had trodden before him, and holding in his hand the torch which they had handed down to him. Their memory still lingered there, and he trusted that his name too might in after days be not wholly unremembered. At least he would strive, with a godlike energy, to fail in no duty, and to leave no effort unfulfilled. If he viewed his coming life too much in its poetical aspect, at least his glowing aspirations and golden dreams were tempered with a deep humility and a childlike faith.
After fuming a little at the icy reception which his tutor had given him, he walked up and down the court, thinking of his position, and his intentions—of the past, the present, and the future—until proud tears glistened in his eyes. It was clear to him that now he would have to stand alone amid life's trials, and alone face life's temptations. And he was ready for the struggle. With God's help he would not miss the meaning of his life, but take the tide of opportunity while it was at the flood.
Before rejoining his mother, he determined to call on one of the junior fellows, the only one with whom he had any acquaintance, the Reverend N Admer. He only knew him from a casual introduction; but Mr Admer had asked him to call, on his arrival at Saint Werner's, and Julian hoped both to get some information from him to dissipate the painful feeling of strangeness and novelty, and also partially to do away with the effect of Mr Grayson's coldness.
Although it was now past ten in the morning, he found Mr Admer only just beginning breakfast, and looking tired and lazy. He was received with a patronising and supercilious tone, and the Fellow not only went on with his breakfast, but occasionally glanced at a newspaper while he talked. Not that Mr Admer at all meant to be unkind or rude, but he hated enthusiasm in every shape; he did not believe in it, and it wearied him—hence freshmen during their first few days were his profound abhorrence.
After a few commonplace remarks, Julian ventured on a question or two as to the purchases which he would immediately require, the hours of lecture and hall, and the thousand-and-one trifles of which a newcomer is necessarily ignorant. Mr Admer seemed to think this a great bore, and answered languidly enough, advising Julian not to be "more fresh" than he could help. It requires very small self-denial to make a person at home by supplying him with a little information; but small as the effort would have been, it was greater than the Reverend N Admer could afford to make, and his answers were so little encouraging that Julian, making ample allowance for the ennuye condition of the young Fellow, relapsed into silence.
"And what do you think of Saint Werner's?" asked Mr Admer, taking the initiative, with a yawn.
Julian's face lighted up. "Think of it! I feel uncommonly proud already of being a Saint Werner's man."
"Genius loci, and all that sort of thing, eh?"
The sneering way in which this was said left room for no reply, so Mr Admer continued.
"Ah you'll soon find all that sort of twaddle wear off."
"I hope not," said Julian.
"Of course you intend to be senior classic, or senior wrangler, or something of that sort?"
"I expect simply nothing; but if I were inclined to soar, one might have a still higher ambition than that."
"Oh, I see; an embryo Newton,—all that sort of thing."
"I didn't mean quite 'all that sort of thing,' since you seem fond of the phrase," said Julian, "but really I think my aspirations, whatever they are, would only tire you. Good morning."
"Good morning," said Mr Admer, nodding. "We don't shake hands up here. I shall come and call on you soon."
"The later the better," thought Julian, as he descended the narrow stairs. "Good heavens! is that a fair specimen of a don, I wonder. If so, I shall certainly confine my acquaintance to the undergraduates."
No, Julian, not a fair specimen of a don altogether, but in some of his aspects a fair specimen of a certain class of university men, who profess to admire nothing, hope for nothing, love nothing; who think warmth of heart a folly, and sentiment a crime; who would not display an interest in any thing more important than a boat-race or a game of bowls, to save their lives; who are very fond of the phrase, "all that sort of nonsense," to express everything that rises above the dead level of their own dead mediocrity in intelligence and life. If you would not grovel in spirit; if you would not lose every tear that sparkles, and every sigh that burns; if you would not ossify the very power of passion; if you would not turn your soul into a mass of shapeless lead, avoid those despicable cynics, who never leave their discussion of the merits of beer, or the powers of stroke oars, unless it be to carp at acknowledged eminence, and jeer at genuine emotion. How often in such company have I seen men relapse into stupid silence, because, if they ventured on any expression of lively interest, one of the throng, amid the scornful indifference of the rest, would give the only acknowledgment of his remark, by taking the pipe out of his mouth, to give vent to a low guttural laugh.
After this it was lucky for Julian that he had brought his mother and sister with him, and that a moment after leaving Mr Admer he caught sight of Hugh Lillyston. With a joyful expression of surprise, they grasped each other's hands, and interchanged so friendly a greeting that Julian in an instant had scattered to the winds the gloomy impression which was beginning to creep over him.
"How long have you been here, Hugh?"
"I came yesterday."
"Have you seen your rooms yet?"
"No; I am just going to look for them."
"Well, come along; I know where they are."
"But stop," said Julian, "I must go to the Eagle first for my people. They'll be expecting me."
"Really. So Mrs Home's here?" asked Lillyston.
"Yes, and my sister. If you've nothing to do, come and be introduced."
"How immensely jolly. I wish my mother and sister had taken the trouble to come with me, I know."
They went to the hotel, and Lillyston was able to gratify the curiosity he had long felt to see his friend's relations.
"Whom do you think I've brought back with me, mother? guess," said Julian, as he entered the room beaming with pleasure. "Here, Hugh, come along. My mother—my sister—Mr Lillyston."
"What! is this the Mr Lillyston of whom we've heard so much?" asked Mrs Home, with a cordial shake of the hand, while Violet looked up with a quick glance of curiosity and pleasure.
"No other," said Hugh, laughing; "and really I feel as if I were an old friend already."
"You are so, I assure you," said Mrs Home, "and I hope we shall often meet now." Lillyston hoped the same, as he looked at Violet.
It was arranged that they should all four go at once to Julian's rooms, and help in the grand operation of unpacking. The rooms were very pleasant attics in the great court, looking out on the Fellows' bowling-green, and the Iscam flowing beyond it. The furniture, most of which Julian was going to take from the previous possessor, was neat and comfortable, and when the book shelves began to glitter with his Harton prizes and gift-books, Julian was delighted beyond measure with the appearance of his new home.
For some hours the unpacking continued vigorously, only interrupted by an excursion for lunch to the hotel, since Julian had as yet purchased no plates and received no commons.