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Graile was puzzled how to deal with such a
case, He shook his head, and prescribed,
and said we must trust to time, rather than
to medicine, to work a cure. But when my
father coming suddenly upon Neville one day,
found him with his handkerchief knotted
round his neck, and knew that had he come
three minutes later, he would have found
him dead, all the doctor could do was to
recommend change of airthe sea-side, if
possibleand constant supervision.

So Neville went at once to the sea-side, to a
quiet little village on the east coast, in charge
of my mother and Philip; my father being
unable to leave home on account of his duties.
The letters we received were cheerless enough
at first; and, indeed, it must have been a
trying period both to my mother and Philip.
But, gradually, a vein of silver hope ran
through my mother's letters, which slowly
broadened week by week, till at last came
the golden assurance that Neville's health
was almost restored, and that they would
return home in about a month. It was an
anxious time for my father. He used to look
for the postman's visits more eagerly than a
girl expecting to hear from her lover; and
as the accounts he received became gradually
more favourable, his old, cheerful, sunny
manner came back to him in a way that was
pleasant to see.

We all stood crowding round the gate
on the day that was to restore Neville
to us; and when the coach stopped, and
my brother swung himself quickly down,
and when my father met his bright affectionate
smile, and the full, proud glance of his
fearless eyes, he took the lad's hands in his,
and kissed him on both cheeks, and bursting
into happy tears, turned back into the house,
and retired for a little space to his study.


As I walked out in June, to take a rural
stroll on the country side of Windsor,
and not far from the remarkable and
most fantastic group of trees, the Burnham
beeches, I foregathered, as they used to
say in Scotland, with an old man, who was
seated on the step of a stile, and breathing
the odours of some new-mown hay mingled
with the fragrance of hawthorn and a
variety of wild flowers scattered along the
hedgerow, and peeping through, or hiding
themselves under the tufty grass. It was
evening, and the scene was delicious. The
sun had swollen into a mighty globe of
ruddy hue, so rich in the line of beauty that
you could fancy you saw round it to the
other side; and you wondered who, what, or
whence, there might be any intelligent beings
gazing on that other aspect of the glorious
orb. The old man was admiring it; cheered
by the gentle warmth and tempered light,
whilst, in the lustre of its parting rays, his
dim eyes shone as if with the fire of youth.

After a kindly salute, I entered into
conversation with him, and having disposed of
the crops and the weather, soon lapsed into
the natural theme of old age, self! I found
my ancient friend garrulous and communicative
tive; and, as I encouraged him in his
favourite topic, speedily learnt his history,—
which, though told by fits, like Othello's, I
shall endeavour, as it interested me, to
comprise in a connected narrative.

I have seen fourscore and four years, he
said, and am stiffer than I were, but not
thorough (a smile) so strong. I can walk
the matter of two miles or more, with my
staff, without being overtired, provided the
weather ben't too hot, or too wet, or too
windy. My hearing is not zactly what it
used to be, but I can hear what them do say
that I am 'customed to, and they speak loud
enoughnot too loud. As for my sight, that
is but very so so. I cannot see to read,
indeed, I never could, over well (another
smile); nor things far off; but a little bit
round about me I can manage deftly, so as
not to run my head agen a wall, or tumble
over a truck or a wheelbarrow in the way.

My memory, be sure, is about the worst;
it fails me sadly. I forget the names of
everybody, and what was done yesterday and
last week, and the week before. And I cannot
make the stories join fitly when I try to
tell about aught strange that happened
thirty, or forty, aye, or fifty years agone.
But bless ye, how I do remember when I
was younger. I remember once seeing
George the Third, whose birthday we used to
keep on this very day. Lord, what firing o'
guns and pistols, and drinking his health,
and the boys letting off squibs and crackers,
and the gentry, after toasting his Majesty,
breaking the glasses, never to be drunk out
of agen; and—— let me see,—oh, I remember
it was once seeing the king, not over a mile
or so from this very spot, nearer the palace
at Windsor like, go out a-hunting on a fine
horse; and a jolly good farmer-looking
sportsman he were, only to be known for
king, by the star glittering on his breast.
His scarlet coat, and his yellow leather
smalls, not so small either (a ghost of a
laugh) and his shiny top-boots, and his black
velvet cap, and his rosy face was all very
seemly; and all the lords about, a leetle
beside and behind, as it were, as grandly
dressed as himsel', only not with stars on
their breasts; and the huntsmen, and the
whippers-in, and the dogs, beautiful hounds,
altogether made a splenderous show; when
somebody shouted out, and pointed to the
stag, which had just been turned out o' the
cart, two or three fields off, and was staring
about with his great eyes in his great horned
head, as if bewildered like on seeing the
King of England. And then there was such
a hallooing, and barking, and howling (the
gift of tongues, I think they called it), and
scampering off, the king first and foremost in