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his band, which the curate clasped and held, looking wistfully in the hard face, but seeing nothing there, was fain to let the handgo.
As Mr. Rhys walked away, the curate looked after him, remembering he had not told him all ; for he had not told him .how earnestly he had striven to persuade Mrs. Rhys to speak to her husband, or to let him (Lloyd) speak to him. Neither did he tell Mr. Rhys that he had only consented to be silent at his wife's appeal, or receiving her solemn and voluntary promise never again to see this stranger, unless in case of absolute necessity; and then that he, the curate, should know.
He looked after the tall menacing form, and sighed heavily as he turned to go back to his damp little study. The sunny, clean-swept yard had lost its charm for him.
HUGH'S LAST HOURS AT HOME. THEY were too busy at Bod Elian to give way to much grief at the thoughts of the approaching separation, for Kezia's furniture had arrived, and Dr. Robarts having been and seen Mr. Rymer, and given orders that he should be removed, as soon as possible, to a livelier room, they were all assisting in fitting up the two new parlours for his use.
By tea-time this was accomplished, and the invalid was helped downstairs by Elias, and led into a bright little bower, the existence of which, in such a place, he could scarcely understand. As he lay back on the little sofa, looking round the room, he felt that it was charming, but in what its charm lay he could not conceive.
The new paper on the wall was false in design, and gaudy in colour; the carpet almost threadbare, the furniture black and worm-eaten. Yet everything seemed harmonious and pleasant. The darkness of the furniture perhaps sent the eye gratefully to the bright roses on the wall, though they might be out of drawing; and their brightness, again, made the dingy carpet pleasant to rest on. White full curtains at the two little windows threw an air of dainty elegance over all. A fire was burning in the bright new grate. Kezia's old timepiece, with its white face and black frame, ticked on the mantel-shelf. A plate of African marigolds stood in each window, and filled the room with rich aromatic odour; and a few branches of mountain-ash berries, and a pale China rose, were set in a vase on the table among the tiny tea-service, every piece of which had been wrapped up separately and packed away for years in a box of Kezia's mother's.
The sofa was so placed that he could see, through the window, the wildest side of Moel Mawr, where furze-fires were flaming up fitfully in the twilight. He could see through the door, too, which he had begged might remain open, into the passage, along which some one or other would be constantly passing; and now and then a door on the other side was left open, and he could see into the great kitchen where Hugh was spending his last few hours, regarding grudgingly every little duty which took either his brother, or Hirell, or Kezia, during one of those precious moments, from his sight.
Rymer saw that tea was spread there also, and that the brothers, unlike their usual custom, were sitting side by side at the table—their faces towards him. Hugh very often had to get up and leave Elias to go and speak to some one who came to the outer door to wish him farewell.
Such visitors were frequent, and Rymer fancied that the lad's voice was less and less cheery and strong every time he answered their adieus and good wishes.
Rymer knew when the time for the parting had come, for Elias rose and said something to Hugh, who got up also, and followed him out of the room. Hirell and Kezia lingered a little while, then they too went out.
The brothers had gone into the old parlour, which was generally called Elias's room, because his bureau was in it, and he sat here at his accounts a good part of every afternoon.
When Elias had shut the door, he turned to Hugh and said :
'I can only give you money enough for your journey, and to keep you for one week.'
Hugh nodded sadly, and Elias knew his sadness was not at having so little to take with him, but at having to take it at all.
Look here, Hugh,' said Elias; and he lifted up the lid of the bureau.
Hugh looked, and saw just what he knew he should seelittle packets of bills and letters in perfect order—the old account-book lying open, and the Bible beside it. Hugh saw that the last entry was his brother's gift to him, and that there was left in hand---nothing.
Hugh stood looking at the figures gloomily, and thinking that Elias might have spared him the sight.
“How can I take it, Elias ? ' he asked, almost reproachfully; what will you do?'
• Hugb,' answered Elias, 'I did not show you this to prove how poor I am after this poor gift to you. I wished to tell you the comfort I have found in order and accuracy. I have been rich, and I have been poor, and I have come to believe that in poverty alone can a man rule his soul and his fortunes with something of that divine order of which the mighty possessions of God are ruled. Here are two books ; ' and he gave him two like those that laid in his bureau : 'in one, let God see written in honest figures the exact state of your fortune, day by day; in the other, find words to tell Him the condition of your soul, and He shall cast up both for you with the eye of a father and master. Though the column where the sum of your possessions should be written is a blank ; leave the blank there cheerfully, for God's eye to see; pray for your daily bread, and go forth to your work.'
He closed the bureau, just as Hirell and Kezia came to the door. Hugh started, as he heard the handle turned, and glanced at Elias. The elder brother guessed by his look that he wished to remain alone with him a minute or two longer, and as Hirell appeared in the doorway, raised his hand to warn her back. She nodded, and went away with Kezia.
Elias then looked inquiringly at Hugh, and was surprised to see him with a suddenly heightened colour, as he stood looking at the money in his hand. Elias sighed, for he thought that some other unavoidable expense must have occurred to perplex him.
What is the matter, Hugh ? 'he asked.
Hugh sat down in a chair near him at the table on which he laid the money, and began to move one coin after another, as if counting it slowly.
Well, Hugh ? '
Perhaps,' said Hugh,' I had better not say it now; perhaps I'd better write to you, Elias.'
"If you have anything you wish to relieve your mind of, why not do it at once, Hugh ? Are you sure it is something you wish me to know?'.
I do, I do, Elias. I wish you knew. I know you ought to know.'
Then tell it me simply, lad.'
Oh, Elias ! perhaps you guess it. Sometimes I think you do.'
'I never guess,' answered Elias ; 'I have enough to do to understand and cope with what I know.'
But you must have thought sometimes—' What about?? Kezia,' said Hugh ; "that I care for her; that I love her.? Hugh was accustomed to long silences, on his brother's part, in time of surprise or excitement, but no silence had ever seemed so long or so oppressive as this which followed his own agitated, hastily-uttered confession.
Elias was standing at the window, with his back towards him. He had not been standing so when Hugh began to speak.
Suddenly he turned round.
"And it was after you spoke,' asked Elias, in a slow measured tone, 'that she wished to come home?'
“Yes; but I don't know if it was through my speaking. I. do not know if she even understood me,' said Hugh.
Do you wish to speak to her now, before you go?'
I think not. I think I could not, Elias-going out of this place as she knows I go--a beggar. No; I'll wait till I have done something to give her faith in me, and to give you faith in me, Elias.'
And Hugh rose, with a light in his face that seemed to say he meant that something to be very great and decisive, but his brother's glance did not respond to it.
At this minute Hirell and Kezia came again to the door to say that the car which was to take Hugh to Aber was waiting. Kezia, in her quiet, subdued way, went straight up to Hugh to say something about his things. Elias watched her with a strange, wistful scrutiny.
Here is a list of the things I have not marked, Hugh,' said Kezia, slipping a little piece of paper in his hand; pray don't forget to get the ink, and mark them as you promised.'.
Elias watched her glance at Hugh's troubled face, and then turn away gently, as feeling she should have no place in his thoughts or sight at such a time. Did she feel this ? he wondered.
Kezia let them all go before her into the ball, and stood
waiting, feeling a pleasant confidence in soon hearing the young man's footsteps come in her direction.
She waited, listening to the boxes being lifted into the car, and to the confusion of footsteps in the hall.
Now he must be coming,' she thought, and a gentle, motherly yearning came into her eyes. The next minute, those soft eyes of Kezia looked startled and grieved, for the wheels of the car were heard cutting sharply through the moist gravel.
Surely it was not possible Hugh had gone without wishing her good-bye! Then she heard Hirell go back into the kitchen to speak to Nanny. Then Elias came towards the stairs before which Kezia stood.
Oh, Elias !' she cried out in a pained voice, did he forget me?'
Elias looked at her sharply, and passed by her, and went upstairs without a word.
Kezia stood still, pursing her mouth and bridling her neck a little, and the tears rose to her eyes; but after a little while she wiped them meekly away, saying to herself :
They have too much upon them to think of me;' and then she went about her work as cheerfully as ever.
In about an hour she had so quieted her mind as to be able to sing one of the hymns she had heard at Aber Chapel the previous evening. Her soft voice penetrated one of the upper. rooms, the door of which had been closed and locked since Hugh's departure. As Kezia's voice came softly stealing up, the door was opened, and Elias stood on the staircase looking down and listening.
It was a dove-like, soothing voice, neither very sweet nor very powerful, but soft and winning, and full of peace. It was not a voice to excite any powerful emotion; yet, as Elias listened, his chest heaved ; and he said in a low, deep voice :
'Lord, I thank thee that she can sing in my service, though he is gone.'
There were other ears that also found the voice of Kezia pleasant. Mr. Rymer, in his little quaint parlour, with its mixture of age and newness, listened to it in a great sense of peace. It had been a strange day for him altogether. A soft, continuous flow of fresh, healthful visions and sounds had pressed back old thoughts with a strange, sweet pertinacity that even habit and sickness could resist.