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ing to pull you down; that's all there is of it
He sold newspapers on the street, in old shoes,
before he came in here as boy. He 's made him-
self all he is."

"Then if he's made himself what he is, he's
above me, instead of below," answered Wynt



1 86 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S

pleasantly, "for I've never made myself any-
thing yet"

"You haven't, eh? There are some people
that think you have, then. But I don't see how
you stand him, or the whole thing, anyway, as
you do."

"Oh, come, Lee, brace up! You want to
make a man of yourself, wherever you are, and
Warnock is as good a stepping-stone towards it as
any other, if you only look at him in that light
Take the whole thing as a swing at the gym-
nasium; develops muscle, you know. Come
round to-night and try the banjo with Cyp and
me."



A HUNDRED MILES BELOW LEVEL. 187



CHAPTER XXIII.

A HUNDRED MILES BELOW LEVEL.

VIVIAN had returned before this time, bring-
ing a small, quiet company with her, sufficient to
break the solitude of the house and not too gay
for public criticism.

Mr. Adriance picked up Cyp at every possi-
ble chance and coaxed him off for drives, half
amused and half vexed to see a shadow of hesita-
tion on Cyp's part

"I believe, on my word, the youngster fights
shy of it, on some idea the turnout don't belong
to him any more. He always had a droll little
air of seeming to feel it did so in the judge's day.
And he's not going to beg or borrow favors,
that's plain. I'll get him out of the nonsense
after a while; but I believe I 've lost WynL I
wouldn't see him inside of that store if I never
saw him, and evenings amount to nothing. It *s
a beggarly shame, the whole business, that 's all
I have to say."

Cyp u fought shy," still more, of being landed
at the house on their return, as Mr. Adriance
tried several times to do; and though Vivian sent
a ceremonious invitation to lunch and another to



i88 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

dine, the hours did not suit work at Brainerd and
Gray's, and beyond a formal call of acknowledg-
ment Wynt had not seen the inside of the house
since he left it

It was quite as well, he thought The home
feeling was gone, it was not the greatest pleasure
to see Vivian, and what did he care for all those
strangers there?

' ' Tom 's all there really is, ' ' he thought ' ' It
would be awfully good if I could keep a little
hold of him. But he goes with the rest of it, I
suppose."

Meantime Brainerd and Gray had come to their
own conclusions about their new clerk.

"That Havisham will be valuable to us some
day," the junior partner said as they talked over
affairs.

"Don't flatter yourself we shall keep him,
though," was Mr. Brainerd' s reply. "They say
he 's only here on some notion of his own, and
he'll get over it some day. A year or two of
hard work takes the sentiment out of a boy."

U I don't know. This one seems to have a
grip on what he takes hold of. That's what's
going to make a successful man of him. He '11
have a business of his own and get rich in it
before we're very old men. I wish I could see
some of the rest doing as well."

"That means Lee, I suppose," answered Mr.
Brainerd with a clouding face. "I can't excuse



A HUNDRED MILES BELOW LEVEL. 189

him, Gray. The boy has n't the right spirit, and
he wont do well till he has. ' '

" I do n't think Lee is in the right place my-
self," was the reply. " I 'm afraid it 's a mistake.
It goes across the grain. Why not let him strike
off to a profession if his taste lies all that way?"

"Because I think he's in exactly the right
place!" answered Mr. Brainerd excitedly. "If a
boy can't stand a pull across the grain when it
comes, he'll be good for nothing as a man; for
he '11 meet one, at any odd minute, as long as he
lives. That 's just the thing I 'm trying with
him. If I could see he 'd learned the lesson to-
day, I'd send him off to college to-morrow. I
do n't want to do it I'd like to see the name of
Brainerd in the business when I 'm ready to go
out; but, of course, we put our own wishes into
the background with these boys. We want to
see them happy first. But if Lee can't do his
duty in one place he '11 never be sure of doing it
in another."

"No, I suppose not. I should feel a little
shaky about him, at least if he can't pull up a
little shorter than he is now."

"What do you mean?" asked Mr. Brainerd
quickly, with an undefined feeling that the other
meant more than he said.

"Well," said his partner hesitatingly, "he's
not altogether satisfactory in the store, as we
know; but I hear some pretty hard stories about



190 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

him from outside. I don't like to mention it,
but if he were a boy of mine I should have some
anxiety as to how far he has an idea of carrying
the thing."

" I will tell you, then, how far I have an idea
of his ' carrying the thing, ' whatever that may
mean," said Mr. Brainerd excitedly. "Not a
single step! He may stop just where he is!"

"Very good; excellent, if you can bring it
round. But what are you going to do about it ?
If he were in college you could threaten to take
him out and set him to work; but to turn him out
of the work he is in would suit the young man to
a T. And suppose you try it; what would you
do with him then? No; I don't think you can
work it that way, Brainerd. It's a job he's got
to do for himself. If you can get a supply of the
right spirit and stick it into him, all right. I
should think he might catch a little from that
mate of his we've perched on that stool."

Mr. Brainerd "wished he might, with all his
heart," and the conversation came to an end; but
Mr. Brainerd was far from satisfied.

"Gray's right enough," he said, as his
thoughts found the subject holding on uncom-
fortably; "the boy's got to do it for himself, as
far as the going right is concerned; but if he's
going wrong, there must be some way to stop
that"

Accordingly, the next time Wynt asked Lee



A HUNDRED MILES BELOW LEVEL.

to come round for the evening he drew his face
into a demure contortion and said he "didn't
know." "There's something mighty queer at
headquarters the last week," he went on. "I
don't know exactly what's up, but there's a
close lookout on what I do after it gets shady out
of doors. I shall have to keep pretty shady my-
self till it blows over, and make up lost time
afterwards."

"Lee Brainerd!" exclaimed Wynt, turning
round upon him suddenly, "is it possible you
can stand being watched? Bringing watching
on yourself, I mean?"

Lee shrugged his shoulders with a low whis-
tle, and Wynt turned away as suddenly as he had
faced him before.

In an instant Lee had sprung after him.
"Don't, Wynt!" he cried entreatingly. "Don't!
I can stand the governor and all the rest, but I
can't stand it if you turn your back on me in
disgust."

Wynt faced about again instantly and gave
him a hand. "No, Lee, I didn't mean that
I'll never turn my back on you; but the thing I
must be disgusted with. That, you know, I
can't help."

" But ' the thing' and I are all the same, bad
luck to it all!"

" They 're not, Lee. You know better. You
despise it all the time as much as I do. What



192 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

do you want to throw yourself after such folly
for? You've got the making of a man in you
and you know it, and a man can never enjoy
living a hundred miles or so below his level.
It 's no sort of use."

"I don't know anything about 'miles,' but,
after all, it 's the feeling so far below you that
takes hold of me just now."

" Below me! Well, if you think so, just step
up and stand beside me, for you 'd only be your
best self then. But we've both got a Leader,
Lee. Do you think He likes to see us straggling
out of ranks? I tell you he does n't. He lived
and died to show us the true march and help us
back into it when we 're out. Just get hold of
His hand and 'hold on,' Lee. Try that a little
while and see where you are."

As Wynt walked home and turned into the
Havisham gate he felt the first real rustle of au-
tumn leaves under his feet. The season had
been slipping away and even the glory of the late
tints had almost passed.

The rustle gave him a quick unpleasant feel-
ing. Gone! Since the day Cyp linked the dan-
delion chain on the front porch, spring, summer,
almost autumn, and what had they carried away !
These brown leaves were fresh, just barely out on
the trees, that day when Cyp tried his chain on
the door. What a little time!

"But looking back isn't going to do," he



A HUNDRED MILES BELO\V LEVEL.

said, stepping into Barbie's little porch and leav-
ing the yellow and brown carpet behind. u Push-
ing ahead is the only thing. If I felt sure I could
ever do as much of it as Cyp is going to need! I
never doubted it when I first struck in at Brainerd
and Gray's, but I 've got a little better idea than
I had of what things really are, of the pushing
that's got to be done. And as for Cyp's educa-
tion, his special ' trade,' I mean, he '11 have to go
away for that There's nothing here. Well,
perhaps I can work off with him somewhere by
that time. It looks pretty big to me just now v
that's a fact, but I must stick the tighter. I've
undertaken the thing for him and there's no one
else. I could stand any amount of pinches for
myself, but I don't know how I could ever en-
dure it if I found I was scrimping Cyp."



Jn.tr* TfTlhm' WIT!.



194 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.



CHAPTER XXIV.

HARD QUESTIONS.

THE Havisham House was deserted once more
by all but the faithful few who, according to the
conditions of the will, were "keeping it up" as
in the judge's day.

That amounted, of course, to a mere form when
Vivian was away, as she was to be now for two
or three months at least, and a very empty and
annoying form she considered it to be.

"Such strange folly on dear papa's part,
Tom," she had said to Mr. Adriance, as she was
preparing to leave. "Do you wonder that he saw
it himself and intended to make better plans?"

"If there were any better ones to make,"
answered Tom, stretching himself and turning a
page of his book. Vivian was never to entrap
him into saying he thought there were.

"Yes, better in every consideration," returned
Vivian, ignoring the fact that Tom's answer was
not quite a positive one. ' ' Of course I do not
care to be here after the summer is past Why
should I, now -that papa is gone? There is noth-
ing here. And yet this retinue of people is to
be kept in the house. And Bent is getting to be
a very old man for the position he holds. I think,



HARD QUESTIONS. 195

Tom, when I come in the spring, I must bring
some one to take his place."

"Well, now," exclaimed Tom, rousing up
suddenly, U I can't say I see the point in that.
Bent is as competent as he ever was, and I don't
ask to see anything better. And he has been
faithfulness itself to the family more than half the
years of his life."

Vivian smiled. u Of course, Tom; that is the
very difficulty. There is such a thing, you know,
as a limit to years; and there is such a thing as
style. You 'don't ask to see anything better,'
with your dear easy old way; but people who
come here may think that something less anti-
quated less of a relic, you know But where
can I have laid that paper I wanted to ask Mr.
Wilkie about ? I ' ve searched every cranny of my
desk. Well, I'll let it rest somewhere, wherever
it is, till we return."

Mr. Wilkie, on his part, would have been glad
to hear her say so. He had more papers and more
clients to give thoughts to than he felt he had
thoughts to give. The firm of Havisham and
Wilkie had been too favorite a one for many
clients to give up after the judge's death, and an
over-accumulation of practice was upon Mr. Wil-
kie' s hands; while, in the midst of office pressure,
his own personal affairs began to assume trouble-
some form. Investments were repeatedly proving
unfortunate, and complications were arising which



196 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S

threatened to bring upon him liabilities which he
saw no way to meet.

( ' If things would not crowd so in this unim-
aginable way!" he repeated to himself twenty
times. ''There's enough in that lead-mine out
there to clear everything up twice over, if it could
be got out. But everything at that same lead-
mine hangs fire so. This break-down of the ma-
chinery that they 've reported just now puts it all
back and calls for more capital to repair and start
again. It's a pretty hard knot that things are
tying themselves into for me. If it draws much
tighter"

But Mr. Wilkie did not seem to like finishing
the sentence. If the knot should "draw much
tighter," he would find himself in a position that
it was not pleasant to specify in words. To say
that everything would be swept away and he
should stand as poor as when he began life would
be disagreeable enough ; but to add what would
also happen, with liabilities that remained to
come upon him, was still more unpleasant.

Then he would try to shake the whole subject
off again, and trust to to-morrow for what to-day
could not seem to meet.

"It will work round somehow, of course," he
would insist to himself. "There '11 be some way
out. ' The darkest hour is just before daylight,' I
should say to any one else;" and he forced his
attention back to other people's affairs.



HARD QUESTIONS. 197

Among these Wynt's interests were often up-
permost, and he watched him pretty carefully,
determined that the least sign of his being in any
way the worse for his experiment with Brainerd
and Gray should take him out and put him wher-
ever it seemed best into the Havisham House,
if it looked more like that than anything else;
neither Vivian nor her fancies should be consid-
ered if he once made up his mind.

"I doubt if I do it, though," he was sure to
wind up with saying. "I believe Wynt would
chafe himself to death, with that notion of his in
his head; and you can't drive it out It would
go against my own grain, too, to tell the truth,"
he added one day to Dr. McPherson, when the
subject had been alluded to between them confi-
dentially.

"You believe the judge meant to take back
that arrangement about the boys, then?" the
doctor asked.

" I do n't half believe he ever meant to take
back a rap's worth he 'd fixed up for them. You
can't make me believe it But with the pretence
of it, and what she is otherwise, that Mrs. Adri-
ance is too much for me. I don't want Wynt
where any such skirts can sweep over him. If
he'll just get two or three years older some day,
I '11 take him in here. He 's got precisely the head
for it He pleaded his own case here till he got
his verdict from me, you know. You would have



198 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S wn,i

laughed to see the boy swoop down my points
and set up his own. He did it well."

"Well, I'd rather see him here than han-
dling tables and chairs the next story below, it 's
a fact. But there's no money provided for any
such plan, as I understand."

" No, but I 'd manage that easily enough. I
could advance what was needed till he's twenty-
one, and then he could pay it back. He '11 have
to take what belongs to him then, notions or no
notions."

" If you can make him," laughed the doctor.
"He's beaten you once, and he may again."

But Mr. Wilkie hardly heard him. He was
busy with a miserable and most uncomfortable
twinge of thought that had come up as he spoke
of advancing anything Wynt might need. Would
he have anything to advance, by that time?
Might not his own creditors be waiting for twice
what he found himself able to pay ?

" However," added Dr. McPherson, as he got
no reply, " Wynt does n't seem to be pining under
it much. He's all right so far. Cyp 's the one
I am more anxiotrs about."

"What's the matter with Cyp?" asked Mr.
Wilkie, rousing suddenly.

u Oh, I don't think there 's anything the mat-
ter with him; he'll weather it through. He's
moped a little under the change; that 's all. You
can't expect him to square at it, as Wynt has, of



HARD QUESTIONS. 199

course; but a child forgets yesterday, you know,
before to-day gets very old."

"Moping, is he?" thought Mr. Wilkie, after
the doctor had gone; "I must ask Wynt about
that." But the next time he saw Wynt, Cyp was
with him; his cheeks were red from a drive he
had just had with Dr. Thad, and he asked Mr.
Wilkie why he didn't come round. They had
jolly times with the banjo at the room, he said.

" I don't see much moping about that young-
ster," Mr. Wilkie thought, laughing, as he passed
by; and he let the doctor's suggestion pass also.

Cyp's red color was gone again, however, in a
very short time, and left it at once easy to notice
that there was a paleness of the whole face and
a faint blue circle under the eyes; not very
marked, but enough to show the need of a tonic
or a general picking up, and making the boy look
quite different from the rollicking, hearty Cyp of
a few months ago.

Wynt needed no Dr. McPherson to point out
the change to him. He had been watching it for
a month.

"I know exactly what it is. Cyp can't get
used to things. He don't get up a bit of home
feeling, and it seems as if he never would. I
thought he would get reconciled to leaving the
house, but it 's no such thing. He pines for the
whole of it, uncle and all the rest Oh, I wonder
if I was wrong to him in packing him out of it !



2oo JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

But I should have been wrong to other people if
I hadn't; and he wasn't happy there at the
last."

So the little touch of anxiety Wynt had felt in
his new responsibilities deepened and really be-
gan to weigh. No amount of "circumstances"
were a matter of any importance for him; he
could get along. But if he were making a
mistake for Cyp ! Or if Cyp was to need any-
thing he couldn't do ! He ought to be taken off
somewhere for a shaking up. If Vivian would
only have asked him to go along !

But he checked the involuntary thought al-
most angrily. Did he want Cyp to go begging?
Vivian might take care of her own affairs, and he
would take care of Cyjx



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT. 2OT

CHAPTER XXV.

THE THICK OF THE FIGHT.

CYP was not the only perplexity that weighed
upon Wynt during the next few weeks in the
store. Mr. Warnock's "persecution," as Lee
called it, did not seem to wear out. So far from
satisfying itself by the petty annoyances in
which it took form, it rather grew by what it
fed upon, as Wynt could not help confessing to
himself. The carpet experiment, among others,
had been repeated, with a slight pretext not
unlike the first, and Wynt could not help laugh-
ing as Lee came to him about it in renewed
wrath.

"Yes, I thought I'd cleared off the carpet
score that first time," he said, u but I suppose
I didn't reckon the full value. Never mind,
though, I weigh more and measure an inch taller
than I did when I came into the store; so you
see he does not harm me much."

But he did not think best to tell Lee of an-
other little experience that he strongly suspected
weighed more with his superior than the lost car-
pet sale. Thanksgiving Day had passed, and was
a holiday, of course. The store was closed for
the day, and all were rejoicing, Wynt especially



2O2 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

happy in an invitation to the Wilkies' for din-
ner, which would make Cyp all right

But he let himself into the store for a few mo-
ments, early, to finish a small piece of writing
that must go off in the mail. It was the book-
keeper's business properly; but he wanted to get
out of town for the day, and Wynt had volun-
teered. An unusual press of work the night be-
fore had prevented getting this done.

As he sat on his stool in the office he could
just see the front door, through the office railing,
with a side of the window beyond.

Suddenly an eye came against the glass from
outside, peering through the crack between the.
window and the curtain within. The same thing
was repeated at the door the next moment, and
both movements were as if to discover whether
any one was inside.

"I think you've got left, sir, whoever you
are, ' ' Wynt said with a smile to himself. ' ' Brain-
erd and Gray make no sales to any one to-day."

He stooped over his writing again, thinking
the attempt had been given up, when to his
astonishment a key was slipped into the lock,
the door opened, and Warnock stepped inside.
He walked quickly into the store as far as Mr.
Brainerd's private desk, took some keys from
his pocket, tried one, then another, hesitated a
moment, then stooped to examine the lock, and
returned to the key he had first tried.



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT. 203

Wynt thought he had seen enough, and as his
own work was just finished, he caught it up and
went quickly towards the door.

Warnock's back was towards him, and he did
not seem to hear him as he approached.

"Good morning, Mr. Warnock," said Wynt
quietly, lifting his hat as he went by.

Warnock started as if struck, looked at Wynt,
turned white and then red, stammered a good
morning in return, and then, pretending, as it
seemed to Wynt, to start again, muttered some
confused words about having mistaken the desk,
seeing his error now that the key did not fit, and
hurried away to his own.

He kept clear of Wynt the next few days, and
Wynt kept his reflections, which were peculiar
at least, most carefully to himself. The sooner
he forgot that he had seen Warnock on Thanks-
giving morning the better, he felt very sure.

Petty annoyances do wear, however, like the
dropping of water on a stone, and with those and
the close confinement, which Wynt had not got
quite used to yet, and his thoughts about Cyp
and others about Lee, and the responsibility
of his own work, he did find himself wondering
sometimes if it were the same world he had been
living in six months before.

" It seems to me I was like the old deacon
who used to * think of nothin',' " he laughed one
day; "especially when I meet the fellows coming



204 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

home from school. I thought a few lessons out of
those books made a good deal of work. I should
like to play with them a few days now. I
wouldn't go back, though. I don't know
enough, that's the only trouble; but since work
has come to me I like it. Especially," he added,
"especially for Cyp."

He was the last one to leave the store that
evening, at six o'clock. Only Jem was left, to
finish locking up. As he approached a corner
not far from the store door he saw that a group
of young fellows stood there quite in the shadow
of the wall, for street lights were not too numer-
ous in Edinburgh. They seemed to draw a little
closer together and press farther back as Wynt
approached, and he instinctively glanced towards
them. He looked away again as quickly. Lee
was one of them.

Lee joining any company that wanted to keep
out of sight ! Lee shrinking away into dark-
ness because he did not want to be seen by him !

Could he have been mistaken? No, he was
not But, after all, was it anything more than
Lee had really told him of before?

He half turned to go back and pull him away.

Then he hurried on, confused and reproaching
himself for not having, somehow, pulled him
away already in all this time !

"Suppose it were Cyp!" he exclaimed to
himself, "Cyp at Lee's age. Shouldn't I find



THE THICK OF THE FIGHT. 205

some way to persuade him out of such a track ?
Lee 's not my brother, it 's true not in one sense
but we come pretty close together in more
ways than one."

Then he found a sudden revulsion of feeling
sweeping over him a feeling of disgust, almost
of loathing. How could Lee bring himself to
low, miserable ways, whatever they might be?
He was glad Lee had spared him any more special
explanation than he had given.

He pushed open the cottage door and went in
to Cyp. Somehow Cyp's eyes seemed very big
lately when he looked up as Wynt came in.
Had they grown large or was his face growing
small ?

"How-d'ye, old fellow?" he said, coming to-
wards the table where Cyp sat, with pencil and
some crumpled paper lying before him. "Let's
see your work."

"No, I couldn't do anything. I didn't like
it, and I scrunched it up. I say, Wynt, I wish it
wouldn't get dark so long before you come
home."

"You do, eh?" And Wynt sat down beside
him, smoothing out the paper as he spoke.
"What's the matter with the dark?"

"Oh, I don't know. Everything seems so
awfully empty till you come. It seems as if the
old big house was round me, and yet it isn't, and
it's horridly still."



206 JUDGE HAVISHAM'S WILL.

Wynt shot a swift glance into his brother's
face. It was the first time Cyp had ever said any-
thing like that

Of course six o'clock was a very different


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