Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/95
IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA.
had rough good-humor, and were willing to oblige the half-witted boy, and they encouraged him to go with them shooting, or to sit with them in their huts.
Jamie manifested so strong a distaste for books, and lesson time being one of resistance, pouting, tears, and failures, that Judith thought it not amiss to put off the resumption of these irksome tasks for a little while, and to let the boy have his run of holidays. She fancied that the loss of his father and of his old home preyed on him more than was actually the case; and believed that by giving him freedom till the first pangs were over, he might not suffer in the way that she had done.
For a fortnight or three weeks Judith's time had been so fully engaged at the parsonage, that she could not have devoted much of it to Jamie, even had she thought it desirable to keep him to his lessons; nor could she be with him much. She did not press him to accompany her to the rectory, there to spend the time that she was engaged sorting her father's letters and memoranda, his account-books and collection of extracts made from volumes he had borrowed, as not only would it be tedious to him, but he would distract her mind. She must see that he was amused, and must also provide that he was not at mischief. She did take him with her on one or two occasions, and found that he had occupied himself in disarranging much that she had put together for the sale.
But she would not allow him wholly to get out of the way of looking to her as his companion, and she abandoned an afternoon to him now and then, as her work became less arduous, to walk with him on the cliffs or in the lanes, to listen to his childish prattle, and throw herself into his new pursuits. The link between them must not be allowed to become relaxed, and, so far as in her lay, she did her utmost to maintain it in its former security. But, with his father's death, and his removal to Mr. Menaida's cottage, a new world had opened to Jamie; he was brought into association with men and boys whom he had hardly known by sight previously, and without any wish to disengage himself from his sister's authority, he was led to look to others as comrades, and to listen to and follow their promptings.
"Come, Jamie," said Judith, one day. "Now I really have some hours free, and I will go a stroll with you on the downs."