Hugh was aware that his social position was far inferior to that of his neighbour, but he was not at all disposed to put himself forward. Only in the matter of land buying he had once or twice come into collision with Mr. Hammond, and this was not the only occasion in which he had bought land over his head. He could not help regretting that Jessie, who was so useful and such a treasure to her mother, and Allan his own right hand, whose judgment and skill he relied on in all matters of business, should have missed the advantages of the position they had helped to attain; and that while the younger members of the family were at school in Adelaide, the two cleverest and best of them all should be so backward in school attainments. It was of less consequence for Jessie, but for Allan it was indeed a loss, that by the time his father could spare him he was too big and too manly to send to school. Louis and Fred Hammond used to report to their mother that Allan was the handiest fellow in the district, and had wonderful knowledge of stock and horses, and was a famous shot; but Mrs. Hammond discouraged the lad's visits to Branxholm, for she could no bear her boys to associate with such unpolished boorish clodpoles as the Lindsays must be. She was ambitious for her children, and especially for her sons, and she had
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BRANXHOLM AND ARALEWIN.