Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. II, 1872.djvu/48

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should wait for Mr Garth, or use any good opportunity in conversation to confess to Mrs Garth herself, give her the money and ride away.

"One—only one. Fanny Hackbutt comes at half past eleven. I am not getting a great income now," said Mrs Garth, smiling. "I am at a low ebb with pupils. But I have saved my little purse for Alfred's premium: I have ninety-two pounds. He can go to Mr Hanmer's now; he is just at the right age."

This did not lead well towards the news that Mr Garth was on the brink of losing ninety-two pounds and more. Fred was silent. "Young gentlemen who go to college are rather more costly than that," Mrs Garth innocently continued, pulling out the edging on a cap-border. "And Caleb thinks that Alfred will turn out a distinguished engineer: he wants to give the boy a good chance. There he is! I hear him coming in. We will go to him in the parlour, shall we?"

When they entered the parlour Caleb had thrown down his hat and was seated at his desk.

"What! Fred, my boy!" he said, in a tone of mild surprise, holding his pen still undipped; "you are here betimes." But missing the usual expression of cheerful greeting in Fred's face, he