Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/264

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248
A Study in Temptations.
 

to go to Oxford had not been made with a firm resolve to suffer all things rather than fail to fulfil it. When the time came to leave home, he went with a sigh of relief so heartfelt, that Miss Caroline mistook it for a sob.

"The plum-cake is just inside the bag," she whispered, "but the currant wine is at the bottom of the box. I didn't put it on top because—as you are going to be a minister—it would not look well if the lid flew open!"

He heard no more, for the driver whipped up his horse, and, followed by tears, blessings, exhortations, and warnings, he rode off in the market cart towards fame and the railway station. He was so lost in fair dreams of the future that he did not notice Jane, who, by running across the fields and jumping a few ditches, had managed to reach a certain tree which commanded a fine view of the high-road. This she had climbed, and there she sat on a branch waiting for him to pass.

But while he did not see her for dreaming, she could not see him for tears. Thus her long run, and her jumps, and her climb were for nothing.

De Boys, however, had wished her farewell the night before, and he had felt the parting to the best of his ability. He still felt it—dear, sweet little Jane! (she was tall)—but now other matters were naturally foremost in his mind. Jane, woman-like, utterly unable to understand this, thought him very unloving, and decided to waste no more of her affection where it was not wanted. She was young—but seventeen in fact, impulsive, wilful, passionately fond of romances, but singularly practical in her criticism of life: weeping for her heroines as heroines, yet scorning them