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not probable the struggle will last long. These are wonderful epochs in trade, more wonderful than any of your fairy tales, Eve. I am working now with might and main for a special purpose. The post of which Sir Mark held out a prospect to me when I first spoke to him, will be vacant probably in a couple of months, and I wish to satisfy him to the utmost before the question is decided. I shall have more to do yet, for Sir Mark is going to Wales.'
It was toil, incessant toil then ; early off to the dense fog-girt city in those chill autumnal mornings; home late with books to write up, and regular budgets to compile for the master, who never could have too full a report of all transactions which passed in his absence. There was the general view of the business to be reported, without reference to the regular official account of them; and there was besides much to be said respecting the various extra concerns in which Sir Mark, as a man of wealth and standing, bore a prominent part-great companies, of which he was chairman or directorcharities of which he took anxious care-and much relating to his landed property, which passed through Mordaunt's hands before it reached his.
Sir Mark liked the Welsh air, and roamed about his mother's pretty woods and gardens, not gloomily, although possibly even more abstractedly than ever ; and yet he had no special zest in the renewal of his youthful associations.
'I thought, Mark,' said Mrs. Philipson, 'you would feel like a boy again when you set your foot on the heath once more.'
"Is it desirable, mother? Was the boy so much happier than the man ? I question it. I was a restless, discontented youth, I fancy, and you may remember that those days had not a few clouds and mortifications. I am not sure that I was ever young; for prosperity brought with it such responsibilities, such loads of care, such necessity for exertion and selftuition, that I have never had time to be young or to be happy—as people describe happiness.'
Then let me hope the youth and joy have yet to come, and with a richer glory than if they had bloomed earlier,' the mother murmured; and the face on which she gazed wavered a little from its usual imperturbability, as if the first dawn of that coming light gleamed on it even now.
Mrs. Philipson paused; slowly her son's downcast eyes were raised to hers, doubtfully,
And so you
deprecatingly, and then the half smile stole across his lips.
They turned away from the gate which opened on the mountain, and went down to the bright terrace before the house. Up and down they paced, and spoke no word for a long time; the mother anxious, yet afraid to intrude upon his confidence; and he, busy, as usual, with his own thoughts. Of course, when she broke silence, it was not about the subject uppermost in her mind.
have taken up this new trade with ? You will laugh, my dear, at my giving advice to you on commercial affairs, but I don't like it.'
Oh! it is such a gigantic enterprise-a certain risk, a dubious gain.'
"And therefore I should have left it to inferior houses, who could not carry it out. Well, I own it is a great undertaking, but I am a sort of enthusiast in
craft. I have a certain pride in devoting my colossal powers to a colossal enterprise. Men who derive great estates from their ancestors take delight in transmitting them intact to the same family; but commerce has been my liberal endower
stands to me in the place of ancestry; I judged that I owed her a duty—that I ought to be the pioneer to this new field of conquest. If I even failed personally in achieving success, in the end I should yet have paved the way for others; and after all, wealth is no essential to
We are alone, mother, and could return contentedly to our cottage. We have tasted the sweets, such as they are.'
• They are sweeter to you than you fancy, Mark. It is easier to bear poverty when we have never known wealth and power. Besides, Mark, you may not always be alone.'
Sir Mark did not appear to listen. Never mind, mother, I have made the bold, forward march, and hitherto have conquered. I am not very sanguine, but here I can scarcely see the possibility of defeat or reverse.'
Is not that fair ? Mrs. Philipson asked, motioning with her hand towards the beautiful valley from which the last mist had rolled, leaving it clear and golden, with the peculiar rich sad light of a fine autumn day. But Sir Mark's eye wandered from the scenery to the distant lane, and the approaching figure of a boy on horseback, trotting fast, as if he knew his master's eye was on him, impatiently expectant of what he brought.
Mrs. Philipson added to the beautiful picture of the valley, the autumnal morning, and the peaceful terrace, the image of the hurrying post-boy, and the tall, motionless figure of her son, his unmoved features, and the intense fixed earnestness of his eye.
'I remember it,' she often said, 'I remember it as if it were to-day.'
The trees have shut out the approaching figure, but Sir Mark still looks before him steadily till the boy has dismounted and brought him the post-bag.
'None for you, mother, none for you;' and he casts out a mass of letters upon the sundial beside them, and deals them over as if they were cards, till he seizes the thickest packet—it is directed in a small, fair, undecided handwriting—it is a woman's. But Mrs. Philipson makes no remark, because his surprise is obvious at the first glance.
What does this mean ?'
He opens it, nevertheless, with an unwonted agitation, and reads eagerly some lines traced in the cover.
Poor fellow !' was his exclamation. There