He took her hand and playfully pretended to feel her pulse. Perhaps the eighteen months which I passed in this condition, walking to and fro on those miserably dirty lanes, was the worst period of my life. I was now over fifteen, and had come to an age at which I could appreciate at its full the misery of expulsion from all social intercourse. I had not only no friends, but was despised by all my companions. The farmhouse was not only no more than a farmhouse, but was one of those farmhouses which seem always to be in danger of falling into the neighbouring horse-pond. As it crept downwards from house to stables, from stables to barns, from barns to cowsheds, and from cowsheds to dungheaps, one could hardly tell where one began and the other ended! There was a parlour in which my father lived, shut up among big books; but I passed my most jocund hours in the kitchen, making innocent love to the bailiff鈥檚 daughter. The farm kitchen might be very well through the evening, when the horrors of the school were over; but it all added to the cruelty of the days. A sizar at a Cambridge college, or a Bible-clerk at Oxford, has not pleasant days, or used not to have them half a century ago; but his position was recognised, and the misery was measured. I was a sizar at a fashionable school, a condition never premeditated. What right had a wretched farmer鈥檚 boy, reeking from a dunghill, to sit next to the sons of peers 鈥?or much worse still, next to the sons of big tradesmen who made their ten thousand a year? The indignities I endured are not to be described. As I look back it seems to me that all hands were turned against me 鈥?those of masters as well as boys. I was allowed to join in no plays. Nor did I learn anything 鈥?for I was taught nothing. The only expense, except that of books, to which a house-boarder was then subject, was the fee to a tutor, amounting, I think, to ten guineas. My tutor took me without the fee; but when I heard him declare the fact in the pupil-room before the boys, I hardly felt grateful for the charity. I was never a coward, and cared for a thrashing as little as any boy, but one cannot make a stand against the acerbities of three hundred tyrants without a moral courage of which at that time I possessed none. I know that I skulked, and was odious to the eyes of those I admired and envied. At last I was driven to rebellion, and there came a great fight 鈥?at the end of which my opponent had to be taken home for a while. If these words be ever printed, I trust that some schoolfellow of those days may still be left alive who will be able to say that, in claiming this solitary glory of my school-days, I am not making a false boast. How vividly she remembered every detail鈥攈er fluttering apprehensions during the long drive on the dark road, up hill and down hill; her eagerness for the delight of the dance, as an unaccustomed pleasure鈥攁 scene to which young beauty flies as the moth to the flame; her remorseful consciousness that she had done wrong in yielding to the temptation which drew her there; the longing to see Lostwithiel once more鈥擫ostwithiel, whom she had vowed to herself never to meet again of her own free will. She had gone home that afternoon resolved to forego the ball, to make any social sacrifice rather than look upon that man whose burning words of love, breathed in her ear before she had enough of nerve or calmness to silence him, had left her scathed and geared as if the lightning had blasted her. She had heard his avowal. There was no room now to doubt the meaning[Pg 303] of all that had gone before, no ground now for believing in a tender, platonic admiration, lapping her round with its soft radiance鈥攁 light, but not a fire. That which had burnt into her soul to-day was the fierce flame of a dishonouring love, the bold avowal of a lover who wanted to steal her from her husband, and make her a sinner before her God. 一本到高清在线视频_一本到在线视频免费不卡观看_日本一区不卡高清更新二区 She looked at him shrinkingly, pale as death, as if he had a dagger in his hand ready to strike her. 鈥楶lease promise me at once not to suggest this to him,鈥?she added.