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      He had become separated from the other searchers, and was alone on the west side of the Moor. The wind barked and howled, hurling itself upon him as he stood, beating his face with hail, which hissed into the dead tangles of the heather, while the stripped thorns yapped and rattled, and the bushes roared. So great was the tumult that he seemed to fall into it like a stone into a waveit passed over him, round him, seemed even to pass under him, he was hardly conscious of the solid ground. The blackness was impenetrable, save where his lantern stained it with a yellow smudge. He shouted, but his voice perished in the dinit seemed as if his whole man, sight, voice, hearing, and sensation, was blurring into the storm, as if Boarzell had swamped him at last, made him merely one of its hundred voices, mocking the manhood which had tried so much against its earth.You are coming to the library this evening, are you not?

      It was about a fortnight after this court day that the fortunate yeoman one morning led his mother, Edith Holgrave, to the cottage he had built on the land that was now his own.

      That same evening, before her husband was back, a letter came for Rose. It was from Benjamin at Rye, announcing that he was sailing that night in the Rother Lady for Las Palmas. He was sick of the farm, and could not stand it any longer. Would Rose tell his father?

      "Goodbye, Dolly, I must leave you

      "Then, my lord, I request that John Byles and his wife be instantly brought before us; and with your leave, no one passes from this hall except my page, till they appear," continued Sir Robert, as he observed a movement in the steward, indicating an intention to retire.

      "The monk John."


      A few weeks later Richard wrote himself, breaking the silence of years. Success had made him feel more kindly towards his father. He forgave the frustrations and humiliations of his youth, and enquired after his brothers and sisters and the progress of the old farm. Anne Bardon had kept him fairly well posted in Backfield history, but though he knew of Reuben's unlucky marriage and of the foot-and-mouth catastrophe, he had evidently lost count of absconding sons, for he[Pg 336] seemed to think Pete had run away too, which Reuben considered an unjustifiable aspersion on his domestic order. However, the general tone of his letter was conciliatory, and his remarks on the cattle-plague "most pr?aper."



      "But, Master Calverley," said Black Jack, as the former abruptly rose to depart, "is my intelligence worth nothing, setting aside the actual loss I have sustained by sitting for four hours spending my money in this room, when I ought to have been fishing about for jobs?"