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The Man

4. Harold At Normanstand
Two years afterwards a great blow fell upon Harold. His father, who had been suffering
from repeated attacks of influenza, was, when in the low condition following this, seized
with pneumonia, to which in a few days he succumbed. Harold was heart-broken. The
affection which had been between him and his father had been so consistent that he had
never known a time when it was not.
When Squire Norman had returned to the house with him after the funeral, he sat in
silence holding the boy's hand till he had wept his heart out. By this time the two were
old friends, and the boy was not afraid or too shy to break down before him. There was
sufficient of the love of the old generation to begin with trust in the new.
Presently, when the storm was past and Harold had become his own man again, Norman
said:
'And now, Harold, I want you to listen to me. You know, my dear boy, that I am your
father's oldest friend, and right sure I am that he would approve of what I say. You must
come home with me to live. I know that in his last hours the great concern of your dear
father's heart would have been for the future of his boy. And I know, too, that it was a
comfort to him to feel that you and I are such friends, and that the son of my dearest old
friend would be as a son to me. We have been friends, you and I, a long time, Harold; and
we have learned to trust, and I hope to love, one another. And you and my little Stephen
are such friends already that your coming into the house will be a joy to us all. Why, long
ago, when first you came, she said to me the night you went away: "Daddy, wouldn't it be
nice if Harold could come here altogether?"'
And so Harold An Wolf came back with the Squire to Normanstand, and from that day
on became a member of his house, and as a son to him. Stephen's delight at his coming
was of course largely qualified by her sympathy with his grief; but it would have been
hard to give him more comfort than she did in her own pretty way. Putting her lips to his
she kissed him, and holding his big hand in both of her little ones, she whispered softly:
'Poor Harold! You and I should love each other, for we have both lost our mother. And
now you have lost your father. But you must let my dear daddy be yours too!'
At this time Harold was between fourteen and fifteen years old. He was well educated in
so far as private teaching went. His father had devoted much care to him, so that he was
well grounded in all the Academic branches of learning. He was also, for his years, an
expert in most manly exercises. He could ride anything, shoot straight, fence, run, jump
or swim with any boy more than his age and size.
In Normanstand his education was continued by the rector. The Squire used often to take
him with him when he went to ride, or fish, or shoot; frankly telling him that as his
 
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