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8. The T-Cart
When Harold took his degree, Stephen's father took her to Cambridge. She enjoyed the
trip very much; indeed, it seemed under conditions that were absolutely happy.
When they had returned to Normanstand, the Squire took an early opportunity of bringing
Harold alone into his study. He spoke to him with what in a very young man would have
seemed diffidence:
'I have been thinking, Harold, that the time has come when you should be altogether your
own master. I am more than pleased, my boy, with the way you have gone through
college; it is, I am sure, just as your dear father would have wished it, and as it would
have pleased him best.' He paused, and Harold said in a low voice:
'I tried hard, sir, to do what I thought he would like; and what you would.' The Squire
went on more cheerfully:
'I know that, my boy! I know that well. And I can tell you that it is not the least of the
pleasures we have all had in your success, how you have justified yourself. You have
won many honours in the schools, and you have kept the reputation as an athlete which
your father was so proud of. Well, I suppose in the natural order of things you would go
into a profession; and of course if you so desire you can do that. But if you can see your
way to it I would rather that you stayed here. My house is your home as long as I live; but
I don't wish you to feel in any way dependent. I want you to stay here if you will; but to
do it just because you wish to. To this end I have made over to you the estate at Camp
which was my father's gift to me when I came of age. It is not a very large one; but it will
give you a nice position of your own, and a comfortable income. And with it goes my
blessing, my dear boy. Take it as a gift from your father and myself!'
Harold was much moved, not only by the act itself but by the gracious way of doing it.
There were tears in his eyes as he wrung the Squire's hand; his voice thrilled with feeling
as he said:
'Your many goodnesses to my father's son, sir, will, I hope, be justified by his love and
loyalty. If I don't say much it is because I do not feel quite master of myself. I shall try to
show in time, as I cannot say it all at once, all that I feel.'
Harold continued to live at Normanstand. The house at Camp was in reality a charming
cottage. A couple of servants were installed, and now and again he stayed there for a few
days as he wished to get accustomed to the place. In a couple of months every one
accepted the order of things; and life at Normanstand went on much as it had done before
Harold had gone to college. There was a man in the house now instead of a boy: that was
all. Stephen too was beginning to be a young woman, but the relative positions were the
same as they had been. Her growth did not seem to make an ostensible difference to any