Just inside the gate the guard were falling in, preparatory to the arrival of the relief, and something in their smart appearance, and in the very clank of their rifle-butts upon the flagstones, stirred his heart; yes, that was the calling he meant to follow. He strode off along the Hornalby road, whistling a lively tune, and conjuring up bright mental pictures of the life before him.
The term ran on, and at length the last day arrived; a day of perfect happiness, with no more work, and a letter by the first post from Queen Mab, saying that the pony-carriage would meet the train as usual at Hornalby station.
As might have been expected, Fenleigh J. was found to be the owner of the pillow which had done the damage, and he was accordingly kept back on the following day to pay the usual penalty of an imposition. "I'll take your luggage on with me," said Valentine. "You get out at Hornalby, the first station from here, and it's only about a quarter of a mile from there to Brenlands.
"Botheration!" cried Jack, "we've come wrong; this leads to some farm. We shall never get home at this rate." Retracing their steps the way they had come, the two unfortunate adventurers at length found themselves on the Hornalby road; but when they reached Melchester, and were hurrying down the side street past "Duster's" shop, the cathedral clock struck half-past eleven.
"This weather don't seem very seasonable. I wonder whether it's frost and snow away home at Brenlands." "Yes; I wonder if the reservoir at Hornalby is frozen. We used to go skating there when I was at school. It seems a jolly long time ago now!" "It don't seem three years ago to me since you enlisted. I never thought you'd have stayed so long." "Didn't you?
The glare of light and noise of the fair had been left some distance behind them, and there were no sounds of pursuit. The night was very dark, and everything in their immediate neighbourhood was quiet and still. "We must get to the town some other way," said Jack. "Doesn't the road to Hornalby pass somewhere here on the right?"