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A passionate scramble for food, beatings, tears, slumber, a swift transition from one childish ailment to another that kept her forever out of reach of the truant officer. She lay upon the floor in a little dark room, and through the window in the airless air-shaft, high up in one corner, she could see a three-cornered spot of light.

The truant imagination of the unhappy butt went far afield in search of terrors; neither food, nor wine, nor the pleasures of the theatre could tempt him, and he remained in a state of limpness until the natural buoyancy of his spirits asserted itself. What a life!

No other way was attempted. At the Catholic prison they did not even do that. They kept them on a "footing of social equality" by mixing them all up together; and when in amazement I asked if that was doing right by the truant who might be reasonably supposed to be in special danger from such contact, the answer I got was "would it be fair to the burglar to set him apart with the stamp on him?"

"Adieu for the present, dear Hubert," said the latter, on seeing Lord Melrose advancing to claim her for the next waltz. "Ah, my fear truant, you have given me a world of anxiety. Why do you persist in such delightful methods of torture." "Torture! Lord Melrose!" exclaimed the lady with an air of arch coquetry. Meanwhile Marguerite Verne sat in the quiet of her own apartment.

"Where's my truant cavalier? You have never come without him? That would be too cruel." "We have; simply because he has left Rome and Italy." "Left Rome without bidding me adieu," screamed Posey, "how cruel! Eveline, ring for my drops; the shock makes me feel quite faint. Tell me how, and why, Lady Esmondet?" "His uncle, Sir Vincent was dying, is now probably over the border."

Not that Will Shakespeare can put it into words he only knows that when the smell of the warm, newly turned earth comes in at the schoolroom window and the hum of a wandering bee rises above the droning of the lesson, he lolls on the hacked and ink-stained desk and gazes out at the white clouds flecking the blue, and all the truant blood in his sturdy frame pulls against his promises.

He walked up to her and gave her his hand, and smiled upon her. She had made up her little speech. "I hope they are quite well at Yoxham," she said, in that low, soft, silver voice which he had told himself would so well befit the future Countess Lovel. "Oh yes; I believe so. I am a truant there, for I do not answer aunt Julia's letters as punctually as I ought to do.

Still, to start on a brisk walk, and on such an errand as hers, on a dry clear wintry morning, through the rarefied air of these chalky hogs'-backs, was not depressing; and there is no doubt that her dream at starting was to win the heart of her mother-in-law, tell her whole history to that lady, enlist her on her side, and so gain back the truant.

"Where have you hidden yourself all the morning, little truant? Why! what has happened to distress you? Your eyes look as though you had been weeping. Dear Bertha! what ails you?" "I could not bear it any longer," almost sobbed Bertha, laying her head upon her cousin's shoulder.

There was a sound of whistling, too, when a voice in the stalls, suggestive of a molting cockerel, cried out with great conviction: "That's very smart!" All the house looked round. It was the cherub, the truant from the boarding-school, who sat with his fine eyes very wide open and his fair face glowing very hotly at sight of Nana.

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