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Tales and Fantasies by Robert Louis Stevenson

Part 4 out of 4

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sent in, but perhaps you may not know, what it does not tell
you, that I am the editor of the THYMEBURY STAR.'

Mr. Naseby looked up, indignant.

'I cannot fancy,' he said, 'that we have much in common to

'I have only a word to say - one piece of information to
communicate. Some months ago, we had - you will pardon my
referring to it, it is absolutely necessary - but we had an
unfortunate difference as to facts.'

'Have you come to apologise?' asked the Squire, sternly.

'No, sir; to mention a circumstance. On the morning in
question, your son, Mr. Richard Naseby - '

'I do not permit his name to be mentioned.'

'You will, however, permit me,' replied the Editor.

'You are cruel,' said the Squire. He was right, he was a
broken man.

Then the Editor described Dick's warning visit; and how he
had seen in the lad's eye that there was a thrashing in the
wind, and had escaped through pity only - so the Editor put
it - 'through pity only sir. And oh, sir,' he went on, 'if
you had seen him speaking up for you, I am sure you would
have been proud of your son. I know I admired the lad
myself, and indeed that's what brings me here.'

'I have misjudged him,' said the Squire. 'Do you know where
he is?'

'Yes, sir, he lies sick at Thymebury.'

'You can take me to him?'

'I can.'

'I pray God he may forgive me,' said the father.

And he and the Editor made post-haste for the country town.

Next day the report went abroad that Mr. Richard was
reconciled to his father and had been taken home to Naseby
House. He was still ailing, it was said, and the Squire
nursed him like the proverbial woman. Rumour, in this
instance, did no more than justice to the truth; and over the
sickbed many confidences were exchanged, and clouds that had
been growing for years passed away in a few hours, and as
fond mankind loves to hope, for ever. Many long talks had
been fruitless in external action, though fruitful for the
understanding of the pair; but at last, one showery Tuesday,
the Squire might have been observed upon his way to the
cottage in the lane.

The old gentleman had arranged his features with a view to
self-command, rather than external cheerfulness; and he
entered the cottage on his visit of conciliation with the
bearing of a clergyman come to announce a death.

The Admiral and his daughter were both within, and both
looked upon their visitor with more surprise than favour.

'Sir,' said he to Van Tromp, 'I am told I have done you much

There came a little sound in Esther's throat, and she put her
hand suddenly to her heart.

'You have, sir; and the acknowledgment suffices,' replied the
Admiral. 'I am prepared, sir, to be easy with you, since I
hear you have made it up with my friend Dick. But let me
remind you that you owe some apologies to this young lady

'I shall have the temerity to ask for more than her
forgiveness,' said the Squire. 'Miss Van Tromp,' he
continued, 'once I was in great distress, and knew nothing of
you or your character; but I believe you will pardon a few
rough words to an old man who asks forgiveness from his
heart. I have heard much of you since then; for you have a
fervent advocate in my house. I believe you will understand
that I speak of my son. He is, I regret to say, very far
from well; he does not pick up as the doctors had expected;
he has a great deal upon his mind, and, to tell you the
truth, my girl, if you won't help us, I am afraid I shall
lose him. Come now, forgive him! I was angry with him once
myself, and I found I was in the wrong. This is only a
misunderstanding, like the other, believe me; and with one
kind movement, you may give happiness to him, and to me, and
to yourself.'

Esther made a movement towards the door, but long before she
reached it she had broken forth sobbing.

'It is all right,' said the Admiral; 'I understand the sex.
Let me make you my compliments, Mr. Naseby.'

The Squire was too much relieved to be angry.

'My dear,' said he to Esther, 'you must not agitate

'She had better go up and see him right away,' suggested Van

'I had not ventured to propose it,' replied the Squire. 'LES
CONVENANCES, I believe - '

'JE M'EN FICHE,' cried the Admiral, snapping his fingers.
'She shall go and see my friend Dick. Run and get ready,

Esther obeyed.

'She has not - has not run away again?' inquired Mr. Naseby,
as soon as she was gone.

'No,' said Van Tromp, 'not again. She is a devilish odd girl
though, mind you that.'

'But I cannot stomach the man with the carbuncles,' thought
the Squire.

And this is why there is a new household and a brand-new baby
in Naseby Dower House; and why the great Van Tromp lives in
pleasant style upon the shores of England; and why twenty-six
individual copies of the THYMEBURY STAR are received daily at
the door of Naseby House.

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