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- Hector's Inheritance - 5/41 -
"Then shan't I be revenged upon him?" asked Guy, disappointed.
"Listen, Guy," said his father. "Is it no punishment that the boy is stripped of all his possessions, while you step into his place? Henceforth he will be dependent upon me, and later, upon you. He has been hurled down from his proud place as owner of Castle Roscoe, and I have taken his place, as you will hereafter do."
"Yes," said Guy, gleefully; "it will be a proud day when I become master of the estate."
Allan Roscoe was not a specially sensitive man, but this remark of his son jarred upon him.
"You seem to forget, Guy, that you do not succeed till I am dead!"
"Yes, I suppose so," answered Guy, slowly.
"It almost seems as if you were in a hurry for me to die."
"I didn't mean that, but it's natural to suppose that I shall live longer than you do, isn't it?"
"I suppose so," returned Allan Roscoe, shortly.
"Of course that's what I mean."
"Then, since you are so much better off than Hector, you had better be more considerate, and leave him to get over his disappointment as well as he can."
"Shall I send in Hector to see you?" asked Guy, as he at length turned to leave the room.
"You're to go in to my father," said Guy, reappearing on the lawn; "he's going to give it to you."
Hector anticipated some such summons, and he had remained in the same spot, too proud to have it supposed that he shrank from the interview.
With a firm, resolute step, he entered the presence of Allan Roscoe.
"I hear you wish to see me, Mr. Roscoe," he said, manfully.
"Yes, Hector; Guy has come to me with complaints of you."
"If he says I knocked him down for insulting me, he has told you the truth," said Hector, sturdily.
"That was the substance of what he said, though he did not admit the insult."
"But for that I should not have attacked him."
"I do not care to interfere in boys' quarrels, except in extreme cases," said Mr. Roscoe. "I am afraid Guy was aggravatiag, and you were unnecessarily violent."
"It doesn't seem to me so," said Hector.
"So I regard it. I have warned him not to add by taunts to the poignancy of your disappointment. I request you to remember that Guy is my son, and that I am disposed to follow my brother's directions, and provide for and educate you."
Hector bowed and retired. He went out with a more favorable opinion of Allan Roscoe, who had treated the difficulty in a reasonable manner.
Allan Roscoe looked after him as he went out.
"I hate that boy," he said, to himself; "I temporize from motives of policy, but I mean to tame his haughty spirit yet."
PREPARING TO LEAVE HOME.
Allan Roscoe's remonstrance with the two boys had the effect of keeping the peace between them for the remainder of the week. Guy did not think it prudent to taunt Hector, unless backed up by his father, and he felt that the change in their relative positions was satisfaction enough at present. Besides, his father, in a subsequent conversation, had told Guy that it was his purpose to place Hector in a boarding school, where the discipline would be strict, and where he would be thrashed if he proved rebellious.
"I shall tell Mr. Smith," he added, "that the boy needs a strong hand, and that I am not only perfectly willing that he should be punished whenever occasion may call for it, but really desire it."
"Good, good!" commended Guy, gleefully. "I hope old Smith'll lay it on good."
"I presume he will," said Allan Roscoe, smiling in sympathy with his son's exuberance. "I am told by a man who knows him that he is a tall man, strong enough to keep order, and determined to do it."
"I should like to be there to see Hector's first flogging," remarked the amiable Guy. "I'd rather see it than go to the theater any time."
"I don't see how you can, unless you also enter the school."
"No, thank you," answered Guy. "No boarding school for me. That isn't my idea of enjoyment. I'd rather stay at home with you. Hector won't be here to interfere with my using his horse and buggy."
"They are his no longer. I give them to you."
"Thank you, father," said Guy, very much gratified.
"But I would rather you would not use them till after Hector is gone. It might disturb him."
"That's just why I want to do it."
"But it might make trouble. He might refuse to go to school."
"You'd make him go, wouldn't you, father?"
"Yes; but I wish to avoid forcible measures, if possible. Come, Guy, it's only till Monday; then Hector will be out of the way, and you can do as you please without fear of interference."
"All right, father. I'll postpone my fun till he is out of the way. You'll go with him, won't you?"
"Just tell old Smith how to treat him. Tell him to show him no mercy, if he doesn't behave himself."
"You seem to dislike Hector very much. You shouldn't feel so. It isn't Christian."
Guy looked at his father queerly out of the corner of his eye. He understood him better than Allan Roscoe supposed.
"I hope you won't insist on my loving him, father," he said. "I leave that to you."
"I only wish you to avoid coming into collision with him. As for love, that is something not within our power."
"Will you be ready to go with me to boarding school on Monday morning, Hector?" asked Allan Roscoe, on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, Hector felt that it would be a relief to get away from the house which he had been taught to look upon as his--first by right of inheritance, and later as actual owner. As long as he remained he was unpleasantly reminded of the great loss he had experienced. Again, his relations with Guy were unfriendly, and he knew that if they were permanently together it wouldn't be long before there would be another collision. Though in such a case he was sure to come off victorious, he did not care to contend, especially as no advantage could come of it in the end.
Of the boarding school kept by Mr. Socrates Smith he had never heard, but felt that he would, at any rate, prefer to find himself amid new scenes. If the school were a good one, he meant to derive benefit from it, for he was fond of books and study, and thought school duties no task.
"I have carefully selected a school for you," continued Allan Roscoe, "because I wish to follow out my poor brother's wishes to the letter. A good education will fit you to maintain yourself, and attain a creditable station in life, which is very important, since you will have to carve your own future."
There was no objection to make to all this. Still, it did grate upon Hector's feelings, to be so often reminded of his penniless position, when till recently he had regarded himself, and had been regarded by others, as a boy of large property.
Smithville was accessible by railroad, being on the same line as the town of Plympton in which Roscoe Castle was situated. There was a train starting at seven o'dock, which reached Smithville at half-past, eight. This was felt to be the proper train to take, as it would enable Hector to reach school before the morning session began. Allan Roscoe, who was not an early riser, made an effort to rise in time, and succeeded. In truth, he was anxious to get Hector out of the house. It might be that the boy's presence was a tacit reproach, it might be that he had contracted a dislike for him. At any rate, when Hector descended to the breakfast room, he found Mr. Roscoe already there.
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