The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 3, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 3

It was upon a certain glorious morning, some three weeks later, that
Barnabas fared forth into the world; a morning full of the thousand
scents of herb and flower and ripening fruits; a morning glad with
the song of birds. And because it was still very early, the dew yet
lay heavy, it twinkled in the grass, it sparkled in the hedges, and
gemmed every leaf and twig with a flaming pendant. And amidst it all,
fresh like the morning and young like the sun, came Barnabas, who,
closing the door of the "Coursing Hound" behind him, leapt lightly
down the stone steps and, turning his back upon the ancient inn, set
off towards that hill, beyond which lay London and the Future.
Yet--being gone but a very little way--he halted suddenly and came
striding back again. And standing thus before the inn he let his
eyes wander over its massive crossbeams, its leaning gables, its
rows of gleaming lattices, and so up to the great sign swinging
above the door--an ancient sign whereon a weather-beaten hound,
dim-legged and faded of tail, pursued a misty blur that, by common
report, was held to be a hare. But it was to a certain casement that
his gaze oftenest reverted, behind whose open lattice he knew his
father lay asleep, and his eyes, all at once, grew suffused with a
glittering brightness that was not of the morning, and he took a
step forward, half minded to clasp his father's hand once more ere
he set out to meet those marvels and wonders that lay waiting for
him over the hills--London-wards. Now, as he stood hesitating, he
heard a voice that called his name softly, and, glancing round and up,
espied Natty Bell, bare of neck and touzled of head, who leaned far
out from the casement of his bedchamber above.

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