The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 9, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 9

Pair of Stocks and the Perversity of Fathers Before them was a church, a small church, gray with age, and, like
age, lonely. It stood well back from the road which wound away down
the hill to the scattered cottages in the valley below.

About this church was a burial ground, upon whose green mounds and
leaning headstones the great square tower cast a protecting shadow
that was like a silent benediction. A rural graveyard this, very far
removed from the strife and bustle of cities, and, therefore, a good
place to sleep in.

A low stone wall was set about it, and in the wall was a gate with a
weather-beaten porch, and beside the gate were the stocks, and in
the stocks, with his hands in his pockets, and his back against the
wall, sat a young gentleman.

A lonely figure, indeed, whose boots, bright and polished, were
thrust helplessly enough through the leg-holes of the stocks, as
though offering themselves to the notice of every passer-by. Tall he
was, and point-de-vice from those same helpless boots to the
gleaming silver buckle in his hat band.

Now observing the elegance of his clothes, and the modish languor of
his lounging figure, Barnabas at once recognized him as a gentleman
par excellence, and immediately the memory of his own country-made
habiliments and clumsy boots arose and smote him. The solitary
prisoner seemed in no whit cast down by his awkward and most
undignified situation, indeed, as they drew nearer, Barnabas could
hear him whistling softly to himself. At the sound of their approach,
however, he glanced up, and observed them from under the brim of the
buckled hat with a pair of the merriest blue eyes in the world.

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