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Trevlyn Hold   By:

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A Novel






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The fine summer had faded into autumn, and the autumn would soon be fading into winter. All signs of harvest had disappeared. The farmers had gathered the golden grain into their barns; the meads looked bare, and the partridges hid themselves in the stubble left by the reapers.

Perched on the top of a stile which separated one field from another, was a boy of some fifteen years. Several books, a strap passed round to keep them together, were flung over his shoulder, and he sat throwing stones into a pond close by, softly whistling as he did so. The stones came out of his pocket. Whether stored there for the purpose to which they were now being put, was best known to himself. He was a slender, well made boy, with finely shaped features, a clear complexion, and eyes dark and earnest. A refined face; a good face and you have not to learn that the face is the index of the mind. An index that never fails for those gifted with the power to read the human countenance.

Before him at a short distance, as he sat on the stile, lay the village of Barbrook. A couple of miles beyond the village was the large town of Barmester. But you could reach the town without taking the village en route . As to the village itself, there were several ways of reaching it. There was the path through the fields, right in front of the stile where that schoolboy was sitting; there was the green and shady lane (knee deep in mud sometimes); and there were two high roads. From the signs of vegetation around not that the vegetation was of the richest kind you would never suspect that the barren and bleak coal fields lay so near. Only four or five miles away in the opposite direction that is, behind the boy and the stile the coal pits flourished. Farmhouses were scattered within view, had the boy on the stile chosen to look at them; a few gentlemen's houses, and many cottages and hovels. To the left, glancing over the field and across the upper road the road which did not lead to Barbrook, but to Barmester on a slight eminence, rose the fine old fashioned mansion called Trevlyn Hold. Rather to the right, behind him, was the less pretentious but comfortable dwelling called Trevlyn Farm. Trevlyn Hold, formerly the property and residence of Squire Trevlyn, had passed, with that gentleman's death, into the hands of Mr. Chattaway, who now lived in it; his wife having been the Squire's second daughter. Trevlyn Farm was tenanted by Mr. Ryle; and the boy sitting on the stile was Mr. Ryle's eldest son.

There came, scuffling along the field path from the village, as fast as her dilapidated shoes permitted her, a wan looking, undersized girl. She had almost reached the pond, when a boy considerably taller and stronger than the boy on the stile came flying down the field on the left, and planted himself in her way.

"Now then, little toad! Do you want another buffeting?"

"Oh, please, sir, don't stop me!" she cried, beginning to sob loudly. "Father's dying, and mother said I was to run and tell them at the farm. Please let me go by."

"Did I not order you yesterday to keep out of these fields?" asked the tall boy. "The lane and roads are open to you; how dare you come this way? I promised you I'd shake the inside out of you if I caught you here again, and now I'll do it."

"I say," called out at this juncture the lad on the stile, "keep your hands off her."

The child's assailant turned sharply at the sound. He had not seen that any one was there. For one moment he relaxed his hold, but the next appeared to change his mind, and began to shake the girl... Continue reading book >>

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