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Bond put down the receiver.

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"Got it," said Bond.

The man depressed the lever sharply and the jangling stopped with a final clatter.I shall never forget the first weeks I spent at the country house. The weather was magnificent; we left town on the 9th of May, on St. Nicholas’s day. I used to walk about in our garden, in the Neskutchny gardens, and beyond the town gates; I would take some book with me — Keidanov’s Course, for instance — but I rarely looked into it, and more often than anything declaimed verses aloud; I knew a great deal of poetry by heart; my blood was in a ferment and my heart ached — so sweetly and absurdly; I was all hope and anticipation, was a little frightened of something, and full of wonder at everything, and was on the tiptoe of expectation; my imagination played continually, fluttering rapidly about the same fancies, like martins about a bell-tower at dawn; I dreamed, was sad, even wept; but through the tears and through the sadness, inspired by a musical verse, or the beauty of evening, shot up like grass in spring the delicious sense of youth and effervescent life. In the course of instruction which I have partially retraced, the point most superficially apparent is the great effort to give, during the years of childhood an amount of knowledge in what are considered the higher branches of education, which is seldom acquired (if acquired at all) until the age of manhood. The result of the experiment shows the ease with which this may be done, and places in a strong light the wretched waste of so many precious years as are spent in acquiring the modicum of Latin and Greek commonly taught to schoolboys; a waste, which has led so many educational reformers to entertain the ill-judged proposal of discarding these languages altogether from general education. If I had been by nature extremely quick of apprehension, or had possessed a very accurate and retentive memory or were of a remarkably active and energetic character, the trial would not be conclusive; but in all these natural gifts I am rather below than above par; what I could do, could assuredly be done by any boy or girl of average capacity and healthy physical constitution: and if I have accomplished anything, I owe it, among other fortunate circumstances, to the fact that through the early training bestowed on me by my father, I started, I may fairly say, with an advantage of a quarter of a century over my contemporaries. 鈥楾his has been a year of trials. Since I reached seventy, I feel as if my path had grown steeper, and flowers wither. But when the summit of the Hill is reached鈥攚hat joy! I can hardly help envying my sweet Laura; and, oh, I am thankful that she was spared acute suffering! Her end鈥攁s regards this world鈥攚as indeed peace; her happiness will be never-ending. You see that I am again at Futteyghur, for about five days, to keep Miss Key company.... It was no sacrifice to me to come out to the village, for I was glad to be in a very quiet place just now. Batala is too full of friends and too cheerful for my present mood. Work is congenial; not cheerful meetings. Mrs. Corfield gave a sort of Concert on Wednesday, to which every one was invited; but I, of course, stayed at home. There is no one but Daisy Key and myself here.鈥橖/strong> The woods, as far as the eye could reach on either side of the grand approach, and also in the vicinity of the walks leading to the lake[295] and to Lady Susan’s cottage were festooned with coloured lamps, and, at an early hour, filled with groups of company. Lady Susan’s cottage itself was illuminated in a simple style; while, to the great delight of the peasantry and tenantry, who were permitted to peep in at the window, her ladyship, dressed in a rustic garb of stuff, with ribbon tucks, sat by a bright fire spinning with great industry. The trees were purposely left without lamps to a certain distance round, and at the back of the little thatched building, which, with its one window lit up as if to contribute its humble mite to the great public rejoicings, and its open door emitting a stream of firelight, had a singularly picturesque appearance.

鈥楢s Fides stood gazing on the fair gift before him, once more, and for the last time, the shining robe and star-wreath of Conscience flashed on his sight. Never before had her smile been so glad, so beaming with the radiance of Heaven.

鈥極ct. 20.[141]鈥 ... My precious Laura departed.鈥