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IDALIA

you're like what your father was, you won't complain of a sinecure."

The boy-master of King's Beat bowed to the cabinet councillor.

"I am not what he was; and I do not take money from the State, if the State do not need my services. I did not come here to seek a pension!"

The great statesman stared at him a second with a blank amazement; his condescension had never met with such a rebuff and such a scruple in all his length of years and of office. The grave and reverend Heads that bent to the earth in docility and servility before the Foreign Secretary, gazed at the offender with such horror of reprobation as the members of the Inquisition might have bestowed on a blasphemer who had reviled the Host and rebelled against the Holy See. Erceldoune stood his ground calmly and indifferently; he had said simply what he meant, and, in the pride of his youth and his ruin, he was grandly careless whether he had closed the door of every career upon himself, and condemned himself to starve for life on his profitless acres of tame and gorse.

The Minister looked at him, with his keen blue eyes reading the boy through and through; then a rich humour lighted up their glittering azure light,