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96
TONO-BUNGAY

him—almost as sorry as I was for my aunt Susan. Even then I had quite found him out. I knew him to be weaker than myself; his incurable, irresponsible childishness was as clear to me then as it was on his death-bed, his redeeming and excusing imaginative silliness. Through some odd mental twist, perhaps, I was disposed to exonerate him even at the cost of blaming my poor old mother who had left things in his untrustworthy hands.

I should have forgiven him altogether, I believe, if he had been in any manner apologetic to me; but he wasn't that. He kept reassuring me in a way I found irritating. Mostly, however, his solicitude was for Aunt Susan and himself.

"It's these Crises, George," he said, "try Character. Your aunt's come out well, my boy."

He made meditative noises for a space.

"Had her cry, of course"—the thing had been only too painfully evident to me in her eyes and swollen face—"who wouldn't? But now—buoyant again! . . . She's a Corker.

"We'll be sorry to leave the little house, of course. It's a bit like Adam and Eve, you know. Lord! what a chap old Milton was!

"'The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.'

It sounds, George. . . . Providence their guide! . . . Well—thank goodness there's no imeedgit prospect of either Cain or Abel!

"After all, it won't be so bad up there. Not the scenery, perhaps, or the air we get here, but—Life! We've got very comfortable little rooms, very comfortable considering, and I shall rise. We're not done yet,