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from all the rest, known as the infirmary, one bright-eyed boy lay tossing about upon his uneasy pillow, restless and feverish. The distant echo of the chorus which had reached him in the night through the long passages-Dulce, dulce, dulce domum !still lingered on his ears; and from time to time he repeated them in a half whisper, like one in a dream, dulce, dulce, dulce domum ; some idea they conveyed to his mind, no doubt, but nothing very distinct or pleasing, as his sad and weary look of confusion indicated ; again and again the tongue was heard lisping the words, dulce, dulce, dulce, but for the most part without any consciousness of the sense or sentiment. Sometimes the sound of wheels upon the gravel caught his attention and then he would look about him with an expression of surprise and helplessness, wondering, no doubt, why everybody was going away so suddenly, leaving him in a strange place alone ; wondering, rather than sorrowing, though his face was overshadowed now and then with an expression of unutterable sadness. But the old song was again upon his lips presently, and in whispered tones he kept on repeating the refrain, dulce, dulce, dulce domum-dulce, dulce domum.

CHAPTER XLI.

A STRANGE VISITOR.

And now a shadow and a terror fell
On the great house, as if a passing bell
Tolled from the tower, and filled each spacious room
With secret awe and preternatural gloom.-Longfellow.

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om HOWARD had been tolerably well until after the first

anxious, waiting for the hour to arrive when he should take his place in the class-room and receive his papers. He could neither sleep nor eat, and found it difficult to control his thoughts or to remember some of the most elementary parts of his work, but he trusted that it would all come back to him at the moment of need. The uncertainty, the delay, the suspense was, he thought, the chief cause of his deficiency. As soon as he should know exactly what had to be done, he should be able at least to apply his mind to it. But when the time was come, and the papers were given out, he cast his eye down the list of questions, and found himself utterly at a loss. His mind seemed to be a perfect blank; he could not remember anything that he wanted. He put down the first paper in despair; there was not a single question in it that he could answer: and yet he felt that he ought to know something about them; and gradually as he went over them again one by one, light seemed to dawn upon his mind : presently he was able to recall one or two of the formulæ required to meet the difficulties, and having thus obtained a clue, other solutions occurred to him, until he saw his way clearly and was able to write down his answers almost to his own satisfaction. At the close of the first day he had succeeded in answering, fully and correctly, nearly all his questions; the only ones which he was not sure about were two or three of the most elementary, mere forms of grammar which he had once known as well as his own name, and yet now he could not feel certain about them. He wrote them down this way and that, and looked at them as one does at the spelling of a word, hoping that the very familiarity of the sight would remove his doubts; but his brain seemed to grow more and more confused, and when time was up, and the papers were collected, he was still uncertain, and so left the answers blank.

The next day he was a little more successful, having had a tolerably good night's rest, and feeling altogether better and less nervous. But towards the close, during the last hour, he seemed again to lose his head; and the first and simplest questions on his papers, which he had passed over in his eagerness to make the most of the more important and, as he thought, more telling subjects, again presented the greatest difficulty. He pored over them till he felt giddy, and before the time allowed had expired he was compelled to leave the room and go out into the fresh air. There he sat down upon the stone steps of the building with a strange sense of confusion, not seeing anything clearly that was before him, but parts only of different objects, and not hearing sounds plainly, but as if at a distance.

Mr. Grantly found him there, and took him to his own room and gave him some sal volatile, after which he seemed to be a little better and lay down upon a couch to sleep. The sleep was but brief, and when he awoke he was chilly and confused, and felt so languid and weary in his limbs that he had to be assisted upstairs to bed, from which, as soon as Mr. Calvert, the doctor, had seen him, he was removed for the sake of quietness to the sanatorium. Mr. Calvert came to see him again the next day, and it was by his desire that the light-hearted boys in their dormitories were requested to restrain the sound of their rejoicing within bounds, that even the distant murmur of their singing might not reach the patient's ears. Perfect quietness was necessary, he said: the nervous system was depressed, the action of the heart was languid and irregular, and the brain suffered in sympathy, or rather as a consequence. He hoped there was not much cause for apprehension, but the boy had been overwrought; he wished their system of indiscriminate competition could be put an end to, or at least that common sense and medical judgment might be allowed to enter into the matter. Boys were sometimes ruined for life by the trials they were put to in boyhood at an age when their mental and

physical powers were yet undeveloped. No man would drive his ass's foal at the rate these boy were made to go.

The next day Mr. Calvert was still more indignant in his protest against youthful competitions and their consequences, the reason being that Tom Howard's condition, instead of improving, had become more disquieting. His friends must be sent for, he said; there would be no going home for many days at least, and then he would not be able to travel alone; they would have to come and fetch him, and had better come at once.

Mrs. Howard arrived at Abbotscliff the following day. She had arranged to go there to see after her son before the letter arrived with the doctor's recommendation, for she felt very anxious about him. Tom had passed a bad night, and was not improving. The boy had been fagged to death almost, Mr. Calvert said ; the brain was excited, and he was suffering severely. The vital powers were depressed; he hoped the symptoms might pass off without giving them cause for graver apprehensions; he must be carefully watched and kept as quiet as possible. Such was the doctor's report to Mrs. Howard. When she entered the room where her boy was lying, he did not show any surprise, though she fancied he was pleased to see her. He seemed to be scarcely conscious of the fact that they had been so long separated from one another; but he liked to have her by his side, to feel the pressure of her lips upon his cheek, and to receive from her hand whatever she offered. Yet he took very little notice of her or of any one else; and though his eyes were generally open, or partly so, and shone with even more than their usual lustre, there was a want of expression in them, and they did not rest for a moment with intelligence upon any object. Even when he slept the eyelids were still partly open, and the breathing was short and irregular; he moaned also in his sleep, and murmured a few words from time

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to time, among which the refrain, dulce, dulce, dulce, were the most frequent.

One day, when the feverish symptoms had been very severe, and Mrs. Howard had scarcely left his bedside for a moment, Mr. Calvert came to her and bade her go to her own room and lie down for an hour or two, promising to remain and watch the sufferer while she took some rest. It was necessary for her, he said, and she might be better spared then perhaps than later. She judged by his manner and his words that he had reasons to be increasingly anxious about the state of his patient, but he assured her that such was not the case. He anticipated a change soon, and hoped it would be a favourable one. She could do nothing for him in his present state, but as soon as an improvement should take place, much would depend upon her care and attention; she had better, therefore, take some rest now.

“You think he will get better !” she exclaimed, her voice trembling with distress and apprehension.

She had asked the same question again and again that day already; but how could she be satisfied ?

“I trust so," was the answer, as usual; "he is young, and of good constitution. He has been severely tried, but I have good hope of him."

“ He is so altered, doctor! he looks so much older than he did. His dear face is so pinched. Alas ! alas !”

She could not restrain herself as she spoke, but burst into sobs, stifling the sound of them as much as possible. The child's face reminded her too painfully of the expression of his father's as she had seen it on the day of his death from sunstroke; the likeness was much stronger than she had ever noticed it before, and she could not but fear that a similar termination of this illness was impending. But she lifted up her heart to Him in whose hands are the issue of life and

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