t, sir, and said he might not return this afternoon."
"Felt I was coming perhaps," said the visitor. "Here, don't let me hinder you, my lad; he won't like you to waste time. Getting on with your law reading?"
The boy looked at him wistfully, and shook his head.
"Eh? No? But you must, my lad. You're no fool, you know, and you've got to be a clever lawyer before you've done."
Tom felt disposed to quote his other uncle's words as to his folly, but he choked down the inclination.
"There, I won't hinder you, my lad," continued the visitor. "I know what you busy London people are, and how we slow-going country folk get in your way. I only want to look at a Directory,--you have one I know."
"Yes, sir, in the other office. I'll fetch it."
The quiet, grey-haired, grave-looking visitor gave a nod as if of acquiescence, and Tom ran into the inner office, where he found that Pringle must have heard every word, for he was holding out the London Directory all ready.
Tom is orphaned and taken in by an uncle who fails to appreciate his sterling virtues. He's transferred to another uncle, and treated like a prince. It's a routine plot but a decent enough story.
Regrettably, however, it's slow-moving and overly-long, the characters—especially Tom— seem a bit slow on the uptake, and the good guys are simply too saintly to be entirely believable.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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