e with life!
Mr. Elster walked slowly through the village on his way to Hartledon, whose inmates he would presently take by surprise. It was about twenty months since he had been there. He had left Hartledon at the close of the last winter but one; an appointment having been obtained for him as an _attaché_ to the Paris embassy. Ten months of service, and some scrape he fell into caused him (a good deal of private interest was brought to bear in the matter) to be removed to Vienna; but he had not remained there very long. He seemed to have a propensity for getting into trouble, or rather an inability to keep out of it. Latterly he had been staying in London with his brother.
His thoughts wandered to the past as he looked at the chimneys of Hartledon--all he could see of it--from the low-lying ground. He remembered the happy time when they had been children in it; five of them--the three boys and the two girls--he himself the youngest and the pet. His eldest sister, Margaret, had been the first to leave
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