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7 > Page 7 of Bad Hugh / by Mary J. Holmes.

SPRING BANK 7 opening a door leading out upon a back piazza, and, uttering a peculiar whistle, which brought around him at once the pack of dogs which so annoyed his sister. " I'd be a savage altogether if I were youI " was the sister's angry remark, to which Hugh paid no heed. It was his house, his fire, and if he chose to have his dogs there, he should, for all of Ad, but when the pale, gentle-looking woman, knitting so quietly in her accustomed chair, looked up and said imploringly: " Please turn them into the kitchen, they'll surely be comfort- able there," he yielded at once, for that pale, gentle woman, was his mother, and, to her wishes, Hugh was generally obedient. The room was cleared of all its canine occupants, save Kelpie, who Hugh insisted should remain, the mother resumed her knit- ting, and Adaline her book, while Hugh sat down before the blazing fire, and, with his hands crossed above his head, went on into a reverie, the nature of which his mother, who was watching him, could not guess; and when at last she asked of what he was thinking so intently, he made her no reply. He could hardly have told himself, so varied were the thoughts crowding upon his brain that wintry night. Now they were of the eccentric old man, who had been to him a father, and from whom he had received Spring Bank, together with the many peculiar ideas which made him the strange, odd creature he was, a puzzle and a mystery to his own sex, and a kind of terror to the female portion of the neighborhood, who looked upon him as a woman-hater, and avoided or coveted his not altogether dis- agreeable society, just as their fancy dictated. For years the old man and the boy had lived together alone in that great, lonely house, enjoying vastly the freedom from all restraint, the liberty of turning the parlors intokennels if they chose, and converting the upper rooms into a hay-loft, if they would. No white woman was ever seen upon the premises, unless she came as a beggar, when some new gown, or surplice, or organ, or chandelier, was needed for the pretty little church, lifting its modest spire so unobtrusively among the forest trees, not very far from Spring Bank. John Stanley didn't believe in churches; nor gowns, nor organs, nor women, but he was proverbially liberal, and so the fair ones of Glen's Creek neighborhood ven- tured into his den, finding it much pleasanter to do so after the handsome, dark-haired boy came to live with him; for about that frank, outspoken boy there was then something very