When Hugh Seymour was nine years of age he was sent from Ceylon, where his parents lived, to be educated in England. His relations having, for the most part, settled in foreign countries, he spent his holidays as a very minute and pale-faced "paying guest" in various houses where other children were of more importance than he, or where children as a race were of no importance at all. It was in this way that he became during certain months of 1889 and 1890 and '91 a resident in the family of the Rev. William Lasher, Vicar of Clinton St. Mary, that large rambling village on the edge of Roche St. Mary Moor in South Glebeshire. He spent there the two Christmases of 1890 and 1891 (when he was ten and eleven years of age), and it is with the second of these that the following incident, and indeed the whole of this book, has to do. Hugh Seymour could not, at the period of which I write, be called an attractive child; he was not even "interesting" or "unusual." He was very minutely made, with bones so brittle that it seemed that, at any moment, he might crack and splinter into sharp little pieces; and I am afraid that no one would have minded very greatly had this occurred.
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