"Eighty pounds a year!" My reader can imagine that this was no great fortune. I had little or nothing to spend in kid gloves or cigars; indeed, to speak plain, prosaic English, I went without a good dinner far oftener than I had one. Yet, withal, I was passing rich on eighty pounds a year. My father, Captain Trevelyan, a brave and deserving officer, died when I was a child. My mother, a meek, fragile invalid, never recovered his loss, but died some years after him, leaving me alone in the world with my sister Clare. When I was young I had great dreams of fame and glory. I was to be a brave soldier like my dear, dead father, or a great writer or a statesman. I dreamed of everything except falling into the common grooves of life - which was my fate in after years. My mother, believing in my dreams, contrived to send me to college - we both considered a college education the only preliminary to a golden future. How she managed it out of her slender means I cannot tell, but she kept me at college for three years. I was just trying to decide what profession to adopt, when a letter came summoning me suddenly home.