Percy Groves returned to his seat, and did not open the letter until he was alone in the school-room. It was a long time since he had received one. Fifteen months before he had lost his father. Major Groves had returned on half-pay a year before his death, being obliged to quit the service from the effects of a severe wound which he received at the storming of Ghuznee. His regiment had been absent several years from England, and after he had left the service and taken a house at Dulwich, he had made but few acquaintances, spending most of his time at the military club to which he belonged. Percy, who was an only child, had been born in Indiahis mother dying when he was five years old. His father had kept him three years longer with him, and had then sent him home to England to the care of his grandfather, who had, however, died a year later; and from that time Percy had known no home but Dr. Bubear's, until his father returned and took up his residence near the school. A few days before his death Major Groves had a long talk with his son. "I am troubled about you, Percy," he said. "Besides my half-pay I have but three thousand poundsa sum sufficient indeed to finish your education, pay your expenses at the University if you decide to go into one of the learned professions, and to help you a bit until you make your way. I have written to three or four of my old friends, who will, when the time comes, do their best to procure you a commission in the army, in case you have a fancy then, as I know you have now, for soldiering. Lastly, there is my brother. We have never kept up much correspondence, but we have always been good friends; he was in the army himself, but sold out after only serving a year, as he saw that there was very little chance of active service in Europe. He knocked about the world for some years and then went out to India, and the next I heard of him was that he had entered the service of Runjeet Singh, the leader of the Sikhs, who had great respect for European troops, and employed a number of foreign officersItalian, German, and a few Englishto train his troops on our method.
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