It was late in the afternoon when Mr Philip Ashton walked up to the door of his residence in Portman-square. His hand touched the knocker irresolutely. “It must be done,” he said to himself. “May strength be given to all of them to bear the blow!” His hand shook as he rapped. The hall door flew open, a servant in handsome livery stood ready to take his hat and gloves. As he entered the drawing-room his wife and daughters rose to welcome him, with affection beaming in their eyes, as did his three sons, who had just arrived at home from different directions. Mr Ashton retired to rest that night with a mind greatly relieved. He had not doubted the affection of his children, and he was assured that it would enable them to bear their reverse of fortune with cheerfulness. When he rose in the morning he prayed earnestly for strength to go through the work required of him, and that is never denied to those who seek it from Him who can alone afford it. In all the work he received able assistance from his son. Philip had not left a single debt unpaid at the University, by which, under his altered circumstances, he might ever afterwards have been hampered. Mr Ashton, having never allowed household bills to run on, was comparatively free from debt. All his affairs arranged, he found himself with an income—arising from a settlement on his wife—of two hundred pounds a-year, and about fifteen hundred pounds in ready money. Once more his family being assembled, he pointed out to them that though their plans were very good, if they were to remain a united family they must look to the future, and seek in another country the opportunity of developing their energies.