by Charlotte M. Yonge
CHAPTER TWO. THE
LIE OF THE LAND.
CHAPTER FIVE. AT
CHAPTER SIX. THE
PROGRESS OR NO
THE ROYAL HOTEL.
ONE. JACK SWING.
TWO. GREAT MARY
AND LITTLE MARY.
SIX. THE GOLDEN
CHAPTER ONE. FRENCH MEASURE.
For thy walls a pretty slight drollery.
The Second Part of King Henry IV.
A bad lot. Yes, sir, a thoroughly bad lot.
You don't mean it.
Yes, ma'am, a bad lot is the Uphill people. Good for nothing and
ungrateful! I've known them these thirty-years, and no one will do
anything with them.
The time was the summer of 1822. The place was a garden, somewhat
gone to waste, with a gravel drive running round a great circle of
periwinkles with a spotted aucuba in the middle. There was a low,
two-storied house, with green shutters, green Venetian blinds, and a
rather shabby verandah painted in alternate stripes of light and darker
green. In front stood a high gig, with a tall old, bony horse trying to
munch the young untrimmed shoots of a lilac in front of him as he
waited for the speaker, a lawyer, dressed as country attorneys were
wont to dress in those days, in a coat of invisible green, where the
green constantly became more visible, brown trousers, and under them
drab gaiters. He was addressing a gentleman in a blue coat and nankeen
trousers, but evidently military, and two ladies in white dresses,
narrow as to the skirts, but full in the sleeves. One had a blue scarf
over her shoulders and blue ribbons in her very large Leghorn bonnet;
the other had the same in green, and likewise a green veil. Her bonnet
was rather more trimmed, the dress more embroidered, the scarf of a
richer, broader material than the other's, and it was thus evident that
she was the married sister; but they were a good deal alike, with the
same wholesome smooth complexion, brown eyes, and hair in great shining
rolls under their bonnet caps, much the same pleasant expression, and
the same neat little feet in crossed sandalled shoes and white
stockings showing out beneath their white tambour-worked gowns.
With the above verdict, the lawyer made his parting bow, and drove
off along a somewhat rough road through two pasture fields. The first
gate, white and ornamental, was held open for him by an old man in a
short white smock and long leathern gaiters, the second his own servant
opened, the third was held by half a dozen shock-headed children, with
their backs against it and hands held out, but in vain; he only smacked
his driving-whip over their heads, and though he did not strike any of
them, they requited it with a prolonged yell, which reached the ears of
the trio in front of the house.
I'm afraid it is not far from the truth, said the green lady.
Oh no; I am sure he is a horrid man, said her blue sister. I
would not believe him for a moment.
Only with a qualification, rejoined the gentleman.
But, Edmund, couldn't you be sure that it is just what he would
say, whatever the people were?
I am equally sure that the exaction of rents is not the way to see
people at their best.
Come in, come in! We have all our settling in to do, and no time
for you two to fight.
Edmund, Mary, Dorothea, and Sophia Carbonel were second cousins, who
had always known one another in the house of the girls' father, a
clergyman in a large country town. Edmund had been in the army just in
time for the final battles of the Peninsular war, and had since served
with the army of occupation and in Canada. He had always meant that
Mary should be his wife, but the means were wanting to set up
housekeeping, until the death of an old uncle of his mother's made him
heir to Greenhow Farm, an estate bringing in about 500 pounds a year.
Mary and her next sister Dora had in the meantime lost their parents,
and had been living with some relations in London, where their much
younger sister Sophy was at school, until Edmund, coming home, looked
over the farm, decided that it would be a fit home for the sisters, and
retired from the army forthwith. Thus then, after a brief tour among
the Lakes, they had taken up Dora in London, and here they were; Sophy
was to join them when the holidays began. Disorder reigned indeed
within, and hammers resounded, nor was the passage easy among the
packing-cases that encumbered the narrow little vestibule whence the
Under the verandah were the five sash windows of the three front
rooms, the door, of course, in the middle. Each had a little shabby
furniture, to which the Carbonels were adding, and meant to add more;
the dining-room had already been papered with red flock in stripes, the
drawing-room with a very delicate white, on which were traced in tender
colouring-baskets of vine leaves and laburnums.
Dora gave a little scream. Look! Between the windows, Mary; see,
the laburnums and grapes are hanging upward.
Stupid people! exclaimed Mary, I see. Happily, it is only on that
one piece, but how Edmund will be vexed.
Perhaps there is another piece unused.
I am sure I hope there is! Don't you know, Edmund fell in love with
it at Paris. It was his first provision for future housekeeping, and it
was lying laid up in lavender all these years till we were ready for
It is only that one division, which is a comfort.
What's the matter? and the master of the house came in.
Senseless beings! It must be covered directly. It is a desight to
the whole room. Here! and he went out to the carpenter, who was
universal builder to the village, and was laying down the stair carpet.
Here, Hewlett, do you see what you have done?
Hewlett, a large man with a smooth, plump, but honest face, came in,
in his shirt sleeves, apron, and paper cap, touched his forehead to the
ladies, stood, and stared.
Can't you see? sharply demanded the captain.
Hewlett scratched his head, and gazed round.
See here! How do grapes grow? Or laburnums?
An idea broke in on him.
What! they be topsy-turvy? he slowly observed, after looking from
the faulty breadth to the next.
Of course they are. Find the rest of the paper! We must have a
piece put on at once, or the whole appearance of the room is spoilt,
said Captain Carbonel. It will make a delay, but it must be done at
once. Where is the piece left over?
Hewlett retreated to find it, while the captain said something about
Presently his gruff voice was heard demanding, Dan, I say, where's
the remnant of that there fancy paper?
Dan's answer did not rise into audible words, but presently Hewlett
tramped back, saying, There ain't none, sir.
I tell you there must be, returned the captain, in the same angry
tones. And he proceeded to show that the number of pieces he had
bought, and the measure of which he had ascertained, was such that
there ought to have been half-a-piece left over from papering the room,
the size of which he had exactly taken. Hewlett could do nothing but
stolidly repeat that there weren't none left, not enow to make a
Who did the papering? Did you?
Daniel Hewlett, sir, he did the most on it. My cousin, sir.
The captain fell upon Daniel, who had more words at command, but was
equally strong in denial of having any remnant. They had only skimped
out enough, he said, just enough for the walls, and it was a close
The captain loudly declared it impossible, but Mary ran out in the
midst to suggest that mayhap the defect was in the French measure. Each
piece might not have been the true number of whatever they called them
in that new revolutionary fashion.
Dan Hewlett's face cleared up. Ay, 'tis the French measure, sure,
sir. Of course they can't do nothing true and straight! I be mortal
sorry the ladies is disappointed, but it bain't no fault of mine, sir.
And look here, Edmund, continued Mary, it will not spoil the room
at all if Mr Hewlett will help move the tall bureau against it, and
we'll hang the `Death of General Wolfe' above it, and then there won't
be more than two bits of laburnum to be seen, even if you are curious
enough to get upon a chair to investigate.
Well, it must be so, returned Captain Carbonel, but I hate the
idea of makeshifts and having imperfections concealed.
Just like you, Edmund, laughed Dora. You will always seem to be
looking right through at the upright sprays, though all the solid
weight of Hume, Gibbon, and Rollin is in front of them.
Precisely, said Edmund. It is not well to feel that there is
anything to be hidden. The chief part of the vexation is, however, he
addedshutting the door and lowering his voicethat I am convinced
that there must have been foul play somewhere.
Oh, Edmund; French measure!
Nonsense! That does not account for at least a whole piece
He took out a pencil, and went again into his calculations, while
his sister-in-law indignantly exclaimed
It is all prejudice, because that horrid attorney said all these
poor people were a bad lot.
Hush, hush! said Mrs Carbonel, rather frightened, and
I advise you to think before you speak, said Captain Carbonel
quietly but sternly.
Still Dora could not help saying, as soon as she was alone with her
sister, I shall believe in the French measure. I like that slow, dull
man, and I am sure he is honest.
Yes, dear, only pray don't say any more to Edmund, but let us get
the book-case placed as fast as we can, and let him forget all about
CHAPTER TWO. THE LIE OF THE LAND.
Thank you, pretty cow, that gave
Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
Every day and every night
Warm and fresh, and sweet and bright.
Darkness had descended before there had been time to do more than
shake into the downstair rooms and bedrooms and be refreshed with the
evening meal, but with morning began the survey of the new home.
The front part of the house had three living rooms, with large sash
windows, almost to the ground, shaded by the verandah. These were
drawing-room, dining-room, and study, the last taken out of the entry,
where was the staircase, and there were three similar rooms above.
These had been added by the late owner to the original farmhouse, with
a fine old-fashioned kitchen that sent Mary and Dora into greater
raptures than their cook. There were offices around, a cool dairy,
where stood great red glazed pans of delicious-looking cream and milk,
and a clean white wooden churn that Dora longed to handle. The
farmhouse rooms were between it and the new ones, and there were a good
many rooms above, the red-tiled roof rising much higher than that of
the more modern part of the house. There was a narrow paling in front,
and then came the farmyard, enclosed in barns, cow-houses and
cart-sheds, and a cottage where the bailiff, Master Pucklechurch, had
taken up his abode, having hitherto lived in the farmhouse. He was
waiting to show Captain Carbonel over the farm. He was a grizzled,
stooping old fellow, with a fine, handsome, sunburnt face; bright,
shrewd, dark eyes looking out between puckers, a short white
smock-frock, and long gaiters. It was not their notion of a bailiff but
the lawyer, who was so chary of his praise, had said that old Master
Pucklechurch and his wife were absolutely trustworthy. They had managed
the farm in the interregnum, and brought him weekly accounts in their
heads, for neither could write, with the most perfect regularity and
minuteness. And his face did indeed bespeak confidence in his honesty,
as he touched his hat in answer to the greeting.
The ladies, however, looked and smelt in some dismay, for the centre
of the yard was a mountain of manure and straw, with a puce-coloured
pond beside it. On the summit of the mountain a handsome ruddy cock,
with a splendid dark-green arched tail, clucked, chuckled, and
scratched for his speckled, rose-crowned hens, a green-headed,
curly-tailed drake steered forth his fleet upon the lake of brown
ducks and their yellow progeny, and pigs of the plum-pudding order
rooted in the intermediate regions. The road which led to the
cart-sheds and to the house, skirted round this unsavoury tract.
Oh, Edmund! sighed Mary.
Farmer's wife, Mary, said her husband, smiling. It ought to be a
perfect nosegay to you.
I'm sure it is not wholesome, she said, looking really distressed,
and he dropped his teasing tone, and said
Of course it shall be remedied! I will see to it.
A dismal screeching and cackling here attracted the attention of the
sisters, who started towards Pucklechurch's cottage, and the
fowl-house, (a very foul house by the by) in front of which, on a low
wooden stool, sat a tidy old woman, Betty Pucklechurch in fact, in a
tall muslin cap, spotted kerchief blue gown, and coarse apron, with a
big girl before her holding the unfortunate hen, whose cries had
Oh, don't go near! She is killing it, cried Dora.
No; as the hen, with a final squawk, shook out her ruffled
feathers, and rushed away to tell her woes to her companions on the
dunghill, while the old woman jumped up, smoothed down her apron, and
What were you doing? asked Mary, still startled.
Only whipping her breast with nettles, ma'am, to teach her to sit
close in her nest, the plaguey thing, and not be gadding after the
Poor thing! cried Dora. But oh, look, look, Mary, at the dear
They were in the greatest delight at the three broods of downy
little chickens, and one of ducklings, whose parent hens were clucking
in coops; and in the kitchen they found a sickly one nursed in flannel
in a basket, and an orphaned lamb which staggered upon its
disproportionate black legs at sight of Betty.
Ay! he be always after me, she said. They terrify one terrible,
as if 'twas their mother, till they can run with the rest.
Dora would have petted the lamb, but it retreated from her, behind
Betty's petticoats, and she could only listen to Mary's questions about
how much butter was made from how many cows milk, and then be taken to
see the two calves, one of which Betty pronounced to be but a
staggering Bob yet, but George Butcher would take he in a sen'night,
which sounded so like senate, that it set Dora wondering what council
was to pronounce on the fate of the poor infant bull.
Over his stall, Edmund found them, after an inspection of the
pig-styes, and having much offended Master Pucklechurch by declaring
that he would have them kept clean, and the pigs no longer allowed to
range about the yard.
Bless you, sir, the poor things would catch their death of cold and
die, was the answer to the one edict; and to the other, They'd never
take to their victuals, nor fat kindly without their range first.
Then let them have it in the home-field out there, where I see
plenty of geese.
They'll spile every bit of grass, sir, was the growling objection;
and still worse was the suggestion, which gradually rose into a
command, that the muck-heap should be removed to the said home-field,
and never allowed to accumulate in such close proximity to the house.
Pucklechurch said little; but his If it be your will, sir, sounded
like a snarl, and after ruminating for some time, he brought outas if
it were an answer to a question about the team of horses
We'll have to take on another boy, let be a man, if things is to be
a that 'en a.
Let us, then, said the captain, and joined his ladies, with the
old man depressed and grumbling inwardly.
There was an orchard preparing to be beautiful with blossom, and a
considerable kitchen garden at the back and on the other side of the
house, bounded by an exceedingly dirty and be-rutted farm road, over
which the carriage had jolted the evening before. The extensive
home-field in front was shut off from the approach by a belt of
evergreens, and sloped slightly upwards towards the hill which gave the
parish its name.
We will cut off a nice carriage road, said Mary, as she looked at
All in good time, replied her husband, not wishing further to
shock poor Master Pucklechurch, who had to conduct the party to the
arable fieldsone of which was being ploughed by three fine sleek
horses, led by Bill Morris, with his father at the shafts. In another,
their approach was greeted by hideous yells and shouts which made Dora
Ay, ay, said Pucklechurch, he knows how to holler when he see me
a-coming; and at the same time a black-specked cloud of rooks rose up
from the furrows, the old man stamping towards the boy who ought to
have been keeping them, vituperating him in terms that it was as well
not to hear.
And it was such a tiny boy after all, and in such a pair of huge
boots with holes showing his bare toes. However, they served him to run
away from Master Pucklechurch into the furthest ditch, and if the
ladies had designs on him, they had to be deferred.
On the opposite side were more fields, with crops in various stages,
one lovely with the growing wheat and barley, another promising
potatoes, and another beans; and beyond, towards the river, were
meadows parted by broad hedgerows, with paths between, in which a few
primroses and golden celandines looked up beneath the withy buds and
the fluttering hazel catkins. Then came the meadows, in one of which
fed the cows, pretty buff-and-white creatures, and in another field
were hurdled the sheep, among their dole of turnips, sheep and turnips
alike emitting an odour of the most unpleasant kind, and the deep baas
of the ewes, and the thinner wail of the lambs made a huge mass of
sounds; while Captain Carbonel tried to talk to Master Buttermere the
shepherd, a silent, crusty, white-haired old man in a green smock and
grey old coat, who growled out scarcely a word.
So the tour of the property was made, and old Pucklechurch expressed
his opinion. He'll never make nothing of it; he is too outlandish and
full of his fancies, and his madam's a fine lady. 'Pon my word and
honour, she was frought at that there muck-heap!
This pleasant augury was of course not known to the new-comers, who
found something so honest and worthy about the Pucklechurches that they
could not help liking them, though Mrs Carbonel had another tussle with
Betty about fresh butter. It war no good to make it more than once a
week. Folk liked it tasty and meller; and that the Carbonels had by no
means the same likings, made her hold up her hands and agree with her
husband that their failure was certain. These first few days were spent
in the needful arrangements of house and furniture, during which time
Captain Carbonel came to the conclusion that no one could be more
stupid or awkward than Master Hewlett, but that he was an honest man,
and tried to do his best, such as it was, while his relation, Dan,
though cleverer, was much more slippery, and could not be depended
upon. Dora asked Master Hewlett what schools there were in the place,
and he made answer that the little ones went in to Dame Verdon, but she
didn't make much of it, not since she had had the shaking palsy, and
she could not give the lads the stick. He thought of sending his
biggest lad to school at Poppleby next spring, but 'twas a long way,
and his good woman didn't half like it, not unless there was some one
going the same way.
Betty Pucklechurch's account amounted to much the same. Dame Verdon
had had the school nigh about forty years. She had taught them all to
read their Testament, all as stayed long enough, for there was plenty
for the children to do; and folks said she wasn't up to hitting them as
she used to be.
Farmer Goodenough, the churchwarden, who came to see Captain
Carbonel about the letting of a field which was mixed up with the
Greenhow property, gave something of the like character. She is
getting old, certain sure, but she is a deserving woman, and she keeps
off the parish.
But can she teach the children?
She can teach them all they need to know, and keep the little ones
out of mischief, said the farmer, perhaps beginning to be alarmed. No
use to learn them no more. What do they want of it for working in the
fields or milking the cows?
They ought at least to know their duty to God and their neighbour,
said Captain Carbonel. Is there no Sunday School?
No, sir,very bluntly. I hear talk of such things at Poppleby
and the like, he added, but we don't want none of them here. The lot
here are quite bad enough, without maggots being put into their heads.
Captain Carbonel did not wish to continue the subject. The farmer's
own accent did not greatly betoken acquaintance with schools of any
Of course the wife and sister were amused as well as saddened by his
imitative account of the farmer's last speech, but they meant to study
the subject on their first Sunday. They had learnt already that Uphill
Priors was a daughter church to Downhill Priors, and had only one
service on a Sunday, alternate mornings and evenings. The vicar was the
head of a house at Oxford, and only came to the parsonage in the
summer. The services were provided for by a curate, living at Downhill,
with the assistance of the master of a private school, to whom the
vicarage was let. When Captain Carbonel asked Master Pucklechurch about
the time, he answered, Well, sir, 'tis morning churching. So it will
be half-past ten, or else eleven, or else no time at all.
What, do you mean that there will be none?
No, sir. There will be churching sure enough, but just as time may
chance, not to call it an hour. Best way is to start as soon as you
sights the parson a-coming past the gate down there. Then you're sure
to be in time. Bell strikes out as soon as they sees him beyond the
The Carbonels, in Sunday trim, with William the man-servant, and two
maids, their Prayerbooks in white pocket-handkerchiefs, following in
the rear, set forth for the gate, in the spring freshness. The grass in
the fields was beginning to grow up, the hedges were sprouting with
tender greens and reds, the polished stems of the celandine were
opening to the sunshine in the banks, with here and there a primrose.
Birds were singing all round, and a lark overheadmost delightful
pleasures to those so long shut up in a town. It was the side of a
hill, where the fields were cut out into most curious forms, probably
to suit the winding of a little brook or the shape of the ground; and
there were, near the bottom, signs of a mass of daffodils, which filled
the sisters with delight, though daffodils were not then the fashion,
and were rather despised as yellow and scentless.
As they came near the second gate, they saw a black figure go by on
an old white horse; then they came out on a long ascending lane with
deep ruts, bordered by fresh soft turf on either sides, with hawthorn
hedges, and at intervals dark yew trees.
A cracked bell struck up, by which they understood that the
clergyman had come in sight, and they came themselves out upon a
village green, where geese, donkeys, and boys in greenish smock-frocks,
seemed to be all mixed up together. Thatched cottages stood round the
green, and a public-housethe Fox and Hounds. The sign consisted of
a hunt, elaborately cut out in tin, huntsman, dogs, and fox, rushing
across from the inn on a high uplifted rod of iron, fastened into a
pole on the further side of the road, whence the sound of the bell
proceeded, and whither the congregation in smock-frocks and black
bonnets were making their way.
Following in this direction, the Carbonels, much amused, passed
under the hunt, went some distance further, and found a green
churchyard, quite shut in by tall elm trees, which, from the road,
almost hid the tiny tumble-down church, from whose wooden belfry the
call proceeded. It really seemed to be buried in the earth, and the
little side windows looked out into a ditch. There were two steps to go
down into the deep porch, and within there seemed to be small space
between the roof and the top of the high square pew into which they
were ushered by Master Hewlett, who, it seemed, was the parish clerk.
They saw little from it, but on one side, hung from the roof a huge
panel with the royal arms, painted in the reign of William and Mary, as
the initials in the corners testified, and with the lion licking his
lips most comically; on the other side was a great patch of green damp;
behind, a gallery, full of white smock-frocked men with their knees
thrust through the rails in front. Immediately before them rose the
tall erection of pulpit, the fusty old cushion and tassels, each faded
to a different tint, overhanging so much that Dora could not help
thinking that a thump from an energetic preacher would send it down on
Edmund's head in a cloud of dust. There was the reading-desk below,
whence the edges of a ragged Prayer-book protruded, and above it
presently appeared a very full but much-frayed surplice, and a thin
worn face between white whiskers. The service was quietly and
reverently read, but not a response seemed to come from anywhere except
from Master Hewlett's powerful lungs, somewhere in the rear, and there
was a certain murmur of chattering in the chancel followed by a
resounding whack. Then Master Hewlett's head was seen, and his steps
heard as he tramped along the aisle and climbed up the gallery stairs,
as the General Thanksgiving began, and there he shouted out the number
of the Psalm, new version, that is, from Brady and Tate, which every
one had bound up with the Prayer-book. Then a bassoon brayed, and a
fiddle squealed, and the Psalm resounded with hearty goodwill and
better tone than could have been expected.
Master Hewlett stayed to assist in the second singing, and the
children, who sat on low forms and on the chancel step, profited by it
to make their voices more audible than the Commandments, though the
clergyman had not gone to the altar, and once in the course of the
sermon, Captain Carbonel was impelled to stand up and look over the
edge of the pew, when he beheld a battle royal going on over a length
of string, between a boy in a blue petticoat and one in a fustian
jacket. At the unwonted sight, the fustian-clad let go, and blue
petticoat tumbled over backwards, kicking up a great pair of red legs,
grey socks, and imperfect but elephantine boots, and howling at the
same time. The preacher stopped short, the clerk had by this time
worked his way down from the gallery, and, collaring both the
antagonists, hauled them out into the churchyard, the triple stamping
being heard on the pavement all the way. The sermon was resumed and
read to its conclusion. It was a very good one, but immensely beyond
the capacity of the congregation, and Mary Carbonel had a strong
suspicion that she had heard it before.
It was only on coming out that any notion could be gathered of the
congregation. There were a good many men and big boys, in smocks, a few
green, but most of them beautifully white and embroidered; their
wearers had sat without books through the whole service, and now came
out with considerable trampling.
The pews contained the young girls in gorgeous colours, the old
women, and the better class of people, but not many of them, for the
petit noblesse of Uphill were very petit indeed, in means
and numbers; but their bonnets were enormous, and had red or purple
bows standing upright on them, and the farmers had drab coats and long
gaiters. The old dames curtsied low, the little girls stared, and the
boys peeped out from behind the slanting old headstones and grinned.
Some of them had been playing at marbles on the top of the one square
old monument, until routed by Master Hewlett on his coming out with the
Captain Carbonel had gone round to the vestry door to make
acquaintance with the clergyman, though Farmer Goodenough informed him
in an audible whisper, He ain't the right one, sir; he be only
And when the two met at the door, and the captain shook hands and
said that they would be neighbours, he was received with a certain
I should tell you, sir, that I am only taking occasional duty
here assisting. I am Mr Atkins. I have a select private academy at
the vicarage, which the President of Saint Cyril's lets to me. He is
here in the summer holidays.
I understand. The curate lives at Downhill! said Captain Carbonel.
At the priory, in fact, with his father's family. Yes, it is rather
an unfortunate state of affairs, he said, answering the captain's
countenance rather than his words; but I have no responsibility. I
merely assist in the Sunday duty; and, indeed, I advise you to have as
little to do with the Uphill people as possible. An idle
good-for-nothing set! Any magistrate would tell you that there's no
parish where they have so many up before them.
No wonder! said Captain Carbonel under his breath.
A bad set, repeated Mr Atkins, pausing at the shed where his old
grey horse was put up; and there they parted.
The captain and his wife and her sister walked to Downhill, two
miles off, across broad meadows, a river, and a pretty old bridge, the
next Sunday morning, found the church scantily filled, but with more
respectable-looking people, and heard the same sermon over again, so
that Mary was able to identify it with one in a published volume.
CHAPTER THREE. THE TURNIP FIELD.
You ask me why the poor complain,
And these have answered thee.
Hullo, Molly Hewlett, who'd ha' thought of seeing you out here?
It was in a wet turnip field, and a row of women were stooping over
it, picking out the weeds. The one that was best off had great boots, a
huge weight to carry in themselves; but most had them sadly torn and
broken. Their skirts, of no particular colour, were tucked up, and they
had either a very old man's coat, or a smock-frock cut short, or a
small old woollen shawl, which last left the blue and red arms bare; on
their heads were the oldest of bonnets, or here and there a sun-bonnet,
which looked more decent. One or two babies were waiting in the
hedgeside in the charge of little girls.
Molly Hewlett, exclaimed another of the set, straightening herself
up. Why, I thought your Dan was working with Master Hewlett, for they
Gobblealls, (which was what Uphill made of Carbonel).
So he be; but what is a poor woman to do when more than half his
wage goes to the `Fox and Hounds,' and she has five children to keep
and my poor sister, not able to do a turn? There's George Hewlett,
grumbling and growling at him too, and no one knows how long he'll keep
What! George, his cousin, as was bound to keep him on?
I don't know; George is that particular himself, and them new
folks, Gobbleall as they call them, are right down mean, and come down
on you if they misses one little mossle of parkisit; and there's my
poor sister to keepas is afflicted, and can't do nothing!
But she pays you handsome, said Betsy Seddon, and looks after the
Pays, indeed! Not half enough to keep her, with all the trouble of
helping her about! Not that I grudges it, but she wants things extry,
you see, and Dan he don't like it. But no doubt the ladies will take
notice of her.
I thought the lady kind enough, interposed another woman. She
noticed how lame our granny was with the rheumatics, and told me to
send up for broth.
We wants somewhat bad enough, returned another thin woman, with
her hand to her side. Nobody never does nothing for no one here!
Nor we don't want no one to come worriting and terrifying, cried
the last of the group, with fierce black eyes and rusty black hair
sticking out beyond her man's beaver hat, tied on with a yellow
handkerchief. Always at one about church and school, and meddling with
everything the ribbon on one's bonnet and to the very pots on the
fire. I knows what they be like in Tydeby! And what do you get by it,
but old cast clothes and broth made of dish-washings? She enforced all
this with more than one word not to be written.
I know, I'd be thankful for that! murmured the thin woman, who
looked as if she had barely a petticoat on, and could have had scarcely
Oh, we all know's Bessy Mole is all for what she can get! said the
independent woman, tossing her head.
And had need to be, returned Molly Hewlett, in a scornful tone,
which made the poor woman in question stoop all the lower, and pull her
groundsel more diligently.
The broth ain't bad, ventured she who had tried it.
I shall see what I can get out of them, added another. I bain't
proud; and my poor children's shoes is a shame to see.
You'll not get much, said Molly Hewlett, with a sniff. The
captain, as they calls him, come down on my Jem, as was taking home a
little bit of a chip for the fire, and made him put it down, as cross
as could be.
How now, you lazy, trolloping, gossiping women! What are you
Farmer Goodenough was upon them; and the words he showered on them
were not by any means good enough to be repeated here. He stormed at
them for their idleness so furiously as to set off the babies in the
hedge screaming and yelling. Tirzah Todd, the gipsy-looking woman whom
he especially abused, tossed her head and marched off in the midst,
growling fiercely, to quiet her child; and he, sending a parting
imprecation after her, directed his violence upon poor Bessy Mole,
though all this time she had been creeping on, shaking, trembling, and
crying, under the pelting of the storm; but, unluckily, in her
nervousness and blindness from tears, she pulled up a young turnip, and
the farmer fell on her and rated her hotly for not being worth half her
wage, and doing him more harm than good with her carelessness. She had
not a word to say for herself, and went on shivering and trying to
check her sobs while he shouted out that he only employed her from
charity, and she had better look out, or he should turn her off at
Oh, sir, don't! then came out with a burst of tears. My poor
Don't go whining about your children, but let me see you do your
However, this last sentence was in a milder tone, as if the fit of
passion had exhausted itself; and Mr Goodenough found his way back to
the path that crossed the fields, and went on. Tirzah Todd set her
teeth, clenched her fist and shook it after him, while the other women,
as soon as he was out of sight, began to console Bessy Mole, who was
crying bitterly and saying, what would become of her poor children,
and her own poor father.
Never you mind, Bessy, said Molly Hewlett, every one knows as how
old Goodenough's bark is worse than his bite.
He runs out and it's over, put in Betsy Seddon.
I'm sure I can hardly keep about any way, sobbed the widow. My
inside is all of a quake. I can't abide words.
Ten to one he don't give you another sixpence a week, after all,
added Nanny Barton.
He ain't no call to run out at one, said Tirzah, standing upright
and flourishing her baby.
I'd like to give him as good as he gave, an old foul-mouthed
Look there! There's the ladies coming, exclaimed Nanny Barton.
I thought there was some reason why he stopped his jaw so soon,
exclaimed Molly, stooping down and pulling up weeds (including turnips)
with undiscerning energy, in which all the others followed her example,
except Tirzah, who sulkily retreated under the hedge with her baby,
while Jem Hewlett and Lizzie Seddon ran forward for better convenience
of staring. It was a large field, and the party were still a good way
off; but as it sloped downwards behind the women, the farmer must have
seen them a good deal before the weeders had done so.
These, be it remembered, were days when both farmers and their
labourers were a great deal rougher in their habits than we, their
grandchildren, can remember them; and there was, besides, the Old Poor
Law, which left the amount of relief and of need to be fixed at the
vestry meetings by the ratepayers themselves of each parish alone so
that the poor were entirely dependent on the goodwill or judgment of
their employers, whose minds were divided between keeping down the
wages and the rates, and who had little of real principle or knowledge
to guide them. It was possible to have recourse to the magistrates at
the Petty Sessions, who could give an order which would override the
vestry; but it was apt to be only the boldest, and often the least
deserving, who could make out the best apparent cases for themselves,
that ventured on such a measure.
The two ladies stopped and spoke to Molly Hewlett and Nanny Barton,
whom they had seen at their doors, and who curtsied low; and Nanny, as
she saw Mrs Carbonel's eyes fall on her boots, put in
Yes, ma'am, 'tis bitter hard work this cold, damp weather, and
wears out one's shoes ter'ble. These be an old pair of my man's, and
hurts my poor feet dreadful, all over broken chilblains as they be; and
my fingers, too, she added, spreading out some fingers the colour of
beetroot, with dirty rags rolled round two of them.
Dora shrank. And you can go on weeding with them?
Yes, ma'am. What can us do, when one's man gets but seven shillings
a week. And I've had six children, and buried three, and her face
looked ready for tears.
Well, we will come and see you, and try to find something to help
you, said Mrs Carbonel. Where do you live?
Out beyond the church, ma'ama long way for a lady.
Oh, we are good walkers.
And please, my lady, now said Molly, coming to the front, if you
could give me an old bit of a pelisse, or anything, to make up for my
boy there. He's getting big, you see, and he is terrible bad off for
clothes. I don't know what is to be done for the lot of 'em.
Dora had recognised in the staring boy, who had come up close, him
who had made the commotion in church; and she ventured to say, I
remember him. Don't you think, if you or his father kept him with you
in church, he would behave better there?
Bless you, miss, his father is a sceptic. I can't go while I've got
no clothesnothing better than this, miss; and I always was used to go
decent and respectable. Besides, I couldn't nohow take he into the seat
with me, as Master Pucklechurch would say I was upsetting of his
Well, I hope to see him behave better next Sunday.
Do you hear, Jem? The lady is quite shocked at your
rumbustiousness! But 'twas all Joe Saunders's fault, ma'am, a
terrifying the poor children. His father will give him the stick, that
he will, if he hears of it again.
Meantime Mrs Carbonel had turned to Widow Mole, who, after her first
curtsey, had been weeding away diligently and coughing.
Where do you live? she asked. I don't think I have seen you
No, ma'am, she said quietly. I live down the Black Hollow.
You don't look well. Have you been ill? You have a bad cough.
It ain't nothing, ma'am, thank you. I can keep about well enough.
Do you take anything for it?
A little yarb tea at night sometimes, ma'am.
We will try and bring you some mixture for it, said Mrs Carbonel.
And then she spoke to Betsy Seddon, who for a wonder had no request on
her tongue, and asked her who the other woman was, in the hedge with
That's Tirzah Todd, ma'am, began Mrs Seddon, but Molly Hewlett
thrust her aside, and went on, being always the most ready with words;
she is Reuben Todd's wife, and I wouldn't wish to say no harm of her,
but she comes of a gipsy lot, and hasn't never got into ways that us
calls reverend, though I wouldn't be saying no harm of a neighbour,
No, you'd better not, exclaimed a voice, for Tirzah was nearer or
had better ears than Mrs Daniel Hewlett had suspected, though I mayn't
go hypercriting about and making tales of my neighbours, as if you
hadn't got a man what ain't to be called sober twice a week.
Hush! hush! broke in Mrs Carbonel; we don't want to hear all
this. I hope no one will tell us unkind things of our new neighbours,
for we want to be friends with all of you, especially with that
bright-eyed baby. How old is it?
She made it smile by nodding to it, and Tirzah was mollified enough
to say, Four months, ma'am; but she have a tooth coming.
What's her name?
Tirzah showed her pretty white teeth in a smile. Well, ma'am, my
husband he doth want to call her Jane, arter his mother, 'cause 'tis a
good short name, but I calls her Hoglah, arter my sister as died.
Then she hasn't been christened?
No. You see we couldn't agree, nor get gossips; and that there
parson, he be always in such a mighty hurry, or I'd a had her
half-baptized Hoglah, and then Reuben he couldn't hinder it.
Tirzah was getting quite confidential to Mrs Carbonel, and Dora
meantime was talking to Molly Hewlett, but here it occurred to the
former that they must not waste the women's time, and they wished them
good-bye, Dora fearing, however, that there would be a quarrel between
Tirzah and Molly.
Oh dear! oh dear! she sighed, couldn't you make peace between
those two, she said; they will fight it out.
No, I think the fear of the farmer and the need of finishing their
work will avert the storm for the present at least, said Mary, and I
thought the more I said, the worse accusations I should hear.
But what people they are! I do begin to believe that attorney man,
that they are a bad lot.
Don't be disheartened, Dora, no one has tried yet, apparently, to
do anything for them. We must try to see them in their own homes.
Beginning with Mrs Seddon. She was quiet and civil, and did not
Neither did that thin little woman. I should like to give her a
flannel petticoat. There is a look of want about her.
But I'm most taken with the wild woman, with the teeth and the
eyes, and the merry smile. I am sure there is fun in her.
Little enough fun, poor things! sighed Mrs Carbonel.
She was more used to poor people. She had more resolution, though
less enthusiasm than her sister.
CHAPTER FOUR. NOBODY'S BUSINESS.
For the rector don't live on his living like other Christian sort
The sisters found on coming home that a very handsome chestnut horse
was being walked up and down before the front door, and their
man-servant, William, informed them that it belonged to the clergyman.
As they advanced to the verandah, Captain Carbonel and his visitor
came out to meet them, and Mr Ashley Selby was introduced. He looked
more like a sportsman than a clergyman, except for his black coat; he
had a happy, healthy, sunburnt face, top boots, and a riding-whip in
his hand, and informed Mrs Carbonel that his father and mother would
have the honour of calling on her in a day or two. They had an
impression that he had come to reconnoitre and decide whether they were
farmers or gentry.
We have been trying to make acquaintance with some of your flock,
The last thing I would advise you to do, he answered; there are
not a worse lot anywhere. Desperate poachers! Not a head of game safe
Perhaps they may be improved.
He shrugged his shoulders. See what my father has to say of them.
Is there much distress?
There ought not to be, for old Dr Fogram and my father send down a
handsome sum for blankets and coals every Christmas, and Uphill takes
care to get its share! He laughed. No sinecure distributing!
We have not been to see the school yet.
A decrepit old crone, poor old body! She will soon have to give in.
She can't even keep the children from pulling off her spectacles.
And Sunday School?
Well, my father doesn't approve of cramming the poor children. I
believe the Methodists have something of the kind at Downhill; but
there is no one to attend to one here, and the place is quite free of
Cause and effect? said Captain Carbonel, drily.
Would you object if we tried to teach the poor children something?
asked Mrs Carbonel, cautiously.
Oh no, not at all. All the good ladies are taking it up, I believe.
Mrs Grantley, of Poppleby, is great at it, and I see no harm in it; but
you'll have to reckon with my father. He says there will soon be no
ploughmen, and my mother says there will be no more cooks or
housemaids. You'd better write to old Fogram, he'll back you up.
Mary had it on her lips to ask him about Widow Mole, but he had
turned to Edmund to discuss the hunting and the shooting of the
neighbourhood. They discovered, partly at this time, and partly from
other visitors, that he was the younger son of the squire of Downhill,
who had been made to take Holy Orders without any special fitness for
it, because there was a living likely soon to be ready for him, and in
the meantime he was living at home, an amiable, harmless young man, but
bred up so as to have no idea of the duties of his vocation, and
sharing freely in the sports of his family, acting as if he believed,
like his father, that they were the most important obligations of man;
and accepting the general household belief that only the Methodistical
could wish for more religious practice.
Be it understood that all this happened in the earlier years of the
century, and would be impossible under the revival of the Church that
has since taken place. No one now can hold more than one piece of
preferment at a time, so that parishes cannot be left unprovided. Nor
could Ashley Selby be ordained without a preparation and examination
which would have given him a true idea of what he undertook, or would
have prevented his ordination. This, however, was at a time when the
work of the church had grown very slack, and when a better spirit was
beginning to revive. The father of Mary and Dora had been a zealous and
earnest man, and both they and Edmund had really serious ideas of duty
and of the means of carrying them out. In London they had heard sermons
which had widened and deepened their views, but they had done no work,
as the relation with whom they lived thought it impossible and improper
for young ladies there. Thus they were exceedingly desirous of doing
what they could to help the place where their lot was cast, and they
set forth to reconnoitre. First, they found their way to the school,
which stood on the border of the village green, a picturesque thatched
cottage, with a honeysuckle and two tall poplars outside. But strange
sounds guided them on their way, and the first thing they saw was a
stout boy of four or five years old in petticoats bellowing loudly
outside, and trying to climb the wicket gate which was firmly secured
by a rusty chain. Mary tried to undo the gate, speaking meanwhile to
the urchin, but he rushed away headlong back into the school, and they
heard him howling, They bees a-coming!
A big girl in a checkered pinafore came out and made a curtsey,
assisting to undo the chain.
What has he been doing? asked Dora.
He be a mortial bad boy! answered the girl. He've been getting at
Dame Verdon's sugar.
And what is your name? asked Mrs Carbonel.
Lizzie Verdon, ma'am. I helps Grannie.
Grannie did seem in need of help. There she sat in a big wooden
chair by the fire, the very picture of an old dame, with a black
bonnet, high-crowned and crescent shaped in front, with a white muslin
cap below, a buff handkerchief crossed over her shoulders, a dark
short-sleeved gown, long mittens covering her arms, and a checkered
apron; a regular orthodox birch-rod by her side, and a black cat at her
feet. But her head was shaking with palsy, and she hardly seemed to
understand what Lizzie screamed into her ear that, Here was the
But the door which they had shut in the face of their spaniel was
thrust open. Up went the cat's back, bristle went her tail, her eyes
shot sparks, and she bounded to the top of her mistress's chair. Dandy
barked defiance, all the children shouted or screamed and danced about,
and the old woman gasped and shook more. Lizzie alone was almost equal
to the occasion. She flew at the cat who was standing on tiptoe on the
tall back of the chair, with huge tail and eyes like green lamps,
swearing, hissing, and spitting, and, regardless of scratches, caught
him up by the scruff of his neck and disposed of him behind the
staircase door; while Dora at the same moment secured Dandy by the
collar, and rushing out, put him over the garden gate and shut both
that and the door. Mary, afraid that the old lady was going to have a
fit, went up to her with soothing apologies, but the unwonted sight
seemed to confuse her the more, and she began crying. Lizzie, however,
came to the rescue. She evidently had all her wits about her. First she
called out: Order, children. Don't you see the ladies? Sit down, Jem
Hewlett, or I'll after you with the stick! Then, as the children
ranged themselves, she stamped at some to enforce her orders, shook the
rod at others, and set up the smallest like so many ninepins, handling
them by the shoulder on one small bench, interspersing the work with
consolations to granny and explanations to the ladies, who were about
to defer their visit.
Granny, now never you mind. Tip is all right upstairs. Benny, you
bad boy, I'll be at you. Don't go, please, lady. Bet, what be doin' to
Jim? Never mind, granny! Susan Pucklechurch, you'll read to the lady,
About five children, more tidily dressed than the others, had a
whole and sound form to themselves near the fire and the mistress. The
other two benches were propped, the one on two blocks of wood, the
other on two sound and two infirm legs, and this was only balanced by a
child at each end, so that when one got up the whole tumbled down or
flew up, but the seat was very low, and the catastrophe generally
Susan Pucklechurch, granddaughter to the old bailiff and his Betty,
was evidently the show scholar. She be in her Testament, ma'am,
explained Lizzie; and accordingly a terribly thumbed and dilapidated
New Testament was put into the child's hand, from which she proceeded
to bawl out, with long pauses between the words, and spelling the
longest, a piece of the Sermon on the Mount, selected because there
were no names in it. It was a painful performance to reverent ears, and
as soon as practicable Mrs Carbonel stopped it with Good child! and a
penny, and asked what the others read. Those who were not in the
Testament read the Universal Spelling-book, provided at their own
expense, but not in much better condition, and from this George
Hewlett, son and heir to the carpenter, and a very different person
from his cousin Jem, read the history of the defence of that city where
each trade offered its own commodity for the defence, even to the
cobbler, who proposed to lay in a stock of good l-e-a-t-h-e-rlather!
These, and three little maidens who had picture spelling-books not
going beyond monosyllables, were the aristocracy, and sat apart,
shielded from the claws and teeth of their neighbours in consideration
of paying fourpence, instead of twopence, a week. The boy was supposed
to write large letters on a slate, and the bigger girls did some
needlework, and not badlyindeed, it was the best of their
performances. The dame went on mumbling and shaking all the time, and
it was quite evident that she was entirely past the work, and that
Lizzie was the real mistress; indeed, Mrs Carbonel was inclined to give
her credit for a certain talent for teaching and keeping order, when
the sisters emerged from the close little oven of a place, hardly
knowing whether to laugh or cry, but full of great designs.
Captain Carbonel, however, to their disappointment, advised them to
wait to set anything on foot till Dr Fogram, the President of Saint
Cyril's, came down in the summer holidays, when counsel could be taken
with him, and there would be more knowledge of the subject. Dora did
not like this at all. She was sure that the Son of Mist, as she was
naughty enough to call the doctor, would only hamper them, and she was
only half consoled by being told that there was no objection to her
collecting a few of the children on Sunday and trying to teach them,
and in the meantime acquaintance might be made with the mothers.
CHAPTER FIVE. AT HOME.
Now I've gone through all the village, from end to end,
save and except one more house;
But I haven't come to that, and I hope I never shall,
and that's the village Poor House.
Cottage visiting turned out to be a much chequered affair. One of
the first places to which the sisters made their way was the Widow
Mole's. They found it, rather beyond the church, down a lane, where it
was hidden behind an overgrown thorn hedge, and they would scarcely
have found it at all, if a three-year-old child had not been clattering
an old bit of metal against the bar put across to prevent his exit. He
was curly and clean, except with the day's surface dirt, but he only
stared stolidly at the question whether Mrs Mole lived there. A
ten-year-old girl came out, and answered the question.
Yes, mother do live here, but her be out at work.
Is that your grandfather? as they caught sight of a very old man
on a chair by the door, in the sun.
Yes, ma'am. Will you come in and see him?
He was a very old man, with scanty white hair, but he was very
clean, and neatly dressed in a white smock, mended all over, but
beautifully worked over the breast and cuffs, and long leather buskins.
He was very civil, too. He took off his old straw hat, and rose slowly
by the help of his stout stick, though the first impulse of the
visitors was to beg him not to move. He did not hear them, but answered
I be so crippled up with the rheumatics, you see, ma'am, and he
put his knotted and contracted hand up to his ear.
Mrs Carbonel shouted into his ear that she was sorry for him. She
supposed his daughter was out at work.
Yes, ma'am, with Farmer Goodenougha charing to-day it is.
Washing, screamed the little girl.
She was off at five o'clock this morning, he went on. She do work
hard, my daughter Bess, and she's a good one to me, and so is little
Liz here. Thank the Lord for them.
And her husband is dead?
Yes, ma'am. Fell off a haystack three years ago, and never spoke no
more. We have always kept off the parish, ma'am. This bit of a cottage
was my poor wife's, and she do want to leave it to the boy; but she be
but frail, poor maid, and if she gave in, there'd be nothing for it but
to give up the place and go to the workhouse; and there's such a lot
there as I could not go and die among.
He spoke it to the sympathising faces, not as one begging, and they
found out that all was as he said. He had seen better days, and held
his head above the parish pay, and so had his son-in-law but the early
death of poor Mole, and the old man's crippled state, had thrown the
whole maintenance of the family on the poor young widow, who was really
working herself to death, while, repairs being impossible, the cottage
was almost falling down.
Oh, what a place, and what a dear old man! cried the ladies, as
they went out. Well, we can do something here. I'll come and read to
him every week, exclaimed Dora.
And I will knit him a warm jacket, said Mary, and surely Edmund
could help them to prop up that wretched cottage.
What a struggle their lives must have been, and so patient and
good! Where are we going now?
I believe that is the workhouse, behind the church, said Mary.
That rough-tiled roof.
It has a bend in the middle, like a broken back. I must sketch it,
Why, there's Edmund, getting over the churchyard stile.
Ay, he can't keep long away from you, Madam Mary.
Were you going to the workhouse? said Captain Carbonel, coming up,
and offering an arm to each lady, as was the fashion in those days.
We thought of it. All the poorest people are there, of course.
And the worst, said the captain. No, I will not have you go
there. It is not fit for you.
For besides that he was very particular about his ladies, and had no
notion of letting them go to all the varieties of evil where they could
hope to do good, like the ladies of our days, the workhouse was an
utterly different place from the strictly disciplined union houses of
the present Poor Law. Each parish had its own, and that of Uphill had
no master, no order, but was the refuge of all the disorderly,
disreputable people, who could not get houses, or pay their rent, who
lived in any kind of fashion, on parish pay and what they could get,
and were under no restraint.
While the captain was explaining to them what he had heard from
Farmer Goodenough, a sudden noise of shouting and laughing, with
volleys of evil words, was heard near the Fox and Hounds.
What is that? asked Dora, of a tidy young woman coming her way.
That's only the chaps at old Sam, she answered, as if it was an
ordinary sound. And on them exclaiming, she explained. Samson
Sanderson, that's his name, sir. He be what they calls non-compos, and the young fellows at the `Fox and Hounds' they have their fun out
of he. They do bait he shameful.
Violent shouts of foul words and riotous laughter could be
distinguished so plainly, that Captain Carbonel hastily thrust his wife
and sister into the nearest cottage, and marched into the group of
rough men and boys, who stood holloaing rude jokes, and laughing at the
furious oaths and abuse in intermittent gasps with which they were
For shame! his indignant voice broke in. Are you not ashamed,
unmanly fellows, to treat a poor weak lad in this way?
There was a moment's silence. Then a great hulking drover called
out, Bless you, sir, he likes it.
The more shame for you, exclaimed the captain, to bait a poor
innocent lad with horrid blasphemy and profanity. I tell you every one
of you ought to be fined!
The men began to sneak away from the indignant soldier. The poor
idiot burst out crying and howling, and the ostler came forward,
pulling his forelock, and saying, You'll not be hard on 'em, sir. 'Tis
all sport. There, Sammy, don't be afeared. Gentleman means you no
Captain Carbonel held out some coppers, saying, There, my poor lad,
there's something for you. Only don't let me hear bad words again.
Sam muttered something, and pulled his ragged hat forward as he
shambled off into some back settlements of the public-house, while the
ostler went on
'Tis just their game, sir! None of 'em would hurt poor Sam! They'd
treat him the next minute, sir. All in sport.
Strange sport, said the captain, to teach a poor helpless lad,
who ought to be as innocent as a babe, that abominable blasphemy.
He don't mean nought, sir! All's one to he!
All the worse in those who do know better, I tell you; and you may
tell your master that, if this goes on, I shall certainly speak to the
There was no need to tell the landlord, Mr Oldfellow. The captain
was plainly enough to be heard through the window of the bar. The
drovers had no notion that their amusement was sinful, for it didn't
hurt no one, and, in fact, getting a rise out of Softy Sam was one
of the great attractions of the Fox and Hounds, so that Mr Oldfellow
was of the same mind as Dan Hewlett, who declared that they Gobblealls
was plaguey toads of Methodys, and wasn't to think to bully them about
like his soldiers.
They had another drink all round to recover from their fright, when
they treated Softy Sam, but took care not to excite him to be noisy,
while the captain might be within earshot.
The two ladies had meanwhile taken refuge in what proved to be no
other than Mrs Daniel Hewlett's house, a better one, and less scantily
provided with furniture, than the widow Mole's, but much less clean and
neat. The door stood open, and there was a tub full of soap-suds
within. The captain gave a low whistle to intimate his presence, and
stood at the entrance. Unwashed dinner things were on a round table, a
dresser in confusion against the wall, on another Moore's Almanack
for some years past, full of frightful catastrophes, mixed with little,
French, highly-coloured pictures of the Blessed Virgin.
His wife and her sister were seated, the one on a whole straw chair,
the other on a rickety one, conversing with a very neat, pale, and
pleasant-looking invalid young woman, evidently little able to rise
from her wooden armchair. Molly Hewlett, in a coarse apron, and a cap
far back amid the rusty black tangles of her hair, her arms just out of
the wash-tub, was in the midst of a voluble discourse, into which the
ladies would not break.
You see, ma'am, she was in a right good situation, but she was
always unlucky, and she had the misfortune to fall down the attic
stairs with the baby in her arms.
The baby was not hurt, put in the invalid.
Not it, the little toad, but 'twas saving he as ricked her back
somehow, and made her a cripple for life, as you see, ma'am; and she
was six months in the hospital, till the doctor, he say as how he
couldn't do nothing more for her, so Hewlett and me we took her in, as
she is my own sister, you see, and we couldn't let her go to the
workhouse, but she do want a little broth or a few extrys now and then,
ma'am, more than we poor folks can give her.
My mistress is very good, and gives me a little pension, put in
the invalid, while her sister looked daggers at her, and Mrs Carbonel,
in obedience to her husband's signal, took a hasty leave.
There now! That's the way of you, Judith, cried Molly Hewlett,
banging the door behind them. What should you go for to tell the
ladies of that pitiful pay of yours but to spile all chance of their
helping us, nasty, mean skin-flints as they be!
I couldn't go for to deceive them, humbly replied Judith, meek,
but cowering under the coming storm.
Who asked you to deceive? Only to hold your tongue for your own
good, and mine and my poor children's, that you just live upon. As if
your trumpery pay was worth your board and all the trouble I has with
you night and day, but you must come in and hinder these new folk from
coming down liberal with your Methody ways and your pride! That's it,
your pride, ma'am. Oh, I'm an unhappy woman, between you and Dan! I
Molly sank into a chair, put her apron over her face and cried,
rocking herself to and fro, while Judith, with tears in her eyes, tried
gentle consolations all in vain, till Molly remembered her washing, and
rose up, moaning and lamenting.
Meantime Mrs Carbonel and her sister were exclaiming in pity that
this was a dear good girl, though Edmund shook his head over her
I wonder how to make her more comfortable, said Dora. She seemed
so much pleased when I promised to bring her something to read.
I am afraid those Hewletts prey on her, said Mary.
And patronising her will prove a complicated affair! said the
He wanted them to come home at once, but on the way they met Nanny
Barton, who began, with low curtsies, a lamentable story about her
girls having no clothes, and she would certainly have extracted a
shilling from Miss Carbonel if the captain had not been there.
Never accept stories told on the spur of the moment, he said.
Then Betsy Seddon and Tirzah Todd came along together, bending under
heavy loads of broken branches for their fires. Tirzah smiled as usual,
and showed her pretty teeth, but the captain looked after her, and
said, They have been tearing Mr Selby's woods to pieces.
What can they do for firewood? said his wife.
Let us look out the rules of your father's coal store and shoe
club, he said.
CHAPTER SIX. THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
Through slush and squad,
When roads was bad,
But hallus stop at the Vine and Hop.
Through all Pucklechurch's objections and evident contempt for his
fancies, and those of young madam, Captain Carbonel insisted on the
clearance of the yard. He could not agree with the old man, who made
free to tell him that, Such as that there muck-heap was just a bucket
to a farmer's wife, if she was to be called a farmer's wifewas that
With some reflection, Captain Carbonel decided that a bucket might
mean a bouquet, and answered, Maybe she might have too much of a good
thing. When I went down to Farmer Bell's the other day, they had a
famous heap, and I was struck with the sickly look of his wife and
His missus were always a poor, nesh 'ooman, returned Pucklechurch.
And I don't mean mine to be like her if I can help it, said the
But he did not reckon on the arrival of a prancing pair of horses,
with a smart open carriage, containing two ladies and a gentleman, in
the most odorous part of the proceedings, when he was obliged to clear
the way from a half-loaded waggon to make room for them, and, what was
quite as inconvenient, to hurry up the back stairs to his dressing-room
to take off his long gaiters, Blucher boots (as half high ones were
then called) and old shooting coat, and make himself presentable.
In fact, when he came into the room, Dora was amused at the
perceptible look of surprised approval of the fine tall soldierly
figure, as he advanced to meet Mr and Mrs Selby and their daughter, the
nearest neighbours, who were, of course, in the regular course of
instruction of the new-comers in the worthlessness and ingratitude of
Uphill and the impossibility of doing anything for the good of the
Mary was very glad that he interrupted the subject by saying
merrily, You caught me in the midst of my Augean stable. I hope next
time you are kind enough to visit us that the yard may be in a more
Mr Selby observed that it was unpardonable not to have done the work
beforehand, and the captain answered, On the contrary, it was reserved
as a fragrant bucket, or bouquet for a farmer's wife.
Whereat the visitors looked shocked, and Mary made haste to observe:
But we do hope to make a better road to the house through the fields.
There is a great deal to be done first, said Dora, who thought the
observation rather weak.
Nothing else that was interesting took place on this occasion. Mr
Selby asked the captain whether he hunted, and gave him some
information on the sport of all kinds in the neighbourhood. Miss Selby
asked Dora if she liked archery, music, and drawing. Mrs Selby wanted
to recommend a housemaid, and advised Mrs Carbonel against ever taking
a servant from the neighbourhood. And then they all turned to talk of
the evil doings of the parish thieves, poachers, idlers, drunkards, and
to warn the Carbonels once more against hoping to improve them. The
horses could be heard pawing and jingling outside, and, as the ladies
rose to take leave, Captain Carbonel begged leave to hurry out and
clear the coast. And it was well that he did so, for he had to turn
back a whole procession of cows coming in to be milked, and sundry pigs
The farm court was finished, and never was so bad again, the animals
being kept from spending their day there, except the poultry, in which
Mary took great delight. Soon came more visitors, and it became a joke
to the husband and sister that she always held out hopes of the future
drive when they arrived, bumped or mired by the long lane. Mary's
Approach, as Edmund called it, had to be deferred till more needful
work was done. The guests whom they best liked, Mr and Mrs Grantley,
the clergyman and his wife from the little town of Poppleby, gave an
excellent and hopeful account of their rector, Dr Fogram, who was, they
said, a really good man, and very liberal.
Mrs Grantley was interested in schools and poor people, as it was
easy to discover, and Mary and Dora were soon talking eagerly to her,
and hearing what was done at Poppleby; but there were gentry and
prosperous tradespeople there, who could be made available as
subscribers or teachers; so that their situation was much more hopeful
than that of the Carbonels, who had not the authority of the clergyman.
Poppleby was a much larger place than Downhill, on the post road to
London. The mail-coach went through it, and thence post-horses were
hired, and chaises, from the George Inn. The Carbonels possessed a
phaeton, and a horse which could be used for driving or riding, and
thus Captain Carbonel took the two ladies to return the various calls
that had been made upon them. They found the Selbys not at home, but
were warmly welcomed by the Grantleys, and spent the whole afternoon
with them, and, at Dora's earnest request, were taken to see the
schools. So different was the taste and feeling of those days that,
though Poppleby Church was a very fine old onein grand architecture,
such as in these days is considered one of the glories of the
countryno one thought of going to look at it, and the effect of Mr
Grantley's excellent sermons had been the putting up of a new gallery
right across the chancel arch.
It had a fine tower and steeple, and this Dora thought of as a
delightful subject for a sketch from the Parsonage garden. She made
great friends with Lucy Grantley, the eldest daughter, over their
tastes in drawing, as well as in the Waverley novels and in poetry, and
was invited to spend a long day at Poppleby and take a portrait of the
After the calls had been made and returned, began the
dinner-parties. Elmour Priory was so near Greenhow that it would have
been easy to walk there across the fields, or to drive in the phaeton,
especially as the hours were much earlier, and six or half-past was
held to be a late dinner hour, but this would have been contrary to
etiquette, especially the first time, with people who evidently thought
much of style, and the Carbonels were not superior to such
considerations, which wereor were supposed to beof more importance
in those days. So a chaise was ordered, and they went in state, and had
a long, dull evening, chiefly enlivened by the Miss Selbys and Dora
playing on the piano.
As they were going home, all round by the road, when they were near
the top of the hill, before they came to the Fox and Hounds, the
postilion first shouted and then came to a sudden stop. The captain,
putting his head out at the window, saw by the faint light of a young
moon, going down in the remains of sunset, that he was jumping off his
horse, growling and swearing, but under his breath, when the captain
sprang out. A woman was lying across the road, and had barely escaped
being run over. Mary and Dora were both out in a moment.
Poor thing, poor thing! Is it a fit? She is quite insensible.
A fit of a certain kind, said the captain, who was dragging her
into the hedge, while the post-boy held the horses. Go back, Mary,
It is Nanny Barton! said Dora in horror.
Mary took down one of the carriage lamps and held it to the face.
Yes, it is! said she. Can't we take her home, or do anything?
No, no; nonsense! said Edmund. Don't come near, don't touch her.
Don't you see, she is simply dead drunk.
But we can't leave her here.
The best thing to do! Yes, it is; but we will stop at the `Fox and
Hounds,' if that will satisfy you, and send some one out to see after
They were obliged to be satisfied, for the tones were authoritative,
and they had to accept his assurance that the woman was in no state for
them to meddle with. She would come to no harm, he said, when he had
put her on the bank, and it was only to pacify them that he caused the
postilion to stop at the public-house, whence roaring, singing, and
shouts proceeded. The landlord came out, supposing it was some new
arrival, and when Captain Carbonel jumped out, and, speaking severely,
desired that some one would go to look after the woman, who was lying
in the road, and whom the horses had almost run over, he answered as if
he had been doing the most natural and correct thing in the world.
Yes, sir; I had just sent her home. They had been treating of her,
and she had had a drop too much. She wasn't in a proper state.
Proper state! No! I should think not! It is a regular shame and
disgrace that you should encourage such goings on! Where's the woman's
husband? Has no one got the humanity to come and take her home?
Oldfellow called gruffly to some of the troop, who came reeling out
to the door, and told them it was time to be off, and that some one,
You Tirzah had best see to that there Barton 'oman.
Captain Carbonel wished to keep his ladies from the sight, but they
were watching eagerly, and could not help seeing that it was Tirzah
Todd, more gipsy-looking than ever, who came out. Not, however, walking
as if intoxicated, and quite able to comprehend Captain Carbonel's
brief explanation where to find her companion.
Ah, poor Nanny! she said cheerfully. She's got no head! A drop is
too much for her.
The chaise door was shut, and they went on, Dora and Mary shocked
infinitely, and hardly able to speak of what they had seen.
And they did not feel any happier when the next day, as Mary was
feeding the chickens, Nanny came up to her, curtseying and civil.
Please, ma'am, I'm much obliged to you for seeing to me last night.
I just went in to see if my husband was there, as was gone to Poppleby
with some sheep, and they treated me, ma'am. And that there Tirzah and
Bet Bracken, they was a-singing songs, as it was a shame to hear, so I
ups and rebukes them, and she flies at me like a catamount, ma'am; and
then Mr Oldfellow, he puts me out, ma'am, as was doing no harms as
innocent as a lamb.
Well, said Mrs Carbonel, it was no place for any woman to be in,
and we were grieved, I cannot tell you how much, that you should be
there. You had better take care; you know drunkenness is a really
wicked sin in God's sight.
Only a little overtakenwent to see for my husband, muttered
Nanny. I didn't take nigh so much as that there Tirzah Todd, that is
there with Bet Bracken every night of her life, to sing
Never mind other people. Their doing wrong doesn't make you right.
Only a drop, argued Nanny. And that there Tirzah and Bet
Mary was resolved against hearing any more against Tirzah and Bet,
and actually shut herself into the granary till Nanny was gone. And
there she sat down on a sack of peas and fairly cried at the thought of
the sin and ignorant unconsciousness of evil all round her. And then
she prayed a little prayer for help and wisdom for these poor people
and themselves. Then she felt cheered up and hopeful.
CHAPTER SEVEN. SUNDAY SCHOOL.
She hastens to the Sunday School. Jane Taylor.
Captain Carbonel had written to the President of Saint Cyril's, and
at once obtained his willing consent to the ladies attempting to form a
little Sunday School. Dr Fogram said that he should come down himself
on July 21, and should be very glad to take counsel with the Carbonels
on the state of Uphill. He would be glad to assist if any outlay were
The sisters were in high spirits. The only place they could find for
the purpose was the wash-house and laundry. Once in five weeks two
women, in high white muslin caps and checked aprons, of whom Betsy
Seddon was one, Betty Pucklechurch the other, came to assist the maids
in getting up the family linena tremendous piece of work. A tub was
set on the Saturday, with ashes placed in a canvas bag on a frame
above; water was poured on it, and ran through, so as to be fitted for
the operations which began at five o'clock in the morning, and absorbed
all the women of the establishment, and even old Pucklechurch, who was
called on to turn the mangle.
Except during this formidable week, the wash-house and laundry were
empty, and hither were invited the children. About twenty, of all ages,
camethe boys in smocks, the girls in print frocks and pinafores, one
in her mother's black bonnet, others in coarse straw or sun-bonnets.
All had shoes of some sort, but few had stockings, though the long
frocks concealed the deficiencies, and some wore stocking-legs without
They made very low bows, or pulled their forelocks, most grinned and
looked sheepish, and a very little one began to cry. It did not seem
very promising, but Mary and Dora began by asking all their names, and
saying they hoped to be better friends. They, for the most part, knew
nothing, with the exception of George Hewlett's two eldest, Bessie
Mole's girls, and one sharp boy of Dan Hewlett's, also the Pucklechurch
grandchildren; but even these had very dim notions, and nobody but the
Hewletts could tell a word of the Catechism.
To teach them the small commencement of doctrine comprised in the
earliest pages of First Truths was all that could be attempted, as
well as telling them a Bible story, to which the few intelligent ones
listened with pleasure, and Johnnie Hewlett showed that he had already
heard itfrom aunt, he said. He was a sickly, quiet-looking boy,
very different from his younger brother, Jem, who had organised a
revolt among the general multitude before long. None of these had
enough civilisation to listen or be attentive for five minutes
together, and when Mrs Carbonel looked round on hearing a howl, there
was a pitched battle going on between Jem and Lizzie Seddon over her
little sister, who had been bribed into coming with a lump of
gingerbread, which the boy was abstracting. He had been worked up
enough even to lose his awe of the ladies, and to kick and struggle
when Dora, somewhat imprudently, tried to turn him out.
The disturbance was so great that the sisters were obliged to
dismiss their pupils at least a quarter of an hour sooner than they had
intended, and without having tried to teach the short daily prayers
that had been part of the programme.
Somewhat crestfallen they sped back to the house.
Did you ever see such a set of little savages? cried Dora.
Come, there was a very fair proportion of hopeful ones, was the
These hopeful ones made one class under Dora, while Mary, who had
more patience and experience, undertook the others, who, when once
wakened, proved very eager and interested, in a degree new to those who
are not the first lights in gross darkness. Johnnie Hewlett was the
brightest among the children, for though his weekdays were occupied in
what his mother called keeping a few birds, or, more technically,
bird-starving, he spent most of his spare time beside his sick aunt,
and had not only been taught by her to read, but to think, and to say
As Dora gradually learnt, both Mary Hewlett and Judith Grey had been
children of a little smock-frock farmer, and had not been entirely
without breeding; but Molly had been the eldest, and had looked after
the babies, and done much of the work of the farm, till she plunged
into an early and most foolish marriage with the ne'er-do-well member
of the old sawyer's family, and had been going deeper into the mire
Judith, a good deal younger, and always delicate, had gone to the
dame school when Mrs Verdon was rather less inefficient, and at ten
years old had been taken into service by an old retired servant, who
needed her chiefly as a companion, and thence she had been passed on to
a family where the ladies were very kind to the servants, and the
children brought them their books and their information of all kinds,
so that she had much cultivation, religious and otherwise.
When her accident had sent her home to the only surviving member of
her family, she hoped to be of use to her sister and the children; but,
before long, she found it almost hopeless. Molly, indeed, was roughly
kind to her, but Dan took no notice of her except to borrow her
money, and any attempt to interfere with the management of the children
Johnnie, the eldest boy, was fond of his aunt, and soon became her
best attendant when not out at the work that began at nine years old.
He was willing that she should teach him, and when the ladies came to
see her, she was full of stories of what he had told her. She said no
word of the rudeness of the girls or the tyranny of Jem, as she sat
helpless by the fire. When all were out, these were pleasant peaceful
visits to her, and she was grateful for the books Dora lent her, and
the needlework Mrs Carbonel gave her when she was well enough to do it.
Molly was not unwilling that her sister should be a fav'rite, as she
called it, more especially as Jem was generally allowed to swallow any
dainty brought by the ladies that was to his taste.
Old Master Redford, Widow Mole's father, was another cheerful spot
in the village. He was a thoroughly good, devout person in a simple
way, and most grateful for Dora's coming to read to him. Old
Pucklechurch once, indeed, said, What, ma'am, ye be never a-going to
read to that there Thomas Redford! Why, 'tis all one as singing Psalms
to a dead horse.
In spite, however, of this hopeless augury, Dora's voice did reach
his ears. He had made good use of his scanty opportunities, and had
taught his family to be thoroughly conscientious. There was another
daughter in service, who from time to time sent him a little help, but
the transit of money was a difficulty in those days, and the relief
could not often come. One morning Widow Mole fainted away in the
hayfield, and hardly heard Farmer Goodenough abusing her fine-lady
airs, though she trembled and shook so much when she tried to go on
that she was forced to let Tirzah Todd lead her home, and the next
morning she could not get up.
She had been in such plight before, and the shop trusted her,
knowing that she always strove to pay off her debts, but the farmer
rated her vehemently, declaring that she had been good for nothing
since the ladies had been putting fancies and megrims in her head, and
that he would not take her on again. Probably he did not mean to fulfil
his threat, for, as far as her strength allowed, she was the best and
most thorough worker of all his women, and he had no desire to have the
whole family on the rates; but the ladies believed it, and came home
furious with indignation, and even Captain Carbonel thought her
justified in accepting the dismissal, and as soon as kitchen physic
had a little restored her, she became washer-woman, weeding woman, and
useful woman generally at Greenhow Farm.
Many a cup of tea and thick slice of bread-and-butter were carried
out to her after breakfast, not to say three-cornered remnant of pie,
or sandwich of cold meat at luncheon; and, though some was saved for
granfer and the children, still she began to look like another woman
ere many weeks were over.
Betsy Seddon and Molly Hewlett were much displeased, and reproached
her with having got the place by hypercriting about.
Nanny Barton put on a white apron and brought out the big Bible when
she saw the ladies getting over the stile. The first time Dora was much
delighted; the second, Mrs Carbonel managed to see that the Bible was
open at one of the genealogies in the First Book of Chronicles, and
spied besides the dirtiest of all skirts under the apron. After that
she did not much heed when Nanny said she would come to church if her
shoes were not so bad.
Tirzah Todd laughed and showed her white teeth and merry eyes so
pleasantly that no one could help liking to talk with her, but alas!
old Pucklechurch took care to let them know that she could be just as
merry in a different way at the Fox and Hounds.
CHAPTER EIGHT. MARY'S APPROACH.
The chaise was stayed,
But yet was not allowed
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
Dr Fogram was true to his word, and made his appearance at the Long
Vacation. The Carbonels, to whom little eager Sophia had been added a
day or two previously, first saw him at Downhill Church, where he made
a most dignified appearance, in a very full surplice, with his Doctor
of Divinity's red hood over it. The clerk, small, grey-haired, and
consequential, bustled up to open the pulpit door for him, and he
preached, in a fine, sonorous voice, a very learned sermon, that might
have been meant for his undergraduates at Oxford.
It was the day for afternoon service at Uphill, so the sisters had
to hurry away to eat their luncheon in haste, and then to introduce
Sophy to the Sunday School, where she was to teach a class of small
ones, a matter of amazing importance and ecstasy.
She was a damsel of thirteen, in a white frock and cape, a pink
sash, pink kerchief round her neck, pink satin ribbons tying down her
broad Leghorn hat over her ears, in what was called gipsy fashion. She
had rosy cheeks, blue, good-natured eyes, and shining, light-brown
curls all round her head. Her appearance in the school was quite as
memorable to the children as Dr Fogram's could be to their elders, and
the little ones were so engaged in looking at her that they quite
forgot to be naughty, except that Billy Mole, in curiosity to know what
anything so glossy and shining could be, pinched the end of her sash,
and left the grimy mark of his little hot hands on it, which caused
Maitland the maid, who had charge of her toilette, to declare that such
things always came of going among they nasty, dirty little brats.
Dr Fogram rode over on a plump, shining, black horse, followed by a
well-equipped groom. He dismounted, and gave his horse to the man when
he overtook the Carbonel party on the way up the hill.
Captain Carbonel, I believe, said he, touching his hat, almost a
shovel. Will you do me the honour to introduce me to the ladies, and
to them he uncovered with the grand formal politeness which even then
was becoming rather old-fashioned, and which they returned with
curtsies, Sophia's, being fresh from the dancing-master, the most
perfect of all.
I understand, said he, that I am greatly indebted to you for
pains taken with this unfortunate parish.
We have been trying to do what we could, said Mrs Carbonel, to
whom this was chiefly addressed.
It is a great kindness, he replied, and I hope the people may
show themselves sensible of your exertions, but hitherto all endeavours
for their benefit have been thrown away.
Dora could not help wondering what the exertions were!
After the service he joined the family again, and said that he
thought the appearance of the poorand especially of the childrenand
their behaviour much improved, and he had no doubt it was owing to the
gentle and beneficent influence of the ladies, to whom he bowed.
In fact, the children had been much engaged in staring, though
whether he or Sophy were the prime attraction, might be doubtful. At
any rate, Master Pucklechurch's rod had only once descended. Moreover,
two neat sun-bonnets of lilac print adorned two heads, and the frocks
looked as if they were sometimes washed.
Captain Carbonel said he hoped to have some conversation with the
President about the parish; and he responded that he hoped to do
himself the honour of calling the next day. After which he mounted his
horse and rode off.
The three sisters waited and watched as if their whole fate depended
on the morning's conference but nothing was seen of the President till
after luncheon, when he rode up, attended by his groom as before. To
their great disappointment, he would talk of nothing but the beauty of
the country, and of the voices of Lablache and Sonntag, or the like,
which he evidently considered the proper subjects for ladies; and it
was not till he had spent the quarter of an hour, fit for a visit of
ceremony, on these topics that he asked Captain Carbonel to allow him a
little conversation with him.
They shut themselves into the captain's little `den,' which was
something between a gun-room and a library, with the rectory books
going round two sides of the room, Edmund's sword, pistols, and spurs
hanging over the mantelpiece, and his guns, shot-belts, powder-horn,
and fishing-rods on hooks on the wall. No noise was heard for more than
an hour, during which Dora fumed, Mary cut off the dead roses, and
Sophia was withheld from peeping.
At last they came outthe horses had been brought to the doorthe
President bowed to the ladies, mounted, and rode off, while Edmund came
across the lawn; and they all clustered round him.
Well, said he, we have fared better than we expected. Dr Fogram
has long been regretting the state of the parish.
Why did he do nothing? broke in Dora.
I suppose he has much on his hands; and, I am afraid, my poor old
uncle was a hindrance, for he really seemed like a man who had got rid
of an incubus when he found that we were willing to do what we could.
Then it seems that he was disappointed in Ashley Selby. He thought
that, being an inhabitant of the place, the young man would be
interested in the people, and make his sisters useful.
They! exclaimed Dora. They are such fine ladies, who think about
nothing but Almack's, are afraid of the dirt, and of catching all sorts
of disorders at the cottages.
I can hardly get Dora to be moderately civil to them, said Mary.
Yes, said Edmund, parental influence has been strong. The mother
fears for health, the father for his game, and the children have grown
up to think poachers and their families almost beyond the pale of
humanity. It has been too much for this young man, who simply
acquiesced in the way in which he was bred. However, this will come to
an end, for the present holder of the family living has had a paralytic
stroke, and wants him to come and assist. I fully believe that he may
do much better away from home habits, especially under a good
And what is to happen to us? inquired Mary.
Dr Fogram says that he will send us one of the Fellows of his
collegea young man full of zeal, who is eager for parochial work, and
has been taking duty at a parish some miles from Oxford. He thinks we
shall be satisfied with the change.
As if we were the people to be satisfied, cried Dora. Just
confess, Edmund, that the old gentleman did not think the place worth
attending to, till educated gentlefolk came to live in it.
Say, rather, that he really did not know the deficiencies, said
the captain, till they were brought before him.
Then he ought, muttered Dora.
Judge not, whispered Mary, who was a reverent person.
And the school? resumed Dora. Was he aware of any deficiency
He was very glad to hear that you had begun keeping school, and
will contribute to a better arrangement for the week-day school, assist
in pensioning off Dame Verdon, if needful, and in obtaining a better
Dora and Sophy each gave a little caper, and squeezed one another's
He is quite disposed to be liberal, continued Edmund; and I am
sure we shall find him no impediment.
I don't think the school is going on now, said Mary. Lizzie
Verdon came for some broth, and said Granny was bad in bed. I asked
whether she had had the doctor, and she stared and said no, but Dame
Spurrell had got her some `yarbs.'
For in those days the union doctor was not an institution. Large
tracts of country would contract with some apothecary to attend their
sick; but he was generally a busy man, with his hands full of paying
patients, and there was nobody to keep him up to his work among the
poor, if he could have done it, which he really could not. The poor
themselves knew that it was in vain to apply to him, or if he came once
in a serious case, to expect any attention; and they preferred to
depend on the woman clever in yarbs, on the white witch, or, in
favoured villages, on the lady bountiful or the clergyman and his wife;
and in simple cases these latter were quite efficient, keeping a family
medicine-chest and a book on household medicine.
Mrs Carbonel had rooted out her mother's book, replenished her
chest, and had cured two or three children who had been eating unripe
apples, and greatly benefited Mole with infusions of Jesuit's bark in a
large jug, the same thing as quinine, only more cumbrously and
domestically prepared. But most of the Uphill people had the surest
confidence in Dame Spurrell and her remedies, some of which were very
curious; for Mrs Carbonel found a child who had fits wearing, in a bag,
a pinch of black hair from the cross on the back of a jackass; and
once, when she objected to a dirty mark on the throat of Susan
Pucklechurch, she was told it was left by a rasher of bacon put on to
cure a sore throat.
The symptoms were sometimes curious as she now found when she went
to inquire after Dame Verdon, who, Lizzie informed her, had her heart
hanging by only one string, and when that gave way, she would not be
For the present, however, she was in bed, under a quilt made of
coloured cloth scraps; but however it might be with her heart-strings,
she did not seem likely to get up again. It was hay time, and it
appeared that no one did come to school in hay and harvest seasons, so
that there was time to consider what could be done. Dr Fogram was
invited to dinner to hold consultation with the ladies, whom the
captain would not leave to any conclusion as to the schools.
There were no such things as trained masters and mistresses in those
days; the National Society had only been in existence eleven years, and
Government had not taken up the matter at all. Educated and religious
people had, however, come to the conclusion that it would be well to
help all the village children to know their faith and duty, and to read
their Bibles; and the good work of Mrs Hannah More and Mrs Trimmer were
examples that had begun to be followed, now that the one was in extreme
old age, and the other in her grave. The Carbonel family had been bred
up to such work, and all of them knew a good deal more about it than
the President, whose studies had been chiefly in Greek plays, and whose
tasks had been dealing with young men and the college estates. His
conscience as a clergyman was a good deal stirred by the condition of
his parish, and he was really thankful to those who would take up the
matter, as well as ready to assist with his purse.
So it was settled that Mrs Carbonel should write about a widow at
her old home, who had once been a servant in the family. She was known
to be a good religious person, who could read, and write, and cast
accounts quite well enough for any possibly advanced scholars, as well
as being a beautiful needlewoman. An old friend went to see her,
explain the situation to her, and ascertain if she were willing to
undertake the school for twenty pounds a year, and what the children
A cottage belonging to Captain Carbonel might have a room added to
it to receive the scholars, by the end of harvest, by which time they
might be got together, and Mrs Verdon was to be induced to resign by a
pension of half-a-crown a week, a sum then supposed to be ample, and
which, indeed, was so for her wants, which were much less than in these
days. Captain Carbonel looked over the cottage, and worked out an
estimate of the cost with old Hewlett, whose notions of paper work were
of the kind shown in his Midsummer bill.
+===========================+=========+=====+ | |shillings|pence|
+-+-+-+ |1 ooden barrer a oodnt
soot| 9| 6| +-+-+-+ |1 ooden
barrer a ood soot | 9| 6| +===========================+=========+=====+
The result of the calculations, conjectural and otherwise, was this.
Mary, look here. This is an expensive year, and if we do the thing
this year, we must put off making the drive through the fieldsyour
Mary came and looked at his figures. How will it be after harvest?
Harvest is an inappreciable quantity, especially to novices, he
said. If you believe Farmer Goodenough, the finest weather will not
save me from finding myself out of pocket.
Farmer Goodenough is an old croaker, after his kind, said Mary.
It won't do to reckon thereupon. I must be secure of capital enough
to fall back upon. Think it over well, Mary, and answer me to-morrow;
and you had better say nothing to your sisters till your own mind is
made up. I own that I should be very glad of the road. It would save us
and old Major a good deal, to say nothing of our friends' bones.
Do you mean that you wish it, Edmund?
I wish to leave it entirely to you.
Dora and Sophy had gone across the fields, a four miles' walk to
Poppleby, and were to be brought home in the evening, and Mary was left
to wander about the old road and the field-path, and meditate on the
ruts and quagmires that would beset the way in the winter, and shut
them up from visiting, perhaps even from church. Besides, there were
There was an old gentleman, a far-away connection of Edmund's, who
had been in the navy, and now lived at Poppleby, and went about
collecting all the chatter to be heard in one house, and retailing it
all in another, and he thought himself licensed to tell Edmund and Mary
everything personal. One thing was
My dear fellow, you should really put a check on your wife's
I didn't know she had any.
I have been told, on good authority, that she has a meeting every
Sunday in the wash-house.
Edmund laughed. A dozen children for Sunday School, with the
President's full consent.
It won't do, Edmund. You'll find it won't do! Why, old Selby told
me she was a pretty creature, only just like your good pious ladies,
running into all the dirtiest cottages.
And to Mary it was, Let me give you a hint, my dear Mrs Carbonel.
The Duchess saw you in Poppleby, and asked who you were, and she said
she would like to visit you, if you did not live in such a hole.
I don't think I want her, said Mary.
Now, my dear, don't you be foolish! It would be so much to Edmund's
advantage! He was in the same regiment with Lord Henry, and you might
have the best society in the county, if only you would make your new
drive! Why, even Lady Hartman says she can't take her horses again
through that lane, or into the farm court. Miss Yates said it was quite
Mary Carbonel might laugh. She did not care for her own dignity, but
she did for Edmund's; and though she had been amused at Lady Hartman's
four horses entangled in the narrow sweep, and did not quite believe
old Captain Caiger, the lady herself had been very charming, and Mary
did not like to cut her husband and sisters off from the pleasantest
houses in the country.
But the words, Love not the world, came up into her mind, and the
battle ended by her saying to her husband
Don't let us have the ap_proach this year, dear Edmund. I don't
want it to be Mary's re_proach.
You are quite sure? In spite of Caiger?
Indeed I am; though I am afraid it is asking you to give up
Not while I have my merry faces at home, Mary. And indeed, little
woman, I am glad of your decision. It is right.
I am so glad!
CHAPTER NINE. THE SCREEN.
There is no honesty in such dealing.Shakespeare.
One day when Sophy had been trusted to go out alone to carry a few
veal cutlets from luncheon to Judith, she found the door on the latch,
but no one in the room downstairs, the chair empty, the fire out, and
all more dreary than usual, only a voice from above called out, Please
Sophy, pleased with the adventure, mounted the dark and rickety
stairs, and found herself in the open space above, cut off from the
stairs by a screen, and containing a press-bed, where Judith lay,
covered by an elaborate patchwork quilt. There was a tiny
dressing-table under the narrow lattice window, and one chair, also a
big trunk-box, with a waggon-shaped lid, such as servants used to have
in those days, covered with paper, where big purple spots of paint
concealed the old print of some story or newspaper. On the wall hung a
few black profiles, and all was very fairly neat, whatever the room
might be shut off by a wooden partition, whence came a peculiar sour
Oh, it is Miss Sophia! exclaimed Judith. I beg your pardon,
ma'am, I thought it was Dame Spurrell, who said she would come and look
in on me, or I would not have troubled you to come up.
I am glad I did, Judith; I like to see where you live. Only, are
No, miss, only as my back is sometimes, and my sister and all the
children are gone to the hiring fair, so it was not handy to get me
And this is your room! said Sophy, looking about her. Isn't it
Johnnie heats me a brick to keep me warm at night; but my feet are
always cold downstairs. It does not make much difference.
Oh dear! And you have a screen, I see. Oh! Why, that is our
She sat transfixed at the recognition, while Judith observed, quite
innocently, with a free conscience
Yes, miss, my brother-in-law brought it home, and told me it was
just a scrap that was left over, and he was free to have, though I said
I did wonder the lady did not want to keep it in case of an accident
Yes, said Sophy, I don't think he had any business to have it,
for all one division of the paper is put on upside down. The laburnums
point up instead of hanging down, and I am sure Mary would have altered
it if she could. It was beautiful French paper that Edmund brought home
from Paris and laid up for the furnishing their house.
This, of course, Mrs Carbonel and Dora would never have told poor
Judith, but Sophy was young and unguarded, and apt to talk when she had
better have held her tongue.
I am sorry to hear it, miss, indeed I am. I am afraid one could not
take it off the screen to put it back again where it did ought to be.
Sophy looked, but it was manifestly impossible. Spoiling the screen
would not mend the wall of the drawing-room.
Perhaps Molly might have another bit left, she said, only thinking
of the triumph of carrying home the means of repairing the deficiency
by her own unassisted sagacity.
I will ask her, miss. I am sure I never thought Dan would go for to
do such a thing, mourned Judith, though, even as she spoke, there came
back on her recollections of times when she had tried to be blind and
deaf. But if Mrs Carbonel would let me pay for it, miss, I should be
easier in my mind. I have a shilling, though no doubt that is not the
worth of it. And she began feeling for a little box under her pillow,
never mentioning that she had already paid Dan a shilling for it.
No, no; nonsense, Judith! Of course my sister would not take it for
the world; but if any one could find another bit, just to patch up the
part above the book-case, it would be nice.
I will do what in me lays, Miss Sophy, answered Judith.
So Sophy took her leave and trotted home, very proud of her
discovery, which she communicated in an eager voice as the phaeton drew
up at the front door.
Oh, Edmund, I have found the rest of the drawing-room paper!
Hush! not so loud, my dear, said Dora, getting out of the back
seat, and Edmund, being busy in telling the groom to attend to
something in the harness, did not heed at first.
Did you know, Dora? asked Sophy, in a lower voice, being struck by
something in her repressive manner.
Yes; but I did not tell, because Edmund was so much vexed, and it
was of no use now.
Dora really hoped no one had heard, as Mary was busy with her
parcels, and she was too fond of Judith not to wish to shield her
family; but it was too late. The captain came in with, What's this
about the drawing-room paper?
Sophy was delighted to pour out the history of her discovery, and
tell how it appeared on the screen that sheltered poor Judith Grey.
Exactly as I supposed, said Captain Carbonel. I always believed
that fellow was a thief.
But it is not poor Judith's fault, exclaimed the sisters, with one
She knew nothing about it. She wanted to pay the shilling for it,
The captain laughed a little.
And she is going to search for a bit to go up there! continued the
girl more vehemently; and he laughed again.
Yes, said Mary, if you only saw something of her, you would be
convinced that her whole character is very different from that of the
rest of the family.
Don't you be taken in by plausibility, said the captain. I know
that fellow Dan is a thief. I meant to tell his relation, George, that
I won't allow him to be employed on the new schoolroom. I shall do so
Would it not be better to forget what happened so long ago? Mary
ventured to say.
And suppose Judith restores it, added Sophia.
Pshaw! said the captain; but Mary followed him to the study, and
what she did with him there her sisters did not know, but it resulted
in his allowing that Dan might have another trial, with a sharp eye
So unused was Uphill to the visits of ladies, that when the piece of
French paper was sold to Judith, no one had thought of her being sought
out in her bedroom. Molly came home with the children in the evening,
tired out but excitedfor all had had rather more beer than was good
for them, and the children a great many more sweets. Jem and Judy were
quarrelling over a wooden horse covered with white spots, but whose
mane had already disappeared, Lizzie was sick, cross, and stupid, Polly
had broken the string of her new yellow necklace, and was crying about
it, and nobody had recollected the aunt except Johnnie, who presented
her with a piece of thin gingerbread representing King George the
Fourth, in white, pink, and gilt! Molly herself was very tired, though
she said it was all very fine, and she had seen a lot of people, and
the big sleeves they wore were quite a wonder. Then she scolded Polly
with all her might for crying and never setting the tea, nor boiling
the kettle; and, after all, it was Johnnie who made up the fire,
fetched water, and set the kettle boiling. They all wrangled together
over their purchases, and the sights they had seen, or not seen, while
Judith was glad to be out of the way of seeing, though not of hearing.
Then the girls trailed themselves upstairs. Judy slept with her aunt,
Polly and Lizzie had a kind of shake-down on a mattress of chaff or
hulls, as she called it, by her side. Judith always insisted on their
prayers, but they said they were much too tired to-night, and could not
say anything but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which was all they
knew except the Lord's Prayer. Judith had taught them this, but they
thought the repeating it a very difficult ceremony, far too hard when
they were tired.
Their mother went to bed soon afterwards, taking Jem with her, and
so did Johnnie, all being anxious to get what sleep they could before
the dreaded moment of father's return. Public-houses were not obliged
to close at any special time in those days, and the home-coming,
especially on a fair day, was apt to be a terrible affair. It was not
till past one o'clock that shouts, broken bursts of singing, and howls
of quarrelling announced the break-up of the riotous party, and
presently the door bounced open, and with oaths at the darkness, though
there was bright moonlight, Dan stumbled in and staggered upstairs,
overturning the unlucky screen upon Polly as he did so, cursing and
swearing at them all, and ordering his wife to get up and open the
door, which he was past finding. He did not attack Judith, though he
almost fell over her bed, and the two girls lay trembling, not daring
to lift off the screen till the door of the bedroom was shut on them;
and then came the only too well-known sound of their mother scolding
and crying, and his swearing and beating her.
They were only too much used to such disturbance, and were asleep
again before it was over; but Judith could only lie on, shaking with
terror not personalbut at the awful words she heard, and praying
that they might not be visited on that unhappy household, but that God
It was not till the next day when the house was tolerably quiet, and
Molly, rather fretful and grumbling, had helped Judith down to her
place by the fire, that she ventured the question, Molly, you have not
a bit more of that pretty wall-paper you gave me for my screen?
Did it get broke last night in Dan's drunken tantrums?
Not more than I can mend, but little Miss Sophia, she says that the
paper in the Greenhow drawing-room is quite spoilt for want of a piece
to cover up a bit that was put on wrong.
My patience! And how did Miss Sophia come to know anything about
She came up to see me, and bring those cutlets that you are warming
Bless me! Well, Dan will be vexed, said Molly. Such mean folk as
they are, a-peeping and a-prying after everything! They knows how to
look after whatever they chooses to say is their own; and the captain,
he made a row before about that there trumpery yard or two of paper
that was the parkisit of them that hung it.
Miss Sophy says it spoilt the room.
Sp'ilt it! They've little to vex 'em that is terrified about that!
But have you got the bit, Molly?
I never had it! Dan kept it in the outhouse. He may have a scrap
left, that he used to make caps for the Christmas boys when he used the
rest to paper Mrs Hunter's closet with down at Downhill. Your piece was
left over of that, and may be there was half-a-yard more; but he locks
that there workshop of his, so as one can't get in to get a bit of
shavings to light the fire. So you must ask him. I am sure I dare not
do it. He's that angry if one does but look into his shop.
I must try and get it! said Judith.
Not now, I wouldn't, entreated Molly. What is it to the ladies?
And father, he will be fit to tear the place down if he hears of it!
Them Gobblealls is set again him already, and 'tis just taking away our
bread to say a bit more about it to them folks. George Hewlett is
particular enough already, without having a work about this.
Poor Judith, she felt as if she could never be at peace with her
conscience, while she had those yellow laburnums in sight in her room,
and she did not see how restitution and confession could injure her
brother-in-law; but her code of right and wrong was very different from
that of either husband or wife.
Molly went on maundering about the hardship of having taken in a
poor helpless thing, and having stood between her and the workhouse,
only that she should turn a viper and a spy, and take her poor
children's bread out of their mouths, forgetting that Jem was at the
very moment eating up the piece of apple-pie that had come with the
Judith tried to get her thoughts together, and decided that, however
much she might dread Dan's anger, and care for his interest and family
peace, it was her duty to do her best to recover whatever remnant was
possible of his booty. So when he came home to dinner she ventured to
ask him if he had a piece left of that paper of her screen.
Why? he asked, turning on her, as if he hoped to make more of
whatever he had.
She told him timidly, and it was as she had feared. He began abusing
her violently for letting spies up into her room, and turning against
him, that let her have her house-room, and worriting them all with
her hypocritical ways. He could tell her there was nothing between her
and the workhouse, and all was interspersed with oaths, terrible to
Molly began taking her part, and declaring that Judith could not
help it if little miss would come into her room; but Dan, who had
qualified last night's revel with another mug of ale, was quite past
all reason, and declared that Judith called the girl up on purpose to
bring him into trouble, and that nothing but harm had ever come of her
canting, Methody ways, and he had a good mind to kick her out at once
to the workhouse, and would do so, if she brought them Gobblealls down
on him again. There had been nothing but plague ever since they came
into the parish, and he wouldn't have them come poll-prying about his
house. No, he wouldn't.
Judith knew this was a vain threat, for he was always out of the
house when they came, and she also knew that he was the last man to
give up the small payment that she was in the habit of making
quarterly, or what was begged from her besides, so she was not afraid
of any such measure; but she was much shaken, and felt quite ill
afterwards, and Molly did not stint her blame and lamentations. Nothing
happened in consequence, except that, from that time forward, Dan's
incipient dislike to they Gobblealls was increased, and they could do
nothing which he did not find fault with; though his wife, grumbling at
them all the time, was quite willing to get everything possible out of
CHAPTER TEN. INNOVATIONS.
Timotheus placed on high
Among the tuneful choir,
With flying fingers touched the lyre.
On the first of October the new beginning was to be made. The new
curate, Mr Harford, arrived, and spent his first few days at Greenhow,
while looking out for a lodging at Downhill, for he was to be shared
between the two parishes as before, and Mr Atkins still undertook to
assist on Sundays. Mr Harford looked very young, almost a boy, and was
small and thin, but not in the least delicate. He had only worked off
his superfluous flesh in study and parish cares at Oxford, and he was
likely to do the same in his new home. He looked on it as likely to be
his residence for a long time, for, as the President had already told
Mrs Carbonel, he was engaged to a young lady, whose father would not
consent to her marriage till he had a living worth 500 pounds a year,
and there were a good many fellows senior to him.
He seemed to have no fears of any amount of work, and the first
thing he thought of was how to arrange for Uphill to have two services
on Sunday, as he thought could be contrived by giving the Downhill
people, who mostly lived near the church, their second service in the
evening instead of the morning; and, as Mr Atkins would thus have more
to do, he gave up to that gentleman the addition to his stipend, which
the President had offered to himself. The boon was great to the
Greenhow family, who had often been hindered by weather from getting to
Downhill. Moreover, he had plans for one service and sermon in the
week, and for a cottage lecture at a distant hamlet.
Also, in the first fortnight of his stay, he had called at every
house, alike in Downhill and Uphill, to the great surprise of some of
the families, who had not in the memory of man seen a parson cross
their threshold. Some did not like it, such as old Dame Verdon, who,
though she could hardly get out of bed, was very sore about the new
school; and when her friends came to see her, told them wonderful
stories which she had picked upor Lizzie had from some hawkerthat
the gentlefolks thought there were too many children for the rates and
taxes, and they were going to get them all into the school, and make an
end of them. Sometimes she said it was by giving of them all the
cowpox, as Dame Spurrell called vaccination as the fashion was in
those parts, sometimes it was by sending them all out to Botany Bay.
And as Mrs Carbonel had prevailed on the new gardener's wife to have
her baby vaccinated, and George Hewlett's and Mrs Mole's children had
been thence treated by her own hands, this was believed the more,
although none of the children were visibly the worse for it after the
first few days; but some of the women, and almost all the children
believed the story, and many of the little ones were in fits of terror
about the school, so that there was a falling off even with the Sunday
School. The new school was only an additional room to a good-sized
cottage, with a couple of windows and a brick floor, fitted with forms
without backs, but which had at least good firm legs to stand upon,
pegs for the cloaks and head-gear round the walls, and a single desk,
likely to be quite sufficient for the superior few who were to learn
writing and summing. The stock, obtained from the Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge, consisted of a dozen copies of Mrs Trimmer's
Abridgment of the Old Testament, the same number of the lady's work on
the New Testament, a packet of little paper books of the Sermon on the
Mount, the Parables and the Miracles, and another packet of little
books, where the alphabet led the way upwards from ba, bo, etcetera, to
Our cat can kill a rat; can she not? Also the broken Catechism, and
Sellon's Abridgment of instruction on the Catechism. There were a
housewife full of needles, some brass thimbles, and a roll of calico
provided, and this was the apparatus with which most village schools
Mrs Thorpe arrived with her two little girls, the neatest of
creatures, still wearing her weeds, as indeed widows engaged in any
business used to do for life as a sort of protection. Under her crape
borders showed the smoothest of hair, and her apron was spotlessly
white. The two little girls were patterns, with short cut hair, spotted
blue frocks and checkered pinafores in the week, lilac frocks on
Sundays; white capes on that same day, and bonnets of coarse straw,
tied down with green ribbon, over little bonnet caps with plain net
frilling, the only attempt at luxury apparent in their dress. Their
names were Jane and Mary, and they looked very pretty and demure,
though there was a little mischief in Mary's eyes. Nothing could look
nicer or more promising in the eyes of the sisters when they took her
to her cottage, nor could any one be better pleased than she to work
under her own young ladies, and to have so peaceful a home for her
little daughters. She was introduced to her future scholars on Sunday
in the wash-house, and very shy and awkward did they look, nor were the
numbers as large as usual.
Mr Harford came to open the school on Monday morning, and the ladies
met him there. The room was in beautiful order, and presently the
younger Moles, the George Hewletts, the Seddons, the Pucklechurch
grandchildren, and about half-a-dozen more dropped in; but no one else
appeared, and these stood handling their pennies and looking sheepish.
Mr Harford, after looking out to see whether any one else was
coming, addressed them in words a little too fine for their
comprehension, and then read a few prayers, after which he and Mrs
Carbonel went away, taking the unwilling Sophy to her lessons, but
leaving Dora to follow when she had heard the names called over, and
inaugurated the work; and their journey was enlivened by meeting a
child with flying hair and ragged garments rushing headlong, so as to
have only just time to turn off short over a gap in a field where some
men who were ploughing called out, Run, little one, run; she'll catch
thee! with a great shouting laugh, and at the same moment appeared,
with a big stick in her hand, Nancy Morris in full chase, her cap on
the back of her head, and looking not much less wild than her
However, she drew up at the sight of the clergyman and the lady,
pulled her cap forward and her apron to the middle, curtsied low, and
in a voice of conscious merit, though out of breath, explained that she
was arter Elizabeth, who was that terrifying and contrary
that she would not go to school.
Mr Harford, not quite accustomed to the popular use of the verb to
terrify, began to ask what the child had done to alarm her mother so
much and Nancy, understanding him as little, said, 'Tis all along of
Dame Verdon, ma'am. She be for to say that the new governess will beat
them and send them off to Minsterham, as sure as they're alive; and I
told Bet not to believe no such stuff, but her won't listen to I
Mr Harford was the more mystified. Why should she send them to
Minsterham? And what was the child afraid of? Mrs Carbonel had more
notion. Minsterham was the assize town, and going thither was a polite
form of mentioning the being before a court of justice.
Elizabeth need have no fears of a prison, she said. She is a
silly child to be frightened; but when she sees that the other children
like school, and that nothing happens to them, she will know better.
Don't beat her, it will only frighten her more.
If it is your will, ma'am, I'll let her off; but I'll give her the
stick another time, as sure as she is alive, the little toad.
Hopeful, said the lady and gentleman to each other, as soon as she
was out of sight, and they could laugh.
It was indeed uphill work in every sense that was before Mrs Thorpe,
but the effect was visible in much improvement in the general demeanour
of the children. A chair was found for her where she sat among them at
church, and prevented the outrageous misconduct that the ladies had
been unable effectively to check; and the superior readers were
gradually acquiring a very cheap form of Prayer-book, with only Matins
and Evensong and the Collects, besides the Psalms.
But that the children sat on the chancel steps, and that kneeling in
church was unknown to them, never occurred as an irreverence to any of
the party, though as Mr Harford read the ante-Communion service from
the altar instead of disrobing himself of his surplice in the pulpit
just before the sermon, he had to walk through the whole school, making
those in his way stand up to let him pass.
The singers, on the establishment of a double service, began to
absent themselves at least once on a Sunday, so Mr Harford and the
ladies tried to arrange for the singing of the children instead. He had
no knowledge of music, which was then thought a rather doubtful
accomplishment for a young man, and Mrs Thorpe had, if possible, less,
so all that could be done was for Dora to train the children by ear;
and she found that their thin, shrill notes were held as painful by all
save a few doting mothers, her sisters, and herself. The captain
laughed at her, and finally promised her a grinding organ. It came; it
could play four tunes, and all the singers were naturally offended. But
on the first Sunday there was a great catastrophe, for when once set on
it would not stop, but went on playing its four tunes long after the
Old Hundredth was finished. Mr Harford waited to begin the Prayer for
King George till it had finished, hoping that it would stop, if not at
the end of the second tune at least at the fourth; but, behold, it
started off with the Old Hundredth again, upon which Captain Carbonel
emerged from his pew, and, with the help of Master Pucklechurch, bore
it out into the churchyard, where it continued to play till after the
service, when there was time to check its pertinacity by adjustment of
the machinery. At its best, the singerseven George Hewlettwere much
hurt, and the compromise was made that it never should uplift its voice
when they were present in full force with bass, flute, and viol, but
should only draw forth its four tunes when there were only the children
to need the accompaniment.
Even then, Dan Hewlett, who unluckily had the best voice of all,
swore that he would never come to church again while they had that
there horgin to buzz away like a big bumbledore; and he kept his word.
You see, ma'am, he has his feelings, said Molly.
He would fain have made all his family join in the secession; but
Johnnie would not be kept away from Sunday School; and Molly had heard
rumours of penny clubs and of prizes at Christmas so, though the other
children were very irregular, she kept them on after a fashion.
CHAPTER ELEVEN. AN UNPROFITABLE
My mother bids me bind my hair.Old Ballad.
Oh Mary, Mary, what is to be done about the hair? cried Sophy, one
Sunday after church.
Isn't it dreadful? said Dora. Those fearful curl-papers sticking
out with rolls of old newspapers! I told them it was not fit to be seen
last Sunday, but there were even Elizabeth and Jane Hewlett in them
Yes, said Mary, they said that mother's aunt was coming to tea,
so she had curled them before they came out. I told them I would excuse
it for this once, but that I should send any one home who came such a
figure on Sunday.
Elizabeth and Jane, be it observed, were George Hewlett's daughters,
the most civilised, if the dullest-witted, of the flock. Polly, Betsy,
and Judy were the children of Dan Hewlett. As a rule, all the old women
of the parish were called Betty, all the middle-aged Lizzie, and the
It is worse on week-days, said Dora. One would think it was a
collection of little porcupines!
And so dirty, began Sophy, but she was hushed up, for Edmund was
seen approaching, and Mary never allowed him to be worried with the
small, fretting details of school life.
It was a time when it was the fashion for young ladies up to their
teens to have their hair curled in ringlets round their heads or on
their shoulders. Sophy's hair curled naturally, and had been turned
up ever since she had come to live at home in the dignity of fourteen,
but she and both her sisters wore falls of drooping ringlets in front,
and in Mary's case these had been used to be curled in paper at night,
though she would as soon have been seen thus decorated by day as in her
night-cap. But there was scarcely another matron in the parish who did
not think a fringe of curl-paper the proper mode of disposing of her
locks when in morning desabille, unless she were elderly and
wore a front, which could be taken off and put on with the best cap.
Maid-servants wore short curls or smooth folds round side-combs
under net caps, and this was the usual trim of the superior kind of
women. The working women wore thick muslin white caps, under which, it
was to be hoped, their hair was cut short, though often it straggled
out in unseemly elf-locks. Married women did not go bareheaded, not
even the younger ladies, except in the evening, when, like their maiden
sisters, they wore coils of their back hair round huge upright
ornamental combs on the summit of their heads.
But the children's heads were deservedly pain and grief to the
Carbonel senses, and Mary was impelled to go and make a speech in
school, desiring that no more curl-papers should appear there on
Sundays, and recommending that all hair should be kept short, as her
own and her sister's had been, till the fit age for the turning up
was attained. She called up Susan Pucklechurch and Rachel Mole, who had
nice smooth hair neatly parted in the middle, and declared them to be
examples of the way that heads ought to appear.
That afternoon the women stood out at their gates. So the lady told
you to take pattern by Widdy Mole's child, did her? said Nanny Barton,
loud enough for all her neighbours to hear.
Ay, mother, by Rachel Mole and Susie Pucklechurch.
As if I'd go out of my way to follow after a mean creeper and low
thing like Widow Mole, exclaimed Mrs Barton.
She knows which way her bread is buttered. A-making favourites!
exclaimed Nancy Morris.
Getting in to work in the garding away from Farmer Goodenough, as
her man had worked for for years, ay, and his before un, chimed in
And if you could see the platefuls and cupfuls as the ladies
carries out to her, added Betsy Seddon. My word and honour! No wonder
she is getting lively enough just to bust some day.
That's the way she comes over them, said Nanny Barton.
That's what them gentlefolks likes, and Bessy Mole she knows it,
observed Nancy Morris; at which they all laughed shrilly.
As though I'd take pattern by her, exclaimed Nanny Barton. I'd
liefer take pattern by Softy Sam, or Goodenough's old scarecrow.
Whatever's that? demanded Tirzah, coming out of the Fox and
Hounds. What have they been after now?
Just the lady's been a preachin' down at that there school, how
that she don't want no curl-papers there, and that all the poor
children's heads is to be clipped like boys, and setting up that there
Rachel Mole's bowl-dish of a poll to set the fashion.
There! As I telled you, said Tirzah. That's the way gentry always
goes on if they gets their way.
They just hates to see a curl or a bit of ribbon, added Betsy
Or to see one have a bit of pleasure, added Nancy Morris.
Pucklechurches and Mole, they never durst send their poor children to
And to hear the lady run out agin' me for just having a drop of
beer, exclaimed Nanny Barton. Nothing warn't bad enough for me! As if
she hadn't her wine and all the rest of it, and a poor woman mayn't
touch one draught, if it is ever so
Well, you know, Nan, you'd had a bit more than enough, said
Well, and what call to that was hern or yourn? cried Nancy, facing
A pretty job I had to get you home that night, said Tirzah; and
they all laughed. And you wouldn't be here now if Tom Postboy hadn't
pulled up his horses in time.
And was it for her to cast up to me if I was a bit overtaken?
It may be supposed that after such a conversation as this there was
not much chance of the bowl-dish setting the fashion. There was not the
same ill-temper and jealousy of Susan Pucklechurch being held up as an
example, for her family were the natural hangers-on of Greenhow, and
were, besides, always neater and better dressed than the others; but
Mrs Mole was even poorer than themselves, and had worked with them,
even while keeping herself to herself, a great offence in their eyes.
Thus nobody was inclined to follow the clipped fashion, except one or
two meeker women, who had scarcely seen that their girls' hair was
getting beyond bounds. It is to be remembered that seventy years ago,
long hair could hardly be kept in respectable trim by busy mothers
working in the fields, and with much less power of getting brushes and
combs than at present; so that the crops were almost the only means of
securing cleanliness and tidiness, and were worn also by all the little
daughters of such gentry as did not care for fashion, nor for making
them sleep on a ring of lumps as big as walnuts. So that Mrs Carbonel
and her sisters really wished for what was wholesome and proper when
they tried to make the children conform to their rules, if the women
could only have seen it so, instead of resenting the interference.
Sunday brought George Hewlett's two girls with their hair fastened
up in womanly guise, and their cousins becurled as before; but there
was nothing particularly untidy, and Mary held her peace.
However, the war was not over, and one day, when, after a short
absence, Dora and Sophy went into the school, they found five or six
girls bristling with twists of old newspapers, and others in a still
more objectionable condition, with wild unkempt hair about their necks,
and the half-dozen really neat ones were on the form around Mrs Thorpe,
who proceeded to tell Dora that she was quite in despair, the more she
spoke to the girls about tidy heads, the worse they were, and she was
really afraid to let her own children or the clean ones sit near the
Dora's spirit was roused. Very well, she said, Mrs Carbonel and I
will not be disobeyed. Come here, Lizzie Barton. Your head is
disgraceful. Lend me your scissors, Mrs Thorpe.
Lizzie Barton began to cry, with her knuckles in her eyes, and would
not stir; but Dora was resolute. One child made a rush for the door;
but Dora desired Sophy to stand by the door and bar the passage, and
called Mrs Thorpe to hold Lizzie Barton, who certainly was a spectacle,
with half-a-dozen horns twisted out of old advertisement papers, but
the rest of her hair flying in disgusting elf-locks. She was cowed,
however, into standing quiet, till her appendages had been sheared off
by the determined scissors. There, I am sure you must be much more
comfortable, Dora assured her. Get your mother to wash your head, and
you will look so nice to-morrow. Now then, Betsy Hewlett.
Betsy cried, but submitted; but the next victim, Sally French,
howled and fought, and said, Mammy would not have it done. But Dora
sternly answered, Then she should keep your head fit to be seen. And
Mrs Thorpe held down her hands, with whispers of Now, my dear, don't.
And so it went on through nineteen girls, the boys sniggering all
the time. Some cried and struggled, but latterly they felt it was their
fate, and resisted no longer. Even Mary Cox, who had a curly head by
nature, stood still to be clipped. Dora's hands were in a dreadful
state, and her mind began to quail a little; but, having once started,
she felt bound to go on and complete her work, and when she finally
dismissed the school, there was a very undesirable heap of locks,
brown, black, and carroty, interspersed with curl-papers, on the floor.
The girls looked, to her mind, far better, and Mrs Thorpe, a little
doubtful, gave her a basin of water to wash her hands.
Home the two sisters went, their spirits rising as they laughed over
their great achievement, and looked forward to amusing Mary with the
account of the various behaviour of the victims.
So they burst upon her, as she was planting bulbs in the garden, and
Edmund helping her by measuring distances.
Oh, Mary, such fun! cried Sophy. We have been cutting all the
What do you mean, Sophy?
They had their heads worse than ever, said Dora, so I took Mrs
Thorpe's scissors and clipped them all round.
My dear Dora, I wish you had not been so hasty, Mary was gently
saying; but Edmund was standing up, looking quite judicial.
Did you get their parents' permission? he demanded.
No, of course I never should.
Then what right had you to meddle with the children?
They were quite horrid. My hands! They'll never recover, said
Dora, spreading out her fingers.
Very likely; but the children were not your slaves. You have a
perfect right to forbid them to enter your school except on certain
conditions, but not to tyrannise over them when there. You have done
more harm than you will undo in a hurry.
I am afraid so, murmured Mary.
Dora had a temper, and answered angrily, Well, I'm sure I did it
for the best.
I don't approve of opinionative young ladies, said Edmund, who was
really from old habit quite like an elder brother.
Oh, Dora, sighed Mary, don't!
Dora felt impelled to argue the matter out on the spot, but
something in Mary's look withheld her. She went away, stepping high and
feeling stately and proud; but when she had walked up and down her own
room a few times, her better sense began to revive, and she saw that
she had acted in anger and self-will quite as much as from a sense of
propriety, and she threw herself on her bed and shed some bitter tears.
They would have been still more bitter if she could have heard the
exclamations of the mothers over their gates that evening.
Well, to be sure, that a young lady should have treated my poor
Her father says, says he, `I'll have the law of she.'
My Jenny, she come home looking like a poor mad woman. `Whatever
has thee been arter?' says I. `'Tis the lady,' says she.
Lady! She ought to be ashamed on herself, a-making such Betties of
the poor children.
Ah! didn't I tell you, gibed Tirzah, what would come of making up
to the gentlefolk, with their soft words and such. They only want to
have their will of you, just like the blackamoors.
You'll not find me a sending my Liz and Nan, cried Mrs Morris,
no, not if her was to offer me a hundred goulden guineas.
I don't let my gal go to be made into a guy! was the general
sentiment; and Mrs Verdon, in her bed, intensified it by warning her
neighbours that the cropping their heads was a preparation for sending
them out to them foreign parts where they has slaves.
And on Sunday, there were only ten of the female pupils at school,
and poor Dora and Sophia both cried all church time. They thought their
hasty measures had condemned their poor girls to be heathens and
good-for-nothings for ever and ever.
Tirzah Todd laughed at them all. The Todds had gipsy connections;
Todd himself was hardly ever visible. He was never chargeable to the
parish, but he never did regular work except at hay and harvest times,
or when he was cutting copsewood. Then old Pucklechurch's brother,
Master Pucklechurch of Downhill, who always managed the copse cutting,
used to hire him, and they and another man lived in a kind of wigwam
made of chips, and cut down the seven years' growth of underwood,
dividing it into pea-sticks from the tops, and splitting the thicker
parts to be woven into hurdles, or made into hoops for barrels. They
had a little fire, but their wives brought them their food, and little
Hoglah, now quite well only with a scarred neck, delighted to toddle
about among the chips, and cry out, Pitty! pitty! at the primroses.
Copse cutting over, Joe Todd haunted fairs and drove cattle home, or
did anything he could pick up. He lived in a mud hovel which he and
Tirzah had built for themselves on the border land, and where they kept
a tall, thin, smooth-haired dog, with a grey coat, a white waistcoat, a
long nose and tail, and blue eyes, which gave him a peculiarly sinister
expression of countenance, and he had a habit of leaping up and
planting his fore feet on the gate, growling, so that Dora and Sophy
were very much afraid of him, and no one except Mr Harford had ever
attempted to effect an entrance into the cottage. It was pretty well
understood that Joe Todd and his lurcher carried on a business as
poachers, and Tirzah going about with clothes'-pegs, rush baskets,
birch brooms, and in their season with blackberries, whortleberries, or
plovers' eggs, was able to dispose of their game to the poulterers at
Minsterham, with whom she had an understanding. Her smiling black eyes,
white teeth, and merry looks, caused a great deal of business to be
done through her, and servants were not unwilling to carry in her
stories about rabbits knocked down unawares by a stick, and pheasants
or partridges killed by chance in reaping. Indeed, she had a little
trade in dripping and other scraps with sundry of these servants, which
rendered them the more disposed to receive her.
CHAPTER TWELVE. PRIZES.
Miss Jenny and Polly
Had each a new dolly,
With rosy red cheeks and blue eyes,
Dressed in ribbons and gauze;
And they quarrelled because
The dolls were not both of a size.
Nobody offered a hundred golden guineas to bring Elizabeth and Anne
Morris to school, nevertheless they appeared there at the end of the
second week. They were heartily tired of home, where there was washing
to be done, and their eldest sister Patty banged them about, and they
had no peace from the great heavy baby. Besides, there had been a talk
of prizes at Christmas, and they weren't going to let them Moles and
Pucklechurches get the whole of them. Moreover, others were going back,
so why should not they?
Yes, Nanny Barton's children did terrify her so, she had no peace.
And Betsy Seddon's Janie had torn her frock as there was no bearing,
and even the Dan Hewletts were going back. Little Judy had cried to go,
and her Aunt Judith had trimmed up the heads of her sisters, for Dora
Carbonel had not been a first-rate hair-cutter, and it was nearly the
same with every one, except the desperate truant, Ben Shales, and the
cobbler's little curly girl, who was sent all the way to Downhill to
Miss Minifer's genteel academy, where she learnt bead-work and very
The affair seemed to have done less harm than Captain Carbonel had
expected, yet, on the other hand, the motives that brought most of the
scholars back were not any real desire for improvement, but rather the
desire of being interested, and the hope of rewards. It would take a
long time to make the generality of the people regard they Gobblealls
as anything but curious kind of creatures to be humoured, for the sake
of what could be got out of them.
Of the positive love of God and their neighbour, and the strong
sense of duty that actuated them, few of the Uphill inhabitants had the
least notion. It would be much to say that if these motives were always
present with Edmund and Mary, it was so in the same degree with Dora
and Sophy; but to them the school children were the great interest,
occupation, and delight, and their real affection and sympathy, so far
as they understood, were having their effect.
They were hard at work at those same prizes, which filled almost as
much of their minds as they could those of the expectant recipients,
and occupied their fingers a good deal. And, after all, what would the
modern scholar think of those same prizes? The prime ones of all, the
Bible and Prayer-book, were of course, in themselves as precious then
as now, but each was bound in the very plainest of dark-brown calf,
though, to tell the truth, far stronger than their successors, and with
the leaves much better sewn in. There was only one of each of these,
for Susan Pucklechurch and Johnnie Hewlett, who were by far the
foremost scholars in the Sunday School.
Then followed two New Testaments and two Psalters, equally brown,
for the next degree. Sophy had begged for stories, but none were to be
had within the appointed sum, except Hannah More's Cheap Repository
Tracts, really interesting, but sent forth without wrappers in their
native black and white. Then there was a manufacture by the busy
fingers, frocks made of remnants of linsey and print, of sun-bonnets of
pink or blue spotted calico, of pinafores, and round capes, the least
of all these being the list tippet, made of the listing of flannel,
sewn on either in rays upon a lining, or in continued rows from the
neck, leaving rather the effect of a shell. There were pin-cushions,
housewives, and work-bags too, and pictured pocket-handkerchiefs, and
Sophy would not be denied a few worsted balls for the very small boys,
and sixpennyworth of wooden dolls for the lesser girls, creatures with
painted faces, and rolls of linen for arms, nailed on to bodies that
ended in a point, but all deficiencies were concealed by the gay print
petticoats which she constructed, and as neither toys, nor the means of
buying them were plentiful, these would be grand rewards.
The Christmas-tree had not yet begun to spring in England, magic
lanterns were tiny things only seen in private, and even such
festivities as the tea had not dawned on the scholastic mind. So, on
the afternoon of Christmas Day, all the children were assembled in
school before Mr Harford, the ladies, and the schoolmistress, while the
table was loaded with books and garments, and beside it stood a great
flasket brimming over with substantial currant buns, gazed on eagerly
by the little things, some of whom had even had a scanty Christmas
dinner. Such a spectacle had never been seen before in Uphill, and
their hungry eyes devoured it beforehand.
Mr Harford made them a short speech about goodness, steadiness, and
diligence, and then the distribution began with the two prime Sunday
scholars, and went on in due order of merit, through all degrees, down
to the mites who had the painted dolls, and figured handkerchiefs with
Aesop's fables in pink or in purple, and then followed the distribution
of buns, stout plum buns, no small treat to these ever hungry children,
some of whom were nibbling them before they were out of school, while
others, more praiseworthy, kept them to share with our baby at home.
Johnnie Hewlett received a Bible, his sister Polly a warm cape,
Lizzie a petticoat, little Judy a doll, but on the very last Sunday,
Jem, always a black sheep, had been detected in kicking Jenny Morris at
church over a screw of peppermint drops which they had clubbed together
to purchase from Goody Spurrell. The scent and Jenny's sobs had
betrayed them in the thick of the combat, and in the face of so recent
and so flagrant a misdemeanour, neither combatant could be allowed a
prize, though the buns were presented to them through Mary's softness
These stayed the tears for the moment, but a fresh shower was pumped
up by Jem for the sympathetic reception of his mother. It was a shame!
it was; but they ladies always had a spite at the poor little lad. He
should have some nice bull's-eyes to make up to him, that he should!
What call had they to be at him when it was all along of that there
nasty little Jenny.
Nevertheless, at the gate she shared her wrath with Jenny's mother.
What call had they to want to make the poor children to be like parsons
at church? Jem shouldn't be there no more, she could tell them.
Then Nanny Barton chimed in. And look what they did give! Just a
twopenny-halfpenny handkercher that her Tom would be ashamed to wear!
He wasn't, for it was thick and warm, and had been chosen because
his poor little neck looked so blue. But Molly went on. Ladies did
ought to know what became 'em to give. There was my Lady Duchess, she
gave 'em all scarlet cloaks, and stuff frocks, as there was some warmth
in. That was worth havinggiven to all alike! No talk of prizes, for
what I'd not demean myself to pick up out of the gutter.
And look at mine, proceeded Molly. My Johnnie's got a Bible, as
if there wasn't another in the house, let alone Judith's. His father,
he did say he'd pawn it; but Johnnie he cried, and Judith made a work,
and hid it for him. But his father, he says he wouldn't have Johnnie
made religious, not for nothingJudith she's quite bad enough.
Oh! our Pollyshe got a little skimping cape, what don't come down
to her poor little elbows. If I went for to be a lady, I'd be ashamed
to give the like of that.
Happily every one did not receive the gifts in this spirit. There
was much rejoicing over the Testament, frock, and Psalter of the little
Moles, and their grandfather observed, Well, you did ought to be good
children, there were no such encouragements when I was young.
Except your big old Bible, granfer, put in Bessy.
That was give me by our old parson when me and your granny was
married. Ay, he did catechise we in church when we was children, but we
never got nothing for it.
Only the knowing it, father, and that you have sent on to us, put
in the widow.
Ay, and that's the thing! said the old man, very gravely.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN. AGAINST THE GRAIN.
And shall the heirs of sinful blood
Find joy unmixed in charity?
These first beginnings were really hard work, and there was a great
amount of unpopularity to be encountered, for the people of Uphill were
so utterly unused to kindness that they could not believe that anything
was done for them from disinterested motives. Captain Carbonel took
great trouble to set up a coal club, persuading the President of Saint
Cyril's and the neighbouring landowners to subscribe, and the farmers
to fetch the coal on the plea that to have fuel on low terms would save
the woods and hedges from destruction. Tirzah especially, and
half-a-dozen women besides were to be met with great faggots of limbs
of trees on their backs from Mr Selby's woods, and the keepers were
held to wink at it, for, in truth, the want of fuel was terrible. Mr
Selby talked of withholding his yearly contribution of blankets,
because the people were so ungrateful. As if it would do them any good
to make them colder, cried Dora.
So at last it was arranged that one of the barns should be filled
with coal, and Captain Carbonel and Mr Harford, with old Pucklechurch,
were to see it served out at sixpence a bushel every Monday morning.
And then, Pucklechurch reported that the people said, Depend on it,
the captain made a good thing of it. So, when he divided one of his
fields into allotment gardens, for those who had portions too scanty
for the growth of their potatoes, though he let them off at a rate
which brought in rent below the price of land in the parish, the men
were ready enough to hire them, but they followed Dan Hewlett's lead in
believing that that Gobbleall knowed what he was about, and made a
good thing of it; while the farmers, like Mr Goodenough, were much
displeased, declaring that the allotments would only serve as an excuse
for pilfering. Truly, whatever good was attempted in Uphill, had to be
done against the stream, for nobody seemed to be on the side of the
Carbonels except Mr Harford, and a few of the poor, such as the old
Pucklechurches, Widow Mole and her father, the George Hewletts, and
poor Judith Grey, besides all the better children, who were easily won.
It made the more difficulty that though Captain Carbonel was a
patient man in deed, did not set his expectations too high, and
bore, in fact, with an amazing amount of disappointment and
misunderstanding; yet he was not patient in word, and was apt to speak
very sharply when indignant with cruelty, shuffling, or what was more
unlucky, with stupidity. The men used to declare that he swore at them,
which was perfectly untrue, for a profane word never crossed his lips,
but when he was very angry, he spoke in a tone that perhaps might
excuse them for thinking that his reproofs were flavoured, as had been
the abuse to which they were only too well accustomed.
The tormentors of poor Softy Sam always slunk out of reach at the
most distant report of the approach of the captain, the curate, or the
ladies, but the men never understood their objections to the sport that
had hitherto been freely afforded by the idiot, and had a general idea
that the gentlefolk disliked whatever afforded them amusement.
George Hewlett, indeed, knew better; but then he had never joined in
baiting Softy Sam, and, indeed, had more than once sheltered him from
his enemies, and given him a bit of food. But George in his own line
was dull and unapt to learn; or the whole adventure of the Greenhow
drawing-room paper would never have happened. He might have had it put
up wrongly, for that was wholly the defect of his perceptions, but Dan
would not have been able to secure his unlawful gains. In fact, Dan had
traded on his cousin's honest straightforward blindness and stupidity a
good many times already.
Captain Carbonel stormed at George when he failed to understand
directions, or cut a bit of wood to waste; but without loss of
confidence, and before long, Master Hewlett came to accept it as the
captain's way, and to trust him as a really kind and liberal employer.
And, unluckily, he did not always heed the rating so loudly given, or
rather he did not set his mind to comprehend what lay a little out of
his usual beat, and thus gave additional provocation, though still
Captain Carbonel bore with him, and would not have rejected him in
favour of the far smarter carpenter at Downhill, on any of these
Dan, who was a much sharper fellow, could have helped a great deal,
but his back was up at the first word, and he would do nothing but
sulk. Moreover, George himself detected him doing away with some wood
out of that which was to make Farmer Goodenough's farm gates, under
colour that it was a remnant only fit for firewood. Having already
announced that he would never again employ his cousin after another of
these peculations, he kept to his word, and in spite of Molly's tears
and abuse, and Dan's deeper objurgations, he persisted. Daniel tried to
get work at Downhill, but all the time declared that them Gobblealls
was at the bottom of it, having a spite at him.
Just at this time Captain Carbonel was driving the phaeton, with his
wife in it, home from Elchester; when, just as they were passing Todd's
house, a terrible scream was heard. Shrieks that did not mean
naughtiness but agony; and a flame was visible within the door. In one
moment the captain was over the wicket, past the lurcher, dragging with
him his great old military cloak, which had been over Mary's knees.
Another second, and he had wrapped little Hoglah in it from top to toe,
stifling the flames by throwing her down and holding her tight, while
her mother came flying in from the garden; and Mary, throwing the reins
of the horse to the servant, hurried in.
Tirzah was screaming and sobbing. My child! My dear! Oh, Hoggie!
Hoggie! Is she dead! Oh!
No, no; I think not, said the captain. And, indeed, no sooner did
he begin to unroll her than cries broke out, very sufficient answer as
to the child's being alive, and as her mother vehemently clasped her
they grew more agonising.
Let me see how much she is burnt, said Mrs Carbonel. You had
better not squeeze her. It makes it worse.
The child's poor little neck and bosom proved to have been sadly
burnt. Her mother had been heating the oven, and had gone out to fetch
fresh faggots, when the little one, trying in baby-fashion to imitate
the proceedings, had set her pinafore on fire. Many more children were
thus destroyed than now, when they do not wear so much cotton, nor such
long frocks and pinafores.
Poor little Hoglah screamed and moaned terribly, and the thought of
her being unbaptised came with a shock across Mrs Carbonel. However,
she did not think the injuries looked fatal, and speaking gently to
soothe the mother, as she saw the preparations for baking, she said, I
think we can give her a little ease, my dear, my dear.
Tirzah was sobbing, screaming, and calling on her dear child, quite
helpless at the moment, while Mary took the moaning child. Captain
Carbonel, with his own knife (finding it more effective than the blunt
old knife on the table), cut off the remains of the little garments
which had become tinder, and then handed his wife the flour in a sort
of scoop, and as she sprinkled it over the burnt surface, the shrieks
and moans abated and gradually died away, the child muttered, Nice,
nice, and another word or two, which her mother understood as asking
for something to drink. Beer, to Mary's dismay, was the only thing at
hand, but after a sup of that, the little thing's black eyes closed,
and she said something of Mammy, and Bye, bye. The great old cradle
stood by, still used, though the child was three years old, and Mrs
Carbonel laid her carefully in it.
I think she will get well, said she to the mother, only you must
not let the flour be disturbed on any account. She had arranged
handkerchiefs, her own, and a red one of Tirzah's, to cover the
dressing. I will send you some milk, and don't let the coverings be
disturbed. Let her lie; only give her milk when she wants it, and I
will come to see her to-morrow.
Tirzah was sobbing quietly now, but she got out a choked question as
to whether the child could get well.
Oh yes; no fear of that, if you let the flour alone, as Mrs
Carbonel tells you, said the captain.
Oh, oh! if it wasn't for you the mother began.
But Edmund wanted to get his wife away before there was a scene, and
cut it short with, There, there! We'll come again. Only let her alone,
and don't meddle with the flour.
Tirzah did what no native of Uphill would have thought of. She
clasped Mrs Carbonel's hand, threw herself on her knees, and kissed it.
Thank God, not me, said Mary, much moved. But you will give her
to God now, and let her be baptised. I think she will live, but it
ought to be as God's child.
When the curate came in a little later, to hear how the child was,
Tirzah allowed him to baptize her privately. It might partly have been
the dread of missing the Burial Service, but far more because in this
present mood she was ready to do anything for madam.
Even when the neighbours thronged in, and Mrs Spurrell wanted to
take the child up, pull off the flour, and anoint her with oil and
spirit, she would not hear of it.
They as saved her shall have their will of her, said she.
Saved her! She'll sleep herself off to death! What's the good of
simple stuff like that, with no sting nor bite in it? said Nanny
Ay, said Mrs Spurrell, this ile as my great-aunt gave me, as they
said was a white witch, with all her charrums, is right sovereign! Why,
I did Jenny Truman's Sally with it when her arm was burnt.
Ay, and you could hear her holler all over the place, said Tirzah;
and she've no use of her arm, poor maid! No, you shan't touch my child
Tirzah kept her word, and Mrs Carbonel came every day and doctored
the child, and Sophy brought her a doll, which kept her peaceful for
hours. The lurcher never barked at them, but seemed to understand their
mission. And a wonderful old gipsy grandmother of Tirzah's, with eyes
like needles and cheeks like brown leather, came and muttered charms
over the child, and believed her cure was owing to them; but she left a
most beautiful basket, white and purple, for a present to the lady.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN. AN OFFER REJECTED.
Oft in Life's stillest shade reclining
In desolation unrepining,
Without a hope on earth to find
A mirror in an answering mind,
Meek souls there are who little deem
Their daily strife an angel's theme.
In the spring Dora was invited to spend a few weeks with an old
family friend in London, where there were daughters who had always been
her holiday friends, and with whom she exchanged letters, on big square
pages of paper, filled to the very utmost with small delicate
handwriting, crossed over so that they looked like chequer-work, and
going into all the flaps and round the seal. They did not come above
once in a month or six weeks, and contained descriptions of what the
damsels had seen, thought, heard, read, or felt; so that they were
often really worth the eightpence that had to be paid on their
Edmund, who had business in London, took his sister-in-law there,
driving old Major to the crossroads, where they met the stage-coach. He
went outside, on the box-seat, and she in the dull and close-packed
interior, where four persons and one small child had to make the best
of their quarters for the six hours that the journey lasted. Tired,
headachy, and dusty with March dust, at last Dora emerged, and was very
glad to rattle through the London streets in a hackney coach to Mr
Elwood's tall house, where there was a warm welcome ready for her.
But we need not hear of the pictures she saw, nor the music she
heard, nor the plays she enjoyed, nor the parties she went to during
that thorough holidaythough perhaps some would not call it a holiday,
since the morning was spent in lessons in music, drawing, and Italian,
in practising these same lessons, and in reading history aloudthe
reading of some lighter book being an evening pleasure when the family
were alone. Dora would not have enjoyed it half so much if it had not
been for the times of real solid thought and interest. Her friends,
too, had some poems still in manuscript lent to them, which made an
immense impression on the young souls, and which they all learnt and
discussed on Sundays, trying to enter into their meaning, and
insensibly getting moulded by them. They were the poems that Dora knew
a few years later as the Christian Year. They made her home-work
still dearer to her, and she had never let her interest fade among all
her pleasures, but she was accumulating little gifts for the children,
for Betty Pucklechurch, Widow Mole, Judith Grey, and the rest.
One day, when some intimate friends of the Elwoods were spending the
day with them, something was said about Dora's home; and one of the
visitors exclaimed, UphillUphill, near Poppleby,is that the
Then I wonder whether you can tell me anything about our dear old
nursery maid, Judith Grey.
Judith Grey! Oh yes! She is the very nicest person in all Uphill,
cried Dora. Is it your father that gives her a pension?
Yes. You know it was while carrying little Selina downstairs, that
she put her foot into the string of James's humming-top, and tumbled
down all the stone stairs. She managed to save Selinadear old
Judy!but she hurt her back most dreadfully, and she can't ever be
well again, so papa gives her an allowance. She writes cheerfully, but
we should like to hear more about her. We all were so fond of her.
Indeed, I don't wonder. She is so good and patient. Such a dear
thing! Mary and I call her the bright spot in our parish.
She lives with a sister, I think. Is she nice?
Dora had her opportunity, and she painted Dan Hewlett and his
household in no flattering colours. Molly was a slattern, and Dan was a
thief, and the children ate up Judith's dainties, and they all preyed
upon her. It was a perfectly horrid life for a good, well-trained,
high-principled person to lead. In fact, she poured out all the
indignant accusations that she and Mary had been wont to make between
themselves or to Edmund; and she sent Caroline and Anne Barnard home
greatly shocked at what she had told them of their dear Judy's
Mrs Barnard came the next day, and begged to hear Miss Carbonel's
account. Dora was a little more moderate than she had been to the young
ladies; but, any way, it was sad enough, and Mrs Barnard gave hopes
that something should be done. All the family sent little presents of
books or articles of dress, and Dora promised to write and let her know
of their reception.
It was one of the great pleasures of the return to spread them out
before Judith, and to tell of her sight of the dear young ladies and
their mother, and how tall, and what a fine girl little Miss Selina had
become. But she did not seem quite so happy when she perceived that
Dora had disclosed a good deal of her circumstances; and observed that
her sister was always a good sister to her. Which Dora took leave to
doubt, especially when she recognised Miss Barnard's pretty gift of a
blue turnover, all on one side, upon young Polly's dirty shoulders.
Judith waited, and hoped, and gave up hope, and found fault with the
Barnards before she heard anything; but at last she did. The Barnards'
old housekeeper, with whom Judith had lived, had married their head
gardener. He had died, and she was settled in a cottage in the park,
where she would be very happy to receive Judith, and make her
comfortable. The place was only thirty miles off, and if she consented,
Mrs Barnard would pay a visit she had been asked to make to the
Duchess, and take Judith back in the easy carriage, so as to spare her
Dora and Sophy were in a state of transport, and wanted to rush off
at once with the good news, but Mary withheld them. She thought it
might be too much for so frail an invalid, and insisted on going with
them and telling Judith herself. Nor would she go till after Sophy's
morning studies were over, and they had had luncheons which, by-the-by,
was not an early dinner, but a slender meal of cold meat, cake, or
bread and cheese, of which Edmund never partook at all. She devised
this delay on purpose to wear down the excitement, and Dora had begun
to say how they should miss Judith, only it was all for her good.
Molly was out, as the sisters hoped, tossing the meadow hay, and
Judith sat alone by the fire. Mary told her very gently of the scheme,
and she kept on saying, Thank you, ma'am, while the tears came into
her eyes. Mrs Carbonel gave her Mrs Barnard's letter to read, but the
tears came so thick and fast that she could not see it at first, nor
indeed fully grasp the meaning, while two pairs of eyes were devouring
her countenance as she read. Mrs Carbonel guessed how it was, and saw
that the transports which Dora and Sophy expected were not by any means
near, so she gently said, We will leave you to read the letter, and
come again to-morrow to hear what you think.
Thank you, ma'am; thank you, said poor Judith, as well as she
could among her tears.
How stupid she is! cried Sophy, as they emerged into the road.
I don't believe she could read Mrs Barnard's letter, said Dora.
No, not for tears, said Mary.
Do you think she could have understood you? added Sophy.
Oh, yes; she understood well enough.
But how could she be so dull as not to be delighted? said Sophy.
So ungrateful, too! added Dora.
My dear Dora! It was the embarrassment of her gratitude that
touched me so much, exclaimed Mary.
Do you really think she will not be enchanted to get away from that
dismal hole, and live with honest people? asked Sophy.
My dears, I think you have quite forgotten that Mrs Dan Hewlett is
Nobody would think so, said Dora.
If she could only take Johnnie and Judy away with her, said Sophy,
before their father has spoiled them.
You can't think she would refuse such an offer! added Dora. To be
with a good, nice woman, and at peace among her friends. It really
would be quite wicked in her to refuse.
Nevertheless, Mary withstood all the entreaties of her sisters to go
with her to hear Judith's decision. Edmund heard them persuading her,
and in his peremptory manner desired them to desist. So they hovered
about the garden and home-field waiting for news.
But the news was not what they expected. Mrs Carbonel found Judith
very tearful, but resolute.
I could not do it, ma'am! I am sorry, sorry to the heart, to seem
ungrateful for her kindness; but, indeed, I could not do it. I cannot
leave my sister and the children.
You would be so much more comfortableso much better looked
Yes, ma'am, I know that. Mrs Gregg is one of the best of women, and
so kind. It is very good of her to be willing to take me in; but
You need not be afraid of the journey. Mrs Barnard will come for
Oh yes, ma'am, I know; but there's my sister, ma'am, and her
children. I could not leave them.
I was afraid they did not know how to take care of you, and that
your brother-in-law was rough with you.
My sister have been much better of late, since you have been here,
ma'am; and the poor children, ma'am, I can do something for them.
I see that John and Judy seem to respond to your care; but is it
right to give up all your comfort and peace, and even your health, for
so little as you are enabled to do for them? It would be better if
there were some appreciation of your care, or some attention paid
Molly is generally good to me. Yes, she is, ma'am; and poor little
Johnnie, there ain't nothing he would not do for me. I'm greatly
obliged to Mrs Barnard and the dear young ladies. I would dearly like
to see them again; but Molly is my sister, and my sister is my sister,
and I can't feel it right to leave her.
I honour you, Judith. It is a right feeling. But when they neglect
you, and prey upon you, can it be incumbent on you to give up all for
I don't know, ma'am; but my poor sister, she has a hard life, and I
think her husband would be worse to her if I went away. I couldn't have
no comfort in thinking of them if I did.
Do they know of this? Have they been persuading you?
No, ma'am; I did not say a word. Molly was out, and I wanted to
think it out without being worried and terrified.
Quite right, Judith. I am glad they do not know, said Mary, who
had learned that terrified did not mean frightened, but tormented.
I can well believe you have decided in true unselfishness, and in the
fear of God. But if you see reason to change your mind, let me know in
the course of the week.
Dora and Sophy were really quite angry at Judith's refusal,
especially Dora, who had taken all the trouble of representing her
condition to the Barnards.
I should call it ungrateful, she said, only I believe it is pure
weakness and folly. Those people have been bullying her and tormenting
her out of consenting.
You are wrong, Dora, said her sister, they know nothing about it!
This is all her own doing.
And, said Edmund, if you were older, Dora, you would know how to
appreciate a very noble act of self-denial.
Dora did not at all like Edmund to talk of her being older; but what
he had said gave her something to think about, and she began to
reverence the feeling that made Judith Grey choose the rough and
ungenial life with the Hewletts, to comfort and sympathy with her
Mrs Carbonel and Judith were mistaken in thinking the transaction
could pass unknown to the rest of the family. Polly was near at hand,
but had hidden herself, on the lad's approach, for fear of being called
to account for not being at school, and she reported to her mother that
Madam Gobbleall had been ever so long with aunt, a-trying to persuade
her to go away, and live with them fine folks as she was in service
Molly had a certain real affection for her sister; but to both her
and Dan, the removal would be like the loss of the goose that laid the
golden eggs, and there is no saying what poor Judith had to go through.
Molly came and cried torrents of tears, taking it for granted that
Judith meant to go, and must be frightened out of it. It was of no use
to declare that she had refused the lady. Molly was so much in the
habit of semi-deception, that she could not believe the assurance; and
to hear her lamentations over her dear sister, for whom no one could do
like a blood-relation, and her horror at the idea of strangers being
preferred to herself, one would have thoughtas indeed she believed
herselfthat she was Judith's most devoted and indefatigable nurse.
And to think of them Gobblealls being so sly, such snakes in the grass,
as to try to get her away, unknownst! She would not have them prying
about her house again.
Dan declared it was all the cunning of them, for fear Judith should
become chargeable to the parish, and there! her fine friends would die,
or give her up, or she would just be thrown on the parish, and passed
on to a strange workhouse, and then she would see what she got by
leaving her kin. It was just like their sly tricks!
In point of fact, if Judith had become chargeable to the parish,
Dan's remarks would have been equally true of Uphill, whence she would
have been handed to the place where her father had lived, and it was
the object of every place to dispose of all superfluous paupers. But
Dan and Molly wished her to imagine them willing to keep her freely, in
case of a failure of the supplies!
Poor thing! They really thought that their opposition had induced
her to drop the idea, and that it was for their own ease, or the good
of the rates, that the Carbonel ladies had tried to persuade her to
leave them. Molly did not forbid the ladies the housethere was too
much to be made out of the pickings from their presentsso Judith did
not lose the cheerfulness and comfort they brought her; but Dan laid up
the proposal in his mind as another cause of hatred and ill-will to
CHAPTER FIFTEEN. SCALES OF JUSTICE.
Thou hast appointed justices of peace to call poor men before
for matters they were not able to answer.Shakespeare.
When the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares was spoken, the Blessed
and only Wise foresaw the extreme difficulty of rooting out the tares
without injuring the wheat, when the work is done by the ignorant or
hasty hands of the servants.
So it was at Uphill. Captain Carbonel was made a county magistrate,
and thus had more power in his hands, and his most earnest wish and
prayer was to use it for the good of the parish. But things were very
difficult. At the vestry, the farmers agreed with him that Barton and
Morris ought not to have additional parish relief, great strong men as
they were, who had both refused extra hours of labour offered by
farmers, of a kind they did not like, and now demanded help on the
score of their large families. In fact, it had become the custom to
demand relief for every fresh child that was born, and the men were
often idle in consequence. There were men with many children who had
never come on the parish, because they were trustworthy and sober, and
their wives were thrifty. Each magistrate could point to several of
these, and each knew how the small and struggling ratepayers were
oppressed. Nor could it be fair that these men should be maintained in
idleness or dawdling at the expense of the hard-working small
Every gentleman on the bench who had weakly yielded before, and had
given an order to whoever tramped over to ask for it, was very glad to
have some one who would speak out, and take the burthen of
unpopularity. So the order was not given, and Barton and Morris walked
home disappointed, but not till they had each taken a pint or two of
beer at the Blue Lion on their way home, uttering many curses on
that there Gobbleall. Captain Carbonel did not hear those same
curses, but as he rode home he saw the two men stagger out of the Blue
Lion, refreshed not only by their own pints, but by those of
sympathisers. And the sight did not make him sorry for what he had
done, knowing well that George Hewlett, Cox the cobbler, and Mrs Holly,
the widow with a small shop, were almost borne down with the rates, and
not seeing why they should toil that Billy and Nanny Barton should
lounge and drink.
Billy Barton, however, did more. He joined an expedition which Dan
Hewlett was already organising with Joe Todd, as much for revenge as
profit, to have a night of poaching in Mr Selby's woods, in which there
were a number of fine pheasants, not so many as at present where
preserves are strictly kept, but poaching was more profitable in some
ways, since in those days poulterers were not allowed to sell game
openly, but gave a higher price to men who could contrive to convey it
to them, and then sold it at a great profit to pretentious people, who
had no friends to give it to them, but who wanted to show it at their
dinner-parties. Tirzah Todd, as usual, was the means of disposing of
most of these gains. Her lively ways made poulterers and servants
inclined to further her dealings.
She was a great deal too sharp to carry any save her lawful wares to
Greenhow Farm; but in the last year since the Carbonels had come,
especially since the captain had been a magistrate, the trade had been
less prosperous and required more caution. Once Captain Carbonel had
found a wire for a hare in his hedge, and had made it known that he
should prosecute any one whom he caught out. He was no eager sportsman
himself, but he had a respect for the law.
The poachers arranged a raid upon the Selby woods, in which Joe
Todd, Dan Hewlett, and Billy Barton all took part. The first of these
was too sharp to be caught by the keepers. He had all the litheness and
cunning of his gipsy blood, and was actually safe in the branches of a
tree overhead, while Dan, having put his foot into a rabbit-hole, was
seized by one keeper, with his gun and a bag of spoil, and Billy
Barton, in his bewilderment, ran straight into the arms of another,
with a pheasant's tail poking up his short smock-frock as it stuck out
of his pocket.
Of course Mr Selby could not commit for an offence against himself,
so Hewlett and Barton were hauled off to Captain Carbonel, while their
wives begged to see madam, and they were conducted to the verandah, for
the justice business was going on in the large kitchen. No doubt they
expected, though Nanny had read no novels, that the magistrate would
sit enthroned in the most public place in the house, that the women
would weep, that the ladies, with softened hearts, would throw
themselves before him, like Queen Philippa at Calais, and beg off the
victims. Of what could, should, or ought to be done, they had no
notion; and of course they were both in terrible distress, Nanny crying
passionately into her apron, and protestingwhenever she could get
voice between her sobs, that if the good lady would get the good
gentleman to forgive him this timehe would never, never do so no
more. While Molly Hewlett, who had some remnants of old respectability
about her, was trying her utmost to induce Mrs Carbonel to intercede.
It was the first time. He was led to it. It was for sport. He had
never done it before. To be sure madam would not let 'em be hard on
poor Judith's brother. No Hewlettno, nor any Greyhad ever been in
prison before! He was just drove to it, because that there George would
give him no work! She and her poor children would have to come to the
workhouse, and poor Judith! Nanny, too, began to cry out about her poor
children and the parish.
Meanwhile Mrs Carbonel had been trying to get in a word to make them
understand that the matter did not rest with the captain, and that he
had no choice at all in the question but to commit them to gaol to take
their trial. He had no power to let them off, and she could do nothing,
though she was sincerely sorry for the wives; but they neither heard
nor tried to hear, and as the cart was driven up by Master
Pucklechurch, the keeper, and the constable Cox, to the back door for
the handcuffed prisoners, weeping and wailing of the loudest arose, and
the women darted round to embrace their husbands, evidently expecting
Mrs Carbonel to assure them that she would charge herself with the
support of their families while they were in prison.
She was so much distressed, and so pitiful, that she was just going
to do something of the kind, but her husband's gesture stopped her.
Billy Barton howled more loudly than his wife, and, as he could not
raise his hands to his face, presented a terrible spectacle, though the
captain declared there were no tears to be seen. Dan stood grim,
stolid, and impassive, and if he spoke at all, it was in a muttered
oath at the noise his wife was making. It was a great relief when the
cart was driven off, followed by the two women, and Captain Carbonel
Poor creatures! That Barton is a fool, but Mr Dan is something
Oh, those poor women! Why would you not let me speak, Edmund, and
promise that they should not starve?
The parish will take care of that, Mary; you need not be afraid.
It sounds so hard-hearted, said Dora and Sophy to each other.
But Edmund did not prevent, nor wish to prevent, their going to see
Judith, nor taking with them much more solid food than she was in the
habit of eating. Thick sandwiches and lumps of cold pudding were
likewise conveyed to the Barton children at school, so that probably
they fared much better than was their usual habit.
Judith said she was sorry that Dan should go for to do such a thing,
but she was less indignant than Dora expected, and she cried, though
more quietly than her sister, when he was sentenced to three months'
imprisonment. It was to be said for Molly Hewlett, that enough of her
old training remained about her to keep her a sober woman, but Captain
Carbonel saw Nanny Barton reeling out of the Blue Lion on the day of
the conviction, much the worse for the treatings she had enjoyed by way
If George Hewlett had any strong feelings about his brother's
disaster, he did not communicate them; he went about his work just as
usual, and whistled as much as ever. But he took Johnnie, who was only
eleven years old, into his workshop, and gave him eighteenpence a week
for doing what he could; and he turned out handy, diligent, and
trustworthy, so as to be fully worth the money, and thus to stay on
when his father came out of prison.
Dan was much the same man as when he went into gaol, save that his
hatred to Captain Carbonel had increased.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN. LINCH-PINS.
And leave them laughing, Ho! Ho Ho!Robin Goodfellow.
Notice was sent from the Bishop of the diocese that he was about to
hold a Confirmation at Poppleby in six weeks' time. This was matter of
rejoicing to Mr Harford, who had mourned over the very few
communicants. Before he came the Celebrations had been only three times
a year, and were attended by most of the aged paupers. To the joy of
the Carbonels, the feast was monthly after his coming; but the first
time the aged people were there, and all lingered, George Hewlett, the
clerk, said, when the curate looked to him for information
The alms, sir. They be waiting for the money in the plate.
Why, that is to be reserved for sick and distressed.
Mr Selby, he always give it out to them, and so did Mr Jones afore
him, sir. They be all expecting of it.
Mr Harford thought that it might be best not to disappoint the old
people suddenly, so he stood at the vestry door counting heads, and
numbering among them two whom he had already been somewhat startled to
see present themselves, namely, Dame Spurrell, whom he had heard
abusing her neighbour with a torrent of foul words, and who pretended
to be a witch, and Tom Jarrold, whom Hewlett had described to him as
the wickedest old chap in the parish.
He took counsel with the churchwardens, Farmers Goodenough and
Rawson, who both agreed that they were a bad lot, who didn't deserve
nothing, but it helped to keep down the rates. Then he talked to
Captain Carbonel, who, being a reverent man, was dismayed at what he
Just paying the old souls for coming in no fit state, he said.
Then you advise me to change the system?
You have no other choice, returned the soldier. Read out your
standing orders, and preach, if you will, explaining the matter.
This Mr Harford did, but not by any means all the persons concerned
were present, and he afterwards went round among them explaining that,
though they were to be helped in any distress, and the alms would be
kept for the purpose, it was profane to give them out as a sort of
payment to those who partook. Old Redford, Widow Mole's father, was the
only person who seemed to enter into the scruples.
Yes, sir, he said, it went agin me to sim to be paid for coming
to the Lord's Table, and I wouldn't ne'er ha' done it, but a shilling
is a shilling to my poor daughter, and when I could get to church, it
was hard on her to miss the chance.
The next Celebration was only attended by the Carbonels, old Mrs
Rawson, and Redford; nor at the next ensuing Whitsuntide were the
numbers much increased. In spite of all that Mr Harford could preach,
and say in private, the main body of the parishioners would not listen
to the invitation. And the disaffected grumbled among themselves, that
he kept the money for himself, and no one would never see the colour of
it. There really were only thirteen communicants in the parish when
these had seceded. And Mr Harford looked to the Confirmation to bring
more intelligent and devout worshippers, though the time for
preparation was short.
He found that most people had been confirmed at Minsterham
Cathedral, and there were reminiscences of great holidays, few and far
between, and no difficulty was made as to the young people, up to
twenty years old, being nominated for Confirmation. There was some
disappointment that it should be only at Poppleby, as furnishing so
much less of a day's pleasure; and when it was found that Mr Harford
expected the candidates at regular classes and private lectures, there
were objections. Farm lads could not be spared, maids in farmhouses
What should parson want to be always at 'em, said Mrs Goodenough.
Old Mr Jones, he never made no work with them.
However, she had two daughters to be confirmed, and the reigning
Lizzie was allowed to go as an escort to them. The elder lads, who
were really grown men, would not come at all, and could never be found.
They wouldn't be catechiznot they. The Sunday scholars, male and
female, came pretty well, but not in large numbers, and the age fixed
for Confirmation was fifteen, so that those who were fresh from
teaching were not many. Sophia Carbonel was a candidate, and very much
in earnest, but Mr Harford preferred giving her books to read and
questions to answer in private, as with most of the others he had to
begin at the very beginning. The Misses Goodenough knew almost
nothingfar less than Susan Pucklechurch and Rachel Mole, who were the
gems of the female class, as was Johnnie Hewlett of that of the youths.
The brightest of these was, however, in some respects, Fred Allen, of
the general shop. He had been at school at Downhill, and could really
read and write better than Johnnie, and far better than any one else;
for the chief scholars only made what Betty Pucklechurch called a sad
hackering job of un, and most scarcely knew a letter, having forgotten
whatever they might have learnt at Dame Verdon's before they went out
bird-starving. Fred Allen began by answering, when asked what was done
in Confirmation, Taking all your godfather's and godmother's sins upon
you, and becoming liable to be balloted for the militia! It was a
startling view, and, as far as Mr Harford could make out, it was shared
by most of the candidates; but, then, they had very little notion of
what sin meant, as, if they had a general idea, it was plain that they
did not seriously expect to suffer for their sponsors sins after
Confirmation, or that the sponsors suffered for theirs previously.
The curate taught, questioned, explained, and exhorted. Fred Allen
knew little, but his wits were sharper, and he took in Mr Harford's
instructions more readily, and remembered them better, while apparently
most of the other minds were, and remained, a blank. Only he could not
refrain from causing horse-laughs outside, and making grins at every
But, with much anxiety, and after many exhortations, Mr Harford gave
out his tickets. The girls were to be conveyedthe most of themin
the Greenhow waggon, driven by old Pucklechurch, the boys to walk. Mr
Goodenough would drive his daughters; and Sophia, in her white dress
and cap (nobody wore a veil then), would be with her sisters and
brother in the chariot with post-horses. Captain Carbonel and Mr
Harford went outside on the box.
They had passed Downhill, and were getting on, as well as their
horses could, through the muddy ground at the bottom, freshly stirred
up by a previous wet day. Before them was a steep, short ascent, but at
the bottom of this there was a sudden stop. The captain put his head in
at the window and said, Only the cartno harm, and strode on
following Mr Harford, while the ladies craned their heads out, and
Dora, exclaiming An accident, ran after him, and Mary only just
withheld Sophy, in consideration of her white dress, on the post-boy's
assurance, with a scarcely suppressed grin, No harm done, ma'am. Only
For what the two gentlemen and the amused post-boy had seen was
this. The squadron of boys had overtaken the cart full of girls, when,
just as the waggon had come to the pitch of the hill, all the load of
maidens were seen tumbling out at the back, and as the horses of the
chariot halted, the girls' screams, mingled with the horse-laughter of
the boys, was plainly to be heard. Only Susan Pucklechurch, sitting on
the front seat with her father, remained in her place. The girls were
giggling and helping one another up, nearly all unhurt, but some very
angry, and Bessy Linwood was scolding violently, Pucklechurch likewise
in his most growling voice, Ye young good-for-noughts! I'll lay the
cart whip about your idle, mischievous backs, while the party of boys
were still laughing, and one voice was heard to shout, Rubbish shot
here. A peal of laughter followed, but was cut short by Bessy
Linwood's, Here's parson; you'll catch it. Then, at the top of her
voice, Sir, 'tis them boys! They've bin and pulled out the linch-pins
and shot us all down into the mud!
Is this so? said the captain sternly, while silence came down on
the party, except for the sobs of Jenny Hewlett, who had gone into a
dirty pool, and whom Rachel Mole and Betsy Seddon were brushing down
Quite true, sir, returned Pucklechurch. They young dogs got
behind, and played the poor maids this trick.
Who did? demanded Mr Harford.
Bessy Linwood spoke up and said it was all on 'em, but she saw
Fred Allen at it.
No doubt, the fun of the thing had been too much for the boys, in
their holiday mood of thoughtlessness, and they stood looking sheepish,
but Mr Harford was very stern and sharp with them.
Lads, do you think that, if you could play such a trick, you can be
in a fit state to take solemn vows upon you?
No one spoke up except Fred Allen. We didn't do 'em no harm, he
No harm! To disturb all good thoughts in their minds and your own,
and drive out all serious impressions by this mischievous trick! Now,
will any one come forward and say he is sorry?
Mr Harford waited, but no one stirred. He bade the girls get in
again, and Pucklechurch drive them on. He waited again, but no one
spoke. Indeed, Allen and another big youth were seen making for a gap
in the hedge.
Will no one say he is sorry for what was an idle trick, but very
wrong when you ought to be thinking how you would be giving yourselves
up to God?
They stood like stocks, and Captain Carbonel said, Has no one the
grace to regret a very improper and thoughtless action?
Still no one moved.
Then, said the clergyman, there is no choice left to me. It would
be profanation to take persons in such a mood to make vows, and kneel
to receive God's grace, which they evidently make light of. Whoever
will not come and apologise must go home.
There was no movement among the white round frocks. Boys are like
sheep: what one does, the others do, and few are to be found to stand
alone. Mr Harford looked anxiously at Johnnie Hewlett and one or two
more, from whom he expected better things, but they only looked down,
with their hands in their pockets and sullen faces; and Captain
Carbonel held up his watch to show that they should all be too late.
There was nothing to be done but to return to their seats, and urge the
post-boy to hurry on.
The bells of Poppleby church might ring merrily, but the heart of
the curate was very heavy with the questionswhether this misfortune
could be owing to his not having impressed the lads enough while
preparing them, or to his having been too hasty and peremptory in his
Captain Carbonel said they were such intolerable louts that to
disappoint them was all the better, and they would know how to present
themselves more seriously another time, but Mr Harford much doubted
whether they would ever present themselves again.
It would just be mockery for them to make the vow, said the
Ah! they miss the grace, said the curate.
Harriet Allen was crying all through the time of the Confirmation
when she perceived that her brother's head was not among the boys.
Indeed the only male candidate from Uphill was Will Cox, who had gone
with his cousins from Downhill. Most of the boys were glad to have got
off making the vow, for, in spite of all Mr Harford's teaching, there
were some who still believed that they would take all their
god-parents' sins upon them, or, at any rate, that they should feel
more bound to take heed to their ways.
Johnnie Hewlett indeed was sorry when he went home to his aunt, and
had to tell her why he had not been confirmed after all.
Oh, Johnnie, Johnnie, you didn't go for to upset the maids?
I? No. I was at the bottom of the hill with Harry Coles.
Then why couldn't you have said so? He hung his head and twisted
his hands. Oh, Johnnie, what was it? Was it only the going along with
Still he made no reply, but Judith saw in his face that this was the
Oh, my boy! To think that you did not feel that God's blessing and
grace were worth standing out for against a lot of idle chaps; and now
you won't be able to take the Sacrament!
Father never would let I, returned the boy.
Oh, my dear, dear lad, don't you know that you might have got
strength, and would get strength, to stand up for yourself, and do what
you ought. Oh dear! My hope is gone! she cried bitterly, and though
Johnnie got away from the sight, her distress really found its way into
his heart, while he said very little except, There, there, auntie,
never mind. Maybe I'll try again next time.
You promise me, John Hewlett; even if I'm not here to see?
Yes, I promise, aunt, said he, glad to have silenced her regrets,
and hoping the fulfilment was a good way off.
The parishioners, especially those who had only sons and not
daughters, were very angry. They did not value Confirmation greatly,
but that the curate after making such a work with the poor lads as
never was, should have presumed to reject them made them furious. Mr
Allen even threatened to write to Dr Fogram, but as he did not know how
to address a letter, to what he called Oxford College, he contented
himself with walking off with his belongings to Downhill church every
Sundaythat is, when they went anywhere.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN. PROGRESS OR NO
For some cry quick and some cry slow,
But while the hills remain,
Uphill, too slow, will need the whip,
Downhill, too quick, the chain.
Several years had passed away, and Mary's Approach had never been
made, though the lane had been improved and worn a good deal smoother,
and the Duchess and other grandees had found their way along it.
There were other expenses and other interests. Dora was married. A
fellow-soldier of Captain Carbonel's had come on a visit, and had
carried the bright young sister off to Malta. She was a terrible loss
to all the parish, and it would have been worse if Sophia had not grown
up to take her place, and to be the great helper in the school and
parish, as well as the story-teller and playmate, the ever ready Aunt
Sophy of the little children.
And these years had made the farm and garden look much prettier and
neater altogether. The garden was full of flowers, and roses climbed up
the verandah; and the home-field beyond looked quite park-like with
iron railings between, so that the pretty gentle Alderney cows could be
The skim-milk afforded by those same cows went in great part to the
delicate children in the village, though Mrs Carbonel had every year to
fight a battle for it with Master Pucklechurch and his wife, who
considered the whole of it as the right of the calves and little pigs,
and would hardly allow that the little human Bartons or Morrises were
more worth rearing.
There had been a visitation of measles through the villagevery bad
in the cottages, and at Greenhow the three little children had all been
very ill; the second, Dora, died, and the elder one, little Mary,
remained exceedingly delicate, screaming herself ill on any alarm or
agitation, and needing the most anxious care.
The cottagers had learnt to look to Greenhow and the Gobblealls as
the safe resource in time of any distress, whether of a child having
eaten too many blackberries, or of a man being helpless from
rhumatiz; a girl needing a recommendation to a service, or Please,
sir, I wants to know if it is allowed for a man to kill my father?
which was the startling preface to George Truman's complaint of a
public-house row, in which his father had got a black eye.
Still, there was less fighting among the men and much less among the
women, since Nanny Barton and Betsy Seddon had lodged
counter-accusations after a great quarrel over the well, when Nanny had
called Betsy, among other choice epithets, a sneaking hypercriting old
cat of a goody, and Betsy had returned the compliment by terming Nanny
a drunken, trapesing, good-for-nothing jade, as had no call to good
water. On which Nanny had torn out a large bunch of Betsy's hair, and
Betsy had used her claws to make long scratches on Nanny's cheeks, the
scars of which were cherished for the magistrates! It was expected in
the village that Betsy would get off, being that she and her husband
worked for Captain Gobbleall, and Nanny was known, when a bit
overtaken, to have sauced Miss Sophy. Nevertheless they were equally
fined, with the choice of three weeks' imprisonment, and, to every
one's surprise, the fines were produced.
Betsy thought it very hard that she should be fined when she worked
in the captain's fields; and she lamented still more when he insisted
on the family removing to a vacant cottage of his own between two of
his fields. It was in better condition, had more garden, and a lower
rent, and her husband, who was a quiet man, never quarrelling unless
she made him, much rejoiced. She have too much tongue, he said, and
she had to keep the peace, for the captain declared that, after the
next uproar in his fields, he should give her no more work there. And
though she declared it was not her, but they women who would not let
her alone, things certainly became much quieter.
For Captain Carbonel was an active magistrate, busy in all the
county improvements, and preserving as much order in the two parishes
as was possible where there was no rural police, only the constable,
Cobbler Cox, who was said to be more skeered of the rogues than the
rogues was of he, and, at Downhill, Appleton, the thatcher, who was
generally to be found enjoying himself at the Selby Arms. Still, fewer
cases came up to the bench than in former times, and Uphill hardly
furnished one conviction in a quarter. The doctors at the infirmary
said that they knew an Uphill person by the tidier clothing. This was
chiefly owing to the weekly club, of which the women were very glad.
It is just as if it was given, they said, when the clothes came in
half-yearly, and decent garments encouraged more attendance at church.
There was no doubt that Uphill was more orderly, but who could tell
what was the amount of real improvement in the people's hearts and
That first Confirmation had only produced two additional
communicants, Sophia Carbonel, and Susan Pucklechurch, who was in
training in the Greenhow nursery. Not one of the others came to the
Holy Feast. Their parents, for the most part, said they were too young,
and, as these parents never came themselves, the matter seemed hopeless
unless some deeper religious feeling could be infused by diligent care.
In one case, where there was a terrible illness and a slow recovery
of George Truman, he became strongly impressed, and so did his wife, a
very nice, meek woman, who had been in a good service. They both came
to the Holy Communion the month after the man was out again, but he did
not keep it up. Sir, if you knew what the talk was like out in the
fields, you would not wish it, he said. Which gave Mr Harford much to
The next Confirmation, three years later, collected nearly the same
number of boys and girls, and Mr Harford walked with the boys himself,
and sent Mrs Thorpe with the girls, so that there was no such scandal
as before. The only lad who presented himself from among those rejected
of the former year, was Johnnie Hewlett. He was by this time older than
any of the other candidates, and he had learnt in a measure to stand
alone, though it was chiefly his promise to his aunt that brought him
now. He still worked with his cousin George Hewlett, and was a good
deal trusted, and made useful. His father had, however, drifted farther
and farther away, since George had absolutely refused to employ him
again in his business.
You never know where you are with such as he, said George, and
with good reason; but Dan laid it all to they Gobblealls and their
spite. It was so far true that it was the depredations at Greenhow
Farm that first convinced George that Dan was an absolute pilferer,
though he had before suspected it, and tried to shut his eyes to the
doubt. Dan, being a really clever workman, far brighter-witted than
George, had lived upon chance jobs at Downhill or Poppleby, together
with a good deal of underhand poaching, which he kept as much as
possible from the knowledge of his family, never being sure what Molly
might not tell her sister, nor what Judith might disclose to the
ladies. Polly had made a miserable marriage, and Jenny was in service
at a public-house, Jem, a big idle lad, whom no one employed if it
could be helped, Judy was still at home, and a comfort to her aunt.
It was his aunt that chiefly induced John to live at home, though he
could easily have lodged away and have been nearer to the workshop. His
father had let him alone, and not interfered with his Sunday School
going, as long as he was a mere boy, till this second time, when, at
eighteen, and grown to man's stature, he was going up as a candidate
with the younger ones. Then the father swore he was not going to have
his son make a tomfool of hisself to please that there parson.
I have promised, said John.
Promised? Whatparson or ladies, or any sneaks that come meddling
where no one wants 'em?
'Twere not parson, said John.
Then 'twas one of they Gobbleallswith an oath. That ain't of no
'Tweren't, again said John.
No more was to be got out of him than 'Tweren't, and I shall keep
my word. He was too big to be beaten; a tall, strong, well-made youth,
and Dan was obliged to let him alone, and only swear at him for turning
his back on his old father, and being no better than a Methody.
In point of fact, Molly and the two younger children were chiefly
supported by John's earnings and Judith's pension, for whatever Dan
earned at Downhill or picked up in his various fashions was pretty sure
to be swallowed either by the Blue Lion or by the Fox and Hounds.
Judith was entirely in bed upstairs, and the kitchen had lost all the
little semblance of smartness it once had. While Molly might have been
taken for sixty years old instead of forty-five, though that was not
unusual among the hard-working women, who got aged and dried up with
weather in the fields and with toil and care at homeeven when they
had kindly, sober husbands.
Judith's room was a place of peace and order, so kept by the help of
little Judy and of John, both of whom loved her heartily, and felt as
if she were a mother to them. She had brought home to them all the good
that they knew. She had always made them say their prayers by her as
children, and John continued to do so still, for old sake's sake if
for no other reason. They had always repeated to her what they had
heard at school, and by-and-by the text and substance of the sermons as
far as they could; and she told them her own thoughts, freely and
earnestly, thoughts that came partly from the readings of Mrs Carbonel
and Mr Harford with her, but far more than she knew from her own study
of the Bible, backed by her earnest spiritual mind, which grew deeper
and deeper as her earthly sufferings increased. Of course she had tried
to do the same with her sister and the other children, but none of them
would endure it. Molly always had something to do elsewhere, and said
what was all very well for a sick woman like Judith could not be
expected in one who had such a lot of trouble that she did not know
which way to look.
Poor thing! Neither Judith nor Mr Harford could persuade her that
there was a way to look which would have lightened all these troubles!
But John had learnt how to stand alone, and he did so, not only by
presenting himself for confirmation, but by becoming a Communicant. Not
another lad did so, but his cousin George and his wife had begun at
last, under the influence of Mr Harford's sermons, and so had a few
more in the parish. John, in his cousin's workshop, was shielded from a
good deal of the evil talk and jesting that went on among his fellows
in the fields. He took after George in being grave and quiet, and he
loved no company better than his invalid aunt's; but to be a steady and
religious youth was a more difficult matter in those days than at
present, for harmless outlets for youthful spirits had not been
devised, and to avoid mischief it was almost needful to abstain from
almost all the company and pleasures of a country lad.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. THE
When lawless mobs insult the court,
That man shall be my toast,
If breaking windows be the sport,
Who bravely breaks the most.
Captain Carbonel had made his farming answer better than his
friends, or still more the farmers, had predicted. He had gone to the
markets and talked with the farmers, and not shown off any airs,
though, as they said, he was a gentleman, so known by his honest,
straightforward dealing. Nor had he been tempted to launch out into
experiments and improvements beyond what he could properly afford,
though he kept everything in good order, and used new methods according
to the soil of his farm.
Master Pucklechurch growled at first, and foretold that nothing
would come of thicken a'; that the mangled weazel, as he called the
mangel wurzel, would not grow; and that the cows would never eat that
there red clover as they calls apollyon; but when the mangel swelled
into splendid crimson root and the cows throve upon the bright fields
of trifolium, he was as proud as any one, and he showed off the sleek
sides of the kine, and the big mis-shapen roots of the beet with the
Equal grumbling heralded the introduction of a threshing-machine,
which Captain Carbonel purchased after long consideration. The beat of
the flail on barn floors was a regular winter sound at Uphill, as in
all the country round, but to get all the corn threshed and winnowed by
a curious revolving fan with four canvas sails, was a troublesome
affair, making farmers behindhand in coming to the market. And as soon
as he could afford the venture the Captain obtained a machine to be
worked by horse-power, for steam had hardly been brought as yet into
use even for sea traffic, and the first railway was only opened late in
1830, the time of the accession of William the Fourth.
The farm people, with old Pucklechurch at their head, looked at the
operations of the machine with some distrust, but this gradually became
wonder and admiration on the part of the Greenhow labourers, for
threshing with the flail was very hard work for the shoulders and back,
and Captain Carbonel took care to find employment for the men in winter
time, so that his men did not join in the complaint of Barton and
Morris that there wouldn't be nothing for a poor chap to get his bread
by in the winter. In truth, the machine and its work were a perfect
show to the neighbourhood for the first harvest or two, when Seddon was
to be seen sitting aloft enthroned over a mist of dust, driving the
horse that went round and round, turning the flails that beat out corn
from the ears in the sheaves, with which Pucklechurch and Truman fed
All Greenhow was proud of its Mr Machy, as the little Mary called
it, thinking perhaps that it was a wonderful live creature.
The neighbourhood remained quiet even when George the Fourth died,
and there was much hope and rejoicing over the accession of his
brother, who was reported to be the friend of the people, and to mean
to make changes in their favour. Poor old George Hewlett was, however,
much exercised on the first Sunday, when, in the prayers for the king,
Mr Harford inadvertently said George instead of William, and
George Hewlett, the clerk, held it to be praying for the dead, which he
supposed to be an act forbidden.
There was, of course, an election for the new parliament, but it did
not greatly affect Uphill, as nobody had any votes, except Captain
Carbonel, the farmers, and the landlord of the Fox and Hounds, and
the place was too far from Minsterham for any one to share in the
election news, except Dan Hewlett and Joe Todd, who tramped over
thither to hear the speeches, swell the riotous multitude, and partake
of all the beer to which both sides freely treated all comers. They
came home full of news, and reported in the bar of the Fox and Hounds
that there were to be grand doings in this new parliament; the people
wasn't going to stand it no longer, not if the right gentlemen got in;
but there would be an end of they machines, as made horses do men's
work, and take the bread from their poor children. Beer would be ever
so much cheaper, and every poor man would have a fat pig in his sty.
That is, if Mr Bramdean, as was the people's friend, got in.
Why, he was the one as our Captain Gobbleall was agin, observed
Cox, who had come in to hear the news.
To be sure he was; Gobbleall is hand and glove with all the tyrums.
Ha'n't he got a machine? said Dan, in an oracular manner.
No one will never tell me as how our captain ain't a friend o' the
people, returned Seddon. Don't he get coals reasonable for us, and
didn't he head the petition for your pig, Jim, and draw it up, too?
Ay, but what right had he to say my missus shouldn't take it out of
the parish? said Jim Parsons. We'd a made a couple of pounds more, if
she'd been free to go her rounds, as Betty Blake did.
Ay, that's the way of 'em. They grudges us everything what they
don't give themselves, said Dan, and little of that, too.
No one understood the spirit which desired to make people
independent, and raise them above indiscriminate beggary, and Todd
said, with a grim laugh, They would not see us make a little purse for
ourselves, not if they can help it.
Seddon feebly said the ladies was free enough with their gifts.
They had never had no one before to help the women folk and the
Pig's wash! Much good may it do 'em, said Dan, so contemptuously
that Seddon durst not utter another word in the general laugh, though
he carried home a little can of milk every day, and he and others well
knew the store that their wives set by the assistance of their little
They knew it well enough, though they were afraid to maintain the
cause of the Gobblealls before such an orator as Dan; and nothing worse
than these grumblings took place all harvest time, where the whole
families were fully employed, the men each taking a portion of the
field, while their wives and children aided in the reaping and binding,
and earned sums amongst them which would pay the quarter's rent, buy
the pig, and provide huge boots for the father, if for no others of the
family. The farmers provided substantial luncheons and suppers for the
toilers in the field; and, when all was over, and the last load
carried, amid joyful shouts, there was a great harvest supper at each
farm, where songs were sung, dances were danced, and there was often a
most unlimited quantity of beer swallowed.
No one had then thought of harvest thanksgivings; but at Greenhow
there was as usual the farm supper, but with only ale enough for good
and not for harm; the ladies came to hear the songs in the great farm
kitchen, and the party had to break up at nine o'clock. The women,
especially Mrs Mole, were glad; but the men, even the steady ones, did
not like having only half an evening of it, and such a mean sup of
beer. It really was excellent strong beerfar better than the
farmers' brewbut that did not matter to the discontented, who,
instead of letting themselves be taken home by their wives, adjourned
to the Fox and Hounds, and there sat over their pint cups,
replenished from time to time, while they discussed the captain's
meanness, and listened to a dirty old newspaper, which told of the
doings of Jack Swing, who was going about in Wiltshire, raising mobs,
threatening farmers and squires, and destroying machines. There was
much excitement among the gentry about Reform, but apparently the poor
cared not about it.
To the Uphill mind, Wiltshire was as strange and distant a country
as Australia, and this made little impression, so that, as the days
went on, everybody went to their usual work, and there was no alarm.
Oh no, said Mrs Carbonel, the people here have far too much good
sense to want to molest their best friends. They quite admire our
threshing-machine; and see what a saving of labour it is!
However, it was thought right to raise a body of yeomanry for the
defence of the country, in case the disaffection should become more
serious, and the assistance of Captain Carbonel at the county town was
urgently requested to organise the members of it. He left home for a
few days without the least anxiety. And Mr Harford, too, went on the
Monday to attend a college meeting at Oxford, and would not return till
he had visited his patient lady-love. The Selbys were away, spending
the autumn at Cheltenham.
CHAPTER NINETEEN. A NIGHT JOURNEY.
And he must post, without delay,
Along the bridge and through the dale.
And by the church and o'er the down.
John Hewlett had finished his day's work, and come home in the dusk
of an October evening. He found the house hung all over with the family
linen, taken in to shelter from a shower; but not before it had become
damp enough to need to be put by the fire before it could be ironed or
folded. His mother was moaning over it, and there was no place to sit
down. He did not wonder that Jem had taken his hunch of bread and gone
away with it, nor that his father was not at home; but he took off his
boots at the back door, as his aunt never liked his coming into her
room in themthough they were nothing to what he would have worn had
he worked in the fieldsand then climbed up the stairs.
Judith was sitting up in bed, with her teapot, tea-cup, and a piece
of stale loaf, laid out on a tray before her; and little Judy beside
her, drinking out of a cracked mug. Judith's eyes had a strange look of
fright in them, but there was an air of relief when she saw Johnnie.
Well, aunt, is that all you have got for tea?
Poor mother has been hindered; but never mind that, returned
Judith, in a quick, agitated tone. Judy, my dear, drink up your tea
and run down to help mother, there's a dear.
You haven't brought nothing, Johnnie, Judy lingered to ask.
No, not I. I've worked too late to go to shop, said Johnnie.
Go down, my dear, as I told you, said Judith, with a little
unwonted tone of impatience, which made the youth certain that she had
something important to tell him; and as soon as the little girl began
clumping down the stairs, she held out her hand and said in the lowest
of voices, Come near, Johnnie, that you may hear. He came near; she
put out her hand to pull him on his knees, so that his ear might be
close to her, and whispered, Jack Swing is coming to Greenhow
The captain away! How do you know?
A man came and talked with your father in the back gardenjust
under this window. Mother had run up to shop for a bit of soap; but
they thought she might come in any minute, and so went out at the back
door, so that I heard them all the better.
They never thought of that! Well?
They mean to come on Greenhow, ask for money and arms, break up the
machine, and burn the ricks if they don't get what they want. Father
said they might be sure of the Downhill men, and most of 'em here, for
they all hate that there machine that is to starve poor folk in winter
time; and those that were not of that way would be afraid to hold back,
or they would show them the reason why.
And the captain away. It is enough to be the death of madam and the
That's just what I thought. Oh, Johnnie dear, can't you help to
save them, and hinder it?
Master wouldn't go along with such doings, said John.
I wouldn't answer for George! He's a steady man, and would do no
harm if he's let alone; but he's a mortal fearsome one! No, John,
there's no help for it, but that you should get over in time to fetch
the captain, and let him take away the ladies, or stand up for them.
He'll know what to be at!
But will it get father into trouble? asked John.
Not among so many. He's sharp enough. The captain, if he were only
at home, would see how to get them away. Anyway, think of the poor
ladies and the little children!
John stood for a minute or two by the window thinking, while Judith
sat up in her bed gazing at him with eager, anxious eyes; and at last
he turned back, and would have spoken aloud but that she raised her
hand to caution him. He knelt down again beside her, and said, No,
aunt, I couldn't rest to think of all those rough brutes of chaps from
we don't know where coming and playing their rigs, and bullying the
ladies, with no one to help. There was a lady frightened to death with
them,master was reading it out in the paper. Yes, I'll go and fetch
the captain home to take care of them. Where is he?
Miss Sophy told me he was at the hotel at Minsterham with a lot of
them. Have you ever been there, Johnnie?
Yes. Once I went with master in the cart when he wanted a bit of
mahogany wood for Mrs Goodenough's chairs. It is a long way, said
Johnnie, looking wistfully at the darkening window; but I'll do it,
Yes. Please God, and He will help you. You've had your tea. No!
Well, drink up this,it is cold enoughand take this hunch of bread.
I am afraid there's nothing better to be had. And here's sixpence, in
case you want a bit of food.
I've got ninepence of my own, said John, feeling in his pocket;
and though most of his pay went to his mother for his washing and
board, he always kept a little back every week.
There, then, you'd best be off, my dear lad. Keep out of sight, you
know, as long as you are in the village.
Johnnie bobbed his head; and his aunt threw her arms round his neck,
and kissed him, as she had not done since he was in petticoats; and
then she murmured, God bless you, my darling lad, and take care of
Johnnie did not feel the prayer needless, for in spite of his
eighteen year, he had all a country lad's dislike of being out alone in
the dark; and to this was added the sense that it was a time when
evil-minded people might be about, who would certainly assault and stop
him if they guessed his errand. To meet his father would make it
certain that he would be seized, abused, beaten, and turned back, with
the reproach of being an unnatural sonturning against his father. Of
this, however, there was little chance, as Dan Hewlett was pretty
certain to be either in the Fox and Hounds or in the Blue Lion
collecting partisans. And Johnnie, getting out through the back door,
then by the untidy garden, and over the wall of the empty pig-stye, cut
out into a stubble field. He was not afraid of his mother missing him
till bedtime, as it was the wont of the youthsespecially of those who
had comfortless homesto wander about in parties in the evening,
bat-fowling sometimes, but often in an aimless sort of way, doing
little bits of mischief, and seeking diversion, which they seldom
found, unless there was any solitary figure to be shouted at and
startled. His father was not likely to come in till after he was turned
out of the public-house; so John strode, all unseen, across the field,
and through the gateway into the next. He did think of the
possibilities of bringing arrest and prosecution upon his father; but
this did not greatly trouble him, for at this early period no regular
measures of defence had been taken against the rioters; and as they
went about disguised, and did not, as a rule, threaten life, they
generally escaped scot-free.
And the idea of a rude mob terrifying Mrs Carbonel to death was
terrible to him. Even since the day when she had stood before him in
the Sunday School at the wash-house at Greenhow, she had been his
notion of all that was lovely and angelic in womanhood. She had said
many a kind word to him over his work, and little Miss Mary had come
and watched him with intense interest, eager chatter, and many
questions when he was mending the gate.
He was obliged to go down to the bridge at Downhill so as to cross
the river, but there were lights in the houses, and a sound of singing
in the Blue Lion, which made him get into the fields behind as soon
as possible, though by this time it was quite dark, so that he had to
guide himself as well as he could by the lights in the windows. This
led to a great many wanderings and stumbles, since he did not know
every field with its gates and gaps as well as he knew Uphill, so that
he lost a good deal of time by blundering about, looking for a lighter
space in the hedge which might or might not lead into the next field.
He made his way up to the opening. It proved to be a gap, but lately
mended, and he ran a couple of thorns deep into his hand before he
tumbled over into a ditch.
This was a grass field, and he heard the coughings of an old sheep,
and the suppressed baaings of the others, finding himself presently
outside their fold. He guided himself along by the hurdles and came to
deep ruts in stiff clay, but these led to a gate, and that into a
narrow and muddy lane. This he knew would bring him back to the high
road, and that was comparatively plain sailing.
Still there was Poppleby to go through, though not for several
miles, which he tramped along, quietly enough, not meeting any one, but
beginning to hear the sounds of the night-loving animals.
Owls flew about with their hootings and snappings, startling him a
good deal, as much from some notions of bad luck as from wonder at
first if it were a human shout. Then the lights of Poppleby were
welcome to his eyes, and as they were chiefly in the upper windows he
thought the town must be safe to walk through without fear of being met
and stopped. Gas-lamps hardly existed then and Poppleby was all dark
except for the big lamps over the public-house doors, and this was well
for Johnnie, for just as he was about to pass the Blue Lion, the door
was thrown open, and a whole party came swaggering and staggering out,
singing at the tops of their voices. Johnnie had time to throw himself
into a garden behind a hedge, and heard them pass by, holloaing rather
than singing out
Down, down with they machines
That takes the poor folks' bread.
There was something too about Friends to the people and foes
beware; but what startled Johnny the most was that he knew his
father's voice in the shout, and for one moment saw the light of a
lantern fall across a face that could belong to no one else but his
father. It could hardly be told whether, as he lay trembling there, the
sight made him the more dislike his expedition, or the sound of those
cries the more anxious to bring protection to his friends at Greenhow.
Anyway, he had given his word to his aunt, and he must go through with
it, and he fancied that he could get to Minsterham before the keepers
of late hours were shut up for the night, and might return again to see
how things were going, and get excused by his cousin.
Not till the shouts had died away in the distance did he venture
out, and plodded once more into the darkness, under overhanging trees,
meeting nothing, except one carriage, whose bright lamps came on like
two fiery eyes, glowing more and more as they came nearer, and the
black shadow of horses, driver, and close carriage rushed by, and left
him again, deciding that it must be the doctor's chariot. Then came
another long long spell, so long that he thought it must be near
morning, and was surprised to hear behind him in the frosty air the
church clock at Poppleby striking far too many strokes, and what he
hoped had been one turned into either eleven or twelve! He hoped it was
There were the branching roads, and it was far too dark to read the
sign-post, so that he could only take the one that seemed to him the
most likely; but when he had gone what might be any distance on the
road, it seemed to get narrower and rougher than he expected, and then
came an opening as if on to a common, such as he was sure did not exist
on the way to Minsterham. He must have got upon the Elchester road, and
there was nothing for it but to turn back. However, there was a pale
brightness showing in the sky, and the moon came up, an old moon
without very much light in her, but she was a great comfort to him, and
told him how the night was going.
On and on, and then there was a sound of trampling of horses and of
wheels coming nearer, great light eyes growing larger and larger, and
the mail-coach flashed and thundered by with the four horses, and
presently, far-away he could hear the guard's horn announcing the
approach to a wayside inn where the horses were changed; but by the
time Johnnie had made his weary way up to the place, it was far-away on
the road, indeed, he saw the lamps flash as it went up Wearyfoot Hill,
but all the inn was silent again by that time even at the stables, and
the hotel was a dark mass against the skythe only light in it the
moon reflected from the windows. A dog barked as he went past, but he
kept far upon the other side of the road and was reassured by hearing
the rattling of a chain.
Wearyfoot Hill! Yes, it was Wearyfoot to him, as he dragged up it.
He could not remember whether it was four or five miles from
Minsterham. There was a milestone standing on the bank, and he tried to
read it, but the moon would not reveal more than the large initial
letters of L for London and M for Minsterham, and he sat down at last
and leaned against the stone, trying to trace out the figure above
Minsterham with his fingers.
Behold, though four and five were both ringing in his head, he must
have fallen asleep, for he felt quite cold and stiff, the moon was much
higher in the sky, the stars were paler, and there was a mist all
round. He rose up, ashamed, and shook himself, colder and more
uncomfortable than before, but feeling it was a new day, and that, were
it four miles or five, he was now near Minsterham. He said his morning
prayers as he tramped along, stamping to warm his feet, and recollected
that Aunt Judith would be lying awake praying for him. He found that
when the first discomfort of awakening had passed off, he really was
the better for his short sleep, and marched on more vigorously,
presently hearing a cock begin to crow, and birds to twitter. Dawn was
beginning, presently a lark sprang up and began to send down a
wonderful cheerful song, that quite raised Johnnie's spirits; then over
the quiet misty fields came the deep note of the great Minsterham clock
pealing out, what was only a half hour, but John knew that it would be
much louder in his ears next time it spoke.
A waggon lumbered by, and then a labourer or two going to their
work, but John kept out of their way, not wanting to be asked
questions; there began to be red in the eastern mist, the clock sounded
again, and from the slope of the hill, the spires of the churches in
the town seemed to be rising out of a great lake of woolly mist. The
clock went through all the four quarters, then solemnly told out five
strokesJohnnie's weary night journey was over.
CHAPTER TWENTY. THE ROYAL HOTEL.
O haste to aid, ere aid be vain.
Though Johnnie's journey was over, his troubles were not at an end.
When he came to the first houses, the way seemed still to lengthen out
before him, and everything appeared to be still asleep, though the
daylight was coming in as brightly as a foggy morning allowed. Nor did
he know his way; he had only driven to a timber-yard once with his
cousin, and dined with him at a little public-house close by, and had
no more than a dim recollection of shops, which looked quite different
now, with all their shutters up. Only a milk-cart, coming in with full
tins, seemed to give a sign that people would want their breakfast some
time or other; and next appeared a very black sweep with his cart, and
two miserable little bare-footed boys running beside it, as black as
the silhouette over Mrs Thorpe's chimney.
Half-past five struck, and charwomen began to come out of side
alleys, baker's shops to take down their shutters. Johnnie ventured to
ask one of the apprentice boys doing so the way to the Royal George
D'ye want to bespeak the best apartments? was all the answer he
got, as the lad stopped his whistling and looked superciliously at
Johnnie's battered, dusty working dress, and old straw hat.
He found he should only be laughed at and walked on, renewing his
question when he saw a good-natured-looking woman in a black bonnet and
stout canvas apron, apparently going out for a day's washing.
Is it the Royal or the King George Tavern as you mean, my son? she
Oh! the Royalthe one where the gentlemen goes, said Johnnie.
I've got a message for one of 'em.
Bless you, my lad, they won't never let you in at this time of
morning, said the woman.
It's very particular, returned John. I came off at night to tell
She looked at him curiously. And what might it be, young man! Some
one taken very bad, no doubt.
Nonot that, said John, and she looked so kind, he could not help
telling. But he have got a machine, and Jack Swing is coming, and if
he don't come home to see to the poor ladies
Bless me, and who may it be?
Captain Carbonelout at Uphill.
Never heard tell of the place.
It's out beyond Poppleby.
My! And you've comed all that way to-night?
The ladies are very good. He's a right good gentleman. All one to
the poor as to the rich.
I say! You are a good young man, to be sure! I'd go with you and
get to the speech of Lavinia Bull, the chambermaid, what I know right
well; but if I'm not at Mrs Hurd's by six o'clock, she'll be flying at
me like a wild cat. Mercy on me, there it goes six! Well, if that fine
dandy, Boots, as is puffed up like a peacock, won't heed you, ask for
Lavinia Bull, and say Mrs Callendar sent you, and he will call her fast
John thanked her and was going off at once, but she called out,
Bless the boy, he's off without even hearing where to go! Just
opposite the City Cross, as they calls it.
It was not much like a cross to Johnnie's mind, being a sort of
tower, all arches and pinnacles and mouldered statues, getting smaller
up to the spiring top; but he knew it, and saw the hotel opposite with
all its blinds down, nothing like astir yet, except that some one was
about under the great open doorway leading into a yard, half entrance,
to the hotel.
He could see a man brushing a shoe, and went up with Please, sir
But he was met by, Get off you young vagabond, we want none of your
Please, sir, I have a message for Miss Bull; he hesitated.
She ain't down. Get off, I say. We don't have no idle lads here.
It's very particularfrom Mrs Callendar.
Old witch! Have she been burning any one's shirt fronts. I say,
Jem, you see if Lavinia is in the kitchen, and tell her old Callendar
has been burning holes in her stockings or collars, and has sent a
young scarecrow to tell her.
John opened his mouth to say it was no such thing; but the under
shoeblack, who was a sort of slave to Boots, made an ugly face at him,
and was gone, turning coach wheels across the yard. In another minute
Lavinia, a nice brisk looking young woman, had come up with, Well,
young man, what has Mrs Callendar been after now?
Please, ma'am, nothing; but she said as how I was to ask for you.
It's for Captain Carbonel, ma'am, a message from Uphillthat's his
Captain Carbonelthat's Number Seven, she said, consulting a
slate that hung near the bar. He was to be called at eight o'clock.
Won't that do?
Oh no, no, ma'am, implored John, thinking that the captain was
taking his rest away from home. It's very particular, and I have come
all night with it.
You have got to call Number Five for the High Flier at half-past
six, she said, turning to Boots. Could not you take up word at the
Catch me running errands for a jackanapes like that, said Boots,
with a contemptuous shrug, turning away, and brushing at his shoe.
Never mind him, said good-natured Lavinia. What shall I say,
Oh, thank you, miss. Say that John Hewlett have brought him a
message from Uphill.
Jack Owlet! Oh my! Hoo! hoo! exclaimed the blacking boy, as soon
as Lavinia had disappeared up the stairs, dancing about with his hands
on his hips. Look here, Tom,to a boy with a pail, who had just come
inhere be an Owlet's just flown in out of the mud. Hoo! hoo! Where
did you get that 'ere patch on your back.
Where you never got none, responded the other boy. Mother
stitched it for him.
Ay, sitting under a hedge, with her pot hung up on three sticks and
a hedgepig in it, added the younger Boots. Come, own up, young gipsy!
Yer come to get a tanner out of Number Seven with your tales.
I'm no gipsy, growled John; but
Come, come, called out Boots, none of your row. And you, you
impudent tramp, don't ye be larking about here, making the lads idle.
Get out of the yard with ye, or I call the master to you.
The landlord might probably have been far more civil; but poor
Johnnie did not know this, and could only move off to the entrance of
the court, so that when Lavinia in another moment appeared and asked
where he was, Boots answered
How should I tell? He was up to mischief with the boys, and I bade
him be off.
Well, Number Seven is ever so much put about, and he said he would
be down in a jiffy! So there!
Lavinia held up her skirts, and began in her white stockings to pick
her way across the yard, while Boots sneered, and began brushing his
shoe, and whistling as if quite undisturbed; and in another moment
Captain Carbonel did appear, coming down the stairs very fast, all
unshaven, and with a few clothes hastily thrown on, and quite ran after
Lavinia, passing her as she pointed out beyond the entrance, where John
was disconsolately leaning against the wall with his hands in his
pockets, feeling how utterly weary and hungry he was, and with uneasy
thoughts about his father coming over him.
Oh, there you are, John Hewlett! What is it? No one ill? exclaimed
No, sir; but,coming nearer and lowering his voiceJack Swing,
Jack Swing! We had notice of him out at Delafield.
John shook his head, and looked down.
What! Do you know anything, my boy? Here, come intell me!
Please, sir, they've laid it out to come to Greenhow this very day
as is, to break the machine and get the guns and money.
The captain started, as well he might; but still demanded, How do
John held his head down, most unwilling to answer.
Look here, my lad, you've done well coming to warn me; but I must
be certain of your news before acting on it. We were to ride off to
Delafield to-day, and I must know if this is only a rumour.
Aunt heard them, said John, between his teeth. She heard them
planning it for to-morrowthat's to-dayand she laid it on me to let
you know to save the ladies from being fraught.
Your aunt heard it?
Through the window in the back garden. They planned to get all the
chaps at Downhill and all, and go at the machine.
The villains! Who did? No, I'll not ask that, my lad, said the
captain, knowing only too well who it must have been; you have acted
nobly, and I am for ever obliged to you. Come in, and have some
breakfast, while I dress and report this, and see what is to be done.
You are sure there is time?
They was to go about at dinner-time to get the folks, John
squeezed out of his mouth, much against his will.
Then there's time. Thank you with all my heart, John! I'll see you
again. Here,to a barmaid who had appeared on the scenegive this
young man a hearty good breakfast and a cup of alewill you?and I'll
be down again presently. Stay till I come, Hewlett, and I'll see you
again, and how you are to get home! Why, it is twenty miles! Were you
walking all night?
Only I went to sleep a bit of the time when I was trying to make
out the milestone; I don't rightly know how long it was, said John, so
much ashamed of his nap that the captain laughed, and said
Never mind, Johnnie, you are here in the very nick of time; eat
your breakfast, and I'll see you again.
The good-natured barmaid let John have a wash at the pump with a bit
of yellow soap and the round towel, and he was able to eat his
breakfast with a willa corner of cold pie and a glass of strong ale,
such a breakfast as he had never seen, though it was only the leavings
of yesterday's luncheon. Everybody was too busy just then to pay him
any attention, and he had time to hear all the noises and bells seem to
run into one dull sound, and to be nodding in his chair before he was
called by a waiter, withHa, youngster, there, look alive! the
gentlemen wants you.
Now that sleep had once begun upon him, assisted by the ale, John
looked some degrees less alive, though far more respectable than on his
first arrival. He was ushered into the coffee-room, where three or four
gentlemen sat at one table, all in blue and silver, with the captain,
and as he pulled his forelock and bobbed his head, the elder of thema
dignified looking man with grey hair and whiskers and a silver-laced
uniform, saidSo, my lad, you are come to warn Captain Carbonel of an
intended attack on his property?
Yes, sir, John mumbled, looking more and more of a lout, for he
had thought the captain would just go home alone to defend his wife and
his machine, and was dismayed at finding the matter taken up in this
way, dreading lest he should have brought every one into trouble and be
viewed as an informer.
What evidence have you of such intentions?
John looked into his hat and shuffled on his foot, and Captain
Carbonel, who knew that Sir Harry Hartman, the old gentleman, was
persuaded that Delafield was the place to protect, was in an agony lest
John should be too awkward and too anxious to shield his family to
convince him. He ventured to translate the words into How do you
His voice somehow made John feel that he must speak, and he said,
Aunt heard it.
What's that? Who is aunt? said Sir Harry, in a tone as if deciding
that it was gossip; but this put John rather more on his mettle, and he
said, My aunt, Judith Grey, sir.
How did she hear?
Through the window. She heard them laying it out.
She is bedridden, put in the captain; but a clever, sensible
Whom did she hear or see?
She couldn't see nobody, sir. It was a strange voice, John was
trying to save the truth.
Oh! and what did she hear?
They was planning to go round the place and call up the menthat's
to-day, said John.
Are you sure it was to-day? Did she tell you she heard it?
Yes, sir. And, John bethought him, there was a great row going on
at the `Fox and Hounds,' and when I came past Poppleby, a whole lot of
them come out singing `Down with the machines.'
That's more like it, if it was not a mere drunken uproar, said Sir
I suppose you did not know any of the voices? said one of the
John could hold his tongue this time. And you came all this way by
night, twenty miles and odd, to warn Captain Carbonel, on your aunt's
information? said Sir Harry, thoughtfully. Are you sure that she
could hear distinctly?
One can hear in her room talk in our garden as well as if it was in
the room, replied John.
Well! you are a good lad, well intentioned, said Sir Harry.
Here's half-a-crown to pay your journey back. We will consider what is
to be done.
John had rather not have taken the half-crown, but he did not know
how to say so, so he pulled his forelock and accepted it.
Captain Carbonel came out of the coffee-room with him, and called to
the hostler to let him lie down and rest for a couple of hours, when
the Red Rover would change horses there, and then call him, and pay for
his journey back to Poppleby.
So John lay down on clean straw and slept, too much tired out to put
thoughts together, and unaware of the discussion among the gentlemen.
For Sir Harry Hartman was persuaded that it was Delafield that needed
protection, and was inclined to make little of John Hewlett's warning,
thinking that it rested on the authority of a sick nervous woman, and
that there was no distinct evidence but that of the young man who would
not speak out, and only went by hearsay.
Captain Carbonel, who was, of course, in an agony to get home and
defend his property, but was firmly bound by his notions of discipline,
argued that the lad was the son of the most disaffected man in the
parish, and that his silence was testimony to the likelihood that his
father was consulting with the ringleader. The invalid woman he knew to
be sensible and prudent, and most unlikely either to mistake what she
heard, or to send her nephew on such a night journey without urgent
cause, and he asked permission to go himself, if the troop were wanted
elsewhere, to defend his home. Finally, just as the debate was warming
between the officers, a farmer came in from Delafield, and assured them
that all was quiet there. So the horses were brought out, and there was
much jingling of equipments, and Johnnie awoke with a start of dismay.
He had never thought of such doings. He had only thought of Captain
Carbonel's riding home, never of bringing down what seemed to him a
whole army on his father.
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE. JACK SWING.
Richard of England, thou hast slain Jack Straw,
But thou hast left unquenched the vital spark
That set Jack Straw on fire.
Sir H. Taylor.
Nobody knew who Jack Swing was. Most likely he really was more than
one person, or rather an impersonal being, worked up as a sort of
shadowy puppet to act in the cause of future reform.
There were hot spirits abroad, who knew that much was amiss on many
points, and who burned to set them right; and there were others who
were simply envious and jealous of all that had power or authority, and
wanted to put these down for their own profit. They thought that the
way to get their cause attended to was to make the other party afraid
of the people, and they did not know or understand that those who
delayed to grant their wishes only desired patience, and to do the work
in the best and wisest way. All that they demanded, and more too, has
since been given to the people, but gradually, as was expedient, and
without tumult or disturbance.
So there was a desire to frighten the gentry by showing the strength
of the people, in anticipation of the Reform Bill to be proposed the
next year. It would not have made much difference to the country
people, for no one would have a vote whose rent did not amount to ten
pounds a year, and they would not have cared much about it if they had
not been told that if it was passed, every man would have a fat pig in
his sty, and be able to drink his daily quart of beer, moreover, that
the noblemen and gentlemen were resolved on keeping them out of their
rights, making bread dear, and depriving them of their wages by setting
up machines to do all the work.
This last came near home, and stirred up the minds that would have
cared for little else. Just as four hundred years before, Jack Straw
was an imaginary champion whose name inflamed the people to rise, so
now Jack Swing, or whoever it was who acted in that name, sent messages
round that such and such a place should be attacked at such and such a
There was always some one in the town who could be fired with the
idea that inciting riot and revolt was patriotism, and that a good
cause could be served by evil methods, who cast aside such warnings as
Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, or The powers that be are
ordained of God. Besides, the infection spread, and to hear what Jack
Swing was doing elsewhere encouraged others not to be behindhand with
So the mandate had gone out, and there were a few at Elchester ready
to arrange for a rising at Uphill and Downhill. Dan Hewlett was known
to them in the public-house, and he had an especial spite at Captain
Carbonel, beginning from his knowledge of the tacit detection of his
abstraction of the paper at Greenhow, going through his dismissal from
working there, aggravated by the endeavour to remove Judith, embittered
by the convictions as a poacher, and, perhaps, brought to a height by
the influence over his eldest son. He hated the captain enough to be
willing to direct the attack upon Greenhow, especially as it was known
that the master was absent and engaged in summoning the yeomanry to
ride down the poor chaps, as it was said, who only wanted bread for
their children's mouths.
There were men both at Uphill and Downhill, and even at Poppleby,
who were quite willing to listen. The Poppleby folk, some of them,
believed that riot was the only way to get reform, more of the
villagers thought it was the only way of getting rid of the machines,
the object of mysterious dread for the future, and more still, chiefly
ne'er-do-wells and great idle lads, were ready for any mischief that
might be going; and full of curiosity and delight at what Jack Swing
might be about to do.
These youths, some of them at work and some not, dispersed the news
through the village and fields that there was to be a great rising of
the people's friends, and that Gobbleall's machine was to be
somewhere. All were to meet at the randygosupposed to mean
rendezvousat the cross-road, and as for those who did not, it would
be the worse for them, and worse than all for them that told clacking
women who might carry the tale up to Greenhow.
The summons was indeed not given till the men were well out of reach
of their clacking women, but at work in the fields, and then a party
begannot to marchthey could not have done that to save their lives,
but to tramp out of Poppleby, shouting to any one whom they saw in the
fields to come with them and stand up for the people's rights. At
Downhill their numbers increased by all the noisy fellows, and some who
fancied great good was to be gained somehow, though some wiser wives
called out to them not to get into a row, nor let themselves be drawn
into what they would be sorry for. At the Fox and Hounds they tarried
and demanded a glass of beer all round, which Mr Oldfellow was really
afraid to refuse. He was a timid man, half on their side, half on that
of the gentry, and he saw there were enough of them to sack his cellars
if he demurred.
There, too, amid much laughter, they all disguised themselves, some
blackening their faces with soot, others whitening them with chalk, and
some putting on the women's cloaks, bonnets, or aprons.
Then they collected Uphill men.
We are come for your good, said Jack Swing, or the man who passed
for him, wearing a long Punch-like nose. We are come to help you; and
where's the mean coward that won't come along with us in his own cause?
There will be no living for poor folks if those new-fangled machines be
allowed to go on, and them Parliament folk vote out all that makes for
the people. Down with them, I say! Up with Reform, and down with all
the fools and cowards who won't stand up for themselves.
All this, garnished with foul words and abuse, and roared out from
the top of the horse-block, was addressed to the crowd that began to
Dan Hewlett, with a horrid white face, was going about persuading
the men, and so were others. Bless you, we don't want to do no harm to
the ladies, nor the children. We only wants to do away with them toady
machines, as they wants to do all the work instead of men's hands, as
the Almighty meant, and is in Scripture.
This was the plea to the better disposed, like Tom Seddon, who held
out, You'll not hurt madam nor the little ones. She've been a kind
lady, and the captain, he's a good master, I will say that; and I don't
want to hurt 'em.
Nobody wants to hurt them; only to do away with they machines.
I tell you what, was George Truman's answer, them machines are
the captain's, none of yours nor mine, and I won't go for to damage
'em. No! I won't have my face blacked nor whited, I'm an honest man,
and not ashamed to show it. So I be going to my work.
And off he went to his day's work at Farmer Goodenough's, and the
others hissed him and hooted him, but did him no harm. Nobody made such
a noise as Softy Sam, and together this frightened Jem Gibbs out of
following him, though he much wished to do so. Will Mole, as soon as he
heard any sounds, ran away headlong down towards the meadows, and hid
himself in the long rushes. Cox, the constable, thought discretion the
better part of valour; and long before the rabble rout appeared, set
off to carry a pair of shoes home to Mrs Pearson at the Lone Farm.
Master Hewlett, the carpenter, looked in vain for John, his
apprentice, and growled and grumbled that he did not appear; then, on
perceiving the uproar, decided that he was gone after that there
father of his'n. He wouldn't have thought it of Jack. No; he wouldn't;
but sure enough it was bred in the bone of him! Master Hewlett went
on with his planing; and when the troop, now amounting to about thirty
grown men, besides a huge rabble of boys and girls, came along, and Dan
shouted to him to come and stand up for the rights of the people, and
down with that there tyrum Gobbleall and his machine to grind down
the poor, he answered
Machine ain't nothing to me. I minds my own business, and thou
beest a fool, Dan, not to mind thine! And where's that lad of thine? A
trapesing after mischief, just like all idle fellows?
He bain't a labourer, and has no feeling for them as is, said Dan.
We wants your axe, though, George.
Not he! I dares you to touch him, said George Hewlett in his
unmoved way, smoothing off a long curled shaving, which fell on the
ground. There, that's the worth of you all and your Jack Swing! Swing,
ye will, Dan, if you don't take the better care.
Some one made a move as if to seize the axe, but George made one
step, and lifted quietly the stout bit of timber he had been planing,
and it was plain that a whole armoury of carpenter's tools was on his
side the bench.
Come along, said Dan, he's a coward and mean-spirited cur. Us
shan't do nothing with he.
So on they went, all the kindnesses and benefits from Greenhow
forgotten, and nothing remembered at the moment but grievances, mostly
past, but more looked forward to as possible!
The women did remember. Judith Grey was in an agony, praying as she
lay for Mrs Carbonel and the children. Widow Mole knew nothing, but was
weeding the paths at Greenhow; Betsy Seddon and Molly Barnes were
crying piteously at thought of madam and her little girl as might be
fraught to death by them there rascals. But no one knew what to do!
Some stayed at home, in fear for their husbands, but a good many
followed in the wake of the men, to see what would happen, and to come
in for a little excitementwhether it were fright, pity, or
'Pon my word and honour, said Lizzy Morris, that there will be
summat to talk on.
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO. GREAT MARY AND
Who'll plough their fields? Who'll do their drudgery for them?
work like horses to give them the harvest?Southey.
Mrs Carbonel, having seen her two little ones laid down for their
midday nap, was sitting down to write a note to her husband, while
Sophia was gone to give her lesson at the school, when there came a tap
to the drawing-room window, and looking up she saw Tirzah Todd's brown
face and her finger making signs to her. She felt displeased, and rose
up, saying, Why, Tirzah, if you want me, you had better come to the
Lady, you must come out this way. 'Tis Jack Swing a-coming, ma'am
yes, he iswith a whole lot of mischievous folks, to break the machine
and burn the ricks, and what not. Hush, don't ye hear 'em a hollering
atop of the hill? They be gathering at the `Fox and Hounds,' and I just
couldn't abear that you and the dear little children should be scared
like, and the captain away. So, as Mrs Carbonel's lips moved in thanks
and alarm, if you would come with me, lady, and take the children, and
come out this way, through the garden, where you wouldn't meet none of
'em, I'll take you down the short way to Farmer Pearson's, or wherever
you liked, where you wouldn't hear nothing till 'tis over.
Oh, Tirzah! You are very good. A fright would be a most fearful
shock, and might be quite fatal to my little Mary. But oh, my sister
and the servants and the Pucklechurches, I can't leave them.
My Hoggie was at home with the baby, and I sent her off to see Miss
Sophy at the school, and tell her to come up to Pearson's.
But the Pucklechurches?
Nobody will hurt them! Nobody means to hurt you, said Tirzah, I
knows that! My man wouldn't ha' gone with them, but so as they promised
faithful not to lay a finger on you, so you give 'em the money and the
guns; but men don't think of the dear little gal as is so nesh, so I
thought I'd warn you to have her out of the way. Bless my heart,
they'll be coming. That was nigher.
Mrs Carbonel's mind went through many thoughts in those few moments.
She could not bear to desert her husband's property and people in this
stress, and yet she knew that to expose her tender little girl to the
terrors of a violent mob would be fatal. And she decided on accepting
Tirzah's offer of safety and shelter. She ran upstairs, put on her
bonnet, took her husband's most essential papers out of his desk and
pocketed them, together with some sovereigns and bank-notes, then
quietly went into the nursery, where she desired Rachel Mole to put on
her bonnet, take up the baby, and follow her, and herself was putting
on little Mary's small straw hat and cape, telling her that she was
coming with mamma for a walk to see Mrs Pearson's old turkey cock, when
Mrs Pucklechurch burst in with two or three maids behind her.
Oh, ma'am, Jack Swing's coming and all the rabble rout. What ever
shall we do? was the gasping, screaming cry.
Only be quiet. There's nothing for any one to fear. If they do
harm, it is to things, not people. I only go away for the sake of this
child! No, Mary dear, nobody will hurt you. You are going for a nice
early walk with mamma and baby and Rachel. You,to the maidsmay
follow if you will feel safer so, but I do not believe there is any
real danger to you. Betty Pucklechurch, please tell your husband that I
do beg him not to resist. It would be of no use, his master would not
wish it, only if he will take care that the poor cattle and horses come
to no harm.
He have gone to drive 'em off already to Longacre, said Betty. I
tell'd he, he'd better stand by master's goods, but he be a man for his
cows, he be.
Quite right of him, said Mrs Carbonel. Have you baby's bottle,
Rachel? Now, Mary dear, here's your piece of seed cake.
The shouts and singing sounded alarmingly as if approaching by this
time, and little Mary listened and said, Funny mens singing.
It was very loud as the fugitives gained the verandah, where Tirzah
waited with an angry light in her black eyes. Oh! won't I give it to
Joe Todd, she cried, for turning against the best friend Hoglah ever
hador me either.
Mary, carrying her little Mary, and trying to keep a smile that
might reassure her, followed Tirzah across the orchard on the opposite
side of the house. They had to scramble through a gap in the hedge;
Tirzah went over first, breaking it down further, then the baby was put
into her arms, and Rachel came next, receiving Mary from her mother,
who was telling her how funny it was to get over poor papa's fence, all
among the apple trees, and here was Don jumping after them. Don, the
Clumber spaniel, wanted a bit of Mary's cake, and this and her mother's
jump down from the hedge and over the ditch, happily distracted her
attention, and made her laugh, while the three maids were screaming
that here were the rascals, hundreds of them a-coming up the drive;
they saw them over the apple trees when on the top of the hedge, and
heard their horrid shouts. Oh, the nasty villains, with black faces
Mrs Carbonel dreaded these cries almost as much as the mob itself
for her delicate child, and went on talking to her and saying all the
nursery rhymes that would come into her head, walking as fast as she
could without making her pace felt, though the little maidalbeit
small and thin for five years oldwas a heavy weight to carry for some
distance over a rough stubble field for unaccustomed arms. Tirzah had
the baby, who happily was too young to be even disturbed in his
noontide sleep, and Rachel Mole had tarried with the other maids,
unable to resist her curiosity to see what was doing at the farm since
they were out of reach.
The fugitives reached a stile which gave entrance to a rough
pathway, through a copse, and it was only here, when her mother sat
down on the trunk of a tree taking breath with a sense of safety, that
little Mary began to cry and sob. Oh, we are lost in the wood! Please,
please, mamma, get out of it. Let us go home.
No indeed, Mary, we aren't lost! See, here's the path. We are going
to see Mrs Pearson's pussy cat and her turkey.
I don't want to. Oh! the wolves will come and eat us up, and she
clung round her mother in real terror.
Wolves! No, indeed! There are no wolves in England, darling, here
Rachel said the wolves would come if I went in here.
Then Rachel was very silly. No, there are no wolves. No, Mary,
only see! the little rabbit. Come along, take hold of my hand, we
will soon get out. Never mind; God is taking care of us. Come, we will
say our hymn as we go on.
The mother said her verse, and Mary tried to follow, in a voice
quivering with sobs. Those imaginary wolves were a far greater alarm
and trouble to her than the real riot at her father's farm. She clung
round her mother's gown, and there was no pacifying her but by taking
her up in arms.
Let me take her, ma'am, said Tirzah Todd, making over the sleeping
Edmund to his mother. Come, little lady, I'll carry you so nice.
No, no! Go away, ugly woman, cried Mary ungratefully, flapping at
her with her hands in terror at the brown face and big black eyes.
Oh, naughty, naughty Mary, sighed the mother, when Tirzah is so
good, and wants to help you! Don't be a naughty child!
But the word naughty provoked such a fit of crying that there was
nothing for it but for Mrs Carbonel to pick the child up and struggle
on as best she could, soothing her terror at the narrow paths and the
unknown way, and the mysterious alarm of the woodlands, as well,
perhaps, as the undefined sense of other people's dread and agitation.
However, the crying was quiet now, and the sounds of tumult at the farm
were stifled by the trees, so that after a timewhich seemed terribly
longthe party emerged into an open meadow, whence they could see the
gate leading to the high road, and beyond that the roof of Mrs
But something else was to be seen far up the road. There was the
flash of the sun from helmets! The Yeomanry were coming!
There's papa! cried Mrs Carbonel. Papa in his pretty silver
dress. Run on, run on, Mary, and see him.
Mary was let down, still drawing long sobs as she half ran, half
toddled on, allowing herself to be pulled by Tirzah Todd's free hand,
while her mother sped on to the gate, just in time for the astonished
greeting of one of the little troop.
Mrs Carbonel! What?
And the next moment her husband was off his horse and by her side
with anxious inquiries.
Yes, yes, dear Edmund! We are all safe. Good Tirzah came to warn
us. Make haste! They are at the farm. We shall be at Mrs Pearson's.
She, (pointing to Tirzah) sent to fetch Sophy from school. She'll be
there. Here are the children all safe.
Papa, papa, cried little Mary, feeling his silver-laced collar,
and stroking his face as he kissed her.
And from that time she was comforted though he had to leave her
again at once. She had felt a father's arm.
Tirzah Todd! exclaimed Captain Carbonel, I shall never forget
what you have done for us. Never!
Tirzah curtsied, but said, You'll be good to my man, sir?
It was but a moment's halt ere Captain Carbonel rode on to overtake
the rest of the troop, who, on hearing that the outrage was really
taking place, were riding on rapidly.
Mrs Carbonel had not far to go before reaching the hospitable farm,
where Mrs Pearson came out to receive her with many a Dear, dear! and
Dear heart! and entreaty that she and the dear children would make
themselves at home.
But Sophy was not there, and had not been heard of, and Mrs
Carbonel, in her anxiety, could not rest on the sofa in the parlour,
after she had persuaded little Mary into eating her long-delayed dinner
of some mutton hastily minced for her, and had seen her safely asleep
and cuddling a kitten. Mrs Pearson was only too happy to have the baby
to occupy her long-disused wicker cradle, and Tirzah had rushed off to
the scene of action as soon as she had seen the lady safely housed.
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE. THE MACHINE.
In bursts of outrage spread your judgment wide,
And to your wrath cry out, `Be thou our guide.'
Sophy was endeavouring to make the children remember who Joseph was,
and thinking them unusually stupid, idle, and talkative, when, without
ceremony, the door was banged open, and in tramped Hoglah Todd, with
the baby in her arms, her sun-bonnet on her neck, and her black hair
sticking wildly out. Please, ma'am, she began, Jack Swing is up
a-breaking the machine, and mother says you are to go to Farmer
Pearson's to be safe out of the way!
Hoggie Todd, began Mrs Thorpe, that's not the way to come into
school, but she could not finish, for voices broke out above the
regulation school hush: Yes, yes, father said, and Our Jem said,
and it ended in Jack Swing's a-coming to break up the machine. Only
one or two said, Mother said as how it was a shame, and they'd get
Your mother sent you? said Sophy to Hoglah.
Yes, ma'am. She's gone up herself to tell madam, and take she to
Pearson's, and her said you'd better go there, back ways, or else stay
here with governess till 'twas quieted down.
Hark! They are holloaing.
Strange sounds were in fact to be heard, and the children, losing
all sense of discipline, made a rush to snatch hats and bonnets, and
poured out in a throng, tumbling over one another, Hoglah among the
foremost. Mrs Thorpe, much terrified, began to clasp her hands and say,
Oh dear! oh dear, the wicked, ungrateful men, that they should do such
things. Oh! Miss Sophy, you will stay here, won't you?
No, I must go and see after my sister and the children, said
Sophy, already at the door.
But they'll be at Mr Pearson's. The girl said so. Oh, stay, ma'am!
Don't venture. Pray, pray
But Sophy had the door open, and with I can't. Thank you, no, I
There were the confused sounds of howling and singing on the top of
the hill. Betsy Seddon, at her cottage door, called out, Don't go up
there, miss; it's no place for the likes of you! but Sophy only
answered, My sister, and dashed on.
She could get into a field of Edmund's by scrambling over a
difficult gate, and, impelled by the sight of some rough-looking men
slouching along, she got over itshe hardly knew howand, after
crossing it, came upon all the cows, pigs, and horses, with
Pucklechurch presiding over them. He, too, said, Doan't ye go up
there, Miss Sophy. Them mischievous chaps will be after them pigs,
fools as they be, so I brought the poor dumb things out of the way of
them, and you'd better be shut of it too, miss.
But, my sister, Master Pucklechurch! I must see to her.
She'll be safe enow, miss. They don't lift a hand to folks, as I've
heard, but I'll do my duty by the beastises.
He certainly seemed more bent on his duty to the beastises than
that to his wife or his master's wife; and yet, when Sophy proved deaf
to all his persuasions, he muttered, Wilful must to water, and Wilful
must drink. But, ah! yon beastises be safe enow, poor dumb things, so
I'll e'en go after the maid, to see as her runs into no harm. She be a
fine, spirity maid whatsome'er.
So on he plodded, in the rear of Sophy, who, with eager foot, had
crossed the sloping home-field, and gained the straw yard, all deserted
now except by the fowls. The red game cock was scratching and crowing
there, as if the rabble rout were not plainly to be seen straggling
along the drive.
Still there was time for Sophy to fly to the house, where, at the
door, she met Mrs Pucklechurch.
Bless my soul and honour, Miss Sophy. You here! The mistress, she's
gone with the children to Mr Pearson's, and you'll be in time to catch
her up if you look sharp enough.
I shall not run away. Some one ought to try to protect my brother's
Now, don't 'ee, don't 'ee, Miss Sophy. You'll do no good with that
lot, and only get hurt yourself.
But Sophy was not to be persuaded. She went manfully out to the
gate, and shut it in the face of the disguised men, who came swaggering
up towards it.
What's your business here? she demanded, in her young, clear
Come, young woman, said a man in a false nose and a green
smock-frock, but whose voice had a town sound in it, and whose legs and
feet were those of no rustic, clear out of the way, or it will be the
worse for you!
What have you to do here on my brother's ground? again asked
Sophy, standing there in her straw bonnet and pink cotton frock.
We don't want to do nothing, miss,and that voice she knew for
Dan Hewlett'sbut to have down that new-fangled machine as takes away
the work from the poor.
What work of yours did it ever take away, Dan Hewlett? said she.
Look here! it makes bread cheaper
She had thought before of the chain of arguments, but they would not
come in the face of the emergency; and besides, she felt that her voice
would not carry her words beyond the three or four men who were close
to the gate. She might as well have spoken to the raging sea when, as
the gate was shaken, she went on with a fresh start, I call it most
cowardly and ungrateful
At that moment she was seized from behind by two great brawny arms,
and borne backward, struggling helplessly like a lamb in a bear's
embrace. She saw that, not only was the gate burst in, but that the
throng were pressing in from the garden side, and she was not released
until she was set down in Mrs Pucklechurch's kitchen, and a gruff voice
said, rather as if to a little child, Bide where you be, and no one
will go for to hurt you.
It was a huge figure, with a woman's bonnet stuck upright over his
chalked face, and a red cloak covering his smock-frock, and he was gone
the next moment, while Mrs Pucklechurch, screaming and sobbing,
clutched at Sophy, and held her tight, with, Now, don't, Miss Sophy,
don't ye! Bide still, I say!
But, Edmund's machine! His things and all! gasped Sophy, still
Bless you, miss, you can't do nothing with the likes of them, the
born rascals; you would, may be, get a stone yourself and what would
the master say to that?
Oh! what are they doing now? as a wild hurrah arose, and all sorts
of confused noises. Mrs Pucklechurch had locked the door on her
prisoner, but she was equally curious, and anxious for her old man; so,
with one accord, they hurried up the stairs together, and looked out at
an upper window, whence they could only see a wild crowd of hats,
smock-frocks, and women's clothes gathering about a heap where the poor
machine used to stand, and whence a cloud of smoke began to rise,
followed by a jet of flame, fed no doubt by the quantity of straw and
chaff lying about. Sophy and Betty both shrieked and exclaimed, but
Betty's mind was chiefly full of her old man, and she saw his straw hat
at last. He was standing in front of the verandah, before the front
door, and, as they threw the window open, they heard his gruff voice
Not I. Be off with you! I baint a-going to give my master's
property to a lot of rapscallion thieves and robbers like you, as
should know better.
Then came the answer, We don't want none of his property. Only his
guns and his money for the cause of the people. And big sticks were
brandished, and the throng thickened.
Oh, don't ye hurt he! screamed Betty. He that never did you no
harm! Don't ye! Oh, Dan Hewlett! Oh-oh!
Then throw us out the guns, old woman, called up the black-faced
figure, and we'll let him be.
If you do, shouted Pucklechurchand then there was a rush in on
him, and they could see no more, for he must have backed under the
verandah. Betty made a dash for the front stairs, to come to his help,
Sophy after her; but, before they could even tumble to the bottom,
there was a change in the cries
The soldiers! the soldiers! Oh-hoo-hoo-hoo! There was a scamper
and a scurry, a trampling of horses. The two trembling hands, getting
in each other's way, unfastened the door, which was not even locked,
and beheld Pucklechurch gathering himself up with a bleeding head, a
cloud of smoke and flame, and helmets and silver lace glancing through
it. There had been no need to read the Riot Act; the enemy were tearing
along all ways over the fields, except a few whom the horsemen had
intercepted. Dan Hewlett and the black-faced leader, without his long
nose, were two; the other three wereamong the loudest, poor Softy
Sam, who had been yelling wildlybig lads, or young men, one from
Downhill, the others nearer home, howling and sobbing and praying to be
let go. Captain Carbonel's first thought was whether Pucklechurch was
hurt, but the old man was standing up scratching his head, and Betty
hovering over him. Then his eyes fell on his sister-in-law, and he
You here, Sophy! Your sister is very anxious!
But the fire was by this time getting ahead, and no one could attend
to anything else. The prisoners were put into the servants' hall, and
locked in; the horses were tied up at a safe distance, the poor things
rearing with alarm at the flame; the men were, under Sir Harry Hartman
and Captain Carbonel's orders, made to form a line from the pond, and
hand on the pails and buckets that were available; but these were not
very many, though the numbers of helpers were increased by the maids,
who had crept back from the orchard, and by the shepherd and some even
of the mob, conscious that they had been only lookers on, and hadn't
done no harm.
It was a dry season, and the flames spread, catching the big barn,
and then seeming to fly in great flakes like a devouring winged thing
to the Pucklechurches' thatch. Betty and her husband flew to fling out
their more valued possessions, and were just in time to save them; but
thence the fire, just as the water in the nearest pond was drying up,
caught a hold on the dairy and the old thatched part of the farmhouse.
Bellowings were heard from the captives that they would be burnt alive,
and some one, it was never known who, let them out, for no sign of them
appeared when all was over, though their prison was untouched by the
fire. For even at that moment the Poppleby fire-engine galloped up the
road, and was hailed with shouts of joy. It had a hose long enough to
reach down to the brook in the meadow, and the hissing bursts of water
poured down did at last check the flames before they had done much harm
to the more modern portion of the house, though all the furniture was
lying tumbled about in heaps on the lawnMary's piano, with the baby's
cradle full of crockery on the top of it, and Edmund's writing desk in
the middle of a washing stand all upside down.
The first thing Edmund did when the smoke wreaths alone were
lingering about, was to send his groom down to the cellar, with a jug
in his hand, to bring up some beer, which he proceeded to hand in the
best breakfast-cups to all and sundry of the helpers, including Sir
Harry Hartman, Sophy helping in the distribution with all her might.
Miss Carbonel, I think? said Sir Harry, courteously, as she gave
him the cup. Were you the garrison?
Sophy laughed. Yes, sir, except old Pucklechurch and his wife.
Then I may congratulate you on being the bravest woman in Uphill,
said the old gentleman, raising his hat.
It was getting dark, and they had to consider what was next to be
done. Captain Carbonel was anxious about his wife and children, and Sir
Harry was urging him to bring them to his house, while Mr Grantley,
from Poppleby, who had come up on the alarm, urged the same upon him.
It ended in a guard being told off, consisting of Cox, the constable of
Uphill, who had emerged from no one knew where, the Downhill constable,
and the shepherd, with one of the yeomen, who were to be entertained by
Pucklechurch and the cook, and prevent any mischief being done to the
scattered furniture before morning. The Pucklechurches and Mrs Mole,
with Barton, were doing their best to bring in and attend to the live
stock, all of which had been saved by Pucklechurch's care.
Then they rode off together, Sophy and the housemaid having already
started across the fields, bearing whatever necessary baggage they
could collect or carry for Mrs Carbonel and the little ones.
Mrs Carbonel was at the door when her husband rode up, having only
just managed to hush off her little Mary to sleep, and left her and the
baby with Rachel Mole to watch over them. Poor thing, she had been in a
terrible state of anxiety and terror for all these hours, so much the
worse because of the need of keeping her little girl from being
agitated by seeing her alarm or hearing the cries, exclamations, and
fragments of news that Mrs Pearson and her daughters were rushing about
When she saw him first, and Sophy a moment afterwards, she sprang up
to him as he dismounted, and greeted him with a burst of sobs and
Why, Mary, Mary, what's this? One would think I had been in a
general engagement. You, a soldier's wife! No; nobody's a hair the
worse! Here is Sir Harry Hartman wondering at you.
To hear of the presence of a stranger startled Mrs Carbonel into
recovering herself, with I beg your pardon, and her pretty courtesy,
with the tears still on her face; while the old gentleman kindly spoke
of the grievous afternoon she had had, and all the time Mr and Mrs
Pearson were entreating him to do them the honour to come in and drink
a glass of winefor cake and wine were then considered to be the
thing to offer guests in a farmhouse.
Sir Harry, aware of what farmhouse port was apt to be, begged for a
glass of home-brewed ale instead, but came in readily, hoping to
persuade Mrs Carbonel to send for the Poppleby post-chaise, and let him
take her and her children home. She was afraid, however, to disturb
little Mary, and Mrs Pearson reckoned on housing them for the night,
besides which his park was too far-off. So it was settled that Sophy,
for whom there really was no room, should go to Poppleby Parsonage with
Mr Grantley for the night, and she and Sir Harry only tarried to talk
over the matter, and come to an understanding of the whole as far as
Who warned you? asked the captain.
The last person I should expectTirzah Todd, good woman, said Mrs
Carbonel. She came and called me, and helped me over the hedges.
And Hoglah came after me, said Sophy, and told me to come here,
only I could not.
You were the heroine of the whole, Miss Carbonel, said Sir Harry.
Oh, don't say so; I didn't do any good at all, said Sophy,
becoming much ashamed of her attempt at haranguing. Old Pucklechurch
was the one, for he saved all the dear cows and horses, and was nearly
letting himself be killed in the defence. But, oh! all the rest of
them. To think of them treating us so after everything!
Most likely they were compelled, said gentle Mrs Carbonel.
They will hear of it again, said Sir Harry. Could you identify
them, Miss Carbonel?
A good many, said Sophy, though they had their faces
chalkedthat horrid Dan Hewlett for one.
There can be no doubt of him, for he was one of the prisoners that
got away, said Captain Carbonel, in a repressive manner. He has
always been a mischievous fellow; but the remarkable thing is that it
was his son who came to summon us this morningJohn Hewlett, a very
good, steady lad. By-the-by, has any one seen him? I sent him home by
the Elchester coach. I wonder what has become of him.
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR. MISJUDGED.
That weary deserts we may tread,
A dreary labyrinth may thread,
Through dark ways underground be led.
Poor Johnnie was not very happy at that moment. He had descended
from the coach at Poppleby, and set out to walk to Downhill, wondering
how he should be received at his cousin's workshop. Everything seemed
strangely quiet as he crossed the fields, where he had wandered last
night, but there were now and then far-off echoes of voices and shouts.
He avoided the village of Downhill, and made his way towards the little
street and common of Uphill, but not a creature could he see except
Todd's donkey and a few geese.
The workshop was shut up, no one was about either there or at the
house. He considered a moment whether to try to see what was doing at
Greenhow, or to go and tell his aunt how he had fared, and that he knew
the captain must be at home by this time.
He was glad he had decided on the latter, for the cottage door stood
open, and Judith was sitting up in bed, her eyes wide open, and her
breath panting with anxiety and terror.
Oh, Johnnie, my dear! There you are! Oh, they are all gone! The
ladies, the dear ladies, and the little babies, she gasped, and fell
back almost fainting.
The captain is there by this time, and the soldiers, never you
fear, said John. Here, you'd better take this, trying to drop out
some of the cordial he knew she took in her attacks.
The soldiers! Your fatheryour poor father! she gasped again, and
she was so ill that John, dreadfully frightened, could only hold her up
on one arm, and press the cordial to her lips with the other hand. It
was an overdose, but that hardly mattered; and before very long, just
as she was beginning to quiet down, there approached a fresh sound of
screaming, and his mother burst into the house. Oh, my poor man! My
poor Dan! she cried. They have got him! The soldiers have got him!
and, as John was laying down his aunt to come and hear, she rushed up
the stairs with, And it is all your doing, you unnatural,
good-for-nothing varmint! That was what you were after all night, you
and your aunt, the adder that I have warmed at my bosom! Turning
against your own poor father, to set them bloody-minded soldiers on
him! And now he'll be taken and hanged, and I shall be a poor miserable
widow woman all along of you!
This was poured forth as fast as the words would come out of Molly's
mouth, but before they had all streamed forth, Judith was choking in a
hysterical fit, so like a convulsion that Johnnie could only cry,
Aunt! aunt! Mother, look! And Molly herself was frightened, and began
to say, There! there! while she helped him to hold her sister, and
little Judy flew off, half in terror and half in search of help, crying
out that aunt was in a fit.
Help of a certain sort camea good deal more of it than was
wantedand the room was crowded up, and there were a good many Poor
dears! There, nows! and proposals of burnt feathers and vinegar; but
Mrs Spurrell, who was reckoned the most skilled in illness, came at
last, put the others out, especially as they wanted to see about their
husbands' teas, and brought a sort of quiet, in which Judith lay
exhausted, but shuddering now and then, and Molly sobbed by the fire.
John gathered from the exclamations that the Carbonel family were safe
somewhere, that Miss Sophy had gone on like the woman preacher at
Downhill, that Greenhow had been on fire, but nobody was hurt, though
the soldiers had ridden in upon them, so as was a shame to see, and
had got poor Dan and Ned Fell, and all sure locked up.
John was shocked at this, for he had not meant to do more than send
Captain Carbonel home to protect his family, and had not realised all
the consequences. In a few minutes more, however, his father himself
tramped in, and the first thing he did was to fall on the lad in a
fury, grasping him by the collar, with horrible abuse of him for an
unnatural informer, turning against his own father, and dealing a storm
of heavy blows on him with a great stick. Down clattered Mrs Spurrell,
asking if he wished to kill his sister-in-law?
A good thing tooa traitor in one's house, he burst out, with
more raging words and fresh blows on poor John, who never cried out
through all; but his mother rushed down the next moment, crying out
that she would not have her son mauled and beaten, and laying fast hold
of the stick.
It was turning into a fight between husband and wife, and Mrs
Spurrell, who had more of her senses about her than any one else,
called out, Off with you, John Hewlett! I'll tackle 'em!
Poor Johnnie had no choice but to obey her. Bruised, worn out,
hungry, uncertain of everything, and miserable about his aunt, he could
only wander slowly away, feeling himself a traitor. He found his way to
the workshop, and had just thrown himself down in the wood-shed, when
he heard his master's voice calling out
Me! Johnny! Father's in a mortal rage with me for telling the
captain, but I never thought as how all the soldiers would come.
And a very good thing they did, to put a stop to such doings as
never was, said Mrs Hewlett's voice. Bless me, the dear children and
the ladies might have been burnt in their beds!
Come in, Johnnie, and have a bit of supper, said George Hewlett.
And tell us all about it, said his wife. We'll give you a
shake-down for the night if you can't go home.
John was thankful, and Mrs Hewlett set before him a good meal of
bread, cheese, cold bacon, and beer; but he was too dull and dejected,
as well as much too tired, to be able to talk, and scarcely could
remember all that had happened. He knew it was not manners to put his
head down on his arms on the table, but he really could not hold it up,
and he had dozed off almost with the food in his mouth.
Poor chap! He's fair worn out, said the elder George. Make his
bed ready, mother.
And when it was ready, the younger George absolutely kicked him into
being awake enough to tumble into it. Even then his sleep was for a
good while tossing, dreamy, and restless; but, by-and-by, it grew
sounder, and he lay so still in the morning that his kind hostess
hindered her boys from disturbing him. He had not long been awake, and
had only said his prayers, and washed at the pump, when horses' feet
were heard, and Cousin George called to him to come out and speak to
the captain. He came, with hair wringing wet, and shy, awkward looks.
My lad, said the captain, I cannot tell you how much I thank you
for your bravery and spirit the night before last. You did me and mine
a benefit that I shall always remember, though I feel it would just be
insulting you to offer you any present reward! Nor, indeed, could it be
sufficient for what you have done.
Thank you, sir, mumbled John, hardly knowing what he or the
And, added Captain Carbonel, your father got away. If he is
taken, what you have done for us may be remembered in his favour.
Again John managed to say, Thank you, sir. And the captain rode
off to offer the like thanks to Tirzah Todd; but her cottage was shut
up, the donkey gone, and she, with her husband and Hoglah out on a
broom-selling expedition. He was not clear of the riot, and she did not
want him to hear her thanked. They must have gone away with their gipsy
kin, for they never came back while the Carbonels were in England, and
only a sovereign could be left for them with Mr Harford, who promised
to stand Tirzah's friend if any opening for assisting her offered.
Dan had been told that rioters generally got off without difficulty.
It was not easy to trace them, and their safety was in numbers and
their semi-disguise; and Jack Swing, or the man with the nose, had
escaped on various similar occasions, wearing a different disguise at
each place. It had not come into their calculations that they had gone
so far as to rouse the spirit of the landowners, who had at first dealt
gently with the disturbances, but who now felt that strong measures
must be taken to prevent the mischief from going further. He thought
himself safe when he had once got away from the strong-room at
Greenhow, and he was slouching about his garden when Cox the constable,
backed by two stout men, came with a warrant, from Sir Harry Hartman,
for the apprehension of Daniel Hewlett for peace-breaking and arson. He
began to argue that it was not he more than any one else, and he hadn't
set fire to nothing, but he was told that he must reserve his defence
for his trial, and the handcuffs were put on, and he was carried off in
a cart, just as John was hurrying up the lane, having got leave from
his master to see how his aunt was, before beginning work.
Molly had seen her husband taken to prison before, and she did not
realise that this was a much more serious affair than were his poaching
misdemeanours, so that she was not so much overpowered as might have
been expected; and, as he was taken by the well-known constable instead
of the soldiers, she did not treat it as John's fault. Besides, she was
really afraid of, as she said, upsetting Judith by another outcry, so
she only moaned in a low, miserable voice about what was to become of
her and her poor children, though after all, what with the parish,
Judith's help, and John's earnings, she would be no worse off than was
common with her. Jem was supposed to keep himself, and only Judy was
really on her hands.
She would hardly let her son go up and see Judith. Now, you'll be
terrifying of her, and she'll be upset again and holler, and go into a
However, he took off his boots and went up softly. Judith was all
alone, lying still, but he had never seen her look half so ill, though
she opened her eyes and smiled when the creaking stair announced him,
and when he bent over her she said, Dear lad, you bain't hurt!
Oh no; not at all.
And the dear ladies are safe?
Yes; Tirzah Todd came and took them away.
But you are bad, auntie?
Oh, never mind. All's right! You've done your duty, and I can only
thank God for my good lad.
Her voice grew faint, her eyes closed, and John was obliged to go
away but the look of peace stayed with him.
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE. JUDITH.
And of our scholars let us learn
Our own forgotten lore.
Little Mary Carbonel was not the worse for all the agitations, from
which, indeed, she had been so carefully shielded, but her mother was
sadly broken down by all she had undergone, and likewise by
mortification at the whole conduct of the Uphill people. After all the
years that she and her husband and sisters had striven for them, it was
very hard to find that so very few would exert themselves for their
protection, and that so many would even turn against them. It was hard
to make allowance for the bewilderment of slow minds, for sheer
cowardice, and for the instinct of going along with one's own class of
people. She and Sophy prayed that they might forgive the people, but it
was impossible just then not to feel that there was a good deal to
forgive, and Captain Caiger was always telling them that all their
trouble came in trying to help the good-for-nothing people.
They had moved into the George Hotel at Elchester. It was a good
large inn, such as used to exist in coaching days, where travellers
stopped for meals, and sometimes spent a night, and the rooms were so
comfortable that they were glad to stay there, while Captain Carbonel
could go backwards and forwards to make arrangements about the repair
of Greenhow. Of course, when he came to look the place over with a
builder from Elchester it turned out that a great deal more was needed
than simply re-building what had been burnt; and he was in difficulties
about the cost, when an offer came which he was glad to accept.
The Seven Ionian Islands had been put under the protection of
England since they had been set free from the Turkish dominion, and the
Governor, Sir Thomas Maitland, (King Tom as he was often called), was
very active in building, making roads, and improving them in every way
possible. He wanted an English officer to superintend his doings in the
little isle of Santa Maura, and being acquainted with Major Sandford,
Dora's husband, the proposal was made that Captain Carbonel should
undertake the work for two or three years, bringing out, of course, his
family with a handsome salary. It was a most opportune offer, giving
him the means of renewing Greenhow, of a visit to the sister, and of
restoring his wife's health, which had been much tried by her child's
death, little Mary's delicate state, and the alarm of the riots. So it
was gladly accepted, and the departure was to take place as soon as the
trials were over, for a special commission had been appointed to try
the rioters; and poor Sophy was much distressed at having so evidently
recognised Dan Hewlett when she found that rioting and arson, that
is, burning, made a capital offence, so that it was a matter of life
But there was another to whom this same discovery made a great
differencenamely, Dan Hewlett himself. When he found that his life
was at stake, he declared himself willing to turn King's evidence, if
his pardon were secured to him, and this was really important, as he
was able to identify Jack Swing, who really was the chief
mischief-maker, being a young clerk whose head had been turned by
foolish notions about liberty for the people, and who really acted more
generously, and with less personal spite, than most of his unhappy
followers. However, Dan was content to purchase his own life by
denouncing the leader whom he had followed, and he was promised safety
after the trial should be over, until which time he must remain in
prison at Minsterham.
Captain Carbonel had consulted George Hewlett, when arranging the
ruins at Greenhow, as to what had best be done for John, whose services
he could not forget. George considered for a night, and the next day
Well, sir, I beg your pardon, but the best thing as could be done
with that there John would be to put him somewhere to learn the
cabinet-making. He is a right sharp, clever hand, and knows pretty well
all I can teach him; and he would get on famous if he had the chance.
And it bain't so comfortable for him here. Some of 'em owes him a
grudge for bringing the soldiers down on 'em, and calls him an
informer; and it will be all the worserer for him when his father comes
homethe scamp that he is! I'm ready to wish my name wasn't the same.
Wuss shame by far than to be strung up to turn agin him as he was hand
and glove with!
I am quite of your opinion, Hewlett; and I fully think John would
be best out of the way, poor fellow. I will inquire for a good master
Thank you, sir. I would have had the boy up to sleep at my place,
but he won't leave his poor aunt. He be the chief comfort she has, poor
thing. But she won't be here long anyway; and if ever there was a good
woman, 'tis Judith Grey.
It was quite true. Mr Harford, who had come home on Saturday, walked
over to Poppleby, partly for the sake of saying that Judith was
certainly near the close of her trials, and that it was her great wish
to see one of the dear ladies again, though she durst not ask one of
them to come into Dan's house. Indeed Mr Harford had only drawn the
expression of her desire out of her with difficulty.
Mrs Carbonel was not well enough for a trying interview, so it was
Sophy who drove from Elchester with her brother-in-law, grave and
thoughtful, and only wishing to avoid everybody; for she could not yet
forget how no one had shown any gratitude, nor desire to shield those
who had been so long their friends. The Poppleby doctor had been sent
to see Judith, and had pronounced that the old disease had made fatal
progress, accelerated by the hysterical convulsions caused by the night
and day of suspense and anxiety, and the attack on her nephew, as well
as the whole of Dan's conduct. He did not think that she could last
many more days.
So Sophy arrived at the well-known cottage, and was met at the door
by Molly, with her apron to her eyes, and a great deal to say about her
poor sister, and it wasn't her wish; but Mr Harford, who was on the
watch, began to answer her, so as to keep her from going upstairs with
the visitors. Little Judy, now a nice, neat girl of fourteen, was
sitting by her, but rose to go away when the lady came in.
Judith was leaning against pillows, and the pink flush in her cheeks
and her smile of greeting prevented Sophy from seeing how ill and
wasted she looked, thin and weak as were the fingers that lay on the
Why, Judith, you look much better than I expected. You will soon be
as well as ever.
Judith only smiled, and said, Thank you, ma'am! I hope Mrs Carbonel
Yes. She is getting better now, and she is very sorry not to come
and see you; but perhaps she may be able before we go away.
And little Miss Mary, ma'am?
She has been quite another creature since we have been at
Popplebynot at all fretty, and almost rosy.
I am glad. And you are going away, ma'am?
Yes; off to a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, close to
all the places where Saint Paul preached. You know Dora is at Malta,
where he was shipwrecked.
Yes, ma'am; I like to know it. You will give my duty to her, Miss
Sophy, and thank heroh! so much,and Judith clasped her handsfor
all she and you and Mrs Carbonel have been to me. You seemed to bring
the light back to me, just as my faith was growing slack and dull.
Yes; I will tell her, Judith. I don't like leaving you, but it
won't seem long till we come back; and we will send you those beautiful
Judith smiled that beautiful smile again. Ah, Miss Sophy, you have
been very good, and helped me ever so much; but my time is nearly over,
and I shall not want even you and madam where I am going. I shall see
His face, she murmured; and lifted up her hands.
Sophy was rather frightened, and felt as if she had done wrong in
talking of oranges. She did not know what to say, and only got out
something about Johnnie and a comfort.
Yes, that he is, Miss Sophy, and little Judy too. The boy, he is
that shy and quiet, no one would believe the blessed things he says and
reads to me at night. He be a blessing, and so be Judy, all
owing to the Sunday School.
Oh! to you, Judith. You made him good before we had him, though
Mary and Dora did help, said Sophy, with rising tears.
And oh! I am so thankful, she said, clasping her hands, for what
the captain is doing for the boy.
He deserves it, I am sure, said Sophy.
It will keep him easier to the right way, and it would be harder
for him when I am gone, and his father come home! And Mr Harford, he
says he will find a good place for Judy. She is a good girl, a right
That she is.
And, maybe, Mrs Carbonel and you, when you come home, would be good
to my poor sister. She've been a good sister to me, she has, with it
all, but it has all been against her, and she would be a different
woman if she could. Please remember her.
We will, we will if we can.
Then Judith went on to beg Sophy to write to her former mistress,
Mrs Barnard, with all her thanks for past kindness. That seemed to
exhaust her a good deal, and she lay back, just saying faintly, If you
would read me a little bit, miss.
The Prayer-Book lay nearest, and Sophy read, Lord, now lettest Thou
Thy servant depart in peace, as well as she could amid the choking
tears. She felt as if she were lifted into some higher air, but Judith
lay so white and still that she durst not do more than say, Good-bye,
dear Judith. She was going to say, I will come and see you again,
but something withheld her. She thought Judith's lips said, Up there.
She bent down, kissed the cheek, now quite white, and crept down,
passing Molly at the turn.
Two days later Mr Harford came to say that Judith was gone. Her last
communion with Johnnie, and with George Hewlett, had been given to her
the day before, and she had not spoken afterwards, only her face had
been strangely bright.
The Carbonels could only feel that her remnant of life had been
shortened by all she had undergone for their sakes, and Edmund and
Sophy both stood as mourners at her grave, Sophy feeling that her life
had been more of a deepening, realising lesson than anything
that had gone before, making her feel more than had ever come yet into
her experience, what this life is compared with eternal life.
CHAPTER TWENTY SIX. THE GOLDEN
A form unseen is pulling us behind,
Threads turn to cords, and cords to cables strong,
Till habit hath become as Destiny,
Which drives us on, and shakes her scourge on high.
Captain Carbonel lost no time after Judith Grey's funeral in sending
John Hewlett to his new master, Mr Jones. The place was the Carbonels'
old home, in a county far-away from Uphill. George had wished the lad
to go to a cabinet-maker whom he knew at Minsterham, but he was
convinced by the captain's advice to let him be quite away from the
assizes, which would not only be pain and shame to him, but would mark
his name with the brand of the same kind as that of an informer. This
Mr Jones was well-known to the Carbonel family as an excellent mana
churchwarden, and sure to care for the welfare, spiritual as well as
bodily, of those commended to him.
And it happened, not unfortunately for John, that, in the captain's
handwriting, his rather uncommon name was read as Newlett, and for some
time after he arrived he never found out the mistake, and was rather
glad of it when he did so, since no one connected him with the
rick-burner who gave evidence against his leader.
Dan himself came home to find that he was held in more utter
disgrace than for all his former disreputable conduct, which only
passed for good-fellowship. If he had been hanged, or even transported,
he would only have been poor Dan Hewlett, and his wife would have had
all the pity due to widowhood; but everybody fought shy of him, and the
big lads hooted at him. He could not get work, Judith's pension had
failed, and they lived scantily on what Farmer Goodenough allowed Molly
to earn, as an old hand, to be kept off the parish. Little Judith was
apprenticed to Mrs Pearson, according to the old fashion which bound
out pauper girls as apprentices to service, and which had one happy
effect, namely, that they could not drift foolishly from one situation
to another, though, in bad hands, they sometimes had much to suffer.
But Mrs Pearson was a kind, conscientious mistress, and Judy was a good
girl, so that all went well.
Dan slouched about, snared rabbits and hares, and drank up the
proceeds thereof at little public-houses where he was not known, or
where the company was past caring about his doings. At last, he was
knocked down in the dark by the mail-coach, and brought home in a cart,
Mr Harford came to see him, and found his recollections of old times
reviving, when he had been Dame Verdon's best scholar. I could beat
old George any day at his book. And, then, I was church singer, and had
the solos, he said, evidently thinking sadly of his better days. And
my wife, she was that tidyonly she did put too much on her back!
The screen, which Judith had of late years kept with the panel with
the laburnums on the back side, had by accident been now turned so that
he saw them; and, when Mr Harford came the next day, he broke out
Them flowers! Them flowers, sir!
Mr Harford could not understand.
Them golden chains, sir. They was at the bottom of it.
Mr Harford understood still less.
They talk of devils' chains, sir, and how they drags a man down.
Them was a link, sure enough. That paper there, sir, I keeps seeing it
at night by the rushlight, and they gets to look just like chains.
Then Mr Harford understood that he meant the laburnums on the
paper golden chains, as they are often called.
I was working with George, he said, before them Carbonels came,
and when there was a piece of the parlour paper left over, I took it
for a parkisit. I didn't let George know; he always seemed too
particular. 'Twas more than I had reckoned on; and one bit I papered
Mrs Brown's room, at Downhill, with; and one bit that was left my wife
put on the screen. Then, when the captain made a work about it, I
thought it was mean and shabby in him, and I never could lay my mind to
him or his after thatspecial after Miss Sophy came and spied it out.
I went agen 'em more and more, and all they wanted for the place; and
it riled me the more that my lad should be took up with them and his
aunt. And so the ill-will of it went on with me, worse and worserer.
Molly, I say, take the devils' chains away. They've got a hold of me.
That was his delirious cry. Mr Harford prayed with him and for him,
but never could tell how much was remorse and how much might be
repentance. He was quieter as his strength failed, and his wife said he
made a beautiful end, and that she was sure the Holy Name of the
Saviour was on his lips, and Mr Harford trusted that she was right,
with the charity that hopeth all things.
CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN. MISSED AND
Nor deem the irrevocable Past
As wholly wasted, wholly vain.
Be they Gobblealls not coming home? asked Nanny Barton, as she
stood at her gate, while some of her neighbours came slowly out of
church, about two years later.
My man, he did ask Shepherd Tomkins, said Betsy Seddon, and all
the answer he got was, `You don't desarve it, not you.' As if my man
had gone out with that there rabble rout!
And I'm sure mine only went up to see what they were after, and
helped to put out the fire beside.
Ay, said Cox, behind her, but not till the soldiers were come.
Time they did come! said Seddon. Rain comes through the roof, and
that there Lawyer Brent won't have nothing done to it till the captain
Yes, added Morris, and when I spoke to him about my windows, as
got blown in, he said `cottages were no end of expense, and we hadn't
treated them so as they would wish to come back nohow.'
Think of their bearing malice! cried Nanny Barton.
I don't believe as how they does, responded the other Nanny. They
have sent the coals and the blankets all the same.
Bear malice! said Mrs Truman, who had just walked up. No, no.
Why, Parson Harford have said over and over again, when he gave a
shilling or so or a meat order, to help a poor lady that was ill, that
'twas by madam's wish.
And Governess Thorpe, she has the bag of baby-linen and half a
pound of tea for any call, said Mrs Spurrell.
But one looks for the friendly word and the time of day, sighed
The poor children, they don't half like their school without the
ladies to look in, said Mrs Truman. It is quite a job to get them
there without Miss Sophy to tell them stories.
I can't get mine to go at all on Sundays, said Nanny Morris.
And, added Betsy Seddon, I'm right sure my poor Bob would never
have 'listed for a soldier if the captain had been at home to make
Master Pucklechurch see the rights of things, and not turn him off all
on a suddent.
Master Pucklechurch, he don't believe they are never coming back,
said Widow Mole, who had just come that way as an evening walk with her
children. He says little miss, and madam too, have their health so
much better out there, that they won't like to come home. And yet they
have made the place like a picture. I was up there to help Sue
Pucklechurch clean it up, and 'tis just a pleasure to see all the new
outhouses and sheds, as you might live in yourself, and well off too.
And that it should all be for them Pucklechurches, sighed Seddon.
I heerd tell, said Mrs Truman, that Lawyer Brent was to come and
live in the house, and that was why they are making it so nice.
On this there arose a general wail of lamentation, and even of
indignation. Nobody loved Lawyer Brent, who was a hard, if a just, man,
anxious for his employer's good, but inclined, in spite of all
cautions, to grind the tenants. To hear of his coming to Greenhow was
dismal news to all concerned, and there was such a buzz of doleful
inquiries that Mr Harford stopped on his way home to ask what was the
Oh no, he said, when he heard. Captain and Mrs Carbonel are
coming home in the spring, only they wished to travel slowly, so as to
see something of foreign parts. You need not be afraid. We shall have
them back again, and I hope nobody will be as foolish as before. I am
sure they have quite forgiven.
And, on a fine spring day, the bells were ringing at the church, and
everybody stood out at the cottage doors, curtseying and bowing with
delight and welcome; and Mrs Carbonel and Miss Sophia and Miss Mary,
looking rosy, healthy, and substantial, and even little Master Edmund
was laughing and nodding, and looking full of joy. While the captain
walked up with Mr Harford, and greeted every one with kindly, hearty
words. No one could doubt that they were glad to be at home again, and
after all that had come and gone, that they felt that these were their
own people whom they loved.
CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT. CONCLUSION.
The work be Thine, the fruit Thy children's part.Keble.
Look at Uphill Priors in the year 1880. Here are the mothers coming
out of the mothers' meeting. They look, in their neat hats and jackets,
better on this week-day than any one would have done on Sunday sixty
years ago. They are, many of them, the granddaughters, or grandsons'
wives, of the inhabitants in those old times; but they have not the
worn, haggard faces that their parents had when far younger, except one
or two poor things who have drunken husbands. Miss Carbonel (young Miss
Carbonel) and the vicar's wife have been working with them, and reading
to them things that the Bettys and Nannys of those days would not have
understood or cared for.
The white-haired lady, who stops her donkey-chaise to exchange some
affectionate, kindly words, and give out a parcel or twoshe is Miss
Sophia; and those elderly women who cluster round for a greeting, they
are her old scholars. Those black eyes are Hoglah's; that neat woman is
Judy! Yes, she has lived among them, and worked among them all her
life, never forgetting that no good work can be done without
drudgery. She has her Girls' Friendly Society class still in her own
little house, though she has dropped most of her regular out-of-door
work of late years. For the vicarthere is a vicar nowand his
daughters teach constantly in the schools. The children are swarming
out now, orderly and nice, even superior in appearance to some of the
mothers they run up to; and as to learning, the whole parish can read
and write, and the younger ones can send out a letter that would be no
disgrace to a lady or a gentleman.
There is a machine, with its long tail of spikes, coughing along as
it blows off the steam at Farmer Goodenough's. No one dreams of
meddling with it to do any harm. Wages are better, food is cheaper, and
there are comforts in the house of every one tolerably thrifty that the
grandmothers look at as novelties. John and George Hewlett, carpenters
and builders, have a handsome shop and large workshop in the street.
All this has come in the way of gradual change, brought about not by
rioting, but by the force of opinion, and the action of those in
But how have people been fitted to make a good use of these
thingsnot to waste them, but to use them as God's good gifts? There
has been a quiet influence at work ever since they Gobblealls came up
the roughness of the lanes, and Mary's approach was given up.
Captain Edmund, and Mary his wife, lie in their quiet graves, but
the work they didby justice, by kindness, by teaching, by
examplehas gone on growing, and Miss Sophia looks at it, and is
thankful, as she still gives her best in love and experience to the
young generation who are with her and look up to her for help and
The church is beautiful now, not only to look at, nor merely in the
well-performed music of the services, but in the number and devotion of
the worshippers and communicants. Of course, all is not perfect in the
placenever, never will it be so in this world; but the boys and
youths can, and often are, saved from a fit of thoughtless heathenism
by their clubs and their guilds, and the better families are mostly
communicants. Blots there are, and the vicar sometimes desponds when
some fresh evil crops up; but Miss Sophia always tells him to hope, and
The many prayers, the holy tears, the nurture in the Word,
Have not in vain ascended up before the Gracious Lord.