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Brother Jacob by George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans]

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This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk


by George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans]


Among the many fatalities attending the bloom of young desire, that
of blindly taking to the confectionery line has not, perhaps, been
sufficiently considered. How is the son of a British yeoman, who
has been fed principally on salt pork and yeast dumplings, to know
that there is satiety for the human stomach even in a paradise of
glass jars full of sugared almonds and pink lozenges, and that the
tedium of life can reach a pitch where plum-buns at discretion cease
to offer the slightest excitement? Or how, at the tender age when a
confectioner seems to him a very prince whom all the world must
envy--who breakfasts on macaroons, dines on meringues, sups on
twelfth-cake, and fills up the intermediate hours with sugar-candy
or peppermint--how is he to foresee the day of sad wisdom, when he
will discern that the confectioner's calling is not socially
influential, or favourable to a soaring ambition? I have known a
man who turned out to have a metaphysical genius, incautiously, in
the period of youthful buoyancy, commence his career as a dancing-
master; and you may imagine the use that was made of this initial
mistake by opponents who felt themselves bound to warn the public
against his doctrine of the Inconceivable. He could not give up his
dancing-lessons, because he made his bread by them, and metaphysics
would not have found him in so much as salt to his bread. It was
really the same with Mr. David Faux and the confectionery business.
His uncle, the butler at the great house close by Brigford, had made
a pet of him in his early boyhood, and it was on a visit to this
uncle that the confectioners' shops in that brilliant town had, on a
single day, fired his tender imagination. He carried home the
pleasing illusion that a confectioner must be at once the happiest
and the foremost of men, since the things he made were not only the
most beautiful to behold, but the very best eating, and such as the
Lord Mayor must always order largely for his private recreation; so
that when his father declared he must be put to a trade, David chose
his line without a moment's hesitation; and, with a rashness
inspired by a sweet tooth, wedded himself irrevocably to
confectionery. Soon, however, the tooth lost its relish and fell
into blank indifference; and all the while, his mind expanded, his
ambition took new shapes, which could hardly be satisfied within the
sphere his youthful ardour had chosen. But what was he to do? He
was a young man of much mental activity, and, above all, gifted with
a spirit of contrivance; but then, his faculties would not tell with
great effect in any other medium than that of candied sugars,
conserves, and pastry. Say what you will about the identity of the
reasoning process in all branches of thought, or about the advantage
of coming to subjects with a fresh mind, the adjustment of butter to
flour, and of heat to pastry, is NOT the best preparation for the
office of prime minister; besides, in the present imperfectly-
organized state of society, there are social barriers. David could
invent delightful things in the way of drop-cakes, and he had the
widest views of the sugar department; but in other directions he
certainly felt hampered by the want of knowledge and practical
skill; and the world is so inconveniently constituted, that the
vague consciousness of being a fine fellow is no guarantee of
success in any line of business.

This difficulty pressed with some severity on Mr. David Faux, even
before his apprenticeship was ended. His soul swelled with an
impatient sense that he ought to become something very remarkable--
that it was quite out of the question for him to put up with a
narrow lot as other men did: he scorned the idea that he could
accept an average. He was sure there was nothing average about him:
even such a person as Mrs. Tibbits, the washer-woman, perceived it,
and probably had a preference for his linen. At that particular
period he was weighing out gingerbread nuts; but such an anomaly
could not continue. No position could be suited to Mr. David Faux
that was not in the highest degree easy to the flesh and flattering
to the spirit. If he had fallen on the present times, and enjoyed
the advantages of a Mechanic's Institute, he would certainly have
taken to literature and have written reviews; but his education had
not been liberal. He had read some novels from the adjoining
circulating library, and had even bought the story of Inkle and
Yarico, which had made him feel very sorry for poor Mr. Inkle; so
that his ideas might not have been below a certain mark of the
literary calling; but his spelling and diction were too

When a man is not adequately appreciated or comfortably placed in
his own country, his thoughts naturally turn towards foreign climes;
and David's imagination circled round and round the utmost limits of
his geographical knowledge, in search of a country where a young
gentleman of pasty visage, lipless mouth, and stumpy hair, would be
likely to be received with the hospitable enthusiasm which he had a
right to expect. Having a general idea of America as a country
where the population was chiefly black, it appeared to him the most
propitious destination for an emigrant who, to begin with, had the
broad and easily recognizable merit of whiteness; and this idea
gradually took such strong possession of him that Satan seized the
opportunity of suggesting to him that he might emigrate under easier
circumstances, if he supplied himself with a little money from his
master's till. But that evil spirit, whose understanding, I am
convinced, has been much overrated, quite wasted his time on this
occasion. David would certainly have liked well to have some of his
master's money in his pocket, if he had been sure his master would
have been the only man to suffer for it; but he was a cautious
youth, and quite determined to run no risks on his own account. So
he stayed out his apprenticeship, and committed no act of dishonesty
that was at all likely to be discovered, reserving his plan of
emigration for a future opportunity. And the circumstances under
which he carried it out were in this wise. Having been at home a
week or two partaking of the family beans, he had used his leisure
in ascertaining a fact which was of considerable importance to him,
namely, that his mother had a small sum in guineas painfully saved
from her maiden perquisites, and kept in the corner of a drawer
where her baby-linen had reposed for the last twenty years--ever
since her son David had taken to his feet, with a slight promise of
bow-legs which had not been altogether unfulfilled. Mr. Faux,
senior, had told his son very frankly, that he must not look to
being set up in business by HIM: with seven sons, and one of them a
very healthy and well-developed idiot, who consumed a dumpling about
eight inches in diameter every day, it was pretty well if they got a
hundred apiece at his death. Under these circumstances, what was
David to do? It was certainly hard that he should take his mother's
money; but he saw no other ready means of getting any, and it was
not to be expected that a young man of his merit should put up with
inconveniences that could be avoided. Besides, it is not robbery to
take property belonging to your mother: she doesn't prosecute you.
And David was very well behaved to his mother; he comforted her by
speaking highly of himself to her, and assuring her that he never
fell into the vices he saw practised by other youths of his own age,
and that he was particularly fond of honesty. If his mother would
have given him her twenty guineas as a reward of this noble
disposition, he really would not have stolen them from her, and it
would have been more agreeable to his feelings. Nevertheless, to an
active mind like David's, ingenuity is not without its pleasures:
it was rather an interesting occupation to become stealthily
acquainted with the wards of his mother's simple key (not in the
least like Chubb's patent), and to get one that would do its work
equally well; and also to arrange a little drama by which he would
escape suspicion, and run no risk of forfeiting the prospective
hundred at his father's death, which would be convenient in the
improbable case of his NOT making a large fortune in the "Indies."

First, he spoke freely of his intention to start shortly for
Liverpool and take ship for America; a resolution which cost his
good mother some pain, for, after Jacob the idiot, there was not one
of her sons to whom her heart clung more than to her youngest-born,
David. Next, it appeared to him that Sunday afternoon, when
everybody was gone to church except Jacob and the cowboy, was so
singularly favourable an opportunity for sons who wanted to
appropriate their mothers' guineas, that he half thought it must
have been kindly intended by Providence for such purposes.
Especially the third Sunday in Lent; because Jacob had been out on
one of his occasional wanderings for the last two days; and David,
being a timid young man, had a considerable dread and hatred of
Jacob, as of a large personage who went about habitually with a
pitchfork in his hand.

Nothing could be easier, then, than for David on this Sunday
afternoon to decline going to church, on the ground that he was
going to tea at Mr. Lunn's, whose pretty daughter Sally had been an
early flame of his, and, when the church-goers were at a safe
distance, to abstract the guineas from their wooden box and slip
them into a small canvas bag--nothing easier than to call to the
cowboy that he was going, and tell him to keep an eye on the house
for fear of Sunday tramps. David thought it would be easy, too, to
get to a small thicket and bury his bag in a hole he had already
made and covered up under the roots of an old hollow ash, and he
had, in fact, found the hole without a moment's difficulty, had
uncovered it, and was about gently to drop the bag into it, when the
sound of a large body rustling towards him with something like a
bellow was such a surprise to David, who, as a gentleman gifted with
much contrivance, was naturally only prepared for what he expected,
that instead of dropping the bag gently he let it fall so as to make
it untwist and vomit forth the shining guineas. In the same moment
he looked up and saw his dear brother Jacob close upon him, holding
the pitchfork so that the bright smooth prongs were a yard in
advance of his own body, and about a foot off David's. (A learned
friend, to whom I once narrated this history, observed that it was
David's guilt which made these prongs formidable, and that the "mens
nil conscia sibi" strips a pitchfork of all terrors. I thought this
idea so valuable, that I obtained his leave to use it on condition
of suppressing his name.) Nevertheless, David did not entirely lose
his presence of mind; for in that case he would have sunk on the
earth or started backward; whereas he kept his ground and smiled at
Jacob, who nodded his head up and down, and said, "Hoich, Zavy!" in
a painfully equivocal manner. David's heart was beating audibly,
and if he had had any lips they would have been pale; but his mental
activity, instead of being paralysed, was stimulated. While he was
inwardly praying (he always prayed when he was much frightened)--
"Oh, save me this once, and I'll never get into danger again!"--he
was thrusting his hand into his pocket in search of a box of yellow
lozenges, which he had brought with him from Brigford among other
delicacies of the same portable kind, as a means of conciliating
proud beauty, and more particularly the beauty of Miss Sarah Lunn.
Not one of these delicacies had he ever offered to poor Jacob, for
David was not a young man to waste his jujubes and barley-sugar in
giving pleasure to people from whom he expected nothing. But an
idiot with equivocal intentions and a pitchfork is as well worth
flattering and cajoling as if he were Louis Napoleon. So David,
with a promptitude equal to the occasion, drew out his box of yellow
lozenges, lifted the lid, and performed a pantomime with his mouth
and fingers, which was meant to imply that he was delighted to see
his dear brother Jacob, and seized the opportunity of making him a
small present, which he would find particularly agreeable to the
taste. Jacob, you understand, was not an intense idiot, but within
a certain limited range knew how to choose the good and reject the
evil: he took one lozenge, by way of test, and sucked it as if he
had been a philosopher; then, in as great an ecstacy at its new and
complex savour as Caliban at the taste of Trinculo's wine, chuckled
and stroked this suddenly beneficent brother, and held out his hand
for more; for, except in fits of anger, Jacob was not ferocious or
needlessly predatory. David's courage half returned, and he left
off praying; pouring a dozen lozenges into Jacob's palm, and trying
to look very fond of him. He congratulated himself that he had
formed the plan of going to see Miss Sally Lunn this afternoon, and
that, as a consequence, he had brought with him these propitiatory
delicacies: he was certainly a lucky fellow; indeed, it was always
likely Providence should be fonder of him than of other apprentices,
and since he WAS to be interrupted, why, an idiot was preferable to
any other sort of witness. For the first time in his life, David
thought he saw the advantage of idiots.

As for Jacob, he had thrust his pitchfork into the ground, and had
thrown himself down beside it, in thorough abandonment to the
unprecedented pleasure of having five lozenges in his mouth at once,
blinking meanwhile, and making inarticulate sounds of gustative
content. He had not yet given any sign of noticing the guineas, but
in seating himself he had laid his broad right hand on them, and
unconsciously kept it in that position, absorbed in the sensations
of his palate. If he could only be kept so occupied with the
lozenges as not to see the guineas before David could manage to
cover them! That was David's best hope of safety; for Jacob knew
his mother's guineas; it had been part of their common experience as
boys to be allowed to look at these handsome coins, and rattle them
in their box on high days and holidays, and among all Jacob's narrow
experiences as to money, this was likely to be the most memorable.

"Here, Jacob," said David, in an insinuating tone, handing the box
to him, "I'll give 'em all to you. Run!--make haste!--else
somebody'll come and take 'em."

David, not having studied the psychology of idiots, was not aware
that they are not to be wrought upon by imaginative fears. Jacob
took the box with his left hand, but saw no necessity for running
away. Was ever a promising young man wishing to lay the foundation
of his fortune by appropriating his mother's guineas obstructed by
such a day-mare as this? But the moment must come when Jacob would
move his right hand to draw off the lid of the tin box, and then
David would sweep the guineas into the hole with the utmost address
and swiftness, and immediately seat himself upon them. Ah, no!
It's of no use to have foresight when you are dealing with an idiot:
he is not to be calculated upon. Jacob's right hand was given to
vague clutching and throwing; it suddenly clutched the guineas as if
they had been so many pebbles, and was raised in an attitude which
promised to scatter them like seed over a distant bramble, when,
from some prompting or other--probably of an unwonted sensation--it
paused, descended to Jacob's knee, and opened slowly under the
inspection of Jacob's dull eyes. David began to pray again, but
immediately desisted--another resource having occurred to him.

"Mother! zinnies!" exclaimed the innocent Jacob. Then, looking at
David, he said, interrogatively, "Box?"

"Hush! hush!" said David, summoning all his ingenuity in this severe
strait. "See, Jacob!" He took the tin box from his brother's hand,
and emptied it of the lozenges, returning half of them to Jacob, but
secretly keeping the rest in his own hand. Then he held out the
empty box, and said, "Here's the box, Jacob! The box for the
guineas!" gently sweeping them from Jacob's palm into the box.

This procedure was not objectionable to Jacob; on the contrary, the
guineas clinked so pleasantly as they fell, that he wished for a
repetition of the sound, and seizing the box, began to rattle it
very gleefully. David, seizing the opportunity, deposited his
reserve of lozenges in the ground and hastily swept some earth over
them. "Look, Jacob!" he said, at last. Jacob paused from his
clinking, and looked into the hole, while David began to scratch
away the earth, as if in doubtful expectation. When the lozenges
were laid bare, he took them out one by one, and gave them to Jacob.
"Hush!" he said, in a loud whisper, "Tell nobody--all for Jacob--
hush--sh--sh! Put guineas in the hole--they'll come out like this!"
To make the lesson more complete, he took a guinea, and lowering it
into the hole, said, "Put in SO." Then, as he took the last lozenge
out, he said, "Come out SO," and put the lozenge into Jacob's
hospitable mouth.

Jacob turned his head on one side, looked first at his brother and
then at the hole, like a reflective monkey, and, finally, laid the
box of guineas in the hole with much decision. David made haste to
add every one of the stray coins, put on the lid, and covered it
well with earth, saying in his meet coaxing tone -

"Take 'm out to-morrow, Jacob; all for Jacob! Hush--sh--sh!"

Jacob, to whom this once indifferent brother had all at once become
a sort of sweet-tasted fetish, stroked David's best coat with his
adhesive fingers, and then hugged him with an accompaniment of that
mingled chuckling and gurgling by which he was accustomed to express
the milder passions. But if he had chosen to bite a small morsel
out of his beneficent brother's cheek, David would have been obliged
to bear it.

And here I must pause, to point out to you the short-sightedness of
human contrivance. This ingenious young man, Mr. David Faux,
thought he had achieved a triumph of cunning when he had associated
himself in his brother's rudimentary mind with the flavour of yellow
lozenges. But he had yet to learn that it is a dreadful thing to
make an idiot fond of you, when you yourself are not of an
affectionate disposition: especially an idiot with a pitchfork--
obviously a difficult friend to shake off by rough usage.

It may seem to you rather a blundering contrivance for a clever
young man to bury the guineas. But, if everything had turned out as
David had calculated, you would have seen that his plan was worthy
of his talents. The guineas would have lain safely in the earth
while the theft was discovered, and David, with the calm of
conscious innocence, would have lingered at home, reluctant to say
good-bye to his dear mother while she was in grief about her
guineas; till at length, on the eve of his departure, he would have
disinterred them in the strictest privacy, and carried them on his
own person without inconvenience. But David, you perceive, had
reckoned without his host, or, to speak more precisely, without his
idiot brother--an item of so uncertain and fluctuating a character,
that I doubt whether he would not have puzzled the astute heroes of
M. de Balzac, whose foresight is so remarkably at home in the

It was clear to David now that he had only one alternative before
him: he must either renounce the guineas, by quietly putting them
back in his mother's drawer (a course not unattended with
difficulty); or he must leave more than a suspicion behind him, by
departing early the next morning without giving notice, and with the
guineas in his pocket. For if he gave notice that he was going, his
mother, he knew, would insist on fetching from her box of guineas
the three she had always promised him as his share; indeed, in his
original plan, he had counted on this as a means by which the theft
would be discovered under circumstances that would themselves speak
for his innocence; but now, as I need hardly explain, that well-
combined plan was completely frustrated. Even if David could have
bribed Jacob with perpetual lozenges, an idiot's secrecy is itself
betrayal. He dared not even go to tea at Mr. Lunn's, for in that
case he would have lost sight of Jacob, who, in his impatience for
the crop of lozenges, might scratch up the box again while he was
absent, and carry it home--depriving him at once of reputation and
guineas. No! he must think of nothing all the rest of this day, but
of coaxing Jacob and keeping him out of mischief. It was a
fatiguing and anxious evening to David; nevertheless, he dared not
go to sleep without tying a piece of string to his thumb and great
toe, to secure his frequent waking; for he meant to be up with the
first peep of dawn, and be far out of reach before breakfast-time.
His father, he thought, would certainly cut him off with a shilling;
but what then? Such a striking young man as he would be sure to be
well received in the West Indies: in foreign countries there are
always openings--even for cats. It was probable that some Princess
Yarico would want him to marry her, and make him presents of very
large jewels beforehand; after which, he needn't marry her unless he
liked. David had made up his mind not to steal any more, even from
people who were fond of him: it was an unpleasant way of making
your fortune in a world where you were likely to surprised in the
act by brothers. Such alarms did not agree with David's
constitution, and he had felt so much nausea this evening that no
doubt his liver was affected. Besides, he would have been greatly
hurt not to be thought well of in the world: he always meant to
make a figure, and be thought worthy of the best seats and the best

Ruminating to this effect on the brilliant future in reserve for
him, David by the help of his check-string kept himself on the alert
to seize the time of earliest dawn for his rising and departure.
His brothers, of course, were early risers, but he should anticipate
them by at least an hour and a half, and the little room which he
had to himself as only an occasional visitor, had its window over
the horse-block, so that he could slip out through the window
without the least difficulty. Jacob, the horrible Jacob, had an
awkward trick of getting up before everybody else, to stem his
hunger by emptying the milk-bowl that was "duly set" for him; but of
late he had taken to sleeping in the hay-loft, and if he came into
the house, it would be on the opposite side to that from which David
was making his exit. There was no need to think of Jacob; yet David
was liberal enough to bestow a curse on him--it was the only thing
he ever did bestow gratuitously. His small bundle of clothes was
ready packed, and he was soon treading lightly on the steps of the
horse-block, soon walking at a smart pace across the fields towards
the thicket. It would take him no more than two minutes to get out
the box; he could make out the tree it was under by the pale strip
where the bark was off, although the dawning light was rather dimmer
in the thicket. But what, in the name of--burnt pastry--was that
large body with a staff planted beside it, close at the foot of the
ash-tree? David paused, not to make up his mind as to the nature of
the apparition--he had not the happiness of doubting for a moment
that the staff was Jacob's pitchfork--but to gather the self-command
necessary for addressing his brother with a sufficiently honeyed
accent. Jacob was absorbed in scratching up the earth, and had not
heard David's approach.

"I say, Jacob," said David in a loud whisper, just as the tin box
was lifted out of the hole.

Jacob looked up, and discerning his sweet-flavoured brother, nodded
and grinned in the dim light in a way that made him seem to David
like a triumphant demon. If he had been of an impetuous
disposition, he would have snatched the pitchfork from the ground
and impaled this fraternal demon. But David was by no means
impetuous; he was a young man greatly given to calculate
consequences, a habit which has been held to be the foundation of
virtue. But somehow it had not precisely that effect in David: he
calculated whether an action would harm himself, or whether it would
only harm other people. In the former case he was very timid about
satisfying his immediate desires, but in the latter he would risk
the result with much courage.

"Give it me, Jacob," he said, stooping down and patting his brother.
"Let us see."

Jacob, finding the lid rather tight, gave the box to his brother in
perfect faith. David raised the lids and shook his head, while
Jacob put his finger in and took out a guinea to taste whether the
metamorphosis into lozenges was complete and satisfactory.

"No, Jacob; too soon, too soon," said David, when the guinea had
been tasted. "Give it me; we'll go and bury it somewhere else;
we'll put it in yonder," he added, pointing vaguely toward the

David screwed on the lid, while Jacob, looking grave, rose and
grasped his pitchfork. Then, seeing David's bundle, he snatched it,
like a too officious Newfoundland, stuck his pitchfork into it and
carried it over his shoulder in triumph as he accompanied David and
the box out of the thicket.

What on earth was David to do? It would have been easy to frown at
Jacob, and kick him, and order him to get away; but David dared as
soon have kicked the bull. Jacob was quiet as long as he was
treated indulgently; but on the slightest show of anger, he became
unmanageable, and was liable to fits of fury which would have made
him formidable even without his pitchfork. There was no mastery to
be obtained over him except by kindness or guile. David tried

"Go, Jacob," he said, when they were out of the thicket--pointing
towards the house as he spoke; "go and fetch me a spade--a spade.
But give ME the bundle," he added, trying to reach it from the fork,
where it hung high above Jacob's tall shoulder.

But Jacob showed as much alacrity in obeying as a wasp shows in
leaving a sugar-basin. Near David, he felt himself in the vicinity
of lozenges: he chuckled and rubbed his brother's back, brandishing
the bundle higher out of reach. David, with an inward groan,
changed his tactics, and walked on as fast as he could. It was not
safe to linger. Jacob would get tired of following him, or, at all
events, could be eluded. If they could once get to the distant
highroad, a coach would overtake them, David would mount it, having
previously by some ingenious means secured his bundle, and then
Jacob might howl and flourish his pitchfork as much as he liked.
Meanwhile he was under the fatal necessity of being very kind to
this ogre, and of providing a large breakfast for him when they
stopped at a roadside inn. It was already three hours since they
had started, and David was tired. Would no coach be coming up soon?
he inquired. No coach for the next two hours. But there was a
carrier's cart to come immediately, on its way to the next town. If
he could slip out, even leaving his bundle behind, and get into the
cart without Jacob! But there was a new obstacle. Jacob had
recently discovered a remnant of sugar-candy in one of his brother's
tail-pockets; and, since then, had cautiously kept his hold on that
limb of the garment, perhaps with an expectation that there would be
a further development of sugar-candy after a longer or shorter
interval. Now every one who has worn a coat will understand the
sensibilities that must keep a man from starting away in a hurry
when there is a grasp on his coat-tail. David looked forward to
being well received among strangers, but it might make a difference
if he had only one tail to his coat.

He felt himself in a cold perspiration. He could walk no more: he
must get into the cart and let Jacob get in with him. Presently a
cheering idea occurred to him: after so large a breakfast, Jacob
would be sure to go to sleep in the cart; you see at once that David
meant to seize his bundle, jump out, and be free. His expectation
was partly fulfilled: Jacob did go to sleep in the cart, but it was
in a peculiar attitude--it was with his arms tightly fastened round
his dear brother's body; and if ever David attempted to move, the
grasp tightened with the force of an affectionate boa-constrictor.

"Th' innicent's fond on you," observed the carrier, thinking that
David was probably an amiable brother, and wishing to pay him a

David groaned. The ways of thieving were not ways of pleasantness.
Oh, why had he an idiot brother? Oh, why, in general, was the world
so constituted that a man could not take his mother's guineas
comfortably? David became grimly speculative.

Copious dinner at noon for Jacob; but little dinner, because little
appetite, for David. Instead of eating, he plied Jacob with beer;
for through this liberality he descried a hope. Jacob fell into a
dead sleep, at last, without having his arms round David, who paid
the reckoning, took his bundle, and walked off. In another half-
hour he was on the coach on his way to Liverpool, smiling the smile
of the triumphant wicked. He was rid of Jacob--he was bound for the
Indies, where a gullible princess awaited him. He would never steal
any more, but there would be no need; he would show himself so
deserving, that people would make him presents freely. He must give
up the notion of his father's legacy; but it was not likely he would
ever want that trifle; and even if he did--why, it was a
compensation to think that in being for ever divided from his family
he was divided from Jacob, more terrible than Gorgon or Demogorgon
to David's timid green eyes. Thank heaven, he should never see
Jacob any more!


It was nearly six years after the departure of Mr. David Faux for
the West Indies, that the vacant shop in the marketplace at
Grimworth was understood to have been let to the stranger with a
sallow complexion and a buff cravat, whose first appearance had
caused some excitement in the bar of the Woolpack, where he had
called to wait for the coach.

Grimworth, to a discerning eye, was a good place to set up
shopkeeping in. There was no competition in it at present; the
Church-people had their own grocer and draper; the Dissenters had
theirs; and the two or three butchers found a ready market for their
joints without strict reference to religious persuasion--except that
the rector's wife had given a general order for the veal sweet-
breads and the mutton kidneys, while Mr. Rodd, the Baptist minister,
had requested that, so far as was compatible with the fair
accommodation of other customers, the sheep's trotters might be
reserved for him. And it was likely to be a growing place, for the
trustees of Mr. Zephaniah Crypt's Charity, under the stimulus of a
late visitation by commissioners, were beginning to apply long-
accumulating funds to the rebuilding of the Yellow Coat School,
which was henceforth to be carried forward on a greatly-extended
scale, the testator having left no restrictions concerning the
curriculum, but only concerning the coat.

The shopkeepers at Grimworth were by no means unanimous as to the
advantages promised by this prospect of increased population and
trading, being substantial men, who liked doing a quiet business in
which they were sure of their customers, and could calculate their
returns to a nicety. Hitherto, it had been held a point of honour
by the families in Grimworth parish, to buy their sugar and their
flannel at the shop where their fathers and mothers had bought
before them; but, if newcomers were to bring in the system of neck-
and-neck trading, and solicit feminine eyes by gown-pieces laid in
fan-like folds, and surmounted by artificial flowers, giving them a
factitious charm (for on what human figure would a gown sit like a
fan, or what female head was like a bunch of China-asters?), or, if
new grocers were to fill their windows with mountains of currants
and sugar, made seductive by contrast and tickets,--what security
was there for Grimworth, that a vagrant spirit in shopping, once
introduced, would not in the end carry the most important families
to the larger market town of Cattleton, where, business being done
on a system of small profits and quick returns, the fashions were of
the freshest, and goods of all kinds might be bought at an

With this view of the times predominant among the tradespeople at
Grimworth, their uncertainty concerning the nature of the business
which the sallow-complexioned stranger was about to set up in the
vacant shop, naturally gave some additional strength to the fears of
the less sanguine. If he was going to sell drapery, it was probable
that a pale-faced fellow like that would deal in showy and inferior
articles--printed cottons and muslins which would leave their dye in
the wash-tub, jobbed linen full of knots, and flannel that would
soon look like gauze. If grocery, then it was to be hoped that no
mother of a family would trust the teas of an untried grocer. Such
things had been known in some parishes as tradesmen going about
canvassing for custom with cards in their pockets: when people came
from nobody knew where, there was no knowing what they might do. It
was a thousand pities that Mr. Moffat, the auctioneer and broker,
had died without leaving anybody to follow him in the business, and
Mrs. Cleve's trustee ought to have known better than to let a shop
to a stranger. Even the discovery that ovens were being put up on
the premises, and that the shop was, in fact, being fitted up for a
confectioner and pastry-cook's business, hitherto unknown in
Grimworth, did not quite suffice to turn the scale in the newcomer's
favour, though the landlady at the Woolpack defended him warmly,
said he seemed to be a very clever young man, and from what she
could make out, came of a very good family; indeed, was most likely
a good many people's betters.

It certainly made a blaze of light and colour, almost as if a
rainbow had suddenly descended into the marketplace, when, one fine
morning, the shutters were taken down from the new shop, and the two
windows displayed their decorations. On one side, there were the
variegated tints of collared and marbled meats, set off by bright
green leaves, the pale brown of glazed pies, the rich tones of
sauces and bottled fruits enclosed in their veil of glass--
altogether a sight to bring tears into the eyes of a Dutch painter;
and on the other, there was a predominance of the more delicate hues
of pink, and white, and yellow, and buff, in the abundant lozenges,
candies, sweet biscuits and icings, which to the eyes of a bilious
person might easily have been blended into a faery landscape in
Turner's latest style. What a sight to dawn upon the eyes of
Grimworth children! They almost forgot to go to their dinner that
day, their appetites being preoccupied with imaginary sugar-plums;
and I think even Punch, setting up his tabernacle in the market-
place, would not have succeeded in drawing them away from those
shop-windows, where they stood according to gradations of size and
strength, the biggest and strongest being nearest the window, and
the little ones in the outermost rows lifting wide-open eyes and
mouths towards the upper tier of jars, like small birds at meal-

The elder inhabitants pished and pshawed a little at the folly of
the new shopkeeper in venturing on such an outlay in goods that
would not keep; to be sure, Christmas was coming, but what housewife
in Grimworth would not think shame to furnish forth her table with
articles that were not home-cooked? No, no. Mr. Edward Freely, as
he called himself, was deceived, if he thought Grimworth money was
to flow into his pockets on such terms.

Edward Freely was the name that shone in gilt letters on a mazarine
ground over the doorplace of the new shop--a generous-sounding name,
that might have belonged to the open-hearted, improvident hero of an
old comedy, who would have delighted in raining sugared almonds,
like a new manna-gift, among that small generation outside the
windows. But Mr. Edward Freely was a man whose impulses were kept
in due subordination: he held that the desire for sweets and pastry
must only be satisfied in a direct ratio with the power of paying
for them. If the smallest child in Grimworth would go to him with a
halfpenny in its tiny fist, he would, after ringing the halfpenny,
deliver a just equivalent in "rock." He was not a man to cheat even
the smallest child--he often said so, observing at the same time
that he loved honesty, and also that he was very tender-hearted,
though he didn't show his feelings as some people did.

Either in reward of such virtue, or according to some more hidden
law of sequence, Mr. Freely's business, in spite of prejudice,
started under favourable auspices. For Mrs. Chaloner, the rector's
wife, was among the earliest customers at the shop, thinking it only
right to encourage a new parishioner who had made a decorous
appearance at church; and she found Mr. Freely a most civil,
obliging young man, and intelligent to a surprising degree for a
confectioner; well-principled, too, for in giving her useful hints
about choosing sugars he had thrown much light on the dishonesty of
other tradesmen. Moreover, he had been in the West Indies, and had
seen the very estate which had been her poor grandfather's property;
and he said the missionaries were the only cause of the negro's
discontent--an observing young man, evidently. Mrs. Chaloner
ordered wine-biscuits and olives, and gave Mr. Freely to understand
that she should find his shop a great convenience. So did the
doctor's wife, and so did Mrs. Gate, at the large carding-mill, who,
having high connexions frequently visiting her, might be expected to
have a large consumption of ratafias and macaroons.

The less aristocratic matrons of Grimworth seemed likely at first to
justify their husbands' confidence that they would never pay a
percentage of profits on drop-cakes, instead of making their own, or
get up a hollow show of liberal housekeeping by purchasing slices of
collared meat when a neighbour came in for supper. But it is my
task to narrate the gradual corruption of Grimworth manners from
their primitive simplicity--a melancholy task, if it were not
cheered by the prospect of the fine peripateia or downfall by which
the progress of the corruption was ultimately checked.

It was young Mrs. Steene, the veterinary surgeons wife, who first
gave way to temptation. I fear she had been rather over-educated
for her station in life, for she knew by heart many passages in
Lalla Rookh, the Corsair, and the Siege of Corinth, which had given
her a distaste for domestic occupations, and caused her a withering
disappointment at the discovery that Mr. Steene, since his marriage,
had lost all interest in the "bulbul," openly preferred discussing
the nature of spavin with a coarse neighbour, and was angry if the
pudding turned out watery--indeed, was simply a top-booted "vet.",
who came in hungry at dinner-time; and not in the least like a
nobleman turned Corsair out of pure scorn for his race, or like a
renegade with a turban and crescent, unless it were in the
irritability of his temper. And scorn is such a very different
thing in top-boots!

This brutal man had invited a supper-party for Christmas eve, when
he would expect to see mince-pies on the table. Mrs. Steene had
prepared her mince-meat, and had devoted much butter, fine flour,
and labour, to the making of a batch of pies in the morning; but
they proved to be so very heavy when they came out of the oven, that
she could only think with trembling of the moment when her husband
should catch sight of them on the supper-table. He would storm at
her, she was certain; and before all the company; and then she
should never help crying: it was so dreadful to think she had come
to that, after the bulbul and everything! Suddenly the thought
darted through her mind that THIS ONCE she might send for a dish of
mince-pies from Freely's: she knew he had some. But what was to
become of the eighteen heavy mince-pies? Oh, it was of no use
thinking about that; it was very expensive--indeed, making mince-
pies at all was a great expense, when they were not sure to turn out
well: it would be much better to buy them ready-made. You paid a
little more for them, but there was no risk of waste.

Such was the sophistry with which this misguided young woman--
enough. Mrs. Steene sent for the mince-pies, and, I am grieved to
add, garbled her household accounts in order to conceal the fact
from her husband. This was the second step in a downward course,
all owing to a young woman's being out of harmony with her
circumstances, yearning after renegades and bulbuls, and being
subject to claims from a veterinary surgeon fond of mince-pies. The
third step was to harden herself by telling the fact of the bought
mince-pies to her intimate friend Mrs. Mole, who had already guessed
it, and who subsequently encouraged herself in buying a mould of
jelly, instead of exerting her own skill, by the reflection that
"other people" did the same sort of thing. The infection spread;
soon there was a party or clique in Grimworth on the side of "buying
at Freely's"; and many husbands, kept for some time in the dark on
this point, innocently swallowed at two mouthfuls a tart on which
they were paying a profit of a hundred per cent., and as innocently
encouraged a fatal disingenuousness in the partners of their bosoms
by praising the pastry. Others, more keen-sighted, winked at the
too frequent presentation on washing-days, and at impromptu suppers,
of superior spiced-beef, which flattered their palates more than the
cold remnants they had formerly been contented with. Every
housewife who had once "bought at Freely's" felt a secret joy when
she detected a similar perversion in her neighbour's practice, and
soon only two or three old-fashioned mistresses of families held out
in the protest against the growing demoralization, saying to their
neighbours who came to sup with them, "I can't offer you Freely's
beef, or Freely's cheesecakes; everything in our house is home-made;
I'm afraid you'll hardly have any appetite for our plain pastry."
The doctor, whose cook was not satisfactory, the curate, who kept no
cook, and the mining agent, who was a great bon vivant, even began
to rely on Freely for the greater part of their dinner, when they
wished to give an entertainment of some brilliancy. In short, the
business of manufacturing the more fanciful viands was fast passing
out of the hinds of maids and matrons in private families, and was
becoming the work of a special commercial organ.

I am not ignorant that this sort of thing is called the inevitable
course of civilization, division of labour, and so forth, and that
the maids and matrons may be said to have had their hands set free
from cookery to add to the wealth of society in some other way.
Only it happened at Grimworth, which, to be sure, was a low place,
that the maids and matrons could do nothing with their hands at all
better than cooking: not even those who had always made heavy cakes
and leathery pastry. And so it came to pass, that the progress of
civilization at Grimworth was not otherwise apparent than in the
impoverishment of men, the gossiping idleness of women, and the
heightening prosperity of Mr. Edward Freely.

The Yellow Coat School was a double source of profit to the
calculating confectioner; for he opened an eating-room for the
superior workmen employed on the new school, and he accommodated the
pupils at the old school by giving great attention to the fancy-
sugar department. When I think of the sweet-tasted swans and other
ingenious white shapes crunched by the small teeth of that rising
generation, I am glad to remember that a certain amount of
calcareous food has been held good for young creatures whose bones
are not quite formed; for I have observed these delicacies to have
an inorganic flavour which would have recommended them greatly to
that young lady of the Spectator's acquaintance who habitually made
her dessert on the stems of tobacco-pipes.

As for the confectioner himself, he made his way gradually into
Grimworth homes, as his commodities did, in spite of some initial
repugnance. Somehow or other, his reception as a guest seemed a
thing that required justifying, like the purchasing of his pastry.
In the first place, he was a stranger, and therefore open to
suspicion; secondly, the confectionery business was so entirely new
at Grimworth, that its place in the scale of rank had not been
distinctly ascertained. There was no doubt about drapers and
grocers, when they came of good old Grimworth families, like Mr.
Luff and Mr. Prettyman: they visited with the Palfreys, who farmed
their own land, played many a game at whist with the doctor, and
condescended a little towards the timber-merchant, who had lately
taken to the coal-trade also, and had got new furniture; but whether
a confectioner should be admitted to this higher level of
respectability, or should be understood to find his associates among
butchers and bakers, was a new question on which tradition threw no
light. His being a bachelor was in his favour, and would perhaps
have been enough to turn the scale, even if Mr. Edward Freely's
other personal pretensions had been of an entirely insignificant
cast. But so far from this, it very soon appeared that he was a
remarkable young man, who had been in the West Indies, and had seen
many wonders by sea and land, so that he could charm the ears of
Grimworth Desdemonas with stories of strange fishes, especially
sharks, which he had stabbed in the nick of time by bravely plunging
overboard just as the monster was turning on his side to devour the
cook's mate; of terrible fevers which he had undergone in a land
where the wind blows from all quarters at once; of rounds of toast
cut straight from the breadfruit trees; of toes bitten off by land-
crabs; of large honours that had been offered to him as a man who
knew what was what, and was therefore particularly needed in a
tropical climate; and of a Creole heiress who had wept bitterly at
his departure. Such conversational talents as these, we know, will
overcome disadvantages of complexion; and young Towers, whose cheeks
were of the finest pink, set off by a fringe of dark whisker, was
quite eclipsed by the presence of the sallow Mr. Freely. So
exceptional a confectioner elevated the business, and might well
begin to make disengaged hearts flutter a little.

Fathers and mothers were naturally more slow and cautious in their
recognition of the new-comer's merits.

"He's an amusing fellow," said Mr. Prettyman, the highly respectable
grocer. (Mrs. Prettyman was a Miss Fothergill, and her sister had
married a London mercer.) "He's an amusing fellow; and I've no
objection to his making one at the Oyster Club; but he's a bit too
fond of riding the high horse. He's uncommonly knowing, I'll allow;
but how came he to go to the Indies? I should like that answered.
It's unnatural in a confectioner. I'm not fond of people that have
been beyond seas, if they can't give a good account how they
happened to go. When folks go so far off, it's because they've got
little credit nearer home--that's my opinion. However, he's got
some good rum; but I don't want to be hand and glove with him, for
all that."

It was this kind of dim suspicion which beclouded the view of Mr.
Freely's qualities in the maturer minds of Grimworth through the
early months of his residence there. But when the confectioner
ceased to be a novelty, the suspicions also ceased to be novel, and
people got tired of hinting at them, especially as they seemed to be
refuted by his advancing prosperity and importance. Mr. Freely was
becoming a person of influence in the parish; he was found useful as
an overseer of the poor, having great firmness in enduring other
people's pain, which firmness, he said, was due to his great
benevolence; he always did what was good for people in the end. Mr.
Chaloner had even selected him as clergyman's churchwarden, for he
was a very handy man, and much more of Mr. Chaloner's opinion in
everything about church business than the older parishioners. Mr.
Freely was a very regular churchman, but at the Oyster Club he was
sometimes a little free in his conversation, more than hinting at a
life of Sultanic self-indulgence which he had passed in the West
Indies, shaking his head now and then and smiling rather bitterly,
as men are wont to do when they intimate that they have become a
little too wise to be instructed about a world which has long been
flat and stale to them.

For some time he was quite general in his attentions to the fair
sex, combining the gallantries of a lady's man with a severity of
criticism on the person and manners of absent belles, which tended
rather to stimulate in the feminine breast the desire to conquer the
approval of so fastidious a judge. Nothing short of the very best
in the department of female charms and virtues could suffice to
kindle the ardour of Mr. Edward Freely, who had become familiar with
the most luxuriant and dazzling beauty in the West Indies. It may
seem incredible that a confectioner should have ideas and
conversation so much resembling those to be met with in a higher
walk of life, but it must be remembered that he had not merely
travelled, he had also bow-legs and a sallow, small-featured visage,
so that nature herself had stamped him for a fastidious connoisseur
of the fair sex.

At last, however, it seemed clear that Cupid had found a sharper
arrow than usual, and that Mr. Freely's heart was pierced. It was
the general talk among the young people at Grimworth. But was it
really love, and not rather ambition? Miss Fullilove, the timber-
merchant's daughter, was quite sure that if SHE were Miss Penny
Palfrey, she would be cautious; it was not a good sign when men
looked so much above themselves for a wife. For it was no less a
person than Miss Penelope Palfrey, second daughter of the Mr.
Palfrey who farmed his own land, that had attracted Mr. Freely's
peculiar regard, and conquered his fastidiousness; and no wonder,
for the Ideal, as exhibited in the finest waxwork, was perhaps never
so closely approached by the Real as in the person of the pretty
Penelope. Her yellowish flaxen hair did not curl naturally, I
admit, but its bright crisp ringlets were such smooth, perfect
miniature tubes, that you would have longed to pass your little
finger through them, and feel their soft elasticity. She wore them
in a crop, for in those days, when society was in a healthier state,
young ladies wore crops long after they were twenty, and Penelope
was not yet nineteen. Like the waxen ideal, she had round blue
eyes, and round nostrils in her little nose, and teeth such as the
ideal would be seen to have, if it ever showed them. Altogether,
she was a small, round thing, as neat as a pink and white double
daisy, and as guileless; for I hope it does not argue guile in a
pretty damsel of nineteen, to think that she should like to have a
beau and be "engaged," when her elder sister had already been in
that position a year and a half. To be sure, there was young Towers
always coming to the house; but Penny felt convinced he only came to
see her brother, for he never had anything to say to her, and never
offered her his arm, and was as awkward and silent as possible.

It is not unlikely that Mr. Freely had early been smitten by Penny's
charms, as brought under his observation at church, but he had to
make his way in society a little before he could come into nearer
contact with them; and even after he was well received in Grimworth
families, it was a long while before he could converse with Penny
otherwise than in an incidental meeting at Mr. Luff's. It was not
so easy to get invited to Long Meadows, the residence of the
Palfreys; for though Mr. Palfrey had been losing money of late
years, not being able quite to recover his feet after the terrible
murrain which forced him to borrow, his family were far from
considering themselves on the same level even as the old-established
tradespeople with whom they visited. The greatest people, even
kings and queens, must visit with somebody, and the equals of the
great are scarce. They were especially scarce at Grimworth, which,
as I have before observed, was a low parish, mentioned with the most
scornful brevity in gazetteers. Even the great people there were
far behind those of their own standing in other parts of this realm.
Mr. Palfrey's farmyard doors had the paint all worn off them, and
the front garden walks had long been merged in a general weediness.
Still, his father had been called Squire Palfrey, and had been
respected by the last Grimworth generation as a man who could afford
to drink too much in his own house.

Pretty Penny was not blind to the fact that Mr. Freely admired her,
and she felt sure that it was he who had sent her a beautiful
valentine; but her sister seemed to think so lightly of him (all
young ladies think lightly of the gentlemen to whom they are not
engaged), that Penny never dared mention him, and trembled and
blushed whenever they met him, thinking of the valentine, which was
very strong in its expressions, and which she felt guilty of knowing
by heart. A man who had been to the Indies, and knew the sea so
well, seemed to her a sort of public character, almost like Robinson
Crusoe or Captain Cook; and Penny had always wished her husband to
be a remarkable personage, likely to be put in Mangnall's Questions,
with which register of the immortals she had become acquainted
during her one year at a boarding-school. Only it seemed strange
that a remarkable man should be a confectioner and pastry-cook, and
this anomaly quite disturbed Penny's dreams. Her brothers, she
knew, laughed at men who couldn't sit on horseback well, and called
them tailors; but her brothers were very rough, and were quite
without that power of anecdote which made Mr. Freely such a
delightful companion. He was a very good man, she thought, for she
had heard him say at Mr. Luff's, one day, that he always wished to
do his duty in whatever state of life he might be placed; and he
knew a great deal of poetry, for one day he had repeated a verse of
a song. She wondered if he had made the words of the valentine!--it
ended in this way:-

"Without thee, it is pain to live,
But with thee, it were sweet to die."

Poor Mr. Freely! her father would very likely object--she felt sure
he would, for he always called Mr. Freely "that sugar-plum fellow."
Oh, it was very cruel, when true love was crossed in that way, and
all because Mr. Freely was a confectioner: well, Penny would be
true to him, for all that, and since his being a confectioner gave
her an opportunity of showing her faithfulness, she was glad of it.
Edward Freely was a pretty name, much better than John Towers.
Young Towers had offered her a rose out of his button-hole the other
day, blushing very much; but she refused it, and thought with
delight how much Mr. Freely would be comforted if he knew her
firmness of mind.

Poor little Penny! the days were so very long among the daisies on a
grazing farm, and thought is so active--how was it possible that the
inward drama should not get the start of the outward? I have known
young ladies, much better educated, and with an outward world
diversified by instructive lectures, to say nothing of literature
and highly-developed fancy-work, who have spun a cocoon of visionary
joys and sorrows for themselves, just as Penny did. Her elder
sister Letitia, who had a prouder style of beauty, and a more
worldly ambition, was engaged to a wool-factor, who came all the way
from Cattelton to see her; and everybody knows that a wool-factor
takes a very high rank, sometimes driving a double-bodied gig.
Letty's notions got higher every day, and Penny never dared to speak
of her cherished griefs to her lofty sister--never dared to propose
that they should call at Mr. Freely's to buy liquorice, though she
had prepared for such an incident by mentioning a slight sore
throat. So she had to pass the shop on the other side of the
market-place, and reflect, with a suppressed sigh, that behind those
pink and white jars somebody was thinking of her tenderly,
unconscious of the small space that divided her from him.

And it was quite true that, when business permitted, Mr. Freely
thought a great deal of Penny. He thought her prettiness comparable
to the loveliest things in confectionery; he judged her to be of
submissive temper--likely to wait upon him as well as if she had
been a negress, and to be silently terrified when his liver made him
irritable; and he considered the Palfrey family quite the best in
the parish, possessing marriageable daughters. On the whole, he
thought her worthy to become Mrs. Edward Freely, and all the more
so, because it would probably require some ingenuity to win her.
Mr. Palfrey was capable of horse-whipping a too rash pretender to
his daughter's hand; and, moreover, he had three tall sons: it was
clear that a suitor would be at a disadvantage with such a family,
unless travel and natural acumen had given him a countervailing
power of contrivance. And the first idea that occurred to him in
the matter was, that Mr. Palfrey would object less if he knew that
the Freelys were a much higher family than his own. It had been
foolish modesty in him hitherto to conceal the fact that a branch of
the Freelys held a manor in Yorkshire, and to shut up the portrait
of his great uncle the admiral, instead of hanging it up where a
family portrait should be hung--over the mantelpiece in the parlour.
Admiral Freely, K.C.B., once placed in this conspicuous position,
was seen to have had one arm only, and one eye--in these points
resembling the heroic Nelson--while a certain pallid insignificance
of feature confirmed the relationship between himself and his grand-

Next, Mr. Freely was seized with an irrepressible ambition to posses
Mrs. Palfrey's receipt for brawn, hers being pronounced on all hands
to be superior to his own--as he informed her in a very flattering
letter carried by his errand-boy. Now Mrs. Palfrey, like other
geniuses, wrought by instinct rather than by rule, and possessed no
receipts--indeed, despised all people who used them, observing that
people who pickled by book, must pickle by weights and measures, and
such nonsense; as for herself, her weights and measures were the tip
of her finger and the tip of her tongue, and if you went nearer,
why, of course, for dry goods like flour and spice, you went by
handfuls and pinches, and for wet, there was a middle-sized jug--
quite the best thing whether for much or little, because you might
know how much a teacupful was if you'd got any use of your senses,
and you might be sure it would take five middle-sized jugs to make a
gallon. Knowledge of this kind is like Titian's colouring,
difficult to communicate; and as Mrs. Palfrey, once remarkably
handsome, had now become rather stout and asthmatical, and scarcely
ever left home, her oral teaching could hardly be given anywhere
except at Long Meadows. Even a matron is not insusceptible to
flattery, and the prospect of a visitor whose great object would be
to listen to her conversation, was not without its charms to Mrs.
Palfrey. Since there was no receipt to be sent in reply to Mr.
Freely's humble request, she called on her more docile daughter,
Penny, to write a note, telling him that her mother would be glad to
see him and talk with him on brawn, any day that he could call at
Long Meadows. Penny obeyed with a trembling hand, thinking how
wonderfully things came about in this world.

In this way, Mr. Freely got himself introduced into the home of the
Palfreys, and notwithstanding a tendency in the male part of the
family to jeer at him a little as "peaky" and bow-legged, he
presently established his position as an accepted and frequent
guest. Young Towers looked at him with increasing disgust when they
met at the house on a Sunday, and secretly longed to try his ferret
upon him, as a piece of vermin which that valuable animal would be
likely to tackle with unhesitating vigour. But--so blind sometimes
are parents--neither Mr. nor Mrs. Palfrey suspected that Penny would
have anything to say to a tradesman of questionable rank whose
youthful bloom was much withered. Young Towers, they thought, had
an eye to her, and THAT was likely enough to be a match some day;
but Penny was a child at present. And all the while Penny was
imagining the circumstances under which Mr. Freely would make her an
offer: perhaps down by the row of damson-trees, when they were in
the garden before tea; perhaps by letter--in which case, how would
the letter begin? "Dearest Penelope?" or "My dear Miss Penelope?"
or straight off, without dear anything, as seemed the most natural
when people were embarrassed? But, however he might make the offer,
she would not accept it without her father's consent: she would
always be true to Mr. Freely, but she would not disobey her father.
For Penny was a good girl, though some of her female friends were
afterwards of opinion that it spoke ill for her not to have felt an
instinctive repugnance to Mr. Freely.

But he was cautious, and wished to be quite sure of the ground he
trod on. His views on marriage were not entirely sentimental, but
were as duly mingled with considerations of what would be
advantageous to a man in his position, as if he had had a very large
amount of money spent on his education. He was not a man to fall in
love in the wrong place; and so, he applied himself quite as much to
conciliate the favour of the parents, as to secure the attachment of
Penny. Mrs. Palfrey had not been inaccessible to flattery, and her
husband, being also of mortal mould, would not, it might be hoped,
be proof against rum--that very fine Jamaica rum--of which Mr.
Freely expected always to have a supply sent him from Jamaica. It
was not easy to get Mr. Palfrey into the parlour behind the shop,
where a mild back-street light fell on the features of the heroic
admiral; but by getting hold of him rather late one evening as he
was about to return home from Grimworth, the aspiring lover
succeeded in persuading him to sup on some collared beef which,
after Mrs. Palfrey's brawn, he would find the very best of cold

From that hour Mr. Freely felt sure of success: being in privacy
with an estimable man old enough to be his father, and being rather
lonely in the world, it was natural he should unbosom himself a
little on subjects which he could not speak of in a mixed circle--
especially concerning his expectations from his uncle in Jamaica,
who had no children, and loved his nephew Edward better than any one
else in the world, though he had been so hurt at his leaving
Jamaica, that he had threatened to cut him off with a shilling.
However, he had since written to state his full forgiveness, and
though he was an eccentric old gentleman and could not bear to give
away money during his life, Mr. Edward Freely could show Mr. Palfrey
the letter which declared, plainly enough, who would be the
affectionate uncle's heir. Mr. Palfrey actually saw the letter, and
could not help admiring the spirit of the nephew who declared that
such brilliant hopes as these made no difference to his conduct; he
should work at his humble business and make his modest fortune at it
all the same. If the Jamaica estate was to come to him--well and
good. It was nothing very surprising for one of the Freely family
to have an estate left him, considering the lands that family had
possessed in time gone by--nay, still possessed in the
Northumberland branch. Would not Mr. Palfrey take another glass of
rum? and also look at the last year's balance of the accounts? Mr.
Freely was a man who cared to possess personal virtues, and did not
pique himself on his family, though some men would.

We know how easily the great Leviathan may be led, when once there
is a hook in his nose or a bridle in his jaws. Mr. Palfrey was a
large man, but, like Leviathan's, his bulk went against him when
once he had taken a turning. He was not a mercurial man, who easily
changed his point of view. Enough. Before two months were over, he
had given his consent to Mr. Freely's marriage with his daughter
Penny, and having hit on a formula by which he could justify it,
fenced off all doubts and objections, his own included. The formula
was this: "I'm not a man to put my head up an entry before I know
where it leads."

Little Penny was very proud and fluttering, but hardly so happy as
she expected to be in an engagement. She wondered if young Towers
cared much about it, for he had not been to the house lately, and
her sister and brothers were rather inclined to sneer than to
sympathize. Grimworth rang with the news. All men extolled Mr.
Freely's good fortune; while the women, with the tender solicitude
characteristic of the sex, wished the marriage might turn out well.

While affairs were at this triumphant juncture, Mr. Freely one
morning observed that a stone-carver who had been breakfasting in
the eating-room had left a newspaper behind. It was the X-shire
Gazette, and X-shire being a county not unknown to Mr. Freely, he
felt some curiosity to glance over it, and especially over the
advertisements. A slight flush came over his face as he read. It
was produced by the following announcement:- "If David Faux, son of
Jonathan Faux, late of Gilsbrook, will apply at the office of Mr.
Strutt, attorney, of Rodham, he will hear of something to his

"Father's dead!" exclaimed Mr. Freely, involuntarily. "Can he have
left me a legacy?"


Perhaps it was a result quite different from your expectations, that
Mr. David Faux should have returned from the West Indies only a few
years after his arrival there, and have set up in his old business,
like any plain man who has never travelled. But these cases do
occur in life. Since, as we know, men change their skies and see
new constellations without changing their souls, it will follow
sometimes that they don't change their business under those novel

Certainly, this result was contrary to David's own expectations. He
had looked forward, you are aware, to a brilliant career among "the
blacks"; but, either because they had already seen too many white
men, or for some other reason, they did not at once recognize him as
a superior order of human being; besides, there were no princesses
among them. Nobody in Jamaica was anxious to maintain David for the
mere pleasure of his society; and those hidden merits of a man which
are so well known to himself were as little recognized there as they
notoriously are in the effete society of the Old World. So that in
the dark hints that David threw out at the Oyster Club about that
life of Sultanic self-indulgence spent by him in the luxurious
Indies, I really think he was doing himself a wrong; I believe he
worked for his bread, and, in fact, took to cooking as, after all,
the only department in which he could offer skilled labour. He had
formed several ingenious plans by which he meant to circumvent
people of large fortune and small faculty; but then he never met
with exactly the right circumstances. David's devices for getting
rich without work had apparently no direct relation with the world
outside him, as his confectionery receipts had. It is possible to
pass a great many bad half pennies and bad half-crowns, but I
believe there has no instance been known of passing a halfpenny or a
half-crown as a sovereign. A sharper can drive a brisk trade in
this world: it is undeniable that there may be a fine career for
him, if he will dare consequences; but David was too timid to be a
sharper, or venture in any way among the mantraps of the law. He
dared rob nobody but his mother. And so he had to fall back on the
genuine value there was in him--to be content to pass as a good
halfpenny, or, to speak more accurately, as a good confectioner.
For in spite of some additional reading and observation, there was
nothing else he could make so much money by; nay, he found in
himself even a capability of extending his skill in this direction,
and embracing all forms of cookery; while, in other branches of
human labour, he began to see that it was not possible for him to
shine. Fate was too strong for him; he had thought to master her
inclination and had fled over the seas to that end; but she caught
him, tied an apron round him, and snatching him from all other
devices, made him devise cakes and patties in a kitchen at
Kingstown. He was getting submissive to her, since she paid him
with tolerable gains; but fevers and prickly heat, and other evils
incidental to cooks in ardent climates, made him long for his native
land; so he took ship once more, carrying his six years' savings,
and seeing distinctly, this time, what were Fate's intentions as to
his career. If you question me closely as to whether all the money
with which he set up at Grimworth consisted of pure and simple
earnings, I am obliged to confess that he got a sum or two for
charitably abstaining from mentioning some other people's
misdemeanours. Altogether, since no prospects were attached to his
family name, and since a new christening seemed a suitable
commencement of a new life, Mr. David Faux thought it as well to
call himself Mr. Edward Freely.

But lo! now, in opposition to all calculable probability, some
benefit appeared to be attached to the name of David Faux. Should
he neglect it, as beneath the attention of a prosperous tradesman?
It might bring him into contact with his family again, and he felt
no yearnings in that direction: moreover, he had small belief that
the "something to his advantage" could be anything considerable. On
the other hand, even a small gain is pleasant, and the promise of it
in this instance was so surprising, that David felt his curiosity
awakened. The scale dipped at last on the side of writing to the
lawyer, and, to be brief, the correspondence ended in an appointment
for a meeting between David and his eldest brother at Mr. Strutt's,
the vague "something" having been defined as a legacy from his
father of eighty-two pounds, three shillings.

David, you know, had expected to be disinherited; and so he would
have been, if he had not, like some other indifferent sons, come of
excellent parents, whose conscience made them scrupulous where much
more highly-instructed people often feel themselves warranted in
following the bent of their indignation. Good Mrs. Faux could never
forget that she had brought this ill-conditioned son into the world
when he was in that entirely helpless state which excluded the
smallest choice on his part; and, somehow or other, she felt that
his going wrong would be his father's and mother's fault, if they
failed in one tittle of their parental duty. Her notion of parental
duty was not of a high and subtle kind, but it included giving him
his due share of the family property; for when a man had got a
little honest money of his own, was he so likely to steal? To cut
the delinquent son off with a shilling, was like delivering him over
to his evil propensities. No; let the sum of twenty guineas which
he had stolen be deducted from his share, and then let the sum of
three guineas be put back from it, seeing that his mother had always
considered three of the twenty guineas as his; and, though he had
run away, and was, perhaps, gone across the sea, let the money be
left to him all the same, and be kept in reserve for his possible
return. Mr. Faux agreed to his wife's views, and made a codicil to
his will accordingly, in time to die with a clear conscience. But
for some time his family thought it likely that David would never
reappear; and the eldest son, who had the charge of Jacob on his
hands, often thought it a little hard that David might perhaps be
dead, and yet, for want of certitude on that point, his legacy could
not fall to his legal heir. But in this state of things the
opposite certitude--namely, that David was still alive and in
England--seemed to be brought by the testimony of a neighbour, who,
having been on a journey to Cattelton, was pretty sure he had seen
David in a gig, with a stout man driving by his side. He could
"swear it was David," though he could "give no account why, for he
had no marks on him; but no more had a white dog, and that didn't
hinder folks from knowing a white dog." It was this incident which
had led to the advertisement.

The legacy was paid, of course, after a few preliminary disclosures
as to Mr. David's actual position. He begged to send his love to
his mother, and to say that he hoped to pay her a dutiful visit by
and by; but, at present, his business and near prospect of marriage
made it difficult for him to leave home. His brother replied with
much frankness.

"My mother may do as she likes about having you to see her, but, for
my part, I don't want to catch sight of you on the premises again.
When folks have taken a new name, they'd better keep to their new

David pocketed the insult along with the eighty-two pounds three,
and travelled home again in some triumph at the ease of a
transaction which had enriched him to this extent. He had no
intention of offending his brother by further claims on his
fraternal recognition, and relapsed with full contentment into the
character of Mr. Edward Freely, the orphan, scion of a great but
reduced family, with an eccentric uncle in the West Indies. (I have
already hinted that he had some acquaintance with imaginative
literature; and being of a practical turn, he had, you perceive,
applied even this form of knowledge to practical purposes.)

It was little more than a week after the return from his fruitful
journey, that the day of his marriage with Penny having been fixed,
it was agreed that Mrs. Palfrey should overcome her reluctance to
move from home, and that she and her husband should bring their two
daughters to inspect little Penny's future abode and decide on the
new arrangements to be made for the reception of the bride. Mr.
Freely meant her to have a house so pretty and comfortable that she
need not envy even a wool-factor's wife. Of course, the upper room
over the shop was to be the best sitting-room; but also the parlour
behind the shop was to be made a suitable bower for the lovely
Penny, who would naturally wish to be near her husband, though Mr.
Freely declared his resolution never to allow HIS wife to wait in
the shop. The decisions about the parlour furniture were left till
last, because the party was to take tea there; and, about five
o'clock, they were all seated there with the best muffins and
buttered buns before them, little Penny blushing and smiling, with
her "crop" in the best order, and a blue frock showing her little
white shoulders, while her opinion was being always asked and never
given. She secretly wished to have a particular sort of chimney
ornaments, but she could not have brought herself to mention it.
Seated by the side of her yellow and rather withered lover, who,
though he had not reached his thirtieth year, had already crow's-
feet about his eyes, she was quite tremulous at the greatness of her
lot in being married to a man who had travelled so much--and before
her sister Letty! The handsome Letitia looked rather proud and
contemptuous, thought her nature brother-in-law an odious person,
and was vexed with her father and mother for letting Penny marry
him. Dear little Penny! She certainly did look like a fresh white-
heart cherry going to be bitten off the stem by that lipless mouth.
Would no deliverer come to make a slip between that cherry and that
mouth without a lip?

"Quite a family likeness between the admiral and you, Mr. Freely,"
observed Mrs. Palfrey, who was looking at the family portrait for
the first time. "It's wonderful! and only a grand-uncle. Do you
feature the rest of your family, as you know of?"

"I can't say," said Mr. Freely, with a sigh. "My family have mostly
thought themselves too high to take any notice of me."

At this moment an extraordinary disturbance was heard in the shop,
as of a heavy animal stamping about and making angry noises, and
then of a glass vessel falling in shivers, while the voice of the
apprentice was heard calling "Master" in great alarm.

Mr. Freely rose in anxious astonishment, and hastened into the shop,
followed by the four Palfreys, who made a group at the parlour-door,
transfixed with wonder at seeing a large man in a smock-frock, with
a pitchfork in his hand, rush up to Mr. Freely and hug him, crying
out,--"Zavy, Zavy, b'other Zavy!"

It was Jacob, and for some moments David lost all presence of mind.
He felt arrested for having stolen his mother's guineas. He turned
cold, and trembled in his brother's grasp.

"Why, how's this?" said Mr. Palfrey, advancing from the door. "Who
is he?"

Jacob supplied the answer by saying over and over again -

"I'se Zacob, b'other Zacob. Come 'o zee Zavy"--till hunger prompted
him to relax his grasp, and to seize a large raised pie, which he
lifted to his mouth.

By this time David's power of device had begun to return, but it was
a very hard task for his prudence to master his rage and hatred
towards poor Jacob.

"I don't know who he is; he must be drunk," he said, in a low tone
to Mr. Palfrey. "But he's dangerous with that pitchfork. He'll
never let it go." Then checking himself on the point of betraying
too great an intimacy with Jacob's habits, he added "You watch him,
while I run for the constable." And he hurried out of the shop.

"Why, where do you come from, my man?" said Mr. Palfrey, speaking to
Jacob in a conciliatory tone. Jacob was eating his pie by large
mouthfuls, and looking round at the other good things in the shop,
while he embraced his pitchfork with his left arm, and laid his left
hand on some Bath buns. He was in the rare position of a person who
recovers a long absent friend and finds him richer than ever in the
characteristics that won his heart.

"I's Zacob--b'other Zacob--'t home. I love Zavy--b'other Zavy," he
said, as soon as Mr. Palfrey had drawn his attention. "Zavy come
back from z' Indies--got mother's zinnies. Where's Zavy?" he added,
looking round and then turning to the others with a questioning air,
puzzled by David's disappearance.

"It's very odd," observed Mr. Palfrey to his wife and daughters.
"He seems to say Freely's his brother come back from th' Indies."

"What a pleasant relation for us!" said Letitia, sarcastically. "I
think he's a good deal like Mr. Freely. He's got just the same sort
of nose, and his eyes are the same colour."

Poor Penny was ready to cry.

But now Mr. Freely re-entered the shop without the constable.
During his walk of a few yards he had had time and calmness enough
to widen his view of consequences, and he saw that to get Jacob
taken to the workhouse or to the lock-up house as an offensive
stranger might have awkward effects if his family took the trouble
of inquiring after him. He must resign himself to more patient

"On second thoughts," he said, beckoning to Mr. Palfrey and
whispering to him while Jacob's back was turned, "he's a poor half-
witted fellow. Perhaps his friends will come after him. I don't
mind giving him something to eat, and letting him lie down for the
night. He's got it into his head that he knows me--they do get
these fancies, idiots do. He'll perhaps go away again in an hour or
two, and make no more ado. I'm a kind-hearted man MYSELF--I
shouldn't like to have the poor fellow ill-used."

"Why, he'll eat a sovereign's worth in no time," said Mr. Palfrey,
thinking Mr. Freely a little too magnificent in his generosity.

"Eh, Zavy, come back?" exclaimed Jacob, giving his dear brother
another hug, which crushed Mr. Freely's features inconveniently
against the stale of the pitchfork.

"Aye, aye," said Mr. Freely, smiling, with every capability of
murder in his mind, except the courage to commit it. He wished the
Bath buns might by chance have arsenic in them.

"Mother's zinnies?" said Jacob, pointing to a glass jar of yellow
lozenges that stood in the window. "Zive 'em me."

David dared not do otherwise than reach down the glass jar and give
Jacob a handful. He received them in his smock-frock, which he held
out for more.

"They'll keep him quiet a bit, at any rate," thought David, and
emptied the jar. Jacob grinned and mowed with delight.

"You're very good to this stranger, Mr. Freely," said Letitia; and
then spitefully, as David joined the party at the parlour-door, "I
think you could hardly treat him better, if he was really your

"I've always thought it a duty to be good to idiots," said Mr.
Freely, striving after the most moral view of the subject. "We
might have been idiots ourselves--everybody might have been born
idiots, instead of having their right senses."

"I don't know where there'd ha' been victual for us all then,"
observed Mrs. Palfrey, regarding the matter in a housewifely light.

"But let us sit down again and finish our tea," said Mr. Freely.
"Let us leave the poor creature to himself."

They walked into the parlour again; but Jacob, not apparently
appreciating the kindness of leaving him to himself, immediately
followed his brother, and seated himself, pitchfork grounded, at the

"Well," said Miss Letitia, rising, "I don't know whether YOU mean to
stay, mother; but I shall go home."

"Oh, me too," said Penny, frightened to death at Jacob, who had
begun to nod and grin at her.

"Well, I think we HAD better be going, Mr. Palfrey," said the
mother, rising more slowly.

Mr. Freely, whose complexion had become decidedly yellower during
the last half-hour, did not resist this proposition. He hoped they
should meet again "under happier circumstances."

"It's my belief the man is his brother," said Letitia, when they
were all on their way home.

"Nonsense!" said Mr. Palfrey. "Freely's got no brother--he's said
so many and many a time; he's an orphan; he's got nothing but
uncles--leastwise, one. What's it matter what an idiot says? What
call had Freely to tell lies?"

Letitia tossed her head and was silent.

Mr. Freely, left alone with his affectionate brother Jacob, brooded
over the possibility of luring him out of the town early the next
morning, and getting him conveyed to Gilsbrook without further
betrayals. But the thing was difficult. He saw clearly that if he
took Jacob himself, his absence, conjoined with the disappearance of
the stranger, would either cause the conviction that he was really a
relative, or would oblige him to the dangerous course of inventing a
story to account for his disappearance, and his own absence at the
same time. David groaned. There come occasions when falsehood is
felt to be inconvenient. It would, perhaps, have been a longer-
headed device, if he had never told any of those clever fibs about
his uncles, grand and otherwise; for the Palfreys were simple
people, and shared the popular prejudice against lying. Even if he
could get Jacob away this time, what security was there that he
would not come again, having once found the way? O guineas! O
lozenges! what enviable people those were who had never robbed their
mothers, and had never told fibs! David spent a sleepless night,
while Jacob was snoring close by. Was this the upshot of travelling
to the Indies, and acquiring experience combined with anecdote?

He rose at break of day, as he had once before done when he was in
fear of Jacob, and took all gentle means to rouse this fatal brother
from his deep sleep; he dared not be loud, because his apprentice
was in the house, and would report everything. But Jacob was not to
be roused. He fought out with his fist at the unknown cause of
disturbance, turned over, and snored again. He must be left to wake
as he would. David, with a cold perspiration on his brow, confessed
to himself that Jacob could not be got away that day.

Mr. Palfrey came over to Grimworth before noon, with a natural
curiosity to see how his future son-in-law got on with the stranger
to whom he was so benevolently inclined. He found a crowd round the
shop. All Grimworth by this time had heard how Freely had been
fastened on by an idiot, who called him "Brother Zavy"; and the
younger population seemed to find the singular stranger an
unwearying source of fascination, while the householders dropped in
one by one to inquire into the incident.

"Why don't you send him to the workhouse?" said Mr. Prettyman.
"You'll have a row with him and the children presently, and he'll
eat you up. The workhouse is the proper place for him; let his kin
claim him, if he's got any."

"Those may be YOUR feelings, Mr. Prettyman," said David, his mind
quite enfeebled by the torture of his position.

"What! IS he your brother, then?" said Mr. Prettyman, looking at his
neighbour Freely rather sharply.

"All men are our brothers, and idiots particular so," said Mr.
Freely, who, like many other travelled men, was not master of the
English language.

"Come, come, if he's your brother, tell the truth, man," said Mr.
Prettyman, with growing suspicion. "Don't be ashamed of your own
flesh and blood."

Mr. Palfrey was present, and also had his eye on Freely. It is
difficult for a man to believe in the advantage of a truth which
will disclose him to have been a liar. In this critical moment,
David shrank from this immediate disgrace in the eyes of his future

"Mr. Prettyman," he said, "I take your observations as an insult.
I've no reason to be otherwise than proud of my own flesh and blood.
If this poor man was my brother more than all men are, I should say

A tall figure darkened the door, and David, lifting his eyes in that
direction, saw his eldest brother, Jonathan, on the door-sill.

"I'll stay wi' Zavy," shouted Jacob, as he, too, caught sight of his
eldest brother; and, running behind the counter, he clutched David

"What, he IS here?" said Jonathan Faux, coming forward. "My mother
would have no nay, as he'd been away so long, but I must see after
him. And it struck me he was very like come after you, because we'd
been talking of you o' late, and where you lived."

David saw there was no escape; he smiled a ghastly smile.

"What! is this a relation of yours, sir?" said Mr. Palfrey to

"Aye, it's my innicent of a brother, sure enough," said honest
Jonathan. "A fine trouble and cost he is to us, in th' eating and
other things, but we must bear what's laid on us."

"And your name's Freely, is it?" said Mr. Prettyman.

"Nay, nay, my name's Faux, I know nothing o' Freelys," said
Jonathan, curtly. "Come," he added, turning to David, "I must take
some news to mother about Jacob. Shall I take him with me, or will
you undertake to send him back?"

"Take him, if you can make him loose his hold of me," said David,

"Is this gentleman here in the confectionery line your brother,
then, sir?" said Mr. Prettyman, feeling that it was an occasion on
which format language must be used.

"I don't want to own him," said Jonathan, unable to resist a
movement of indignation that had never been allowed to satisfy
itself. "He ran away from home with good reasons in his pocket
years ago: he didn't want to be owned again, I reckon."

Mr. Palfrey left the shop; he felt his own pride too severely
wounded by the sense that he had let himself be fooled, to feel
curiosity for further details. The most pressing business was to go
home and tell his daughter that Freely was a poor sneak, probably a
rascal, and that her engagement was broken off.

Mr. Prettyman stayed, with some internal self-gratulation that HE
had never given in to Freely, and that Mr. Chaloner would see now
what sort of fellow it was that he had put over the heads of older
parishioners. He considered it due from him (Mr. Prettyman) that,
for the interests of the parish, he should know all that was to be
known about this "interloper." Grimworth would have people coming
from Botany Bay to settle in it, if things went on in this way.

It soon appeared that Jacob could not be made to quit his dear
brother David except by force. He understood, with a clearness
equal to that of the most intelligent mind, that Jonathan would take
him back to skimmed milk, apple-dumpling, broad beans, and pork.
And he had found a paradise in his brother's shop. It was a
difficult matter to use force with Jacob, for he wore heavy nailed
boots; and if his pitchfork had been mastered, he would have
resorted without hesitation to kicks. Nothing short of using guile
to bind him hand and foot would have made all parties safe.

"Let him stay," said David, with desperate resignation, frightened
above all things at the idea of further disturbances in his shop,
which would make his exposure all the more conspicuous. "YOU go
away again, and to-morrow I can, perhaps, get him to go to Gilsbrook
with me. He'll follow me fast enough, I daresay," he added, with a

"Very well," said Jonathan, gruffly. "I don't see why YOU shouldn't
have some trouble and expense with him as well as the rest of us.
But mind you bring him back safe and soon, else mother'll never

On this arrangement being concluded, Mr. Prettyman begged Mr.
Jonathan Faux to go and take a snack with him, an invitation which
was quite acceptable; and as honest Jonathan had nothing to be
ashamed of, it is probable that he was very frank in his
communications to the civil draper, who, pursuing the benefit of the
parish, hastened to make all the information he could gather about
Freely common parochial property. You may imagine that the meeting
of the Club at the Woolpack that evening was unusually lively.
Every member was anxious to prove that he had never liked Freely, as
he called himself. Faux was his name, was it? Fox would have been
more suitable. The majority expressed a desire to see him hooted
out of the town.

Mr. Freely did not venture over his door-sill that day, for he knew
Jacob would keep at his side, and there was every probability that
they would have a train of juvenile followers. He sent to engage
the Woolpack gig for an early hour the next morning; but this order
was not kept religiously a secret by the landlord. Mr. Freely was
informed that he could not have the gig till seven; and the
Grimworth people were early risers. Perhaps they were more alert
than usual on this particular morning; for when Jacob, with a bag of
sweets in his hand, was induced to mount the gig with his brother
David, the inhabitants of the market-place were looking out of their
doors and windows, and at the turning of the street there was even a
muster of apprentices and schoolboys, who shouted as they passed in
what Jacob took to be a very merry and friendly way, nodding and
grinning in return. "Huzzay, David Faux! how's your uncle?" was
their morning's greeting. Like other pointed things, it was not
altogether impromptu.

Even this public derision was not so crushing to David as the
horrible thought that though he might succeed now in getting Jacob
home again there would never be any security against his coming
back, like a wasp to the honey-pot. As long as David lived at
Grimworth, Jacob's return would be hanging over him. But could he
go on living at Grimworth--an object of ridicule, discarded by the
Palfreys, after having revelled in the consciousness that he was an
envied and prosperous confectioner? David liked to be envied; he
minded less about being loved.

His doubts on this point were soon settled. The mind of Grimworth
became obstinately set against him and his viands, and the new
school being finished, the eating-room was closed. If there had
been no other reason, sympathy with the Palfreys, that respectable
family who had lived in the parish time out of mind, would have
determined all well-to-do people to decline Freely's goods.
Besides, he had absconded with his mother's guineas: who knew what
else he had done, in Jamaica or elsewhere, before he came to
Grimworth, worming himself into families under false pretences?
Females shuddered. Dreadful suspicions gathered round him: his
green eyes, his bow-legs had a criminal aspect. The rector disliked
the sight of a man who had imposed upon him; and all boys who could
not afford to purchase, hooted "David Faux" as they passed his shop.
Certainly no man now would pay anything for the "goodwill" of Mr.
Freely's business, and he would be obliged to quit it without a
peculium so desirable towards defraying the expense of moving.

In a few months the shop in the marketplace was again to let, and
Mr. David Faux, alias Mr. Edward Freely, had gone--nobody at
Grimworth knew whither. In this way the demoralization of Grimworth
women was checked. Young Mrs. Steene renewed her efforts to make
light mince-pies, and having at last made a batch so excellent that
Mr. Steene looked at her with complacency as he ate them, and said
they were the best he had ever eaten in his life, she thought less
of bulbuls and renegades ever after. The secrets of the finer
cookery were revived in the breasts of matronly house-wives, and
daughters were again anxious to be initiated in them.

You will further, I hope, be glad to bear, that some purchases of
drapery made by pretty Penny, in preparation for her marriage with
Mr. Freely, came in quite as well for her wedding with young Towers
as if they had been made expressly for the latter occasion. For
Penny's complexion had not altered, and blue always became it best.

Here ends the story of Mr. David Faux, confectioner, and his brother
Jacob. And we see in it, I think, an admirable instance of the
unexpected forms in which the great Nemesis hides herself.


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