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Lorna Doone, A Romance of Exmoor by R. D. Blackmore

Part 10 out of 17

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that she was expected to do nothing, and far worse than
vain (for it made her cry sadly) if any one assured her
that she could do no good at all. She even began upon
mother's garden before the snow was clean gone from it,
and sowed a beautiful row of peas, every one of which
the mice ate.

But though it was very pretty to watch her working for
her very life, as if the maintenance of the household
hung upon her labours, yet I was grieved for many
reasons, and so was mother also. In the first place,
she was too fair and dainty for this rough, rude work;
and though it made her cheeks so bright, it surely must
be bad for her to get her little feet so wet.
Moreover, we could not bear the idea that she should
labour for her keep; and again (which was the worst of
all things) mother's garden lay exposed to a dark
deceitful coppice, where a man might lurk and watch all
the fair gardener's doings. It was true that none
could get at her thence, while the brook which ran
between poured so great a torrent. Still the distance
was but little for a gun to carry, if any one could be
brutal enough to point a gun at Lorna. I thought that
none could be found to do it; but mother, having more
experience, was not so certain of mankind.

Now in spite of the floods, and the sloughs being out,
and the state of the roads most perilous, Squire Faggus
came at last, riding his famous strawberry mare. There
was a great ado between him and Annie, as you may well
suppose, after some four months of parting. And so we
left them alone awhile, to coddle over their raptures.
But when they were tired of that, or at least had time
enough to do so, mother and I went in to know what news
Tom had brought with him. Though he did not seem to
want us yet, he made himself agreeable; and so we sent
Annie to cook the dinner while her sweetheart should
tell us everything.

Tom Faggus had very good news to tell, and he told it
with such force of expression as made us laugh very
heartily. He had taken up his purchase from old Sir
Roger Bassett of a nice bit of land, to the south of
the moors, and in the parish of Molland. When the
lawyers knew thoroughly who he was, and how he had made
his money, they behaved uncommonly well to him, and
showed great sympathy with his pursuits. He put them
up to a thing or two; and they poked him in the ribs,
and laughed, and said that he was quite a boy; but of
the right sort, none the less. And so they made old
Squire Bassett pay the bill for both sides; and all he
got for three hundred acres was a hundred and twenty
pounds; though Tom had paid five hundred. But lawyers
know that this must be so, in spite of all their
endeavours; and the old gentleman, who now expected to
find a bill for him to pay, almost thought himself a
rogue, for getting anything out of them.

It is true that the land was poor and wild, and the
soil exceeding shallow; lying on the slope of rock, and
burned up in hot summers. But with us, hot summers
are things known by tradition only (as this great
winter may be); we generally have more moisture,
especially in July, than we well know what to do with.
I have known a fog for a fortnight at the summer
solstice, and farmers talking in church about it when
they ought to be praying. But it always contrives to
come right in the end, as other visitations do, if we
take them as true visits, and receive them kindly.

Now this farm of Squire Faggus (as he truly now had a
right to be called) was of the very finest pasture,
when it got good store of rain. And Tom, who had
ridden the Devonshire roads with many a reeking jacket,
knew right well that he might trust the climate for
that matter. The herbage was of the very sweetest, and
the shortest, and the closest, having perhaps from ten
to eighteen inches of wholesome soil between it and the
solid rock. Tom saw at once what it was fit for--the
breeding of fine cattle.

Being such a hand as he was at making the most of
everything, both his own and other people's (although
so free in scattering, when the humour lay upon him) he
had actually turned to his own advantage that
extraordinary weather which had so impoverished every
one around him. For he taught his Winnie (who knew his
meaning as well as any child could, and obeyed not only
his word of mouth, but every glance be gave her) to go
forth in the snowy evenings when horses are seeking
everywhere (be they wild or tame) for fodder and for
shelter; and to whinny to the forest ponies, miles away
from home perhaps, and lead them all with rare
appetites and promise of abundance, to her master's
homestead. He shod good Winnie in such a manner that
she could not sink in the snow; and he clad her over
the loins with a sheep-skin dyed to her own colour,
which the wild horses were never tired of coming up and
sniffing at; taking it for an especial gift, and proof
of inspiration. And Winnie never came home at night
without at least a score of ponies trotting shyly after
her, tossing their heads and their tails in turn, and
making believe to be very wild, although hard pinched
by famine. Of course Tom would get them all into his
pound in about five minutes, for he himself could neigh
in a manner which went to the heart of the wildest
horse. And then he fed them well, and turned them into
his great cattle pen, to abide their time for breaking,
when the snow and frost should be over.

He had gotten more than three hundred now, in this
sagacious manner; and he said it was the finest sight
to see their mode of carrying on, how they would snort,
and stamp, and fume, and prick their ears, and rush
backwards, and lash themselves with their long rough
tails, and shake their jagged manes, and scream, and
fall upon one another, if a strange man came anigh
them. But as for feeding time, Tom said it was better
than fifty plays to watch them, and the tricks they
were up to, to cheat their feeders, and one another. I
asked him how on earth he had managed to get fodder, in
such impassable weather, for such a herd of horses; but
he said that they lived upon straw and sawdust; and he
knew that I did not believe him, any more than about
his star-shavings. And this was just the thing he
loved--to mystify honest people, and be a great deal
too knowing. However, I may judge him harshly, because
I myself tell everything.

I asked him what he meant to do with all that enormous
lot of horses, and why he had not exerted his wits to
catch the red deer as well. He said that the latter
would have been against the laws of venery, and might
have brought him into trouble, but as for disposing of
his stud, it would give him little difficulty. He
would break them, when the spring weather came on, and
deal with them as they required, and keep the
handsomest for breeding. The rest he would despatch to
London, where he knew plenty of horse-dealers; and he
doubted not that they would fetch him as much as ten
pounds apiece all round, being now in great demand. I
told him I wished that he might get it; but as it
proved afterwards, he did.

Then he pressed us both on another point, the time for
his marriage to Annie; and mother looked at me to say
when, and I looked back at mother. However, knowing
something of the world, and unable to make any further
objection, by reason of his prosperity, I said that we
must even do as the fashionable people did, and allow
the maid herself to settle, when she would leave home
and all. And this I spoke with a very bad grace, being
perhaps of an ancient cast, and over fond of honesty--I
mean, of course, among lower people.

But Tom paid little heed to this, knowing the world a
great deal better than ever I could pretend to do; and
being ready to take a thing, upon which he had set his
mind, whether it came with a good grace, or whether it
came with a bad one. And seeing that it would be
awkward to provoke my anger, he left the room, before
more words, to submit himself to Annie.

Upon this I went in search of Lorna, to tell her of our
cousin's arrival, and to ask whether she would think
fit to see him, or to dine by herself that day; for she
should do exactly as it pleased her in everything,
while remaining still our guest. But I rather wished
that she might choose not to sit in Tom's company,
though she might be introduced to him. Not but what he
could behave quite as well as could, and much better,
as regarded elegance and assurance, only that his
honesty had not been as one might desire. But Lorna
had some curiosity to know what this famous man was
like, and declared that she would by all means have the
pleasure of dining with him, if he did not object to
her company on the ground of the Doones' dishonesty;
moreover, she said that it would seem a most foolish
air on her part, and one which would cause the greatest
pain to Annie, who had been so good to her, if she
should refuse to sit at table with a man who held the
King's pardon, and was now a pattern of honesty.

Against this I had not a word to say; and could not
help acknowledging in my heart that she was right, as
well as wise, in her decision. And afterwards I
discovered that mother would have been much displeased,
if she had decided otherwise.

Accordingly she turned away, with one of her very
sweetest smiles (whose beauty none can describe) saying
that she must not meet a man of such fashion and
renown, in her common gardening frock; but must try to
look as nice as she could, if only in honour of dear
Annie. And truth to tell, when she came to dinner,
everything about her was the neatest and prettiest that
can possibly be imagined. She contrived to match the
colours so, to suit one another and her own, and yet
with a certain delicate harmony of contrast, and the
shape of everything was so nice, so that when she came
into the room, with a crown of winning modesty upon the
consciousness of beauty, I was quite as proud as if the
Queen of England entered.

My mother could not help remarking, though she knew
that it was not mannerly, how like a princess Lorna
looked, now she had her best things on; but two things
caught Squire Faggus's eyes, after he had made a most
gallant bow, and received a most graceful courtesy; and
he kept his bright bold gaze upon them, first on one,
and then on the other, until my darling was hot with
blushes, and I was ready to knock him down if he had
not been our visitor. But here again I should have
been wrong, as I was apt to be in those days; for Tom
intended no harm whatever, and his gaze was of pure
curiosity; though Annie herself was vexed with it. The
two objects of his close regard, were first, and most
worthily, Lorna's face, and secondly, the ancient
necklace restored to her by Sir Ensor Doone.

Now wishing to save my darling's comfort, and to keep
things quiet, I shouted out that dinner was ready, so
that half the parish could hear me; upon which my
mother laughed, and chid me, and despatched her guests
before her. And a very good dinner we made, I
remember, and a very happy one; attending to the women
first, as now is the manner of eating; except among the
workmen. With them, of course, it is needful that the
man (who has his hours fixed) should be served first,
and make the utmost of his time for feeding, while the
women may go on, as much as ever they please,
afterwards. But with us, who are not bound to time,
there is no such reason to be quoted; and the women
being the weaker vessels, should be the first to begin
to fill. And so we always arranged it.

Now, though our Annie was a graceful maid, and Lizzie a
very learned one, you should have seen how differently
Lorna managed her dining; she never took more than
about a quarter of a mouthful at a time, and she never
appeared to be chewing that, although she must have
done so. Indeed, she appeared to dine as if it were a
matter of no consequence, and as if she could think of
other things more than of her business. All this, and
her own manner of eating, I described to Eliza once,
when I wanted to vex her for something very spiteful
that she had said; and I never succeeded so well
before, for the girl was quite outrageous, having her
own perception of it, which made my observation ten
times as bitter to her. And I am not sure but what she
ceased to like poor Lorna from that day; and if so, I
was quite paid out, as I well deserved, for my bit of

For it strikes me that of all human dealings, satire is
the very lowest, and most mean and common. It is the
equivalent in words of what bullying is in deeds; and
no more bespeaks a clever man, than the other does a
brave one. These two wretched tricks exalt a fool in
his own low esteem, but never in his neighbour's; for
the deep common sense of our nature tells that no man
of a genial heart, or of any spread of mind, can take
pride in either. And though a good man may commit the
one fault or the other, now and then, by way of outlet,
he is sure to have compunctions soon, and to scorn
himself more than the sufferer.

Now when the young maidens were gone--for we had quite
a high dinner of fashion that day, with Betty Muxworthy
waiting, and Gwenny Carfax at the gravy--and only
mother, and Tom, and I remained at the white deal
table, with brandy, and schnapps, and hot water jugs;
Squire Faggus said quite suddenly, and perhaps on
purpose to take us aback, in case of our hiding
anything,--'What do you know of the history of that
beautiful maiden, good mother?'

'Not half so much as my son does,' mother answered,
with a soft smile at me; 'and when John does not choose
to tell a thing, wild horses will not pull it out of

'That is not at all like me, mother,' I replied rather
sadly; 'you know almost every word about Lorna, quite
as well as I do.'

'Almost every word, I believe, John; for you never tell
a falsehood. But the few unknown may be of all the
most important to me.'

To this I made no answer, for fear of going beyond the
truth, or else of making mischief. Not that I had, or
wished to have, any mystery with mother; neither was
there in purest truth, any mystery in the matter; to
the utmost of my knowledge. And the only things that I
had kept back, solely for mother's comfort, were the
death of poor Lord Alan Brandir (if indeed he were
dead) and the connection of Marwood de Whichehalse with
the dealings of the Doones, and the threats of Carver
Doone against my own prosperity; and, may be, one or
two little things harrowing more than edifying.

'Come, come,' said Master Faggus, smiling very
pleasantly, 'you two understand each other, if any two
on earth do. Ah, if I had only had a mother, how
different I might have been!' And with that he sighed,
in the tone which always overcame mother upon that
subject, and had something to do with his getting
Annie; and then he produced his pretty box, full of
rolled tobacco, and offered me one, as I now had joined
the goodly company of smokers. So I took it, and
watched what he did with his own, lest I might go wrong
about mine.

But when our cylinders were both lighted, and I
enjoying mine wonderfully, and astonishing mother by my
skill, Tom Faggus told us that he was sure he had seen
my Lorna's face before, many and many years ago, when
she was quite a little child, but he could not remember
where it was, or anything more about it at present;
though he would try to do so afterwards. He could not
be mistaken, he said, for he had noticed her eyes
especially; and had never seen such eyes before,
neither again, until this day. I asked him if he had
ever ventured into the Doone-valley; but he shook his
head, and replied that he valued his life a deal too
much for that. Then we put it to him, whether anything
might assist his memory; but he said that he knew not
of aught to do so, unless it were another glass of

This being provided, he grew very wise, and told us
clearly and candidly that we were both very foolish.
For he said that we were keeping Lorna, at the risk not
only of our stock, and the house above our heads, but
also of our precious lives; and after all was she worth
it, although so very beautiful? Upon which I told him,
with indignation, that her beauty was the least part of
her goodness, and that I would thank him for his
opinion when I had requested it.

'Bravo, our John Ridd!' he answered; 'fools will be
fools till the end of the chapter; and I might be as
big a one, if I were in thy shoes, John. Nevertheless,
in the name of God, don't let that helpless child go
about with a thing worth half the county on her.'

'She is worth all the county herself,' said I, 'and all
England put together; but she has nothing worth half a
rick of hay upon her; for the ring I gave her cost
only,'--and here I stopped, for mother was looking, and
I never would tell her how much it had cost me; though
she had tried fifty times to find out.

'Tush, the ring!' Tom Faggus cried, with a contempt
that moved me: 'I would never have stopped a man for
that. But the necklace, you great oaf, the necklace is
worth all your farm put together, and your Uncle Ben's
fortune to the back of it; ay, and all the town of

'What,' said I, 'that common glass thing, which she has
had from her childhood!'

'Glass indeed! They are the finest brilliants ever I
set eyes on; and I have handled a good many.'

'Surely,' cried mother, now flushing as red as Tom's
own cheeks with excitement, 'you must be wrong, or the
young mistress would herself have known it.'

I was greatly pleased with my mother, for calling Lorna
'the young mistress'; it was not done for the sake of
her diamonds, whether they were glass or not; but
because she felt as I had done, that Tom Faggus, a man
of no birth whatever, was speaking beyond his mark, in
calling a lady like Lorna a helpless child; as well as
in his general tone, which displayed no deference. He
might have been used to the quality, in the way of
stopping their coaches, or roystering at hotels with
them; but he never had met a high lady before, in
equality, and upon virtue; and we both felt that he
ought to have known it, and to have thanked us for the
opportunity, in a word, to have behaved a great deal
more humbly than he had even tried to do.

'Trust me,' answered Tom, in his loftiest manner, which
Annie said was 'so noble,' but which seemed to me
rather flashy, 'trust me, good mother, and simple John,
for knowing brilliants, when I see them. I would have
stopped an eight-horse coach, with four carabined
out-riders, for such a booty as that. But alas, those
days are over; those were days worth living in. Ah, I
never shall know the like again. How fine it was by

'Master Faggus,' began my mother, with a manner of some
dignity, such as she could sometimes use, by right of
her integrity, and thorough kindness to every one,
'this is not the tone in which you have hitherto spoken
to me about your former pursuits and life, I fear that
the spirits'--but here she stopped, because the spirits
were her own, and Tom was our visitor,--'what I mean,
Master Faggus, is this: you have won my daughter's
heart somehow; and you won my consent to the matter
through your honest sorrow, and manly undertaking to
lead a different life, and touch no property but your
own. Annie is my eldest daughter, and the child of a
most upright man. I love her best of all on earth,
next to my boy John here'--here mother gave me a mighty
squeeze, to be sure that she would have me at
least--'and I will not risk my Annie's life with a man
who yearns for the highway.'

Having made this very long speech (for her), mother
came home upon my shoulder, and wept so that (but for
heeding her) I would have taken Tom by the nose, and
thrown him, and Winnie after him, over our farm-yard
gate. For I am violent when roused; and freely hereby
acknowledge it; though even my enemies will own that it
takes a great deal to rouse me. But I do consider the
grief and tears (when justly caused) of my dearest
friends, to be a great deal to rouse me.



Nothing very long abides, as the greatest of all
writers (in whose extent I am for ever lost in raptured
wonder, and yet for ever quite at home, as if his heart
were mine, although his brains so different), in a word
as Mr. William Shakespeare, in every one of his works
insists, with a humoured melancholy. And if my journey
to London led to nothing else of advancement, it took
me a hundred years in front of what I might else have
been, by the most simple accident.

Two women were scolding one another across the road,
very violently, both from upstair windows; and I in my
hurry for quiet life, and not knowing what might come
down upon me, quickened my step for the nearest corner.
But suddenly something fell on my head; and at first I
was afraid to look, especially as it weighed heavily.
But hearing no breakage of ware, and only the other
scold laughing heartily, I turned me about and espied a
book, which one had cast at the other, hoping to break
her window. So I took the book, and tendered it at the
door of the house from which it had fallen; but the
watchman came along just then, and the man at the door
declared that it never came from their house, and
begged me to say no more. This I promised readily,
never wishing to make mischief; and I said, 'Good sir,
now take the book; I will go on to my business.' But he
answered that he would do no such thing; for the book
alone, being hurled so hard, would convict his people
of a lewd assault; and he begged me, if I would do a
good turn, to put the book under my coat and go. And
so I did: in part at least. For I did not put the book
under my coat, but went along with it openly, looking
for any to challenge it. Now this book, so acquired,
has been not only the joy of my younger days, and main
delight of my manhood, but also the comfort, and even
the hope, of my now declining years. In a word, it is
next to my Bible to me, and written in equal English;
and if you espy any goodness whatever in my own loose
style of writing, you must not thank me, John Ridd, for
it, but the writer who holds the champion's belt in
wit, as I once did in wrestling.

Now, as nothing very long abides, it cannot be expected
that a woman's anger should last very long, if she be
at all of the proper sort. And my mother, being one of
the very best, could not long retain her wrath against
the Squire Faggus especially when she came to reflect,
upon Annie's suggestion, how natural, and one might
say, how inevitable it was that a young man fond of
adventure and change and winning good profits by
jeopardy, should not settle down without some regrets
to a fixed abode and a life of sameness, however safe
and respectable. And even as Annie put the case, Tom
deserved the greater credit for vanquishing so nobly
these yearnings of his nature; and it seemed very hard
to upbraid him, considering how good his motives were;
neither could Annie understand how mother could
reconcile it with her knowledge of the Bible, and the
one sheep that was lost, and the hundredth piece of
silver, and the man that went down to Jericho.

Whether Annie's logic was good and sound, I am sure I
cannot tell; but it seemed to me that she ought to have
let the Jericho traveller alone, inasmuch as he rather
fell among Tom Fagusses, than resembled them. However,
her reasoning was too much for mother to hold out
against; and Tom was replaced, and more than that,
being regarded now as an injured man. But how my
mother contrived to know, that because she had been too
hard upon Tom, he must be right about the necklace, is
a point which I never could clearly perceive, though no
doubt she could explain it.

To prove herself right in the conclusion, she went
herself to fetch Lorna, that the trinket might be
examined, before the day grew dark. My darling came
in, with a very quick glance and smile at my cigarro
(for I was having the third by this time, to keep
things in amity); and I waved it towards her, as much
as to say, 'you see that I can do it.' And then mother
led her up to the light, for Tom to examine her

On the shapely curve of her neck it hung, like dewdrops
upon a white hyacinth; and I was vexed that Tom should
have the chance to see it there. But even if she had
read my thoughts, or outrun them with her own, Lorna
turned away, and softly took the jewels from the place
which so much adorned them. And as she turned away,
they sparkled through the rich dark waves of hair.
Then she laid the glittering circlet in my mother's
hands; and Tom Faggus took it eagerly, and bore it to
the window.

'Don't you go out of sight,' I said; 'you cannot resist
such things as those, if they be what you think them.'

'Jack, I shall have to trounce thee yet. I am now a
man of honour, and entitled to the duello. What will
you take for it, Mistress Lorna? At a hazard, say

'I am not accustomed to sell things, sir,' replied
Lorna, who did not like him much, else she would have
answered sportively, 'What is it worth, in your

'Do you think it is worth five pounds, now?'

'Oh, no! I never had so much money as that in all my
life. It is very bright, and very pretty; but it
cannot be worth five pounds, I am sure.'

'What a chance for a bargain! Oh, if it were not for
Annie, I could make my fortune.'

'But, sir, I would not sell it to you, not for twenty
times five pounds. My grandfather was so kind about
it; and I think it belonged to my mother.'

'There are twenty-five rose diamonds in it, and
twenty-five large brilliants that cannot be matched in
London. How say you, Mistress Lorna, to a hundred
thousand pounds?'

My darling's eyes so flashed at this, brighter than any
diamonds, that I said to myself, 'Well, all have
faults; and now I have found out Lorna's--she is fond
of money!' And then I sighed rather heavily; for of all
faults this seems to me one of the worst in a woman.
But even before my sigh was finished, I had cause to
condemn myself. For Lorna took the necklace very
quietly from the hands of Squire Faggus, who had not
half done with admiring it, and she went up to my
mother with the sweetest smile I ever saw.

'Dear kind mother, I am so glad,' she said in a
whisper, coaxing mother out of sight of all but me;
'now you will have it, won't you, dear? And I shall be
so happy; for a thousandth part of your kindness to me
no jewels in the world can match.'

I cannot lay before you the grace with which she did
it, all the air of seeking favour, rather than
conferring it, and the high-bred fear of giving
offence, which is of all fears the noblest. Mother
knew not what to say. Of course she would never dream
of taking such a gift as that; and yet she saw how
sadly Lorna would be disappointed. Therefore, mother
did, from habit, what she almost always did, she called
me to help her. But knowing that my eyes were
full--for anything noble moves me so, quite as rashly
as things pitiful--I pretended not to hear my mother,
but to see a wild cat in the dairy.

Therefore I cannot tell what mother said in reply to
Lorna; for when I came back, quite eager to let my love
know how I worshipped her, and how deeply I was ashamed
of myself, for meanly wronging her in my heart, behold
Tom Faggus had gotten again the necklace which had such
charms for him, and was delivering all around (but
especially to Annie, who was wondering at his learning)
a dissertation on precious stones, and his sentiments
about those in his hand. He said that the work was
very ancient, but undoubtedly very good; the cutting of
every line was true, and every angle was in its place.
And this he said, made all the difference in the lustre
of the stone, and therefore in its value. For if the
facets were ill-matched, and the points of light so
ever little out of perfect harmony, all the lustre of
the jewel would be loose and wavering, and the central
fire dulled; instead of answering, as it should, to all
possibilities of gaze, and overpowering any eye intent
on its deeper mysteries. We laughed at the Squire's
dissertation; for how should he know all these things,
being nothing better, and indeed much worse than a mere
Northmolton blacksmith? He took our laughter with much
good nature; having Annie to squeeze his hand and
convey her grief at our ignorance: but he said that of
one thing he was quite certain, and therein I believed
him. To wit, that a trinket of this kind never could
have belonged to any ignoble family, but to one of the
very highest and most wealthy in England. And looking
at Lorna, I felt that she must have come from a higher
source than the very best of diamonds.

Tom Faggus said that the necklace was made, he would
answer for it, in Amsterdam, two or three hundred years
ago, long before London jewellers had begun to meddle
with diamonds; and on the gold clasp he found some
letters, done in some inverted way, the meaning of
which was beyond him; also a bearing of some kind,
which he believed was a mountain-cat. And thereupon he
declared that now he had earned another glass of
schnapps, and would Mistress Lorna mix it for him?

I was amazed at his impudence; and Annie, who thought
this her business, did not look best pleased; and I
hoped that Lorna would tell him at once to go and do it
for himself. But instead of that she rose to do it
with a soft humility, which went direct to the heart of
Tom; and he leaped up with a curse at himself, and took
the hot water from her, and would not allow her to do
anything except to put the sugar in; and then he bowed
to her grandly. I knew what Lorna was thinking of; she
was thinking all the time that her necklace had been
taken by the Doones with violence upon some great
robbery; and that Squire Faggus knew it, though he
would not show his knowledge; and that this was perhaps
the reason why mother had refused it so.

We said no more about the necklace for a long time
afterwards; neither did my darling wear it, now that
she knew its value, but did not know its history. She
came to me the very next day, trying to look cheerful,
and begged me if I loved her (never mind how little) to
take charge of it again, as I once had done before, and
not even to let her know in what place I stored it. I
told her that this last request I could not comply
with; for having been round her neck so often, it was
now a sacred thing, more than a million pounds could
be. Therefore it should dwell for the present in the
neighbourhood of my heart; and so could not be far from
her. At this she smiled her own sweet smile, and
touched my forehead with her lips. and wished that she
could only learn how to deserve such love as mine.

Tom Faggus took his good departure, which was a kind
farewell to me, on the very day I am speaking of, the
day after his arrival. Tom was a thoroughly upright
man, according to his own standard; and you might rely
upon him always, up to a certain point I mean, to be
there or thereabouts. But sometimes things were too
many for Tom, especially with ardent spirits, and then
he judged, perhaps too much, with only himself for the
jury. At any rate, I would trust him fully, for
candour and for honesty, in almost every case in which
he himself could have no interest. And so we got on
very well together; and he thought me a fool; and I
tried my best not to think anything worse of him.

Scarcely was Tom clean out of sight, and Annie's tears
not dry yet (for she always made a point of crying upon
his departure), when in came Master Jeremy Stickles,
splashed with mud from head to foot, and not in the
very best of humours, though happy to get back again.

'Curse those fellows!' he cried, with a stamp which
sent the water hissing from his boot upon the embers;
'a pretty plight you may call this, for His Majesty's
Commissioner to return to his headquarters in! Annie,
my dear,' for he was always very affable with Annie,
'will you help me off with my overalls, and then turn
your pretty hand to the gridiron? Not a blessed morsel
have I touched for more than twenty-four hours.'

'Surely then you must be quite starving, sir,' my
sister replied with the greatest zeal; for she did love
a man with an appetite; 'how glad I am that the fire is
clear!' But Lizzie, who happened to be there, said with
her peculiar smile,--

'Master Stickles must be used to it; for he never comes
back without telling us that.'

'Hush!' cried Annie, quite shocked with her; 'how would
you like to be used to it? Now, Betty, be quick with
the things for me. Pork, or mutton, or deer's meat,
sir? We have some cured since the autumn.'

'Oh, deer's meat, by all means,' Jeremy Stickles
answered; 'I have tasted none since I left you, though
dreaming of it often. Well, this is better than being
chased over the moors for one's life, John. All the
way from Landacre Bridge, I have ridden a race for my
precious life, at the peril of my limbs and neck.
Three great Doones galloping after me, and a good job
for me that they were so big, or they must have
overtaken me. Just go and see to my horse, John,
that's an excellent lad. He deserves a good turn this
day, from me; and I will render it to him.'

However he left me to do it, while he made himself
comfortable: and in truth the horse required care; he
was blown so that he could hardly stand, and plastered
with mud, and steaming so that the stable was quite
full with it. By the time I had put the poor fellow to
rights, his master had finished dinner, and was in a
more pleasant humour, having even offered to kiss
Annie, out of pure gratitude, as he said; but Annie
answered with spirit that gratitude must not be shown
by increasing the obligation. Jeremy made reply to
this that his only way to be grateful then was to tell
us his story: and so he did, at greater length than I
can here repeat it; for it does not bear particularly
upon Lorna's fortunes.

It appears that as he was riding towards us from the
town of Southmolton in Devonshire, he found the roads
very soft and heavy, and the floods out in all
directions; but met with no other difficulty until he
came to Landacre Bridge. He had only a single trooper
with him, a man not of the militia but of the King's
army, whom Jeremy had brought from Exeter. As these
two descended towards the bridge they observed that
both the Kensford water and the River Barle were
pouring down in mighty floods from the melting of the
snow. So great indeed was the torrent, after they
united, that only the parapets of the bridge could be
seen above the water, the road across either bank being
covered and very deep on the hither side. The trooper
did not like the look of it, and proposed to ride back
again, and round by way of Simonsbath, where the stream
is smaller. But Stickles would not have it so, and
dashing into the river, swam his horse for the bridge,
and gained it with some little trouble; and there he
found the water not more than up to his horse's knees
perhaps. On the crown of the bridge he turned his
horse to watch the trooper's passage, and to help him
with directions; when suddenly he saw him fall headlong
into the torrent, and heard the report of a gun from
behind, and felt a shock to his own body, such as
lifted him out of the saddle. Turning round he beheld
three men, risen up from behind the hedge on one side
of his onward road, two of them ready to load again,
and one with his gun unfired, waiting to get good aim
at him. Then Jeremy did a gallant thing, for which I
doubt whether I should have had the presence of mind in
danger. He saw that to swim his horse back again would
be almost certain death; as affording such a target,
where even a wound must be fatal. Therefore he struck
the spurs into the nag, and rode through the water
straight at the man who was pointing the long gun at
him. If the horse had been carried off his legs,
there must have been an end of Jeremy; for the other
men were getting ready to have another shot at him.
But luckily the horse galloped right on without any
need for swimming, being himself excited, no doubt, by
all he had seen and heard of it. And Jeremy lay almost
flat on his neck, so as to give little space for good
aim, with the mane tossing wildly in front of him. Now
if that young fellow with the gun had his brains as
ready as his flint was, he would have shot the horse at
once, and then had Stickles at his mercy; but instead
of that he let fly at the man, and missed him
altogether, being scared perhaps by the pistol which
Jeremy showed him the mouth of. And galloping by at
full speed, Master Stickles tried to leave his mark
behind him, for he changed the aim of his pistol to the
biggest man, who was loading his gun and cursing like
ten cannons. But the pistol missed fire, no doubt
from the flood which had gurgled in over the holsters;
and Jeremy seeing three horses tethered at a gate just
up the hill, knew that he had not yet escaped, but had
more of danger behind him. He tried his other great
pistol at one of the horses tethered there, so as to
lessen (if possible) the number of his pursuers. But
the powder again failed him; and he durst not stop to
cut the bridles, bearing the men coming up the hill.
So he even made the most of his start, thanking God
that his weight was light, compared at least to what
theirs was.

And another thing he had noticed which gave him some
hope of escaping, to wit that the horses of the Doones,
although very handsome animals, were suffering still
from the bitter effects of the late long frost, and the
scarcity of fodder. 'If they do not catch me up, or
shoot me, in the course of the first two miles, I may
see my home again'; this was what he said to himself as
he turned to mark what they were about, from the brow
of the steep hill. He saw the flooded valley shining
with the breadth of water, and the trooper's horse on
the other side, shaking his drenched flanks and
neighing; and half-way down the hill he saw the three
Doones mounting hastily. And then he knew that his
only chance lay in the stoutness of his steed.

The horse was in pretty good condition; and the rider
knew him thoroughly, and how to make the most of him;
and though they had travelled some miles that day
through very heavy ground, the bath in the river had
washed the mud off, and been some refreshment.
Therefore Stickles encouraged his nag, and put him into
a good hard gallop, heading away towards Withycombe.
At first he had thought of turning to the right, and
making off for Withypool, a mile or so down the valley;
but his good sense told him that no one there would
dare to protect him against the Doones, so he resolved
to go on his way; yet faster than he had intended.

The three villains came after him, with all the speed
they could muster, making sure from the badness of the
road that he must stick fast ere long, and so be at
their mercy. And this was Jeremy's chiefest fear, for
the ground being soft and thoroughly rotten, after so
much frost and snow, the poor horse had terrible work
of it, with no time to pick the way; and even more good
luck than skill was needed to keep him from foundering.
How Jeremy prayed for an Exmoor fog (such as he had
often sworn at), that he might turn aside and lurk,
while his pursuers went past him! But no fog came, nor
even a storm to damp the priming of their guns; neither
was wood or coppice nigh, nor any place to hide in;
only hills, and moor, and valleys; with flying shadows
over them, and great banks of snow in the corners. At
one time poor Stickles was quite in despair; for after
leaping a little brook which crosses the track at
Newland, be stuck fast in a 'dancing bog,' as we call
them upon Exmoor. The horse had broken through the
crust of moss and sedge and marishweed, and could do
nothing but wallow and sink, with the black water
spirting over him. And Jeremy, struggling with all his
might, saw the three villains now topping the crest,
less than a furlong behind him; and heard them shout in
their savage delight. With the calmness of despair, he
yet resolved to have one more try for it; and
scrambling over the horse's head, gained firm land, and
tugged at the bridle. The poor nag replied with all
his power to the call upon his courage, and reared his
forefeet out of the slough, and with straining eyeballs
gazed at him. 'Now,' said Jeremy, 'now, my fine
fellow!' lifting him with the bridle, and the brave
beast gathered the roll of his loins, and sprang from
his quagmired haunches. One more spring, and he was on
earth again, instead of being under it; and Jeremy
leaped on his back, and stooped, for he knew that they
would fire. Two bullets whistled over him, as the
horse, mad with fright, dashed forward; and in five
minutes more he had come to the Exe, and the pursuers
had fallen behind him. The Exe, though a much smaller
stream than the Barle, now ran in a foaming torrent,
unbridged, and too wide for leaping. But Jeremy's
horse took the water well; and both he and his rider
were lightened, as well as comforted by it. And as
they passed towards Lucott hill, and struck upon the
founts of Lynn, the horses of the three pursuers began
to tire under them. Then Jeremy Stickles knew that if
he could only escape the sloughs, he was safe for the
present; and so he stood up in his stirrups, and gave
them a loud halloo, as if they had been so many foxes.

Their only answer was to fire the remaining charge at
him; but the distance was too great for any aim from
horseback; and the dropping bullet idly ploughed the
sod upon one side of him. He acknowledged it with a
wave of his hat, and laid one thumb to his nose, in the
manner fashionable in London for expression of
contempt. However, they followed him yet farther;
hoping to make him pay out dearly, if he should only
miss the track, or fall upon morasses. But the
neighbourhood of our Lynn stream is not so very boggy;
and the King's messenger now knew his way as well as
any of his pursuers did; and so he arrived at Plover's
Barrows, thankful, and in rare appetite.

'But was the poor soldier drowned?' asked Annie; 'and
you never went to look for him! Oh, how very dreadful!'

'Shot, or drowned; I know not which. Thank God it was
only a trooper. But they shall pay for it, as dearly
as if it had been a captain.'

'And how was it you were struck by a bullet, and only
shaken in your saddle? Had you a coat of mail on, or
of Milanese chain-armour? Now, Master Stickles, had

'No, Mistress Lizzie; we do not wear things of that
kind nowadays. You are apt, I perceive, at romances.
But I happened to have a little flat bottle of the best
stoneware slung beneath my saddle-cloak, and filled
with the very best eau de vie, from the George Hotel,
at Southmolton. The brand of it now is upon my back.
Oh, the murderous scoundrels, what a brave spirit they
have spilled!'

'You had better set to and thank God,' said I, 'that
they have not spilled a braver one.'



It was only right in Jeremy Stickles, and of the
simplest common sense, that he would not tell, before
our girls, what the result of his journey was. But he
led me aside in the course of the evening, and told me
all about it; saying that I knew, as well as he did,
that it was not woman's business. This I took, as it
was meant, for a gentle caution that Lorna (whom he had
not seen as yet) must not he informed of any of his
doings. Herein I quite agreed with him; not only for
his furtherance, but because I always think that women,
of whatever mind, are best when least they meddle with
the things that appertain to men.

Master Stickles complained that the weather had been
against him bitterly, closing all the roads around him;
even as it had done with us. It had taken him eight
days, he said, to get from Exeter to Plymouth; whither
he found that most of the troops had been drafted off
from Exeter. When all were told, there was but a
battalion of one of the King's horse regiments, and two
companies of foot soldiers; and their commanders had
orders, later than the date of Jeremy's commission, on
no account to quit the southern coast, and march
inland. Therefore, although they would gladly have
come for a brush with the celebrated Doones, it was
more than they durst attempt, in the face of their
instructions. However, they spared him a single
trooper, as a companion of the road, and to prove to
the justices of the county, and the lord lieutenant,
that he had their approval.

To these authorities Master Stickles now was forced to
address himself, although he would rather have had one
trooper than a score from the very best trained bands.
For these trained bands had afforded very good
soldiers, in the time of the civil wars, and for some
years afterwards; but now their discipline was gone;
and the younger generation had seen no real fighting.
Each would have his own opinion, and would want to
argue it; and if he were not allowed, he went about his
duty in such a temper as to prove that his own way was
the best.

Neither was this the worst of it; for Jeremy made no
doubt but what (if he could only get the militia to
turn out in force) he might manage, with the help of
his own men, to force the stronghold of the enemy; but
the truth was that the officers, knowing how hard it
would be to collect their men at that time of the year,
and in that state of the weather, began with one accord
to make every possible excuse. And especially they
pressed this point, that Bagworthy was not in their
county; the Devonshire people affirming vehemently that
it lay in the shire of Somerset, and the Somersetshire
folk averring, even with imprecations, that it lay in
Devonshire. Now I believe the truth to be that the
boundary of the two counties, as well as of Oare and
Brendon parishes, is defined by the Bagworthy river; so
that the disputants on both sides were both right and

Upon this, Master Stickles suggested, and as I thought
very sensibly, that the two counties should unite, and
equally contribute to the extirpation of this pest,
which shamed and injured them both alike. But hence
arose another difficulty; for the men of Devon said
they would march when Somerset had taken the field; and
the sons of Somerset replied that indeed they were
quite ready, but what were their cousins of Devonshire
doing? And so it came to pass that the King's
Commissioner returned without any army whatever; but
with promise of two hundred men when the roads should
be more passable. And meanwhile, what were we to do,
abandoned as we were to the mercies of the Doones, with
only our own hands to help us? And herein I grieved at
my own folly, in having let Tom Faggus go, whose wit
and courage would have been worth at least half a dozen
men to us. Upon this matter I held long council with
my good friend Stickles; telling him all about Lorna's
presence, and what I knew of her history. He agreed
with me that we could not hope to escape an attack from
the outlaws, and the more especially now that they knew
himself to be returned to us. Also he praised me for
my forethought in having threshed out all our corn, and
hidden the produce in such a manner that they were not
likely to find it. Furthermore, he recommended that
all the entrances to the house should at once be
strengthened, and a watch must be maintained at night;
and he thought it wiser that I should go (late as it
was) to Lynmouth, if a horse could pass the valley, and
fetch every one of his mounted troopers, who might now
be quartered there. Also if any men of courage, though
capable only of handling a pitchfork, could be found in
the neighbourhood, I was to try to summon them. But
our district is so thinly peopled, that I had little
faith in this; however my errand was given me, and I
set forth upon it; for John Fry was afraid of the

Knowing how fiercely the floods were out, I resolved to
travel the higher road, by Cosgate and through
Countisbury; therefore I swam my horse through the
Lynn, at the ford below our house (where sometimes you
may step across), and thence galloped up and along the
hills. I could see all the inland valleys ribbon'd
with broad waters; and in every winding crook, the
banks of snow that fed them; while on my right the
turbid sea was flaked with April showers. But when I
descended the hill towards Lynmouth, I feared that my
journey was all in vain.

For the East Lynn (which is our river) was ramping and
roaring frightfully, lashing whole trunks of trees on
the rocks, and rending them, and grinding them. And
into it rushed, from the opposite side, a torrent even
madder; upsetting what it came to aid; shattering wave
with boiling billow, and scattering wrath with fury.
It was certain death to attempt the passage: and the
little wooden footbridge had been carried away long
ago. And the men I was seeking must be, of course, on
the other side of this deluge, for on my side there was
not a single house.

I followed the bank of the flood to the beach, some two
or three hundred yards below; and there had the luck to
see Will Watcombe on the opposite side, caulking an old
boat. Though I could not make him hear a word, from
the deafening roar of the torrent, I got him to
understand at last that I wanted to cross over. Upon
this he fetched another man, and the two of them
launched a boat; and paddling well out to sea, fetched
round the mouth of the frantic river. The other man
proved to be Stickles's chief mate; and so he went back
and fetched his comrades, bringing their weapons, but
leaving their horses behind. As it happened there were
but four of them; however, to have even these was a
help; and I started again at full speed for my home;
for the men must follow afoot, and cross our river high
up on the moorland.

This took them a long way round, and the track was
rather bad to find, and the sky already darkening; so
that I arrived at Plover's Barrows more than two hours
before them. But they had done a sagacious thing,
which was well worth the delay; for by hoisting their
flag upon the hill, they fetched the two watchmen from
the Foreland, and added them to their number.

It was lucky that I came home so soon; for I found the
house in a great commotion, and all the women
trembling. When I asked what the matter was, Lorna,
who seemed the most self-possessed, answered that it
was all her fault, for she alone had frightened them.
And this in the following manner. She had stolen out
to the garden towards dusk, to watch some favourite
hyacinths just pushing up, like a baby's teeth, and
just attracting the fatal notice of a great house-snail
at night-time. Lorna at last had discovered the
glutton, and was bearing him off in triumph to the
tribunal of the ducks, when she descried two glittering
eyes glaring at her steadfastly, from the elder-bush
beyond the stream. The elder was smoothing its
wrinkled leaves, being at least two months behind time;
and among them this calm cruel face appeared; and she
knew it was the face of Carver Doone.

The maiden, although so used to terror (as she told me
once before), lost all presence of mind hereat, and
could neither shriek nor fly, but only gaze, as if
bewitched. Then Carver Doone, with his deadly smile,
gloating upon her horror, lifted his long gun, and
pointed full at Lorna's heart. In vain she strove to
turn away; fright had stricken her stiff as stone.
With the inborn love of life, she tried to cover the
vital part wherein the winged death must lodge--for she
knew Carver's certain aim--but her hands hung numbed,
and heavy; in nothing but her eyes was life.

With no sign of pity in his face, no quiver of
relenting, but a well-pleased grin at all the charming
palsy of his victim, Carver Doone lowered, inch by
inch, the muzzle of his gun. When it pointed to the
ground, between her delicate arched insteps, he pulled
the trigger, and the bullet flung the mould all over
her. It was a refinement of bullying, for which I
swore to God that night, upon my knees, in secret, that
I would smite down Carver Doone or else he should smite
me down. Base beast! what largest humanity, or what
dreams of divinity, could make a man put up with this?

My darling (the loveliest, and most harmless, in the
world of maidens), fell away on a bank of grass, and
wept at her own cowardice; and trembled, and wondered
where I was; and what I would think of this. Good God!
What could I think of it? She over-rated my slow
nature, to admit the question.

While she leaned there, quite unable yet to save
herself, Carver came to the brink of the flood, which
alone was between them; and then he stroked his
jet-black beard, and waited for Lorna to begin. Very
likely, be thought that she would thank him for his
kindness to her. But she was now recovering the power
of her nimble limbs; and ready to be off like hope, and
wonder at her own cowardice.

'I have spared you this time,' he said, in his deep
calm voice, 'only because it suits my plans; and I
never yield to temper. But unless you come back
to-morrow, pure, and with all you took away, and teach
me to destroy that fool, who has destroyed himself for
you, your death is here, your death is here, where it
has long been waiting.'

Although his gun was empty, he struck the breech of it
with his finger; and then he turned away, not deigning
even once to look back again; and Lorna saw his giant
figure striding across the meadow-land, as if the Ridds
were nobodies, and he the proper owner. Both mother
and I were greatly hurt at hearing of this insolence:
for we had owned that meadow, from the time of the
great Alfred; and even when that good king lay in the
Isle of Athelney, he had a Ridd along with him.

Now I spoke to Lorna gently, seeing how much she had
been tried; and I praised her for her courage, in not
having run away, when she was so unable; and my darling
was pleased with this, and smiled upon me for saying
it; though she knew right well that, in this matter, my
judgment was not impartial. But you may take this as a
general rule, that a woman likes praise from the man
whom she loves, and cannot stop always to balance it.

Now expecting a sharp attack that night--when Jeremy
Stickles the more expected, after the words of Carver,
which seemed to be meant to mislead us--we prepared a
great quantity of knuckles of pork, and a ham in full
cut, and a fillet of hung mutton. For we would almost
surrender rather than keep our garrison hungry. And
all our men were exceedingly brave; and counted their
rounds of the house in half-pints.

Before the maidens went to bed, Lorna made a remark
which seemed to me a very clever one, and then I
wondered how on earth it had never occurred to me
before. But first she had done a thing which I could
not in the least approve of: for she had gone up to my
mother, and thrown herself into her arms, and begged to
be allowed to return to Glen Doone.

'My child, are you unhappy here?' mother asked her,
very gently, for she had begun to regard her now as a
daughter of her own.

'Oh, no! Too happy, by far too happy, Mrs. Ridd. I
never knew rest or peace before, or met with real
kindness. But I cannot be so ungrateful, I cannot be
so wicked, as to bring you all into deadly peril, for
my sake alone. Let me go: you must not pay this great
price for my happiness.'

'Dear child, we are paying no price at all,' replied my
mother, embracing her; 'we are not threatened for your
sake only. Ask John, he will tell you. He knows every
bit about politics, and this is a political matter.'

Dear mother was rather proud in her heart, as well as
terribly frightened, at the importance now accruing to
Plover's Barrows farm; and she often declared that it
would be as famous in history as the Rye House, or the
Meal-tub, or even the great black box, in which she was
a firm believer: and even my knowledge of politics
could not move her upon that matter. 'Such things had
happened before,' she would say, shaking her head with
its wisdom, 'and why might they not happen again?
Women would be women, and men would be men, to the end
of the chapter; and if she had been in Lucy Water's
place, she would keep it quiet, as she had done'; and
then she would look round, for fear, lest either of her
daughters had heard her; 'but now, can you give me any
reason, why it may not have been so? You are so
fearfully positive, John: just as men always are.'
'No,' I used to say; 'I can give you no reason, why it
may not have been so, mother. But the question is, if
it was so, or not; rather than what it might have been.
And, I think, it is pretty good proof against it, that
what nine men of every ten in England would only too
gladly believe, if true, is nevertheless kept dark from
them.' 'There you are again, John,' mother would reply,
'all about men, and not a single word about women. If
you had any argument at all, you would own that
marriage is a question upon which women are the best
judges.' 'Oh!' I would groan in my spirit, and go;
leaving my dearest mother quite sure, that now at last
she must have convinced me. But if mother had known
that Jeremy Stickles was working against the black box,
and its issue, I doubt whether he would have fared so
well, even though he was a visitor. However, she knew
that something was doing and something of importance;
and she trusted in God for the rest of it. Only she
used te tell me, very seriously, of an evening, 'The
very least they can give you, dear John, is a coat of
arms. Be sure you take nothing less, dear; and the
farm can well support it.'

But lo! I have left Lorna ever so long, anxious to
consult me upon political matters. She came to me, and
her eyes alone asked a hundred questions, which I
rather had answered upon her lips than troubled her
pretty ears with them. Therefore I told her nothing at
all, save that the attack (if any should be) would not
be made on her account; and that if she should hear, by
any chance, a trifle of a noise in the night, she was
to wrap the clothes around her, and shut her beautiful
eyes again. On no account, whatever she did, was she
to go to the window. She liked my expression about her
eyes, and promised to do the very best she could and
then she crept so very close, that I needs must have
her closer; and with her head on my breast she asked,--

'Can't you keep out of this fight, John?'

'My own one,' I answered, gazing through the long black
lashes, at the depths of radiant love; 'I believe there
will be nothing: but what there is I must see out.'

'Shall I tell you what I think, John? It is only a
fancy of mine, and perhaps it is not worth telling.'

'Let us have it, dear, by all means. You know so much
about their ways.'

'What I believe is this, John. You know how high the
rivers are, higher than ever they were before, and
twice as high, you have told me. I believe that Glen
Doone is flooded, and all the houses under water.'

'You little witch,' I answered; 'what a fool I must be
not to think of it! Of course it is: it must be. The
torrent from all the Bagworthy forest, and all the
valleys above it, and the great drifts in the glen
itself, never could have outlet down my famous
waterslide. The valley must be under water twenty feet
at least. Well, if ever there was a fool, I am he,
for not having thought of it.'

'I remember once before,' said Lorna, reckoning on her
fingers, 'when there was heavy rain, all through the
autumn and winter, five or it may be six years ago, the
river came down with such a rush that the water was two
feet deep in our rooms, and we all had to camp by the
cliff-edge. But you think that the floods are higher
now, I believe I heard you say, John.'

'I don't think about it, my treasure,' I answered; 'you
may trust me for understanding floods, after our work
at Tiverton. And I know that the deluge in all our
valleys is such that no living man can remember,
neither will ever behold again. Consider three months
of snow, snow, snow, and a fortnight of rain on the top
of it, and all to be drained in a few days away! And
great barricades of ice still in the rivers blocking
them up, and ponding them. You may take my word for
it, Mistress Lorna, that your pretty bower is six feet

'Well, my bower has served its time', said Lorna,
blushing as she remembered all that had happened there;
'and my bower now is here, John. But I am so sorry to
think of all the poor women flooded out of their houses
and sheltering in the snowdrifts. However, there is
one good of it: they cannot send many men against us,
with all this trouble upon them.'

'You are right,' I replied; 'how clever you are! and
that is why there were only three to cut off Master
Stickles. And now we shall beat them, I make no doubt,
even if they come at all. And I defy them to fire the
house: the thatch is too wet for burning.'

We sent all the women to bed quite early, except Gwenny
Carfax and our old Betty. These two we allowed to stay
up, because they might be useful to us, if they could
keep from quarreling. For my part, I had little fear,
after what Lorna had told me, as to the result of the
combat. It was not likely that the Doones could bring
more than eight or ten men against us, while their
homes were in such danger: and to meet these we had
eight good men, including Jeremy, and myself, all well
armed and resolute, besides our three farm-servants,
and the parish-clerk, and the shoemaker. These five
could not be trusted much for any valiant conduct,
although they spoke very confidently over their cans of
cider. Neither were their weapons fitted for much
execution, unless it were at close quarters, which they
would be likely to avoid. Bill Dadds had a sickle, Jem
Slocombe a flail, the cobbler had borrowed the
constable's staff (for the constable would not attend,
because there was no warrant), and the parish clerk had
brought his pitch-pipe, which was enough to break any
man's head. But John Fry, of course, had his
blunderbuss, loaded with tin-tacks and marbles, and
more likely to kill the man who discharged it than any
other person: but we knew that John had it only for
show, and to describe its qualities.

Now it was my great desire, and my chiefest hope, to
come across Carver Doone that night, and settle the
score between us; not by any shot in the dark, but by a
conflict man to man. As yet, since I came to
full-grown power, I had never met any one whom I could
not play teetotum with: but now at last I had found a
man whose strength was not to be laughed at. I could
guess it in his face, I could tell it in his arms, I
could see it in his stride and gait, which more than
all the rest betray the substance of a man. And being
so well used to wrestling, and to judge antagonists, I
felt that here (if anywhere) I had found my match.

Therefore I was not content to abide within the house,
or go the rounds with the troopers; but betook myself
to the rick yard, knowing that the Doones were likely
to begin their onset there. For they had a pleasant
custom, when they visited farm-houses, of lighting
themselves towards picking up anything they wanted, or
stabbing the inhabitants, by first creating a blaze in
the rick yard. And though our ricks were all now of
mere straw (except indeed two of prime clover-hay), and
although on the top they were so wet that no firebrands
might hurt them; I was both unwilling to have them
burned, and fearful that they might kindle, if well
roused up with fire upon the windward side.

By the bye, these Doones had got the worst of this
pleasant trick one time. For happening to fire the
ricks of a lonely farm called Yeanworthy, not far above
Glenthorne, they approached the house to get people's
goods, and to enjoy their terror. The master of the
farm was lately dead, and had left, inside the
clock-case, loaded, the great long gun, wherewith he
had used to sport at the ducks and the geese on the
shore. Now Widow Fisher took out this gun, and not
caring much what became of her (for she had loved her
husband dearly), she laid it upon the window-sill,
which looked upon the rick-yard; and she backed up the
butt with a chest of oak drawers, and she opened the
window a little back, and let the muzzle out on the
slope. Presently five or six fine young Doones came
dancing a reel (as their manner was) betwixt her and
the flaming rick. Upon which she pulled the trigger
with all the force of her thumb, and a quarter of a
pound of duck-shot went out with a blaze on the
dancers. You may suppose what their dancing was, and
their reeling how changed to staggering, and their
music none of the sweetest. One of them fell into the
rick, and was burned, and buried in a ditch next day;
but the others were set upon their horses, and carried
home on a path of blood. And strange to say, they
never avenged this very dreadful injury; but having
heard that a woman had fired this desperate shot among
them, they said that she ought to be a Doone, and
inquired how old she was.

Now I had not been so very long waiting in our
mow-yard, with my best gun ready, and a big club by me,
before a heaviness of sleep began to creep upon me.
The flow of water was in my ears, and in my eyes a hazy
spreading, and upon my brain a closure, as a cobbler
sews a vamp up. So I leaned back in the clover-rick,
and the dust of the seed and the smell came round me,
without any trouble; and I dozed about Lorna, just once
or twice, and what she had said about new-mown hay; and
then back went my head, and my chin went up; and if
ever a man was blest with slumber, down it came upon
me, and away went I into it.

Now this was very vile of me, and against all good
resolutions, even such as I would have sworn to an hour
ago or less. But if you had been in the water as I
had, ay, and had long fight with it, after a good day's
work, and then great anxiety afterwards, and brain-work
(which is not fair for me), and upon that a stout
supper, mayhap you would not be so hard on my sleep;
though you felt it your duty to wake me.



It was not likely that the outlaws would attack out
premises until some time after the moon was risen;
because it would be too dangerous to cross the flooded
valleys in the darkness of the night. And but for this
consideration, I must have striven harder against the
stealthy approach of slumber. But even so, it was very
foolish to abandon watch, especially in such as I, who
sleep like any dormouse. Moreover, I had chosen the
very worst place in the world for such employment, with
a goodly chance of awakening in a bed of solid fire.

And so it might have been, nay, it must have been, but
for Lorna's vigilance. Her light hand upon my arm
awoke me, not too readily; and leaping up, I seized my
club, and prepared to knock down somebody.

'Who's that?' I cried; 'stand back, I say, and let me
have fair chance at you.'

'Are you going to knock me down, dear John?' replied
the voice I loved so well; 'I am sure I should never
get up again, after one blow from you, John.'

'My darling, is it you?' I cried; 'and breaking all
your orders? Come back into the house at once: and
nothing on your head, dear!'

'How could I sleep, while at any moment you might he
killed beneath my window? And now is the time of real
danger; for men can see to travel.'

I saw at once the truth of this. The moon was high and
clearly lighting all the watered valleys. To sleep any
longer might be death, not only to myself, but all.

'The man on guard at the back of the house is fast
asleep,' she continued; 'Gwenny, who let me out, and
came with me, has heard him snoring for two hours. I
think the women ought to be the watch, because they
have had no travelling. Where do you suppose little
Gwenny is?'

'Surely not gone to Glen Doone?' I was not sure,
however: for I could believe almost anything of the
Cornish maiden's hardihood.

'No,' replied Lorna, 'although she wanted even to do
that. But of course I would not hear of it, on account
of the swollen waters. But she is perched on yonder
tree, which commands the Barrow valley. She says that
they are almost sure to cross the streamlet there; and
now it is so wide and large, that she can trace it in
the moonlight, half a mile beyond her. If they cross,
she is sure to see them, and in good time to let us

'What a shame,' I cried, 'that the men should sleep,
and the maidens be the soldiers! I will sit in that
tree myself, and send little Gwenny back to you. Go to
bed, my best and dearest; I will take good care not to
sleep again.'

'Please not to send me away, dear John,' she answered
very mournfully; 'you and I have been together through
perils worse than this. I shall only be more timid,
and more miserable, indoors.'

'I cannot let you stay here,' I said; 'it is altogether
impossible. Do you suppose that I can fight, with you
among the bullets, Lorna? If this is the way you mean
to take it, we had better go both to the apple-room,
and lock ourselves in, and hide under the tiles, and
let them burn all the rest of the premises.'

At this idea Lorna laughed, as I could see by the
moonlight; and then she said,--

'You are right, John. I should only do more harm than
good: and of all things I hate fighting most, and
disobedience next to it. Therefore I will go indoors,
although I cannot go to bed. But promise me one thing,
dearest John. You will keep yourself out of the way,
now won't you, as much as you can, for my sake?'

'Of that you may be quite certain, Lorna. I will shoot
them all through the hay-ricks.'

'That is right, dear,' she answered, never doubting but
what I could do it; 'and then they cannot see you, you
know. But don't think of climbing that tree, John; it
is a great deal too dangerous. It is all very well for
Gwenny; she has no bones to break.'

'None worth breaking, you mean, I suppose. Very well;
I will not climb the tree, for I should defeat my own
purpose, I fear; being such a conspicuous object. Now
go indoors, darling, without more words. The more you
linger, the more I shall keep you.'

She laughed her own bright laugh at this, and only
said, 'God keep you, love!' and then away she tripped
across the yard, with the step I loved to watch so.
And thereupon I shouldered arms, and resolved to tramp
till morning. For I was vexed at my own neglect, and
that Lorna should have to right it.

But before I had been long on duty, making the round of
the ricks and stables, and hailing Gwenny now and then
from the bottom of her tree, a short wide figure stole
towards me, in and out the shadows, and I saw that it
was no other than the little maid herself, and that she
bore some tidings.

'Ten on 'em crossed the watter down yonner,' said
Gwenny, putting her hand to her mouth, and seeming to
regard it as good news rather than otherwise: 'be arl
craping up by hedgerow now. I could shutt dree on 'em
from the bar of the gate, if so be I had your goon,
young man.'

'There is no time to lose, Gwenny. Run to the house
and fetch Master Stickles, and all the men; while I
stay here, and watch the rick-yard.'

Perhaps I was wrong in heeding the ricks at such a time
as that; especially as only the clover was of much
importance. But it seemed to me like a sort of triumph
that they should be even able to boast of having fired
our mow-yard. Therefore I stood in a nick of the
clover, whence we had cut some trusses, with my club in
hand, and gun close by.

The robbers rode into our yard as coolly as if they had
been invited, having lifted the gate from the hinges
first on account of its being fastened. Then they
actually opened our stable-doors, and turned our
honest horses out, and put their own rogues in the
place of them. At this my breath was quite taken away;
for we think so much of our horses. By this time I
could see our troopers, waiting in the shadow of the
house, round the corner from where the Doones were, and
expecting the order to fire. But Jeremy Stickles very
wisely kept them in readiness, until the enemy should
advance upon them.

'Two of you lazy fellows go,' it was the deep voice of
Carver Doone, 'and make us a light, to cut their
throats by. Only one thing, once again. If any man
touches Lorna, I will stab him where he stands. She
belongs to me. There are two other young damsels here,
whom you may take away if you please. And the mother,
I hear, is still comely. Now for our rights. We have
borne too long the insolence of these yokels. Kill
every man, and every child, and burn the cursed place

As he spoke thus blasphemously, I set my gun against
his breast; and by the light buckled from his belt, I
saw the little 'sight' of brass gleaming alike upon
either side, and the sleek round barrel glimmering.
The aim was sure as death itself. If I only drew the
trigger (which went very lighily) Carver Doone would
breathe no more. And yet--will you believe me?--I
could not pull the trigger. Would to God that I had
done so!

For I never had taken human life, neither done bodily
harm to man; beyond the little bruises, and the
trifling aches and pains, which follow a good and
honest bout in the wrestling ring. Therefore I dropped
my carbine, and grasped again my club, which seemed a
more straight-forward implement.

Presently two young men came towards me, bearing brands
of resined hemp, kindled from Carver's lamp. The
foremost of them set his torch to the rick within a
yard of me, and smoke concealing me from him. I struck
him with a back-handed blow on the elbow, as he bent
it; and I heard the bone of his arm break, as clearly
as ever I heard a twig snap. With a roar of pain he
fell on the ground, and his torch dropped there, and
singed him. The other man stood amazed at this, not
having yet gained sight of me; till I caught his
firebrand from his hand, and struck it into his
countenance. With that he leaped at me; but I caught
him, in a manner learned from early wrestling, and
snapped his collar-bone, as I laid him upon the top of
his comrade.

This little success so encouraged me, that I was half
inclined to advance, and challenge Carver Doone to meet
me; but I bore in mind that he would be apt to shoot me
without ceremony; and what is the utmost of human
strength against the power of powder? Moreover, I
remembered my promise to sweet Lorna; and who would be
left to defend her, if the rogues got rid of me?

While I was hesitating thus (for I always continue to
hesitate, except in actual conflict), a blaze of fire
lit up the house, and brown smoke hung around it. Six
of our men had let go at the Doones, by Jeremy
Stickles' order, as the villains came swaggering down
in the moonlight ready for rape or murder. Two of them
fell, and the rest hung back, to think at their leisure
what this was. They were not used to this sort of
thing: it was neither just nor courteous.

Being unable any longer to contain myself, as I thought
of Lorna's excitement at all this noise of firing, I
came across the yard, expecting whether they would
shoot at me. However, no one shot at me; and I went up
to Carver Doone, whom I knew by his size in the
moonlight, and I took him by the beard, and said, 'Do
you call yourself a man?'

For a moment he was so astonished that he could not
answer. None had ever dared, I suppose, to look at him
in that way; and he saw that he had met his equal, or
perhaps his master. And then he tried a pistol at me,
but I was too quick for him.

'Now, Carver Doone, take warning,' I said to him, very
soberly; 'you have shown yourself a fool by your
contempt of me. I may not be your match in craft; but
I am in manhood. You are a despicable villain. Lie
low in your native muck.'

And with that word, I laid him flat upon his back in
our straw-yard, by a trick of the inner heel, which he
could not have resisted (though his strength had been
twice as great as mine), unless he were a wrestler.
Seeing him down the others ran, though one of them made
a shot at me, and some of them got their horses, before
our men came up; and some went away without them. And
among these last was Captain Carver who arose, while I
was feeling myself (for I had a little wound), and
strode away with a train of curses enough to poison the
light of the moon.

We gained six very good horses, by this attempted
rapine, as well as two young prisoners, whom I had
smitten by the clover-rick. And two dead Doones were
left behind, whom (as we buried them in the churchyard,
without any service over them), I for my part was most
thankful that I had not killed. For to have the life
of a fellow-man laid upon one's conscience--deserved he
his death, or deserved it not--is to my sense of right
and wrong the heaviest of all burdens; and the one that
wears most deeply inwards, with the dwelling of the
mind on this view and on that of it.

I was inclined to pursue the enemy and try to capture
more of them; but Jeremy Stickles would not allow it,
for he said that all the advantage would be upon their
side, if we went hurrying after them, with only the
moon to guide us. And who could tell but what there
might be another band of them, ready to fall upon the
house, and burn it, and seize the women, if we left
them unprotected? When he put the case thus, I was
glad enough to abide by his decision. And one thing
was quite certain, that the Doones had never before
received so rude a shock, and so violent a blow to
their supremacy, since first they had built up their
power, and become the Lords of Exmoor. I knew that
Carver Doone would gnash those mighty teeth of his, and
curse the men around him, for the blunder (which was in
truth his own) of over-confidence and carelessness.
And at the same time, all the rest would feel that such
a thing had never happened, while old Sir Ensor was
alive; and that it was caused by nothing short of gross

I scarcely know who made the greatest fuss about my
little wound, mother, or Annie, or Lorna. I was
heartily ashamed to be so treated like a milksop; but
most unluckily it had been impossible to hide it. For
the ball had cut along my temple, just above the
eyebrow; and being fired so near at hand, the powder
too had scarred me. Therefore it seemed a great deal
worse than it really was; and the sponging, and the
plastering, and the sobbing, and the moaning, made me
quite ashamed to look Master Stickles in the face.

However, at last I persuaded them that I had no
intention of giving up the ghost that night; and then
they all fell to, and thanked God with an emphasis
quite unknown in church. And hereupon Master Stickles
said, in his free and easy manner (for no one courted
his observation), that I was the luckiest of all
mortals in having a mother, and a sister, and a
sweetheart, to make much of me. For his part, he said,
he was just as well off in not having any to care for
him. For now he might go and get shot, or stabbed, or
knocked on the head, at his pleasure, without any one
being offended. I made bold, upon this, to ask him
what was become of his wife; for I had heard him speak
of having one. He said that he neither knew nor
cared; and perhaps I should be like him some day. That
Lorna should hear such sentiments was very grievous to
me. But she looked at me with a smile, which proved
her contempt for all such ideas; and lest anything
still more unfit might be said, I dismissed the

But Master Stickles told me afterwards, when there was
no one with us, to have no faith in any woman, whatever
she might seem to be. For he assured me that now he
possessed very large experience, for so small a matter;
being thoroughly acquainted with women of every class,
from ladies of the highest blood, to Bonarobas, and
peasants' wives: and that they all might be divided
into three heads and no more; that is to say as
follows. First, the very hot and passionate, who were
only contemptible; second, the cold and indifferent,
who were simply odious; and third, the mixture of the
other two, who had the bad qualities of both. As for
reason, none of them had it; it was like a sealed book
to them, which if they ever tried to open, they began
at the back of the cover.

Now I did not like to hear such things; and to me they
appeared to be insolent, as well as narrow-minded. For
if you came to that, why might not men, as well as
women, be divided into the same three classes, and be
pronounced upon by women, as beings even more devoid
than their gentle judges of reason? Moreover, I knew,
both from my own sense, and from the greatest of all
great poets, that there are, and always have been,
plenty of women, good, and gentle, warm-hearted,
loving, and lovable; very keen, moreover, at seeing the
right, be it by reason, or otherwise. And upon the
whole, I prefer them much to the people of my own sex,
as goodness of heart is more important than to show
good reason for having it. And so I said to Jeremy,--

'You have been ill-treated, perhaps, Master Stickles,
by some woman or other?'

'Ah, that have I,' he replied with an oath; 'and the
last on earth who should serve me so, the woman who was
my wife. A woman whom I never struck, never wronged in
any way, never even let her know that I like another
better. And yet when I was at Berwick last, with the
regiment on guard there against those vile
moss-troopers, what does that woman do but fly in the
face of all authority, and of my especial business, by
running away herself with the biggest of all
moss-troopers? Not that I cared a groat about her; and
I wish the fool well rid of her: but the insolence of
the thing was such that everybody laughed at me; and
back I went to London, losing a far better and safer
job than this; and all through her. Come, let's have
another onion.'

Master Stickles's view of the matter was so entirely
unromantic, that I scarcely wondered at Mistress
Stickles for having run away from him to an adventurous
moss-trooper. For nine women out of ten must have some
kind of romance or other, to make their lives
endurable; and when their love has lost this attractive
element, this soft dew-fog (if such it be), the love
itself is apt to languish; unless its bloom be well
replaced by the budding hopes of children. Now Master
Stickles neither had, nor wished to have, any children.

Without waiting for any warrant, only saying something
about 'captus in flagrante delicto,'--if that be the
way to spell it--Stickles sent our prisoners off,
bound and looking miserable, to the jail at Taunton. I
was desirous to let them go free, if they would promise
amendment; but although I had taken them, and surely
therefore had every right to let them go again, Master
Stickles said, 'Not so.' He assured me that it was a
matter of public polity; and of course, not knowing
what he meant, I could not contradict him; but thought
that surely my private rights ought to be respected.
For if I throw a man in wrestling, I expect to get his
stakes; and if I take a man prisoner--why, he ought, in
common justice, to belong to me, and I have a good
right to let him go, if I think proper to do so.
However, Master Stickles said that I was quite
benighted, and knew nothing of the Constitution; which
was the very thing I knew, beyond any man in our

Nevertheless, it was not for me to contradict a
commissioner; and therefore I let my prisoners go, and
wished them a happy deliverance. Stickles replied,
with a merry grin, that if ever they got it, it would
be a jail deliverance, and the bliss of dancing; and he
laid his hand to his throat in a manner which seemed to
me most uncourteous. However, his foresight proved too
correct; for both those poor fellows were executed,
soon after the next assizes. Lorna had done her very
best to earn another chance for them; even going down
on her knees to that common Jeremy, and pleading with
great tears for them. However, although much moved by
her, he vowed that he durst do nothing else. To set
them free was more than his own life was worth; for all
the country knew, by this time, that two captive Doones
were roped to the cider-press at Plover's Barrows.
Annie bound the broken arm of the one whom I had
knocked down with the club, and I myself supported it;
and then she washed and rubbed with lard the face of
the other poor fellow, which the torch had injured; and
I fetched back his collar-bone to the best of my
ability. For before any surgeon could arrive, they
were off with a well-armed escort. That day we were
reinforced so strongly from the stations along the
coast, even as far as Minehead, that we not only feared
no further attack, but even talked of assaulting Glen
Doone, without waiting for the train-bands. However, I
thought that it would be mean to take advantage of the
enemy in the thick of the floods and confusion; and
several of the others thought so too, and did not like
fighting in water. Therefore it was resolved to wait
and keep a watch upon the valley, and let the floods go
down again.



Now the business I had most at heart (as every one
knows by this time) was to marry Lorna as soon as might
be, if she had no objection, and then to work the farm
so well, as to nourish all our family. And herein I
saw no difficulty; for Annie would soon be off our
hands, and somebody might come and take a fancy to
little Lizzie (who was growing up very nicely now,
though not so fine as Annie); moreover, we were almost
sure to have great store of hay and corn after so much
snow, if there be any truth in the old saying,--

"A foot deep of rain
Will kill hay and grain;
But three feet of snow
Will make them come mo'."

And although it was too true that we had lost a many
cattle, yet even so we had not lost money; for the few
remaining fetched such prices as were never known
before. And though we grumbled with all our hearts,
and really believed, at one time, that starvation was
upon us, I doubt whether, on the whole, we were not the
fatter, and the richer, and the wiser for that winter.
And I might have said the happier, except for the
sorrow which we felt at the failures among our
neighbours. The Snowes lost every sheep they had, and
nine out of ten horned cattle; and poor Jasper Kebby
would have been forced to throw up the lease of his
farm, and perhaps to go to prison, but for the help we
gave him.

However, my dear mother would have it that Lorna was
too young, as yet, to think of being married: and
indeed I myself was compelled to admit that her form
was becoming more perfect and lovely; though I had not
thought it possible. And another difficulty was, that
as we had all been Protestants from the time of Queen
Elizabeth, the maiden must be converted first, and
taught to hate all Papists. Now Lorna had not the
smallest idea of ever being converted. She said that
she loved me truly, but wanted not to convert me; and
if I loved her equally, why should I wish to convert
her? With this I was tolerably content, not seeing so
very much difference between a creed and a credo, and
believing God to be our Father, in Latin as well as
English. Moreover, my darling knew but little of the
Popish ways--whether excellent or otherwise--inasmuch
as the Doones, though they stole their houses, or at
least the joiner's work, had never been tempted enough
by the devil to steal either church or chapel.

Lorna came to our little church, when Parson Bowden
reappeared after the snow was over; and she said that
all was very nice, and very like what she had seen in
the time of her Aunt Sabina, when they went far away to
the little chapel, with a shilling in their gloves. It
made the tears come into her eyes, by the force of
memory, when Parson Bowden did the things, not so
gracefully nor so well, yet with pleasant imitation of
her old Priest's sacred rites.

'He is a worthy man,' she said, being used to talk in
the service time, and my mother was obliged to cough:
'I like him very much indeed: but I wish he would let
me put his things the right way on his shoulders.'

Everybody in our parish, who could walk at all, or hire
a boy and a wheelbarrow, ay, and half the folk from
Countisbury, Brendon, and even Lynmouth, was and were
to be found that Sunday, in our little church of Oare.
People who would not come anigh us, when the Doones
were threatening with carbine and with fire-brand,
flocked in their very best clothes, to see a lady Doone
go to church. Now all this came of that vile John Fry;
I knew it as well as possible; his tongue was worse
than the clacker of a charity-school bell, or the ladle
in the frying-pan, when the bees are swarming.

However, Lorna was not troubled; partly because of her
natural dignity and gentleness; partly because she
never dreamed that the people were come to look at her.
But when we came to the Psalms of the day, with some
vague sense of being stared at more than ought to be,
she dropped the heavy black lace fringing of the velvet
hat she wore, and concealed from the congregation all
except her bright red lips, and the oval snowdrift of
her chin. I touched her hand, and she pressed mine;
and we felt that we were close together, and God saw no
harm in it.

As for Parson Bowden (as worthy a man as ever lived,
and one who could shoot flying), he scarcely knew what
he was doing, without the clerk to help him. He had
borne it very well indeed, when I returned from London;
but to see a live Doone in his church, and a lady
Doone, and a lovely Doone, moreover one engaged to me,
upon whom he almost looked as the Squire of his parish
(although not rightly an Armiger), and to feel that
this lovely Doone was a Papist, and therefore of higher
religion--as all our parsons think--and that she knew
exactly how he ought to do all the service, of which he
himself knew little; I wish to express my firm belief
that all these things together turned Parson Bowden's
head a little, and made him look to me for orders.

My mother, the very best of women, was (as I could well
perceive) a little annoyed and vexed with things. For
this particular occasion, she had procured from
Dulverton, by special message to Ruth Huckaback
(whereof more anon), a head-dress with a feather never
seen before upon Exmoor, to the best of every one's
knowledge. It came from a bird called a flaming
something--a flaming oh, or a flaming ah, I will not be
positive--but I can assure you that it did flame; and
dear mother had no other thought, but that all the
congregation would neither see nor think of any other
mortal thing, or immortal even, to the very end of the

Herein she was so disappointed, that no sooner did she
get home, but upstairs she went at speed, not even
stopping at the mirror in our little parlour, and flung
the whole thing into a cupboard, as I knew by the bang
of the door, having eased the lock for her lately.
Lorna saw there was something wrong; and she looked at
Annie and Lizzie (as more likely to understand it) with
her former timid glance; which I knew so well, and
which had first enslaved me.

'I know not what ails mother,' said Annie, who looked
very beautiful, with lilac lute-string ribbons, which I
saw the Snowe girls envying; 'but she has not attended
to one of the prayers, nor said "Amen," all the
morning. Never fear, darling Lorna, it is nothing
about you. It is something about our John, I am sure;
for she never worries herself very much about anybody
but him.' And here Annie made a look at me, such as I
had had five hundred of.

'You keep your opinions to yourself,' I replied;
because I knew the dear, and her little bits of
jealousy; 'it happens that you are quite wrong, this
time. Lorna, come with me, my darling.'

'Oh yes, Lorna; go with him,' cried Lizzie, dropping
her lip, in a way which you must see to know its
meaning; 'John wants nobody now but you; and none can
find fault with his taste, dear.'

'You little fool, I should think not,' I answered, very
rudely; for, betwixt the lot of them, my Lorna's
eyelashes were quivering; 'now, dearest angel, come
with me; and snap your hands at the whole of them.'

My angel did come, with a sigh, and then with a smile,
when we were alone; but without any unangelic attempt
at snapping her sweet white fingers.

These little things are enough to show that while every
one so admired Lorna, and so kindly took to her, still
there would, just now and then, be petty and paltry
flashes of jealousy concerning her; and perhaps it
could not be otherwise among so many women. However,
we were always doubly kind to her afterwards; and
although her mind was so sensitive and quick that she
must have suffered, she never allowed us to perceive
it, nor lowered herself by resenting it.

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