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More Bywords by Charlotte M. Yonge

Part 4 out of 4

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nothing better, poor old Mamsey, and pottering suits you exactly;
but it is too much to ask me to sacrifice my wider fields of culture
and usefulness.

MRS. M. Grandpapa would enjoy nothing so much as reading with you.
He said so.

C. Oxford half a century old and wearing off ever since. No, I
thank you! Besides, it is not only physical science, but art.

MRS. M. There's the School of Art at Holbrook.

C. My dear mother, I am far past country schools of art!

MRS. M. It is not as if you intended to take up art as a

C. Mother! will nothing ever make you understand? Nothing ought to
be half-studied, merely to pass away the time as an _ACCOMPLISHMENT_
just to do things to sell at bazaars. No! Art with me means work
worthy of exhibition, with a market-price, and founded on a thorough
knowledge of the secrets of the human frame.

MRS. M. Those classes! I don't like all I hear of them, or their

C. If you _WILL_ listen to all the gossip of all the old women of
both sexes, I can't help it! Can't you trust to innocence and

MRS. M. I wish it was the Art College at Wimbledon. Then I should
be quite comfortable about you.

C. Have not we gone into all that already? You know I must go to
the fountain-head, and not be put off with mere feminine, lady-like
studies! Pah! Besides, in lodgings I can be useful. I shall give
two evenings in the week to the East End, to the Society for the
Diversion and Civilisation of the Poor.

MRS. M. Surely there is room for usefulness here! Think of the
children! And for diversion and civilisation, how glad we should be
of your fresh life and brightness among poor people!

C. Such poor! Why, even if grandpapa would let me give a lecture
on geology, or a reading from Dickens, old Prudence Blake would go
about saying it hadn't done nothing for her poor soul.

MRS. M. Grandpapa wanted last winter to have penny readings, only
there was nobody to do it. He would give you full scope for that,
or for lectures.

C. Yes; about vaccination and fresh air! or a reading of John
Gilpin or the Pied Piper. Mamsey, you know a model parish stifles
me. I can't stand your prim school-children, drilled in the
Catechism, and your old women who get out the Bible and the clean
apron when they see you a quarter of a mile off. Free air and open
minds for me! No, I won't have you sighing, mother. You have
returned to your native element, and you must let me return to mine.

MRS. M. Very well, my dear. Perhaps a year or two of study in town
may be due to you, though this is a great disappointment to
grandpapa and me. I know Mrs. Payne will make a pleasant and safe
home for you, if you must be boarded.

C. Too late for that. I always meant to be with Betty Thurston at
Mrs. Kaye's. In fact, I have written to engage my room. So there's
an end of it. Come, come, don't look vexed. It is better to make
an end of it at once. There are things that one must decide for



C. So I settled the matter at once.

B. Quite right, too, Cis.

C. The dear woman was torn every way. Grandpapa and Aunt Phrasie
wanted her to pin me down into the native stodge; and Lucius, like a
true man, went in for subjection: so there was nothing for it but
to put my foot down. And though little mother might moan a little
to me, I knew she would stand up stoutly for me to all the rest, and
vindicate my liberty.

B. To keep you down there. Such a place is very well to breathe in
occasionally, like a whale; but as to living in them--

C. Just hear how they spend the day. First, 7.30, prayers in
church. The dear old man has hammered on at them these forty years,
with a congregation averaging 4 to 2.5.

B. You are surely not expected to attend at that primitive
Christian hour! Cruelty to animals!

C. If I don't, the absence of such an important unit hurts folks'
feelings, and I am driven to the fabrication of excuses. After
breakfast, whatever is available trots off to din the Catechism and
Genesis into the school-children's heads--the only things my
respected forefather cares about teaching them. Of course back
again to the children's lessons.

B. What children?

C. Didn't I explain? Three Indian orphans of my uncle's, turned
upon my grandfather--jolly little kids enough, as long as one hasn't
to teach them.

B. Are governesses unknown in those parts?

C. Too costly; and besides, my mother was designed by nature for a
nursery-governess. She has taught the two elder ones to be
wonderfully good when she is called off. 'The butcher, ma'am'; or,
'Mrs. Tyler wants to speak to you, ma'am'; or, 'Jane Cox is come for
a hospital paper, ma'am.' Then early dinner, of all things
detestable, succeeded by school needlework, mothers' meeting, and
children's walk, combined with district visiting, or reading to old
women. Church again, high tea, and evenings again pleasingly varied
by choir practices, night schools, or silence, while grandpapa
concocts his sermon.

B. Is this the easy life to which Mrs. Moldwarp has retired?

C. It is her native element. People of her generation think it
their vocation to be ladies-of-all-work to the parish of
Stickinthemud cum-Humdrum.

B. All-work indeed!

C. I did not include Sundays, which are one rush of meals, schools,
and services, including harmonium.

B. No society or rational conversation, of course?

C. Adjacent clergy and clergy woman rather less capable of aught
but shop than the natives themselves! You see, even if I did offer
myself as a victim, I couldn't do the thing! Fancy my going on
about the six Mosaic days, and Jonah's whale, and Jael's nail, and
doing their duty in that state of life where it _HAS_ pleased Heaven
to place them.

B. Impossible, my dear! Those things can't be taught--if they are
to be taught--except by those who accept them as entirely as ever;
and it is absurd to think of keeping you where you would be totally
devoid of all intellectual food!


PROF. D. Miss Moldwarp? Is your mother here?

C. No; she is not in town.

PROF. D. Not living there?

C. She lives with my grandfather at Darkglade.

PROF. D. Indeed! I hope Mr. and Mrs. Aveland are well?

C. Thank you, _HE_ is well; but my grandmother is dead.

PROF. D. Oh, I am sorry! I had not heard of his loss. How long
ago did it happen?

C. Last January twelvemonth. My aunt is married, and my mother has
taken her place at home.

PROF. D. Then you are here on a visit. Where are you staying?

C. No, I live here. I am studying in the Slade schools.

PROF. D. This must have greatly changed my dear old friend's life!

C. I did not know that you were acquainted with my grandfather.

PROF. D. I was one of his pupils. I may say that I owe everything
to him. It is long since I have been at Darkglade, but it always
seemed to me an ideal place.

C. Rather out of the world.

PROF. D. Of one sort of world perhaps; but what a beautiful
combination is to be seen there of the highest powers with the
lowliest work! So entirely has he dedicated himself that he really
feels the guidance of a ploughman's soul a higher task than the
grandest achievement in science or literature. By the bye, I hope
he will take up his pen again. It is really wanted. Will you give
him a message from me?

C. How strange! I never knew that he was an author.

PROF. D. Ah! you are a young thing, and these are abstruse

C. Oh! the Fathers and Ritual, I suppose?

PROF. D. No doubt he is a great authority there, as a man of his
ability must be; but I was thinking of a course of scientific papers
he put forth ten years ago, taking up the arguments against
materialism as no one could do who is not as thoroughly at home as
he is in the latest discoveries and hypotheses. He ought to answer
that paper in the CRITICAL WORLD.

C. I was so much interested in that paper.

PROF. D. It has just the speciousness that runs away with young
people. I should like to talk it over with him. Do you think I
should be in the way if I ran down?

C. I should think a visit from you would be an immense pleasure to
him; and I am sure it would be good for the place to be stirred up.

PROF. D. You have not learnt to prize that atmosphere in which
things always seem to assume their true proportion, and to prompt
the cry of St. Bernard's brother--'All earth for me, all heaven for

C. That was surely an outcome of the time when people used to
sacrifice certainties to uncertainties, and spoil life for the sake
of they knew not what.

PROF. D. For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.

STRANGER. Mr. Dunlop! This is an unexpected pleasure!

C. (ALONE). Well, wonders will never cease. The great Professor
Dunlop talking to me quite preachy and goody; and of all people in
the world, the old man at Darkglade turning out to be a great



PROF. D. Thank you, sir. It has been a great pleasure to talk over
these matters with you; I hope a great benefit.

MR. A. I am sure it is a great benefit to us to have a breath from
the outer world. I hope you will never let so long a time go by
without our meeting. Remember, as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a
man's countenance that of his friend.

PROF. D. I shall be only too thankful. I rejoice in the having met
your grand-daughter, who encouraged me to offer myself. Is she
permanently in town?

MR. A. She shows no inclination to return. I hoped she would do so
after the last competition; but there is always another stage to be
mounted. I wish she would come back, for her mother ought not to be
left single-handed; but young people seem to require so much
external education in these days, instead of being content to work
on at home, that I sometimes question which is more effectual,
learning or being taught.

PROF. D. Being poured-upon versus imbibing?

MR. A. It may depend on what amount there is to imbibe; and I
imagine that the child views this region as an arid waste; as of
course we are considerably out of date.

PROF. D. The supply would be a good deal fresher and purer!

MR. A. Do you know anything of her present surroundings?

PROF. D. I confess that I was surprised to meet her with Mrs.
Eyeless, a lady who is active in disseminating Positivism, and all
tending that way. She rather startled me by some of her remarks;
but probably it was only jargon and desire to show off. Have you
seen her lately?

MR. A. At Christmas, but only for a short time, when it struck me
that she treated us with the patronage of precocious youth; and I
thought she made the most of a cold when church or parish was
concerned. I hinted as much; but her mother seemed quite satisfied.
Poor girl! Have I been blind? I did not like her going to live at
one of those boarding-houses for lady students. Do you know
anything of them?

PROF. D. Of course all depends on the individual lady at the head,
and the responsibility she undertakes, as well as on the tone of the
inmates. With some, it would be only staying in a safe and guarded
home. In others, there is a great amount of liberty, the girls
going out without inquiry whether, with whom, or when they return.

MR. A. American fashion! Well, they say young women are equal to
taking care of themselves. I wonder whether my daughter understands
this, or whether it is so at Cecilia's abode. Do you know?

PROF. D. I am afraid I do. The niece of a friend of mine was
there, and left it, much distressed and confused by the agnostic
opinions that were freely broached there. How did your grand-
daughter come to choose it?

MR. A. For the sake of being with a friend. I think Thurston is
the name.

PROF. D. I know something of that family; clever people, but bred
up--on principle, if it can be so called, with their minds a blank
as to religion. I remember seeing one of the daughters at the party
where I met Miss Moldwarp.

MR. A. So this is the society into which we have allowed our poor
child to run! I blame myself exceedingly for not having made more
inquiries. Grief made me selfishly passive, or I should have opened
my eyes and theirs to the danger. My poor Mary, what a shock it
will be to her!

PROF. D. Was not she on the spot?

MR. A. True; but, poor dear, she is of a gentle nature, easily led,
and seeing only what her affection lets her perceive. And now, she
is not strong.

PROF. D. She is not looking well.

MR. A. You think so! I wonder whether I have been blind, and let
her undertake too much.

PROF. D. Suppose you were to bring her to town for a few days. We
should be delighted to have you, and she could see the doctor to
whom she is accustomed. Then you can judge for yourself about her

MR. A. Thank you, Dunlop! It will be a great comfort if it can be



MRS. H. I wanted to speak to you, Cissy.

C. I thought so!

MRS. H. What do you think of your mother?

C. Poor old darling. They have been worrying her till she has got
hipped and nervous about herself.

MRS. H. Do you know what spasms she has been having?

C. Oh! mother has had spasms as long as I can remember; and the
more she thinks of them the worse they are. I have often heard her
say so.

MRS. H. Yes; she has gone on much too long overworking herself, and
not letting your grandfather suspect anything amiss.

C. Nerves. That is what it always is.

MRS. H. Dr. Brownlow says there is failure of heart, not dangerous
or advanced at present, but that there is an overstrain of all the
powers, and that unless she keeps fairly quiet, and free from hurry
and worry, there may be very serious, if not fatal attacks.

C. I never did think much of Dr. Brownlow. He told me my
palpitations were nothing but indigestion, and I am sure they were

MRS. H. Well, Cissy, something must be done to relieve your mother
of some of her burthens.

C. I see what you are driving at, Aunt Phrasie; but I cannot go
back till I have finished these courses. There's my picture,
there's the cookery school, the ambulance lectures, and our
sketching tour in August. Ever so many engagements. I shall be
free in the autumn, and then I will go down and see about it. I
told mother so.

MRS. H. All the hot trying months of summer without help!

C. I never can understand why they don't have a governess.

MRS. H. Can't you? Is there not a considerable outgoing on your

C. That is my own. I am not bound to educate my uncle's children
at my expense.

MRS. H. No; but if you contributed your share to the housekeeping,
you would make a difference, and surely you cannot leave your mother
to break down her health by overworking herself in this manner.

C. Why does grandpapa let her do so?

MRS. H. Partly he does not see, partly he cannot help it. He has
been so entirely accustomed to have all those family and parish
details taken off his hands, and borne easily as they were when your
dear grandmamma and I were both there at home, that he cannot
understand that they can be over much--especially as they are so
small in themselves. Besides, he is not so young as he was, and
your dear mother cannot bear to trouble him.

C. Well, I shall go there in September and see about it. It is
impossible before.

MRS. H. In the hopping holidays, when the stress of work is over!
Cannot you see with your own eyes how fagged and ill your mother
looks, and how much she wants help?

C. Oh! she will be all right again after this rest. I tell you,
Aunt Phrasie, it is _IMPOSSIBLE_ at present--(CAB STOPS).



MRS. H. I have done my best, but I can't move her an inch.

MRS. M. Poor dear girl! Yet it seems hardly fair to make my health
the lever, when really there is nothing serious the matter.

MRS. H. I can't understand the infatuation. Can there be any love

MRS. M. Oh no, Phrasie; it is worse!

MRS. H. Worse! Mary, what can you mean?

MRS. M. Yes, it _IS_ worse. I got at the whole truth yesterday.
My poor child's faith has gone! Oh, how could I let her go and let
her mingle among all those people, all unguarded!

MRS. H. Do you mean that this is the real reason that she will not
come home?

MRS. M. Yes; she told me plainly at last that she could not stand
our round of services. They seem empty and obsolete to her, and she
could not feign to attend them or vex us, and cause remarks by
staying away, and of course she neither could nor would teach
anything but secular matters. 'My coming would be nothing but pain
to everybody,' she said.

MRS H. You did not tell me this before my drive with her.

MRS. M. No, I never saw you alone; besides, I thought you would
speak more freely without the knowledge. And, to tell the truth, I
did think it possible that consideration for me might bring my poor
Cissy down to us, and that when once under my father's influence,
all these mists might clear away. But I do not deserve it. I have
been an unfaithful parent, shutting my eyes in feeble indulgence,
and letting her drift into these quicksands.

MRS. H. Fashion and imitation, my dear Mary; it will pass away.
Now, you are not to talk any more.

MRS. M. I can't-- (A SPASM COMES ON.)



MRS. H. Yes, Lucius, we have all much to reproach ourselves with;
even poor grandpapa is heart-broken at having been too much absorbed
to perceive how your dear mother was overtasked.

L. You did all you could, aunt; you took home one child, and caused
the other to be sent to school.

MRS. H. Yes, too late to be of any use.

L. And after all, I don't think it was overwork that broke the poor
dear one down, so much as grief at that wretched sister of mine.

MRS. H. Don't speak of her in that way, Lucius.

L. How can I help it? I could say worse!

MRS. H. She is broken-hearted, poor thing.

L. Well she may be.

MRS. H. Ah, the special point of sorrow to your dear mother was
that she blamed herself, for--

L. How could she? How can you say so, aunt?

MRS. H. Wait a moment, Lucius. What grieved her was the giving in
to Cissy's determination, seeing with her eyes, and not allowing
herself to perceive that what she wished might not be good for her.

L. Cissy always did domineer over mother.

MRS. H. Yes; and your mother was so used to thinking Cissy's
judgment right that she never could or would see when it was time to
make a stand, and prevent her own first impressions from being
talked down as old-fashioned,--letting her eyes be bandaged, in

L. So she vexed herself over Cissy's fault; but did not you try to
make Cissy see what she was about?

MRS. H. True; but if love had blinded my dear sister, Cissy was
doubly blinded--

L. By conceit and self-will.

MRS. H. Poor girl, I am too sorry for her now to use those hard
words, but I am afraid it is true. First she could or would not see
either that her companions might be undesirable guides, or that her
duty lay here, and then nothing would show her that her mother's
health was failing. Indeed, by that time the sort of blindness had
come upon her which really broke your mother's heart.

L. You mean her unbelief, agnosticism, or whatever she chooses to
call it. I thought at least women were safe from that style of
thing. It is all fashion and bad company, I suppose?

MRS. H. I hope and pray that it may be so; but I am afraid that it
goes deeper than you imagine. Still, I see hope in her extreme
unhappiness, and in the remembrance of your dear mother's last words
and prayers.



MR. A. My dear child, I wish I could do anything for you.

C. You had better let me go back to London, grandpapa.

MR. A. Do you really wish it?

C. I don't know. I hate it all; but if I were in the midst of
everything again, it might stifle the pain a little.

MR. A. I am afraid that is not the right way of curing it.

C. Oh, I suppose it will wear down in time.

MR. A. Is that well?

C. I don't know. It is only unbearable as it is; and yet when I
think of my life in town, the din and the chatter and the bustle,
and the nobody caring, seem doubly intolerable; but I shall work off
that. You had better let me go, grandpapa. The sight of me can be
nothing but a grief and pain to you.

MR. A. No; it gives me hope.

C. Hope of what?

MR. A. That away from the whirl you will find your way to peace.

C. I don't see how. Quiet only makes me more miserable.

MR. A. My poor child, if you can speak out and tell me exactly how
it is with you, I think it might be comfortable to you. If it is
the missing your mother, and blaming yourself for having allowed her
to overdo herself, I may well share with you in that. I feel most
grievously that I never perceived how much she was undertaking, nor
how she flagged under it. Unselfish people want others to think for
them, and I did not.

C. Dear grandpapa, it would not have been too much if I had come
and helped. I know that; but it is not the worst. You can't feel
as I do--that if my desertion led to her overworking herself, Aunt
Phrasie and Lucius say that what really broke her down was the
opinions I cannot help having. Say it was not, grandpapa.

MR. A. I wish I could, my dear; but I cannot conceal that
unhappiness about you, and regret for having let you expose yourself
to those unfortunate arguments, broke her spirits so that her
energies were unequal to the strain that I allowed to be laid on

C. Poor dear mother! And you and she can feel in that way about
the importance of what to me seems--pardon me, grandpapa--utterly

MR. A. You hold everything unproved that you cannot work out like a
mathematical demonstration.

C. I can't help it, grandpapa. I read and read, till all the
premises become lost in the cloud of myths that belong to all
nations. I don't want to think such things. I saw dear mother rest
on her belief, and grow peaceful. They were perfect realities to
her; but I cannot unthink. I would give anything to think that she
is in perfect happiness now, and that we shall meet again; but
nothing seems certain to me. All is extinguished.

MR. A. How do you mean?

C. They--Betty and her set, I mean--laughed at and argued one thing
after another, till they showed me that there were no positive
grounds to go on.

MR. A. No material grounds.

C. And what else is certain?

MR. A. Do you think your mother was not certain?

C. I saw she was; I see you are certain. But what am I to do? I
cannot unthink.

MR. A. Poor child, they have loosed you from the shore, because you
could not see it, and left you to flounder in the waves.

C. Well, so I feel it sometimes; but if I could only feel that
there was a shore, I would try to get my foothold. Oh, with all my

MR. A. Will you take my word, dear child--the word of one who can
dare humbly to say he has proved it, so as to be as sure as of the
floor we are standing on, that that Rock exists; and God grant that
you may, in prayer and patience, be brought to rest on it once more.

C. Once more! I don't think I ever did so really. I only did not
think, and kept away from what was dull and tiresome. Didn't you
read something about 'If thou hadst known--'

MR. A. 'If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day,
the things that belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from
thine eyes.' But oh, my dear girl, it is my hope and prayer, not
for ever. If you will endure to walk in darkness for a while, till
the light be again revealed to you.

C. At any rate, dear grandfather, I will do what mother entreated,
and not leave you alone.



C. Grandpapa, may I come with you on Christmas morning?

MR. A. You make me a truly happy Christmas, dear child.

C. I think I feel somewhat as St. Thomas did, in to-day's Gospel.
It went home to my heart

MR. A. Ah, child, to us that 'Blessed are they who have not seen
and yet have believed,' must mean those who are ready to know by
faith instead of material tangible proof.


You ask me why I call that old great-grandmother black cat Chops?
Well, thereby hangs a tale. I don't mean the black tail which is
standing upright and quivering at your caresses, but a story that
there will be time to tell you before Charlie gets home from market.

Seven years ago, Charlie had just finished his training both at an
agricultural college and under a farmer, and was thinking of going
out to Texas or to Canada, and sending for me when he should have
been able to make a new home for me, when his godfather, Mr. Newton,
offered to let him come down and look after the draining and
otherwise reclaiming of this great piece of waste land. It had come
to Mr. Newton through some mortgages, I believe, and he thought
something might be made of it by an active agent. It was the first
time Mr. Newton had shown the least interest in us, though he was a
cousin of our poor mother's; and Charlie was very much gratified,
more especially as when he had 150 pounds a year and a house, he
thought I might leave the school where I was working as a teacher,
and make a home with him.

Yes, this is the house; but it has grown a good deal since we
settled down, and will grow more before you come to it for good.
Then it was only meant for a superior sort of gamekeeper, and had
only six rooms in it--parlour, kitchen, and back kitchen, and three
bedrooms above them; but this we agreed would be ample for ourselves
and Betsey, an old servant of our mother's, who could turn her hand
to anything, and on the break-up of our home had begged to join us
again whenever or wherever we should have a house of our own once

We have half a dozen cottages near us now; but then it seemed to us
like a lodge in a vast wilderness--three miles away from everything,
shop, house, or church. Betsey fairly sat down and cried when she
heard how far away was the butcher, and it really seemed as if we
were to have the inconveniences of colonisation without the honour
of it. However, contrivances made us merry; we made our rooms
pretty and pleasant, and as a pony and trap were essential to
Charlie in his work, we were able to fetch and carry easily.
Moreover, we had already a fair kitchen garden laid out, and there
were outhouses for pigs and poultry, so that even while draining and
fencing were going on, we raised a good proportion of our own
provisions, and very proud of them we were; our own mustard and
cress, which we sowed in our initials, tasted doubly sweet when we
reaped them as our earliest crop.

Mr. Newton had always said that some day he should drop down and see
how Charles was getting on, but as he hardly ever stirred from his
office in London, and only answered letters in the briefest and most
business-like way, we had pretty well left off expecting him.

We had been here about six months, and had killed our first pig--'a
pretty little porker as ever was seen,' as Betsey said. It was hard
to understand, after all the petting, admiration, and back-
scratching Betsey had bestowed on him, how ready she was to sentence
him, and triumph in his death; while I, feeble-minded creature,
delayed rising in the morning that I might cower under the
bedclothes and stop my ears against his dying squeals. However,
when he was no more, the housekeeping spirit triumphed in our
independence of the butcher, while his fry and other delicacies
lasted, and Betsey was supremely happy over the saltings of the
legs, etc., with a view to the more distant future.

It was a cold day of early spring. I had been down the lanes and
brought in five tiny starved primroses with short stems, for which
Betsey scolded me soundly, telling me that the first brood of
chickens was always the same in number as the first primroses
brought into the house. I eked them out with moss in a saucer, and
then, how well I remember the foolish, weary feeling that I wished
something would happen to break the quiet. We were out of the reach
of new books, and the two magazines we took in would not be due for
ten long days. I did not feel sensible or energetic enough to turn
to one of the standard well-bound volumes that had been Charlie's
school prizes, and at the moment I hated my needlework, both steady
sewing and fancy work. It was the same with my piano. I had no new
fashionable music, and I was in a mood to disdain what was good and
classical. So, as the twilight came on, I sat drearily by the fire,
fondling the cat--yes, this same black cat--and thinking that my
life at the ladies' college had been a good deal livelier, and that
if I had given it up for the sake of my brother's society, I had
very little of that.

The hunt had gone by last week--what a treat it would be if some one
would meet with a little accident and be carried in here!

Behold, I heard a step at the back door, and the loud call of
'Kitty! Kitty!' There stood Charlie, as usual covered with clay
nearly up to the top of his gaiters--clay either pale yellow, or
horrid light blue, according to the direction of his walk. He was
beginning frantically to unbutton them, and as he beheld me he cried
out, 'Kitty! he's coming!' and before I could say, 'Who?' he went
on, 'Old Newton. His fly is working through the mud in Draggletail
Lane. The driver hailed me to ask the way, and when I saw who it
was, I cut across to give you notice. He'll stay the night to a
dead certainty.'

What was to be done? A wild hope seized me that, at sight of the
place, he would retain his fly and go off elsewhere for better

Only, where would he find it? The nearest town, where the only
railway station then was, was eight miles off, and he was not likely
to plod back thither again, and the village inn, five miles away,
was little more than a pot-house.

No, we must rise to the occasion, Betsey and I, while Charlie was
making himself respectable to receive the guest. Where was he to
sleep? What was he to eat? A daintily fed, rather hypochrondriacal
old bachelor, who seldom stirred out of his comfortable house in
London. What a guest for us!

The council was held while the gaiters were being unbuttoned. He
must have my room, and I would sleep with Betsey. As to food, it
was impossible to send to the butcher; and even if I could have
sacrificed my precious Dorking fowls, there would have been scant
time to prepare them.

There was nothing for it but to give him the pork chops, intended
for our to-morrow's dinner, and if he did not like them, he might
fall back upon poached eggs and rashers.

'Mind,' called Charlie, as I dashed into my room to remove my
properties and light the fire, so that it might get over its first
smoking fit,--'mind you lock up the cat. He hates them like

It was so long before the carriage appeared, that I began half to
hope, half to fear, it was a false alarm; but at last, just as it
was perfectly dark, we heard it stop at the garden gate, and Charlie
dashed out to open the fly door, and bring in the guest, who was
panting, nervous--almost terrified, at a wild drive, so contrary to
all his experiences. When the flyman's demands had been appeased,
and we had got the poor old gentleman out of his wraps, he turned
out to be a neat, little, prim-looking London lawyer, clean-shaved,
and with an indoor complexion. I daresay Charlie, with his big
frame, sunburnt face, curly beard, and loud hearty voice, seemed to
him like a kind of savage, and he thought he had got among the

After all, he had written to announce his coming. But he had not
calculated on our never getting our letters unless we sent for them.
He was the very pink of politeness to me, and mourned so much over
putting me to inconvenience that we could only profess our delight
and desire to make him comfortable.

On the whole, it went off very well. I gave him a cup of tea to
warm and occupy him while the upstairs' chimney was coming to its
senses; and then Charles took him upstairs. He reappeared in
precise evening dress, putting us to shame; for Charles had not a
dress-coat big enough for him to get into, and I had forgotten to
secure my black silk before abandoning my room. We could not ask
him to eat in the best kitchen, as was our practice, and he showed
himself rather dismayed at our having only one sitting-room, saying
he had not thought the cottage such a dog-hole, or known that it
would be inhabited by a lady; and then he paid some pretty
compliment on the feminine hand evident in the room. We had laid
the table before he came down, but the waiting was managed by
ourselves, or rather, by Charles, for Mr. Newton's politeness made
him jump up whenever I moved; so that I had to sit still and do the
lady hostess, while my brother changed plates and brought in relays
of the chops from the kitchen. They were a great success. Mr.
Newton eyed them for a moment distrustfully, but Betsey had turned
them out beautifully--all fair and delicate with transparent fat,
and a brown stripe telling of the gridiron. He refused the egg
alternative, and greatly enjoyed them and our Brussels sprouts,
speaking highly of the pleasure of country fare, and apologising
about the good appetising effects of a journey, when Charlie tempted
him with a third chop, the hottest and most perfect of all.

I think we also produced a rhubarb tart, and I know he commended our
prudence in having no wine, and though he refused my brother's ale,
seemed highly satisfied with a tumbler of brandy and water, when I
quitted the gentlemen to see to the coffee, while they talked over
the scheme for farm-buildings, which Charlie had sent up to him.

When I bade him good-night, a couple of hours later, he was
evidently in a serene state of mind, regarding us as very superior
young people.

In the middle of the night, Betsey and I were appalled by a
tremendous knocking on the wall. I threw on a dressing-gown and
made for the door, while Betsey felt for the matches. As I opened a
crack of the door, Charlie's voice was to be heard, 'Yes, yes; I'll
get you some, sir. You'll be better presently,' interspersed with
heavy groans; then, seeing me wide awake, he begged that Betsey
would go down and get some hot water--'and mustard,' called out a
suffering voice. 'Oh, those chops!'

Poor Mr. Newton had, it appeared, wakened with a horrible oppression
on his chest, and at once attributing it to his unwonted meal of
pork chops, he had begun, in the dark, knocking and calling with
great energy. Charlie had stumbled in in the dark, not waiting to
light a candle, and indeed ours were chiefly lamps, which took time
to light. Betsey had hers, however, and had bustled into some
clothes, tumbling downstairs to see whether any water were still hot
in the copper, Charlie running down to help her, while I fumbled
about for a lamp and listened with awe to the groans from within,
wondering which of us would have to go for the doctor.

Up came Charlie, in his shirt sleeves, with a steaming jug in one
hand and a lamp in the other. Up came Betsey, in a scarlet
petticoat and plaid shawl, her gray locks in curl-papers, and a
tallow-candle in hand. The door was thrown open, Charlie observing,

'Now, sir,' then breaking out into 'Thunder and turf' (his favourite
Hibernian ejaculation); 'Ssssssss!' and therewith, her green eyes
all one glare, out burst this cat! She was the nightmare! She had
been sitting on the unfortunate man's chest, and all her weight had
been laid to the score of the chops!

No doubt she had been attracted by the fire, stolen up in the
confusion of the house, remained hidden whilst Mr. Newton was going
to bed, and when the fire went out, settled herself on his chest, as
it seems he slept on his back, and it was a warm position.

Probably his knockings on the wall dislodged her; but if so,
imagination carried on the sense of oppression, and with feline
pertinacity she had returned as soon as he was still again.

Poor old gentleman! I am afraid he heard some irrepressible
laughter, and it was very sore to him to be ridiculous. His grave
dignity and politeness when he came down very late the next morning
were something awful, and it must have been very dreadful to him
that he could not get away till half the day was over.

So dry and short was he over matters of business that Charles
actually thought we might begin to pack up and make our arrangements
for emigrating. Grave, dry, and civil as ever, he departed, and I
never saw him more, nor do I think he ever entirely forgave me.
There did not, however, come any dismissal, and when Charlie had
occasion to go up to his office and see him, he was just the same as
ever, and acceded to the various arrangements which have made this a
civilised, though still rather remote place.

And when he died, a year ago, to our surprise we found that this
same reclaimed property was left to my brother. The consequence
whereof you well know, my dear little sister that is to be. Poor
old Chops! you had nearly marred our fortunes; and now, will you go
with me to my home at the Rectory, or do you prefer your old abode
to your old mistress?


{127} [In the book this genealogy is a diagram. It is rendered as
text here.--DP] John Fulford: sons: John Fulford {127a} (married
Margaret Lacy) and Henry {127b}.

{127a} John Fulford and Margaret Lacy: Sir Edward Fulford (married
Avice Lee--died after two years), Arthur, Q.C. (married Edith
Ganler) {127c}, Martyn (Professor, married Mary Alwyn) {127d},
Charlotte, Emily, Margaret (married Rev. H. Druce) {127e}.

{127b} Henry had a son called Henry--whose son was also Henry--
whose daughter was Isabel.

{127c} Arthur, Q.C. and Edith Ganler: Margaret called Metelill,
Charlotte called Charley, Sons not at New Cove.

{127d} Martyn (Professor) and Mary Alwyn: Margaret called Pica,
Avice and Uchtred.

{127e} Margaret and Rev. H. Druce: Jane and large family.

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