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“No particularly good wind, that I only you ought to have a little pleasure know of. Mary showed me your letter sometimes. People have a right to think yesterday, and mother wished me to of themselves and their own happiness come round here on my way home; and a little." so here I am."
“ Perhaps I don't find visiting, and “ And how did the party go off ? I all that sort of thing, as you call it, so long to hear about it."
very miserable. But now, Tom, you saw Very well ; half the county were in my letter that poor Betty's son has there, and it was all very well done." got into trouble ? ?
“ And how did dear Mary look ?” “ Yes; and that is what brought on
“Oh, just as usual. But now, Katie, her attack, you said.” why didn't you come ? Mary and all of “ I believe so.
She was in a sad us were so disappointed.”
state about him all yesterday,—so pain“ I thought you
letter?” fully eager and anxious. She is better Yes, so I did.”
to-day; but still I think it would do her “ Then you know the reason.
good if you would see her, and say you “I don't call it a reason. Really, will be a friend to her son. Would you you have no right to shut yourself up mind ?” from everything. You will be getting " It was just what I wished to do moped to death.”
yesterday. I will do all I can for him, " But do I look moped ?” she said; I'm sure. I always liked him as a boy; and he looked at her, and couldn't help you can tell her that. But I don't feel, admitting to himself, reluctantly, that somehow, to-day, at least, as if I could she did not. So he re-opened fire from do any good by seeing her." another point.
Oh, why not ?" “ You will wear yourself out, nursing “I don't think I'm in the right every old woman in the parish.”
ill ? " “But I don't nurse every old woman.” “Yes, very ill indeed; I don't think
Why, there is no one here but you she can recover.” to-day now," he said, with a motion of “ Well, you see, Katie, I'm not used his head towards the cottage.
to death-beds. I shouldn't say the right “No, because I have let the regular sort of thing." nurse go
home for a few hours. Besides, “How do you mean—the right sort of this is a special case. You don't know
thing?" what a dear old soul Betty is.”
Oh, you know. I couldn't talk to “ Yes, I do; I remember her ever her about her soul. I'm not fit for it, since I was a child.”
and it isn't my place." Ah, I forgot; I have often heard her “ No, indeed, it isn't. But you can talk of you. Then you ought not to be remind her of old times, and say a kind surprised at anything I may do for her.” word about her son."
" She is a good, kind old woman, I “Very well, if you don't think I shall know. But still I must say, Katie, you
do any harm." ought to think of your friends and rela- “ I'm sure it will comfort her. And tions a little, and what you owe to now tell me about yesterday.” society.”
They sat talking for some time in the “ Indeed, I do think of my friends same low tone, and Tom began to forget and relations very much, and I should his causes of quarrel with the world, have liked, of all things, to have been and gave an account of the archery party with you yesterday. You ought to be from his own point of view. Katie saw, pitying me, instead of scolding me.” with a woman's quickness, that he avoided
My dear Katie, you know I didn't mentioning Mary, and smiled to herself, mean to scold you; and nobody admires and drew her own conclusions. the way you give yourself up to visiting, At last, there was a slight movement and all that sort of thing, more than I; in the cottage, and, laying her hand on
Is she very
his arm, she got up quickly, and went gentleman, surely. And how's the in. In a few minutes she came to the Squire, and Madam Brown, and all the door again.
fam’ly ?” “ How is she?” asked Tom.
"Oh, very well, Betty,—they will be “Oh, much the same; but she has so sorry to hear of your illness.” waked without pain, which is a great
“But there ain't no hot bread for un. blessing. Now, are you ready?” 'Tis ill to bake wi' no fuz bushes, and
but you must go with me.” bakers' stuff is poor for hungry folk." “ Come in, then.” She turned, and “I'm within three months as old as he followed into the cottage.
your Harry, you know," said Tom, tryBetty's bed had been moved into the ing to lead her back to the object of his kitchen, for the sake of light and air. visit. He glanced at the corner where it stood "Harry," she repeated, and then colwith almost a feeling of awe, as he fol- lecting herself went on, “our Harry; lowed his cousin on tip-toe. It was all where is he? They have'nt sent un to he could do to recognize the pale, drawn prison, and his mother a dyin' ?” face which lay on the coarse pillow. “Oh no, Betty; he will be here The rush of old memories which the directly. I came to ask whether there sight called up, and the thought of the is anything I can do for you. suffering of his poor old friend, touched “You'll stand by un, poor buoy—our him deeply
Harry, as you used to play wi' when yoti Katie went to the bed-side, and, stoop- was little—'twas they as aggravated un ing down, smoothed the pillow, and so as he couldn't abear it, afore ever he'd placed her hand for a moment on the a struck a fly.” forehead of her patient. Then she look- Yes, Betty; I will see that he has ed up, and beckoned to him, and said, fair play. Don't trouble about that; it in her low, clear voice,
will be all right. You must be quite “Betty, here is an old friend come to quiet, and not trouble yourself about see you ; my cousin, Squire Brown's anything, that you may get well and
You remember him quite a little about again." boy.
“Nay, nay, master Tom. I be gwine The old woman moved her head to- whoam ; ees, I be gwine whoam to my wards the voice and smiled, but gave no maester, Harry's father-I knows I befurther sign of recognition. Tom stole and you'll stand by un when I be gone ; across the floor, and sat down by the and Squire Brown 'll say a good word bed-side.
for un to the magistrates ?" “Oh, yes, Betty," he said, leaning “Yes, Betty, that he will. But you towards her and speaking softly, “you must cheer up, and you'll get better must remember me. Master Tom, yet ; don't be afraid." who used to come to your cottage on “I beant afeard, master Tom: no, baking days for hot bread, you know." bless you, I beant afeard but what the
“To be sure, I minds un, bless his Lord 'll be mussiful to a poor lone little heart,” said the old woman faintly. woman like me, as has had a sore time “Hev he come to see poor Betty? Do'ee of it since my maester died, wi' a hungry let un com, and lift un up so as I med boy like our Harry to kep, back and see un. My sight be getting dim-like." belly; and the rheumatics terrible bad
“Here he is, Betty," said Tom, taking all winter time." her hand-a hard-working hand, lying “I'm sure, Betty, you have done your there with the skin all puckered from duty by him, and every one else.” long and daily acquaintance with the “Dwontee speak o' doin's, master washing-tub—"I'm master Tom.” Tom. 'Tis no doin's o' owrn as 'll make
“Ah, dearee me," she said slowly, any odds where I be gwine." looking at him with lustreless eyes. Tom did not know what to answer; “Well, you be growed into a fine young so he pressed her hand and said,
you went in.
“Well, Betty, I am very glad I have “Well, so you ought to be, according seen you once more ; I shan't forget it. to Cocker, spending all your time in Harry shan't want a friend while I live.” sick rooms.”
“ The Lord bless you, master Tom, According to who ?” for that word,” said the dying woman, "According to Cocker." returning the pressure, as her eyes filled “Who is Cocker ?” with tears. Katie, who had been watch- “Oh, I don't know ; some old fellow ing her carefully from the other side of who wrote the rules of arithmetic, I bethe bed, made him a sign to go.
lieve; it's only a bit of slang. But, I “Good-bye, Betty," he said; “I won't repeat, you have a right to be sad, and forget, you may be sure ; God bless it's taking an unfair advantage of your you ;” and then, disengaging his hand relations to look as pleasant as you do.” gently, went out again into the porch, Katie laughed; "You ought not to where he sat down to wait for his cousin. say so at any rate," she said, “for you
In a few minutes the nurse returned, look all the pleasanter for your visit to and Katie came out of the cottage soon
a sick room. afterwards.
“Did I look very unpleasant before ?" “Now I will walk up home with you,” “Well, I don't think you were in a she said. “ You must come in and see
very good humour." papa. Well, I'm sure you must be glad “No, I was in a very bad humour,
Was not I right?” and talking to you and poor old Betty “Yes, indeed ; I wish I could have has set me right, I think. But you said said something more to comfort her.” her's was a special case. It must be
“You couldn't have said more. It very sad work in general.” was just what she wanted.”
“Only when one sees people in great “But where is her son? I ought to pain, or when they are wicked, and see him before I go.”
quarrelling, or complaining about no“He has gone to the Doctor's for thing; then I do get very low somesome medicine. He will be back soon.” times. But even then it is much better
“Well, I must see him; and I should than keeping to oneself. Anything is like to do something for him at once. better than thinking of oneself, and one's I'm not very flush of money, but I must own troubles." give you something for him. You'll “I dare say you are right," said Tom, take it; I shouldn't like to offer it to recalling his morning's meditations, “eshim."
pecially when one's troubles are home“I hardly think he wants money ; made. Look, here's an old fellow who they are well off now. He earns good gave me a lecture on that subject before vages, and Betty has done her washing I saw you this morning, and took me for up to this week.”
the apothecary's boy.” “Yes, but he will be fined, I suppose, They were almost opposite David's for this assault; and then, if she should door, at which he stood with a piece of die, there will be the funeral expenses." work in his hand. He had seen Miss
Very well; as you please,” she said; Winter from his look-out window, and and Tom proceeded to hand over to her had descended from his board in hopes all his ready money, except a shilling or of hearing news. two. After satisfying his mind thus he Katie returned his respectful and looked at her, and said,
anxious salute, and said, “She is no “Do you know, Katie, I don't think worse, David. We left her quite out of I ever saw you so happy and in such pain and very quiet.” spirits ?”
“Ah, 'tis to be hoped as she'll hev a “There now! And yet you began peaceful time on't now, poor soul,” said talking to me as if I were looking sad David; “I've a been to farmer Grove's, enough to turn all the beer in the parish and I hopes as he'll do summat about sour.”
“I'm glad to hear it,” said Miss saw all things and persons with quite a Winter, “and my cousin here, who knew different pair of eyes from those which Harry very well when they were little he had been provided with when he boys together, has promised to help him. arrived in Englebourn that morning. This is Harry's best friend,” she said to He even made allowances for old Mr. Tom, “who has done more than any one Winter, who was in his usual querulous to keep him right."
state at luncheon, though perhaps it David seemed a little embarrassed, and would have been difficult in the whole began jerking his head about when his
neighbourhood to find a more pertinent acquaintance of the morning, whom he comment on and illustration of the conhad scarcely noticed before, was intro- stable's text than the poor old man duced by Miss Winter as
furnished, with his complaints about his “I wish to do all I can for him," said own health and all he had to do and Tom, “and I'm very glad to have made think of, and everybody about him. It your acquaintance. You must let me did strike Tom, however, as very wonderknow whenever I can help ;" and he ful how such a character as Katie's could took out a card and handed it to David, have grown up under the shade of, and who looked at it, and then said,
in constant contact with, such an one as “And I be to write to you, sir, then, her father's. He wished his uncle goodif Harry gets into troubles”
bye soon after luncheon, and he and “Yes, but we must keep him out of Katie started again down the villagetrouble, even home-made ones, which she to return to her nursing and he on don't leave good marks, you know," said his way home. He led his horse by the Tom.
bridle and walked by her side down the “ And thaay be nine out o'ten o' aal street. She pointed to the Hawk's Lynch as comes to a man, sir,” said David, “as as they walked along, and said, “You I've a told Harry scores o' times.” should ride up there; it is scarcely out
“That seems to be your text, David," of your way. Mary and I used to walk said Tom, laughing.
there every day when she was here, and “Ah, and ’tis a good un too, sir. Ax she was so fond of it.” Miss Winter else. 'Tis a sight better to At the cottage they found Harry, hev the Lord's troubles while you be Winburn. He came out, and the two about it, for thaay as hasn't makes wus young men shook hands, and looked one for theirselves out o' nothin'. Dwon't another over, and exchanged a few shy
sentences. Tom managed with difficulty “Yes ; you know that I agree with to say the little he had to say, but tried
to make up for it by a hearty manner. “Good-bye, then," said Tom, holding It was not the time or place for any unout his hand, “and mind you let me necessary talk; so in a few minutes he hear from you.”
was mounted and riding up the slope to“What a queer old bird, with his wards the heath. “I should say he whole wisdom of man packed up small must be half a stone lighter than I,” he for ready use, like a quack doctor," he thought, “and not quite so tall ; but he said, as soon as they were out of hearing. looks as hard as iron, and tough as whip
"Indeed, he isn't the least like a cord. What a No. 7 he'd make in quack doctor.
I don't know a better a heavy crew! Poor fellow, he seems man in the parish, though he is rather dreadfully cut up. I hope I shall be obstinate, like all the rest of them." able to be of use to him. Now for this
“I didn't mean to say anything place which Katie showed me from the against him, I assure you," said Tom; village street."
on the contrary I think him a fine old He pressed his horse up the steep fellow. But I didn't think so this morn- side of the Hawk's Lynch. The exhilaraing, when he showed me the way to tion of the scramble, and the sense of Betty's cottage.” The fact was that Tom power, and of some slight risk, which
em, Miss ?”
he felt as he helped on the gallant beast peat-cutting and turf-cutting, and many with hand and knee and heel, and the à deep-rutted farm road, and tracks of loose turf and stones flew from his hoofs heather and furze. Over them and and rolled down the hill behind him, through them went horse and manmade his eyes kindle and his pulse beat horse rising seven, and man twenty off, quicker as he reached the top and pulled a well matched pair in age for a wild ride up under the Scotch firs. “This was her headlong towards the north, till a favourite walk, then. No wonder. What blind rut somewhat deeper than usual an air, and what a view !" He jumped put an end to their career, and sent the off his horse, slipped the bridle over his good horse staggering forward some arm and let him pick away at the short thirty feet on to his nose and knees, and grass and tufts of heath as he himself Tom over his shoulder, on to his back first stood, and then sat, and looked out in the heather. over the scene which she had so often “Well, it's lucky it's no worse,' looked over.
She might have sat on thought our hero, as he picked himself the very spot he was sitting on; she up and anxiously examined the horse, must have taken in the same expanse of who stood trembling and looking wildly wood and meadow, village and park, puzzled at the whole proceeding; “I and dreamy, distant hill. Her presence hope he hasn't overreached. What will seemed to fill the air round him. A the governor say? His knees are all rush of new thoughts and feelings swam right. Poor old boy,” he said, patting through his brain and carried him, a no wonder you look astonished. willing piece of drift-man, along with You're not in love. Come along; we them. He gave
won't make fools of ourselves any more. and revelled in them. His eye traced What is it?back the road along which he had ridden'
'A true love forsaken a new love may get, in the morning, and rested on the Barton
But a neck that's once broken can never be set.' woods, just visible in the distance, on this side of the point where all outline What stuff ; one may get a neck set except that of the horizon began to be for anything I know; but a new love lost. The flickering July air seemed to -blasphemy!" beat in a pulse of purple glory over the The rest of the ride passed off soberly spot. The soft wind which blew straight enough, except in Tom's brain, wherein from Barton seemed laden with her
gorgeous succession name, and whispered it in the firs over castles such as—we have all built, I his head. Every nerve in his body was suppose, before now. And with the bounding with new life, and he could castles were built up side by side good sit still no longer. He rose, sprang on honest resolves to be worthy of her, and his horse, and, with a shout of joy, turned win her and worship her with body, and from the vale and rushed away on to mind, and soul. And, as a first instalthe heath, northwards, towards his home ment, away to the winds went all the behind the chalk hills. He had ridden selfish morning thoughts; and he rode into Englebourn in the morning an down the northern slope of the chalk almost unconscious dabbler by the hills a dutiful and affectionate son, at margin of the great stream ; he rode peace with Mrs. Porter, and honouring from the Hawk's Lynch in the afternoon her for her care of the treasure which over head and ears, and twenty, a hun- he was seeking, and in good time for dred, ay, unnumbered fathoms below dinner. that, deep, consciously, and triumphantly “Well, dear,” said Mrs. Brown to her in love.
husband when they were alone that But at what a pace, and in what a night, “ did you ever see Tom in such form ! Love, at least in his first access, spirits, and so gentle and affectionate? must be as blind a horseman as he is Dear boy; there can be nothing the an archer. The heath was rough with matter."