The Baldwin Library
Rm B r
SETTLERS AT HOME
"THE CROFTON BOYS," "THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE," ETC.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: o LAFAYETTE PLACE
BY HARRIET MARTINEAU.
Price is. &6. each, with Frontisfie
THE CROFTON BOYS.
THE PEASANT AND THE PRINCE.
FEATS ON THE FIORD.
TRADITIONS OF PALESTINE.
THE BILLOW AND THE ROCK.
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
I. THE SETTLERS AT HOME . . . . 5
II. NEIGHBORLY OFFICES . . . . 2$
III. ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR . . 38
IV. A HUNGRY DAY .. . . . . 54
V, SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS . . . 67
VI. ROGER III OWN MASTER. . . . . 92
VII. ROGER NOT HIS OWN MASTER . . . . 104
VIII. NEW QUARTERS. . . . . . 130
IX. ONE PRISONER RELEASED . .. . . . 141
X. GRAVES IN THE LEVELS . .. . .. 164
XI, MORE HARDSHIP . . . . .. 176
XII. NEWS .............. 186
SETTLERS AT HOME.
Two hundred years ago, the Isle of Axholme was one
of the most remarkable places in England. It is not
an island in the sea. It is a part of Lincolnshire-a
piece of land hilly in the middle, and surrounded by
rivers. The Trent runs on the east side of it; and
some smaller rivers formerly flowed round the rest of
it, joining the Humber to the north. These rivers
carried down a great deal of mud with them to the
Humber, and the tides of the Humber washed up a
great deal of sea-sand into the mouths of the rivers;
so that the waters could not for some time flow freely,
and were at last prevented from flowing away at all:
they sank into the ground, and made a swamp of it-
a swamp of many miles round the hilly part of the
Isle of Axholme.
This swamp was long a very dismal place. Fish
and water-birds, and rats inhabited it: and here and
there stood the hut of a fowler; or a peat-stack raised
by the people who lived on the hills round, and who
obtained their fuel from the peat-lands in the swamp.
There were also, sprinkled over the district, a few very
small houses-cells belonging to the Abbey of St.
Mary, at York. To these cells some of the monks
6 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
from St. Mary's had been fond of retiring, in old
times, for meditation and prayer, and doing good in
the district round; but when the soil became so
swampy as to give them the ague, as often as they paid
a visit to these cells, the monks left off their practice
of retiring hither; and their little dwellings, stood
empty, to be gradually overgrown with green moss and
lank weeds, which no hand cleared away.
At last a Dutchman, having seen what wonders
were done in his own country by good draining,
thought he could render this' district fit to be inha-
bited and cultivated : and he made a bargain with the
king about it. After spending much money, and
taking great pains, he succeeded. He drew the waters
off into new channels, and kept them there by sluices,
and by carefully watching the embankments he had
raised. The land which was left. dry was manured
and cultivated, till, instead of a reedy, and mossy
swamp, there were fields of clover and of corn, and
meadows of the finest grass,. with, cattle and sheep
grazing in large numbers. The dwellings that were
still standing were made into, farm-houses, and new
farm-houses were built. A church here, and a chapel
there was cleaned, and warmed, and painted, .and
opened for worship; and good roads crossed the dis-
trict into all the counties near.
Instead of being pleased with this change, the people
3f the country were angry and discontented. Those
who lived near had been long accustomed to fishing
and fowling in the swamp, without paying any rent,
or having. to ask anybody's leave., They had no mind
now to settle to the regular toilsome business of farm-
ing,-and to be under a landlord, to whom they must
TIE SETTLERS AT HOME. 7
pay rent. Probably, too, they knew nothing aboii
farming, and would have failed in it if they had tried.
Thus far they were not to be blamed. But nothing
can exceed the malignity with which they treated the
tenants who did settle in the isle, and the spiteful
spirit which they showed towards them, on every
These tenants were chiefly foreigners. There was a
civil war in England at that time : and the Yorkshire
and Lincolnshire people were so much engaged in fight-
ing for King Charles or for the Parliament, that fewer
persons were at liberty to undertake new farms than
there would have been in a time of peace. When the
Dutchman and his companions found that the English
were not disposed to occupy the Levels (as the drained
lands were called), they encouraged some of their own
countrymen to come over. With them arrived some
few Frenchmen, iho had been driven from France
into Holland, on account of their being Protestants.
From first to last, there were about two hundred fami-
lies, Dutch and French, settled in the Levels. Some
were collected into a village, and had a chapel opened,
where a pastor of their own performed service for
them. Others were scattered over the district, living
just where their occupations required them to settle.
All these foreigners were subject to bad treatment
from their neighbours; but the stragglers were the
worst off; because it was easiest to tease and injure
those who lived alone. The disappointed fishers and
fowlers gave other reasons for their own conduct, be-
sides that of being nParly deprived of their fishing and
fowling. These reasons were all bad, as reasons for
hating always are. One excuse was that the new set-
8 THE SETTLERS Awv lOMI
tiers were foreigners :--as if those who were far from
their own land did not need particular hospitality and
kindness. Another plea was that they were con-,
nected with the king, by being settled on the lands
which he had bargained to have drained: so that all
who sided with the parliament ought to injure the new
tenants, in order to annoy the king. If the settlers
had tried to serve the king by injuring his enemies,
this last reason might have passed in a time of war.
But it was not so. It is probable that the foreigners
did not understand the quarrel. At any rate, they
took no part in it. All they desired was to be left in
peace, to cultivate the lands they paid rent for. But,
instead of peace, they had little but persecution.
One of these settlers, Mr. Linacre, was not himself
a farmer. He supplied the farmers of the district with
a manure of a particular kind, which suited some of
the richest soils they cultivated. He found, in the
red soil of the isle, a large mass of that white earth
called gypsum, which, when wetted and burnt, makes
plaster of Paris; and which, when ground, makes a
fine manure for some soils, as the careful Dutchmen
well knew. Mr. Linacre set up a windmill on a little
eminence which rose out of the Level, just high
enough to catch the wind; and there he ground the
gypsum which he dug from the neighboring patch or
quarry. He had.to build some out-houses, but not a
dwelling-house; for, near his mill, with just space
enough for a good garden between, was one of the
largest of the old cells of the monks of St. Mary's, so
well built of stone, and so comfortably arranged, thai
Mr. Linacre had little to do but to have it cleaned and
furnished, and the windows and doors made new, to
THE SETTLERS AT HOME. b
fit it for the residence of his wife and children, and a
This building was round, and had three rooms be-
low, and three over them. A staircase of stone was
in the very middle, winding round, like a corkscrew,
-leading to the upper rooms, and out upon the roof,
from which there was a beautiful view,-quite as far
as the Humber to the north-east, and to the circle of
hills on every other side. Each of the rooms below
had a door to the open air, and another to the stair-
case ,-very unlike modern houses, and not so fit as
they to keep out wind and cold. But for this, the
dwelling would have been very warm, for the walls
were of thick stone; and the fire-places were so large,
that it seemed as if the monks had been fond of good
fires. Two of these lower rooms opened into the gar-
den; and the third, the kitchen, into the yard;-so
that the maid, Ailwin, had not far to go, to milk the
cow and feed the poultry.
Mrs. Linacre was as neat in the management of her
house as people from Holland usually are; and she did
not like that the sitting-room, where her husband had
his meals, and spent his evenings, should be littered
by the children, or used at all by them during her
absence at her daily occupation, in the summer. So
she let them use the third room for their employment
and their play. Her occupation, every summer's day,
was serving out the waters from a mineral spring, a
good deal frequented by sick people, three miles from
her house, on the way to Gainsborough. She set off,
after an early breakfast in the cool of the morning,
and generally arrived at the hill-side where the spring
was, and had unlocked her little shed, and taken out
IU THE SETTLERS AT HOMI.
her glasses, and rinsed them, before any travellers
passed. It was rarely indeed that a sick person had
to wait a minute for her appearance. There she sat,
in her shed when it rained, and under a tree when it
was fine, sewing or knitting very diligently when no
customers appeared, and now and then casting a
glance over the Levels to the spot where her husband's
mill rose in the midst of the green fields, and where
she almost fancied sometimes that she could see the
children sitting on the mill-steps, or working in the
garden. When customers appeared, she was always
ready in a moment to serve them; and her smile
cheered those who were sick, and pleased those who
came merely from curiosity. She slipped the half-
pence she received into a pocket beneath her apron;
and sometimes the pocket was such a heavy one to
carry three miles home, that she just stepped aside to
the village shop at Haxey, or into a farm-house where
the people would be going to market next day, to get
her copper exchanged for silver. Since the times had
become so troubled as they were now, however, she
had avoided showing her money anywhere on the
road. Her husband's advice was that she should give
up attending the spring altogether; but she gained so
much money by it, and it was so likely that somebody
would step into her place there as soon as she gave it
up, so that she would not be able to regain her office
when quieter times should come, that she entreated
him to allow her to go on while she had no fears. She
took the heavy gold ear-rings out of her ears, wore a
plainer cap, and left her large silver watch at home;
so that she looked like a poor woman whom no needy
soldier or bold thief would think of robbing. She
THE SETTLERS AT HOME. 11
guessed by the sun what was the right time for look-
ing up her glasses, and going home; and she commonly
met her husband, coming to fetch her, before she had
got half way.
The three children were sure to be perched on the
top of the quarry bank, or on the mill-steps, or out on
the roof of the house, at the top of the winding stair.
case. Little George himself, though only two years
old, knew the very moment when he should shout and
clap his hands, to make his mother wave her handker-
chief from the turn of the road. Oliver and Mildred
did not exactly feel that the days were too long while
their mother was away, for they had plenty to do;
but they felt that the best part of the day was the hour
between her return and their going to bed: and, un-
like people generally, they liked winter better than
summer, because at that season their mother never left
them, except to go to the shop, or the market at
Though Oliver was only eleven, and Mildred nine,
they were not too young to have a great deal to do.
Oliver was really useful as a gardener; and many a
good dish of vegetables of his growing came to table
in the course of the year. Mildred had to take care
of the child almost all day; she often prepared the
cabbage, and cut the bacon for Ailwin to broil. She
could also do what Ailwin could not,-she could sew a
little; and now and then there was an apron or a
handkerchief ready to be shown when Mrs. Linacre
came home in the evening. If she met with any diffi-
culty in her job, the maid could not help her, but her
father sometimes could; and it was curious to see
Mildred mounting the mill when she was at any loss,
12 THE SETTLERS AT HOME
and her father wiping the white plaster off his hands,
and taking the needle or the scissors in his great
fingers, rather than that his little girl should not be
able to surprise her mother with a finished piece of
work. Then, both Oliver and Mildred had to learn
their catechism, to say to Pastor Dendel on Sunday;
and always a copy or an exercise on hand, to be ready
to show him when he should call; and some book to
finish that he had lent them to read, and that others
of his flock would be ready for when they had done.
Besides all this, there was an occupation which both
boy and girl thought more of than of all others toge-
ther. Among the loads of gypsum that came to the
mill, there were often pieces of the best kind,-lumps
of real, fine alabaster. Alabaster is so soft as to be
easily worked. Even a finger-nail will make a mark
upon it. Everybody knows how beautiful vases and
little statues, well wrought in alabaster, look on a
mantel-piece, or a drawing-room table. Oliver had
seen such in France, where they are very common:
and his father had carried one or two ornaments of
this kind into Holland, when he had to leave France,
It was a great delight for Oliver to find, on settling in
Axholme, that he could have as much alabaster as he
pleased, if he could only work it. With a little help
from Pastor Dendel and his father, he soon learned to
do so; and of all his employment, he liked this the
best. Pastor Dendel brought him a few bowls and
cups of pretty shapes and different sizes, made of
common wood by a turner, who was one of his flock;
and Oliver first copied these in clay, and then in
alabaster. By degrees he learned to vary his pat-
terns, and at last to make his clay models from fancies
THE SETTLERS AT IIOME 13
of his own,-some turning out failures, and others
prettier than any of his wooden cups. These last he
proceeded to carve out r' alabaster.
Mildred could not help watching him while he was
about his favourite work, though it was difficult to
keep little George from tossing the alabaster about,
and stamping on the best pieces, or sucking them. He
would sometimes give his sister a few minutes' peace
and quiet by rolling the wooden bowls the whole
length of the room, and running after them: and
there was also an hour, in the middle of the day, when
he went to sleep in his large Dutch cradle. At those
times Mildred would consult with her brother about
his work; or sew and watch him by turns; or read
one of the pastor's little books, stopping occasionally
to wonder whether Oliver could attend at once to his
carving, and to what she was reading. When she
saw that he was spoiling any part, or that his hand
was shaking, she would ask whether he had not
been at work long enough; and then they would
run out to the garden or the quarry, or to jump
George (if he was awake again) from the second mill-
One fine month of August, not a breath of wind
had been blowing for a week or two, so that the mill-
sails had not made a single turn; not a load of
gypsum had been brought during the time, and Oliver
was quite out of alabaster; though, as it happened,
he much wanted a good supply, for a particular reason.
Every morning he brought out his tools; and every
morning the sky was so clear, the corn-fields so still-
the very trees so silent, that he wondered whether
there had ever been so calm a month of August before.
14 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
His father and he employed their time upon the
garden, while they had so good an opportunity. Be-
fore it was all put in order, and the entire stock of
autumn cabbages set, there came a breezy day; and
the children were left to finish the cabbage patch by
themselves. While they were at work, it made them
merry to hear the mill-sails whirring through the
air, and to see, at intervals, the trees above the quarry
bowing their heads, and the reeds waving in the
swamp, and the water of the meadow-ponds dimpling
and rippling, as the wind swept over the Levels. Oliver
soon heard something that he liked better still-the
creak of the truck that brought the gypsum from the
quarry, and the crack of the driver's whip.
He threw down the dibble with which he was plant-
ing out his cabbages-tripped over the line he had
set to direct his drilling, tumbled on his face,
scrambled up again, and ran, rubbing the dirt from
his knees as he went, to look out some alabaster from
Mildred was not long after him, though he called
to her that she had better stay and finish the cab-
bages, and though little George, immediately on
feeling himself at liberty, threw himself upon the fresh
mould of the cabbage bed, and amused himself with
pulling up, and flinging right and left, the plants that
had just been set. How could Mildred attend to this,
when she was sure she was wanted to turn over the
gypsum, and see what she could find So Master
George went on with his pranks, till Ailwin, by acci-
dent, saw him from the yard, ran and snatched him
up, flung him over her shoulder, and carried him away
screaming, till, to pacify him, she set him down among
THE SETTLERS AT HOME. 15
the poultry, which he presently found more amusing
than young cabbage plants.
"Now we shall have a set of new cups for the
spring, presently," said Oliver, as he measured lump
after lump with his little foot-rule.
"Cups for the waters !" exclaimed his father. "So
that is the reason of this prodigious hurry, is it, my
boy 1 You think tin cups not good enough for your
mother, or for her customers, or for the waters. Which
of them do you think ought to be ashamed of tin
The water, most of all. Instead of sparkling in a
clear bright glass, it looks as nasty as it tastes in a
thing that is more brown and rusty every time it is
dipped. I will give the folk a pair of cups that shall
tempt them to drink-a pair of cups as white as
"They will not long remain white : and those who
broke the glasses will be the more bent upon spoiling
your cups, the more pains you spend upon them."
"I hope the Redfurns will not happen to hear
of them. We need not blab; and the folk who
drink the waters go their way, as soon as they have
"Whether the Redfurns be here or there, my boy,
there is no want of prying eyes to see all that the poor
foreigners do. Your mother is watched, it is my be-
lief, every time she dips her cup; and I in the mill,
and you in the garden. There is no hope of keeping
anything from our enemies."
Seeing Oliver look about him uneasily, Mr. Linacre
reproached himself for having said anything to alarm
his timid boy: so he added what he himself always
THE SETTLERS AT HOME
found the most comforting thought, when he ieit dis-
turbed at living among unkind neighbours.
"Let them watch us, Oliver. We do nothing that
we need be ashamed of. The whole world is welcome
to know how we live,-all we do, from year's end to
"Yes, if they would let us alone, father. But it is
so hard to have our things broken and spoiled !"
"So it is; and to know what ill-natured talk is
going on about us. But we must let them take their
own way, and bear it as well as we can; for there is
no help for it."
"I wish I were a justice !" cried Mildred. How I
would punish them, every one !"
"Then I wish you were a justice, my dear; for we
cannot get anybody punished as it is."
"Mildred," said Oliver, "I wish you would finish
the cabbages. You know they must be done; and I
am very busy."
"Oh, Oliver! I am such a little thing to plant a
whole cabbage bed. You will be able to come by and
by; I want to help you."
You cannot help me, dear: and you know how to
do the cabbages as well as anybody. You really can-
not help me."
"Well, I want'to see you, then."
"There is nothing to see yet. You will have done, if
you make haste, before I begin to cut. Do, dear !"
"Well, I will," replied Mildred, cheerfully. Her
father caught her up, and gave her one good jump down
the whole flight of steps, then bidding her work away
before the plants were all withered and dead.
She did work away, till she was so hot and tired
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
that she had to stop and rest. There were still two
rows to plant; and she thought she should never g.t
through them,-or, at any rate, not before Oliver had
proceeded a great way with his carving. She was
going to cry; but she remembered how that would vex
Oliver : so she restrained herself, and ran to ask Ailwin
whether she could come and help. Ailwin always
did what everybody asked her; so she gave over
sorting feathers, and left them all about, while she
went down the garden.
Mildred knew she must take little George away, or
he would be making confusion among the feathers that
had been sorted. She invited him to go with her, and
peep over the hedge at the g ese in the marsh; and
the little fellow took her fore-finger, and trotted away
with his sister to the hedge.
There were plenty of water-fowl in the marsh ; and
there was something else which Mildred did not seem
to like. While George was quack-quacking, and making
himself as like a little goose as he could, Mildred
softly called to A ilwin, and beckoned her to the hedge.
Ailwin came, swinging the great spade in her right
hand, as easily as Mildred could flourish George's whip
Look,-look there !-under that bank, by the
dyke !" said Mildred, as softly as if she had been afraid
of being heard at a yard's distance.
"Eh look-if it be not the gipsies !" cried Ailwin,
almost as loud as if she had been talking across the
marsh. Eh, dear I we have got the gipsies upon us
now; and what will become of my poultry Yon is
a gipsy tent, sure; and we must tell the master and
mistress, and keep an eye on the poultry. Sure, you
is a gipsy tent."
15 TIE SETTLERS AT HOME.
Little George, thinking that everybody was very
much frightened, began to roar; and that made Ailwin
talk louder still, to comfort him; so that nothing that
Mildred said was bIard. At last, she pulled Ailwin's
apron, so that the tall woman stooped down, to ask
what she wanted.
"I do not think it is the gipsies," said she. "I am
afraid it is worse than that. I am afraid it is the Red-
furns. This is just thewaytheysettle themselves-in just
that sort of tent-when they come to fowl, all autumn."
"If I catch that Roger," said Ailwin, "I'll "
And she clenched her hand, as if she meant to do ter-
rible things, if she caught Roger.
"I will go and call fath ;r, shall I 1" said Mildred, her
teeth chattering, as she stood in the hot sun.
She was turning to go up the garden, when a laugh
from George made her look back again. She saw a
head covered with an otter-skin cap,-the face looking
very cross and threatening, peeping over the hedge,-
which was so high above the marsh, that the person
must have climbed the bank on purpose to look into
the garden. There was no mistaking the face. It was
certainly Roger Redfurn-the plague of the settlers,
who, with his uncle, Stephen Redfurn, was always
doing all the mischief he could to everybody who had,
as he said, trespassed on the marshes. Nobody liked
to see the Redfurns sitting down in the neighbourhood;
and still less, skulking about the premises. Mildred
flew towards the mill; while Ailwin, who never
stopped to consider what was wise, and might not,
perhaps, have hit upon wisdom if she had, took up a
stone, and told Roger he had better be gone, for tha.
he had no friends here. Roger seemed to have jut
THE SETTLERS AT HOME. 1I
come from some orchard; for he pulled a hard apple
3ut of his pocket, aimed it at Ailwin's head, and struck
her such a blow on the nose as made her eyes water.
While she was wiping her eyes with her apron, and
trying to see again, Roger coaxed the child to bring
him his apple again, and disappeared.
When Mildred reached the mill, she found Pastor
Dendel there, talking with her father about sending
some manure to his land. The pastor was so busy,
that he only gave her a nod; and she had therefore
time to recover herself, instead of frightening every-
body with her looks and her news at once. Oliver
could not stay in the house while the pastor was at
the mill: so he stood behind him, chipping away at
the rough part of his work. Mildred whispered to
him that the Redfurns were close at hand. She saw
Oliver turn very red, though he told her not to be
frightened. Perhaps the pastor perceived this too,
when he turned round, for he said-
"What is the matter, children ? Mildred, what have
you been doing, that you are so out of breath 1 Have
you been running all the way from Lincoln spire ?"
"No, sir; not running,-but--"
The Redfurns are come, sir," cried Oliver. "Father,
the Redfurns are come."
"Roger has been peeping over the hedge into the
garden," cried Mildred, sinking into tears.
The miller looked grave, and said here was an end
of all peace, for some time to come.
"Are you all at the mercy of a boy like Roger
Redfurn," asked the pastor, "so that you I.ook as if a
plague bad come with this fresh breeze r'
"And his uncle, sir "
20 THE SETTERS AT HOME.
"And his aunt," added Mildred.
"You know what Stephen Redfurn is, sir," observed
Mr. Linacre. "Roger beats even him for mischief
And we are at their mercy, sir. There is not a magis-
trate, as you know, that will hear a complaint from
one of us against the country people. We get nothing
but trouble, and expense, and ridicule, by making com-
plaints. We know this beforehand; for the triumph
is always on the other side."
"It is hard," said the pastor: "but still,-here is
only a man, a woman, and a boy. Cannot you defend
yourselves against them V"
"No, sir; because they are not an honourable
enemy," replied Mr. Linacre. "If Stephen would
fight it out with me on even ground, we would see who
would beat: and I dare say my boy there, though
none of the roughest, would stand up against Roger.
But such fair trials do not suit them, sir. People who
creep through drains, to do us mischief, and hide in the
reeds when we are up and awake, and come in among
us only when we are asleep, are a foe that may easily
ruin any honest man, who cannot get protection from
the law. They houghed my cow, two years ago, sir."
"And they mixed all mother's feathers, for -the
whole year," exclaimed Mildred.
"And they blinded my dog," cried Oliver;-" put
out its eyes."
Oh what will they do next 1" said Mildred, look-
ing up through her tears at the pastor.
"Worse things than even these have been done to
some of the people in my village," replied the pastor:
"and they have been borne, Mildred, without teara."
Mildred made haste to wipe her eyes.
TIE SETTLERS AT HOME. 21
"And what do you think, my dears, of the life our
Protestant brethren are leading now, in some parts of
the world ?"
"Father came away from France because he was ill-
used for being a Protestant," said Oliver.
The pastor knows all about that, my boy," observed
"Yes, I do," said the pastor. "I know that you
suffered worse things there than here; and I know
that things worse than either are at present endured
by our brethren in Piedmont. You have a warm
house over your heads; and you live in sunshine and
plenty. They are driven from their villages, with fire
and sword-forced to shelter among the snow-drifts,
and pent up in caves till they rush out starving, to im-
plore mercy of their scoffing persecutors. Could you
bear this, children f"
"They suffer these things for their religion," ob-
served Oliver. They feel that they are martyrs."
"Do you think there is comfort in that thought,-
in the pride of martyrdom,-to the son who sees his
aged parents perish by the wayside,-to the mother
whose infant is dashed against the rock before her
How do they bear it all, then ?"
"They keep one another in mind that it is God's
will, my dears; and that obedient children can, if they
try, bear all that God sees fit to lay upon them. So
they praise His name with a strong heart, though their
voices be weak. Morning and night, those mountains
echo with hymns; though death, in one form or
another, is about the sufferers on every aide."
My dear," said Mr. Lin9cre. let us make no more
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
complaints about the Redfurns. I am ashamed, when
I think of our brethren abroad, that we ever let Ste-
phen and Roger put us up to anger. You will see no
more tears here, sir, I hope."
Mildred will not quite promise that," said the
pastor, smiling kindly on the little girl. Make no
promises, my dear, that a little girl like you may be
tempted to break. Only try to forgive all people who
tease and injure you; and remember that nothing
more ever happens than God permits,-though He
does not yet see fit to let us know why."
I would only just ask this, sir," said Mr. Linacre.
"Is there anything going forward just now which par-
ticularly encourages our enemies to attack us 7"
"The Parliament have a committee sitting at Lin-
coln, at present; and the king's cause seems to be low
in these parts. We are thus at the mercy of such as
choose to consider us king's men: but there is a
higher and truer mercy always about us."
The miller took off his hat in token of respect.
The pastor's eye had been upon Oliver for some
time. He now asked whether he meant to make his
new cups plain, like all the rest, or to try to ornament
them. Mildred assured him that Oliver had carved a
beading round the two last bowls that he had cut.
1 think you might attempt something far prettier
than beading," said the pastor; "particularly with so
many patterns before your eyes to work by."
Ile was looking up at the little recess above the door
of the house, near which they were standing. This
recess, in which there had formerly been an image,
was surrounded with carved stone-work.
"I see some foliage there which would answer your
NEIGHBOURLY OFFICES. Z4
purpose, Oliver, if you could make a model trom it.
Let us look closer."
And Pastor Dendel fixed a short ladder against the
house wall, and went up, with Oliver before him.
They were so busy selecting the figures that Oliver
thought he could copy, and drawing them upon paper,
and then setting about modelling them in clay, that
the Redfurns did not prevent their being happy for
this day, at least. Mr. Linacre, too, was hard at work
all day,.grinding, that the pastor's manure might be
served to-morrow; and he found hard work as good
for an anxious mind as those who have tried generally
find it to be.
WHEN Mrs. Linacre was told in the evening of the
arrival of the disagreeable neighbours who were in the
marsh, she was sorry; but when she had gone round the
premises with her husband at night, and found all safe,
and no tokens of any intrusion, she was disposed to hope
that the ledfurns would, this time, keep to their fish-
ing and fowling, and make no disturbance. Oliver
and Mildred crept down to the garden hedge at sun-
rise, and peeped through it, so as to see all that was
doing in the carr, as the marsh was called.* After
watching some time, they saw Stephen and Roger
creep out from under the low brown tent. As the
almost level sun shone full in their faces, they rubbed
* In that part of the country, a ,arr meni s a morass.
24 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
their eyes; then they stretched and yawned, and
seemed to be trying hard to wake themselves tho-
They have been sound asleep, however," observed
Oliver to his sister; "and it is still so early, that I do
not believe they have been abroad about mischief in the
night. They would not have been awake yet if they
"Look I there is a woman !" exclaimed Mildred.
"Is that Nan 1"
"Yes; that is Nan Redfurn,-Stephen's wife. That
is their great net that she has over her arm. They are
going to draw the oval pond, I think. We can watch
their sport nicely here. They cannot see an inch
"But we do not like that they should watch us,"
said Mildred, drawing back. We should not like to
know that they were peeping at us from behind a
"We should not mind it if we were not afraid of
them," replied Oliver. It is because they plot mis-
chief that we cannot bear their prying. We are not
going to do them any mischief, you know; and they
cannot mean to make any secret of what they are
doing in the middle of the carr, with high ground all
Satisfied by this, Mildred crouched down, with her
arm about her brother's neck, and saw the great nei
cast, and the pond almost emptied of its fish,-some
few being kept for food, and the small fry-especially
of the stickleback-being thrown into heaps to be
sold for manure.
"Will they come this way when they have done
NEIGHDOURLY OFFICES. 25
drawing the pond I" asked Mildred, in some fear, as
she saw them moving about.
I think they will sweep the shallow waters, there
to the left, for more stickleback," replied Oliver.
" They will make up a load, to sell before the heat of
the day, before they set about anything else."
Oliver was right. All the three repaired to the
shallow water, and stood among the reeds, so as to be
half hidden. The children could see, however, that
when little George came down the garden, shouting to
them to come to breakfast, the strangers took heed to
the child. They turned their heads for a moment
towards the garden, and then spoke together and
"There, now !" cried Oliver, vexed: "that is all
because we forgot to go to breakfast. So much for
my not having a watch! Mother need not have
sent George to make such a noise; but, if-I had had a
watch, he would not have come at all; and these
people would not have been put in mind of us."
"You will soon be able to have a watch now, like
the boys in Holland," said Mildred. Your alabaster
things will change away for a watch ; will not they ?
But we might not have remembered breakfast, if you
had had a watch."
"We are forgetting it now," said Oliver, catching
up George, and running to the house, followed by Mil-
dred, who could not help feeling as if Roger was at
They were surprised to find how late it was. Their
father was already gone with Pastor Dendel's load of
manure. Their mother only waited to kiss them
before she went, and to tell them that their father
26 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
meant to be back as soon as he could; and that,
meantime, neighbour Gool had promised to keep an
eye on the mill. If anything happened to frighten
them, Oliver or Ailwin had only to set the mill-
sails going, and neighbour Gool and his men would
be with them presently. She did not think, however,
that anything would happen in the little time that
their father would be away.
"I will tell you what we will do !" cried Oliver,
starting from his chair, after he had been eating his
bread and milk, in silence, for some time after his
mother's departure. "Let us dress up a figure to look
like father, and set him at the mill-window; so that
those Redfurns shall not find out that he is away.
Wont that be good I"
Put him on the mill-steps. They may not look
up at the window."
The mill-steps, then. Where is father's old hat ?
Put it on the broom there, and see how it looks. Run
up to the mill, dear, and bring his jacket-and his
apron," he shouted as his sister ran.
Mildred brought both, and they dressed up the
"That will never do," said Mildred. "Look how
the sleeves hang; and how he holds his head It is
not a bit like a man."
"'Tis a good scarecrow," declared Ailwin. "I have
seen many a worse scarecrow than that."
But this is to scare the Redfurns, and they are far
wiser than crows," said Mildred. Look how George
pulls at the apron, and tugs at the broomstick behind I
It does not scare even him."
"It will look very different on the steps-in the
open air," Oliver declared. "A bunch or two of
straw in the sleeves, and under the jacket, will make
it seem all alive."
And he carried it out, and tied it upon the mill-
steps. It was no easy matter to fasten it so as to
make it look at all like a man naturally mounting
stairs. The more difficult it was, however, the more
they all became interested in the business. Mildred
brought straw, and Ailwin tied a knot here, and
another knot there, while Oliver cocked the hat in
various directions upon the head, till they all forgot
what they were dressing up the figure for. The rea-
son popped into Ailwin's head again, when she had
succeeded in raising the right arm to the rail, in a
very life-like manner.
"There !" said she, stepping backwards to view her
work, "that makes a very good master for me. I will
obey him in everything he bids me till master comes
At the same moment, she walked backwards against
something, and little George clung screaming to Mil-
dred's knees. Roger had spread his arms for Ailwin
to walk back into; and Stephen was behind, leaning
against the cowshle. They had been watching all that
the party had been doing, and, having overheard
every word, had found out the reason.
The children saw at once how very foolish they had
been; and the thought confused them so much, that
they did not know what to do next. Poor Ailwin,
who could never learn wisdom, more or less, now
made matters worse by all she said and did. Stout
and strong as she was, she could do nothing, for Roger
had taken the hint she had given by walking back-
28 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
wards, with her arms crossed behind her: he had
pinioned her. She cried out to Oliver to run up, and
set the mill-sails aging, to bring neighbour Gool.
Stephen took this second hint. He quietly swung
Oliver off the steps, sent down his scarecrow after him,
and himself took his seat on the threshold of the
mill. There he sat, laughing to see how Ailwin
wearied herself with struggles, while Roger, by merely
hanging on her arms, prevented her getting free.
When, however, Oliver flew at the boy, and struck
him some fierce blows, Stephen came down, drove the
little girl and the baby into the house, and locked
them in, and then went to help Roger with his strong
It was clear to Mildred what she ought to do.
Crying as she was, she put George in a corner, with
some playthings, to keep him from the fire till she
came to him again, and then mounted the stairs, as
quickly as her trembling limbs would let her,-first
to her mother's room, and then out upon the roof. She
tied a large red handkerchief of her mother's upon her
father's Sunday walking-stick, and then waved it, as
high as she could hold it, above her head, while she
considered how she could fasten it; for it would never
do to leave George alone below for many minutes.
Perhaps neighbour Gool had seen it already, and would
soon be here with his men. But, lest he should rot,
she must fix her flag, and trust to Stephen and Roger
not thinking of looking up to the roof from the yard
below. At last, after many attempts, she thrust the
stick into a crevice of the roof, and fixed it with heavy
things round it,-having run down three or four times,
to see that George was safe.
There was indeed no time to be lost, for the intru-
ders below were doing all the mischief they could think
of, short of robbing and burning the premises. The
great tall man, Stephen, strolling about the lower
rooms, found Mrs. Linacre's knitting, and pulled out
the needles, and unravelled the work. Roger spied a
heap of bulbs on the corner of a high shelf. They
were Mr. Linacre's rare and valuable tulip-roots,
brought from Holland. Roger cut one of them open,
to see what it looked like, and then threw the whole
lot into the boiler, now steaming over the fire, saying
the family should have a dish the more at dinner to-
day. They got hold of Oliver's tools, and the cup he
was at work upon. Stephen raised his arm, about to
dash the cup to the ground, when Oliver sprang for-
ward, and said-
You shall have it,-you shall have my cup ;-you
don't know what a beauty it will be, when it is done.
Only let me finish it, and you shall have it in exchange
for the stickleback you caught this morning. The
stickleback will do to manure our garden; and I
am sure you will like the cup, if you will only let
me finish it."
"Manure your garden, indeed 1" cried Stephen,
gruffly. I'll cut up your garden to shreds first.
What business has your garden in our carr? You and
your great landlord will find what it is to set your
outlandish plants growing where our geese ought to
be grazing. We'll show you that we don't want any
foreigners here; and if you don't like our usage, you
may go home again and nobody will cry for you
"We pay for our garden and our mill," said Oliver.
JU THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
"We wrong nobody, and we work for our living, and
you are a very cruel man."
You pay the king: and the parliament does not
choose that the king should have any more money to
sped against them. Mind you that, boy And -"
I am sure I don't know anything about the king
and the parliament, or any such quarrels," said Oliver.
"It is very hard to punish us for them, it is very
You shall have reason to call me cruel twenty
times over, if you don't get away out of our carr," said
Stephen. Manure your garden, indeed Not I!
And you shall not manure another yard in these
Levels. Come here, Roger."
They went out again into the yar, and Oliver, now
quite overcome, laid down his head on his arms, and
Here's your cup, however," said Ailwin, now re-
leased by Roger's being employed elsewhere. "This
bit of plaster is the only thing they have laid hands on
that they have not ruined."
Oliver started up, and hid his work and tools in a
bundle of straw, in the corner of the kitchen.
What Mildred will say, I don't know," said Ail-
win. "That boy has wrung the neck of her white
Oliver was desperate on hearing this. He ran out
to see whether he could not, by any means, get into
the mill, to set the sails aging: but there were Ste-
phen and Roger, carrying water, which they threw
over all the gypsum that was ground,-floating away
as much as they could of it, and utterly spoiling the
rest, by turning it into a plaster.
NEIGHBOURLY OFFICES. 31
"Did you ever see the like ?" cried Ailwin. "And
there is nothing master is so particular about as keep-
ing that stuff dry. See the woman, tool How I'd
like to tug the hair off her head! She looks badly,
poor creature, too."
Stephen's wife had, indeed, come up to enjoy the
sport, when she found that no man was on the pre-
mises, and that there was no danger. There she stood,
leaning against a post of the mill, her black, untidy
hair hanging about her pale, hollow cheeks, and her
lean arms crossed upon her bosom.
There were such ague-struck folk to be seen at
every turn," said Ailwin, "before the foreigners came
to live in the carr. I suppose they brought some heal-
ing with them; for one does not often see now such a
poor creature as that. She might be ashamed of
herself-that woman; she laughs all her poor sides
can, at every pailful Roger pours out.-Eh! but
she's not laughing now! Eh! what's the matter
The matter was that neighbour Gool was in sight,
with three or four men. A cheer was heard from
them while they were still some way off. Oliver ran
out and cheered, waving his hat over his head. Ailwin
cheered, waving a towel out of the window. Mildred
cheered from the roof, waving her red flag; and George
stood in the doorway, shouting and clapping his little
If the object was to catch the trespassers, all this
cheering took place a little too soon. Stephen and
Roger were off, like their own wild ducks,-over the
garden hedge, and out of sight. Neighbour Gool
declared that if they were once fairly among the reeds
3"3 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
in the marsh, it would be sheer waste of time to search
for them; for they could dodge and live in the water, 1
in a way that honest people that lived on proper hard
ground could not follow. Here was the woman; and
yonder was the tent. Revenge might be taken that
way, better than by ducking in the ponds after the
man and boy. Suppose they took the woman to
prison, and made a great fire in the carr, of the tent
and everything in it I
Oliver did not see that it could make up to them
for what they had lost, to burn the tent; and he was
pretty 'ure his father would not wish such a thing to
be done. His father would soon be home. As for the
woman, he thought she ought to go to prison, if Mr.
Gool would take her there.
That I will," said Gool. I will go through with
the thing now I am in it. I came off the minute I
saw your red flag; and I might have been here sooner,
if I had not been so full of watching the mill-sails,
that I never looked off from them till my wife came
to help to watch. Come, you woman," said he to Nan
Redfurn, "make no faces about going to prison, for I
am about to give you a ride there."
"She looks very ill," thought Oliver,-" not fit to be
jolted on a horse."
"You'll get no magistrate to send me to prison,"
' said the woman. "The justices are with the parlia-
ment, every one. You will only have to bring me
back, and be sorry you caught me, when you see what
comes of it."
Cannot we take care of her here till father comes
home?" said Oliver, seeing that neighbour Gool looked
perplexed, and as if he believed what the woman said.
NEIGHBOURLY OFFICES. J6
No, no," said Mildred, whispering to her brother.
"Don't let that woman stay here."
"Neighbour Gool will take care of us till father
comes home," said Oliver: and the woman looks
so ill! We can lock her up here; and, you see,
Ailwin is ever so much stronger than she is, poor
Neighbour Gool put on an air of being rather
offended that nothing great was to be done, after his
trouble in coming to help. In his heart, however, he
was perhaps not very sorry; for he knew that the ma-
gistrates were not willing to countenance the king's
settlers in the Levels, while the Parliament Committee
was sitting at Lincoln. Gool patted Oliver's head
when the boy thanked him for coming; and he joked
Mildred about her flag : so he could not be very cross.
He left two men to guard the prisoner and the pre-
mises, till Mr. Linacre should return.
These two men soon left off marching about the
garden and yard, and sat down on the mill-steps; for
the day grew very hot. There they sat, talking in
the shade, till their dinners should be ready. Nan
Redfurn was so far from feeling the day to be hot,
that when her cold ague-fit came on, she begged to be
allowed to go down to the kitchen fire. Little George
stood staring at her for some time, and then ran away;
and Mildred, not liking to be in the same room with a
woman who looked as she did, and who was a prisoner,
stole out too, though she had been desired to watch
the woman till dinner should be ready. Ailwin was
so struck with compassion, that she fetched her warmest
woollen stocki rl and her winter cloak of linsey-
woolsey,-it was such a piteous thing to hear a woman's
34 THE SETTLERS AT Il oE.
teeth chattering in her head, in that way, at noon in
the middle of August. Having wrapped her up, she
put her on a stool, close to the great kitchen fire; and
drew out the screen that was used only in winter, to
keep off the draughts from the door. If the poor soul
was not warm in that corner, nothing could make her
so. Then Ailwin began to sing, to cheer her heart,
md to be amazingly busy in cooking dinner for three
additional persons. She never left off her singing but
when she went out for the vegetables, and other
things she wanted for her cooking; and when she
came in again, she resumed her song,-still for the
sake of the poor creature behind the screen.
Do you feel yourself warmer now, neighbour P"
said she, at the end of an hour. If not, you are past
There was no answer; and Ailwin did not wonder,
as she said to herself, that it was too great a trouble
for one so poorly to be answering questions : so Ailwin
went on slicing her vegetables and singing.
"Do you think a drop of cherry-brandy would warm
you, nighbuiur?" she asked, after a while. "I wonder
I never thought of that before; only, it is a sort of
thing one does not recollect till winter comes. Shall
I get you a sup of cherry-brandy ?"
Ai win thought it so odd that such an offer as this
should not be replied to, that she looked hastily
behind the screen, to see what could be the reason.
There was reason enough. Nobody was there. Nan
Redfurn had made her way out as soon as she found
herself :lone, and was gone, with Ailwin's best winter
stockings and lilnsey-woolsey cloak.
In -minute the whole party were looking over the
NEIGIHBOURLY OFFICES. 35
hedge into the marsh. Nothing was to be seen but
the low brown tent, and the heap of little fish.
Neither man, woman, nor boy appeared when their
names were shouted forth.
Oh my best stockings !" said Ailwin, half crying.
"You have saved your cherry-brandy, my woman;
that is certain," observed one of GooFs men.
"I shall never have any pleasure in it," sighed the
maid. "I shall never enjoy it, on account of its
reminding me how yon woman has fooled me."
"Then we will save you that pain," said the man.
" If you will oblige us with it to-day, we wont leave
any to pain you in the winter."
"For shame !" cried Olive', "when you know she
has lost her stockings and her cloak already; and all
out of kindness! I would not drink a drop of her
cherry-brandy, I am sure."
"Then you shall, Oliver, for saying so, and taking
my part," said Ailwin. "I am not going to give it
to any one else that has not the ague; some people
may be assured of that."
"If I thought there was any cherry-brandy for me
when I came back," said the man, throwing a stone
down, to try the nature of the bog-ground beneath,
"I would get below there, and try what I could find.'"
I might lay hold of a linsey-woolsey cloak somewhere
in the bog."
"You can never catch the Redfurns, I doubt," said
Ailwin. What was it they said to you, Oliver, as
they were going off?"
"They laughed at me for not being able to catch
eels, and asked how I thought I should catch them.
0) THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
They said, when I could decoy wild-fowl, I might set
a trap for the Redfurns. But it does not follow that
that is all true because they said it. I don't see but
they might be caught, if there was any one to do us
justice afterwards. That's the worst part of it, father
"There's father!" cried Mildred, as the crack of a
whip was heard. All started off, as if to see who
could carry bad news fastest. All arrived in the yard
together, except Ailwin, who turned back to take up
George, as he roared at being left behind.
We must want a wise head or two among us," said
the vexed miller. "If we were as sharp as these
times require, we surely could not be at the mercy of
folk we should scorn to be like. We must give more
heed, and see what is to be done."
"Rather late for that, neighbour, when here is the
stock you were grinding and grinding for a week, all
gone to plaster," said one of Gool's men.
"That is what I say," replied the miller, contem-
plating the waste; "but it may be better late than not
Mrs. Linacre was more affected than her husband
by what had happened. When she came home, poor
Mildred's fortitude had just given way, and she was
crying over the body of her dear white hen. This caused
Ailwin's eyes to fill at the thought of her stockings
and cloak, so that the family faces looked cheerless
We deserve it all," said Mrs. Linacre, "for leav-
ing our place and our children to the care of Gool's
men, or of anybody but ourselves. I will go no more
.A, ::e spring. I have been out of my duty; and we
AEIGHBOURLY OFFICES. 5
may be thankful that we have been no further
As she spoke, a few tears started. Her tears were
so rare, that the children looked in dismay at theii
He gently declared that the more injury they
sufferedd from the country people, the more they
needed all the earnings they could make. They must
cling to the means of an honest maintenance, and not
throw away such an employment as hers. He would
not leave the children again while the Redfurns were
in the neighbourhood. He would not have left them
to-day, to serve any one but the pastor ; nor to serve
even him, if he had not thought he had bespoken
sufficient protection. Nothing should take him from
home, or his eye off the children, to-morrow, she might
depend upon it.
Mrs. Linacre said that if she must go, she should
take a heavy heart with her. This was, she feared,
but the first of a fresh series of attacks. If so, what
might not they look for next However, she only
asked to be found in her duty. If her husband desired
her to go, she would go; but she should count over
the hours of the day sadly enough.
Oliver ventured to bring up an old subject. He
said, what he most wanted was to have earned money
enough to get a watch. He was sure he could hide it
so that Roger should never guess he had one; and it
would be such a comfort to know exactly how the
time was going, and when to look.for his mother home,
instead of having to guess, in cloudy weather, the
hour of the day, and to argue the matter with Ailwin
who was always wrong about that particular thing.
38 THIE rLTTLERS AT HOME.
His father smiled mournfully, as he observed, that
he hoped Oliver would never so want bread as to
leave off longing for anything made of gold or silver.
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR.
MRs. LINACRE went to the spring as usual, the next.
morning. If the weather had been doubtful-if there
had been any pretence for supposing that the day
might not be fine, she would have remained at home.
But she looked in vain all round the sky for a cloud;
and the wide expanse of fields and meadows in the
Levels, with their waving corn and fresh green grass,
seemed to bask in the sunshine, as if they felt its
luxury. It was a glowing August day;-just such a
day as would bring out the invalids from Gainsborough
to drink the waters ;-just such a day as would tempt
the traveller to stop under the shady shed, where he
could see waters bubbling up, and taste of the famous
medicinal spring, which would cure the present evil of
heat, whatever effect it might have on any more
lasting ailment. It was just the day when Mrs.
Linacre must not be missed from her post, and when it
would be wrong to give up the earnings which she
might expect before sun-down. So she desired her
children not to leave the premises,-not even to go
out of their father's sight and hearing; and left
them, secure, at least, that they would obey her
They were quite willing to do so. Mildred looked
behind her, every few minutes, while she worked in
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAt. J9
the garden, to see whether Roger was not there : and
at every rustle that the birds made among the trees
on the Red-hill,-the eminence behind the house,-
she fancied that some one was hidden there. Oliver
let his tools and his alabaster lie hidden, much as he
longed to be at work with them. Mildred had lost
her greatest treasure,-the white hen. He must take
care of his greatest treasure. Twice, in the course of
the morning, he went in, having thought o' a safer
place; and twice more, he put them back among the
straw, as safest there, after all. He let them alone at
last, on Mildred saying that she was afraid Roger
might somehow discover why he went in and out so
They ran to the mill three or four times to tell their
father that the brown tent was still under the bank in
the carr, and that they could see nobody; though the
wild-ducks and geese made such a fluttering and noise,
now and then, that it seemed as if some one was lurk-
ing about the ponds. Often in the course of the morn-
ing, too, did Mr. Linacre look out of the mill window,
or nod to them from the top of the steps, that they
might see that he did not forget them.-Meantime, the
white smoke curled up from the kitchen chimney, as
Ailwin cooked the dinner; and little George's voice
and hers were often heard from within, as if they were
having some fun together.
The children were very hot, and began to say that
they were hungry, and thought dinner-time was near,
when they suddenly felt a strong rush of wind from
the west. Oliver lost his cap, anc' was running after
it, when both heard a loud shout from their father, and
looked up. They had never hra"ld hin lihont so loud
40 :11E SETTLERS AT HOME.
as he now did, bidding them run up the Red-hill that
moment. He waved his arm and his cap in that direc-
tion, as if he was mad. Mildred scampered up the
hill. She did not know why, nor what was the mean-
ing of the rolling, roaring thunder which seemed to
convulse the air: but her head was full of Roger;
and she thought it was some mischief of his. One
part of the Red-hill was very steep, and the ground
soft. Her feet slipped on the moss first; and when
she had got above the moss, the red earth crumbled;
and she went back at every step, till she caught hold
of some brambles, and then of the trunk of a tree; so
that, trembling and panting, she reached at last the
top of the eminence.
When she looked round, she saw a rushing, roaring
river where the garden had been, just before. Rough
waters were dashing up against the hill on which she
stood,-against the house.-and against the mill. She
saw the flood spreading, as rapidly as the light at sun-
rise, over the whole expanse of the Levels. She saw
another flood bursting in from the Humber, on the
north-east, and meeting that which had just swept
by;-she saw the two floods swallowing up field
after field, meadow after meadow, splashing up against
every house, and surrounding all, so that the roofs,
and the stacks beside them, looked like so many little
islands. She saw these things in.a moment, but did not
heed them till afterwards,-for, where was Oliver I
Oliver was safe, though it was rather a wonder that
he was so, considering his care for his cap. Oliver
was an orderly boy, accustomed to take great care of
his things; and it did not occur to him to let his cap
40, when he had to run for his life. He had to part
ONE WAY OF MAKING. WAR. 41
with it, however. He was flying after it, when another
shout from his father made him look round; and then
he saw the wall of water, as ne called it, rolling on
directly upon the house. He gave a prodigious spring
across the garden ditch, and up the hill-side, and but
just escaped; for the wind which immediately pre-
ceded the flood blew him down; and it was clinging
to the trunk of a tree that saved him, as his sister had
been saved just before. As it was, his feet were wet.
Oliver panted and trembled, like his sister; but he
Every one was safe. Ailwin appeared at an upper
window, exhibiting little George. Mr. Linacre stood,
with folded arms, in the doorway of his mill; and his
wife was (he was thankful to remember) on the side
of a high hill, far away. The children and their father
knew, while the flood was roaring between them, what
all were thinking of; and at the same moment, the
miller and his boy waved, the one his hat, and the
other a green bough, high and joyously over their
heads. Little George saw this from the window, and
clapped his hands, and jumped, as Ailwin held him on
the window sill.
"Look at Geordie !" cried Mildred. Do look at
him Don't you think you hear him now I"
This happy mood could not last very long, however,
as the waters, instead of going down, were evidently
rising every moment. From the first, the flood had
been too deep and rapid to allow of the miller cross-
ing from his mill to his house. He was a poor
swimmer; and no swimmer, he thought, could have
avoided being carried away into the wide marsh, where
there was no help. Then, instead of the stream slack-
43 TIIE SETTLERS AT 1OME.
ening, it rushed more furiously as it rose,-rose first
over the wall of the yard, and up to the fourth-
fifth-sixth step of the mill ladder, and then almost
into the branches of the apple-trees in the garden.
"I hope you will not mind being hungry, Mildred,"
said her brother, after a time of silence. We arenot
likely to have any dinner to-day, I think."
I don't mind that very much," said Mildred, "but
how do you think we are to get away, with this great
river between us and home ?"
"We shall see what father does," said Oliver. "He
is further off still, on the other side."
"But what is all this water ? When will it go away 2"
"I am afraid the embankments have burst. And
yet the weather has been fine enough lately. Perhaps
the sluices are broken up."
Seeing that Mildred did not understand the more
for what he said, he explained-
You know, all these Levels were watery grounds
once; more wet than the carr yonder. Well,-great
clay banks were made to keep out the Humber waters,
over there, to the north-east, and on the west and
north-west yonder, to keep two or three rivers there
from overflowing the land. Then several canals and
ditches were cut, to drain the land; and there are
great gates put up, here and there, to let the waters in
and out, as they are wanted. I am afraid those gates
are gone, or the clay banks broken down, so that the sea
and the rivers are pouring in all the water they have."
But when will it be over ? Will it ever run off
again ? Shall we ever get home again 2"
"I do not know anything about it. We must wait, and
watch what father will do. See what is this coming "
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR.
"A dead horse !" exclaimed Mildred. L ownede,
I suppose. Don't you think so, Oliver V'
"Drowned, of course.-Do you know, Mildred," he
continued, after a silence, during which he was looking
towards the sheds in the yard, while his sister's eyes
were following the body of the horse as it was swept
along, now whirled round in an eddy, and now going
clear over the hedge into the carr,-" do you know,
Mildred," said Oliver, "I think father will be com-
pletely ruined by this flood."
Do you I" said Mildred, who did not quite know
what it was to be ruined. How Why ?"
Why, it was bad enough that so much gypsum was
spoiled yesterday. I am afraid now the whole quarry
will be spoiled. And then I doubt whether the har-
vest will not be ruined all through the Levels: and
I am pretty sure nothing will be growing in the
garden when the waters are gone. That was not our
horse that went by; but our horse may be drowned,
and the cow, and the sow, and everything."
"Not the fowls," said Mildred. "Look at them, all
in a row on the top of the cow-shed. They will not be
drowned, at any rate."
But then they may be starved. O dear !" he con-
tinued, with a start of recollection, "I wonder whe-
ther Ailwin has thought of moving the meal and the
grain up-stairs. It will be all rotted and spoiled if
the water runs through it."
He shouted, and made signs to Ailwin, with all his
might: but in vain. She could not hear a word he
said, or make anything of his signs. He was vexed,
and said Ailwin was always stupid.
"So she is," replied Mildred; "but it does not sig-
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
nify now. Look how the water is pouring out of the
parlour window. The meal and grain must have been
wet through long ago. Is not that a pretty water-
fall I A waterfall from our parlour window, down
upon the tulip-bed How very odd!"
If one could think how to feed these poor animals,"
said Oliver,-" and the fowls If there was anything
here that one could get for them! One might cut a
little grass for the cow;-but there is nothing else."
Only the leaves of the trees, and a few blackber-
ries, when they are ripe," said Mildred, looking round
her, "and flowers,-wild-flowers, and a few that mo-
"The bees!' cried Oliver. "Let us save them.
They can feed themselves. We will save the bees."
"Why, you don't think they are drowned said
The bees were not drowned; but they were in more
danger of it than Mildred supposed. Their little shed
was placed on the side of the Red-hill, so as to over-
look the flowery garden. The waters stood among the
posts of this shed; and the hives themselves shook
with every wave that rolled along.
"You cannot do it, Oliver," cried Mildred, as her
brother crept down the slope to the back of the shed.
" You can never get round, Oliver. You will slip in,
Oliver looked round and nodded, as there was no
use in speaking in such a noise. He presently showed
that he did not mean to go round to the front of the
shed. That would never have done ; for the flood had
washed away the soil there, and left nothing to stand
upon. He broke away the boards at the back of the
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR. 43
bee-shed, which were old and loosely fastened. He
was glad he had come; for the bees were bustling
about in great confusion and distress, evidently aware
that something great was the matter. Oliver seized
one of the hives, with the board it stood on, and car-
ried it, as steadily as he could, to a sunny part of the
hill, where he put it down on the grass. He then
went for another, asking Mildred to come part of the
way down to receive the second hive, and put it by
the first, as he saw there was not a moment to lose.
She did so; but she trembled so much, that it was
probable she would have let the hive fall, if it had
ever been in her hands. It never was, however. The
soil was now melting away in the water, where Oliver
had stood firmly but a few minutes before. He had
to take great care, and to change his footing every
instant; and it was not without slipping and slid-
ing, and wet feet, that he brought away the second
hive. Mildred saw how hot he was, as he sat resting,
with the hive, before climbing the bank, and begged
that he would not try any more.
"These poor bees !" exclaimed Oliver, beginning to
move again, on the thought of the bees being drowned.
But he had done all he could. The water boiled up
between the shed and the bank, lifted the whole struc-
ture, and swept it away. Oliver hastened to put down
the second hive beside the first; and when he re-
turned, saw that the posts had sunk, the boards were
floating away, and the remaining hive itself sailing
down the stream.
"How it rocks I" cried Mildred. "I wish it would
turn quite over, so that the poor things might get
out, and fly away,"
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
"They never will," said Oliver. "I wish I had
thought of the bees a little sooner. It is very odd that
you did not, Mildred."
I don't know how to think of anything," said Mil-
dred, dolefully; it is all so odd and so frightful 1"
Well, don't cry, if you can help it, dear," said her
brother. "We shall see what father will do. He
wont cry;-I am sure of that."
Mildred laughed: for she never had seen her father
He was not far off crying yesterday, though," said
Oliver, "when he saw your poor hen lying dead. He
looked- but, O Mildred what can have become of
the Redfurns ? We have been thinking all this while
about the bees; and we never once remembered the
Redfurns. Why, their tent was scarcely bigger than
our hives; and I am sure it could not stand a minute
against the flood."
While he spoke, Oliver was running to the part of
the hill which commanded the widest view of the
carr, and Mildred was following at his heels,-a good
deal startled by the hares which leaped across her
path. There seemed to be more hares now on the hill
than she had seen in all her life before. She could not
ask about the hares, however, when she saw the brown
tent, or a piece of it, flapping about in the water, a
great way off, and sweeping along with the current.
"Hark! what was that ? Did you hear ?" said
Oliver, turning very pale.
"I thought I heard a child crying, a great way off,'
said Mildred, trembling.
"It was not a child, dear. It was a shriek,-a
woman's shriek, I am afraid. I am afraid it is Nan
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR.
Redfurn, somewhere in the carr. O dear, if they
should all be drowned, and nobody there to help
"No no,-I don't believe it," said Mildred. They
have got up somewhere,-climbed up something,-
that bank or something."
They heard nothing more, amidst the dash of the
flood, and they fancied they could see some figures
moving on the ridge of the anuk, far out over the carr.
When they were tired of straining their eyes, they
looked about them, and saw, in a smoother piece of
water near their hill, a dog swimming, and seeming to
labour very much.
"It has got something fastened to it," cried Mil-
dred ;-" something tied round its neck."
"It is somebody swimming," replied Oliver. They
will get safe here now. Cannot we help them ? I
wish I had a rope A long switch may do. I will get
a long switch."
"Yes, cut a long switch," cried Mildred: and she
pulled and tugged at a long tough thorny bramble, not
minding its pricking her fingers and tearing her frock.
She could iiot help starting at the immense number
of large birds that flew out, and rabbits that ran away
between her feet, while she was about it; but she
never left hold, and dragged the long bramble down
to the part of the hill that the dog seemed to be
trying to reach. Oliver was already there, holding
a slip of ash, such as he had sometimes cut for a
"It is Roger, I do believe; but I see nothing of the
others," said he. Look at his head, as it bobs up and
down. Is it not Roger "
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
0 dear I hope not !" cried Mildred, in a tone of
despair. What shall we do if he comes T"
"We must see that afterwards: we must save him
first. Now for it !"
As Oliver spoke, the dog ducked, and came up
again without Roger, swimming lightly to the bank,
and leaping ashore with a bark. Roger was there,
however,-very near, but, they supposed, exhausted,
for he seemed to fall back, and sink, on catching hold
of Oliver's switch, and by the jerk twitched it out of
the boy's hand.
"Try again !" shouted Oliver, as he laid Mildred's
bramble along the water. Don't let go, Mildred."
Mildred let the thorns run deep into her fingers
without leaving her hold. Roger grasped the other
end; and they pulled, without jerking, and with all
their strength, till he reached the bank, and they
could help him out with their hands.
"Oh, I am so glad you are safe, Roger !" said Oliver.
You might have found something better than that
thorny switch to throw me," said Roger. "My hands
are all blood with the spikes."
"Look at hers !" cried Oliver, intending to show
the state that his sister's hands were in, for Roger's
sake; but Mildred pulled away her hands, and hid
them behind her as she retreated, saying,
"No, no. Never mind that now."
Oliver saw how drenched the poor boy looked, and
forgave whatever he might say. He asked Mildred to
go back to the place where they had been standing,
opposite the house; and he would come to her there
presently. He then begged Roger to slip off his coat
and trousers, that they might wring the wet out of
ONE WAY OF MAKING NV AI.
them. He thought they would soon dry in the sun.
But Roger pushed him away with his shoulder, and
said he knew what he wanted;--he wanted to see
what he had got about him. He would knock any-
body down who touched his pockets. It was plain
that Roger did not choose to be helped in any way; so
Oliver soon ran off, and joined Mildred, as he had
"I do not like to leave him, all wet, and so tired
that I could knock him over with my little finger,"
exclaimed Oliver. "But he wont trust me about any
There is father again Tell him," cried Mildred.
Both children shouted that Roger was here, and
pointed behind them; but it was plain that their father
could not make out a word they said, though they had
never called out so loud in their lives. Roger heard
them, however, as they judged by seeing him skulking
among the trees behind, watching what use they werb
making of his name.
The children thought their father was growing very
anxious. He still waved his hat to them, now and
then, when he looked their way; but they saw him
gazing abroad, as if surprised that the rush of waters
did not abate. They observed him glance often round
the sky, as if for signs of wind; and they longed to
know whether he thought a wind would do good or
harm. They saw him bring out, for the third time, a
rope which he had seemed to think too short to be of
any use; and this appeared to be the case, now as
at first. Then he stooped down, as if to make a mark
on the side of the white door-post (for the water had
by this time quite hidden the stepy; and Oliver
OU THE SETTLERS AT iHCME.
thought this was to make out, for certain, whether the
flood was regularly rising or not. They could not
imagine why he examined so closely as they saw him
do the door lintel, and the window-frame. It did not
occur to them, as it did to him, that the mill might
break down under the force of the current.
At last, it was clear that he saw Roger; and from
that moment, he scarcely took his eyes from his chil-
dren. Oliver put his arm round Mildred's neck, and
said in her ear,
"I know what father is watching us for. He is
afraid that Stephen is here too, and no one to take
care of us;-not even Ailwin."
Perhaps Stephen is here,-in the wood," cried
Mildred, in terror. I wish this water would make
haste, and run away, and let us get home."
It cannot run faster than it does. Look how the
waves dash along That is the worst of it :-it shows
what a quantity there is, where this came from. But
I don't believe Stephen is here. I have a good mind
to ask Roger, and make him tell me."
"No, don's, Oliver Stephen may be drowned. Do
not put him in mind."
Why, you see he does not care for anything. He
is teazing some live thing at this minute,-there, on
Oliver himself forgot everything but the live
animals before his eyes, when he saw how many there
were under the trees. The grass was swarming with
mice, moles, and small snakes; while rabbits cocked
up their little white tails, in all directions, and par-
tridges flew out of every bush, and hares started froS
every hollow that the boy looked into.
CSE WAY OF MAKING WAP.
"All soaked out of their holes;-don't know what
to do with themselves ;-fine sport for those that have
a mind to it," said Roger, as he lay on the ground,
pulling back a little mouse by its long tail, as often as
it tried to run away.
"You have no mind for sport to-day, I suppose,
Roger. I should not think anybody has."
"I don't know;-I'm rarely hungry," said the boy.
"So were we; but we forgot it again. Father is in
the mill there . ."
You need not tell me that. Don't I see him I"
"But we think he is looking out for Stephen."
"He wont find him," said Roger, in a very low
voice ;-so low that Oliver was not sure what he said.
He is not here on the hill, then, Roger '"
"On the hill,-no I don't know where he is, nor
the woman either. I suppose they are drowned, as I
was, nearly. If they did not swim as I did, they must
be drowned: and they could hardly do that, as I had
The children looked at each other; and their looks
told that they thought Roger was shocked and sorry,
though he tried not to appear so.
There might have been a boat, perhaps, out on
the carr. Don't you think the country people in the
hills would get out boats when they saw the flood
Boats, no! The hill-people have not above thre-
boats among them all. There are about three near the
ponds; and they are like nut-shells. How should any
boat live in such a flood as that? Why, that flood
would sweep a ship out to sea in a minute. You neea
not think about boats, I can tell you."
THE SETTLERS AT lHOi!E.
"1 But wont anybody send a boat for us ?" inquired
Mildred, who had drawn near to listen. "If they
don't send a boat, and the flood goes on, what are we
to do? We can't live here, with nothing to eat, and
no beds, and no shelter, if it should rain."
"Are you now beginning to cry about that? Are
you now beginning to find that out, after all this
time ?" said Roger, contemptuously.
I thought we should get away," sobbed the little
girl. T thought a boat or something would come."
"A pretty silly thing you must be!" exclaimed
If she is silly, I am silly too," declared Oliver.
" I am not sure that it is silly to look for a boat.
There are plenty out on the coast there."
"They are all dashed to pieces long ago." decided
Roger. And they that let in the flood will take
good ozf you don't get out of it,-you, and your out-
landers. It is all along of you that I am in this
scrape. But it was shameful of them not to give us
notice ;-it was too bad to catch us in the same trap
with you. If uncle is drowned, and I ever get out
alive, I will be revenged on them."
Mildred stopped crying, as well as she could, to
listen; but she felt like Oliver when he said,-
"I don't know a word of what you mean."
"I dare say not. You foreigners never know any-
thing like other people."
"But wont you tell us ? Who made this flood ?"
To be sure, you weren't meant to know this. It
would not have done to show you the way out of the
trap. Why-the Parliament Committee at Lincoln
ordered the Snow-sewar sluice to be pulled up to-day,
ONE WAY OF MAKING WAR.
to drown the king's lands, and get rid of his
tenants. It will be as good as a battle gained to
The children were aghast at the wickedness of this
deed. They would not believe it. It would have
been tyrannical and cruel to have obliged the settlers,
who were not interested in a quarrel between the king
of England and his people, to enlist, and be shot down
in war. They would have complained of this as
tyrannical and cruel. But, when they were living in
peace and quiet on their farms, paying their rents,
and inclined to show good-will to everybody, to pull
up the flood-gates, and let in the sea and the rivers to
drown them because they lived in the king's lands,
was a cruelty too dreadful to be believed. Oliver and
Mildred did not believe it. They were sure their
father would not believe it; and that their mother, if
ever she should return to her home and family, would
bring a very different account-that the whole mis-
fortune would turn out to be accidental. So they
felt assured : but the fact was as Roger had said. The
Snow-sewer sluice had been pulled up, by the orders
of the Committee of the Parliament, then sitting at
Lincoln: and it was done to destroy the king's new
lands, and deprive him of the support of his tenants.
The jealous country-people round hoped also that it
would prevent foreigners from coming to live in Eng-
land, however much they might want such a refuge.
Some of the sufferers knew how their misfortune
happened. Others might be thankful that they did
not; for the thought of the malice of their enemies
must have been more bitter than the fear of ruin and
THE SETTLERS AT HOMM
A HUNGRY DAY.
"WE shall see what father does," was still the conso-
lation with which Oliver kept down his sister's fears.
He had such confidence in his father's knowing what
was best to be done on all occasions, that he felt they
had only to watch him, and imitate whatever he
might attempt. They remained quiet on the island
now, hungry and tired as they were, because he re-
mained in the mill, and seemed to expect the water
to subside. The most fearful thought was what they
were to do after dark, if they should not get home
before that. They supposed, at last, that their father
was thinking of this too; for he began to move about,
when the sun was near setting, more than he had
done all the afternoon.
They saw him go carefully down into the stream,
and proceed cautiously for some way-till the water
was up to his chin. Then he was buffeted about so
terribly that Mildred could not bear to look. Both
Oliver and Roger were sure, by what he ventured,
%nd by the way he pulled himself back at last to the
steps, that he had tied himself by the rope they had
seen him measure. It was certainly too short for any
good purpose; for he had to go back, having only
wetted himself to the skin. They saw this by the
yellow light from the west which shone upon the
water. In a few minutes they could distinguish him
no longer, though the mill stood up black against the
sky, and in the midst of the gleaming flood.
A HUNGRY DAY. ct)
"Father will be wet, and so cold all night !" said
"If I could only swim," exclaimed Oliver, "I
would get over to him somehow, and carry a rope
from the house. I am sure there must be a rope long
enough somewhere about the yard. If I could only
swim, I would get to him."
"That you wouldn't," said Roger. "Your father
can swim; and why does not he I Because nobody
could swim across that stream. It is a torrent. It
would carry any stout man out over the carr; and you
would be no better than a twig in the middle of it."
"I am afraid now this torrent will not slacken,"
said Oliver, thoughtfully. I am afraid there is some
hollow near which will keep up the current."
( "What do you mean by that 7"
They say in Holland, where they have floods
sometimes, that when water flows into a hollow, it gets
out in a current, and keeps it up for some way. Oh!
the quarry!" he cried, with sudden recollection.
" Mildred, let us go, and look what is doing on that
side before it is dark."
They ran round the hill ; and there they saw indeed
that the flood was tumbling in the quarry, like water
boiling in a pot. When it rushed out, it carried white
earth with it, which made a long streak in the flood,
and explained how it was that the stream between
the house and the mill was whiter and more muddy
than that between their hill and ths house. At once
it occurred to Roger that the stream between the hill
and the house was probably less rapid than the other;
and he said so. Oliver ran back; and so did Mildred,
pleased at thb bare idea of getting to the house.
THE SETTLEILS AT HOME.
Once more arrived opposite the house, they saw a
strange sight. The mill no longer stood in its right
place. It had moved a good way down towards
the carr. Not only that, but it was still moving. It
was sailing away like a ship. After the first exclama-
tion, even Roger stood as still as death to watch it.
He neither moved nor spoke till the mill was out of
sight in the dusk. When Mildred burst into a loud
cry, and Oliver threw himself down, hiding his face
on the ground, Roger spoke again.
"Be quiet-you must," he said, decidedly, to the
little girl. We must bestir ourselves now, instead
of stopping to see what other folks will do."
"Oh, father father will be drowned 1" cried they.
You don't know that. If he drifts out to the
Humber, which is likely, by the way he is going, some
ship may pick him up-or he may light upon some
high ground. We can't settle that now, however; and
the clear thing is that he wouldn't wish us to starve,
whether he drowns or not. Come, get up, lad 1" said
he, stirring Oliver with his foot.
"Don't lie there, Oliver; do get up !" begged
Oliver rose, and did all that Roger bade him.
"You say there is a long rope somewhere about the
house," said Roger. Where is it ?"
"There is one in the cowshed, I know."
"And if I cannot get there, is there one in the
"In the lumber-room," said Mildred. "The spare
bed is tied round and round with a long rope-I don't
know how long."
I wish we had set about it an hour ago," muttered
A HUNGRY DAY.
Roger, "instead of waiting for dark. A pretty set
of fools we have been to lose the daylight I say,
lad, can you think of any way of making a fire ? Here
are sticks enough, if one could set them alight."
To cook a supper 7" asked Mildred.
"No; I mean to sup within doors; only we must
do some work first."
Oliver had a steel knife; but it was too dark to
look for a flint, if any other plan than a fire would
"Well, don't plague any more about a fire," said
Roger, "but listen to me. Can you climb a tree?
I'll be bound you can't: and now you'll die if you
"I can," said Oliver: "but what is Mildred to
We'll see that afterwards. Which of these trees
stands nearest to the nearest of yon upper windows ?"
Oliver and Mildred pointed out a young ash, which
now quite bent over the water.
"That is not strong enough," said Roger, shaking
the tree, and finding it loosened at the roots. "Show
me a stouter one."
A well-grown beech was the next nearest. Roger
pulled Oliver by the arm, and made him stand directly
under the tree, with his sister beside him. He desired
them not to move from where they were, and to give
a loud halloo together, or a shriek (or anything that
might be heard furthest)-about once in a minute for
an hour to come, unless they should hear a rope fall
into the tree, or anywhere near them. They were to
watch for this rope, and use all their endeavours to
catch it. There would be a weight at the end, which
5THIE Sh-112,ERS AT 1O10`11.
would make it easier to catch. Oliver must tie this
rope to the trunk of the tree, stretching it tight, with
all his strength, and then tying it so securely that nc
weight would unfasten it.
Mind you that," said Roger. "If you don't, you
will be drowned, that's all. Do as I tell you, and
you'll see what you will see."
Roger then whistled for his dog, snatched Oliver's
black ribbon from about his neck, and fastened it
round the dog's neck, to hold by. He then showed
the dog the house, and forced him into the water, him-
self following, till the children could no longer see
what became of them.
What do you think he means ?" asked poor Mil-
"I don't know exactly. He cannot mean that we
are to climb over by a rope. I do not think I could
do that; and I am sure you could not."
Oh, no, no Let us stay here! Stay with me
under the trees, here, Oliver."
"Why, it would be much more comfortable to be
at home by the fire. You are shivering now, already,
as if it was winter: and the night will be very long,
with nothing to eat."
"But Roger is gone ; and I don't like to be where he
is,-he is such a rude boy! How he snatched your
ribbon, and pulled you about! And he calls you 'lad,'
when he might just as well say Oliver.'"
We must not mind such things now, dear. And
we must get home, if he can show us how. Think
how glad Ailwin and George will be: and I am sure
father would wish it, and mother too. You must not
cry now, Mildred; indeed you must not. People
A HUNGRY DAY.
must do what they can at such a time as this. Come,
help me to shout. Shriek as loud and as long as ever
I wish I might say my prayers," said Mildred,
S"Do, dear. Kneel down here ;-nobody sees us.
Let us ask God to save father,-and us too, and George
ind Ailwin, if it pleases Him :-and Roger."
They kneeled down, and Oliver said aloud to God
what was in his heart. It was a great comfort to
them both; for they knew that while no human eye
saw them in the starlight, under the tree, God heard
their words, and understood their hearts.
"Now again !" said Oliver, as they stood up.
They raised a cry about once a minute, as nearly as
they could guess: and they had given as many as
thirty shouts, and began to find it very hard work, be-
fore anything happened to show them that it was of
any use. Then something struck the tree over their
heads, and pattered down among the leaves, touching
Oliver's head at last. He felt about, and caught the
end of a rope, without having to climb the tree, to
search' for it. They set up a shout of a different kind
novr., for they really were very glad. This shout was
ary.wered by a gentle tug at the rope: but Oliver held
fast, determined not to let anything pull the precious
line out of his hand.
What have we here I" said he, as he felt a parcel
tied to the rope, a little way from the end. He gave
it to Mildred to untie and open; which she did with
some trouble, wishing the evening was not so dark.
It was a tinder-box.
"There now !" said Oliver, "we shall soon know
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
what we are about. Do you know where the tree was
cut down, the other day ?"
"Close by? Yes."
"Well; bring a lapful of chips,-quick : and then
any dry sticks you can find. We can get on twice as
fast with a light; and then they will see from the
house how we manage."
In a few minutes, there was a fire blazing near the
tree. The rope must have come straight over from
the house, without dipping once into the water; for
not only were the flint and steel safe, but the tinder
within, and the cloth that the box was done up in,
were quite dry.
"Roger is a clever fellow,-that is certain," said
Oliver. "Now for fastening the rope! Do you take
care that the fire keeps up. Don't spare for chips.
Keep a good fire till I have done."
Oliver gave all his strength to pulling the rope
tight, and winding it round the trunk of the beech,
just above a large knob in the stem. It seemed to
him that the rope stretched pretty evenly, as far as he
could see,-not slanting either up or down; so that
the sill of the upper window must be about upon a
level with the great knob in the beech-trunk. Oliver
tied knot upon knot, till no more rope was left to knot.
It still hung too slack, if it was meant for a bridge.
He did not think he could ever cross the water on a
rope that would keep him dangling at every move:
but he had pulled it tight with all his force, and he
could do no more. When he had tied the last knot,
he and Mildred stood in front of the fire, and raised
one more great shout, waving their arms-sure now of
being seen as well as heard.
A HUNGRY DAY. I
"Look look !" cried Oliver, "it is moving ;-the
rope is not so slack! They are tightening it. How
much tighter it is than I could pull it! That must be
Ailwin's strong arm,-together with Roger's."
"But still I never can creep across that way,"
declared Mildred. "I wish you would not try, Oliver.
Do stay with me 1"
"I will not leave you, dear: but we do not know
what they mean us to do yet. There! now the rope
is shaking! We shall see something. Do you see
anything coming ? Don't look at the flashing water.
Fix your eye on the rope, with the light upon it.
What do you see ?"
"I see something like a basket,-like one of our
clothes' baskets,-coming along the line."
It was one of Mrs. Linacre's clothes' baskets, which
was slung upon the rope; and Roger was in it. He
did not stay a minute. He threw to Oliver a line
which was fastened to the end of the basket, with
which he might pull it over, from the window to the
tree, when emptied of Roger. He was then to put
Mildred into the basket, carefully keeping hold of the
line, in order to pull it back for himself when his
sister should be safely landed. Ailwin held a line
fastened to the other end of the basket, with which to
pull it the other way.
Oliver was overjoyed. He said he had never seen
anything so clever; and he asked Mildred whether she
could possibly be afraid of riding over in this safe
little carriage. He told her how to help her passage
by pulling herself along the bridge-rope, as he called
it, instead of hindering her progress by clinging to the
rope as she sat in the basket. Taking care not to let
- ATIIE 6ET"LIEHS AT :-:^'.
go the line for a moment, he again examined the knots
of the longer rope, and found they were all fast.-In
.t few minutes he began hauling in his line, and the
empty basket came over very easily.
"How shall I get in ?" asked Mildred, trembling.
"Here," said Oliver, stooping his back to her.
"Climb upon my back. Now hold by the tree, and
stand upon my shoulders. Don't be afraid. You are
light enough. Now, can't you step in ?"
Feeling how much depended upon this, the little
girl managed it. She tumbled into the basket, took
a lesson from Oliver how to help her own passage, and
earnestly begged him to take care of his line, that
nothing might prevent his following her immediately.
Then came a great tug, and she felt herself drawn
back into the darkness. She did not like it at all.
The water roared louder than ever as she hung over it;
and the light which was cast upon it from the fire
showed how rapidly it was shooting beneath. Then
she saw Oliver go, and throw some more chips and
twigs on the fire; and she knew by that that he could
see her no longer. She worked as hard as she could,
cuttingg her hands one behind the other along the
rope: but her hands were weak, and her head was
very dizzy. She had had nothing to eat since break-
fast, and was quite tired out.
While still keeping her eyes upon Oliver, she felt
a jerk. The basket knocked against something; and
it made her quite sick. She immediately heard Ail-
win's voice saying, "'Tis one of them, that's certain.
Well! if I didn't think it was some vile conjuring
trick, up to this very moment !"
The poor dizzy child felt a strong arm passed round
A HIIUNGFY DAY.
her waist, and found herself carried near a fire in a
room. She faltered out, Ailwin, get something for
Oliver to eat. He will be here presently."
That I will: and for you first. You shall both
have a drop of my cherry-brandy too."
Mildred said she had rather have a draught of milk;
but Ailwin said there was no milk. She had not
been able to reach the cow, to milk her. What had
poor little George done, then ?-He had had some
that had been left from the morning. Ailwin added
that she was very sorry,-she could not tell how she
came to be so forgetful; but she had never thought of
not being able to milk the cow in the afternoon, and
had drunk up all that George left of the milk; her
regular dinner having been drowned in the kitchen.
Neither had she remembered to bring anything eat-
able up-stairs with her, when the flood drove her from
the lower rooms. The flour and grain were now all
under water. The vegetables were, no doubt, swim-
ming about in the cellar; and the meat would have
been where the flour was, at this moment, if Roger,
who said he had no mind to be starved, had not some-
how fished up a joint of mutton. This was now
stewing over the fire; but it was little likely to be
good; for, besides there being no vegetables, the
salt was all melted, and the water was none of the
best. Indeed, the water was so bad that it could not
be drunk alone: and again good Ailwin pressed a drop
of her cherry-brandy. Mildred, however, preferred a
cup of the broth, which, poor as it was, was all the
better for the loaf-the only loaf of bread-being
boiled in it.
Just when Mildred thought'she could stand at the
TIE SETTLERS AT HOME.
window, and watch for Oliver, Oliver came in at the
window. He was not too tired to have his wits about
him, as Ailwin said ;-wits, she added, that were worth
more than hers. He had brought over spme dry wood
with him,-as much as the basket would hold; think-
ing that the peat-stack was probably all afloat, and the
wood-heap wetted through. All were pleased at the
prospect of keeping up a fire during this strange
night. All agreed that the bridge-rope must be left
as it was, while the flood lasted. There were wild
animals and birds enough on the Red-hill to last for
food for a long while; and there alone could they get
"You can't catch game without my dog," cried
Roger, surlily, to Ailwin; "and my dog shan't put
his nose to the ground, if you don't feed him well:
and he shall be where I am,-mind you that."
As he spoke, he opened the door to admit the dog,
which Ailwin had put out upon the stairs, for the sake
of her pet hen and chicks, which were all in the room.
The hen fluttered up to a beam below the ceiling, on
the appearance of the dog, and the chicks cluttered
about, till Ailwin and Mildred caught them, and kept
them in their laps. They glanced timidly at Rogei,
remembering the fate of the white hen, the day before
Roger did not heed them. He had taken out hi
knife, forked up the mutton out of the kettle, and cu'
off the best half for himself and his dog.
Probably Oliver was thinking that Roger deserve
the best they could give him, for his late services; fc
"I am sure, Roger, Mildred and I shall never f
get,-nor father and mother either, if ever they k. ,
A HUNGRY DAY.
it,-what you have done for us to-night. We might
have died on the Red-hill but for you."
Stuff muttered Roger, as he sat, swinging
his legs, with his open knife in his hand, and hiz
mouth crammed,-" Stuff As if I cared whether you
and she sink or swim I like sport, that's alL"
Nobody spoke. Ailwin helped the children to the
poor broth, and the remains of the meat, shaking
her head when they begged her to take some. She
whispered a good deal to Oliver about cherry-brandy;
but he replied aloud that it looked and smelled very
good; but that the only time he had tasted it, it made
him rather giddy; and he did not wish to be giddy
to-night;-there was so much to think about; and
he was not at all sure that the flood had got to its
height. He said no more, though his mind was full
of his father. Neither he nor Mildred could mention
their father to Ailwin to-night, even if Roger had
been out of the way.
Roger probably thought what Oliver did say very
silly; for he sat laughing as he heard it, and for some
time after. Half an hour later, when Ailwin passed
near him, while she was laying down a bed for Oliver,
so that they might be all together during this night of
alarm, she thought there was a strong smell of
brandy. She flew to her bottle, and found it empty,-
not a drop left. Roger had drained it all. His head
soon drooped upon his breast, and he fell from his chair
in a drunken sleep. Mildred shrank back from him
in horror; but Ailwin and Oliver rolled him into a
corner of the room, where his dog lay down be-
Ail win could not refrain from giving him a kick,
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
while he lay thus powerless, and sneering in his face
because he could not see her.
"Don't Ailwin,-don't!" said Oliver. "Mildred
and I should not have been here now but for him."
And I should not have been terrified out of my
wits, for these two hours past, nor have lost my cherry-
brandy, but for him. Mercy! I shall never forget his
popping up his face at that window, and sending his
dog in before him. I was as sure as death that the
flood was all of their making, and that they were come
or me, after having carried off my master, and as I
thought, you two."
Why, Ailwin, what nonsense !" cried Mildred from
her bed,-trembling all over as she spoke. How
could a boy make a flood?"
And you see what he has done, instead of carrying
as off," observed Oliver.
"Well, it is almost worth my cherry-brandy to see
him lie so,-dead drunk,-only it would be better still
to see him really dead.-Well, that may be a wicked
thing to say; but it is not so wicked as some things
he has done ;-and I am so mortally afraid of him !"
"I wish you would say your prayers, Ailwin,
instead of saying such things: and then, perhaps, you
would find yourself not afraid of anybody."
"Well, that is almost as good as if the pastor had
preached it. I will just hang up the chicks in the
hand-basket, for fear of the dog; and then we will say
our prayers, and go to sleep, please God. I am sure
we all want it."
Oliver chose to examine first how high the water
stood in the lower rooms. He lighted a piece of
wood. and found that only two steps of the lower
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
flight of stairs remained dry. Ailwin protested so
earnestly that the waters had not risen for two or
three hours, that he thought they might all lie down to
sleep. Ailwin and he were the only ones who could
keep watch. He did not think Ailwin's watching
would be worth much; he was so tired that he did not
think he could keep awake ; and he felt that he should
be much more fit for all the business that lay before
him for the next day, if he could get a good rest now.
So he kissed little George, as he lay down beside him,
and was soon as sound asleep as all his companions.
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
ALL the party slept for some hours, as quietly and
unconsciously as little George himself. If the children
were so weary that the dreadful uncertainty about
their father's fate could not keep them awake, it is
probable that a knowledge of their own danger might
have failed to disturb them. But they had little
more idea than George himself of the extent of the
peril they were in. They did not know that the
Levels were surrounded by hills on every side but
towards the sea; or, if they knew, they did not con-
sider this, because the hills were a great way off. But,
whether they were far or near, this circle of hills was
the cause of the waters rising to a great height in
the Levels, when once the defences that had kept out
the sea and the rivers were broken down. As the
hills prevented the overflowing waters from running
off on three sr1, it was clear that the waters must
6O THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
rise to the level of the sea and the rivers from which
they flowed in. They had not reached this height
when the children lay down to rest, though Ailwin
was so sure that the worst was over; and the danger
increased as they slept; slept too soundly even to
dream of accidents.
The first disturbance was from the child. Oliver
became aware, through his sleep, that little George
was moving about, and laughing. Oliver mur-
mured, "Be quiet, George. Lie still, dear," and the
child was quiet for a minute. Presently, however,
he moved again, and something like a dabbling in
water was heard, while, at the same moment, Oliver
found his feet cold. He roused himself with a start,
felt that his bed was wet, and turning out, was up to
the ankles in water. By the light of the embers, he
saw that the floor was a pond, with some shoes floating
on it. His call woke Ailwin and Mildred at once.
Roger did not stir, though there was a good deal of
bustle and noise.
Mildred's bed was so high above the floor as to be
still quite dry. Oliver told her to stay there till he
should settle what was to be done next : and he took
up the child to put him with Mildred, asking her to
strip off his drenched clothes, and keep him warm. All
the apparel that had been taken off was luckily on the
top of a chest, far above the water. Oliver handed
this to his sister, bidding her dress herself, as well as
the child. He then carefully put the fire together, to
make as much light as possible, and then told Ailwin
that they must bestir themselves, as the fire would
presently be drowned out.
Ailwin was quite ready to bestir herself; but she
SUNRISE OVER IHE LEVELS.
had no idea beyond mounting on chests, chairs, and
drawers; unless, indeed, she thought of the beam
which crossed the ceiling, to which she was seen to cast
her eyes, as if envying the chicks which hung there, or
the hen which still slept, with her head beneath her
wing, out of present reach of the flood.
Oliver disapproved of the plan of mounting on the
furniture of the room. It might be all very well, he
said, if there were nothing better to be done. But, by
the time the water would reach the top of the chests,
it would be impossible to get out by the door. He
thought it would be wisest to reach the roof of the
house while they could, and to carry with them all the
comforts they could collect, while they might be re-
moved in a .dry condition. Ailwin agreed, and was
going to throw open the door, when Oliver stopped her
"Why, Oliver," she cried, "you wont let one do
anything; and you say, all the time, that there is not
a minute to be lost."
Oliver showed her that water was streaming in at
the sides of the door, a good way higher up than it
stood on the floor. He said that the door was a de-
fence at present,-that the water was higher on the
stairs than in the room, and that there would be a
yreat rush as soon as the door should be opened. He
wished, therefore, that the bedding, and the clothes
from the drawers, and all else that they could remove
to the top of the house, should be bundled up, and
placed on the highest chest of drawers, before the
water should be let in. They must borrow the line
from the clothes' basket, to tie round George's waist,
that they might not lose him in the confusion. One
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
other thing must be done: they must rouse Roger,
or he might be drowned.
Ailwin was anxious that this last piece of duty
should be omitted :-not that she exactly wished that
Roger should be drowned,-at least, not through her
means; but she, ignorant as she was,-had a supersti-
tious feeling that Roger and his family had caused
this flood, and that he could save himself well enough,
though he appeared to be sunk in a drunken sleep.
She indulged Oliver, however, so far as to help him to
seize the lad, neck and heels, and lay him, dripping as
he was, upon the table.
Before the bedding and clothes were all tied up, the
door of the room shook so as to threaten to burst in,
from the latch giving way. It struck everybody that
the person who should open it would run great risk of
being suffocated, or terribly knocked about; and yet,
it was hardly wise to wait for its bursting. Oliver
therefore tied a string to the knob of the bolt, then
slipped the bolt, to keep the door fastened while he
lifted and tied up the latch. The tdoor shook more
and more; so, having set the window wide open, he
made haste to scramble up to where Mildred was, wound
the cord which was about George's waist round his
own arm, bade Mildred hold the child fast, and gave
notice that he was going to open the door. It was a
strange party, as the boy could not help noting at
the moment,-the maid standing on the bed, hugging
the bedpost, and staring with frightened eyes; Roger
snoring on the table, just under the sleeping hen on
the beam; and the three children perched on the'top
of a high chest of drawers. George took it all for play,
-the new sash he had on and the bolting the door,
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVEL. 71
and the climbing and scrambling. He laughed and
kicked so that his sister could scarcely hold him.
"Now for it 1" cried Oliver.
Oh, Oliver, stop a minute !" cried Ailwin. "Don't
be in such a hurry to drown us all, Oliver. Stop a
Oliver knew, however, that the way to drown them
all was to stop. At the first pull the bolt gave way,
the door burst open, as if it would break from its
hinges, and a great body of water dashed in. The
first thing the wave did was to wash Roger off the
table; the next, to put out the fire with a fizz,--so
that there was no other light but the dawn, now ad-
vancing. The waters next dashed up against the wall
opposite the door; and then by the rebound, with less
force, against the drawers on which the children sat.
It then leaped out of the window, leaving a troubled
surface at about half the height of the room. Above
the noise, Ailwin was heard lamenting, the chicks
cluttering, the hen fluttering, and George laughing
and clapping his hands.
"You have George safe ?" said Oliver. "Very
well! I believe we can all get out. There is Roger's
head above water; and T don't think it is more than
up to my neck; though everybody laughs at me for
being a short boy."
He stepped down upon a chair, and then cautiously
into the water. It was very nearly up to his chin.
"That will do," said he, cheerfully. "Now, Ailwin,
you are the tallest;-please carry George out on the
roof-of the house, and stay there with him till I
Ailwin made many lamentations at having to step
72 TliE SEWTL.EhS AT HO4tD.
down into the water; but she took good care of the
child, carrying him quite high and dry. Oliver fol-
lowed, to see that he was tied securely to the balus-
trade on the roof. While he was doing this, Ailwin
brought Mildred in the same way. Mildred wanted to
be of use below; but her brother told her the best
thing she could do was to watch and amuse George,
and to stand ready to receive the things saved from
the chambers,-she not being tall enough to do any
service in four feet of water.
It was a strange forlorn feeling to Mildred,-the
being left on the house-top in the cold grey morning,
at an hour when she had always hitherto been asleep
in bed. The world itself, as she looked round her,
seemed unlike the one she had hitherto lived in. The
stars were in the sky: but they were dim,-fading
before the light of morning. There were no fields, no
gardens, no roads to be seen;-only grey water, far
away on every side. She could see nothing beyond
this grey water, except towards the east, where a
line of low hills stood between her and the brighten-
ing sky. Poor Mildred felt dizzy, with so much
moving water before her eyes, and in her ears the
sound of the current below. The house shook and
trembled, too, under the force of the flood : so that she
was glad to fix her sight on the steady line of the dis-
tant hills. She spoke to George occasionally, to keep
him quiet; and she was ready to receive every article
that was handed up the stairs from below: but, in all
the intervals, she fixed her eyes on the distant hills.
She thought how easy it would be to reach that ridge,
if she were a bird; and how hard it would be to pine
away on this house-top, or to sink to death in these
UTIUNISE OVER THE LEVELS.
waters, for want of the wings which inferior creatures
had. Then she thought of superior creatures that
had wings too: and she longed to be an angel. She
longed to be out of all this trouble and fear; and
considered that it would be worth while to be drowned,
to be as free as a bird or an angel. She resolved
to remember this, and not to be frightened, if the
water should rise and rise, till it should sweep her
quite away. She thought that this might have be-
fallen her mother yesterday. No boat had been seen
on the waters in the direction of Gainsborough; no
sign had reached the family that any one was think-
ing of them at a distance, and trying to save them:
and Oliver and Mildred had agreed that it was likely
that Mrs. Linacre had heard some report of the pull-
ing up of the sluices, and might have been on her
way home when the flood overtook and drowned her.
If so, she might be now an angel. If an angel, Mil-
dred was sure her first thought would be, as it had
ever been, of her home and her children ; and the little
girl looked up to see whether there was anything like
the shadow of wings between her and the dim stars.
She saw nothing; but still, in some kind of hope, she
softly breathed the words, "0, mother mother !"
"Mother mother!" shouted little George, as he
Oliver leaped up the stairs, and inquired whether
there was a boat,-whether mother was coming.
"No, Oliver, no. I was only thinking about mo-
ther; and so, I suppose, was George. I am afraid
you are disappointed;-I am sorry."
Oliver bit his lip to prevent crying, and could not
speak directly; but seemed to be gazing carefully all
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
around the waste. He said, at last, that he had many
times thought that his mother might come in a boat:
and he thought she might still, unless . .
"Unless she should be an angel now," whispered
Mildred,-"unless she died yesterday; and then she
might be with us now, at this very moment, though
we cannot see her ;-might not she ?"
"Yes, I believe so, dear. And, for one thing, I
almost wish she may not come in a boat. Who should
tell her that father was carried away into all those
waters, without having spoken one word to us I"
If they are both dead, do you not think they are
together now asked Mildred.
Certainly. Pastor Dendel says that all who love
one another well enough will live together, where they
will never die any more."
"And I am sure they did," said Mildred.
"If they see us now," said Oliver, it must make a
great difference to them whether we are frightened and
miserable, or whether we behave as we ougit to do.
Let us try not to be frightened, for their sakes, dear."
And if they are not with us all the while. God is,"
0, yes; but God knows God will not ex-
pect" . .
"Surely He will feel in some way as they do about
us," said Mildred, remembering and repeating the verse
Pastor Dendel had taught her. "'Like as a father
pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear
"'For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth
that we are dust.'" So Oliver continued the psalm.
"There comes the sun !" exclaimed Mildred, happy
L2 U'iISE OVER THE LEVELS.
to greet some one familiar object amidst this strange
The scene hardly appeared the same when the sun,
after first peeping above the hills like a golden star,
flamed up to its full size, and cast a broad glittering
light over the wide waters, and into the very eyes of
the children. They felt the warmth too, immediately;
and it wa- very cheering. The eastern hills now
almost disappeared in the sun's blaze; and those tc
the west shone very clearly; and the southern ridge
near Gainsborough, looked really but a little way off.
The children knew, however, that there were three
full miles between them and any land, except theii
Red-hill, and a few hillocks which peeped above the
flood in the Levels: and there was no sign of a boat,
far or near. Oliver checked a sigh, when he had con-
vinced himself of this; and began to look what had
become of the people they knew in the Levels.
Neighbour Gool's dwelling stood low; and nothing
was now to be seen of it but a dark speck, which might
be the top of a chimney. It was possible that the
whole family might have escaped; for Gool and his
wife were to be at Haxey yesterday; and they might
there hear of the mischief intended or done to the
sluices, in time to save the rest of the household.
Some of the roofs of the hamlet of Sandtoft stood
above the waters; and the whole upper part of the
chapel used by the foreigners; and many might easily
have found a refuge there. Further off, a conspicuous
object was the elegant crocketed spire of one of the
beautiful Lincohishire churches, standing high, as if
inviting those who were dismayed to come and save
themselves in the air from the dangers of the waters.
7 6 THE SETTLEiR AT HOMUE.
Oliver wondered whether any sufferers were now
watching the sunrise from the long ridge of the
church-roof, or from the windows of the spire.
One of the most curious sights was the fleets of
haystacks that were sailing along in the courses of the
currents. As the smaller stacks were sometimes shot
forward rapidly, and whirled round by an eddy, while
a large stately stack followed forwards, performing the
same turns of the voyage, Mildred compared them to
a duck and her ducklings in the pond, and Oliver to a
great ship voyaging with a fleet of small craft. They
saw sights far more sorrowful than this. They grieved
over the fine large trees-some in full leaf-that they
saw tumbling about in the torrents which cut through
the stiller waters; but it was yet worse to see dead
cows, horses, pigs, and sheep carried past-some directly
through the garden, or over the spot where the mill
had stood. There were also thatched roofs carried
away entire; and many a chest, chair, and cow-rack
-showing the destruction that had gone on during
the night. While the distant scene was all bright and
lovely in the sunrise, these nearer objects, thickly
strewn in the muddy waters, were ugly and dismal;
and Oliver saw that it did him and his sister no good
to watch them. He started, and said they must not
be idle any longer.
Just then Ailwin called from the stairs,
I say, Oliver, the cow is alive. I heard her low,
"I am afraid it was only George," said Mildred.
He was lowing like the cow, a minute ago."
That might be because he heard the real cow,"
cried Oliver, with new hope. I had rather save the
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
cow than anything. I will see if I cannot get into
one of the upper rooms that looks towards the yard.
We might have a bridge-rope from more windows
than one. Where is Roger ? What is he fit for ? Is
he awake ?"
Awake! yes, indeed," whispered Ailwin, coming
close up to the children. "There is more mischief
about that boy than you think for. He is now on the
stairs, with more mice, and rats, and spiders, and
creeping things about him than I ever saw before in
all my days. We are like to be devoured as we stand
on our feet; to say nothing of what is to become of us
if we lie down."
Mildred looked at her brother in great terror.
"We must get rid of them, if they really do us
hurt," said Oliver, decidedly, though with an anxious
look. "We must drown them, if they are mischievous.
We can do that, you know-at least with the larger
things. They cannot get away from us."
Drown away !" said Ailwin, mysteriously. Drown
away The more you drown the more will come up.
Why, did you never hear of the plagues of Egypt I"
"Yes, to be sure. What then ?"
"I take this to be a plague of Egypt that that boy
has brought upon us. It is his doing; and you will
see that, if you will just look down from where I stand,
and watch him making friends with them all."
Mildred's eyes were on her brother's face as he stood
where Ailwin desired him, watching Roger. After
looking very thoughtful for some moments, he turned
"There is not one word of sense in it all, Mildred.
There is a wonderful number of live things there, to be
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
sure; and here, too, all over the roof-if you look.
But Roger is not making friends with them. He is
teazing them-hurting all he can get hold of. I think
the creatures have come up here because the water
has driven them out of their holes; and that therewould
have been quite as many if Roger had been drowned
in the carr. They have nothing to do with Roger,
or the plagues of Egypt, Mildred. Don't believe a
word of it."
"Then I wish Ailwin would not say such things,"
Ailwin persisted that time would show what Roger
was-to which they all agreed. Oliver observed that
meanwhile Ailwin, who was the oldest person among
them, should not try to frighten a little girl, who was
the youngest of all, except George. Ailwin said she
should keep her own thoughts; though, to be sure,
she need not always say what they were to everybody.
"About this cow," thought Oliver aloud. "We
must plan some way to feed her."
"Take care 1" exclaimed Mildred, as he began to
descend the stairs. But the words were scarcely out
of her mouth when her brother called to her that the
Water had sunk. She ran to see, and saw, with her
own eyes, that the water did not quite come up to the
wet mark it had left on the wall of the stairs. Ailwin
thought but little of it-it was such a trifle; and
Oliver allowed that it might be a mere accident,
arising from the flood having found some new vent
about the house; but still, the water had sunk; and
that was a sight full of hope.
Have you heard the cow low, Roger asked
0 i ver.
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS. 79
"Yes, to be sure. She may well low; for she must
be hungry enough."
"And wet and cold enough, too, poor thing I am
going to see whether I can find out exactly where she
is, and whether we cannot do something for her."
Ailwin called down stairs to Oliver, to say that
there was a washtub floating about in the room they
had slept in. If he could find it, he might row him-
self about in that, in the chambers, instead of always
wading in the water, catching his death of cold.
Oliver took the hint, and presently appeared in the
tub, rowing himself with a slip of the wood he had
brought over from the Red-hill. Roger stared at him
as he rowed himself out of one chamber, and opened
the door of another, entering it in fine style. Roger
presently followed to see what was doing, and perhaps
to try how he liked a voyage in a tub in a large
I see her," cried Oliver, from the window. "I
see poor cow's head, and the ridge of her back above
Roger came splashing to the window to look, and
jumped into the tub, making it sink a good deal; but
it held both the boys very well. Roger thought the
cow very stupid that she did not get upon the great
dunghill behind her, which would keep her whole
body out of the water. Oliver thought that, as the
dunghill was behind her, she could not see it. He
wished he could go, and put her in mind of it. He
thought he would try to cross in the tub, if he could
so connect it with the window as that it might be
drawn back, in case of his being unable to pass the
little current that there was between the house and
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
the ruins of the vard-buildings-of which little re-
"I'll go, too," said Roger.
"Either you will go, or I," said Oliver. "One must
stay to manage the rope, in case of the tub upsetting.
You had better let me go, Roger, because poor cow
Roger, however, chose to go. Oliver asked him
whether he could milk a cow; because some milk
must be got for George, if possible. He said, very
gravely, that his poor little brother would die, he
thought, if they could not get milk for him.
Roger laughed at the doubt whether he could milk
cows. He did it every day of his life, when fishing
and fowling, with his uncle, in the carr. Oliver
now guessed how it was that the milk of their good
cow had sometimes unaccountably run short. Ailwin
had observed that this never happened but when the
Redfurns were in the neighbourhood; and she had
always insisted upon it that they had bewitched the
cow. Oliver knew that she would say so now. He
said so much, and said it so seriously, about the neces-
sity of milk for little George, that he thought not even
a Redfurn could have the heart to drink up all the
milk. He gave Roger a brown pitcher for the milk,
and helped, very cleverly, to fasten the cord to the
tub. They passed the cord through the back of a
heavy old-fashioned chair that stood in the room, lest
any sudden pull should throw Oliver out of the win-
dow; he then established himself on the window-sill,
above the water, to manage his line, and watch what
Roger would do.
Roger pulled very skilfully;-much more so, from
SUNlRlSE OVER THE LEVELS.
his strength and from practice, than Oliver could have
done. He avoided logs of wood, trees, and other heavy
things that floated past; and this was nearly all he
did till the line had quite run out, so that he could
not be carried any further down. Then he began dili-
gently working his way up towards the cow. He had
got half way to his object, when he paused a moment,
and then changed his course-to Oliver's surprise; for
the thing which appeared to have attracted his atten-
tion was a small copper boiler. Plenty of such things
swept past before, and nobody had thought of wanting
them. It was plain, however, that Roger had a fancy
for this particular copper boiler; for he carefully way-
laid it, and arrested it with his paddle. Oliver then
saw that some live animal leaped from the boiler into
the tub. He saw Roger seize the boiler, and take it
into the tub; catch up the animal, whatever it might
be, and nurse it in his arms; and then take something
out of his pocket, and stoop down. Oliver was pretty
sure he was killing something with his knife.
Whatever Roger was doing, he had soon done. By
this time he had again been carried down as far as the
line would allow; and the additional weight he had
now on board his tub made it harder work for him to
paddle up again. He did it, however, and brought
his odd little boat into still water, between the dung-
hill and the cow. After looking about him for a while,
he threw out the boiler and the pitcher upon the dung-
hill, seized a pitchfork which was stuck upright in it,
and, his craft being thus lightened, made for the ruins
of the cart-shed and stable.
Of these buildings there remained only wrecks of
the walls, and a few beams a. nd rs standing up i
THE SETTLERS AT iHOME.
the air, or lying across each other, without any thatch
to cover them. Something must be left inside, how-
ever; for Roger was busy with his pitchfork. This
something must be valuable, too; for Roger, after
carefully feeling the depth, jumped out of the tub,
and went on filling it, while he stood in the water.
Oliver thought this very daring, till, glancing at the
cow, he was sure he saw more of her neck and back;
and, examining the wall of the house, he perceived
that the flood had sunk some inches since Roger be-
gan to cross.
When the tub was heaped up with what looked like
wet straw, Roger pushed it before him towards the
cow, carefully feeling his way, but never sinking so
much as to have the water above his shoulders.
Capital Now that is clever !" said Oliver aloud,
as he sat at the window, and saw what Roger was
about. He is going to lift her up out of the water.
How she struggles to help herself! She knows there
is somebody caring for her; and she will do what she
can for herself."
This was true. Roger thrust the straw he had
brought under the cow, with his pitchfork. He had
to bring three loads before she could raise her whole
body; but then she stood, poor thing with only her
trembling legs in the water. Roger turned her head
so that she saw the dunghill just behind her, and with
some encouragement, made one more vigorous scramble
to reach it. She succeeded; and Roger whipped up
the pitcher, and was certainly trying to milk her. She
could not, however, be prevented from lying down.
Oliver was more angry than' he had almost ever been
in his life, when he saw Roger kick her repeatedly, in
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
different parts of her body, pull her by the tail, and
haul up her head with a rope he had found in the
stable. The poor cow never attempted to rise; and
it was clear that she wanted comfort, and not ill-usage.
Oliver determined that, when Roger came back, he
would not speak a word to him.
Roger set about returning presently, when he
found that nothing could be got from the cow. He
took his boiler on board, and pulled himself in by the
line, without troubling himself to paddle.
When he came in at the window, he threw down
the pitcher, swearing at himself for the trouble he had
taken about a good-for-nothing beast that had beer,
standing starving in the water till she had not a drop
of milk to give. He looked at Oliver, as if rather
surprised that he did not speak; but Oliver took no
notice of him.
It was a hare that Roger had in his boiler,-a hare
that had, no doubt, leaped into the boiler when pressed
by a still more urgent danger than sailing down the
stream in such a boat. Roger had cut her throat
with his pocket-knife; and there she lay in her own
"Don't you touch that," said Roger, as he landed
his booty upon the window-sill. "If you lay a finger
on that, it will be the worse for you. They are mine,
-both puss and the boiler."
Still Oliver did not speak. He wondered what
Roger meant to do with these things, if nobody else
:as to touch them.
Roger soon made it clear what his intentions wera
He whistled to his dog, which scampered down stair
to him from the top of the house; put dog, puss, ani
8i'LiE SETTLERS AT HOIY61.
boiler into the clothes' basket, and pulled himself over
with them to the Red-hill, taking care to carry the
tinder-box with him. There he made a fire, skinned
and cooked his hare, and, with his dog, made a feast
of it, under a tree.
Nobody grudged him his feast; though the children
were sorry to find that any one could be so selfish.
Ailwin was glad to be rid of him, on any terms; and,
as soon as Oliver was sure that he was occupied for
some time to come, so that he would not be returning
to make mischief, he resolved to go over to the cow,
and give her something better than kicks;-.-ood, if,
as he thought, he could procure some. Saying nothing
to any one, he tied the tub-line to a bed-post, as being
more trustworthy still than the heavy chair, and car-
ried with him the great knife that the meat had been
cut with the evening before. He made for the stable
first, and joined the rope he knew to be there to his
line, so as to make it twice the length it was before.
He could now reach the field behind the stable, where
the corn, just turning from green to yellow, had been
standing high at this hour yesterday. He had to
paddle very carefully here, lest his tub should be
knocked to pieces against the stone wall. But the
wall, though not altogether thrown down, had so many
breaches made in it, that he found himself in the field,
without exactly knowing whether he had come through
the gate-posts or through the wall. He lost no time
in digging with his paddle; and, as he had hoped, he
turned up ears of corn from under the water, which
he could catch hold of, a handful at a time, and cut
off with his knife. It was very tiresome, slow work;
and sometimes he was near losing his paddle, and
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
sometimes his knife. He persevered, however: now
resting for a minute or two, and then eating a few of
the ears, and thinking that only very hungry people
could swallow them, soaked as they were with bad
water. He ate more than he would have done, re-
membering that the more he took now, the less he
should want of the portion he meant to carry to the
house, when he should have fed the cow. He hoped
they should obtain some better food; but, if no flour
was to be had, and no other vegetable than this, it
would be better than none.
When he reached the cow, she devoured the heads of
corn ravenously. She could not have appeared better
satisfied with the sweetest spring grass. It was a plea-
sure to see her eyes as she lay, receiving her food from
Oliver's hand. He emptied out all he had brought be-
side her, and patted her, saying he hoped she would
give George some milk in the afternoon, in return foi
what had been done for her now.
Oliver felt so tired and weak when he got home with
his tub half-full of soaked corn ears, that he felt as if
he could not do anything more. He was very near
crying when he found that there was not a morsel to
eat; that the very water was too bad to drink; and
that there was no fire, from Roger having carried off
the tinder-box. But George was crying with hunger;
and that made Oliver ashamed to do the same, and
put him upon thinking what was to be done next.
Ailwin was the only person who, being as strong as
Roger, could have got anything from him by force;
and there was no use in asking Ailwin to cross the
bridge-rope, or to do anything which would bring her
nearer to the boy she feared so much. Besides that,
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
Roger had carried over the clothes' basket, without
leaving any line to pull it back by. Oliver felt that
he (if he were only a little less hungry and tired)
could make the trip in a sack, or a tub, or even a
kettle; but a tall woman like Ailwin could cross in
nothing smaller than the missing clothes' basket. It
was clear that Oliver alone could go ; and that he must
go for the tinder-box before any comfort was to be
He made up his mind to this, therefore; and having,
with Ailwin's help, slung the useful tub upon the
bridge-rope, so that he might start the first moment
that Roger should be out of sight or asleep, he rested
himself in the window, watching what passed on the
Red-hill. He observed that Roger seemed quite secure
that no one could follow him, as he had carried off
the basket. There he lay, near the fire, eating the
meat he had broiled, and playing with his dog. It
seemed to the hungry watchers as if he meant to lie
there all day. After awhile, however, he rose, and
sauntered towards the trees, among which he disap-
peared, as if going to the other side of the hill, to play,
or to set his dog upon game.
Oliver was off, sliding along the bridge-rope in his
tub. He did not forget to carry the line with which
to bring back the basket. It seemed to him that
Roger intended to live by himself on the Red-hill;
and to this none of the party had any objection. He
had swum over to the house once, when the stream was
higher and more rapid than now ; and Je could come
again, if he found himself really in want of anything;
so that nobody need be anxious for him. Meantime,
no one at th, house desired his company. Oliver
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS.
therefore took with him a blanket and a rug, and a
knife and fork for his accommodation.
He alighted under the beech without difficulty, and
laid down the articles he brought under the tree,
where Roger would be sure to see them. He took the
flint and the tinder from the tinder-box, and pocketed
them, leaving the steel and the box for Roger's use, as
there were knives at home, and Roger might perhaps
find a flint on the hill. There were plenty in the
quarry. Oliver knew he must be quick; but he could
not help looking round for something to eat,-some
one of the many animals and birds that he knew to be
on the hill, and heard moving about him on every side.
But he had no means of catching any. The bones of
the hare were lying about, picked quite clean by the
dog; but not a morsel of meat was left in sight.
Something very precious, however, caught Oliver's
eye;-a great heap of pebbly gravel thrown up by the
flood. The water in the Levels was usually so bad
that the settlers had to filter it; and Oliver knew that
no water was purer than that which had been filtered
through gravel. He believed now that poor George
could have a good drink of water, at least; and he
scooped up with his hands enough gravel to half fill the
tub. It took a long time to heap up as much as he
could carry upon the rug; and then it was hard work
to empty it into the t-ab; and he fancied every moment
that he heard Roger coming. It was a pity he did
not know that Roger had fallen fast asleep in the sun,
on the other side of the hill; and that his dog lay
winking beside him, not thinking of stirring.
One thing more must be had;-chips for fuel.
When Oliver had got enough of these, and of sticks
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
too, he found courage and strength to stay a few
minutes more, to make up such a fire for Roger as
would probably last till after he should have discovered
the loss of the flint, and so prevent his being without
fire till he could find another flint. In order to give
him a broad hint, Oliver spread out the blanket on
the ground, and set the tinder-box in the middle of
it, where it would be sure to invite attention. He
then climbed into the tub, and was glad to be off,
drawing the basket with the firewood after him.
"Here, Ailwin," said he, faintly, as he reached the
window, take the flint and the tinder, and the wood
in the basket, and make a fire. I have brought you
nothing to eat."
No need!" said Ailwin, with an uncommonly
"You must broil the green corn, unless we can
manage to get a fowl from across the yard. But I
really cannot go any more errands till I am rested,"
said Oliver, dismally.
No need, Oliver, dear !" said Ailwin again.
"What do you think we have found to eat ?" cried
Mildred, from the stairs.-" What is the matter with
him, Ailwin? Why does not he speak?"
He is so tired, he does not know what to do," said
Ailwin. "No, don't get down into the water again,
dear. I'll carry you. Put your arm round my neck,
and I'll carry you."
And the good-natured woman carried him up to
the roof, and laid him down on a bundle of bedding
there, promising to bring him breakfast presently.
She threw an apron over his head, to cover it from the
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVELS. 89
hot sun, and bade him lie still, and not think of any-
thing till she came.
"Only one thing," said Oliver. "Take particular
care of the gravel in the tub."
Gravel !" exclaimed Ailwin. "The fowls eat
gravel; but I don't see that we can. However, yoi
shall have your way, Oliver."
The tired boy was asleep in a moment. He knew
nothing more till he felt vexed at somebody's trying to
wake him. It was Mildred. He heard her say,-
How very sound asleep he is I can't make him
stir. Here, Oliver,-just eat this, and then you can
go to sleep again directly."
He tried to rouse himself, and sat up; but his eyes
were so dim, and the light so dazzling, that he could
not see, at first, what Mildred had in her hands. It
was one of her mother's best china plates,-one of the
set that was kept in a closet upstairs; and upon it was
a nice brown toasted fish, steaming hot.
"Is that for me?" asked Oliver, rubbing his eyes.
"Yes, indeed, for who but you?" said Ailwin,
whose smiling face popped up from the stairs. Who
deserves it, if you do not, I should like to know ? It
is not so good as I could have wished, though, Oliver.
I could not broil it, for want of butter and everything;
and we have no salt, you know. But, come! eat it,
sach as it is. Come, begin !"
But have you all got some too?" asked the hungry
boy, as he eyed the fish.
Oh, yes,-George and all," said Mildred. "We
ate ours first, because you were so sound asleep, we did
not like to wake you."
U9 THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
How long have I been asleep I" asked Oliver,
beginning heartily upon his fish. "How could you
get this nice fish? How busy you must have been all
this time that I have been asleep 1"
All this time !" exclaimed Mildred. "Why, you
have been asleep only half an hour; hardly so much.
We have only just lighted the fire, and cooked the
fish, and fed Geordie, and put him to sleep, and got our
own breakfast;-and we were not long about that,-
we were so very hungry That is all we have done
since you went to sleep."
It seems a great deal for half an hour," said
Oliver. "How good this fish is Where did you
I found it on the stairs. Ah I thought you
would not believe it; but we shall find more, I dare
say, as the water sinks; and then you will believe what
"On the stairs How did it get there !"
"The same way that the water got there, I suppose,
and the poor little drowned pig that lay close by the
same place. There was a whole heap of fish washed up
at the turn of the stairs ; enough for us all to-day.
Ailwin said we must eat them first, because the pig will
keep. Such a nice little clean sucking-pig !"
"That puts me in mind of the poor sow," said
Oliver. I forgot her when we were busy about the
cow. I am afraid she is drowned or starved before
this; but we must see about it."
"Not now." said Mildred. "Do you go to sleep
again now. There is not such a hurry as there was,
the waters are going down so fast."
Are they, indeed ?-Oh, I do not want to sleep any
SUNRISE OVER THE LEVEL.
more. I am quite wide awake now. Are you sure the
flood is going down?"
Only look Look at that steep red bank on the
Red-hill, where it was all a green slope yesterday, and
covered with water this morning. Look at the little
speck of a hillock, where neighbour Gool's house was.
We could not see that this morning, I am sure. And if
you will come down, you will find that there is scarcely
'any watei in the upper rooms now. Geordie might
play at paddling there, as he is so fond of doing in his
tub. Ailwin thinks we might sleep there to-night,
if we could only get everything dried."
We might get many things dried before night, in
such a sun as this. How very hot it is !"
Oliver ran down, and convinced himself that the
flood was abating fast. It must have swelled up
higher within the house than outside; for it had sunk
three feet in the upper rooms, and two on the outer
walls of the house. Now that the worst of the danger
seemed to be past, the children worked with fresh
spirit, making all possible use of the sunshine for drying
their bedding and clothes, in hopes of sleeping in a
chamber this night, instead of on the house-top, which
they had feared would be necessary. Nothing could
have made them believe, if they had been told at sun-
rise, how cheerfully they would sit down, in the after-
noon, to rest and talk, and hope that they might, after
all, meet their father and mother again soon, alive
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
ROGER HIS OWN MASTER.
THERE lay Roger under the tree, thinking that there
was nothing to prevent his having all his own way
now, and that he was going to be very happy. He
had always thought it hard that he could not have
his own way entirely, and had been unsatisfied with a
much greater degree of liberty than most people wish
He had hitherto led a wandering life, having no
home duties, no school to go to, no trade to work at,-
no garden, or other pleasure, to fix him to one spot.
He had gone, with his uncle, from sporting on the
moors, in one season of the year, to sporting in the
marshes in another; and, wild as was this way of life,
it made his will so much wilder, that he was always
wishing for more liberty still. When his aunt had
desired him to watch the kettle, as it hung over the
fire near the tent, or asked him to help her in shaking
out their bedding, or cleaning their utensils, he had
turned sulky, and wished that he lived alone, where
he need not be plagued about other people's affairs.
When his uncle had* ordered him to attend at a cer-
tain spot and hour, with nets or a gun, he had been
wont to feel himself seized with a sudden desire to
wander in an opposite direction, or to lie half asleep
in the sun, too lazy to work at all. When he had
played truant, and returned late to the tent, and found
nothing better left to eat than a dry crust of bread, or
the cold remains of a mess of fish, he had frequently
ROGER HIS OWN MASTER.
thought how pleasant it would be to have the best of
everything for himself, and only his dog to eat up the
rest. So this boy had often felt and thought; and so
would many think and feel, perhaps, if there were
many as forlorn and friendless as he, with no one to
love and be loved by. Though he had had an uncle and
aunt, he had never had a friend. He knew that they
cared about him only because he could help to keep
the tent, and take the game; and, feeling this, it was
irksome to him to be under their orders.
The time was now come for which he had so often
longed. He was his" own master completely. There
was nobody near who could order or compel him to do
anything; while he, on his part, had an obedient ser-
vant in his dog. The sky was blue and warm over-
head, and the trees cast a pleasant shade. The Red-
hill was now an island, which he had all to himself;
and it was richly stocked with game, for his food and
sport. Here he could have his own way, and be com-
pletely happy. 8'
Such was Roger's idea when he stole the tinder-box,
and crossed to the hill; and this was what he said to
himself as he cooked his meal, and when he lay down
after it on the grass, with the bees humming round
him, and the sound of the waters being now a pleasant
ripple, instead of the rush and roar of yesterday. He
desired his dog to lie down, and not disturb him; and
he took this opportunity to change the animal's name.
Stephen Redfurn, taking up the quarrel of the day
against the bishops, would have the dog called
"Bishop," and nothing else. Roger had always wished
to call him, Spy;" but Bishop would never answer to
the name of Spy, or even seem to hear it. Now, how-
1THE SETTLERS AT IOMIE.
ever, Bishop was to be Spy, as there was no one here
to indulge the dog with his old name; and Spy was
told so many times over, and with all the devices that
could be thought of, for impressing the fact on his
This lesson being given, Roger shut his eyes, and
thought he would sleep as long as he chose; but, in
the first place, he found himself too much heated for
sleep. He considered that it was no wonder, after
broiling himself in making a fire to broil his hare.
He wished animals ran about ready cooked-as fruits
grow on the sunny side of trees. It was too bad to
have to bustle and toil for an hour, to get ready what
was eaten in ten minutes ; and it just passed through
his mind that, whatever Nan Redfurn might have
sometimes said and done to him, she had usually saved
him all trouble in cooking, and had had his meals
ready for him whenever he chose to be at the tent at
meal times. He rose, and thought he could find a
cooler place, further under the trees.
He did so, and again lay down. Sleep began to
steal over him; and, at the same time, the thought
crept into his mind that he should never more see
Stephen Redfurn. The ideas that come when one is
dropping asleep are very vivid; and this one startled
Roger so, that Spy found it out, and pricked up his
ears, as if at some alarm. This thought would not go
away; for it so happened that the last words that
Stephen and Roger had spoken together were angry
ones. Stephen had ordered Roger to carry the fry
they had fished for manure to a field, where he had
promised to deposit it by a certain time. Roger had
been sure that the fish would be better for lying in
ieJGI&Lt HIS OWN MAS`LER.
the sun a while longer, and refused to touch it. No
matter which was right about the manure; both were
wrong in being angry. Stephen had said that Roger
was a young rascal, who would never come to good;
and Roger had looked impertinently in his uncle's
face, while whistling to the dog to come with him,
and make sport among the water-fowl. It was that
face-that countenance of his uncle's, as he had last
seen it, which was before Roger's eyes now, as he lay
dozing. With it came the angry tones of Stephen's
voice, saying that he would never come to good.
Mixed and confused with this was the roar of a
coming flood, and a question (how and whence spoken
he knew not) whether his uncle might not possibly
have been saved, if he had not, against orders, carried
away Bishop-for the dog was still Bishop in his
Roger started bolt upright, and looked about him.
He felt very tired; but he thought he would not lie
down again just yet. It was odd that he could not
get sound asleep, so tired as he was. If he should not
sleep better thah this at night, what should he do?
He wished he had some more of that woman's cherry-
brandy. He had slept sound enough after drinking
that. It was. well for Roger that he was not now
within reach of intoxicating liquors-the state of his
mind would probably have made a drunkard of him.
His mind ran strangely on his uncle, and his uncle's
last looks and words, even as he stood wide awake
and staring at the beehives. A rustle in the briers
behind him made him jump as if he had been shot. It
was only a partridge taking wing.
"Whirr away?" said Roger to her "You can't
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
go far. You will have to light again upon my island.
You all belong to me-you swarming creatures You
may run about awhile, and flutter away a bit; but
you will aU belong to me at last, with Spy to help
me. I'll have some sport, now. Here, Spy! Spy !"
Spy had disappeared, and did not come when called.
A whistle brought him, however, at last. He came
out of the thicket, licking his chops. Being com-
manded to bring his game, he soon produced two
rabbits. It was easy work for the dog to catch them;
for the poor creatures had no holes here. They had
come tc this raised ground from a warren some way
off, where they had been soaked out of their holes.
Spy was praised for everything but not answering
to his name. For that he was lectured, and then sent
off again, to try what he could find. He brought in
prey of various kinds; for he could not stir among
the trees without starting some. During the fun, as
Roger thought it, while the terrified birds were flut-
tering among the branches of the trees, and the scared
animals bursting through the thicket, Roger resolved
that he would not plague himself with any more
thoughts of Stephen and Nan. If they were drowned,
it was none of his doing; and, as for Stephen's anger
yesterday, there was nothing new in that; Stephen
was angry every day of his life. He would not be
scared out of his sleep any more by nonsense. He
would not give up having his own way to see Stephen
and Nan under these very trees; and, as he had got
his own way at last, he would enjoy it.
This mood went on till there was such a heap of
dead animals, that Roger began to think whether he
could skin them all, and clean their skins, in such hot
ItOOER HIS OWN MASTER.
weather as this, before they were unfit for any use.
As for eating them, here was twenty times as much
food as could be eaten while it was good. He did just
remember the children and Ailwin, and how much
they probably wanted food; but he settled that it was
no business of his; and he was not going to trouble
himself to leave his island for anybody. He would
call in Spy, and tie him up; for there must be no
more game killed to-day.
Spy did not come for any calling,-for anything
short of the well-known whistle, as Roger would not
utter the name of Bishop. Roger grew very angry at
being obeyed no better than this; and his last whistle
was so shrill that the dog seemed to know what it
threatened, refused to answer it as long as he dared,
and then came unwillingly, with fear in every atti-
tude. He gave a low whine when he saw his master;
as he had good reason to do. Roger tied him to a
tree, and then gave loose to his passion. He thrashed
the dog with a switch till the poor creature's whine
was heard and pitied by the children and Ailwin on
their house top; and there is no knowing how long
the whipping might not' have gone on, if the animal
had not at last turned furious, and snapped at Roger
in a way which made him think of giving over, and
finding something else to do with his sovereignty.
He found it was rather dull work, so far, having alR
his own way, in an island of his own. At last, he be-
thought himself of an amusement he had been fond of
before he lived so much in the moors and the cars.
He bethought himself of birdsnesting. It was too
late for eggs; but he thought the bird-families might
not have all dispersed. Here were plenty of trees,
THE SETTLERS AT HOME.
and they must be full of birds for, though they were
silent to-day (he did wish the place was not quite so
silent!) they sometimes sent their warblings so far
over the carr, that Nan Redfurn would mention them
in the tent. He would see what ailed them, that they
would not give him any music to-day. By incessant
cooing, he obtained an answer from one solitary pigeon;
which he took advantage of to climb the tree, and look
for the nest. He found a nest; but there was nothing
in it. He climbed several trees, and found abundance
of nests ; but all deserted. Except his solitary pigeon
(which presently vanished), there appeared to be not a
winged creature in all those trees. The birds had been
frightened away by the roar of the flood of yesterday;
and, perhaps, by seeing the fields, to which they had
been wont to resort for their food, all turned into a
waste of muddy waters.
Roger threw to the ground every empty nest he
found, from the common inability of a boy to keep his
hands off a bird's-nest. When he was tired of climb-
ing trees, he picked up all the scattered nests, and laid
ihem in a long row on the grass. They looked dismal
enough. It is disagreeable to see a range of houses left
half-built (such as may be seen in the neighbourhood
of large towns), with the doorways gaping, and the
window-spaces empty, and roofs hardly covering in the
dark inside; but such a row of houses is less dismal
than Roger's array of birds'-nests. There is something
in the very make of a bird's-nest which rouses thoughts
of blue or red-spotted eggs, of callow young birds, with
their large, hungry eyes and beaks, or of twittering
fledglings, training for a summer life of pleasure. To
see, instead of these, their silent empty habitations,