r-4 T' T T
i.Sa' I W O
W ITH ILL USTRATIONS
BY F. BARNARD, R. BARNES, M. E. EDWARDS, M. KERNS
C.O.MURRAY, AND OTHER ARTISTS
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 416 BROOME STREET
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS,
STAMFORD STREET AND OHARINQ OROSS.
AMY LLOYD .............. I
THE MAGPIES .. .. .. .. II
THE ROBINS .. .. .. .. .. .. 21
HARRY LEWINGTON .. . 29
PRIDE SHALL HAVE A FALL . 37
THE TWO DOLLS . 45
THE FOSTER-MOTHER .. .. .. 55
YOUNG MASTER BEN .. .... .. 65
PATTY'S NEW HAT .. .. .. .. 79
GOING TO THE RACES . .. 89
THE CHINA JUG .. ....... 105
DORA CRESWELL ..... .. 121
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
ARRANGED AND ENGRAVED BY J. D. COOPER
SUBJECT. ARTIST. PAGE
The Farmer and his grandson ... ... ... ... R. BARNES Frontlisiece
Title-page ..... ... ... .... ... ... T. SULMAN ... ... iii
Dog and the frightened sheep ... ... ... ... R. H. MOORE ... ... I
Amy and Dame Clewer ... ... ... ... ... T. H. WILSON ... ... 5
Amy hugging her dog Flossie ... ...... ... ,, ... ... 7
Amy and Lady Lumley ... ... ... .... ,, ... .. 9
"Come along, girls" ... .... ... ... A. TUCK ... ... II
Dash begging at meal times ... ... ... ... R. IH. MOORE ... ... 14
The two magpies quarrelling over the bone ... ,, ... ... 16
The magpies have the best of it ... ... ... A. TUCK ... ... 19
The birds' nest ... ... ...... ... ... T. H. WILSON ... ... 21
Feeding the robins ... .... ... ,, .. ... 25
Marched off to cricket ... ... ... ... .. ... 28
"Beg, Frisk, beg" ..... ... ..... ... A. TUCK ... ... 29
Apple-gathering ............ ... ... ... ... 33
Frisk and Harry ... ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... 34
George Leslie and Harry Lucas ... ... ... ... .. 37
George at the wicket ... ... ... ... ... ,, ...... 42
Charles the victor ... ... ... .. ... ,, ... .. 44
Afraid of a spider ... ... ... ... ... ... C. HEATH ... ... 45
Pompey meeting Fanny ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... 47
The Two Dolls ......... ... ... ... ... ,, ... 50
Nothing but rags" ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 52
Groundsel for the canary ... ..... ... ,, ... .. 53
Charles whistling to the spaniel ... .. ... W. RAINEY ... ... 55
viii LIST OF ILL USTRA TIONS.
SUBJECT. ARTIST. PAGE
Death of Romulus ... ... ... ... ... ... W RAINEY ... ... 60
Cat and puppies ...... .. .. ... ... ... R. H. MOORE ... ... 62
The best rower ......... .. .. ... W. RAINEY ... ... 64
Dash and I at the fireside ... ... ... ... C. O. MURRAY ... ... 65
Dash listening ... ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... ... 68
Ben ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 69
Ben and his father ... ... ... ... ,, .. ... 71
Ben and the jay ... ... .... ... .. ...,, .. ... 73
Master Clarke and his prisoners ..... ... ... ... 75
M aster Clarke's mishap ... .. .. ... ... ,, ... ... 77
Shelter from the rain ... ... ... ... ... Miss M. KERNS ... 79
Mrs. Matthews ... ... ... ...... .. ,, ... ... 82
Patty trimming her hat ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... ... 84
Patty escaping ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... ... 87
Robert Hewitt asks Master Coxe's permission ... F. BARNARD ... ... 89
H enrietta Coxe ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 92
Monsieur Auguste at the country dance ..... ,, ... ... 95
Monsieur Auguste makes his appearance ... ...,, ... ... 96
The crowd witnessing their departure ... ... ,, ... ... 98
At the races-Mary and Farmer Hewitt ... ..,, ... ... 100oo
Discovery of Hetty ... ... .. ... ,, ... ... 102
One of Auguste's misfortunes ... ... ... ..., ... ... Io4
Picturesque farm-house ... ...... ..... E. M. EDWARDS ... 105
Girl at the spring .... ... ... .. ,, ... ... 107
Martha Mearing at home ... ... ,, ... ... o09
Dinah Moore ... ..... .. .. ... ... ... I
Little M oses ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... ... 113
Rescue of the China Jug by Moses ... ... ..,, ... ... 116
" She caught the dripping boy in her arms" ...,, ... ... 119
Saunter:ng along the green lanes ... ... ... R. BARNES ... ... 121
"Buy a broom" .... ........ .... ...... ,, ... ... 123
Dora and the young child .. ... ,, ... ... 124
M making a pudding ... ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... .. 126
"Ganpapa's flowers" ... ... ... ... ... ,, ... 13
The child hugs his grandpapa ... ... ... ... ,, ... ... 134
CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE@
"A Y LL,'" D.
'.-, .: ,..*.- ,'^ '-g ^ .
NE fine sunshiny March
morning, a lady, driving herself in a pony-carriage through
Aberleigh lane, stopped beside a steep bank to look at a
little girl and her dog in the adjoining field. The hedge had
2 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
been closely cut, except where a tuft of hazel with its long
tassels hung over some broom in full flower, and a straggling
bush of the white-blossomed sloe was mixed with some
branches of palms, from which the bees were already gather-
ing honey. The little girl was almost as busy as the bees:
she was gathering violets, white violets and blue, with which
the sunny bank was covered; and her little dog was bark-
ing at a flock of sheep feeding in that part of the field, for
it was a turnip field that was hurdled off for their use. The
dog was a small French spaniel, one of the prettiest ever seen,
with long curly hair, snow white, except that the ears and three
or four spots on the body were yellow; large feathered feet
and bright black eyes : just the sort of dog of which fine ladies
love to make pets.
It was curious to see this beautiful little creature, driving
before it a great flock of sheep, ewes, lambs, and all-for sheep
are sad cowards! And then, when driven to the hurdles, the
sheep, cowards though they were, were forced to turn about;
how they would take courage at sight of their enemy, advancing
a step or two and pretending to look brave; then it was
diverting to see how the little spaniel, frightened itself, would
draw back barking towards its mistress, almost as sad a coward
as the sheep. The lady sat watching their proceedings with
great amusement, and at last addressed the little girl, a nice lass
of ten years old in deep mourning.
"Whose pretty little dog is that, my dear?" asked the
AMY LLOYD. 3
"Mine, madam," was the answer.
"And where did you get it ? The breed is not common."
".It belonged to poor mamma. Poor papa brought it from
France." And the look and the tone told at once that poor
Amy was an orphan.
And you and the pretty dog--what's its name ?" said the
lady, interrupting herself.
"Flossy, ma'am-dear Flossy!" And Amy stooped to
stroke; the curly, silky, glossy' coat which had probably
gained Flossy his appellation; and Flossy in return jumped
on his young mistress, and danced about her with tenfold
"< You and Flossy live hereabout ? inquired the lady.
CJose by, ma'am; at Court farm, with my uncle and aunt
And you love Flossy?" resumed the lady ;-" You would
not like to part with him ?"
"Part with Floss!" cried Amy. "Part with my own
Flossy "-and she flung down her violets, and caught her
faithful pet in her arms, as if fearful of its being snatched away;
and Floss, as if partaking of the fear, nestled up to his young
mistress, and pressed his head against her cheek.
"Do not be alarmed, my dear," replied the lady, preparing
to drive on; "I am not going to steal your favourite, but I
would give five guineas for a dog like him; and if ever you
meet with such a one, you have only to send it to Lumley
castle. I am Lady Lumley," added she. "Good morning,
Lc **^~' ^
4 CHILDREN O TIHE VILLAGE.
love! Farewell, Flossy !" And, with a kind nod, the lady and
the pony-chaise passed rapidly by; and Amy and Flossy
returned to Court farm.
Amy was an orphan, and had only lately come to live with
her good uncle and aunt Lloyd, rough honest country people;
and being a shy meek-spirited child, who had just lost most
affectionate parents, and had been used to soft voices and
gentle manners, was so frightened at the loud speech of the
farmer and the blunt ways of his wife, that she ran away from
them as often as she could, and felt as forlorn and desolate as
any little girl can do who has early learnt the blessed lesson of
reliance on the Father of all. Her chief comfort at Court farm
was to pet Flossy and to talk to old Dame Clewer, the
charwoman, who had been her own mother's nurse.
Dame Clewer had known better days; but having married
late in life, and been soon left a widow, she had toiled early and
late to bring up an only son ; and all her little earnings had gone
to apprentice him to a carpenter and keep him decently clothed;
and he, although rather lively and thoughtless, was a dutiful and
grateful son, and being now just out of his time, had gone to the
next town to try to get work, and hoped to repay his good
mother all her care and kindness by supporting her out of his
earnings. He had told his mother so when setting off the week
before, and she had repeated it with tears in her eyes to Amy-
tears of joy; and Amy on her return to the house, went im-
mediately in search of her old friend, whom she knew to be
washing there, partly to hear over again the story of Thomas
AMY LLO YD. 5
Clewer's goodness, partly to tell her own adventure with
In the drying yard, as she expected, Amy found Dame Clewer;
not, however, as she expected, smiling and busy, and delighted
to see Miss Amy, but sitting on the ground by the side of the
clothes-basket, her head buried in her hands, and sobbing as if
her heart would break. "What could be the matter? Why
did she cry so?" asked Amy. And Dame Clewer, unable to
resist the kind interest evinced by the affectionate child, told
her briefly the cause of her distress.-" Thomas had enlisted!"
How few words may convey a great sorrow!-" Thomas was
6 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
gone for a soldier !"-And the poor mother flung herself at her
length on the ground, and gasped and sobbed as though she
would never speak again.
"Gone for a soldier!" exclaimed Amy-" Left you! Oh, he
never can be so cruel, so wicked He'll come back, dear nurse !"
(for Amy always called Dame Clewer nurse, as her mother had
been used to do.) "He'll be sure to come back! Thomas is
such a good son, with all his wildness. He'll come back-I
know he will."
"He can't!" replied poor nurse, trying to rouse herself from
her misery. He can't come, how much so ever he may wish
it; they'll not let him. Nothing can get him off but money,
and I have none to give." And again the mother's tears choked
her words. "My poor boy must go !"
"Money !" said Amy, "I have half a crown, that godmamma
gave me, and two shillings and three sixpences; I'll go and
fetch them in a moment."
Blessings on your dear heart!" sobbed Dame Clewer; "your
little money would be of no use. The soldier who came to tell
me, offered to get him off for five pounds: but where am I to
get five pounds ? All my goods and all my clothes would not
raise near such a sum: and even if anybody was willing to lend
money to a poor old creature like me, how should I ever be
able to pay it? No! Thomas must go-go to the East
Indies, as the soldier said, to be killed by the sword or to die
of the fever !-I shall never see his dear face again Never!"
And turning resolutely from the pitying child, she bent over
AMY LLOYD. 7
the clothes in the basket, trying to unfold them with her
trembling hands and to hang them out to dry; but, unable in
her agony to separate the wet linen, she burst into a passion
of tears, and stood leaning against the clothes' line, which
quivered and vibrated at every sob, as if sensible of the poor
Amy, on her part, sat on the steps leading to the house,
watching her in silent pity. "Oh, if mamma were alive!"
thought the little girl -" or papa or if I dared ask Aunt Lloyd !
or if I had the money of my own; or anything that would fetch
the money !" And just as she wa-
thinking this very thought, Flo-y, 1
wondering to see his little mi;-
tress so still and sad, crept up to i
her, and put his paw
in her lap and whined.
"Dear Flossy!" said
Amy unconsciously, and $
then suddenly remem-
bering what Lady Lum-
ley had said to her, she PI .
took the dog up in her : -
arms, and coloured like V.- "
scarlet, from a mingled
emotion of pleasure and pain, for Flossy had been her own
mamma's dog, and Amy loved 'him dearly. For full five
minutes she sat hugging Flossy and kissing his sleek, shining
8 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
head, whilst the faithful creature licked her cheeks and her
hands, and nestled up to her bosom, and strove all he could to
prove his gratitude and return her caresses. For full five
minutes she sat without speaking; at last she went to Dame
Clewer, and gave the dog into her arms.
"Lady Lumley offered me five guineas for Flossy this
morning," said she; "take him, dear nurse, and take the
money; but beg her to be kind to him," continued poor Amy,
no longer able to restrain her tears-" beg her to be very kind
to my Floss !" And, with a heart too full even to listen to the
thanks and blessings which the happy mother was showering
upon her head, the little girl turned away.
But did Lady Lumley buy Flossy? And was Thomas
Clewer discharged ? Yes, Thomas was discharged, for Sir John
Lumley spoke to his colonel; and he returned to his home and
his fond mother, quite cured of his wildness and his fancy for
being a soldier. But Lady Lumley did not buy Floss, because,
as she said, however she might like him, she never could bear to
deprive so good a girl as Amy of anything that gave her
pleasure. She would not buy Floss, but she continued to take
great notice both of him and his little mistress, had them often
at the castle, always made Amy a Christmas present, and talks
of taking her for her own maid when she grows up.
"COME along, girls!
Helen Caroline I
say, don't stand jab-
bering there upon the
\ 9 stairs, but come down
this instant, or Dash and I will be off without you."
This elegant speech was shouted from the bottom of the
great staircase at Dinely Hall, by young George Dinely, an
12 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
Etonian of eleven years old, just come home for the holidays, to
his two younger sisters, who stood disputing very ardently in
French at the top. The cause of contention was, to say the
truth, no greater an object than the colour of a workbag, which
they were about to make for their mamma : slate lined with
pink being the choice of Miss Caroline, whilst Miss Helen
preferred drab with a blue lining.
"Don't stand quarrelling there about the colour of your
trumpery," added George, "but come along!"
Now George would have scorned to know a syllable of any
language except Latin and Greek, but neither of the young
ladies being Frenchwomen enough to construe the appellation
of the leading article, the words drab" and slate," which
came forth in native English pretty frequently, as well as the
silk dangling in their hands, had enlightened him as to the
matter in dispute.
George was a true schoolboy, rough and kind; affecting
perhaps more roughness than naturally belonged to him, from
a mistaken notion that it made him look bold, and English, and
manly. There cannot be a greater mistake, since the boldest
man is commonly the mildest, thus realising in every way the
expression of Shakespeare, which has been the subject of a
somewhat unnecessary commentary, "He's gentle and not
fearful." For the rest, our hero loved his sisters, which was
very right; and loved to tease them, which was very wrong;
and now he and his dog Dash, both wild with spirits and
with happiness, were waiting most impatiently to go down
THE MAGPIES. 13
to the village on a visit to old Nurse Simmons and her
Nurse Simmons was a very good and very cross old woman,
who, after ruling in the nursery of Dinely Hall for two generations,
scolding and spoiling Sir Edward and his brothers, and per-
forming thirty years afterwards the same good office for Master
George and his sisters, had lately abdicated her throne on the
arrival of a French governess, and was now comfortably settled
at a cottage of her own in the village street.
George Dinely and Dash had already that morning visited
George's own pony, and his father's brood mares, the garden,
the stables, the pheasantry, the greenhouse, and the farmyard;
had seen a brood of curious bantams, two litters of pigs, and a
family of greyhound puppies, and had few friends, old or new,
left to visit except Nurse Simmons, her cottage, and her magpie,
a bird of such accomplishments, that his sisters had even made
it the subject of a letter to Eton. The magpie might perhaps
claim an equal share with his mistress in George's impatience,
and Dash, always eager to get out of doors, seemed nearly as
fidgety as his young master.
Dash was as beautiful a dog as one should see in a summer's
day; one of the large old English spaniels, which are now so rare,
with a superb head like those that you see in Spanish pictures,
and such ears they more than met over his pretty spotted nose,
and when he lapped his milk dipped into the pan at least two
inches. His hair was long and shiny and wavy, not curly, partly
of a rich dark liver colour, partly of a silvery white, and
14 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
beautifully feathered about the legs and thighs. Everybody
used to wonder that Dash, who apparently ate so little, should be
in such good case; but the marvel was by no means so great ,s
it seemed, for his being George's peculiar pet and property did
not hinder his being the universal favourite of the whole house,
from the drawing-room
to the kitchen. Not
'l'l'l"i 'l. a creature could resist
', ,,' .'.,.;iii':. "'' ,' ', D ash's silent supplica-
.I tions at meal times,
when he sat upon his
'' : haunches looking ami-
Sable, with his large
S ears brought into their
'f t f most becoming posi-
tion, his head a little
on one side, and his
-- beautiful eyes fixed on
your face, with as near
an approach to speech as ever eyes made. in the world. From
Sir Edward and her Ladyship down to the stable-boy and
the kitchen-maid, no inhabitant of Dinely Hall could resist
Dash So that being a dog of most apprehensive sagacity
with regard to the hours appropriated to the several refections
of the family, he usually contrived, between the dining parlour,
the school-room, and the servants' hall, to partake of three
breakfasts and as many dinners every day, to say nothing of
THE MAGPIES. 15
an occasional snap at luncheon or supper-time. No wonder that
Dash was in high condition. His good plight, however, had by no
means impaired his activity. On the contrary, he was extremely
lively as well as intelligent, and had a sort of circular motion, a
way of flinging himself quite round on his hind feet, something
after the fashion in which the French dancers twirl themselves
round on one leg, which not only showed unusual agility in a
dog of his size, but gave token of the same spirit and animation
which sparkled in his bright hazel eye. Any thing of eager-
ness or impatience was sure to excite this motion, and George
Dinely gravely assured his sisters, when they at length joined
him in the hall, that Dash had flung himself round six and
twenty times whilst waiting the conclusion of their quarrel.
Getting out into the lawn and the open air did not tend to
diminish Dash's glee or his capers, and the young party walked
merrily on ; George telling of school pranks and school mis-
fortunes-the having lost or spoilt four hats since Easter seemed
rather to belong to the first class of adventures than the second,
-his sisters listening dutifully and wonderingly ; and Dash
following his own devices, now turning up a mouse's nest from a
water furrow in the park,-now springing a covey of young
partridges in a corn-field,-now plunging his whole hairy person
in the brook,-and now splashing Miss Helen from head to foot
by ungallantly jumping over her whilst crossing a stile, being
thereunto prompted by a whistle from his young master, who
had, with equal want of gallantry, leapt the style first himself,
and left his sisters to get over as they could ; until at last the
16 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
whole party, having passed the stile, and crossed the bridge, and
turned the churchyard corner, found themselves in the shady
recesses of the Vicarage lane, and in full view of the vine-
covered cottage of Nurse Simmons.
"" .- .
As they advanced they heard a prodigious chattering and
jabbering, and soon got near enough to ascertain that the sound
s -- e dane ..., -r rdiiu httrn
ja.-. ng an. oo go % -toacrai htth o
THE MAGPIES. 17
proceeded mainly from one of the parties they were come to
visit-Nurse Simmons's magpie. He was perched in the
middle of the road, defending a long dirty bare bone of mutton,
doubtless his property, on one end of which he stood, whilst the
other extremity was occupied by a wild bird of the same species,
who, between pecking at the bone, and fighting and scolding,
found full employment. The wild magpie was a beautiful
creature, as wild magpies are, of a snowy white, and a fine blue
black, perfect in shape and plumage, and so superior in appear-
ance to the tame bird, ragged, draggled, and dirty, that they
hardly seemed of the same kind. Both were chattering away
most furiously ; the one in his natural and unintelligible gibberish,
the other partly in his native tongue, and partly in that, for his
skill in which he was so eminent,-thus turning his accomplish-
ments to an unexpected account, and larding his own lean
speech with divers foreign garnishes, such as "What's o'clock ?"
and How do you do?" and "Very well I thank you," and
"Poor pretty Mag!" and Mag's a good bird,"-all delivered in
the most vehement accent, and all doubtless understood by the
unlearned adversary as terms of reproach.
"What can those two magpies be quarrelling about ?" said
Caroline, as soon as she could speak for laughing; for on the
children's approach the birds had abandoned the mutton bone,
which had been quietly borne away by Dash, who in spite of
his usual sumptuous fare had no objection to such a windfall,
and was lying in great state on a mossy bank, discussing and
enjoying the stolen morsel.
1I8 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
"What a fury they are in! I wish I knew what they were
saying," pursued Caroline, as the squabble grew every moment
more angry and less intelligible.
"They are talking nonsense, doubtless, as people commonly
do when they quarrel," quoth George, "and act wisely to
clothe it in a foreign tongue; perhaps they may be disputing
"What an odd noise it is!" continued Caroline, by no means
disposed to acknowledge her brother's compliment;." I never
heard anything like it."
"I have," said George, drily.
"I wonder whether they comprehend each other!" ejaculated
Miss Helen, following her sister's example, and taking no-notice
of the provoking George; "they really do seem to under-
"As well as other magpies," observed the young gentleman,
"why should they not ?"
But' what strange gibberish !" added poor Helen.
"Gibberish, Miss Helen Don't you hear that the birds are
sputtering magpie French, sprinkled with a little magpie
English? I was just going to ask you to explain it to me,"
replied the unmerciful George. "It is quite a parody upon
your work-bag squabble," pursued their tormentor; "only that
the birds are the wiser, for I see they are parting,-the wild
one flying away, the tame gentleman hopping towards us.
THE MAGPIES. 19
Ouite the scene of the work-bag over again," continued George,
" only with less noise, and much shortened-an abridged and
corrected edition! Really, young ladies, the magpies have the
best of it," said the Etonian, and off he stalked into Nurse
-? ''. -
"WHAT have you got in your hat, Edward?" said Arthur
Maynard to his cousin Edward Stanhope, as they met one day
in our village street, near which they both resided; "what can
you have there ? a bird's nest ?"
22 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Julia Maynard, who was
walking with her brother and a younger sister, "taking birds'
nests is cruel."
"Cruel or not, Miss Julia," replied Edward, "a birds' nest
it is. Look, Arthur," continued he, displaying a nest full of
poor little unfledged creatures, opening four great mouths as
wide as they could gape; "look, they are robins."
"Robins! robin redbreasts the household bird! the friend of
man !" cried Arthur ; "take a robin's nest oh, fie, fie! "
"The robin redbreast," said little Sophy Maynard, "that
when the poor Children in the Wood were starved to death,
covered them over with leaves. Did you never hear old Nurse
Andrews repeat the old ballad ? I can almost say it myself:-
'No burial this pretty pair
Of any man receives,
Till Robin Redbreast painfully
Did cover them with leaves,'"-
shouted Sophy : "you that pretend to be so fond of poetry, to
take a robin's nest."
"Poetry!" rejoined Edward, contemptuously, "a penny
ballad an old woman's song call that poetry !"
"I like to hear it, though," persisted little Sophy I had
rather hear Nurse Andrews repeat the Children in the Wood,
than anything; call it what names you like."
"And it was but the other day," said Julia, that papa made
me learn some verses just to the same effect out of Mr. Lamb's
Specimens. Did you ever hear them ?
THE ROBINS. 23
'Call to the robin redbreast and the wren,
Since o'er shady groves they hover,
And with flowers and leaves do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.'
Now I am quite sure that these lines are poetry ; and, at all
events, everybody holds the robin sacred for his social qualities,
he is so tame, so confiding, so familiar; no one would ever
think of taking his nest, even if birds'-nesting were not the
cruellest thing in the world," continued Julia, returning to her
first exclamation, "Everybody cherishes the robin."
"So do I," replied her incorrigible cousin; I am so fond of
the Robin and his note that I mean to bring up all four of these
young ones, and tame them, and make friends of them."
"Put back the nest, and I will teach you a better way,"
said Arthur ; "for we mean to tame some robins ourselves
"Put back the nest indeed !" rejoined Edward; "I must
make haste home, and get the butler to give me a cage, and
Fanny to help me to feed them. Put back the nest indeed! "
and off ran the naughty taker of birds' nests, vainly pursued
by little Sophy's chidings, by Julia's persuasions, by Arthur's
remonstrances, and by the united predictions of all three that
he would never rear the unfortunate younglings.
Very true were these predictions. One by one, in spite of
all the care of Edward and his sister Fanny, who crammed
them twenty times a day with all sorts of food, proper or im-
proper, bread, meat, eggs, herbs, and insects, with every mess,
24 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
in short, that they had ever heard recommended for any bird;
one by one the poor little shivering creatures, shivering although
wrapt in lamb's-wool and swan's-down, pined, and dwindled, and
died; and Fanny, a kind-hearted little girl, fretted and cried;
and Edward, not less vexed, but too proud to cry, grumbled at
his ill-luck, and declared that he would never trouble himself
with birds again as long as he lived. "I wonder how Arthur
has succeeded with his thought he to himself; I think he
and the girls talked of getting some-but of course they all
died. I am sure no people could take more pains than Fanny
and I. I'll never trouble myself with birds again."
About two months after this soliloquy, the young Stan-
hopes received an invitation to dine with their cousins, for it
was Sophy's birthday, and the children had a half-holiday; and
after dinner they were allowed to eat their cherries and straw-
berries in their own verandah, a place they were all very fond
of. And a very pretty place this verandah was.
Fancy a deep shaded trellis running along one end of the
house, covered with vines, passion-flowers, clematis, and jessamine,
looking over gay flower-beds, the children's own flower-beds, to
an arbour of honeysuckle, laburnum, and china-roses, which
Arthur had made for Julia; clusters of greenhouse plants, their
own pet geraniums, arranged round the pillars of the verandah;
and the verandah itself furnished with their own tables and chairs,
and littered with their toys and their small garden tools; as
pretty an out-of-door playroom as heart could desire.
It was a fine sunny afternoon towards the end of June, and
THE ROBINS. 25
the young folks enjoyed the fruits and the flowers, and the
sweet scent of the bean blossoms and the new-mown hay in the
neighboring fields, and were as happy as happy could be. At
last, after the girls had pointed out their richest geraniums and
largest heartsease, and they had been properly praised and
admired, Arthur said, I think it is time to show Edward our
robins." And at the word, little Sophy began strewing.bread
~ ~1 .. ._,- .:o. ..,
26 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
crumbs at one end of the verandah as fast as her hands
"Bobby! Bobby pretty Bobby cried Sophy; and immedi-
ately the prettiest robin that ever was seen came flying out of
the arbour towards her ; not in a direct line, but zigzag as it were,
stopping first at a rose tree, then swinging on the top of a lily,
then perching on the branch of a campanula that bent under him
-still coming nearer and nearer, and listening, and turning up his
pretty head as Sophy continued to cry, "Bobby! Bobby!" and
sometimes bowing his body, and jerking his tail in token of
pleased acknowledgment, until at last he alighted on the ground,
and began picking up the bread crumbs with which it was strewed.
Whilst presently two or three young robins with their speckled
breasts (for the red feathers do not appear until they are three
or four months old) came fluttering about the verandah, flying in
and out quite close to the children, hopping round them, and
feeding at their very feet; not shy at all, not even cautious like
the old birds, who had seen more of the world, and looked at the
strangers with their bright piercing eyes rather mistrustfully,
as if they knew that there were such things as little boys who
take birds' nests, and little girls who keep birds in cages.
"Bobby pretty Bobby continued Sophy, quite enchanted
at the good conduct of her pets, and calling upon her cousins
for their tribute of admiration. Fanny willingly expressed her
delight; and Edward, looking somewhat foolish,'wondered how
they became so tame.
"We used to throw down the crumbs from breakfast and
THE ROBINS. 27
dinner in this place all the winter," said Julia ; the poor birds
are so glad of them in the hard weather! And one particular
robin used to come for them every day, and grew quite familiar;
he would even wait here for us, and fly to meet us as soon as
that quick eye of his spied a white frock turning the corner.
So then we began to talk to him, and to feed him regularly."
I always saved a great bit of my bread for Bobby," inter-
"And he grew as tame as you see; and when he had young
ones, he brought them here with him," resumed her sister.
You should have seen them the first day," said Sophy ; "that
was the prettiest sight. The little things did not know how to help
themselves, so there they stood about, some on the geraniums
and some on the rose trees, chirping and opening their bills
for the old ones to feed them ; and the poor old birds flew about
from one to the other with bread crumbs, not taking a morsel
themselves. You cannot think how much the young ones ate !
There was one great greedy fellow perched on my rake, who made
his poor papa bring him seven mouthfuls before he was satisfied.
And now they are so saucy see how saucy they are !" continued
the little girl, as one of the boldest came close to her, and caught
a crumb which she was flinging to him before it reached the
ground, "see how saucy! 0 pretty, pretty Bobbies! I do love
"We all like the poor confiding creatures who pay us the
compliment of trusting so entirely in our kindness and good
faith, I believe," said Arthur, half laughing at her eagerness
28 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
"and after all, Edward," added he, as the two boys, bat in
hand, marched off to cricket, "after all, you must confess that
our method of taming robins is better than yours, and that
one bird who comes to you at liberty, of his own free will, is
worth a dozen kidnapped in the nest, luckless wretches, and
mewed up in a cage."
Edward confessed that his cousin was right, and never took a
', ,' a : .
A.. ... ,-
".i '. -X ,.
" BEG, Frisk, beg !" said little Harry Lewington, as he sat in state
on an inverted basket at his grandmother's door, discussing with
great satisfaction a huge porringer of bread and milk, whilst his
sister Lucy, who had already despatched her breakfast, sat on the
ground opposite to him, now twisting the long wreaths of the
30 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
convolvulus-major into garlands-now throwing them away.
" Beg, Frisk, beg !" repeated Harry, holding a bit of bread just
out of the dog's reach ; and the obedient Frisk squatted himself
on his hind legs, and held up his fore paws, in patient supplica-
tion, until it pleased Master Harry to bestow upon him the
The little boy and the little dog were great friends, notwith-
standing that Harry,in thewantonness of power, would sometimes
tease and tantalise his poor pet more than a good boy should
have done. Frisk loved him dearly, much better than he did
Lucy, although Lucy gave him every day part of her break-
fast, without making him beg, and would tie pretty ribands
round his neck, and pat and stroke his rough head for half an hour
together. Harry was Frisk's prime favourite; perhaps because
the little dog, being himself of a merry disposition, liked the boy's
lively play better than the girl's gentle caresses ; perhaps because
he recollected that Harry was his earliest patron, and firmest
friend, during a time of great trouble : quadrupeds of his species
having a knack of remembering past kindness, which it would do
the biped, called man, no harm to copy.
Poor Frisk had come as a stray dog to Aberleigh. If he could
have told his own story, it would probably have been a very
pitiful one, of distresses and wanderings, of "hunger and foul
weather," of kicks and cuffs, and all "the spurns that patient
merit of the unworthy takes." Certain it is that he made his
appearance at Mrs. Lewington's door in miserable plight, wet,
dirty, and half-starved! that there he encountered Harry, who
HARRY LEWINGTON. 31
took an immediate fancy to him, and Mrs. Lewington, who drove
him off with a broom; that a violent dispute ensued between the
good dame and her grandson, Harry persisting in inviting him in,
Mrs. Lewington in frightening him away; that at first it ended
in Frisk's being established as a sort of out-door pensioner, sub-
sisting on odds and ends, stray bones and cold potatoes, surrep-
titiously obtained for him by his young protector, and sleeping
in the identical basket which, turned topsy-turvy, afterwards
served Harry for a seat; until at length Mrs. Lewington, who
had withstood the incessant importunity of the patron, and the
persevering humility of his client, was propitiated by Frisk's own
doggish exploit in barking away a set of pilferers, who were
making an attack on her great pear-tree, and so frightening
the thieves, that they not only scampered off in all haste, but
left behind them their implements of thievery, a ladder, two
baskets and a sack : the good dame being thus actually a gainer
by the intended robbery, and so well satisfied with Frisk's
conduct, that she not only admitted him into her house, but
considered him as one of her most vigilant and valuable inmates,
worth all the watchmen that ever sprung a rattle.
The new guard proved to be a four-footed person of singular
accomplishments. He could fetch or carry, either by land or by
water; would pick up her thimble or cotton, if his old mistress
happened to drop them ; carry Lucy's little pattens to school in
case of a shower; or take Harry's dinner to the same place with
unimpeachable honesty. Moreover he was so strong on his hind
legs, walked upright so firmly and gracefully, cut so many capers,
32 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
and had so good an ear for music, that the more sagacious
amongst the neighbours suspected him of having been, at least,
the principal performer in a company of dancing dogs, even if
he were not the learned dog Munito himself. Frisk and his
exploits were the wonder of Aberleigh, where he had now resided
a twelvemonth (for August was come round again) with honour
and credit to himself, and perfect satisfaction to all parties.
"Beg, Frisk, beg!" said Harry, and gave him, after long
waiting, the expected morsel; and Frisk was contented, but
Harry was not. The little boy, though a good-humoured fellow
in the main, had fits of naughtiness which were apt to last all
day, and this promised to be one of his worst. It was a holiday
moreover, when he had nothing to do but to be naughty, and in
the afternoon his cousins Susan and William were to come and
see him and Lucy, and the pears were to be gathered, and the
children to have a treat; and Harry, in his impatience thought
the morning would never be over, and played such pranks by
way of beguiling the time-buffeting Frisk for instance, burning
his own fingers, cutting the curls off his sister's doll's flaxen wig,
and finally breaking his grandmother's spectacles,-that before
his visitors arrived, indeed almost immediately after dinner, he
contrived to get sent to bed in disgrace.
Poor Harry There he lay sprawling, kicking, and roaring,
whilst Susan, and William, and Lucy, were happily busy about
the fine mellow Windsor pears ; William up the tree gathering and
shaking, Lucy and Susan catching them in their pinafores, and
picking them up from the ground ; now piling the rich fruit into
( 33 )
the great baskets that the thieves had left behind; and now,
happy urchins, eating at discretion of the nicest and ripest:
Frisk barking gaily amongst them as if he were eating Windsor
Poor Harry! He could hear all their glee and merriment
through the open window as he lay in bed, and the storm of
passion having subsided into a gentle rain of self-pity, there he
34 CHILDREN OF-THE VILLAGE.
lay weeping and disconsolate, a grievous sob bursting forth every
now and then as he heard the loud peal of childish laughter, and
thought how he should have laughed, and how happy he should
have been, and wondered whether his grandmother would so far
relent as to let him get up to supper, and whether Lucy would
be so good-natured as to bring him a pear. It will be very
ill-natured if she does not," thought Harry, and the poor boy's
tears burst out anew. All on a sudden he heard a little foot on
the stair, pit-a-pat, and thought she was coming. Pit-a-pat
came the foot, nearer and nearer, and at last a small head peeped,
half afraid, through the half-open door. But it was not Lucy's
head; it was Frisk's-poor Frisk, whom Harry had been teasing
all the morning, and who now came into the room wagging his
tail, with a great pear in his mouth, jumped on the bed, and laid
it in the little boy's hand.
'' I 1
\'t, \ I
HARRY LE WINGTON. 35
NOTE.-They who are accustomed to dogs whose sagacity has
been improved by domestication and good society, will not be
surprised at the foregoing anecdote. Cowper's story of the
water-lily is quite a case in point ; and a greyhound of my
acquaintance, whose favourite playground was a large orchard,
used regularly to bring the fallen apples to his mistress, was
particularly anxious to get there after a windy night, and seemed
to take singular pleasure in the amusement. This might be
imitation; but an exploit of my own lamented and beautiful
Mayflower can hardly be traced to such an origin. Poor May,
in common with most pet dogs, generally cared little for the
persons whose duty it was to feed and attend upon her; she
seemed to know that it was their place, and received their
services with calm and aristocratic civility, reserving all demon-
strations of affection for her friends of the parlour. One of her
attendants however, a lively, good-humoured boy called Tom,
she honoured with a considerable share of her attention, liked
his company, and, to the astonishment of the whole household,
certainly liked him, a partiality which Tom returned with interest,
combing and caressing her whenever opportunity offered. Master
Tom was a celebrated player at marbles, and May was accustomed
to stand at his side watching or seeming to watch the game. One
afternoon she jumped over the half-hatch into the stable, evidently
in search of her friend Tom-no Tom was there; raced round
the garden-still in vain; peeped into the kitchen-Tom was
as much to seek as ever: the maids who saw that she had some
thing in her mouth, and were amused by her earnest searching
36 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE_
air, tried to detain her or to decoy her into the parlour, but
without the slightest success. On she went from chaise-house
to wood-house, from wood-house to coal-house, from coal-house
to cart-house, until she caught a well-known sound from the
knife-board, and, opening a door in the way, darted on the
astonished Tom (whose fright at the apparition cost one of our
best carving forks, which he broke in his surprise) and deposited
in his hand a marble, which, as we afterwards found, she had
picked up in the road, following up her present by a series of
capers and gambols the most joyous and triumphant that can
w .. ...
PRIDE SHALL HAVE A FALL.
" So you Aberleigh boys are about to play Sandleford," said
George Leslie to Horace Lucas, "have you a good eleven ?"
Our players are pretty fair, I believe," replied Horace, but
the number is short. Both sides have agreed to take a mate or
38 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
two from other parishes, and I rode over to ask your cousin
Charles and yourself to join our Aberleigh party."
"Faith! you are in luck, my good friend," cried George
Leslie, "you may look upon the game as won. Charles, to be
sure, is no great hand ; can't bowl; hits up ; and a bad field-
a slow awkward field. But I-Did you never see me play ? And
I am so improved this season! I ought to be improved, for I
have seen such play, and such players! I am just returned
from my aunt's, who lives within a mile of Bramshill-Sir John's,
you know-and there were all the great men of the day, all the
Lord's men: Mr. Ward; and Mr. Budd-I'm thought to stand
at my wicket very much like Mr. Budd; Saunders, who is
reckoned, take him all in all, the best player in England;
Saunders ; and Broadbridge the Sussex bowler-I don't patronise
their system though, I stick to the old steady, scientific game ;
Lord Frederick; and Mr. Knight-he's a fine figure of a man is
Mr. Knight, the finest figure of any of them, and very great in
the field; old Howard the bowler,-he's my model; and in
short, almost every celebrated cricketer in England. I know
that you Westminsters think that nobody can do anything so
well as yourselves ; but as far as cricket goes-ask Charles, he'll
tell you that you are in luck to have me." And off the young
gentleman strutted to pay his compliments to some ladies who
were talking to his mother on the other side of the lawn; for
this conversation took place on a fine day in July, under the
heavy shadow of some tall elms, in Mrs. Leslie's beautiful
PRIDE SHALL HA VE A FALL. 39
George's speech had been delivered in a high, solemn, vaunting
tone, as grave as Don Quixote; but of the two who remained,
Horace, a quick, arch, lively lad, laughed outright, and Charles,
a mild, fair, delicate boy, could not help smiling.
"He gives himself a comfortable character, however," said
Horace, "rather too good to be true; whilst of you he speaks
modestly enough. Are you so bad, Charles ? And is he such
a paragon of cricketers ? Does he bat like Mr. Budd, and field
like Mr. Knight, and bowl like Howard ?"
"Why, not exactly," was the reply ; "but there's more truth
than you think for. He's a good, but uncertain player ; and I
am a bad one, a very bad one; shy and timid and awkward;
always feeling when the game is over that I could have done
better ; just as I have felt when a clever man, your father, for
instance, has had the goodness to speak to me, how much better
I ought to have talked. Somehow the power never comes at
the right time at either game; so that I may say, as some
people say of cucumbers, that I like cricket, but that cricket
does not like me."
Good or bad, my dear fellow, I'll take you," said Horace,
" nervousness and all. It's a pity that you two cousins could
not make over to one another some parcel of your several
qualities; you would be much the happier for a dash of George's
self-conceit, and he could spare enough to set up a whole regi-
ment of dandies; whilst he would be all the better for your
superfluous modesty. However, I'll take you both, right thank-
fully." And the arrangements were entered into forthwith.
40 CHILDREN OF THE VILLA GE.
They were to meet on the ground the ensuing morning to
play the match; different engagements preventing the Leslies
from practising with the Aberleigh side that evening, as Horace
had wished and intended; for our friend Horace, ardent and
keen in every thing, whether of sport or study, had set his heart
on winning this match, and was very desirous of trying the
powers of his new allies. Fifty times during the evening did he
count over his own good players, and the good players of the
other side, and gravely conclude, It will all depend on the
Leslies. How I wish to-morrow were come!" He said this so
often that even his sister Emily, although the most indulgent
person in the world, and very fond of her brother, grew so tired
of hearing him that she could not help saying I wish to-morrow
were come too!"
And at last, as generally happens, whether we wish for it or
not, to-morrow did come, as brilliant a to-morrow as ever was
anticipated, even by a schoolboy in the holidays. The sun rose
without a cloud; I speak from the best authority, for "scorning
the scorner sleep" Horace was up before him : and the ball
being twenty times weighed and the bats fifty times examined,
he repaired, by half-past nine, to Sandleford Common, where the
match was to be played, and the wickets pitched precisely at
All parties were sufficiently punctual; and when the whole set
had assembled, Horace found that, in spite of his calculations, a
mistake had arisen in the amount of his forces; that reckoning
himself there were ten Aberleigh boys on the ground, besides
PRIDE SHALL HAVE A FALL. 41
the two foreign allies, proceeding, perhaps, from his over anxiety
to collect recruits, whilst the Sandleford captain, on the contrary,
had neglected to secure another mate as agreed on, and could
only muster the original ten of his own parish, himself included.
In this dilemma the umpires immediately proposed to divide
the auxiliaries, a suggestion to which George assented with his
usual sang froid and Charles with his invariable good humour.
"You had better toss up for me," said the former. For the
choice," was Horace's civil amendment, and toss they did.
" Heads !" cried he of Sandleford, and heads it was; and partly
caught by the young gentleman's happy knack of puffing him-
self, partly by the knowing manner in which he was handling
his bat, George was instantly claimed by the winner, and the
Sandleford went in, and it was desired that the stranger and
the best of the home party should take the precedence. But
our great player coquetted. "It might put their side out of
spirits if by any accident he were out early in the game ; he had
seen a match lost, by Mr. Budd or Saunders having their wickets
knocked down sooner than was expected. He would wait."
Accordingly it was not till the first four had gone down with
only twenty notches gained that he at last went in, to retrieve,"
as he said, the fortune of the day."
Nothing could be more imposing than his appearance. There
he stood at the wicket striking his bat against the ground with
impatience, pawing the earth as it were, like a racehorse at the
starting-post, or a greyhound in the slips, and friends and foes
42 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE
admired and wondered. Even Horace Lucas felt the effect of
the fine attitude and the brilliant animation, and delivered his
ball less steadily than usual, anticipating that his opponent
would get at least three runs. His fears were soon quieted.
" By some accident (to use the young gentleman's own phrase)
Mr. George hit up; and that exceedingly bad field, his cousin
Charles, caught him out without a notch.
',. :o! ,
Horace bowled better than ever; the fielding was excellent;
PRIDE SHALL HA VE A FALL. 43
and the whole eleven were out for forty-seven notches-a
Aberleigh then went in; Horace, and at Horace's request,
his ally Charles : George being one of the bowlers. But poor
George (to borrow once more his own words) was out of luck,
thoroughly out of luck," for in spite of all his efforts the two
mates got fifty-six before they parted, and the whole score was
a hundred and nine.
Eighty-two ahead in the first innings! Small hopes for
Sandleford, even though George went in immediately, de-
termined," as he said, to conquer fortune." Small hopes for
Come, Charles," said Horace Lucas, "let us see whether
your bowling may not be as good as your batting. Just give
your cousin one ball." And at the very first ball the stumps
rattled, and the discomfited cricketer slunk away, amidst the
crowing of his antagonists and the reproaches of his mates, so
crestfallen, that even Horace was touched by his disconsolate
countenance and humbled air. His tender-hearted cousin felt a
still deeper sympathy, and almost lamented his own success.
"It is all luck, Sir," said he, in answer to a compliment from
General Lucas, who stood talking to him after the match had
been triumphantly won ; It is all luck Poor George is a far
better player than I am ; he was so yesterday, and will be so
to-morrow. This is merely the fortune of a day, a trifle not
worth a word or a thought!"
44 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
"The object is trifling, I grant you, my good young friend,"
said the General, "and luck may have had some share in the
victory; but I am much mistaken if your success and your
cousin's mortification be not of essential benefit to both. It is
one of the most salutary parts of the world's discipline, that
modesty should triumph and that Pride should have a Fall."
--__ _-: --
r.c.Hth -- -- ------- -
THE TWO DOLLS.
A LUCKY day it was for little Fanny Elvington when her good
aunt Delmont consented to receive her into her family, and sent
for her from a fine old place, six miles from hence, Burdon Park,
where she had been living with her maternal grandfather, to her
own comfortable house in Brunswick Square. Poor Fanny had
no natural home, her father, General Elvington, being in India
46 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
with his lady; and a worse residence than the Park could hardly
be devised for a little girl, since Lady Burdon was dead, Sir
Richard too sickly to be troubled with children, and the care of
his grand-daughter left entirely to a vulgar old nurse and a
superfine housekeeper. A lucky day for Fanny was that in
which she exchanged their misrule for the wise and gentle
government of her good aunt Delmont.
Fanny Elvington was a nice little girl, who had a great many
good qualities, and, like other little girls, a few faults ; which had
grown up like weeds under the neglect and mismanagement of
the people at the Park, and threatened to require both time and
pains to eradicate. For instance, she had a great many foolish
antipathies and troublesome fears, some caught from the affec-
tation of the housekeeper, some from the ignorance of the nurse :
she shrieked at the sight of a mouse, squalled at a frog, was well
nigh ready to faint at an earwig, and quite as much afraid of a
spider as if she had been a fly; she ran away from a quiet ox, as
if he had been a mad bull, and had such a horror of chimney-
sweepers that she shrank her head under the bedclothes whenever
she heard the deep cry of "sweep! sweep !" forerunning the old
clothesman and the milkman on a frosty morning, and could
hardly be persuaded to look at them, poor creatures, dressed in
their tawdry tinsel and dancing round Jack of the Green on
Mayday. But her favourite fear, her pet aversion, was a negro;
especially a little black footboy who lived next door, and
whom she never saw without shrinking, and shuddering, and
THE TWO DOLLS. 47
It was a most unlucky aversion for Fanny, and gave her and
her aunt more trouble than all her other mislikings put together,
inasmuch as Pompey came oftener in view than mouse or frog,
s i e .' 1 -
spider or earwig, ox or chimney-sweep. How it happened
nobody could tell, but Pompey was always in Fanny Elvington's
way. She saw him twice as often as any one else in the house.
If she went to the window, he was sure to be standing on the
48 CHILDREN OF THE VILLA GE.
steps : if she walked in the Square garden, she met him crossing
the pavement: she could not water her geraniums in the little
court behind the house, but she heard his merry voice singing in
broken English as he cleaned the knives and shoes on the other
side of the wall; nay, she could not even hang out her Canary-
bird's cage at the back door, but he was sure to be feeding his
parrot at theirs. Go where she would, Pompey's shining black
face and broad white teeth followed her: he haunted her very
dreams; and the oftener she saw him, whether sleeping or
waking, the more her unreasonable antipathy grew upon her.
Her cousins laughed at her without effect, and her aunt's
serious remonstrances were equally useless.
The person who, next to Fanny herself, suffered the most from
this foolish and wicked prejudice, was poor Pompey, whose
intelligence, activity, and good-humour had made him a constant
favourite in his master's house, and who had sufficient sensibility
to feel deeply the horror and disgust which he had inspired
in his young neighbour. At first he tried to propitiate her
by bringing groundsel and chickweed for her Canary-bird,
running to meet her with an umbrella when she happened to
be caught in the rain, and other small attentions, which were
repelled with absolute loathing.
Me same flesh and blood with you, missy, though skin be
black," cried poor Pompey one day when pushed to extremity
by Fanny's disdain, "same flesh and blood, missy !" a fact which
the young lady denied with more than usual indignation; she
looked at her own white skin, and she thought of his black one;
THE TWO DOLLS. 49
and all the reasoning of her aunt failed to convince her, that
where the outside was so different, the inside could by possibility
be alike. At last Mrs. Delmont was fain to leave the matter to
the great curer of all prejudices, called Time, who in this case
seemed even slower in his operations than usual.
In the mean while, Fanny's birthday approached, and as it was
within a few days of that of her cousin, Emma Delmont, it was
agreed to celebrate the two festivals together. Double feasting !
double holiday double presents never was a gayer anniversary.
Mrs. Delmont's own gifts had been reserved to the conclusion of
the jollity, and after the fruit was put on the table, two huge
dolls, almost as big as real babies, were introduced to the little
company. They excited and deserved universal admiration.
The first was a young lady of the most delicate construction
and the most elaborate ornament; a doll of the highest fashion,
with sleeves like a bishop, a waist like a wasp, a magnificent
bustle, and petticoats so full and so puffed out round the
bottom, that the question of hoop or no hoop was stoutly debated
between two of the elder girls. Her cheeks were very red, and
her neck very white, and her ringlets in the newest possible taste.
In short, she was so completely c la mode that a Parisian mil-
liner might have sent her as a pattern to her fellow tradeswoman
in London, or the London milliner might have returned the
compliment to her sister artist over the water. Her glories,
however, were fated to be eclipsed. The moment that the second
doll made its appearance, the lady of fashion was looked at
50 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
The second doll was a young gentleman, habited in the striped
and braided costume which is the ordinary transition dress of
boys between leaving off petticoats and assuming the doublet
II 1 ,
"and hose. It was so exactly like Willy Delmont's own attire,
that the astonished boy looked at himself, to be sure that the
doll had not stolen the clothes off his back. The apparel, how-
THE TWO DOLLS. 51
ever, was not the charm that fixed the attention of the young
people; the attraction was the complexion, which was of as
deep and shining a black, as perfect an imitation of a negro, in
tint and feature, as female ingenuity could accomplish. The
face, neck, arms, and legs were all covered with black silk;
and much skill was shown in shaping and sewing on the broad
flat nose, large ears, and pouting lips, whilst the great white
teeth and bright round eyes relieved the monotony of the
colour. The wig was of black worsted, knitted, and then
unravelled, as natural as if it had actually grown on the head.
Perhaps the novelty (for none of the party had seen a black
doll before) might increase the effect, but they all declared that
they had never seen so accurate an imitation, so perfect an
illusion. Even Fanny, who at first sight had almost taken
the doll for her old enemy Pompey in little, and had shrunk
back accordingly, began at last to catch some of the curiosity
(for curiosity is a catching passion that characterized her
companions. She drew near-she gazed-at last she even
touched the doll, and listened with some interest to Mrs. Del-
mont's detail of the trouble she found in constructing the
young lady and gentleman.
"What are they made of, aunt ? '
Rags, my dear! "-was the reply: "nothing but rags," con-
tinued Mrs. Delmont, unripping a little of the black gentle-
man's foot and the white lady's arm, and showing the linen of
52 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
which they were composed;--"both alike, Fanny," pursued
her good aunt, "both the same colour underneath the skin,
and both the work of the same hand-like Pompey and you,"
added she more solemnly; "and now choose which doll
And Fanny, blushing and hesitating, chose the black one;
and the next day her aunt had the pleasure to see her show it to
Pompey over the wall, to his infinite delight; and, in a very few
days, Mrs. Delmont had the still greater pleasure to find that
Fanny Elvington had not only overcome and acknowledged
THE TWO DOLLS. 53
her prejudice, but had given Pompey a new half-crown, and
had accepted groundsel for her Canary-bird from the poor
NOTE.-About a month after sitting to me for his portrait,
the young black gentleman whom I have endeavoured to de-
scribe, (I do not mean Pompey, but the doll,) set out upon his
travels. He had been constructed in this little Berkshire of
ours for some children in the great county of York, and a friend
of mine, travelling northward, had the goodness to offer him
a place in her carriage for the journey. My friend was a
married woman, accompanied by her husband and another lady,
and finding the doll cumbersome to pack, wrapped it in a large
54 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
shawl, and carried it in her lap baby fashion. At the first inn
where they stopped to dine, she handed it carelessly out of the
carriage before alighting, and was much amused to see it re-
ceived with the grave officious tenderness usually shown to a
real infant by the nicely dressed hostess, whose consternation,
when, still taking it for a living child, she caught a glimpse of
the complexion, is said to have been irresistibly ludicrous. Of
course my friend did not undeceive her. Indeed I believe she
humoured the mistake wherever it occurred all along the north
road, to the unspeakable astonishment and mystification of
chambermaids and waiters.
" PRAY how do you like your new schoolfellow, Sir Arthur
Vere ?" said Mr. Stanley to his young son Charles, as they were
sauntering rather than walking in the noble park which surrounds
his fine old seat of Stanley Manor, on a bright April morning ;
"his grandmother speaks of him as a lad of high promise."
"Of high promise, does she, sir? Whew!" quoth Master
Charles, whistling to a large spaniel, and beating the sedges
56 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
round a fine piece of water, by the edge of which they stood.
"A lad of promise! Whew! Heigh, Dash! Heigh! One may
be sure there are teal or wild ducks here by Dash's action.
Heigh, Dash! Heigh !" continued Master Stanley. "And so
his grandmamma speaks of Vere as a lad of promise ? Whew,
Dash There's a fine fellow!"
Now Master Charles Stanley was a boy still under eleven;
but being clever, bold, and spirited, an old denizen of a public
school, and encouraged to talk freely at home, he spoke with
a decision and freedom not very usual at his age, thus exhibiting
to his excellent father, and by exhibiting enabling him to correct,
the rash judgments of inexperience, and the petulant decisions
of a presumptuous though generous character. In the present
instance, Mr. Stanley was a good deal amused by the manner in
which his son had contrived to intimate his dissent from the
opinion of the good old Lady Vere, and when Charles repeated
"a lad of high promise, indeed! Whew, Dash Whew !" he
replied at once to his insinuation, "And why not a boy of
promise, Charles ?"
Because, sir, he's so much more like a girl. You never saw
such a mincing, blushing, delicate personage as it is in all your
life; afraid of getting wet in the feet lest he should catch cold,
or of going without his hat lest he should spoil his complexion.
He wraps half-a-dozen silk handkerchiefs about his neck because
he is subject to sore throats ; wears kid gloves at cricket for fear
his hands should chap ; and wraps up his feet in woollen socks
because he once had a chilblain. A promising boy, indeed!
THE FOSTER-MOTHER. 57
Why, sir, his grandmother herself could not be a greater coddle
in her own venerable person, than this precious sprig of the
baronetage, Sir Francis Vere."
Mr. Stanley smiled, in spite of himself. You'll come to kid
gloves some time or other, Master Charles ; for, as rough and red
as those paws of yours are now, one may trust to the instinct of
eighteen for that foppery. But eleven is rather early."
Besides, sir," continued Charles, "he sports a dressing-box
as large as my trunk, full of almond paste, and violet soap, and
eau de Cologne, and oil for the air, and all manner of essences, so
that one may smell him half a mile off; and his cambric hand-
kerchief was tossed out of the school only last week -by Dr. K.,
because it half poisoned him by stinking of otto of roses. I
hope I shall never come to that, sir, even if I do turn out a
coxcomb at eighteen."
"There is no telling, Charles," replied his father. "I think
you a very promising subject for any folly that may happen at
that time to be the fashion. But this poor boy! What a life
he must lead amongst you And how entirely he owes his
effeminacy to the accident of his being brought up amongst
"I think not, sir, it is the nature of the creature. If you
were to see him you would say so. All the grandmothers in
the world would never make a manly lad such a milk-sop."
And Charles looked at himself as he stood struttingly flourishing
a switch in one hand, and caressing Dash-who, dripping with
mud from the bank, was splashing him most manfully from top
58 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
to toe-with the other, he looked as if he would fain have said,
"all the grandmothers in the world would never have made a
milk-sop of me."
Apparently Mr. Stanley read his son's thoughts. "Ah,
Charles you know little of the effect of education, of habit, of
constant association. You yourself, if exposed to similar cir-
cumstances, would have been just as likely to turn out a
missy young gentleman as this poor child, Sir Arthur Vere
-his very title will make against him. But talking of the
power of association, come and sit down on this bank, and
let Dash return to his dear sport of beating for wild fowl,
and be quiet, if you can, for five minutes, whilst I tell you a
Now Master Charles did not very thoroughly relish this
invitation. It seemed to him hardly manly to sit down for the
purpose of listening to a story which, he suspected, was to be
told to him for the sake of the moral; he obeyed, nevertheless,
flumping himself down in the midst of a tuft of cowslips, whilst
Dash, with equal comprehension and far more alacrity, returned
to his search for the wild-duck's nest, the existence of which had
become clear to his sagacity amongst the sedges and sallows
on the water's edge.
"Nay, it is not much of a story either," said Mr. Stanley,
when both were comfortably established on their soft and
fragrant seat. Not much that deserves the name of a story,
though a curious fact in natural history. Do you remember
THE FOSTER-MOTHER. 59
admiring Dr. Lyndsay's pretty little spaniel yesterday, and
wondering at its name ? "
"Romulus ? Yes, sir, I do not know which I admired most,
the venerable master, with his fine upright person and keen
bright eye, his white bushy wig and three-cornered hat, and
clerical coat, walking so alertly and speaking so kindly, and
yet with something stately about him too, or the pretty little
delicate creature, so white and shining, that followed him-
rather too much like a lady's pet to be sure-but the little
dog and the master matched each other well, both seemed
courtly and dignified, a sort of people whose company did
The master's company would do honour to any court in
Europe, Charles. You are right there. He is one of the most
learned and eminent persons in England, and as remarkable
for his high qualities as for his vast attainments. But it is
with Romulus that we have to do at present. Romulus's
Odd names in dogs are by no means uncommon. I saw a lady's lap-dog
yesterday who was called Spes, and the little creature being a gentleman,
there was no translating the name and calling it by the more euphonious
appellation of Hope-for Hope is feminine, and feminine must be, as witness
Collin's ode, Lawrence's picture, Miss Sedgwick's novel of Hope Leslie, and
the thousand and one seals, where she flourishes leaning elegantly against her
anchor. Of course we challenged his fair and charming mistress (for most
fair and most charming she is) as to the donor of her pretty pet, since to give
the name of Hope to the approved emblem of Fidelity, did look rather lover-
like. But the little creature had been a present from her brother, and so
called in compliance with his desire-a mere classical whim, containing no
60 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
mother belonged to your kind friend Colonel Bruce, the gay,
gallant, handsome sportsman, whose manliness and gentleman-
liness you admire so much. She was a beautiful little spaniel,
-- --. -- /
of the Marlborough breed, excellent as a sporting dog, and a
great pet with her master. She had just been confined with
Romulus and another pup, and was very literally in the straw;
Romulus and another pup, and was very literally in the straw;
THE FOSTER-MOTHER. 61
when one fine morning, in September, Colonel Bruce sallied
forth with his gun and his pointers, partridge shooting, little
suspecting that his poor pet, whose attention had unluckily
been caught by the gun and the leather gaiters, had left her
puppies to follow him to the field. The pointers were ranging
the stubble, when Colonel Bruce heard a rustling in the hedge-
row close by; he saw nothing, but taking for granted that
it was a hare, fired, and killed his little favourite dead upon
"Oh, papa! Poor Colonel Bruce! What a sad accident!
How shocked he must have been !"
"Shocked enough, Charles. Even now he says he can
scarcely bear to think of it. The. poor little creature, when
he discovered her amongst the long grass and reeds, uttered
one faint moan, looked up in his face fondly and piteously,
tried to lick his hand, then gave one shiver, stretched out her
delicate feet, and died. She, however, was dead. But the
puppies What was to become of them ? Only three days old,
and smaller than rats !"
"What did become of them, father?"
"Why, luckily, Mrs. Bruce had a favourite cat, whose
kittens had just been taken from her. The pups were put
to pussy, who took to them as if they had been her own
offspring, and brought them up with all imaginable care and
Well, sir, now I find the reason of the name.-Well ?"
"Romulus you have seen. He is rather smaller, perhaps
62 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
than he might have been if nursed by his own mother, but
that, in a Marlborough spaniel, is a merit; and Remus (for so,
of course, the brother twin was called) is smaller still. Their
foster-mother did them all possible justice; and was fonder
of them, and nourished them longer than she had ever been
known to do by her own kittens. But the extraordinary part
of the story is, that with the cat's milk these little doglings
imbibed also the cat's habits; would sit and wash their faccs
with their paws, were excellent mousers, and would watch a
rat-hole for an hour."
THE FOSTER-MOTHER. 63
Fact, I assure you, Charles. The celebrated cat, who was
turned into a lady at the prayer of her master, never caught
a mouse in better style than Romulus, who, moreover, would
no more wet his feet than his purring foster-mother, or Sir
"It's the simple truth, I assure you, Charles; and proceeds,
in both instances, from the same cause, example and education;
and the self-same story, which throws some light on the origin
of that poor boy's effeminacy, may also afford good hope of his
reformation; for whilst Romulus, under the tender care of
Dr. Lyndsay, which (no offence to him) may in this instance be
compared to the tutelage of Lady Vere, continues to pursue
and practise all his cattish propensities and habits, Remus,
turned into Colonel Bruce's kennel, which (no offence to that
repository of doggish learning) may be not unaptly likened to
the riotous seminary, yclept a public school, has recovered all
his canine hardihood and accomplishments, is famous in covert
and -hedge-row, as good a water dog as Dash himself, and as
little likely to notice a mouse, or wash his face with his paws,
as that sagacious quadruped. And now, Charles, may we not
have hopes of Sir Arthur ?"
And Charles assented-and so it proved. Before two years
had elapsed, young Vere, stimulated by ridicule, had flung
aside his kid gloves, his woollen socks, his perfumery, and his
foppery, had overcome his horror of wet feet and chapped
64 CHILDREN OF 1HE VILLAGE.
hands, and had become the best rower, and the second best
cricketer of his form.
N.B.-The canine part of my little story is literally true.
Romulus is still living, and the property of no less a person
than the venerable P- of M-- College, the learned and
excellent Dr. R
"YOUNG MASTER BEN.
IT was about seven o'clock one evening in the Christmas week,
that I was sitting alone in our little parlour, with my feet on
the fender, my dog Dash reclining against my knee, (I beg
Dash's pardon for having reckoned him as nobody,) a glowing
fire before me, and an apple roasting on the hob,-doing
nothing, unless occasionally turning the apple or patting Dash's
66 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
beautiful head may be accounted doings,-and entirely immersed
in that perfection of lazy comfort-that piece of dreamy delight
yclept a reverie.
There was, too, that additional zest to the enjoyment of indoor
warmth and comfort, which is derived from the effect of strong
contrast without. The weather was what is usually and most
expressively termed--bitter. Snow lay deep on the ground,
and the dark cloudy sky gave token that the first interval of
calm would produce another fall. At the moment of which I
speak, the wind was too high even for a snowstorm ; the fierce
north-east howled amain, and the icy bushes in the hedge-rows
rattled and crackled in the tempest, whilst the large boughs of
the trees creaked like the masts of a ship at sea. It is strange
that these noises, betokening so much misery to the poor
wretches doomed to wander abroad, should add to the sense of
snugness and security at home ;-but so it is The selfishness,
however unamiable, is too general to be ashamed of, or even to
lament over ; and, perhaps, a silent thankfulness for one's own
superior comforts may tend to throw into the feeling that
portion of good which will generally be found in the inward
meditations of every human being not absolutely wicked ; for
the thoughts of- an hour, as well as the actions of a life, are
of mingled yarn ; none, I fear, all virtuous,-few, I trust, utterly
My enjoyment of that blessed state the "far' niente" was,
however, much too dreamy and vague to permit me to analyse
my own sensations. And yet my reverie was not wholly
YOUNG MASTER BEN 67
pleasurable either. We .lived in the midst of the disturbed
districts; my father was at B., attending his duty (a very
painful one on this occasion) as chairman of the bench; and
though I had every reason to believe that the evil spirit was
subsiding, and that he was at that instant sitting, as quietly
and as snugly as myself, with his friend the high sheriff and
his brother magistrates in a warm, comfortable, elegant room at
the Crown Inn, (for happen what may, justices must dine !) or
at the worst, seated by a large fire taking examinations in the
council chamber at B., still no one who lived within reach of
the armed peasantry, or of the exaggerated and still more
frightful rumours that preceded their approach, or who had
witnessed, as I had done, the terrific blaze of the almost nightly
conflagrations, could get rid of the vague idea of danger which
might arrive at any moment, especially to one notoriously and
actively engaged in putting down the mischief. Our parish had
remained, it is true, happily free from the contagion; still it
raged all around, east, west, north, and south; we were on a well-
frequented highway, almost at the very point where four roads
met, and the mobs travelled so far and so fast, that there was
no telling at what hour or from what point of the compass
our quiet village might be invaded.
Just as thoughts like these were beginning to traverse the
blissful thoughtfulness of my reverie, a noise of shouting voices
and rushing feet from the end of the street struck my ear.
Dash started up instantly, and I was preparing to ring the bel;
and to be frightened, when a sound, well known to each of us
6S CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
pacified us both. Dash, who is a superb old English spaniel,
gave his magnificent ears a mighty shake; and making his
accustomed three turns on the hearth-rug, lay down before the
fire ; and I, with a strangely modified feeling, alarm subsiding
into amazed curiosity, proceeded to the door to examine into
the cause of the uproar.
sound which, while it gave token of every variety of boyish
mischief, was yet a most comfortable assurance against any
Young Master Ben was one of those truly English person-
ages, who, even in boyhood, show token of the character that
YOUNG MASTER BEN. 69
is to be-a humourist in embryo, an oddity, a wag. His father
was a better sort of labourer, a kind of bailiff or upper man in
the service of a neighboring farmer, and had brought up a
large family honestly and creditably. All of these were now
happily out of the way,-some at service, some in business,
some married and some dead,-with the exception of Ben-
jamin, the youngest born, his mother's darling and plague. Ben
was not, as a mother's darling often is-a beauty. His carrotty
locks forbade any claim to that title, though he had the lively
blue eye and pleasant smile which so often accompany that
complexion, and cause a general resemblance, a kind of family
likeness, between red-haired people. In person he was a thin,
stunted, dwarfish boy of fourteen, small and light enough to
pass for ten, who made use of his actual age to evade a longer
70 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
attendance at the charity school, the master of which, a dull
personage no way fit to cope with Ben's biting jests, acquiesc-
ing in the young gentleman's own account of his scholarship
purely to get rid of him ; whilst his smallness of size and look
of youth and debility he turned to account in another way,
pleading his deficiency in bulk and stature and general weak-
ness and delicacy as a reason for not going to work at the
farm with his father, whose master had consented to employ
him to drive the team. He weakly Why in play or in mis-
chief he was a pocket Hercules has beaten big Bob the black-
smith at quoits; and thrown Titus Penwyn, the Cornish boy,
in wrestling, Delicate! why if the sun or the world would
but have stood still for the time, there is no doubt but he could
have played at cricket for eight-and-forty hours running, with-
out requiring more pause than the usual fifteen minutes between
the innings. No exercise that bore the name of sport was too
much for him ; sheer labour was another matter.
Not only did he plead weakness and delicacy to escape the
promotion of plough-boy at farmer Brookes's, but when hired
by his father to keep Master Simmons's sheep,-an employ-
ment that seemed made for him, inasmuch as there was for
ten hours in the day nothing to do but to lie on a bank and
practise a certain pastoral flageolet with which he used to go
too-tooing through the village,-he contrived to get dismissed
in three days for incapacity and contumacy; and even when
proffered by his mother to look after her crony dame Welles's
Welsh cow, an animal famous for getting out of bounds, not
YOUNG MASTER BEI. 71
for the lucre of gain, but simply, as she expressed it, to keep
both the creatures out of mischief, his services were rejected
by the prudent dame with the observation, that obstropulous
and wild as her beast might be, Ben was incomparably the
most unmanageable of the two-a proof of bad reputation
which so enraged his father, that he only escaped a sound
flogging by climbing up a tree like a squirrel, and sleeping all
night in the coppice amidst the fern and the bushes.
It was the very day after this misadventure, that Ben con-
trived to attach himself to our little establishment as a sort of
help to our boy John. How he managed nobody can tell, for
72 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
all the house knew him and his character, and every body in it
held him for the very incarnation of mischief; but here he is, in
prime favour with every one, not regularly paid and hired to be
sure, but receiving sufficient and comfortable wages in the shape
of pretty constant dinners and suppers, frequent largesses of
sixpences and shillings, and occasional doles of wearing apparel.
I question whether he be not more expensive to our small
household than that model of a boy John, himself. Having said
this, it is but right to add that he is nearly as useful in his own
wild way ; will do any thing on earth that he thinks can serve
or please, especially if he be not ordered to do it (for he has a
Sir-John-Falstaff-like aversion to compulsion); makes himself
in one way or other agreeable to the whole family-always
excepting a certain under-maid called Betsy, against whom he
has a spite; and although renowned all over the parish for
story-telling, a peccadillo which I really believe he cannot help,
never takes any of us in, (for we know him so well that we
never dream of believing him,) unless now and then when
he happens to speak truth, which has the same effect in
deceiving his hearers as falsehood from other people.
We keep Ben because we like him. Why he came to us,
heaven knows Perhaps for the same reason; perhaps to avoid
the flogging which roosting in the coppice had delayed, but not
averted ; perhaps attracted by a clever jay of mine, now, alas!
no more-a bird of great accomplishment, and almost as saucy
as himself; perhaps for the chance of handling a certain gun
which he had seen John cleaning, an implement of noise and
YOUNG MASTER BEN 73
mischief that just suits his fancy, and which he brandishes of a
night about the garden, pretending to hear thieves ; perhaps to
ride a fine young horse of ours which nobody else can ride, for
he is an excellent horseman, and with his quick wit and light
weight, seems born for a jockey; perhaps, and this is the like-
liest cause of all, to have opportunity for playing tricks on poor
Betsy, whom neither I nor my maid Anne, and I believe she
tries all in her power, can protect from his elvish machinations.
But that very day had he spoilt my dinner (most uninten-
tionally as far as his design went) by throwing a snow-ball at
her as she stood by the kitchen fire, which from her suddenly
starting aside to avoid the missile, alighted on the back of a
fowl in the act of being roasted, which was thereby rendered
74 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
totally uneatable. This feat had, of course, brought him into
great disgrace in the lower regions; and since half-past five,
when the misadventure took place, nothing had been seen or
heard of the young gentleman till now that his repeated and
well-known whistle gave token of his vicinity.
Immediately after Ben's whistle, another sound was heard in
the melee rising amidst the tramp of feet bounding along the
frosty path from which the snow had been swept, the shouts
and cries of children escaping and pursued, and the distant
tinkling of a bell,-another well-known sound, the loud, gruff,
angry voice of Master Clarke, the parish beadle.
This worthy functionary was a person who, an enemy to
mischievous boys, by virtue of his office, had contrived to
render his post and his person peculiarly obnoxious to that
small rabble of the village, of whom Ben might be considered
the ringleader, by a sour stern severity of aspect and character,
an unrelenting aversion to frolic or pastime of any sort, and
an alacrity in pursuing and punishing the unhappy culprits,
which came in strong contrast with his usual stolid slowness
of act and word. Of course, Master Clarke could not fail to
be unpopular; and the mingled noises of his voice and of the
bell reminded me that that very morning he had been to
our house to inform his Worship that every night, as soon as
he sat down to supper, his shop-bell had been rung and rung
and rung, not by profitable customers, but by some invisible
enemies, boys of course, whom he was determined to catch,
if catch he could, and to punish with all the severity of his
rod of office. His Worship, an indulgent and kindly personage,
heard his complaints, and smiled and shook his head, and
even threw away upon him a little of that unprofitable conm-
modity called good advice ;-" Boys will be boys, Master
Clarke," said he; you were one once, and so was I. Better
leave the bell unanswered for a night or two; take no notice,
and depend on it they'll soon tire of their frolic."
76 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
This recollection, which came across me as I passed from
the door of the parlour to the door of the hall, completely en-
lightened me as to the cause of the uproar; and I was pre-
pared to see, by the pale cold dim snow-light, Master Clarke,
with a screaming, struggling urchin in either hand, (little
Dick Wilson, poor fellow! who had but just donned the
doublet and hose, and Sam Sewell, who is still in petticoats,)
in full chase of the larger fry who were flying before his fury,
whilst Master Ben was lying perdu in a corner of our court
under shadow of the wall which he had contrived to leap or to
scramble over. The sound of the distant ringing seemed to
augment with every stride that Master Clarke took, who, half
maddened with that noise, and with a sudden whistle which
Ben again sent forth from his hiding-place under the wall,
suddenly abandoned his pursuit, and was making for our gate,
when all at once the man-one of the largest proportions,
colossal, gigantic !-seemed pulled back with a mighty jerk by
some invisible cause, and was laid prostrate and sprawling
in the snowy kennel. Ben jumped on the wall, the better to
survey and laugh at him, as Puck might have done at Bottom,
and the rest of the crew dancing with shouts of triumph round
their fallen enemy, like the make-believe fairies round Falstaff
in the guise of Herne the Hunter. The cause of this down-
fall was soon discovered to be a strong cord tied at one end
to Master Clarke's coat, at the other to the bell at his shop
door-but how fastened, or by whom, this deponent saith not.
Betsy, indeed, avers that the cord much resembles one which
YOUNG MASTER BEN 77
she herself missed that very evening from John and Ben's
bedstead; and the beadle hath his own suspicions; but as
no certain proof could be obtained, Master Ben hath escaped
... . _
"--:l;e,,,.:: -: __ ...,-.: ..
PATTY'S NEW HAT.
WANDERING about the meadows one morning last May, absorbed
?h the pastoral beauty of the season and the scenery, I was
overtaken by a heavy shower just as I passed old Mrs. Matthew's
great farmhouse, and forced to run for shelter to her hospitable
porch. A pleasant shelter in good truth I found there. The
green pastures dotted with fine old trees stretching all around;
the clear brook winding about them turning and returning on its
the clear brook winding about them turning and returnin- on its
80 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
course, as if loath to depart; the rude cart-track leading through
the ford; the neater pathway with its foot-bridge; the village
spire rising amongst a cluster of cottages, all but the roofs and
chimneys concealed by a grove of oaks; the woody back-ground
and the blue hills in the distance, all so flowery and bowery in
the pleasant month of May; the nightingales singing; the bells
ringing; and the porch itself, around which a honeysuckle in
full bloom was wreathing its sweet flowers, giving out such an
odour in the rain, as in dry weather nothing but the twilight
will bring forth-an atmosphere of fragrance. The whole porch
was alive and musical with bees, who, happy rogues, instead of
being routed by the wet, only folded their wings the closer, and
dived the deeper into the honey-tubes, enjoying, as it seemed, so
good an excuse for creeping still farther within their flowery
lodgment. It is hard to say which enjoyed the sweet breath of
the shower and the honeysuckle most, the bees or I; but the
rain began to drive so fast, that at the end of five minutes I was
not sorry to be discovered by a little girl belonging to the
family ; and, first, ushered into the spacious kitchen, with its
heavy oak table, its curtained chimney corner, its bacon rack
loaded with enormous flitches, and its ample dresser, glittering
with crockery ware; and, finally, conducted by Mrs. Matthews
herself into her own comfortable parlour, and snugly settled
there with herself and her eldest grand-daughter, a woman
grown; whilst the younger sister, a smiling light-footed lass of
eleven or there-abouts, tripped off to find a boy to convey a
message to my family, requesting them to send for me, the
PATTY'S NEW HAT. 81
rain being now too decided to admit of any prospect of my
The sort of bustle which my reception had caused having
subsided, I found great amusement in watching my hospitable
hostess, and listening to a dialogue, if so it may be called,
between her pretty grand-daughter and herself, which at once
let me into a little love secret, and gave me an opportunity of
observing one, of whose occasional oddities I had all my life
heard a great deal.
Mrs. Matthews was one of the most remarkable persons in
these parts; a capital farmer, a most intelligent parish officer,
and in .her domestic government not a little resembling one of
the finest sketches which Mr. Crabbe's graphical pen ever
Next died the widow Goe, an active dame
Famed ten miles round and worthy all her fame;
She lost her husband when their loves were young,
But kept her farm, her credit, and her tongue:
Full thirty years she ruled with matchless skill,
With guiding judgment and resistless will;
Advice she scorned, rebellions she suppressed,
And sons and servants bowed at her behest.
No parish business in the place could stir
Without direction or assent from her;
In turn she took each office as it fell,
Knew all their duties and discharged them well.
She matched both sons and daughters to her mind,
And lent them eyes, for love she heard was blind."
( 82 )
Great power of body and mind was visible in her robust person
and massive countenance; and there was both humour and
intelligence in her acute smile, and in the keen grey eye that
glanced from under her spectacles. All that she said bore the
stamp of sense; but at this time she was in no talking mood,
and on my begging that I might cause no interruption, resumed
her seat and her labours in silent composure. She sat at a little
PA TTY'S NEW HAT. 83
table mending a fustian jacket belonging to one of her sons-a
sort of masculine job which suited her much better than a more
delicate piece of sempstress-ship would probably have done;
indeed the tailors' needle, which she brandished with great
skill, the whity-brown thread tied round her neck, and the huge
dull-looking shears (one can't make up one's mind to call such a
machine scissors), which in company with an enormous pincushion
dangled from her apron-string, figuring as the pendant to a most
formidable bunch of keys, formed altogether such a working
apparatus as shall hardly be matched in these days of polished
cutlery and cobwebby cotton-thread.
On the other side of the little table sat her pretty grand-
daughter Patty, a black-eyed young woman, with a bright
complexion, a neat trim figure, and a general air of gentility
considerably above her station. She was trimming a very
smart straw hat with pink ribbons; trimming and untrimming,
for the bows were tied and untied, taken off and put on, and
taken off again, with a look of impatience and discontent, not
common to a damsel of seventeen when contemplating a new
piece of finery. The poor little lass was evidently out of sorts.
She sighed, and quirked, and fidgeted, and seemed ready to cry;
whilst her grandmother just glanced at her from under her
spectacles, pursed up her mouth, and contrived with some
difficulty not to laugh. At last Patty spoke.
Now, grandmother, you will let me go to Chapel Row revel
this afternoon, won't you ?"
"Humph," said Mrs. Matthews.
84 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
"It hardly rains at all, grandmother!"
"Humph !" again said Mrs. Matthews, opening the prodigious
scissors with which she was amputating, so to say, a button, and
directing the rounded end significantly to my wet shawl, whilst
the sharp point was reverted towards the dripping honeysuckle.
"There's no dirt to signify !"
Another "Humph!" and another point to the draggled tail
of my white gown,
At all events, it's going to clear."
Two Humphs !" and two points, one to the clouds, and one
to the barometer.
PA TTY'S NEW HA T 85
"It's only seven miles," said Patty; "and if the horses are
wanted, I can walk."
Humph !" quoth Mrs. Matthews.
My aunt Ellis will be there, and my cousin Mary."
"Humph!" again said Mrs. Matthews.
"And if a person is coming here on business, what can I be
wanted for when you are at home, grandmother?"
Humph !" once again was the answer.
"What business can any one have with me ?"
Another Humph !"
"My cousin Mary will be so disappointed !"
And I half promised my cousin William-poor William !"
"Humph !" again.
Poor William Oh, grandmother, do let me go! And I've
got my new hat and all-just such a hat as William likes! Poor
William! You will let me go, grandmother ?"
And receiving no answer but a very unequivocal Humph "
poor Patty threw down her straw hat, fetched a deep sigh, and
sate in a most disconsolate attitude, snipping her pink ribbon to
pieces; Mrs. Matthews went on manfully with her "stitchery ;"
and for ten minutes there was a dead pause. It was at length
broken by my little friend and introducer, Susan, who was
standing at the window, and exclaimed-" Who is this riding up
the meadow all through the rain ? Look !-see !-I do think-
no, it can't be-yes, it is-it is certainly my cousin William
Ellis Look, grandmother !"
86 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
Humph !" said Mrs. Matthews.
"What can cousin William be coming for ?" continued Susan.
Humph !" quoth Mrs. Matthews.
Oh, I know !-I know !" screamed Susan, clapping her hands
and jumping for joy as she saw the changed expression of Patty's
countenance,--the beaming delight, succeeded by a pretty
downcast shamefacedness, as she turned away from her grand-
mother's arch smile and archer nod. "I know!-I know!"
Humph !" said Mrs. Matthews.
For shame, Susan Pray don't, grandmother !" said Patty,
For shame! Why I did not say he was coming to court
Patty! Did I, grandmother ?" returned Susan.
"And I take this good lady to witness," replied Mrs.
Matthews, as Patty, gathering up her hat and her scraps of
ribbon, prepared to make her escape-" I take you all to witness
that I have said nothing of any sort. Get along with you,
Patty!" added she, "you have spoiled your pink trimming;
but I think you are likely to want white ribbons next, and,
if you put me in mind, I'll buy them for you! And smiling in
spite of herself, the happy girl ran out of the room.
1 ,,_- -- -. "
GOING TO THE RACES.
A MEMORABLE day was the third of last June to Mary and
Henrietta Coxe, the young daughters of Simon Coxe, the car-
penter of Aberleigh, for it was the first day of Ascot Races, and
the first time of their going to that celebrated union of sport and
fashion. There is no pleasure so great in the eyes of our
90 CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE.
country damsels as a jaunt to Ascot. In the first place, it is,
when you get there, a genuine English amusement, open alike
to rich and poor, elegant as an opera, and merry as a fair; in the
second, this village of Aberleigh is situate about fourteen miles
from the course, just within distance, almost out of distance, so
that there is commonly enough of suspense and difficulty, the
slight difficulty, the short suspense, which add such zest to
pleasure; finally, at Ascot you are sure to see the king, to see
him in his graciousness and his dignity, the finest gentleman in
Europe, the greatest sovereign of the world. Truly it is nothing
extraordinary that his liege subjects should flock to indulge
their feelings of loyalty by the sight of such a monarch, and
that the announcement of his presence should cover a barren
heath with a dense and crowded population of all ranks and all
ages, from the duchess to the gipsy, from the old man of eighty
to the child in its mother's arms.
All people love Ascot Races; but our country lasses love
them above all. It is their favourite wedding jaunt, for half our
young couples are married in the race week, and one or two
matches have seemed to me got up purposely for the occasion;
and of all the attentions that can be offered by a lover, a drive
to the Races is the most irresistible. In short, so congenial is
that gay scene to love, that it is a moot point which are most
numerous, the courtships that conclude there in the shape of
bridal excursions, or those which begin on that favoured spot in
the shape of parties of pleasure; and the delicate experiment
called "popping the question," is so often put in practice on