.- '-% 'd
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The B;,dm Lbrbr,
PRINTED BY VILLIAMI CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
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~i I ;
THE CLERK IS FORCED TO PRESERVE ORDER.
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE
"UNDER THE STORMM" "THlE COOK AND THE CAPTIVE," ETC.
God hath sown, and He will reap,
Growth is slow when roots are deep;
He will aid the work begun
For the love of His dear Son."
WITH FIVE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS BY IV. S. STACEY
NATIONAL SOCIETY'S DEPOSITORY
BROAD SANCTUARY, WESTMINSTER
NEW YORK: THOMAS WHITTAKER, 2 AND 3, BIBLE HOUSE
[All rights reserved]
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
The Cook and the Captive. Price 3s. 6d.
The Treasures in the Marshes. Price 2s. 6d.
The Cross Roads; or, A Choice in Life. Price
The Constable's Tower; or, The Times of
Magna Charta. Price 33.
The Slaves of Sabinus. Price 3s. 6d.
The Cunning Woman's Grandson. A Story
of Cheddar a Hundred Years Ago. Price 3s. 6d.
Under the Storm; or, Steadfast's Charge. Price
Our New Mistress; or, Changes at Brookfield
Earl. Price 3s.
NATIONAL SOCIETY'S DEPOSITORY, SANCTUARY,
I-4Z H H HIHH
I. FRENCH MEASURE ...
II. THE LIE OF THE LAND
III. THE TURNIP FIELD ...
IV. NOBODY'S BUSINESS ...
V. AT HOME ... .
VI. THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
VII. SUNDAY SCHOOL ...
VIII. MARY'S APPROACH ...
IX. THE SCREEN
X. INNOVATIONS ...
XT. AN UNPROFITABLE CROP
XII. PRIZES ...
XIII. AGAINST THE GRAIN
XIV. AN OFFER REJECTED
XV. SCALES OF JUSTICE ...
XVI. LINCH-PINS ... .
XVII. PROGRESS OR NO PROGRESS
XVIII. THE THRESHING-MACHINE
... ... ... 17
... ... ... 33
.. ... ... 44
... ... 52
... ... ... 62
... ... ... 71
... ... ... 78
... ... 91
... ... ... 102
.. ... ... 123
... ... ... I 3
... ... ... 130
... ... ... 151
... ... ... 158
... ... ... 169
... ... ... 178
... ... ... 185
... ... ... 197
... ... ... 210
MARY ... ... 218
... ... ... 227
... ... ... 240
... ... ... 249
... ... ... 258
... ... ... 263
... ... ... 267
A NIGHT JOURNEY ...
THE ROYAL HOTEL
JACK SWING ...
GREAT MARY AND LITTLE
THE MACHINE ...
JUDITH ... ...
THE GOLDEN CHAINS
MISSED AND MOURNED
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
THE CLERK IS FORCED TO PRESERVE ORDER ... (Frontispiece)
" CAPTAIN CARBONEL, I BELIEVE," SAID DR. FOGRAM ... 79
PLEADING FOR MERCY FOR THEIR HUSBANDS ... ... 155
"D'YE WANT TO BESPEAK THE BEST APARTMENTS?" ... 198
THE ARRIVAL OF THE YEOMANRY ... ... ... 233
I l l I I I l I ll ll I I IITiT i l l I I Ni l li I i iI Ii iI Ii Ii ll I I I I hj 1 111
"For thy walls a pretty slight drollery."
The Second Part of King Henry IV.
BAD lot. Yes, sir, a thoroughly bad
"You don't mean it."
"Yes, ma'am, a bad lot is the Uphill people.
Good for nothing and ungrateful! I've known
them these thirty years, and no one will do any-
thing with them."
The time was the summer of 1822. The place
was a garden, somewhat gone to waste, with a
gravel drive running round a great circle of peri-
winkles with a spotted aucuba in the middle.
There was a low, two-storied house, with green
shutters, green Venetian blinds, and a rather
1o THE CARBONELS
shabby verandah painted in alternate stripes of
light and darker green. In front stood a high gig,
with a tall old, bony horse trying to munch the
young untrimmed shoots of a lilac in front of
him as he waited for the speaker, a lawyer,
dressed as country attorneys were wont to dress
in those days, in a coat of invisible green, where
the green constantly became more visible, brown
trousers, and under them drab gaiters. He was
addressing a gentleman in a blue coat and nankeen
trousers, but evidently military, and two ladies
in white dresses, narrow as to the skirts, but full
in the sleeves. One had a blue scarf over her
shoulders and blue ribbons in her very large
Leghorn bonnet; the other had the same in green,
and likewise a green veil. Her bonnet was rather
more trimmed, the dress more embroidered, the
scarf of a richer, broader material than the other's,
and it was thus evident that she was the married
sister; but they were a good deal alike, with the
same wholesome smooth complexion, brown eyes,
and hair in great shining rolls under their bonnet
caps, much the same pleasant expression, and the
same neat little feet in crossed sandalled shoes
and white stockings showing out beneath their
white tambour-worked gowns.
With the above verdict, the lawyer made his
parting bow, and drove off along a somewhat
rough road through two pasture fields. The first
FRENCH MEASURE II
gate, white and ornamental, was held open for
him by an old man in a short white smock and
long leather gaiters, the second his own servant
opened, the third was held by half a dozen shock-
headed children, with their backs against it and
hands held out, but in vain; he only smacked his
driving-whip over their heads, and though he did
not strike any of them, they requited it with a
prolonged yell, which reached the ears of the trio
in front of the house.
"I'm afraid it is not far from the truth," said the
"Oh no; I am sure he is a horrid man," said
her blue sister. "I would not believe him for a
"Only with a qualification," rejoined the gentle-
"But, Edmund, couldn't you be sure that it is
just what he would say, whatever the people were ?"
"I am equally sure that the exaction of rents
is not the way to see people at their best."
"Come in, come in! We have all our settling
in to do, and no time for you two to fight."
Edmund, Mary, Dorothea, and Sophia Carbonel
were second cousins, who had always known one
another in the house of the girls' father, a clergy-
man in a large country town. Edmund had been
in the army just in time for the final battles of the
Peninsular war, and had since served with the
army of occupation and in Canada. He had
always meant that Mary should be his wife, but
the means were wanting to set up housekeeping,
until the death of an old uncle of his mother's
made him heir to Greenhow Farm, an estate
bringing in about 500 a year. Mary and her
next sister Dora had in the meantime lost
their parents, and had been living with some
relations in London, where their much younger
sister Sophy was at school, until Edmund, coming
home, looked over the farm, decided that it would
be a fit home for the sisters, and retired from the
army forthwith. Thus then, after a brief tour
among the Lakes, they had taken up Dora in
London, and here they were; Sophy was to join
them when the holidays began. Disorder reigned
indeed within, and hammers resounded, nor was
the passage easy among the packing-cases that
encumbered the narrow little vestibule whence the
Under the verandah were the five sash windows
of the three front rooms, the door, of course, in
the middle. Each had a little shabby furniture,
to which the Carbonels were adding, and meant
to add more; the dining-room had already been
papered with red flock in stripes, the drawing-
room with a very delicate white, on which were
traced in tender colouring-baskets of vine leaves
Dora gave a little scream. "Look! Between
the windows, Mary; see, the laburnums and
grapes are hanging upward."
"Stupid people!" exclaimed Mary, "I see.
Happily, it is only on that one piece, but how
Edmund will be vexed."
"Perhaps there is another piece unused."
I am sure I hope there is! Don't you know,
Edmund fell in love with it at Paris. It was his
first provision for future housekeeping, and it was
lying laid up in lavender all these years till we
were ready for it."
It is only that one division, which is a comfort."
"What's the matter?" and the master of the
house came in.
"Senseless beings! It must be covered directly.
It is a desight to the whole room. Here!" and
he went out to the carpenter, who was universal
builder to the village, and was laying down the
stair carpet. "Here, Hewlett, do you see what
you have done ?"
Hewlett, a large man with a smooth, plump, but
honest face, came in, in his shirt sleeves, apron,
and paper cap, touched his forehead to the ladies,
stood, and stared.
Can't you see? sharply demanded the captain.
Hewlett scratched his head, and gazed round.
"See here! How do grapes grow? Or labur-
An idea broke in on him.
"What! they be topsy-turvy ?" he slowly ob-
served, after looking from the faulty breadth to
"Of course they are. Find the rest of the paper!
We must have a piece put on at once, or the whole
appearance of the room is spoilt," said Captain
Carbonel. "It will make a delay, but it must be
done at once. Where is the piece left over? "
Hewlett retreated to find it, while the captain
said something about "stupid ass."
Presently his gruff voice was heard demanding,
"Dan, I say, where's the remnant of that there
fancy paper? "
Dan's answer did not rise into audible words,
but presently Hewlett tramped back, saying,
"There ain't none, sir."
"I tell you there must be," returned the captain,
in the same angry tones. And he proceeded to
show that the number of pieces he had bought,
and the measure of which he had ascertained, was
such that there ought to have been half-a-piece
left over from papering the room, the size of
which he had exactly taken. Hewlett could do
nothing but stolidly repeat that "there weren't
none left, not enow to make a mouse's nest."
"Who did the papering ? Did you ?"
"Daniel Hewlett, sir, he did the most on it.
My cousin, sir."
The captain fell upon Daniel, who had more
words at command, but was equally strong in
denial of having any remnant. "They had only
skimped out enough," he said, "just enough for
the walls, and it was a close fit anyhow."
The captain loudly declared it impossible, but
Mary ran out in the midst to suggest that mayhap
the defect was in the French measure. Each piece
might not have been the true number of whatever
they called them in that new revolutionary fashion.
Dan Hewlett's face cleared up. "Ay, 'tis the
French measure, sure, sir. Of course they can't
do nothing true and straight! I be mortal sorry
the ladies is disappointed, but it bain't no fault of
"And look here, Edmund," continued Mary, "it
will not spoil the room at all if Mr. Hewlett will
help move the tall bureau against it, and we'll
hang the 'Death of General Wolfe' above it, and
then there won't be more than two bits of labur-
num to be seen, even if you are curious enough to
get upon a chair to investigate."
Well, it must be so," returned Captain Carbonel,
"but I hate the idea of makeshifts and having
"Just like you, Edmund," laughed Dora. "You
will always seem to be looking right through at
the upright sprays, though all the solid weight of
Hume, Gibbon, and Rollin is in front of them."
"Precisely," said Edmund. "It is not well to
feel that there is anything to be hidden. The chief
part of the vexation is, however," he added-shut-
ting the door and lowering his voice-" that I am
convinced that there must have been foul play
"Oh, Edmund; French measure !"
Nonsense! That does not account for at least
a whole piece disappearing."
He took out a pencil, and went again into his
calculations, while his sister-in-law indignantly
"It is all prejudice, because that horrid attorney
said all these poor people were a bad lot."
"Hush, hush!" said Mrs. Carbonel, rather
"I advise you to think before you speak," said
Captain Carbonel quietly but sternly.
Still Dora could not help saying, as soon as she
was alone with her sister, "I shall believe in the
French measure. I like that slow, dull man, and I
am sure he is honest."
"Yes, dear, only pray don't say any more to
Edmund, but let us get the bookcase placed as fast
as we can, and let him forget all about it."
THE LIE OF THE LAND
Thank you, pretty cow, that gave
Pleasant milk to soak my bread,
Every day and every night
Warm and fresh, and sweet and bright."
ARKNESS had descended before there
had been time to do more than shake
into the downstair rooms and bedrooms
and be refreshed with the evening meal, but with
morning began the survey of the new home.
The front part of the house had three living
rooms, with large sash windows, almost to the
ground, shaded by the verandah. These were draw-
ing-room, dining-room, and study, the last taken out
of the entry, where was the staircase, and there were
three similar rooms above. These had been added
by the late owner to the original farmhouse, with a
fine old-fashioned kitchen that sent Mary and Dora
into greater raptures than their cook. There were
18 THE CARBONELS
offices around, a cool dairy, where stood great red
glazed pans of delicious-looking cream and milk,
and a clean white wooden churn that Dora longed
to handle. The farmhouse rooms were between it
and the new ones, and there were a good many
rooms above, the red-tiled roof rising much higher
than that of the more modern part of the house.
There was a narrow paling in front, and then came
the farmyard, enclosed in barns, cow-houses and
cart-sheds, and a cottage where the bailiff, Master
Pucklechurch, had taken up his abode, having
hitherto lived in the farmhouse. He was waiting
to show Captain Carbonel over the farm. He was
a grizzled, stooping old fellow, with a fine, hand-
some, sunburnt face; bright, shrewd, dark eyes
looking out between puckers, a short white smock
frock, and long gaiters. It was not their notion of
a bailiff, but the lawyer, who was so chary of his
praise, had said that old Master Pucklechurch and
his wife were absolutely trustworthy. They had
managed the farm in the interregnum, and brought
him weekly accounts in their heads, for neither
could write, with the most perfect regularity and
minuteness. And his face did indeed bespeak
confidence in his honesty, as he touched his hat in
answer to the greeting.
The ladies, however, looked and smelt in some
dismay, for the centre of the yard was a mountain
of manure and straw, with a puce-coloured pond
THE LIE OF THE LAND
beside it. On the summit of the mountain a hand-
some ruddy cock, with a splendid dark-green
arched tail, clucked, chuckled, and scratched for
his speckled, rose-crowned hens, a green-headed,
curly-tailed drake "steered forth his fleet upon the
lake of brown ducks and their yellow progeny,
and pigs of the plum-pudding order routed in the
intermediate regions. The road which led to the
cart-sheds and to the house, skirted round this
Oh, Edmund sighed Mary.
"Farmer's wife, Mary," said her husband, smiling.
" It ought to be a perfect nosegay to you."
"I'm sure it is not wholesome," she said, looking
really distressed, and he dropped his teasing tone,
"Of course it shall be remedied! I will see
A dismal screeching and cackling here attracted
the attention of the sisters, who started towards
Pucklechurch's cottage, and the fowl-house (a very
foul house by the by) in front of which, on a low
wooden stool, sat a tidy old woman, Betty Puckle-
church in fact, in a tall muslin cap, spotted
kerchief, blue gown, and coarse apron, with a big
girl before her holding the unfortunate hen, whose
cries had startled them.
"Oh, don't go near! She is killing it," cried
20 THE CARBONELS
"No;" as the hen, with a final squawk, shook
out her ruffled feathers, and rushed away to tell
her woes to her companions on the dunghill, while
the old woman jumped up, smoothed down her
apron, and curtsied low.
"What were you doing?" asked Mary, still
Only whipping her breast with nettles, ma'am,
to teach her to sit close in her nest, the
plaguy thing, and not be gadding after the
"Poor thing!" cried Dora. "But oh, look,
look, Mary, at the dear little chickens "
They were in the greatest delight at the three
broods of downy little chickens, and one of duck-
lings, whose parent hens were clucking in coops;
and in the kitchen they found a sickly one nursed
in flannel in a basket, and an orphaned lamb
which staggered upon its disproportionate black
legs at sight of Betty.
"Ay! he be always after me," she said.
"They terrify one terrible, as if 'twas their mother,
till they can run with the rest."
Dora would have petted the lamb, but it re-
treated from her behind Betty's petticoats, and
she could only listen to Mary's questions about
how much butter was made from how many cows'
milk, and then be taken to see the two calves,
one of which Betty pronounced to be "but a
THE LIE OF THE LAND
staggering Bob yet, but George Butcher would
take he in a sen'night," which sounded so like
senate, that it set Dora wondering what council
was to pronounce on the fate of the poor infant
Over his stall, Edmund found them, after an
inspection of the pig-styes, and having much
offended Master Pucklechurch by declaring that
he would have them kept clean, and the pigs no
longer allowed to range about the yard.
"Bless you, sir, the poor things would catch
their death of cold and die," was the answer to
the one edict; and to the other, "They'd never
take to their victuals, nor fat kindly without their
"Then let them have it in the home field out
there, where I see plenty of geese."
"They'll spile every bit of grass, sir," was the
growling objection ; and still worse was the sug-
gestion, which gradually rose into a. command,
that the "muck heap" should be removed to the
said home field, and never allowed to accumulate
in such close proximity to the house.
Pucklechurch said little; but his If it be your
will, sir," sounded like a snarl, and after rumina-
ting for some time, he brought out-as if it were
an answer to a question about the team of horses-
"We'll have to take on another boy, let be a
man, if things is to be a that 'en a."
22 THE CARBONELS
"Let us, then," said the captain, and joined his
ladies, with the old man depressed and grumbling
There was an orchard preparing to be beautiful
with blossom, and a considerable kitchen garden
at the back and on the other side of the house,
bounded by an exceedingly dirty and be-rutted
farm road, over which the carriage had jolted
the evening before. The extensive home field in
front was shut off from the approach by a belt
of evergreens, and sloped slightly upwards towards
the hill which gave the parish its name.
"We will cut off a nice carriage road," said
Mary, as she looked at it.
"All in good time," replied her husband, not
wishing further to shock poor Master Puckle-
church, who had to conduct the party to the
arable fields-one of which was being ploughed
by three fine sleek horses, led by Bill Morris,
with his father at the shafts. In another, their
approach was greeted by hideous yells and shouts
which made Dora start.
"Ay, ay," said Pucklechurch, "he knows how
to holler when he see me a-coming;" and at
the same time a black-specked cloud of rooks
rose up from the furrows, the old man stamping
towards the boy who ought to have been keeping
them, vituperating him in terms that it was as
well not to hear.
THE LIE OF THE LAND
And it was such a tiny boy after all, and in
such a pair of huge boots with holes showing his
bare toes. However, they served him to run away
from Master Pucklechurch into the furthest ditch,
and if the ladies had designs on him, they had to
On the opposite side were more fields, with
crops in various stages, one lovely with the grow-
ing wheat and barley, another promising potatoes,
and another beans ; and beyond, towards the river,
were meadows parted by broad hedgerows, with
paths between, in which a few primroses and
golden celandines looked up beneath the withy
buds and the fluttering hazel catkins. Then came
the meadows, in one of which fed the cows, pretty
buff-and-white creatures, and in another field were
hurdled the sheep, among their dole of turnips,
sheep and turnips alike emitting an odour of the
most unpleasant kind, and the deep baas of the
ewes, and the thinner wail of the lambs made a
huge mass of sounds; while Captain Carbonel
tried to talk to Master Buttermere the shepherd,
a silent, crusty, white-haired old man in a green
smock and grey old coat, who growled out scarcely
So the tour of the property was made, and old
Pucklechurch expressed his opinion. He'll never
make nothing of it ; he is too outlandish
and full of his fancies, and his madam's a fine
lady. 'Pon my word and honour, she was fought
at that there muck heap "
This pleasant augury was of course not known
to the new-comers, who found something so honest
and worthy about the Pucklechurches that they
could not help liking them, though Mrs. Carbonel
had another tussle with Betty about fresh butter.
" It war no good to make it more than once a
week. Folk liked it tasty and meller ;" and that
the Carbonels had by no means the same likings,
made her hold up her hands and agree with her
husband that their failure was certain. These
first few days were spent in the needful arrange-
ments of house and furniture, during which time
Captain Carbonel came to the conclusion that no
one could be more stupid or awkward than Master
Hewlett, but that he was an honest man, and tried
to do his best, such as it was, while his relation,
Dan, though cleverer, was much more slippery,
and could not be depended upon. Dora asked
Master Hewlett what schools there were in the
place, and he made answer that the little ones
went in to Dame Verdon, but she didn't make
much of it, not since she had had the shaking
palsy, and she could not give the lads the stick.
He thought of sending his biggest lad to school
at Poppleby next spring, but 'twas a long way,
and his good woman didn't half like it, not unless
there was some one going the same way.
THE LIE OF THE LAND 25
Betty Pucklechurch's account amounted to much
the same. "Dame Verdon had had the school
nigh about forty years. She had taught them all
to read their Testament, all as stayed long enough,
for there was plenty for the children to do; and
folks said she wasn't up to hitting them as she
used to be."
Farmer Goodenough, the churchwarden, who
came to see Captain Carbonel about the letting
of a field which was mixed up with the Green-
how property, gave something of the like character.
"She is getting old, certain sure, but she is a
deserving woman, and she keeps off the parish."
But can she teach the children ? "
"She can teach them all they need to know,
and keep the little ones out of mischief," said the
farmer, perhaps beginning to be alarmed. "No
use to learn them no more. What do they want
of it for working in the fields or milking the
cows ? "
"They ought at least to know their duty to
God and their neighbour," said Captain Carbonel.
"Is there no Sunday School ? "
No, sir "-very bluntly. I hear talk of such
things at Poppleby and the like," he added, "but
we don't want none of them here. The lot here
are quite bad enough, without maggots being put
into their heads."
Captain Carbonel did not wish to continue the
26 THE CARBONELS
subject. The farmer's own accent did not greatly
betoken acquaintance with schools of any sort.
Of course the wife and sister were amused as
well as saddened by his imitative account of the
farmer's last speech, but they meant to study the
subject on their first Sunday. They had learnt
already that Uphill Priors was a daughter church
to Downhill Priors, and had only one service on
a Sunday, alternate mornings and evenings. The
vicar was the head of a house at Oxford, and
only came to the parsonage in the summer. The
services were provided for by a curate, living at
Downhill, with the assistance of the master of a
private school, to whom the vicarage was let.
When Captain Carbonel asked Master Puckle-
church about the time, he answered, "Well, sir,
'tis morning churching. So it will be half-past
ten, or else eleven, or else no time at all."
What, do you mean that there will be none ?"
"No, sir. There will be churching sure enough,
but just as time may chance, not to call it an hour.
Best way is to start as soon as you sights the
parson a-coming past the gate down there. Then
you're sure to be in time. Bell strikes out as soon
as they sees him beyond the Prior's Lane.'"
The Carbonels, in Sunday trim, with William
the man-servant, and two maids, their Prayer-
books in white pocket-handkerchiefs, following in
the rear, set forth for the gate, in the spring
THE LIE OF THE LAND 27
freshness. The grass in the fields was beginning
to grow up, the hedges were sprouting with tender
greens and reds, the polished stems of the celandine
were opening to the sunshine in the banks, with
here and there a primrose. Birds were singing
all round, and a lark overhead-most delightful
pleasures to those so long shut up in a town. It
was the side of a hill, where the fields were cut out
into most curious forms, probably to suit the wind-
ing of a little brook or the shape of the ground ;
and there were, near the bottom, signs of a mass
of daffodils, which filled the sisters with delight,
though daffodils were not then the fashion, and
were rather despised as yellow and scentless.
As they came near the second gate, they saw a
black figure go by on an old white horse; then
they came out on a long ascending lane with deep
ruts, bordered by fresh soft turf on either sides,
with hawthorn hedges, and at intervals dark yew-
A cracked bell struck up, by which they under-
stood that the clergyman had come in sight, and
they came themselves out upon a village green,
where geese, donkeys, and boys in greenish smock
frocks, seemed to be all mixed up together.
Thatched cottages stood round the green, and a
public-house-the Fox and Hounds." The sign
consisted of a hunt, elaborately cut out in tin,
huntsman, dogs, and fox, rushing across from the
28 THE CARBONELS
inn on a high uplifted rod of iron, fastened into a
pole on the further side of the road, whence the
sound of the bell proceeded, and whither the con-
gregation in smock frocks and black bonnets were
making their way.
Following in this direction, the Carbonels, much
amused, passed under the hunt, went some distance
further, and found a green churchyard, quite shut
in by tall elm trees, which, from the road, almost
hid the tiny tumble-down church, from whose
wooden belfry the call proceeded. It really
seemed to be buried in the earth, and the little
side windows looked out into a ditch. There were
two steps to go down into the deep porch, and
within there seemed to be small space between the
roof and the top of the high square pew into which
they were ushered by Master Hewlett, who, it
seemed, was the parish clerk.
They saw little from it, but on one side, hung
from the roof, a huge panel with the royal arms,
painted in the reign of William and Mary, as the
initials in the corners testified, and with the lion
licking his lips most comically; on the other side
was a great patch of green damp; behind, a
gallery, full of white smock-frocked men with
their knees thrust through the rails in front.
Immediately before them rose the tall erection of
pulpit, the fusty old cushion and tassels, each faded
to a different tint, overhanging so much that Dora
THE LIE OF THE LAND
could not help thinking that a thump from an
energetic preacher would send it down on Ed-
mund's head in a cloud of dust. There was the
reading-desk below, whence the edges of a ragged
Prayer-book protruded, and above it presently
appeared a very full but much-frayed surplice, and
a thin worn face between white whiskers. The
service was quietly and reverently read, but not a
response seemed to come from anywhere except
from Master Hewlett's powerful lungs, somewhere
in the rear, and there was a certain murmur of
chattering in the chancel followed by a resounding
whack. Then Master Hewlett's head was seen,
and his steps heard as he tramped along the aisle
and climbed up the gallery stairs, as the General
Thanksgiving began, and there he shouted out the
number of the Psalm, "new version," that is, from
Brady and Tate, which every one had bound up
with the Prayer-book. Then a bassoon brayed,
and a fiddle squealed, and the Psalm resounded
with hearty goodwill and better tone than could
have been expected.
Master Hewlett stayed to assist in the second
singing, and the children, who sat on low forms
and on the chancel step, profited by it to make
their voices more audible than the Commandments,
though the clergyman had not gone to the altar,
and once in the course of the sermon, Captain
Carbonel was impelled to stand up and look over
the edge of the pew, when he beheld a battle royal
going on over a length of string, between a boy in
a blue petticoat and one in a fustian jacket. At
the unwonted sight, the fustian-clad let go, and
blue-petticoat tumbled over backwards, kicking
up a great pair of red legs, grey socks, and im-
perfect but elephantine boots, and howling at the
same time. The preacher stopped short, the clerk
had by this time worked his way down from the
gallery, and, collaring both the antagonists, hauled
them out into the churchyard, the triple stamping
being heard on the pavement all the way. The
sermon was resumed and read to its conclusion.
It was a very good one, but immensely beyond
the capacity of the congregation, and Mary
Carbonel had a strong suspicion that she had
heard it before.
It was only on coming out that any notion could
be gathered of the congregation. There were a
good many men and big boys, in smocks, a few
green, but most of them beautifully white and
embroidered; their wearers had sat without books
through the whole service, and now came out with
The pews contained the young girls in gorgeous
colours, the old women, and the better class of
people, but not many of them, for the "petit
noblesse" of Uphill were very "petit" indeed, in
means and numbers; but their bonnets were
THE LIE OF THE LAND 31
enormous, and had red or purple bows standing
upright on them, and the farmers had drab coats
and long gaiters. The old dames curtsied low, the
little girls stared, and the boys peeped out from
behind the slanting old headstones and grinned.
Some of them had been playing at marbles on
the top of the one square old monument, until
routed by Master Hewlett on his coming out with
the two combatants.
Captain Carbonel had gone round to the vestry
door to make acquaintance with the clergyman,
though Farmer Goodenough informed him in an
audible whisper, "He ain't the right one, sir; he
be only schoolmaster."
And when the two met at. the door, and the
captain shook hands and said that they would be
neighbours, he was received with a certain hesi-
"I should tell you, sir, that I am only taking
occasional duty here-assisting. I am Mr. Atkins.
I have a select private academy at the vicarage,
which the President of St. Cyril's lets to me. He
is here in the summer holidays."
"I understand. The curate lives at Downhill !"
said Captain Carbonel.
"At the priory, in fact, with his father's family.
Yes, it is rather an unfortunate state of affairs,"
he said, answering the captain's countenance rather
than his words; "but I have no responsibility. I
32 THE CARBONELS
merely assist in the Sunday duty; and, indeed, I
advise you to have as little to do with the Uphill
people as possible. An idle good-for-nothing set!
Any magistrate would tell you that there's no
parish where they have so many up before them."
No wonder !" said Captain Carbonel under his
"A bad set," repeated Mr. Atkins, pausing at
the shed where his old grey horse was put up; and
there they parted.
The captain and his wife and her sister walked
to Downhill, two miles off, across broad meadows,
a river, and a pretty old bridge, the next Sunday
morning, found the church scantily filled, but with
more respectable-looking people, and heard the
same sermon over again, so that Mary was able
to identify it with one in a published volume.
THE TURNIP FIELD
You ask me why the poor complain,
And these have answered thee."
ULLO, Molly Hewlett, who'd ha' thought
of seeing you out here ?"
It was in a wet turnip field, and a
row of women were stooping over it, picking out
the weeds. The one that was best off had great
boots, a huge weight to carry in themselves; but
most had them sadly torn and broken. Their
skirts, of no particular colour, were tucked up,
and they had either a very old man's coat, or a
smock frock cut short, or a small old woollen
shawl, which last left the blue and red arms bare;
on their heads were the oldest of bonnets, or here
and there a sun-bonnet, which looked more decent.
One or two babies were waiting in the hedgeside
in the charge of little girls.
34 THE CARBONELS
"Molly Hewlett," exclaimed another of the set,
straightening herself up. "Why, I thought your
Dan was working with Master Hewlett, for they
Gobblealls" (which was what Uphill made of
"So he be; but what is a poor woman to do
when more than half his wage goes to the 'Fox
and Hounds,' and she has five children to keep;
and my poor sister, not able to do a turn?
There's George Hewlett, grumbling and growling
at him too, and no one knows how long he'll
keep him on."
"What! George, his cousin, as was bound to
keep him on ? "
"I don't know; George is that particular himself,
and them new folks, Gobbleall as they call them,
are right 'down mean, and come down on you if
they misses one little mossle of parkisit; and
there's my poor sister to keep-as is afflicted, and
can't do nothing "
"But she pays you handsome," said Betsy
Seddon, "and looks after the children besides."
"Pays, indeed Not half enough to keep her,
with all the trouble of helping her about! Not
that I grudges it, but she wants things extry, you
see, and Dan he don't like it. But no doubt the
ladies will take notice of her."
"I thought the lady kind enough," interposed
another woman. "She noticed how lame our
THE TURNIP FIELD
granny was with the rheumatics, and told me to
send up for broth."
"We wants somewhat bad enough," returned
another thin woman, with her hand to her side.
" Nobody never does nothing for no one here !"
"Nor we don't want no one to come worriting
and terrifying," cried the last of the group, with
fierce black eyes and rusty black hair sticking out
beyond her man's beaver hat, tied on with a yellow
handkerchief. Always at one about church and
school, and meddling with everything-the ribbon
on one's bonnet and to the very pots on the fire.
I knows what they be like in Tydeby! And what
do you get by it, but old cast clothes and broth
made of dish-washings?" She enforced all this
with more than one word not to be written.
"I know, I'd be thankful for that!" murmured
the thin woman, who looked as if she had barely
a petticoat on, and could have had scarcely a
Oh, we all know's Bessy Mole is all for what
she can get !" said the independent woman, tossing
"And had need to be," returned Molly Hewlett,
in a scornful tone, which made the poor woman in
question stoop all the lower, and pull her groundsel
"The broth ain't bad," ventured she who had
36 THE CARBONELS
"I shall see what I can get out of them," added
another. "I bain't proud; and my poor children's
shoes is a shame to see."
"You'll not get much," said Molly Hewlett, with
a sniff. "Why, the captain, as they calls him,
come down on my Jem, as was taking home a
little bit of a chip for the fire, and made him put
it down, as cross as could be."
"How now, you lazy, trolloping, gossiping
women What are you after?"
Farmer Goodenough was upon them; and the
words he showered on them were not by any means
"good enough" to be repeated here. He stormed
at them for their idleness so furiously as to set off
the babies in the hedge screaming and yelling.
Tirzah Todd, the gipsy-looking woman whom he
especially abused, tossed her head and marched
off in the midst, growling fiercely, to quiet her
child; and he, sending a parting imprecation after
her, directed his violence upon poor Bessy Mole,
though all this time she had been creeping on,
shaking, trembling, and crying, under the pelting
of the storm; but, unluckily, in her nervousness
and blindness from tears, she pulled up a young
turnip, and the farmer fell on her and rated her
hotly for not being worth half her wage, and doing
him more harm than good with her carelessness.
She had not a word to say for herself, and went
on shivering and trying to check her sobs while
THE TURNIP FIELD
he shouted out that he only employed her from
charity, and she had better look out, or he should
turn her off at once.
"Oh, sir, don't!" then came out with a burst of
tears. "My poor children-- "
"Don't go whining about your children, but let
me see you do your work."
However, this last sentence was in a milder
tone, as if the fit of passion had exhausted itself;
and Mr. Goodenough found his way back to the
path that crossed the fields, and went on. Tirzah
Todd set her teeth, clenched her fist and shook
it after him, while the other women, as soon as
he was out of sight, began to console Bessy Mole,
who was crying bitterly and saying "what would
become of her poor children, and her own poor
"Never you mind, Bessy," said Molly Hewlett,
"every one knows as how old Goodenough's bark
is worse than his bite."
"He runs out and it's over," put in Betsy
"I'm sure I can hardly keep about any way,"
sobbed the widow. "My inside is all of a quake.
I can't abide words."
"Ten to one he don't give you another sixpence
a week, after all," added Nanny Barton.
"He ain't no call to run out at one," said
Tirzah, standing upright and flourishing her baby.
"I'd like to give him as good as he gave, an old
"Look there! There's the ladies coming," ex-
claimed Nanny Barton.
"I thought there was some reason why he
stopped his jaw so soon," exclaimed Molly, stoop-
ing down and pulling up weeds (including turnips)
with undiscerning energy, in which all the others
followed her example, except Tirzah, who sulkily
retreated under the hedge with her baby, while
Jem Hewlett and Lizzie Seddon ran forward for
better convenience of staring. It was a large
field, and the party were still a good way off; but
as it sloped downwards behind the women, the
farmer must have seen them a good deal before
the weeders had done so.
These, be it remembered, were days when both
farmers and their labourers were a great deal
rougher in their habits than we, their grandchil-
dren, can remember them ; and there was, besides,
the Old Poor Law, which left the amount of relief
and of need to be fixed at the vestry meetings by
the ratepayers themselves of each parish alone;
so that the poor were entirely dependent on the
goodwill or judgment of their employers, whose
minds were divided between keeping down the
wages and the rates, and who had little of real
principle or knowledge to guide them. It was
possible to have recourse to the magistrates at the
THE TURNIP FIELD
Petty Sessions, who could give an order which
would override the vestry; but it was apt to be
only the boldest, and often the least deserving, who
could make out the best apparent cases for them-
selves, that ventured on such a measure.
The two ladies stopped and spoke to Molly
Hewlett and Nanny Barton, whom they had seen
at their doors, and who curtsied low; and Nanny,
as she saw Mrs. Carbonel's eyes fall on her boots,
"Yes, ma'am, 'tis bitter hard work this cold,
damp weather, and wears out one's shoes ter'ble.
These be an old pair of my man's, and hurts my
poor feet dreadful, all over broken chilblains as
they be; and my fingers, too," she added, spread-
ing out some fingers the colour of beetroot, with
dirty rags rolled round two of them.
Dora shrank. "And you can go on weeding
with them ?"
"Yes, ma'am. What can us do, when one's
man gets but seven shillings a week. And I've
had six children, and buried three," and her face
looked ready for tears.
"Well, we will come and see you, and try to
find something to help you," said Mrs. Carbonel.
"Where do you live ?"
"Out beyond the church, ma'am-a long way
for a lady."
Qh, we are good walkers,"
40 THE CARBONELS
"And please, my lady," now said Molly, coming
to the front, "if you could give me an old bit of a
pelisse, or anything, to make up for my boy there.
He's getting big, you see, and he is terrible bad
off for clothes. I don't know what is to be done
for the lot of 'em."
Dora had recognized in the staring boy, who had
come up close, him who had made the commotion
in church; and she ventured to say, "I remember
him. Don't you think, if you or his father kept him
with you in church, he would behave better there ? "
"Bless you, miss, his father is a sceptic. I can't
go while I've got no clothes-nothing better than
this, miss; and I always was used to go decent
and respectable. Besides, I couldn't nohow take
he into the seat with me, as Master Pucklechurch
would say I was upsetting of his missus."
"Well, I hope to see him behave better next
"Do you hear, Jem? The lady is quite shocked
at your rumbustiousness! But 'twas all Joe
Saunders's fault, ma'am, a terrifying the poor
children. His father will give him the stick, that
he will, if he hears of it again."
Meantime Mrs. Carbonel had turned to Widow
Mole, who, after her first curtsey, had been weeding
away diligently and coughing.
"Where do you live?" she asked. "I don't
think I have seen you before."
THE TURNIP FIELD
"No, ma'am," she said quietly. "I live down
the Black Hollow."
"You don't look well. Have you been ill? You
have a bad cough."
"It ain't nothing, ma'am, thank you. I can
keep about well enough."
"Do you take anything for it ?"
"A little yarb tea at night sometimes, ma'am."
"We will try and bring you some mixture for
it," said Mrs. Carbonel. And then she spoke to
Betsy Seddon, who for a wonder had no request
on her tongue, and asked her who the other
woman was, in the hedge with the baby.
"That's Tirzah Todd, ma'am," began Mrs.
Seddon, but Molly Hewlett thrust her aside, and
went on, being always the most ready with words,
"she is Reuben Todd's wife, and I wouldn't wish
to say no harm of her, but she comes of a gipsy
lot, and hasn't never got into ways that us calls
reverend, though I wouldn't be saying no harm of
a neighbour, ma'am."
"No, you'd better not," exclaimed a voice, for
Tirzah was nearer or had better ears than Mrs.
Daniel Hewlett had suspected, "though I mayn't
go hypercriting about and making tales of my
neighbours, as if you hadn't got a man what ain't
to be calledsober twice a week."
"Hush! hush! broke in Mrs. Carbonel; "we
don't want to hear all this. I hope no one will
tell us unkind things of our new neighbours, for
we want to be friends with all of you, especially
with that bright-eyed baby. How old is it ? "
She made it smile by nodding to it, and Tirzah
was mollified enough to say, Four months, ma'am;
but she have a tooth coming."
"What's her name?"
Tirzah showed her pretty white teeth in a smile.
Well, ma'am, my husband he doth want to call
her Jane, arter his mother, 'cause 'tis a good short
name, but I calls her Hoglah, arter my sister as
"Then she hasn't been christened ?"
"No. You see we couldn't agree, nor get gossips;
and that there parson, he be always in such a
mighty hurry, or I'd a had her half-baptized
Hoglah, and then Reuben he couldn't hinder it."
Tirzah was getting quite confidential to Mrs.
Carbonel, and Dora meantime was talking to
Molly Hewlett, but here it occurred to the former
that they must not waste the women's time, and
they wished them good-bye, Dora fearing, how-
ever, that there would be a quarrel between Tirzah
"Oh dear! oh dear!" she sighed, "couldn't
you make peace between those two," she said;
"they will fight it out."
"No, I think the fear of the farmer and the need
of finishing their work will avert the storm for the
THE TURNIP FIELD
present at least," said Mary, and I thought the
more I said, the worse accusations I should hear."
But what people they are! I do begin to
believe that attorney man, that they are a bad lot."
Don't be disheartened, Dora, no one has tried
yet, apparently, to do anything for them. We
must try to see them in their own homes."
"Beginning with Mrs. Seddon. She was quiet
and civil, and did not beg."
"Neither did that thin little woman. I should
like to give her a flannel petticoat. There is a
look of want about her."
"But I'm most taken with the wild woman, with
the teeth and the eyes, and the merry smile. I
am sure there is fun in her."
Little enough fun, poor things! sighed Mrs.
She was more used to poor people. She had
more resolution, though less enthusiasm than her
" For the rector don't live on his living like other Christian sort
HE sisters found on coming home that a
very handsome chestnut horse was being
walked up and down before the front
door, and their man-servant, William, informed
them that it belonged to the clergyman.
As they advanced to the verandah, Captain
Carbonel and his visitor came out to meet them,
and Mr. Ashley Selby was introduced. He looked
more like a sportsman than a clergyman, except
for his black coat; he had a happy, healthy, sun-
burnt face, top boots, and a riding-whip in his
hand, and informed Mrs. Carbonel that his father
and mother would have the honour of calling on
her in a day or two. They had an impression
that he had come to reconnoitre and decide
whether they were farmers or gentry.
NOBODY'S BUSINESS 45
"We have been trying to make acquaintance
with some of your flock," said Mary.
"The last thing I would advise you to do," he
answered; "there are not a worse lot anywhere.
Desperate poachers! Not a head of game safe
Perhaps they may be improved."
He shrugged his shoulders. "See what my
father has to say of them."
Is there much distress ? "
"There ought not to be, for old Dr. Fogram and
my father send down a handsome sum for blankets
and coals every Christmas, and Uphill takes care
to get its share!" He laughed. "No sinecure dis-
We have not been to see the school yet."
"A decrepit old crone, poor old body! She
will soon have to give in. She can't even keep
the children from pulling off her spectacles."
"And Sunday School?"
"Well, my father doesn't approve of cramming
the poor children. I believe the Methodists have
something of the kind at Downhill; but there is no
one to attend to one here, and the place is quite
free of dissent."
"Cause and effect?" said Captain Carbonel,
"Would you object if we tried to teach the
poor children something?" asked Mrs. Carbonel,
"Oh no, not at all. All the good ladies are
taking it up, I believe. Mrs. Grantley, of Poppleby,
is great at it, and I see no harm in it; but you'll
have to reckon with my father. He says there will
soon be no ploughmen, and my mother says there
will be no more cooks or housemaids. You'd
better write to old Fogram, he'll back you up."
Mary had it on her lips to ask him about Widow
Mole, but he had turned to Edmund to discuss
the hunting and the shooting of the neighbourhood.
They discovered, partly at this time, and partly
from other visitors, that he was the younger son
of the squire of Downhill, who had been made to
take Holy Orders without any special fitness for
it, because there was a living likely soon to be ready
for him, and in the meantime he was living at
home, an amiable, harmless young man, but bred up
so as to have no idea of the duties of his vocation,
and sharing freely in the sports of his family, acting
as if he believed, like his father, that they were the
most important obligations of man ; and accepting
the general household belief that only the Metho-
distical could wish for more religious practice.
Be it understood that all this happened in the
earlier years of the century, and would be impos-
sible under the revival of the Church that has
since taken place. No one now can hold more
than one piece of preferment at a time, so that
parishes cannot be left unprovided. Nor could
NOBODY'S BUSINESS 47
Ashley Selby be ordained without a preparation
and examination which would have given him a
true idea of what he undertook, or would have
prevented his ordination. This, however, was at a
time when the work of the church had grown very
slack, and when a better spirit was beginning to
revive. The father of Mary and Dora had been
a zealous and earnest man, and both they and
Edmund had really serious ideas of duty and of
the means of carrying them out. In London
they had heard sermons which had widened and
deepened their views, but they had done no work,
as the relation with whom they lived thought it
impossible and improper for young ladies there.
Thus they were exceedingly desirous of doing
what they could to help the place where their lot
was cast, and they set forth to reconnoitre. First,
they found their way to the school, which stood on
the border of the village green, a picturesque
thatched cottage, with a honeysuckle and two
tall poplars outside. But strange sounds guided
them on their way, and the first thing they saw
was a stout boy of four or five years old in petti-
coats bellowing loudly outside, and trying to climb
the wicket gate which was firmly secured by a
rusty chain. Mary tried to undo the gate, speak-
ing meanwhile to the urchin, but he rushed away
headlong back into the school, and they heard him
howling, "They bees a-coming!"
48 THE CARBONELS
A big girl in a checkered pinafore came out and
made a curtsey, assisting to undo the chain.
"What has he been doing? asked Dora.
He be a mortial bad boy !" answered the girl.
He've been getting at Dame Verdon's sugar."
And what is your name ? asked Mrs. Carbonel.
'"Lizzie Verdon, ma'am. I helps Grannie."
Grannie did seem in need of help. There she
sat in a big wooden chair by the fire, the very
picture of an old dame, with a black bonnet,
high-crowned and crescent shaped in front, with
a white muslin cap below, a buff handkerchief
crossed over her shoulders, a dark short-sleeved
gown, long mittens covering her arms, and a
checkered apron ; a regular orthodox birch-rod by
her side, and a black cat at her feet. But her head
was shaking with palsy, and she hardly seemed to
understand what Lizzie screamed into her car that
Here was the ladies."
But the door which they had shut in the face of
their spaniel was thrust open. Up went the cat's
back, bristle went her tail, her eyes shot sparks,
and she bounded to the top of her mistress's chair.
Dandy barked defiance, all the children shouted
or screamed and danced about, and the old woman
gasped and shook more. Lizzie alone was almost
equal to the occasion. She flew at the cat who
was standing on tiptoe on the tall back of the chair,
with huge tail and eyes like green lamps, swearing,
NOBODY'S BUSINESS 49
hissing, and spitting, and, regardless of scratches,
caught him up by the scruff of his neck and dis-
posed of him behind the staircase door; while
Dora at the same moment secured Dandy by the
collar, and rushing out, put him over the garden
gate and shut both that and the door. Mary,
afraid that the old lady was going to have a fit,
went up to her with soothing apologies, but the
unwonted sight seemed to confuse her the more,
and she began crying. Lizzie, however, came to
the rescue. She evidently had all her wits about
her. First she called out: "Order, children!
Don't you see the ladies ? Sit down, Jem Hewlett,
or I'll after you with the stick!" Then, as the
children ranged themselves, she stamped at some
to enforce her orders, shook the rod at others, and
set up the smallest like so many ninepins, handling
them by the shoulder on one small bench, inter-
spersing the work with consolations to granny
and explanations to the ladies, who were about to
defer their visit.
"Granny, now never you mind. Tip is all right
upstairs. Benny, you bad boy, I'll be at you.
Don't go, please, lady. Bet, what be doin' to Jim ?
Never mind, granny Susan Pucklechurch, you'll
read to the lady, so pretty."
About five children, more tidily dressed than the
others, had a whole and sound form to themselves
near the fire and the mistress. The other two
50 THE CARBONELS
benches were propped, the one on two blocks of
wood, the other on two sound and two infirm legs,
and this was only balanced by a child at each
end, so that when one got up the whole tumbled
down or flew up, but the seat was very low, and
the catastrophe generally, produced mirth.
Susan Pucklechurch, granddaughter to the old
bailiff and his Betty, was evidently the show
scholar. "She be in her Testament, ma'am,"
explained Lizzie; and accordingly a terribly
thumbed and dilapidated New Testament was
put into the child's hand, from which she pro-
ceeded to bawl out, with long pauses between the
words, and spelling the longest, a piece of the
Sermon on the Mount, selected because there were
no names in it. It was a painful performance to
reverent ears, and as soon as practicable Mrs.
Carbonel stopped it with "Good child!" and a
penny, and asked what the others read. Those
who were not "in the Testament" read the
Universal Spelling-book," provided at their own
expense, but not in much better condition, and
from this George Hewlett, son and heir to the
carpenter, and a very different person from his
cousin Jem, read the history of the defence of that
city where each trade offered its own commodity
for the defence, even to the cobbler, who proposed
to lay in a stock of good 1-e-a-t-h-e-r-lather !
These, and three little maidens who had picture
NOBODY'S BUSINESS 51
spelling-books not going beyond monosyllables,
were the aristocracy, and sat apart, shielded from
the claws and teeth of their neighbours in con-
sideration of paying fourpence, instead of twopence,
a week. The boy was supposed to write large
letters on a slate, and the bigger girls did some
needlework, and not badly-indeed, it was the
best of their performances. The dame went on
mumbling and shaking all the time, and it was
quite evident that she was entirely past the work,
and that Lizzie was the real mistress; indeed,
Mrs. Carbonel was inclined to give her credit for
a certain talent for teaching and keeping order,
when the sisters emerged from the close little
oven of a place, hardly knowing whether to laugh
or cry, but full of great designs.
Captain Carbonel, however, to their disappoint-
ment, advised them to wait to set anything on
foot till Dr. Fogram, the President of St. Cyril's,
came down in the summer holidays, when counsel
could be taken with him, and there would be more
knowledge of the subject. Dora did not like this
at all. She was sure that the Son of Mist, as she
was naughty enough to call the doctor, would only
hamper them, and she was only half consoled by
being told that there was no objection to her
collecting a few of the children on Sunday and
trying to teach them, and in the meantime
acquaintance might be made with the mothers.
I Ii 5
"Now I've gone through all the village, ay from end to end, save
and except one more house;
But I haven't come to that, and I hope I never shall, and that's
the village Poor House."
OTTAGE visiting turned out to be a much
chequered affair. One of the first places
to which the sisters made their way was
the Widow Mole's. They found it, rather beyond
the church, down a lane, where it was hidden
behind an overgrown thorn hedge, and they would
scarcely have found it at all, if a three-year-old
child had not been clattering an old bit of metal
against the bar put across to prevent his exit. He
was curly and clean, except with the day's surface
dirt, but he only stared stolidly at the question
whether Mrs. Mole lived there. A ten-year-old
girl came out, and answered the question.
"Yes, mother do live here, but her be out at
Is that your grandfather?" as they caught
sight of a very old man on a chair by the door,
in the sun.
"Yes, ma'am. Will you come in and see him ?"
He was a very old man, with scanty white hair,
but he was very clean, and neatly dressed in a
white smock, mended all over, but beautifully
worked over the breast and cuffs, and long leather
buskins. He was very civil, too. He took off his
old straw hat, and rose slowly by the help of his
stout stick, though the first impulse of the visitors
was to beg him not to move. He did not hear
them, but answered their gesture.
I be so crippled up with the rheumatics, you
see, ma'am," and he put his knotted and contracted
hand up to his ear.
Mrs. Carbonel shouted into his ear that she was
sorry for him. She supposed his daughter was
out at work.
"Yes, ma'am, with Farmer Goodenough-a
charming to-day it is."
"Washing," screamed the little girl.
She was off at five o'clock this morning," he
went on. She do work hard, my daughter Bess,
and she's a good one to me, and so is little Liz
here. Thank the Lord for them."
"And her husband is dead ?"
"Yes, ma'am. Fell off a haystack three years
ago, and never spoke no more. We have always
54 THE CARBONELS
kept off the parish, ma'am. This bit of a cottage
was my poor wife's, and she do want to leave it to
the boy; but she be but frail, poor maid, and if
she gave in, there'd be nothing for it but to give
up the place and go to the workhouse; and
there's such a lot there as I could not go and die
He spoke it to the sympathizing faces, not as
one begging, and they found out that all was as he
said. He had seen better days, and held his head
above the parish pay, and so had his son-in-law;
but the early death of poor Mole, and the old
man's crippled state, had thrown the whole
maintenance of the family on the poor young
widow, who was really working herself to death,
while, repairs being impossible, the cottage was
almost falling down.
"Oh, what a place, and what a dear old man !"
cried the ladies, as they went out. "Well, we can
do something here. I'll come and read to him
every week," exclaimed Dora.
"And I will knit him a warm jacket," said Mary,
"and surely Edmund could help them to prop up
that wretched cottage."
"What a struggle their lives must have been,
and so patient and good! Where are we going
"I believe that is the workhouse, behind the
church," said Mary. That rough-tiled roof."
AT HOME 55
"It has a bend in the middle, like a broken back.
I must sketch it," said Dora.
"Why, there's Edmund, getting over the church-
"Ay, he can't keep long away from you, Madam
"Were you going to the workhouse?" said
Captain Carbonel, coming up, and offering an arm
to each lady, as was the fashion in those days.
"We thought of it. All the poorest people are
there, of course."
And the worst," said the captain. "No, I
will not have you go there. It is not fit for you."
For besides that he was very particular about
his ladies, and had no notion of letting them go
to all the varieties of evil where they could hope
to do good, like the ladies of our days, the work-
house was an utterly different place from the
strictly disciplined union houses of the present
Poor Law. Each parish had its own, and that of
Uphill had no master, no order, but was the refuge
of all the disorderly, disreputable people, who
could not get houses, or pay their rent, who lived
in any kind of fashion, on parish pay and what
they could get, and were under no restraint.
While the captain was explaining to them what
he had heard from Farmer Goodenough, a sudden
noise of shouting and laughing, with volleys of
evil words, was heard near the "Fox and Hounds."
"What is that ?" asked Dora, of a tidy young
woman coming her way.
"That's only the chaps at old Sam," she
answered, as if it was an ordinary sound. And
on them exclaiming, she explained. "Samson
Sanderson, that's his name, sir. He be what they
calls non-compos, and the young fellows at the
'Fox and Hounds' they have their fun out of he.
They do bait he shameful."
Violent shouts of foul words and riotous laughter
could be distinguished so plainly, that Captain
Carbonel hastily thrust his wife and sister into the
nearest cottage, and marched into the group of
rough men and boys, who stood holloaing rude
jokes, and laughing at the furious oaths and abuse
in intermittent gasps with which they were received.
"For shame!" his indignant voice broke in.
"Are you not ashamed, unmanly fellows, to treat
a poor weak lad in this way ? "
There was a moment's silence. Then a great
hulking drover called out, "Bless you, sir, he
"The more shame for you," exclaimed the
captain, to bait a poor innocent lad with horrid
blasphemy and profanity. I tell you every one
of you ought to be fined "
The men began to sneak away from the in-
dignant soldier. The poor idiot burst out crying
and howling, and the ostler came forward, pulling
AT HOME 57
his forelock, and saying, "You'll not be hard
on 'em, sir. 'Tis all sport. There, Sammy, don't
be afeared. Gentleman means you no harm."
Captain Carbonel held out some coppers, saying,
"There, my poor lad, there's something for you.
Only don't let me hear bad words again."
Sam muttered something, and pulled his ragged
hat forward as he shambled off into some back
settlements of the public-house, while the ostler
"'Tis just their game, sir! None of 'em would
hurt poor Sam! They'd treat him the next minute,
sir. All in sport."
"Strange sport," said the captain, "to teach a
poor helpless lad, who ought to be as innocent as
a babe, that abominable blasphemy."
"He don't mean nought, sir! All's one to he!"
"All the worse in those who do know better, I
tell you; and you may tell your master that, if this
goes on, I shall certainly speak to the magistrates."
There was no need to tell the landlord, Mr.
Oldfellow. The captain was plainly enough to be
heard through the window of the bar. The
drovers had no notion that their amusement was
sinful, for "it didn't hurt no one," and, in fact,
"getting a rise" out of Softy Sam was one of the
great attractions of the "Fox and Hounds," so
that Mr. Oldfellow was of the same mind as Dan
Hewlett, who declared that "they Gobblealls was
plaguy to-ads of Methodys, and wasn't to think to
bully them about like his soldiers."
They had another drink all round to recover
from their fright, when they treated Softy Sam,
but took care not to excite him to be noisy, while
the captain might be within earshot.
The two ladies had meanwhile taken refuge in
what proved to be no other than Mrs. Daniel
Hewlett's house, a better one, and less scantily
provided with furniture, than the widow Mole's,
but much less clean and neat. The door stood
open, and there was a tub full of soapsuds within.
The captain gave a low whistle to intimate his
presence, and stood at the entrance. Unwashed
dinner things were on a round table, a dresser in
confusion against the wall, on another Moore's
Almanack for some years past, full of frightful
catastrophes, mixed with little, French, highly-
coloured pictures of the Blessed Virgin.
His wife and her sister were seated, the one on
a whole straw chair, the other on a rickety one,
conversing with a very neat, pale, and pleasant-
looking invalid young woman, evidently little
able to rise from her wooden armchair. Molly
Hewlett, in a coarse apron, and a cap far back
amid the rusty black tangles of her hair, her arms
just out of the wash-tub, was in the midst of a
voluble discourse, into which the ladies would not
AT HOME' 59
"You see, ma'am, she was in a right good
situation, but she was always unlucky, and she
had the misfortune to fall down the attic stairs
with the baby in her arms."
"The baby was not hurt," put in the invalid.
"Not it, the little toad, but 'twas saving he as
ricked her back somehow, and made her a cripple
for life, as you see, ma'am; and she was six months
in the hospital, till the doctor, he say as how he
couldn't do nothing more for her, so Hewlett and
me we took her in, as she is my own sister, you
see, and we couldn't let her go to the workhouse,
but she do want a little broth or a few extrys now
and then, ma'am, more than we poor folks can
"My mistress is very good, and gives me a
little pension," put in the invalid, while her sister
looked daggers at her, and Mrs. Carbonel, in
obedience to her husband's signal, took a hasty
"There now! That's the way of you, Judith,"
cried Molly Hewlett, banging the door behind
them. "What should you go for to tell the ladies
of that pitiful pay of yours but to spile all chance
of their helping us, nasty, mean skin-flints as
they be! "
"I couldn't go for to deceive them," humbly
replied Judith, meek, but cowering under the
60 THE CARBONELS
"Who asked you to deceive? Only to hold
your tongue for your own good, and mine and my
poor children's, that you just live upon. As if
your trumpery pay was worth your board and all
the trouble I has with you night and day, but you
must come in and hinder these new folk from
coming down liberal with your Methody ways and
your pride! That's it, your pride, ma'am. Oh,
I'm an unhappy woman, between you and Dan!
Molly sank into a chair, put her apron over her
face and cried, rocking herself to and fro, while
Judith, with tears in her eyes, tried gentle con-
solations all in vain, till Molly remembered her
washing, and rose up, moaning and lamenting.
Meantime Mrs. Carbonel and her sister were
exclaiming in pity that this was a dear good girl,
though Edmund shook his head over her surround-
"I wonder how to make her more comfortable,"
said Dora. "She seemed so much pleased when
I promised to bring her something to read."
"I am afraid those Hewletts prey on her," said
"And patronizing her will prove a complicated
affair! said the captain.
He wanted them to come home at once, but on
the way they met Nanny Barton, who began,
with low curtsies, a lamentable story about her
AT HOME 61
girls having no clothes, and she would certainly
have extracted a shilling from Miss Carbonel if
the captain had not been there.
"Never accept stories told on the spur of the
moment," he said.
Then Betsy Seddon and Tirzah Todd came
along together, bending under heavy loads of
broken branches for their fires. Tirzah smiled as
usual, and showed her pretty teeth, but the captain
looked after her, and said, "They have been
tearing Mr. Selby's woods to pieces."
"What can they do for firewood?" said his
"Let us look out the rules of your father's coal
store and shoe club," he said.
"Through slush and squad,
When roads was bad,
But hallus stop at the Vine and Hop."-TENNYSON.
HROUGH all Pucklechurch's objections
and evident contempt for his fancies,
and those of young madam, Captain
Carbonel insisted on the clearance of the yard.
He could not agree with the old man, who made
free to tell him that, "Such as that there muck-
heap was just a bucket to a farmer's wife, if she
was to be called a farmer's wife-was that it."
With some reflection, Captain Carbonel decided
that a bucket might mean a bouquet, and answered
-" Maybe she might have too much of a good
thing. When I went down to Farmer Bell's the
other day, they had a famous heap, and I was
struck with the sickly look of his wife and
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD 63
"His missus were always a poor, nesh 'ooman,"
"And I don't mean mine to be like her if I can
help it," said the captain.
But he did not reckon on the arrival of a
prancing pair of horses, with a smart open carriage,
containing two ladies and a gentleman, in the
most odorous part of the proceedings, when he
was obliged to clear the way from a half-loaded
waggon to make room for them, and, what was
quite as inconvenient, to hurry up the back stairs
to his dressing-room to take off his long gaiters,
Blucher boots (as half high ones were then called)
and old shooting coat, and make himself presentable.
In fact, when he came into the room, Dora
was amused at the perceptible look of surprised
approval of the fine tall soldierly figure, as he
advanced to meet Mr. and Mrs. Selby and their
daughter, the nearest neighbours, who were, of
course, in the regular course of instruction of the
new-comers in the worthlessness and ingratitude
of Uphill and the impossibility of doing anything
for the good of the place.
Mary was very glad that he interrupted the
subject by saying merrily, "You caught me in the
midst of my Augean stable. I hope next time you
are kind enough to visit us that the yard may be
in a more respectable condition."
Mr. Selby observed that it was unpardonable
64 THE CARBONELS
not to have done the work beforehand, and the
captain answered, "On the contrary, it was
reserved as a fragrant bucket, or bouquet for a
Whereat the visitors looked shocked, and Mary
made haste to observe: "But we do hope to make
a better road to the house through the fields."
"There is a great deal to be done first," said
Dora, who thought the observation rather weak.
Nothing else that was interesting took place on
this occasion. Mr. Selby asked the captain whether
he hunted, and gave him some information on the
sport of all kinds in the neighbourhood. Miss
Selby asked Dora if she liked archery, music, and
drawing. Mrs. Selby wanted to recommend a
housemaid, and advised Mrs. Carbonel against ever
taking a servant from the neighbourhood. And
then they all turned to talk of the evil doings of
the parish thieves, poachers, idlers, drunkards, and
to warn the Carbonels once more against hoping
to improve them. The horses could be heard
pawing and jingling outside, and, as the ladies rose
to take leave, Captain Carbonel begged leave to
hurry out and clear the coast. And it was well
that he did so, for he had to turn back a whole
procession of cows coming in to be milked, and
sundry pigs behind them.
The farm court was finished, and never was so
bad again, the animals being kept from spending
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD 65
their day there, except the poultry, in which Mary
took great delight. Soon came more visitors, and
it became a joke to the husband and sister that she
always held out hopes of "the future drive when
they arrived, bumped or mired by the long lane.
"Mary's Approach," as Edmund called it, had to
be deferred till more needful work was done. The
guests whom they best liked, Mr. and Mrs. Grantley,
the clergyman and his wife from the little town of
Poppleby, gave an excellent and hopeful account
of their rector, Dr. Fogram, who was, they said, a
really good man, and very liberal.
Mrs. Grantley was interested in schools and
poor people, as it was easy to discover, and Mary
and Dora were soon talking eagerly to her, and
hearing what was done at Poppleby; but there
were gentry and prosperous tradespeople there, who
could be made available as subscribers or teachers ;
so that their situation was much more hopeful than
that of the Carbonels, who had not the authority of
Poppleby was a much larger place than Downhill,
on the post road to London. The mail-coach went
through it, and thence post horses were hired, and
chaises, from the George Inn. The Carbonels
possessed a phaeton, and a horse which could be
used for driving or riding, and thus Captain Car-
bonel took the two ladies to return the various calls
that had been made upon them. They found the
66 THE CARBONELS
Selbys not at home, but were warmly welcomed by
the Grantleys, and spent the whole afternoon with
them, and, at Dora's earnest request, were taken to
see the schools. So different was the taste and
feeling of those days that, though Poppleby Church
was a very fine old one-in grand architecture, such
as in these days is considered one of the glories of
the country-no one thought of going to look at it,
and the effect of Mr. Grantley's excellent sermons
had been the putting up of a new gallery right
across the chancel arch.
It had a fine tower and steeple, and this Dora
thought of as a delightful subject for a sketch from
the Parsonage garden. She made great friends
with Lucy Grantley, the eldest daughter, over their
tastes in drawing, as well as in the Waverley novels
and in poetry, and was invited to spend a long day
at Poppleby and take a portrait of the steeple.
After the calls had been made and returned began
the dinner parties. Elmour Priory was so near
Greenhow that it would have been easy to walk
there across the fields, or to drive in the phaeton,
especially as the hours were much earlier, and six
or half past was held to be a late dinner hour, but
this would have been contrary to etiquette, especially
the first time, with people who evidently thought
much of "style," and the Carbonels were not
superior to such considerations, which were-or
were supposed to be-of more importance in those
days. So a chaise was ordered, and they went in
state, and had a long, dull evening, chiefly enlivened
by the Miss Selbys and Dora playing on the
As they were going home, all round by the road,
when they were near the top of the hill, before they
came to the "Fox and Hounds," the postilion first
shouted and then came to a sudden stop. The
captain, putting his head out at the window, saw by
the faint light of a young moon, going down in the
remains of sunset, that he was jumping off his
horse, growling and swearing, but under his breath,
when the captain sprang out. A woman was lying
across the road, and had barely escaped being run
over. Mary and Dora were both out in a moment.
"Poor thing, poor thing! Is it a fit? She is
"A fit of a certain kind," said the captain, who
was dragging her into the hedge, while the post-
boy held the horses. "Go back, Mary, Dora !"
"It is Nanny Barton said Dora in horror.
Mary took down one of the carriage lamps and
held it to the face. "Yes, it is !" said she. Can't
we take her home, or do anything ?"
"No, no; nonsense!" said Edmund. "Don't come
near, don't touch her. Don't you see, she is simply
"But we can't leave her here."
"The best thing to do Yes, it is; but we will
stop at the 'Fox and Hounds,' if that will satisfy
you, and send some one out to see after her."
They were obliged to be satisfied, for the tones
were authoritative, and they had to accept his
assurance that the woman was in no state for them
to meddle with. She would come to no harm, he
said, when he had put her on the bank, and it was
only to pacify them that he caused the postilion to
stop at the public-house, whence roaring, singing,
and shouts proceeded. The landlord came out,
supposing it was some new arrival, and when
Captain Carbonel jumped out, and, speaking
severely, desired that some one would go to look
after the woman, who was lying in the road, and
whom the horses had almost run over, he answered
as if he had been doing the most natural and correct
thing in the world.
"Yes, sir; I had just sent her home. They had
been treating of her, and she had had a drop too
much. She wasn't in a proper state."
"Proper state! No I should think not!
It is a regular shame and disgrace that you
should encourage such goings on! Where's the
woman's husband? Has no one got the humanity
to come and take her home ? "
Oldfellow called gruffly to some of the troop,
who came reeling out to the door, and told them
it was time to be off, and that some one, "You
Tirzah had best see to that there Barton 'oman."
Captain Carbonel wished to keep his ladies
from the sight, but they were watching eagerly,
and could not help seeing that it was Tirzah Todd,
more gipsy-looking than ever, who came out.
Not, however, walking as if intoxicated, and quite
able to comprehend Captain Carbonel's brief
explanation where to find her companion.
"Ah, poor Nanny!" she said cheerfully.
"She's got no head! A drop is too much for
The chaise door was shut, and they went on,
Dora and Mary shocked infinitely, and hardly able
to speak of what they had seen.
And they did not feel any happier when the
next day, as Mary was feeding the chickens, Nanny
came up to her curtseying and civil.
"Please, ma'am, I'm much obliged to you for
seeing to me last night. I just went in to see if
my husband was there, as was gone to Poppleby
with some sheep, and they treated me, ma'am.
And that there Tirzah and Bet Bracken, they was a
singing songs, as it was a shame to hear, so I ups
and rebukes them, and she flies at me like a cata-
mount, ma'am; and then Mr. Oldfellow, he puts me
out, ma'am, as was doing no harm, as innocent as
"Well," said Mrs. Carbonel, "it was no place
for any woman to be in, and we were grieved, I
cannot tell you how much, that you should be
70 THE CARBONELS
there. You had better take care; you know
drunkenness is a really wicked sin in God's sight."
"Only a little overtaken-went to see for my
husband," muttered Nanny. "I didn't take nigh
so much as that there Tirzah Todd, that is there
with Bet Bracken every night of her life, to
Never mind other people. Their doing wrong
doesn't make you right."
"Only a drop," argued Nanny. "And that
there Tirzah and Bet-"
Mary was resolved against hearing any more
against Tirzah and Bet, and actually shut herself
into the granary till Nanny was gone. And there
she sat down on a sack of peas and fairly cried at
the thought of the sin and ignorant unconscious-
ness of evil all round her. And then she prayed
a little prayer for help and wisdom for these poor
people and themselves. Then she felt cheered up
"She hastens to the Sunday School."
CAPTAIN CARBONEL had written to
the President of St. Cyril's, and at once
obtained his willing consent to the ladies
attempting to form a little Sunday School. Dr.
Fogram said that he should come down himself on
July 21, and should be very glad to take counsel
with the Carbonels on the state of Uphill. He
would be glad to assist if any outlay were needed.
The sisters were in high spirits. The only place
they could find for the purpose was the wash-house
and laundry. Once in five weeks two women, in
high white muslin caps and checked aprons, of
whom Betsy Seddon was one, Betty Pucklechurch
the other, came to assist the maids in getting up
the family linen-a tremendous piece of work. A
tub was set on the Saturday, with ashes placed in
72 THE CARBONELS
a canvas bag on a frame above; water was poured
on it, and ran through, so as to be fitted for
the operations which began at five o'clock in the
morning, and absorbed all the women of the
establishment, and even old Pucklechurch, who
was called on to turn the mangle.
Except during this formidable week, the wash-
house and laundry were empty, and hither were
invited the children. About twenty, of all ages,
came-the boys in smocks, the girls in print frocks
and pinafores, one in her mother's black bonnet,
others in coarse straw or sun bonnets. All had
shoes of some sort, but few had stockings, though
the long frocks concealed the deficiencies, and
some wore stocking-legs without feet.
They made very low bows, or pulled their fore-
locks, most grinned and looked sheepish, and a
very little one began to cry. It did not seem very
promising, but Mary and Dora began by asking all
their names, and saying they hoped to be better
friends. They, for the most part, knew nothing,
with the exception of George Hewlett's two eldest,
Bessie Mole's girls, and one sharp boy of Dan
Hewlett's, also the Pucklechurch grandchildren;
but even these had very dim notions, and nobody
but the Hewletts could tell a word of the
To teach them the small commencement of
doctrine comprised in the earliest pages of "First
SUNDAY SCHOOL 73
Truths" was all that could be attempted, as well
as telling them a Bible story, to which the few
intelligent ones listened with pleasure, and Johnnie
Hewlett showed that he had already heard it-
"from aunt," he said. He was a sickly, quiet-
looking boy, very different from his younger
brother, Jem, who had organized a revolt among
the general multitude before long. None of these
had enough civilization to listen or be attentive
for five minutes together, and when Mrs. Carbonel
looked round on hearing a howl, there was a
pitched battle going on between Jem and Lizzie
Seddon over her little sister, who had been bribed
into coming with a lump of gingerbread, which
the boy was abstracting. He had been worked up
enough even to lose his awe of the ladies, and to
kick and struggle when Dora, somewhat impru-
dently, tried to turn him out.
The disturbance was so great that the sisters
were obliged to dismiss their pupils at least a
quarter of an hour sooner than they had intended,
and without having tried to teach the short daily
prayers that had been part of the programme.
Somewhat crestfallen they sped back to the
"Did you ever see such a set of little savages ?"
"Come, there was a very fair proportion of
hopeful ones," was the reply.
74 THE CARBONELS
These hopeful ones made one class under Dora,
while Mary, who had more patience and experi-
ence, undertook the others, who, when once
wakened, proved very eager and interested, in a
degree new to those who are not the first lights
in gross darkness. Johnnie Hewlett was the
brightest among the children, for though his week-
days were occupied in what his mother called
"keeping a few birds," or, more technically, "bird
starving," he spent most of his spare time beside
his sick aunt, and had not only been taught by
her to read, but to think, and to say his prayers.
As Dora gradually learnt, both Mary Hewlett
and Judith Grey had been children of a little
"smock frock" farmer, and had not been entirely
without breeding; but Molly had been the eldest,
and had looked after the babies, and done much
of the work of the farm, till she plunged into an
early and most foolish marriage with the ne'er-do-
well member of the old sawyer's family, and had
been going deeper into the mire ever since.
Judith, a good deal younger, and always delicate,
had gone to the dame school when Mrs. Verdon
was rather less inefficient, and at ten years old
had been taken into service by an old retired
servant, who needed her chiefly as a companion,
and thence she had been passed on to a family
where the ladies were very kind to the servants,
and the children brought them their books and
SUNDA Y SCHOOL
their information of all kinds, so that she had
much cultivation, religious and otherwise.
When her accident had sent her home to the
only surviving member of her family, she hoped
to be of use to her sister and the children; but,
before long, she found it almost hopeless. Molly,
indeed, was roughly kind to her, but Dan took
no notice of her except to "borrow" her money,
and any attempt to interfere with the management
of the children was resented.
Johnnie, the eldest boy, was fond of his aunt,
and soon became her best attendant when not out
at the work that began at nine years old. He
was willing that she should teach him, and when
the ladies came to see her she was full of stories
of what he had told her. She said no word of
the rudeness of the girls or the tyranny of Jem,
as she sat helpless by the fire. When all were
out, these were pleasant peaceful visits to her, and
she was grateful for the books Dora lent her, and
the needlework Mrs. Carbonel gave her when she
was well enough to do it. Molly was not un-
willipg that her sister should be "a favorite," as
she called it, more especially as Jem was generally
allowed to swallow any dainty brought by the
ladies that was to his taste.
Old Master Redford, Widow Mole's father, was
another cheerful spot in the village. He was a
thoroughly good, devout person in a simple way,
and most grateful for Dora's coming to read to
him. Old Pucklechurch once, indeed, said, "What,
ma'am, ye be never a going to read to that there
Thomas Redford! Why, 'tis all one as singing
Psalms to a dead horse."
In spite, however, of this hopeless augury, Dora's
voice did reach his ears. He had made good use
of his scanty opportunities, and had taught his
family to be thoroughly conscientious. There was
another daughter in service, who from time to time
sent him a little help, but the transit of money was
a difficulty in those days, and the relief could not
often come. One morning Widow Mole fainted
away in the hayfield, and hardly heard Farmer
Goodenough abusing her fine-lady airs, though she
trembled and shook so much when she tried to go
on that she was forced to let Tirzah Todd lead her
home, and the next morning she could not get up.
She had been in such plight before, and the shop
trusted her, knowing that she always strove to pay
off her debts, but the farmer rated her vehemently,
declaring that she had been good for nothing since
the ladies had been putting fancies and megrims
in her head, and that he would not take her on
again. Probably he did not mean to fulfil his threat,
for, as far as her strength allowed, she was the best
and most thorough worker of all his women, and he
had no desire to have the whole family on the rates ;
but the ladies believed it, and came home furious
with indignation, and even Captain Carbonel
thought her justified in accepting the dismissal, and
as soon as "kitchen physic" had a little restored
her, she became washer-woman, weeding woman,
and useful woman generally at Greenhow Farm.
Many a cup of tea and thick slice of bread-and-
butter were carried out to her after breakfast, not
to say three-cornered remnant of pie, or sandwich of
cold meat at luncheon; and, though some was saved
for "granfer and the children," still she began to
look like another woman ere many weeks were over.
Betsy Seddon and Molly Hewlett were much
displeased, and reproached her with having got the
place by hypercriting about."
Nanny Barton put on a white apron and brought
out the big Bible when she saw the ladies getting
over the stile. The first time Dora was much de-
lighted; the second, Mrs. Carbonel managed to see
that the Bible was open at one of the genealogies
in the First Book of Chronicles, and spied besides
the dirtiest of all skirts under the apron. After
that she did not much heed when Nanny said she
would come to church if her shoes were not so bad.
Tirzah Todd laughed and showed her white
teeth and merry eyes so pleasantly that no one
could help liking to talk with her, but alas! old
Pucklechurch took care to let them know that she
could be just as merry in a different way at the
" Fox and Hounds."
The chaise was stayed,
But yet was not allowed
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud."
R. FOGRAM was true to his word, and
made his appearance at the Long Vaca-
tion. The Carbonels, to whom little
eager Sophia had been added a day or two pre-
viously, first saw him at Downhill Church, where
he made a most dignified appearance, in a very full
surplice, with his Doctor of Divinity's red hood over
it. The clerk, small, grey-haired, and consequen-
tial, bustled up to open the pulpit door for him,
and he preached, in a fine, sonorous voice, a very
learned sermon, that might have been meant for
his undergraduates at Oxford.
It was the day for afternoon service at Uphill,
so the sisters had to hurry away to eat their
111~ 1~, :
'CAPTAIN CARBONEL, I BELIEVE,' SAID DR. FOGRAM. p. 79
luncheon in haste, and then to introduce Sophy to
the Sunday School, where she was to teach a class
of small ones, a matter of amazing importance
She was a damsel of thirteen, in a white frock
and cape, a pink sash, pink kerchief round her
neck, pink satin ribbons tying down her broad
Leghorn hat over her ears, in what was called gipsy
fashion. She had rosy cheeks, blue,'good-natured
eyes, and shining, light-brown curls all round her
head. Her appearance in the school was quite as
memorable to the children as Dr. Fogram's could
be to their elders, and the little ones were so
engaged in looking at her that they quite forgot to
be naughty, except that Billy Mole, in curiosity to
know what anything so glossy and shining could
be, pinched the end of her sash, and left the grimy
mark of his little hot hands on it, which caused
Maitland the maid, who had charge of her toilette,
to declare that such things always came of going
among "they nasty, dirty little brats."
Dr. Fogram rode over on a plump, shining, black
horse, followed by a well-equipped groom. He
dismounted, and gave his horse to the man when he
overtook the Carbonel party on the way up the hill.
Captain Carbonel, I believe," said he, touching
his hat, almost a shovel. "Will you do me the
honour to introduce me to the ladies," and to them
he uncovered with the grand formal politeness
which even then was becoming rather old-fashioned
and which they returned with curtsies, Sophia's,
being fresh from the dancing-master, the most
perfect of all.
"I understand," said he, "that I am greatly in-
debted to you for pains taken with this unfortunate
"We have been trying to do what we could,"
said Mrs. Carbonel, to whom this was chiefly
"It is a great kindness," he replied, "and I hope
the people may show themselves sensible of your
exertions, but hitherto all endeavours for their
benefit have been thrown away."
Dora could not help wondering what "the exer-
After the service he joined the family again, and
said that he thought the appearance of the poor
-and especially of the children-and their be-
haviour much improved, and he had no doubt it
was owing to the gentle and beneficent influence
of the ladies, to whom he bowed.
In fact, the children had been much engaged
in staring, though whether he or Sophy were the
prime attraction, might be doubtful. At any
rate, Master Pucklechurch's rod had only once
descended. Moreover, two neat sun-bonnets of
lilac print adorned two heads, and the frocks
looked as if they were sometimes washed.
MARY'S APPROACH 81
Captain Carbonel said he hoped to have some
conversation with the President about the parish;
and he responded that he hoped to do himself the
honour of calling the next day. After which he
mounted his horse and rode off.
The three sisters waited and watched as if their
whole fate depended on the morning's conference;
but nothing was seen of the President till after
luncheon, when he rode up, attended by his groom
as before. To their great disappointment, he would
talk of nothing but the beauty of the country, and
of the voices of Lablache and Sonntag, or the like,
which he evidently considered the proper subjects
for ladies; and it was not till he had spent the
quarter of an hour, fit for a visit of ceremony, on
these topics that he asked Captain Carbonel to
allow him a little conversation with him.
They shut themselves into the captain's little
'den,' which was something between a gun-room
and a library, with the rectory books going round
two sides of the room, Edmund's sword, pistols,
and spurs hanging over the mantelpiece, and his
guns, shot-belts, powder-horn, and fishing-rods on
hooks on the wall. No noise was heard for more
than an hour, during which Dora fumed, Mary cut
off the dead roses, and Sophia was withheld from
At last they came out-the horses had been
brought to the door-the President bowed to the
82 THE CARBONELS
ladies, mounted, and rode off, while Edmund came
across the lawn; and they all clustered round him.
"Well," said he, "we have fared better than we
expected. Dr. Fogram has long been regretting
the state of the parish."
"Why did he do nothing?" broke in Dora.
"I suppose he has much on his hands; and,
I am afraid, my poor old uncle was a hindrance,
for he really seemed like a man who had got rid
of an incubus when he found that we were willing
to do what we could. Then it seems that he was
disappointed in Ashley Selby. He thought that,
being an inhabitant of the place, the young man
would be interested in the people, and make his
"They! exclaimed Dora. "They are such fine
ladies, who think about nothing but Almack's, are
afraid of the dirt, and of catching all sorts of
disorders at the cottages."
"I can hardly get Dora to be moderately civil
to them," said Mary.
"Yes," said Edmund, "parental influence has
been strong. The mother fears for health, the
father for his game, and the children have grown
up to think poachers and their families almostC
beyond the pale of humanity. It has been too
much for this young man, who simply acquiesced
in the way in which he was bred. However, this
will come to an end, for the present holder of
the family living has had a paralytic stroke, and
wants him to come and assist. I fully believe
that he may do much better away from home
habits, especially under a good incumbent."
"And what is to happen to us?" inquired
"Dr. Fogram says that he will send us one of
the Fellows of his college-a young man full of
zeal, who is eager for parochial work, and has
been taking duty at a parish some miles from
Oxford. He thinks we shall be satisfied with the
"As if we were the people to be satisfied," cried
Dora. "Just confess, Edmund, that the old gentle-
man did not think the place worth attending to till
educated gentlefolk came to live in it."
"Say, rather, that he really did not know the
deficiencies," said the captain, "till they were
brought before him."
"Then he ought," muttered Dora.
"Judge not," whispered Mary, who was a reverent
"And the school?" resumed Dora. "Was he
aware of any deficiency there ?"
"He was very glad to hear that you had begun
keeping school, and will contribute to a better
arrangement for the week-day school, assist in
pensioning off Dame Verdon, if needful, and in
obtaining a better person."
84 THE CARBONELS
Dora and Sophy each gave a little caper, and
squeezed one another's hands.
"He is quite disposed to be liberal," continued
Edmund; "and I am sure we shall find him no
"I don't think the school is going on now," said
Mary. "Lizzie Verdon came for some broth, and
said Granny was bad in bed. I asked whether
she had had the doctor, and she stared and said
no, but Dame Spurrell had got her some 'yarbs.' "
For in those days the union doctor was not an
institution. Large tracts of country would con-
tract with some apothecary to attend their sick;
but he was generally a busy man, with his hands
full of paying patients, and there was nobody to
keep him up to his work among the poor, if he
could have done it, which he really could not.
The poor themselves knew that it was in vain to
apply to him, or if he came once in a serious case,
to expect any attention; and they preferred to
depend on the woman clever in "yarbs," on the
white witch, or, in favoured villages, on the lady
bountiful or the clergyman and his wife; and in
simple cases these latter were quite efficient,
keeping a family medicine-chest and a book on
Mrs. Carbonel had routed out her mother's
book, replenished her chest, and had cured two
or three children who had been eating unripe
MARY'S APPROACH 85
apples, and greatly benefited Widow Mole with
infusions of Jesuit's bark in a large jug, the
same thing as quinine, only more cumbrously and
domestically prepared. But most of the Uphill
people had the surest confidence in Dame Spurrell
and her remedies, some of which were very
curious; for Mrs. Carbonel found a child who
had fits wearing, in a bag, a pinch of black hair
from the cross on the back of a jackass; and
once, when she objected to a dirty mark on the
throat of Susan Pucklechurch, she was told it was
left by a rasher of bacon put on to cure a sore
The symptoms were sometimes curious as she
now found when she went to inquire after Dame
Verdon, who, Lizzie informed her, had her heart
hanging by only one string, and when that gave
way, she would not be here.
For the present, however, she was in bed, under
a quilt made of coloured cloth scraps ; but however
it might be with her heart-strings, she did not
seem likely to get up again. It was hay time,
and it appeared that no one did come to school in
hay and harvest seasons, so that there was time
to consider what could be done. Dr. Fogram was
invited to dinner to hold consultation with the
ladies, whom the captain would not leave to any
conclusion as to the schools.
There were no such things as trained masters
and mistresses in those days; the National Society
had only been in existence eleven years, and
Government had not taken up the matter at all.
Educated and religious people had, however, come
to the conclusion that it would be well to help all
the village children to know their faith and duty,
and to read their Bibles; and the good work of
Mrs. Hannah More and Mrs. Trimmer were
examples that had begun to be followed, now
that the one was in extreme old age, and the
other in her grave. The Carbonel family had been
bred up to such work, and all of them knew a good
deal more about it than the President, whose
studies had been chiefly in Greek plays, and
whose tasks had been dealing with young men
and the college estates. His conscience as a
clergyman was a good deal stirred by the con-
dition of his parish, and he was really thankful
to those who would take up the matter, as well
as ready to assist with his purse.
So it was settled that Mrs. Carbonel should
write about a widow at her old home, who had
once been a servant in the family. She was
known to be a good religious person, who could
read, and write, and cast accounts quite well
enough for any possibly advanced scholars, as
well as being a beautiful needlewoman. An old
friend went to see her, explain the situation to
her, and ascertain if she were willing to undertake
MARY'S APPROACH 87
the school for twenty pounds a year, and what the
children could pay.
A cottage belonging to Captain Carbonel might
have a room added to it to receive the scholars,
by the end of harvest, by which time they might
be got together, and Mrs. Verdon was to be
induced to resign by a pension of half-a-crown
a week, a sum then supposed to be ample, and
which, indeed, was so for her wants, which were
much less than in these days. Captain Carbonel
looked over the cottage, and worked out an
estimate of the cost with old Hewlett, whose
notions of paper work were of the kind shown in
his Midsummer bill.
I ooden barrer a oodnt soot ... ... ... 9 6
I wooden barrer a ood soot ... ... ... ... 9 6
The result of the calculations, conjectural and
otherwise, was this.
"Mary, look here. This is an expensive year,
and if we do the thing this year, we must put off
making the drive through the fields-your approach,
Mary came and looked at his figures. "How
will it be after harvest ? she said.
"Harvest is an inappreciable quantity, especially
to novices," he said. "If you believe Farmer
Goodenough, the finest weather will not save me
from finding myself out of pocket."
88 THE CARBONELS.
"Farmer Goodenough is an old croaker, after
his kind," said Mary.
"It won't do to reckon thereupon. I must be
secure of capital enough to fall back upon. Think
it over well, Mary, and answer me to-morrow; and
you had better say nothing to your sisters till your
own mind is made up. I own that I should be
very glad of the road. It would save us and old
Major a good deal, to say nothing of our friends'
"Do you mean that you wish it, Edmund ?"
I wish to leave it entirely to you."
Dora and Sophy had gone across the fields, a
four miles' walk to Poppleby, and were to be
brought home in the evening, and Mary was left
to wander about the old road and the field-path,
and meditate on the ruts and quagmires that
would beset the way in the winter, and shut
them up from visiting, perhaps even from church.
Besides, there were appearances !
There was an old gentleman, a far-away con-
nection of Edmund's, who had been in the navy,
and now lived at Poppleby, and went about
collecting all the chatter to be heard in one house,
and retailing it all in another, and he thought
himself licensed to tell Edmund and Mary every-
thing personal. One thing was-
My dear fellow, you should really put a check
on your wife's Methodistical ways "
MARY'S APPROACH 89
I didn't know she had any."
"I have been told, on good authority, that she
has a meeting every Sunday in the wash-house."
Edmund laughed. "A dozen children for Sunday
School, with the President's full consent."
"It won't do, Edmund. You'll find it won't
do! Why, old Selby told me she was a pretty
creature, only just like your good pious ladies,
running into all the dirtiest cottages."
And to Mary it was, "Let me give you a hint,
my dear Mrs. Carbonel. The Duchess saw you in
Poppleby, and asked who you were, and she said
she would like to visit you, if you did not live in
such a hole."
I don't think I want her," said Mary.
Now, my dear, don't you be foolish It would
be so much to Edmund's advantage He was in
the same regiment with Lord Henry, and you
might have the best society in the county, if
only you would make your new drive! Why,
even Lady Hartman says she can't take her
horses again through that lane, or into the farm
court. Miss Yates said it was quite disgusting."
Mary Carbonel might laugh. She did not care
for her own dignity, but she did for Edmund's;
and though she had been amused at Lady Hart-
man's four horses entangled in the narrow sweep,
and did not quite believe old Captain Caiger,
the lady herself had been very charming, and
9o THE CARBONELS
Mary did not like to cut her husband and
sisters off from the pleasantest houses in the
But the words, Love not the world," came up
into her mind, and the battle ended by her saying
to her husband-
"Don't let us have the approach this year,
dear Edmund. I don't want it to be Mary's
You are quite sure ? In spite of Caiger ?"
Indeed I am; though I am afraid it is asking
you to give up something."
"Not while I have my merry faces at home,
Mary. And indeed, little woman, I am glad of
your decision. It is right."
I am so glad t "
"There is no honesty in such dealing."
NE day when Sophy had been trusted to
go out alone to carry a few veal cutlets
from luncheon to Judith, she found the
door on the latch, but no one in the room down-
stairs, the chair empty, the fire out, and all more
dreary than usual, only a voice from above called
out, "Please come up."
Sophy, pleased with the adventure, mounted the
dark and rickety stairs, and found herself in the
open space above, cut off from the stairs by a
screen, and containing a press-bed, where Judith
lay, covered by an elaborate patchwork quilt.
There was a tiny dressing-table under the narrow
lattice window, and one chair, also a big trunk-
box, with a waggon-shaped lid, such as servants
used to have in those days, covered with paper,
where big purple spots of paint concealed the old
print of some story or newspaper. On the wall hung
a few black profiles, and all was very fairly neat,
whatever the room might be shut off by a wooden
partition, whence came a peculiar sour smell.
Oh, it is Miss Sophia! exclaimed Judith. I
beg your pardon, ma'am, I thought it was Dame
Spurrell, who said she would come and look in on
me, or I would not have troubled you to come up."
"I am glad I did, Judith; I like to see where
you live. Only, are you worse?"
"No, miss, only as my back is sometimes, and
my sister and all the children are gone to the
hiring fair, so it was not handy to get me up."
"And this is your room !" said Sophy, looking
about her. "Isn't it very cold ? "
"Johnnie heats me a brick to keep me warm at
night; but my feet are always cold downstairs.
It does not make much difference."
Oh dear! And you have a screen, I see. Oh !
Why, that is our drawing-room paper."
She sat transfixed at the recognition, while
Judith observed, quite innocently, with a free
"Yes, miss, my brother-in-law brought it home,
and told me it was just a scrap that was left over,
and he was free to have, though I said I did
wonder the lady did not want to keep it in case of
an accident happening."
THE SCREEN 93
"Yes," said Sophy, "I don't think he had any
business to have it, for all one division of the paper
is put on upside down. The laburnums point up
instead of hanging down, and I am sure Mary
would have altered it if she could. It was beauti-
ful French paper that Edmund brought home
from Paris and laid up for the furnishing their
This, of course, Mrs. Carbonel and Dora would
never have told poor Judith, but Sophy was young
and unguarded, and apt to talk when she had
better have held her tongue.
"I am sorry to hear it, miss, indeed I am. I am
afraid one could not take it off the screen to put
it back again where it did ought to be."
Sophy looked, but it was manifestly impossible.
Spoiling the screen would not mend the wall of
"Perhaps Molly might have another bit left,"
she said, only thinking of the triumph of carrying
home the means of repairing the deficiency by her
own unassisted sagacity.
I will ask her, miss. I am sure I never thought
Dan would go for to do such a thing," mourned
Judith, though, even as she spoke, there came back
on her recollections of times when she had tried to
be blind and deaf. "But if Mrs. Carbonel would
let me pay for it, miss, I should be easier in my
mind. I have a shilling, though no doubt that is
not the worth of it." And she began feeling for
a little box under her pillow, never mentioning
that she had already paid Dan a shilling for it.
"No, no; nonsense, Judith! Of course my
sister would not take it for the world; but if any
one could find another bit, just to patch up the
part above the book-case, it would be nice."
"I will do what in me lays, Miss Sophy,"
So Sophy took her leave and trotted home, very
proud of her discovery, which she communicated
in an eager voice as the phaeton drew up at the
"Oh, Edmund, I have found the rest of the
Hush! not so loud, my dear," said Dora, getting
out of the back seat, and Edmund, being busy in
telling the groom to attend to something in the
harness, did not heed at first.
"Did you know, Dora?" asked Sophy, in a
lower voice, being struck by something in her re-
"Yes; but I did not tell, because Edmund was
so much vexed, and it was of no use now."
Dora really hoped no one had heard, as Mary
was busy with her parcels, and she was too fond
of Judith not to wish to shield her family; but it
was too late. The captain came in with, "What's
this about the drawing-room paper ? "
Sophy was delighted to pour out the history of
her discovery, and tell how it appeared on the
screen that sheltered poor Judith Grey.
Exactly as I supposed," said Captain Carbonel.
" I always believed that fellow was a thief."
"But it is not poor Judith's fault," exclaimed
the sisters, with one voice.
"She knew nothing about it. She wanted to
pay the shilling for it," said Sophia.
The captain laughed a little.
"And she is going to search for a bit to go up
there! continued the girl more vehemently; and
he laughed again.
"Yes," said Mary, "if you only saw something
of her, you would be convinced that her whole
character is very different from that of the rest of
Don't you be taken in by plausibility," said the
captain. "I know that fellow Dan is a thief. I
meant to tell his relation, George, that I won't
allow him to be employed on the new schoolroom.
I shall do so now."
Would it not be better to forget what happened
so long ago?" Mary ventured to say.
"And suppose Judith restores it," added
Pshaw! said the captain; but Mary followed
him to the study, and what she did with him
there her sisters did not know, but it resulted in
his allowing that Dan might have another trial,
with a sharp eye over him.
So unused was Uphill to the visits of ladies,
that when the piece of French paper was sold to
Judith, no one had thought of her being sought
out in her bedroom. Molly came home with the
children in the evening, tired out but excited-for
all had had rather more beer than was good for
them, and the children a great many more sweets.
Jem and Judy were quarrelling over a wooden
horse covered with white spots, but whose mane
had already disappeared, Lizzie was sick, cross, and
stupid, Polly had broken the string of her new
yellow necklace, and was crying about it, and
nobody had recollected the aunt except Johnnie,
who presented her with a piece of thin gingerbread
representing King George the Fourth, in white,
pink, and gilt! Molly herself was very tired,
though she said it was all very fine, and she
had seen a lot of people, and the big sleeves they
wore were quite a wonder. Then she scolded
Polly with all her might for crying and never
setting the tea, nor boiling the kettle; and, after
all, it was Johnnie who made up the fire, fetched
water, and set the kettle boiling. They all
wrangled together over their purchases, and the
sights they had seen, or not seen, while Judith was
glad to be out of the way of seeing, though not of
hearing. Then the girls trailed themselves