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sixpence for Lettie's expenses all these was setting up some hurdles, "who hires years! your master's fishing?"
“Nay, that's no burden," answered Amycs, with one of his rare smiles, as Lettice reappeared with the book out of the closet, and came up to his side, with a pained, scared look in her face and the tears standing in her eyes. He drew her closer to him. "Lettie's been like the only bit of sunshine in the house all the time she's been in it; she knows that, and no father could have had a better child."
Lettie hid her tears by beginning on the awful page of figures.
"But they say, Norton's come home with a sight of money as he's made somewhere,' persisted Mrs. Wynyate; so it's a shame on him, and he knowing you've always been so hampered, never so much as offer to pay."
'My brother gives it to whomsumdever he pleases at his pleasure," said Joo, with some grandeur.
"And to whom now may it be his pleasure?" inquired Wallcott with a sneer. Job, however, vouchsafed no answer, but turned away to the lambs he was penning. "I'll just make him give it to me, if that's how 'tis," said Wallcott, savagely, as they rode on. To keep me out of my money, and then be generous with what isn't his'n!" Surely we ought to pay for it," observed his son, anxiously.
Well, I don't care; we'll deduct it from the interest," answered his father. "I shall write to-night and tell him if I can't get money out of him I'll take it out in trout. You're allys worriting me about that fishing "I don't want his money, anyway,' an- at Mapleford, which 'ud cost no end o swered Amyas, rising as if to put an end to money: here, you take this 'un, as you can the question; "nor him either," he mut-have for naught as one may say. You may tered to himself. begin to-morrow, if you like to."
"What came of that young fellow that rode up with Wallcott? Why, I left him here, Lettie? Wherever did he get to?" observed her grandmother, parenthetically. Lettice, however, was studyiny the figurebook in the window, and could not be expected to hear.
"Wallcott's son? Why, he rode away with his father, surely!" answered her uncle, taking the "calculator" from her to work the sum himself; and Lettice ran upstairs, though she could not have told why; she felt as if something had happened, though she would have been utterly puzzled to say, even to herself, what it was.
"I wonder to whom Mr. Wynyate lets his fishing," said Everhard, suddenly.
"Lets it!" cried his father, with a horselaugh. 'Ye may be sure he's such a soft that he lets it to nobody he's just the sort of man to give it away. Not having a penny to bless himself with, he's sure to be generous: that's just as he did wi' what Amos Young left him, and he owed it to me, as 'twere, and had no right to give it up o' that fashion. I say, fellow," he called out to a man in brown leather leggings and a dark green (surplice) smock-frock, who
Everhard jumped eagerly at the opportunity which his father so unwarily put within his reach; he had a holiday from the shipowner's office, and immediately set about his fishing. It was too far to ride over every day from home, and he secured a bedroom at a farmhouse so situated as to make it necessary for him to cross by the Woodhouse on his road to the river; and whenever he had any spare time, which was much oftener than was good for him, he went over there.
Amyas was more annoyed at the proceeding when he heard of it than at anything which had yet occurred. It looked to him like the beginning of taking the management of his property out of his hands: there was no help for it, however - he was entirely in the money-lender's power; but when Everhard attempted to make friends with him, it was more than even his patience could stand, and he avoided the young man most determinedly.
The fishing had now been going on for two whole days, but Everhard's passage to and fro had been in vain, and he began to think himself very ill-used, having seen nothing more interesting than the top of Mrs. Wynyate's formidable cap. She was very busy supplying the mowers; and Lettice, hard at work in the kitchen and the dairy, had heard and seen nothing of the fisherman, when on the third day,
'Tis long past dinner-time" (i. e. twelve o'clock), "and Job not home," said her grandmother. "I hates to have the food loiterin' and litterin' about all day like that. One can't eat a bit oneself, one gets
so sick o' seeing it about, allays doing in the| kitchen as Sally and me is now, and she's so slow at her choors.* That man from Dorset says he's used to seven meals at har'st time: his dewbit, breakfast, nuncheon, crunsheon, mammet, crammet, and supper: he'll eat us out of house and home if he goes on like that. What ever I'm to do wi' him I can't think. You take his nuncheon bag to yer uncle; he must be kep' by them nasty lambs."
Lettice did as she was bid. It was not often that she now went beyond the garden, and all the birds seemed to make her welcome as she came out among them. She passed through the hay-field, where the great waggons were loading, the horses standing sleepily by, eating the scented grass. The pleasant music of the mowers whetting their scythes seemed to fill the air (ill-exchanged for the harsh grating sound of the hay-cutting machine); while the part of the meadow still uncut, with daisies pied, lay before her, “ you scarce could see the grass for flowers." Over all hung the summer haze, "the pride o' the marnen," as it is called on that country-side. Job, however, was not to be seen, and the obnoxious 64 Dorset man directed her forwards. "He's gone t'other side to Langley Bottom but now."
"He used to shoot the trout, by times." "Shoot them! But that wasn't fair."
Granny was wishful of fish some days for dinner, and he hadn't no time for his rod allays."
There was an awkward pause as they walked on silently, side by side, by the river's brink, while they were both wondering where all the words in the English language seemed to have gone.
"There was a big old trout lived at that turn farther on under the alder, I mind he used to say," said she feeling as if she were inhospitable, and making an effort.
"If you would but tell me the haunts where the fish live? It is such a thing to get some one who knows the river," said he eagerly, as if his whole soul were in his rod.
"But I don't know them now," answered she. Uncle Ted comes so seldom to us." He kept by her as she moved along the little copse path, but said not a word, feeling as if he had expended all his ammunition.
"There," said she, "that's one place where the fish used to love to bide," and she pointed to where a large trout was holding his own in the strong current, his head against the stream, balancing himself with an almost imperceptible motion of his orange fins. She stood for a moment leanShe turned down through a little coppice ing over the river. Nothing could be more wood which shelved to the river, where the exquisite than the rapid bright clear stream, rich luxuriance of vegetation in those south-which, coming down from the chalk hills beern districts was in all its glory: the bril-yond, rushed past swift as an arrow, though liant green of the tall fern, the bright mid- the plain looked perfectly flat- - so brilliant, summer shoots, the wild tangled under- so dark, so light, the water ever changing, growth under the taller trees, as if nature enjoyed the very fact of existence and loved to be alive: it is a perfect paradise of trees and flowers, though Amyas might perhaps have complained that his crops did not relish the light soil so well. She went along the path, singing in a low voice, as she unconsciously always did at her work, whatever it was, rather to her grandmother's annoyance when she came upon a man industriously threshing the water, and stopped short, for she recognized Everhard, who began to wind up his line as he walked towards her.
and yet the stream ever the same, the "busy river" flowing on for ever, in such haste and never arriving, the most changeless thing in its ceaseless motion. The trees, and even the hills, seem touched with signs of decay and age, but the bright water flows on as fresh as the day when it first came out of the fountains of the earth: the little wavelets rose cool in the hot sunshine, quiet, yet never resting: there was a strange fascination in watching it. The may-flies were fluttering over it, a kingfisher darted restlessly across, giant dragon-flies flashed fiercely to and fro among the tall willowherb and meadow-sweet, and blue forgetme-nots swayed in the stream. The girl steadied herself by the stump of an old willow, and stood gazing into the cool translucent depth.
turned round with an expression which she intended to be very angry and annoyed.
harmless, and it's marked so pretty." What can a man do more than offer the most "How like a fawn," said the young man precious of his possessions- the best he to himself (his comparisons ran all among has? the birds and beasts), as he looked at the I don't think granny would quite like startled shy look of her large soft brown it in the house," replied Lettice, shrinking eyes and delicate nostrils and mouth. "I a little back as she tried to feel grateful beg your pardon," he went on aloud; "but and to admire the uncanny pet sufficiently. you looked exactly as if the water-nixies They had reached the gate which led out were trying to lure you in." of the wood into the farther field.
What are the nixies?" answered she, half-smiling.
Water-sprites with bad intentions," replied he, laughing.
"But," said Lettice- for here was an opportunity of further settling her mind on that difficult point in theology which still tormented her, with one whom she considered very wise-"you don't believe in our meeting evil spirits here, do you? I don't mean water-nixies," she added, with a smile; "that's nonsense, I know. But," she added, in a low voice, “the preacher in chapel on Sunday said, 'Demons, devils, hundreds of them, with the Prince of Darkness at their head, were always about us.'" And she looked anxiously at him.
He could hardly help smiling at the extreme incongruousness of the question and the questioner: the pure, innocent little face before him did not seem to have much to do with evil spirits.
"Uncle Amyas doesn't think we can see them," she said uneasily at his hesitation. Supposing, after all, that this learned pundit should differ from her uncle.
He looked up and saw her expression.
No, certainly, I don't believe it a bit," said he, very positively, to her great and evident relief. Strictly speaking, his opinion was not perhaps of great value, as the question had never occurred to him before; but it is said that a judgment has the greatest weight when no reasons whatever are given for it and as his oracular decision seemed quite satisfactory to Lettice, he prudently made a quick descent on things which he knew a little more about.
"Listen! That's the sedge-warbler. It's a nice pretty note, isn't it? And how those missel-thrushes do sing. I never heard such a place as this is for birds."
"You know them all by their voices to set their names to. I'm always strivin' to hearken what they says one to another," answered Lettice; "and never gets to know their faces like. What's that a-moving in your pocket? You haven't a-got the birds in there?
"Are you going?" said he, regretfully. 'I'm wanted at home," answered she, a little reluctantly; "and there's Uncle Job must have his bag. It's he will tell you about the grayling."
'I'm afraid Mr. Wynyate is very vexed at my father taking the fishing: he won't even speak to me when I meet him up and down; so I didn't dare to send him any fish yesterday."
"Perhaps it's because as your father talked of- " and she stopped.
I don't wonder," he answered, a little sadly; "but I'm in hopes as he'll think better, and give time about the mortgage. I'll do my best. Couldn't ye say to your uncle some time, that we'd no thought to annoy him, and that I wouldn't for all in the world do any harm to anything of his."
"He'll come right: Uncle Amyas is allays so kind," said she, moving off to Job
who was standing looking at them in a "brown stud," as he leant on a gate which led into a field so gorgeous with poppies and corn-flowers that the wheat seemed quite a secondary part of the concern.
"Those flowers look just like a garden," said Everhard, admiringly.
Well, what on earth can folk think them pretty for, I wonder?" replied Job. "The tilth ain't nothing as it should be toyear; * the ground haven't a had richment enow, though there's no saying where Amyas were to get manure for't, I'm sure." Then, as he watched Lettice moving homewards, and Everhard's eyes following her, he went on to himself, "Eh, he's sweet upon Lettie is the young Wallcott, and that's a good thing. Maybe 'twill make the old 'un easier about the money. Amyas seems allays to think as I be a fool, but I've a very long head when I chooses," concluded Job, with a nod worthy of Lord Burleigh, as he prepared to answer Everhard's questions about the fishing.
Therefore after this, whenever the young man came to the farmyard and loitered about till Lettice appeared, and made excuses to discuss farming matters with Job, and broke his landing-net, and found a dozen transparent reasons for strolling up "To-year"- As in " to-day" or "to-morrow."
"Here's my keys, child: do you fetch that bottle of hard batch" (wine made from the outdoor grapes); 'tis in the corner cupboard."
to the Woodhouse, that patient man was | Lettice as she bethought herself of a comquite "agreeable," and Lettice embarked promise. unconsciously on those difficult waters with only this very unversed pilot to guide her. A day or two after, the young man entered the house with a remarkably fine trout in his hand. "The finest I've caught yet, and I thought you ought to have it, out of your own river, Mrs. Wynyate," said he. Might I ask for some silk-thread to mend my rod?" And, her grandmother standing sternly by, Lettice produced the skein, and with rather trembling hands wound it silently round the broken bits which he held together, and there was a charm in the very constraint.
Another time it was, "I've been over to Seaford on business for my father, and seen your son Ned, Mrs. Wynyate: he sends ye word they're so busy that he can't be spared to come home: there's been so much smuggling lately down the coast, that they're at it day and night with the cutter, and he can't get away, he says, even for a day."
Well," replied she, "it's all in the day's work as 'twere; 'tis his business, and Amyas is dead agin they fair traders' he thinks no end o harm on 'um. But run goods is a great conveniency, there's no denying o' that what wi' th' duties and such like, tea's up at no end of a price, and brandy too, and the cider's so cold upon the stomach as I must keep some in the house now. And what the King and the Queen is about I can't think, as they're so hard on poor folk now about the taxes and things! What ever does they do wi' all that money we pays, I wonder?"
Instead of attending to which instructive remarks, Everhard had turned to where Lettice stood preparing a heap of golden apples for an immense pasty "which Mrs. Wynyate was constructing, with a crust half-an-inch thick: a tremendous" piece of resistance." There was no weak indulgence of the appetite in her culinary régime, and even a tart in her hands took a serious and mortificatory aspect.
"What beautiful fruit," said he, beginning to eat the "pigs" into which she was cutting it, and which she put before him without looking up. "Twill taste rare and good when it's baked,” he added in a very suggestive tone.
Lettice rather unwillingly obeyed, for the mixture was so like verjuice that even her long-suffering uncle had declared after the first taste that he thought he had had enough." As she poured it out accordingly for Everhard, she looked up in his face with a half smile of annoyance a comic look of deprecation at being made to offer it to him.
But Everhard was equal to the emergency. He drank off the horrid stuff with the air of a hero who will dare this and even more for his lady's sake! There was a conscious virtue about him incidental to the state of "veal," as some one has called that intermediate phase of a man's life; but even this sacrifice was of no avail, and he was obliged to take his leave.
All through that summer weather, however, he went and came. He discovered that the Woodhouse was on the nearest road to every place: and as it did not add above half the distance to his journeys, no one had any reason to complain but his horse. He and Lettice met continually, although Amyas still persistently avoided him. The young man made several attempts to be friendly, but after a while he thought it wisest to wait a better time, and gave up the trial.
Sometimes it was a request, sometimes an offering, which brought him up to the house; and the girl's eyes grew bright, aad the unconscious colour rose to her cheeks, and a wistful look came into her face when they met, and he thought it was the most eloquent speech which he had ever come across.
The fish appeared constantly at dinner: for Mrs. Wynyate received the tribute graciously, but Amyas made no observation upon them. Lettice watched anxiously for an opportunity, hoping to put in a word in the fisher's favour. Her uncle, however, ignored the subject so entirely, that she had not the courage to begin on it.
"Walcott's son takes uncommon care not to do no hurt anywhere: he's a very Lettice looked up at her grandmother 'tentful man, and he's a sort of right like to with the bright colour rising in her cheeks; be here, ye know, one may say," said Job but Mrs. Wynyate was not given to hospi- one day — which did not make the matter tality: she hated a stranger, and was even better in his brother's eyes. Amyas did unsoftened by the praise of her pie. It is not answer: he knew better than the others bid manners, however, in a farm-house, not how near the precipice of ruin they stood to offer "refreshment," at whatever hour with Everhard's father, and wished to have in the day; and she suddenly turned on
no dealings with the son.
A SUMMER'S NIGHT.
be seen but one great planet, probably Venus (who was evidently in the ascendant), which hung like a little moon above the trees.
Ir was above a fortnight since Everhard had been heard of; he had left no sign as A strange feeling of loneliness came over to when he might be expected again, and her which she had never had before, as if he hung by so loose a thread that no one she had no friends: she felt a sort of hunhad the sinallest ground by which to calcu-ger at her heart as she strayed timidly with late his movements. a kind of shiver into the warm still night with a low sigh, and wished humbly that she had a sister or a brother, or 66 something young." Einsam bin ich, nicht allein," is the burden of the lovely melody which Weber makes poor Preciosa sing; and to be alone was a great luxury, which poor Lettice longed for often and very seldom obtained.
I suppose that young fella's pretty nigh tired o' his fishing," said Job one evening. "I haven't a seen him about this ever so long."
Lettice stepped out at the door with a sigh: she had finished her day's work and was very weary: her grandmother had been more than usually trying, and as she made a few steps out upon the grass in the or- Mrs. Wynyate had been complaining all chard she felt very lonely. "I wish I'd day. "I'm afraid I must be very bad," somebody young just for to speak to, gran- said the girl to himself, in that painful perny's so old" (she did not like to say, even plexity as to who was in the wrong, which to herself, "so cross"); "and uncle Am- is real suffering. In those days it was the yas is grown so sad like," she said to her- rankest rebellion to suppose your elders self, generalizing her particular feeling into and parents could be otherwise than infallithe desire for sympathy. Perhaps Ever-ble, and the first dawn of such a heresy was hard was gone "for good," as she justly a painful wrench to a very conscientious said to herself. There was clearly no mind. Such struggles are generally saved reason why he should come back-heat the present time, as in any difference of might have had enough of fishing; and two opinion with their elders the young do not great tears, to her own surprise, began to feel the smallest doubt as to who must be creep down her little checks. And then in the wrong. she asked herself what it meant, with a And she covered her face with her little sudden qualm at the dismal change which hands, and some sad tears fell through had come upon her unawares. Love-mak- them; the feeling that she never satisfied ing was an occupation so entirely unknown her grandmother hung heavily on her heart. at the Woodhouse that it did not enter into No one knows, unless they have felt it, Lettie's experience, and she was not versed how depressing it is for a young spirit to in all the methods and circumstances of live under the weight of constant dissatis"falling" into it by which young novel-faction: it is like the absence of sun to a readers of the present day know to an iota flower; ungrudging praise and tenderness what will happen, and what ought, must, and should be said under every possible conjuncture. This new and strange feeling was one which nobody at the farm (and, therefore, in the world) had ever to her knowledge undergone, and she blushed and grew pale again: for as most of the things she said and did were wrong according to her grandmother's creed, probably this nameless pang was so too.
The evening grew darker: the deep red crimson and gold of the sunset was fading into the night with a sort of luminous twilight which was not night. The sounds gradually died away: an occasional cackle from the poultry as they tucked their heads under their wings, the lowing of a cow in a distant pasture, or the bleating of a complaining sheep, sank each after each into the silence as she stood just beyond the old porch. It was too bright for any stars to
are as necessary to the human plant. Her conscience had been unnaturally stimulated, out of which either a reckless feeling or a morbid sensitiveness arises.
"I must be quite bad," said Lettice. "I never do nothing right. I wish I'd somebody to help tell me what's good."
It was the stillest evening. Presently the nightingales began their song; fullthroated, clear, and rich the melody welled forth: it seems impossible that such a body of sound could come out of that little grey bird; the thick-warbled notes literally thrilled in the air, and then from the distant wood came the answer, so clear, so brilliant, one prolonged note after the other, and the rapid joyous shake at the end. Who could ever have called the nightingale sad?
"Everybody's got somebody to speak to but me," sobbed Lettice to herself, looking