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of four shillings in the pound. Further, “He is a very dreadful man,” said the sundry aged persons who had spent a long rector. “What shall we do with him?" life in cursing the name of Mortiboy, took He called. He explained the danger which to praising it altogether, because Dick was befel these ignorant though elderly persons helping them all. And the liberality to in frequenting an uncovenanted place of wards his clerks with which he inaugurated worship; but he spoke to deaf ears. Dick his reign was almost enough of itself to understood him not. make him popular.
It was the time of the annual school feast. But then came that really dreadful busi- Dick was sitting in that exasperating Caliness about the old women. This, although fornian dress in the little bank parlour, conhe was gaining a golden name by making secrated to black cloth and respectability. restitution for his father's ill deeds—like His legs were on the window sill, his mouth Solomon repairing the breaches which his had a cigar in it, his face was beaming with father David had made-was enough to jollity, his heart was as light as a child's. make all religious and right-minded people All this was very bad. tremble in their shoes. Everybody knows Foiled in his first attempt, the rector made that humility in the aged poor is the main a second. virtue which they are expected to display. “There is another matter, Mr. Mortiboy, In the church at Market Basing was a broad on which I would speak with you." middle aisle, down which was ranged a row “Speak, Mr.Lightwood," said Dick. “Don't of wooden benches, backless, cushionless, ask me for any money for the missionaries." hard and unpromising. On them sat, Sun- “I will not,” said good old Mr. Lightwood, day after Sunday, at these services, con- mournfully. "I fear it would be of little stant, never-flagging, all the old women in
use." the parish. It was a gruesome assemblage: Dick pulled his beard and grinnedi Why toothless, rheumatic, afflicted with divers this universal tendency of mankind to laugh pains and infirmities, they yet struggled, when, from a position of strength, they are Sunday after Sunday, to the “free seats," so about to do something disagreeable? called by a bitter mockery, because those "It is not about any of our societies,, Mr. who sat in them had no other choice but Mortiboy. But I would fain hope that you
will not refuse a trifle to our children's On their regular attendance depended school feast. We give them games, races, not so much their daily bread, which the and so forth. With tea and cake. We are workhouse might have given them, but their very short of funds." daily comforts; their tea and sugar; their "Do you?" cried Dick "Looks here, sir. wine if they were ill—and they always were What would you say if I offered to stand the ill; their blankets and their coals
. Now, whole thing
-pay for the burst myself-grub, will it be believed that Dick, instigated by liquids, and prizes?” Ghrimes, who held the revolutionary maxim The rector was dumbfoundered. It had that religion, if it is to be real, ought not hitherto been one of his annual difficulties to be made a condition of charity, actually to raise the money for his little fête, for St. found out the names of these old trots, and Giles's parish was very large, and the pamade a weekly dole among them, without rishioners generally poor. And here was a any conditions whatever?
It was so. He man offering to pay for everything! really did it. After two or three Sundays Then Dick, who could never be a wholly the free seats were empty, all the old women submissive son of the Church, must needs having gone to different conventicles, where put in a condition which spoiled it. they got their religion, hot and hot, as they "All the children, mind. None of your liked it; where they sat in comfortable pews, Church children only.” like the rest of the folk; and where they “It has always been confined to our own were treated as if, in the house of God, all children, Mr. Mortiboy. The Dissenters men are alike and equal. When the curates have their—ahem !-their-their-treat at called, they were cheeky; when they threat- another time.” ened, the misguided old ladies laughed; “Very well, then. Here is my offer. I when they blustered, these backsliders, re- will pay for the supper, or dinner, or whatlying on their Dick, cracked their aged fin- ever you call it, to as many Market Basing gers in the young men's faces.
children as like to come. I don't care
whether they are Jews or Christians. That were almost the only pleasure the poor girl is their look-out, not mine. Take my offer, had at this time:Mr. Lightwood. If you refuse, by Jove, I'll have a day of my own, and choose your “As for the day, my dear, it was wonderday. We'll see who gets most youngsters. ful. I felt inclined to defend the climate of If you accept, you shall say grace, and do England at the point of the sword—I mean all the pious part yourself. Come, let us the needle. Dick, of course, threw Calioblige each other. I am really sorry to fornia in my teeth. As we drove down the refuse you so often; and here is a chance." road in the waggonette, the grand old trees
What was to be done with this dreadful | in the park were rustling in their lovely man? If you crossed him, he was capable July foliage like a great lady in her court of ruining everything; and to yield to him dress. The simile was suggested to me was to give up half your dignity. But con- by mamma, who wore her green silk. cession meant happiness to the children; and Lucy and I were dressed alike-in white the good old clergyman, who could not pos- muslin. I had pink ribbons, and she sibly understand the attitude of mind of his wore blue; and round my neck was the new parishioner—seeing only perversity, locket with F.'s portrait in it, which you where half was experience and half igno- sent me-you good, kind, thoughtful Kate ! rance-yielded at once and gracefully. Mamma does not like to see it; but you
Dick immediately assumed the whole con- know my rebellious disposition. And papa duct of the affair. Without making any re- took it in his fingers, and then pinched my ference to church or chapel, he issued hand-cheek, as much as to say that he highly apbills stating that sports, to which all the proved of my conduct. Oh! I know the children in the place were invited, would be dear old man's heart. I talk to him out in held on the following Wednesday, in his the fields, and find out all his little secrets. own paddock at Derngate. Then followed Men, my dear Kate, even if they are your a goodly list of prizes to be run for, jumped own father, are all as simple as—what shall for, wrestled for, and in other ways offered I say?—as Frank and papa. to public competition. And it became
ne " " We got into Market Basing at twelve. known that preparations were making on the The town was just exactly like market day, most liberal scale. There was to be a dinner only without the smell of vegetables. It felt at one, a tea at five, and a supper at eight. like Christmas Day in the summer. You There were to be fireworks. Above all, the know the paddock? It is not very big, but races and the prizes.
it was big enough. The front lawn of Dern. Dick had no notion of doing a thing by gate-poor old Uncle Mortiboy inside, not halves. He got an itinerant circus from a knowing what was going on!—was covered neighbouring fair, a wild beast show, a with a great marquee. The paddock had a
a Punch and Judy, swing - boats, a round-racecourse marked round it, and a platform, about, and a performing monkey. Then he and posts between, which were festooned with hired a magic lantern, and erected a tent coloured lamps. All the children, in their where it was to be seen all day. Then he Sunday best, were gathering about the place, hired donkeys for races, got hundreds of waiting to be admitted. coloured lamps from town, built an enor- “As we drove up, Dick came out, with a mous marquee where any number of child- cigar between his teeth, of course, and the ren might sit down to dinner, and sent out crowd gave a great cheer. Mamma said it messengers to ascertain how many children seemed as if it was meant for us; and so we might be expected.
all got out of the waggonette, trying to look This was the happiest period in Dick's like
princesses; and Dick helped us, and they life. The possessor of a princely income, all cheered again. Really, I felt almost like the owner of an enormous fortune, he had Royalty; which, my dear Kate, must be a but to lift his hand, and misery seemed to state of life demanding a great strain upon vanish. Justice, the propagation of pru- the nerves, and a constant worry to know dential motives, religion, natural retribution whether your bonnet is all right. for broken laws, all these are advanced ideas, "Are we looking our best, Dick?' I of which Dick had but small conception. asked, anxious to know.
Grace Heathcote described the day in one “Your very best,' he said. “I take it of her letters to Kate—those letters which I as a compliment to my boys and girls.'
“I wish that woman Mary, our old ser- “The Heathcotes had Parkside and Hunvant, had not been standing close by. She slope too before ever the Launtons had left gave me a look-such a look as I never saw their counters in the city; but of course we her have before-as if I was doing her some didn't insist on our superior rank at such a mortal injury; and then turned away, and I moment. saw her no more all day. I declare there's “Dick took off his hat with that curious always something. If ever I felt happy in pride of equality which comes, I suppose, of
I my life-except one day when Frank told having estates in Mexico, and being able to me he loved me it was last Wednesday; throw the lasso. The countess shook hands and that woman really spoiled at least an with everybody; and Lord Launton, blushing hour of the day for me, because she made horribly, dropped his stick, and shook hands me feel so uncomfortable. I wish she would too, after he had picked it up. I am quite go away.
sure that if Lord Launton, when he becomes “As one o'clock struck, the band—did I a peer, could only have the gas turned off tell you
there was a band? A real band, before he begins to speak, he would be made Kate, the militia band from the Stores- Prime Minister in a week. As it is, poor struck up, and Dick in five minutes had all young man the boys and girls in to dinner.
“We all-I mean the aristocracy-stayed “The rector, and his curates, and the Dis together the whole afternoon, bowing affably senting ministers—in what the paper called to our friends of a lower rank in life—the ' a select company, which means ourselves Battiscombe girls, and the Kerbys, and the chiefly—were present. We all sat down: I rector's wife. I really do not know how I next to Dick on his left hand, mamma on his am to descend again. The earl made some right. The rector said grace. Dick whis- most valuable remarks, which ought to be pered that we could not have too much committed to writing for posterity. They Grace-his Californian way of expressing may be found, though, scattered here and satisfaction at my personal appearance—and there about the pages of English literature. we began to eat and drink. Spare me the The curious may look for them. You see, details.
'Les esprits forts se rencontrent.' “One p.m. to two p.m.: legs of mutton, “After the games, the earl gave away the and rounds of beef, and huge plum puddings. prizes. I send you the local paper, giving
“Two p.m. to three p.m.: the cherubs an account of the proceedings. Little Stebare all gorged, and lying about in lazy con- bing, Mr. Battiscombe's clerk, was acting as tentment, too happy to tease each other, and reporter, and making an immense parade at too lazy to do any mischief. Old Hester
Old Hester a small table, which he brought himself. I crying.
never saw any one look so important. I "What for, Hester?'
spoke to him once. “Oh! miss, to think that Miss Susan “Pray, miss,' he said, 'do not interrupt never lived to see him come home again. I represent the Press. The Fourth And she so fond of him. And he so good Estate, miss. I'm afraid I sha'n't have and so kind.'.
enough flimsy.' “Poor old Hester! She follows her boy, “Those were his very words, Kate. By as she calls him, about with her eyes. 1 Aimsy, I learn that he meant writing paper. have even seen her stroke the tails of his coat | Do our great poets-does my adored Tenwhen he wasn't looking. Do men ever know nyson write on 'flimsy? Then the Earl-ly how fond women are of them? And Dick party went away, and I made a pun, which is kind and good. He really is, Kate. you may guess; then we had tea; then we
“At three, the games. And here a most had dancing to the band on the platformwonderful surprise. Who should drive up Dick waltzes like a German angel-and to the paddock but Lord Hunslope himself, then we had supper. And then, O my dear and the countess—who always gives me a Kate—alas! alas ! such a disastrous termicold shiver—and Lord Launton? The earl nation to the evening--for Dick put his foot marched straight up to us, and shook hands into all the proprieties. It was when they
proposed his health. He hadn't fired pistols “Pray, Mr. Heathcote,” he said, in his at anybody, or taken the name of the mislordliest way, 'introduce Mr. Mortiboy to sionaries in vain, or worn a Panama hat, or me.'
done anything disgracesul at all. And now
it was to come. My poor cousin Dick! “I've got nothing to do with the Church.' How will he get over it?
“You are attacking the Church's Cate“They proposed his health after supper. chism.' The children were simply intoxicated—not “Does the Catechism teach boys to be with beer, for they had none: only lemonade contented?' and sweet things-but with fun, fireworks, “It does, in explicit terms.' and fruit tart. They cheered till their dear “Then the Catechism is a most immoral little throats were hoarse. Even the ugliest, book.' reddest-faced, turnedest-up nosed girl looked “Dick wagged his head solemnly. pretty when papa called on them to drink “Boys and girls, chuck the Catechism the health of the giver of the feast. My into the fire, and be discontented.' own heart swelled, and Lucy cried outright. “Here the rector solemnly left the tent,
“Then Dick got up. My dear, he looked and everybody looked serious. Dick took grand in the flicker of the gas-jets stirred no notice, and went on. about by the wind. He stood up, tall and “I'll tell you a story. In an English town strong, high up above us all, and passed his that I know, there were two boys and two left hand down his long black beard. His girls. They were all four poor, like most of brown eyes are so soft sometimes, too. They you. They grew up in their native place were soft now; and his under-lip has a way till they were eighteen and twenty, and the of trembling when he is moved. He was boys fell in love with the girls. One was a moved now. I can't remember all his speech. contented fellow. His father had been a He began by telling the children that he was farm labourer, like some of your fathers. more happy to have them about him than He would go on being a farm labourer. they to come. Then he began good advice. The other read that the world was full of No one knows how wise Dick is. He told ground that only waited for a man to dig it them that what they wanted was fresh air, up; and he went away, I saw him last plenty of grub—his word, Kate, not mine- year. He had been out for four years. He and not too many books. Here they all had a farm, my boys, stocked with cattle screamed, and the clergymen shook their and horses, all his own. Think of that! And precious heads. I said, 'Hear, hear,' and he had a wife, my girls: his old sweetheart, mamma touched me on my arm. It is wrong, come out to marry him. Think of that! Then of course, in a young lady to have any I came home. I saw the other boy, a farm opinions at all which the male sex do not labourer still! He was bent with rheumatism first instil into her tender mind. Then he already, because he was a slave. He had called their attention to the fact that they no money: no home: no prospects. And were not always going to be children; and the girl he was to have married-well, my that, if they wanted plenty to eat, they would girls, if your teachers are worth their salt, have to work hard for it. And then he said, they'll tell you what became of that girl. Go impressively shaking an enormous great fist out into the world, boys. Don't stick here, at them
crowding out the place, and trying to be “And now, my boys and girls, remember called gentlemen. What the devil do you this. Don't you believe people who tell you want a black coat for till you have earned it? to be contented with what you've got. That's Go out into the beautiful places in the world, all nonsense. You've got to be discontented. and learn what a man is really worth. And The world is full of good things for those now I hope you've all enjoyed yourselves. who have the courage to get up and seize And so, good night.' them. Look round in your houses, and see “Oh! Kate, Kate!-here was a firebrand what you have: then look round in rich in our very midst. And people are going men's houses--say mine and the rector's — | about, saying that Dick is an infidel. But and see what we've got. Then be discon- they can't shake his popularity, for the town tented with your own position till you're all loves his very name.” rich too.
“Here the rector rose, with a very red Grace's letter was all true. Dick actually face.
said it. It was his solitary public oration. “I cannot listen to this, Mr. Mortiboy It had a p.ofound effect. In the half-lighted -I must not listen to it. You are undo- marquee, as the big-bearded man stood ing the Church's teaching.'
towering over the children, with his right arm waving them out into the world—where? had nearly upset in turning the corner of the No matter where: somewhere away: some- street. They did not return to Mr. Burls's where into the good places of the world - shop; but, calling a four-wheeler, drove to • not a boy's heart but was stirred within their hotel. him; and the brave old English blood rose “I shall communicate at once with that in them as he spoke, in his deep bass tones, young man's friends," said this excellent old of the worth of a single man in those far-off clergyman, as soon as he had recovered his lands;—an oration destined to bear fruit in breath. “I am shocked and grieved to see after-days, when the lads, who talk yet with him wandering about like a child of Ishmael bated breath of the speech and the speaker, in this wilderness of houses. It would kill shall grow to man's estate.
me. Only think of a young fellow brought “Dangerous, Dick,” said Farmer John. up as he was being reduced to such a pass ! “What should I do without my labourers?” Nobody blames his unfortunate father now.
“Don't be afraid,” said Dick. “ There There are plenty to help him and his poor are not ten per cent. have the pluck to go. dear mother and sister, and he shall be Let us help them, and you shall keep the put in a way of doing something for himself rest."
without a day's delay.”
And he ate his dinner with all the better CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FOURTH.
appetite for this charitable resolve. WHEN THEN Frank left Mr. Burls's shop, he It was not to be surprised at that Frank
felt that he had left it for good. It was not overtaken by the friends who purwas Monday evening at five o'clock. He had sued him, for he had turned up a courtreceived the money due to him for painting entered by a low archway, with shops on and restoring on Saturday evening as usual; each side of it—while they had shot past it, therefore, all that the dealer owed him for keeping on their way straight down the street. was one day's work. This sum he deter- In this court, at a comfortable eating-house, mined to make Mr. Burls a present of. It | Frank was in the habit of taking his meals. was better they should not meet—at least, for He had his pot of tea, bread and butter, the present, Frank thought. For the sake and watercresses, read the evening paper as of earning money, he had borne for three usual, and started to walk home to his lodgmonths the coarse vulgarity and purse-proud ings at Islington, just as the two gentlemen, insolence of Burls. He had felt that he who would have given almost anything to should not be able to bear it much longer. know where he was, were sitting down to The time had come. He had spoken the their dinner at the Tavistock in Coventtruth. The penalty was dismissal in any- garden. thing but polite terms. He had seen Burls “It must have come to this very soon," kick a man out his shop for an offence he thought, as he walked homewards; but which, compared to what he had done, was he felt rather down at being again a man a trifle light as air. He felt he could work without an employment. “I couldn't have for such a knave, but he could not con- stood his company much longer. But I am descend to fight with him. So he prudently such an unlucky beggar: if it had happened
. resolved to keep away, and accordingly a fortnight ago, or a week or two hence, I dismissed himself there and then.
should not have owed that confounded landIt was not very likely that worthy old lady anything." Dr. Perkins would be able to overtake The truth was, ever since Frank had been Frank; for he was a stout gentleman of sixty, in Mr. Burls's employment, he had sent as more accustomed to jog behind his cob much money as he could possibly scrape toalong the white Holmshire roads than to gether by post-office order to his mother and run full pelt down a London street. Nor sister, living in a farmhouse in the romantic was his son-in-law of much assistance in the village of Llan-y-Fyddloes. Their little inmatter; for losing sight of his impulsive rela-come of two pounds a-week was quite enough
a tive after the first few strides, and not catch for their modest wants there, Kate often ing a glimpse of Frank, he prudently devoted told him, in her weekly letter – a chronicle himself to the task of finding out where Dr. of small beer Frank looked forward to on Perkins had disappeared to, and three or a Monday morning with a feverish longing; four minutes after found him making the for did it not always contain a letter from most profuse apologies to a buxom lady he Grace, his love, to her dear friend Kate,